Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter. I don't make money from this story.
All right, this is my new story. I hope you've read the summary and all the warnings.
I'm not a native speaker (it hasn't changed since my previous story ;) ), so please be nice about my mistakes and try to enjoy reading, anyway.
Once again: a lot of ANGST.
Attention: This story has been edited to avoid any problems with MA content. If you're 18 or older, you can find the full version of this story on adult fanfiction. net. I'm also planning to post it on LJ.
The Shards of His Beloved
1. Your Downfall
Malfoys had been hiding from the law for about four years after the Dark Lord had been destroyed. One of the family estates in the north of France had been serving them as a good sanctuary for these years of hiding, because no one else knew about its existence. It had never been mentioned in any documents; there were no files about it in the Ministry archives. During the time of hiding Lucius only contacted his lawyers to whom he trusted, but not enough to inform about the location of his safe house, so they only met on neutral territory; and Lucius was heavily disguised during all the appointments. They were trying to find a way to return his family to Britain, but only if they were assured that both Draco and Narcissa wouldn't be charged. The lawyers were well-paid, and under the Unbreakable Vow they wouldn't be able to give out their clients. But they never brought any good news. Draco and Narcissa were going to be put in Azkaban, at any rate; the current government would take care of it. So they kept hiding. Lucius realised and was resigned to the thought that nothing could save him from prison, but he was protecting his family, trying to make up for all the horrors they had endured because of his fatal mistakes. He owed them. He had practically ruined his son's childhood and deprived him of his future as an heir of once powerful family. Even though Lucius had been a long-time supporter of the Dark Lord, he'd never really wanted his son to be involved; not that young, not like that, not threatened and intimidated half to death and forced to take the Dark Mark while Lucius had been in Azkaban. It was then that he'd returned to his family he had realised what he'd got them and himself into, as he'd found out what had happened in his absence and seen his heir numb with fear after everything he'd had to go through. And even being home after his escape from Azkaban he'd failed to protect his son. Draco had endured and seen too much... Now they all were no more than fugitive criminals, even if Narcissa and Draco were just victims of the circumstances. And Lucius always remembered that if his family was imprisoned, his grandson would lose everyone and wouldn't have anyone to take care of him, and that was too much of an ordeal for someone this little.
Everything changed when one day they were finally found. No matter how they had been trying to be ready for everything for these years, the attack still felt like a bolt from the blue. The auror captain, who was in charge with the operation, was a muggleborn, who had lost his brother during the war, because the Death Eaters had killed him, so he wasn't determined to arrest Malfoys; they had to die. He and his men, making sure that no one would see, except for those who had been let in the plan, killed Lucius and Narcissa that both had even surrendered their wands, ready to be arrested.
Draco saw it all, hidden behind one of the large framed paintings in the living room in the small alcove, where his parents had hidden him and their grandson just before the aurors had broken in. He saw their deaths through the tiny hole in the painting. And even though he wanted to scream in grief and terror at the horrifying show he'd just witnessed, he remembered about the child in his arms, whose small face was pressed against his shoulder. When the group of murderers dressed in auror uniforms had divided into pairs in order to search the house and find Draco, undoubtedly, to kill him, too, he just disapparated, using the unique portkey that had always been on his neck for the past years in hiding. Lucius had once given Draco this incredibly powerful item, - the heavy, silver pendant, decorated with runes. It was so powerful that even the anti-apparition wards used by aurors couldn't prevent it from working. The apparition itself was also hardly possible to trace, so, using it, Draco had successfully escaped with his son.
