Draco was going to take a break, after a long day of work. Usually it didnt tire him as much as it did today, however the pile of useless jobs that were thrown onto him had strained his nerves quite a lot on this particular day.
He had just returned from an interview with Mister Feltgar, a 67 year old man who had apparently stolen a throphy from the Tronks. Tronks was a well known trophy maker and worked with a lot of gold, which is why his pieces were so desired... because they were worth a shit ton of money, but that was besides the point.
It was all well and fine but Feltgar was a nightmare to work with, he had spent nearly 20 minutes blaming capitalism for his accused wrongdoings — even though he was not even a muggle. Some part of Draco didn't really think Feltgar was a thief but the facts were too great to ignore.
Feltgar had apparently entered the Trunks in the Diagon Alley at 2pm and left only 15 minutes later, 5 minutes after his disappearance it also happened that the trophy was gone and there hadn't been many people who had visited the shop - in fact none, other than him - since it had only opened an hour earlier.
Still, Feltgar was an old man and Draco doubted he was smart enough to trick all the security spells and run off with a golden trophy. Why would Feltgar even do that? He didn't have an alibi at all.
Finally he slumped down on a seat in the Cafeteria. At least he could enjoy a bloody meal now and rest even if it was only for a few minutes before he would have to continue some paperwork he didn't get to finish the day before.
He could hear the sound of dishes clashing in the background and numerous conversations during lunch and the noise was relaxing to Draco, because he didn't have to talk and could let the others do it for him.
The Auror didn't have many friends in the ministry, because well, aside from being a little distant Draco had always lacked certain communication skills. Maybe he had really believed his parents when he was younger, about how he would always have people running after him, since he was from such a prestige family, that Draco never really tried to befriend people, without offering them fame and money. Well he did still have a whole lot of money to offer, but fame was something he couldn't give anyone anymore, given the fact that he was now infamous at best - which was another reason people tended to take two steps back from Draco.
"Well, well, well look who it is," Draco heard a voice from behind him and instantly spun his head. Talk about trouble having friends, one thing Draco certainly didn't lack was people obsessed with hating him and ruining his every single day. Sitting at the table behind him there was none other than Kaine and his really pleasant friends. Note the sarcasm.
Here we go again Draco thought and braced himself in advance, for the shitshow that would go down now. He was used to it after all, Kaine hated his guts and never wasted an opportunity to humiliate him in front of a crowd.
"I think that's a death eater" one of the men sitting next to Kaine said loudly, and much to Draco's dislike it was so loud that some people stopped talking to each other and chimed in on the interaction in front of them instead. As soon as people heart the words ‘death eater’ around here, you bet they would listen.
"A death eater?" Kaine snorted "weren't those supposed to be locked away to rot in Azkaban?"
"I suppose so" the same man replied "should we help put Malfoy here where he belongs," Kaine's friend spat his name with venom on his tongue.
Draco internally sighed, slowly turned away from them and continued eating his lunch - or at least he tried. He knew there was no point in talking back to them so he just let them go on. He felt several eyes bore holes into the back of his skull which made it even harder to focus on eating.
"Look at me when I'm talking to you, death eater" Kaine hissed and Draco suddenly felt his hand on his shoulder almost knocking him off of his seat. Before he could react in any type of way Kaine grabbed the plate of food placed in front of the blonde and threw it to the ground. The loud clattering of the dishes filled the room and Draco winced at the sound.
He wanted to close his eyes and disappear. He hated this. He hated this so much. God how much he wanted to disapparate now, but he couldn't do that. He couldn't run anymore.
He shouldn't have come here. He should have went into his office. This was his fault, he thought, his fault for trying to eat. He shouldn't eat at all, matter of fact, he didn't deserve it.
It was his fault. He deserved it.
For being a death eater. He had made a choice a long time ago and it had been the wrong one.
To be treated like the scum of the earth was his punishment, in a way.
He accepted it. The consequences were harsh but if the house of slytherin had taught Draco anything then it was that one had to do what was necessary and accepting the outcomes of your ill-doings was necessary.
Despite what Draco was telling himself though he still wanted to cry and god - it killed him. Not the fact that he couldn't cry right now, but the fact that he wanted to. Since when had he been this weak?
"Enough" a voice echoed in volume from across the room. A voice that held authority. A voice that Draco knew all too well.
His attention was drawn to where it was coming from and there he was standing.
Of course, Draco would have snorted if it wasn't for the fact that he was about to break out in tears in front of everyone. Of course it was Harry Potter, the saviour of all! The greatest man to walk the earth, wasnt't he. Always there to protect Draco like Draco was some sick, poor little worthless thing that needed saving.
Dracos eyes wandered towards Harry and his eyes didn't roam around a lot before he noticed his hand and that the man had his wand raised.
"Harassment at the workplace is forbidden according to page 20 paragraph 6 of conduct within the ministry. Kingsley will hear about this, Auror Kaine" Harry continued.
At this point almost everyone was staring at them, the whole entire hall had stopped lunching. If you happened to drop a needle you would hear it kiss the ground right this moment.
