The Death Eater raid was brief and brutal, mysterious figures attacking in the night. They left the muggles dead, the houses on fire and, above them, the Dark Mark hanging threateningly in the sky, flagrantly proclaiming their presence. It was a small village somewhere in Yorkshire, the incident didn’t even make the news despite the deaths being suspicious.
Lucius Malfoy stood in the main village street, watching the houses before him burn merrily. Beside him stood Severus Snape, a look of extreme distaste on his face. Lucius raised an eyebrow at him and Snape rolled his eyes.
“This piece of fun is not to your taste, Severus?” he asked silkily.
“Whatever our Lord desires of course.” Snape answered smoothly.
“Such violent acts have never appealed to me. I prefer the subtle arts.” The black haired Potions Master curled his lip in a sneer, his distain for the brutal acts committed that night clear.
Lucius switched his attention to the boy standing between them, laying a hand proudly on his son’s shoulder. The firelight flickered over their pale faces and white gold hair, a gleam of triumph on Lucius’ face and a set expression on Draco’s. Snape spared a quick glance for the younger Malfoy and noted the look on his face. They waited until the roof of the closest house fell in, crushing whoever had been trapped inside, and until the despairing wails had ceased before turning away.
“Safe journey, Severus” Lucius said, moving away to the car that was waiting for them.
Severus Snape nodded to the Malfoys before apparating away back to his residence. He had been required to attend that night by his Master. Lucius Malfoy might be Voldemort’s favourite but he was biased as far as his son was concerned, Snape was there to provide an impartial view. That night had given him much food for thought.
“You did well tonight, Draco” Lucius patted his son’s shoulder before getting into the car, a black window tinted Mercedes driven by a thralled muggle. Lucius Malfoy had a taste for the finer things in life and had recently discovered the joy of being chauffeured around. It gave him time to think and was, in the right vehicle, a very pleasant experience.
Draco followed him at a slower pace, and settled himself beside his father, moving to stare unseeingly out of the window at the world flicking past the window.
“Didn’t you enjoy yourself tonight?” his father asked, helping himself to a glass of whiskey from the decanter in the back.
“Yes father,” Draco answered automatically. “It was all so….”
“Beautiful?” Lucius finished, without waiting to hear what his son had been going to say. “It was rather, wasn’t it? The screams, the pleading, the begging.” He gestured expansively, the whiskey sloshing around in the crystal glass, before he downed it and poured another one.
Draco felt the cool of a glass being pushed into his hand and he stared at his father as if he had never seen him before.
“Well drink up then” Lucius was impatient. “I’m looking forward to telling our Lord exactly what happened here tonight. Yes.” He eyed Draco thoughtfully. “Yes, I do think you’re ready.”
Draco couldn’t summon up the words to speak, but swallowed the alcohol, the liquid burning his throat and causing his eyes to water.
Ready? He wasn’t ready. He had followed his father there that night as ordered by Voldemort and had carried out the raid, masked and cloaked, with the rest of his father’s accomplices, slamming the doors in people’s faces and locking them tightly. He had tried to close his ears to the howls of pain, the screams of the children and had finally retreated to watch his terrible handiwork at his father’s side.
Lucius was so proud and in that moment Draco hated himself. No, not hate. He loathed himself. He knew that he was under observation and the mask of Draco Malfoy must not slip, not for an instant. He held his glass out for another shot of the whiskey and clinked with his father, toasting his success.
When he reached the safety of his room at Malfoy Manor, it was a whole different story. The façade that he had kept up in front of his father slipped and he headed straight for the bathroom which adjoined his bedroom and threw up copiously. The liquid seared his throat, the bitter taste vile in his mouth. He heaved until his chest ached and he gasped for breath. He lay, his head resting against the cool tiled wall until his stomach had emptied itself completely.
The events of the night came crashing back into his mind, the smell of burning flesh, the scent of the smoke still hung about his clothes and he pulled them off, filling the massive bath set into the middle of the room and sliding in.
Lord alone knew how long he sat there, his mind in a whirl. Who would have thought it? He should have welcomed tonight and indeed he had welcomed tonight. Right up to the point where the firebrand had been put in his hand and Lucius had directed him to fire the first building. No magic for Draco Malfoy. Just plain, honest to god murder. He felt sick again but pushed the nausea away, instead letting angry tears slide down his cheeks.
The water had long turned cold by the time he got himself together and got out of the bath, towelling himself down and wrapping himself up in a dressing gown. He glanced in the mirror as he left his bathroom but realised that his reflection was the last thing he wanted to see and turned away.
The bed seemed hard and cold that night and sleep eluded him for that night and for the many nights following. He was grateful to get his Hogwarts letter and breathed a silent sigh of relief that he would be able to get away from his father.
Lucius Malfoy had crowed to Voldemort about his son, how proud he was at his son’s hatred of muggles, his pure bloodedness and the joy he had taken in their deaths. Neither of them had been called upon since that night to carry out any more raids and for that, Draco was profoundly grateful.
He arrived back at Hogwarts School outwardly the same Draco Malfoy; the Slytherin Prince, sneering, sarcastic and snobby. He managed to hide from his classmates how much he was affected by the nightmares that plagued him nightly, only the circles beneath his eyes to show that he wasn’t sleeping.
He moved from lesson to lesson, unaware of the observing eyes that were turned upon him. Draco Malfoy was not the first Slytherin to suffer from a crisis of conscience and, despite managing to hide it sufficiently well to fool his peers, there were two others who had begun to suspect that the Malfoy boy was having second thoughts of walking in his father’s shoes.