*Author's note: OK, so this fic is almost five years in the making. I began it very shortly after reading HP: HBP and it is very much AU and probably about as non-canon as you can get. Sirius Black is dead in this fic, but everyone else is still alive. The fic still isn't done, but I am finally confident enough to post the first couple of chapters. If you haven't already guessed I am a ginormous fan of Draco/Ginny, who are the main characters of this little baby of mine. Of course, to complicate matters there is gonna be some D/G/Harry (don't you just adore crazy love triangles?), but that isn't until a bit later. The first part of my fic takes place when "the gang" are all still at Hogwarts. The second part takes place approximately eight years later, but that won't be for awhile. Please read and review, as your encouragement will help me post more chapters. Likewise, if this sucks than I'll stop where I am and go back to the drawing board. Let me know either way. Cheers! *

Of Fire and Ice

Fire and Ice

Some say the world will end in fire,

Some say in ice.

From what I've tasted of desire

I hold with those who favor fire.

But if it had to perish twice,

I think I know enough of hate

To say that for destruction ice

Is also great

And would suffice.

~Robert Frost

To Defy a Dark Lord

Lucius Malfoy gripped his son's chin, digging his nails into the boy's flesh. He jerked Draco's face upward so that silver grey eyes meet cold steel. "You dare defy the Dark Lord?" Lucius's tone was cold, and hard, and just a bit astounded.

Draco, though he was suspended about a foot off the ground and was held upright only by his father's magical bonds, shrugged. Even in his current position the gesture looked elegant.

"Why not?" Draco replied, his tone almost lazy.

Lucius eyes widened a fraction. "You will do as you are told, boy. This is what you were born to become."

Draco shifted, as much as the invisible bonds would allow, and winced slightly. He could feel fresh blood running down his wrists. Though he could do no more than flex, really, any movement brought the lacerations on his body to the front of his mind: his writs and feet, where they were bound with the magical rope; the cut lip; the bloody nose; the whip marks that he was sure covered almost every inch of his back. All of them protested as he moved, though it was only by a centimeter or so. He continued to glare at his father. Lucius was the cause of Draco's pain. Indeed, his hand still held the leather handle of the bull-whip, which had been used only moments before on Draco's back.

His father was talking again, and Draco tried to focus on what his father was saying, rather than the fiery pain in his wrists. "...the Dark Lord gave you to me for this express purpose, boy, and you will fulfill your duty."

"Right," Draco drawled, as sarcastically as he could. "And beating the hell out of me is going to do what, exactly? Make me grateful?"

He could see the rage in his father's eyes, so he was not at all surprised when Lucius backhanded him across the face. Draco's head was snapped, painfully, to the right and the almost-dried cut on his lower lip opened. Fresh blood gushed down his chin and dripped onto the marble floor. Draco resisted the urge to spit on his father's shoes.

"I will break you, Draco." Lucius's voice was velvet acid as he took the handle of the whip and jabbed it under Draco's chin. "The Dark Lord can piece you back together and mold you into what he desires, but until then, you are still my son and you will learn your place."

Suddenly, Lucius was gone and it took Draco a second to realize his father was behind him. Draco locked his jaw and prepared himself for the pain he was sure would follow. As if on cue, Draco felt the hot, stinging tongue of the whip catch him on the small of his back. Then almost immediately it was on his left shoulder blade, then again on his right. His body jerked with each hit, but Draco refused to scream. He bit his already bloody lip, tasting his own blood. After another dozen–or was it two?–strokes Lucius appeared in front of his son.

The older man studied him, eyes sweeping over his son's face. Draco thought for a moment that his father's eyes filled with pride, but the look was gone as soon as it had come. "Well, you can take a beating, boy, I will give you that. Most others would have long since passed out." Lucius's tone was far from complimentary.

His words made Draco wonder who else his father had done this to.

"Do you accept the Dark Lord as your Lord and Master?" Draco rolled his eyes. Every ten minutes or so Lucius would stop torturing his son and ask the same series of questions over and over. Draco thought this akin to some other torture he'd heard about once. He thought it may have been called Chinese water torture.

