Chapter 9 : Entry Nine
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...nor am I her stalker...
January 15th, 1998
I apologize for only writing about a few days worth of events in the last entry. I figured that since I had made it through three quills and two bottles of ink, the entry was long enough; not to mention the aching throb in my hand. I’m not used to writing a great deal all at once. I’ll begin where I left off writing yesterday:
I woke up after only a few hours of having gone to bed that night. It was far too early, I knew, because my candle’s wax was still intact on my bedside table. Despite how sleep-deprived I was feeling, I knew my body would not allow my to fall back into slumber; my mind was too alert and my heart was beating far too fast from anxiety.
Truly, I did not wish to confront the Dark Lord ever again, for I knew he would most likely have my head the instant he set his eyes on me. He knew for certain that it was I who had betrayed him. I had failed him twice, and I’m sure Zabini had the satisfaction of telling him of my “fraternizing with the enemy”—I hate that hackneyed phrase.
Since I knew there was no hope in attempting to fall back asleep, I stood from my bed and stretched. There were several lamps on the walls of my room, and I absentmindedly waved my wand at them, urging light into their cores. I pulled my nightgown on over my fitting tank top and pajama trousers and took a look at myself in my bedroom mirror beside the dresser drawers. In the dim light of the lamps, my reflection seemed ghostly and dark. My hair was terribly unkempt, but, for the first time, I ignored my untidy locks and turned away from the mirror—I could fix them in the morning.
I quietly opened my bedroom door, not wanted to wake Granger in case she was a light sleeper, and patted softly down the spiral stairs from the dormitory.
I jumped clear into the air and fell to the floor, the lamp I had been holding shattering to the floor with me. Breathing deeply, I peered up and saw Granger standing before the fire, an amused expression on her face. Since when had she been down there? I could have kicked her; Malfoys never were startled. However, my sudden anger dissipated when she began to laugh. It was that same laugh that always cheered me up, always brought about my odd feeling. Why did she do that? How did she do that?
“You scared the hell out of me, Granger,” I gasped, my breathing still irregular. “Why are you awake? It can’t be past 1:00.”
I cast Reparo on the strewn fragments of my lamp, listening to her answer, “I might ask you the same question.” I couldn’t argue with that. I picked up my now-intact lamp and set it down on the table in front of the couch. We sat down at almost exactly the same moment on the sofa.
“I asked first,” I said, running a hand through my messy blonde hair. “That has to count for something.” I looked at her—her back was up against the arm of the couch and her arms curled around her bent legs. She reminded me of a small child, and that thought made me feel uncomfortable. I had always thought of Granger as an imposing sort, always her head held high and sure of herself. At that moment, she seemed quite vulnerable. I had never seen her as vulnerable before, though her innocence was the supposed shared trait between women everywhere. That “shared trait” had always aroused a different “shared trait” between men everywhere, and I had a bad feeling that that trait was being ignited inside of me at that very moment.
I did not let this trait show, however, as she said, avoiding my gaze, “I couldn’t sleep.”
I sighed truthfully, “Nor could I.”
A long silence left me to my thoughts and Granger to hers. It was one of those easily understood silences that cause no awkward feelings or shame. It was one that allowed time to reminisce, time to ponder, or time to simply calm the mind. In this particular silence, however, it provided guilt, sadness, and fear.
When she broken the silence, her voice was calm, yet it did not hide her disappointment. “Are you really leaving in a few hours?”
I nodded after a moment’s hesitation. Potter had sent word by owl that I was to leave with whomever I had decided to bring along before daybreak; that way, it would be a bit easier to sneak off without having to deal with teachers and other students in the halls.
She sighed. “I want to go with you.”
My heart skipped a beat—it never did that. The desperation hidden beneath her soft voice was inevitable. For a split second, I considered letting her wish come true. It certainly would bring more courage to me if I had a friend with me…though if she continued to look vulnerable much longer, there’s no telling what I would do—probably something incredibly stupid.
“Potter’s going with me.”
I knew she had been expecting that by the look of disappointment on her face, though the look was not of surprise. “That’s for the best. It has to be Harry…he wouldn’t have been able to live with himself if he didn’t help her.”
I nodded. That’s the impression I got from him, though his reasoning was not as biased as I thought it would have been. It would be best for him to come along even if he had despised Ginny Weasley.
