The Darkness and The Light
Draco turned around expecting to see his mother and when he saw that she wasn’t there, he felt more alone than he could ever imagine. He did double take after double take, blink after blink: Where did she go? Why was it that people just seemed to have this habit of suddenly disappearing on him? What was going on?
Then, he heard it.
A loud and thunderous laughter that he had heard many, many times in his life. If he had been any other child, or if he had had any other father, a laugh like that would have been a very good thing. But, no, this particular laughter was not only booming, but it was laced with something that Draco recognized as a mix of mockery and disdain.
All he ever does is laugh at me, Draco thought bitterly as he began to look around for his father who was nowhere to be seen.
The laughter that made Draco tremble all over sounded again, this time somewhat louder and his father’s disembodied voice came from somewhere in the darkness: “That’s because you’re such a foolish boy, Draco! You’re weak! You don’t fight back! What’s wrong with you, Draco? You’re a Pureblood and a Malfoy; don’t you know what that means?”
Draco continued to look around for Lucius, trying to figure out what direction his voice was coming from and then came to an odd conclusion: it wasn’t coming from any direction. It was just there. He gave no answer to this question; he just stood and listened to his father condescend as he most often did.
When there was a silence and he thought it was over, Draco turned to walk away and was met with his father standing right behind him. Lucius placed his thumb and forefinger on his son’s chin, gripping it tightly and bringing his face up close to his own.
“You’re pathetic,” Lucius growled. “You couldn’t even dispose of that worthless Mudblood, you couldn’t fight her friends and you won’t be getting yourself out of this mess, either.”
For a second, Draco stared back into his father’s cold silvery eyes and debated whether or not to speak. If he voiced any sort of retort here, his father would surely make him pay dearly for it, but something was compelling him. He had to get this out in the open. He threw caution to the wind as he slowly spoke:
“That’s a lie, Father. I can fight. I fought and got myself out of the lake when I was twelve, remember? I’ll get myself out of this.”
Once the words were out there, Draco couldn’t believe that he had found the courage to speak them. A strange calmness swept over him and he couldn’t think of a time when he had felt so brave. His eyes never left his fathers’ for suddenly they were visually locked in some sort of stare down and Draco had proven to him that he was not afraid of him any longer.
The look of hatred dispersed from Lucius’ eyes and Draco was expecting to see respect, but upon narrowing his eyes and getting a closer inspection, he realized that what he was expecting, was not so.
A wide, bemused smile crossed across Lucius’ face as he pushed Draco to the ground. Draco fell to the ground on his back with a hard and painful thud! with such force that he even skidded about a foot away from where he should have landed. He realized that he didn’t dare get to his feet, so he just sat up and rubbed the place on his chin where his father’s fingers had gripped him so tightly. It was a lingering pain and Draco would have sworn that he may have even had little dents on his jawbone.
“Foolish boy, you’ll die because you were weak!” Lucius said with a smirk as he threw his head back in laughter.
“No, I won’t,” Draco muttered softly as he turned his gaze to the black floor that he sat on. He looked up to see if his father had heard him, but as always seemed to be the case these days, Lucius had disappeared.
After hours of watching Draco lie motionless and being locked inside his head with his own twisted thoughts, Lucius finally gave up and Disapparated from his son’s room. Narcissa had all of her attention on her son and had barely said two words to Lucius since he had implied that Draco had to get out of this by himself.
Healers were in and out of the room again and Narcissa had just gone to stare out of the window while they took his vital signs. It was remarkable that his heart had not stopped as of late and that gave her some hope. Maybe Lucius had been right: Draco had to get himself out of this.
As the last Healer left, Narcissa took her usual vigil at Draco’s side and took one hand in hers while using her other to stoke the side of his cheek.
“I probably shouldn’t tell you this, but since you’re my son, I think it’s okay,” she spoke in a hushed tone. “Despite anything that you may think, when I found out that you were growing inside me, I was so happy. I knew that you would be special,” a tear formed at the corner of her eye and made its way down her cheek. “You’re a fighter, Draco. I know this. I knew it from the beginning; it’s how you got your name. Dragons are the strongest creatures in the land, just like you’re strong. I believe with every fiber of my being that you’ll pull through this, but I don’t think you can do it alone. I’m sorry, my dragon, but this much more severe than when your father placed you under the Imperius Curse.”
Narcissa leaned down and placed her lips on Draco’s forehead and she sadly reprimanded herself for not having done so as often as she should have. Lucius was not going to confront Harry Potter and his friends. That was evident. She would have to do it herself.
Draco had not been alone for very long when he looked up to see that red-haired boy that he had seen sometime before: the same one who had been struggling against binding ropes before him, the one who swore that he would make him pay; Ron Weasley.
Only now, the ropes were gone and he stood before Draco with his shoulders squared, his chest out and wand at his side. This could only mean one thing: The Weasel was looking for a fight.
