Hi! So I have an idea of this being the beginning of a larger story following Draco's adult life. I have kind of a twist planned... we'll see if I get that far :) Let's just say the reason I've chosen to give this story kind of two titles (WtPmT and Aftermath) is because its only part of a much bigger story that will be posted under the title "Where the past meets today". If I succeed to follow through with my intentions that is... :D Oh well, only time will tell!
I hope you enjoy it! :) LOVE /Crys
Disclaimer: I don't own the characters or the settings in this fic, they all belong in the world created by JK Rowling.
"Acts and Consequence"
Draco looked with wary eyes on the pale, statuesque woman. She was standing in front of one of the large mirrors in the entrance hall of their home, staring blankly at her reflection. When she didn't react on the sound of his voice, or his appearing reflection in the mirror, he stepped closer so that he could touch her shoulder.
"Mum," he said softly, trying to make his voice calm and reassuring but knowing he failed miserably.
"We have to go now Mum. Don't worry, we'll be fine," his last words not louder than a whisper. How he wished he could believe in his own words... his mother's eyes flickered and found his in the mirror.
"Oh. Is it already time? I didn't realise," she said, her voice flat and empty of emotion. Her right hand flew to her hairline, straightening an invisible flaw in her blond, pulled back hair. She threw one last glance in the mirror before marching out the door, her head held high and her eyes fixed steady on the front yard, ignoring the two men waiting on the doorstep.
"Mrs Malfoy," the man holding the door grunted as Draco and his mother passed them.
"Come Draco, let us join your father and get this ostentatious farce of a trial over with," she said with a trace of her old superior manner surfacing through her dazed facade.
No doubt she was just as certain as he that this was all just a spectacle to please the crowds before they were all sent off to Hell.
* * *
The reunion with Father had been brief and quiet, a short embrace of his mother and a pat on the back for Draco.
The next thing he knew, Draco was being towed behind his parents through a narrow corridor leading to the largest chamber within the Ministry. They were flanked by five wizards in formal-looking robes with wands at the ready.
Draco wondered why there were so many of them. It wasn't like he and his parents were going to attempt some desperate attack in order to break free, since they'd been forced to give up their wands weeks ago as a precaution when his father was arrested. Additionally, he had a feeling they would be stunned frozen before they'd even attempted to make a sudden move, not to mention before they had time to jump one of the guarding wizards. So what threat could they possibly pose?
Lost in thought, he hadn't realised they were closing in on the iron framed door at the end of the corridor. Draco felt his muscles tightening throughout his whole body and his jaw clench in sudden panic. He heard his father's voice in his head as if he was screaming in his ear: "Do not show them any fear Draco, do not give them the satisfaction. Remember who you are." Draco knew that the last phrase hadn't referred as much to his own character as to the family name. "You're a Malfoy. Don't you dare bring shame upon the proud legacy you were born into." He knew this was what his father really meant and there was no need for him to say it out loud for Draco to understand it.
Father had made his expectations on a "son of his" very clear since the day Draco was born, and probably even before that. A bizarre image, vaguely amusing, and surely a desperate attempt from his brain to suppress the panic, flashed before his eyes. In his mind's eye, Draco held the image of his father holding a silver instrument to his mother's pregnant stomach while speaking heatedly of family honour and pure bloodlines. Such nonsense to think about - and it certainly wasn't enough of a distraction to drag his mind from what was coming.
He thought he could feel his heart come to a permanent stop as the door slid open and a roar of aggravated voices slammed against his ears like the piercing shrieks of a clutch of banshees. He nearly stumbled as a hard punch to the centre of his back forced him to follow his parents into the chamber. He looked down at his feet and could see them moving, but he didn't feel like they were his own.
Draco forced himself to raise his gaze, for if this was the last thing he could do to honour his father, he must do it.
As they walked towards the middle of the great chamber, Draco noted the entire Wizengamot, seated on his left he'd been prepared for. What he had not expected though, were the multiple rows of spectators on his right side. Suddenly, he understood what all the "wands at the ready" was about, as in every pair of eyes that was staring back at him he saw a flame of scolding, burning hatred.
The guards were there to make sure no one took the law into his or her own hands; they were there for his family's protection.
Draco was grateful when he got to turn his back on the host of stabbing eyes of the spectators and face the Wizengamot, but unfortunately he got a good look at the people placed at the front row before he did so: Harry Potter, Hermione Granger and the Weasleys.
As he lined up next to his mother, Draco tried to relax his muscles but it was a hopeless exercise. The crowd growled behind him, and at some points a single voice would break through the scornful murmurs:
The Minister of Magic cleared his throat and silenced the chamber.
