Warning: Yaoi (homosexual themes), don't like, don't read.
Draco: Ha! You don't own me... NO ONE OWNS ME!! FOR I AM... A MALFOY!! Mwahaha-
Harry: Shut up you ferret… The blonde's right... Benevolent Apocalypse doesn't own us.
Me: Heh. That's what you think… Just watch my awesome powers… Waves arms magically
Draco: H-Harry… What are you doing?!
Harry: I... I don't know! My body won't listen to me...
Both: Ah! (Harry tackles Draco for an unwanted steamy make-out scene)
Me: Hehe.. No, I don't own them, but shhhh.. Don't tell them that!
(AN: this is sixth year.. Slughorn does not exist.)
--(now, on with the show)--
Harry Potter and the One At Fault
-The Love of a Father-
Feeling rather sick of Ron and Hermione's usual banter, Harry decided to leave supper early and start a particularly hard potion's essay. The two had been arguing about the rights (or lack there of), of House Elves. Hermione, being as passionate about the subject as she was, had somewhere during the argument, decided that both Ron and Harry (who had previously been uninvolved in the discussion) could write their essays themselves without her help. Harry knew he would have to start working immediately if he was going to get it done, and had decided to use the last hour and a half of supper to get a head start on the ridiculously long assignment.
Upon exiting the great hall, Harry heard a startling noise. It sounded like a strangled yelp, not unlike that of a frightened animal. He rounded the corner just in time to hear a familiar, cruel voice mutter the Muffliato spell over him and his companion. Harry came to stand behind a large suit of armor and peered under its arm. What he saw shocked him.
Lucius Malfoy was pointing his wand at his son, Draco, and yelling at him. He appeared to be accusing him of something. Harry strained his ears, but all that could be heard was the spell's soft buzzing. Draco looked pale; well, certainly paler than usual. He was shaking slightly and his hands clutched at the sides of his robes whilst his eyes darted from his father's livid face to his polished shoes. Harry was certain that peering at his footwear would do nothing to sooth him, as the young Malfoy's designer Risso loafers were most likely meticulously shined - giving him a clear view of his own petrified features.
Harry sat there, trying to decipher what the argument as about. He decided it was most likely a family matter, or Lucius wouldn't have bothered showing up. Harry was brought back to reality when he heard a resounding smack. Apparently, the spell had been strong enough to block out any screams of agony, but not the physical contact as well. Harry was horrified to see a reddish purple welt quickly appear on Draco's face, followed by a trickle of crimson falling down his cheek like a red tear. Lucius still had his cane, his weapon of choice, raised at his son.
Harry stared in shock for a few moments, stupefied by what he had just witnessed, then, after realizing that the situation would only get worse, turned to the nearest portrait. He whispered to it frantically, begging its tenant to find the nearest professor, and to bring them immediately. The plump wizard in the frame nodded and agreed to help Harry. He watched the figure leap from frame to frame, until it finally disappeared in a dark painting.
Then the raven-haired teen turned back fearfully to watch the father-son fight escalate. Draco was shaking now, his petite frame heaving with labored breaths. His fists were clenched even tighter in his robes, as if he squeezed hard enough, the pain would go away. His eyes were wide, and the blue-gray irises seemed to be locking back a tirade of tears that threatened to fall - but Harry knew they wouldn't. Malfoy's simply did not cry. Draco looked away as his father continued his rant. When Lucius realized that his son wasn't making eye contact, he paused. Harry felt a chill as he watched Lucius's mouth move to form a short statement, his eyes, if possible, becoming more and more dangerous, laced with spite. The scene between the father and son did not change, and Harry gasped when Lucius screamed loud enough to break the spell's barrier.
