This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.
Draco stepped out of the entrance of St. Mungo’s and yawned. He had just gotten done working his third 12-hour shift in a row and he to say he was exhausted was an understatement. Glancing at his watch, he saw that it was just after 2 in the morning. After another yawn, he contemplated if he should walk home or risk apparition. Stepping out into the street, he noted that the weather was on the chilly side, but there was no rain or snow in the air. Tightening his jacket around him, he decided to walk the four blocks to his flat instead. His co-workers had always asked why didn’t just floo home after such a long day and he would always shrug and say that he hated getting dirty. They would laugh and he would grin and everyone would go back to whatever it was they were doing. The truth was though, he didn’t use the floo because he didn’t have his place connected to the network. He had a fireplace, and the ability to set it up, but he chose not too after moving into his fairly spacious flat in Muggle London. He didn’t like unwanted visitors and even with wards up, there were always ways around them. He liked his privacy, and if anyone wanted to visit him, they could ring the doorbell and wait to see if he answered, just like any other normal person.
That was the problem though... he wasn’t normal. At least not in his building, where he presumed he was the only wizard living there. He hadn’t felt any other magic besides his own so there was a good chance that the other five residences were all filled with muggles.
He was also probably the only one in the building who had a criminal record and went to prison, though that information wouldn’t be found in any muggle law enforcement system. No, he did his time in Azkaban, a mere six months compared to his father, who would die at a very old age inside his cell.
His thoughts crept back to the time right after the war, and during his trial. Potter, of all people, and Granger, another surprise, had testified for him. They said that he was under duress and he didn’t have a choice for his actions or else he and his family would be tortured, if not murdered. However, the fact of the matter was, he had attempted to murder the headmaster through a cursed necklace and poisoned mead, which ultimately ended up almost killing two other innocent people (Katie Bell, yes, Weasley, eh… he was still up for debate on that), not to mention the fact that he had led not only Death Eaters, but also a werewolf into Hogwarts. The Wizengamot had ruled that he couldn’t go without punishment; he was to serve five years in Azkaban. He had crumpled in his seat, both relieved and terrified. Five years was nothing compared to the life-time sentence his father and the other full-fledged Death Eater’s got, but, it was still Azkaban and even though the Dementors were gone, it was still a horrid place.
McGonagall had stepped forward and offered another proposal: Serve one year in Azkaban and if he did well, he be released and under house arrest for the other year, where he could use that time to prepare and study for his N.E. ., which he would be required to take. Once his N.E.W.T.S. were taken, he would then be under probation the last three years until his sentence was served. Draco didn’t think the Wizengamot would go for it but after a long and careful two days of deliberation, they had agreed.
The first few weeks in Azkaban were quite possibly the second most horrible experience he had ever encountered; the first being Voldemort himself taking residence in his home and torturing him and his family. He had a cell to himself, which was the only thing going for him, and he tried to keep low and not get himself noticed, but his hair was too hard to hide and go unnoticed. He quickly found out just how many people despised him in that place.
The first time he got beat up, was on the walk back from the chow hall. Someone had “accidentally” pushed him into some cell bars while another “accidentally” tried to help him by punching his face while another person “accidentally” held him back. The guards looked him over, said he’d live, and had him go back to his cell, not bothering to heal any wounds. He spat out blood from his mouth and found a chip from one of his teeth that had broken off.
When he went almost a week without another incident, he thought that maybe they got it out of their system. In reality, they were waiting for his current wounds to heal to do it all over again. This went on for weeks, then months.
Then one day he was notified of a visitor and stared suspiciously at McGonagall, who was sitting on the other side of the charmed glass.
“How are you, Draco?” she had asked primly.
Draco glared, “How the fuck do you think I am?”
“I came to see how you have been faring. I have been told that you have been part of many fights since arriving almost five months ago,” she glanced at him over her glasses, assessing him.
He chuckled darkly, “If you call being held down and beat up a ‘fight’, then yeah, I guess that’s pretty damn accurate.”
