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20 December 2012 @ 07:21 am
Fic: Grace Coming Out of the Void for flaminia_x  
Title: Grace Coming Out of the Void
Author: ???
A gift for : flaminia_x
Rating: PG-13
Length: 2,900+
Character(s): Draco Malfoy, Albus Dumbledore, Minerva McGonagall, Phineas Nigellus Black, Peeves, Newton Scamander, and various other Heads of Hogwarts.
Warnings: Language, mentions of character death, epilogue relationships, unplanned preganancies, and a reference to Pottermore canon.
Summary: Draco receives support from a surprising source.
Author's Notes: Thanks to my wonderful beta and to the mods for being so patient with me! I hope you like this, flaminia_x. There’s definitely some angst here but also some humor and a lot of hope.

He was quite tempted to take a big gulp of the lukewarm water trying to pass itself off as Earl Grey just for the sake of having something to do. Anything that would take his mind off the awkward silence that blanketed them, that would still the doubts racing through his head before he gave up and made his excuses to leave. Draco had known from the start that his plan was shaky, at best, but he'd felt compelled to act as soon as the idea came to him. In the wee hours of the morning his plan had seemed so simple yet so brilliant that he had marveled that he hadn't attempted it before.

The look on McGonagall's face told him precisely why he hadn't attempted this before. This idea could optimistically be considered risky if he had put more than several hours forethought into it. As it was, McGonagall likely thought he was awkwardly attempting his first proper bribe.

His grip on his teacup tightened as his frustration rose. In that instant he hated her, hated Astoria, hated his father, and most of all, he hated himself. He was a failure in this as in all things and when he died they would enlarge his tombstone so it could read, “Here lies Draco Malfoy: a minor nuisance in Saint Potter's life, a thoroughly mediocre Seeker for Slytherin, and failed Death Eater.”

His Ministry-appointed Mental Health Healer was wrong again; self-awareness was a horrid thing.

“What do you suppose you would want to teach?” McGonagall said, her shock not having stuck her dumb after all.

“I always had top marks, I could teach anything I've been taught; Astronomy, Flying, Potions...” His voice trailed off as he regained control of himself. He'd spent two hours rehearsing this but now it seemed he couldn't make himself say the words. This entire thing was such a trainwreck that he half-wondered if it was only stubbornness pushing him forward.

“As commendable as your ambition is, we do ask that our professors stick to one area of study so as not to overextend themselves.”

“Defense Against the Dark Arts.” He forced the words out in one breath. “I want to teach that.”

“I see.” McGonagall's eyes fell to the large bag of gold he'd brought with him to the meeting. “I should inform you, Mr. Malfoy, that we already have a Defense Against the Dark Arts professor; the same one for several years now, in fact. Given what a unique thing that is for that position, I'm not inclined to replace her.”

He shook his head. “It wouldn't be full-time. I could just do a couple of classes as a guest lecturer. Like Potter.”

McGonagall lips drew into a thin line as she regarded him, she looked offended though for the life of him he couldn’t imagine why.

“In addition to being one of the youngest Head Aurors in over two centuries, Mr. Potter has endured such things that make him uniquely qualified for the position.”

Draco resisted the urge to roll his eyes and privately congratulated himself for his self-control. He was starting to think Pansy had the right of it to run off to America. If she hadn’t been so angry with him when she had left, he’d Owl her to ask if he could join her.

“What experience do you have that makes you suited for this position?”

He had an answer for this, of course he did. He had been rather pleased with himself as he mulled over it the night before. It was the sort of answer that a Gryffindor like McGongall would love and had far more truth in than Draco cared to admit.

Yet, rather than stay and argue his case he was more than ready to throw in the towel and salvage the bit of dignity he had left.

“I’ve experience of my own with the Dar-- Voldemort.” His fists tightened as he said the name.

“That I’m well-aware of, Mr. Malfoy. What—“ A loud bang cut short the rest of her sentence.

The pair stood, Draco reaching for his wand as he did. The commotion in the corridor gave way to a familiar voice singing Christmas carols as he drifted by the door.

“Peeves!” McGonagall hissed, hurrying towards the door. When she opened it, a foul odor poured into the office and Peeves’ voice rang through the air as he sang a rather crude version of “Deck the Halls.”

Sighing, Draco slipped his wand back into his suit jacket and went for his cloak as the door slammed shut behind McGonagall. This meeting was over. If he hurried, he could still meet his mother for dinner.

He grabbed the door handle, giving it a tug just as he heard McGonagall’s voice commanding Peeves to “open the door this instant!”

