My blood, my boy. My only son.

"Please," spoke Draco pitifully, his voice close to breaking.

He was ten that year, when I first sought my solace in his summer-tanned skin, his sun-whitened hair. His spoke, and seemed to think, of nothing else besides Hogwarts school. Continually I found myself peppered with questions about the grand castle, the lush grounds, the fathomless lake. Each morning, Draco rose early and burst in pyjamas from his bedroom to rush to the front door, where he perched on his knees upon the rug, sorting through the post in search of the sepia envelope with his name writ upon it in emerald green.

"Father --"

"Silence," came my harsh whisper in his ear as I cringed at the term. Father. Burden. Languidly, I stroked one hand down his naked side, letting my fingers seek the warmth of his bronzed skin. I buried my face against his neck, seeking out the defiant pulse and heat of the artery, upon which I planted a claiming kiss. He whimpered, though I silenced him with my hand over his mouth, and I kissed harder, drawing the blood to the surface. It left, to my satisfaction, a purple bruise. Good. I wanted him marked, I wanted him claimed. He was, after all, mine.

I had found him that night perched upon his bed. His feet were bare, their soles dirty. His legs had lengthened, but were still marked with childish scrapes, small scabs. He wore blue silk, a light dressing gown that hung open, exposing a bare chest that was just beginning to take on masculine proportions, and dark trousers carelessly creased. The grin on his face was irrepressible, and when he saw me there, paying a rare visit, he held up his invitation to school with a look of pride so haughty, so pleased -- so defiantly Malfoy -- that I had found myself smiling in turn. Crossing the rug, my own bare feet tickled by the fur. One arm around his shoulders in the most casual fatherly embrace, a sound ruffling of his hair. Then, leaning in, pulling tighter, sliding the silk robe from his shoulders so that it pooled on the floor, all but forgotten. A hand through his blonde hair, the pad of my thumb tracing his brow as it wrinkled in confusion. Holding him against me, forcing his head up to receive my kiss.

He pulled away, cringing at the pain and pressing his palm against his neck, his expression scathed. "What -- what are you doing?" he asked, breathless.

"I love you," said I, instead of replying. "Draco..."

"Please don't," he whispered, his hands scrabbling over mine as I reached for the belt bucket clasped around his waist. His fingers plucked at me, insufficient, as I deftly unbuttoned the trousers, sliding them down. His thighs were pale. He swatted at me, hands hooked into claws, but I pinned him easily remembering, with a touch of bemusement, the way Severus and I had once wrestled as youngsters. The sexual element had been present even then, always, hung between us silent and obvious as we collapsed onto the floor in a quiet heap, the sounds of panting and pounding hearts the only interruption. The way his eyes had glittered...the way my hands had shook...

He hit, harder this time, lashing out. One blow landed, striking me across the face, but I merely bared my teeth at him and he shrunk back against the pillow, his hands quivering as he reached down to hide his present nudity. As if from a distance, I heard myself laughing, laughing, and then the sound of Draco crying, trying to muffle the sound against his hand. Teeth marks, his own, on his fingers to keep him silent. His silvery eyes closed, then hiding his face in the pillow as I flipped him over, my hands searching, exploring his back, his hips, reaching around to fondle him and smirking at the unwilling reaction. His sobs, bared, as we moved in rapid rhythm and he forgot to force himself not to scream.

"Please," says Narcissa now. She sits unwilling in the high-backed chair, right on the very edge of it as though she plans to leap from her perch at any moment. Her hands flutter like restless birds. Her eyes are bloodshot red, shiny with tears. "Please, Draco --"

"I'm going," he says, and his voice is hard. There is no sympathy in his face as he looks at her, though I notice, he cannot quite dare himself to look me full in the face. "Don't try to change my mind, because I'm leaving."

He is sixteen now, and tall, though not as tall as I am, not quite yet. His hair falls over his eyes, obscuring his features, though he is undeniably handsome. Baby fat has fallen away, along with the subtle, delicate features he once boasted. He looks hard now, carved, as though everything soft and gentle in his was destroyed in a trial by fire. His eyes glint meanly as he surveys the corners of the sitting room, sneering at Narcissa's selections of furniture. No bare feet now, but polished boots of dragon-hide. His trousers are perfectly creased, his shirt impeccably neat. His arms are folded, and he has not smiled in years.

My wife shakes her head in bewilderment, looking from him to Severus, the dark shadow that leans in the doorway, hands in his pockets, black hair fallen over his face, the long cloak he favours swishing somewhere near his ankles. He wears boots identical to Draco's and I am struck, suddenly, by the eerie similarity. Black and white, light and dark; one might see it, but inside they are the same man, full of hatred for their fathers and contempt for their mothers, both alone. It is, almost, suitable.

"I just don't understand," mourns Narcissa. "You've a year and a half left at Hogwarts. You have no way to pay your expenses. Just what do you intend to do?"

Draco falters, though his temper rises, but it is Severus who intervenes, promising to look after my son's best interests, to pay the expenses, to guarantee his safety. My old mate regards me with a look that scarcely encompasses pity, though has a fair share of vitriol, and I know then that Draco has told him everything, all about the late nights and early mornings of six years of summer and Christmas holidays. Severus' eyes shine with a strange light, understanding it all even as he glares, daring me to protest. We are opposites, him and I, but on one subject, we disagree. I watch, unblinking, as Severus draws my son close and wraps an arm around his shoulders.

"Draco --"

"Let them go, Narcissa," I advise. My voice is not raised, but she falls silent, having learned the consequences of disobedience.

Vindictive, Draco makes a show of leaning against Severus as the older man summons his trunk, but as Narcissa buries her face in her hands and cries for the loss of her boy, he looks me over. There is no youth in those eyes, only distance. His chin trembles, and for a moment, I believe him about to speak, perhaps to make an accusation, or force a confession, or to speak aloud the terrible words I have heard him whisper against me when he thought he was alone. Then he closes his mouth firmly and shakes his head, taking Severus' hand, allowing himself to be led away.