She frowned, and picked up a briefcase that was set on the floor and began rifling through some paperwork. “There is no mention here of you being held down, just that you have been fighting.”
“Well of course they aren’t going to fucking say that in the reports,” he spat angrily, “I’m surprised they even made reports in the first place.”
“They usually don’t, but seeing as how I’m trying to get you out of here before your year is up, I asked them to keep a file on you to see if you’ve, earned it, in a way.”
Draco shook his head, “There’s no way they’ll let you get me out of here before my year is up. I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing - keeping low, not talking to anyone, block out the beatings. I’ll survive.”
McGonagall looked at him, “I’m going to talk to the Minister. See if he’ll pull you out of here since it seems the prisoners are just using you as their personal punching bag while the guards turn a blind eye and file inaccurate reports.”
“Why do you even fucking care?” he asked exasperatedly.
“Because, Mr. Malfoy,” she said as she stood up, “You may have deserved some punishment, but certainly not this.” She looked angrily around her surroundings before facing him again, “I’ll see what I can do.”
“I won’t hold my breath,” he said, crossing his arms across his chest in a huff.
She shook her head and turned to walk away when he spoke up, “Have… how’s my mother?“.
She gave him a small smile, “She’s doing well. Misses you, of course, and wishes to see you. But her house arrest will simply not allow that. If I have my way, you two might be reunited once again.”
He gave her a nod, which she returned, and walked out of the room.
Three weeks, two beatings later, and one incident in the showers, he was released. Everything else after that seemed to go in a blur - his mother telling him she was moving to France as soon as her house arrest was done; McGonagall pressuring him into studying for his N.E.W.T.S. while he was on a year and a half of house arrest; being allowed to move out of the manor when his mother left; studying, studying, studying; testing; more studying, more testing. Applying for the Healer’s program after he passed his N.E.W.T.S. with all Outstandings and losing sleep from the sheer anxiety over it; getting accepted into the program; taking classes; trying to prove he was not a Death Eater to his professors and classmates; more classes; hands on learning at St. Mungo’s; getting his Healer license; and finally, finally, feeling a sense of self worth.
It had been rocky and he had to work extra hard to earn the trust and respect he now had. After almost three years of being a Healer, he was finally at a point in his life where people didn’t flinch, shy away, or request another Healer upon seeing him. Granted, most of his clients were children, in the pediatric ward, but still, it was nice not being judged by his past.
He smiled to himself as he remembered little Sally Bennett, who’s little brother had somehow gotten a hold of their father’s wand and made welts the size of golfballs all over her body. After a quick examination, a counter spell, and a lolli, little Sally was happy and bouncing out of the room.
If he had been paying attention, instead of recalling how the little girl had shyly called him “Mr Draco” before asking her mother if he could come over for dinner, maybe then he would have seen the hand lying on the ground, instead of tripping over it.
“What the-” he said, looking to the ground to see what caught his foot. He paled slightly when he saw a hand protruding out from an alleyway, lying on the ground. He walked slowly towards the hand and noted that it was attached to an arm… as well as a body. A very naked, bruised, and beaten body.
Healer mode kicking in, he rushed over to the person, who was laying on their side, their long, blood-matted hair covering their face and chest. Draco cursed under his breath, realizing it was a young woman. He placed two fingers at the her wrist and was relieved to find a faint pulse. A groan escaped from her lips.
“Hello? Are you awake? I’m a Heal-I’m a doctor,” he amended quickly, unsure if the person was Muggle or Magic. “I’m just going to assess some of your injuries before I move you, ok?”
No answer. He really wasn’t expecting one as he began to look her over and assess her injuries. The nails on her fingers and toes were either ripped or grounded off. She had what looked like bruises and gashes all over her body. Whip marks, maybe? The amount of blood and matting near her vagina concluded rape as well. He touched her shoulder gently and felt how cold she was and cursed himself for not thinking of it sooner. He ripped off his jacket and covered her the best he could. He moved his hand to the face of the victim, almost afraid to see what damage had been done there. He parted the hair half way, tucking it behind her ear and saw that her face was just as bad as he expected; black eyes, bloody lips, gashes on the cheeks, hand marks around her neck. It wasn’t until he sat back, trying to determine if he should bring her to St. Mungo’s or to the nearest Muggle hospital, that he glanced down at her again and gasped.