“He really loves her, doesn’t he…”
Granger smiled, and for some reason, there was an odd twinkle in her eye. “Unconditionally.”
Unconditional love—just the two words placed together are overwhelming to me. I closed my eyes. How does he do it? How does he unyieldingly love someone? How does he love someone at all? Though I had wondered how anyone could be capable of love numerous times before, I had never felt how I did then; it was a mixture of curiosity and…hurt. I felt alone, like I was missing something so powerful, so steadfast that it was painful to think about it. It was almost as if there was something there before my eyes, yet I wasn’t able to grasp it. It felt like the end of a Quidditch match with my arm stretched beyond its limits, my fingers mere inches away from victory…yet the snitch zooms out of reach just at the last second again and again and again…
I opened my eyes. “I can’t believe I did that.” She didn’t answer, so I went on, “I can’t believe I took her away from him…it’s so terrible. How must he be feeling? Like it’s the end of the world? I mean, they always said that being in love means not being able to live without each other. It sounds silly to me, but is it true?” I felt like I was simply continuing the questions I had been asking myself in my mind, only aloud. “If it is, he should’ve killed me.”
Abruptly, Granger laughed—why did she always take me by surprise? “Whatever for? You didn’t kill Ginny…though it might end up l-leading to that.” She choked back emotion. “God, Malfoy, I don’t know what to do, what to think…sh-she’s like a sister to me, a-and if she d-doesn’t come back, doesn’t survive…” If I had been surprised before, I don’t know the proper term for what I felt now: She started crying!
I didn’t know what to do—what does a guy do when he’s stuck with a sobbing woman? None of the girls that had ever been a part of my life had ever cried in my presence. To my relief, I did not have to decide—before I knew it, my sleeve was a salty mess, and my vision was limited to a sea of golden brown. Instinct provided arms around her and condolences in her ear, though I’m not sure of the source. Who was the man that was comforting her? Who was it that suddenly felt her sorrow, felt her grief, felt her every burden and embraced it as their own, also?
It certainly wasn’t anyone I knew.
Four hours later, Potter and I tiptoed through the dark corridors of the school under his invisibility cloak (I always envied him for having one) after a quick goodbye to Weasley and Granger in the common room. I felt like my normal self again, though I wasn’t too pleased about it. The self that had been strong for Granger and provided her shelter and relief during her breakdown would not have been a coward and reluctant to complete the coming task.
We did not speak a word the entire journey through the halls, across the grounds, and through the castle gate. The soft pounding of our feet upon the earth was maddening, giving me a sinking feeling like we were marching into battle.
When Potter did not stop walking after leaving Hogwarts, I had to take several sprinted steps to make sure I did not reveal myself from under the cloak. Why hadn’t he stopped? We were able to Apparate right when we left the grounds, weren’t we?
I didn’t need telling twice. He led me through the winding lanes of Hogsmeade and to the outskirts of the village. I had never gone farther than the Shrieking Shack before. Where was he leading me?
About a kilometer down a deserted road, Potter jerked off of the cobblestone pathway, causing me to, once again, struggle to maneuver my body quickly so as not to be revealed from underneath the cloak. Before I could grumble about it, he shushed me once more. I had the urge to kick him where it hurts, but I refrained from committing the act—I hated being the tag-along.
My eyes found a monstrous lump in the dark, moonlit landscape before us. Why were we headed toward a mountain? Surely Potter knew I was supposed to Apparate him to a specific range, not just any mountain chain.
When we reached the foot of the massive blob, I hesitated, but I soon was relieved of my worry—Potter had thrown the cloak of invisibility off of us; I wouldn’t have fancied a climb under the cramped thing. The climb proved difficult enough as it was, for the slope was steep and, in the dark, there was no telling where a flimsy ledge might conveniently decide to crumble and fall from under our weight. I was thankful for one of the Malfoy traditions: staying admirably fit.
“This is it,” Potter huffed when we had struggled over a dodgey ledge that could have competed with a bar of soap, for it had been dangerously slippery under our trainers. I peered around to see what exactly “it” was, but all I saw was a small cave similar to many we had already passed on our climb.
