The Wedding Dress
He paced the sidewalks of Diagon Alley without purpose, strolling with his hands in his pockets and the look of someone who was almost a bit too sure of themselves. Vincent Crabbe toddled behind him, pointing at something in a shop window and laughing about it to his friend Goyle.
The three of them had been out of Hogwarts for going on three years and Draco was rather glad. School hadn’t quite been for him, as he had repeatedly told his father. It was not that he believed he lacked diligence and discipline, no. Rather it was the environment of countless ninnies, giddy and over-excited Mudbloods, and love-struck girls that had given him most of his distaste for a primary magical education.
It wasn’t that he hadn’t enjoyed the attention. It suited him justly. But Hogwarts had been small-time, elementary, and completely juvenile. Thankfully he had given up Transfiguration and hippogriffs years ago and now had much more time to freely devote himself to arts more finely geared towards his taste.
He did the minor little things his father had asked of him but had not yet been asked to join, and by joining, he did of course mean the circle of Death Eaters his father ran with. It had bothered him a great deal and he still brought it up at meal times when his father seemed the most lax and least likely to fly into a bout of rage.
He had had heard all of the excuses. He wasn’t ready, wasn’t needed at the time, wasn’t being called for, and all the rest. Deep down, he knew it held something of his father’s desires to keep him down, to keep him the second-best in the family. It irked him to no degree the lengths his father went to suppress any ascent to recognition or power he might gain.
What he didn’t realize was that his father really was somewhat ashamed of him, because after all, having a delicate son with a lot of seeming potential who ranked nowhere near half the Mudbloods in his class was not something to shout from the rooftops. There would be a time and a place to bring his son into his world, but it would not be soon.
Lucius Malfoy had begun to allow his son to grow up to an extent by arranging a rather late marriage with a small, peaky-looking girl named Drusilla Mortensen who would graduate later that summer. Draco wasn’t exactly pleased with the match, but was handling it rather from his father’s viewpoint.
Draco had only seen a picture of the girl and it was fine with him. Marriage was, after all, just a slight hindrance to usual activities, and fidelity was something to be maintained to the outside world, but not something to strictly abide by.
“Draco! Look here at this!” one of the pair shouted out of the blue.
With a deft and casual roll of his eyes, he turned around to stare at them with an expression of the utmost boredom.
They stood outside of the Weasley’s shop, gawking at some sort of contraption.
“What about it?” he sneered.
The two of them continued to stare at it through the glass and Draco scoffed at their behavior. If his father had ever thought he didn’t hold enough pride for his status, clearly he had never met his friends. He pulled his hands from his pockets and continued walking down the street, this time without his moronic entourage.
He paused for a moment outside of Madame Giselle’s dress shop. There standing in front of the window was an angel. She was clad in a sparkling white dress covered in all kinds of lace. Long white gloves trailed up her arms, and a beautiful jeweled veil crowned her head. Though her back was turned, Draco could sense that she was in fact a striking young-woman.
It was an unusual appreciation for Draco, the admiration of beauty. It was easy to appreciate the finer points of the female sex, but to acknowledge fully-clothed, pure beauty was a strange affliction. He had watched his father coo his mother before handsome dinner parties, and he himself had done the same for Pansy Parkinson on a few occasions, but both Malfoy men knew they were empty compliments.
He wasn’t aware of how long he stood staring at the Madonna-figure in the window, but it seemed like it wasn’t long enough. She was adjusting the veil on top of her head and a woman came and latched a slight necklace about her neck, and though he couldn’t see her face, he could feel her beaming.
It was perhaps, though he wasn’t fully aware, the thing he desired most: a darling little charm to call his own. Drusilla Mortensen, thought not ugly, was nothing compared to the unadulterated beacon in the dress shop. He stuck his hands back in his pocket and scowled, thinking of how miserable one must become to achieve anything in the world. Arranged marriages, social ladder climbing, and brutal submission were all the stuff of misery and power. When he thought of the benefits, it was always worth it, but he didn’t care much for sickening reminders of things that must be sacrificed along the way.
He continued to watch her, pristine in her small environment, petting her dress and occasionally fluffing her veil as she looked into the mirror before her.
“Draco!” called the gruff voice of Crabbe.
He turned around, almost snarling at the pair who bounded up to him like a pair of stupid hounds, their pockets and arms full of goodies and products from the Weasley’s joke shop.
“Do either of you have no pride in what you are?” he sneered at them. “We’re not in school anymore anyway, and haven’t been for three years. What’re you planning on doing with all that?”
“We just thought it would be fun?” Goyle answered, rather confused.
Draco turned back to the girl standing in the shop. She had turned, and her face was visible just barely through the veil, but there was no mistaking who it was. It was Ginny Weasley, smiling in the same casual manner Draco remembered from several years ago at Hogwarts. His momentary thrill with untainted beauty was gone, and he was left with an exposed side of himself he would have never guessed was there.
“Come on, let’s go, and throw that garbage away!” he shouted, anger rising up in him.
His shout had caught her attention, and she turned and silently looked at him just as he turned his back and walked away. She watched him storm away, his head slightly down with Crabbe and Goyle lurching along behind him and frowned slightly. Malfoy was such a rat, no, a ferret, if the stories Harry and Ron had told her were true. She smiled at the thought and turned back to the mirror to readjust her veil for the thousandth time.
Draco Malfoy continued up the streets of Diagon Alley, alone in his company of followers and with a lot to ponder.
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