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The Demon In Me by loveschocolatefrogs

Format: Novel
Chapters: 7
Word Count: 32,566
Status: WIP

Rating: Mature
Warnings: Strong Language, Strong Violence, Scenes of a Sexual Nature, Substance Use or Abuse, Sensitive Topic/Issue/Theme, Contains Spoilers

Genres: Horror/Dark, Action/Adventure, AU
Characters: Harry, Ron, Hermione, Dumbledore, Snape, Bellatrix, Lucius, Voldemort, Draco
Pairings: Draco/Hermione, Harry/Ginny, Remus/Tonks, Ron/Hermione

First Published: 07/01/2009
Last Chapter: 07/11/2011
Last Updated: 07/11/2011

Summary:



Wonderful banner revamped by Carnal Spiral (formerly known as Ande) at TDA!


PART I: At just seventeen-years-old, Draco Malfoy feels as if he's seen it all. He has to deal with the seemingly impossible task the Dark Lord has provided him with: Kill Albus Dumbledore. While on that road, Draco learns that not everything is what it seems and meets the consequences of his actions. Where glory was thought to be, lies only pain and suffering.


Chapter 1: Degausser
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I HAVE RETURNED FROM THE DEAD! Ok, so that may have been a tiny bit of an exaggeration. But can you blame me? I've been gone for so long! I have a good excuse though! Life.

Yep. Life has been the ultimate reason for my not being able to do anything in the realm of Harrypotterfanfiction. With my getting married, having a job, taking care of my one-and-a-half-year-old, and moving to sunny California, my life has pretty much been way busy. So I sit here, typing this out to you, my readers, because you deserve to know why your story has been gone.

So, going back and reading through this story while looking for things that didn't necessarily comply to the ToS, I've decided that this was complete and utter crap. So, being the OCD freak that I am. I have completely rewritten the entire story. Don't fret. All of the main points are the same, this is still Draco/Hermione, I just cleaned it up a bit and buffed out the rough edges it once had. You may have also noticed that I've deleted all of my other chapters. Well, you can't exactly tell a story when you have what it once was on the same page, can you? Nope.

So, here I go again. Re-presenting to you my pride and joy.

The Demon In Me



Part I






Deep in the heart of Wiltshire, England, sat a handsome manor house known to many as the noble home of one of the most noble of magical families. Elaborate gardens surrounded the manor, each plant intricately placed in perfect order that only served to enhance the magnificent grandeur of Malfoy Manor. Pristine white peacocks roamed about the vast expanse of the gardens, trilling ever so often in an almost melancholic fashion as they strutted proudly. The single cobblestone path that led from the wrought-iron gates to the impressive entrance of the manor was completely empty, save for the two-horse carriage that was currently making its way to the Malfoy's home.

Draco sat back against the emerald velvet seat, staring out the window in a bored fashion. The dark suit he wore was a sharp contrast to his pale features, making him look more sallow than he really was. His hands were currently in a relaxed position on his lap, the Malfoy ring glinting on his right ring-finger.

“Don't be so silent, darling. One might think that you'd find your mother's presence boring.” came a light, airy, voice from across the carriage.

Draco tore his eyes from the window to gaze upon his mother, slightly annoyed to see her smiling at him like she used to when he was a small child. Despite this, however, he could see the love and adoration that also took residence in her icy blue eyes. Her long blonde hair was set in a rather fancy up-do, making her features appear sharper than what they already were.

“There's nothing to be said, so I'm not going to waste my breath in trying to make small-talk.” he replied, before once more peering out of the window.

In a matter of seconds, he would be returning to Malfoy Manor and return to the abysmal dimension he called his life. Spending two weeks out of the entire summer holiday with his mother was not something he had in mind. But despite enjoying himself quite a lot(not to mention the French beauties he had come in acquaintance with), Draco had been looking forward to his return to the manor. Anticipation had been filling him for weeks now, and now it was just about ready to spill over. There was really no question as to why he was feeling like this. To him it was rather obvious. The Dark Lord was currently residing in Malfoy Manor, and it wouldn't be long for Draco to become a full-fledged Death Eater instead of an underling.

Memories of earlier times of this summer holiday flooded his mind. Bloody images of the muggles he helped murder filled his mind, their screams penetrating the cool façade he held. Cool hands clenched tightly into fists on his lap, gray eyes closing as Draco fought to push the thought from the forefront of his mind. It had been over a month since it had happened, and he still wasn't over it. Despite him having killed them, despite it seeming almost like a favor from his part, it was still wrong, and he had still stained his soul red by committing that act against nature. When he had returned that night, alone, he wanted no one near him. He wanted to stay alone, he wanted to just disappear from the rest of the world altogether. The only thing he did aside from sitting prone on his bed that night, was gaze down at the muggle photograph in his hand that bore the two people he helped kill and their announcement of expecting their first-born. The mere thought of killing yet another innocent was enough to make him sick.

Pale hands gripped his knees fiercely as he locked his jaw and tried to maintain his impassive demeanor. Draco was suddenly jolted out of his thoughts when the carriage came to a rather rough stop. Shooting the driver a glare, he waited somewhat patiently for one of their many attendants to come and open the door.

“Lady Malfoy, young Master Malfoy, welcome home.” came the voice of one attendant whose name Draco never bothered remembering.

His mother didn't bother to return the greeting as she took his gloved hand and allowed him to lead her down the carriage. Draco quickly followed and once he was out, the man shut the carriage door quickly with a small snap of his wrist. The luggage vanished from its perch atop the carriage, and the familiar soft pop alerted him of the House Elves taking the luggage and placing it in their respective rooms.

The grand entrance room of Malfoy Manor was, well, grand. It's sleek black marble pillars opened in a rather magnificent archway as portraits of several generations of Malfoys hung on the wall. Eyes full of disdain and haughty looks greeted Draco's sight. The small murmurs that always filled the air had gone silent, and Draco paid no mind to the painted eyes on canvas that followed his ascension to the house. Draco climbed the marble staircase towards the second floor, his eyes immediately catching sight to the robed figures that donned silver masks.

There were two, and they stood as guards before the double doors that led to the drawing room. Of course, from the amount of noise that emanated from the room, it was clear that a meeting was currently taking place. Dark eyes peered at him through the holes of the silver mask, wary as he neared the door. Just when one, Shunpike, was about ready to tell him off for being so close, the door opened and the elite circle of Death Eaters slowly flowed from the room.

Long pale hair spilled from the dark hood and silver mask and came to stop directly in front of Draco. With a single wave of his wand, Lucius Malfoy looked at his son in a neutral manner.

“I've seen you've returned.” he stated.

“Mother and I have just arrived.” Draco confirmed, keeping the formal manner in which he and his father usually addressed each other.

“I expect that you two had enjoyed yourselves, then?”

“Of course we did, Lucius. How could we not?” came Narcissa's voice. A warm smile on her face as she addressed her husband.

Gray eyes that were so similar to Draco's own tore from his son's gaze as he landed them upon his wife. There was no happiness evident on his person, nor was there a hint of a smile or warm embrace, but Narcissa knew as she always did that he was glad to have his family home safe.

“Wonderful.” Lucius replied before turning back and addressing his son. “Come, Draco. There is something that I must speak to you about.”

“Yes, Father. Right away.”


Draco closed the door to his father's study silently, before coming before his desk and taking a seat. His father had removed his ceremonial robes and his mask sat to the side, glinting dangerously in the firelight. A glass of amber scotch in one hand as he leaned back in his leather seat. Draco sat there, his arms resting on the armrest as he crossed one leg over the other. Unlike his father, his pose was slightly more rigid, as if he were expecting some sort of horrible news. Neither said anything for a long time, and Draco waited several moments as his father took sips of the amber liquid before setting it down on his desk.

“The Dark Lord is in need of a spy.” he began.

Something akin to dread began settling itself into Draco's stomach before he immediately squashed it down with his sense of duty. No matter what his thoughts or opinions(like he was able to have any) were, he still had to uphold the honor of the Malfoy family. Especially during these times, where his father was an escaped convict, and the Dark Lord plotting Potter's demise. It was his sense of duty, of being a Malfoy, of self-preservation for him and his family, that finally gave Draco the strength to speak up.

"And you have volunteered me."

Lucius' sharp gaze met his own, his gray eyes gleaming slightly in the firelight. His thin lips were pursed slightly before his deep voice rang clear through the room.

"I did. You are the only one capable of such a task and we need to bring Hogwarts to its knees by any means necessary."

The crackle of the fire was the only form of noise coming from the room. Both men sat completely still as they faced one another. How does one go about this? How does one give up his son, give up his heir, for the sake of their beliefs? For the cleansing of the Wizarding World? Draco swallowed the knot that had formed in his throat as he looked towards his father.

"Do I have a choice? An option? Am I free to turn down this assignment if I wish?" he said, boring his eyes into his father.

Lucius took a deep breath before opening his eyes and taking in his son. Draco had grown into a fine young man over the years, reaching the peak of his adolescence at the end of his last term. He bore so many similarities to himself, and yet was the very epitome of who Narcissa was as well. Lucius was still silently astounded by the work of nature. How two beings could come together to form the perfect balance between them in creating a new life. And yet here he was, about to offer up, sacrifice, his legacy to his cause. To his belief.

"You have a duty to this family, and as head of this family, I have a duty to serve my beliefs. Whatever they may be."

Draco clenched his hands tightly, his nails digging into his palms painfully as he felt anger beginning to swell in the pits of his being. Not again. Not now. This was simply not fair. This was unacceptable. But what choice was there?

There isn't. He thought bitterly. There is never a choice.

Without so much of a glance, Draco stormed off, shutting the door to his father's study with a loud slam. Lucius exhaled sharply through his nose, downing the remaining contents of the glass before him. The low burn of the scotch wasn't nearly enough to distract his muddled thoughts. His silver gaze watched as the golden flames lapped up the walls of the fireplace, the scent of smoke filling his nostrils as errant thoughts ran through his head. In a single fluid movement, Lucius stood and hurled the empty glass towards the wall, breaking it into thousands of tiny glass pieces. The action didn't hold any relief for him. It only served to show him the distorted images of himself that were embedded in the facets of broken glass. As Lucius turned sharply on his heel and walked out of his study, there was only one thought running through his mind.

If he is ever to realize just what exactly is his purpose... he will never forgive me.



Fury coursed through Draco's veins. Raw, unfiltered fury. The magic in his blood whirled dangerously, the soft candlelight in his room blown out by his anger alone. Draco sat alone in his room, locked in as he glared balefully at the stone wall before him. How could he? How could his father possibly do something of the sort to him? To offer his son up like some tool for the Dark Lord's use... it was disgusting. And yet, Draco was accustomed to this sort of life. He was not surprised to learn of his father offering him up to be used as the Dark Lord wishes, but then again, Draco wasn't surprised much by anything.

Throughout his entire life, he had been taught the importance of his blood. The importance of the purity it held and the historical signifigance his family was. He was born into nothing short of a legacy that had lasted several dynasties. The Malfoy Family, along with the Blacks, were legendary in having kept their blood as pure as it had been since the first wizard of time had set foot on this earth. But with this, came the immense pressure of maintaining the important standing that one had as a pureblood. The world had been overrun by muggles, forcing all of wizarding-kind into hiding and slowly but surely, mudbloods and half-bloods had soon become the majority of their population. They drove purebloods into near extinction, they would have, had it not been for the Dark Lord and his rising cause.

It was during this time, a time of peace, that Draco had come into this world. A place that held the cheery façade of peace while beneath it, they were already plotting to bring rise to the Dark Lord once more and pick up exactly where they left off.

Draco let out a frustrated yell as he knocked everything in his room off of their shelves. Parchment and garments littered his floor when he looked up, heaving slightly. As of late, it seemed that his magic had been growing more and more out of control. The slightest bit of his anger left unchecked would trigger a wave of his magic to leave his body and bring harm to anything in it's path. He grit his teeth as he forced his anger to once more subdue itself.

Once he was sure that he was once again in control, he peered around at the damage that had been done. Somewhat numbly, Draco withdrew his wand from his pocket and fixed his room. Just as he was ready to head into his private lavatory, a piece of parchment caught his eye.

There, atop his side dresser, sat a wax sealed envelope bearing the Hogwarts crest.

Taking the envelope into his hand, Draco broke the seal and emptied the envelope of its contents. In the palm of his hand, sat a silver crest with the emblem of Slytherin on it. Embellished in clear script were the words 'Head Boy'. Tossing the letter to the side, Draco made his way to the lavatory, the weight of just another responsibility falling on his shoulders and the beginnings of unease forming in the back of his mind.



So there it is. My anxiety is getting the best of me at this point in time. So submit a review will you? I'd really like to know what you think.

xx LCF

Chapter 2: Feel Good Drag
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And we are now on to chapter two! Woot!

I want to thank all of my readers who reviewed, I've seen some old faces and got plenty of new ones in the bunch as well! It's good to see my Veterans and Rookies coming together for this fic. It means so much, and I appreciate all of the marvelous feedback that you have given me thus far. :D

Anyway, here's the next chapter. I'm sure as it progresses my Vets will see some old parts, and I hope that the Rooks enjoy it. I certainly did so.

Now... onto your chapter! (Huzzah!)

xx LCF




The remainder of the summer holidays from that moment on seemed fleeting, and it was only to Draco’s complete contempt that the first of September had finally arrived. That morning he awoke at the usual time, making sure to put on his finest suit and place what he deemed necessary for travel in his dragonhide satchel. His hair was combed neatly away from his face, making his pointed features sharper and highlighting the darker bags beneath his eyes in a manner that was far from complimenting. He looked like a vampire; all pale and gaunt. Draco forced down a shudder of revulsion as his eyes swept about the room for a moment before marching out the door and closing it with a loud bang.

He followed the aroma of breakfast down the winding halls of Malfoy Manor, his stomach making its presence known as it cramped uncomfortably because of emptiness. Perhaps missing dinner last night had not been a good idea. But all the same, Draco would rather have starved than actually come face-to-face with the Dark Lord and his minions. The ruckus that rang throughout the manor that night made Draco come to the conclusion that there had been much consumption in alcohol, not that anyone could tell seeing as the manor was immaculate as always. It didn’t help matters when this was a dinner that was thrown in his honor, celebrating his final year of school before he could join them and become just another faceless drone in a sea of terror known as Death Eaters.

 

 

 

All thoughts of that were halted immediately as he felt an air of ice wash over him in that moment. Turning his head, Draco caught sight of the Dementor as it stood before a rather gruesome painting from the late eighteenth century. To most, it would seem rather odd to have one serving as a guard in the middle of a corridor, but Draco wasn’t like most. He knew that if one uttered the proper incantation, the smooth wall would give way to reveal a hidden staircase that led to one of the many hidden chambers in the manor. This one just happened to lead to the dungeon below, a dungeon that was currently occupied by a shopkeeper by the name of Ollivander.


The longer that Draco stood there, the more apparent it was that he had gained the Dementor’s attention. Perhaps it hadn’t fed, maybe it was bored(if it were possible), but before Draco could even blink the hooded figure was already gliding towards him. He could hear the hissing intake of breath, see the way its hood got partially sucked into what could have been a mouth and exhaled once more. Bony hands as cold as ice rose, revealing the tight, dead flesh of them as they reached towards him. Without hesitation, Draco pulled out his wand with a sneer, uttering the hex that Snape had taught him several weeks ago and watched with grim satisfaction as it hissed lowly at him before taking its post once more. Draco walked off, not bothering to look over his shoulder.


***

After going up in emerald flames and being covered in soot, Draco found himself in one of the many spare rooms that lined Platform 9 ¾. Casting a quick Scourgify, he was as clean as before and following his mother and servant out onto the platform.

The steam billowed from the scarlet train, a warning ring carrying throughout the platform in warning that they only had fifteen minutes left before departing. Draco looked around bored, watching as his mother greeted the Greengrass’ and chatting away with their mother. She turned her blue eyes on him, silently urging that he go over and say hello. Fighting the urge to roll his eyes, Draco walked forward only to have a black gloved hand fall on his shoulder. Shooting the servant a questioning look, he followed him silently as they made their way to a more recluse part of the station.

Hidden in the shadows and after making sure that they were out of earshot, Lucius immediately dispelled his charm and rounded on him.

“I have spoken with the Dark Lord and it seems that you are one of his primary candidates to follow through with this task. Nothing has been decided as of yet, but if you are chosen you can expect my owl to arrive within a month to two month’s time.”

Draco nodded stonily, his stomach filling with lead and a bitter taste filling his mouth. But aside from that, he couldn’t quite help the odd sensation of excitement that filled him. Like some part of him grew giddy over the aspect of causing havoc, of being able to shake the very foundation that Hogwarts stood upon. As soon as it had come it was gone, leaving him only with the odd sense of indifference that he had begun to grow accustomed to.

“I understand Father.”

A calculating look sat on his father’s face as he regarded him silently. “I will remind you once more, that if you are chosen there is no backing out. If the Dark Lord senses any doubt from you or is given reason to question your loyalty, he will most likely bring forth a severe punishment in order to have this task completed. Remember Draco, the honor of our family now falls upon your shoulders; he is still severely displeased with me for failing to bring him the prophecy, but you are the one to clear us and bring us to his good graces once more. Do not forget Draco, that this is your duty as Malfoy heir. You are the bridge that gaps my generation of power to your own when the time comes for you to take head of the family.”

"I understand.” Draco repeated mechanically.

Without another moment wasted, Lucius placed his glamour charm back in place and left Draco alone in the shadowed corner of the platform.

As Draco followed second later, he caught sight of a large blob of red hair as they bustled about on the other side of the track. Instant anger crept into his veins as six years of hatred and loathing came flooding back. Honestly, only a Weasley could bring forth that sort of reaction from him. Not that it was much of a surprise. The tension between the Weasleys and Malfoys could be dated back since before his great grandfather had been born. The scowl on his face deepened when he came(once more) to the realization that they were distant cousins. Tch. As if he’d ever associate with any of those muggle-loving freaks. Taking a deep breath, Draco walked onward, seeking out his mother in order to say his final goodbyes and board the godforsaken train that would return him to the pathetic excuse for a school that Hogwarts was.

He could feel several pairs of eyes resting on him, and as he turned his gray eyes clashed with green. This time Draco couldn’t help the sneer that came forth on his face that always came about when Potter was involved. The very same Potter that had sent his father to Azkaban and the reason he was an escaped convict at all.

