by alejandra

Draco volunteered to go into exile after he left Hogwarts. Harry Potter, that stupid prat, defeated the Dark Lord, killed almost all of Draco's friends and relatives, and completely upset the balance of the Wizarding world. Draco could have stuck around after that, perhaps even extracted his revenge -- but the likelihood that he would have been killed in the process was simply too great.

Surely one day Draco would have the opportunity for revenge against Harry Potter and his ridiculous Gryffindor minions without the high possibility for his own death intruding upon his glory. Until then, he could easily amuse himself with other things. If he learned nothing else from watching the Dark Lord and his Death Eaters bollocks everything up time and time again, it was that a well-laid plan takes time -- to plan and to lay, and certainly to execute. Not to mention that a good planner needed to be well-laid, well-rested, well-fed, and living in luxury.

If Potter hadn't been such an annoying, whingy git, Draco might have acknowledged that Potter did him a tre favor -- what had his father been thinking, anyway, swearing fealty, allowing himself to be branded.... all to someone whose idea of power was nebulous at best, who surrounded himself with scheming, ambitious, cunning followers instead of loyal ones.

Draco wouldn't make that mistake. He also wouldn't make the mistake of being ignorant about his enemies. Not that he would live in a den of Gryffindors -- no. He Flooed directly from Hogsmeade to Beauxbatons, and from Beauxbatons to the Beauxbatons' Muggle Living Immersion Course For Wizards Who Want To Learn About Our Non-Magical Allies. It was held in Kievan Rus, where, apparently, Wizards actually lived among Muggles with almost no problems.

How bizarre.

And, Draco learned, there were several places such as Kievan Rus, especially in North America, where Wizards actually lived openly and even charged Muggles for their magical services -- magical services! Draco's father had always said the Colonies would come to no good.

"That's disgusting," Draco said to the beautiful witch sitting next to him.

"Not at all," she replied. "In fact, it means that when a Wizard -- or a Witch -- is sent into exile, they can really go into exile."

"I am in voluntary exile," said Draco coldly. "Rather than allow those Gryffindors --"

She laughed. "Come now, Draco -- oh, don't look so surprised, of course you're a Malfoy with those cheekbones. With Voldemort --" Draco winced. The witch smiled. "-- dead, it was only a matter of time before certain Wizards showed up at your door with certain... suggestions --"

Despite the lecture being only half over, Draco put down his mug of pumpkin mead and stood up. "Good day to you, Madame," said Draco, and then he walked away.

She had a valid point, but it was not one he was compelled to acknowledge.

On his way out, he passed a blond Muggle. The Muggle looked -- well, he looked like a Malfoy dressed in Muggle clothing. He looked like he could be Draco's brother. It was a strange thing, to see him, and Draco shivered as though someone had left a mirror on his grave.

Draco turned and watched him thread his way through the crowd in the lobby of the building -- a Muggle hotel in the front, with the Wizarding school in the back. The blond man went into the pub in the corner of the lobby, and a few moments later, the beautiful witch Draco had been speaking to went into the pub as well, and sat down with him.

Try as he might, Draco was unable to eavesdrop on their discussion; she must have cast a silencing charm. Bitch.

That night, Draco stared at the ceiling in his room, as he'd done every night since going into exile. He missed so many things about Malfoy Manor -- not just his House Elves and his mother, but also his library, full of books that snapped and clawed and knew secrets. He missed the portraits of his ancestors, who would tell him stories when he couldn't sleep. He missed his mirror, which always praised his delightful countenance; starting every morning properly, with effusive compliments, was so important for the direction of one's day.

The Muggle immersion classes were frighteningly thorough. Draco almost had sympathy for the poor bastards -- no magic, no system of barter or trade except their flimsy paper money, money not guaranteed by anything except the stability of their governments, which were all pathetically shallow and useless (rather like England's Ministry, but worse). In most Muggle countries, government seemed easily overthrown with a simple coup d'etat. What lives they must all lead! Full of poverty and uncertainty and machines that burnt toast.

