Author's Note: I own no person, no place, no thing. If you recognize it, it probably belongs to Ms. Rowling or some other awesome super-human.
Chapter 01 Suppression
Draco Malfoy stood staring straight forward as his sentence was read aloud. He knew full well that, because the Wizengamot had all but promised to make an example of him, there were photographers and journalists in swarms no more than twenty paces from him, slathering to capture his physical reaction to his punishment.
But Malfoy's were nothing if not stoic, so his spine stayed straight and his face remained impassive, even bored. Draco blandly wondered if, despite risking and losing his family while spending the last two years of the Second Wizarding War in the secret service of the Order of the Phoenix alongside his Godfather Severus, he'd be handed a great big Dementor Kiss for his sacrifice. Wouldn't be much of a surprise, the members of the Wizengamot were nothing if not biased against Death Eaters.
Or the children of Death Eaters, for that matter. Supposedly Theo Nott was sentenced to ten years in Azakaban just for continuing to live in his family's home while Voldemort and his camp used Nott Manor as a base of operation for the final few days of the war. Merlin, it's not like he could have left if he'd tried! Ten years in Azakaban just for hiding under the bed while the Boogyman's in town? What utter, prejudiced, bollocks.
"Draco Abraxas Malfoy, you have admitted to taking the Dark Lord's Mark and serving in His Army. The sentence for this alone would be life in Azkaban Prison. For your role in conspiring to create covert access into Hogwarts Castle, the home of Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry, which at the time of the break in was the home of more than three hundred children and nearly one hundred adults, the sentence would be no less than fifty years in Azkaban. For your role in the murder of Headmaster Albus Dumbledore, the sentence would be no less than fifty years in Azkaban." The Head of the Wizengamot, Ms. Mafalda Hopkirk, watched Draco closely as she recited his crimes. She couldn't help but let compassion leak into her voice as she continued.
"Mr. Malfoy, while these crimes are in themselves, enough to land you in prison for the rest of your life, we must take into consideration some other facts. First of all, you are only now, just nineteen years old. Life in prison would be very long indeed for someone your age. You took the Dark Mark under threat of death by your own father, and while you were under-age. You came up with the scheme to allow Death Eaters into Hogwarts Castle under threat of death to yourself and your family by the Dark Lord himself. And last, and if I may say, most importantly of all, you redeemed yourself in aligning with the Order of the Phoenix first as a spy, giving crucial information that SAVED LIVES, Mr. Malfoy, but you've also spent the past two years of your life directly fighting the Dark Lord within the ranks of the Order. I think I speak for the rest of the Wizengamot, and I hope the magical community, when I say to you, thank you, Draco."
The uproar behind Draco's back was instantaneous and very, very distracting. Bulbs flashed, reporters shouted, citizens in attendance screamed their fury. Draco heard a few cheers and cries of joy, but not many. Not enough to dampen the cacophony of those seeking vengeance on Lucius Malfoy's son. Bloodthirsty, they sounded. Draco looked up at Ms. Hopkirk as she banged her gavel and shouted down the audience.
"IF THIS AUDIENCE CANNOT SILENCE ITSELF BY THE TIME I FINISH SPEAKING I WILL EMPTY THIS COURTROOM BEFORE I FINISH GIVING MR. MALFOY HIS SENTENCE!" Ms. Hopkirk's magically magnified voice nearly blew Draco's hair back, but his face remained impassive. Draco mentally crossed his fingers, but unfortunately the noise behind him stopped before Ms. Hopkirk did.
"That's better. Oh, and one more outburst like that, and I will be forced to confiscate all recordings of these proceedings for twenty-four hours. Is this understood?" Ms. Hopkirk gazed down on a now silent crowd. Apparently no one wanted to lose their job for not getting the news of Draco's sentence out to the wizarding community within thirty minutes of the end of his trial. Draco smirked to himself. No indeed, this after all was THE news story of the year; the sole surviving heir to the famous Malfoy estate and fortune was about to have his extremely wealthy arse thrown in Azkaban for the rest of his life!
"Mr. Malfoy," Ms. Hopkirk began again in a much gentler voice, which in itself startled Draco more than any other noises in the past few moments.