He stood at the edge of the Weasleys and conversed quietly with the other outsider, Granger. Though it seemed that she took notice of Potter’s attention being averted and her own dark eyes followed his line of vision before resting on him. The instant tension that filled her was visible even across from the platform; her lips were pressed into a hard line as her eyes narrowed slightly in distrust. Draco held their gazes for several beats before one of the redheads came and caught their attention. A pale blond brow rose as Weasel King’s lanky arm came around to rest on Granger’s shoulders, holding her with much more affection than needed for a platonic relationship. Brown eyes tore from his as she looked up at Weasel and beamed a smile.

Interesting, it seemed that back in third year they really were searching for their dream home in the Shrieking Shack. The memory brought forth a cruel smirk and he couldn’t really help but commend their ability to be able to pair up with the filth that suited them. However the memory was short-lived when the whistle blew shrilly and he was forced to go on and meet up with his mother.

After a teary goodbye from her part, and reassurances that he would write from his, Draco boarded the Hogwarts Express, ready to get this last year of torture over and done with.

***

Boarding the train and making his way down the compartments in search of The Heads’ compartment. He was about halfway up the train when he felt a pair of small hands pull him roughly into one of the few washrooms on board. Wavy blond hair invaded his vision as hazel almond-shaped eyes peered up at him beneath sooty lashes. Full pink lips were parted in a lazy smile and the hands that had pulled him abruptly from the aisle were currently running enticingly up and down his chest.

“Aceline, it’s been quite some time.” He murmured.

“Mmm. I’d say far too long, Draco. I’ve missed you.” She whispered before stepping on the tips of her toes and pressing hot kisses along his jaw.

Oh and he had missed her alright. It had been over two months since he’d last had the companionship of a soft female body that he’d felt like bursting throughout the entire expanse of the summer. That is, when he wasn’t being ordered to go slaughter some muggles in their homes. All thoughts, however, were scattered the moment the petite blond before him laid an open-mouth kiss on his pulse point causing a surge of heat to fill him.

Firm hands ran up and down along her sides, relishing the feel of the enticing curves hidden beneath her clothes, tempting him to just get this over and done with. But Draco was never one to rush things like this, so in his typical fashion, he threaded his fingers through silky blond locks and turned her head before whispering into her ear, “I’m sure that I’ve a much better place where we can finish this in mind.” and allowing his breath to fan over her ear. A smirk tilted his lips when he felt her shiver in his grasp. Half-lidded eyes laced with desire peered up at him before she nodded her assent.

The moment they entered the Head’s compartment, he pulled down the blinds to the window and immediately leaned forward and pressed his lips to hers in a kiss that was hot and demanding. His tongue traced her full bottom lip before taking the soft flesh lightly between his teeth and the forcing the blond witch to shudder in barely-restrained delight. The hand at her waist continued to rub random patterns over the skin beneath her shirt. When she parted her lips to allow him access, he seemed determined to explore every inch of her mouth and Aceline allowed him to, trying to respond with equal passion.

When the hands on her waist dipped down to grab her bum and hoist her up, Draco pinned her to the wall, her legs wrapping themselves around his torso while her hands raked through his hair. In a blurred set of motions, Draco’s jacket was left behind and her shirt was up and over her head before joining his jacket in the corner.

Draco finally broke away from her, allowing them both to catch their breaths and noticed with a smirk that her chest was heaving from just one kiss and her eyes were big and hazy with lust as she stared up at him. Shit, the way she looked at him like that made him want to just tear the remainder of her clothes off and have his way with her. But before he could do so much as say a word the door to the compartment slid open and in stepped Hermione Granger.

Aceline immediately removed herself from Draco, darting to her shirt and slipping out with her face resembling a tomato, leaving Draco slumped against the wall in frustration. Really, it was ridiculous how adventurous the Ravenclaw really was, but the moment they had an audience she turned back into the virginal role that she played. It was surprising just how many girls he’d come across that played the whole ‘innocent’ card. And it were times like this, where his frustration was at its peak, that he wished there were more girls like Pansy, while easy to bed, at least weren’t afraid or shy of having an audience.

Draco ran a hand through his disheveled hair as he opened one eye lazily to peer up at Granger’s frozen form at the door. Her eyes were slightly bugged out of their sockets and her mouth fell into a perfect ‘o’, and if he weren’t quite so frustrated Draco would have found the sight hilarious. But there he was, all hot and bothered, and Granger had quite effectively ruined any and all chances of his receiving tail for the remainder of who-knows-when. Really, if there were awards given out for this sort of thing, Granger would be at the podium for every damn category.

“So tell me Granger. Just how much of that did you see?” he drawled.

At the sound of his voice, she immediately righted herself and set up a front. How typical.

“Enough to possibly get you detention for several weeks.” She said defiantly.

Draco raised a pale brow at her statement. Surely she was bluffing, but then again she was Goody Two-Shoes Granger, who just had to always do the right and noble thing. The thought alone made Draco snort disdainfully. But as much of an irritation she was, he couldn’t ignore the side of him(the one that was currently raging on hormones that had been left unspent) that took in the sight of her and viewed her as a female and not some creature from the abyss that she truly was.

To his normal eyes, she looked much the same as she normally did to him. Large forehead, bushy hair, hideous clothing; but the darker, more primitive, side of him took notice instead on the large brown eyes rimmed with dark lashes that eyed him warily. There was the smooth column of her neck exposed by the crew neck shirt she wore; the slight pink tone to her soft-looking lips. And as his eyes roved over her, a more sinister part of him came forth; one that always did in regard to Potter, blood-traitors, and Mudblood scum.

Breaking out of his reverie, he narrowed his eyes and said, “I should have known that you would make Head Girl.”

The look on her face was priceless. She went through four different shades of red before finally landing on an angry one that had her cheeks burning as she glared at him through brown slits. Her body trembled slightly in the shock, and she quickly fisted her hands in an attempt to keep them from shaking in silent rage.

"You’re Head Boy?” she managed between grit teeth.

This time, Draco couldn’t help but release the smirk that had been threatening to come loose as he watched her initial reaction to his news. It was always so much bloody fun to make Granger’s life miserable, and even if he detested being in the presence of a Mudblood, having a solid year guaranteed to him to drive her mad was probably one of the few things that made that punishment worthwhile. So, nodding his head to confirm her fears, a loud shriek pierced the air and he wondered idly if it were possible for a human to reach the decibel Granger just had.

***

The Opening Feast was as insipid as all the others had been. After the first years were sorted, Dumbledore gave the usual speech that Draco didn’t bother listening to, and then the students had their dinner. The only change to this year was that after dinner Granger and Draco had to go to the Head's common room instead of escorting the first years to their respective houses. So that was where Draco found himself in that moment, walking down the corridor and staring at Hermione Granger's ass, which must have miraculously appeared over the summer, because really, who expected Mudblood Granger to get one of those?(Even if it wasn't all that much to look at, the girl must have pissed off some sort of deity because she was as flat as a board)

As the two Heads reached the entrance to their tower, Granger stopped short and turned around to face him.

“We need to come up with a password.” She said tritely, not bothering to hide her animosity.

Draco just threw another smirk at her before saying, “Carpe Noctem.”

“Carpe Noctem?” she repeated, a door appearing where the wall had been just moments ago.

Her face grew flushed in anger and she opened her mouth to undoubtedly tell him off for doing that, but he had already pushed past her and entered, not bothering to see if she were following him or not.

The common room was evenly divided in the colors of all four houses, matched just right so that they would not clash. The living area was quaint with a large fireplace and there was a small kitchen to the far right side. On the left side was a staircase which he presumed led them to their own rooms. The back wall had a large stained-glass window with a small seating area beneath it, providing with a good spot for reading or completing homework. It wasn’t quite up to Draco’s standards, but it was good enough.

Tossing his cloak onto the sofa in a contemptuous manner, Draco ascended the staircase and found his name on a silver plaque immediately to his right. Opening the door, a dark room greeted his gray eyes. The room itself was dismal like those in the dungeons. The only differences were that the room was larger, the bed was larger, and everything was far more extravagant, much to his dismal taste. His custom-ordered dragonskin trunks were neatly stacked in a pile and Draco found all of his belongings were in their proper place. There were two sets of doors on his left, one that he presumed to be a closet and the other a bathroom. As Draco entered the white marble bathroom, he saw that everything was in doubles, meaning(to his utmost horror) that he and Granger would not only be sharing a living space, but a bathroom as well.

Exiting the loo, Draco walked down to his new common room to find Granger browsing the books that were placed neatly in the shelves that lined the western wall. When she caught sight of him, a frown marred her face and she set whatever book she had been holding down after carefully saving the page that she was on.

“If we’re going to be living together, Malfoy, we’re going to be setting some ground rules first.” She deadpanned.

Well, at least she isn’t beating around the bush. Draco thought wryly.

“I don’t know about you, but my grades are rather important to me. I don’t want to fight every moment of everyday, especially seeing as we’re going to have to cooperate and work together whether we want to or not. We’ve got a responsibility and I, for one, don’t want to lose my title, especially for something as lousy as arguing with you and constantly being at each other’s throats.”

At this, Draco spoke up.

“Then I’m sure we’re clear as to what needs to be done. Stay out of my way Mudblood, and we’ll be getting along just fine. I’m not one to go around and making truces if that’s what you’re looking for. You mind your own damn business and I’ll mind mine. We’ll work together and interact only when it’s absolutely necessary and not a moment longer. It’s bad enough to have to be stuck with you for an entire bloody year; I don’t want to make it longer than it needs to be.”

“Well I’m glad we’re on the same page.” She spat back. “I don’t want to interact with you longer than necessary either, but let me tell you something first. I won’t have you abusing your status and giving my friends hell. I won’t let you torment anyone. Just because you want to run around and play ‘Death Eater’ like your daddy, doesn’t mean that I’ll let you get some practice in with those who are completely innocent to the corruption of your twisted beliefs.”

A rage of fire burst through Draco’s veins at her words, and before either of them could blink, he shoved her roughly against the wall, his hand wrapping over her throat tightly.

“You keep your fucking mouth shut, Mudblood bitch. Or I promise I’ll show you just exactly what we do to filthy scum like you.”

Draco should have known better than assume that his actions would frighten her into submission, especially if the heated look in her eyes was anything to go by. That resilient look, one that said that she wasn’t afraid, that she’d never back down. After all, her and her disgusting Gryffindor pride didn't allow it. He had known her long enough to know that she wouldn't take a situation like this laying down unless it was to bring him some retribution later, most likely in the form of Potter and Weasel. Even then, it wouldn’t do well to have them keeping tabs on him. No, if there was a possibility that he would receive this mission from the Dark Lord, he would much rather prefer them to not bother with him at all. Draco didn't need Potter and the Hero Brigade to come mucking things up for him before they even started.

But his temper had gotten the best of him, especially after her snide remark about his father, and it was all he could do to not crush the air out of her lungs and watch her squirm.

“Fuck you, Malfoy.” She hissed through clenched teeth, her hands trying to pry off his steel grip on her throat.

Without a second thought his open palm collided with her cheek sending a loud smack to resonate off the stone walls. Blood as red as his own trickled from the side of her mouth as she looked at him with fury and contempt in her eyes.

"I'm not the same child I was four years ago Granger. You may have gotten away with it back then, but you won't now. And just because Potty and Weasel have been teaching you how to talk like one of the big boys doesn’t mean that you’ve got what it takes to back up a statement. Speak another word against me, and it’ll be far worse than just a slap." he spat at her.

"Lay a hand on me again Malfoy, and I'll personally send you to hell and back." she threw back.

"Is that a threat Granger?" he asked.

"Yes." she said defiantly, not an ounce of fear in her eyes. Damn Gryffindor bravery.

"Then I suggest you watch your back."

"And you yours." she replied before shoving him off of her and making her way to her room.

Draco glared at her retreating figure, still silently seething from all that she had said. She knew nothing, and she was in no position to speak as if she did. Draco had meant it that he would not allow her to get away with such disrespect again, and if she chose to cross him twice the price to pay would increase tenfold.

Sneering once more at the empty staircase, Draco pulled on his cloak and left the common room with a bang. So far, this was making out to be the perfect start to the worst year he’d have to endure.




Uh-oh. Someone's not in for a good start this year. As always, your thoughts and feedback are always appreciated.

xx LCF


Chapter 3: Something
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Hey everyone! Thanks for all the awesome reviews I mean it a lot. So a few of you had some questions for me, so I'll answer them for you. Yes, this story will be mostly in Draco's POV. It will swtich from time to time (as you'll see later on in the chapter). That being said, this story will not be light. It's rated Mature for a reason so I don't want to hear people protesting this or that. I placed the necessary warning signs on, so if you don't like what you read, that's all you.

Second, if you haven't already guessed, yes the names of the chapters are taken from the names of songs that I feel really inspired/captured in essesnce of what i want the chapters to be like. Think of it as a growing soundtrack, but it's entirely up to you to listen to it. To keep it from being a Song-fic though, I've posted them on the chapter summary because that's the part of the song that basically summarizes what the chapter is about/ captures Draco's thoughts about it.

Whew! Was that a long Author's Note or what? Anyway, I'll leave you to your chapter. I hope you enjoy!

xx LCF





The following day was the first official day of term, and with it came classes. Draco had risen early in order to shower and head down to the Great Hall for something to eat, all the while making sure to keep Granger from sight, because he knew that if he looked into those irritating brown eyes of hers, the events of yesterday would come back to him and he’d surely do something that would gain attention to himself. And that was something that he couldn’t quite do at the moment.

As he walked down one of the winding corridors that was usually vacant at this time, Draco caught sight of something that he gladly would have gone without for the remainder of his life. There before him, snogging the living daylights out of each other, were Granger and Weasel. No doubt trying to sneak some time together before breakfast and because the idiot couldn't get into Advanced Potions. Before he could think to stop himself, he opened his mouth and let a scathing remark escape him.


 

“Honestly Granger, is that any way for the Head Girl to act? What if the two of you are seen?”


 

The two came apart instantly, a furious blush marring both of their faces(or rather Granger’s since Weasley’s ears were the ones that had the tendency to turn red). Granger focused all of her attention to the invisible specs of dust that were on her shoes while Weasley sneered at the blond Head.


 

“Sod off, Malfoy. Like this is any of your business.” he spat.


 

“Oh, don’t get the wrong idea Weasley. I’d never dream of interrupting this prior engagement. Really, I’d rather watch Flobberworms procreate—“


 

“Then why don’t you go find yourself a pair and leave us the bloody hell alone.” Weasley said, his arms woven around Granger as she hid her face into his chest in mortification.


 

“Are you trying to boss me around Weasley? Don’t forget that I’m Head Boy now, and my word is law. Now, I was planning to walk by and leave that disgusting display be, because honestly I don’t give a damn about what the two of you get up to, but now that you’ve spoken against me I don’t think I can walk away anymore.


 

“Twenty points from Gryffindor, each, for inappropriate public displays of affection and Weasley you get a week of detention down in the dungeons.”


 

“What?!” Ron roared, drawing his wand as he shot Draco a venomous stare. “You have no right whatsoever to call that, you bloody prick! I’ll make you wish you’d never been born!”


 

Weasley raised his hand, an incantation at the tip of his tongue. Just one flick from Weasley and Draco would have enough ammunition to possibly get him expelled from school. Really, one would think that after spending so much time glued to their girlfriend he’d get some sense of self-preserve. But Weasley wasn’t exactly known for his brains, and he often did what he was ordered to do. So Draco braced himself, his hand gripping his wand that was hidden beneath his robes and readied himself to cast a shielding charm against his attack. However the attack never came and both boys were looking towards Granger’s dainty hand firmly holding onto Weasley’s wrist.


 

“Ron, don’t. Put your wand away before we get into more trouble.”


 

“But Hermione—“


 

Ronald!” she snapped. “I have no intention to have to report you to the Headmaster for starting a fight with Malfoy.”


 

“But he—“


 

“—was only doing his job. I loathe to admit it, but he’s right. We were in violation to the school rules and I shouldn’t have lost myself in the moment. I’m sorry Ron, but I have to stand by his decision as Head Girl. I may not like it either, but he wasn’t in the wrong.”


 

Weasley looked at her in a bewildered manner before his face flared up in anger. He promptly shoved his wand in his pocket before rounding on her. “I can’t believe you Hermione. After everything he’s done to us, you’re taking his side?”

 

“I’m not choosing sides, Ron. I just have responsibilities that I need to keep up with. I’m sorry.” she murmured, her hand reaching out tentatively for his own. Granger flinched when he pulled it away sharply from her grasp.


 

“Save it. Come talk to me when you’ve got your head on straight,” Weasley shot a scathing glare at Draco. “Or when your priorities are back in order.”


 

Weasley stormed off without another word, going the way that Draco had come and disappearing around the corner in an angry flurry of robes. Draco had a crooked smirk adorning his face as he watched Weasley’s departure with laughing eyes. When he turned back to Granger, the smirk grew wider at the sight of her downcast eyes and the tight clenching of her hands. Without so much as another word, she turned on her heel and walked briskly down the corridor, trying her best to ignore the petulant blond that shadowed her every step.


 

“Sod off, Malfoy.” she grit, picking up her pace.


 

“Do the three of you always share puns? Really Granger, I expected better of you. You, at least, have the intelligence to come up with new responses and keep me on my toes.” he said condescendingly. Tutting at her as if she were a child. He almost collided into her as she came to an abrupt halt and whirled around to face him.


 

“Like you’re one to talk, Malfoy. You’re the one that’s so stuck on Mudblood. Oh, and I find it highly hypocritical that you, of all people, come and tell me off about ‘inappropriate displays of affection’. What exactly did I catch you and that blond doing in our compartment? Oh that’s right, you were snogging, but based off the state of your undress things were progressing a bit further, no?” When Draco opened his mouth to retort that he wasn’t unimaginative, and that he wasn’t trying to insult her(ok so that was a lie), that she just sort of became Mudblood and it had turned more into a title than anything(like how you call a Professor Miss or Sir), and that technically there wasn’t a rule stating that one couldn’t snog on the train(well there was but they were only enforced by the Prefects, and they were teenagers too, with hormones and of various genders. They were bound to get caught up in fun things like groping and snogs.), she promptly cut him off again.


