Advancing the Enemy

~

Lucius Malfoy grabbed his hair and wrenched it as hard as he could, punishing himself angrily. "What have I done?" he yelled mournfully and furiously to the empty mansion. His voice bitter echoed on the marble walls and moaning of his own voice replied, "Done, done, done . . . ?"

"SHUT UP!" Lucius shouted, scrambling to his feet from his sitting place on the landing. He stormed to his study, a letter tightly gripped in his hand. Lucius slammed through the study door, his lip curling into a malicious sneer of contempt as he heard his echo call back to him - "Up, up, up . . ." - sounding melancholy and miserable.

The middle-aged tyrant of man fell heavily into his chair at the large, oak desk, in the dimly lighted room. He threw down the letter angrily and rummaged around in a desk drawer for his reading glasses. Lucius wanted to be sure he had read the scornful, emerald green letters correctly on the tan piece of parchment.

Lucius very carefully read it over again as if looking for the words "Just joshing you, my beloved father." He threw his glasses across the room when he confirmed to himself that he had read the letter right the first time and there was no chance he would ever read the letter differently. Angrily and with shaking hands, Lucius ripped the letter in half, without realizing it until the deed was done.

He merely stared at the letter blankly for a few moments. It - it was so mocking, so leering, so cunning, so spiteful, and so sadistic in its entirety - Lucius felt humiliated in the eyes of his very self and the reader can be assured that was a main purpose of the letter. It was written in a way that it would haunt Lucius until the end of time, and that time was not coming anytime soon.

"No, no, no," the man sobbed into his arms on his desk.

If the onlooker had seen him just minutes before, then gone to get a glass of water, and come back right at this very second, they would have seen a completely different man from the yelling, irate one the wizardry world knew and loathed. Even possibly, the onlooker would have felt a bit of sorry for him, that is, until they knew why Lucius Malfoy was sobbing.

Presently, after wiping away his tears, Lucius picked up the two pieces of the letter and tapped his wand on them twice. They became one again and the handwriting shone out just as bright and satiric, but Lucius forced himself to read it again.

Dear Father, the letter mocked immediately.

In light of my recent engagement - wait, did I say, "engagement"? Yes, I did, but I didn't mean that. I'm not engaged, but I am in love - with a wonderful, beautiful, intelligent woman. Somewhat different from your stupid bimbos I saw you with almost every day of my young life.

Lucius' mouth curled into a snarl, then he paled for the third time as he read the next line.

Uh-oh, did I strike a nerve?

The older man still could not believe his eyes. Was he so much and so little of a man that his own son, who saw him only every so often, could know what he was thinking? Moreover, who knew about his mangy colleagues . . . and they saw him all the time . . . Lucius shook his head and continued reading.

Father, this letter is to tell you what, if it hadn't been sent, you would have learned soon enough. I am in love - with who? There's a toughie. Can you say, "I'm going to keep the sixty-four thousand, Regis"? Well, maybe not, if you don't have satellite television, but that's not the point.

Think of a girl, in a hospital wing, sitting on a bed, next to my own, last year. You called her a Mudblood, remember, dear old father of mine? Do you even dare try to think of her as the colour rushes from your face and your blood runs cold?

Lucius paled and his throat ran dry. He couldn't even utter a gasp, let alone a shriek, which he wanted so badly to do - he yearned to scream and shout, but it was utterly and truly impossible.

Yes, she's the one. My love. But I will never let you know her name.

I will be coming home after my graduation to pick up my things and please, don't even bother coming to the ceremony tomorrow. You're not welcome, with anyone. Not you or even Mother. Do you understand?

When I come home, I will only be there for a short hour to collect my belongings, and neither you OR Mother will touch me, or try to. If you do, I swear to you on my own life, that I will kill you. Am I clear enough? No? Obviously not, if you are still reading this letter, trying to catch at least a glimmer of me actually wanting to come home. How thorough must I be when I say in these three, simple words: "I am leaving"?