"My colleagues and I can't help but feel compassion for a young man who was led down such a hard road by his own parents, and we can't help but feel that, given a better upbringing, you would never have made the mistakes you did. Not crimes, Draco, mistakes."
Draco stared at Ms. Hopkirk, and he realized belatedly that his mouth had fallen slightly open. He saw her eyes soften as she met his gaze, and the grim lines on her face smoothed out a little as she recited his true sentence.
"Draco Abraxas Malfoy, you are hereby sentenced to five years of Magic Suppression and exile from the Wizarding Community of Britain. It is the wish of the Wizengamot that in the five years you spend in the Muggle world, you will be able to learn compassion and empathy for those who the Ministry of Magic and the Order of the Phoenix fought so hard to protect from persecution by the late Dark Lord. Your family fortune and estate will be frozen for the duration of this time, outside of your own personal accounts at Gringotts Bank. It is not the wish of this court, however, that you while away your five years in some solitary mansion away from all humanity, Mr. Malfoy. You will be required to either enroll in a Muggle higher education school, or to seek employment within the Muggle Community."
Draco's mouth stayed firmly sealed, but inwardly his jaw was hanging on the floor.
What the fuck?
Five years of Magic WHAT?
How in Merlin's name did these Wizengamot wanker's expect him to live without magic? In the Muggle world?
What the FUCK?
He blinked a couple times and realized his mind had wandered while Ms. Hopkirk had finished speaking and dismissed the audience and reporters. A Bailiff walked up and beckoned Draco to follow him out of the courtroom, to the doorway situated under the Wizengamot's raised stadium-seats, and down a quiet hallway. At the first door on the right, Draco was led into a small, plain room that was obviously a part-time office for some member of the Court, gauging by the presence of a desk, several chairs, a few files on the desktop and a complete lack of any other adornments. Draco had just enough time to make this assumption before Mafalda Hopkirk swept into the room and sat behind the desk.
"Please sit down, Mr. Malfoy." She said this as pleasantly as if they were having a tea party, and Draco's earlier disbelief and shock gave way to extreme confusion as he took a seat in the nearest chair. The Bailiff tapped his wand on Draco's magically bound wrists as soon as he was seated, and Draco couldn't help but rub his liberated wrists while he frowned at Ms. Hopkirk.
"Ms. Hopkirk, if you don't mind my-" Draco began, but she put her hand out, palm facing him, and smiled.
"Draco, if you don't mind, I'll speak first and ease your apparent and understandable confusion. I'm going to go through the facts and your options, and you and I will be working on a plan of action for your exit from the Wizarding Community. From this moment forth for the next five years, I will be acting as your Counselor, of sorts, or your Probation Officer, I suppose. Draco please understand, the main reason why the Wizengamot has chosen this sentence for you is to remove you from the spotlight, in a sense, and from those who would most emphatically seek revenge on a person who we really and truly don't believe deserves to hang, if you will, for the crimes of his late parents. Additionally, I sincerely hope that in the course of the next five years of immersion in the Muggle Community, you will be able to fully shed your old skin and return to the Magical Community as a whole new kind of Malfoy."
Draco frowned in confusion. "What do you-", but she cut him off again, still smiling.
"Look Draco, please believe me when I say that when the measurement of your deeds was weighed by the Wizengamot, we have found you not guilty of all crimes. And we would have set you on your merry way if you had been an average young wizard. I know this is a lot of information for you to take on Draco, but you must understand that you are in a unique position. As the sole heir to such a large, magically diverse, and profitable empire, there are going to be a lot of… individuals… that will want to seek you out. They would endeavor to exploit you, to punish you, to corrupt you, all for their own personal gain or for their cause. And of course, there's revenge. Simply put, if you stayed here, you'd either be dead or imprisoned by the dregs of Voldemort's associates, or captured and tortured…. No, all things considered, you really are safer disappearing for a few years. Since we have publicly frozen your family's assets, there will be no way for corrupt individuals to manipulate you or your family's business holdings."
"Not even me, it would seem. For five years. Five fucking years." Draco moaned as he leaned forward, resting his arms on his knees as he bowed his head.
"Merlin, what a fucking nightmare. How in the Hell are you going to keep all these supposed attackers from attacking me out in the Muggle world? And what, in Merlin's name, is Magic Suppression? If it sounds like what I think it is, it sounds like the Wizengamot is going to dump me outside the Leaky fucking Cauldron, wandless and without a way to DEFEND MYSELF!"