 

“Besides, I thought that we were going to keep away from each other unless it was absolutely necessary, remember? That was one of the reasons why I didn’t report you in the first place, I don’t want to have to deal with you, but I don’t think you picking a fight with Ron constitutes as keeping our distance.”


 

“Contrary to what you may believe, I wasn’t trying to pick a fight. In actuality, I was trying to keep away from you, especially after the stunt you pulled last night. But, after everything that happened a few minutes ago, I’m willing to brush it off. Docking you of points and landing Weasel detention is therapy enough for me.” He smirked, his cool voice dripping in a twisted sense of humor.


 

“You really are a foul, loathsome, evil, little cockroach.” she said angrily.


 

His smirk was cruel and twisted, enough so that it made Hermione’s insides squirm uncomfortably. There was something not right about him right then. Something that wasn’t there in the years that they have despised each other, or present the night before. It was like he was a complete different person, and it sent unpleasant shivers down her spine. Hermione needed to get away, and fast. Cocky Malfoy, Insufferable Malfoy, Git Malfoy, and even Enraged Malfoy she could deal with. Not this cynical being that stood before her. Sure Malfoy was always one to get joy out of everyone else’s misery but this was different. This was almost bloodthirsty.


 

“And you’re a dirty little Mudblood.” he said as he strolled past her, his form walking in a superior gait.


 

Hermione looked over her shoulder towards him, the unease in her stomach settling like a lead. She shook her head fiercely, trying to clear her mind. Taking in a shuddering breath, she walked down the path Ron had and made her way down to the Great Hall.

 

 

 

***

 

 

 

“So what exactly happened with Malfoy?” asked Ginny after swallowing a bite of her toast. She had seen the shaken expression on Hermione’s face the moment the older girl walked into the Great Hall and was quick to get to her side. After urging her to eat something, the older girl settled down enough to finally tell her all of the occurrences of that morning.


 

“He just smirked at me and was gone.” Hermione finished, her gaze unknowingly gliding over the Slytherin table anxiously. There was no platinum blond among them.

 

 

 

“But it’s Malfoy, doesn’t he always smirk?” Ginny supplied, watching her friend.


 

Hermione shook her head. “Yes, but this was different. I could literally feel the cynicism in the air. It was like he was doing all of that to get under my skin, but I don’t think he even noticed anything odd.”


 

Ginny gave a thoughtful hum as she took a long sip from her goblet.


 

“I’m losing it, aren’t I? Just tell me already so I can get this over with. I’m losing my bloody mind and it’s N.E.W.T. year!” Hermione bemoaned, burying her head into her arms. She glared balefully at Ginny’s derisive snort.


 

“Oh don’t be so mellow dramatic Hermione! It’s probably nothing, I mean really, Malfoy actually being scary? It’s unheard of. Just try and relax, you’ve got a lot on your shoulders this year what with juggling classes, Head duties with a total prat, and dating my brother. Things are bound to get chaotic, and knowing you things are already getting mucked up in that mind of yours.” She said cheerfully as she poked the side of Hermione’s head.


 

Hermione let out a deep sigh. “I suppose you’re right. I guess all of the pressure of this year is finally getting to me. But can you blame me? There’s so much that I have to do! Not to mention that I have to put up with that prat for an entire school year. I just can’t seem to get my head around all of the things that I’m going to be responsible for.”


 

“Relax, things will get better. You just need a little patience is all.” Ginny encouraged. “Now… where is my dear brother so that I may have a word with him.”


 

Hermione let a tiny smile come to her face. If there was anyone that could open Ron’s eyes and show him just exactly how unreasonable he was(aside from herself), it was Ginny. With that encouraging thought in mind, Hermione peered down at her wristwatch and gathered her books as she headed for double Potions.

 

 

 

***



Draco sat at the far end of the room, staring blankly at the wall before him. Beside him was Blaise, and next to their table sat Pansy and another Slytherin who he never bothered paying attention to. Pansy and Blaise wore similar expressions of boredom, the other Slytherin just looked baffled. The door to the Potions room opened with a loud creak and in walked the new Potions Master for the year. Slughorn brandished his wand and immediately all the burners beneath the cauldrons sprang to life.

“Welcome, everyone, to Advanced Potions! My name is Horace Slughorn and I shall be your Potions Master for the year, so I do hope that we get along. Now, seeing as you all have come this far I expect to be seeing great things from each of you. Potions is a very volatile art, where even if the tiniest ingredient is overlooked can leave you missing a finger, or worse! But seeing from the state that all of you are in, I feel like I won’t have to worry about that, will I?”


 

Draco let out a scoff. Was this man serious? Of all the things that he has to endure throughout this year, a peppy professor was not on his list. He’d rather take Snape’s abysmal charisma to this man. At least he wasn’t afraid to off on the Gryffindors every once in a while(everyday) for their own amusement. Ah, Draco would miss the torture that his former Potions Master subjected Longbottom to every class. Just as Draco was getting into what this new professor had to say, the door to the classroom opened with a bang and in came an out-of-breath Potter.


 

“So-sorry I’m late Professor. I just got my schedule changed.”


 

“Harry my boy, it’s not problem at all! Just take a seat there by Miss Granger and we can continue on with the introduction to Advanved Potions.” The teacher replied cheerfully.


 

Potter reached up and rubbed the back of his neck in an embarrassed fashion. “Sorry Professor, but I don’t have a book yet. I wasn’t aware that I was going to be taking Advanced Potions again this year until just a few moments ago.”


 

“Not a problem! Just go to the cupboard and you may borrow one of mine until you get your order owled in.” he said, dismissing him with a friendly wave of the hand.


 

As the lesson carried on over to the next hour, Draco busied himself in his work. He would like to say that he was rather good at brewing potions, though he was nowhere near the caliber of which Snape could do them. Where Draco needed step-by-step instructions, Snape was able to just gather whatever ingredients he deemed necessary and tossed them in every so often after the occasional stir. But despite him trying to keep his focus on his potion, Draco found his mind wandering as he waited for it to come to a simmer. Gray eyes scanned the dimly lit room until he caught sight of a rather flustered looking Granger.


 

Her hair had fallen out of the plait she had it in and was frizzing uncontrollably as she leaned over her cauldron, one hand stirring it counterclockwise and the other dragging her finger over the appropriate instructions. Beside her was Potter, who was doing the exact same thing, only Draco noticed that his shade of pink was far brighter than either of the contents in Granger’s cauldron or his own. This made Draco frown somewhat. He knew for a fact that Potter wasn’t at his level of potion-making, so how was it that his Elixir of Agony was several shades lighter than his own?


 

Something about this didn’t sit quite right, and by the look of the frustrated glares Granger sent to Potter’s cauldron, it was far from the norm. However, before he could form any sort of idea of what exactly had happened to make Potter some form of Potion’s brewing god, he peered up at the time and saw that his two minutes of waiting were up.


 

As he stirred his cauldron as instructed, Draco’s mind began walking down a path of its own once more. He wondered idly if the Dark Lord had made his decision yet. Not that he wasn’t expecting it to happen anytime soon, seeing if this was something that the Dark Lord wanted to happen the matter would be resolved fairly quickly. To have someone on the inside would be extremely useful to him, and not very many people could get away with posing as a student. But Draco admitted to himself begrudgingly that he was perfect for the job. He had access to the entirety of the castle, he could easily recruit fellow Slytherins in any task that the Dark Lord deemed necessary to be done, and could easily slip in and out without so much of a trace. It was ideal really, and if he thought about it, there was some form of twisted pride that came knowing he could do this so well, better than most Death Eaters in fact, and that it earned recognition from one of the darkest(albeit powerful) wizards of all time. After all, this is what he had been trained to do. What he had grown up learning most of his life. As his aunt would say, he should be proud.

 

 

 

Then why did the thought of being chosen make him feel so sick?

 

 

 

***



As the day passed, the light that shone into the castle now came in rich golden rays. The sky was clear, the air was crisp, and the happy faces of passing students filled the courtyard as they quickly made their way towards their friends. The first day was over, but it was only the beginning. Albus Dumbledore looked over his school in pride, glad to note the happy faces that conversed with their peers, glad to see that despite the threat of a looming war hanging over their heads, the youth of today was able to continue living life. He strode towards his desk in short and quick strides, the shriveled hand hidden beneath his robes stung something awful, and he could feel the lingering effects of the curse drain just a little more of his life from him. He closed his eyes, tired, as he leant against the back of the chair. It was during these times, the reminders, that it was painfully obvious that he was not as young as he used to be.

With a quick flick of his wrist a goblet filled with a golden potion appeared before him and he took a long drink, vanishing the goblet only moments before he could hear Severus’ knocking. The man strode in without word of invitation, his cloak billowing behind him as he took his measured strides into the room. Without hesitation he pulled out his wand just as Dumbledore did his hand and began uttering the containing charm that had kept Dumbledore alive for all this time.


 

“Well?” prompted Dumbledore as he sat back and watched as the dark-haired man soothed his pain somewhat. It had decreased from a sharp twinge to a dull ache.


 

“I expect that you’ve been drinking the potion I have prepared for you.” Severus deadpanned as the bright tip of his wand dulled before disappearing altogether. Dumbledore merely nodded his wizened head before lifting up his burnt and blackened hand, examining it closely. It had spread a little further this time, where it had only been to the heel of his palm, it was now a little ways past his wrist.


 

“How long do you expect that I may have, Severus?” he asked conversationally.


 

Severus shot him a dark look before replying: “I’d give you a year at the most. There’s no way to stop such a spell forever. It’s a miracle you were even able to survive long enough to get to me.”


 

Dumbledore hummed thoughtfully as he examined his hand. It seemed that the news that he had about a year to live didn’t affect him as much as it did the other man. Severus shot him another scathing glare that he didn’t pay any mind to. “Well seeing as I have so little time now, won’t you be so kind as to share the information that you have learned during the past meeting? I am aware that Draco Malfoy and several other Death Eaters have been awaiting Voldemort’s decision over who would be most fit to murder me?”


 

Snape sat down on the chair opposite of Dumbledore, his dark gaze watching the Headmaster’s intensely, as if trying to read his mind. There was a moment of silence before Snape finally allowed a frustrated sigh escape him and clenched his hands tightly beneath the long sleeves of his cloak. “The Dark Lord has finally made his decision,” he began, his dark gaze sliding over his right hand for a moment before looking up at Dumbledore once more. “He has decided that Draco would be most fitting for this task.”


 

“I see.” Dumbledore murmured. “And based on how you have been watching the boy so keenly since the moment he arrived from the Hogwarts Express you expect him to be unable to complete this task?”


 

Scowling, Snape answered: “Draco is not his normal self. Ever since the occurrence at the Muggle home he had become more introverted. Sending him to kill those Muggles seemed to have been pushing him too far, too soon. The Dark Lord knows that he will fail, he only uses this as a pretense so that he can torture Lucius and Narcissa for their failures.”


 

“Despite the occurrences of the summer, Draco’s soul is not yet so damaged. He has the ability to find remorse in his actions and with his remorse comes the proof that he is not too far beyond our grasp to help. Is he aware of the decision yet? I know that Voldemort gave everyone a month’s time before he came to his conclusion.”


 

Snape took a deep breath as the older man’s words sunk in. “Not yet, he will be contacted soon though. It will only be a matter of days at the most.”


 

Dumbledore nodded sagely before he picked up one of his closed books by his side and began thumbing through the pages with his good hand. “Make sure to keep an eye on him and make sure that he does not lose himself in the process of this. We needn’t an unstable boy with nothing to lose on our hands; the result could be quite catastrophic.”


 

***


 

It was dark when Draco and Blaise walked out into the courtyard. It was just past nine but neither of the two were worried about being caught out of bed after curfew. If push came to shove they could always say that they were doing patrols. Which was sort of true in Blaise’s case, Draco on the other hand would have to come up with some form of explanation as to why he was out there and not in his Tower. But as mentioned before, neither of them seemed too worried at the moment based on the slow walk they made to the other side of the courtyard.


 

Draco leaned forward on the railing, his arms resting on the stone balustrade as he looked over at the Black Lake’s still surface. It was clear tonight and everything was still and quiet except for the odd sounds that often came from the edge of the Forbidden Forest. Blaise stood a little ways away from the blond, his dark eyes watching him expectantly and it was a moment before the blond heaved a breath and turned to face his best mate. Pausing a moment to make sure that they truly were alone, Draco took another breath before settling his silver gaze onto the young Zabini.

 

 

 

“I’ve been informed that I’m a possible candidate for a mission the Dark Lord has come up with.”


 

Nothing had changed on Blaise’s face at the news other than a slight raise of his left brow. Draco found that the next several seconds of silence were some of the most agonizing he’d had to endure patiently. Blaise uncrossed his arms and strode forward so that both young men were toe-to-toe with the other. Both boys were rather tall, but Draco had that centimeter on Blaise that he would never be able to recover.


 

“A mission?” Blaise echoed.


 

Draco nodded his head. “One that is to bring Hogwarts ‘to its knees’.” He supplied.


 

“I’d rather think that it sounds like he’s trying to get someone to come and off Dumbledore.” Blaise deadpanned. Draco bristled slightly at how forward he was being but knew that there was really no other way to say it without making it seem any less bad than it already was. So instead of replying, Draco merely nodded his head, albeit with that mask of nonchalance that he’d perfected since his fourth year.


 

“You do know that if you’re chosen, and it’s very likely seeing as you’re really the only one who has access to the castle, and if you succeed that you’ll only bring down the fury of the entire magical world upon your head. And if you were to fail, the Dark Lord will want to have your head returned on a spike.”


 

“I know Blaise.” Draco snapped; his silver stare boring icy daggers upon the person he considered his closest friend. “But if I’m chosen it’s not like I have an option to say no,”—here Blaise interrupted with a soft ‘That’s true.’—“and Father is adamant that should I be chosen there is no backing out because it’s my duty as a Malfoy to do what would benefit my family.”


 

“So it’s at an impasse if you’re chosen then? A bit like being caught between a rock and a hard place, I reckon.”


 

“Thank you Blaise, for that wonderful analogy.” Draco hissed, sarcasm dripping heavily in his tone. Blaise merely threw him a condescending smirk.


 

 “Now you know why my family has stayed out of this thus far. Too many unpleasantries come with serving the darkest wizard in England and the perks that do come out of it aren’t at all worth it. They can give us money? We already have it. Power? That too. The Zabini name remained neutral during his last reign and it’ll be the same this time.”


 

Draco stayed oddly silent as he observed his friend who had made his way to the spot beside him, his dark gaze peering out into the darkness. There was brief moment of silence before Draco took in an exasperated breath and ran his hands wildly through his hair. Really, he was going to go bald with all of this stress.


 

“I just don’t know what I’ll do if I’m chosen. I feel excitement and dread all at once and it has me confused. I’ve been so torn like this for months. Before I would follow everything that was set out for me to do without question, but now it seems that questioning motives and actions is all I can do. It’s driving me mad.”


 

A hand rested on Draco’s shoulder and made him bring his gaze up from the ground to his friend’s face. There was no hint of a smile on Blaise’s face, there was no laughter and mock in his eyes. He looked genuinely worried for Draco, like he actually cared. And it was during times like these that Draco silently thanked whatever deity that was out there that he and Blaise had become as close of friends as they did. And real friends too, not the kind you often made to gain something. Draco genuinely cared for him, and he knew that Blaise did too.

 

 

 

“It’s late. I’d best be off. I’ll see you around.” Draco murmured quietly before clapping a hand onto Blaise’s shoulder and heading off towards the front of the castle. It was well past one in the morning now and if anyone caught him things were bound to get complicated.


 

When Draco reached the steps that lead towards the Grand Staircase, a barn owl came sweeping in, dropping a folded piece of parchment at his feet. Curious, Draco bent to pick it up when he noticed the familiar calligraphy that was on the outside. Opening it with numb fingers, more of his father’s script greeted Draco’s eyes and after reading it he felt as if a bucket of ice water had been poured over him. He clenched his eyes tightly shut before stuffing the note into his pocket and storming off towards the Head’s Tower. The words of the note burned into his mind.


 

You have been chosen. Honor your family.


 

0923;02

 




And there we have it. What will be instore for Draco next chapter, stay tuned to find out! On an off note, I swear Blaise and Draco are too much fun to write. They're the perfect match for each other... friends wise... and in my fic. :D

xx LCF

P.S. If you guys are ever wondering about the status of my stories just head on over to my homepage on here and take a peek. I have my stories there with their current status along with several new ones that are in the works.


Chapter 4: Famous Last Words
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Yay! Another chapter up and ready to go!

I want to thank everyone that's reviewed so far. You guys make my day with all of your feedback and it just gives me that little extra push I need! :D

Now, onto your chapter, yes?




Draco hated waiting.

He loathed the anticipation and near-desperation that seemed to consume him as he was forced to sit by idly on a daily basis. Nervousness. Anxiety. He didn’t want any of it. All he wanted was to get the meeting over and done with, get his mission, try to fulfill it to the best of his abilities, and be done with it. But as he opened his eyes to the glorious morning light that streamed into his room, he knew that it was not going to be that easy. Things were never that simple with him anymore and it was that thought (that truth) that made him loathe what his life had become.

Despite his obvious aversion to this new twist in life, however, there was a part of Draco that would’ve jumped at the chance to wait forever if it meant that he’d never have to go that meeting and accept what would surely be an impossible task. Call him a coward, but he didn’t care. He was a Slytherin; conniving, self-righteous, deceitful. He had no problem not having the bravery (and stupidity) that most Gryffindors possessed. At least at school he knew who he was, but even that was beginning to slip away. Because now he wasn’t just a student, he wasn’t just a Slytherin, nor was he even a Prefect. He was Head Boy, and with that title came another load of burdens and responsibilities to rest on his shoulders. Draco wondered if his metaphorical-self’s legs would give out by the sheer weight of everything by the end of the year.

Already the internal clock was ticking away at his sanity. Tick, tick, tick.

Sitting up groggily in his bed, nimble fingers reached up to rub the sleep from his eyes before getting up. With a heavy sigh, he padded into the bathroom and closed the door, hearing the locks going into place (upon his first encounter in the loo, he’d discovered that while it was occupied no one could enter) and stepping into the stone shower. Boiling hot water cascaded from the showerhead, steam filled his nostrils and cleared his mind. Draco stood there for a moment, his head ducked beneath the steady stream as his eyes were closed in thought.

The dread of the day set out before him filled every pore of his body.

