Evil Author Day Excerpt
Hello All. This is an excerpt from one of many WIP’s I have in my folders. Like all of my HP work it’s an eventual Harry/Draco. This IS Evil Author Day so I won’t give a set date on any of my post just that I’m working on it. This is a rough draft, several years old and unbetaed. Both my writing style and thoughts on the work have changed. The final version is subject to serious rewrite.
Title: And When The Battle Was Won
Time Period: Post-War, Post-Hogwarts
Warnings: Graphic depictions of violence and illness, Strong Language. Some Weasley-bashing
Tags: Bad Post-War Relations, Poor!Harry, Hurt/Comfort, Disabled!Harry, UnusualCareer!Draco, EWE.
Plot: The aftermath of the war is not kind to Harry, his refusal to be used as a pawn of the Post War Ministry has made him persona non-grata in the Wizarding world. Beaten and brought low he is left for dead until Draco, a “Volunteer” Health Service Worker, who had been tasked with providing free general health services to the high number of disenfranchised wizards & witches left in the aftermath of the war. His job is dangerous and puts him in contact with the seedy underbelly that tends to victimize and cluster around those society turned its back on. Draco, when not doing his work spends his time nursing Harry back to health. Whether Harry likes it or not.
“And When The Battle Was Won”
By Broken Amethyst
The alleyway was dark, the neighboring houses long since abandoned and used for purposes by people who would rather not be disturbed. The House or what was left of it slanted and slumped in on itself made of slick stone walls that were slimy to the touch and obviously never known care nor cleaning. It sat in the Alley almost as long as there was an Alley and had paid witness to so many atrocities that the building itself became sentient with its own dark aura.
The roof was downward sloping from disrepair and its shingles and wood parts littered the alley below. The alley itself was dark and had an over powering stench of urine, blood, decay and just general filth that permeated throughout. The chipped cobblestones were wet and slick with some unknown but undoubtedly distasteful substance and were full of abandoned furniture, crates and bins that stacked up and sealed off its entrance from the artery of the main road of even greater ill repute.
There was only one other tinier entrance to the small side street; made by two abandoned store fronts barely large enough to fit a small adult woman but impossible for a fully grown and healthy male to squeeze through. For the pitiable huddling mass of tattered cloth leaning against the side of that small dark house, it was enough to allow it to stay in relative safety from the neighborhood’s organ dealers and thieves as there was always much easier prey to be found.
The mass of skeletal flesh was a man, or what could have once been taken as one. His curled body resembled more corpse than man, his eyes deeply sunken into their sockets from prolonged exposure to the elements and from severe lack of food for months on end. Every spinal knot was visible through the thin, stiff and filthy hole-ridden sheet wrapped around his constantly shaking shoulders. His cheeks jut out sharply, painfully, against his skin which was riddled with gaping open sores many of which oozed puss and blood. There was a milky substance dripping from his eyes that couldn’t see more than an inch ahead of him. Though his body is constantly shaking he himself can no longer lift his arms to shoo away the nesting rats, his only company in this desolate place besides the spiders and roaches, which had been nibbling bites of flesh from his legs.
His legs could barely be called that anymore, his skin is practically decaying in on itself with whole sections grotesquely displayed to the dirt and grime that caked deep into the open wounds. The constant sick moisture of the cobblestone and not moving because of weakness had left the muscles and bones in his legs absolutely useless. The mere fact the he was still slouching up against the wall of the house is only because when he weakly dragged himself there two weeks ago and he was too weak to move once he was planted. This horrid shell of a man, this paradigm of human suffering once went by the name of Harry…
‘The Ministry hasn’t changed much’ Draco sneered inwardly at the huge ostentatious and gaudy decorations lining the ministry’s main corridor. He silently wondered how much of his family’s gold he was walking on and passing in the expensive marble and jade corridor that was identical to almost all of the corridors in the rebuilt Ministry; it was purely a cocky display of wealth on the English ministry’s part, wealth that was collected from the English coffers of Dark, undesirable or just plain disliked families. Draco no longer wore the comfortable cashmere of his youth, the man he was now made sure never to live above his means or purchase anything without a strong daily use, he simply couldn’t afford it. He wore a thick cotton sweater purchased from a thrift shop in muggle London, it was a nice shade of grey; being damn near destitute was no excuse for bland colour taste if avoidable in his opinion, and dark grey denim trousers he used for his -mandatory- volunteer work, an oxymoron if he could say so himself.
He was roused from his thoughts by the sound of someone roughly pulling phlegm and saliva from their throat and into their mouth; he barely had time to stop walking before the disgusting mucus mixture landed with a sick splat onto his shoes. He turned to face the culprit who was a young probably barely 18 year old brunet man, tall and lanky with an unfortunate pox marked face and a filthy yellowed grin as he walked past him muttering about the “filthy pig fucking Death eater sullying his presence”. With patience a younger him would never have had Draco turned away to continue on his way, with no comment nor retaliation.
‘…And the people in the Ministry haven’t changed much either.’ he thought.
Not that it mattered much since those shoes had sloughed through and been in contact with far more distasteful things than the pitiful insult the young pillock thought he had dealt him. He continued on into the lifts taking them up to the seventh level of the Ministry where he walked down the less opulent and certainly less clean floor of the Volunteer Services, ignoring the looks of shear disgust and loathing shot at him as he passed the cubicles of many lower level workers to stop outside the door with gold plated lettering proclaiming it to belong to
‘CHEIF SUPERVISOR OF POST-WAR FREE COMMUNITY HEALTH SERVICES AND VOLUNTEER DEPLOYMENTS: AUGUSTUS BARGE IV. ‘
Draco inhaled a steadying breath outside the door, pausing for barely a moment to get his bearings while still being sure not to look weak in front of all of the sadistic vultures in the department just waiting to watch him fall apart. Finally as calm as he was going to get he knocked on the door and entered for his bi-weekly dose of Ministry appointed torture.
Augustus Barge was an ugly man.
He was a stout little man with a large gut from years of alcohol and general laziness. His chubby legs were stuffed in expensive Italian loafers and his poor pants were constantly in danger of falling and giving Draco a view he may have to obliviate himself for, only hanging on by suspenders that were fit to giving up as well, stretched way past the point any tailor would recommend by the bulbous belly of his superior. Barge’s face was one of the most unfortunate things Draco had seen in his life -and he had spent years in Hagrid’s class with his love of truly horrifying animals-Augustus Barge’s face has huge globs of flesh hanging down like the jowls of a massive dog, his eyes themselves were reminiscent of a pug’s with how huge they sat on his sizable head. The man was hairy as well, sporting a full head of dark hair which any man at his age would be proud of except for the fact that it was absolutely riddled with flakes of dandruff. While he keeps a hairless jaw line his eyebrows had become one entity; the shear thickness of it and its expansion into most of his forehead made him look even more animalistic than the rest of his appearance suggests.
All of this Draco could personally ignore if –
“Come in you nasty piece of shit!” Barge snarled as he waddled over to the large chair behind his desk and sat heavily behind it.
–If Augustus Barge wasn’t as ugly on the inside as he was on the out. Draco came fully into the room closing the door behind him to stand in front of Barge’s absolutely massive desk ignoring the two very comfortable chairs knowing full well that they weren’t for him. Barge’s chair must have been enchanted because even sitting down behind such a large desk the man was almost level to Draco’s chest. In actuality the man barely reached his chest when standing, something that must irk him in no small amount but then again Draco being alive irked the man.