His mother had always been ready for them to be found (at least, she'd tried to be ready), so she'd given Draco the small leather pouch that had been shrunk with the spell; it contained some Draco's and his boy's clothes, along with money, food, toiletries and other necessary things. With those he and his son had apparated to the place that the spell considered as a safe one. Draco disagreed with its choice, as he found himself in the middle of some forest. It was January and in was very cold. Somewhere far away he could hear the howling of wolves, so he wasn't feeling safe at all. In the pouch he found his very long and warm fur trimmed suede cloak. He also found the fur muff to hide his hands into it. Fortunately, there were enough warm clothes for his son, too; the boy was currently dressed only in his silk nightshirt. As Draco dressed first his shaking son and then himself, he pressed the child to his chest inside his cloak to give his little boy as much warmth as he could. But he always held his wand in one of his hands, ready to fight the wolves or any other threat. Scorpius was trembling and crying quietly, obviously feeling that something was wrong and something terrible had happened, but Draco was too shocked himself to provide him with more comfort than the warmth that his body could give. The little child wasn't even asking anything; he was just pressing his small blond head to father's chest, searching for more protection. Draco was shaken, dizzy and aggrieved. Nothing could have prepared him for seeing deaths of the people he loved and leaving their dead bodies behind, running away, not to repeat their tragic fate.
The ground of the winter forest was covered with the thick layer of slightly sparkling snow, and Draco was sinking into it to his very knees or even deeper at times. It was very hard to walk, but the fear of being attacked by the wolves or tracked by the aurors (the latter was unlikely, but still possible) made him move without stopping. The portkey he'd used had been enchanted to bring the one who used it to safety, so Draco was following the faint sphere of pulsing silver light that led him somewhere, stopping and floating in the air, patiently waiting for Draco every time he was more than five metres behind it. He could swear he faintly saw some faces inside the sphere. As Draco once turned round, he also discovered that the magic was covering his tracks and the snow behind him was gradually returning to its previous condition, as if never disturbed by him. What a good and useful magical item that unique portkey (now destroyed after being used) had been, but, unfortunately, it could only transfer two people at best, otherwise, his parents would've been... He didn't give his tears a chance to escape, because his little boy was already too scared, and Draco had to hold on for him.
Eventually, when he was almost ready to give up and fall because of the fatigue, the silver sphere brought him to the house in the middle of the forest and vanished, because the magic had fulfilled its predestination, bringing its charge to the place suitable for hiding without being tracked. Before entering Draco only cast one glance at the house, too tired and scared to show more cautiousness than casting a couple of simple spells that could reveal some magical traps. He found none and easily unlocked the double-wing entrance door.
He decided that the stone building had once been quite decent, and now it was nothing but a decaying luxury. In one of the fifteen rooms Draco found the old skeleton of the owner of this place (at, least, Draco decided that it had once been one), sitting in the armchair. It took him a lot to suppress the urge to cry out in fear and disgust. Making sure his little son hadn't seen the frightening discovery, Draco locked the room with all the charms he knew and warded it, just in case.
There was the fireplace in one of the more or less decent bedrooms, so Draco set the fire and soon the room seemed warm enough for him to take off his suede cloak. The room was large and would be more comfortable once he cleaned it. He gently rocked the child to sleep and it had taken time to calm him down in this unfamiliar, dark house, not to mention the shocking events that had happened earlier. Draco magically cleaned the king size bed from all the dust, warmed it with spell and put his Scorpius on it, wrapped up in the blanket he'd found in his pouch. Quietly, as quite as he could, Draco let himself mourn his parents. They shouldn't have died like that. They shouldn't have died... The bitter tears didn't stop for hours; not only this night, but the next several nights when his little boy was fast asleep and couldn't see and hear his father practically choking on his tears. Sometimes Scorpius asked where his grandmother and grandfather were, but Draco just couldn't find heart to tell the truth to the boy, who was a little more than three years old.