Apparently, this wasn’t just another cave, for Potter led me into the cavernous unknown. We both cast Lumos with our wands, and the dark interior was illuminated. It wasn’t much of a sight, to tell the truth; the most exciting feature was a pile of old, soggy Daily Prophet issues stacked in the far corner, along with a few rodent bones. The place was worse for ware, but the fact that it had been humanly occupied at all was a bit disconcerting.
“Alright, Potter,” I said, my voice echoing slightly in the limited interior, “There had better be a bloody good reason for this little detour.”
To my subtle surprise, he did not retort, nor did he seem annoyed like he normally was with me. “I knew it was safe here. No one will know anything about us being here.”
“And why exactly is it that we couldn’t have taken refuge in the countless other caves we saw on the way?” I was tired, and I did not appreciate the little inconvenience, much less climbing a mountain…in the dark…blind..
He moved his wand light about the cave as if searching for something specific while he replied, “We’re here for two reasons: One—if someone was trailing us, they most likely lost their scent. Two—I…” He lowered his wand and head dejectedly. “I-I wanted to see if…if he left anything behind.”
I was puzzled, and he knew it. “Who? Who was here?”
He did not look at me, and the far off glaze over his eyes illuminated by my wand spoke volumes; he was clearly speaking of someone whom he missed. Was it is father? His mother? Maybe Dumbledore?
He explained softly, “My godfather hid from the Ministry here, back during the Triwizard.”
“Sirius Black?” I guessed correctly; he slowly nodded. I had known Potter and Black were close for a while there. Apparently, Black and Potter’s father were friends at school. I suppose that’s why Black was his godfather.
I asked him, “Why was he hiding here? Wasn’t that too dangerous for him? I mean, you couldn’t pass one shop window without seeing his mad face from a WANTED poster staring you down—”
“That’s what we thought—Ron, Hermione, and I,” he clarified, this time investigating the moldy newspapers with his wand. “But he wanted to be close by…he thought whoever put my name in the Goblet of Fire had it in for me.”
“Geez,” I expressed, twirling my wand between my fingers and mildly fascinated by the way the light twirled with it, “He was protective. Just like my mother before—well…” My voice faded to silence, but Potter did not comment. He continued talking about his godfather, instead:
“But he was right, wasn’t he? Crouch’s son wanted me dead…for Voldemort.” I tried not to cringe at his name, but it was a sorry attempt. “So, he stayed in here and we exchanged letters. He gave me loads of advice. We sent him food after meals when we could…he didn’t much like eating the rats…”
His voice trailed off as mine had, and we didn’t say anything for a minute or so. I wondered why he was sharing all this with me. One doesn’t normally pour out something like that with their arch nemesis.
“You were really close to him, weren’t you?”
He nodded, avoiding my gaze. Now that I really thought about it, Potter had lost so many people that were close to him. His parents, Diggory, Black, Dumbledore…I’m surprised he’s not an emotional wreck. That must be another reason why he is so distraught and determined about Ginny; he doesn’t want to lose another loved one to the war. Having lost my mother, I can vaguely relate to how he must feel. After knowing the means of her death, I despise the killer, my former master. My hatred is strong, yet it must not amount to anything near that of Potter’s hatred toward the man (or whatever sick thing he is). It’s no wonder Potter says his name; he’s not afraid of him. If he ever was, that fear was smothered by his anger.
“I…” I began, clearing my throat, “I-I have something to say.”
Potter glanced at me peculiarly, still checking out the cave with his lit wand. “Go on, then.”
I sighed—shivering from the cold of the cave, I placed my hands in my robe pockets. “You’ve lost so many people close to you. I’ve only lost one, but I know how you feel…well, I have a gist of how you feel, more like.” This got his attention; apparently, Granger had kept her word and hadn’t told anyone about my mother.
I knew I wanted Potter to know, though I’m not sure why I did. “My mother—he…he killed her.”
Potter’s eyes widened. “When?”
It was my turn not to meet his eyes. “About a month ago.”
“Merlin…” he seemed like he was fighting some sort of inner battle before he muttered, “I’m sorry.”
Apologies only led to more of the like. “And I’m sorry about your parents, your godfather—everyone.” I confessed honestly, “Now that I know what it’s like to lose someone, I feel bad…er…for you.” I hadn’t meant to sound sympathetic or dramatic, and I think that he sensed that.
