Thanks to everyone who helped, encouraged, placated, petted and glomped me whilst writing this fic lol :D
To Kel the drugged up high as a kite Beta
Nic for her translating my poor Italian
To the lovely Laura for her last minute Italian save 3
Dany who pointed out my ridiculous Severus Snape and made me rewrite him lol
Mellie for cheering me on lol and to anyone else I forgot (I love you!)
The story you are about to read was written for the time turner war challenge on Malfoy Manor- everything belongs to JKR, Warner Bros, Scholastic etc EXCEPT the OC's all the portraits (MINE), the Italian Spells (MINE!)
This is by far a very different Lucius than I've written before and I take a lot of my inspiration from laurielove's Lucius in Communion where he's a bit beaten down but still a powerful, dark, cruel sod :D
There is a smidgeon of fluff but it's right near the end! lol
No time turners were hurt in the making of this fic :D xoxo
To see it with her own eyes had been frightening, to hear the whispers of souls lost, the joy sucked from her magical being, the looks on their faces- vindicated, angry, happy, vile...she shuddered. He had still been a man, a wicked, cruel man but his heart beat like theirs, his soul tainted by sins of the past but he'd tried to atone, desperate to save even one life in the end. It hadn't mattered, the mark that stained his skin told a sad, familiar story. His soul, damned, lost for eternity and the passion he had evoked from the gathered magical community had been awe inspiring. She wondered, however briefly, if he'd inspired emotion of this intensity whilst living, was this a small glimpse into a wizard feared, admired and worshipped?
She sighed, nibbling on a small piece of chocolate that had been pressed into her hand. Her eyes drifted to the wizard, slumped to the side, drool sliding from his parted lips, his hair, normally so beautifully cared for, had clumped and tangled with blood and dirt. Sorrow filled her heart and she sought his hand, entwining their fingers in a silent show of support. He didn't pull away even as he watched tears slip down her cheeks; it was a testament to how well their friendship had evolved in those few short months after the fall of the Dark Lord. He trusted her, he needed her and she loved him for it.
She knew in the instant she had looked upon him in the Great Hall, huddled in his Mother's protective embrace, that life for Draco Malfoy would never be the same. She had refused to listen when Ron had exclaimed Draco was evil to the core and should rot in Azkaban. She'd felt fury like no other when Molly slapped his face and called him a son of a whore. She'd stood, proud next to Harry Potter when he exclaimed for the world to hear that Draco Malfoy was under his protection and should even a hair on his head be displaced, the perpetrator would feel the wrath of the Dark Wizard vanquisher.
Harry had lost the Weasley family that day; the loyalty they felt to the Order had vanished when Draco Malfoy had been pardoned on many an accurate witness statement, proclaiming his innocence and defection to the side of the Light. Hermione herself had been accused of using Draco Malfoy to further many an agenda, but there wasn't a manipulative bone in her body and the young witch saw him finally in a new light. He was broken, destroyed by the one person he'd trusted beyond all others- his mother, Narcissa Malfoy.
Hermione remembered it well, seeing the witch standing in front of the Wizengamot, declaring herself innocent, and baring her unmarred left forearm to the gasps of the gathered community. Weeping as her husband was led into the courtroom with shackles around his once pristine body, fury filling his eyes and magic sparking from his fingertips at his wife's betrayal. Narcissa Malfoy- ever the self serving, cunning witch, threw her husband to the wolves, crying Imperio for all that would listen.
She had not known Draco well then, but to see the wizard's shoulders slump and the disappointment etch across his face had broken her heart. She knew Narcissa Malfoy was lying. She had a firsthand account of what the witch was capable of. It hadn't been just Bellatrix Lestrange to torture Hermione those fateful days at Malfoy Manor- her younger sister delighted in carving all sorts of runes across the small witch once her husband and son had been banished from the rooms, she poured dark potions within the cuts, chanting spells long since forgotten and delighted in watching Hermione's skin dissolve. She had spent many the long days sequestered away in St Mungo's receiving treatment, but the scars remained, long and silvery they sliced through her smooth skin, destroying the self confidence, esteem and hopes of the once innocent witch.
Narcissa had given evidence to ensure Lucius Malfoy died a most horrible death, while she secured his vaults, homes and anything of worth for herself- leaving Draco with his sizeable inheritance and Malfoy Manor, his only link to Lucius. But Draco Malfoy didn't wish for material possessions, he simply wanted his Father and the witch who gave him life was responsible for stealing his father's soul so he would be forever in limbo.
'I think I would like to leave now,' he whispered into her ear and she shivered slightly as his warm breath ghosted across her neck.
'Do you want to say goodbye?' she asked quietly and blinked quickly as more tears fell down her cheeks. Lucius Malfoy looked confused and sad, his eyes darting from side to side, his hair now falling across one shoulder as he moved his fingers in a strange pattern.