There was nothing else he could do but settle down in this house. At first it was quite a scary place to live, because it was so deep in the forest, because the old building produced the unpleasantly odd sounds, especially during the nights, and because some animals could often be heard, as they were wandering somewhere close enough. But Draco and his son had nowhere else to go. Their food was going to run out sooner or later, and Draco would have to find a way to purchase more, which meant blindly travelling on foot in the dark forest to try to find some village where he could buy things, including food. But he didn't know the place at all and hadn't found any maps of it in the library, so at first he had absolutely no idea where they were. Judging by the language of the majority of the books in the library, they were somewhere in Russia, but, knowing only Russian alphabet, several expressions and three or four dozens of words was hardly helpful in reading the books properly. It was a pity, because they looked quite old and were probably interesting, and, as he could easily assume, some were books on the Dark Arts, healing and potions. There were several books in Greek, which he didn't speak, either, and, fortunately, several books in Latin, which Draco knew quite well, but sadly these books were merely some not very exciting novels. But... beggars couldn't be choosers, could they? Later he found a lot of herbaria: about twenty albums, full of dried flowers, herbs and leaves, including rare magical species. There were also albums full of photographs. Mostly they showed nature and there were pictures of animals, to Scorpius' delight. They were looking through them together and it wasn't a bad pastime at all, especially given that they didn't have many things to do. In the end, they found the albums with family photographs of the people who had lived in this house before. Draco knew it wasn't right to go through such private things; he hoped no one did it to his family albums in the Manor, whatever had happened to Malfoy Manor, anyway. But the curiosity had taken better of him, so by those pictures he thought he'd learned a lot about the owners of this house. It seemed the last owner (whose skeleton, he assumed, was locked in one of the rooms) had been the last one of his bloodline. It was sad that the man had died alone, having nobody even to bury him. Draco didn't like to think about that skeleton; being under the same roof with it made him feel a bit uneasy. But he respected the dead owner's house and always put the things he or Scorpius took on the same place, where they belonged.
The portkey had, indeed, transferred them far away from home. On the one hand, this fact made him feel more secure; on the other hand, he didn't know how to get food when they wouldn't have any.
Only once, a month after their arrival, he left the house, just to look around. The weather wasn't very harsh and his warm suede cloak and the fur muff withstood the frost, keeping Draco warm. There was no harsh wind, and the sky powdered the white land with the very light snow. Draco found the frozen lake quite close to the house, surrounded by spruces, almost white with snow. It was a beautiful place, in fact; if only the circumstances were different, Draco would have really enjoyed spending some time here. He was forced to return to the house, as he heard the annoying howling of the wolves, not quite close to him, but it was still discouraging. How on earth was he going to look for some settlement if he couldn't even walk away from the house far enough to stop seeing it? If something happened to him in the forest, his little Scorpius would stay alone and die from hunger... The mere thought of it stopped Draco's heart. He loved his son more than anything in this world, and there was nothing he wouldn't do for his little child, the little extension of himself that looked shockingly identical to Draco when he'd been a small child. Scorpius was his little copy. He was all Draco had...
Sometimes Draco and Scorpius were going outside, but they always kept close to the house. Scorpius was quite fond of building some simple snow sculptures, which weren't masterpieces, of course, but were quite exciting to make. Unfortunately, there weren't many things to entertain the child in their current situation, since he didn't even have his toys, or anything resembling toys at all, except for the old and expensive looking magical kaleidoscope they'd found in the house.
One day, however, the boy's mood was ecstatic when he saw something big, glowing brightly on the branch of the birch near the house. He alerted Draco and they went outside to see what it was. When they carefully approached the tree, they saw the firebird, whose feathers were glowing with orange, yellow and red light, very bright theoretically, but, since it was also a bright day, it was hard to properly enjoy all the beauty of the amazing magical creature, so rare even here, in its native lands. Draco had only seen it on the pictures before. It looked a lot like a peacock, but it never spread its long, beautiful tail, unlike peacocks; and it was bigger. He was keeping a safe distance from the bird, holding his son in his arms, but was ready to use his wand in case the seemingly relaxed bird decided to attack, even though he hardly imagined how to fight it, because the books described firebirds as extremely challenging and deadly creatures if angered, so it would be much wiser to run to the house and hide inside if anything happened. He remembered reading that its feathers could illuminate even the darkest places, tainted by the darkest magic, and kill, or, at least, chase away some creatures that tended to hide in the shadows. It could even hurt vampires, like sunlight, without killing them, though. Its local name was 'Zhar-Ptitsa'. Scorpius was intrigued by the stories his father told him about the magical bird. Papa was so clever; he knew absolutely everything! The boy asked him to catch the bird, so it could live with them. Draco chuckled and explained that it was dangerous to upset such creatures and it was very difficult to catch them, anyway, let alone keep them in captivity. The bird was looking down, tilting its head, as if listening to them talking, but then it suddenly swished its long beautiful tail proudly, leaving the afterglow, and flew away to Scorpius' dismay. The encounter with something that rare was, of course, a remarkable event.