***


 

Professor Binns droned on and on about the great Wizarding wars that occurred around Eastern Europe, going into detail all of the gruesome battles that occurred. He recounted tales of the Greek philosophers, Chinese alchemists, Japanese Shinto priests, and Russian magisters that dealt with those that had been exiled to the wild tundra. Really it could have been a riveting lesson, but that was not the case and Draco found himself scratching lines onto his parchment, utterly bored. An hour had passed when the door creaked opened and a tiny First year came into the classroom. Draco saw her nervous eyes dart around the room full of Seventh year Slytherins and Hufflepuffs.

The tiny girl walked towards the monotonous ghost who didn't notice her entrance and shyly gained his attention before holding up a slip of parchment. Translucent eyes looked up from the ivory paper and landed immediately on his blond head.

"Mr. Malfoy, you are needed at the Headmaster's office." he said in the same dull voice, not missing a beat before jumping back into the lecture as if nothing had occurred.

Glad to be spared from the remainder of double History of Magic, Draco packed his things as groans from the Slytherins erupted. He shot them a glare and there was instant silence. Blaise maintained his gaze before mouthing, “Lucky git."

Throwing him his trademark smirk, Draco walked briskly out of class, not wanting to be there for another moment if he could help it and ignored the lewd hand gestures that Blaise threw at him from beneath his desk.

Draco strode through the empty corridors, savoring the quiet thinking space as he made his way to Dumbledore's office. As he neared the stone gargoyle, he noticed someone else stood there. Granger. Of course. He gave her a curt nod as she murmured a succinct hello before issuing the password, the staircase wound itself upwards to the thick oak door that hid the Headmaster's office from the rest of the castle. Draco knocked once and almost immediately they were invited in by the Headmaster.

The moment he stepped into the office, Draco had maintained a steady eye-contact with the older wizard—a habit he had been taught when he was younger. It was one of the many ways that Draco liked to remain in control. However, with the looming mission hanging over his head, he felt that control waver slightly.

I’m going to destroy this place, Murmured a dark voice from the deepest crevice of his mind. It was neither a threat nor a thought of glee, merely a statement of fact. At this point it wasn’t avoidable.

"Ah, Mr. Malfoy, Miss Granger. Please take a seat." Dumbledore said; a knowing smile on his face. Draco fought the urge to scoff as he took a seat next to Granger and looked at the Headmaster expectantly.

"I’ve asked you here so that you would know that every month I will be expecting a verbal report from each of you over how things are in the castle. Tell me, how has the first two weeks of classes treated both of you since commencing?”

Like normal, Granger’s hand shot up in the air. Dumbledore gave her a smile before nodding his head and letting her speak her bit. Draco tuned out her inane chatter as she spoke on about how they had already organized the schedules for patrols, and so far how things were suited to their liking. The remainder was lost on him as he peered around the office, his gaze landing on the marvelous phoenix that sat on it’s perch proudly. When he returned his attention back to them, he noted that Granger had finished speaking and Dumbledore was looking at him expectantly.

“Basically what Granger said, scheduling patrols, going about our business, keeping up with classes.”

"I see.” Said Dumbledore. “So nothing out of normal has happened then?”

“No, sir.”

Dumbledore gave him a long look for a moment, before allowing a smile on his face. Granger, it seemed, hadn’t noticed the pointed look.

“It's come to my attention that the students have wanted some more social gatherings for the past several years. Seeing as how we are at the brink of possible war, it would be extremely difficult to create such an event. But I must say that this would also be the perfect time for all four honorable houses of Hogwarts to unite as one and stand together as a single body to show the rest of the Wizarding world that we can look past archaic prejudices and differences, which is why I have agreed to allowing this one event to take place in one month’s time during Halloween. You as Heads will be in charge of planning and organizing the event that you come up with and begin preparations after I give my approval. Don’t forget to include the Fifth and Sixth year prefects in the organizing. Are we clear?”

“Yes, sir.” Said Granger as Draco nodded silently. Wonderful, another task to take on.

“Then you are dismissed. Seeing as we have so little time in class left, why don’t you head down to your next subject?”

Both Heads agreed and walked out of the Headmaster’s office, each keeping their gaze glued ahead of them as they made their way to Ancient Runes at a leisurely pace. The silence between them was deafening and tension surged around them. Neither had spoken a word to each other since Draco had given Weasley his detention, Granger being too angry with him to even bother communicating, which he didn’t mind in the slightest. The only time they had communicated were when he’d go down to the common room to find the schedule of patrol times spell-o-taped onto his desk along with a penned note that informed him of the Prefects’ Meeting they needed to hold the following week. Other than that, she’d leave him be and Draco found more time for his thoughts to linger on the turbulent mess that was his life.

They walked for several more minutes in silence before Granger let out a breath of exasperation. Halting her steps, she grabbed hold of the sleeve of his cloak, whirling him around to face her.

“What?” he asked her, his tone cold but otherwise flat.

The fact that he didn’t snap at her for grabbing him, or make a spectacle of himself while he purged his robes of her “Mudblood Filth”; spoke volumes and only attested to the fact that he really wasn’t well. Hermione looked up into his eyes, her lips pursing slightly before she spoke.

“I know you’re going to say no, and I know that this may be odd sounding from me, but is something bothering you?”

Draco looked at her blankly for a minute before he schooled his features back to the aristocratic scowl he always wore. “No. And if there was it wouldn’t be any of your business, would it? But believe it or not, I’m not entirely surprised you asked me. You, along with Potter and Weaselbee are notorious for your inability to keep your noses out of other people’s business.”

“That’s not true! We don’t do it to be nosy; we do it to keep people we care about safe.”

Draco raised a pale brow. “Are you implying that you care for me, Granger?”

“N-No! That’s not it, I just… ugh! I’m curious alright? Curious about how you can go from that row on the first day to the incident on the second and now to this. It’s not normal for someone to act like that.” She muttered as her face turned an amusing crimson color.

“Doesn’t that make your reason for snooping void, then? You care nothing for me, just like I care nothing for you and yet here you are asking me what’s on my mind. I’ve done nothing before that would warrant this sort of worried attention from you, Granger. So the only reasonable explanation would be that you really are prying into my business since you obviously have no part in it.”

Granger glared at him for a moment before releasing his sleeve and storming off to their class, muttering obscenities as she went. A small smirk etched itself on Draco’s face but it was short-lived. With a weary sigh he stuffed his hands into his pockets and followed suit. It seemed that even making Granger’s life difficult brought no joy to him right now.

***

The exuberant chatter in the Great Hall would give one the impression that the sources of the noise were pleasantly enjoying their meal. This wasn’t entirely true. Sitting silently flanked by Crabbe and Goyle, Blaise across from him, Draco was staring desolately into his piping hot bowl of stew. Bringing another helping to his mouth, the blond was just about to take a bite when he paused and pulled back to frown dejectedly at the chopped vegetables sitting in his spoon. With a sigh, he let the helping fall back into the bowl and set his spoon atop the napkin that he had removed from his lap.

“Oi, Draco, are you alright?"

Bleak gray eyes slid up to meet the concerned frown of Blaise. It didn’t look concerned to the average eye, but having known Blaise for several years gave Draco the advantage of being able to look underneath the façade that they had always worn when around others. Really, it seemed they were only able to be themselves around each other.

“I’m fine,” replied Draco dully, his eyes sliding back to peer at the bowl before him. “Just not hungry.” He replied before getting up and walking out of the Great Hall. Draco was keenly aware that Blaise was following him with his eyes, but failed to realize that his eyes were not the only ones.

***

The wind whipped ominously that night.

Draco slipped through the shadows cast from the high towers as he approached the Forbidden Forest where the Portkey would be waiting deep in its depths. Peering down at his watch, Draco read that it was only a quarter till two in the morning. If he wanted to make it on time, he needed to get a move on and search. The lone paths were cast in a gentle glow as the lanterns burned brightly, the flicker of the flames casting odd shapes to appear on the ground. Many would have been slightly uncomfortable, but it didn’t deter Draco in the slightest.

Draco stalked on without another thought. Turning his back on Hogwarts’ silhouette, he continued down until he was well inside the Forbidden Forest. Sounds of all kinds met his ears, the growling of wild beasts and the skittering of unknown entities. He didn’t pause even for a moment, his eyes busy scanning around for the tree that had three knobs lined vertically on it’s trunk and the goblet that would be at it’s base.

After several minutes of searching, he caught sight of a faint blue glow from the corner of his eye that grew stronger and stronger as the seconds passed. Breaking into a run, he located it quickly; his fingertips barely brushed the rim as he was immediately sucked into the spiraling vortex and hauled towards Malfoy Manor.

When his feet touched solid ground again, he was standing in front of the gates of Malfoy Manor. Draco quickly walked through the gate and made his way up to the manor. The large doors opened before him as he walked through the entranceway and the sight of black marble and a hooded figure greeted him. The air was filled with hushed murmurs of the portraits that all had their eyes glued to him, some nodding in approval while others sat by idly, indifferent expressions pasted on their faces.

“Hello Father.” He nodded when Lucius removed his mask.

“Draco.” He nodded. “Come son. It is time.” He said as he led them up the staircase and to the Drawing Room.

The door to the drawing room opened and he walked before Draco in a high and dignified manner, taking his place next to Snape. The room was full of silent people standing in perfect formations off to the sides as they looked to him with varying degrees of indifference. Some, like his aunt, wore prideful smirks as they watched his ascension into the room. Draco walked forward until he was in the middle of the room. The large table that usually sat there was gone and settled a few feet from the fireplace was one of the large sitting chairs, it’s dark silhouette giving away nothing save for the red glow of Voldemort’s eyes and the pearly white glow of his head. Nagini hissed somewhere nearby and Draco noticed the reptile slithering by his feet.

“Draco,” said Voldemort, his voice deceptively soft as his lipless mouth twisted into a smirk. “Come forth.”

“Yes my Lord.” He said, taking several more paces forward until he was only but a handful of steps from Voldemort’s seat and lowering his head in a respectful bow.

“Do you know why you are here?”

“Yes my Lord. You are in need of a spy and I have been granted the honor of being chosen.” Draco said, keeping his eyes trained on the checkered marble tiles beneath him.

The drawing room immediately burst into hushed and rapid whispers. Several Death Eaters were looking from Draco to the Dark Lord, while others openly glared at what had been said, sending him their looks. Draco ignored them all as he continued facing the roaring fire, waiting for Voldemort’s confirmation. He was taken by surprise, however, when Voldemort spoke.

“That is partially true, young one. I am in need of a service, but espionage is not one of them."

At this Draco’s gaze snapped up involuntarily, his eyes meeting Voldemort’s reptilian ones. Voldemort continued without a sparing glance. “Draco. Over the span of your summer holidays you have proven yourself a worthy candidate to become a Death Eater and a large supporter of our cause, one of a rare few. You are also one of the few of your age that have the potential of becoming a great asset to me in the near future. That future, for you, is now.”

“My Lord?” Draco questioned, his eyes betraying his façade and revealing the hidden questions he had beneath. Draco shot his father a quick look and saw that he as well looked confused. This made him pull his brows together.

Something was not right. There was more to this mission than what he had been told.

A twisted smile came from a lipless mouth and Draco fought back a shudder of revulsion. He was keenly aware that everyone in the room was looking intently at him and felt his hands break out in a cold sweat. Voldemort raised his hand, wand in it, and motioned him to step forward. Draco did easily, his confident gait betraying nothing of the internal urge his body had to flee. A cold hand seized him and pulled his left sleeve up, revealing pale unblemished skin.

Before Draco could process what was happening, the tip of Voldemort’s wand touched his skin, sending a searing pain shooting through it. It was like holding it over an open flame and Draco half expected the stench of burning flesh to fill his nose.

Nothing came.

The pain was indescribable, and Draco watched with fascinated horror as black lines began appearing on his forearm. A skull first before opening it’s mouth and a serpent slithering out. When the fire vanished, Voldemort pulled his wand back, his red gaze sweeping the crowd of Death Eaters jeered and howled in approval.

“Enough!” Voldemort called, and the room fell silent in an instant. Despite the silence however, the entire room became acutely aware of what was to take place and looked far more lively than they did before Draco got the mark.

“Now, before I give you your first assignment, are you aware of the consequences should you fail?”

Draco nodded. Of course he knew, he had the scars on his back to prove it. After his father had failed to bring the prophecy, he had been the one that endured the Cruciatus Curse while his parents bore witness to it. He still had nightmares sometimes, and his mother’s cries would always haunt them as she tried to get to him frantically, only to have his father and several others hold her back. But despite the pain, Draco had preferred it be him than his mother.

“Well, let’s refresh your memory, yes? Rodolphus, would please bring in your dear sister-in-law?”

“NO!” Draco shouted, breaking his calm demeanor.

“Temper, Draco.” Voldemort tutted. “We wouldn’t want pure blood spilt tonight, do we?”

Draco fought to keep his temper in check, forcing his body to go into a rigid stature. It took all of what Draco had to stop himself from going to Rodolphus and forcing his dirty hands off of his mother. Anger boiled over in him as he watched his uncle drag her in at wandpoint, shoving her forward. Looking closer, Draco saw that she had restraints upon her wrists. He acutely felt the beginnings of fury starting to brew as Rodolphus brought her to the Dark Lord's feet and forced her upon her hands and knees, staring at the floor. It was only then did Draco realize that she was under the Imperius Curse. Draco clutched his wand tightly in his hand.

The Dark Lord took one look at her and muttered a bored Crucio, sending her screaming in agony.

Draco wheeled around to face Voldemort and he gave him another sickening smile, flicking his wand, making her hurt more. "Stop." Draco muttered, trying his hardest to keep his composure.

More agonizing screams were heard.

"Stop." he repeated, his gray eyes pleading as they darted between his writhing mother and the jovial Death Eaters. His mother's cries were becoming more gurgled as she began frothing at the mouth, her hands clutching her hair in tight fists.

"Please, stop!" Draco yelled, going over to her, trying to still her. Cackles from all the Death Eaters resonated through the stone walls, piercing his ears, raising his panic. Draco clenched his eyes tightly, feeling the magic swirling dangerously within him, much like it did back in the Muggle’s home. When Dolohov and Yaxley did things to them that had made his stomach churn and his mind grow more and more guilty with each passing second.

Their faces flashed beneath closed lids as unwanted memories he had suppressed for so long finally surfaced. The picture, the pool of blood, the pair of unseeing eyes, the house going up in flames. And now his mother was there, her body convulsing in his arms, the sound of her choking, the wet spots from her tears she left on his shirt as he clung to her.

Draco began trembling violently, his ears ringing and head pounding as blood rushed though it. He fell onto his knees, gasping for breath but refusing to let go of his mother. He felt the same pressure as before begin to build up, the same force that tried to escape him then rising now. Draco released a yell as he felt the energy around him explode like a bomb. A blinding white light lit up the room, and crashes were heard. His mother stopped thrashing immediately.

He opened gray eyes to see half of the Death Eaters sprawled on the floor, knocked unconscious. Those who were able to summon a shield looked to him in silent astonishment. His father looked as if he were going to be sick, and Snape’s eyes quickly darted to Voldemort’s. On the other side of the room, Bellatrix looked at him warily, the tip of her wand resting on her lip as she hummed thoughtfully.

When Draco finally plucked up the courage to look at Voldemort, he wasn’t sure what to expect. Anger perhaps, or mockery, but he wore neither. Instead a twisted smirk appeared on his face, his red eyes roving over Draco in dark satisfaction, as if Draco had proved his worth of something. But what, he did not know.

"You are to kill Albus Dumbledore within a year’s time." he said, Draco's eyes widened at the impossibility of his task. With his limp mother in his arms, and the exhausted state he was in after releasing all of the energy, all Draco could do was nod his acceptance.

Nothing more was said as Voldemort adjourned the meeting, the Death Eaters filing out of the room. Draco’s father quickly called forth two House Elves, ordering them to take his wife to their chambers and make sure that everything was alright before promptly following them. He slipped a note into Draco’s pocket as he did so.

Draco stood on shaky legs, a sense of vertigo sweeping over him. He was caught by steady arms and looked up to see Snape’s rigid face peering down at him. He hauled Draco roughly out of the room, walking back to the entrance and outside to the wrought-iron gates. When they had passed the safety of the fence he rounded immediately on Draco.

“Do you have any idea what you’ve done you foolish boy?!” he snarled.

Draco was conscious enough to look up at him owlishly. “Whu—?”

“Nevermind.” Snape snapped as he took hold of the goblet that lay discarded on the ground, taking them both back to the Forbidden Forest where Draco had come.

Once they arrived at the castle, Snape was quick to get into the Head’s dormitories and promptly deposited him on his bed, taking no care to remove his shoes or cloak. He walked briskly to the door before pausing a moment. He looked over his shoulder, taking in the prone form of the boy before whirling about and making his way to his own quarters. The events that had taken place within the Drawing Room a quarter of an hour ago swimming in his mind. He shook his head roughly, damning Dumbledore for putting him in this position and damning Lucius for ever having been as power-hungry as he was the time that the boy was born.

Because of you, Lucius, Draco will never live to be the same.



 

Tada! And there we have it. IF you guys are confused feel free to ask me questions either here or on my Authors Page at the forums. The link is on my summary page here.

 

 

 

For my Vets, if you recognize what's goign on with Draco, please try to refrain from tellin the Rooks and commenting about it with a review. Just go on over the forum and drop me a quick PM if you absolutely have something to say about it ^-^. You wouldn't want them to find out the big surprise so early on right? Right.

 

 

 

Now I'm off, chapter 5 is slowly crawling forth from the recesses of my mind and is in dire need of attention! Until next time.

 

 

 

xx LCF


Chapter 5: An End Has A Start
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Hey everyone!

Wow, sorry for the horrendously late update. November has been a really rough month for me what with getting a new job, NaNoWriMo, the tyke getting sick, and just a whole lot of personal issues. Not to mention that the muse has been holding this chaper hostage for a while now.

Either way, I hope you enjoy!

xx LCF




Deep in the confines of Knocturn Alley, walked a man with dark hair in long and brisk strides. His cloak billowed out behind him and dark eyes looked piercingly ahead. Though it appeared that he walked on without the slightest regard to anything he came across, he was highly attuned to all of his surroundings. Including the hooded figure that followed him from several meters away.

Severus Snape took a sharp turn in the following alley, one he knew to be well secluded and a dead-end. When he reached the end of the alley before it turned to stone he whirled around.