I wasn’t sure if he was being serious or not when he airily asked, “Who are you? Where’s the Malfoy I’ve had the misfortune to know all these years?”
I shrugged, unsure of the answer myself. What happened next caused my wand to fall from my grasp and clatter to the floor—he was laughing at me!
I frowned. “What’s funny, Potter?” He simply shook his head and continued to laugh heartily. Bloody Gryffindors.
I became quite annoyed, saying loudly, “What’s going on? Why are you—” He cracked up even more—that was the last straw. I took a hold of his shoulders (after picking up my wand) and shook him.
“What’s bloody wrong with you, scarhead?!?!”
He firmly shoved me away from him and stepped back, but there was still a hint of a smile on his face.
“Now that’s the Malfoy I know.”
I was irritated with him. “Oh, shove it, Potter.” I was suddenly conscious of the time we had wasted musing (and amusing and bemusing). “Let’s just do this, shall we?” As I uttered the words, my heart skipped several beats, than began to beat faster than ever; at least I knew my nerves were working, and they were working quite efficiently, mind you. I knew we were taking a huge risk, a huge undertaking that could result in death—an excruciatingly long and agonizing one, considering whom we were dealing with.
I could tell that Potter was itching to protest, but he saw reason and took one last glance around the cave, then turned his gaze back to me.
“Alright,” I gritted, knowing this now meant serious business, “Any last minute epiphanies?”
Potter sighed and began to tie his shoes. “We’ll have to wing it.”
My stomach leapt in fear, but I did not let any outward signs show. “Brilliant.” I didn’t hide my sarcasm. “Just brilliant. So, if we’re finished in this bloody cave, grab my arm.”
I glared at him. “Side-along Apparation, Potter.”
Once I felt his grip on my arm, I took in a large breath and tried to get rid of the tension in my body. There was no turning back now, yet I couldn’t bring myself to Apparate just yet; it might’ve just been the last thing I ever did.
Apparently, Potter was aware of my hesitation. “Malfoy, we have to do this. So, let’s get to it, eh?”
“You’re telling me…”
“We’ll Apparate on three….alright, one……two…….”
I braced myself for the moment. Destination…determination…deliberation…
Next thing I knew, Potter and I were tangled together, each of us with a mouth full of grass.
“Potter, as much as I enjoy this new bonding thing, get your arse off of me.”
Once we were free from entanglement—and from grass-filled mouths—, I took a look around and panicked; no one was there. No one. Nothing had changed since my last visit to the mountains, yet the clearing was completely abandoned.
Potter scowled from beside me. “Are you sure this is the right place, Malfoy?”
I nodded, but I wasn’t completely paying attention to him. A feeling had come over me, one that was terrifying and disturbed me greatly…something wasn’t right.
As I let the feeling wash over me, Potter and I stood in an awkward silence.
“Well, er…” I stuttered lamely, “We’re here.”
“That, you are.”
I yelled in fright as Potter and I whipped around, only to come face to face with the very reason we were there.
He laughed, and his cackling send chills up and down my entire being; his devilish smirk only heightened my fear.
“Voldemort,” Potter greeted lightly. How could he hide his fear so easily? Or was he even afraid in the first place?
The smirk on the dark lord’s face widened as he advanced. We had fallen in the center of the field, and, as my “master” strut our way, the vast space of the clearing seemed to close. The small room remaining between the evil man and us was unbearably suffocating. I felt too vulnerable and exposed without my death eater robes and mask. The mask provided limited visibility, which proved a luxury; I hated to look at the dark lord.
“Fancy seeing you here, Potter,” he hissed. “Must be coincidence.”
Potter pursed his lips and responded with an experienced touch of sarcasm, “Exactly, Tom. Let’s exchange pleasantries, then go our separate ways, shall we?”
Voldemort sniggered, “If only things were that easy.” His amused expression gone from his face, he added, “What is your business here, boy?”
“Oh, a little this and that,” relied Potter.
The dark lord summoned his wand from his eerily dark robes and fiddled with the tip while saying, “Well, I’m terribly sorry to intrude upon your errands, boys, and I regret to say that I cannot permit you to leave just yet. You see, I have a little this and that to do for myself, and how I would be thrilled if you would assist me in my tasks.”
