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Chapter 2: When Was The Last Time You Belonged?
"What in Merlin's name are you gawking at Granger?" Draco asked me, I had completely forgotten that my jaw was most likely agape, staring at the shining prefects badge upon his shirt.
"Your badge, your Head Boy?" I asked perplexed, how can anyone in their right minds elect Draco Malfoy, the boy who orchestrated an attack on Hogwarts from within as Head Boy?
"Well my name was on the letter. God, I thought you were intelligent Granger. Boy was I wrong." He sneered closing his eyes.
"What's that supposed to mean?" I hissed through my teeth.
"It means for someone smart you are a complete moron!" He observed.
"Why don't you go back to all your Death Eater pals, maybe they can keep you company seeing as though your friends have abandoned you." I hissed at him.
He stopped, his eyes opening.
"What did you just say Mudblood?" He hissed at me sitting up to face me.
"I said – Why don't you go back to your Death Eater pals, maybe they can keep you company seeing as though your friends have abandoned you?" I said to him with a smile.
His lip curled and his knuckled whitened as he grasped the seat.
"Don't you dare talk to me like that you filthy Mudblood." He spat.
"Don't call me that Draco. It's so old." I said calmly pulling a book from my bag.
"I'll call you whatever I damn well please!" He said, "At least I belong at Hogwarts unlike scum like you!"
"Draco. Do you really believe you belong after what you did last year?" I asked.
"What? I… I…" he stopped; he had nothing to respond with.
I saw something in his eyes, something I'd never seen before. Deep within his pale grey eyes I could swear I saw sadness, an emotion I could swear I could never picture one such as Draco ever experiencing. Although I knew it was human to feel emotion, Draco just seemed so unhuman after his actions last year, but it stirred a though within my mind, what if he never chose that fate for himself? What if he had it forced upon him as Harry had The Chosen One forced upon him? What if it wasn't choice that lead him to those deeds last year, what if it was fate – something he could not change? I knew all too well that sometimes fate could deal out an irreversible hand. I too at times had been dealt a fate that was not as I'd chosen. If I had my way I would be with Harry and Ron, but as fate would have it, it was not my place.
I turned my attention to A Guide To The Darkest of Arts - the textbook we were required to purchase for Defence Against The Dark Arts. I opened to the first chapter, shocked to find that instead of a guide against these dark types of magic, it was a guide on how to perform them. I flicked quickly through what was left of the book, shocked to find it followed the same line as the first chapter. They can't teach us this! I thought desperately half the spells were designed to harm others, the others as dark as Horcruxes. Who would have set such a terrible text book? I thought.
"I'm guessing you've guessed they have a new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher." Draco observed.
"Who is it?" I asked barely able to utter the words, a page in the text book too terrible to think of again.
"Amycus Carrow. He's a Death Eater. His sister Alecto, she's been given the post for Muggle Studies, which if you haven't noticed has been made compulsory." He paused before whispering in a low voice, "I fear for the safety of all students with them within the school."
My eyes widened.
"What?" I managed to say.
"They're dark people I wouldn't dare cross them." He said, emphasising the word 'dark.'
"You'd know…" I whispered, "What's with the Muggleborn Registry?" I asked.
"You're going to be in for a rough ride Granger." He said with a twisted smile.
I was frightened by his words, but I did my best now to show it. I could not show weakness in front of him. I hid the worry that filled my body away, too afraid to show it, if what Draco said was correct, and I had a nagging feeling in my mind that he spoke the truth – This year was going to be a whole lot worse than I'd imagined. The word dark for one, implied that these people that the new Headmaster had hired had performed terrible crimes, crimes only one such as Draco – a fellow Death Eater, and son of Death Eaters could possibly even know. What kind of people were they letting teach at the school, I knew Professor Dumbledore, no matter how desperate for staff would never have hired such people. He would have taught the subject himself rather than let a Death Eater into the school, let alone two. But then I remembered, he had let a Death Eater into our midst once before, Severus Snape. Dumbledore trusted him and he betrayed him.