“You may come out now, Narcissa.”

The Disillusionment charm she had placed on herself quickly faded and several wisps of her long blond hair escaped the confines of her hood. She looked at Snape with eyes that were both hard, yet yielding. It seemed the weight of Draco’s task sat heavily on her shoulders just as much as it did on her son and husband. She opened her mouth to being speaking, but Snape promptly cut her off as he walked forward and seized her arm before they disappeared from the alley altogether with an indistinguishable pop.

When they materialized once more, they stood atop a hill looking over an expanse of grasslands. The wind sent waves streaming through the fields and picked up Narcissa’s hair along with it. The air was warm where they stood, not yet marred with the cool foreboding of winter.

Narcissa turned sharply towards Snape as he let go of her arm. “Where are we?”

“Deep in the south of Portugal. The Dark Lord has eyes and ears every where, it would be most unwise to hold a conversation that could get us both killed.”

“So what is it?” he asked.

Narcissa took a deep breath before settling herself; her eyes grew hard with steadfast determination. “First and foremost, Severus, we shall follow the rules of diplomacy. I shall speak my mind and you will mind your tongue until it is your turn to voice your opinions.”

It was a demand for confidentiality, something she was going to share with him that she had no intention for to reach the Dark Lord’s ears. This could be treading very dangerous waters; Snape, however, merely nodded sharply and bore his gaze down on her.

“My son is in danger.”

“Indeed.” He agreed. “The Dark Lord is assured of his choice for this mission. He knows Draco will fail.”

“He knows that he will get him killed! If not by Dumbledore’s hand then by the Order’s, but either or, his death will ultimately be on the Dark Lord’s head and he knows this! He knows that Draco will die. He knows that Lucius and I will grieve terribly for the death of our only son.”

“The Dark Lord has yet to forgive Lucius’ failure to provide the Prophecy. The only reason that your husband is with us today and not in Azkaban is because he will be of more use to him here, and he intends to punish him, punish the both of you, for his mistakes.”

“But why Draco? Why not take something else, anything else, from us?”

Snape took pause as he took a deep breath. He knew that despite Narcissa’s hardened exterior that she was on the verge of hysteria. “He knows of your stillbirths Narcissa. He knows of the children who died before they ever lived. He may take your money, and he can take your power, but he knows that nothing will harm you as greatly, as deeply, as Draco’s death will. It is his wish.”

“Then change his mind, you whose opinion and thoughts he trusts explicitly!”

“You and I both know that I cannot do that. His mind is made up, and there is no going back. Aside from that, Draco has accepted the mission—“

“Because he had no choice!” Narcissa snapped. “My son can be a fool at times, especially in matters that concern his family! Draco will be relentless in his attempt to kill Dumbledore if he knows that my head and that of his father’s, lies on the line!”

“Then there is not much that we can do.” Snape replied evenly.

“I will not let my only son become a pawn in his game!” Narcissa hissed. She was clearly angry but the tears that welled in her eyes were nothing but full of worry.

“I cannot allow my son to do this, Severus.” She whispered brokenly. “He doesn’t understand what will happen to him—he doesn’t even understand what sort of burden that has been placed on him the moment he was born!”

“I am aware of that, Narcissa. It’s been two days since he unknowingly used… He has yet to wake up since his little incident in the drawing room. I must say though, the Dark Lord was very pleased at the spectacle.”

Narcissa said nothing, she merely crumpled onto her knees, and tears streamed down her cheeks as cries of despair rang through the air. At the sight of her, Snape bent down and when he spoke, his voice was uncharacteristically soft.

“I shall do what I can Narcissa, of that I will assure you. Do not lose hope. Draco is a competent and very talented wizard. He shall figure out a way to get out of this alive.”

After several moments, Narcissa looked up at him and nodded weakly. She stood with his aid and after another moment passed, they vanished from the hilltop.

***

When Draco opened his eyes, his limbs felt like they had been filled with lead and his head throbbed painfully. Slate-colored eyes opened for a moment before shutting firmly as a hiss of displeasure escaped him at the sight of the morning sun. It was first light, the usual time he woke up, and he groaned in displeasure to being woken from his sleep, wanting nothing more than burrow further into the silk sheets of his bed and bury his face beneath the pillow. But his body had other plans and Draco grudgingly stood up and trudged off to the bathroom to prepare for the day.

As he walked past his calendar, Draco stopped short. It was currently September 17, two days after his meeting with the Dark Lord. Two days. Had things really gone to hell in just that short span of time? Before Draco’s mind could sink further into the despairing topic, nature’s call was mercifully insistent that morning. He trudged off once more, intent on not dwelling on what happened two days ago if he could help it. He needed time to let it sink in before the gravity of the situation pulled him under…

The cool water from the marble basin coated his face as he looked into the mirror, Draco’s eyes taking in his appearance. Bags had formed beneath his eyes and his skin had a slight gray tinge to it. He’d been spending too much time indoors recently, and the lack of sun was beginning to grow obvious. This wouldn’t do, Draco was still Seeker for the Slytherin Quidditch team and he needed to look like he was still well. Forget well, he needed to look like he was alive.

Pulling an emerald towel from the silver hanger, Draco dried his face and brushed his teeth before making his way back into his room and slipping on his Quidditch gear. Today was a good day for flying and his new broom practically begged to be taken out.


***

Gray eyes closed thoughtfully as the sensation of the wind seeped down to the bone. Despite the fact that the air grew cooler by the day—a sure sign of winter’s steady approach—the familiarity of being up in the air, suspended by nothing but sheer will and an enchanted broom while he stormed through open sky, was one that Draco welcomed with open arms. It had been far too long since he’d mounted a broom, and even though this was barely his first lap around the Quidditch pitch, he was extremely glad to have it. Draco put gentle pressure on his handle, steering towards the right as he came around the next bend of the oval-shaped stadium. Reds, blues, greens, and yellows melded together in a blurred palette; and by the tenth stand, the world ripped by faster than what his own brain could keep up. He let out an exhilarated breath, relishing the feel of gliding through the air at breakneck speeds.

Up in the air, Draco was free. He could forget all about his troubles, forget about the impossibility of his task, forget about the weight of duty that rested on his shoulders, forget about everything except the way flying made him feel.

And for just a moment, he was nothing more than a boy in the sky.

After an hour of wasting time at the pitch, Draco touched down in one of the visitor stands (where the parents and other guests usually sat during a match), and took a seat; elbows propped on the second row of seats behind him as he reclined. His Firebolt—because there was no bloody way he was going to let Potter have one when he didn’t—was leaning against the first row of seats next to him, the polish gleamed dully because of the overcast weather. He tipped his head back, exhaling loudly through his mouth as he stared up at the bright sky.

“You know, I’m not an expert on these things, but surely being up this early and sighing at the sky is looked down upon by people our age. Especially seeing as there are no classes today and therefore no need to be up at this hour.”

Draco started, his back going rigid as he sat up abruptly. His gaze immediately landed on his intruder; a chap about his height with dark hair, dark eyes, a Cleansweep resting on both shoulders while he looped his arms over it like handlebars, and a bemused expression on his face. Draco instantly disliked him. Gray eyes narrowed before Draco snapped his head forward, going back to his silent musing and ignoring the intruder altogether. After a terse moment, it seemed that whoever this bloke was, he was clearly not getting the message of Leave Me the Bloody Hell Alone, since he took a seat a few spaces down from him.

“Fantastic weather we’re having, isn’t it?” He offered, giving him a quick grin.

Draco peered over at him from the corner of his eyes, slightly wondering why the hell he hadn’t left yet.

“It’s great weather for flying. If we get weather like this during a few of the matches, Hufflepuff might have a chance for the Cup this year.” He pressed on, not the least bit bothered that Draco sat there mute and fixed him an annoyed glare.

A Hufflepuff? Draco sneered distastefully at the thought.

“I’m Aleron Cyrus, by the way.” The bloke said, coming over and extending his hand in greeting.

Draco turned his head to the right slightly, casting a quick glance at the hand that waited to be shaken before snapping his eyes back to his face in a challenging manner. Really, was he serious? Draco shook hands with no one. He also didn’t tend to show respect or be courteous to people of little importance either. What was this guy thinking?

Aleron brought his hand down with a smirk. “Ah, a man of few words I see. No worries, I know who you are. You’re Draco Malfoy.”

Something uneasy nestled itself into the pits of Draco’s stomach. It wasn’t uncommon for other students to have heard of him. He had his reputation after all and it wasn’t like he didn’t just use the Potter Brigade to torment. Ruining peoples’ lives and reputations was an equal-opportunity pastime, and he was never one to discriminate when it came to that. Draco would have gone as far as to call it his hobby.

So his reaction took him completely by surprise at the fact that this bloke whom he’d never laid eyes on before now knew his name. But it seemed that the longer Draco sat with him, the more prominent the feeling was. It was like the previous annoyance he had felt had been replaced by this unease that he wasn’t accustomed to. It was more than enough to have red flags pop up everywhere.

Perhaps Draco had begun to grow paranoid.

“Not that I care, but is there something you need from me?” Draco asked icily. His eyes narrowed in distrust and obvious contempt.

Aleron, or whatever his name was, merely smiled at him and the notion sent a shiver down Draco’s spine. The bad kind (Yes there was a good one). Aleron opened his mouth to reply to him when suddenly loud steps could be heard on the wooden stairs. Draco whipped his head around in time to watch Blaise finish climb the last step and make his way towards him.

“Hey mate, I saw you flying a few minutes ago and thought I’d come get you so we could get a bite to eat. What are you doing up here anyway?” Blaise asked as he took a seat next to him.

“Nothing, I was just being bothered by…“ Draco whipped his head around to glare at the Hufflepuff but he had vanished. He turned back to Blaise, his brows furrowed. “—Nothing of importance, just clearing my head for a bit.” Draco amended as he stood.

Blaise threw him a confused look but shrugged it off. He seemed to be in a chipper mood this morning. “If you say so. Come on, let’s go eat. I’m bloody starving.”

Draco let out a droll snort. “Don’t ever say something like that again, Blaise. You sound like Weaselbee.”

“I’ll have you know that I take great offense to that, good sir.” Blaise said, looking affronted. However it was short-lived when his eyes zeroed in on Draco’s Firebolt that was perched innocently on the seats. A wicked smile came onto his face that Draco didn’t like for one bit. That was usually the smile Blaise got when he had something devious in mind, which normally wasn’t a bad thing, but this was the first time Draco had been on the receiving end. “As recompense I shall relieve you of your broom.”

Before Draco could react Blaise had snatched the Firebolt and threw himself over the railing. Draco rushed to the wooden railing and leaned over, his eyes falling on the small figure that suddenly launched itself into the sky. An exhilarated laugh met Draco’s ears.

“You better bring it back in perfect condition, you bloody git!” Draco yelled half-heartedly as he shook his head incredulously. Honestly, Blaise could be so immature at times.

Draco checked the time on his watch as he climbed down the stands. He still had three hours before breakfast was over, giving him plenty of time to head back to the Head’s Tower and take a quick shower and get a change of clothes. After that, he had to get back to business and Draco planned to take full advantage of the Hogsmeade weekend they had today.

***

Whatever it may be that you need, remember that the Malfoy name carries much weight. Use it to your advantage.

The words that Draco had read a quarter of an hour ago replayed in Draco’s mind. It had been his father’s message to him, the note that he had placed in his pocket before following his mother out of the Drawing Room several nights before. Had it really been just two nights ago that one of Draco’s most important people had been used as an ultimatum against him? Had it really been just two nights ago that he had been given an impossible task, an impossible choice? Was that really what his life had come down to? Kill Dumbledore or have his mother killed?

The thought made bile threaten to rise up his throat.

Mercifully, before his mind could take a turn towards darker, more sinister, thoughts, Draco was pulled out of his mind when he felt an arm loop through his own. He peered down to find Pansy’s piercing hazel gaze, the curve of her lips twisted in a semi-smile as she dragged him over to the gates where Blaise, Daphne, and Astoria waited.

“Pansy, I have something to do today.” Draco stated, allowing himself to be dragged along.

Pansy merely rolled her eyes. “Excuses, I swear. Draco, we haven’t seen much of you lately. I saw you once during the summer, Blaise three times, and the Greengrass’ didn’t until the Hogwarts Express where you sat with us. But even then you weren’t completely there. It’s been two weeks since beginning of term and we don’t see you unless we’re eating or in class. You haven’t even stopped by the Slytherin common room, for crying out loud. We’re worried about you, Draco. I’m worried about you. Just come have a round with us at the Three Broomsticks, no underage wizards are allowed entrance today. Please?”

Draco fixed her a flat stare that she took to be his agreeing. Letting a mischievous smile curve her lips, Pansy dragged Draco over to their little group with a satisfied aura, albeit it was slightly marred by the sheer smugness she emitted.

“Look who I found skulking around.” She said once they got there.

“I was not skulking around.”

“Technicalities,” Pansy waved off. “Anyway, Draco’s agreed to come for a round with us. Haven’t you, Draco?” she asked, her tone sweet but held the tiniest hint of malice. Not many people knew this, but Pansy could be terrifying when she wanted to be.

He fixed her a glare before muttering a succinct, “Yes”.

Blaise merely smirked before clapping him on his back and turned to extend Daphne and Astoria an arm each before he made his way down the down-trodden path, a smirk on his face all the while. No doubt the giant prat was still pleased with himself for managing to take Draco’s broom. The thought made Draco scowl slightly; if Blaise got one scratch on his precious broom, he was going to have to kill him. Or do something that would make him wish he were dead. Perhaps Draco should disclose the information that Blaise used to sleep (and sometimes still did when there was a particularly nasty storm out) with a stuffed dragon to the Daily Prophet’s gossip column. Yes, that would be an appropriate form of retribution.

An impatient tug from Pansy’s arm pulled Draco out of his daydream and with a small scowl from his part, and a smug smile on hers, they made their way after Blaise and the Greengrass’ and towards The Three Broomsticks.

True to her word, today the Three Broomsticks only permitted wizards that were of age to enter, which immediately raised Draco’s spirits slightly. It was always a good thing when one didn’t have to deal with sniveling First Years. Especially those from Gryffindor, though Hufflepuff came in a close second.

Pansy and Draco were first to arrive from their little group, which didn’t surprise them much. Astoria was still underage at fifteen, and there was no doubt in Draco’s mind that Blaise and Daphne had gone to find a secluded alley somewhere and sneak in a quick snog under the guise of dropping Astoria off with her year mates. Which was about time, Draco thought amusedly, those two had been dancing around each other for years.

Rosmerta came by and took their orders. Pansy ordered herself a cup of herbal tea while Draco ordered a quick shot of her firewhisky. When Rosmerta turned away with their orders Pansy raised a skeptical brow at him.

“Firewhisky?”

Draco shrugged. “Just needed a pick-me-up.”

Pansy rolled her eyes but didn’t press on it. Instead she crossed one leg over the other and rested her cheek on her hand in a bored fashion. A small moment of silence passed between them and with an irritated huff, Pansy broke the silence. No surprise there.

“So what have you been up to in these past few months?”

“Just here and there. Spent a week in France with mother in August, visited the châteaux.”

“—The one on the outskirts of Cannes?” came Blaise’s voice as he and Daphne slid into the booth.

“That’s the one.” Draco nodded, stealing a sip of Pansy’s tea that had arrived in a bewitched serving tray before setting it down with a grimace. “What is in that thing?”

“Rosemary and chamomile, it works as a cleanser and fat burner. It also does wonders to my skin, although the taste does leave much to be desired.”

Across from Draco, Blaise rolled his eyes. “I will never understand females. Honestly Pansy, you’re as thin as a rail. Personally I think you could stand to gain a few kilos. At least that way you’d get some sort of curvature. Why, take a look at Ginny Weasley. She may not be as voluptuous as some of the women that usually catch my eye, but she’s certainly got stuff worth holding on to. If you catch my drift.”

Both Pansy and Daphne wore incredulous looks while Draco snorted ruefully. “Really Blaise? What happened to last year’s speech on the train of ‘Not touching a filthy little blood traitor no matter how she looks’?”

“I’m shallow, alright?” Blaise said. Daphne muttered something under her breath that sounded a lot like “And shameless too.”, before she fixed a glare in his direction.

Blaise merely shot her a wink.

Draco rolled his eyes at their antics. Perhaps they hadn’t gotten together after all. Either way; he’d finished his round with them, and now there were more pressing matters that he needed to attend to. He placed a galleon on the table as he stood to leave.

“You’re leaving already?” asked Daphne.

“Yes, I’ve got things that I need to do.” He replied before casting Blaise a glance. The dark wizard sobered up immediately at the sight and nodded stiffly. “I’ll stop by later when I’m finished so we can return to the castle together. First round’s on me. I’ll see you lot later.”

“See you, mate.” Waved Blaise.

After Daphne and Pansy both gave their goodbyes as well, Draco was on his way.

***

Draco walked down the cobbled street alone, his eyes glanced about back and forth to make sure no one paid him any mind. They didn’t. He was just about to reach a small alley that turned off and lead to the Hog’s Head when the sound of raised voices stopped him short.

“—will you stop this already? It’s been our fifth fight in two weeks! What’s the matter with you?”

Hushed whispers met Draco’s ears and he guessed that whoever was replying for the first person’s voice was trying hard to provide discretion. As he rounded the corner, those responsible for the argument came into sight and he stopped short.Granger stood with her back to him as she talked with Weasley. Despite the gentle tone she used, her body was rigid and her hands were clenched tightly, forming tiny fists.

“I am not going to discuss this out here with you Ronald. We’ll talk when we’re back in the castle, please. Just not in front of Ginny and Harry. Not when we’re out here trying to have a nice time.”

Weasley opened his mouth to reply, when his eyes suddenly fell on Draco’s still form. He sent Draco a sneer before he turned on his heel and marched off, and left Granger to look after him with a confused expression on her face.

“Ron, wait! RON!” she called, but it seemed that Weasley was intent on ignoring her.

Granger exhaled loudly, her shoulders slumped forward as her head hung slightly. Draco took this as his cue to leave, but as luck would have it, the moment he started to walk forward was the very same one where she turned around. She froze at the sight of him, her entire body going rigid with apprehension and she quickly schooled her features into appearing indifferent.

