In the beginning, as in all beginnings, there was light. Stars glittered like impossible jewels in the rolling, velvet plains of the heavens. The world was alight with a sense of wonder and magic was the breath of life.

But where there is light, there must be dark. And for all the innocence and gumdrop houses, there were things that were rotten, things that looked like spun sugar, until they stuck to your tongue and devoured you from the inside out.

And so too, where there is joy, there must be sorrow. One cannot be intimate with one and hold it close, without fucking the other like a back alley whore.

She comes for you, holding out her emaciated arms and kisses you with a fetid mouth. And you are hers for a little while, because while her grip is tenuous; her arms spindly and broken, she stays with you, a parasite. A lurking devil- until she's sucked the marrow from your soul and glutted herself thoroughly.

When she came for Molly Weasley, it was with a frothing maw and a thousand teeth. She held out her arms for that destroyer's embrace, with the faint hope that it would consume what little she had left.

But she was not so lucky, for still she breathed. Her heart still beat in her chest, though it ached to stop.

Molly wondered if maybe her heart had stopped, if it had been silent the moment that all of the hands on the Weasley Clock had stopped moving, if that lone tic-toc that marked her existence had been only in her head.

Was she a ghost, doomed to wander for some indiscretion? Only that could explain why her feet still moved, while her chest still ached and why she was alone.

They'd all fallen.

Her sons, her daughter. Her beautiful children- were all gone. She sat alone in the dark and remembered. She remembered Percy at age nine, climbing up into her lap and demanding to catalogue her recipe books. She remembered Bill, her little mate. He'd watch over the other children, though still a baby himself. "Don't do this," he'd say, "Mum will cry if you get hurt." Fred and George, from the very first were mischievous. They'd switched her tea bags out with laundry freshener as soon as they could reach. Gin, her little Gin-bug. Such a beautiful woman she'd become, but now would never know the joys of being a mother herself. That's all she wanted in life was to marry Harry Potter and have little dark-headed, green-eyed babies. Ron, who always wanted to be someone, wanted that glory of the ages. He'd jumped off the roof of the Burrow as soon as he could walk because he'd wanted to be the first to fly without a broom.

He had his glory now. It was etched into a wall outside of the Ministry. His name was there in a place of honor. Just beneath Harry's. …the faithful departed who died for our freedom…

And Arthur. Her Arthur. He'd been her first, her only, her forever. And he was nothing but dust. Dust and ash along with all that he'd created with her.

Yes, Voldemort was dead. And this was a new world. One without fear of the dark. But it had been born of flame and a crimson tide of blood spilled across the land.

It wasn't a world that she wanted to live in.

She'd sell the soul of every man, woman, and child to have her family back. It wasn't worth it. The safety of the faceless, the nameless, it was nothing to this broken, grieving mother. The sacrifice was too much.

Molly'd had her bountiful joy in this life. The chubby arms of her children hanging around her neck, their soft, damp kisses on her cheeks, and their dirty little fingers smearing the white perfection of her apron. Baking brownies for birthdays and chocolate chip cookies to ease sorrows, making love with her husband in the middle of day because he still thought she was the most beautiful thing the earth had to offer him.

She'd never hear the little pitter-patter of bare feet echoing through the Burrow again, there would be no more holiday dinners, no extra places set at the table for her expanding family. The snow wouldn't glitter on Christmas morning and she wouldn't get to go into that final darkness after holding Arthur's hand, rocking on the porch at twilight.

All of it was gone, dead.

It hadn't taken long for the things of the mundane world to catch up to her. Property taxes, tithes, and other things that she couldn't have given a shite less about.

Extension after extension had been given her, after all, who would evict the mother and wife of the heroes that had fallen?

But prudence had stepped in and the Burrow had been sold from under her.

But no one was going to profit from her memories.

Flames had shot straight up into the night, burning away the roof where Ron had jumped, burning away the room where Ginny had gotten her first kiss, burned away the kitchen where Molly had spent so much time teaching her children, and burned away that clock, that relic that was last of what marked their time together. She'd wanted to burn with it wanted it to take away her pain, to cleanse in the fire of release.

