Draco sat at his window seat in his room overlooking the expansive Malfoy Estate. The sixteen year old Hogwarts student kept looking into the distance as if searching for something. This was his routine when he came home every summer for the first week or so of the holidays; he would wait until just before breakfast for a letter from his best friend. No, not Blaise Zambini or heaven forbid the dumb and dumber duo Crabbe and Goyle. No one except his parents knew of her existence and he would love nothing more than to keep it that way. If he was honest with himself, he would realize that he felt inexplicably drawn to her more so than any other person he knew and would do anything to protect her.
While he was deep in his musings about his female best friend he did not notice his mother Narcissa open his door and peer inside. She was well aware of who he was thinking of. She had met his young friend several times when she brought Draco to summer camp and couldn't help but think that Katherine was a good influence on her Draco. Several years ago Narcissa and Lucius had to sit young Draco down and talk to him about their public persona. Draco was confused as their public appearance did not match their private one at all. At home Lucius and Narcissa were much like any other parents: loving, kind, and supportive, but to the outside world they were conniving, rude and barely tolerable of other people in society, including Severus Snape! But Narcissa and Lucius explained to Draco that they knew the Dark Lord would return one day and if their demeanor changed then they would be killed on the spot. Lucius' father had been a huge supporter of Voldemort and had forced Lucius into taking the Dark Mark in the hopes that he would learn his place in true pureblood society. Lucius of course did as his father requested as he had been brought up in the Old ways to do exactly as the father suggests out of respect and to not disgrace your family name. Lucius' father passed away only four months after Lucius had taken the mark. After awhile of serving the Dark Lord, Voldemort demanded that Narcissa take the mark as well. Narcissa was pregnant at the time and they could not refuse else Lucius lose both his wife and unborn child.
This was not the life that Narcissa wanted for her son. It was a life of servitude. Unfortunately Draco was not able to befriend Harry Potter as his public Malfoy appearance would not allow him to and it would not be something he would be able to hide from Voldemort. But when Draco was around six years old Lucius decided that Draco would attend a Wizarding Summer School in the United States. No one from England would ever attend so Draco would be free to make friends and actually be himself. This is where he met his best friend Katherine Lily Potter. It was a shock to the elder Malfoy's when they received a letter about their sons' friendship with Katherine, especially since the world believed her to be dead at the hands of Voldemort. Narcissa asked Draco subtle questions to verify the girls' identity while telling her son not to refer to her by name in letters lest she be found out and placed in danger. The children then came up with the nickname Athena.
Over the years their friendship continued to grow with Athena sending letters often. Draco received letters even at Hogwarts under the guise of a distant relative; no one questioned it. It was on one of those letters that Draco was waiting on now. After Draco returned from Hogwarts and got ready the following week for GSA (Greenvale Summer Academy), Katherine would send a letter. Every year.
Knocking softly on the door and gaining Draco's attention she said "Breakfast is ready."
"Can I have a minute mother?"
"Of course. Are you all packed for tomorrow?"
Draco just nodded at her and looked slightly depressed.
"Cheer up darling. Her letter will arrive shortly I'm sure" Looking out the window she continued, "As a matter of fact..."
Draco's head whipped around to look outside and saw a large black owl heading for his window. He quickly opened it to let the owl in while Narcissa just chuckled and said "I will see you downstairs in a few minutes Draco."
Without replying to her he quickly grabbed the letter from the owl and tore it open to read,
My dearest Draco,
I'm sorry that this letter is a little late. There has been quite a lot going on over here across the pond. I arrived at GSA early (as is my habit in order to escape the foster family I'm placed with) and I was put to work right away. I was setting up banners and creating posters for events and looking over the student newspaper. Being student body president this summer is going to be so much work! And I'm doing work for two since you're not here to join me yet. Insert angry growl from me here Draco.
Draco just laughed at this and continued to read on.
But I miss you more than words can possibly say Draco. Life is not the same without you here and I am always counting down the days until I can see you again.
"I miss you too Katy." He said aloud.
I do not expect a return letter in return as this one is really late getting to you I'm sure. Would you be able to bring my owl Abyss with you when you come? I would appreciate it darling.
I will meet you at our usual place tomorrow morning. From there we will have an adventure this summer.
While Draco was upstairs reading his letter, Narcissa had joined Lucius in the dining room.
"Is he coming?" Lucius asked
"In a few moments."
Lucius nodded his head at Narcissa and said "So he received his letter then?"
"Yes he did" Narcissa replied smiling at her husband.
Lucius looked at her and smiled in return "Good." He replied. He then chuckled and said "I wonder when he'll figure out that he loves that girl."
"All in good time my love, all in good time."
A few moments later Draco came down the stairs and said "Morning father, morning mother."
Lucius smiled at him and said "Good morning Draco. I trust you found what you were searching for?"
He laughed quietly and said "I did father, thank you. We're meeting by the statue in front of the GSA campus. She says she's busy already with student council activities."
"Already? There must be quite a bit to get done before the term starts then." Narcissa commented.
Draco nodded at her "There is. She is a little bit upset that she is doing all the work herself. It sounds as though I'm going to have to work a bit harder in order to appease her temper."
