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Walking Disaster

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As far as he was concerned, Draco Malfoy had no parents. At least, not since he was sixteen years old. At sixteen, Draco had been given the near impossible task of killing Dumbledore, and with that, everything in his world had changed. Initially, it seemed like an honor. He was finally being seen as an adult capable of being a Death Eater, getting a special assignment from the Dark Lord himself, and showing the world he was just as capable of greatness as their beloved Boy Who Lived. It wasn't long before he realized how very wrong he was. After a few months of unsuccessful attempts and increasing threats of violence from all sides, he made the hardest decision he could ever make. He chose to switch sides.

Needless to say, his sad excuse for parents had been cowards about it. Draco had gone home over break and begged them, pleaded with them, to accept Dumbledore’s help and switch sides. He didn't want them to die, and he knew his defection would reflect poorly on them all. Unfortunately, Lucius was a proud man and refused.

With a sharp backhand to Draco's face, Lucius looked him in the eye and said that any hardship was Draco's fault and that he was no longer his son. Though Narcissa cried out, she was not willing to turn against the Dark Lord and her husband. They were clearly in denial about how bad things were.

Draco had been, understandably, shocked. After a few moments, he stood with his back straight and stared down the empty hallway of Malfoy Manor where his parents had been standing, took a deep breath, and walked away.

That had been nine years ago, and since then, everything had changed. As a result of his bravery, the aforementioned Boy Who Lived had seen Draco in a different light. It wasn't long before a wary trust formed between the two, trust turning to friendship, and friendship turning to love. It had been awkward at first and completely unexpected, but before long, everyone had adjusted to Draco and Harry being one singular unit.

After graduation, they moved in together and started to build a life. The Dark Lord had been defeated, most of the Death Eaters had been rounded up, and the world continued moving forward. Draco ended up becoming an alchemist, and Harry took the Defense Against the Dark Arts position at Hogwarts,the two of them settling into a beautiful life in Hogsmeade.

Draco should have known that nothing lasted forever.

It was a bitter cold morning, and his latest experiment was happily bubbling in the corner while Draco shivered over his tea cup, shakily writing the latest adjustment to the formula he was working on. If all went well, his latest work should be able to fully refine any ore to complete purity within a few hours.

When finished, his process should fetch him a hefty price. At the moment, ore refining could take days, and the result was often only around 80 percent pure or less. This made it problematic for potion making and cauldron production, as the impurities would often react with the other elements in the solution. His newest creation could change all of that.

Draco smiled as he looked at his work. Though he never would have predicted it, he had truly found a life he loved.

As he scraped out another number in the formula, the wards on his fireplace began to buzz, indicating that someone was trying to firecall him who didn't already have access through his wards. It was unusual for anyone to call his lab, so Draco stood quickly, puzzled, and made his way to the corner fireplace, dropping the wards.

"Hello, Mr. Malfoy." He heard a familiar voice call, though he did not recognize the man’s face staring back at him. "My name is Reuben Ulysses, Esq. I am your father’s attorney." Ah yes, so that's where Draco recognized the voice from. This smarmy man had been around his father for years, always cleaning up his messes and helping him bury evidence. There was nothing pleasant about this man; Draco did not appreciate him popping in unannounced.

Draco sneered in the fire’s direction before replying. "Of course you are." Draco drawled, trying to keep his cool as best he could. "What are you doing in my fireplace?"

If Reuben had noticed Draco's tone, he did not respond to it. "May I step through?" The man asked. "I have an urgent matter I discuss with you."

Draco rolled his eyes. With these lawyer types, every matter was of dire importance and every matter was urgent. For all he knew, his father could just be editing his financial holdings. But Draco knew the only way to make this annoying man go away was to give in quickly and get it over with. Without replying, Draco dropped the wards with a quick flick of the wrist, and the fire roared as Mr. Ulysses stepped through.

The man was rather tall, more so than Draco by at least four inches, and had a terrible comb-over of black hair badly covering a central bald spot. His nose was sharp and pointed up, making him appear even more pretentious than he was, and his purple robes, meant to portray authority and importance, simply made him look vaguely like a parrot.

After brushing the soot from his robes, he stepped forward and offered Draco a hand. Draco simply crossed his arms and leaned against his work desk. He may be willing to speak with this lawyer, but that didn't mean he had to be cordial about it.

