Disclaimer: I'm not J.K. Rowling; I'm only visiting her universe for nonprofit fun and edification. (No profit is being made and no copyright infringement is intended).
Genre warning: I should warn everyone at the outset that this is neither standard-issue Draco/Hermione nor standard-issue Draco/Neville. According to Draco, it's about him, and those other two are walk-ons (as are the rest of you).
Spoiler alert: As a post-Deathly Hallows story, assume spoilers for all HP books through Deathly Hallows. Note also that the 14 chapters of this story take place in the same timeline as Amends, or Truth and Reconciliation and In Which the Princess Rescues the Dragon. Readers of those stories will recognize some of the events—which is to say that this narrative contains spoilers for those tales. If you'd rather hear the plot twists POV Hermione or Andromeda, read those stories before this one.
Rating notes: This story contains a lot more sex and violence (both real and imagined) than any of my other stories to date. Draco has a mouth on him, so even if he doesn't say the bad words aloud, he certainly thinks them. And he's a bored, spoiled, randy 18-year-old boy with time on his hands.
Prologue (Behind Glass, IX)
The Dark Lord is dead. The storm of battle is over, and the sun is coming up over the Great Hall. Draco hears the defenders of the castle marching back and forth, their booted feet crunching on broken glass. Longbottom, clumsy as ever, clatters through and drops the Sword of Gryffindor on the table with a resounding thunk, and then tucks into a vulgarly noisy breakfast. Granger and Weasley thump him on the shoulder in congratulation, Weasley saying, "Hey Nev, you got the snake! Great bloody beast it was, too!" Potter and Lovegood talk nonsense about Blibbering Humdingers, while Headmistress McGonagall supervises the collection of the corpses. He hears her dour Scottish voice calling the roll of the dead.
He's still clinging to the wreckage, clasping the rescuing hand. It isn't Potter's hand but his mother's. Someone's mouth is moving against the back of his neck murmuring an incoherent litany; tears, not his, are running down the side of his face. He has never seen his father cry, and he doesn't see it now, but it's his father's voice against his neck, choked with tears.
Then the rest of his life begins, and there is no glass standing between him and the naked elements.
It's approaching noon, and Draco is still sitting in the Great Hall with his parents. They've no idea where to go. He's still awake, though feeling woozy from the stink of his own singed hair, burned clothes and rank sweat. His mother has fallen asleep, her head in his lap and her legs tucked up on the long bench, but she hasn't let go of his hand. His father still has his arms around him, but Draco can tell from the rhythm of his breathing that he too is falling asleep.
The victors have shouted and proclaimed, but none of the news has anything to do with him.
An hour after the battle, Kingsley Shacklebolt was appointed Acting Minister for Magic. (Within the week, the Wizengamot will confirm him as Minister.)
Bellatrix Lestrange, his Aunt Bella, is dead. It took four of them to bring her down: Granger, Lovegood, and the girl Weasley to duel her into a corner, and Molly Weasley, Ron's fat mum, to deliver the killing blow.
His renegade cousin, Nymphadora Tonks, the one who married the werewolf, is dead. So is the werewolf himself, as well as Nymphadora's Muggle-born father.
Severus Snape is dead, too, and Potter announces to the Great Hall in general—as if it were Potter, and not Shacklebolt, who's Minister for Magic—that Snape was Dumbledore's man, and had been all along.
If he weren't so hollow with exhaustion, he'd weep at the news of that last betrayal.
The victors have finished the task of bringing out the dead. McGonagall paces the other end of the Great Hall where the bodies have been laid out in rows. The late morning light reveals without mercy that, witch or not, this is a woman in her seventies who has been working all night. The lines in her face are more prominent than Draco has ever seen them, and it doesn't take much to see the skull beneath the skin. She stops before each row of mortal remains and bows her head, in the teacher's farewell to her students or the officer's salute to her fallen troops.
He's not sure where the other bodies are. His aunt Bella would be among them, and the other Death Eaters, who once were family friends and his father's courtiers, and then were minions of the snake-faced Dark Lord, and now … He heard someone say that Fenrir Greyback is dead. Someone else—one of the Weasley boys, an older one he doesn't know—spits, "Good riddance." Much as he hates the Weasleys, he hated Greyback more.
He can't fall asleep, tempting though it is. Someone has to keep watch while his parents sleep. He's burning with thirst now, and his head hurts. There are pitchers and tumblers and goblets on the table, the remains of the victory celebration that began at mid-morning with Madam Rosmerta distributing butterbeer and firewhiskey from the stores of the Three Broomsticks. Those festivities have since moved outside to the grounds. He looks longingly at those vessels—just water would suffice now—but they're out of reach and he doesn't want to wake his sleeping parents.
There's no one left in here but the disregarded and the dead.