They ignored each other as he walked forward, his gaze glued to what laid ahead of him, as if she weren’t there at all. It wasn’t until he was passing her by, that her soft voice reached his ears, far sadder than the tone it ever took on after he insulted her.

“How much of that did you see?”

He paused slightly, though he wasn’t entirely sure why he did so. Draco only stood there for a moment before he continued on his way. But not before he replied to her.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

He didn’t stop to listen to what she had to say, he merely walked forward, intent on ignoring her and headed down the side alleys that lead to the dingier part of Hogsmeade and out into the outskirts. He had to try and put as much distance between he and the tiny village before he took his leave, if not he ran at risk of being seen by one of the students and with the large number that usually visited. That would be a very likely case to happen if he wasn’t careful enough.

As the distance between he and Hogsmeade grew, Draco’s thoughts became slightly scattered. Errant thoughts whirled in his mind as he moved closer to his destination. The note that his father had tucked into his coat, the anxiety his mother must surely be in at the moment, his own self-doubt gripping him like a vice, and, inexplicably, Granger’s face that had the expression of unfathomable sadness and heartbreak haunting it.

Deep in the recesses of his mind, Draco idly wondered if he looked the same.




You know what I love about filler chapters? They add more depth to the story. Yeah, they can lack anything remotely interesting but they give characters a sense of life, and that I think, is really good.

So... just thought you guys should know, this will be a SLOW BURN. And what I mean by that, is that the Dramione-ness of the story will come at a slow pace. And when I mean slow, I mean, so agonizingly slow you'll want to kill me because of how long it takes. But I want it to be REAL, or as real as it gets for us anyway, and I don't want a wishy-washy romance where they fall in love by chapter 10 or something. No. The Demon In Me wil be around thirty chapters at the least.

That is all. I hope you enjoyed it!

xx LCF

P.S. Another reason for the lack of chapter updates is the fact that I also created a new "story". And the reason I say "story" is because it's really more of a collection of one-shots and drabbles that I wrote while I experiment with some writing styles and techniques. So go check it out on my Author's page. :)


Chapter 6: Wind
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Hey everyone! My first TDIM chapter of 2011! :D Aren't you guys excited?

So, I'm glad that everyone's enjoying the story thus far. Trust me, there's much more to come. As a late gift, though, I'm going to share some information with you guys that will be very important to the time-line and plot of the story.

TDIM is basically my rendition of HBP, except for the fact that they are in their Seventh year. Sixth year didn't happen, or at least nothing interesting did. The reason for that is a plot-secret that I can't disclose at the moment, but you'll find out at the end of Part I. As for that, The Demon In Me shall be split up into three parts. Each of them will be mostly Draco's POV and show his growth and change. So the over all story; with all three parts counted should be somewhere between 40 to 60 chapters.  Give or take a few. I hope you're as hyped as I am!

Now, I'd like to dedicate this chapter to the amazing wirter, and my close friend, Ardeel for finishing up her first story. I'm so proud of you hon! Remember, no matter what, we've got each other! XD If you haven't read her fantastic Dramione, Changing Fate I suggest you do it NOW. It's amazing.

Now, let's head on over to your chapter!

xx LCF




Draco materialized in one of the many reclusive alcoves in Knockturn Alley, his eyes alert as they peered around to make sure no one was close to his site of Apparition. He pulled his dark robes tightly around himself and put his hood on to hide the trademark platinum blond hair that marked him as a Malfoy. After he made sure his wand was easily within his reach, he stepped out of the shadows and entered the alley and made his way to Borgin and Burkes. The path was a familiar one, one that he had travelled down dozens of times before with his father.

He entered the dingy shop with a small tinkle from the bell and it was like he had stepped back in time. Everything was as it had been since his last visit the year before. Only small trinkets and amulets were added to the array of items that lined the walls and sat atop of the ancient shelves. The dank smell of dust and mold filled his nose as did the unmistakable smell of death. Draco approached the counter and could hear the rustling of boxes from the back room immediately replaced by hurried footsteps. The oily-haired proprietor of the shop walked through the crooked doorframe of rotting wood.

“Didn’t you get my last message, Hawthorne? The shop’s now under the Ministry’s eye. We cannot conduct that manner of business until after the inspection scheduled for this week, imbecile!”

“I hope that is not the manner in which you conduct all business with your clients, Borgin.” Draco said disdainfully.

The man stopped in his tracks, beady eyes narrowed sharply as he looked at him. It was after a moment’s hesitation that Draco pulled down the hood of his cloak, and revealed himself to the shopkeeper. Borgin’s eyes bulged at the sight of him before quickly making his way to the counter where he conducted his business.

“Mr. Malfoy, such a pleasure! It has been some time since you’ve entered this shop, I hope you are well.” His tone groveling for what Draco knew to be a customer with a heavy coin purse.

Draco did not bother to return the greeting, but instead walked around purposefully in the shop. His gaze travelled from one item to another slowly as he took his time to browse and look for anything that would possibly be useful for his task. Slowly, he returned to the back of the shop where Borgin stood trying to appear as if he were busying himself in organizing the crooked shelves full of dark objects. When the older wizard noticed Draco’s approach, he quickly righted and looked at him with an expectant gleam in his eye.

“Did you find whatever it was that you were looking for, young sir?”

Draco was ready to respond when he caught sight of a mirror that hung just past the wooden doorframe that reflected a large silhouette of a furnishing that was hidden in the back room. Draco knit his brows together as he slowly walked around the counter and through the crooked doorframe and found himself in a smaller room than the one in front. He had been here before too; when his father conducted a bit more complicated “business”. Though, it was often more of selling to the shopkeeper than it ever was buying.

Borgin followed him in hastily, his breath labored and slightly wheezy with excitement. Draco pressed onward until he stood before the large tapestry-covered form. Without hesitation, he reached up and pulled the cover off, allowing dust to rain down on them and a great black wooden wardrobe to stand before him proudly.

The intricate designs of the brass hinges wove together like vines and the woodwork was impeccable. Reaching out, Draco ran his hand over the smooth finish before he took the brass handle and pulled the door open as he looked inside of the wardrobe. Something about it whispered at thoughts in the back of his mind, thoughts that he wasn’t able to discern, when Borgin began to speak.

“A Vanishing Cabinet, young master. Often, in the Dark Times, Wizarding folk would simply step into it and disappear for several hours. It was a common way to get in and out of places where wards prevented one from Apparating and another alternative of immediate transportation when the Ministry monitored the Floo Network.”

Borgin’s words fell heavily onto Draco’s ears as he continued to examine the cabinet before him. A thousand thoughts were whirring in his mind and he felt himself grown numb as the shopkeeper continued to speak.

“Why is this not on display?” he asked.

Borgin started slightly, his beady eyes focused on Draco intently before he continued with a bit of apprehension. “Ah, this cabinet is a tad bit temperamental. I’ve sold it many a times to countless of wizarding folk, and within the week have had it returned to me. It is one of those rare furnishings that decides who is worthy of its power. A very rare commodity for a Vanishing Cabinet, I assure you. Now, Mr. Malfoy, was there something that you were looking for specifically?”

Draco shook his head as he pulled away from the cabinet. His eyes pierced Borgin and the seedy vendor immediately tore his gaze from his. Both wizards walked back to the front of the store as Draco pulled his hood over his head once more as he prepared to take his leave. He had just reached the front door when he turned back and his eyes settled on Borgin with an icy expression. “I’ve seen nothing of interest so far, Borgin. But I shall be dropping by from time to time on occasion. Though, do keep from selling that cabinet if you can help it. I will make sure that you will have adequate retribution for doing so.”

With that, he stepped out into Knockturn Alley and after making sure he was safe from view, Disapparated back to the outskirts of Hogsmeade. He was completely oblivious to the pair of onyx eyes that watched him with intensity from the shadows.

***

Draco reappeared on the outskirts of Hogsmeade with a small pop. He looked around the empty forest, the sound of nature reverberating through the space and watched the setting sun as he tried to ignore the cool sensation that ran down his back as a bout of icy wind whipped through the air. It was still early in autumn, and though the weather hadn’t turned yet, the air was cold and the winds of northern Scotland were even colder.

He walked quickly through the empty forest and towards the main road that lead back to the heart of the tiny village in the dying daylight. Sounds of laughter and random conversations filled the air as he merged with the students moments later and left a bitter taste in Draco’s mouth as darker truths whispered at him from the back of his mind. While the majority of the inhabitants of Hogwarts were walking about with their friends laughing at inane things, his family was all but being imprisoned in their own home. The thought made Draco clench his jaw tightly as he continued to make his way through the village, his eyes searching for any sign of Blaise all the while. He was so absorbed in his thoughts and his search that he did not notice the tell-tale sound of a bell tinkling as a shop door opened and crashed into a patron of the shop.

He staggered back a few steps just as the person whom he had collided with let out a surprised gasp of “I’m so sorry!”, and was ready to give them a good piece of his mind when he looked down at his roadblock and was greeted by Granger’s surprised face. Her cheeks pink from embarrassment and she was quick to gather her things that lay scattered around her. She stood up rigidly, her back straight and chin in the air as she tried to collect the final shreds of her dignity before. Draco took note of how she pulled her cloak tighter around her shoulders as she did so.

She opened her mouth to say something before she was suddenly cut off by the impromptu calls of Pansy and Blaise as they spotted Draco among the crowd. Pansy was tugging Blaise by the wrist, her eyes glued to Draco’s still form. It seemed that in her excitement she had completely disregarded the fact that there was someone a mere few feet from them.

“There you are, Draco. We’ve been looking for you everywhere. Where did you disappear to?” asked Pansy, her dark eyes waiting for an answer before she finally took notice of Granger’s existence. A dark scowl crawled into her features.

“Did you ditch us to come hang out with a Mudblood?” she hissed.

“I have a name, Parkinson, use it.” Granger said angrily; the flush that now filled her cheeks had nothing more to do with embarrassment.

Pansy narrowed her dark eyes, her face twisted up nastily as she regarded Granger. “Calling you ‘Mudblood’ is far kinder than some of the other things that I wish to address you with. So keep your dirty mouth shut before I show you what exactly happens to vermin like you.”

“Are you threatening me, you insolent cow?” Granger bit out; her hand inching towards her pocket.

“What if I am? I don’t see any other piece of filth polluting the area around here.”

At Pansy’s scathing remark both witches were quick to brandish their wands, but before either could utter a word, Blaise quickly pulled Pansy back sharply at the same time that Draco stepped in front of Granger’s line of fire. Brown eyes looked up at him incredulously as Pansy’s indignant cries filled the air.

Without warning, Draco seized Granger by the arm and hauled her over to an empty alley near the shop she had just exited. He pushed her inside roughly until they were both hidden in the shadows and after a moment whirled around to face her. His schooled features looked down at her resentfully as he took note of her dark curls escaping the confine of her ponytail and framing her face in wild curls.

“Would you mind telling me what the hell you’re doing?” he asked icily.

I wasn’t doing anything. In case you didn’t notice, Parkinson was the one that started this. I was merely recovering from bumping into you when I had exited Scrivenshaft’s when she and Zabini came waltzing down and began insulting me.” She replied stonily, her eyes narrowed as she peered up at him.

Draco scowled as he approached her, forcing her to take a step back with his proximity. They stood several feet apart when he stopped, Granger successfully cornered against the worn brick wall that surrounded them. He took another half-step towards her, allowing the vast difference in their size bring forth some kind of nervousness to her. He wasn’t as surprised as he should have been when her eyes looked just as angry and headstrong as they did mere seconds ago. Fool.

“Stay away from me, and stay away from my friends, Granger. I promise you, nothing good will come of it if you cross us.” He said dangerously before he leaned back.

“I would have thought you’d realize after all these years that threats don’t work on me, Malfoy. Especially empty ones.”

Gray eyes narrowed dangerously at her reply. “You’ll regret that one of these days, Granger. You and your friends will get what’s coming to you and I’m going to enjoy watching you burn.”

He left her there slightly stunned and with no reply as her eyes widened marginally at his words, and felt a satisfied smirk make its way onto his face as he walked down the main road and towards the path that lead to the castle carriages where Pansy and Blaise were arguing heatedly. Together the three of them entered a carriage that they had called and returned back to the castle with Pansy fuming all the while and Draco keeping his gaze to the desolate grounds as it zoomed by.

“So, was there any particular reason why you were with that Mudblood when we found you?” said Pansy as she broke the silence between them.

Draco looked at Pansy for a moment, answering vaguely. He knew what she was trying to do, she didn’t give a care (well that wasn’t necessarily true) about who he spent his time with, and she knew him well enough to know that he despised his fellow Head. She just hoped that this half-assed accusation would bring forth the answer she was really seeking; where he had gone off to. “No. I had just finished business and came looking for Blaise when I ran into her. Where’s Daphne?”

“She and Astoria headed back to the castle, something or other about getting out of the cold.” Blaise replied. “Though I don’t see why, I could have easily kept her warm.”

Pansy rolled her eyes as she looked down critically at her perfectly manicured nails. “Oh please, I’m sure that offer stands with most of the female population of Hogwarts.”

Blaise shot a grin her way. “You know me too well, Parkinson.”

“That’s not something I’m proud of.” She muttered, much to Blaise’s amusement.

The rest of the carriage ride was filled with amiable silence, each of them lost to their own devices for the remainder of the ride. It wasn’t until the dense curtain of forest opened up did Hogwarts come into view.

When the three Slytherins arrived at the front courtyard, they were surprised to see the cluster of students that flooded the entrance into the Great Hall and the Grand Staircase. They walked towards the band of students that were standing before the wall where Umbridge had once had Filch nail her new decrees for all of the school to see, and found a large poster stuck to it. Naturally, Draco and Blaise pushed (shoved) their way through the crowd as Pansy snapped at any nearby First Years that got too close to her and ignored the older years’ malevolent looks.

The bold script of the parchment was easy to read even from a distance and Draco felt both excitement and dread creep into his stomach simultaneously at the words.

 

SENIOR DUELING CLUB

If you are in either Sixth or Seventh year then you are eligible to enter our Senior Dueling Club. Defensive and Offensive lessons will be lead by your proctor as you test and improve your abilities against others in a serious duel. NOT MANDATORY. For more information, please attend the first orientation on September 25 at 1300 in the Great Hall.

Cordially,

Minerva McGonagall, Deputy Headmistress

Blaise grinned mischievously as he finished reading the notice. “Sounds interesting, doesn’t it? I mean, we get a chance to learn new moves and get to knock around some of the other Seventh Years. Sounds like a dream come true.”

Draco rolled his eyes. “Only you would waste your time dreaming of knocking people around, Blaise.”

“Oh, like you don’t?” Pansy asked before she turned back to the poster. “Personally, I’d love to join, if only for the chance to put that filthy Mudblood Granger in her place once and for all.”

“I don’t think she’ll be bothering us anytime soon.”

Pansy looked over at Draco’s stoic expression; her eyes alight with curiosity as she tried to gauge what he was getting at. “What did you do?” she asked, the corner of her full lips curled slightly as she smirked in delight.

Draco shrugged. “Nothing out of the ordinary, just told her to keep her person away from us. That she and her friends will soon get what’s coming to them and that I would enjoy the spectacle.”

Pansy let out a laugh at his proclamation while Blaise merely shook his head with a wry smirk planted firmly on his features. The three Slytherins stalked off then, all of them making their way down to the dungeons in order to waste away the remainder of the day. And for the first time in a long time, Draco felt like everything in life was as it should be. If only for a moment at least.

***

The occupants that resided in the drawing room of Malfoy Manor sat against the backs of the ornate chairs in silence. The fire crackled gently in the background and one could hear the slight hiss that Nagini would emit every so often as she slithered about the room. Two of the three occupants watched her warily from the corner of their eyes as they awaited the Dark Lord to begin speaking with them. Both looked towards the front, their eyes trained on the back of the velvet chair in which he sat as he regarded them coolly with red eyes.

“What news do you have for me, Lucius?” he asked after a few moments of almost unbearable silence.

The blond wizard bowed his head lowly before he straightened and opened his mouth to speak. “Borgin has recently informed me that Draco paid visit to his shop this afternoon. It seems that the boy has begun planning for the task that you have given him, Milord.”

“So it may seem. I am pleased to hear this. Let us hope, for your sakes, that Draco is nothing like his father when it comes to carrying out a task given to him.”

Lucius winced slightly as he bowed his head lower, long pale strands of hair escaping the confines of the hair tie.

Voldemort said nothing more to him; instead he fixed his gaze on the woman with wild curls whose bowed head was so like that of an eager dog’s awaiting her master’s next praise. The thought brought a cruel smirk upon the Dark Lord’s face as he addressed the one who was so devoted to him.

“Bellatrix, your news?”

Heavy-lidded eyes looked up with him with a look of reverence and devotion as she spoke. Her words hung in the air thickly, the desire to please her master evident. “My Lord, everything is running smoothly as planned. The boy knows nothing of his change and soon he shall begin to show signs of the Awakening.”

A lipless smirk split his face as his red eyes narrowed in pleasure. “That is most excellent news. What of your spy? How are they faring?”

“They are doing well, my Lord. They’ve been keeping a close eye on both Potter and Draco so far, and reports that nothing out of the ordinary has happened yet.”

Voldemort gave a faint nod of approval before stroking Nagini’s smooth scales as she wound herself upon his lap. He could feel the familiar thrum of her heart beneath his fingertips along with another, more faint, one that was in sync with his own.

“That is acceptable but one must remember, they have barely begun their final year of school and there will be plenty of opportunities for Draco’s Awakening to begin coupled with his task. Make sure that your spy has constant vigilance of him. There is no need to reveal the legacy that has been passed through generations of the most honorable house of Black to the world. After all, it will serve to our greatest advantage and is an exceptional addition to our arsenal.”

“Yes, my Lord. It is the greatest honor to hear you speak so highly or my birth family. I promise you, our blood shall not let you down.” Bellatrix bowed, her eyes shining at his praise.

“Very well, if that is all then you are dismissed. Bellatrix, make sure to keep in good contact with your spy and keep a close eye on the boy.”

Bellatrix nodded as she bowed deeply before leaving the room in long strides, her dark dress swaying to and fro with each step taken. Lucius stood rigidly from his chair, allowing it to scrape the stone floor as he fixedly made his way towards the door to quickly take his leave and return to Narcissa’s side. Just as he opened it, the Dark Lord called out to him, his voice chilling the air.

