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Draco Malfoy: Redemption
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Love Draco Malfoy: Redemption

Prologue One


"Mistress Malfoy, er…" Tack the house-elf scuttled into the room and several Aurors—Draco knew them by the uniforms, the fact that his father used to take him to the Ministry to meet with his associates and discuss 'business' matters—entered the drawing-room with identical solemn faces. Draco could not abide fake solemnity any more than false sympathy, but he sighed heavily, marked the page in his book, set it on the cushion of his chair and stood up wearily. From the back of the group, a balding redhead stepped forward tentatively, and Draco appreciated that he alone actually looked a little upset to see Draco with his mother.

"Mrs Malfoy, I'm sorry this had to come about in such a way," Mr Weasley sighed, handing his mother a plum-coloured scroll sealed with silver wax and the 'W' seal of the Wizengamot. Draco glanced at his mother; her facial features were beginning to crumble from the beautiful, flawless façade she put on for strangers, but her hands betrayed her the most; her lovely elegant white fingers trembled as she reached for the warrant. With tremulous fingertips she broke the seal open and unfolded the papers.

"Your son will be taken into custody at Azkaban Prison," Mr Weasley said solemnly, eyeing Draco, and probably seeing his own eighteen-year-old son standing in his place. Draco realised that; realised why, for the first time in the history of Mr Weasley conducting any sort of raid on this house, he was so out of character; sombre. Usually he did his best to reassure Draco's mother that she would not come to harm and that Draco was not in any danger should anything happen. This time he was taking Draco away.

To Azkaban. With Father, Draco thought, inwardly shuddering, hoping to whatever gods really existed that he would not be anywhere near his father. They had arrested him in the Great Hall three days ago, an escaped prisoner. Today was Draco's eighteenth birthday. Blow out the candles, Draco thought resentfully.

"But he is only a boy!" his mother broke out in a sob, clapping an elegant hand to her mouth, tears already sparkling from her eyes and rushing over her cheeks and the fingers that blocked their paths temporarily. Mr Weasley's face fell even more, if it was possible, and he might have made a move to comfort Narcissa with the arm he outstretched, but Draco was quicker. The warrant crumpled in her hand as he hugged her as close to him as he could. He could feel his mother's body tremble as silent sobs and cold tears wetted his shirt.

"I'll be alright," Draco murmured into her ear, barely moving his lips. He knew he was lying. She choked a sob and gripped the fabric of his shirt in her fist, eyes clamped shut but tears still coursing freely down her cheeks. "Mother, I'll be alright. Azkaban can't be worse than how it has been."

His father had never talked about Azkaban, directly, but one evening after that meeting where he'd witnessed Charity Burbage's murder, Lucius had told Draco that being home again with Voldemort and the Death Eaters there was really no different to the atmosphere in Azkaban: perpetual fear and the feeling that all of your inadequacies, all of the mistake you had ever made, every nasty thing ever said to you, every event that left some horrific imprint on your mind, for him every time he'd had his heart broken, had been reawaken from his subconscious with no hope of escape.

"Besides, I'll be back," he whispered, even quieter than before, trying to convince himself as much as his mother. "You'll plan that big party for my twenty-first birthday you always wanted, and my wedding." His mother sniffed hollowly, giving him a weak smile as he gently let go of her. He nodded, turning the corner of his mouth up in a tiny smile. "Don't worry about me, Mother, please, not anymore."

"You're my precious, darling: I am your mother. It is my job to worry about you," Narcissa choked tremulously, brushing the heel of her hand across her high cheekbones, which glistened with tears.

"I love you," Draco whispered, brushing his lips against his mother's wet cheek. Her eyes had closed, her brow drawn together, her lower lip trembling, and Draco turned his eyes to the floor as he turned towards Mr Weasley. One of the Aurors started forward, but Mr Weasley barred him with an arm thrown across his chest.

"Unnecessary. You won't make a fuss, will you, Draco?" Mr Weasley said kindly. Draco shook his head.

"No sir," he said softly, offering his wand handle-first to Mr Weasley. He glanced at the wand, and into Draco's face, and gave him a tiny, encouraging smile as he took it.

"I'll take good care of this," he said, giving Draco the only earnest look he'd ever really received in his life, except from Dumbledore. He witnessed his wand being pocketed by Mr Weasley and gave a tiny sigh as Mr Weasley held out his arm for Draco to leave the room. Once outside, Draco glanced around; the Aurors were back far enough to give him privacy but close enough to come to Mr Weasley's aid should Draco be foolish enough to run for it. He couldn't Apparate without his wand.

"You will take care of my mother, won't you?" he whispered frantically, so his voice was little more than a soft hiss. "She isn't happy." Her mother had been silent, in deep depression, for several months. His Branding at the beginning of sixth-year had triggered it, more so than her husband's arrest. She had already lost one man she loved, she couldn't lose the other, the one she cherished above all else; the one she had given birth and life. The one she had witnessed being warped and twisted and manipulated by her husband into a little Lucius clone, with no way to protect Draco from it.