Peeves farted in response and Draco backed away from the door, pulling up his cloak to cover his nose and mouth. Using his wand to banish the smell, he dropped back into his chair while the two argued outside. As any idiot knew, only the house-elves could Apparate in and out of the castle and while the fireplace was connected to the Floor network, ever since the war it had been password-protected like the entrance itself. Fat load of good that did.
Unless he found a working broom, he was trapped inside until Peeves gave up or McGonagall called in the Ministry.

“Just my fucking luck,” he muttered under his breath drawing surprised gasps from the portraits adorning the wall.

“Well, I never!” exclaimed Phylida Spore while underneath her Newton Scamander shook his head and grumbled, “Poor form, very poor form indeed.”

One voice chimed out over the others and Draco rolled his eyes and sank down into his chair as he realized who it was from.

“I must apologize for great-great-great-great-great-great grandnephew,” said Glorianna Malfoy, so named due to her batty father’s obsession with a Muggle queen. “I wish I could say such behavior is unusual but on the contrary, I fear such vulgar acts are quite normal for him.”

Without turning to face her, he gave her and the others a two-fingered salute. This brought on another wave of outrage and he smiled for the first time that day.

“Don’t waste your breath on apologies, Gloriana,” came the nasally whine of Phineas Nigellus Black. “Our dear nephew is quite infamous here. It pains me to see how the great Houses of Black and Malfoy have fallen so and it does me no joy to say that there is still further for them to fall.”

“So the rumors are true then?” asked another portrait.

“They are,” growled Scamander. There was another round of gasps and urgent whispers.

Draco raised his brow, his face a perfect mask of indifference as he looked over at Newton Scamander. He had forgotten that Astoria’s mother was a Scamander. Why did the entire bloody world have to be so small?

“And unlike some families, the Scamanders and Greengrasses aren’t the sort to go courting scandal. This will be a great shock.” This set off a wave of bickering among the portraits.

“Actually, I’m told it’s the done thing these days,” Draco drawled, making a show of taking a sip of his tea and forcing himself to swallow the cold liquid without pulling a face.

He didn’t believe it – no one would - but that was what Astoria had said in so many words when refusing his proposal. Apparently raising children out of wedlock was no longer just for the common and poor; even usually sensible, well-born pureblood girls were doing it these days.

“Shameful, simply shameful,” snapped Gloriana.

“I don’t envy Narcissa when she discovers the truth of it,” said Phineas.

“Nor I, nor I. Why, I rather wish Lucius’ portrait was finished as I’m certain he wouldn’t stand for this. As it is, he must be turning his grave.”
“You’re assuming, dear Gloriana, that this news wasn’t what finally killed him. A bastard heir!”

With a sneer towards the two, Draco headed over the window. It was open, letting in the cool damp December air; the winter had been unusually mild. Even without the broom, he was tempted. If he could cast the necessary charms quick enough, he’d be fine. And if not, wizards had survived worse.

“I wouldn’t risk it, Draco,” came a voice behind him, freezing him to the spot. “You’d surely survive the fall but, from what I hear, one taste of Skele-Gro will make you wish you hadn’t.”

He had carefully avoided looking at Dumbledore’s portrait when he had entered the office, only relaxing once it appeared that his former headmaster was asleep in his frame. Even despite the furor over Potter’s insistence that Snape’s portrait be added with the others, Draco had forgotten what would await him when he came to visit McGonagall.

“It would appear congratulations are in order.” Dumbledore continued as if he were talking to someone like Longbottom instead of the person who tried repeatedly to kill him. “You are about to embark on one of life’s great journeys – parenthood. It must be difficult to contain your excitement.”

“Excitement? Congratulations?” Phineas blustered and for once Draco was glad for it as he didn’t have to respond. “Surely, you jest. This is a scandal and if Mr. Malfoy has any sense of decency he’ll be rightly ashamed until he does the honorable thing.”

“Quite right,” agreed Scamander.

“Is that so? Why, I hadn’t realized. But tell me, Newton, wasn’t it just last week you mentioned how Miss Greengrass was ‘traipsing about the abbey like a lovesick schoolgirl’ when she learned the news?”

Draco turned at that, his curiosity winning over his fear. Scamander tugged at his long mustache, looking more and more like bespectacled walrus for it.

“Well, yes, yes, I did.”

“I see. Eupraxia,” he called, to a dotty-looking witch just to left of him, “you still have a portrait over at the law offices of Macmillan, Greengrass, and Patil, isn’t that right?”

“Mmm? Yes, yes. Much nicer too,” she yelled, quite obviously half-deaf. “Not so damp. I died in a damp like this, yes, mmm. Horrible thing.”

“Very horrible, indeed. Now tell me, what sort of mood has Miss Greengrass been in these past few weeks?”

