Disclaimers:  I do not own Harry Potter or any of its characters.  I am only borrowing them for the sole purpose of
entertainment and nothing else.  No money is being made from this.

Notes:  Harry/Draco fic.  My first Harry Potter fic.  This prologue starts with Harry getting off the train after his fifth year.  
The events that follow are purely from my own overactive imagination.



Sordidus Ars Magica
(Sordid Sorcery)



Prologue


Harry Potter sighed deeply as he stepped off of the train and onto Platform nine and three-quarters.  Another school year was
over with, and now he had to return home.  The prospect of spending the next few months in the company of the Dursleys
was not at all appealing to Harry in the slightest bit.  But he really had no choice in the matter.  They were his only family . . .
well, except for his Godfather, Sirius Black, but Sirius was a criminal on the run.  Although Sirius was innocent of the crimes
that he had been accused of, it still didn’t make him Harry’s legal guardian at the moment.

Uncle Vernon was waiting for him, an angry scowl on his face.  He sat in the driver’s seat, not saying a word or even
acknowledging Harry’s presence in any way.  Harry sighed again, saying goodbyes to Ron and Hermione before getting his
trunk, Hedwig, and himself into the car.  His uncle’s behavior was odd . . . Harry wasn’t sure what to expect from the man.

Uncle Vernon all but slammed his foot down on the accelerator, the tires of the vehicle giving off a loud keening screech.  A
moment later, the car was speeding down the street, not going in the direction that Harry knew would take them to Privet
Drive.  This was the wrong way . . . where was Uncle Vernon taking him Harry wondered, his eyes narrowing as he observed
Uncle Vernon’s very strange behavior.  However, he knew better than to ask where they were heading, deciding it would be
better to just sit quietly rather than get yelled at.

So Harry stared out of the window, watching the passing scenery as he also tried to keep Hedwig calm.  He guessed that she
knew something was up with Uncle Vernon.  This was wrong, so very wrong . . . Harry’s very bones were sure of it.

After a couple hours of driving, Uncle Vernon finally stopped the car.  Harry frowned, not recognizing where they were,
looking around at the wooded area that Uncle Vernon had decided to park in for some reason.  “Why are we here?”  Harry
asked, speaking for the first time since Uncle Vernon had picked him up at the station.

“Bite your tongue!”  Uncle Vernon snapped, picking something up off the seat beside him as he got out of the car.  A moment
later he opened the door beside Harry, forcefully pulling him out of the car.  It was then that Harry noticed the rifle that his
uncle was carrying.

“What are you going to do?”  Harry asked, his worry increasing by the minute.

“Putting an end to this rubbish once and for all.”  Vernon sneered, reaching in and grabbing Hedwig’s cage.

“No!”  Harry yelled, rushing forward to stop whatever Uncle Vernon meant to do, only to be backhanded by the large man.

“Shut up, boy!”  Vernon yelled.

Harry fell to the side from the force of Vernon’s strike, looking up in time to watch as Uncle Vernon forced Hedwig out of her
cage, getting her to fly before he raised the rifle and aimed it at her.  “No.”  Harry whispered again, silent tears trailing from his
face as the trigger was pulled, the gun letting off an earsplitting bang.

Hedwig fell from the sky with a shrill cry and Uncle Vernon laughed.  “That puts an end to that.”  He said, grabbing Harry by
the collar and tossing him into the backseat.  “You won’t be going back to that place again, boy . . . I won’t put up with this
nonsense of yours any longer.  I won’t tolerate this unnaturalness under my roof!”

Harry paid no attention however.  He turned in his seat, pressing his hands to the glass at the back as he struggled to see where
Hedwig was.  All he wanted to do was run out there and find her, but he didn’t know if that would be such a wise idea really.  
Uncle Vernon seemed to be in an awful mood . . . plus he had a rifle in his hands.