"I will, Draco, you don't have to worry about that," Mr Weasley said softly. Draco glanced over his shoulder; he could hear her weeping, and he stared straight ahead of him again so the Aurors couldn't see his face twisting as his eyes burned. "And you can count on a fair trial, Draco, I promise you that as well."

"Are you taking me to Azkaban?" Draco asked. Mr Weasley had a strange, calming influence on him. He probably did on everyone he met. He was one of those innately good people Draco had met so few of.

"No, unfortunately I am not," Mr Weasley said solemnly, but Draco didn't hate him for not wanting to go there. "Mr Rigel here will be escorting you." He gestured to one of the hardest-looking men accompanying them, but as he was indicated by Mr Weasley, he nodded briefly and gave Draco a small smile of encouragement. Whatever the paperwork said, and whatever Draco had seen, Draco was still a child. They all knew that; Mr Weasley saw that the moment he'd clung to his mother. Passing a gilt mirror in the foyer, Draco saw a stranger; huge, wide scared grey eyes, exceptionally pale, ashen sunken cheeks, colourless lips. The look of a completely bewildered young animal.


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Several hours later, Mr Rigel closed the cell-door shut and scraped the key in the lock. Draco winced and shivered as he glanced around his cell; urinal, window, pallet for a bed. A folded wool blanket. He stepped onto the pallet and looked out of the window; fog, nothing else. Just blinding fog. He wondered vaguely where his father was. Already, he was replaying the worst moments of his life in chronological order.

When he had accidentally left his hamster out in the conservatory in winter, finding it frozen solid the next morning. Father beating him because Draco had upset the cauldron in his working-study and spilt the experimental potion all over the Persian rug; falling from his first ever broom in the plum orchard and breaking his neck; Mother's hysterical sobbing when she'd thought he'd died.

He hadn't… But Draco wished he had…

He wouldn't have to see Harry Potter's frown in Madam Malkin's when Draco had spoken so snootily to him, thinking him someone he could impress with his knowledge of Hogwarts. He had never had any friends; he didn't know how to make any of his own. Being Sorted into Slytherin and watching Potter and Weasley grinning together at the Gryffindor table. Seeing that thing feeding off that beautiful unicorn (with a mane of shimmering silvery hair that had reminded him so much of his mother he had cried all night when detention was over, home-sick for his mummy) in the Forbidden Forest. That deep-seated, boiling feel in his stomach whenever he saw Harry Potter playing in the quidditch games in first year, because he knew that Harry Potter had friends and people liked him.

Second-year, seeing Mrs Norris hanging from a sconce, completely frozen, with blood all over the walls. Knowing who was causing all of the attacks, even though she didn't, unable to speak because Father had promised to punish him severely if he meddled. Then that girl had been taken.

He hadn't meant to provoke that Hippogriff. Well, Father said he should do whatever it took to depose Hagrid of his position; Draco hated pain and he hated blood even more. Being smacked in the mouth by Hermione Granger; he couldn't remember now why she'd done it, but he knew he had provoked her. Knew he'd deserved every curse that had been thrown at him over the years. He hated saying all those horrible things to Rita Skeeter about Harry Potter and…and Hermione Granger.

.


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Old Post Apr 17th, 2010 10:46 AM
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Prologue Two


The time they'd buried Blaise's cat by the lake amid snowdrops and lovely daffodils and purple crocuses. Blaise had cried and Draco had punched Goyle in the mouth for laughing, and then he and Blaise had gotten into a fight, the biggest, because he said he didn't need sticking up for and Draco said he was just trying to be nice, and Blaise snarled that "you're Draco Malfoy, you're never nice. You're the most cold-hearted person I've ever met." At the same time, he knew Weasley wasn't talking to Potter and he wondered what kept him now from showing Potter he wasn't just a royal ****-up with an attitude problem and superiority complex.

He just wanted to be like his father. Surely Potter understood that sentiment.

Having to ally himself with that toad because it would help his "future prospects" by joining the Inquisitorial Squad. Having everybody hate him even more because he had an additional badge on his robes.

He hated being hated.

The day Neville Longbottom had almost jumped him, flailing limbs, incoherent because he was so angry, being held back by Harry Potter and Ron Weasley, both of whom looked as shocked as Draco had felt. Then he'd found out from Blaise that his aunt, Bellatrix Lestrange, had tortured Longbottom's parents into insanity. That they had lived at St Mungo's since their son was nearly two years old.

The day he'd met his Aunt Bellatrix, her husband, his brother. Lunatics. The husband wasn't that bad, though. He was kept under Bellatrix's spell. Entranced by her beauty, he'd married her out of Hogwarts. Blinded by her beauty, he'd never known what she was capable of.

The Brand. It had burned his arm for a month before it started to heal. Seeing his mother's face, over and over again, with that disappointment turning down her pretty mouth, the sorrow manifesting in her beautiful eyes. As though she would never be able to look at Draco the same way again, as if he had mortally offended her. He had. He sank onto the pallet, curled in the cold stone corner, crying softly.

