Their compartment had grown quiet as Vincent read a comic by the window and Blaise seemed to have become enthralled by the design of his robe. Gregory had simply stopped talking, while Pansy read her new copy of Advanced Potion-Making. Draco was staring out the compartment window, watching as students passed by giggling with each other and telling tales of their summer holidays.
The only real excitement they had had was Granger and Weasley stopping by to demand as to why he wasn't doing his prefect duties. They had lasted approximately thirty seconds before Pansy had cursed the two of them outside the compartment. After that she turned back to the Slytherin's only to say, "My Gods, did you see her hair? I swear, it gets bushier as we get older..."
Draco had almost begun to drift off into sleep when he saw the familiar sweeping of Ravenclaw robes pass by his compartment. He glimpsed a pair of pale legs in the opening of the robes along with two thin, bony hands clutching onto books tightly.
He stood and stretched, as he turned to his friends he waved his wand and conjured up his Slytherin robes, "I'm going to get changed. Be back soon."
Quickly sliding the compartment door open, he followed after the girl with her head bent down as she stared at her own feet. Draco had noticed a piece of paper had slipped out from her book as she began to enter a compartment. He reached out and called, "Wait..."
The Ravenclaw froze as she heard his voice until finally she turned and allowed her blue eyes, hidden behind her glasses, to fall on him. When she realized who it was that was speaking, her gaze dropped to the floor.
"You...you dropped a piece of paper," he whispered, sounding as if he cared. He did, in fact, but Kayla wouldn't – couldn't – know that. So instead, he sneered, "No one wants your mudblood filth dirtying our world, so I thought you might want it back. We certainly don't."
Kayla glared at him while a piece of her long brown hair fell into her eyes. She blew at it and stuttered, "Y—you're so rude! Why don't you just—just leave!"
"Don’t litter your trash then," he remarked, the paper still gripped in his outstretched hand.
Ripping the paper from his hands, Kayla spoke, "For Merlin's sakes, stop it. It's a loose piece of paper from Hogwarts: a History, all right?" At this emotional outburst, she gasped and turned to face the other way, trying to hide the blush she could feel coming on.
With a sarcastic laugh Draco asked, "Why would you ever want to read that book?" Though secretly, he himself had read the book more times then he could count. In fact, if she had asked him, Draco could probably recite the entire book back to her word for word.
"It's what some of us might consider interesting," she retorted with burning red cheeks. "B—But, I can assume you received the lowest marks in school...right?"
Draco began to walk towards the changing rooms, only to take turn towards her as he passed, "You can assume whatever you like, Griffin, no one's stopping you."
It was that moment when he realized her compartment door had been open the entire time, and inside sat Terry Boot along with a few Hufflepuff's whose name's Draco didn't know. With those wide brown eyes, Terry stared at him, as if asking wordlessly if he remembered the friendship they had shared as simple eleven-year-old boys. His own gaze hardened as he stared back, until finally he turned not wanting to remember how his father had destroyed another thing in his life. They could have shared a friendship that could have been close, trusting, and hope-filled. Instead it had become a friendship that never got a chance to blossom because Draco had been too afraid.
Draco turned again, and stared into her eyes that were covered with free strands of hair that had fallen from her ponytail. Hesitantly, he reached up and brushed the hair behind her ears, "No one wants you walking into walls because you can't see, Griffin. Then you'd be as blind as Potter."
His hand stayed for a moment to long until finally she blushed and pushed him away as she backed into the compartment besides the boy, "Keep your hands off – I mean – just...go away."
Pulling them back, Draco glanced once more at Terry and Kayla together, feeling a pang of jealousy before walking away. He had only walked a few feet when he heard Kayla's voice mutter, "Malfoy – trying to be pleasant. Almost, at least. To me," there was a pause until she continued. "My father must be turning in his grave."
He shook his head quietly, wishing that he could just tell Kayla the truth. So that him acting kind could no longer seem out of character. It was all he wanted, but Draco knew it couldn't happen.
Especially if he succeeded in his task by the end of this year. In fact, by the end of this year, he would forever be a Death Eater. He would forever be marked with the murder of a great man.
For the rest of his life he would always be remembered as a murderer...and he was only sixteen. There was still so much life to live.
Staring into the mirror in the trains changing rooms, all Draco could do was groan. He was starting the last year of his life as a free man – boy – whatever you wanted to call him. This was his last year as an innocent...if he was even still that.