"Draco, please, calm down, and my Goodness, watch your language!" Ms. Hopkirk actually looked shocked.
"How the Hell can I calm down? How can you sit there and smile at me and spout on about protecting me from attack and manipulation when I'm being chucked out on my arse? Alone! I've probably spent all of two hours in muggle London in my entire life!" Draco's hands gripped his knees tightly as he fought his rising panic. He was rapidly starting to seriously dislike this witch.
"Mr. Malfoy! We are not, as you say, chucking you out all alone! For Merlin's sake, I already told you, I'll be acting as your Counselor for the next five years. I'll be your liaison between the Wizarding and Muggle worlds. Like I said earlier, you and I are going to sit here and come up with a plan, and we're going to implement it. We're going to transfer your funds to a Muggle bank in London, and we're going to find you a place to live. You are going to decide whether to enroll in University or find a job, and we're going have all of this worked out before you leave tonight."
Ms. Hopkirk got up from her desk and came to sit next to Draco, who immediately stiffened and sat up straighter.
"Draco, this is a wonderful opportunity for you, dressed up for the public as a punishment nearly as wretched as spending five years in Azkaban. You have so much potential to make a huge impact in our community Draco, whether for good or for ill. You are simply too powerful, and too vulnerable, and much too young to be thrown into the burden of heading the Malfoy Empire on your own."
Draco shook his head. "The Wizengamot is manipulating my life just as much now as any outside force could! You're taking my life from me! For Salazar's Sake, I've only got about two hundred thousand Galleons in my Gringott's account! Five years! I'll be twenty-four before I can access any more. What-"
"Well I suggest you get yourself a job then, Mr. Malfoy!" Ms. Hopkirk's voice got very sharp just then, and when Draco cut his eyes over to her he found a very displeased, very matronly looking witch glaring at him.
"I'll have you know, Mr. Malfoy, that there are a great deal of wizards and witches in this world that don't see that many Galleons in their life, let alone in their Gringott's account on any given day. And for your information, the current Galleon-to-Pound exchange rate is 1:10.025, meaning that your measly two hundred thousand is worth roughly two million, twenty five thousand Pounds. That, Mr. Malfoy, will get you along just fine for five years. You can even pay for your own school tuition and purchase a home if you want, with Pounds to spare. As long as you don't fritter it away on ridiculous luxury items, there is no reason to believe money will be a problem for you." Ms. Hopkirk shook her head and proceeded to change the conversation's focus.
"Now, if you don't mind, I would like to explain the Magic Suppression and start working out your exit plan." Ms. Hopkirk stood and leaned over her desk to retrieve two of the folders, and sat back down next to Draco, allowing him the opportunity to read through the contents.
Draco's exit plan included a change of clothing, a disillusionment charm, covert side-along apparition, a briefcase full of paper Muggle money, and the selection from a paper map of one of five towns that he could settle in.
All five communities, each in different counties spread across England, all had at least two squibs or other magically-suppressed individuals living there. The community Draco selected, Little Whinging, he chose merely because it was the furthest to the south, and situated closer to London than any of the others. Hell, there had even been a village to the northeast of his family's estate in Wiltshire, but he didn't fancy spending five years that close to his family's ancestral home, and not be able to even find it to burn it to the fucking ground.
Standing in the changing room right down the hall from Mafalda's court-side office, Draco appraised his new clothing distastefully. He had seen Potter and his cronies in these kinds of jumpers before, hooded with a front pocket that he could stick his hands through like an old fashioned ladies' hand muff. And the dark navy woven cotton trousers, jeans, they were called, looked stiff and heavy. Cheap. It all looked cheap. He sat down on the wooden bench to remove his sleek, black Italian leather shoes and reached for the blue and white canvas and rubber shoes with bright white laces. All-Star, they read on a rubber label stuck on the heels. Shameless advertising? How utterly gauche.
All trussed up in his itchy new muggle gear, Draco left the room without looking at his reflection in the mirror, not wanting the view to burn into his memory. His last opportunity to look at his reflection as a wizard and he had no intention of taking it.
Ms. Hopkirk was sitting at her desk again when he walked back into her office. Draco felt his heart rate increase exponentially when he saw his familiar and long missed wand lying in front of her on her desk.
