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 The First Night (an excerpt from The Tipping of the Scales)

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PostSubject: The First Night (an excerpt from The Tipping of the Scales)   Thu Jan 14, 2010 5:09 am

This is just an excerpt that I particularly liked, in Draco's point of view Very Happy


Malfoy Manor felt emptier and colder than it had in twenty years. The worst time, undoubtedly, had been the reign of the Dark Lord over the estate, but now was going to give that a run for its money. Astoria was in bed and had been for the better part of the day; she hadn’t even wanted to go to the train station to see their son off, but both Draco and Scorpius had insisted on it. She had stepped out of the Floo crying desperately and had taken off for the bedroom at half past one in the afternoon. He wasn’t even sure she had eaten lunch, but that was her own prerogative. Draco was grieving in his own way of course, but he wasn’t going to be quite so showy about it. When it came down to the truth of the matter, he had much more reason to be bawling his eyes out and sleeping his days away than Tori did, but she would never tolerate him saying anything like that.

It was the first time he’d taken out the old Ogden’s Firewhiskey alone, but he felt it was a bit of an occasion. Besides, Theo and Pansy had their own sorrow to drown on a night like this. Nott, actually, was probably not half as distraught, with one of his children still practically toddling. Pansy, though, had called him through the fire earlier on in the afternoon and although she had not cried, she had seemed to have a strange, suspicious case of the hiccups throughout the entire conversation. She was dealing with the same sort of stress that Draco had, sending away an only heir to school, but Pansy felt it doubly massive across her shoulders as she was alone in her endeavor.

The only thing that was keeping him from having an honest breakdown at the moment and completely losing his cool, crying and ending up calling his father like the great git that he really was, was the fact that he was now pacing the floor of his son’s bedroom, glancing at the posters on the wall and the books on his bookshelf, marks of who he was and had been and, worst and best of all, what he was going to be. Draco took a seat on the floor and began to pull the books from each of the shelves. Scorpius was the meticulous sort of reader who never read a book without leaving plenty of marks of his own behind on it, characterizing each as sort of a personal commentary on the plot or theories or style of a book.

The first book that Draco picked up to open was a book of poetry by Muggle American authors. Lucius, of all people, had bought this one for him while he was in America, trying to pick up more information that he continually fed to Scorpius, egging him on to learn about different cultures and governments across the world. Lucius was a stubborn old man, and Draco wanted to curse him most of the time for being so set on seeing his grandson succeed in politics. He had tried to push Draco towards it from the time he was a child, but after the war all of his chances looked ruined, and he had taken off. France, now, he could have governed. France had been freedom and it had been a sense of joy that Draco had never quite felt again, no matter how many times he visited Paris and walked down the streets and followed the signs that he’d been past every day in his time there. It always felt like something was missing, which wasn’t too surprising, as something was. But that was all in the past now, and Draco flipped the book in front of him open.

The first poet that seemed to jump from the page and into his perception was Walt Whitman. The entire section of the book was covered in scribbles of several different colors of ink, marking the dozens of times that Scorpius had come back, marking and remarking and finding new favorite turns of phrase or descriptions of imagery that he had not noticed before. It was times like these that he truly wished that he had been more like his own son; more of a reader and less of a competitive boy. He had never sat down with a book for pleasure once in his childhood, and though his studies had not suffered for it, his leisure time had. Perhaps if he had been a good little Ravenclaw, he would have displeased his father and he could have escaped all of the horrible things he’d been forced through. He drew his fingertips across the robe covering his left arm by instinct, almost as if he could feel the nasty mark beneath the cloth without even properly touching it. It was not only a few times that Draco had considered lopping the entire arm off to start again, but he could at least keep what little dignity he had.

The next poet that was so extensively scribbled over in greens and blues and blacks was T.S. Eliot, most notable The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock. It was several pages long and didn’t seem to be about much of anything to Draco, but of course, it apparently meant everything to some people, including his own son. Entire passages were underlined and asterisked, bracketed and illustrated next to, expanding on points and questioning of his own motives in reading the poem. A quick glance into the cover revealed that Scorpius had received this book from his dear grandfather at the ripe age of nine. He had been penning these thoughts before he was even in the double digits of age, and yet he was always looking into himself and finding new things every day. Had Draco really been trying to squash that in him for all these years? One line was heavily marked up and written, in several different scripts, sizes, and shades, in the margins, covering most of the white space of the page. Over and over Draco read it and still he wondered how his son could be as quiet and as close to what he had tried to make him, while still loving his own nature, and the human nature in general.

“Do I dare disturb the universe?” Draco read aloud, shaking his head. If he had asked that at his son’s age, there would be no son to consider, and no book of Muggle poetry to make him think and rethink of all the mistakes he had made over the past eleven years. Now it would be too late, of course, to fix them, and he would be stuck in this room for nine or ten months of the year, reduced to skimming the hollow, empty echoes of his son in the margins of this poetry that he loved so well. His son was no more destined to disturb the universe than he was to turn into a swan.

That thought led him to something he hadn’t even considered since he had woken up in the morning and realized that he wouldn’t see his son until Yule rolled around after so many months away. He had meant to Floo the school and ask what house his son had been sorted into, but it looked now as if he would be without the information until the next day, when his head would ache and his body would refuse to leave his room or even his bed for hours. Something in him found a desperate part of himself that hoped that his son would be a Ravenclaw, and that he would excel and prefer and be a great wizard and disturb the universe. That was the product of being drunk, though, wasn’t it? It must be, since it contradicted everything he had ever thought or wanted for his boy for the nearly twelve full years of his life.

He shoved the book back into its place and, with it, threw away the idea of disturbing the universe. He was going to go on pacing as he did every night, and he would be prepared for the news tomorrow that his son was safe and sound in Slytherin house with his friends. He would console his wife and he would go about whatever business it was that he did these days, since he rarely did any of it. It was hard keeping up with what one was supposed to be doing when one wasn’t actually required to do it to survive. He remembered some sort of stock in broomsticks and definitely a spot on some sort of committee, but those were easy enough to handle without even paying attention to, so he would have no need of them for now. He would drink, and he would call Pansy every time he needed a chat about the old days that would make him forget the deep depression the new days seemed to be carrying upon their backs, waiting to unload it upon their heads as their children opened up brand new worlds for their minds.


His pace back and forth across the small room that Scorpius had insisted on occupying since the time he was six years old was only a few steps long, and the short, sharp turns were beginning to make him a little dizzy. He considered the library, which had been practically a second home to Scorpius since he had first learned to read at the age of three, but decided against it when he realized he’d have to pass by his bedroom door and the bed would call him to come and sleep the sorrow away. That wasn’t acceptable; sleep was the bitterest form of refuge for a man like Draco. He needed punishment to get past this. With that thought, he turned from the room without a word, marched outside and to the pond that he had nearly seen his son die in. He lay down on the short stone wall that surrounded it and forced himself to think. It was there that he eventually did fall asleep as the sky began to grow grey.

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PostSubject: Re: The First Night (an excerpt from The Tipping of the Scales)   Sun Jan 17, 2010 10:42 pm

Awe *tackles Draco*

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The First Night (an excerpt from The Tipping of the Scales)
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