Barge scrunched up his pimply nose as he approached as he often does when Draco makes his mandatory visit. “Do you not know how to bathe you filthy Death Eater?! You fucking stink, your whole kind stinks and your fucking smell lingers every time you drag your lazy ass into my office!” He leaned forward arms resting on his desk with his heavily ringed fingers laced. He glowered at Draco’s impassive face.
“You all should’ve been given the Kiss and called it a day, but I guess your family’s gold still holds weight eh?! Slimy piece of shit.” He muttered. It was a pointless statement since they both knew that the Malfoy family doesn’t have enough gold to buy a good owl let alone a Ministry official. But this was business as usual with Augustus. He would come in, Barge would verbally abuse him and he’d be given his weekly assignment and leave. Rinse, Lather and fucking Repeat for the past three years; Draco has been called everything from a slime covered son of a whore to the cream of Voldemort’s ass.
Barge seemed fond of slime comparisons.
This twice weekly abuse was all part of his sentence from the Wizengamot which, while not being able to give him the Kiss like his father though not for a lack of trying but when you have the Wizarding World’s Golden Boy giving evidence for a prisoner it would be political suicide to refuse it. Given no choice of a harsher punishment they sentenced him to two years in Azkaban, a term during which he often prayed for death and would’ve cursed Potter’s name if not for the fact that his mother was basically granted provisional clemency as a consequence.
Not that it did her much good because during his two year sentence his mother was brutally murdered in their weakly warded family home. The Wizengamot also gave the Ministry full discretion with what to do with him after he was released from his prison stay, Something which the Ministry took great pleasure in by making sure his family home was sold off while he was in prison and his inheritance subsequently seized for “war penalties” which was code for padding many higher ranking officials pockets, and rebuilding the mostly destroyed Ministry bigger and gaudier than ever; the all enduring fuck you to himself and the other families whose money was stolen to build the monument of their persecution whether they did wrong or not. Two years in prisoner for blindly following his father and kneeling at a madman’s feet had quickly stripped him of all illusions of both himself and his family. It was a long time for self reflection and the conclusion was easy to come to though still a bitter pill to swallow: They had did a lot of wrong.
He zoned out Barge as he brought his diatribe about everything from his stench to the disreputable-ness of his mother into full swing. Draco had gotten quite good at appearing unfazed by the insults and glares he received from not only Barge but everyone he comes across….everyone except most of the people he helped. It was they that made his punishment worth it, people that mainstream society forgets; the junkies, whores, homeless and most heart breaking of all: the children. All of whom he had run across and helped. His three years spent trying to make a difference just cemented a fact that he’d experienced firsthand; that the Wizarding world is not kind to those without money and who has kept “undesirable” company. They are the ones who see past the mark on his arm and just see the man; the man handing them a bowl of food, a packet of clothes or pointing them towards a help center. His last name is never sneered at; all of the people he helps just call him Draco. Just Draco.
“Are you listening to me you fucking gaping asshole!?” Barge slammed his fist onto his desk knocking over his quill holder while bringing Draco back to the room and present distasteful company he’s in. He wondered briefly if he should be concerned about Barge’s fixation on him and arses. He lied and nodded not that Barge would really care since he’ll still accuse Draco of drifting off. “Here’s your next assignment you slimy fuck.” Barge said, sliding a thin folder across the desk. Draco picked it up and quickly read the few lines on the paper. The paper that condemned him to a suicide mission.
Despite himself, he looked up quickly at Barge who was sporting the most satisfied malicious smirk Draco had seen in a long while.
‘Bastard’ Draco thought, the newest assignment is to patrol Nightshade-Upon-Knockturn for those in need of assistance. What a joke! Everyone in Nightshade-Upon-Knockturn is in need of something.’
Nightshade-Upon-Knockturn was at the furthest reach of Knockturn alley, an area so entrenched in dark magic that even in full daylight it was almost always covered in dark cloud cover at the least. Even Aurors wouldn’t dare pulling raids there unless an extremely high profile case is putting pressure on the higher ups. Borgin and Burkes looked as clean and legitimate as a 5th avenue shop compared to the wares to be found in any shop within Nightshade. Notorious for the sale of human body parts and slaves, Nightshade was fully swathed in illegal trade of all kinds, even the darkest of dark wizards tread carefully within its bounds. With the end of the war, it was the only stronghold of the Dark Arts that continued to flourish, a veritable no-man’s land of anarchy thriving in the heart of Wizarding London.
Draco would be far more likely of becoming another unknown victim of Nightshade than to help any one of the “needy miscreants” he’s supposed to find. Barge had sent him into tough neighborhoods in the past, understandable since those who need his help are often found there but he had steadily escalated to neighborhoods he wouldn’t send any other volunteer to especially alone but this; this is was an attempt at murder pure and simple. Barge absolutely despised Draco from the moment he first stepped into his office and had no problem proclaiming it to all who would listen especially the object of his ire, Draco knows there’s nothing Barge would like more than to see him dead and this was finally it.
‘That son of a bitch means for me to die today’ Draco scowled ‘and I can’t refuse this order either’ Draco clenched his hands into fists and for the first time openly scowled at Barge who showed him his teeth in return, knowing that he’s won.
“Your dismissed Death Eater scum”
Draco glared at the man one last time before turning towards the door but a call from Barge had him pausing “Oh and don’t forget to hand out plenty of help wanted ads on the way there!”Draco slammed the door behind him on his superior’s loud cackling. Stomping his way past the smirking cubicles he stabbed the button for the lift and cast up a silent prayer to the Goddess for safety, because really he was going to need it on his descent into the pits of hell itself.
“Abandon all hope ye who enter here” Draco snorted with a scowl
He had really thought once the war had ended that he could finally live his life as just Harry. That when the dust finally settled he’d have his friends, his family …and he’d have Ginny. He had really believed that, that he could live a normal life without Death Eaters or Voldemort or Rita Skeeter and enormous expectations. That the Wizarding world would calm down once it was finally safe and let their reluctant hero alone to live in peace with his loved ones. That the people he loved would always feel the same way. His level of naivety shocked even him when he thinks back.
After all of the funerals and celebrations, Ginny had finally approached him about getting back together and with the weight of the world finally off his shoulders Harry eagerly kissed her his answer. He can still remember Molly’s proud and happy look even while she nagged them about impropriety. Ron and Hermione’s knowing looks sent to them even while they themselves entwined their hands. Ron’s playful growls of “keeping his mitts off his sister”. The family getting together and laughing and having a good time for the first time since they’d buried Fred. He had been happy then, he had finally felt like he truly belonged at their table and everything was so perfect.
He was so blissful and secure in his reclaimed role as Ginny’s boyfriend, Ron ‘s best mate and just another son of Arthur and Molly Weasley ; that he thought nothing of the tightened looks he received when he told them he didn’t want to become an Auror, at least not so soon after all that had happened. He shrugged off the glares he received from everyone when he spoke up for Narcissa and Draco Malfoy at their Wizengamot Trial, the only time he paid attention to anything that was going on outside the haven of the re-fixed Burrow.