"I. Said. LOOK AT ME!!" Lucius drew his cane back and drove the metal snake on the head straight into Draco's gut. Harry suddenly felt compelled to rush to the blonde boy as he fell to his knees, but he found that he was far too petrified himself to move at all. He began to shake when he saw Draco spit up blood - quite a bit of blood. Lucius spoke quietly again and Harry, despite how he strained his ears, could not hear what was being said. It didn't really matter though - he could tell by the look on Draco's face that whatever Lucius had said as beyond terrifying. Draco had fallen backward from his kneeling position; his hands sprawled behind him, holding up his rigid body. He looked absolutely terrified and Harry watched his lips form the word "No" over, and over again. Lucius paid no heed, but continued to advance on the blonde teen that was now scrambling backwards frantically to escape his father's wrath.
Lucius growled and in a flash, had his wand out and pointed directly at Draco's chest. He tilted his head and commanded Draco to do something. Draco's eyes filled with the tears he had worked so hard to get rid of, and he shook his head violently, letting his blond hair flip around his face. All of a sudden, Lucius flicked his wand, and Draco began to convulse on the floor at the mercy of what was unmistakably the Cruciatus Curse.
"NO!" Harry shouted, but it could not be heard over Draco's screams of agony. Harry trembled as he watched his enemy being tortured by his own father. Finally, the unforgivable curse ended, and Draco was left panting, as silent, tearless sobs wracked his small frame. Harry's eyes went to the blonde's Adams Apple, and watched it bob as Draco swallowed his pain.
Harry realized just how small the blonde Slytherin really was, and how breakable he seemed next to Lucius. He watched the elder Malfoy repeat his request, and Harry longed to hear what was being said. Draco relented and nodded, slowly standing up and turning around. On shaky legs, he began to lead his father out of the large room. Harry listened as their footsteps started to fade. He almost shouted again as he saw Draco's father raise his cane again from behind.
"Faster, Boy!" Lucius shouted, as he swung his cane harshly against the back of his shin. Draco shrieked and fell, but he got up quickly and tried to please his father by obeying his command, though he now walked with a slight limp. When the two turned the corner and were out of sight and could no longer be heard, Harry collapsed to his knees and began to tremble even more. He looked at his hands; they were shaking uncontrollably. He heard footsteps and the swish of a cloak, and his head snapped up immediately. He saw a livid potions master standing before him. If the situation hadn't been so dire, Harry's mind would have undoubtedly been filled with sarcastic remarks. Of all people, the portrait brought him the professor that would want to help him the least - although, Draco was Snape's student, maybe he would help after all.
"What is it that you require Potter?" Harry could practically feel the venomous hatred dripping his every word. "Perhaps you need a detention, hmm? Or do you care to explain why I was dragged out of supper by a PORTRAIT!"
"Professor…" Harry paused, still in shock. "It was just - I can't-"
"For Merlin's sake Potter, SPIT IT OUT!" Snape continued to glare hostilely at Harry, obviously becoming irritated. Finally the raven-haired boy gathered his senses and began to explain.
"P-professor… Malfoy - Draco, I mean, h-he… His father…Lucius hit him. He was yelling, and then Draco was bleeding, and, a-and, coughing up blood! His father used the Cruciatus Curse on him! Now… Now Draco is taking Lucius somewhere. I-I don't know where, but… I think something bad is going to happen to Draco!" Harry looked at Snape, his eyes pleading with the man who seemed to want him dead, almost as much as the Dark Lord himself. Severus did not seem at all shocked by Harry's statement, though his cheeks were tinted red with anger.
Snape began to mumble to himself, "Lucius, you've… Not again - you've gone too far." After a moment he looked down at Harry. "I see", he said simply. He then turned to pursue the Malfoys, but stopped and looked back at Harry who was still rather frightened and confused.
"Potter… Why do you concern yourself with Mr. Malfoy's personal affairs and well being? You and Draco… You're - well, you're not on friendly terms." Harry looked away staring at his own worn loafers. For once he was glad his shoes were as old and dirty as they were unlike Draco's. If he could have seen his reflection, his face would have looked rather disturbed.