Reuben took a step back and cleared his throat. "Alright, then Mr. Malfoy, I'll get right to the point." He said, opening his briefcase and removing a few papers. "Your father has died, and as the new head of the family, it falls on you to get his affairs in order. Of course, your mother will be able to assist you, seeing as it's been nearly ten years since you have been home, but ultimately the job falls on you. First, with the matter of his will. He still had a fair amount of money and business holdings so..."

The lawyer rattled on and on, but Draco had barely heard a word after the word ‘died.’ His father was dead, after all this time. Draco wasn't sure what he was feeling...his insides felt like a storm was raging. There was anger, sadness, confusion, guilt, and relief swimming around inside him, fighting for dominance. The result was that Draco felt numb.

The last time Draco had even seen his father was an accident. The man had been walking down Diagon Alley about two years ago. It had been near twilight, and Draco was just getting back from the bank after selling his recent hangover draught and depositing the money. When he saw his father, he froze. Lucius undoubtedly saw Draco as he passed, but did not meet his eye or show any sign of recognition. After so long, Draco truly was the forgotten son. How could he know at the time that that would be the last interaction he would have with his father?

The lawyer prattled on for a while longer about possessions and money, stocks and holdings, companies his father was attached to, and all other matters of business that now lay on Draco's shoulders. Draco heard it as as if the voice was underwater, and nodded when appropriate, signed papers where needed, and agreed to come to the man’s office later in the week to coordinate the will. After half an hour, Reuben left, and Draco sank to the floor in a corner of his lab, head in his hands, trying to make sense of the day.

Hours later, he was still in this position when he heard Harry arrive home, looking for him. "Draco?" Harry called out, from the hallway outside the lab. Draco didn't have the energy to move. The lab door creaked open and Harry's footsteps came toward him. "Draco? What are you doing on the floor?" Harry asked, coming over and placing a hand on Draco’s crossed arms. "Did something go wrong with the formula?"

"My father died." Draco replied, lifting his head to look his boyfriend in the eyes. His voice sounded hoarse from disuse and cracked slightly.

Harry looked shocked, eyes wide and hand over his mouth, but when he spoke, his voice was calm. "Oh Draco, I'm so sorry." He said, stroking Draco's hair. It felt nice. "That's terrible."

Draco scoffed. "Why? The man was a right bastard." Draco said, the corners of his eyes burning. "The world’s better for being rid of him."

Harry breathed out a sigh and sat against the wall next to Draco, threading their fingers together. "Yes, he was a bastard, but he was still your father."

"Yeah, well," Draco said, leaning his head on Harry’s shoulder, "not according to him. I'm no son of his, remember?"

Harry sighed again. "Yes, of course I remember."

They were both silent for a while, the only sound in the room coming form the still bubbling away cauldron Draco had nearly forgotten. The experiment was probably ruined by now, but Draco couldn't bring himself to care.

After awhile, Harry spoke again. "So, do they know what happened."

Draco ran through all the things the lawyer had said, but came up blank. "You know, I forgot to ask. His lawyer came by to tell me, and it was all finances and head of the family business." Draco frowned and crossed his legs beneath him. "I didn't ask anything. I'm surprised my name is even on anything. I was sure they had disowned me years ago."

"Well, you are the only Malfoy heir." Harry said. "I suppose even the proud Lucius Malfoy couldn't let go of his legacy that easily."

Draco nodded, numbly, and looked at Harry. "I have to get his affairs in order. I have an appointment later this week."

"Alright." Was all Harry said, before they lapsed into silence again.

A while later, Harry abruptly stood and held out his hand to a puzzled Draco. "Come on, you need to eat something."

Draco wasn't really hungry, but did as he was told. Harry made them both some basic pasta and garlic bread, and poured them each generous glasses of Pinot Noir. Neither spoke much throughout dinner. Harry relayed a few things had happened at school, and Draco commented a bit on the changes he made to his formula. They discussed Luna and Neville’s upcoming nuptials and Ginny's performance in the Holyhead Harpies vs Puddlemere United match. They managed to spend hours drinking wine and avoiding heavy subjects. By midnight, they were tangled up together on the couch, nursing bottle number three, and discussing Christmas.

It was only then that Draco went back to thinking about his family. "I wonder how Mother's doing." He mused aloud.

Harry ran his fingers through Draco's hair and sighed. "Not very well, I'd wager." He said, glumly. "Git or not, he was her husband."

"I'd wager you’re right." Draco said, and that was the end of it.