Potter’s voice was tired for some reason. “Care to elaborate? Or are you incapable of providing the courtesy?”
He sneered, the corner of his lip twitching slightly, “Cheek, Potter. Care to keep your tongue in check, else I take away your privilege to speak altogether.” His eyes burned with fiery hate, and his new smirk did wonders to emphasize their display. “Wouldn’t much like that, would you, Harry? Your little lady friend would not appreciate a friend in silence.”
“You keep her out of this, Riddle,” Harry threatened. He was no longer playing the game he had started. I felt a bit outside of the mix, but I wasn’t complaining; anything that delayed the dark lord from punishing me for betraying him was welcome.
“Oh, forgive me,” he chuckled, “But I believe she has everything to do with this. Everything to do with your this and that.” Potter didn’t answer. I could tell by the way his muscles were tense and his hands hung in fists at his sides that he was boiling inside.
“And I’ve enjoyed my time with her during the last few days. She has been one hell of a nuisance, let me tell you, but I enjoy a challenge…” he added vehemently, “Especially when she receives equal payment for her dismal manners.”
Potter firmly steeped forward, his eyes locked with Voldemort’s. “That’s not much of a challenge, then, is it? You’re being the big bully on the block, beating the younger kids who don’t stand a chance. There’s no challenge involved at all…only cowardice.” He seemed to have struck a nerve, but the dark lord restrained himself from blowing up at him somehow. Instead, the ugly red slits locked on me.
“Ah, but this one. This one’s a challenge, aren’t you Draco?” As he strode forward, his expression changed to pure loathing. He stood only inches before me, but I willed myself not to cower away; I would not openly show my weakness in front of the wretch who killed my mother.
Without warning, he was choking me. “You disgust me. You have betrayed your family, your only life, your only chance to survive…you will not have that luxury. Oh, the things I could do to you right now…leave you begging for mercy…”
“Potter,” he loosened his grip on my neck and left me to massage its burning surface. “I believe I did not ask for your input.”
Potter was absolutely furious, and it showed through all his features. “You asked for it, alright.” For the first time, I definitely knew he was on my side. It was a strange feeling, but it brought about confidence. Potter was defending me, and though I normally do not wish to be in another’s debt or inferior, I couldn’t help but feel a rush of gratitude towards him, my former enemy, “The Chosen One”.
Once the fear wore away, anger uprooted from deep within me. I wanted to pound the snake-like creature into a pulp….no, into oblivion. He deserved to suffer eternally in Hell for everything he did, all the lives he took without a second thought, without a care. He was the definition of apathy, which is far beyond the evil of hate.
“You killed my mother,” I seethed with a voice quite unlike my own. I expected him to laugh. I expected him to torment me further than his murderous actions had already done.
I suppose I should have expected the unexpected.
“As much as I found your twitchy mother a nuisance, her demise is not on my conscience,” he stated wickedly.
“Well, I—” My retort caught in my throat; he hadn’t killed her?
A few words of disbelief spewed from Potter’s mouth, but I wasn’t listening. Voldemort’s words played over and over in my mind; if he hadn’t killed my mother, who had?
“You’re lying,” was the first thing that popped out of my mouth.
He cackled, fiddling with his wand and pacing, “Incorrect, Mr. Malfoy. I am not lying, nor do I wish to. Why would I? Your mother’s death by my hands would have been a delightful celebration. I would not miss that opportunity had I had it to begin with.” He was smirking now. “I did have the fortune to witness the event; however, I’m afraid my account is not the most accurate. Perhaps, you should inquire Lucius; after all, the event seemed to have the most impact on members of the family.”
I stuttered, “M-my father saw it happen?”
“Oh, yes. Your father saw every last gory detail, every blow, every curse, every drop of blood.”
Things started to piece together at this point. I wasn’t sure what, but I knew that there was more to what he was saying than what I heard.
Voldemort sensed my confusion. “You haven’t seen it yet? I thought it obvious. Afterall, poor Lucius saw everything firsthand.”
My breath caught in my throat and would have stayed there had my instinct not kicked in. My father killed my mother. He killed her.
I felt bile rise from my stomach, and before I could prevent it from leaving my system, I turned away and vomited…and continued to retch painfully until nothing came out. Still, my throat insisted to constrict, and I fell to the ground, exhausted from my sickness. He killed her.
