They say that we Slytherins are chosen for our ambition. That we are cunning, sly, evil even. Certainly, there is some truth to that matter. But without that burning drive to succeed, to surpass everyone who has come before, to discover the unknown, where would the wizard race be?
I was born into the life of a pureblood Malfoy. Raised without ever having to want, I admit I was a bit spoiled. I always got what I wanted, and I always wanted more. I suppose that is where my ambition was first lit aflame. I was never satisfied with what I had. I always needed more. I always needed to do better. I always needed to succeed. The flames of ambition grew, carefully tended to by my parents. Of course, they sought to drive forward that ambitious streak in me. After all, someday I would be the one to carry on the Malfoy name and the pure crimson blood coursing through my veins.
To be sure, life as a pureblood isn’t all roses and pearls. We have to work to keep a good face, to keep filthy Mudbloods from besmirching our name. They ought to look up to us anyways. Without our original mastery of the art of magic, they would not know all that we have taught them. They would have been left with their pathetically miserable lives. I don’t condone the instruction of such lowly creatures, but I believe they really ought to be grateful for all that we have grudgingly allowed them to attain. They shouldn’t aspire to reach our status, but ambition is never a bad thing. Like I said before, ambition is the meat and drink upon which I was raised and upon which I dine every single day. Even Muggles understand the necessity of ambition. I once overheard the Muggle Studies teacher telling a student how some Muggle painter, I believe his name was Salvadore Dali, once said, “Intelligence without ambition is like a bird without wings.” That became my new motto. Of course, I’ve told everyone it is a bone fide Merlin quote.
With the ambition my parents raised me on, I was able to become the youngest Death Eater. By my 6th year at Hogwarts, I had already been graced with the black skull and snake on my arm. I had been given a mission and, so help me, I would complete it. I pushed myself harder than I had ever done so before. With my father imprisoned at Azkaban, it was up to me to be the man of my family, so to speak. It was up to me to further the Malfoy name, to brush off the dirt cast upon our throne by my father’s careless actions. I still admired his drive, respected him. But I couldn’t deny it was his fault I had to take up that onus before it was the right time. Nevertheless, despite my misconceptions as to what age I would be when I had to stand up, it was time now. It was time to stoke my burning ambition, feed the scorching fire a little bit more:
I had to kill Dumbledore. He hadn’t done anything to me specifically, but he was a Mudblood-lover. He stood in the way to my Master’s greatness. He had to be eliminated. I knew my plan well before school started. After all, the Vanishing Cabinets were a stroke of brilliance and no one knew there was a pair before that whole incident in 5th year.
But Snape knew what I was planning on doing. He didn’t know the specifics—I kept those secret until the very last—but he still knew my mission. I didn’t trust him. I know I admired him as a young boy; he was the Head of Slytherin. But ever since I found out he had been in the Order of the Phoenix, I had to wonder. How could anyone know if a highly skilled Occlumens was telling the truth? I am not trying to discount my Master’s abilities in anyway, Merlin, no. But Snape was highly ambitious. He would choose whatever side he were certain to win. But, like I have continuously repeated, is ambition really that bad? It had kept him out of Azkaban those 14 years my Master had disappeared. It had kept him safe and sound, protected from the Aurors out for revenge. Still, it was that ambition that kept me from trusting him completely. I wanted the glory for myself. Snape would do whatever he could in order to snatch up some of that shining victory for himself. I had to keep him in the dark if I were going to feed my own ambition. Anyways, if he were really on Dumbledore’s side, he would certainly tell him. Then my carefully perfected plan would go to waste. My Master would be angry. My ambition would be for naught.
So I kept him and Dumbledore occupied with those trivial attempts that I knew had no chance of killing him. The cursed necklace, the poisoned meade. I personally thought that latter was hilarious. It would have been nice if it had gotten to Dumbledore, but for Slughorn to give it to Weasley and Potter! That was a stroke of luck right there. Too bad Weasley didn’t actually die. Well, we can’t always get what we want.
Madame Rosemerta kept me updated on the going-ons of Dumbledore. She always saw when he went to “The Hog’s Head,” also known as when he ran off to go try and find out more information about my Master. Stupid old man. I would have expected better from him. The signs of the Imperious Curse are so noticeable.
Crabbe and Goyle helped me in whatever way I told them to. They couldn’t very well disobey me with my Master at my back, now, could they? And Pansy? Well, she enjoyed my ambition just as much as I did, if you catch my drift.
When I woke up that one morning, I knew it was time. I felt it. My ambition was singing through my veins, empowering me, overcoming any qualms I felt. I performed my usual morning activities as though they were sacred rituals; everything had to be perfect that day. I had to succeed. When the appointed hour came, I made my way to the Room of Requirement, to my glory. Everything happened as though in a dream. My fellow Death Eaters arriving, encountering the youngest Weasley and Longbottom, the battle below the tower.
Suddenly, I was standing in front of Dumbledore, aiming my wand at his chest. It was better than I could have hoped for; he was weak, weaker than I’d ever seen anyone. It would have been so easy to simply say those two words, to feel the green light leave my wand, to see his life depart. I could feel the wind rushing past me, cold and harsh. I could hear shouts and cries below, coming from the battle. Time slowed for a moment. Everything was still. It was the perfect opportunity. But I stood there, frozen, unable to speak the words.
Don’t think I suddenly realized my wrongs. I still think Dumbledore deserved it. I still think that all Mudbloods and blood-traitors deserved to see that green light rushing towards them. I simply lost my drive. I lost my courage. I lost my ambition. I lost the hope for glory. I don’t remember what happened afterwards. I know Snape did the deed. I know Potter was hiding in the corner, the sniveling scaredy-cat we all know him to be. I know Dumbledore died. I know I didn’t have it in me to kill him. I couldn’t complete my task, my duty. I couldn’t fulfill my ambition. I couldn’t attain my glory.
People will attest that this proves that within everyone lies some intrinsic good. People will say that I am not bad, not at all. But I believe differently. I believe that this proves that within everyone lies some base cowardice. I couldn’t do it, not because I felt it was bad. I couldn’t do it because my ambition deserted me. My courage deserted me.
I spent the next years of my life in a complete servile state, whether to my Master or to Potter after the Final Battle. My philosophies have not changed, but I know my façade had to change. My family, my Cause, is not the most powerful anymore. So I sit here, feigning innocence, creating an affected Imperius Curse, pretending nothing was my fault. I sit here, biding my time. For someday, maybe not during my lifetime and maybe not during my children’s lifetime, but someday, a Malfoy will once more burn with that raging ambition. Someday, a Malfoy will do it all for his family and name. Someday, a Malfoy will do it all for himself. Someday, a Malfoy will do it all for glory.
And he will succeed.
A/N Hey everyone! I wrote this over the course of a few years, writing a few paragraphs every few months so I’m not sure how well it flows. Try to guess where I left off and then picked back up again! R&R, please!