Author's Note: Please excuse the rather lame title, I had trouble thinking of one and this was the best I could come up with. I hope you like the fic, this is the longest oneshot I've written so far, so hopefully I don't lose your interest throughout the story. Thanks for reading, and I'd really appreciate a review as well, they help me a lot with what I'm doing well and what I need to work on.
Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter or any of the characters, places, etc. in it.
I put another large, red X on my calendar. The last one. The X covering August 31. The X's counting down until the days I began at Hogwarts.
I look at my bed, but despite the darkness outside my window, it doesn't appeal to me the way it normally does. Instead I am drawn to my Hogwarts books, almost as if by one of the spells I would soon learn to use.
It's not until my father walks into my room that I put down A History of Magic. I glance surreptitiously at my clock. It's only 9:30. Surely he wouldn't require me to go to bed so early. Not when he probably knows how anxious I am. He must have been too when he was eleven.
I try to picture it. Draco Malfoy, my father, boarding the Hogwarts Express. Somehow the picture doesn't seem right. Mother's told me that he looked like I did when he was my age, so I picture myself instead. Still, I can't seem to put his name to my image.
"Hey, Scorp," he says, using nickname for me as he sits at the foot of my bed.
"Hi," I answer, but saying it almost like a question. I don't mean "Hi." I mean What are you doing? Why do you look so worried when it's I who's leaving tomorrow? Are you worried for me? Why? You went to Hogwarts as well, and you're fine, aren't you? All those questions are contained within that single word, and I think that my father seems to understand. I cannot be sure, though. I've never really been able to tell what he's thinking. My mother is different, but my father and grandfather's faces don't usually portray their emotions. Father's mask is slipping now though, for his eyes tell me that he's currently feeling more than he's letting on.
"Are you excited about Hogwarts?" he asks me. Perhaps it's the reason he came, to see if I was nervous.
"Can't wait!" I tell him honestly. Sure I'm a bit nervous, a bit concerned, but this will be the first time I'll ever have been surrounded by so much magic, so many people. Not just people, but people my own age. People I can become friends with. My interaction with other people has always seemed so limited. I know a few, but they're always the children of my parents' friends, not ones I make by choice. I've never been allowed to go to the Ministry before. I haven't gone to platform 9 ¾ either, it's another thing about tomorrow that I'm looking forward to. Even the transportation to Hogwarts provides excitement and opportunity.
"I'm glad to hear it," he says.
I nod, unsure of how to respond.
"Scorpius…I want to tell you about something."
He keeps his eyes averted as he speaks, which is rather unusual for him. I know this must be the reason why he came.
"Sure," I say, again as more of a question.
"I want to tell you about what happened to me when I was at Hogwarts."
I don't like the way my father says this, as if he's speaking about a particular incident instead of his overall experience at the school. He hasn't told me very much about what Hogwarts was like when he went there. He's mentioned the moving staircases, told me about the library, and described the Great Hall, but I've never heard about anything that's unique to my father's time at Hogwarts. I could have heard about the castle itself from anywhere.
My father continues, still looking at the floor. I hardly ever see him this unnerved. When Grandfather comes to visit, perhaps, and once when a ministry official stopped by. Other than that, my father does not act nervous.
"Some people may be rather prejudiced against you while you're at Hogwarts. I think you have a right to know why."
"Because of what happened to you?" I ask.
He nods. "Yes. Because of me." He stops for a moment, as if trying to decide where to begin. "There's so much I haven't told you, so much you don't know. I suppose I'll have to summarize as best I can."
"Years before I went to Hogwarts, there was an evil, incredibly powerful wizard. Voldemort. He murdered for revenge, for fun, for gain." I shudder at the thought of this wizard, glad that he no longer exists. At least not that I'm aware of. Is this what my father hasn't told me? No, he said this was years before he went to Hogwarts. I wonder, then, what this has to do with what "happened" to him.
"He had followers called 'Death Eaters.'" My father's next words seem to cost him a little effort. "Among them were my parents."
I can't help but interrupt, although I'm anxious to hear the rest of the story. "My grandparents? They were evil? How can you even talk to someone who was a 'Death Eater?'"