But they'd come for her then, grabbed her cruelly about her arms and restrained her. Kept her from ending her torment.

Those bastards.

The law was very clear about what she'd done. One month in Azkaban. As if there was any circle of hell worse than where she was now. It gave her hope that she would find release in the Dementors.

But not even they would touch their rotten mouths to hers and taste her despair. They kept their distance, as she had nothing they wanted, nothing that would offer them nourishment. All of those moments that she'd held in her heart, they'd soured and were tainted with her pain.

Upon her release, she found herself with nowhere to go. Her feet took her to Knockturn Alley where she sank against a wall hoping to never get up.

II.

A shadow of a man made his way through the shrouded darkness of the streets. His long, black cloak fluttered out behind him like raven's wings, or perhaps they were the arms of the devil. His jaw was still strong, but his face bore the travails of unnatural age, deep grooves around his eyes and mouth. And those eyes, they burned with the emptiness of the abyss, echoed endlessly down into a pit of arctic fire. But his hair, shining silver like a halo of moonlight was an incongruity.

Draco Malfoy knew what it was to lay with his head cradled against the breast of evil; to bear that scorching embrace, to be marked with the scars of the dark.

And he knew what it was to send others to that eternal, empty frigidity, to be so cold that his fingertips left frost in their wake…

Patricide was the word for love on the lips and hearts of evil.

And as that statue of ice made flesh lay dying, spilling the only warmth he'd possessed all over the snow-covered ground, he'd smiled fondly at his only son. "Redeemer!" he'd cried, with snowflakes falling from his eyes.

The red had been the only surprise. It should have been glacial blue, but it was red and steaming, melting the snow where it pooled.

After he'd sold his soul to The Order, his mother had hung herself from the chandelier in the ballroom. She'd put on her wedding dress, but pinned the train in great balloons of material around her ankles so as it wouldn't drag on the floor as her body swung back and forth. She wore her tiara, her favorite diamond earbobs and the vulgar rock of a wedding ring over those perfect white gloves. Her makeup had been pristine, her still staring eyes lined with kohl, her lips a modest pink. They looked a little pale against the dark obscenity of her lolling tongue.

It was all for nothing though, that pretty image she sought.

The body empties upon death. So there was his beautiful, delicate mother with a rope around her throat, her best pearls twisted around the length; with piss running down her slender legs and a pile of shite in her lacey, white, bride's knickers.

Draco still bore that death's head on his forearm. He wore it like a badge. He dared them to say anything to him, dared them to look at it, to remember. To fear.

He walked with the darkness, it was his mentor, his lover. He would never forget the things that had been done to him after his failure with Dumbledore. He'd never let them forget either. He'd not been the only one to fail.

The light had failed him, leaving him to rot in that hell. Left him to make his own bargain with death. His hands were covered in blood, so much blood. His very breath was paid for with that crimson currency.

He'd been pardoned, of course. He still had money, but he was pariah. An outcast. Mothers steered their children from him, women who'd once flocked to his side crossed the street to avoid walking past him. He could smell their fear, and it was intoxicating. They deserved to pay for what had happened, for their weakness.

He blamed them all.

So let them shiver at the sight of him, let them use his name in the dark to frighten naughty children. Perhaps one day, he would come in that dreaded night for a deadly reckoning. Let them never forget.

He wanted to laugh and chortle his bitter glee. Though Draco knew, once he started, he would never stop. He would laugh until his sides ached, laugh until he cried, laugh until those tears became tears of blood, until his throat cracked and his lips split. Laugh until his tongue forked and his spine ruptured through his back, laugh until all that was left was a grinning skull with rich, dark earth caked in the hollow sockets.

He passed a woman slouched against a wall and she gave him pause. He couldn't explain what it was about her, but there was something familiar. Something that was still innocent, though he couldn't explain what, because she was dirty and broken. Her threadbare rags hung off her scarecrow-like skeleton and her hair was matted around her head. It was obvious from the way her shoulders sagged, from the parasites that crawled over her, that she'd given up.