I careful stowed the textbook away in my bag and withdrew the book Dumbledore had left to me. It was written entirely in Runes, and I suspected there was more to this gift than first meets the eye. It was an old text, perhaps even a first edition; the title The Tales of Beedle the Bard. It was a book of what appeared to be fairy-tales, wizarding fairy-tales, used to teach morals and values to younger children. Tales not unlike those I was told as a child. These stories make me realise that I really had grown up an entire world away from Ron. He would have been told these tales as a child, where I grew up with figures such as Little Red Ridding Hood and Cinderella. He grew up knowing about magic, I did not. Two worlds constantly intertwining without the knowledge of most muggles.
How could Draco claim I didn't belong because of my blood status, even he could not be entirely Pureblood. There would have to be a Half-blood in his direct line, why was it so important to some? Why was it all people like Draco seemed to care about? A sudden thought hit me like a ton of bricks – Who else would have the power to initiate such a thing as a Muggleborn Registry? It had to be the work of none other than Dolores Umbridge. Who in her time at Hogwarts ensured that breathing and studying were the only two things a student had permission to do. Harry still carried the scars from her torturous Detentions on his hand, the white scars of 'I will not tell lies' permanently etched into the back of his hand. I could remember her hatred for what she called 'dangerous half breeds' in other words, werewolves – Professor Lupin the major recipient of such commentary. She had little to no perception of the real world, werewolves despite her obvious belief were human beings also, some had no say in becoming a werewolf, others who could be considered as 'dangerous half breeds' force it upon others.
I remembered Bill scaring, the result of Fenrir Greyback's attack, how they seemed to vanish before our eyes at the wedding. They were the sort of people I saw as unhuman, how could I compare Draco to them? Was he really as terrible as they were? What am I doing? I thought to myself? Was I subconsciously defending Draco Malfoy? Why was I even thinking these thing's? I'd know Draco for years and there was never a moment that I doubted he was a hateful, arrogant, self centred guy who thought of nobody else before himself, but sitting in a compartment with him wasn't as bad as I could have imagined it. I could have imagined him making snide comments every ten seconds, or talking non-stop about one of what I suspected was one of many mansions his family owned, or his new broomstick, he however did not say a word. It was almost unbearable to sit there and carefully take notes on the runes I was reading while he just lay there opposite me with his eyes closed, even the scratching of my quill on parchment did not cause him to stir.
I'd never sat in complete silence on the way to Hogwarts before, it was rather unnerving, at times when the silence almost became too much I would find myself ready to scream 'Just say something already!' but I avoided it, I held my tongue because even having another in the compartment with me was a relief, alone I may have gone slowly insane. No matter how much I hated him, and he hated me it did not matter, because at least neither of us were alone in our final journey's to Hogwarts. At least in each others company we did not have to worry about strange questions from the other students, such as 'Where is Harry now?' or 'Why did you let them into Hogwarts?' together we shielded each other from these awkward questions, which eventually we would have to face, but I for one was glad that I had the chance to gather my thoughts and prepare myself for such things before I was bombarded with the queries of younger students.
"Draco?" I asked, breaking the silence as we drew into Hogsmeade Station.
"Yes?" He asked sitting up.
"Do you ever wish things were different?" I asked.
"Every day. I wish I hadn't made such poor choices because then at least then I might actually belong here."
There was a large pause.
"Do you ever wish you went off travelling about England with Scarface and Weaslebee?" He asked me.
"Every day. I feel empty knowing their out there travelling and actually doing something about our situation and knowing I'm here alone doing nothing doesn't help at all."
"Then we share the fact that we wish things were different in our worlds, when in fact we cannot change what has past." He said standing and walking from the compartment.
I stopped, I actually shared something, a moment with Draco Malfoy. What were the chances of such an occurrence happening ever again? Highly slim most likely, but what he'd said was true, I did wish, every day in fact that things were different in my world, but nothing I did or tried would be able to change that. In the end Draco belonged just as much as I did at Hogwarts, even though I could see that he wished for it to be as it once was, neither of us could change what had past.
He lost his right to belong at Hogwarts when he left us at the mercy of his fellow Death Eaters; I'd lost my sense of belonging when Harry and Ron vanished right before my eyes three weeks ago. Ron's final words still ringing in my ears to this day; my only reason for belonging vanishing with them. Sitting here in this compartment with another who shared a similar sense of loss humbled me; he too knew what it was like for your friends to leave you. He however brought it upon himself, and I had no choice. The silence he left behind in the compartment allowing me to hear those final words ringing over and over again in my mind, those words which haunt me in my sleep, the words "I love you…"