Ever since Draco Malfoy was a young child, he knew that love was conditional. After all, it was the most logical way to love someone. When his father disappointed the Dark Lord, he was punished and had to work hard for forgiveness. In the same way was Draco raised.

"Only idiots love unconditionally, son. Only fools forgive you everything. Am I a fool?"

"No, Father."

"Then you can see that I won't stand for this kind of behavior."

Draco was so scared he would lose his father's love that he was always trying to please him. Never said anything against him. Worked tirelessly to master fencing and dark spell casting and Latin and all the things he was taught. Never fought back. Draco wanted to be exactly like his father. Until one day. Not just any day, but his seventeenth birthday; his day of Marking.



It came to him in a rush. He watched his father grovel before the Dark Lord, begging forgiveness for another failed plan and offering his son as a faithful servant in payment. He felt a familiar feeling of disgust and nausea. Draco Malfoy was embarrassed of his father. After all the things the Dark Lord had done to Lucius, all the pain he caused and all the impossible things he expected, his father still wanted to please him. It went against everything he had been taught but it was true. He could see love and fear, pleading and cowardice, submission and himself all reflected in his father's eyes. It was as though Lucius was Draco and the Dark Lord was Lucius and in that moment, Draco realized that unconditional love went both ways. It wasn't right to simply try and try to gain his father's love. And so, while that Dark Mark was burning its way through his arm, Draco realized that he didn't love his father. After all, his father had done nothing to deserve it.



"See, I got this one done when I was pissed, and I really want it covered up," Draco told the Muggle shop-owner.

"Why? It's pretty cool, mate. A bit rough, I could clean it up for you-"

"That won't be necessary. I want it covered up."

The Muggle sighed. "Alright, you're the boss. Mind if I take a picture?"

Draco started. "Why?"

"I want to add this design to my collection. I've never seen anything like it. Skulls, yeah, snakes, yeah, tribal, yeah, but this is way cool."

Draco thought for a moment how dangerous it might be for unsuspecting Muggles to be walking around with the Dark Mark. How they would be branded with the same symbol that, in the Wizarding world, meant their downfall. He smirked at the irony. "Yeah, go ahead."



Draco strode into the Manor after a relaxing few hours at a Muggle coffee shop. It was down the street from Diagon Alley and had a miniature library of books strewn about shelves and end tables. Wizarding books generally fell into three categories; texts, badly-written romance novels, and feel-good self biographies. Draco was developing quite a taste for Muggle literature.

He walked past his father's study and surprisingly, the door was open.

"Son, come here."

Draco walked into the room. Once he was standing in front of the desk, Lucius said, "Show me your arm." Draco wasn't taken off-guard: his father knew everything. It was only a matter of time. He lifted his sleeve. "Your other arm," Lucius sighed. "Honestly, son, what has gotten into you lately? This insolence-" He cut off as Draco lifted his other sleeve. "What have you done?" Lucius asked quietly.

"I thought it looked nice," Draco said offhandedly. And it was true. The black vines that twined up and down and around his arm were well done. They didn't move, like Wizarding tattoos, but Draco was okay with that. Sooner or later, the Dark Mark would move, and that was more than enough for him.

"This is an affront, Draco. The Dark Lord will not be pleased with this."

Draco merely shrugged.

"He has killed for less, you know."

"I suppose he has."

Lucius wiped his hand across his face. "Son, I must ask. Has someone bewitched you?"

"What? No!"

"No dizzy feelings? Periods of time you cannot recall? Headaches? Nausea? Confusion?"


"Has anyone given you a drink that doesn't taste as it should?"

"Father, I'm not cursed, poisoned, confounded, bewitched, or drugged. You taught me the signs well enough. Well, the tutors did."

"Did you fall and hit your head? Perhaps a concussion…"

Draco found it mildly amusing that Lucius would assume all these things had befallen him rather than his son doing something he didn't approve of. Lucius thought he was a very well-trained dog.

"No, Lucius."

He started. "Since when have I been Lucius? You will address me as Father, and give me all due respect of the title." Draco said nothing. Lucius made a note on a bit of parchment. "I will call upon Freidrich tomorrow. Perhaps he can fix this. He is a healer, after all."


Lucius looked confused. "No?"

"I'm keeping it. I like it."

"You most certainly will not. He will kill you. Torture you first." Draco was a bit touched. It sounded like true concern in his father's voice. "I tried to stamp out this teenage rebellion. Looks as though I was only able to delay it. But I simply will not have this family lose its good standing because of it."

"Good standing?" Draco said incredulously. He had not wanted to have this argument today, but he supposed it was inevitable. "Every time you see the Dark Lord you're on your knees pleading for mercy for your last mistake. That's not good standing, physically or metaphorically."

Lucius eyes widened. His mouth was slightly open. Draco had never spoken like this. It seemed he was at a loss for words. Draco turned to walk out, but the doors slammed closed. He turned back. His father was standing up. Rage was etched into every line in his face. For the first time since the day of his Marking, Draco was scared. He realized it was probably overdue.

"You little shite. I have given you everything. A fine house, fine clothes, fine food, a fine future. You throw it all back in my face." He started walking slowly towards his son.

"I don't want your future. I don't want to be you!"

Ropes burst from Lucius' wand. Perhaps, even after all that had been said, he didn't expect his son to fight back. The ropes were ridiculously easy to block; Draco used a Rebuffer spell and they bounced back upon Lucius. Draco was just as surprised as Lucius was.

His father recovered first. "So this is how it ends?" he asked with a sneer. "Killed by my own son? Maybe it's time."

"What?" said Draco, shocked.

"I suppose I should have seen it coming. I killed my own father, after all."