"Well Draco, this last bit we do here is going to be by your own hand. You see, no one can take your magic from you. It has to be self-inflicted."
Mafalda picked his wand up by the tip and extended her arm, passing his wand, handle first, to him. He gratefully accepted it, even knowing that what he had to do now would separate him from this… this part of him, as essential as his arms and legs… he'd missed the feeling of having his wand in his hand. Wandless magic was difficult, and while he'd mastered a few simple, albeit life-saving spells, there was nothing so self-affirming as holding one's own wand. With his wand, Draco knew his worth as a wizard. Spending the last few weeks without it had been agonizing to say the least. And now, well, five years was nothing like a few weeks. And no amount of practicing was going to make wandless magic come out of him once his magical core was removed.
Would it hurt? Would he be weaker? Draco imagined this would be similar to losing at least three quarters of his lungs. He'd barely be able to breathe, and no amount of rationing oxygen could make him stronger. There would be no escaping, no fixing, and no healing from this wound for five miserable years.
"All right now, Mr. Malfoy. With Magical Suppression, your magical core will be extracted from your body and stored in your wand. Essentially your wand will become a part of your body that will remain here at the Ministry. Don't worry, it will be in a locked vault that you and I alone will have the keys to access. And we have to use them simultaneously to open the vault. Your magical core has certain physical characteristics that have always been a part of you, even before your magic manifested in your youth, and once it's removed you will notice that your physical appearance will change. This varies from person to person, depending on the strength of the individual and the way each person's magic manifests itself in their appearance. Some people experience eye-color changes, skin texture, hair color and texture changes, and a general change of their body's chemical makeup. Your body's natural immune system may change as well. You may find yourself with allergies or other illnesses that your magic has always defended your body from. I have a Healer on hand to do a full medical sweep before we set you loose though." Here Mafalda actually smiled at him, as if she were sharing a joke.
Draco felt nausea well up inside him. This sounded much, much worse than losing lung function.
"I'm going to be weak? I'm going to look… different? I'm going to get sick?" Draco was horrified by the cruelty that was being heaped on him. There was nothing that he'd done in his life that warranted this kind of torture.
"Not necessarily, Draco. Like I said, this manifests itself differently in different people. And we won't know until we try. Now, the incantation is Magus Eripe. Fairly simple, I know, but quite effective. Just aim your wand at your sternum, right under your heart." Mafalda stood and walked over to Draco, helping him to properly aim his wand at the base of his sternum.
"Fucking hell." Draco muttered. His hands were shaking. He did NOT want to do this.
"This fucking sucks!" He shouted. Mafalda jumped, startled. Draco had been rather quiet about the whole thing since he'd returned from changing his clothing, so much so that she'd thought he'd reconciled himself to his future. Hmm, perhaps not so much, then. She sympathized with him, really. The boy had just lost his mother, his father was in prison, and while he'd helped win the War, he'd lost all of his friends, his fortune, and essentially, his freedom. Now he was losing an intricate part of his physical being. And he was, after all, just a boy. The War had aged them all, but really, the children who'd fought in the War had aged the most. They had lost so much. Innocence, security, faith…
In the end, a young boy the same age as Draco had been forced to sacrifice his own life to put an end to the War. And while the entire Wizarding World was grateful for Poor Harry Potter's sacrifice, he was, in the end, a child who'd died. Mafalda fervently hoped that Draco could see one day how much she and the entire Wizengamot wished to protect him from that same fate. They'd already altered the memories of the entire courtroom to believe that Draco was leaving Britain to live on the Continent in one of his family's homes. According to the news that was probably already spreading across the Wizarding Community, Draco would be continuing his education at a Muggle University somewhere in France. Since his father's family was French, and Draco spoke passable French, this shouldn't be a big stretch of people's imagination to believe.
Hiding Draco in plain sight, so that she could keep a close eye on him, at least partially ensured his safety for the next five years. When he picked Little Whinging, of the five choices he'd been given, Mafalda hoped that this selection proved that she and the Wizengamot had indeed, made the best decision for Draco's life. Serendipity or fate or sheer luck would land him in Poor Harry Potter's home town. Over the next five years, Mafalda sincerely hoped Draco would be able to fully grasp not only what Potter, the Order and the Ministry had worked so hard to protect, she hoped that he would be able to shuck off any latent inclination towards his father's ways. What the Ministry absolutely did not want, and was trying to avoid with Draco's unconventional sentence, was a Second Dark Lord. Too many of Draco's father's friends were still out there, lost and looking for a new leader.
