darkravenwrote: (rose)
[personal profile] darkravenwrote
Author: [livejournal.com profile] darkravenwrote
Title: The Gilt Ladder
Pairings: Gen
Word Count: 705
Rating: G
Warnings: None
Prompt: For my ‘Ambitious’ tile on GYWO Bingo.
Author’s Notes: This was a bit like word vomit. Nothing too sophisticated. But it’s a tile okay. I just needed to get my words out for the day. There are a few tense issues I think, ugh. Anyway, it’s done. It’s being posted as I need to record for the bingo.
Summary: Lucius has always entertained great, gleaming plans for his son. Draco doesn't have the same enthusiasm for them.

Lucius Malfoy will always remember the day he realised his son could grow to be a success in adulthood, that he had sired a bright, shining potential.

As a young child, Draco took after Narcissa. He was gentle of hand and often ill of health. But on his fifth birthday -- the first of such celebrations Lucius attended -- he watched from a safe distance as his son worked the flowing crowd of his tottering little friends. They bent to his expert will, never even knowing the manipulation despite their Slytherin blood.

That was when Lucius realised. Draco could grow to do great things, if steered correctly through the minefields waiting for him -- like the law, and ethics. That same night, Lucius sat down at his office desk and painstakingly planned out his son's future.

He introduces Draco to the Ministry -- and its inner workings -- early, despite Narcissa's many coddling protests. The men and women of standing they encounter in the halls and surrounding Lucius' offices are malleable to Draco's high voice and innocent questions. They smile down at him, fussing at his hair and cooing and letting their lips flap continuously. Even some of the Unspeakables, notorious for being near sociopathic, show a weak fondness towards him.

"One day," Lucius whispered to him as they left one afternoon through the sparkling, newly built atrium, "this will all be yours."

"Mine?" Draco asked, staring up at him with wide, unbelieving eyes. Lucius' eyes.

"By the time you are my age, I will see you Minister here."

Draco lost interest then, not understanding the weight of Lucius' conviction. To Draco, his parents were impossibly old and he fresh with the eternal youth of the prepubescent. And his Uncle Severus waited at home for their scheduled potions lesson, a much more immediate distraction.

Lucius’ plans take a new direction during the rise -- and shortly thereafter fall -- of the Dark Lord. And after leaving Hogwarts, their family reputation in tatters, Lucius must reconfigure their path. They have dodged Azkaban, but they will need to strive five times harder to claw their way from the ruins of the war. But Draco, Draco can claim himself untouched.

So, for years, Lucius wields his tongue and his mind as his only weapons, his wand long since snapped in two. He makes sure coins pass between the correct sticky fingers. He orchestrates elaborate feasts and charity galas that appear to have no benefit for himself. He scrapes his pride kneeling and begging in the metaphorical dirt before people he hates and once could have sent to the gallows with a few sly whispers. He makes his word meaningful again. Makes his thoughts valued.

Everything goes according to plan until...

"Father, I think I've decided what I'd like to do," Draco says one afternoon in the sun room, slowly pouring his mother her second cup of tea. His movements are perfectly controlled and graceful.

"Do?" Lucius asks, offhandedly over that day's copy of the Financial Hierarchy.

"I've chosen my career path." Draco nods decisively, once, as he sits back in his chair.

"Your career? What are you prattling on about?" Lucius turns his page nonchalantly, but his eyes are rooted to Draco's face.

"I think I'd like to be an Unspeakable." He doesn't sound unsure, but his eyes are downcast.

"But, Draco," Lucius says, uncomprehendingly, "we've already got a plan." He folds his paper, smoothing out the creases unhurriedly.

"I know when I was little you entertained thoughts of my working at the Ministry."

"When you were young? It’s what I have been working towards your entire life, Draco. It is all I have worked for."

"It was just a dream, father. Surely you can see that." Draco lifts his chin here, stares brazenly at Lucius, unflinching. "I'm not suited for office like you are. And mother's always encouraged me to find my own path." ’Not yours,’ he doesn’t say, but Lucius hears it nonetheless.

Lucius will always remember that day too. That was the day when he looked upon his son and found a man grown while his back was turned and his sharp eyes were set upon the Ministry. Not sharp enough, it would seem.

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