The Chill Of Retribution
Merlin, the dungeons were cold at night.
The cold was only exacerbated by the nearly constant damp and drafts that swirled and crept down in the lower levels of the castle.
Draco Malfoy personally thought that the only good thing about the dungeons was the silence.
Malfoy Manor was vast and on a day to day basis there were no more than three people there, himself, his Mother and his Father. Even during one of his Mother's frequent dinner parties or less frequent balls, there was still not enough people to fill more than a handful of the downstairs rooms.
Which basically meant that he had lived mostly surrounded by a silent home for the majority of his life.
School was completely different. He had to share his bedroom and the common room, both of which were always occupied by at least one of his house members. There was always noise of some description.
The only other places he might escape from the noise to, were normally occupied also, the Great Hall, the Owlery, the Astronomy tower. Even outside was normally too busy, too many other people looking for a moment of peace of to enjoy the sunlight, seemingly as loudly as possible.
He could have found an unused and empty classroom but a Malfoy never sits in a dirty room alone, or so Father has always said.
Draco missed the peace of silence, so he walked the dungeons at night after his house had gone to sleep. No one else ever wandered these halls, Snape didn't bother with them, the Slytherin's normally knew better than to antagonise him by wandering and the older years kept the younger in line. Even Potter, who was well known for his night time ramblings didn't enter here.
He also missed the days where he would be escorted everywhere by Crabbe and Goyle but that was never going to happen again.
His standing with The Dark Lord was poor to say the least. His Father had failed too many times and as such had been left to rot in Azkaban prison while Draco took his Father's punishment.
Once his punishment had ended he had been left in a position lower than dirt and assigned an impossible task, break Death Eaters into Hogwarts and then kill Albus Dumbledore.
That wouldn't have been so bad, he was sure he could have done it, all apart from the actual killing thing. He knew for a fact that he would never kill another living being, The Dark Lord had seen to that when he had forced Draco to kill a muggle child over the summer. Her face haunted his dreams.
So, he had spent long hours planning attacks on Dumbledore that would be foiled easily but without making it obvious that he was purposely failing, hoping that if he at least looked like he was trying The Dark Lord wouldn't kill his Mother and Father.
He had managed to break the Death Eaters into Hogwarts but Dumbledore had been there and the battle had ended before it had really begun.
It had worked, thankfully. He was, naturally, punished long and hard for each of his failures, a failure made worse by the fact that it followed after his Father's, but surprisingly he hadn't been killed, possibly since he had managed to break them in. The Dark Lord seemed to find something about his attempts at Dumbledore's death amusing.
Sick and twisted bastard. At least The Dark Lord had left him alone once he grew bored and realised the futility of trying to take Hogwarts.
The only thing that was keeping his so called friends from completely turning on him was fear. He was the Slytherin prince for a reason and it wasn't his cooking skills. Blaise had suffered for the folly of such ignorance, thinking that without his Father's protect he was helpless. Draco had easily and publicly corrected his erroneous thinking. He still had a few boils left.
Draco paused in his wandering and leant back against a wall, in the privacy and silence of the night he could allow his shoulders to droop for a moment, allow the weight of pressure that rested constantly on him to make his knees buckle, he could allow the tears of fear and frustration that threatened him through the day to gleam in his eyes, if not to fall.
He ran a hand over his face and wished for the thousandth time that week that Potter would be ready to kill the insane megalomaniac soon.
He hadn't swapped side in the war, suddenly seen the error of his ways and turned to the light or anything like that. If nothing else it would be signing his Mother's and his own death warrant, plus he still believed many of The Dark Lord's ideals, he just didn't agree with his methods.
So he was stuck in the middle of a war.
His sigh echoed across the walls and his eyes fell closed for a moment.
A noise was tickling at the edge of his hearing, down the left hand side of the corridor he was walking. With a frown he pushed himself from the wall and quickly checked his robes for any creases or damp spots.
He strode down the corridor with every possible ounce of Malfoy arrogance on his face and paused outside a nondescript door.
He could here movement inside and flashes of light were visible from the gap between the door and the door frame.
With a smirk at the fight he was about to give the rule breakers on the other side of the door, he slammed the door open as hard as possible and listened to the crash against the wall.
His smirk was instantly wiped from his face though when he caught sight of the inside of the room.
Every single seventh year Slytherin was there, he assumed a silencing spell was placed around his bed so they could creep out, and a handful of younger years, all of them had their wands in hand and pointed at a bound and kneeling figure in the middle of the room.
His Malfoy mask, which he had started learning as soon as he was old enough to understand, slipped onto his face with more effort than usual, but he wasn't usually in so much shock.
