Summary: Draco Malfoy rebels.
Notes: Set post BTVS S7 and post ATS S4 and definitely post OOTP.
Disclaimer: None of the characters are mine.
Draco Malfoy swept down the corridor, striding angrily towards the Slytherin common room. He bore an uncanny resemblance to his Head of House, tall and broad shouldered, his robes streaming out either side of him.
Younger students who had been at the receiving end of his fury before, ducked out of his way and those who weren’t quick enough were swept aside, landing painfully on their backsides. He left a trail of frightened and angry looking people behind him - even his fellow Slytherins moved aside for him. They knew their Prince well enough to get out of his way when he was in a bad mood.
A bad mood didn’t really cover his current state of mind. Towering temper, perhaps was a more accurate description, incandescent with rage was also a good way of putting it. It was only through sheer determination and pride that he wasn’t punching every single person in the whole of Hogwarts including Professor Dumbledore and Professor Snape. He snarled the password at the painting blocking his way, then stalked through the common room, heading to his room. The door slammed behind him and activated his private locking charm.
He stood in the centre of the room, his breath coming in short pants, trying to regain control of himself. Draco realised his hands were shaking and held one out horizontally in front of him, watching the tremors course through his fingers. As the minutes passed he brought himself back under control, his breathing easing and his quivering hand becoming rock steady. It was only then that he moved across to his bed, laying down and staring up at the ceiling.
How dare he? How dare he assume? Demand? Command him, Draco Malfoy to attend before him? The anger flooded over him again, the heat of it warming his skin. He fought the urge to howl loudly, to scream, to give in to what he was feeling. Seven long years he had studied, rivalling Hermione for top marks in some subjects, his achievements unsung and unmarked by everyone. His teachers had not awarded points to him when he had known answers to questions, when he had done well – and that was the way he wanted it to be.
He wore his position of Slytherin Prince like a cloak, a disguise. He worked at it until only those who were in his close circle of friends dared speak to him, Crabbe and Goyle, his lackeys and even Pansy Parkinson remained blissfully unaware that Draco Malfoy was having serious problems with his conscious. He wrestled with it every day, every hour. He hated himself sometimes but he did what was expected of him, to be the villain of the hour, to be the mud blood hater he had been when he was a child. Seven years at Hogwarts, seeing Harry Potter suffer immeasurably sometimes and the jealousy that Draco felt towards him had changed the envious self centred evil boy into a enigmatic man. His hair, once long white locks like his father’s, had been cut off at the end of the summer into a cropped style, spiky. Lucius Malfoy had gone insane when he had seen the cut but Draco had simply said it got in his way during Quidditch and he wasn’t going to wear it in a ponytail like a girl. This reasoning was fair enough and his father had backed off. His mother had ruffled the short hair with a wistful but understanding expression on her face.
“Don’t push his limits, Draco” she had whispered to him before he had returned to school at the beginning of September.
Draco’s rebellion raged on internally, the only outward sign of his change of heart was the hair, the tormented expression that his eyes had begun to show. He knew Dumbledore had noticed it and even, on one occasion, had attempted to speak with Draco about it, to sound him out but Draco, unwilling to take those first steps had blocked him out, refusing to talk about it until Dumbledore had backed off, taking the hint.
And now his father, perhaps sensing that his son wasn’t the Malfoy that he had been brought up to be was forcing his hand. Or rather his arm. Draco examined the unblemished skin of his forearm, trying to imagine what the Dark Mark would look like, tried to imagine the burning pain that Voldemort could cause with a single touch.
A knock at the door roused him from his thoughts. He briefly considered telling whoever it was to piss off but could not be bothered. Whoever it was could be got rid of easily enough. He heaved himself off the bed and opened the door to find Professor Snape standing in the doorway.
“Professor?” Draco was surprised. The Potions Master made rare appearances in the Common Room and it was even rarer to get a personal visit from him. He stood back to allow the man into the room and then closed the door behind him.
“Lock the door Malfoy” Professor Snape said quietly “We need to talk.”
Draco re-activated the charm which his mother had taught him many years ago and then turned to face Snape who was watching him with hooded eyes, his expression blank.
“You wanted to talk?” Draco asked.
“I’m assuming the reason you took out nearly all the first year students and scared the life out of everyone else is because of the letter you received this morning at breakfast.” Draco glared at him. He hated being predictable.
“I’m also assuming that your father has commanded you to attend before He Who Must Not Be Named.”
All Draco gave was a brief nod of his blonde head and Snape nodded as well.
“Your views on the subject are, of course, well known throughout the school and I’m sure that you will be first in line to serve our Master willingly and with all your heart.”
Draco raised his eyebrows at this but answered quietly “Of course.”
There was silence for a moment while Snape and Draco stared at each other and Draco felt a pressure behind his eyes which suddenly eased.
“On the other hand, there are some who might say that your Slytherin Prince act is nothing more than that and it hides someone who does not want to serve Voldemort.”