“How could go out and defend those slimy gits! Malfoy’s a fucking Death Eater! How could you choose them over us?” Ron screamed at him turning an awful shade of puce. He had hardly made it into the room that night when he came back from the Ministry and trudged up to the room he shared with Ron passing a stony faced Molly and Bill on the way before Ron had started in on him.
“What are you talking about Ron? I couldn’t let them get punished unfairly because the whole story wasn’t known!” Harry replied while changing into clean trousers readying for bed. “Look, I know you hate Malfoy and all that, Hell so do I! He’s a git we both know that! But I want a clean conscious Ron, and I owed Narcissa a freaking life-debt for lying about me to Voldemort. Now we’re even-”
“Yeah she and her snobby son get to skate on getting people killed!” Ron yelled.
“Ron they didn’t kill anyone!” Harry yelled back getting impatient, but apparently it was the wrong thing to say because the way Ron looked at him, even back then he should’ve recognized it because his normally cheerful eyes were a heated cold, like the hottest blue flame holding intense anger for him.
Really, he should’ve known.
“So I was right you are choosing them! What about my brother! Look at what they did to him!” Ron kicked the trunk at the foot of his bed hard enough to put his foot through. He went back to pacing the room, swinging his arms violently. Harry turned to face him feeling unease with having his back to him.
“Ron, I’m sorry. I really am mate. You know how I feel about you and all of your family. For Merlin’s sake you’re my brother! I just- I just felt that it was something that I needed to do. It wouldn’t have been right not pay her back.” Harry said earnestly, begging for him to understand.
“It’s always about the fucking saviour so who cares how everyone else felt.” Ron replied angrily shoving back the covers to climb into his bed with his back facing Harry. Harry sighed knowing that there was no use trying to talk anymore tonight he crawled into bed, whispered a mumbled nox to extinguish the lights and went to sleep unsettled. By morning all was still tense but appeared to be on the mend but it was the calm before the storm, the calm before his new found happy life was ripped to shreds.
He eventually moved out of the Burrow and got his own flat in Hogsmeade and after finally getting settled he opened his front door one Saturday morning to find Ginny at his door with what appeared to be an entire bedroom’s worth of suitcases. She gave him two quick kisses on the cheek then flounced into his apartment floating her bags behind her.
“I’ve moved out.” she said spinning around happily to face him. He feeling a bit floored asked confusingly
“Moved out? Out of the Burrow?”
“Duh, silly. I’m moving in so we can finally be a real couple! No more sneaking around or silencing charms!” she said exasperatedly with her hands on her hips. Shaking her head at him because he just stood there staring, she began to set about moving around his decorations to make room for her stuff. Once she had the living room the way she liked it she moved on towards the bedroom and out of sight, leaving him still rooted to the same spot. As thumps and bumps were heard from draws opening, closets rearranging clothing and just general reorganization, Harry finally came out of his stupor and irritation set in as he took in the changes she made to his place.
Her own personal mark, many of his small trinkets and bargain brand utilities were moved to some unknown place or just blatantly thrown in the trash. His then mild anger became boiling when he found the Snitch from Dumbledore and the odd little hand-made presents Hagrid had made him tossed carelessly onto the pile of “unnecessary” things. He rescued them from the rubbish bin before he stomped his way into his bedroom ready to let her know how much he didn’t appreciate her picking up and taking control over his place. He burst through the bedroom taking in all of the changes from the carpet colour to the bed sheets themselves. What he noticed the most was Ginny, laid out on those unfamiliar bed sheets in the palest, laciest lingerie he’d ever seen. Her fiery red hair standing out in sharp contrast to her pale skin. Most of his protests died on his lips as his brain tried to catch up to the violent shift from anger to arousal in less than five seconds. Apparently his shift wasn’t fast enough because Ginny lightly furrowed her brow sitting up.
“What’s wrong Harry?” she said, trying to purse her lips cutely. Harry, remembering the reason why he was there in the first place, scowled slightly.
“Ginny, you can’t just come in here and rearrange my things! You tossed in the trash some really important things of mine and I don’t appreciate it.” he sighed. Ginny finally stood up, her cheeks blushing red in anger instead of arousal.
“So what?! You don’t want to live with me is that it!?” The hurt and betrayal was plain to see on her face.
As angry as he was at her intruding without asking, as much as he was really looking forward to his independence; He really couldn’t take the betrayed look she was giving him. He sighed, “Look Gin, I’m sorry. Of course I want to live with you; I just didn’t think it would be so soon. I mean we just graduated you know?” He tried to ignore her increasingly red complexion “But you’re right, I do want to be with you”.
She huffed, still a little angry “Harry, I love you; you love me. There’s nothing more to talk about, now come here” Even though he felt there were many things that did need talking about as she wrapped her arms around his neck and their clothes began to disappear, he really for the life of him couldn’t remember a single one.
Things were going great.
Months went by before those small incidents of disapproval became the full disintegration of his contented life. It was innocuous; it seemed a completely innocent thing. He thought nothing of it when the Minister himself came to his flat after his third written refusal to be inducted into the auror corps. The new minister was a big man, almost Hagrid’s stature in height but muscled like a rugby player. His eyes were a beguiling blue reminiscent of Dumbledore and he spoke with a quiet assurance as if already confident that whatever he asks of you, you’d be quick and happy to comply. Harry stared up at the tall powerful man in his doorway before upon realizing that he’d left the Minister of Wizarding Britain standing outside his door for the full two minutes he’d been staring at him.
“Um-hi, Minister. How are yo- I mean please come in.” He moved out of the way to invite him in, flustered. In blatant contrast to his previous experiences with the Minister of Magic he had no true ill feelings towards Minister Delancy, a careful wariness as while the Minister seemed to not be obviously corrupt or malevolent he was still a politician, at this point in his life Harry knew there to be one thing in common of all politicians: they all have agendas.
Marco Delancy had won the Ministerial election by a landslide.
Kingsley, who had been elected interim Minister in the wake of Scrimgeor’s untimely death during the war had wanted to retire for over a year by that point but with reconstruction still in full swing and the Ministry in need of a massive overhaul due to the broad scale corruption among the ranks he was forced to stay on. But at the beginning of the New Year he had announced that he would be retiring as Minister and wouldn’t be retaking up his old helm as Head Auror. It soon became obvious early on in the race that despite all of the incumbent Wizengamot judges vying for the vacated position, that it was the relatively young Wizengamot member that would win.
The public was enraptured with him.
He spoke of a new Wizarding England, a better Wizarding England. One where there are no dark lords and needless divisions. He said all of the right things, was seen with all the right people. It was clever…..almost too clever. But he had charisma and a clean sheet as far as the public was concerned. He dazzled those purebloods that were still favourable in public opinion, with his talk of preserving important Wizarding traditions, he enamoured the half-bloods with promises to broaden the topics taught in class to encompass how to survive in the muggle world , muggle culture and a promise to fairly get more non-purebloods on the Wizengamot. He was the messiah of the Muggleborns still sore from the Ministry’s sanctioned breaking of their wands and murder of their peers. He spoke of a more integrated Wizarding World with a promise of equality for all regardless of blood status. He set in motion plans to be in constant communication with the Muggle Prime Minister and those within the higher echelons of Muggle government who are aware of the existence of a Wizarding world and ensure that children who began to show magical abilities in Muggle families are ensured to be properly taken care of and should abuse be suspected taken away.(He unflinchingly used Tom Marvolo Riddle as an example of what can be the result of abuse at the hands of those who do not understand which earned equal parts admiration and respect among the public). The other runners didn’t have a chance, the votes were almost unanimous in his favour and he took up the post exactly a year from when Kingsley first put in his intent to retire papers.