"I don't know… I just… No one deserves to be hurt like that, and I was the only one here, I couldn't just… People can't just do stuff like that - hurt their kids I mean." Harry stared at his still shaking hands, as his own buried memories started to push their way to the surface of his mind. He clenched his hands into tight fists until his nails drew blood; he couldn't afford to start thinking of that now - he really couldn't handle it. He looked back up at Snape, who seemed to be intrigued with Harry's answer. Harry didn't like the way the potions master's eyes bored into his, almost as if he was staring into his head and seeing everything he was thinking about. He averted his jade green eyes, and he heard Snape sigh (which Harry thought was rather unlike him).
"Very well. Go to your dorm, there is no need to be out here if you're finished eating. Don't you have an essay to finish for me Potter? I will take care of Mr. Malfoy. Both of them." And with that, the greasy haired professor strode out of the room to find the pair of Malfoys, leaving Harry to mull over what he had just seen.
Snape went to his office. He knew that if he intruded too soon, Lucius would most likely kill him. No, he had to wait for the right moment. He sighed and walked over to his pensieve. He needed to put away some old mistakes that he did not feel like reminiscing. Snape touched his wand to his head and let the silvery wisp of a memory be pulled out, and he let it fall into the decorative bowl. He looked down and shuddered. The things that man had done to Draco! It was too much. And what of Potter? Was he trying to reach out to Draco? Snape grimaced. That idea was not very appealing, but - Snape had seen Harry's marks, his inner scars.
In fact, he had, for the most part, stopped invading the boy's mind during class. Harry had made it quite clear that he didn't want him in his head. In the past, he'd usually just take a peek to see if he could catch the teen at mischief - but on one too many occasions he'd seen things that had horrified and disgusted him. Severus still had no idea how the boy could be smiling so brilliantly on the outside, when just below the surface he was bleeding with bubbling emotions such as depression, anxiety, fear, anger, and hate - mostly self hate.
Snape sat back in his chair and massaged his forehead. Life had been SO much easier when he hadn't given a damn about his students, though he couldn't remember when he had started caring in the first place. For a while, he stared down at his pensive and watched himself, and how stupid he had been.
He sighed and glanced at his watch. "An HOUR! Bloody fuck!" He'd waited far too long. He quickly grabbed a vial off his top shelf and hurried out of the small room. If he waited any longer, Lucius might loose control - again!
Draco led his father to the Slytherin dorms. He silently pleaded for one of his classmates to have skipped dinner, but it seemed hopeless, as he saw no one in the lavishly furnished common room. Each step Draco took felt heavier as he walked up the stairs towards the boy's dormitory. When he got to the top, he took a right up another, smaller set of stairs to his own private room. Once, he had been happy to brag that the Malfoy's could afford to pay for their own rooms, but now he wished he could have shared with the rest of the boys. With shaky hands, he turned the serpent knob and walked into his room. He could feel his father's eyes on him the whole time boring little, invisible holes in his back.
"Remove your clothes." Lucius demanded calmly. Draco's eyes filled with tears yet again as he turned from his father and did as he was instructed. He squeezed his eyes shut and sat on the edge of his king sized bed, disturbing the black, satin sheets. He listened as his father placed multiple silencing and locking charms on his door. The small blonde opened his eyes and looked down at the floor. Within seconds his father was before him. Lucius muttered one more silencing spell, ginning at his son.
"We won't be heard now, so… Feel free to scream." Draco's eyes widened as his father grabbed him roughly by the shoulders and forced him around until his chest was pressed into the folds of the expensive material. He trembled and allowed his hands to clasp at the sheets. His heart was beating at a dangerous pace, and his ears echoed with the sound of his father's shoes tapping the marble floor as he began to pace back and forth.
"You disappoint me Draco. Perhaps I expected too much from you… Worthless. It is an honor to be called to serve the Dark Lord, even if a whelp like you doesn't deserve to grovel at his feet. You will take this offer Draco. I will make you see things my way, I will NOT have you soil the Malfoy name." And with that, Lucius came to a stop behind his son, and slowly lifted his cane. Draco tensed and squeezed his eyes shut again, his breath quickening as he waited for the impending pain.