Harry Potter was kneeling in the middle of the room, bound and blinded by a spell Draco knew well from his own punishment at The Dark Lord's hands.
Draco's breath snagged in his throat as he took in the sight The-Boy-Who-Lived made, it was as sickening as it was terrifying.
His face was almost unrecognisable, flesh bruised, split and swollen, nose broken – smashed more like- and his eyes were blood shot and stared sightlessly through the thin cracks they could open.
His arms looked to be broken in several places as did his legs, one side of his chest looked caved in, someone had taken care to completely work over one of Harry's hands and he was knelt in a puddle of his own blood.
The sight was horrifying on it's own but there wasn't a word strong enough to describe how Draco felt as he acknowledged the bone chilling laughter that was falling from the broken lips or the useless eyes that were still managing to follow his progress through the room.
Either Potter's other senses were better than most people realised, even with his Quidditch skills, and he was able to follow Draco's movements just by sound or he had finally cracked and the idea that he could tell where Draco was, was simply a side effect of his new found insanity.
He would have put money on the latter, this was Potter after all.
His appalled brain finally flicked back to his house members and made a connection with how much damage they could do, should they decide to turn on him now.
"What in the name of Merlin do you bunch of idiotic, buffoons think you are doing?" he starts his rant as he realises he needs to get rid of them quickly, Potter doesn't look like he will survive for much longer and that bubbling cackle that's still emerging from the broken body feels like pokers being driven through him. Every third or so word is followed by a curse, most of them fall from his mouth as Crucios but he can't bring himself to care. "The Dark Lord is going to be less than amused when he hears of this! For your sakes I hope he survives, your lives will depend on it! You fucking MORONS! Get out! NOW! You! Find Snape!"
He shouts the last at a younger student who looks ready to feint but who manages to scarper from the room quicker than he would have expected.
Draco manages to cross the room even faster than the boy he sent to get Snape.
He cancelled the spell holding Potter up right but forgot in his fright to catch him before he hits the ground.
A second spell removed the one keeping Potter blind and he looks down on his old rival.
Green eyes, normally so bright, filled with an inner light of their own (not that he would ever admit to noticing such a thing) are now filled and clouded with pain but they still dance with a morbid kind of amusement as a sickly grin washes over the dark haired boy's face.
Draco's knows for a fact that he looks calm and reasonably collected as he stands there waiting for Snape, all apart from his hands that is, they won't stop wringing his wand. His mind is in turmoil though, not only is he panicking Potter will die and he will be blamed as much if not more than the other Slytherin's but also that Potter will die and not kill The Dark Lord.
"Sorry... Malfoy... Too late." Potter coughed and Draco watched blood fly from his mouth, "Not... the youn... younger... kids... fault..."
He can feel hysteria starting to crowd in on him as Snape enters.
Potter is dying and all he can think about is saving the younger kids. Saint Potter.
Snape is undressed in a way Malfoy had never thought to see, his Godfather was always so proper about his attire, no matter what the time or reason normally.
A flicker of curiosity goes through him as he takes Snape's appearance and the horror written across his face into consideration and puts them together.
Snape seems awfully worried about someone he professes to loath and barely tolerate in his class.
Draco knows as well as The Dark Lord does that there is a spy in their ranks somewhere but no one can find him. But then no one (except his crazy Aunt Bellatrix) ever even considered that Snape, The Dark Lord's most trusted could be the spy.
He wonders how Snape (if it is him) managed to convince The Dark Lord he was so loyal.
His eyes snap back to Potter as Snape takes a hurried step forward pulling vials from his pockets as he does.
Draco can feel the hysteria building still, who would save him now if Potter died. He didn't get on well or even at all with his dark haired Gryffindor counter-part but if he knew anything about Potter, it was; what he had overheard Granger call a 'saving people thing', his complete abandonment of all the laws of the universe when they got in his way and his unparalleled courage.
Which all added up to the fact that no matter how much Potter hated him, he would always come running to the rescue, even for him, if it was needed. He couldn't say that about anyone else in his life now.
His Father would have tried and possibly succeeded but was now unreachable, his Mother wouldn't be any where near strong enough to fight to free him, politics had always been her strong point but that too would be useless and as for his 'friends'... they would most likely be stood next to The Dark Lord waiting for their turn to curse him.
The only other person he thought might care was his Godfather, Severus Snape, but he was a Death Eater, he wouldn't save Draco from The Dark Lord, even if Draco was now wondering just how loyal the man really was.