Lucius smiled into his coffee cup but chose not to say anything. Draco caught the look, but didn't comment either. He knew what his father was thinking and was glad that his father approved of Katy.
"Other than working too hard how is Katherine?" Lucius asked.
"Very well. She –"
What Draco was going to say next was cut off from the sound of the floo network activating. Lucius looked at Narcissa and Draco and he saw their masks of indifference fall over their faces and he nodded before turning towards the fireplace where Severus Snape stepped out of.
Severus looked to Draco and Narcissa and then turned to the Malfoy Scion, "Lucius. I trust you are having a decent morning."
Sighing, "I was Severus. To what to we owe this unexpected visit?"
"The Dark Lord will be seeking an audience with you shortly. I believe he wishes to speed up the process of Draco receiving his Dark Mark."
Lucius could see Narcissa blanch and Draco just closed his eyes momentarily before looking indifferent once again. He knew how much this conversation was costing his son. He does not know that I have a plan for him. He will not receive the mark; I will make sure of it. "We had agreed Severus that Draco would not receive the mark until all other Death Eaters do, when he is seventeen. He will not reach the age of maturity until next Spring. What has changed?"
"The Dark Lord will demand it. Are you to refuse him?"
"Severus I will ask you again. What has changed?"
Severus looked around the room and decided to take a seat. "There is a spy that I do not know of who claims that the other Potter brat is alive and well. He says he saw it in one of his visions. He claims that he also saw Draco in the vision and told the Dark Lord at once. The Dark Lord wishes Draco to take the mark and find and finish the girl."
Dear Katy. What are we to do now? Draco thought.
"Severus, how can you be sure this is true? We were all told that the other child had died the night our Master fell. How can they be alive all of a sudden?"
"I do not know Lucius. I wanted to prepare you for what the Dark Lord would request of your family once again."
"Severus, Draco leaves for summer camp once again this year. I will not deny him this opportunity. The Dark Lord knows this fact. I will convince him that once Draco returns he will take the mark. And we will search for the other Potter in the meantime. Does the Dark Lord know where to start looking?"
"We believe she might be in Australia. It is the next largest Wizarding community apart from England."
Lucius merely nodded "Yes, that would be a good place to start. Who is leading the search?"
"Rockwood. He will scour night and day for the girl."
Severus suddenly stood and said "I have been summoned". A moment later Lucius felt his arm burn as well and so stood "As have I."
Lucius turned to look at Narcissa and Draco and said "Draco in case I am not here to see you off I have left some galleons beside my bed for you. Have a good term son."
With that he left with Severus and the dining room was silent once more. Draco began hitting his head upon the surface of the table and Narcissa placed a hand on his arm to calm him.
"What are we going to do mum? I can't take the mark and I can't harm Katy! I'm going to die."
Narcissa shook Draco slightly "Nonsense! Your father has a plan and we will find out what in a few moments. Come with me."
Draco followed her but protested "Mother, how can we possibly know what his plans are? He isn't even here!"
Narcissa resisted the urge to roll her eyes at her son and said "Draco, who pays for your schooling?"
"And who usually gives you spending money before you leave."
"Then why would he tell you after almost ten years of the same routine that he has left you money in our room?"
Disbelief ran across Draco's face before he burst into a sprint ahead of his mother. When Narcissa got to her room she saw Draco reading a stack of papers that were on her husbands' bed side table.
"I can't believe it." Draco whispered.
"What is it Draco?"
"He got me an acceptance into the National Wizarding Academy for my two remaining years of schooling." He looked up at her with hope shining in his eyes "The school is unplottable and cannot be found by anyone unless they currently attend there. Alumni are even sworn to secrecy."
Narcissa sighed in relief. Draco was provided for and the Dark Lord could not possibly find him there. She also knew what this would mean for Lucius and herself. It was further confirmed what her fate would be when she heard Draco say, "Why would he transfer more than ¾ of the money from your vaults to alternate ones in Switzerland, Canada and the United States?" There was a pause from him when he turned to look at Narcissa who had unshed tears in her eyes "Mother? Why would he transfer ownership of properties to me?"
Narcissa closed the distance between herself and Draco in order to envelop him in a hug "Draco darling, your father and I want to provide for you and keep you safe. We are also not disillusioned to our own fate should the Dark Lord realize we have hidden you from him."
"What are you saying? Mother... No! I cannot let you do this!"
"Shush my Dragon. We have known this day would come for quite some time." Looking him in the eye she said "We want you to be strong. We want you to carry on with life and we want you to live long and be happy."
Shaking his head he said "I cannot allow you and father to do this."
"But you can and you will. We have never wanted this life for you. I am sure this is how the Potter's felt before they died; wanting nothing more than the safety of their children. Darling, your father and I would do anything for you, including die for you. We love you and that is never going to change. Now, I want you to take all this paperwork and put it in your suitcase. Pack all your other school supplies and any valuables you want into your fathers' expandable trunk. You will not be able to return here for several years. Am I understood?" When Draco just had a vacant expression on his face she said more loudly "Draco! Am I understood young man?"
Draco nodded at her and leapt into her arms mumbling "I love you mother." And with that he ran from the room.