Harry nearly breathed a deep sigh of relief as he saw Hedwig struggle to flap her wings and lift off into the sky.  She was flying
unevenly, but at least she was flying.  He could see a bit of blood on one of her wings and was thankful that Vernon’s shot had
only seemed to nick her.  But still, Harry worried over whether she would make it to wherever she was heading or not.  He
hoped that she’d be okay.


*****


“Come on, we don’t have all day!”  Voldemort hissed as Wormtail, his ever present annoying assistant, gathered the last of the
needed ingredients into a pouch he carried at his side.

“Yes, Master.”  Wormtail replied, scurrying along behind the Dark Lord.

Voldemort glared at the pathetic man, taking the pouch from him as soon as he was close enough for him to reach it.  He
looked through the pouch, hissing at Wormtail when he saw that the rat had been careless with one of the vials.  “You fool!  It’
s spilled!”  Voldemort glowered, raising the aforementioned clear vial which was now empty.

Wormtail cowered, covering his head as he expected a punishment.  However, none came this time.  Voldemort simply had no
use for the creature before him anymore.  Wormtail had served his purpose and now he wasn’t needed.  As soon as he heard
the approaching footsteps, Voldemort raised his wand, aiming it at Wormtail.  

“Crucio!”  He said, watching with amusement as Wormtail collapsed to the floor, writhing and screaming.  A moment later,
Voldemort had apparated away, leaving Wormtail to deal with the Ministry of Magic officials on his own.  What happened to
Wormtail from now on no longer concerned Voldemort in the least . . . it wasn’t as if the rat knew of his plans anyway.


*****


Harry was forcefully shoved into the house by his uncle, stumbling and nearly falling over before he regained his balance at the
last moment.  Uncle Vernon followed him a moment later, pulling Harry’s trunk in along with him, his rifle in his other hand.  
Harry glared at the man, not able to forgive him after what he had done to Hedwig.

Vernon dropped the trunk, slamming the front door shut as well.  “All of this junk is going in the attic!”  Vernon declared,
handing the rifle over to Aunt Petunia who took it out of the room to somewhere unknown, carrying it as if it were a dead fish.

“No . . . you can’t!”  Harry objected, hearing as Dudley snickered from the kitchen.

“I can and I will!”  Uncle Vernon shouted in reply, bringing the back of his hand down against Harry’s cheek again.  

This time Uncle Vernon didn’t seem satisfied with just the one strike though, as he let loose with numerous hits to Harry's face,
or arms when Harry did try to defend himself.  Uncle Vernon had smacked him around a bit in the past, but it had never been
so bad as this before.  When he was done, Uncle Vernon grabbed Harry by the collar, all but dragging the dazed youth to the
cupboard under the stairs and forcing him inside.

“You’ll stay in there until I let you out!”  Uncle Vernon yelled, slamming and locking the door of the cupboard.

Harry sighed, taking off his glasses which were now broken again.  He found the tape that he had used a few years ago to
patch them together in the first place, right where he had left it.  Once he had mended his glasses he set them aside, and laid
down on the cool floor, most of his stuff still up in the room he had been given a few years ago.  He didn’t think Uncle Vernon
would let him out for dinner . . . probably not for breakfast in the morning either.  The man seemed to be in a terrible mood.  
And that just meant trouble for Harry.

He curled up into a ball, his face and arms aching where Uncle Vernon had struck him, wondering what had set him off so
violently.  Sure he had smacked Harry around before, but never so much.  With a deep sigh, full of foreboding, Harry closed
his eyes and fell into a restless sleep.


*****


Sirius Black blinked as he read and reread the parchment he had just received by owl from Albus Dumbledore, the Headmaster
at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.  When he had finished reading it, he read it again, still not believing it to be
true.  He scanned the contents of the letter, a smile breaking out on his pale features as he read it aloud.

“Sirius, I hope this letter finds you well.  I thought it would be best coming from me.  Wormtail has been arrested.  He was
found by Ministry officials, unconscious on the floor of a local apothecary shop that had just been robbed.  You have been
pardoned of all charges and they want to give you a formal apology.  Please come visit me the first opportunity you get as I
have something urgent to discuss with you pertaining to Harry’s future well-being.”  It was signed by Albus Dumbledore and
was marked with his personal seal.  