Within seconds, powerful blows rained down onto Draco's exposed back. The young teen hissed in pain and tears finally began to pour down his porcelain face - humiliating him even more. Lucius paused after a few minutes of relentless striking, and listened to his son whimper and cry as quietly as he could. He rested his hand at the base of Draco's neck and applied a gentle pressure.
"Perhaps now you shall reconsider? Hmm?" Draco remained silent, frantically trying to think of a way out of this bloody mess. He couldn't work for He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. He would most likely end up dead. He wanted a normal life. He wanted to find the things that made him happy. But… His father… he couldn't oppose him. What the bloody hell was he supposed to do!?
His father quickly became impatient with his silence and the hand on Draco's neck tightened painfully, and Draco found he couldn't breath. The teen began to struggle as his face was pressed into the bed.
"F-Father! Mmmf!" He struggled to cry out as Lucius forced him further into the mattress, and Draco suddenly found his mouth full of silk. He could feel his father's nails begin to dig into the soft flesh of his neck and he couldn't breath out of his nose anymore. After what seemed like hours, his father's bruising hand let go of his small neck. Draco gasped and quickly found that breathing was entirely all too painful. He shuddered and tried to regain some composure.
Lucius chuckled, and all self-control he had just gained flew out his locked door."Now, now Draco. Perhaps Hogwarts has softened you. We both know you can take MUCH more than that." Lucius sneered as he allowed his cane to trail up Draco's inner shin, slowly sliding up.
"You didn't answer my question Draco."
Draco trembled. "Father, I would NEVER want to disobey you, and I would NEVER want to soil the family name, but-"
"But what!?" Lucius paused and let his cane rest on his son's inner thigh. Draco could suddenly feel his father's breath on his neck, and he began to panic.
"I-I-I would be killed! I wouldn't survive!" Draco could feel the cane digging into his skin, and he began to speak even faster.
"I don't know enough yet- I-I'm st-still in school! I'm just a kid, I can't-"
"Do I hear you correctly?" Lucius's icy tone froze Draco. He knew what would happen if his father got angry.
"Shut up! Are you refusing His offer or not!?" A sob tore from Draco's throat as he buried his head in the sheets once more. There was no way out.
Lucius paused a moment, holding his cane steady. "So be it." He said, and he drove his cane home.
All over Hogwarts, students cringed ,as if they'd just heard someone scream in agony, then blamed it on their imaginations.
Severus shivered suddenly, and inexplicably felt a sense of dread ease it's way down his spine. He quickened his pace hoping that he was worrying too much, and that the feeling in his gut meant nothing. Finally Snape got to the spiral staircase leading deeper into the dungeon. He ran down they steep steps, taking two at a time.
"Why do these dungeons have to be so bloody huge!" He muttered, panting lightly. He reached the bottom, but he was still at the wrong end of the school. Snape growled, continuing to hasten his steps. It would take him at least fifteen minutes just to reach the Slytherin dorms.
When he finally reached the entrance he was disheveled and completely out of breath, with a thin bead of sweat running down his brow.
"Pureblood!" He spat out, and was granted entrance to the emerald colored common room. He ran up both flights of stairs and paused at Draco's door. He took a few seconds to regain his composure.
"Alohamora." He tried to open the door but it was still locked. The greasy-haired professor paused to think. He spent the next thirty seconds using dozens of other locking spells known only to Death Eaters until he heard a faint click. He put his hand to the knob once more and knocked loudly on the door.
"It's Severus." He stated. He heard multiple silencing spells being released, and he pushed the door open.
Lucius was cleaning his cane with a once white handkerchief, which was now covered in what appeared to be blood. Snape did his best to ignore Draco, who was shaking in the corner of the room, holding his knees to his chest. The elder Malfoy put the handkerchief away, glaring at the fellow Death Eater. Snape looked Lucius in the eye.
"You should leave shortly Lucius. You know Narcissa will worry." He said, hoping he didn't sound too rude.