Would five years be enough? One thing Mafalda was pretty sure of, was that Draco had joined the Order under Severus Snape's tutelage out of a driving need to thwart the Dark Lord, simply to save his own hide, as well as his mother's. His prejudices, however, were an unknown factor here. Draco had worked closely with Potter's gang for the past two years, but again, had enough comraderie formed to break down Draco's unbelievably skewed cultural views? Ms. Hermione Granger was one of the few members of the Order to keep up communication with Draco while he was under his house arrest. Mafalda wondered if that was out of compassion for Draco's wretched situation with his Mother, who had suffered and eventually died horribly from a collection of years of abuse and a few strategically placed curses from her own husband's hand, or if the two former classmates had formed an actual friendship….
Or more? Probably not more. Ms. Granger, being Muggle-born, had more sense that to mix up with someone like Draco. Plus, she was involved with young Mr. Weasley, wasn't she? Yes, Mafalda was sure she'd seen pictures of them in The Prophet. At Poor Harry Potter's funeral, at the Tonks-Lupin funeral, at… well, a lot of funerals.
Draco had his eyes clenched shut, and was currently digging the tip of his wand into the base of his sternum, as she'd directed.
"It's not going to hurt Draco. I promise. Anything that we've learned from other's experiences has been that the incantation brings a feeling of lightheadedness, and maybe a little nausea. But no pain." Mafalda had her hand on Draco's shaking shoulder.
"Now, the incantation, again, is Magus Eripe. Magus Eripe." Mafalda squeezed his shoulder. She was surprised to see a tear leak out of the corner of his tightly closed eye.
Draco wished he could escape this. Hate, blood, death, loss, War… Mother…. There was so much to want to escape from. His home, his life, his family, his past, his identity, his future. It was all a fucking endless nightmare. Fuck it. At this rate he'd probably be dead within a month.
"Magus Eripe," he spat from between his clenched teeth.
Then he gasped as his wand sank more than an inch into his chest. It didn't hurt. But it felt bloody weird. His body began to heat up. He felt like all of his blood and energy was converging in his chest. He glanced down to see his wand… changing color? The deep black of the Hawthorne was bleaching gray, then lighter, finally to a gleaming pale silver. The energy and heat in his body pulled harder into his chest, emptying into his wand. Finally, with a dull pop, his wand pulled free from his chest.
Salazar's Soul. His wand looked like a fucking spike. A silver, metal spike. Like a damned weapon. Draco's head spun. This is what his magical core looked like? A weapon? What kind of person did that make him? Foggily he heard Ms. Hopkirk saying his name, as his hand opened and his wand, the fucking metal spike that it now was, fell to the floor. Draco dropped to his knees. Black spots. Waves rushing in his ears. He pressed his head to the cool wood floor. He did not want to vomit, but he could feel bile rising.
"Sick.." he rasped. Ms. Hopkirk, intelligent woman she was, Summoned a rubbish bin which he quickly grabbed and deposited his morning coffee and toast into.
Groaning, Draco shoved aside the bin and lay down flat on the floor. He curled into a fetal position, eyes still squeezed shut and hands clasped around his stomach. Mafalda scurgified the rubbish bin, and then, laying a hand on Draco's twitching shoulder, spoke quietly.
"Okay now, Draco. The worst has passed. I am going to call the Healer to give you a check over, and as soon as you're ready to walk, it will be time for us to go." With that, she opened the door and exited the room.
Draco rolled onto his back once he heard the door shut. He opened his eyes and looked up at the ceiling. He did a quick mental check of his faculties. Sight, sound, touch, taste… ugh… his mouth tasted like acid. He felt different though. Tired. He felt languid, lazy. After an enormous mental effort, he heaved himself into a sitting position just as the door opened to reveal Ms. Hopkirk and a Healer in light green robes.
"Well now, Mr. Malfoy. Are you still feeling dizzy? Sick?" Draco shook his head to clear it, and then shook it again in answer to the Healer's questions.
