Heirs And Spares
by Ishafel

There have been six regnants of Malfoy Manor in the last four hundred years: Anthony, Lucia, Claudia, Pegasus, Octavia and Lucius. Their names are everywhere, scrawled on the pages of the books in the library, etched in the mirrors, engraved on the forks, on the frames of their portraits, on their tombs in the crypt beneath the chapel. Draco was made to memorize their names very early on-All Lords Can Play Only Lutes.

His father wants him to be perfect. It's what Draco wants, too. What he expects from himself. So he does what Lucius tells him to, no matter how hard it is. He's only sorry he can't do better. Draco is five, and he speaks English and French and he can read Latin. Sometimes he forgets things-the future tense of the verb to have-and he has to be punished. That's okay. It's what dragons do. His father hits him six times, one for each of the ancestors, with a ruler on the palm of his hand. Draco doesn't cry. Malfoys don't, and dragons don't, not unless there is something to be gained from it.

Draco is six, which his mother says is an unpleasant age. He is small and pale and prone to sulking. He has tutors to teach him Greek and Aramaic, Arabic and Sumerian, Quidditch, geometry, swordsmanship, marksmanship, manners. He is already far behind his father at the same age, but Lucius is sure that with suitable incentives he will be taught to succeed. He has difficulty deciding between the carrot and the stick.

Seven is the number of perfection and when Draco is seven Lucius teaches him about sex. Draco finds the anatomy lesson redundant and the act unpleasant; Lucius dislikes his squirming, and they are both unhappy with the end result. Narcissa wonders if after all ambition is worth the price she's paid. Draco carves the names of the founders of his house into the table in the library, the trees in the wood: Anthony, Lucia, Claudia, Pegasus, Orion and Lucius. He's having trouble remembering that sort of thing.

At eight, Draco is smart enough to recognize the carrot for what it is and foolish enough to balk at the stick. Lucius no longer finds him so appealing, and his tutors no longer find him such a pleasure to teach. There is talk of his father taking over his lessons, but Lucius is a busy man and it comes to nothing. Draco fences well and has a gift for languages and mathematics and magic, but struggles with logic and theory. He is only average at Quidditch, and both of his parents find his manners abhorrent and his attitude abysmal.

Draco is nine, and often angry for reasons he cannot explain. He memorizes the unflattering portions of the Malfoy family histories and recites them at meals; flies his broom in the halls, and runs away twice, the second time getting as far as Diagon Alley before he is caught. His looks have almost entirely gone and he is an awkward, pale and sullen child. Lucius begins to wonder if Narcissa has played him false.

When Draco turns ten Lucius summons him to his study for a discussion. Draco sits up very straight in his chair, and stares at Lucius in a most disconcerting manner. Lucius is tempted to hit him straight away, but doesn't; it would be unfair and Lucius always plays by his own rules. Instead he quizzes Draco extensively on a variety of subjects, in five different languages, and is dismayed to note that Draco's knowledge far exceeds his own. He's disappointed and a little angry but Draco doesn't stay to rub it in. He's gone, slamming the door so hard behind him that Pegasus Malfoy's portrait falls of the wall and the frame cracks.

Lucius sends Draco off to Hogwarts two weeks after his eleventh birthday, and he feels nothing but relief when he sees the train pulling away. He takes Narcissa's hand as they turn to go, and he thinks that it might stop her tears if he tells her they can try for another child. He'd be gratified if he knew that somewhere between London and Hogwarts Draco is telling stories to his engrossed audience-and most of those stories start with the words "My fatherů" and end badly.


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