The Sugar Quill
Author: Maidenjedi (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: Blood Ties  Chapter: Default
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TITLE: Blood Ties AUTHOR: Maidenjedi EMAIL: texgoddess@yahoo.com RATING: R ARCHIVE: List archives, otherwise please ask. SPOILERS: small ones for GoF. CATEGORY: angst/darkfic KEYWORDS: Draco, Lucius, Narcissa, Malfoy DISCLAIMER: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.

SUMMARY: Draco confronts his father when Avada Kedavra kills Narcissa Malfoy. Are the Dark Arts a path to power or pain?

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HP Improv #5 defile -- pause -- phantom -- heat

Author's Notes: Takes place between Draco's fifth and sixth years at Hogwarts. Draco is dealing with pressure from his father to join the Death Eaters, and also with the moral dilemma this has caused. I think that Draco can be redeemed, because after all, he is only a kid.

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He was walking home, having finally blown off the steam from his daily row with his father. He was no closer to giving in, to quitting Hogwarts and getting as far as possible from Dumbledore's influence. He wanted time to make up his mind, decide for himself which side was the right one.

Cedric Diggory's death had been something of a joke to Draco Malfoy, but in the year that had passed since then, death had become more serious. When the students had returned to Hogwarts after a summer to recover, Draco found himself (like many other students, especially in Slytherin) faced with a choice. Dumbledore began to put pressure on the older students to choose where their loyalties would lie. One by one, students pledged allegiance to the Order of the Phoenix and Dumbledore's cause. Slytherins whose fathers and mothers were suspected Death Eaters began to leave in droves, and the occasional Ravenclaw or Gryffindor had been known to flee for "personal problems". Hufflepuffs seemed only to band together, the memory of Diggory haunting each of them. Draco was caught between two worlds when, during the Christmas holidays, he was first pressured to follow Voldemort and become a Death Eater.

When he witnessed his first death, a hapless witch whose name he didn't remember, the words Avada Kedavra echoing through his nightmares months later, Draco became aware that he couldn't sit on the fence much longer.

It had been especially rough since the summer holidays had begun. Dumbledore's parting words left Draco feeling as though he would never see the halls of Hogwarts again. What is right is not always easy, Dumbledore had said, looking sadly over his spectacles at the Slytherin table, and pointedly at Draco.

Tonight's problems had started when his father Apparated in the parlor, where Draco had been talking with his mother. Lucius Malfoy was unusually disheveled and obviously angry. Narcissa had moved to his side, tried to take his cloak and wand and put them away, but he focused on Draco and a shouting match began. Lucius was being taunted for his son's lack of commitment to the cause; he was at his wit's end and demanded that Draco choose a side or face life without the benefit of the Malfoy name.

Draco knew that his father meant choosing Voldemort. He wasn't ready to decide, not ready to make a choice; he was barely sixteen! He wanted to live a life free of choice or responsibility, and that included Dumbledore's righteous foolishness as well as Voldemort's tortuous pride. Lucius demanded a decision, blood rising in his face and a vein sticking out on his forehead. Narcissa stepped in, finally engaging Lucius in a vicious debate. Draco is only a boy, he should be allowed to live as one. Draco should be a man, give honor to the Malfoy name, help out the cause and his one true master. It went back and forth like some vicious vocal volley.

Draco, his ears red and nostrils flaring, stormed out, leaving his parents to fight it out. His father had begun brandishing his wand, and his mother was not going to defer to Lucius tonight.

The flash of green light had become such a familiar sight that Draco Malfoy hardly flinched when it shined out from the parlor windows of the Malfoy manor. He noticed as he was walking that the world had slowed, like some dramatic sequence in a Muggle movie. He heard his heartbeat thudding in his ears as he opened the front door, and only felt his mouth move and his throat click as he shouted out his mother's name. The deafening silence hardly gave him pause.

She lay in the doorway of the parlor, her green robes bunched around her knees. Her ankles showed, and Draco moved to cover them. His mother, this woman, would never approve of a proper witch flashing her ankles so brazenly.

His breath came and went in hitches and gasps. He kept seeing a flash of green light behind his eyelids, and he jumped from the phantom fear it caused. He clasped his mother's fingers, still so warm and pliant, and brought his lips down to her hand.

