When Draco was young he worshiped his father. Lucius was a god among wizards, the best at everything. He was all Draco ever wanted to be.
As he grew older, Draco watched his father carefully, wanting to learn everything he could about how to act, how to control, how to rule. Lucius' sneer could bring grown men to their knees to grovel, and, at night, in front of his mirror, Draco would emulate that look.
By the time he was eleven and ready for school, the younger Malfoy was arrogant and confident in his own right, but there was something lacking in his life. He couldn't put his finger on it. It took him another year to realize what it was.
While he thought his father was everything, his father rarely thought of him at all, and when he did, it was inevitably because Draco had failed at something.
Over the summer between his first and second years at Hogwarts, Lucius berated him for every little failure at school, especially anything dealing with Potter or the Mudblood, Granger. As Draco suffered the harsh scoldings in silence, he began to see his father as other than a golden god.
For the next three years, he continued to disappoint his father, and he continued to lose some of his awe and reverence for the man, even while trying more desperately to please him. On the face of things Draco continued to support Lucius in all things, even going so far as to be pleased that his father was a Death Eater.
The final bit of wool finally was pulled from his eyes when his father was arrested. To his peers, Draco verbally and furiously blamed Potter for Lucius' downfall, but inside he knew the truth.
His father was not a god. He was a criminal.
And Draco was on the same path.
He recognized that, but he didn't try to change direction. A part of him believed it was fate that he follow in his father's footsteps, and a part of him still wanted to be like his father. Those sides overwhelmed any bit of him that knew what he was doing, the way he was behaving was wrong.
At eighteen Draco willingly joined the Dark Lord's court, swearing allegiance to him and taking the brand as a Death Eater. He tried valiantly to live up to the Malfoy name, and the deeds he committed haunted him, but he never disobeyed his Lord.
Now, father and son stared at each other, the elder's prison clothes ragged, his hair brittle and gray, the younger's outfit clean and new, his eyes empty of emotion.
The cell door clanged shut on them and Draco was the first to move, taking a seat on a rough wooden bench.
Lucius was the first to speak. "What are you...what are you doing here?"
"Do I meet your expectations yet, father?" Draco asked, not looking at the broken old man he'd loved and worshiped for most of his life.
"I've always disappointed you, no matter how hard I tried to be like you. Now I am you, so, what do you think?" He shoved up his sleeve, displaying the brand for his father to see.
"You...You became a Death Eater?" Lucius choked out.
"Isn't that what you wanted?"
Slowly that cold sneer formed on the face of the older man. "I wanted you to be your own man. I tried to get you to stand on your own two feet, but you always fell back on me."
Draco stared blankly at his father then gave an empty laugh. "Typical. Lucky for me, I stopped wanting your approval years ago."
"Liar. You've always craved that."
"And would it have killed you to have given it to me, just once?" Draco yelled, showing the first real emotion since joining his father in the cell.
"You never earned it."
"I tried every way I could think. You just have impossibly high standards."
"Of course," Lucius replied with disdain. "I'm a Malfoy."
"Nothing I do is every good enough. I don't know why I bothered." Draco shook his head in disgust and turned to face the cell wall.
But he did know why he bothered. It was only natural for a son to want his father's love.
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