Written as a gift for Femme.
The End of the Tour
by Beth H.
(c) August 25, 2007
To nobody's great surprise, the apparent compassion and understanding bestowed on the Malfoy family by the Order in the wake of the final battle was a short-lived thing.
Five days after the last of the funerals, Andromeda Tonks sent a terse message to her sister, warning her that the Ministry was finalizing plans to seize the manor and bring the elder Malfoys to trial. Andromeda's note assured Narcissa that Draco - having never been Marked and not being of age at the time he committed his worst offences - would not be taken into custody if she and her husband went willingly, but neither Narcissa nor Lucius were willing to trust their son's future happiness to what were certain to be empty promises, and so they made plans to flee to the continent.
As it transpired, all the family's attempts to leave England - by Floo, by Portkey, and by Apparition - were unsuccessful. Time and again, Draco found himself standing alone in Calais, while his parents were left behind, until finally the Malfoys were forced to bow to the inevitable. Gifting their son with an untraceable wand and all the filthy Muggle money they could lay their hands on, Narcissa and Lucius told Draco he would have to go into hiding, preferably in the Americas.
To say that Draco was unhappy about this would have been a great understatement. He had already lost his position, his wealth, his friends, and his...former Head of House, but now to be sent into exile, no longer able to see his mother or father was almost more than he could bear.
Lucius, who had, himself, become strangely clingy over the past few months (perhaps understandably so), sympathized greatly with Draco, but Narcissa had little patience for her son's moping and occasional bouts of tears.
"Do you want to end up in Azkaban?" Narcissa asked sternly. "At any moment Shacklebolt might change what passes for a mind, and then where will you be? They'll cut your hair, you know. They won't let you wear black. You won't be allowed to use mascara charms."
"Bastards," Draco muttered.
"Quite right," Narcissa said. "Your father and I won't be in Azkaban forever, and our time will be much more easily spent if we know that you are safe and well, far away from here."
"But what will I do in the Americas?" Draco asked.
"Oh," his mother said. "I'm sure you'll come up with something perfectly suited to your talents."
At first, Draco felt unsure he'd ever be able to cope with his new life. He had been able to secure a small flat, but he had no house-elf, few opportunities to use magic, and a dwindling supply of cash, all of which presented a number of problems, as Draco hadn't ever learned how to do...well...much of anything for himself. However, after a few evenings spent in a local bar, Draco discovered that possessing a British accent and saying he was in a band all but ensured that he'd rarely have to do anything for himself again.
By the end of the second week, a little Imperius-driven nudge or two was all it took for Draco (now going by the name Marco Folday) to find himself invited to be the front man for an up and coming group called Farewell Theory, despite the fact that the only song he'd ever written in his life was "Weasley is our King!" (and even Draco acknowledged that there probably wasn't much of a market for songs like that outside of Slytherin House).
At the start of his second month in America, Draco no longer had to concern himself with trivialities such as song-writing since Farewell Theory had been signed by Matt Squire, and Draco's unlikely career began to flourish.
It wasn't all smooth sailing, of course. There was a horrifying moment in the very early days when he found himself on the same bill as some group called Draco and the Malfoys, but a Skiving Snackbox he'd been holding in reserve since his fifth year (purchased through an intermediary, of course - under no circumstances would Draco Malfoy have been seen buying anything from the Weasel's idiot brothers) got him out of performing in that gig, and generally speaking, things were going about as well as Draco could possibly have imagined they might. He was lonely, of course - he missed his parents and...well, certain other people - but at least he wasn't in Azkaban, and for the time being, that would have to be good enough.
Or at least, it would have been if it hadn't been for her.
Draco wasn't sure when she started attending Farewell Theory's shows, but Chief and Gun said they started noticing the ugly old bat out in the house during sound checks at least three months before Draco first caught a glimpse of her, and once she was noticed, well...she stayed noticed.
No matter what city they were playing in, there she was, wearing an old-fashioned black dress and watching silently as the crew set up for that evening's performance. She was even there in New York the night they played Conan O'Brien, sitting just off to the right in the third row with empty seats to either side of her despite the fact that Draco was almost positive he'd seen a group of sailors sitting in those seats during the warm ups.
She never said a word and never did anything overtly threatening, but there was no getting around the fact that she was a little...strange. The problem wasn't that the old gal didn't fit into Farewell Theory's usual demographic (by twenty-five years or more); it was that she never looked as if she was enjoying anything at all about the concert. In fact, it was safe to say that she did little but glare at the band through each and every show. She was, to put it bluntly, fucking scary.