And I’ll kill him.
I do not remember all the events that took place following Voldemort’s news. All I recall are bits and pieces…Potter shouting at his enemy about Ginny Weasley, countless Order members and Aurors popping up around us, Voldemort disappearing…and a sea of pitch blackness. I have no recollection of the trip back to Hogwarts, nor do I remember being settled in the Hospital Wing. Though I woke up from a deep sleep a few days later, the following two weeks and the beginning of the second term are merely blurred to me.
Ginny Weasley was rescued. The Order managed to coax a death eater, Jugson, to confess where the girl was imprisoned before sending the man off to Azkaban. Since Voldemort had been preoccupied with Potter and me in the mountains, he had no way of knowing that Ginny had been taken back. From what Potter relived to me about what happened after I fell ill, I gathered that several members of the Order had appeared in the clearing, grabbed us, and Disapparated back to the Order’s headquarters before Voldemort had even a split second to register what was going on.
“Dumbled--err, McGonagall saw us leaving the castle,” Potter explained to me. “Otherwise, no one would’ve known where we were.”
I had not reacted with more than a nod to everything people told me. My mind was elsewhere for the next two weeks, the next hazy, incomplete weeks. Once school started up again, I somehow managed to complete my homework and receive excellent marks, without so much as one deep thought about what I was being graded on. I did not pay attention, nor did I dwell on anything in particular until I was alone in my bed at night, where I got sparse sleep plagued by nightmares. The nightmare was always the same…my father torturing his wife with the Cruciatus curse and laughing, cackling at her terrified screams of pain. The screams always woke me when she began to cry out my name, asking for me to help her, to save her from my father…but it was always too late. I never was there to save her and never so much as attempted to. I just stood there, glassy-eyed and masked, watching, staring at my dying mother.
That is the Draco Malfoy that I have, as of now, vowed not to be: insensitive, apathetic, ghost of a man. I will not let life pass me by as it had done before. I am now beyond that.
Just this thought caused me to wake up from my two-week long daze. However, once the euphoria and determination wore off a bit, I was not all that pleasant to be around. Anger and hate toward my mother’s killer surged in throbs constantly, so much so that I had a hard time suppressing my temper and pain from headaches. Though my graded had all but depreciated, the rest of my life was a mess.
During the two weeks of my “walking dream”, I refused, perhaps without knowing it, to speak to anyone. My responses were usually a grunt or a nod of the head. Even Granger could not manage to pull a word out of me.
However, once the “dream” wore off and was replaced with my pangs of utmost loathing towards my father, she would not talk to me. Time after time, I snapped at her for who-knows-what—probably nothing at all—, and she was soon fed up and flat out ignored me. I no longer saw her in the head’s dorm, not at duties, for she had switched the schedules for patrol and always locked herself in her dorm room whenever not with Potter and the Weasleys in the Gryffindor common room.
Her behavior did not bother me at first, for I knew that I only hurt her and others when I treated them irrationally. However, once my anger subsided to a controlled level, I began to miss spending time talking and laughing with her in front of the head common room fire late into each night. The loneliness was unendurable.
I was thankful for one thing, however. Blaise, the insufferable bastard, had not shown his face again at Hogwarts, nor do I believe he ever shall. It surprised me, though, that I felt pity toward him. He had been innocent—or as close to a Slytherin could get to being innocent—until my teasing and calling him a pansy had gotten the better of him. He had to go off and do something drastic, like join the darkest wizard of the age. Not only had he joined Voldemort, but also he had fallen under the man’s spell, completely absorbed and brainwashed by his power. He now has climbed down so far into the tunnel to Hell that it is highly unlikely he will ever retreat from his path to doom.
I had spoken to no one about what my father did since I found out myself, and from what I could tell, neither had Potter. I was thankful that the word had not spread, for only a few people in the world knew of my mother’s death to begin with. Despite the fact that everyone treated me the way they always had, I did not feel a part of everyone anymore. Most students either had parents or their parents had been good to them. I only had a pinch of that blessing. My mother was gone, and she had, for the most part, been wonderful for and to me. My father, on the other hand, could have cared less about me, and it is blatantly apparent he could care less about his wife, as well.