Minerva McGonagall meets his eyes from across the Great Hall. He's not sure whether to think of her as the Headmistress or the General—the victorious, enemy General, or maybe the Colonel of the garrison—and so he composes his face, trying to look inoffensive and neutral. He realizes that he has no idea what inoffensive looks like. He's never cared before about not offending.
She walks toward him, face set in stern lines, takes one of the tumblers from the table and hands it to him. Water. Nothing has ever tasted so delicious before. She tells him that someone will be arriving shortly to take care of him and his parents.
Lucius and Narcissa Malfoy are under arrest by one o'clock, to be interned under the state of emergency. Draco is freed and instructed to remain at Hogwarts.
It's the Saturday of the second week in May.
In the Slytherin common room, the keynote is boredom. Millicent Bulstrode and Greg Goyle are playing endless games of Exploding Snap. Pansy Parkinson starts at each explosion and glares over her shoulder at them. She and Blaise Zabini are playing chess with serious attention.
Blaise remarks that she's a much better player than he'd ever suspected, certainly better than Draco, and he wishes he'd known that years ago; he wouldn't have wasted so much time playing with a loser.
Then he pushes it beyond the acceptable, saying that if certain people hadn't sucked Slytherin House into their political games, there might have been a decent chess scene at Hogwarts, what with Ron Weasley being one of the better players of their generation. (In spite of himself, Draco is impressed; Blaise is low-key but he has good intelligence about everybody.)
And even that wouldn't have been so bad, Blaise adds, if some people, for all their Death Eater posturing, hadn't turned out to be nothing but talk. If they, or their parents, hadn't been keen on the Dark Lord, they should have said so at the outset, when it might have done some good.
Draco would challenge him to a duel then and there, except… the damned wand isn't working. He has his wand back, but it's dead useless.
(In a truly theatrical scene of chivalric condescension, Potter returned it to him, just minutes after the Aurors took his parents away. He really hadn't been in the mood for all of that graciousness-to-the-defeated-adversary, and it didn't help that a photographer from the Daily Prophet materialized out of nowhere to document the occasion.)
The wand he got at age eleven doesn't work any more. It's like having a limb go dead on him. His wand doesn't work, not reliably, and not Pansy's either, that he borrowed on the sly.
It scarcely matters. Except for Blaise's pin-sticking, they're studiously ignoring him, and have been ever since the battle. Greg Goyle shambles about looking sad; he's missing Vince Crabbe, his almost-brother, in spite of the great lump almost killing them. Once in a while, when the others aren't looking, Greg glances at him apologetically.
That's almost worse than being ignored.
Pansy jiggles her black-stockinged foot restlessly, dangling her shoe from her toe; she taps her nails on the table, making her jet bracelet rattle faintly. Blaise rubs his forehead and pinches the bridge of his nose. Millicent and Greg flop on the floor with their cards, then sit up, then lean backward against the chairs, as if no posture is comfortable. Clearly, they're all reaching the end of the possibilities for staving off boredom, and they're feeling physically restless.
Their manner to each other is that of bored siblings trying to make the best of it; their manner to Draco is cold-shoulder. He's shut out. The other seventh-year Slytherins are gone: either they're battle casualties or in hiding or their parents have spirited them away. Rumor has it that Theodore Nott is somewhere in Central Europe with his mother, but that's the only specific news he's heard.
They whisper among themselves, not even bothering to shut him out with magic. He's beneath contempt, and invisible.
Worse, he's fairly sure the four of them didn't even fight on the same side—Pansy and Greg declared for Voldemort, of course, Pansy quite publicly—but he's suspicious of Blaise and Millicent, who definitely didn't turn up in the Great Hall in the company of the Death Eaters. Certainly Slughorn, their Head of House, went over to the other side quite spectactularly, and the other day, Draco had overheard him saying something to Millicent in commendation of her assistance at the Hog's Head pub. Blaise attended the Order of Merlin award ceremony with his mother; if the famous Madam Zabini had an invite to that New Ministry do…
So Pansy is willing to play chess with Blaise Zabini the fucking traitor, but she won't speak to him. If it were any other Slytherin girl cold-shouldering him, it wouldn't hurt so much, but this is Pansy, whom he's known forever. It was she who first introduced him to sex, or rather to the sexes, when they were both four. He still remembers how she enticed him behind a hedge in the formal gardens to show him hers in exchange for a glance at his. (And she cheated, too—it was a grab as well as a glance.)
Pansy always tickled his sense of sex—and fun—because she was a good Pureblood girl who nevertheless knew all sorts of naughty things. There was her jet bracelet, looped with the blond hair of a dead Muggle—the exact shade of his—very Death Eater chic, he thought, although she confessed it was actually of Muggle manufacture.