'I-It's not...' Draco hissed and ran his free hand across his brow. 'Fuck it all, Granger, that's not him, it's just a body, Father is gone.'
'Just-' He sighed and tugged her into his arms, burying his face into her shoulder. 'I need you by my side.'
'Always,' she said and held him tightly against her.
'We need to go.' Harry said softly and squeezed Hermione's hand. 'The vultures are circling.' He gestured to the open doors of Courtroom Ten where Lucius was being led to the waiting crowds, flash bulbs bounced off the walls and vile jeers echoed through the hallways.
'This isn't right.' Hermione said, her eyes flashing angrily. 'Why did he let this happen?'
'Who exactly let this happen, Granger? The lovely new Minister or my Father?'
'Kingsley, of course!' she snapped. 'He promised change, he gave me his word that just because someone had a mark didn't make them guilty by association.'
'He lied.' Harry said darkly. 'He lied and betrayed us.'
Hermione reached out a shaky hand and rested it upon Harry's arm. 'Harry, calm down.' His eyes flashed, red tinges glowing briefly before his brilliant green hue returned. 'How long has that been happening?'
'The mood swings?' Harry attempted a grin but only succeeded in grimacing. 'A few weeks now, when I realised that nothing would change and the Ministry was the same corrupt bunch of wankers they've always been.'
'Well said, Potty,' Draco drawled and Hermione was once again amazed by his ability to filter away his emotions as soon as they appeared. 'Now, shall we face the masses? I for one am looking forward to this evenings Prophet. I wonder if they'll claim you're a harlot again, Granger.'
'Scarlet Witch, Malfoy get it right.' Hermione retorted with a small smile. 'I was only a harlot when Rita found out I was helping with Professor Snape's defence, the rumours that the three of us are more than just friends- well, I haven't a doubt they'll persist, especially when certain families seem to flame the gossip rags.'
Draco rolled his eyes delicately and pressed a kiss to her hand, 'I shan't let it go until we're home.'
'Home?' She gifted him with a genuine smile this time.
'Well, I can't live there by myself now, can I? I'd get lost.'
Hermione pondered his question for a moment before giving his hand a squeeze. He was uncertain, confused over what to do and she'd be damned before she let him fester away in that ridiculously large Manor by himself. 'Harry should come too,' she murmured and mimicked his affectionate kiss to her hand. 'He only has us.'
'Potter's already claimed the East Wing for himself.'
'Oh has he now?'
Harry looked sheepish. 'Big hallways, no portraits, plus there is a wicked pool.'
'You have a pool?' Hermione asked and turned her accusing gaze to Draco who merely smirked.
'It's more of an underground hot spring really oh and we have stables...' He drifted off with a faraway look in his eye. 'Father loved riding.'
'Please say you'll stay Hermione,' Harry swung his arm around her shoulders and not for the first time she marvelled over how much he'd grown and how happy he was now, without the burden of a world's fate on his shoulders.
'Can I keep the same rooms?'
Draco quickly schooled his shock and nodded. 'If you wanted to be near me Granger, all you had to do is ask.'
She huffed. 'Honestly! It's a coincidence that the rooms I prefer are next to yours. Don't get any ideas in that pretty head of yours!'
He smirked. 'She thinks I'm pretty!" Draco grinned and gave Harry a slow, lazy wink. 'You can have your precious rooms Granger but, you'll have to use silencing charms, witch. Your snore louder than Hagrid after he's been in his cups.'
'I don't snore!" She stated rather huffily, and then she smiled, squeezing his hand. 'Are you sure?' She didn't want to pressure him even though she was loathed being away from either wizard for too long.
Draco leaned forward slowly and stroked her jaw gently. 'I need you Granger, you're the only witch that understands me and doesn't judge me for my past.'
'You were a right arrogant little git Draco but I'm glad the events of the past few months have brought me your friendship. I hardly think I would have coped without all those wonderful books.'
'Wench,' He muttered and gave her a quick kiss. 'Friends with Gryffindors, the world must have gone mad.'
'True that,' Harry snickered. 'Now how about we walk out there, heads held high and flip those gobshites the bird?'
Draco's eyes gleamed. 'I would say, Potter, that other than defeating the Dark Lord, this is your best idea yet.'
'What are you doing?' Hermione leaned against the hard wood door to Draco's Potion's lab and watched him curiously. For the past month he'd been sequestered away brewing, cursing, throwing anything that would break and then brewing some more. He'd been tight lipped about the exact nature of his project but had informed Hermione that morning at breakfast that he was almost ready to explain his breakthrough.
'I have a present for you.' Draco murmured, still with his back to the witch as he decanted a vibrant red potion.