He stared, gaping at the parchment in open shock, then at the clipping that had been enclosed with the parchment.  It said just
what Dumbledore’s letter had, detailing how Wormtail had been found and that Sirius was now a free man.  If this was true,
then he was free . . . he didn’t have to hide anymore.  He gasped, smiling.  This meant he could take Harry away from those
awful Dursleys once and for all . . . he was the boy’s Godfather.

Taking out a quill, Sirius replied to the letter, telling Dumbledore where they could meet.  Sirius wouldn’t be stupid, just incase
this was a trick of some kind, they would meet in a place of Sirius’s choosing, so that he could discover whether this was valid
or not.


*****


Draco Malfoy sat in his bedroom, a sneer set on his face as he glared at the house elves that scurried around doing his father’s
bidding.  He didn’t do anything that would occupy his time, just sitting there as his father had instructed him to do.  He couldn’
t go against his father, not even if he had the will to do so . . . you just didn’t disobey Lucius Malfoy.

The door was pushed open and Draco looked up as his father walked in, his robes flowing around him as he stalked angrily
into the room.  Glaring at Draco with cold gray eyes, Lucius raised his wand and aimed it at Draco, uttering a low mumble of
words.

The effect was immediate.  Draco felt his eyes drift closed, his body swaying as a feeling of utter coldness swept through
him.  It was like an icy breeze had flowed through his body, chilling his very bones.  Dizziness and nausea filled his weary
body, a sense of relief drifting through him as he regained control of his own mind for the first time in a very long time.  He
had been a victim of the Imperius Curse for almost all of his life . . . his father wanting to control just about everything he said
or did . . . Father left nothing to chance in ensuring the reputation of the Malfoy name.

However, whatever relief Draco had felt was immediately crushed as Lucius Malfoy ordered the house elves to leave the
room.  Draco flinched, his body beginning to shiver in fear as his father approached him.  A single tear dripped from each of
his eyes, leaving almost identical trails along his pale skin.

Lucius saw this, his face growing more sharp and anger-filled as he raised his hand and backhanded his son.  Draco fell to his
side, covering his head with his arms as he whimpered quietly, not wanting to be hurt.

“I can’t believe I fathered such a pathetic weakling!”  Lucius glowered, grabbing Draco by the scruff of his neck and hauling
him to his feet.  “Time for your punishment.”

Draco stumbled as his father let go of him, wanting to run away, to curl up in a ball and hide somewhere.  However, he stayed
on his feet, knowing that his punishment would be far worse if he tried to run away.  He merely watched as the elder Malfoy
walked over to the nearest wall, selecting a barbed lash from the many implements that hung there.  

Draco’s room was little more than a torture chamber, weapons and various restraints filling the room.  A set of chains and
straps hung from the ceiling and another set went along the floor, used to hold him in place when he was given one of his
numerous punishments.  The windows were barred, the door always locked when he was in here.  His four-poster bed stood
along one side of the room, straps affixed to each corner to restrain him in the night.

“Strip!”  Lucius ordered, testing the lash by swishing it through the air a couple times.

Draco whimpered, shivering, but he obeyed.  He was too afraid to find out what would happen if he didn’t follow his father’s
orders.  The man was already using one of the Unforgivable Curses against him . . . what would stop him from using another?  
With trembling hands, Draco unclasped the fastenings of his robes and let them fall to the floor to pool around him.  Then he
removed the clothing he wore underneath, until he was left shivering and nude before his father’s eyes.

Lucius Malfoy grazed his eyes over the scarred planes of his son’s body, staring with disinterest at the various and multiple
scars that covered his slender body.  They were marks of the “lessons” that Draco had learned, the many punishments he had
received for fighting against the Imperius Curse, or for not doing as well in something as his father had instructed him to do.