A few days later, Draco was in his study when a great, tawny owl swooped through an open window with an ivory envelope in its beak. As it landed next to Draco, he instantly recognized the tight, gold calligraphy. This was from his mother. After giving the bird a treat, it swooped right back out, and Draco simply stared at the heavy envelope in his hands. His long fingers shook as he peeled back the flap, slowly breaking the seal. After peeling it back a few centimeters, he stopped and put it down, only to pick it up again a moment later. Honestly, what did he have to be afraid of? He was Draco Malfoy, damnit. A simple letter shouldn't be enough to completely undo him like this.

A few hours later, Draco was in the kitchen making dinner when Harry came home. The still partially opened letter was on the counter.

"It smells amazing in here!" Harry said with a smile, coming over and kissing Draco lightly on the cheek. "What are you making?"

"Roasted rack of lamb, sweet potato succotash, and asparagus." Draco said, stirring the veggies on the stove. "It should be done in a few minutes. Why don't you go change and set the table?"

"Sounds like a plan." Harry said as he left the room.

It wasn't until they were done with dinner and on to Draco's pear streusel that he decided to bring anything up. "So my mother wrote me today." He said, poking around his dessert with a fork.

"Really?" Harry said, surprised. "What did she say?"

"I haven't opened it yet."

"Why not?"

"I'm scared of what it's going to say."

Harry put his fork down and pushed back his chair. A moment later, he crouched down next to Draco, who refused to meet his eye, and put his hand on Draco's knee. "Draco, love," Harry started, "do you want me to open it for you? Make it a bit less of a surprise?"

Draco smiled slightly. It was moments like these that he remembered just how much he loved this man. With a quick flick of his wand, the letter flew right into Draco's outstretched hand. With fingers trembling slightly, he handed the envelope to Harry, and watched as he tore the envelope Draco had been toying with all day right open.

For a minute or so, Harry said nothing. His eyes darted quickly back and forth across the page, reading line after line, flipping the page once to read the back, and eventually he stopped and smiled. "It's a beautiful letter Draco." Harry said, covering Draco's hands with his own. "I really think you should read it."

Draco swallowed thickly, willing his heart to stop pounding. "It's really not her chastising me or somehow blaming me for Father’s death?"

Harry laughed, and the action brightened his eyes. "No," he said, pushing the letter into Draco's hand, "it's definitely not that. Just read it. Make yourself a cup of tea, go into the study, and read it. You won't regret it." Harry stood then, grabbing a beer from the ice box, and walked out of the room.

Draco stood and poured himself some tea, just as Harry suggested. Perhaps it really wasn't that bad of a letter. After all, his mother was the picture of politeness. It still made him nervous though. What could she possibly have to say to him after ten years? Especially considering how their last encounter had gone?

Then again, she had risked her own life saving Harry just to make sure Draco was safe. Even though she knew there was likely to be no reunion between them, for her it was worth just to know her son was safe. If it hadn't been for her heroism, Harry would be dead and the Dark Lord would have never fallen. In many ways, if it weren't for her, Draco would not be with the man he loved now.

When his tea was ready, he made his way to the study and settled into a squashy arm chair near the fireplace. After lighting a fire to warm him up, admittedly to procrastinate a bit longer, he finally opened the letter.

My Dearest Draco,

I know it has been a long time since we have spoken, and I am not even sure you will take the time to open this before chucking it in the fire. If so, I would not blame you. Though with everything happening recently, I will send this with the hope that you find it in your heart to read it.

As I'm sure you have heard by now, I have recently lost your father. After the war, he was never quite the same. He became quite disturbed, jumping at every small sound, waking screaming from terrible dreams, and often having flashbacks to the things he had seen and done. I'm sure you see this as some kind of karmic debt, and I don't blame you for it, but as his wife, it was quite disheartening to see him fall apart. The once proud Lucius I fell in love with became a shell of a man.

After two years of this, he stopped taking care of himself. He took up smoking a pipe, rarely ate, and never left the house. He would stay locked away in the parlour for hours at a time, muttering to himself about what he could have done differently.

When he first fell ill, I was concerned. He did not want treatment, refused the family healer, and did not seem to care what happened to him. Quite the time for his pride to return. After months of coughing fits, high fevers, and dwindling magic, he finally went to St. Mungos. They gave him a year to live. He managed to live another two.