'A present for me?' She stepped into the room and smiled, it smelled like deep, red roses and she spied a small oil burner casually bubbling away on the corner of the bench.
'I've managed to convince the Ministry to euthanize Father.' Draco said softly and turned to face her, holding in his hand a small leather pouch with dozens of vials lined up behind him. 'He will be entombed in the Malfoy crypt here in our cemetery; I don't expect many to attend so I'm having a private service. Father's cousin has consented to appear and so have a few school chums, but still I would like to request your presence.'
'I would be honoured.' Hermione smiled because it was true. Not only had Draco been working eagerly on his project but he'd opened up to the witch and Harry Potter. Telling stories of an astonishingly fairy tale laden childhood with trolls and gnomes, mermaids and unicorns, he spoke of a deep love for his father and how he'd admired the man, as a courageous sod who took on the world and lost. She felt closer to Lucius Malfoy through his son and began to see him differently, from the cruel, callous Pureblood bigot to a man, one that loved his child and would die to protect him from evil.
'I've sought suitable attire for you.'
Her brow rose in question.
'Don't get those big knickers in a twist Granger; you can't wear those jeans to a funeral.'
'I do have formal wear, Malfoy; I just choose to be comfortable rather than stifled in Wizarding robes.'
'You're a witch, Granger, not a Muggle, it's time you started acting like one.'
She wouldn't get mad, he had lashed out at her before in times when he was stressed or overcome with grief and she knew deep down he was right. Wearing Muggle clothing had been a defiant act, to shout to the world that she, Hermione Jean Granger was a Muggleborn and gifted with the same rights as her full blood counterparts.
'I won't shame you Draco, I can promise you that.'
He crossed the distance between them swiftly and drew her into his arms, burying his face in the long, tangled curls that surrounded her like a wounded halo. 'You don't shame me, but you have to play the part, Granger. Everyone knows you're a Muggleborn, we can't give them more sparks to add to your Incendio.'
Hermione snickered at his reference. 'Kindling to the Incendio, perhaps?'
Draco grunted. 'Whatever, witch; just wear the clothes I bought you and shut that pretty little mouth.'
She laughed louder and leaned in to whisper, 'You aren't fooling anyone, Malfoy- I know you like seeing my bottom in jeans.'
His cheeks suffused with warmth and he cleared his throat as the leather package was thrust into her hands. 'Atonement.'
'What?' She held up the holster and tears sprung to her eyes. Inscribed in the soft brown leather were two words, simple and elegant Granger- Witch. 'For my wand?'
'No, for this,' He murmured a simple Accio and the vials of Potions levitated towards him, dancing through the air. 'Blood Replenisher, Healing draughts, Skel-E-Gro, every enhancer you could possibly imagine and this-' He snatched several of the blood red potions from the air. 'Anti Venin.'
Hermione gulped. 'Anti Venin?'
Blond locks fell into his eyes as he palmed the vial. 'Star took Nagini's body after that battle at Hogwarts, when I realised Severus was dead. I needed the venom.'
'Draco,' Hermione said softly. 'You have atoned already for the acts you committed as Hogwarts. Professor Snape would not blame you for his death.'
'I can make a difference.' Draco stated and one by one pressed the potions into her holster. 'This is your own mini Potion's stores.'
'What do you hope to gain from the Venin?'
He looked at her strangely and Hermione would swear on all that was Merlin his eyes glinted dangerously oddly reminiscent of Bellatrix Lestrange. 'I shall tell you and Potter after dessert.'
'Draco, you needn't have done this.' His head was lowered and hands clenched at his sides as he nodded slowly.
'Of course I did, witch; if anyone should have protection- I want it to be you.'
'Merlin, Malfoy you sound like a bloody Hufflepuff.'
Harry smirked and gave Hermione a quick kiss. 'What's all this then?'
'Draco brewed potions for me,' Hermione said softly and pressed her cheek to the Pureblood's chest as she embraced him. 'Atonement.'
Harry grew serious. 'I thought we'd moved past this?'
'Yes well, some of us aren't blessed with illustrious Ministry careers or gifts thrown at our feet.' Draco said bitterly and turned from them.
'I don't have a Ministry career Draco,' she murmured and ran her hand down his back in silent comfort. 'Nor would I want one. You have enough galleons and influence at your disposal to make a difference.'
'I've always wanted to be an Auror,' Harry said and sighed deeply. 'I can change the Ministry from the inside.'
'Kingsley's man hey Harry?' Hermione grinned and held out her hand for her dearest friend.
'I've made reservations for dinner tonight,' Harry gave her hand a squeeze before looping his arms around his friends. 'Morgana's Wand, at eight, dress to impress yeah?'
'Come to my rooms Granger,' Draco said and kissed each cheek gently. 'We'll have you looking fit in no time.'
To be continued...