He blinks as he feels a tear roll down his cheek and comes to the conclusion that the boy laying in a pool of his own blood before him - the boy he had hated and tormented for the last seven years, was probably the only person in the whole world who was in any kind of position to help him and despite all there past, he had no doubt he would.
"Don'... be... sad..." Draco gasps, Potter's voice is still the rich tone he's accustomed to but now it carries a broken edge, like the body it emanated from is balanced on the very edge of life and is quickly tipping away from it towards death. Potter tries to lift a broken hand but doesn't manage to move it far and his eyes sweep across to Snape. "Bye... Sev..."
Draco feels his eyes widen at the name that slipped free, he was sure it was supposed to be his Godfather's full name but is cut short and slurred.
He's sure now that he won't get better proof of Snape's betrayal, Snape is the spy. Not that such knowledge changes his feelings to the older man, or perhaps it does. Perhaps he could speak more openly with the man now, he wouldn't have the worry that he would run to The Dark Lord with anything Draco said.
His skin blanches at the exhale of that name, the chest has stopped the rasping noises and movements.
"Unconscious, not dead." Snape drawls before he can start screaming about Potter being dead, with a raised eyebrow that almost screams 'Do you really think so little of my skill?' but Draco can easily see the fear that still resides under it. "Return to your common room, I'll speak with you later. Oh, Mr Malfoy... Fifty points to Slytherin."
Draco collapsed slightly as Snape walked out with The-Boy-Who-Lived in his arms, carrying him like a muggle. He can't seem to muster up the disgust he thinks he should feel at the term but shrugs the small concern off. He had known for a while that he didn't have what it takes to be a true Death Eater.
He didn't have the bitterness, or disdain or contempt. His Father had told him all his life that he was expected to feel such things for muggles, they didn't have magic, they were worthless and useless.
On some levels Draco agreed, their lack of magic was contemptible but the methods they had developed to circumvent that lack of magic was astounding.
Plus he knew his history. Wizards had held power over the Earth for many centuries, no animal, creature or muggle had been able to threaten them. They were more advanced and therefore more intelligent.
But the wizarding world had been in a rut for the last century, there had been no advancements, no new inventions, not even any new ways of thinking. The almost consecutive wars with Grindelwald and Voldemort had brought their world to a standstill, all for the cause, of course.
The muggles on the other hand had made huge leaps and bounds in the last century. With their technology and weapons, they were now the most powerful race on Earth. They may not have magic but they had things that could destroy whole cities, whole countries! Magic, no matter how great and powerful could cause that kind of damage.
The Dark Lord's views on muggles made no sense to Draco. He could understand not liking them, he wouldn't want to touch such filthy plebeian beings himself, but to underestimate a possible enemy is folly, especially when you have basically declared war on them and any of their off spring who happen to be magical.
Even without his all consuming revulsion to killing, that kind of logic would have been enough to high-light The Dark Lord's insanity and point out he wasn't the best person to follow.
Plus, he didn't see Dumbledore or Potter sat alone at the head table while everyone else had to crawl to them nor did he see Potter handing out Unforgivables.
Not that he had any desire to follow Dumbledore, he was just as bad as The Dark Lord in his own way; everything for the greater good, even the sacrifice of his people's lives. According to the rumours that were always circulating the school, even Potter's childhood had been sacrificed.
He just wished someone had thought to point all of this about The Dark Lord out to his Father before he took the Mark of a raving lunatic because it all came down to his Father.
He, Draco, had never had any choice, not one that counted at any rate. He could have ran away or joined the side of Light but that would have meant he would lose the only two people in the world he truly cared for, his Mother and Father. They would either decide to never speak to him again or they would be killed. Most likely killed, he doubted they would really have disinherited him or even just stopped speaking to him but nor could he see them changing sides...
He shakes the thoughts clear and starts to cast a cleaning spell on his robes before stopping and using it only to clear his face of any lingering signs of weeping. He hates being dirty but the blood that has been soaked up by the hem of his long cloak makes a startling image, even on top of the black.
He thinks it will make a grand impression as he lays into his house members for their foolish actions.
AN: I'm so chuffed by my reviews I had to post right away! *Grins*
So? What do you think? Is my Draco okay? I normally write from Harry's perspective so this has been a real challenge for me. Does he need more attitude? Arrogance? Sarcasm? Anything?
P.S. I'm kind of stuck on the sequel. I know where it's going and what's going to happen in general but I could use some ideas about what someone who was out to get Harry might do to bring him down. It could be political manoeuvring, attacks on him or people he cares for, trying to take his money or inheritance somehow... anything you can think of or might like to see.
Any help would be appreciated. I've read far too many similar fics recently and I can't think of anything original :'(