He'd had to go back to Hogwarts for sixth year. He'd caught Harry Potter spying on him. Instead of taking the high-road—either letting slip some hint about what he was doing to help the Order, or just letting Potter go—he'd kicked his nose in. He'd broken Potter's nose and caused the blood to spurt all over his face, probably spoiling that miraculous liquid-water cloak when he'd covered frozen Potter with it.

His entire sixth-year was put on repeat. He didn't even notice what the pallet smelt like when he buried his face in it to stop the others hearing him sob. Inadequate, fool, useless, untalented—Cold hearted.

Knowing Potter had known about him being a Death Eater. Unable to talk to him or Snape because Voldemort would certainly have killed his mother without a second thought.

Dumbledore. The only person in the entire world who could see anything worth saving in a boy like Draco. Gone. Two words and a flash of green lightening. The lightening outside his window echoed his own thoughts and he shuddered, choking on tears, hugging his knees to his chest, as he saw Dumbledore's body arch off the tower.

Even when he drifted off to sleep, though his block was not patrolled directly by Dementors as they were the less-dangerous ones awaiting trial, he knew they were all around, and his dreams were becoming more like the nightmares only a young child alone in a big bed in a strange new room could think up.

He wanted his mother, but all he could see of her was that look of bitter disappointment turning down her pretty mouth, the sorrow manifesting in her beautiful eyes. As though she would never be able to look at Draco the same way again, as if he had mortally offended her. He had.


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Stepping into the halfway-house inside the Ministry of Magic, Draco felt an irrepressible urge to let his shoulders relax, let his chin rise a bit and take a deep gulp of air and sigh. It was warm. God, being away from the Dementors, it was like being born again. As if he just taken some incredible drug and everything he witnessed, he did so through brand-new senses he hadn't know he'd had before. Colours were more vibrant, the warmth sweltered through his whole body and caressed his face, and each breath of air he took into his lungs was fresh and clean and wholesome and imbued his emaciated body with strength and warmth. Even the shackles binding his wrists felt lighter, the metal didn't chafe so much against his already raw skin. Instead of stinging painfully, the grazed skin tingled almost pleasantly.

The only person other than the guard in the little antechamber was Mr Weasley, and he greeted Draco with a smile so genuine Draco might have believed he was truly happy Draco had been released.

"Draco…Well, let's have a look at you," Mr Weasley frowned concernedly, eyeing him up and down with deep furrows in his brow. "Well, you'll need some fattening up, that's for certain! But you're not the worst we've seen from leaving that place." That was probably true, Draco thought, except that Mr Weasley couldn't see Draco's brain working. It was alright that his body had been released from that place, but his mind…he knew it would take a while before he ever returned back to normal.

He remained silent as Mr Rigel undid the shackles on Draco's wrists and those dragging on the floor between his ankles, and Mr Weasley produced the freshly-laundered clothing that Draco had been wearing when he was arrested. Unlike that day, no one watched him undress to check for any arms other than the wand he had given over freely, but what disconcerted Draco now, more so than stripping in front of a half a dozen people, was the fact that his jeans no longer sat comfortably on his hips. They sagged, baggy, and were several inches too short. The shirt was the softest thing he'd felt in months, and he relished the feel of the silk dancing over his bare, cold skin. But it was loose, too, except on his shoulders.

"Are you ready?" Mr Weasley smiled. He opened the heavy reinforced doors with a flick of his wand and instantly Draco heard hushed whispers and winced as light bulbs flashed beyond the door.

"Just keep your eyes down and ignore everyone," Mr Weasley advised in a low whisper. "Come on." He gripped Draco's shoulder comfortingly and started walking; Draco followed. At least a dozen reporters were waiting milling around; voice-recorders thrust into his chest as soon as he exited the antechamber, bombarding him with questions. The only voices he had heard in months had been the screams of the other prisoners and his own muffled cries when he woke up in the middle of the night in a cold-sweat from his nightmares, and the cold, unforgiving voices of the Wizengamot. It was easy to ignore each individual question because the din they created together echoing off the stone walls made it impossible to decipher one voice from the other, and he followed Mr Weasley mindlessly, following the sparse but vibrant red hair.

They entered the corridor outside the great Wizengamot courtroom, away from the press. Only one person stood waiting patiently, her hands the only hint of anxiousness; clad in supple black leather, her fingers gripped each other, twisting, and she nibbled her lower-lip in nervous apprehension. Silvery blonde hair cascaded either side of the pale, slender face, glittering in the lamplight, glowing against the dark black velvet of her robes.

"Mother!"

He ran to her, and a great overwhelming swell of emotions had him near collapse as he clung to his mother's slender frame. He heard her soft pants as she cried into his shoulder, hugging him to her, and tears streamed down Draco's face onto her mother's dressrobes and clinging to her hair like dew on a spider's web


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