As a result, I kept to myself whenever possible: at meals, I sat on the far end of the Slytherin table alone, as well as apart from the students in classes. I was completely content doing so, keeping myself detached from everyone, with one exception: Hermione Granger. All I needed was one, one friend to talk things over with, to laugh, to just relax with. What I also needed, I realized, was someone to talk about my father with. I had bottled up all my feelings—except the anger…but I fixed that—for so long, that I felt ready to burst.
And so, on one of the rare occasions that Granger was settled down at the desk in the common room when I entered through the portrait hole, I couldn’t hold back any longer.
“Granger,” I blurted, breaking the tense silence between us that had been constant whenever we were in the same room for weeks. As I stood ten feet away from her sitting at the desk, she did not show any indication that I had been heard as she continued to pour over her studies, her quill scribbling at top speed.
I repeated, “Granger.”
Still, no answer.
I sighed, moving to where I stood facing her and repeated once more, “Granger.”
Still not looking up, she hissed, “I’m not deaf, Malfoy.”
I scowled. “We need to talk.”
“I’m not doing the talking.”
I tightened my grip on the back of the chair I stood behind, holding back my rude retort, and instead said calmly, “Alright, I need to talk…to you.”
I waited patiently for her to agree to this, but there was nothing of it. Stubborn Gryffindors.
“Fire away, Malfoy. I won’t stop you.” The way she was able to keep her head down and her eyes focused on her work was maddening, but I did not let it show that I was angered by it. I pulled the chair back and took a seat across from her.
I glanced at her face still immersed in her books before beginning, “I’m sorry for the way I treated you the last few weeks. I…well, I shouldn’t have taken it out on you…b-because it wasn’t you. You didn’t do anything wrong. So…” I stopped, not really sure what to say.
She was impatient, for I heard it through her tone of voice, “So…? Anything else?”
“Well,” I cleared my throat, trying to catch her eye, but her chestnut-brown orbs still had not left her work. “I…I suppose I came over here to make it up to you.”
Her quill toppled to the desk table from her grip, and I swore she stole a quick glance at me. “Wh-what? You…you’re going to…” For some reason unknown to me, she flushed. “wh-what exactly are you going t-to do?”
I raised an eyebrow at her in utter confusion. “Umm…er…I have something for you. Here—” I pulled out my wand and casually summoned a black, leather-bound notebook, landing it on the table before her.
While she began to open the book, I asked curiously, “What did you think I was going to do?”
A smaller blush, but a blush, nonetheless, crept into her cheeks. “Er…I-I don’t know.” She gave me a strange look that I could not define. “My mind thinks up the most ridiculous things on occasion…so,” she deliberately changed the subject, “What’s in here?”
“Wha…in where?” I was still caught up in trying to make sense of her odd behavior.
She chuckled, “The notebook, silly.”
“Oh,” I leaned in closer so I could turn to the first page. “Look here…see for yourself.” Before I leaned back, my eyes caught hers, and I noticed how close we were. I tried not to let my surprise show, but, by the warm feeling that ignited in my cheeks when I settled back in my chair, I could tell I was most likely blushing. To my relief, I was not the only one; her face was as red as a beat.
I couldn’t pass the opportunity to draw attention to this and teased, “My, are we flustered.” Her eyes shot my way, and her blush deepened, responded by a turn in my stomach.
I chuckled, “Weasley take you on a rather satisfying detour during duty? Good thing no one caught you.”
She slammed the book angrily, but from the slight smile forming against her will, I knew she was amused. “Draco! You know I don’t fancy—”
I waived it off, saying, “I know, I know. Everyone knows he’s got eyes for Loony Lovegood, anyway.”
“What…what in Merlin’s name…I—”
She lost it, and thus began her gigglefest. I smiled with my teeth for the first time a weeks, though did not join her laughing fit. Instead, I just surveyed her happy self, glad that I had been the reason she was cheerful. I had missed her smile, the way she laughed, the way her eyes sparkled when she talked about something she was passionate about, the way she…
Wait—did she call me Draco?
For the second time since I knew her, she called me by my first name, and it was just like the first time...just as flowing and rich in levity. My odd feeling rushed into me, but this time, it was incredibly intense. What was happening to me? My smile faded, and our eyes locked. I could not breathe. What was going on? I didn’t care. I didn’t care what this meant, why it was happening, nor when it would stop…all I knew was that I was engulfed in her ethereal eyes.