Slowly Draco stripped his plain black robe, along with his muggle clothing he'd been hiding beneath it. Folding them up and hiding them inside the robe, he then began to slip on his new gray pants, his white Slytherin shirt, and the gray wool vest. Instead of taking the time to put on his green and black robe with the Slytherin crest on it, he draped it over his arm and walked out the door, making his way back to his friends.
As he opened up the compartment door, he saw that his traveling companions were missing someone. Draco glanced towards the only person in the compartment who could put together a coherent sentence to ask a question but she explained before he got the chance, "Some third year came in here with some letter. It was from a Professor Slughorn asking Blaise if he would go up to his private compartment and have some tea. He left a few minutes ago, we're not really sure when he'll be back."
"Oh," was all Draco could think to say. Taking his seat he lay down and glanced up at Pansy, "Is it all right if I rest my head in your lap?"
With a slightly smug smile, Pansy answered, "Of course, darling." With that Draco closed his eyes and drifted off into a world that made no sense to him. The train compartment seemed to fade away, only to be replaced with the dungeon at home...
"Father...? Father, what's going on? Where are you going?" A young boy with startling blonde hair questioned. He seemed familiar, except his face was a blur of color – there was no way for him to be identified.
A dementor turned towards the boy and hissed, "Go away, boy. I have business to attend to..." The hooded creature slid out of the room, leaving a chilling, frightened feeling to lie over the boy. He could hear shouts and cries from outside the dungeon, which he was standing in. Not sure what to do, the boy cried and ran out the room suddenly in a large forest, surrounded by people floating in the air, blood raining down around him.
The tears and blood were rolling down the boys face as he ran trying to find where the dark figure had gone. His hands were no longer visible, but instead covered with thick, warm blood. He was still searching when he heard voices, "Ron, where are you? This is stupid – lumos! Ron, people care about you – come back! People love you – like they don't love Malfoy."
The words seemed to fade away as an Ancient Greek tragedy mask came down from the sky and smothered the boys' blurred face. He struggled, trying to pull it off, but couldn't. The frightened boy was being strangled as he heard a cool voice say, "Granger, they're after Muggles. D'you want to be showing off your knickers in midair? Because if you do, hang around...they're moving this way, and it would give us all a laugh."
The girl's normally bushy hair was plastered down on her face, no longer brown but instead a deep, crimson red. Her face, unlike the boys', was exceptionally sharp and recognizable. It was Hermione Granger, the girl he had known since he was a young boy – only she had a look of death around her, with the blood dripping down her face. She raised her arm ready to scream a curse, but the masked figure was too quick, as he raised his own and cried out in a voice similar to the dementor's, "CRUCIO!"
The other boy, who had been ripped away from his body and was watching the scene in front of him cried out, "NO! Father, stop! Leave them be! Let her go – don't hurt her! Stop it, Father, stop it! I want to go home! Mother – MOTHER!"
"Darling," a voice called out while shaking his body. "Draco, wake up."
Draco felt the need to lean over and vomit, but instead forced his eyelids to open and stare into Pansy's familiar dark brown eyes. He shook his head slightly, trying to remember the dream he'd been having that was already fading fast. Blood red rain...a dementor...a boy crying for his mother...everything was drowning in reality and was already being forgotten. He sighed and looked up at her, "What, Pansy?"
"Y—you were having a fit or something. You were...well, I mean, I'm not sure how to explain it," she stammered looking down into his defiant face.
Vincent took the opportunity to speak and explained, "You were whimpering."
With gritted teeth, Draco turned to Vincent, "Malfoy's don't whimper, Crabbe."
"'Course not. Sorry, Draco," he muttered, returning to staring out the window. Draco watched him for a moment before returning his head back to Pansy's lap, refusing to close his eyes not wanting to return to the dream world that had frightened him so much. She began to absentmindedly stroke his hair as the compartment door began to jiggle.
"What's wrong with this thing?" Blaise's voice sounded from outside in the hallway, until it seemed to fly open with extreme force. He couldn't seem to stand on his own two feet as he tripped and landed in Gregory's lap. As this happened, Draco swore he saw a familiar pair of worn out sneakers disappear into thin air.
"So," Draco began watching the area where he had seen the sneakers. "Zabini. What did Slughorn want?"
He returned back to his seat with an angry expression on his face. "Just trying to make up to well-connected people. Not that he managed to find many," he sneered still glaring at Gregory.
Not really caring who had been invited Draco almost rolled over to go back to sleep. However, he remembered the sneakers and realized someone was in their compartment that expected him to act a certain way. So he demanded, "Who else had he invited?"