No, sir, Draco Malfoy does not personally care to tangle with the ignorant anymore! Don't rip up the letter yet, Father, I warn you! There is more, I assure you greatly! Much more.

I have a life to live, Father. I do not need it corrupted by you, your bitch of a wife, your many mistresses who I've seen you around with my whole life, your petty folly, your evil deeds, or your absurd prejudices! I cannot live my life the way you did, hating everyone that got or did something better than you did. I'm different from you and for that, I can sigh in relief, because I will not live to be a man like you.

After I leave your house, that will be the last time you see me face-to-face, and let us try to keep it that way, Father. I have enough respect and dignity to keep away from you, if you keep away from me - and my friends.

Where am I going after I collect my things? Nowhere you should even be bothered told. I am leaving you, Mother, and the rest of the Motley fools of a "family" you claim us all to be. Even if she - the love of my life, if you've forgotten already - and I fall out of love - oh, I can just hear your taunting laughter already, hoping that is true - I will not come back. I will not come back, no matter what.

Does that drop your smile, your smirk, your sneer, your spiteful scowl? You and I both know that it does, you pathetic fool.

The fact of the matter is, no matter what, I will not be coming back to the hellhole I grew up in. I literally refuse to be part of your life any more - or my life to be a part of yours. I do love Mother, at least as much as a person who was lifted to her breast shortly after birth and hasn't seen her for months can; but I have never, ever, truly loved you as a person or a father, and I never will.

This is a farewell, Father. I will pick up my things in the coming week.

Sincerely,

Draco Malfoy

~

"You wrote him a letter?" Hermione asked softly as they stood together on the front steps of the old castle called Hogwarts, watching the owl fly into the rising sun of the early morning dawn.

Draco nodded nimbly, but said nothing.

"That was good of you."

"Maybe," Draco replied quietly, closing his eyes sadly, yet with a certain relief.

"Will you tell me what you said?" Hermione asked.

Draco sighed and gave her a feeble smile. "I basically told him I was coming home to collect my things, and I was leaving him and Mother forever, to live with my one true love." He took her hand and kissed it. "And I wrote," he said slowly, "that even if we fall out of love, that I would not come crawling back to him."

"Do you really think we would ever . . . not love each other?" Hermione asked Draco, looking piqued, but somehow calm.

Draco admired her for this - and for her sense, for her intelligence, for her emotions, and for her tranquility in dangerous to trivial situations. She was, in his eyes, the most intelligent, most wonderful, most beautiful person he had ever met in his entire life - and always would be, he knew, no matter what.

He closed his sadly, not wanting to answer the question, for he longed for it not to be ever true. "I hope not. Maybe we never will, but love stories often end terribly . . ."

Hermione kissed his cheek, her lips brushing the crescent moon-shaped scar he'd gotten the year before in a fight with Ron Weasley, then his lips. Draco smiled at this weakly, scared - scared of everything he knew and didn't know. "Too true," she said softly into his ear. "But love stories are often the classics of them all . . ."

"And many end happily . . ."

"Do you really think love ends, Draco?" Hermione asked of him suddenly, her voice sharp and indignant.

Draco, speechless with surprise, shook his head. Hermione smiled a small smile at him, kissed him again quickly, then strode to the doors of the huge castle, and walked in, the doors closing with a clash of iron and wood behind her. He was alone with his congested thoughts.

~

Lucius, finishing reading the letter again for the tenth time, ripped the parchment suddenly to shreds, and let them fall slowly to the floor of the study. The pieces all burst into flames when they hit the floor, and the legs of the desk and chair looked ready to combust themselves, as if the floor raged of a fire that only Lucius himself was immune to.