My words must have hurt him because he flinches, still looking away from me. I hate seeing him like this. "They became Death Eaters because they, at the time, believed it was the right thing to do. They changed their minds. That's all I know, they shared no more with me." I wasn't surprised that Grandfather hadn't told him more. It wasn't like him to act without dignity. My grandmother was kinder though, I'd have thought she'd have told him.
"Are you just judging them purely based on that they were Death Eaters, Scorpius?" he asks.
"Well..." I shift uncomfortably, not wanting to insult my Grandparents outright, but still horrified by the thought of them working for a dark wizard. "They were followers of Voldemort, right? That means they were evil, doesn't it? If you're a follower of a dark wizard, than you're evil."
"There is a difference in believing and following," he says. "They did believe, but they no longer do. I believe they regret their service to him."
"Why would they have been followers if they didn't believe in what he was doing? What was he doing anyways?" I ask. I have so many questions already, and each answer brings on a new unknown factor.
"Voldemort wanted wizards to rule the world, essentially. He also didn't believe that muggleborns were true witches and wizards. As for the other part, about following but not believing, you're skipping ahead. We're not there yet."
I don't ask anything this time, I'm too deep in thought. He said we weren't there yet. That meant that it would come.
Father continued his story. "When I was only one, Voldemort attempted to kill a family. There was a prophecy about Voldemort's downfall possibly being caused by the boy in that family, who was the same age as me. Of course, this wasn't common knowledge until years later."
"Voldemort killed the man and woman, but when he tried to kill the baby, the curse rebounded, destroying Voldemort, leaving only a scar on the baby's forehead. Don't ask me how because it should have been impossible. For some reason, though, Harry Potter lived."
"This presented quite a problem to my parents. Followers of Voldemort were constantly being rounded up and taken to Azkaban. My father was able to use his position and influence in the Ministry, as well as quite a bit of bribery as I understand it, to make sure that didn't happen to him and his wife."
"Even though Voldemort was gone during the time between then and when I went to Hogwarts, I was still taught that his ways, the Malfoy ways, were the right ones. I was, for lack of a better word, brainwashed."
I wonder what my father means by saying that Voldemort was gone between then and when he went to Hogwarts, but decide not to interrupt.
"When I got to Hogwarts," he says, "I quickly began to doubt my parents' beliefs. I wasn't sure who was right; them or me. Potter was in my year, and he and I didn't quite get along during our time at school. I think it was mostly because of jealousy on my part. Jealousy of the respect he got and that he had such loyal friends. He had so many people that cared about him, so many admirers. Everyone thought everything he did was right, no matter what."
"More than that, though, Potter was told from the start that Voldemort was evil, and he never questioned it. It was so easy for him to know who was right and who was wrong, and I was jealous of that."
"At the end of my fourth year, Voldemort returned," my father says. I have to keep myself from asking a hundred different questions. I sink back into my pillow and keep my eyes on him. By now he's looked up, although he's still not looking at me. I'm surprised by how openly he displays his emotions in the crease in his forehead, the frown on his lips, the sorrow in his eyes.
"My parents returned to him. I don't know if they wanted to or not, but that was really out of the question. He'd have killed them if they hadn't. During my fifth year, my father was ordered to get the prophecy that I told you about before."
"The one predicting Voldemort's downfall?" I asked.
"Yes. His downfall because of Potter. My father failed in his mission. The prophecy was smashed and many Death Eaters, including him, were captured by the Ministry."
"Grandfather went to Azkaban?" I asked, before I could stop myself.
"Yes," is all he says before returning to his story. He returns uneasily though. I don't know if it's because I interrupted or if this part is harder for him to tell.
"Voldemort wasn't happy with Father," he says. I figure he must be rather caught up in the story to be calling my grandfather "Father," because he usually calls him "Grandfather" when talking to me.
"He wasn't happy with him, therefore he wasn't happy with my mother or me either. Remember how I told you I began to question if Voldemort was right earlier? It didn't matter anymore. My parents made the decision for me to become a Death Eater. I don't know if they did it completely voluntarily or if Voldemort gave them no choice, but it meant the same for me."
I'm careful not to interrupt to say how unfair it was that he had no say in the matter of his own future. I know it does no good to bring that up now, though. It's already happened, everything I'm learning took place years before I was born.