“Lucius, take great care to make sure that your son does not fail. The consequences will be grave if I am not pleased with the boy’s performance. And it would be the greatest shame if one of the most ancient and noble of Pureblood families falls from grace because of their incompetence.”

The blond wizard nodded his head nervously before turning and leaving the room, his heart beat harshly in his chest as he processed what exactly he had been told. It was a death warrant. Should Draco fail, they would all fall.

However much both he and Narcissa were willing to put their faith into their only son, he was unable to shake the rising doubt that clawed at his mind.

***

The dim green glow that filled the Slytherin common room was a welcomed sight to Draco’s eyes. The leather couches and the cool temperature of being under the surface of the lake brought back a small sense of nostalgia in him as he made his way by Pansy’s side. Years worth of memories had been forged within this very room and despite his poker-face, Draco was unable to shake the microscopic part of him that basked in those times. He quickly pulled himself from that train of thought that threatened to show him that his life was no longer quite so simple and instead focused once more on the room itself as he approached the sitting area. There was a small band of Slytherins sitting in the common room and each head turned to see who the intruders were when they caught a glimpse of him.

“Hey Draco,” called Millicent. “Come join us! Nott was about to get into his disappearance from the end of last term.”

At Pansy’s insistence, he and Blaise were tugged over to the couches before taking their seats and exchanged greetings with everyone present. Draco noted with slight mirth that Blaise had tensed considerably at the sight of Daphne and Theodore Nott huddled together on the couch opposite of them. One of her dainty hands were being held by his as she leaned into him, her head of dark blond hair settled at the crook of his neck. Blaise pointedly looked away as he struck up conversation with a leggy Sixth Year.

“So? What’s this about your disappearance last June?” Draco prompted, dispelling any of the tension that rose due to Blaise’s unknown infatuation with the eldest Greengrass heiress.

Theo smirked as he unwound his fingers from Daphne’s and draped his arms over the back of the couch instead. It was obvious from his features that he took delight in being center of attention, something Draco knew from years of having known Daphne that it was a particular trait that did not suit her fancy.

Compared to most Slytherins, Daphne was quite introverted. She excelled in classes and was well-off in her family, though a bit vain, but it was understandable since she was easily the most stunning out of their year with her wavy dark blond hair and intense jade eyes. It was because of that that there were always blokes vying for her attentions despite which House they belonged to. But it had been due to their friendship, that many had thought when he and Pansy ended their relationship during Fourth year, that it would be a matter of time before he and Daphne began dating exclusively (seeing as that was when she began to blossom into the young woman she was now) which lead to quite a bit of tension to form between their group. Blaise had stopped talking to him altogether while Pansy had glared daggers every time Daphne was near him. It took quite a bit of effort on both his and Daphne’s parts before Draco had merely given up and informed Blaise that he could come speak with him after he was done acting like some kid who’d just had his broom knicked. Two days and a peck on the cheek from Daphne later, Blaise and he were on speaking terms once more. Though he had made it a point to ask Draco why it was that there was no truth to the rumor to which the blond simply replied: “I’ve known Daphne too long to want her like that. Besides, Slytherin as I am, I’m not low enough to go for the girl my best mate has obviously taken a fancy to.

The memories brought a crooked grin onto Draco’s face as he leaned back on the couch, though it was obvious that he had missed quite a bit of Theo’s story. When he ultimately brought his attention back, he saw that nearly all of the parties involved were enraptured by his tale, each clinging to every word he uttered.

“—so I was there, suspended in nothing for Merlin knows how long and I kept hearing voices. Sometimes it had something or other to do with school and other times it was a completely different, but always the same person.”

“Who did you hear?” Pansy asked.

Theo shrugged, ignoring the way Daphne scowled at him for disturbing her light slumber. “I dunno, but he was always talking about one Dark artifact or another. There were other voices too, but he was always there when they spoke.”

This caught Draco’s attention.

“Anyway, I managed to get out by Apparating despite not ever passing my test from last year. Nearly died too if it hadn’t been for the fact that I landed on the ottoman in my mother’s den while she had been entertaining guests and quickly rushed me to St. Mungo’s. Gave her a good fright, I did.”

There were murmurs of agreement among them but Draco paid them no attention, his own mind was busy whirring with possibilities to what Theo had just discovered unknowingly.

Perhaps there was a way for him to save his mother and the Malfoy name after all…

***

Several hours had passed since Theo’s tale and by the time that Draco and Blaise had left the Slytherin common room it was well past curfew. The corridors were provided meager light at such a late hour, the low flames from the torches flickered wildly despite the fact that there was no wind, causing the two boys’ shadows to grow distorted on the stone walls. Silence bore between the two as they went, the sounds of their steps resonating against the stone walls as they walked towards their destination.

“Why is that you came with me, Blaise?” Draco finally asked as they took a hidden passage up to the seventh floor. He needed to get to the Room of Requirement due to the conversation that they’d had with Nott earlier in the evening. His mind was buzzing with ideas now, ideas that could not be delayed; and try as he might, Draco cared too much for his best friend to include him in his plan.

“Is it really so bad to just be able to walk with my best mate?” Blaise asked as he smirked. When Draco cast him a dry look he sobered immediately, his dark eyes roving about the cramped passage as they pressed forward in the dark tunnel. “I’m just worried for you is all. We never got to discuss what happened when you left a few days ago.”

Draco waved him off as they climbed a narrow set of stairs that lead to the back of a portrait of Wendelin the Weird burning at the stake that sat nestled in the seventh floor corridor. It was a mere few yards away from the tapestry which hid the Room of Requirement and was down the corridor from the Head’s Tower.

“It’s nothing of importance right now Blaise, so don’t worry about—” he trailed off slightly as they passed the frame and stepped into the corridor. Gray eyes were glued to green and blue before they narrowed critically.

Potter and Weasley stood before them, their expressions wary as the four boys regarded each other with cool eyes. They circled each other like packs of wolves did when regarding a new addition to their ranks, though here neither of the two on opposing sides looked like they wanted to join forces.

“What exactly are you doing out and about, Potty? Isn’t this past you and Weaselbee’s bedtime?” Blaise drawled; his dark eyes intense in the low light provided by the flames.

“We can ask you the same thing, Zabini. You’re not a Prefect to be roaming about the castle at this time of night.” Potter replied, his eyes hard as he watched them appraisingly behind round frames.

“In case you haven’t noticed, Potty. Blaise is with me, and as Head Boy I have every right to be out and about the castle as late as I wish. You and Weasley, on the other hand, do not.”

“Yeah, well we know you’d go around abusing whatever power given to you. It’s only expected from a Malfoy.” Weasley sneered.

Draco’s eyes narrowed dangerously at his words. “You know nothing of what it takes to be a Malfoy, Weasley, so I’d suggest you mind your tongue before I mind it for you.”

“What is there to know?” Weasley scowled, “We all know that all it takes is to be a pureblood by your standards, land in Slytherin, dabble in Dark Arts, and lick You-Know-Who’s boots for a living to get by.”

In an instant all four boys’ wands were out and each aimed at one of the opposing side. Draco’s wand was pointed directly over Weasley’s chest as he fought the urge to make his heart stop beating altogether.

Filthy blood-traitor, he knew nothing of what it was to be a Malfoy, knew nothing of the tribulations those who were expected to serve the Dark Lord were required to face. Though it was his father who had first merged into the first wave of supporters the Dark Lord drew, all of the events that had occurred within the span of a few short months since his return were quick to show the Malfoy patriarch that all that glitters was indeed not gold. His father had bitten off more than he could chew, and now Draco, as his heir, was given the chance to not only redeem his family before the Dark Lord, but to also serve as his father’s punishment for his failure.

“You know, I really can’t stand a couple of tossers like yourselves. You talk big but know nothing. You say that we are the ones with prejudices, well look in the mirror, Weasley, because you and everyone in this bloody school are the same with us. We never claimed to be good and you exploit that fact, exploit knowing that we’ll do whatever it takes, use whoever it takes, for us to reach our goals. And while that may be true, you know nothing of the kind of world we live in. You know nothing of the trials that we face.” Blaise snapped before Draco could reply.

“Wow Malfoy, going to have Zabini defend you?” goaded Weasley, his wand aloft with the other three.

“Draco is perfectly able to handle himself; it’s you imbeciles that have gotten under my skin.” Blaise practically snarled before he launched the first spell.

Impedimenta!” he shouted.

Beams of light and bursts of magical energy ricocheted from the stone walls as the four wizards dueled, leaving scorch marks and making the stone crumble in some places. They dove behind alcoves, spells flying everywhere as they continued to fire.

Petrificus Totalus!” yelled Potter from his own hiding spot.

The pillar in which Draco had been hiding behind cracked beneath the pressure of the spell as it rebounded. The blond peered from behind the stone pillar as he launched a stinging hex at Weasley’s head that missedby millimeters. A thunderous bang was heard and he dove from the pillar and skidded along the corridor when Potter’s blasting spell collided with the stone. From the clouds of dust, Draco could barely make out Blaise’s silhouette and watched as a bright blue light erupted from the tip of his wand and sent Weasley flying back several meters before he collided with the wall.

Blaise opened his mouth to release another nasty hex when a cry was heard and suddenly a thick stone wall erupted from the floor and stood between the two pairs.

Four pairs of eyes immediately befell a winded Granger as she looked back at them with a combined look of worry, anger, and fierce disapproval. Her own wand was pointed at the stone wall she had conjured before she bit out, “Put your wands away, now.”

When none of the four boys complied she waved her wand yet again and conjured her birds, but instead of the normal canaries that they had learned in Charms, several falcons came out. They soared through the air in graceful arcs, their sharp yellow eyes looking down on them fiercely as they circled above.

“I’ll say this once more, put your wands away now.” The underlying threat was clear and as Draco lowered his wand resentfully, the stone wall came down some before it joined the stone floor once more. He took note of how Weasley suddenly cast wary glances at the birds that flew overhead while Potter bent down and hauled him to his feet.

The hall was full of tension as the boys glared at each other angrily; each of them looked like they wanted nothing more than to continue their previous match. Or rip each other’s heads off.

“I don’t know what happened between the four of you, but there is absolutely no reason for you to act like this. Ron, Harry, and Malfoy; the three of you could have your titles revoked if it had been one of the members of the faculty to find you!”

“I believe that you are quite right in that assessment Miss Granger.” rang a new voice; deep and gravely but its tone light despite the weary blue eyes hidden behind half-moon spectacles that showed faint hints of disappointment in their depths.

Professor Dumbledore!” she cried as her eyes grew wide when she caught sight of the Headmaster himself standing several feet behind her.

Potter and Weasley both shared brief looks of guilt at seeing the old man. “Sir, I can explain—” the former began, but was promptly silenced by a wave of Dumbledore’s blackened hand.

“There is no need for explanation. Miss Granger, I applaud your successful efforts taken to stop this fight between Messrs Potter, Weasley, Malfoy, and Zabini. I credit fifteen points to Gryffindor. I give you free passage to return to your dormitory for the rest of the night as I’m sure that one of the Prefects can take your place on the roster for patrols tonight.”

Granger looked from the Headmaster to Potter and Weasley for a moment, unsure of his words. Her gaze was beseeching as she silently pleaded to them to not kick up more of a fuss than there already was and to just take whatever hand was dealt them. After that quick second she nodded and promptly walked off to the Head’s dormitories. It wasn’t until her soft footsteps disappeared altogether did Dumbledore turn to address them. Draco watched her go resentfully. He knew that any chances he had at looking for the Vanishing Cabinet in the Room of Requirement was gone because of the fight. With a dark scowl on his face and his hands shoved into his pockets and turned his icy gaze upon the Headmaster.

“I am deeply disappointed in your actions today. I had hoped, that during this time where unity is everything, that you might put aside the prejudices between your Houses and try to set an example for the younger years. Thirty points from both Gryffindor and Slytherin each. And you are to serve detention with me at the end of the month, all individually. I will send word to you when I have selected a time. Now, before you return to bed, I believe that we should restore our corridor."

***

He entered the common room silently; Draco moved past Granger as he flopped down on the couch and ran his hands through his disheveled hair. When he looked back up he saw Granger standing before him with her lips pursed in irritation.

“What?” he bit out.

“Don’t ‘What?’ me. You know perfectly well what the problem is. Of all the times and places for you to start a fight it just had to be after curfew and in the middle of a corridor!”

“Spare me Granger, we both know that had it been just Potter and Weasley dueling against other people you would’ve gone easy on them.” interrupted Draco as he stood up to his full height, gazing down at the witch before him. “You care too much to dare try.”

“My friendship with them has nothing to do with my responsibilities.” She bit back sharply.

“We both know that’s a lie.” He replied coolly.

That seemed to do the trick as she suddenly pressed her lips together tightly. They didn’t speak in their irritation; both merely stood there glaring at each other for several moments, neither willing to budge. After a few minutes of endless glaring, Draco turned away with a scoff as he removed his cloak and placed it over a chair before turning towards his dormitory and made his way to his room. All he wanted was to get away from her, to lock himself up in his room and come up with a hundred different ways to go about the new piece of information that he had acquired today.

“They’re my friends, my family. I love them with everything I have, and I don’t ever let anyone I love get hurt, no matter how little or how much it may be. I’ll protect them with everything I have.” As he walked forward, he took pause at Granger’s voice that softly rang out, far quieter than any other time he’d ever heard her and creating a great contrast from the shrill tones that she had emitted a mere handful of minutes ago.

He said nothing as he climbed the stairs, her words echoing in his mind as he stripped off his shirt and pants before settling himself in bed. His mind was heavy with all of the day’s occurrences, from the fly around the pitch in the morning to the duel he and Blaise had gotten into not too long ago. But it was only in his solitude that Draco allowed himself to be pulled under by the torment of thoughts that had been plaguing him the entire day.

…I don’t ever let anyone I love get hurt… I’ll protect them with everything I have.

“You’re not the only one, Granger.” He muttered as he closed his eyes and surrendered himself to the looming darkness that seemed to constantly be at his heels. Dreams of cabinets, family, and sinister shadows entered his mind.




So there we go.  Boys will be boys, I'm afraid. *Sighs*

Oh, well, they're going to get whipped into shape real soon. >:D

xx LCF


Chapter 7: Crawling
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A/N: Oh my goodness. How long has it been since an update? Five months? Six? Regardless, I'm sooooo sorry for the long wait. Things have been hectic with a busy season at work, having to deal with my son (who's official hit his Terrible Two's *wince*), and just other obstacles that had prevented me from even considering writing anything. But alas, here I am; sadly overdue for this chapter. But the good thing is, since the final movie is jus around the corner; I have official submerged myself completely back into this story. Anyway, let's get onto your chapter yes?

Also; before we dive into this chapter. Thanks so so so much to all of those who reviewed! I try my best to reply to each and every one of them as quick as I can but sometimes can't. Nevertheless, I can't tell you enough how happy I get when I read a new one for the first time.

xx LCF




Draco dreamed he was on one of the many balconies that lined the Malfoy châteaux in France.

The warm sea breeze drifted over him gently, engulfing him in a salty caress that instantly calmed his frazzled nerves. He took a deep breath through his nose and exhaled from his mouth slowly. The linens that lined the French doors which lead into his private chambers behind him flowed leisurely in the summer air. Pale eyes closed in the rare moment of serenity that overcame him. How long had it been since he had been able to enjoy such simple pleasantries? One year, was it two? It was impossible to distinguish the amount of time that had truly taken place, but Draco found that it wasn’t much of a loss. He was done dwelling over his past, at least for now, and wanted nothing more than to enjoy this serene silence as his eyes swept over the seafront.

Waves crashed onto the jagged cliff upon which the châteaux had been built. Particularly strong incantations and the clever use of magic were the only things that kept the white manor from toppling into the roaring sea below.

The sky grew overcast, and the sea below began to churn violently; waves crashing against the edge of the cliff in a manner that sent unpleasant chills racing down Draco’s spine. It was only a second ago that a gentle wind had played with the strands of his silky hair, and now currents and gales whipped around him with a ferocious speed. The wind whistled in his ears and the French doors behind him snapped shut abruptly.

“You know I never quite imagined you to be the type to enjoy peace and quiet,” came a voice from nowhere.

Draco tensed, his hand subconsciously reaching for a wand that was not there. He whirled around, ready to face whoever was speaking, and found nothing except the sea.

“I always thought you a vain, greedy, selfish little boy. Not someone who was willing to risk everything for someone other than himself. Tell me, what was it that made you accept that quest? What made you take on a task you knew you could not complete?” the voice came again.

“Who are you?” Draco snapped, his eyes narrowed as he watched his surroundings closely. There were no signs of his intruder.

The voice let out a cold laugh at his antics. “You think you can see me? You think that with those pathetic eyes of yours, that you’d be able to track me? You are a weakling, a hatchling trying to prove itself a hawk.”

“You dare—” Draco began but was promptly cut off.

“Yes, I dare. You are not ready Draco Malfoy. Not for this task, not for me, and certainly not for what I’ve got in store for you. But the time will come when you’ll become whole and the legacy of your family will awaken. Until then, I will watch and I will wait. And when the time comes for my debut, you’d best be ready.”

A sudden force hit Draco sharply on his side, pain exploding along his ribcage as he toppled over the railing and fell to the churning sea below.

As Draco plummeted to the ground at breakneck speeds, he caught a glimpse of a shadowed silhouette that was now leaning over the stone railing. In that moment, the clouds parted and a golden beam of light flooded him, chasing away the shadows that hid his identity.

The only thing Draco was able to discern, were the entirely blacked-out eyes and the cruel smirk that tilted the figure’s lips. He crashed into the water then, and was immediately slammed into one of the many jagged stones that jutted from the surface before blacking out completely.

***

Draco’s eyes flew open in the next instant; and he found himself face down on the stone floor back in his room at Hogwarts. He gasped for breath, a light sheen of sweat coating his skin as he shook from the cold. His legs were tangled in the sheets he had dragged onto the floor and his hair fell over his face, damp with cold sweat.

A pained grunt escaped his lips when he tried to right himself and it took several failed attempts to finally make him remain still on the floor. He looked desperately around for his wand, but failed to remember having placed it within his robes’ pocket that was currently in the common room. Gritting his teeth, Draco braced his arms onto the stone floor once more and managed to lift himself half an inch before succumbing to the pain that shot up his right side. His hand lashed out and grabbed the first thing it could hold on to, the oil lamp at his bedside, before he lost his balance and brought the crystal down and unintentionally shattering it in his hand.