Draco fought the urge to laugh in his face as stood up and crossed his arms across his chest, waiting for Ron to speak first.
“How does it feel, Malfoy?” Ron growled, his fingers tightening around his wand.
“What?” Draco sneered as he began to circle Ron the way a vulture might before swooping down on its prey.
“How does it feel to know that you’ve killed someone?” His voice sounded bitter and resentful.
“What are you talking about, Weaselby?” Draco smirked, coming to a halt behind Ron and sticking his head over his shoulder. “I haven’t killed anyone. YOU hexed ME. YOU killed ME.”
“No,” Ron said with a firm shake of his head. “You aren’t dead. I haven’t done anything. You killed her, Malfoy, and for that, you had to pay.”
Draco took a few steps around Ron, completing his circle and now stood face to face with him.
“I told you, I didn’t kill anyone.”
“But you did,” Ron said lowly, his knuckles now turning white around his wand. “You killed Hermione. Maybe you didn’t physically kill her, but she’s dead just the same.”
“What are you on about?” Draco asked, letting Ron know with the tone of his voice that he was sick of playing games.
“It’s what you’ve done to her. You raped her, broke her spirit, and now she’s dead inside. I can see it everytime I look into her eyes. She isn’t the Hermione that I know,” then he added to himself, as if an afterthought, “she may never be again.”
“Who cares?” Draco smirked as he turned his back to Ron. “She’s just a filthy little Mudblood anyway. I can’t believe I’m related to you, Weaselby. Why the hell would you want to go tainting the pureblood lineage with her dirty blood?”
“I love her,” Ron told him as he brought his wand up to waist level. “Unlike some, I don’t think lineage or blood matters. It’s the person.”
“You’re so pathetic!”
“It’s better than being someone that no one likes, Draco. Your own father doesn’t even like you.”
Draco didn’t think it possible; he was speechless. Ron Weasley had said something to him that actually stung him and left him speechless. Suddenly, the fight that Ron seemed to be looking for was on. Draco’s hands dove into his pockets, searching for his wand. When he found it in his left pocket, he tightly grasped it in his hand and brought it out to his side trying to be inconspicuous, so Ron wouldn’t hex him first.
There was no way that he was going to let a Weasley get the better of him. Not this time. He whipped around with his wand drawn and a Disarming Charm ready to escape from his lips. But, as always, he was alone.
“What the hell?” He screamed into the blackness. “What IS this?? What is going on?” He dropped his wand and when it hit the floor, it made a loud, hollow clattering noise that echoed all around him. Draco dropped to his knees seconds later, clutching his head in his hands and he couldn’t stop the tears from rolling down his cheeks. “Where am I? I don’t understand any of this!!”
“Ssh…” came a soothing voice. The next thing Draco knew, he could feel a pair of hands gently grabbing onto his wrists and trying to pry is his hands from his face. At first, he was reluctant. He didn’t want to deal with whatever vision may be awaiting him this time. But he soon came to the realization that he knew this touch. It was very familiar. He slowly took his hands down to see his mother knelt down in front of him, smiling.
“What’s the strongest creature in all the land?” she asked.
Straight away, he knew what she was leading up to by asking him this. It was a playful conversation that they had privately played since he was four years old. He always thought that he would love doing this with her no matter how old he got.
“D-dragon,” he sniffled, regaining composure. “The strongest creature in all the land is a dragon.”
She nodded. “That’s right and who is Mummy’s big, strong dragon?”
“Me,” he whispered and then a little louder, “it’s me. I am.”
Ron had not gotten any sleep that night. His conversation with Hermione earlier had had him pacing the common room floor all night long.
“Ron, if he dies, you’ll go to Azkaban! I don’t want that for you! You can’t want that for yourself!” Her voice rang inside his head.
She was right. He didn’t want that, he had heard about the horrors that awaited wizards in Azkaban. He was fully aware of the situation he was in, but he still thought that Draco deserved to die after mistreating Hermione. It was the only way to make sure that it would not happen again.
”I love you, Ron… I’m here with you and I’m fine now… It’s over. It’s just you and me, but you need to go to St. Mungos and-…”
He could he go to St. Mungos? What did Malfoy ever do to him but make life miserable for him and his friends? It wouldn’t only be an end to Hermione’s problems; it would also be an end to his if Malfoy died.
“Love, it can’t be worth it,” she had said.
But it was. Hermione’s happiness was everything in the world to him and if he had to go to hell and back to make sure that she was happy and truly safe from Draco, then so be it.
Ron had been pacing in front of the fire that burned eternal in the common room and when he heard a voice, he gave a small jump. He had thought that he was alone. He turned about in every direction looking for a body that belonged to the voice and saw no one. Maybe his mind was playing tricks on him.
“Excuse me?” said a female disembodied voice and this time, Ron heard exactly where it came from. He looked into the fire to see Narcissa staring back at him.
A/N: Sorry that this chapter is rather short, but I felt it a good place to stop for now. Thank you for all the great reviews!
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