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     Draco Malfoy lay in his bed wide awake watching the ever present group of tabloid columnists circling his property like vultures. The paparazzi had begun their harassment shortly after the war ended and the trials started.  It had been announced that there would be trials for each and every Death Eater, starting with his father, Lucius Malfoy, who allowed Voldemort to reside in his house through most of the war.  He had fallen victim to a very public trial that was dragged out for months in which he received the harshest punishment under wizarding law, the dementor’s kiss. Their family attorneys attempted to appeal the sentence, but they were denied repeatedly.  Draco knew exactly what was happening.  Because the Malfoy name was so prominent, his father was being used as a very public example.

    Even now, Draco still had nightmares about the day the kiss was performed.  Countless friends and family members had advised him not to go.  Everyone told him that he would want to remember his father as he was, not as the empty shell he would be after his soul had been sucked out, but Draco felt it was his duty to be there for him since nobody else would be.

    Draco could remember arriving at Azkaban and feeling utter desolation. He had been quickly ushered into an interview room where he was allowed to spend fifteen minutes with his father.  His father spent that time telling him to be proud, carry on the Malfoy name, and to look after his mother.  It all seemed very impersonal for someone who was about to have their soul removed.  A minute before the execution was due to start, the guards entered and told them it was time to say goodbye. It was then that Lucius had done something that caught Draco completely off balance.  He grabbed his son and pulled him into a tight embrace. It was the first and only time Draco could ever recall being held by his father.

    Of course, the execution, if you could call it that, was horrific.  Lucius lay in the center of a cold, metal room strapped to a medical table.  Draco sat on the other side of a glass window watching the whole scene. 

    Slowly, a door opened and in floated a dementor cloaked in black robes.  It floated towards Lucius, placing its rotting hands on his cheeks.  Lucius was a proud man and refused to show any sign of fear, but as the dementor slowly bent down to administer the kiss a scream burst out of Lucius’ mouth and he began to thrash on the table. To Draco it seemed like it lasted forever, but in reality it only took a few moments for everything to stop.  The dementor pulled away and sucked in the last little strands of Lucius’ soul.  His body lay motionless on the table, still pumping air in and out of his lungs, but his eyes didn’t blink betraying the catatonic state he was in.

    Draco left that day, a changed man.  He had just witnessed possibly the most inhumane thing in his life and the only thing that could bring him any modicum of solace was the fact that at least his mother, Narcissa, hadn’t had to bear witness to it.  At the time, she was being held inside of Azkaban and was not allowed to attend.

    Narcissa’s trial followed shortly after.  An overzealous judge threw the book at her, even after Harry Potter himself testified that she had lied to Voldemort to save him.  When her trial ended, she was sentenced to life imprisonment in Azkaban.  A few weeks later she was dead.  Her body was found hanging by a bed sheet in her cell.  No one knew exactly how long it had been hanging there because the icy winds had prevented the usual decomposition. No note was found because she had no access to writing materials, but Draco suspected that even if she had, she would’ve had nothing to say.

    Days after he had buried his mother’s body, Draco began his own trial, which would soon become the most controversial of all the Death Eater Trials and would set future precedent for punishing child soldiers. He stood charged with the murder of Albus Dumbledore, aiding and abetting, and using unforgivable curses. During his trial, Draco had refused to speak on his own behalf regardless of how much his lawyers badgered him to do so.  In fact, he had felt convinced that whatever sentence was coming his way, he thoroughly deserved it.  It had seemed as though the trial was getting close to wrapping up when Harry Potter had once again stepped forward, this time bearing memories of both Albus Dumbledore and Severus Snape.

    The court watched the memories of Snape and Dumbledore planning to protect Draco, to save him from becoming a murderer, and of Snape stepping in and killing Dumbledore himself.  Those memories combined with Harry’s testimony had destroyed most of the evidence that had been presented to support Draco’s guilt. When word had escaped that Draco was likely to be set free, protestors and victims lined the courthouse with signs calling him horrible names.  The morning that the verdict was to be read, the protestors had hurled rotting food, rocks, shoes, and all sorts of other things at him.

     

    When he entered the building on the day the verdict was to be read, the protestors hurled rotting food, rocks, shoes, and all sorts of other things at him.  He barely flinched as they made contact.