"Um, no," Draco said, and then coughed. His throat was very dry. Lucius had given him neither food nor water for the past hour. Or had it been longer? Draco couldn't be sure. Being suspended in one's father's study and beaten to within an inch of one's life tended to mess with one's internal clock.

"You will not submit to the Dark Lord's will and take your rightful place at his side?" Lucius asked, for what seemed like the millionth time. Draco was quite surprised he managed to get all the questions out without hitting Draco. His responses should have been enough to instigate a slap here, or a whip lash there. Frankly, he was a bit disappointed in his father.

"No, Father," Draco sighed and shook his head. "I have no desire to become the Dark Lord's puppet."

"Puppet?" Lucius sneered. "The Dark Lord has much more in store for you, boy. For reasons I am not privy to, the Dark Lord thinks you will make an excellent right hand." If Draco didn't know better he would have said Lucius Malfoy sounded jealous.

"You would be regarded over all the Dark Lord's other followers. You would be given privileges, and rewarded beyond your wildest imaginings."

Draco lifted one immaculately shaped eyebrow. "Regarded above even you?" Draco baited his father, his tone holding the famous Malfoy malevolence.

Lucius narrowed his eyes, but Draco could still see the pain in them. "Yes, Draco, regarded above even me," his father's tone was both defeated and angry.

"That must really piss you off," Draco said off-handedly and was met with another sharp blow to his face. This time, Lucius ring caught Draco's cheek and tore an angry slice from his ear to his mouth.

Draco winced. "Are you sure the Dark Lord isn't going to mind my coming to him all broken and bloody? Are you sure you have his permission to do this?"

Lucius paused, mid slap, and regarded his son. "So, you accept your fate?"

"No," Draco began and spit a mouthful of bloody saliva onto the marble below. "I'm just curious."

Lucius growled in anger and grabbed a fistful of his son's baby fine, silver-blond hair. "Believe me, Draco, when I say the Dark Lord will not tolerate your insolence as I have. If you think what I'm doing is bad, just you try your attitude on Him."

Draco said nothing and after a minute Lucius released his hold. "You may not see this now, but I am making you stronger, boy. I am helping you to become an asset to the Dark Lord, who will teach you things that no one else has ever learned. One day," Lucius almost smirked at his son. "You may even become as great as the Dark Lord himself."

Draco licked his lips and tried not to cringe at the pain. "Forgive me for not thanking you in advance, Father." His tone was dead, emotionless.

To Draco's utter surprise, Lucius grinned. It was not a pleasant sight.

"Finite Incantatem," Lucius murmured and, suddenly, Draco was laying face first on the cold marble of his father's study. "Get yourself cleaned up and be ready for dinner in ten minutes." Without a backward glance Lucius left the room.

Draco had to try three times before he could push himself up into a sitting position. Everything ached. He wasn't sure if it was due to a lack of food and water, blood, or all three, but his head felt like it was going to explode. Tiny bursts of black were dancing before him and he blinked, rapidly, to try and clear his vision. Once he was able to see his surroundings more clearly Draco began the monumental task of standing. The first time, his legs wobbled so badly that he dropped back down to his knees. The second time, though, and with a shaky hand on his father's burgundy leather armchair, he stood. Draco saw with immense satisfaction that he left a bloody hand print on the pristine chair as he took first one, then two steps toward the door. Suddenly he stopped. Where was he going? His father had ordered him to get cleaned up and then be ready for dinner.

Well, Draco was pretty sure his father could go fuck himself.

"Right," he said out loud, with a firm nod of his head. The motion made him dizzy. Draco hobbled over to the big, stained glass window that was on the opposite side of his father's study. It seemed to take him ages to cross the thirty feet or so which separated him from the window. With hands that shook, Draco undid the latch on the window and pushed it open.

"Accio broom," Draco barely breathed and extended his hand out behind him without looking. He gripped the windowsill, and readied himself for the slight jolt his whizzing broom would make when it hit his palm. That jolt came a few seconds later and Draco moved, with great difficulty, onto the windowsill. He positioned the broom between his legs, which throbbed with pins and needles, and kicked off from the window.

He had no idea where he was going, but anywhere would be better than here.