But, all in all, it was boring to live alone in the forest. However, it was also very peaceful, and Draco was thankful for it. Less and less often Scorpius asked about his grandparents, because he failed to get any information from his father, who carefully changed the subject every time or was just very evasive. Scorpius was too little to properly corner his father and demand explanations, without buying the unconvincing, confusing answers. Draco just wasn't ready to tell him the truth, yet. He needed time to come to terms with it before telling his little boy. He still mourned, still saw their deaths in his mind over and over again.
They had less and less food and Draco doubted that they would make it to the middle of spring. He never deprived his son of good, nutritious food, and he never would've done it no matter what, but he'd already reduced his own food allowance. He knew he didn't have much time to form the plan, so he was thinking a lot about the possible ways of solving the problem without letting them be found.
But it appeared, it wasn't necessary, anyway, because only two months after his escape and the cruel murder of his parents, he was found and surrounded by the aurors. They easily got past the wards Draco had created, without even alarming him, and silently infiltrated the house while Draco and his son were sleeping peacefully, completely unaware of what was going on. As the lock on the door of the bedroom was broken, Draco woke up with a start at the noise. Instinctively he took his sleepy boy in his protective arms, holding his wand at the same time. When the group of eight aurors broke in and practically surrounded him, he was told to give them his wand. And he did, afraid for Scorpius and himself to be hurt and refusing to provoke any kind of violence. There was no escape this time, no unique portkeys; nothing. Scorpius started to cry quietly in Draco's arms, and father was rubbing his back soothingly, securely pressing him against his chest. Were they going to kill Draco, too, as they'd killed his parents? Were they going to spare his child? Draco could no longer decide if his life was real or a nightmare. He didn't know what to think anymore. He was so tired of hiding... But he was also afraid of death and hoped that Scorpius, at least, wouldn't witness them killing his Papa. He gently caressed the soft blond hair on the back of the small head, hushing his little one quietly and gently. The aging and skinny dark-haired woman, dressed in auror robes, came closer and reached out her hands to Scorpius. The boy desperately clung to his father, who, at the same time, held him tighter and made a step back, to prevent some bitch from reaching out her ugly, bony fingers to his son! His heart was beating madly and he had a very bad feeling about all of it.
"Give me the child. You're deprived of your parental rights," the bitch stated, giving herself airs. He looked back at her with disdain, and tried not to let her take his boy from him, he even slapped her hand away; but he immediately was hit with the curse that for a couple of seconds paralysed him. It was enough for the bitch to snatch his crying son out of his arms. The little boy shrieked and started to emit the loud, frightened cries that were breaking the heart of his father.
"No... You can't take him away. He's my son," Draco shook his head nervously, trying not to start wailing, too, because Scorpius was already scared very much and Draco didn't want to terrify him even more. As scared as Draco was himself, he couldn't let it happen.
"On your knees, Malfoy!" one of the aurors ordered him. Draco obeyed. "Take the child away," the auror said to his female colleague. Draco's heart sank. He wanted to lash out at someone, but he knew it would've been suicidal. He tried his best to look calm, even if he wasn't nearly as calm as he tried to appear.
"Scorpius, don't be afraid. Please. I'll find you and we'll be together again. It'll be over soon. Don't be afraid," he tried to soothe the child, nearly crying, but trying to keep the fervent trembling out of his voice. Oh, gods, they'd killed his parents, they were probably going to kill him, too, but what would they do to his baby?