He pulled on his long, black cape, and swept out of the room. Lucius seemed to fly down the ballroom stairs of the mansion. The mansion was empty, due to the fact that when his servants heard an angered scream come from him once, they scattered - and his socialite of a wife, who didn't care a speck about Draco or Lucius unless they were pretty and handsome in public, was vacationing for a few days in Morocco. She was with probably yet another one of her liaisons with some tanned Greek warlock she met on a beach in Cairo.

Lucius stormed to the front door, but before he could even reach the door - he was just two inches from grabbing the door handle and swinging it open - two, sharp raps came from the other side of it. Lucius froze. Could it be Draco? Already? No, impossible . . . but, maybe . . . no . . .

Lucius opened the door slowly and there stood his wife, her checks flushed and her eyes angry. She advanced on him, fists at her side, and her eyebrows narrowed with spite and animosity. Her hair was untamed and savagely out of place - as it never was - and she wore no make-up, another thing she never did. Narcissa Malfoy looked wild.

"Do you know what I heard, Lucius? From the wives of your colleagues?" she demanded furiously, advancing toward him. The door slammed behind Narcissa, echoing throughout the entire manor furiously. "I heard that your son has fallen in love with a Muggle-born witch! Do you know the embarrassment that this has caused me? No, of course you don't - you're you." She raised a hand to slap him across the face, but Lucius grabbed her wrist and twisted her arm around her back, making her whimper painfully.

"My dear, dear wife," Lucius sneered scornfully into her ear, "I have heard quite too much of it - and I have only heard of it just recently."

Lucius' wife pulled away from him and whirled around, sticking and wagging a finger in his face. "Never touch me like that again, you arrogant piece of horse - " she began to shriek.

Lucius grabbed her wrist again and Narcissa slapped him across the face with her other hand as hard as she could.

"Me?" Lucius yelled at her, clutching a hand to his burning-red cheek. "I am arrogant? Look in the mirror, you God forsaken woman! You are a parsimoniously egotistical sunbathing pig! And if you were to know what our son called you - !" He burst into sudden, mocking laughter. "Oh, he is completely right!" Lucius giggled, laughing atrociously.

"Sing with me, Lucius," his wife sneered, ignoring her husband's malevolent jeering. "'There once was a little boy named Lucius; who was a really big doufus; and one day, he rose to power with Voldemort on his side; but by bide and bide, he lost his pride; when a Mudblood came along!'" She clapped her hands together with sadistic glee. "That rhyme will be sung throughout the Ministry and the rest of the world for thousands of years - as it already has for twenty, though obviously not with the same meaning! You had better learn it now, you worthless piece of - "

"SHUT UP!" Lucius cried, lunging at her. He was unable to stand Narcissa's mocking any longer.

His wife stepped easily aside and he slammed into the front door where he stayed, forehead pressed against the wood, miserable.

"Can't take it?" she continued sarcastically. "I always knew you couldn't take simple teasing."

"Stop it, stop it, stop it!" Lucius screamed, head still flattened against the door.

"I WILL NOT!" his wife shrieked back. "I truly will not, Lucius!"

Lucius' eyes slowly moved to her and saw she had tears in her eyes. He was slightly surprised and stared at her silently. She didn't seem to notice the tears, despite the salt water streaming down her face in heavy sheets of grief intertwined with cold ire.

"Lucius," she said breathlessly, "you will stop it. You are so biased it makes me sick! You would cut the throat of every Muggle-born or half-blooded witch or wizard if the wind so whimmed you to do! Or should I say - master?"

"My master is not here," Lucius said softly.

His wife glared at him. "And that's another thing you son of Hades - you do it all on your own, as well, but your good-for-nothing excuse is your master! I might as well go get your machete now, so you can start slicing and dicing! And yes, you ass, I have seen the damned thing!"

Lucius stared at her, his mind brewing with hysterical and sketchy ideas. What was he going to do when Draco came home? His wife was right - he was about to go out and slit the throat of his son's flame so that Draco would be able to see her insides were wrong for the likes of a powerful, pure-blooded wizard like himself . . . but what was wrong with that?!