"Lucius Malfoy, you have been summoned to this court as a result of the accusations of being a dedicated follower of the Dark Lord, a so called "Death Eater". You are also accused with following; Treason, use of all three Unforgivable Curses, Torture and Murder. If you are to be found guilty on any of these charges your penalty will resort in ten years to a lifetime in Azkaban prison. Do you understand these charges?"
His father gave a sharp nod in response.
His mother didn't flinch; she simply raised her gaze to stare directly at the Minister of magic, her face indifferent.
"You have been summoned to this court as a result of the accusations of being a dedicated follower of the Dark Lord, a so called "Death Eater". You are also accused with following: Use of the Unforgivable Imperius Curse and Treason. If you are to be found guilty on either of these charges, your penalty will resort in ten to thirty years in Azkaban prison. Do you understand these charges?"
"I do," his mother replied curtly.
Draco's throat clenched and his stomach churned, but he fought to hold his posture even though it was stiff.
"You have been summoned to this court as a result of the accusations of being a dedicated follower of the Dark Lord, a so called "Death Eater". You are also accused with following: Treason, Conspiracy to commit Murder, and the use of Unforgivable Curses, specifically Cruciatus and Imperius. If you are to be found guilty on any of these charges your penalty will resort in ten to forty years in Azkaban prison. Do you understand these charges?"
"Yes." He'd meant his voice to come out clear and confident, but once the word past his lips his answer wasn't more than a whisper.
Draco glanced over at his parents. His mother seemed to have been frozen solid and didn't move an inch; she still looked dazed, like she thought this all to be a terrible dream that would leave her if she just let it have its way with her.
His father's face was a mask. Washed out of any emotion but pride, his chin lifted and eyes fixed on the Minister.
Draco had no idea what his own facial expressions were, just that he tried with all his might to keep it clean from the panic and defeat that was raging inside of him like a thunderstorm over open sea.
As the witnesses gave their testimonies, the energy in the chamber intensified.
Draco was certain that nothing would get them out of this one. Neither his father's previous loyalties nor all the Galleons in the world were nearly enough this time. With this trial, there was no threat of a Dark Lord or Death Eaters returning to power. This time his father had no influence.
They were all going to Azkaban; he was sure of it.
The evidence against them was considerable and non-negotiable.
New evidence was provided; new witnesses came forward to testify of activities his father had been involved in when Voldemort first came to power. Threats he'd made, deeds he'd done, murders he'd ordered - one which he himself was thought of to have committed. Draco froze at this last accusation and was unable to hold back a cold shiver that shot down his spine. As it turned out, the evidence presented proved insufficient to implicate his father of the murder. As the Minister dismissed the charge, the crowd broke into a fuming roar.
"He did it!"
"You'll pay for this Malfoy!"
The Minister had to call out several times to silence the chamber before continuing the proceedings.
Now followed the part of the trial regarding his mother's and Draco's own actions. Again, the evidence against them was clear.
They were Death Eaters. Death Eaters equaled Azkaban, for Draco it was as simple as that.
Waves of hopelessness and defeat rolled over him. It was pointless. He fought to uphold his straight frame, not to let his desperation make a mark on him.
You're a Malfoy. You're a Malfoy. Keep it together. Don't give them the satisfaction. You're a Malfoy. You're a fucking Malfoy!
"Yes, Mr. Potter?"
Shite... This was definitely it, they were doomed.
"I would respectfully request an opportunity to testify in defense of the accused."
What did he just...
"In defense of the accused, Mr Potter?"
"Yes your Honour. I ask the Wizengamot to hear my witness from the day of the final battle with Volemort, I believe it to be of great importance to the outcome of this trial."
What the hell was he doing? What the FUCK was he playing at!?
Draco was totally gobsmacked as Potter was allowed to take the stand and defend...actually defend...him and his parents.
Potter recounted to the Wizengamot how his mother had assisted him in the Dark Forest, betraying Lord Voldemort. How Draco and his parents hadn't participated in the last battle at Hogwarts and most importantly, that all three of them had chosen to change their alliances in the last hours of the battle.
Was he really serious about this?
"Do you have any final statement, Mr. Potter?" The Minister finally asked when Potter had finished his testimony.
"I suggest that the Malfoys should be spared from Azkaban, your Honour."
The chamber exploded into fiery objections.
"Potter, are you mad!?"
"They're Death Eaters, they deserve to suffer for what they've done!"
"I do not mean for their crimes to be ignored," Potter continued, raising his voice over the crowd. "Nor do I mean for them to leave this court without a penalty."
"Order!" The Minister bellowed. "Order, or I will clear this court of civilians right now!"
When the crowd had settled down the Minister turned his attention to Potter again. "You must be aware that there is no legal precedent for such a judgement, Mr. Potter."