"Why would you stand up for a death eater Harry?!" Kaine sneered and kicked the plate on the ground to the side, grimacing as a bit of the food stained his shoe. "It was your own parents that got murdered by Voldemort and this-" he turned towards Draco "this scumbag supported him - in fact his whole family did. We will never forget. Even if the chosen one does.”
Harry gripped his wand harder and the action didn't escape Kaine's attention, who took a small step back.
"Don't talk as if you know anything about me or Auror Malfoy, Kaine. Now leave before I get you fired for misconduct."
This seemed to anger Kaine even more but nevertheless, the odds were stacked against him and he knew Harry was indeed in a position to actually get him fired. He glaced at Draco with fury in his eyes before he walked away not so gently bumping into Harry on his way out.
The young Auror seemed unfazed by Kaine's action and was slowly lowering his wand eyes now darting towards Draco - who had watched everything without a single sound leaving his mouth. His eyes were filled with sympathy - sympathy that Draco wasn’t asking for. It made him feel sick.
Harry finally put his wand away and Draco cleared his throat tearing his eyes away from the brown haired boy as he could hear people whispering behind him.
In an instand Draco then stood up and left to his office. Silently. Gently. As if he didn't dare to make another sound.
Harry's eyes followed him, watching him exit but he too didn't say anything else. Soon enough the whispers had settled and people carried on with their business.
"You're crazy!" Hermoine was roaring and both Ron and Harry were rolling their eyes, already sick of the lecture that was about to come out of Hermoines mouth "to threathen an Auror like that - in front of dozens of people! You've really lost your mind Harry - a-and your wand was out! Your wand Harry!"
Ron sighed and raised himself from the couch "baby, calm down" he muttered and put a hand around his wife's back "Harry promised he'll never do that again. Seriously though mate, why did you do that" Ron asked turning his gaze towards Harry."
"Because.... I dont know okay?" Harry got into defensive mode and straightened his posture a bit, putting the beer in his hand away "you didn't see how ... how Malfoy was behaving okay. He ... he was just standing and accepting the bullocks that Kaine was throwing his way!"
Harry got louder the more he remembered of the incident and the more he replayed the look on Draco’s pale face.
Even if it was only by a bit, Hermione’s angry expression softened at that. She too had seen the whole thing go down, but she was a tad too late to stop Harry from doing what he did.
"Malfoy - he's changed so much you know? He doesn't... he doesn't..." Harry continued trying to find the right words and it felt as though he was just rambling when he just couldn't express his thoughts.
"He doesn't fight back," Hermoine finished for him "I know Harry."
Raising his head a bit, Harry looked at Hermoine. Yes. He didn't fight back anymore. Despite their rivalry when they were young, Harry hated seeing the blonde in that manner. Something just seemed off about his entire character now. Where had the confident slytherin gone to? Why was he now walking around like a corpse, doing whatever he was told to do. Why did Malfoy seem so scared?
Harry had always thought even if it was just a sick and twisted side of him, he would enjoy seeing Malfoy like this someday. Now that it had actually happened, now that Malfoy was truly in the shards of what was once a rich and arrogant brat - now almost invisible - Harry felt wrong.
It didn't feel right. Not when Malfoy had gotten so pretty over the years. Not when his pretty face seemed to hold almost no happiness anymore. God he didn't even know what he was thinking anymore but seriously when was the last time anyone had seen Malfoy smile?
"I won’t lie" Hermoine broke the silence "the war has really changed him. I looked through his files."
Ron's face turned from neutral to shocked in a matter of seconds as his brain was processing what he had just heard "Hermoine - thats illegal!" Ron exclaimed.
"No its not! I was assigned to sort every Aurors file okay. And I just happened to open Draco Malfoy’s and look he's had about 300 clean up jobs this year alone and- he's really working hard and getting almost no recognition. It's weird. It's like death eaters are the.. the Muggles now." Hermoine seemed to have said all of this in one breath.
The man still sitting on the couch listened carefully. It was no surprise that Malfoy was working harder than he should. How else would he have gotten so bloody thin? Obviously he was overworking and not eating much. Something about that made Harry feel not good at all.
“Karma is a bitch love.”
"Is this funny Ron ?!" Hermione snapped and Harry joined her in throwing Ron a few dirty looks.
Harry groaned out of frustation. “I think Draco has proven he's changed. He proved it long ago, back when we were still in Hogwards. Yet he's still being treated like this after all these years." He seemed truly upset about it.
Even Ron silenced and Hermoine seemed to agree. “You should never do that again though Harry, raising your wand against a fellow colleague,” she advised.
"Isn’t Malfoy also a colleague?!” Harry snapped but his tone changed immediately when Hermoine frowned “anyway... what are we watching?"
He tried to change the subject and to his relief Ron instantly picked up on the new subject and began telling him and Hermoine about a new Marvel movie that the Muggles had made.
“Spiderman is not real, Ron.” Hermoine cut him off.
“Plus you’d be pissing yourself if he was, i didn’t forget about the time we went into that cave of spiders and you almost wetted your knickers,” Harry added and Hermoine broke out in laughter.
Ron threw a pillow at him and the brunette smiled.
His thoughts didn't move on from Draco though nor from the shattered look on his face when he saw him that morning.