"What I heard," Draco's mother continued to say, still breathless, "is that Draco has 'fallen in love' with a Muggle-born. Even at this second, I am attempting to accept it - but you are not. It hurts your pride, doesn't it? All your family worked for?"

"Don't you dare say that, woman!" Lucius shouted, pushing away from the door angrily. "You just barged in here, yelling at me about your embarrassment that Draco is in love with a Muggle bitch! You're a hypocrite! Listen to yourself!"

Narcissa narrowed her olive-shaped eyes angrily at him. "Never call me 'woman' again or say that about Draco's love again, my dear, or I will be the one to kill you, not Voldemort," she snarled, her lip curling upward with a certain spite. "Perhaps I am a hypocrite, Lucius, but every second I have to look at you makes me want to urge Draco on!"

"Then do it!" Lucius bellowed in her face.

Lucius' wife grabbed his right ear and twisted it as hard as she could, nails digging deep into the delicate skin, making him fall to his knees in pain. He clawed at her with his nails, but she pulled and bent his ear harder, keeping her arm just out of reach of his talons. "I will then," she snapped, finally letting go of his ear.

Lucius fell to the floor in pain, gripping his red ear in his hands. "Feel better?" he moaned to Narcissa.

His wife smiled. "Actually, yes."

"Then you won't mind if I curse you . . .?" he asked quietly, reaching for his wand.

"What?" Lucius' wife demanded impatiently. "What did you say?"

Without an answer, Lucius whisked out his wand, and pointed it at her feet. Narcissa tried to run, but he shouted out two essential words, and she fell to the marble floor. Her legs locked together and her hands had become like putty, not able to hold onto anything, as she tried to claw her way into the tile to get away from Lucius.

She finally stopped struggling to move as Lucius clambered aimlessly to his feet, looking rather bored at the sight of her. Narcissa glared up at him with shadowed eyes. "What are you going to do now, Lucius? You can't kill me. You won't get away with it this time, like you've done in the past. Many people know that I'm here and when I get out of this I'll - "

Lucius stepped on her hand, attempting to slowly crush the bones. "You'll do what, my dear wife? Kill me? I'd hardly give you that chance. No," he sighed, looking around the front hall casually, "I'll just have to divorce you - the old fashion way."

"That's just a better term for kill," his wife hissed.

"Not that kind of divorce. I should send you to the hospital where Gilderoy Lockhart and the Longbottoms are!" Lucius said, half gleefully, half sarcastically as he stared down at her as she bit her lip to keep from crying out in pain. He took his foot off her limp hand and she swung her arm away into her, to cradle it awkwardly in her other, keeping it as far away from Lucius as she possibly could.

"Let me up, you mad man!" Narcissa shouted angrily.

Lucius rolled his eyes and waved his wand lazily. His wife jumped to her feet and looked him in the eye. "No wonder Draco wants out, Lucius," she snarled. "I'm not around here enough to know what even he knows - and he's here only three months out of the entire year! I'm leaving, Lucius! Once and for all, I am leaving!"

"You'll be back, Narcissa, my lovely little flower," Lucius said lazily, falling and sinking into a couch in the room next to the front hall. He looked at her innocently as she stood in the vortex of the living room and the front hall, defiant looking, hands on her hips. "You always are."

"Perhaps," Narcissa agreed coldly, nodding, not looking defeated, "perhaps I shall return. Yet that is only because, unlike most, I know I will have no place to go after a while, Lucius. I am not as daft as you pretend I am, you nitwit."

"I'm hurt," Lucius laughed, throwing up his hands in mock defense.

"I should never have married you."

"Then why did you?"

Lucius laughed when his wife had no answer. She turned on her heel and retreated to her room. Lucius stopped laughing and stood up. He adjusted his cape and left the mansion in such a manner that one would have thought him a fleeing fugitive, running from the armoured guard.


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