Having seen how Muggles lived, Draco had to wonder at that insufferable Granger's obsession with House Elves -- even Giants, even Dementors lived better lives than Muggles.

How could that be anything but evidence of Wizard superiority? Muggles were crazy and, apparently, slowly destroying the world with their nonsensical devices that attempted to replicate magic, and --

Draco slept as he had every night since his parents were killed and the Ministry overthrown and the Dark Lord vanquished: uneasily and unwell.

He awoke as he'd awoken every night since his parents were killed and the Ministry overthrown and the Dark Lord vanquished: quickly, and with a sense of disorientation, and with aching eyes that not even the strongest Pepper-Up Potion could help.

Draco's immersion class was almost over, yet he felt himself significantly unready to go back to England and engage with the Muggles there. At least in Kievan Rus, the Muggles acknowledged magic, acknowledged Wizards as superior -- albeit slightly, but it was something anyway -- and, for a Muggle facility, his hotel was remarkably well-appointed. It catered to a large number of European Wizards, and even offered access to the WWN, and a variety of Wizarding news programmes from across the world.

There would be no harm in continuing to practice living among Muggles and interacting with Muggles here, where a few Wizarding slip-ups during the course of every day life wouldn't mean instant death -- not to mention that the surname Black was still known and feared by those from Belarus.

His first order of business was to talk to the hotel. Rather than stop at the desk on his way out, he made himself use the Muggle device, the telephone.

"Read the instructions," he said to himself out loud. "Follow the instructions. Hold the telephone -- receiver only, shaped like a crescent, to your ear and mouth, wire down. Speak normally -- it's like the Fire, only you cannot see the person to whom you are speaking." Of course, the instructor had said, "the guy you're talking to," but there was no need for Draco to be uncouth while betraying his blood.

The hotel was accommodating, which Draco appreciated. That order of business complete, Draco needed Muggle money and Muggle clothing. Apparently Muggles considered Wizarding clothing suitable only for formal occasions, and sometimes not even then.

Barbarians all.

Halfway through the lobby, Draco changed his mind, and backtracked to the pub. He would break his fast and then brave the Muggle world. He allowed the Muggle "hostess" to lead him to a large table in the corner, and sat with his back to the wall so that he could survey the entire room, a habit to which he'd become accustomed his last year at Hogwarts, when so many were enemy and none at all were ally. He perused the menu and decided upon fried potatoes, an omelet, and sausages. Plus coffee, always coffee, as the tea was an abomination.

He ordered, sat back, watched the room. It was mostly Muggles, Muggle families. He was eavesdropping on a conversation about the cinema -- a Muggle event he had heard and read much about, but was cautious about experiencing -- when the beautiful witch from the lecture the night before sat down next to him.

Draco looked at her and raised his chin.

"May I help you, Madame?"

"I hope so." She smiled at him like they shared a secret, then leaned closer and lowered her voice. "Do you see that boy at the door?"

"The Muggle?" asked Draco, refusing to lower his voice. There was only one boy loitering at the door, and it was the Muggle from the previous night.

Her smile grew broader. "The one who looks enough like you to be your twin?" she said. "Yes. Don't look like that -- the last time you had family in common was almost one hundred years ago when Anastasia Romanov had a Muggle baby before running off with Ioander Gitano."

"Ioander Gitano?" repeated Draco. "My ancestor?"

"Yes," she said. "He was a Muggle, you know."

Draco stared at her, refusing to let his horror show on his face. He raised an eyebrow. "I am a Mudblood? I find that extremely difficult to believe."

"We're all Mudbloods," said the witch. "Please, focus."

"Focus on what?" snapped Draco. "Who are you anyway?"

She ignored his question. "That boy is making my life extremely difficult." Her voice was even lower now, a bare whisper against Draco's ear. "He was supposed to apprentice to me, but has gotten cold feet."