As Minister Delancy sat down on Harry’s milky beige couch that he hated but there was no arguing with Gin, he glanced furtively at him observing him as he took in the décor of his-Ginny’s- home. Harry watched as the Minister’s eyes roved over everything from the expensive kitchenette, the ridiculously large plasma screen TV as well as the large portrait of Harry and Ginny resting over the fireplace along with over thirty photos of either Ginny or Harry and Ginny together, the hand woven imported carpet. Harry blushed at the thought of him assuming that he was a frivolous and material man. Then shrugged it off because why should he care about other’s opinion of him? Finally after minutes of Harry observing the Minister and the Minister observing everything else he finally spoke. “Is there a reason you’ve come Minister?”
Minister Delancy leaned back into the couch, seemingly completely relaxed and at home before a slight furrow of his brow and a slight downturn of his mouth marred his face. “Mr. Potter, for the third time in seven months I’ve had the unfortunateness of having a written refusal to join the auror corps delivered to my desk from Head Auror Gawain. And each time that written refusal came from you.” he sighed, pinning Harry with a blue eyed stare.
Harry leaned against the wall and returned the Minister’s stare. “Wouldn’t that tell you guys that I don’t want to join the Auror corps? Look, I’m done with that, I’ve spent my entire life since I first stepped into the Wizarding world fighting. I’m not going to sign up for a job that’s going to have me doing the exact same thing. And besides if I were to sign up I wouldn’t be able to do my job correctly anyway, with the media and my face being so recognizable I wouldn’t be able to perform the basic duties of an Auror like interviewing witnesses, going undercover or investigate leads without being front page news. I’m sorry Minister but I’ve had my time in the lime-light and it’s a bit too bright for me. My fame and the attention I would bring isn’t what the Ministry needs right now.
“On the contrary Mr. Potter, it’s exactly what the Ministry needs right now” Minister Delancey replied, Harry’s face hardened
“So what your telling me is that the Ministry needs me on, not as a normal hard working Auror but as a poster boy. I don’t know if you hadn’t heard Minister Delancey” Harry sneered “but Scrimgeor tried to make me the Ministry’s bottom-boy during the war, I didn’t agree then and I’m sure as hell not agreeing now!”
The look the Minister gave him as he finished made him reflexively reach for his wand. Those normally unreadable blue eyes were ice chips boring into him and making it impossible to look away.
“Mr. Potter, the work you’ve done for Wizarding Britain— no, for the world, was a grand and selfless deed. But, the Wizarding world is currently in a power vacuum as well as a state uncertainty. Now the Ministry has done a decent job of appearing to have a perfect handle on everything but they don’t. The Wizarding world needs to come back and rebuild itself from the ashes of its former self. I won’t just fashion out a replica Wizarding Britain, I will remake it as it should have been.’ The Minister leaned forward his deep voice holding a tone that made Harry’s already tensed muscles clench in anticipation of combat.
“Mr. Potter, whether you realize it or not you are already the figure head of a new Wizarding world, one without the threat of Tom Riddle. You hold power, a sway over the people of this land that could propel you into any official seat of power should you even hint that it might interest you. That power makes you a great asset to not only the Ministry Of Wizarding Britain but to every Ministry in the Wizarding world. With that ability you could do great things for your people but that power is dangerous unsupervised. I am not a person to cross Mr. Potter. With me, with the Ministry; you could do great things but if you go against me, you are not only going against the Ministry but the Wizarding people. My advice to you is to join me and perform your duty to the Wizarding World, the consequences of not doing so will be …unpleasant. I shouldn’t have to tell you how fickle peoples loyalties are.” With that the Minister stood from his seat, fixing his coat and gathering his hat as he made his way to the door. Just before leaving he paused with his back still turned to Harry,” I’ll expect to see your application to join the Auror Corps across my desk by tomorrow evening. Do the right thing Mr. Potter.”
Harry stood rooted in place, hands and jaw clenched. “Do the right thing?! For whom you fucking bastard!” He slammed his fist through the dry wall. As the mirror crashed to the floor with a satisfying crunch, he walked into his bedroom to flop down. He laid there, arm over his face just thinking; thinking about how after everything changed nothing changed. There’s still some battle to fight, an enemy to overcome and a powerful man trying to force him to do something he doesn’t want to do.
“Do the right thing”, I will, I’ll do the right thing for me for once, the war is over, Voldemort’s dead but it’s my turn to live. To live for me.” He murmured. He wasn’t worried; he lived through a war, through dying and through machination after machination. He owed no one not a single thing and he had a right to live his life in peace should he choose. No, even when Ginny came back screeching about “what the fuck happened to the wall” he wasn’t scared. When the next day’s afternoon came and went without him picking up a quill he wasn’t scared. If he didn’t fear Tom Riddle he certainly wasn’t going to fear Minister Delancey. No, after patching up the wall and trying to appease Ginny, he went to bed with one sure certainty: He wasn’t afraid of Marco Delancey.
But he should’ve been
‘This is fucking ludicrous!’ Draco thought as he dodged the potion being flung at him. It landed on the wall near his head, the poison apple green giving off a sickening squelch as it fizzled and ate through the wall.
He jammed himself into an even darker nook on the darkened street. The crone that was chasing him hobbled further down the road, sniffing the air like a hound. “Where is he!” he heard her screech but in a way that it would still be almost inaudible if you weren’t near.
When he first came across the old woman , huddled in a corner in dirt rags that smelled of moth balls he felt pity and immediately wanted to come to her aid– but he wasn’t stupid; there was no way he would get close enough to be grabbed. This was fortunate because even ten feet away from her, as he asked her if she needed any help getting to a shelter facility, she had jumped up with a speed of a woman less than half her age. She managed to get him to the ground her long black gnarled nails clawing for his face and reaching for his throat. Draco held her hands in a tight grip, the hag’s knee pressed into his chest as she reached over, her toothless mouth snapping blackened gums at him as she struggled to reach him. Her fetid breath wafted over his face as a goopy pus yellow string of saliva landed on his cheek. “Mine, mine, mine, mine!” the woman chanted clawing at his face.
“Such pretty eyes, eyes, eyes. Fetch me a nice price.” Her eyes gleamed as she crooned in an almost croaking enticement. “Be mine …perfect. Shiny teeth. MINE!!! Will be mine again!” Her eyes were rolling in the sockets. Her chanting voice abruptly stopped its mad rambling becoming lucid as she continued to fight. Her gaping maw opened in a poor gummy mimicry of a smile “Yes, those eyes and teeth will be mine but the rest will fetch a nice price” she cackled.
“Get off me now!” Draco grunted.
He managed to wedge his knee between them and shoved the hag off him. Her head cracked hard on the pavement and she let loose a haunting wail. He staggered to his feet and hurried away but skid to a stop as a glass projectile crashed in front of him. The potion gave off noxious fumes and he hurriedly brought his sleeve to his face less he inhale what he recognized to be a potion made from concentrated Grieswurzel. Had he inhaled at the least it would have immediately relaxed every muscle in his body paralyzing him but from the amount hurled at him he could tell that the dose was meant to kill without causing major damage to his organs. ‘That miserable troll Barge’ Draco swore as he dodge another potion. He ducked into an alleyway and watched as the dangerous hag continued looking for him in the opposite direction probably assuming that he apparated.