Except...the more time passed, the more Draco found himself becoming obsessed by this woman. Yes, she was a little frightening, but it was in a way that felt strangely familiar to him, almost as if she were one of the Knockturn Alley hags he used to see loitering just outside Borgin and Burkes, not something really scary, like the hordes of overly-mascara'd, underage girls who stalked him and the rest of the band after every performance. He looked for her in the audience as soon as he got out on stage, and even Tony, Farewell Theory's not-especially-bright drummer, noticed that Draco had started dedicating all the group's love songs to a "mysterious dark lady."
And then, one night, she wasn't there.
She'd been there before the opening act started their set - Draco was certain of that. He'd been sending Gun on pre-show reconnaissance missions for close to a month now, because...okay, it wasn't like he couldn't have performed if she wasn't out there; it was just that he preferred not to. So, yes, she was definitely there earlier in the evening (Gun would never lie about something so important, not if he valued his life), but by the time Draco got out on the stage, she had vanished, utterly and completely.
Draco only made it through one verse of the first song before - coughing feebly in an altogether unconvincing attempt to appear too ill to go on - he set down his mic and left the stage in search of...her.
Where he was going to find her, Draco had no clue, but he would find her. He was positive of that. His first step, naturally, was to go back to the dressing room where he'd left his wand. He'd been living like a Muggle for the past four years, but this...this was an emergency. If finding the love of his life didn't warrant the use of magic, well...what the hell did? So urgent was his need to begin his search that Draco couldn't spare a second to wonder when in the world he'd started thinking of an old, ugly woman whom he'd never even spoken to as the "love of his life."
[It should be noted that neither "old," nor "ugly" were characteristics that had ever disqualified anyone from being the object of Draco's past interest. "Woman," on the other hand...]
He opened the dressing room door. Without turning on the lights, Draco stepped inside, and - -
- - found himself pushed up against the wall.
"What the fuck is...?"
A hand - long-fingered and cold to the touch - clamped over his mouth, and Draco was silenced. The only light in the room came from the glow of the single bulb in the backstage hallway, but it was enough for Draco to see a dangerous gleam reflected in the eyes of his captor. Draco tried to wriggle free, but the stranger's grasp was too strong.
"You don't really wish to get away, do you?" The voice was low-pitched, little more than a whisper, but there was something familiar about it and Draco stilled. "No, I didn't think you did, somehow. Not after all those longing glances you've been directing my way for so long a time."
Draco's eyes widened. Was it possible that this was his mystery woman? The hands felt like they belonged to a man, but honestly, it had been so long since Draco had allowed anybody's hands to touch him that he wasn't absolutely sure he could distinguish between men and women with any certainty.
"I'm going to let you go so that we can speak, but first - - "
The dressing room door clicked shut, and Draco could feel the soft buzz of a wordless Muffliato charm being cast. A witch! His mystery woman was a witch...and a powerful one, if he was any judge. There was a soft, crackling sound, and the room was suddenly illuminated with a soft shimmering light, and Draco looked up...
...into the very familiar face of Severus Snape.
"You're alive," he said, frowning in confusion. "And...you're not a woman?"
"Well observed, Draco," Snape said mockingly. "What gave it away?"
Draco drew a long shuddering breath. If that's the way Snape wanted to play this, that was fine with him.
"The hideous frock, for one," he drawled. "No real woman would be caught dead in such a monstrosity, which means you're either not a real woman or not dead. Presumably both?" He lifted one eyebrow questioningly as he had seen his father do on numerous occasions during his childhood, and Snape nodded his head in assent.
For a moment, neither man spoke, then Draco slowly lifted one hand and placed it softly on Snape's cheek. "I missed you," he said, and he would have said more, but suddenly his throat hurt as if he had swallowed a very large bezoar.
"I missed you as well," Snape said quietly. "I...didn't have permission to speak with you or communicate with you in any way, Draco. I could only watch over you, but things have changed now. Your parents are about to be released, and Minister Shacklebolt has given his assurances that it's safe for you to return home...if there's any reason you'd wish to return, that is."
Draco licked his suddenly dry lips and was gratified to see Snape's pupil's dilate in response. If he was going to go back to England, he wanted to be certain that what he was feeling wasn't a one-sided attraction.
"I'm ready to go home," Draco said. "If you'll go with me."
Epilogue: Fourteen Years Later
Draco stood on Platform Nine and Three Quarters, a dark coat buttoned up to his throat. Severus, glamour firmly in place and wearing witch's robes as he always did whenever he ventured out in public, was giving last minute instructions to their son Scorpius, presumably giving him the secret to ensure the Hat sorted him into Slytherin.
Draco caught sight of the Potters and the Weasleys staring at him, nodded curtly, and turned back to his own family...and smiled.
All was well.
Comments, critiques, chit chat: bethbethbeth [at] gmail
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