Draco’s eyes widened involuntarily at this, his fists clenching to stop them from shaking but he had already given himself away.
“If you can’t lie to me, you won’t be able to lie to him” Snape continued softly. “Trust me on this. He will know whether or not you come willingly and if you do not it will be all the worse for you.”
“I am willing” Draco forced the words out but Snape laughed at him, the harshness of the noise shattering the tense atmosphere.
“Don’t be ridiculous boy. I’ve watched you for the last seven years, don’t you think that I know that your loyalties have changed?”
“I don’t know what you mean” Draco began to panic now. He was well aware that Snape was a Death Eater and perhaps this was part of the test, part of the training.
“I think you do. I think you’re scared now, worried that this is part of some test to find out whether you are worthy of bearing the Mark.” Snape allowed silence to fall before continuing. “I can assure you that you are wrong.”
Draco stared up at him, confusion written all over his face. “I don’t understand.”
“Use your brain, Malfoy. What do you think I have been doing all these years?”
Realisation trickled into Draco’s brain like iced water. Snape was a spy, had been for many years, one foot in Voldemort’s camp, one in Dumbledore’s. Despite his obvious dislike for the students of Hogwarts, he would protect them with his life if he had to.
“You and I are very similar – stereotypical Slytherins as muggles would say, exhibiting all of the faults and none of the virtues. It’s an easy mask to wear, but it’s time to take the mask off.”
“I think we must face the fact that neither of us are as loyal as perhaps we should be. For me this means carrying on with my life as a teacher here and a spy, perhaps betraying Voldemort and dying by his hand.”
“And for me?” Draco asked, not really wanting to hear the answer.
“Well this is the question Mr Malfoy. It is a certain fact that should you face Lord Voldemort, he will see into your heart and mind and he will know that you are not his. And he will kill you. He will make an example of you before all his servants and your family will hang their heads in shame.”
Draco’s face was stony as the image of his mother crying over him came into his mind.
“There is another option?”
“There is. Professor Dumbledore has suggested sending you away for a short time, until you can think straight and are sure of your path. I’m not entirely sure it’s a good idea but the Professor, in his wisdom thinks this is the best choice.”
“What choice? I don’t understand.”
“To walk in shadow or light, Mr Malfoy.”
“Shadow or light?”
“You won’t ever be a Death Eater Mr Malfoy, I know it and if I know it so will your father and Voldemort. But I’m not entirely sure your feet are firmly planted in Dumbledore’s camp either. So what I am suggesting is a short vacation, a break away from the demands of school and your family and house to get your head together. A chance for you to take a step back, get some distance and view the situation with some perspective.”
“Perspective?” Draco was aware that he wasn’t really taking part in the conversation but couldn’t get his mind to work quickly enough to take in what Snape was saying and to make any kind of helpful response.
“Do keep up Mr Malfoy. We’re offering you a chance here. A chance to step away from your family, from Slytherin and everything that it stands for. To perhaps make a new life away from here. Because, believe me, if you decide not to follow in your father’s footsteps you will be dead within the day – your father will not suffer to be made a fool of.”
No, Draco thought, that much is certainly true.
“Dumbledore has suggested that you stay with some friends of ours in America.”
“That’s some distance” Draco said in surprise.
Snape frowned at the interruption but continued smoothly, explaining Professor Dumbledore’s plan. The idea was to get Draco as far away as possible, for him to be near conflicting magical energies which would hide his presence.
“There’s a witch living at the place you’re going to, she can cast a spell to hide your presence. The time away would be good for you. Give you time to think. To decide if you want to continue how you are and take the risk of being found out or to step out of this completely.”
“Step out?” Draco was shocked “You mean not fight?”
“There are other battles Malfoy. Chances are you would not survive this one. Haven’t you heard the phrase “live to fight another day?””
“You’re talking about running away” Malfoy stated flatly “I won’t run to save myself.”
An expression of frustration crossed Snape’s face “I’m talking about two weeks in America with some people who will give you space when you need it, who know nothing about you and who you don’t have to pretend with because they don’t you. You could turn up and pretend to be Harry bloody Potter if you wanted to be and they wouldn’t know the difference.” Snape lied a little, knowing that there was one person who would know full well who Draco Malfoy was and more importantly, who his father was. But he also know this person would not judge Malfoy and would give him a chance.
“An exchange program is what the official story is.”
“Sounds like it’s all organised. What else can I say other than yes?” Draco sighed “When is this break due to take place?”
“Over the Christmas period, so you won’t have the take the risk of going home between terms. You can use the Floo System and go straight there on the last day of term and return to the School whenever you want to if you feel you don’t want to stay.”
“And who is it I’m going to stay with?”
“An old friend of the Professor’s. He and some others live in a hotel in Los Angeles and fight the good fight there.” Snape’s tone changed slightly, becoming slightly sarcastic which Draco did not miss but did not comment on.
“And what is this old friend’s name?” he asked.
“Giles. Rupert Giles.”