He breathed a brief sigh of relief before checking his surroundings. He was under no assumptions that the fight with the hag wouldn’t draw unwanted attention to his presence there. While he was all for doing his job , he knew that what he was on was a fool’s errand the chances of him finding the few individuals here not irredeemably tainted by destitution, almost perpetual darkness and the shear miasma of dark magic saturating the place were next to nil. But he came to help so that’s what he has to do. If the situation hadn’t been so dire he probably would have laughed himself silly. Something about spending 2 years in prison and three on the redcross to wake up a blokes Gryffindor tendacies. Draco crept back onto the main road, avoiding the bleak candle lamps that irregularly dotted the area because no one wants to be seen down here.
He strode deeper into the area quickly but silently his boots making not a single sound on the cobblestone. The sound of haggard broken breathing mixed with pitiful cat-like mewls came to him on a putrid wind. ‘It could just be a dying animal‘ he thought as he paused outside a small alley opening by the main road completely blocked with so much detritus that he could make nothing out in the gloom. His gaze shot to the looming decaying house cradling the alley, his magic could sense the malevolent aura it emitted. He shuddered to think of what unmentionable crimes had to be repeatedly committed on and in the house in order to give it an actual sentience which he could practically hear. Under no illusions that should he attempt to enter he would never make it back out he edged away slightly to look for a way around the clutter that blocked the alley up to where the living house and next shop’s roof overlapped.
The low moan sounded again, this time distinctly human sounding, I guess that settles it, he thought mentally rolling his eyes as he edged his way around the shop to search for a way in. He had to walk seven shops down before he could slip down the adjacent alley; the connecting alleyways behind the shop were labyrinthine in size and complexity. He was just beginning to feel claustrophobic as the walkways became smaller and smaller but it was because of the dwindling space between him and the wall that allowed him to hear the rattling cough brought by the smallest draft of unclean air blowing directly to his left. Feeling his hands against the slick stones he felt the tiny opening less than a foot wide, as thin as he was he still had to limit his breathing while laying as flat to the wall as could to squeeze into the space. Even then, he bruised his shoulders and received heavy scrapes from the wall. His shuffle into claustrophobia was short, to his relief, as he came out into a slightly larger alley. A dim lumos revealed the teetering pile of trash and smashed furniture that blocked his way in from the outside. A stuttering breathe drew his attention back towards the house.
Draco took an unconscious step back as he brought his hand up to his mouth. Once the imminent urge to vomit left him, he took a cautious step towards the corpse laid out on the floor. Rats scurried away from where they were eating the flesh from the man’s legs. As he surveyed the corpse on the floor his eyes began to water, not just due to the obvious amount of suffering the pitiful soul had to have gone through it would be a blessing if it were a corpse but also because of the smell.
The small enclosed space reeked with a horrid combination of piss, shit, rot and Dark Magic. Had he not grown up in the Manor where every room had at least one antique infused with Dark Magic— at least while the manor was still standing, he would have been immediately overcome. He kneeled by the man, who laid completely still slumped on his side against the sentient house as Draco pressed his fingers lightly to his throat to feel for a pulse point. He felt simultaneously relieved and saddened when he felt the faintest tell-tale flutter against his fingers. As he took his hand away from the man’s neck, wiping the smelly mixture of sweat, oil and grime onto his pants, he grimaced. The man’s, for indeed it was a man, hair was a long scraggly unkempt mess matted down with at least a month’s worth of dirt, oil , fleas, lice and -Draco unconsciously wrinkled his nose- shit. Most alarming of all was the shear amount of blood mixed in with his hair.
The hair was only the beginning; the man’s face was covered with a multitude of gaping, leaking sores. The holes were wet with bloodied yellow pus that made the man’s face slick and sticky to touch. Draco saw the same types of open bleeding sores on every exposed inch of his body. Bruises and cuts littered his body as well as if he had been on the wrong end of a beating very recently and when Draco gently turned the figure onto his back he could feel every bone in that made up his ribcage.
Fucking hell Draco thought as he hurriedly reached into his robes to grab the emergency Portkey to St. Mungos. Rarely, when he would find people who had been left unattended for too long, he would have to key them away to the hospital as a last resort. He stays with them despite the glares he’d receive and the not so subtle hints about Aurors because he knew that if he left the person would be ‘persuaded to refuse hospitalization’. After all why waste good, expensive medicine on life’s throwaways. He’d stay and make sure that the potions they received weren’t watered down garbage and that the rookie doing the spell-work on them didn’t fuck it up. He couldn’t do anything about his people being used as training practice but he could make sure that the over-confident tossers don’t sever an arm while showboating for their first unmonitored healing.
Luckily he didn’t have to use St. Mungos facilities often; people on the streets tend to know how to take care of themselves in that respect when at all possible. They knew where they’re not wanted especially when it’s rumored that most of the spare parts used for the “actual” clients come from those from the streets that were purposefully kept waiting unattended in the hospital with serious time-pertinent medical issues until they just so happened to have expired. Of course it would be a shame for the healthy organs and tissue to go to waste.
Draco shuddered but prepared himself and the man to Portkey away. As he affixed the small necklace about the man’s neck he suddenly found himself staring into bloodshot and milky—yet still unnaturally green—eyes. He doubted that the man could actually see him but from the gasping that rattled in his chest he could definitely tell that someone was hovering over him.
“Sir, I’m with the volunteer health services. You’re safe, I’m going to Portkey you to St. Mungos and they’ll tend to your wounds.” The man began to thrash violently and strike, with a strength that his limbs shouldn’t have, at Draco’s arms and shoulders.
“Get OFF ME!!! No Mungos, nomungosnomungosNOMUNGOS!” the man was delirious and Draco struggled to keep him still so he wouldn’t hurt himself. He winced as blackened nails dug into his forearm, resisting the urge to vomit as three of the nails snapped off completely. The man continued thrashing without noticing. His eyes were bulging and foam formed at the corners of his mouth. His voice was hoarse and ragged but still too loud for comfort as the sounds of low murmuring reached Draco’s ears.
This man is going to get us both killed.
“You’ll kill me! You’ll kill me if you take me there!” The man screamed over and over to the point of incoherence.
Frantic Draco held his hand over the man’s mouth. He quickly told him to shush and promised him that he wouldn’t take him to St. Mungos if he doesn’t want to go. The man settled down but his eyes were still wide. His chest rattled with exertion and Draco could feel the thunder of his heart beat through his thin skin. He slowly removed his hand and the man gasped over and over until his eyes rolled up into his head and he fell unconscious. A combination of fear, his horrible physical condition and the result of expending so much energy despite having not eaten in a great many days the man would be unconscious for at least a day if he woke up at all.