And now, I have lost the people I loved most in the world. I lost my sister to the madness of her lust for power, my husband to the shame of being broken, and my only son to a higher cause I was too cowardly to follow him into. You were just a child when your innocence was stripped from you. Your father and I were in denial about how bad things were, and I know it was easier for him to blame you for everything. I'm sure you don't miss me at all, but I miss you.

I miss you, my son. The manor is so large and silent, I feel as if I'm in a tomb. There was once a time these halls were alive with the sound lavish parties, small children running around playing games, a husband and wife deeply in love, and family and friends. People rarely visit now, and I rarely invite them. My child is grown and gone, and my husband is dead. These things are inevitability way of life, but that does not ease their sting.

The reason I am writing you is to ask you to come home. I know you live on your own, and that is perfectly fine, but please come see me. I know I don't deserve your forgiveness, but I am asking for it anyways. When someone dies, it makes you re-evaluate your priorities in life. Lucius had too much pride to reach for you, but there were times I heard him mutter your name and quietly sob in his study. I refuse to follow in your father’s footsteps. Despite our past, we are still family. I hope you can find it in your heart to remember that.

Enclosed, I have included the invitation to the wake. It will be this coming Sunday at eleven in the morning. It would mean everything to me if you came.

All Of My Love,
Narcissa Malfoy

Draco didn't notice until the tears splashed the page, but at some point, he had begun to cry. So much time had gone by since the war, and he had done the same thing his father had done. He had let pride get in the way. She was right. They were family and it had been too long since he had seen her. After all this time, it was hard to remember what had really gone wrong, especially with his mother.

A sound from the doorway stirred him, and he looked up to see Harry standing against the doorway. "See, I told you it was a good letter." Harry said, a small smile playing across his features. Harry pushed himself off the wall, and came over to sink himself on the armrest of Draco's chair. Draco couldn't find words, so he simply laid his head on Harry’s leg. "So, should we go start pressing your best suit for Sunday then?"

"I'm sad he never got a chance to see what I became." Draco said, with a somber smile. "I think he would have been proud if he could have gotten past his pride."

"That sounds a bit ironic." Harry said, threading his fingers through Draco's hair. "He couldn't be proud of you because he was too proud. You do have a strange family."

Draco nodded once, and looked up to meet Harry's eyes. "So, I guess you are finally going to get to meet my mother."

Harry laughed and stood, pulling Draco up with him, wrapping his arms around his neck. As Harry pushed closer to Draco's chest, he pulled his boyfriend in for a long, slow kiss. "Come on," Harry said when they came up for air. "Let's go to bed."

Three days later, Draco stood in front of the mirror adjusting his tie. For some reason, he always had trouble making the knot lay flat, and it drove him crazy. Plus, he had a bad habit of fiddling when he was nervous.

When Harry walked in the room, he looked phenomenal. He frowned when he noticed Dravo fiddling with the tie, and walked over. "Here," he said with a smile, "let me get that." With a few simple maneuvers, the tie was perfect.

"Gods, how do you do that so well?" Draco mused, smoothing out a few invisible wrinkles on his jacket.

Harry smiled and pressed a kiss to Draco's cheek. "After fixing your ties for ten years, I should be a bloody pro by now." Harry said, with a small smile. Looking Draco in the eyes through the mirror, his smile fell slightly. "Are you ready for this?"

Draco shrugged. "Well, I damn well better be, we have to be there in ten minutes."

"I love you, Draco," Harry said, with a gentle squeeze to Draco's shoulder. "I know you've got this. She wants you there, I know she does."

"Yeah, you're right." Draco said turning around and grabbing Harry’s hand. "Let's go."

With a small pop, he and Harry arrived outside the Manor’s gates a moment later. The entire place felt somber. The sky was a dull gray, there was no wind rustling through the trees, and even the small pond seemed still. After the large gates swung open, he noticed the walk to the house was lined with dark roses. Closer to the house, a few people were standing about talking. Most didn't notice them pass, but a few tipped their hats politely in Draco's direction. As they walked still closer to the Manor, they saw more and more small groups of people. Draco knew many of them, though not all, and he was surprised at how many people were there. When Harry reached down and threaded their fingers together, he realized he was shaking slightly.

"It's good we came, Draco." Harry said beside him.

Draco tuned and smiled at him. "You're right. I wonder where my mother is..."