“Arms!”  Lucius hissed.

Draco closed his eyes, raising his arms above his head.  He felt as the leather straps were secured around his wrists and he
weakly pulled against the bonds to test them.  They were strong, as he knew they would be.  Next, his ankles were bound.  He
had some freedom of movement with his legs, but not much.  He couldn’t get away, he was trapped . . . of course he had
always been trapped here, ever since his birth.

Lucius grabbed Draco’s chin, forcing him to look up at his father.  “You let that Granger girl get better grades than you
again!”  Mr. Malfoy said, letting go of Draco’s face and circling around behind him.  “You let a Mudblood do better than you!”  

The first strike hit Draco’s back, causing his body to jerk in the restraints, his back arching in response as his skin was torn
open for the first time tonight.  Draco bit into his bottom lip, holding back a cry of pain, knowing that he couldn’t scream . . .
no it would only get him in more trouble if he made a sound.  He had learned that lesson long ago.

“And that Potter boy . . .”  Mr. Malfoy hissed, bringing the barbed lash down against Draco’s pale skin in repeated strokes,
tearing open his flesh each time.  “You can’t even best Potter!  Five years and you’ve done no better!”  He said, his voice
raised.  “A Mudblood bests you in studies and Potter beats you on the Quidditch field!  You were ordered to win at all costs
and here you are, losing all the time!”

The lash came harder against Draco’s back.  He could feel the blood running down his thighs in dark crimson trails, knew that
his father was doing considerable damage to his back.  His body quivered in pain, tears steadily falling along his cheeks to drip
to the floor below.  After a few more lashes, Draco could no longer contain his screams and he let them loose, crying out until
his throat was raw and throbbing, while his father’s strikes against him came faster and harder, ripping the skin from his back.

Then suddenly, the whipping stopped.  Draco sagged in his bonds, his body slack in the chains that held him up.  His legs
couldn’t support his weight any longer, so he just hung there, his head lowered as he waited for whatever his father had
planned for him next.  He whimpered, clenching his eyes shut and trying unsuccessfully to stop the flow of his tears.

“You’re lucky that the Dark Lord wants you alive, Draco . . . or else I wouldn’t tolerate this failure from you.”  Lucius Malfoy
growled, grabbing Draco’s chin and forcing him to look up again.  “You sicken me . . . to think that a pathetic creature such as
you was sired by me.”  His eyes were cold as he spoke and Draco knew this was the truth he was hearing . . . his father
simply hated him.  “I would have killed you long ago if the Dark Lord didn’t need you.  At least he thinks you’re good for
something.”

Lucius took the lash back over to the wall, hanging it up once again, cleaning the blood off of it with a wave of his wand and a
few words that Draco couldn’t quite hear.  Then he turned, again waving his wand, but this time to remove the straps that
were holding Draco up.  Draco fell to the ground with an audible thud, feeling as the bindings on his legs were similarly
removed as the ones that had been around his wrists.

“Get up, boy!  Get into your bed!”  Lucius Malfoy ordered.

Draco forced himself to rise to his feet, whimpering and crying with each movement of his wounded body.  The wounds on
his back stretched painfully with each and every movement that he made, but thankfully he wasn’t too far away from his bed.  
He shuffled over to it, unable to lift his feet properly, stumbling several times.  As soon as he was close enough, he let himself
fall forward onto the soft surface, pulling himself up the rest of the way with his arms.  Then he just let himself lay there, not
knowing if he’d be able to move his body again even if he had wanted to.

A moment later, Draco felt as his legs were spread, his ankles fixed in the shackles at the foot of his bed.  He watched as his
father walked along to the other end of his bed, sliding his fingers along the length of Draco’s body, stroking them along his
almost white skin before he took Draco’s hand and secured his wrist in a shackle at the head of the bed, doing the same with
his other wrist a few seconds later.  Then Lucius Malfoy just strode out of the room as if Draco meant nothing to him at all,
not even taking a second glance back to make sure the injured youth was still breathing or not.