Heart pounding and the sounds of outside creeping in Draco struggled to keep his head straight. The sound of men speaking lowly reached his ears once more and he feared that they would blast down the debris blocking the alley from the main road in an effort to get to them. ‘There are reasons a man would refuse to step foot closer to Wizarding London and refuse medical treatment’ brow furrowed Draco looked at the man’s emaciated and dirty face but couldn’t recognize him. Coming to a decision he gently exposed the man’s left forearm and released a breath he didn’t know he was holding when no faded Mark marred the man’s scarred and dirty flesh as it does his. ‘So not a former Death Eater then. That just leaves another forgotten person with sense enough not go where they’re not wanted. Someone connected to a “bad” family, someone deemed inhuman.’
The man was too injured to be brought to a welcome center and his injuries were too severe to be left to the back-alley doctors he usually sent those that refused St. Mungos but desperately needed medical attention. He removed the Portkey, gathered the man as gently as he could into his arms wincing as he felt the unnatural shift of broken bones, he centered himself and gripped his wand as they Apparated away.
They appeared with a crack in the middle of his living room and Draco staggered under the weight. His flat was simplistic, a muggle one bedroom with a kitchen that opened up into the sitting room. The neighborhood was far from the affluence he grew up with but just barely better than those he regularly canvassed to give aide.
The man was still unconscious as Draco laid his filthy body onto the hardwood of the sitting room and rushed to his bedroom to pull clean sanitized sheets out. His room was clean from a lifetime of having parents that were exacting in their standards of what was and wasn’t presentable. He stripped off the pillowcase and cast a charm to literally scour every surface of the bedroom of germs and pathogens. In less than five minutes his makeshift hospital room was cleaner than all of St. Mungos.
He made his way to the bathroom and ran a hot bath, as it slowly filled; he went back into the kitchen and opened his kitchen closet that he had magically—and illegally–altered with wizard space. In the room he had what equated to a potions store. The walls were neatly lined with racks with jars or draws of ingredients it had taken him years to accumulate. In the center he had a small potions table with various cauldrons and apparatus’ and tucked away in the corner were small dirt beds with essential herbs set to grow at controlled intervals. A self-contained potions & herbology store.
They say nothing gives more strength and motivation than dire necessity. It was true for Draco at least. After the third time of nearly dying in St. Mungos from improper treatment when he was too weak and injured from volunteer service to tell the intern or mediwitch that they were injecting him with too much or too little of the potion he required that he began using the connections he forged from those he helped to get the materials necessary to make his own medical storage. While not quite a back alley doctor, the risk of an auror raid mutually too high for both him and his potential patients, necessity equipped him with the tools and knowledge necessary to take care of himself and his charges when all else fails and needs must.
St. Mungos was an old institution and like many old institutions it had grown stagnant and poisonous in its age just like the Ministry and the Wizarding World as a whole. Sure they could say that this Ministry is different from Voldemort’s Ministry or every other Ministry from before Tom Marvolo Riddle’s mother’s mother was even a calculated twitch in her stuffy father’s wrinkled old sack. Same shit different day changed and repackaged but still coming out of someone’s ass. It happened before this Ministry and will be the same after. People don’t change if they can help it and will always need to feel the base emotion of knowing that there’s someone beneath them. Draco thought himself no better, after all it took him losing everything to make himself into his own man.
Draco gathered the vials and herbs he’d need into a basket with bandages and let the storage room door slam behind him. The man was right where he’d left him with the filth from his body sinking into the creases of the floorboards, the smell of his filth beginning to waft throughout the sitting room. Draco sliced off all of his rags with a quiet spell leaving the man lying naked on the floor as he brought the basket into the bathroom and shut off the tap. He emptied a lavender coloured vial into the tub and it glowed a brilliant white before fading back to it normal translucent color.
He carried the man barely managing his weight. From his height he could tell the man would be at least a head taller than him but weighed barely more than a large dog. It was still hard to manage the length of his limbs and weakened flesh. He maneuvered him into the bathroom and gently submerged him into the water. The water instantly blackened as the filth dissolved off of his body without the aid of scrubbing as was the vial’s purpose. He reached into the filthy water and pulled the plug letting the murky sludge slip down the drain. He pulled down the shower head and gently sprayed the remainder from the man’s face, hair and body. He refilled the tub and dumped the herbs and vials into the water and set a charm to keep the water away from the man’s face and prevent drowning as he left him to soak in the medicine.
He needed the help of a levitation charm to pull the waterlogged body from the water. Draco watched as the medicine spiked water circled the drain before bringing him into the bedroom and laying him down man gently on the bed and toweling him dry. He’d have to sanitize the tub and vanish the herbs later.
The tip of his wand glowed blue as he slowly dragged it through the air in front of him like pulling a bubble wand through the air muttering a long incantation under his breath. A glowing blue sphere the size of his fist detached itself from his wand and a thin blue string slithered down to attach to just under the bandages at the man’s wrist. The orb hummed as it settled against the headboard, glowing a brilliant blue before fading to an angry red slowly pulsating in time with the man’s heartbeat as the magick synced to reflect the status of the patient.
The man may have been clean but his skin was still riddled with wounds. His body bloomed with bruises and his clean face was riddled with bites and gashes that still oozed under his beard and made it sticky with pus. Draco summoned the basket and set to work slowly re-cleaning each wound and smothering his limbs in poultice and dittanies before gently wrapping them in bandages. He had to count his every inhale and exhale and held himself perfectly still for a full minute before he could bring himself to tend to the man’s legs.
The rats had….feasted.
Whole sections of skin were gone, exposing what desiccated muscles he had left on his calves and the sensitive flesh of the top of his feet and Achilles’ tendon. It’d be a feat of both nature and magic if he ever manages to gain any sensation in his legs again, let alone any contemplation of walking. Draco’s hands were gentle as he lifted each foot, wrapping soft gauze around each wound over a layer of smooth dittany that smelled of wild flowers and honey. He fought the urge to tear up in sympathy for the pain the man was in and was thankful that the potions he doused him in had lethargic and numbing effects. He gently tended to the man’s groin, spreading a special poultice onto his testicles and member and around his crotch to increase oxygen and blood flow to the delicate arteries and ventricles that had become damaged to the point of likely erectile dysfunction and impotency. To try and give him the hope of some quality of life.
As he wrapped the last of the man’s body in gauze he placed his tools back in the basket and observed the man. Even wrapped in gauze his body was still ravaged and corpse-like. He was beyond rail thin with his protruding ribcage and limbs that appeared to be more bone than muscle. He looked like a broken doll with eyes and a head too large for the frail stalk of his neck.
Just looking at him brought Draco back to the evening his father took him into his study to prepare him for the “new world order” that was to occur when their leader Lord Voldemort returned.
Father’s study had always been too cold for him and Draco felt goose pimples erupt all across his skin as he let the door click shut gently behind him. His father rose from his enormous oak and carved ivory desk his expression reserved but his eyes glimmered with excitement. Draco stood still exactly two feet from the desk and an inch to the right of center as he had been trained when granted the privilege of entering his father’s study. His father carried a large clunky contraption in his hand. It was black and made of a twirling metal with loops of shiny bronze paper swirling about the spokes. Lucius had led him over to a side table where he used to have an assistant take dictation and set the contraption down. He cleared the wall of its bookcases and shelves with a swipe of his wand, the items shuffling obediently out of the way without a sound. Back then his father held dominion over all who crossed his path, even brainless magical furniture. And Draco had worshiped his every word. His father’s every action was one of strength, his every backhanded scheme an example of his brilliance and cunning and his dominance of weaker political animals was him protecting the family & those of good stock from the clumsy machinations of those hungry for power but lacking the intelligence to wield it. His father could do no wrong and Draco endeavored to be just like him.