As soon as they had reached the top of the steps, the grand front doors opened. A small house elf stepped out and smiled somberlyat them. "Master Malfoy, Harry Potter. So glad you could make it, Sirs." The house elf bowed slightly. "Mitsy is very sad to have lost her master, very sad indeed. Mitsy tried to help sir, really did, but the master did not want Mitsy's help. I'm sorry."

"It's quite alright Mitsy, it isn't your fault." Draco said, just as the elf began to cry noisily. "Now, will you please direct me to my mother?"

"Oh yes, of course, Sirs!" Mitsy said with another bow. "She is right in the back rose garden. She tells Mitsy to fetch you when you arrive, and here you are."

"Thank you, I'll head back now. Why don't you go attend to the other guests?"

"Yes, Master Malfoy. Whatever you say." And with a little pop, the elf was gone.

"Do you want me to come back with you?" Harry asked, concern flooding his eyes.

"No, that's alright," Draco said, pressing a small kiss to the corner or Harry’s mouth. "Why don't you go see about getting us some drinks?"

"Alright. Love you." Harry said, as he began to walk toward a long banquet table that was set near them.

"I love you too." Draco replied, though Harry now seemed to be out of earshot.

With a deep breath to steady himself, Draco made his way toward the back gardens. The garden had always been his favorite part of the Manor. Filled with all manner of exotic magical plants, it stretched for ages past the property with numerous walking paths, gazebos, wishing wells, ponds, and bridges. It was a magical place to get lost in, and seemed to have the special ability to wipe away a person’s worries and fears.

One of his earliest memories of his mother was in this garden, specifically one patch of roses. This patch was filled with pale lilac roses and each petal shone bright silver, as if it had been dipped in metal. They were in bloom all year round and the most beautiful roses Draco had ever seen. She insisted on keeping up with this patch herself, claiming it was tuned to her magic alone. Draco suspected it just made her feel important.

When Draco was very young, perhaps four or five, he was playing with his toy broomstick outside when he spotted her in that patch. She looked like an angel to him. Her bright white hair shone under a sun hat in the bright afternoon light, her pale blue robes mirrored the sky, and her nimble hand trimmed roses and filled a small basket at her side. He had run to her immediately.

"Do you know why these roses are silver tipped? Narcissa asked him. He shook his head no. "Well, the legend goes that, long ago, there was a little boy and his mother. They were playing hide and seek in this very rose garden. It was the little boy’s turn to hide. The mother searched high and low for her little boy, but could not find him. When she finally did, night had begun to fall.

“As it turned out, he had been hiding among the lilac roses that were her favorite. As she scooped him into her arms, the first of the stars began to twinkle against a dark blue back drop. The little boy looked at her and said, 'I wish the roses could shine as brightly as the stars'. And so she used her magic to call out to the stars. She asked them to make the roses shine as brightly as they did. So touched at her love for her son, they rained down upon the roses here, forever turning their edges silver, shining as brightly as the stars.

“Years later when she had left the world, the now not-so-little boy would come to the garden when he was sad. One winter, he came and the roses were dead. He cried out, feeling as if his mother had gone all over again. The stars saw this, and took pity on him. They rained down their magic once again, bringing the roses back to life. The boy looked up and saw his mother’s beautiful roses, and cried again, but this time tears of joy. As long as those roses lived, his mother would never be truly gone. Her memory was alive in their shining petals. From that day on, the roses would always bloom. No matter the weather, they were there to remind him he was never alone."

It was no surprise that today, on the day of his fathers wake, he found his mother here. Though today, there was no hat, and her blue robes were replaced with black, her white blonde hair still shining in the sun. Suddenly, Draco felt like he was four again. All he wanted in that moment was to see his mother smile. With a final breath, he walked up behind her and placed a hand on her shoulder.

She didn't seem startled at all at his arrival, she simply turned and looked at him. Through eyes filled with tears and a heavy heart, she smiled at him. In that moment, words were unnecessary. The smile was enough and Draco knew they were going to be ok.

From the back porch, Harry looked on at them. They had all come so far. Though there was still much repairing to do, Harry could not have been more proud. The once forgotten son and the mother who had been too afraid were now reunited. Harry watched as Draco put his arm around his mothers shoulders, and she leaned into him. There was something magical about the roses that surrounded them.

With a final smile, Harry headed back inside. There would be time another day to work on healing old wounds. Today, the past was in the past, and he was the only one to notice the beauty of a mother and son reunited. In that moment, he knew everything would be alright.