Draco must have nodded off, or lost consciousness, since the next thing he knew he heard his door creaking open once again.  
He shuddered, a few of his wounds breaking open and bleeding again, thinking that his father had returned to hurt him once
more.  However, when his eyes focused on the figure moving into the room, he let out a grateful sigh . . . seeing the familiar
bat-like ears and bulging green eyes, the old pillowcase that she wore for clothing.  It was Pinenut, Draco’s house-elf . . . the
one that Lucius Malfoy ordered to obey Draco.  That had been one of the few things that Lucius had ever given his son,
therefore only Draco could really order Pinenut around.  

She was quite a loyal house-elf, not like Dobby or even that Winky female.  She neither cared if she was free or not . . . her
only interest lay in Draco’s health and life, doing everything in her power to see to it that he was okay.  She often said to him
that she would rather not be freed or separated from him, for who else would be able to tend to him as well as she had.  After
all, she had all but raised him since he was an infant, entertained him, played with him when Father wasn’t around.  She was
his only real friend . . . the only one who knew what he was really like.

Pinenut frowned at Draco, her eyes filled with tears, her nose dripping.  She looked positively heartbroken at the sight of Draco’
s body.  It was then that Draco noticed that she was carrying a large tray in her arms.  She set the tray on a table beside Draco’
s bed, sniffling as she moved.  

Draco forced a smile on his face.  “Don’t worry about me, Pinenut.”  He whispered, his throat paining him.  “I’ll survive this.”  
He only wanted to assure her that he’d be okay, that he wasn’t hurt all that badly . . . even though he did know that it was bad.

“Oh, Pinenut knows you are lying, Master Draco.”  She said, her voice high-pitched.  “Pinenut sees the blood.  Master Malfoy
told Pinenut to clean and feed Master Draco, so that is what Pinenut will do.”

Draco nodded weakly, looking to the tray that Pinenut had brought in and taking note of the items that were set on it.  There
were two basins of water, a small covered jar, and a bowl of what looked like soup, along with a sponge and a couple loose
rags that she had probably taken from the medicine cabinet in one of the bathrooms.

Pinenut cried, picking up the sponge and soaking it in the water, ringing it out a bit.  She continued to cry as she carefully
began to clean the blood off of Draco’s legs and thighs, slowly moving upward to where the lashes had torn his skin apart.  
She rinsed the sponge repeatedly, continually sobbing over the state that Draco was in.

“Pinenut does not want to hurt Master Draco, but she must clean the wounds.  It will hurt, Master Draco.”  She said to warn
him.

Draco nodded, turning and biting the pillow his head rested on, tensing his muscles as he felt the first touch of that wet sponge
against his wounded back.  Tears of pain sprung from his eyes, causing him to wince and whimper as Pinenut cleaned the
injuries as carefully as she could.  He knew that she was trying to help, and he did appreciate it, but it still hurt him terribly.

“Oh sir, Pinenut is sorry for hurting Master Draco.  Master Draco must be hurting terribly.”  With that she turned and started
beating her head against one corner of the bed.

“Please stop, Pinenut.”  Draco requested tiredly.

“Master Draco is so kind . . . Pinenut will continue to work.”  She said, dropping the sponge in the basin that she had been
using and picking up the small covered jar.  She pulled off the lid, frowning at the strong spicy scent that wafted from it.  
“This will help to stop the bleeding and make it hurt less, Master Draco.”  Pinenut explained, dipping her fingers into the jar and
scooping out a good deal of it.

She spread the purplish liquid over Draco’s back, making sure to cover each and every cut with it.  Draco winced as it first
made contact with the wounds . . . it stung a bit to begin with.  Then he sighed in relief as the pain began to lessen, his back
quickly becoming numb.

He must have dozed off again . . . one minute Pinenut had been spreading that purplish stuff over his injuries, and the next she
was standing beside his bed, setting a cool, damp cloth over his heated forehead.  Draco focused his eyes, taking note that the
clear water in the other basin was rippling a bit and guessed that was the water that Pinenut had used to wet the cloth she had
put on his skin.

