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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

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