Pieces of broken glass bit into his palm that quickly grew slick with blood. After another second of attempting to lift himself with one arm, Draco merely allowed himself to remain motionless on the floor. He took labored breaths, his heart pounding heavily against his chest.

He wasn’t sure how long he had been on the ground when he heard muffled steps coming up his staircase, but he suddenly felt a surge of desperateness begin to fill him.

Merlin let it be Blaise. Please; or Pansy. Anyone is fine really; just don’t let it be her. Don’t let it be bloody Grang—

Draco groaned in annoyance when he caught sight of Granger’s bushy head peering in through the door.

“Malfoy are you alright? I thought I heard glass breaking.” She said as she kept near the doorframe. She had yet to peer inside and Draco was determined to make her leave before she thought about coming in. It was only too bad that she had already made up her mind.

Swinging his door open, she was just about to ask him once again what had happened when she froze in her steps at the sight of him.

“Oh, Merlin! Malfoy are you okay?” she said as she rushed over to him. Draco swatted her hands away from him as she reached to help him up, a sneer plastered on his cool features.

“I’m fine. I wasn’t asking for your help was I, Mudblood?”

Granger looked taken aback for just a brief second before her eyes zeroed in on his bleeding hand and hardened in determination.

“You may not have asked for help Malfoy, but it sure does look like you need it.” She replied waspishly.

Without giving him a chance to argue, Granger immediately placed an arm over her shoulders and hauled him up. Draco shouted in pain as raw agony filled his side. He had no idea what was going on, but he was quite sure that there should be no reason for his side to be in pain. He hadn’t done anything remotely active in weeks and yet it felt as if a dozen bludgers had decided to use his ribcage for target practice. Granger let out a gasp before quickly letting go of him, making sure to let him land on his bare bed.

“Dear Merlin Malfoy, what happened to you?” She asked.

”What the devil are you talking about?” Draco snapped as he took in harsh breaths. Sweat was beginning to bead along his brow and the room was starting to feel increasingly cold.

He didn’t expect to for Granger to touch him again, much less have her slim fingers run down the side of his ribcage where his night shirt had opened. Gray eyes looked to her sharply, a scathing remark ready on the tip of his tongue when he caught sight of what she was talking about. Along his ribcage were a series of blooming purple bruises. Blond brows furrowed in confusion. What had happened?

“Come on Malfoy; let’s get your hand cleaned up.” Granger muttered as she summoned a small basin from the bathroom and filled it with water. Draco snatched his hand away before she could take it.

“Malfoy,” Granger began wearily.

“I’m not going to have you take my hand and put it in some unknown liquid.”

“It’s water and I’m trying to help you, in case you haven’t realized.” She snapped.

“And I already told you that I didn’t need it!” He fired back. “Now get the bloody hell out of my room.”

Granger stood abruptly, her lips pursed into a thin line. “Fine, if that’s the way you want it.”

She slammed the basin onto his nightstand and threw the rag she had summoned to his face. Without another word she turned around and walked out of his room, muttering beneath her breath as she did so. The door slammed behind her quite loudly.

Draco merely glared at her exit for a few seconds before letting out a tired sigh. He caught sight of the rag on his lap and after a moment picked it up cautiously. He cast the basin a brief look before taking another glimpse of his bloody hand. With a dejected sigh, he reached over with his good arm and soaked up the cloth before bringing it over his cuts and started cleaning them. He winced as he washed over a knick and grew impatient when he noticed that there were tiny shards of glass still embedded in his palm. The pieces were so small that he had to squint to get a good look at them and realized that it would be nearly impossible to get them out without his wand on hand. He’d have to get someone to help pull them out.

He bloody hated it when Granger was right.

***

The next morning met Draco with an overcast sky as he slowly padded down the stairs towards the small kitchenette within the Head’s Tower. The thick drapes had been pulled back from the stained-glass windows in the common room and allowed the silvery-white light of day to stream in. It happened to be half-past ten when he peered up at the grandfather clock nestled in the nook to his right and he was unsurprised to find Granger dressed for the day in Muggle attire, her nose buried in an ancient book. For a brief moment, brown eyes appeared over the top of her tome at the sound of his approach before returning to her page.

Draco walked past without a single passing glance.

He entered the kitchenette intent on finding something to eat, when he stopped short as he took note of a steaming cup of tea sitting atop the wooden counter. Draco walked towards it, the smell of cinnamon wafted up to his nose and he took a deep breath. After a moment he gingerly wrapped his good hand around the cup, allowing the warmth of the tea to seep through the ceramic of the cup and into his cold skin. The fact was not lost on him that there was only one possible person who could have made this.

“A peace offering.” rang a voice from the doorway.

Draco turned to see Granger leaning against the frame; her arms crossed over her chest as she held onto her book. Her normally wild hair was pulled back by a plait and the usual distrustful look was gone from her features. She appeared almost, normal without that constant furrow in her brow when she approached him.

Draco said nothing as he arched a blond brow. After his actions from the night before, he had been looking forward to a few days of her silence, thought it didn’t seem to be the case this time.

Granger sighed before she stood up straight and walked towards him, placing an empty teacup in the sink provided to them. She turned to him, her eyes guarded before she tore her gaze from his and instead focused on the wooden countertop where his hand sat.

It was a long moment before either of them said anything. Fortunately, Granger’s idle tone cut through the palpable tension that hung thickly in the air.

“I know that we have our differences, I know that we most likely won’t ever get over them; but I do think that enough is enough.”

Her gaze settled on his poorly-wrapped hand as she continued. “I know you’re competent, Dumbledore wouldn’t have appointed you as Head Boy if you weren’t. And I also know that he had faith that we could put our differences aside for the sake of getting our duties done. I’m not asking to be friends, I don’t want to be friends, but I do want to do my very best at being Head Girl, and I won’t be able to do it by myself as much as I would like to.”

She paused momentarily as her gaze meet his before looking away briefly, as if she were hesitant to get the next words out. After a fleeting moment though, it seemed she had gathered her courage and pressed on.

“You heard us, didn’t you? During the trip to Hogsmeade? You saw the row that Ron and I had and it’s probably the reason why he stormed off in the end.” Granger gave a wry chuckle that was every ounce as bittersweet as it sounded.

“He and I are alike in that way. We both don’t like being seen vulnerable, especially if it’s in front of someone like you, someone who’s tormented us for so many years. When I saw you, I steeled myself, ready for the bombardment of insults I was so sure would come. I mean honestly, you caught us right after a fight we’d had, seen just how unstable we can be. How could you not take advantage of that? It’s how you are, how you’ve always been. But no insults came, you didn’t even speak. You just continued on your way until I’d asked you if you’d seen any of it, even though I knew the answer to that. But you surprised me when you chose to act like you hadn’t seen a thing instead of mocking me like I had expected.”

She paused for a moment, her brown eyes landing on his hand and where the bruises were. “And then there was last night, where I walked in on you during your time of vulnerability. Despite your horrid behavior, I couldn’t help but wonder briefly if it was just a front to keep yourself from looking weak in front of me.”

Another bout of silence followed and Draco began to feel apprehensive. He did not feel quite comfortable with someone of her intellect prying into his actions and taking observations. There were things that she should stay out of, even if they were also things he knew nothing about. Before he could go too far into his thoughts, she began speaking once more; her voice far quieter than he’d ever heard within her presence.

“I know there’s some part of you that’s at least compassionate Malfoy, despite that intense dislike that is a mutual feeling between us… So that’s why I’m here. If we can put aside everything, save for our status as students, we’ll be able to work properly together. I don’t want anything else, just your cooperation.”

Draco stood there for several moments; his thoughts filled his mind to the brim. His Head duties really didn’t matter that much to him, but he knew that he’d have to keep up this façade in order to keep his cover. Also, there were some privileges granted by being Head Boy, advantages he wanted to keep. Like being able to roam about the halls after hours and having access to the restricted section of the library some among many. Not to mention if he’d show Dumbledore that he’d be willing to put aside his differences with Granger if only for the sake of their schoolwork, then there was a high chance that he would grow to be trustworthy in the Headmaster’s eyes and that meant he was one step closer to completing the Dark Lord’s task and keeping his mother safe while simultaneously redeeming the family name.

With his mind made up, gray eyes locked with brown before he raised the steaming cup of tea to his lips and allowed the spiced drink to coat his tongue. Granger took it as his intended answer, and with flick of her wand, had his cut hand wrapped in fresh bandages before she left Draco to his own devices. He could not help the smirk that made its way onto his features as he slightly flexed his newly bound hand.

***

The Lemon Drops’ glossy sugar coat glowed slightly in the light of the sun that streamed into the Headmaster’s office. On any other day, on any other occasion, he would have picked one up and plucked it in his mouth; but today was not one of those days, and it certainly wasn’t any occasion to cause him to want any of the tart confections. Draco scowled at the bowl before him.

Draco sat rigidly; his back perfectly straight and hands set on the armrests of the high-back chair he had been asked to sit in. Professor Dumbledore sat before him, silver beard glowing white in the light of the sun as his bespectacled eyes roved over a piece of parchment on his desk. Long, pale fingers drummed impatiently against the fabric of his seat as Draco grew more irritated with each passing second. He’d rather get all of this nonsense over with instead of tip-toeing around business and prolonging the inevitable punishment that was sure to come.

Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, Dumbledore met Draco’s sharp gaze. “Mr. Malfoy, I hope things have been well since our last run-in.” he inquired. “I see that you’ve done something to injure your hand. I do hope that it isn’t because of a repeat performance from two weeks ago.”

Draco fought down the irritating urge to snap at the older man as he replied, “It was only a small accident that happened in Potions. I didn’t think it was something worth bothering Madame Pomfrey.”

“I see,” Dumbledore replied. “Nevertheless, make sure to take more care next time Mr. Malfoy.”

“Yes Headmaster.”

Draco merely stared at him stonily. It had been two weeks since the impromptu duel he and Blaise had participated in and ones that were spent wasted in his eyes. He’d have much better preferred if Dumbledore had dealt their punishment on the spot, not subject them to this game that made them feel as if every minute action they did was being subjected to his scrutiny at any given hour of the day. Because of this he had been unable to plan or locate the other vanishing cabinet during the span of those two weeks.

It had been more for precaution’s sake than actual nervousness that had caused him to delay the start of his plan. Draco knew, and was correct in his assessment, that after the fight Granger had split-up, Dumbledore would keep an annoyingly close eye on him, Blaise, Potter, and Weasley. So he had done all he could do and went about his business as normal with the exception of his slight gain in interest for his position as Head. Something then caught his attention, and Draco couldn’t help but take a look at the Headmaster as he began to speak.

“There was a time, long ago, that I would have stripped any student of their position as Head for such a lack of moral aptitude. I had hoped that with this responsibility granted upon you, that you would learn to look past petty grudges with your year mates and grow into the young man I know you keep hidden somewhere.”

Draco couldn’t hide the shock that spread across his features at the words of the old man. He had expected, if anything, to be chastised and quite possibly be stripped of his title and serve a few weeks of detention at the very least. But instead here he was, with Dumbledore not looking at him in anger, but in mere disappointment, as if the older man truly had expected better of him. The thought puzzled Draco immensely.

“As such, in order to keep your title, I expect to see your name on the roster for the Senior Dueling Club and the list for voluntary tutors, along with a daily note of how you are advancing with Miss Granger for preparations regarding the Halloween festivities you have yet to inform me of. Involvement in school activities aside from the House teams seems like a necessary evil for you, Mr. Malfoy.”

“You can’t possibly serious.” Draco muttered while looking thoroughly put out at the news. How was he possibly going to find a way to save his mother when all Dumbledore was doing was placing more obstacles in his way?

“On the contrary Mr. Malfoy you will see that I am completely serious about this.”

Bloody fantastic, he thought sourly.

“That will be all for now, you’re free to go.” Draco stood hastily at his words and made his way over to the door in quick strides, his cloak billowing behind him in a flourish. “Do keep in mind however, that I expect the first note of progression on my desk tonight before curfew and I shall be sure to ask for your company once more in the near future.”

The Malfoy heir made no move aside from a sharp jerk of his head which may or may not have been a show of his assent before he quickly exited the office.

Once the door closed behind him with an audible click, Dumbledore removed his half-moon spectacles from their perch on his nose and rubbed his eyes wearily and looked to his blackened hand.

Time was starting to grow short.

***

“Just add an assortment of sweets at the House tables for dinner.”

“No.”

“Why not?”

“Because Dumbledore said this was to be a social event.”

“Dinner is considered a social event, Granger.”

“You very well know that that’s not what he meant by it!” she snapped.

Draco didn’t bother to hide the way he rolled his eyes at her, or the disgruntled scowl that had successfully made its way onto his face. He leaned forward slightly in his seat on a plush armchair, his elbows propped on his knees as his good hand ran through his hair in exasperation. Trying to get along with Granger enough to complete their blasted assignment was proving to be much harder than he expected. Then again, he hadn’t been expecting very much in the first place.

He peered at her through the corner of his eye, his sight marred by the silvery strands of hair that had the annoying habit of falling in front of his face when he failed to slick it back or comb it. Beyond his pale strands of hair sat Granger in the armchair across from him with a scowl on her face as she looked at him like he was some simpleton.

Draco rolled his eyes once more, a small—childish, part of him gleeful when he saw her scowl deepen. “Don’t look at me like that Granger, or you’ll end up looking like a hag by the time you hit twenty.”

“How about instead of worrying over any premature wrinkles I may get in the future, why don’t you actually try and bring forth an idea worth entertaining!” She snapped shrilly.

“How about you giving it a try, as you’re clearly not happy with any suggestions I make.” He drawled smoothly as he leaned back in his seat and closed his eyes.

They had been at this for the past hour or so. Most of it was spent fighting, of course, but only because she came up with the most abysmal ideas and apparently his weren’t social enough for her tastes.

As if she knew how to be. Her entire self practically revolves around those bloody morons.

“Fine, how about a ball?” she offered, already scribbling away at the parchment that sat before her.

No.” he replied stonily.

This made Granger look up in slight confusion. “Why not? Everyone’s wanted to have another dance since the Yule Ball in Fourth year. It’d be a perfect excuse.”

“It’s too overplayed. Balls are always going to be the go-to activity around here, why not think of something a little more creative?  Besides, it’ll be horrible once all of the female populace in the castle begin their insane pre-ball rituals.”

Granger mercifully lapsed into a contemplative silence for several moments, and if Draco concentrated hard enough, he was sure he could see the wheels in her head turning. Draco leaned into his chair a little further, willing the headache that he had started to develop to go away. After a few more moments of silent bliss, a soft gasp rang out in the quiet and Granger’s voice filled the air once again.

“I’ve got it. I know what we can do for Halloween.”

Draco opened one gray eye towards her, his gaze prompting. Granger looked to him then, her eyes holding nothing but delight at the thoughts that were swarming in her head.

“Let’s have a carnival.”

***

It was late into the night when Draco slipped out of the common room. His hair was ill-kept and the Dark Mark was acting up once more. He tugged his left sleeve down self-consciously for the umpteenth time within ten minutes.

He walked through the shadowed corridors quickly, making sure to take light steps so as not to draw any attention to himself and keeping to the shadows. Gray eyes peered around corners to make sure that Mrs. Norris was nowhere to be seen and he found himself using spells frequently to make sure that he was, indeed, alone in the dark. It was just past one in the morning, and patrols had been completed an hour ago. If a teacher caught him out of bed right now, there would be little for him to say to cover himself no matter the fact that he was allowed to roam about after curfew. He was supposed to be setting an example.

As he peered around the corner to ensure his solitude, Draco quickly turned the corner and came to a halt before the unicorn tapestry that now covered what he knew to be the entrance to the Room of Requirement.

He passed it once, twice, thrice; all while chanting within his head: I need to find the cabinet where Theo got lost in. I must find the other vanishing cabinet.

Finally, after what seemed like ages of pacing back and forth, the tapestry gave way as two gilded doors appeared before him. Draco walked towards them tentatively, his hand reaching out to take hold of the handles. Taking one deep breath, he pushed the doors open and stepped inside.

He wasn’t sure what he expected when he walked into the Room of Requirement, but it certainly wasn’t for it to be clustered. Random items and books were stacked in towers that surrounded him, the room filled with different sounds and scents to which he had never experienced before. In the back of his mind, he subconsciously wished them to go away. Just as the thought formed in his mind, a current of magic washed over him and the sounds and scents fell away in an instant; leaving him to stand alone in a dark room with nothing but the sound of his breath.

Draco maneuvered the room easily, stepping over fallen brooms and littered papers. His robes got caught in several knick-knacks enough times for him to grow impatient before he finally removed it and placed it on a coat rack.

It was when he caught sight of the shadow that he paused in his step.

It stood on the far left of the room, before a Persian rug that was oddly devoid of any artifacts saved for the runes that had been burned onto it. Déjà vu washed over him as he recalled the same way the other cabinet had caught his attention at Borgin and Burkes over a fortnight ago. Hastily, Draco made his way over to it, his heart pounding in his chest at the thought of it being what he both knew and dreaded it to be.

It was only an arm’s reach away now and a pale hand slowly reached towards the dark cloth that covered its existence. With one swift tug, he removed the tarp; his mind uncharacteristically blank as it fell away to remove a proud cabinet just as ornate and intricate as the one that resided within Borgin and Burkes.

Gray eyes looked up and down the craftsmanship before taking note of the Latin carved into it. He furrowed his brow slightly; the other cabinet did not have any carvings like these that he could recall. If there had been any, they certainly didn’t grasp his attention like these did. Something about the carvings called out to him, and without hesitance Draco used the tips of his fingers to feel the etching on the surface of the wood. It was the only distinction between this one and its twin, and yet he felt they were still one in the same as the heavy thrum of magic swirled within.

Harmonia Nectere Passus.

This was it. It was with this cabinet that he would be able to bring his plan to fruition. It would be with this cabinet and its twin that he would bring about the demise of Albus Dumbledore and regain honor to the Malfoy name once more.

This was the key to his success.




A/N: And there it is, hopefully it lived up to the wait. Sorry again you guys for the long wait. I'll be sure to keep writing as I go along. If you're ever curious about how far I am concerned wih a chapter from any of my fics; please feel free to drop by my author's page as I'll have chapter stats on my About Me section.

Thanks again every one and I'll see you soon!

xx L


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