"Of course, thank you Severus." He said coolly, "I shall be leaving shortly. Draco, you have three months to make your decision. I do hope you reconsider." And with that, Lucius Malfoy strode out of the room, his cane tapping on the marble floor as he went.
For a few minutes, Snape said nothing, just listened to the sound of Draco's labored breaths, and occasional whimpers. When he had calmed himself down to a reasonable state, Draco grabbed his robe and clothed himself. He took a deep breath and limped towards the potions master. The teen sat in a large cushioned chair, and let out a small, pained hiss.
"Professor, how did you know father wa-" Draco started, but was cut off.
"Potter sent me." Snape paused to let his statement sink in, and observed the emotions that flashed across his student's eyes. Fright, embarrassment, shame, confusion - but not hate; there was no hate.
"H-how did HE know?" Draco was in a new state of shock.
"He saw you and your father arguing in the hall. He said he saw your father hit you." He paused, not wanting to overwhelm the young Malfoy. Snape mentally hit himself; there he was, getting all concerned about his students again - but he soon continued. "Also… He said your father used the Cruciatus Curse on you." It was stated as more of a question than a declaration. Draco nodded dumbly. His face was becoming impossibly pale. If Harry knew, then…
"I'm sorry Draco… If I had gotten here sooner, maybe this wouldn't have…" Snape trailed off, and Draco looked away.
"It-It's okay… It wasn't as bad as last time." It was Snape's turn to look away. He glanced down and caught a glimpse of Draco's bare leg from the opening of his robes. Snape stared at the exposed flesh. The entire leg was covered with sickening welts, both red and purple. Some of his wounds were even bleeding. The shape of the wounds were familiar - Snape was really beginning to loath Lucius's cane. Draco saw where he was staring and quickly rearranged his robes.
"It's not as bad as it looks." Snape watched the teen look down at his feet. The poor thing was probably trying to convince himself of his own words. Wait… 'Poor thing'? Again, Snape berated himself. He had to stop from becoming so sentimental.
"Draco, I have something to help with that." Draco shifted uncomfortably - in more ways than one - as Snape pulled out a vile of purple liquid. "This will help. I'm sorry I can't do anything about these… Marks. If you want those taken care of, you'll have to see Madam Pomfrey. There's still some time left before supper will be finished."
Draco hastily protested, "N-No! I… No…" Severus just stared at the blond teen, curios as to why the teen didn't want to be seen by the nurse.
"Draco, people will ask questions tomorrow." Snape stated, trying to convince the boy to get his wounds treated.
Draco was silent for a moment, as if trying to mentally arrange his scrambled thoughts. "I… I'll just tell them I fell, or something…" He whispered, "Either way they'll just think some kid beat me up. But - Madam Pomfrey… She knows father came to see me. He spoke with her about me possibly leaving school for a while. I guess he thought I would be happy about getting the Dark Mark. She was the one who found me before supper. So, she can't see me just yet, or she'll know." Snape's eyes filled with something akin to sympathy.
"Well, take this at least. It will stop any… bleeding. And it will help with the minor pain. I'm sorry I don't have anything stronger." The professor held the little bottle out for the boy to take.
Draco grabbed the flask and downed the entire thing in one gulp. He grimaced as he swallowed, as his throat was still very bruised.
The young Malfoy's eyes pleaded with his teacher, begging him to simply leave. "Thank you Professor." Snape nodded curtly and got up. He stopped halfway to the door, remembering something.
"Draco, what would you like me to tell Potter? Knowing him, he's still pacing somewhere, wondering what happened."
"I don't care." Draco muttered. Snape shrugged and turned to leave, but was stopped as Draco spoke again. "Wait." He looked up at Snape. "Just… Thank him for me." Draco looked down again, his cheeks tinged a light pink. A thick black eyebrow rose at the boy's statement. 'Interesting', thought Snape.