“Oh, I’d say the same sort of mood she’s always has – quarrelsome. The way that child talks to her superiors. To her father. Always demanding her way. Cheeky, if you ask me. Young ladies didn’t talk to their parents like that when I was a girl. No, no. Mmm.”

“Well, good, she’s a cheeky little brat and unlikely to pitch herself out a window anytime soon,” said Phineas snidely and Draco wished he was at home so he could hex him. “That doesn’t change a thing.”

“I daresay it changes everything. Miss Greengrass is not some jilted girl left to defend herself against the ravages of the world but a happy and certainly capable young witch who has made her choices, unconventional though they may be.” Dumbledore’s piercing blue eyes met his and Draco fought the urge to look away.

“And I think Mr. Malfoy has chosen to respect that. I would hardly call that a scandal.”

Phineas huffed at this at length but said no more on the matter.

“I am, however, curious, about your interest in the Defense Against the Dark Arts position. As I recall, you were less than keen on the subject during your years at Hogwarts.”

Draco looked towards the door, where he could still hear Peeves singing and McGonagall trying to reason with him. It sounded as if other professors had joined the pair. With a shrug, he finally said, “It’s something to do.”

“Well, yes, it is. Forgive me, though, but I don’t think teaching or even guest lecturing is for the bored and restless. At their best, children make a demanding audience—“

A loud snort erupted from Phineas at this.

“And it takes a determined soul to find satisfaction in some of the more dreary aspects of the job. If you’re looking for ways to pass the time might I suggest a Quidditch club? Or a pub quiz team? I hear the Leaky does one now that is extremely popular and always draws a large crowd.”

“I don’t need a hobby!”

“Then what is it you need? What’s brought you back to Hogwarts?”

“I need something to do,” he muttered, knowing all the while he sounded like a surly teenager but unable to help it.

“I see. If I might be so forward, I must tell you now, our guest lecturers do so on a volunteer basis. And the wages for all our staff are quite modest.”

“I have money,” Draco sneered, dropping into the chair once more.

“That you do.” Dumbledore echoed softly. “From what I hear, Miss Greengrass is a very successful solicitor who loves her job dearly and is likely to stay in it for years to come. She and any child of hers are unlikely to want for any material thing.”

Draco picked up the plaid tin of biscuits McGonagall had “forgotten” to offer him and looked inside. Scowling, he replaced the lid and tossed it back onto the desk.

“But, perhaps, what draws you hear is something deeper than boredom or the lure of riches. And before I go any further than I have, let me say how sorry I am about your father’s passing. I know it was sudden and much sooner than expected.”

“Yeah, thanks,” he said with a quick glance to Dumbledore. It was glib and insincere and Draco was fine with that.

“You know, I’ve heard it said that sons spend their lives either trying to live up to their fathers or running away from them. And that’s if you’re lucky enough to know which it is you want to do.” There was a pause and then came that same question again, spoken more softly this time. “What’s brought you back to Hogwarts?”

“I need to do something, all right?” he twisted in his chair to face Dumbledore. “I need to do something so people don’t just think of the Dark Lord when they hear the name Malfoy.”

That’s what had killed his father. More than his weakened heart from being tortured for his failures or his third trip to Azkaban, it was the knowledge that the Malfoy family had been brought to ruins that drove him to his grave. And Draco still didn’t know what devastated him more, that he was gone or that it hadn’t happened a decade sooner.

Instead of going on some long tangent about how would-be professors should only have the purest and most noble reasons for coming to Hogwarts, Dumbledore nodded. “And why Defense Against the Dark Arts?”

“I have experience too. I could be useful.”

“To be perfectly blunt, Draco, I think it’s your ‘experience’ that concerns Minerva. Hestia and Harry have more of the sort of background—“

“Potter has experience is making the right choices and being surrounded by people who do the same. Not everyone’s going to have that. Not everyone is going to be so overwhelmed by the hero worship they’ll ignore everything else in their life to follow Saint Potter. Most of the old families are as comfortable with the Dark Arts as he is with Expelliarmus and one war isn’t going to change that. Ignoring it only creates a vacuum for someone else to fill,” he said the words in a rush, his voice and hands shaking at the end.

“Well-said, Mr. Malfoy.”

The door to the office opened, bringing with it an overpowering fresh pine scent. McGonagall bustled in, straightening her hat and robe as she did. “I do apologize for that, Mr. Malfoy. Peeves has been on quite the tear lately.”

“He always was the most fiendish creature,” murmured Eupraxia.

“To say the least.”