How could he have not noticed sooner? This had to be a mistake… this woman, from the looks of her wounds and personal experience, had been tortured for weeks. He hadn’t read anything in the Prophet about her being missing, but that could either have been a cover up or no one knew. No, not possible. Not with her nosy gits as friends.
She moaned again, bringing his attention back to her. Without thinking, he scooped her up, cradling her head against his chest.
“Don’t worry, I’ve got you. Just.. don’t die, ok? I’m taking you to Mungo’s, ok, Granger? Just.. don’t fucking die, alright?”
He looked around quickly for any muggles about, before apparating them away with a loud pop.
LouiseJ2: I enjoyed the detail you went into with regards to the case. It made the UNSUB appear believable. The crisis in the middle of the story was my favorite part, very dramatic but not over the top. I feel like sometimes pairings can be overdone but I liked that some of the relationships were a little...
Kalyan Shobhana: There is not a moment in this book where you think...let me stop now. this book cast a spell that compels you to finish it. in the end...you just hope and pray that may it turn out to be a series and the author keeps writing more and more. Let's just say this books makes me want to be selfish ,so...
KC_Ward: Black Mark was one of the most interesting romance novels I have read. I really enjoyed the fact that Mora has such a strong character and held her ground. Each character had a background story that gave clues as to what shaped their personalities. This novel was almost like two books rolled into...
brettylee: The narrative is slick yet punchy. Life, Family and Friends I believe is the core message so it’s easy to relate to. It’s surprisingly action packed. The author does a good job at keeping you guessing. Just when you think all is right, whack, the unexpected happens. The dialogue is energetic and ...
sarahsweet898123: I loved the story ... its was fascinating. ... cant put it down.... the way it was written....was so beautiful. .. the details. .. especially the characters. ..I loved them so much ... Garrick and mairi... every time there was some kind of attraction. ... just cant help it .... no words to express
ericaporamoralcine: La trama es muy interesante y original y eso ya dice muchísimo cuando todos tratan de triunfar con ideas ya trilladas.No puedo opinar en detalle sobre la gramática, porque a pesar de entender el inglés a la perfección, la falta de uso en cuanto a lectura y diálogo hacen que me maneje bastante mal...
263Adder: Okay so I adore this story. I only knocked one star off plot for historical inaccuracies because I'm a bit of a stickler for that. The ending broke my heart though, considering you already changed history couldn't you (SPOILER) change it a bit more and have them together!!!! I want an alternative...
Flik: Hi! ^.^ huge fan of yours on ff.net! When I saw the note about this contest on The Way We Smile, I couldn't help but rush over here, create an account, and vote! XD Seriously love this story and would recommend it to anyone! :D best FT fanfiction out there. Amazing story, amazing concept that wa...
CurlyRed: I read this entire book in just under 4 hours I COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN! i found myself emotionally attached to the characters and making personal connections that i had never experienced before while reading a book! I was constantly wanting to read more, every chapter left me on a cliff hanger tha...
salma elsamy: it's really awesome , and I really like the whole idea of the story . I also love how simple the vocabularies because English is my second language and the simplicity of the story is great for me . And I will definitely buy it if it's published.
catd69: Karim is a very talented writer. When I started reading his journey it took me into the book and I was in the story till the end. I've never felt this way with any other writers stories. If you want to read a gripping adventure, this will be the one book I would suggest you pick.
Maciej Rybczynski: I got into this book yesterday and could not stop reading. Good to have it finished as there is plenty other pressing matters. :) The flow of action is excellent. The author managed to keep all the boring parts outside of this book. Really enjoyed reading it.