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What Comes After

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There was a trial after the war. Not immediately of course, there had just been a war after all, and these things take time. Most of the surviving Death Eaters spent the interim in the crumbling cells of Azkaban, guarded by Aurors, not dementors. Draco was lucky, he supposed, to have been put under house arrest along with his parents. Avery had famously cursed til he was blue in the face when he heard that Lucious and family would escape the cells yet again. Avery had always been a bit dim. The Manor was nothing more than a gilded cage, where Lucius drank himself into a bitter stupor and Narcissa's muffled sobs echoed through the empty halls. Draco had never wanted to be anywhere less. It was almost a relief when it came time for his family to be tried for his crimes. Even Azkaban would be better than his home -- haunted by the crimes of the past year.

 

They tried each member of his family separately, and had saved him for last. Walking into the courtroom felt absurdly like a twisted version of his first day in Hogwarts. All eyes were on him, and his stomach lurched unpleasantly. He debated pasting on a smirk as he walked to the lone chair in the center of the room, but settled instead on a bland smile at Acting Minister Shacklebolt. He kept his answers short and terse, but he never broke eye contact. He may be going to prison for the rest of his life, but he was bloody well going to do it with dignity.

 

And then Harry Potter took the stand. And defended him. Draco wasn't sure what the other man was saying, he was too busy trying to keep his face blank, refusing to betray the utter shock and disbelief that was roiling through him at the moment. His parents got five years in Azkaban and 20 years of house arrest. He got six months.

 

Potter met him outside the courtroom, the shadows under his eyes deep and dark enough against his brown skin to rival Draco's own.

"Sorry." he said "It was the best I could do."

Draco knew he should thank him, but the voice in his head that sounded like a mix between his 11 year old self and his father at his worst protested loudly. He settled on a stiff nod and got a wry smile in return. He realized later, on his first day in his cell, that his heart felt just a little lighter.

 

Six months later he was allowed to see his parents before becoming a free man. His mother hugged him. His father ignored him.

"Do well for yourself" his mother whispered before he left, her voice shaking but her eyes clear.

He nodded. There was nothing else to do.

 

Six and a half months after the second Wizarding War Draco Malfoy disappeared from the wizarding world. And in a shabby studio apartment above an old bookstore on a London sidestreet, Daniel Matthews began unpacking his single suitcase.