Until that day.
His father tapped the metal contraption with his wand causing it to enlarge and a whirling like the shuffling of a thousand parchment papers filled the room. His father plunged the room in the middle of a bright sunny summer day a week from his seventh birthday, in fact, into absolute darkness. He had looked at his father as a bright light flickered on from the contraption lighting up the wall. His father had smiled at him, a bright joyful smile like none he had ever seen before in his life. He felt an answering smile flit across his lips, happy for the sake that his father was happy. Lucius nodded his head towards the wall, again Draco had never seen so inelegant an action grace his father’s rigid posture, he never wanted to turn away from the sight of his father so carefree. But he did as he was told eager to see what feat of magical wonder could bring his father such joy and anticipation.
The block of white light that took up the wall flickered to black before numbers counted down from three. Draco tilted his head in confusion and though he worried of incurring his father’s wrath he couldn’t help but to ask what manner of magic he was witnessing as scrolling names and titles appeared on the wall. Lucius’ chuckle filled the air.
“This is primitive muggle machinery.” Draco’s head snapped around to look at his father with large eyes. Draco would never have expected his father to tolerate adhering to muggle road laws when forced to do business with the mudbloods in London but to have a piece of muggle machinery inside of the ancestral Malfoy home was unthinkable. Draco tried to look at the muggle machine again but between the darkness of the room and the bright light, as bright as a lumos, it was giving off he was blinded. Lucius’ smile had a wry twist. “Yes Draco, it is a piece of muggle machinery. It is called a film reel; it plays recorded images for third parties to view at a later time like a pensieve. It is inferior in every way but it serves a purpose. It is not the machine that’s importantt, look at the memories.”
Draco turned to the screen. Big white letters appeared proclaiming, “The Horrors of Hitler’s Final Solution: A Look Back On The War For The Soul of Humanity & The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich!”. The screen faded out before footage of men, dressed in pressed uniforms of an old style and shiny black boots marched across the wall. Their arm stretched ramrod straight; their hands a spade cleaving the space in front of them.
The crowd, from their faces and matching salutes, were cheering. The scene cut to a man with a schoolboy haircut and a tiny smudge of a mustache. Dressed in the same military style outfit as the marching soldiers his posture was immaculate and he stared from the wall severely. Draco fought to keep still as the frightening man seemed to be looking right at him; he quietly released his breath when the wall flicked to black again with floating white words stating the man’s name as Adolf Hitler. It continued on to describe his date of birth and the socio-economic and political turmoil that lead to him gaining power in Germany.
The screen flicked over again, when the man with the smudge of a mustache appeared on the wall again he was standing behind a podium with a sea of muggles staring up at him with faces either grim or adoring. The man, Hitler’s, hair was wild and plastered across his head. His teeth were bared and he appeared to be screaming at the crowd slamming his fist wildly down against the podium. He was sweating profusely and the longer he stood facing the crowd shouting and slamming his fist, the darker & wetter his face became. The longer he stood up on the podium, the angrier the crowd became, nodding heads turning into shouting mouths, the crowd moving as one become stirred up. Angry men with pulsing veins and darkened necks, furrowing their brows and shouting clearly ‘Yes, Yes’. The whole crowd was in agreement, basking in the angry words of the small angry man with the funny little mustache.
“Muggles are animals. Even their leaders have to resort to base theatrics to engage their intelligence and spur them to action. That dirt blooded muggle monkey up there on the podium is playing the music the crowd wants to hear. Look at them all, bedraggled and hungry. Look at their eyes Draco; see the desperation there? A man even a primitive muggle man will do anything to relieve their suffering. You give them something to fight for, you dangle the promise of prosperity whatever it means to the majority of them and there’s nothing they wouldn’t do for you. A common man’s prosperity is always the same: food, a warm bed, steady work and the belief that their voice has a say in the world around them. Promise them that and they will be—if not satisfied then at least content with their lot in life. Now if you give a man such as that a common enemy, if you give them a reason for why they haven’t achieved that prosperity and point to a group and say ‘Look, they are the reason why we are failing as a society. They are taking away food from your family, education from your children, and pay from your salary. They are doing better than you in life by conspiring to take away your voice.” You point to a group, hand them up on a silver platter and whisper to them that they are those who would destroy them and take everything they love. You do that then set those men free. Those men, whether they count themselves as good, honest and understanding men, will slit the throat of their neighbor if a man, a leader, can focus their baser urges in the right way.” Lucius’ voice had filled the silence only enunciated with the whirl of the muggle machine flicking moving images onto the wall.
Draco’s eyes had widened as he listened to his father espouse on humanity’s baser instincts and methods of manipulation. The wall flicked to black on the images of a map slowly being covered in grey as tanks and muggle aeroplanes took over its neighbors’ borders. The wall flicked to light on toddlers with tear-stained cheeks dressed in little dark coats and scuffed boots and clinging to their parents hands. They all had a big pale star stitched on the breast of their coats. They all walked on crumbling streets and buildings in a straight line, shuffling out of a city of crumbling buildings with rough sacks on their backs.
People lined the road out; Angry people with gaunt & dirty faces shouting and throwing rocks at the passing people. They looked like the crowd shouting ‘Yes’ for the angry mustached man and they looked like the people shuffling out of the city with rocks hurled at them. They all looked the same, a mix of hair colours and facial features but to Draco’s young eye all he could see that was different between the two is that one wore a star and the other was hurting them. He shivered in the cold room, the angry man with his funny little mustache didn’t seem so funny anymore. The screen flicked to black again its white text reading “Allied forces encounter horrors as they free Hitler’s victims from Concentration camps”
He wasn’t prepared, and when the bright screen flicked back on he accidently let out a horrified gasp in the silent room, for the grotesque images staring back at him across the screen.
“Don’t be upset Draco, those things aren’t people. Their only muggles, muggles who destroy what is beyond their primitive minds to understand when they’re not thinking up ways to destroy each other. Muggles are mere aberrations that developed, they aren’t those destined to inherit this world. The only reason they have managed to force us to sequester ourselves away is because they breed like insects.” His father gave a grimace of disgust. “They have a paranoia that, that which is not like them is a threat to their survival and a viciousness to invent new and –in some respects—clever ways to terrorize each other. They’re a nasty infestation on the land, when they’re not killing each other over differences of skin tone, then they’re doing it over their silly theories on how they came to be or over land and people that they want for themselves. They’re a selfish, invasive species that needs to be dealt with. It’s merely a drop in the bucket that a few million died a few decades ago when they manage to breed out that number each year.”
His father’s voice was like a buzzing in his ear, vibrating around the same low hum of the muggle film machine. He couldn’t turn his eyes from the wall to look at his father again if he wanted to, and he did want to; to turn away from the horror that was playing across the study wall.
People were behind fences, their thin fingers twisting through the holes like broken spider legs. If a ghoul had been gifted human flesh, the people behind the fences are what it’d look like. The men’s faces were gaunt. They had cheekbones jutting out so sharp that Draco thought they would slice clear through the paper thin and sagging flesh of their faces. Some of them were clad in dirty striped pajamas, many of them walked around as naked and as frail as the day they were birthed into this world. He didn’t know….that a human could be that skinny and still be alive. They were human skeletons, some able to walk but most laying in the mud or the concrete floors.