The parlor was stifling, and Draco pulled at the neck on his robes, trying to get some air. The heat didn't subside; Draco felt as though he were going to pass out.

"You ungrateful bitch. I could have given you the world, if only you had stood by me."

Draco turned so sharply at this unexpected voice that he nearly fell over.

Lucius sat on a pale rose sofa embroidered with lilies. His wand was still clenched in his hand, his eyes bulged and his cheeks were a paler shade of white than Draco had ever imagined possible. And suddenly it dawned on Draco....

"Avada Kedavra." He whispered it so quietly that he was sure his father hadn't heard. But Lucius raised his gaze from Narcissa's corpse and fixed it on Draco, as if seeing him for the first time.

"Don't you understand, my son? Sacrifices. We all must make...sacrifices. She was in the way; she wasn't willing to further the cause." He didn't blink, didn't waver, but merely stared at Draco, mildly baffled that his son was still sitting there, holding the hand of a corpse.

"Sacrifices, Father? She...she was your....wife...my mother..."

"She was a liability!" Lucius shouted, his hoarse voice sounding no less harsh than before Draco had left, and its timbre reminded Draco of the poor stuttering fools driven mad by the Imperius Curse. As if Lucius were acting on someone else's orders, trying to justify what he had done.

"How?!" Draco dropped his mother's hand as he stood to face his father. He had grown significantly while away at school; he was nearly nose to nose with Lucius. "How was she a liability? Because she wanted to let me make up my own mind, and not be led like a sheep wherever you want me to go? She did nothing but support you, Father. She stood up for you and defended you when I did nothing but question you! She was on your side!"

"She was weak, Draco. She wanted you to see both sides."

"And why is that so wrong, Father? Why is one side more right than the other?" Draco had never questioned Lucius like this, to his face. Draco felt the moral dilemma crumbling inside him. "Why is your side right, when it allows for the justification of murder?!"

"Murder! Son, you've been listening to that old fool Dumbledore. It is not murder when it can only help the cause. The Dark Arts are about power and the road to power is littered with necessary sacrifices. Narcissa..."

"DON'T YOU DARE!" Draco edged closer to his father, spit flying from his lips and infuriating Lucius further. "Don't defile her memory by speaking her name. She deserved better than this!"

"Better. Yes, Draco, on that we can agree. She deserved better than you, a better son, one who would honor the family name and follow the path laid for him by his father." Lucius stepped back, his voice now quieter. "I deserve better than this."

He raised his wand and pointed it at Draco's heart. "I deserve a son who will not question me. You were on the right path, and I can only blame myself; I should have taken you out of Hogwarts and away from Dumbledore's influence a long time ago. I'll give you this moment, Draco. Decide."

Draco's mind flew, and the seconds ticked away like drops of water from a tap. He felt his heart twist at the new memory of his mother's warm, dead hand and the old memory of a witch screaming through a flash of green light. Inexplicably, he thought of Cedric Diggory, wandering into Voldemort's path and dying a death he didn't deserve. Draco sighed heavily and looked into his father's face, trying to discern how it could have come to this. He reached into his robes and brought out his wand.

"Expelliarmus!" shouted Draco, shocking his father into nearly dropping his wand before it flew from his hand.

"I am leaving here, Father. I have made my decision."

Lucius looked at Draco's determined stance, at how he held both wands and how he looked down sadly at Narcissa's form. Draco didn't look up again.

"You would choose weakness over power, Draco? Have I taught you nothing?"

"I would choose what is right, Father, even though it isn't an easy path."

Lucius curled his lip. "You are just delaying the inevitable, you know. Lord Voldemort will hunt you down, you and all the other weak-hearted fools that follow Dumbledore. They won't want you, Draco, anymore than I would want you now. Who would want someone who defies his father? They'll always suspect you, always disbelieve you."

Draco sighed again as he turned to leave. "That, I believe, is my problem now."

As he walked away from the manor, half afraid his father would Apparate in front of him at any moment (until he remembered that he had his father's wand), Draco thought he could feel his mother's approval in the gentle wind at his back.

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A/N: Thanks again to Twinkledru J. for hosting the HPImprov, and thanks in advance to my brilliant beta Zsenya!!!

This one is for Michael. You may never understand my quirky hobbies, but you are the Muse's voice. Thank you.

Feedback/criticism accepted gratefully at texgoddess@yahoo.com 1

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