Her wand was gripped in a thin, white-knuckled grip. She could have changed it all with a flick of her wrist.

She had no hope.

A cloud shifted and the moonlight fell on her, revealing that her hair was red as the blood on his hands, so bright that it could only be Weasley-red. Even through the grime, he could see the brilliance of that color trying to shine through.

But the littlest girl Weasley was dead. Dead as her brothers, dead as her father, dead as his own mother.

Could it be that this bag of rotting skin and bones was Molly Weasley? The woman that always had a smile for him on Platform 9 and ¾, even though he'd been instructed not to look at her. That reassuring gentleness had counted for so much when he'd made his first trip to Hogwarts.

His mother should have coddled him, should have told him everything would be okay. Even if only in the quiet of his room while he packed where no one could hear. Instead, she'd shoved a box of sweets in his arms and promised to see him at Christmas, dabbing at her eyes in just such a way so as not to smudge her makeup.

Molly had given him a secret smile that only a mother can. There was a child's universe in that one expression. He'd hated Ron with a singular burning after that, had vowed to make him suffer as he'd never suffered before.

He debated, for a moment, whispering the words for the killing curse. It would be a kindness for her now. She'd lost everything.

But in the end, he continued on his way.

III.

Molly awoke in the pre-dawn with an aching burn in her gut, it fought her apathy, wouldn't let her give over to the dark sleepy peace. It was like a knife up through her belly. It was hunger.

She'd heard that if you starved long enough, the survival instinct shuts down the rest of your brain, but for that primal urge to survive. There is no morality, no love, no loss, and no sadness. So much so, that you could eat your own. Just more meat for the predators.

Perhaps that would be a blessing, but after her stomach was full, she imagined that the pain would return. If she didn't eat, she couldn't live. It was wrong for her to walk the streets with breath in her body while the rest were dead. A mother shouldn't have to bury her children.

This was her penance for that breath, this suffering. She had to be strong enough.

But that hunger was gnawing at her in a way she'd never experienced. She couldn't ignore it, couldn't fight it.

Molly hated herself then, hated that she was so weak- hated what she had become.

Because in that moment, she was everything that she swore that she would never be. She'd put her hand out. She was begging.

"Oy, I got some lucre fer ya." A deep voice said. Molly looked up to see a gloved hand drop a coin for her, but his other hand came from behind his back in a fist and connected with the side of her head.

Everything went black and then she felt something warm running down her temple. He jerked her like a rag doll, flinging her body over.

The warmth ran in her eyes now, and it stung. But it was nothing compared to the blows that his ham-like fist delivered to her cheek, her back, her kidneys.

Part of her screamed that she should fight, that she could curse him. But part of her knew that she needed the pain, part of her wanted to feel that physical suffering because it was nothing compared to that empty chasm in her heart.

So she didn't cry, didn't scream.

Cruel fingers wrapped her hair, pulling at it so hard that she thought it was going to come out.

"Scream, you dirty whore."

No, that was one thing she wouldn't do. She wouldn't scream. Molly hadn't screamed and wailed when her children died, she wouldn't scream for this bastard. No matter what he did.

Then, she realized with a fresh sense of horror what was happening to her. He was ripping the already torn rags of clothing from her body. Maybe he would kill her when he was done. That was her only solace.

Her wand was jerked from her hand; she hadn't realized that she was still holding it. He grabbed it and snapped it in two, flinging the pieces away.

He had his knee on the back of her neck now, pushing her face into the hard stone of the walkway. It skinned her cheek and her palms as she tried to brace herself against his force.

His hand replaced the knee, and she felt him straddle her hips.

No man but Arthur had ever touched her there.

It didn't matter though, not now. He was dead.

The man entered her dry channel, grunting and snorting like a rooting pig as he did.

Molly should have been crying, screaming, howling her rage and her pain. She should have been fighting and clawing to be free of him, but she was dry-eyed; all she could think of was that peace of death that he would give her if she let him do this one thing.

He finished quickly, his sweat dripping on her face as he worked against her body.

She dreaded and yet hoped for this moment, this end of all things.

