It had been a year since Voldemort's defeat and the Ministry was still rounding up those who had been his followers before.
"YOU BASTARD! CAN'T YOU JUST-"
"Ron, calm down"
With a sigh, Hermione Granger pulled him away, preventing him from continuing to bellow in Malfoy's face. It was phase three of his typical interview pattern, albeit a sped-up version this time - probably because the suspect was Malfoy. Merlin, how she wished Harry was here instead. At least he had a better rein on his temper - a skill which Ron had never managed to master - and could be trusted to remain professional. While waiting for Ron to regain control of his breathing, she glanced idly out of the window, noting that the weather suited the current mood perfectly. A storm was about to break out, judging by the dark clouds gathering.
At the first rumble of thunder, a jolt of surprise ran through her. Was that her imagination, or did she just see a flash of fear in Malfoy's normally shuttered eyes? What could he be afraid of? Well, she would bet all the books she had that it certainly wasn't Ron. She watched him closely, and her suspicions were confirmed at the next rumble of thunder. "Ron, go get a cup of tea or something. I'll take over. And yes, don't worry, I'll call you back when I need you." As soon as he left the room, she pointed her wand at the video camera and muttered the spell to pause it. Acting purely on instinct, she then freed Malfoy from his bonds. He immediately hugged his knees and started to shiver, curling up on the ground as tightly as he could as another clap of thunder sounded.
She cautiously put her hand on his arm, but hastily withdrew it when his shudders became more pronounced.
"Look at me." Receiving no response, she had no choice but to lift his chin up to meet her eyes.
"You're safe here. I won't hurt you, I swear." She wrapped her arms around him and stroked his hair as she often did for Lily, feeling him gradually relax into her embrace and even start to hold her back tentatively.
"Why are you so scared of thunder?" she whispered, after his shivers had lessened to the point where they could barely be felt, not really expecting him to answer.
"When I was young. Father, he-he-" He shook his head in frustration. "I can't...Use Legilimency on me."
Merlin knew why he had decided to confide in her - perhaps it had something to do with the fact that she might have been the first person who had noticed his fear and actually tried to help? They had never gotten along in the past, but perhaps he was like her, able to put it behind them. It was over and gone after all, they couldn't change it and the war had probably changed them. She drew back slightly, holding his gaze.
"Are you sure?" He nodded, and she took a deep breath.
"I told you, Malfoys cannot show any sign of weakness!"
He was crouching in a corner and wailing after having been locked into a dark room. Five minutes later, Lucius Malfoy strode in, furious.
"I warned you!" Lucius began whipping his son, ignoring his screaming and pleading. He only stopped when he saw blood soaking through the thin cloth of his shirt.
As Malfoy grew older, he learnt to control his fear. The only indication was the slight shaking of his clenched fists which he shoved into his pockets, and through his eyes. He only allowed himself to go to pieces when he was alone.
She was horrified. How could anyone treat such a young child so brutally? Maybe if Lucius Malfoy had comforted his son when he was scared instead of treating him like that, his fear would already have been non-existent instead of continuing to be hidden, deep inside him. She reluctantly released him after a while, pulling him back to his seat. She started the video camera again.
"Alright, so before Ron comes back, I need you to answer me honestly. Do you really have no idea of the whereabouts of any other Death Eaters?" He shook his head.
"Those I know are either dead or already in Azkaban."
That night had been the turning point, proving to her that what she had always suspected was true - that there was more to Draco Malfoy than met the eye.
It was hard to believe that they had already been married for three years. He had never managed to get over his fear of thunder, but she had always held him through it all. She smiled at him as they stood holding hands, looking out at the clear blue sky. It depicted their relationship perfectly. Like the calm after a storm, after suffering through so many obstacles together - the objection of her family and friends, the unwelcome media attention and dirty glances shot at them whenever they were out in public together and learning how to compromise with and trust each other - they had finally found happiness.