    Inside the courthouse, Kingsley Shacklebolt read the verdict.

    “Draco Malfoy, you stand accused of the murder of Albus Dumbledore, aiding and abetting the Death Eaters, and for using unforgivable curses.  Any one of these charges could land you a lifetime in Azkaban and all three of them could result in the maximum punishment.  You have pled not guilty and even though you have refused to participate, your lawyers have attempted to defend your behavior.  While I do believe definitively that you committed horrible acts of violence during the war, I also believe you had no choice. You did not willingly track down Voldemort and offer yourself to his services. Instead, your family dragged you into it and for their protection you played along.  We’ve seen the evidence from the memories of both Severus Snape and Albus Dumbledore, which indicate that you played no part in the latter’s untimely death.  Therefore, this court finds you not guilty on the count of murder.  We do, however, find you guilty of aiding and abetting as well as use of unforgivable curses. As far as sentencing for those crimes, we will sentence you with time served. I suspect that everything you went through during the war and everything you’ve been through since is punishment enough. You are free to go Draco Malfoy.”

    That evening after the trial, Draco went home to the emptiness of his family’s vast manor only to find it swarming with reporters.  After days of not sleeping well, exhaustion finally overtook him. He was sound asleep when loud clicking sounds woke him up.

    When Draco opened his eyes, he saw a wizard from The Daily Prophet standing over him taking pictures. Instead of leaving immediately, the reporter had the gall to ask him for comment on his sentencing.  A few days later, a nasty article appeared in The Daily Prophet titled Draco Malfoy Sleeps Peacefully With Blood On His Hands. Next to the article were the pictures stolen of him while he slept.  It was after that incident that Draco had encircled his property with Caterwauling Charms and various protective spells to keep the media at bay.

    Tonight his protective spells seemed to be working quite effectively and slowly he was lulled into a sense of peace. His eyes began to get heavy and finally he could fight it no more. He whispered “Knox” and lay down in his bed.  Sleep overtook him quickly, although it was peppered by dreams of his parents.  He was dreaming of his mother when he was ripped from his sleep by the shrill sounds of one of his alarms.  One of the Caterwauling Charms on the far side of his property had been tripped.

    Draco slid from his bed, his feet landing on the freezing stone floor.  He snatched up a discarded robe off of the floor where it had been cast aside.  Slipping it over his head, he went downstairs to shut off the alarm.  He figured it must’ve been started when some paparazzi had tried to find a way on to the property.  Draco knew that the alarm had probably scared the intruder off, but none-the-less he felt the need to check.

    Upon opening the front door, it took Draco a few moments to realize that anything was wrong.  Suddenly, he took two steps back and slammed the door shut with force.  What awaited him in the gardens of Malfoy Manor was terrifying and he was certain no paparazzi could’ve done it.  For a few moments, he stood in his entrance way recalling what Pansy Parkinson had told him about the most recent attacks on Pureblood families. Thus far he hadn’t had any problem, but by the looks of his gardens that was all about to change.

    Draco sprinted up the stairs, pulled parchment from his desk, and furiously scribbled out a note.  He read it over once and tied it to his falcon.  With a wave of his wand the wind blew open. He walked over to his window and before releasing the bird whispered “I don’t care what you have to do to get him this letter, but he has to have it tonight. I don’t have much time.”  The falcon shot off of his arm and into the cold night air, leaving marks on Draco’s arm where the talons had dug in.

    Once the bird was out of sight, Draco sealed all of the windows. Calmly, he circled Malfoy Manor making sure that all of the doors and windows were protected by a wide variety of spells. He then returned to his room, sat on his bed, aimed his wand at his door, and waited.  He knew they were coming. It was just a question of when.

     

     

     






    Hi there,

    If you've been reading the story up to this point, I want to thank you for your patience with me. I'm an impossibly slow updater, due mainly to the fact that life and side projects keep me so busy. Just know that I will never abandon this story and that I've currently got several more chapters written out, so I'm hoping (but not promising) that the updates will pick up a bit.

    Thanks as always for reading! Please, freel free to leave me some feedback in the little box below.

    ~Kaitlin/TreacleTart

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