But she was left on that grand precipice, alone and alive. He dropped another coin into her hand and left her there, face down on the walk, with her rags still hiked about her hips, and his sticky fluid pooling between her thighs.

IV

Draco fought the urge to return to Knockturn Alley for three days. He knew he would see her there, that living portrait of despair. He wanted to forget, but the image of her was burned into him. She was all he could see, even when he closed his eyes.

He needed to see her now, needed to know if she was dead. If the smoke that was coming from her snuffed wick of life had been smothered, or if it had caught and burned down to the wax. He didn't know why it was so important, perhaps because she could have so easily been himself. Well, he might have had the good grace to get it over with quickly and leave a good-looking corpse.

Or maybe, it was because she'd been an icon, the mother archetype. She'd been all that was good and wholesome.

His thoughts were drawn to his mother, but he pushed her from his memory as if she'd never been.

And finally, he gave in, allowing his steps to carry him back to her, back to salvation.

But it wasn't salvation he saw; it was corruption, destruction of an ideal.

Molly Weasley was leaned up against that wall, holding out a full breast in her hand for the inspection of any who cared to get close enough. She still hadn't run a brush through her hair, her clothes were still tattered rags, but now she smelled of sweat and sex.

"Care for a toss?" she said, her voice grittier than he'd remembered.

"The other whores fear me."

"And what is there to be afraid of?" She met his eyes evenly, and hers bore the depths of darkness such as he'd never seen. Not even in his father's eyes. Not even in his own.

And he realized that he'd missed the touch of a woman, feminine softness slick and wet around his cock. Missed kissing painted mouths, running his hands through corn-silk hair, missed those sounds of pleasure that only a woman could make.

He took her breast in his hand and kneaded it roughly, wondering at his own perversity. She had gotten up. She would survive. He should leave it at that. But he couldn't. "You want to whore for the Death Eater?"

"I'll whore for whoever pays me. I've got a belly to fill."

"These hands touching you when they could have killed your Ron? Your Percy?" He watched a certain madness come into her eyes. "Yeah," His hands were on her thighs now, slipping into her slit. "Maybe even your Ginny."

He didn't know why he had to torture her; she wasn't one of those who had failed him.

"All the hands that touch me have the blood of my babies on them."

"They do, Molly. They failed you, just like they failed me." He leaned into her, placing a chaste kiss on her cheek, an action at bizarre odds with the movements of his hands between her legs.

"Let me see your money."

Draco slipped a galleon into her hands and she allowed the caress to continue.

"You don't have to do that."

"Can I call you mum?" He sneered.

"For another galleon, you can call me anything you like." She managed, though her voice had a strangled quality to it.

Draco led her to a dark side alley and bent her over a trash barrel, shoving his cock into her with little preparation.

"Tell me you want it."

"I want it." Her answer was bland, and flat.

"Tell me you're a whore."

"I'm a whore."

"Now tell me, tell me, tell me…" Draco trailed off as he fucked her. "Tell me you hate me, you bitch."

"I hate you."

Draco thought of all he'd lost, all he'd never have, all that was taken from him forever.

He pushed into her harder now, drilling into that woman's softness with a despairing rage. Draco hooked his hands around her shoulders, slamming her back into him.

With every thrust, it was another step into the darkness that was consuming him.

"Tell me that I should be dead." He growled. "It should have been me."

"It should have been you." Her voice was still flat.

"You frigid cunt. I know you love me. You love me! I'm your son. Tell me you love me," he cried out as he came, pulling her back roughly by the hair as he did. As if that alone was an act of passion. There were snowflakes falling from his own eyes then, as he pulled out of her and straightened his robes.

Molly turned to face him and saw his sorrow. She opened her arms and Draco came back to her and laid his head on her exposed breast, the liquid sadness cold where it hit her heated skin.

She ran her dirty fingers through his silvery hair. "It's alright."

"No, mum. You're gone."

"I'm right here, baby. Right here." She crooned as she finally found her tears.

In that darkness and suffering, an abandoned little boy found a mother; and a broken mother found a son.