"I wouldn't promise anything like this. You're going to Azkaban," some male auror said, though Draco couldn't tell who exactly, looking only at his boy, who looked heartbreakingly scared. As the woman that was holding him in her arms started to move to the door, Scorpius slapped her face with his small hand and tried to tear himself away. He was screaming at the top of his lungs, now absolutely terrified because of what was happening. He was almost three and a half years old, so he was perfectly aware that some strangers were separating him from his father.
"Papa! I want to Papa!" the child screamed. He was restrained, as the woman held him tighter, pressing his arms to his body at the same time, so he wouldn't get a chance to slap her face again. He failed to wriggle out of her arms. Only when Scorpius had been taken away, Draco let his bitter tears escape, because the boy couldn't see it any longer. He wept, hearing his piercingly crying son in the corridor. The noise full of distress was retreating gradually, becoming less and less loud, as the child was taken farther and farther away from him. He could very well imagine how scared Scorpius was, being born when Malfoys had been in hiding and never being with any other people except for his family, never being away from his father, never even seeing the other people this close. If his family hadn't educated him and showed him a lot of pictures of the other people, Scorpius wouldn't have even known that anyone else existed in this world, besides his grandparents and father. And now he was being taken away by some stranger!
"Please, just don't hurt him..." Draco begged, weeping inconsolably and sitting on his knees with his head bowed in complete submission.
"We do not hurt children. We aren't some Death Eater scum, after all," one of them sighed with annoyance.
"He's scared without me. Please... He doesn't know any strangers..." he tried again, but the same man interrupted him.
"He'll be taken care of. Good for him; he must be socialised and stop roaming with a criminal like you."
"You've made us travel the long way, Malfoy. Get dressed and thank Merlin that I'm in high spirits today, or you would've been hexed in front of your son and dragged away like a sack of rags," the man, who was probably their captain, said. His voice and his appearance seemed powerful, in spite of his age; he was older than everyone in the room. At least, it was obvious that he was in charge here, so Draco mentally called him captain. These were the different aurors; none of them had been among those who'd killed Draco's parents, he was sure about it.
With the tears, still falling from his eyes or rolling down his cheeks, he started to pack his things carefully, making no sudden movements, because he knew that some of them would gladly hex him the moment they saw anything threatening.
"My son's clothes..." he said quietly.
"I'm sure he'll get the other clothes. Pack only your things and hurry up; we don't have all day," the captain rolled his eyes. The blond complied and finished packing. In the end, he took Scorpius' framed photograph with him, the one he'd found in this very same pouch, as Narcissa had put it there for some reason or, probably, accidentally. He hadn't taken many things, in fact, doubting that he would be allowed or even need some other things in prison.
When in his thoughts he'd imagined himself being captured by the aurors (certainly without looking forward to it), he'd imagined himself holding his head high with dignity and cold, calm demeanour. But, of course, the reality was very different and Draco kept weeping, shaking like an aspen leaf and hurting over his son.
"Morgana's breasts... Have you finished packing, yet?" the captain sighed impatiently, but not spitefully. Draco only managed to nod. The captain spelled shackles on the wrists and ankles of the imprisoned young man and softly urged him to move towards the exit. The restraints felt cold against Draco's skin, and being quite heavy they slowed him down, but, of course, that was the point. The heavy chains were clanking, as he was moving.
Once outside, he looked around, hoping to see his boy again, but the bitch had obviously already disapparated with him. Two Aurors took Draco's arms firmly, and they apparated, too. The apparition was very unpleasant, because they had to cover quite a large distance. They found themselves in front of the auror department, and two aurors allowed themselves and their prisoner a couple of minutes to get their breath back and let the dizziness abate.