He had seen death before; his nanny elf had died in her sitting chair while he had read a book on the floor. He had thought she was taking a nap and he, in his innocence had climbed into her lap and took a nap himself. He thought it weird that her chest didn’t move up and down and that the fast little heartbeat he was used to listening to at naptime no longer made its little thumps but she still smelled like wild flowers and baking chocolate and he quickly fell asleep in the arms of his dead nanny. His father had spanked his bottom raw when he found him cuddled up in the lap of the help and a dead one at that.
His mother had explained death to him when his father stomped off after ordering the other elves to dispose of ‘it’. She said it was when a body that houses a person’s magick gets too old or tired to continue carrying it. When that happens, Magic the Great Mother will gather the magic of that creature back into herself. For we had only been borrowing it for a little while, she had said with a smile stroking his wet cheeks. Magic will give birth to that person’s magic again when it’s time for their new body to house it. That night a new house elf named Dobby was born. His mother had explained death as a thing of beauty, as natural as breathing and a thing to be celebrated when it was time.
She did not tell him about suffering; about living pain.
There was no beauty in what he was seeing. In mouths gasping in thirst, skeletal eyes praying for death and distended bellies with stomachs so damaged that the relief of food would destroy it.
“Isn’t it beautiful son?” Lucius said. “This is the look of desperation. Those soldiers who put them there saw them as animals to be exterminated. Their leader had pointed to a group deemed undesirable and whipped up the mob until they were chomping at the bit to destroy them. It is such wonderful irony that they didn’t know that they themselves are just upright apes unable to see their own inferiority.
Our Lord Voldemort will rise again, and when he does we will rid the world of these base animals and the filth that loves them. Mudbloods and Half-breeds, the union of pure stock wallowing with creatures barely out of the muck, they will all be exterminated. It’s the only way to insure our survival, to rid the world of those so base as to believe this earth is there only for their enjoyment.
That loud muggle monkey created an impressive system of extermination but of course him being only a lowly muggle he failed. With the blessing of magic and our own superior intelligence, when it comes time to rid the world of the muggle taint we will wipe it clean. And our Lord will lead us to victory. Only those of good stock will be granted all that life in the upper echelons of his service can offer.”
Draco couldn’t help but to pull his horrified gaze from the moving picture to look at his father. He still had a joyful smile across his face as he stared at those scenes of unspeakable brutality with an excited gleam in his eye. He continued to drone on, talking about the system that put those living skeletons behind fences as if his favourite Quidditch player performed a particularly impressive feat of aerial acrobatics with flawless grace. He spoke of the coming of their Lord with zeal, the anticipation of the slaughter he would inflict on the inferior making his voice bright and charming.
Draco turned to face away from the horror of his father to look back at the people behind the fences. Except they weren’t anymore, they were in pits; their limbs tangled and still like carelessly piled kindling. Draco’s hands had begun to shake and the vomit that had been trying to force its way up his throat since the film began had filled his mouth. He swallowed his mouthful quickly before his father could see. It burned a trail down his throat and his little body fought to keep still and not cough. Snot and tears welled up on his face. The harder he fought not to cry, as the film flicked to black and white stills of bodies and people crying, the thicker his throat felt. ‘How could people do this’ he had thought. He never felt grief such as what clothed his body and fought to spring from his tears. The wall switched to black, the words ‘Never Again’ grew bold and bright through the darkness before ‘Fin’ flickered onto the screen. The wall flicked bright white as the moving picture ended, the room quiet except for the parchment sound of the muggle contraption.
Draco had blinked hard in the bright lights of the room as his father ended the spell and shut off the whirling machine. He used the brightness as an excuse to rub the tears from his eyes.
“Well Draco?” Lucius asked in an almost gentle tone.
“Its….” Draco croaked, swallowing quickly to clear the mucus from his throat. “It’s all so …overwhelming” he hedged. Nervously he turned his face from the wall to peer up at his father as he busied himself shrinking the muggle machinery and its horrific moving pictures.
“Overwhelming,” he paused looking out of his study windows. “Yes I suppose it can be overwhelming. The scale of the work we must do to protect our world from creatures such as them. But that isn’t what you meant now was it child? Do you still feel pity for those mudpeople when it was their kind that hunted us to near extinction? Burned us alive on their wooden pyres? The same savages who would dash your brains out against the nearest hard surface if you performed a feat of magic in front of them that you couldn’t pass off as some mundane parlour trick?
You feel pity for the same people who stole into our ancient home a mere five centuries ago and raped your greats aunts to death on the gravel walk-way you stroll across everyday? You would give sympathy to the same breed of man who had drowned the only triplets born in our noble line in a river when nary a one of them were old enough to walk. Answer me, is that it?” Lucius’ countenance had darkened as he clutched his cane in a manner that signaled an impending thrashing. Draco took a calming breath and called up the many ‘lessons’ his father had instilled in him to find a satisfactory answer to appease his father’s growing ire, even while his stomach was rebelling with everything he had.
“I misspoke father. I wasn’t prepared to see such…such barbarity. It all seems so…inefficient.”
Sweat soaked the back of his nape, his suit felt uncomfortable and clung to the back of his legs. His father studied him, he didn’t smile but he did stop stroking the right eye of the snakehead on his cane as he does when he is close to striking him with it.
“They are rabid animals Draco, remember that. If you turn your back on a rabid dog it will surely bite you and it would be your fault for ignoring the threat it posed. The only way to deal with a rabid animal is to destroy it.” He clicked his cane hard against the polished wood floor and it echoed around the room. “You kill it and you destroy its nest. And if it had offspring you kill them too. You wipe out the problem and you kill the infection before it can spread.”
“Good. Your lesson is over for today.”
Draco had run to his bedroom as soon as he left his father’s wing of the manor. He slammed the door and hid in the closet under a pile of his dirty clothes shaking. He had covered his mouth with his little hands to try and muffle his crying but mucus from his nose made it hard to breath and between each sharp gasp he let out a wail of anguish. He cried until he vomited down the lapels of his evening suit. He had never felt such pain for another person in his life and as he squeezed his eyes shut he kept replaying the images of the angry mustached man & the people behind the fences. When he was all cried out except for painful hiccups, he laid in the heap of clothes until his mother found him.
To his shame , as she was cleaning him up , he found out that he had peed his pants. His mother, who hadn’t dressed him since he was a toddler, placed him in his favourite pajamas with little golden snitches flitting around and curled up in the bed with him in her elegant evening gown. She hummed the tune his nanny elf would sing to him when he had bad dreams until he fell asleep warm & safe with the help of a whispered spell to his temple.
He turned seven a week later. His father studied his every move closely and he struggled not to show just how horrified he was at the moving pictures or how terrified he was of his father, the Lord he spoke of and the future they would strive to bring into reality.
He learned what the word ‘genocide’ meant and learned that was the word for what his father spoke of with such anticipation. When it came time for him to go to school and he saw more of the wizarding world outside of his own family his nightmares began to abate because surely there weren’t enough people who thought as his father & his friends did to actually be able to create death on such a scale.
When the snake creature that his father called ‘Master’ branded his mark on his arm Draco feared that he was wrong.
When the image of his new tattoo began being written in the sky over homes full of murdered families, he knew that it was happening.