"Yes sir, I understand. But I would respectfully suggest that the Wizengamot consider sparing the Malfoys' from prison, decreasing their penalty to an extensive financial compensation to the suffering families afflicted by the Death Eaters and Voldemort. This sum should also be large enough to be distributed to the massive cost of repairing properties in our society that have been damaged or destroyed due to linked events. This financial compensation would be of a far greater benefit to society than simply locking away the Malfoys."
The chamber held its breath for two seconds before a roar of voices cried out simultaneously again.
"Are you kidding?!"
"That's not good enough!"
"Send them to Azkaban!"
"No mercy for Death Eaters!"
"ORDER!" The Minister bellowed again but this time it was pointless.
"Guards, clear this chamber of civilians!"
The formally cloaked wizards methodically forced the aggravated masses out of the chamber using a shield charm.
The Minister leaned back in his chair to confer quietly with the witch and wizard seated at his sides. The sound level decreased rapidly and Draco guessed the guards had almost succeeded in their feat of empty the chamber.
"Mr Potter," The Minister's voice echoed in the now vacant room. "The Wizengamot will consider your suggestion of an alternative penalty."
"Thank you, your Honour," Potter's voice sounded from behind Draco.
"Now, would the guards please escort the accused out of this chamber so that the court may deliberate?"
Draco started as the tip of a wand sharply dug into the back of his neck.
As he turned around he involuntarily caught the eye of Potter.
Draco didn't know what to do but to stare at him, as he was still in shock.
Had all this really happened? There was no way the Wizengamot would seriously consider Potter's alternative...was there?
Potter had an indefinable look in his eyes as he slowly nodded his head before turning on his heel to walk down the aisle towards the large double entrance doors.
* * *
Draco should be happy.
He was seated in a carriage that was closing in on its destination, Malfoy Manor.
He wasn't going to Azkaban.
His wand would be returned to him the next morning.
The Wizengamot had ruled in favour of Potter's proposal.
He should be happy. Ecstatic even...
But there was still one problem.
There were only two people in the carriage; Father wasn't with him and his mother.
He wouldn't be returning to the Manor.
Draco tightened his arm around his mother's shoulders. She hadn't said a word since the verdict fell and they took his father away. Her eyes were still wide with shock, her face even paler than it used to be. He thought he partly could understand what she was going through.
This wasn't supposed to happen. They weren't supposed to be... separated like this.
He knew his mother had walked into that chamber with the intention to share her husband's fate no matter what. This wasn't... logic.
For all that he searched his mother's eyes he couldn't find any relief or happiness.
Should he be feeling the same way? Or was his feelings already the same as hers? Was that why he felt so cold? Empty?
The carriage came to a halt and he looked out the window to see the lanterns inside the house lit, yellow arches of light in the falling darkness. He stepped out into the chilly evening air, not letting go of his mother. He kept supporting her up the stone steps and through the door, ending up almost carrying her up the great staircase once they were inside. He towed her to his parents' bedroom, setting her down at the bed carefully.
She sat motionless at the bedside, looking down at her lap. Draco knelt before her, taking her folded hands in his own.
"Mum?" He was surprised at how weak and uneven his voice sounded. Like there weren't enough air in his lungs.
She didn't meet his gaze, didn't squeeze his hands back, she didn't even look up. She didn't do anything.
"Mum?" he whispered again.
Still nothing. He needed her to react, speak, look at him, do something... anything. But his mother didn't even seem to realize they were in the same room.
Draco swallowed at the sudden burn in his throat. He didn't know what to do or say to make it better. He only knew he hated the way his mother's face was blank as if she was fading before his eyes.
"Please..." he choked out. "Please Mum, just tell me what to do. Tell me what you need. I'll fix it, whatever it is. I'll make it alright. I'll fix it... I will." He swallowed again as the burning grew stronger. "Please. Mum?"
"Mommy needs to rest now dear." Her voice was flat, her eyes still locked at her hands. She slid them out of his grip and began to turn away from him. She swiftly stroked his cheek before she lay down to stare at the opposite wall. "Good boy," she whispered.
Draco sat frozen to the floor for a moment, his hands left at the bedcover, before he fled out of the room.
He flew down the winding stairs, heading for the nearest backdoor. The surprised and frightened house-elves quickly scurried out of the way as he rushed through the kitchen, breaking bowls and china as he accidently smashed into a table. Somewhere in his mind he knew he should feel pain from the collision, but there was none.
He slammed the door shut behind him.
His head was spinning and he realized he was shaking uncontrollably.
He should be happy. He'd been prepared for Azkaban.
And as frightening as that prospect had been, somehow the fact that he was free, with his entire life ahead of him, was infinitely worse.
The next thing he knew, Draco fell to all fours behind a rose bush and puked his guts out.
What did you think?
Reviews, comments - it's all love! :)
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Ps. This story can also be found at "The Quidditch Pitch", a site dedicated to Harry Potter related fanfiction.