And so sepúlchred in such pomp dost lie, that kings for such a tomb would wish to die.
—Milton, “On Shakespeare”
Draco ran through the night, his mind still at the Astronomy Tower where he’d been forced to leave his brother, the boy he had wanted for so long and then hated when he thought—he thought—
That, though, was now in the past. His father hadn’t committed adultery, instead a filthy half-blood had cast the Imperius Curse on him, creating life in Octavian; destroying it in his mother, the infamous and hauntingly beautiful la Princesse; nearly tearing it apart for Draco when he learnt the truth his third year—or what he had thought was the truth.
He could remember it so clearly. It had been only the first day of classes and he had been barely able to sleep the night before. He had delighted in the tales of a boy on the train who had nearly fainted at the Dementor attack. He’d only wished it had been Potter; that would have been so much better.
Rather apathetically he had watched the sorting until a name had been called, changing his perception of the world. A small boy, with dark blond hair and a tremulous smile, walked up to the stool and had the Hat put on his head. He carried himself like a Pureblood, all grace and entitlement yet with a shyness that confused Draco until he noticed the boy’s full lips that were so like his father’s, the high cheekbones, the eyes that, though onyx-colored instead of the Black gray, were shaped like his own. His features were slightly less pointed, but the resemblance was unmistakable.
It was almost like looking at a mirror that showed you yourself two years before, slightly distorted yet still true.
The hat, after several minutes, called ‘Hufflepuff,’ and Draco could feel the shame burning in his throat. This boy, this Malfoy, was worthless, being sorted into the house for Dunderheads and pretty-boys who couldn’t be bothered with any decent virtue.
He thought it couldn’t be any worse, until the rumors began the next day. Foolishly, he’d sought out Octavian, pulled him into an empty classroom and looked over his features. “Who’s your father?” he demanded, but the boy hadn’t responded.
It had been answer enough.
“Curious that there’s a Black that I didn’t know of,” Bellatrix sang happily as her words broke Draco out of his thoughts.
He looked about and saw that they were in the Forbidden Forest, the unearthly green glow of the Dark Mark haunting the shadows as well as flames from what appeared to be what was left of Hagrid’s Hunt.
Served the giant right. He was nothing but a terrifying, large, filthy half-breed. Draco rued the day he had decided to take Care of Magical Creatures. If he had known the oaf was going to teach, he would have signed up for Ancient Runes or even Divination.
“What’s his full name, Draco? Your little brother?”
“Octavian Nür—for someone and then for Father.”
“Prince,” Snape spat, coming up beside them, “is not a Black.”
“A Black by marriage,” Aunt Bellatrix sing-songed, tapping Snape lightly on the cheek with her wand. Draco thought it rather menacing. “A Black in every way that matters.”
She grabbed Draco’s arm and he closed his eyes, preparing himself for the feeling of side-along Apparition. Although he knew how to Apparate, he wasn’t of age—not that it mattered considering he had just killed Albus Dumbledore in cold blood.
His feet slammed against cold earth and he staggered, trying to keep his balance. Bellatrix instantly released him, a smile on her red lips, her hair wild about her, before she flung herself in the arms of her waiting husband.
Draco turned away, not really wanting to see their interactions. He’d been scarred enough when he first met them. Muggles had invented closed doors for a reason.
He moved away from them and into the small cottage they had come to, hoping there was a fireplace and Floo powder so he could go home to his mother. She needed to be told, before Bellatrix informed the Dark Lord.
Once, a year or so ago, he’d found a beautifully bound book that turned out to be a Muggle play about witches and magic. He’d read it from cover to cover in a matter of hours before his father found him and informed him it was a gift for someone else—and with his words Draco had known it was for his half-brother.
Strangely, it came into his head again, the ramblings of Lady Macbeth about her hands being stained with blood floating across his consciousness.
Draco looked down his hands. They were smooth, untainted, and despite the fact that they were forever be stained with the murder of the greatest wizard of Modern English history, he knew that he would never regret it.