"McLaggen from Gryffindor," said Blaise.
Draco nodded, "Oh yeah, his uncle's big in the Ministry."
"—someone else called Belby, from Ravenclaw—"
Pansy let out a strangled gasp, "Not him, he's a prat!"
Blaise rolled his eyes and continued, "—and Longbottom, Potter, and that Weasley girl."
At this news Draco couldn't help but react; he sat up suddenly with incredibly wide eyes and all he could manage to say was, "He invited Longbottom?"
"Well," Blaise said in an exasperated sigh. "I assume so, as Longbottom was there."
For the next half an hour Draco and his Slytherin friends dissected all the people Professor Slughorn had invited to his compartment. He couldn't help but feel Slughorn was going to cause him endless trouble this year.
As Hogwarts came into view, everyone else in the compartment began to get dressed until finally the train stopped. Pansy was standing in the doorway with her arm outstretched waiting for Draco to take it. Instead, he waved her off and said, "You go on. I just want to check something."
With a pout she nodded her head and walked away, not bothering to wave goodbye to him, knowing that they would see each other in only a few minutes. Draco waited for everyone to file past his compartment – and to watch for a certain brunette – until he turned around and raised his wand towards thin air, "Petrificus Totalus!"
He reached down and felt the ground where he had a heard a thud come from. As his fingers crawled along the ground he felt something beneath his fingers as he ripped it away, revealing a startled Harry Potter. For a second Draco wanted nothing more then to shout at the boy for having everything Draco truly wanted, but instead sneered, "I thought so. I heard Goyle's trunk hit you. And I thought I saw something white flash through the air after Zabini came back..."
Draco glanced down at the white sneakers and carried on, "You didn't hear anything I care about, Potter. But while I've got you here..." He gave Potter a sinister smile and brought his foot high up before slamming it hard onto his face. "That's from my father. Now, let's see..."
Shaking inwardly, he saw the blood spilling down Potter's face that reminded Draco too much of that far away dream. Quickly, he picked up Potter's invisibility cloak and threw it over his frozen body, "I don't reckon they'll find you till the train's back in London. See you around, Potter...or not."
Carefully making sure he stepped on his fingers, Draco left the compartment closing the door silently behind him. He placed his head on the glass window and sighed, the only words running through his mind were, what have I done?
Somewhere in the back of his mind a voice answered reassuringly, you did what you had to. You can't let your mask slip, Draco.
In a heat of anger, Draco slammed a fist against the window as he fought back the urge to step back in the compartment and let Harry go. But he couldn't let himself – if he did it would show his weakness. His father would find out, everyone would know Draco Malfoy was a fake; everyone would know the truth and Draco couldn't have that.
Instead, he forced himself to flick his wand towards his trunk and allow it to hover behind him as he left the train and walked towards the last carriage that seemed to be waiting for him. Inside, he found a large group of Ravenclaw's and Hufflepuff's, one who only a few hours earlier he had insulted. She glanced up at him from her worn out copy of Hogwarts: A History and groaned before turning her body away from him.
Well, Draco thought to himself. It feels great to be wanted.
A/N: The meaning of the dream:
His face -- it's blurred to represent that Draco doesn't really know who this boy is, this is the REAL Draco.
The dementor -- this represents Lucius Malfoy, Draco's biggest fear.
The dungeon -- this represents where Draco spends his holidays, it's a place where he feels confined and afraid.
The forest, people, and blood rain -- the forest is where Draco is hiding that night, waiting for it all to be over. The people are the muggles in the air, and the blood rain represents the death of those in the past and those to come. The blood is covering Draco's face to mix with the tears to represent the sadness death brings.
What Hermione says -- in the books Hermione does say 'Ron, where are you? This is stupid -- lumos!' However, the next two lines of 'Ron, people care about you -- come back! People love you -- like they don't love Malfoy' are there to represent Draco's jealousy of the love Ron receives from his family and friends.
Ancient Greek Tragedy Mask -- is there simply to represent the facade that Draco wears when he's around other people. Also to represent the Death Eater's mask.
Hermione's face -- is recognizable because Draco is feeling guilt for the way he's treated her. He won't forget her face, because then it would be like forgetting the sin. It's also covered with blood to represent the death of muggle borns.
The Curse -- represents his father once again. The masked figure speaks in Draco's father's voice to represent the lack of mercy and the missing human compassion he should have. Also, signifies how Draco is supposed to become just like his father.
The innocent boy -- once more the real Draco, trying to fight back to the masked figure who takes over his life.