"Rest now Draco, you need it." Snape said as he closed the doors behind him, leaving Draco to sleep. He walked down the stairs to see a few Slytherins entering the common room."If anyone bothers Draco tonight, I will personally use your eyes, tongue, and fingers in tomorrows potions demonstrations. He needs quiet for his… Studies." And with that, Snape left the dungeons in search of the strongest fire whiskey in his possession. He sighed yet again. He wasn't even a student anymore, and yet school was still as dramatic as ever.
Harry had a terrible headache. He had gone back to the Gryffindor common room to work on his essay, but his heart wouldn't stop pounding, and he couldn't stop worrying about Draco.'This is stupid', Harry thought. 'Draco hates me, he wouldn't even want me to worry about him. Besides, it's not like I care about what happens to him.' Harry tried to reason with himself, but he found himself worrying none the less. A small voice in the back of his head kept whispering, 'He's like you, he's just like you.' Finally Harry left the dorm. He walked the long distance to Snape's office. His own actions amused himself.
'Not only is this the fist time I've come to see Snape willingly, but it's because I'm worried about Draco Malfoy.' He shook his head. 'What would Ron say if he knew'. Harry froze. Ron - What was he supposed to tell Ron and Hermione. It wasn't really his place to tell them about Draco's family problems, just like it hadn't been his place to tell them about Neville. No, it was better to keep this information from them, for now at least. Harry walked down to Snape's all too familiar office and paced in front of the foreboding door. He waited for about a half hour until Snape finally returned, looking older and more tired than Harry had ever seen him. Just what had happened in the short time he had been gone? Snape stopped in front of Harry, his arms crossed and his expression sinful. "Potter, I believe I told you to go to your dorm." Snape was smirking, as if he found Harry's presence amusing.
"I'm sorry Professor - I did, it's just, I couldn't stop thinking about what happened, and - Is Draco okay? Is he hurt?" Snape sighed. 'Ah, the benevolent, selfless-boy-who-lived… Oh, how he hated that kid'.
Snape shook his head and replied, "He's hurt, but he'll live, I just hope no student bothers him tomorrow, because that child will be hurt, either by Draco, or myself. And before you ask, yes, Lucius has gone home. Now, have I answered all your questions?" Harry looked away, and scratched the back of his neck nervously, before making eye contact with spoke almost hesitantly. "Sir. Is this… Does this happen to Draco a lot?" Harry wasn't sure if his was stepping over boundaries, but he wanted to know. It was killing him. Could they really be that similar?
"I really don't think it's any of your business Mr. Potter." Harry turned red and looked down. "Moreover, it is not my business to tell you." Severus watched Harry fidget with his robes and sighed. "Harry." At the use of his first name, the raven-haired teen's head snapped up in shock. "Draco's father has a unique idea of discipline, and punishment… I'm telling you this only because you know his pain." A cruel smile made it's way onto Snape's face, twisting his already frightening features.
Harry glared. "I hate it when you go in my head Professor, you know that. Besides… I'm fine, I just… I just wanted to know if he was okay. That's all." Once again, Harry found his eyes trained on the floor.
"That's all?" Snape looked at him questioningly.
"Yes sir." Harry turned to leave, relieved that Draco was okay, but pained that Snape had to go and bring up that. He had forgotten that Snape had seen some of his more… unpleasant memories during his occlumency lessons last year. Snape had often used to take peeks into his thoughts and memories during class - though, Harry had noticed that it had begun to happen less frequently. Harry began to walk away, shocked that he and Snape had had a civilized conversation, when he heard Snape clear his throat.
"Potter. Draco asked me to thank you… For helping him." Harry turned to look at the potion's master, bewildered at his words, but Snape was already in his office, closing the door soundly behind him.
"He… Thanked me?" Harry whispered to himself. He was confused. He'd have thought that Draco would've been furious if he found out that Harry knew. Even if Draco was grateful, wasn't it below a Malfoy to thank someone? His head was spinning, and he decided to go back to the dorm and sleep. There was no sense in writing the essay now, he was far too exhausted. His head was in mix, trying to sort out his latest puzzles - and Draco Malfoy had just become the biggest one of all.