“Is Master Draco ready to eat something?”  Pinenut asked quietly, gently dabbing at Draco’s face with that cool cloth.

Draco nodded feebly, not sure how he could eat when he was laying on his stomach with his arms and legs chained to the
bed.  He moved his arms a bit, making sure they were out of the way of his mouth while Pinenut turned to get the bowl of
soup that had been on the tray she had brought in.

Pinenut pulled a spoon from a pocket she had apparently sewn for herself in the side of her pillowcase.  She stirred the soup
around a bit, then scooped some into the spoon and held it close to Draco’s mouth.  “It is good soup, Master Draco.”  Pinenut
said, apparently to reassure him somewhat.  “Special herbs in it . . . will make Master Draco feel good.”  

Draco said nothing, allowing her to spoonfeed him.  Draco lifted his head a bit, but he managed to get the soup into his mouth
without spilling any.  He swallowed, almost sighing as the warmth ran down his throat, spreading out through his body to his
fingers and toes.  It was delicious, made him feel a good deal better.  He silently continued to eat, savoring the way the flavor
seemed to change with each spoonful.  He didn’t know that he had finished off the entire bowl until Pinenut told him so.

Pinenut set the empty bowl and spoon on the tray, retrieving the cloth from where she had left it earlier.  She soaked it in the
clean water, ringing it out before laying it on Draco’s head again.  “Master Draco has a fever . . . Pinenut will help.”  She said.  
“Would Master Draco like to see what Pinenut found for him?”

Draco smiled weakly.  “Yes . . . What did you find?”  He replied, curious.

Pinenut reached into that pocket of hers again, looking around warily before pulling her fist out again.  “Pinenut found five
Galleons while cleaning couch cushions yesterday!”  She exclaimed happily, but quietly, as if afraid to be caught.  She was
holding several pieces of gold after all . . . Lucius Malfoy would probably do more than just give her clothes if he found her
carrying money.  But since this was for Draco, she was happy to risk it.  She was loyal to the pale blonde youth, acting more
like he was a family member to her than a master.

“That’s wonderful.  You’d better add it to the rest of our fund.”  Draco smiled, watching as Pinenut’s face turned from glum
and forlorn to happy within a moment.

The pleased house-elf nodded, then ducked under the bed.  Draco could hear the scuffling as she searched around, then heard
as a few of the floorboards were pried up.  A moment later, Pinenut reemerged from under the bed, a small wooden chest in
her hands.  The wood of the chest was a dark cherry wood.  It was a bit dusty, but otherwise it was in perfect condition.  

Pinenut turned the key, which so far had never been taken from its lock in as long as Draco had owned it, and flipped open the
lid.  If Lucius Malfoy ever found it, a simple lock such as the one this box had wouldn’t pose much of a problem to the man.  

Draco couldn’t see much of the inside of the box from his angle, but he did hear as Pinenut picked up a pouch containing
Galleons, Sickles, and Knuts.  Pinenut had been bringing all the money she found during her daily cleanings to Draco for as
long as he could remember.  In the rare times that he was free of the Imperius Curse, the two of them often planned how they
would someday escape together, without forcing her to accept freedom unwillingly.  Using his own name, Draco could claim
that he owned her.  She was a house-elf of the Malfoys and Draco was a Malfoy.

“Master Draco has much money.”  Pinenut smiled, depositing the five Galleons into the pouch and closing it again.  “Would
Master Draco like to look at his belongings?”  

Draco nodded.  “That would be nice.”  He said quietly, laying there as Pinenut took things out and showed them to him.  

There was the picture of Draco’s mother from when she was younger.  She was beautiful, Draco saw, her hair blonde and
flowing.  It was one of the very few pictures that showed his mother happy, and her reason for happiness was in her arms . . .
she was holding an infant.  The two of them looked out from the picture, Draco’s mother waving, while her hair was gently
blowing in some breeze behind her.  And Draco himself was a giggling and happy infant, smiling toward anyone who looked at
the picture.