And then at the beginning of fourth year, she'd come back to school with her hair bobbed, in imitation of Theda Bara, the Vamp.
"A vampire?" he'd asked in alarm, freshly impressed with her daring.
She explained to him that the Vamp was a film star, not a real vampire but just a Muggle. "No more a vampire than I am," she said, "But what style." And then without warning, she nuzzled his neck and left a sharp-toothed kiss there, and laughed when he squirmed away in indignation.
It was weeks before the mark faded.
She shared his taste in mischief at school too, from mimicking the despised Potter clique to bullying first-years to sneaking sugar quills in class. They'd always had fun together, and it wasn't as if he were always reluctant when she wanted to play more sophisticated games. Fifth year, they'd had quite a bit of fun on the couch in the common room, and when they established themselves there, everyone else knew to clear out and leave them a bit of privacy. All he'd had to do was cast a languishing look in her direction; she'd pull a face, roll her eyes, but join him on the couch nonetheless.
He really regrets the number of times he turned her down in sixth year.
He's made it alive through everything, and now that the crisis is over (at least for the time) he's thinking about sex. A lot. Not surprising, given that he hasn't had much energy for the subject in the last two years, and he's not quite eighteen. With a pang of bitter envy, he still remembers how in sixth year, Potter and Weasley and Granger and Brown and the Weaselette were happily—or not so happily—caught up in their love dramas. He spent that year in fear for his life, while they fussed about who was snogging whom. No doubt they're all basking in their glory now and getting set to play happy families, to judge from the front-page picture in the Prophet: Weasley and Granger joined at the hip, Potter and the Weaselette likewise, Longbottom and that Lovegood freak shoulder to shoulder at the periphery. He shudders to think what the offspring of the duffer and the freak would look like. For the sake of the wizarding gene pool, he hopes they're just good friends.
Pansy is bored—very bored. With a theatrical yawn, she checkmates Blaise, then suggests an outing to Hogsmeade. Over their objections or intertia, she organizes them all, and the four of them set off together (Pansy, Blaise, Millicent and Greg), more or less amicably in spite of any lurking political differences. After all, they've been housemates since they were eleven years old, the world's more or less in truce now, and they're strenuously avoiding any discussion of what happened. The thing they have in common is that they all despise Draco, because he—and more importantly, his father—failed to come through for any side.
Greg Goyle might be the exception, but he's depressed and bored so he goes along with them. Just as he steps through the gate into the dungeon hallway, he casts a pitying look back at Draco, who glares at him. You fucking traitor, sell me out for a jaunt to Honeydukes, will you? But of course he doesn't say it. There's no point.
Once they've left, he paces the common room. He's trying to decide if it infuriates him more to be pitied or despised, and decides on balance that he'd rather be despised. Pity makes his skin crawl. Like that damned ghost that haunts the girls' loo… who showed up in the prefects' bath the other night, commiserated with him about his difficult life, and then presumed to give him a fucking hug. It took hours for his teeth to stop chattering.
And he rather suspects she's been perving on him, but he won't think about that. Not least because somebody told him that she's the ghost of a fucking Mudblood.
He's come to the gloomy end of the common room, which is graced by a Quidditch team portrait from the 1910s, back in the days when witches played on the Slytherin House team. Someone commissioned this more-than-life-scale painting in honor of their seven-year winning streak, in the course of which no other House team ever scored a goal on them.
There are the two Emilys—the Chaser, Emily Rosier, who went on to play for the Harpies, and the Beater, Emily Chattox—
Who sees him, and turns her back rather pointedly to talk to Miss Rosier.
After more than three years, she still isn't speaking to him.
Really, except for his mother, all of the women in his life are most unsatisfactory. At least Emily doesn't pity him; that would be unbearable. But things once had been much better…
In this very place, when he was eleven, he'd been astonished to meet a pair of sparkling dark eyes, and to hear a contralto voice with a Northern accent say, "Look, it's a little Malfoy. What's your name, little Malfoy?" If he'd been even a bit younger, he would have had the urge to hide behind his mother, but in any event she wasn't there.
"I'm Draco," he'd said, trying not to look down—because after all, he was Lucius Malfoy's son. She laughed, and winked at him.
"You're the handsomest one yet." She cocked her head and looked at him appraisingly. "A Quidditch player, I'd warrant."
This was familiar territory; he began to lose his shyness. "I'm only a first-year. But yes. Second year, Father says I will play on the House team. Seeker. He's going to get me my own racing broom."
"Aye, we'll get along then," she said, "as long as you behave yourself."