"Cast a warming charm," replied Draco, but he realized that he'd lowered his voice too. He turned his head fully and looked at the witch. She was beautiful, with pale, perfect skin, and a musical voice. She reminded him slightly of his mother, but golden rather than silver.

"You are so funny, darling. Have you ever thought about making your immersion experience a little more realistic?"

"You speak in riddles," said Draco.

Her eyes danced with suppressed laughter. "If you kill him, you may be my apprentice. I will take you all over the world, give you wealth and power beyond imagination, and all I ask in return is that you leave the Malfoy name behind, that you do not desecrate it with Muggle persons, that you instead take on the name of the other side of your family."

Draco paused for a moment, and then said thoughtfully, "Tell me the truth."

"I will always tell you the truth," she promised.

"Begin now," he said. "Why do you really want me to take his name?"

"His name will open many doors," she replied. "He does not realize it, he does not understand who his father is --"

"Does he know who his father is?" asked Draco suspiciously.

"No," said the witch, and Draco felt as though he'd won a victory from her.

He sat back, turned his face back to the room, and watched the Muggle boy. He moved gracelessly, but dressed well. His hair was -- unruly. And he did not watch himself.

"All I must do is kill him?" said Draco.

"And make sure the body is never found."

"Easy enough," he said dismissively. "What sort of power?"

"All sorts." The witch tapped her fingers on the table. Draco looked down at them, then back up at her face.

"You're much older than you look," he said sharply.

"I have a young heart."

He watched her for another moment. "Will I regret this?"

"Perhaps. I cannot imagine why you would, though." She smiled at him again. He let his wand slide down from its pocket inside his sleeve. The Muggle boy headed for the lav; Draco stood up to follow him.

"Stay here," he said to her. "I will have many more questions."

"Do not forget that Muggles carry wallets," she said, but nodded her head.

Draco went into the lav, stunned the Muggle boy very quickly. He went through the pockets in his Muggle pants -- a wallet indeed! -- and pulled out all of the boy's possessions, laid them out on the floor of the lav. He stared at the boy for a moment, then quickly stripped out of his robe, trousers, waistcoat, and shirt, paused, and kept his own underclothes. Then he stripped the Muggle boy out of his clothes, and wiggled into them. The Muggle pants were quite uncomfortable, but the Muggle shirt fit him well.

Then he killed the boy, burned the body, and flushed the ashes down the toilet. The flushing made a very satisfying sound -- no wonder Muggles spent so much time in the lav every day.

Draco turned the boy's wallet over and over in his hands. It was made of a soft material that Draco rather liked, the same material as the jacket. He opened it up. Julian Sark.

"Julian Sark," he said out loud.

Not a bad name. The Sarks were a rather respectable Wizarding family in France -- not quite on the level of the Blacks or the Malfoys, of course, but who was? Draco hadn't realized there was a Muggle branch. His father would be very --

Draco swallowed hard. He walked out of the lav and into the lounge, washed his hands with water (would he ever become used to that?), and stared into the mirror before going back out into the dining area. He smoothed a hand over his hair, twisted his mouth into his father's smirk, and then smiled.

His wand fit very nicely into the sleeve of the jacket, and was held there by the tight fit. Very nice, although he would, perhaps, have to find a tailor to make him a special wand pocket.

When he slid back into his seat, the witch was still there.

"Julian," she said, and then stopped. "Draco. Lovely."

"Mission accomplished." His food had arrived, and smelled divine. He dished out a large plate for the witch, and a smaller plate for himself. "Please join me," he said to her.

"Thank you," she replied, and lifted her fork. They'd set another place setting while he was gone.

"Will you tell me now?" he asked.

"My name," she said, after swallowing her mouthful of fried potato, "is Irina Derevka."

Draco tilted his head slightly toward her and took a mouthful of perfectly cooked omelet.


Silverlake: Authors / Mediums / Titles / Links / List / About / Updates / Silverlake Remix