“Is this the Harry Potter boy that Master Malfoy yells at Master Draco about?”  Pinenut asked, holding up another picture.  

Draco blushed a little, nodding.  “Yes, that’s Harry Potter.”  Draco whispered.  The picture of Harry Potter had been cut out of
the Daily Prophet.  To be honest, Draco enjoyed looking at Harry . . . he could see what he didn’t have in his own life when he
looked at any of these pictures . . . he saw happiness.

“Why is this in the box?”  Pinenut asked, holding up an eagle feather quill.  “Should this not be in Master Draco’s school
things?”

Draco blushed again, his reasons for taking the quill, let alone keeping it, still a mystery to his own mind.  It belonged to Harry
Potter.  Draco had stolen it last year when Harry hadn’t been looking, when for a split second Draco had control over himself.  
He liked having it, but he didn’t know why.  

“I don’t know.”  Draco said.  “Leave it in there . . . I'll probably remember why I put it there sometime.”  He said, hoping this
to be true.  He would like to know why he had kept it.

Pinenut nodded and put the quill down again.  “Master Draco should eat some chocolate.”  She said.  “It will make Master
Draco stronger.”  Without waiting for Draco’s reply, Pinenut broke a piece of chocolate off of one of the bars he had stashed
in his box.  It was the only stash of candy Draco had, the only sweets he ever got when he wasn’t at Hogwarts.  Pinenut kept
it stocked for him, using the money from the pouch.  There wasn’t a lot in there, but there was a varied selection most of the
time.

Draco quietly ate the chocolate, not saying a word.  Just as he swallowed then licked the last traces of the chocolate from his
lips, he heard the sound of footsteps approaching from down the hall.  Pinenut must have also heard, since she scrambled to
put everything back into the chest as hastily as she could.  She returned the chest to where she had gotten it earlier, quickly
getting the floorboards back into place.  Then she jumped up and grabbed the cloth from off of Draco's forehead.  She dunked
it in the water again and wrung it out, as if to look as if she had been working when Narcissa Malfoy stepped into the room.

“Pinenut, go down and help prepare dinner.”  Draco’s mother quietly ordered, approaching the bed where her son lay.

Pinenut nodded and dropped the cloth in the basin of water.  “Yes, Mistress Malfoy.”  She said as she quickly left the room.

Narcissa Malfoy sat on the edge of the bed by Draco.  She picked up the cloth that had been so hastily dropped by Pinenut and
wrung it out, gently dabbing at the sweat that beaded on the pale youth’s face.  “You will have to do better in school next year,
Draco.”  She said quietly, her voice hitching ever so slightly.

“Yes, Mother.”  Draco replied quietly, not able to bring himself to look at her face.  He couldn’t understand why she was
letting this happen to him, why she had never once tried to stop her husband from hurting him.  And so he just couldn’t look at
her, not wanting to find out for certain if his mother cared nothing for him or not.  He would see it in her eyes if she loved him
or not.  If she didn’t, then he’d rather not know.

She took the cloth away, depositing it on the tray.  Then she stood, checking the bindings at his wrists and ankles once before
she brought a silken sheet lightly over his battered body, leaving the edge to settle just above his backside but not touch any of
his wounds.  With a feathery touch, she stroked her fingers through his hair, rasing her wand and pointing it at him.  Then she
recited a simple sleep charm, “Graviter dormire.”

Draco felt his eyes slipping shut and knew that there was nothing he could do to prevent it.  So he gave in, letting sleep
overtake him, knowing that when he awakened he would probably be under his father’s control once again.  He didn’t hear his
mother’s whispered words as he sank into a deep dreamless sleep, didn’t see the glistening tear that fell from her one eye
either.  

“Sleep well, my little dragon.”  She said, her fingers grazing lovingly over one side of Draco’s pale face.



To Be Continued . . .