And then he was led inside the building. Like in a bad dream he was undergoing a lot of 'standard procedures', only doing what was told without any arguing, but hardly participating in it consciously. They thoroughly scanned him with spells to make sure he wasn't able to perform any kind of wandless magic; they searched him to make sure he didn't have anything he could use as a weapon. They took his front-view and side-view pictures while his slightly trembling hands were holding the placard with his identification number and full name. All the things from his pouch were scanned and scrutinised before taken away for the temporary retention. And then, when it was finally over, Draco was brought to the solitary holding cell and finally unshackled. Left alone, he for some time was standing near the heavy door with the little barred window, looking at the interior of his cell blindly and dully. The bed, attached to the wall, had the mattress, covered with sheet, the pillow and the light blanket; all of it looked surprisingly clean in contrast with everything else here. But it wasn't Azkaban and this cell was only meant to contain prisoners before their trials, so it meant to have bearable conditions for those who still weren't condemned. But Draco knew he was actually going to be sentenced to Azkaban, only wondering if he was going to have a trial at all. They had promised to contact his family lawyers, but his hope was thin.
He sat down on the hard bed and tried to think about everything that had happened during the last several hours, but his mind was still in denial. He'd become so accustomed to the deceptive feeling of safety, whilst living with his family, so now he just couldn't believe that things had become this horrible. He'd been hiding with people he loved and had felt safe with them, because they had seemed so strong and canny, capable of solving any problem and protecting him, like he'd been protecting his own child. But now he was alone and had absolutely no one to turn to. All the people he'd loved were dead, except for his son who had been taken away. Draco prayed the gods that his boy was alive and safe. The wave of despair washed over him, as he thought that he would never be able to see his child again. They'd never been away from each other. It felt wrong, so terribly unfair and wrong!
In this small cell he was going insane from worry and couldn't sleep for the first two nights, only napping sometimes when his body and mind couldn't stand it all any longer. He was hardly eating. The only person he saw these days was the one who brought Draco his meal, but the man wasn't speaking to him at all, absolutely ignoring him, actually. Not that he could help, anyway. Without opening the door he just spelled the tray with food on the stone floor inside the cell with the move of his wand, and left. And during every next mealtime he just replaced the tray with the new one, paying no attention to the fact that Draco's food was hardly ever touched.
Since the third day of imprisonment Draco had become apathetic and was hardly getting up from the bed, extremely exhausted with worry, lack of sleep and food. But then, on the fifth day he was allowed to use the shower under the supervision of two guards. Later this day one of the family lawyers finally visited him. They were allowed to talk through the door, seeing each other through the little barred window. Prospero Atrax was a tall old man with only a couple of dark strands of hair on his otherwise grey head. His hair wasn't long, but it was long enough to be gathered into a short ponytail and tied with a leather ribbon. He had a narrow face, grey goatee on his chin and blue eyes that seemed to notice everything. Draco had only seen him once when the man had had less wrinkles and less grey hair. He said that the date of his trial was in a month and a half and it was the best he'd managed to achieve.
"And how do you assess my situation? Can you make any forecasts?" Draco asked. The lawyer sighed and looked aside. It told Draco a lot and he practically felt all his hopes flying out through the barred window.
"I'm very sorry, Mister Malfoy, but, I'm afraid, we won't be able to win. The Ministry wants a show trial. At first the authorities are going to inflame the minds of the public against you, more than they already are, and then they'll show the people how they 'punish those who followed you-know-who'. I know you're not to blame for your father, but they want your blood. They'll fight for fifteen years in Azkaban, eight, at the very least... I'm doing my best, but you know how this world has changed since the end of the war. People are not kind to the purebloods these days. They even replaced all pureblood members of the Wizengamot 'to open the door for the changes this world needs', as they explain that farce," Atrax shook his head. Draco was as pale as a ghost, but nodded, and they were silent for a minute. 'Fifteen years... Even if eight years; for Azkaban it's as good as a death sentence. It's a sure death...' Draco's hazy mind concluded.
"...My son?" he asked quietly.
"He's in an orphanage. They refused to give me any information in which one they'd put him. I'll try to collect more information through my men," the lawyer replied.
When the man left, Draco was shaking, but couldn't even cry after everything he'd just heard. He was going to die in Azkaban after a few torturous years there, maybe even less than a few. And he would never see his little boy again. He suddenly felt unbearably cold.