"Do you think you can stand, or would you rather sit? Either way works for me, dear." The Healer said as she pulled her wand from an interior pocket in her robe. Draco saw Ms. Hopkirk bend down to retrieve his wand. Funnily enough, Draco had no urge to touch the thing. It was so fucking scary looking it made him sick to look at it. Draco averted his eyes and cautiously rose to his feet.
"Good! Good, Mr. Malfoy. You're recovering nicely, then. Now, just a quick wave and I'll be able to diagnose any allergies or other ailments that you will need to be aware of. Weak veins, heart issues, and whatnot can come up with this spell, as well as the condition of your immune system and any allergies your magical core has protected you from." The Healer talked as she waved her wand up and down as she paced slowly around Draco's body.
"Hmm, no heart or brain function issues. That's good. No circulatory issues. All internal organs functioning normally. Hmm, digestive. Well, Mr. Malfoy, you are now Lactose Intolerant. This means your first allergy that we have come across is an allergy to dairy. No cheese, no milk, no yogurt. All right? Not life threatening, but it would certainly bother your stomach and would also aggravate your immune system and any other allergies that come up. Now, lung functions are good, and your skin in good health, in fact, I think you'll find you're not as sensitive to the sun as you used to be Mr. Malfoy." The Healer walked in circles around Draco, occasionally focusing her waving wand on small areas of his torso.
"Well, it appears that you have a cat allergy. Not life threatening unless you try to inhale or eat one, and I'm sure you'll manage to avoid that. Oh, here's one that might be a bother. Strawberries. No strawberries for you, Mr. Malfoy." The Healer finished her pacing and looked at him expectantly.
"Cats, dairy, strawberries. All off-limits. Other than that, you seem to be in perfect health." The Healer smiled at Draco. Then she retrieved his wand from Mafalda and looked at it closely.
"Oh my, yes. I can see why your health is so good, but why you look so different now," she tutted to herself as she rolled the creepy silver spike in her hands.
Draco frowned. He looked down to his chest, then raised his hands to inspect them. His skin color was… odd. Not so pale, not so, luminescent. Merlin, that sounded so feminine. His skin color was duller. That was it. And his fingers didn't seem so tapered and thin. They looked more… masculine? He rolled his eyes as he brought his hands up to his head and ran them through his sleek hair.
Which was not so sleek anymore. Draco's mouth fell open.
"Mirror," he barked.
Sympathetically, Mafalda transfigured a paper from her desk into a large handheld mirror, then handed it over. Draco was utterly shocked. His face! His hair! He barely looked like a Malfoy anymore!
His once baby-fine, silver blond hair was now a darker, straw colored blond. And it wasn't so baby-fine anymore. It was coarser. And it almost had a tiny bit of a wave. Yuck! The skin on his face, like that on his hands, was a duller, darker color. Yes, he could see why the Healer said he wouldn't have sun sensitivity issues. His eyes, too, were darker. Gone was the Malfoy silver, replaced by a dark slate. And overall, his face was less… Sharp…
Draco shuddered. Now he could see why his wand looked so unbelievably creepy. All the sharp angularity of his face and body had been softened, squared off, dulled and darkened.
He looked… Bloody COMMON.
Mafalda and the Healer were both nodding their heads and smiling.
"Yes, this makes perfect sense. It seems that most of your magical core was attached to your physical characteristics. You're lucky, really. You'll have an easier time assimilating into the Muggle culture without the health issues that I've seen happen to some people in your situation." Mafalda patted Draco on the arm. He still hadn't said anything yet. What was she expecting? A bloody Thank You?
"Well, thank you, Madam for coming in to see Draco. As you know, he's got quite a bit of travel ahead of him, so we'd best get prepared to head out." Mafalda shook the Healer's hand, and, pocketing Draco's wand, led the woman to the door. Once the Healer was gone, Mafalda busied herself organizing and closing the folders still lying on her desk. Then she came over and gently pried the mirror out of Draco's frozen hands.
Draco frowned and focused his gaze on Ms. Hopkirk.
"It's time to go, Draco. We still need to lock up your wand before we can leave. Put your hood up now, so I can disillusion you." With a tap of her wand, Draco felt the cold water feeling drip down his body. The last touch of magic he'd feel for the next five fucking years.
To Be Continued.