"The headmaster of Hogwarts was named Albus Dumbledore," Father says. I wonder why he changed subjects so fast, but I'm sure it'll tie in later. "He was another powerful wizard, but not an evil one. Voldemort could never defeat him. It was supposedly impossible. That's why it was my job."
I can't stop myself from interrupting. I can barely keep from shouting. "You? Your job? You? No. You?" I know I'm only speaking in one or two word phrases, but I don't care. "You're a murderer?" I ask, looking at him, scared of what he'll say.
"He draws away at the word murderer. "Scorpius, please listen. I'm trying to explain as best I can. You need to wait."
I nod, not sure if I'll be able to be as patient as he wants me to.
"Voldemort gave me the job, saying he'd kill me and my entire family if I couldn't get Death Eaters into the school and kill Dumbledore by the end of that year, my sixth."
"I tried to convince both myself and those who knew of my task that Voldemort chose me because he thought I could do it, but of course I knew it wasn't true. He wanted me to be killed trying, or he'd end up killing me himself."
You're not dead though. I want to say. You're not dead, so the headmaster must be. You killed him or you'd be dead.
My stomach clenches as I realize the man I've always trusted killed someone. I understand why he did it though. If I'd been in his place I wouldn't have let him and Mother die if I could have stopped it. I doubt that Grandfather was as nice to Father as Father is to me though. Grandfather always seems so cold and hard, but Father is just rather antisocial. He prefers to keep to himself usually. Still, they were family, and his choice made sense.
"Near the end of the year, I had my chance." As he speaks, he seems to be reliving the experience over again. "I had Dumbledore wandless, alone, and weak. He tried to talk me into joining his side. I was so tempted, but I didn't know if it would work."
"I didn't have enough time to consider his offer. We were joined by the Death Eaters I'd let in to Hogwarts. I couldn't decide what to do. I had my wand pointed, but my hand was shaking so badly that the curse probably wouldn't have hit Dumbledore anyways."
"Anyways?" I ask. "Are you saying you didn't kill him?"
"I didn't. Snape did."
"Who's Snape?" I ask.
He seems to remember that I wasn't there when all this happened, that I didn't know any of the people he had talked about. "Snape was a teacher at Hogwarts who was also a Death Eater. No one knew who's side he was really on. He killed Dumbledore when I couldn't."
"He was on Voldemort's side then, right?" I ask.
"I…I don't know," is his only answer.
Father stops talking for a moment, and a few times I see his hand curl in fear or in anger. I don't know whether I should let him reminisce or not, but I'm afraid he may reach for his wand while being tortured by his memories. I get the feeling he didn't tell me absolutely everything, but I find that's understandable.
"You and Grandmother and Grandfather are fine though," I say. "Why?"
"I don't know why. He wasn't at all pleased afterwards though. He did…what he thought was necessary. We're just fortunate we weren't killed. Extremely fortunate."
I don't know what he's talking about, what Voldemort thought was necessary, but I don't ask. I'm not sure if it's because I don't want to know or I don't want my father to have to tell me.
"What happened to Voldemort."
"He was killed by Potter. Like the prophecy predicted."
"Does Mother know all this?"
"Why haven't you told me before?" I ask. "Not much earlier, I understand you waiting, but you could have given me more time to get used to the idea."
"There's really nothing to get used to, Scorp," he says. "I just want you to understand why people may say some rather rude things to you about it. You resemble me enough to make it obvious we're related, even without sharing a surname."
"You think they will?"
He seems to hate what he says next, but he knows he has to tell me the truth. "Yes, Scorpius. I definitely think they will."
"It isn't fair though!" I protest. "I didn't do anything wrong. You didn't have a choice to do what you did either."
"People don't see it that way though," he says, almost apologetically. I know that he's right. I'd been revolted to know that my grandparents were Death Eaters, and they were my family. Other people would see me as their grandson, as my father's son, not just as Scorpius.
"People should get to chose their own future, their own reputation." I say. I know I sound childish, but I wish so badly that it could be true.
"I know, Scorp," he sighs. He stands, and as he heads toward the door of my room, he does something he's never done before. He rolls up his sleeves. I can't tell if I'm imagining it, but I think I see a color much darker than his skin on his left forearm. He turns it before I can be sure, but he seems to be looking at it too. He almost whispers as he walks out of the room, still looking at his arm. "We don't always get to chose though. Sometimes our future's chosen for us."