Behaving himself turned out to mean giving her a recap of every Quidditch game that their House team played, listening to her occasional complaints about the priggish Head Boy in the 1940s who had moved her team's portrait to its current obscurity (apparently in disapproval of witches playing Quidditch), and laughing at what he now recognizes as fairly outrageous flirtation. Among other things, she wished aloud that she could get out of her portrait so she could have a proper go at knocking him off his broom.
No, not just flirtation. The knocking-him-off-his-broom sally gave him a naughty shiver, but that was the least of it. With time, it came to serious double entendre, some of which he still blushes to recall. She really did fancy him, in an odd hoydenish way—odd, because he was a living boy and she was a girl in an enchanted painting. Except she got impatient with him for the M-word, which she said nice Pureblood wizard boys should not use.
When he came back from summer hols at the beginning of fourth year, he told her the funny story about how the Death Eaters showed up at the Quidditch World Cup to do a spot of Muggle-baiting. She flushed red and then went dead pale and refused to speak to him again, ever. In particular, he suspects, because he'd somehow let slip a hint that his father was one of those masked figures, and that he looked forward to joining their ranks in his time.
He asked his father about her: Emily Chattox, class of 1911, Beater on the long-undefeated Slytherin team of the 1900s and 1910s. To his surprise, Father went icy the way he does when talking about lack of respect for the old wizarding blood, and told him that she had done something unbecoming a Pureblood witch and then got mixed up in Muggle ruckus, and Draco was never to speak her name in his hearing again.
Unspoken, back there in the mists of time, was an insult to the Family, but Draco didn't dare ask for the details.
He stands in front of the portrait, eyeing her up while she chats with her teammate. She's quite as fanciable as ever: a Slytherin, and a Quidditch player (a Beater!), and a Pureblood, with aquiline good looks and a naughty sense of fun. (Full points.) And a gorgeous abundance of dark hair, rather like Pansy's but feet of it, cascading down her back over her green robes. He'd even showed her portrait to Pansy in an attempt to convince her to grow out her sleek bob, wanting to know how the heaviness of that much hair would feel in his hands. Pansy had refused, of course, and laughed at him.
Under the archaic but somehow naughty clothes—he understands that Emily's look is hybrid Muggle-and-wizard, so she's wearing the slim ankle-length skirts of 1911 under her Quidditch robes—he notes the lines of a rather nice figure, abundant of bust and dainty of ankle (rather like Pansy, again).
He wishes everything didn't come back to Pansy. No, he's not going to think about it. He contemplates persuading Pansy to fool around with him when they get back, and decides he'd rather not suffer the indignity of being turned down. Likely she fancies that slippery bastard Zabini, who's forever smirking at him as if daring him to live up to his Death Eater pretensions. Yes, Zabini has been smirking like that for a long time, hasn't he? And it's damned annoying.
He decides he'll have a hot bath and a good wank to clear the mind, and then set off for the library. He's quite thoroughly sick of the common room, and at this point doesn't care if he never sees it again.
In the worst of times, one makes the effort to look unfazed. Draco remembers the hellish summer after his fifth Hogwarts year, after his father was taken to Azkaban. All that summer, his mother was already awake when he got up in the morning. She sat at breakfast with her face beautifully composed, her long shining hair flowing over the shoulders of her best robes, and poured out coffee while talking about how the weather was affecting the rose garden and what he should be doing to prepare for the coming school year. Even then, he recognized grace under pressure.
He combs out his hair in front of the mirror and reaches behind to fasten it with an onyx and silver clasp that his father gave him when he turned fifteen. Now that his hair has grown out, he's gratified at how far his reflection reminds him of his father; it serves him as keepsake and reassurance. Even though he's still wearing school robes, he doesn't look like a schoolboy anymore. He draws himself up to his full height and straightens the prefect's badge on his robes. He folds up and puts away the letter that bears the seal of the censor at Azkaban Fortress, and turns from the mirror to the door. Time to make his best effort at doing his appointed rounds as before, in the curious limbo that is Hogwarts in the wake of battle, pretending to be a school. To the library, even though it is Saturday and all of his friends—or ex-friends—have gone to Hogsmeade.
On his way there, he unexpectedly meets Granger in the hallway by the Headmistress' Office. He stares at her, a little surprised to meet this old enemy—and then, most satisfyingly, she glowers at him. It's oddly pleasant to be hated outright, at least by her. All's right with the world if the Mudblood hates him. But then he notices her hand closing on her wand, and feels a little shiver of fear. If she had at him now, he'd be defenseless.
He decides that discretion is the better part of valor, turns his back, and walks away as quickly as his dignity as Pureblood and prefect will allow.
Author's notes: Emily Chattox is a character from A. J. Hall's Lust over Pendle, and in that novel she appears in a Slytherin House Quidditch team portrait of the same vintage, a photograph rather than a painting. Those who know that story can giggle in anticipation of what Draco is going to learn about her in Chapter 13.