“Actually, Minerva, while you were away, Mr. Malfoy and I had a chance to talk about what brought him back to Hogwarts.” Minerva spun around in surprise, whether at Dumbledore’s being awake or at the statement, Draco couldn’t say.

“I think you’ll want to hear it.”

Draco gave him a curt nod in response. It was wholly inadequate, he could admit that, but even without McGonagall there it was the most he could manage at the moment.

“As for me, I think I’ll head over to my portrait at the Ministry if you don’t mind. I hear they’re having their Christmas Party tonight and Celestina Warbeck will be performing. I do love her rendition of ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’. Good night.” With that, he drifted out of the frame humming merrily to himself.

“Well, Mr. Malfoy, let me freshen up our tea while you talk. There’s a tin of biscuits on my desk, if you would like one.”

“Thank you,” he said, taking one from the tin more out of courtesy than anything else. He almost wished Dumbledore had stayed but it wasn’t necessary, he knew. Draco had the support of one person in this building and that was more than he had ever expected.

The End.
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primeideal.dreamwidth.orgprimeideal.dreamwidth.org on December 20th, 2012 05:51 pm (UTC)
Glorianna Malfoy, so named due to her batty father’s obsession with a Muggle queen. <- Ahahaha, great use of Pottermore information! :)
My Graceless Heart: ♠ |  games that I can handlebitchet on January 4th, 2013 12:14 pm (UTC)
Thanks! The Queen Elizabeth I - Lucius Malfoy I connection is one of my favorite things about Pottermore.
mollywheezy: Slytherin--greenmollywheezy on December 20th, 2012 11:19 pm (UTC)
Really original fic--I've never seen anything like it! I particularly loved the interaction between Draco and Dumbledore. Great job! :)
My Graceless Heart: ♠ |  hideaway beneath the wavesbitchet on January 4th, 2013 12:15 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the kind words!
secretsolitaire: xmas jakesecretsolitaire on December 20th, 2012 11:56 pm (UTC)
Nice to see Dumbledore is still meddling in a good way from beyond the grave. :)
My Graceless Heart: ♠ | here's to drinks in the darkbitchet on January 4th, 2013 12:16 pm (UTC)
Thank you and thanks for the rec!
librasmile: pic#85961804librasmile on December 24th, 2012 11:45 pm (UTC)
>>>“Potter has experience is making the right choices and being surrounded by people who do the same. Not everyone’s going to have that. Not everyone is going to be so overwhelmed by the hero worship they’ll ignore everything else in their life to follow Saint Potter. Most of the old families are as comfortable with the Dark Arts as he is with Expelliarmus and one war isn’t going to change that. Ignoring it only creates a vacuum for someone else to fill,” >>>

That one paragraph just says it all doesn't it? Well written. Well done. I'm glad Albalark recced this fest on her Live Journal or I never would have known to wander over.
My Graceless Heart: ♠ |  dressed in something frillybitchet on January 4th, 2013 12:17 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed the story.
#!/usr/bin/girl: McBadassdelphipsmith on December 27th, 2012 01:30 am (UTC)
Ah, I do like seeing Draco start to come our from the shadow of his father, and his past, and begin to become his own person. His point that he offers a different perspective from "St. Potter" is well taken.

In the wee hours of the morning his plan had seemed so simple yet so brilliant that he had marveled that he hadn't attempted it before.


Famous last words: "It seemed like a good idea at the time,,,"

when he died they would enlarge his tombstone so it could read, “Here lies Draco Malfoy: a minor nuisance in Saint Potter's life, a thoroughly mediocre Seeker for Slytherin, and failed Death Eater.”

*snort* The last tinge of self-pity vents itself...

“I need to do something, all right?” he twisted in his chair to face Dumbledore. “I need to do something so people don’t just think of the Dark Lord when they hear the name Malfoy.”

...and now he's ready to move on.

Well done, Mystery Author -- a difficult vignette in Draco's life well told.

My Graceless Heart: ♠ | here's to drinks in the darkbitchet on January 4th, 2013 12:23 pm (UTC)
Thanks you for reading and for the kind words!
flaminia_xflaminia_x on December 28th, 2012 01:40 am (UTC)
Oh yay, I finally have the computer power to read my giftie! My apologies for being a bit delayed on commenting.

Thanks so much for this! I love the way Draco describes his interest in the Dark Arts - very astute and wise, methinks, and just what Hogwarts would need after the war. He's absolutely right. I am glad Dumbledore thought so, and hopefully good old McGonagall will agree. Cheers, mystery author!
My Graceless Heart: ♠ |  ones worth the candlebitchet on January 4th, 2013 12:31 pm (UTC)
I am glad you enjoyed this. Thanks for such great prompts!