Reality drowned me like a waterfall, and my eyes darted to the desk as I felt my body grow hot all over. I subconsciously loosened my tie and relieved myself of the furnace in the form of a robe, rolling up the sleeves of my sweater.
I couldn’t bring myself to speak…so, she did.
I said far too quickly for it to be normal, “Just read it…th-the notebook.”
I heard her shakily sigh before running a hand through her hair and reading the first page. I was eternally grateful that what she was reading took her mind off what had just happened. When she realized what the book contained, she jumped excitedly from her seat and stood beside me, plopping the notebook in front of us.
“Oh!” She cried in delight, looking at me with wide eyes. “You did this?”
Every evening over the last week, I had researched as much as I could about the Horcruxes and anything Voldemort related from the books that I had inherited from my father that had been untouched in my dorm’s bookshelf since the start of the 7th year. I had found everything from excerpts from death eaters’ journals to detailed information about the founders of Hogwarts. I wasn’t sure exactly what the Gryffindor trio needed to know, so I tried everything and filled the entire notebook with notes and diagrams.
“No, I bribed Parkinson to do all the dirty work,” I said sarcastically, smirking.
Her amused glare only made my smirk widen.
“Well,” she said, “I suppose I’ll have to give the pig-snout a great big hug when I see her at breakfast tomorrow, then.”
I chuckled, turning my torso so I could see her, “Or you could give me that bear hug, and I’ll pass it on…saves her the disgrace…”
“You’re awfully pathetic, you know,” she replied.
“Oh, am I?” I stood now and pretended to be “miss drama queen” by putting my hands on my hips and pouting. She snorted ceremoniously, causing my attempt to keep a straight face a failure.
“Yes, you are, as you’ve so nicely demonstrated.” She imitated my stance and we laughed together. After our laughter died down, Granger’s smile faded.
Sincerity shown in all her facial features. “Thank you, Draco.”
I nodded. “It’s the least I could do.”
She smiled with a thoughtful twinkle in her eye. What did it mean?
Her smile changed to a devious one. “I suppose I had better give you that hug.” Her tone was reluctant, but I could tell she was only teasing. I opened my arms and we embraced. My heart skipped a beat…wait, no it didn’t. I kept my composure…I was not effected in any way in the slightest. No, sir, my odd feeling only came because the hug was a new thing, a surprise…it didn’t mean anything. Not at all.
When we pulled away, the odd feeling left, and I felt strange…almost as if I wasn’t complete and there was something inside me that I couldn’t comprehend…
“Well,” I said somewhat hoarsely, “I’ll be sure to pass it on to Pansy in the morning.” When she frowned, I added, “and I’ll make sure I’ve practiced my disinfectant spells to perfection.” She giggled.
For hours after that, we remained in the common room situated before the fire, joking and having a wonderful time. It was exactly what I needed, what I had missed when she wasn’t talking to me. We never talked about the war, nor did I tell her about my father. When I turned in, I felt like nothing in the world mattered, none of the troubles were all that important.
As I write now, a day later, I can’t help but wonder how I would have stayed sane if Granger had not stepped foot into my life. She is the silver lining of the cloud, but maybe I’m just being dramatic. She’s just been so caring and fun to be around. There.
I don’t know what will come next in the war. I don’t know what part I will play once the action begins. I just wish it were over, that Voldemort was defeated and the world could breathe normally again. Granger, Potter, and Weasley sometimes disappear for a day every now and then, and I do hope they have been successful in finding what they've been looking for; the Horcruxes, I assume.
I had better head down to dinner now…my stomach seems to be on its knees and begging me for food. I’ll update when I can; N.E.W.Ts’ preparation will be the life of me, I tell you.
Bye for now,
AUTHOR'S NOTE: How was Entry Nine, eh? Please REVIEW with any comments, concerns, questions, critiques...whatever you wish (within reason, of course).
~oOo I M P O R T A N T oOo~
All chapters following this entry are posted under Slytherin Song: Part Two. I'm sorry for any confusion about that. Also, be aware that after Entry Ten, the chapters are not in journal entry form. I'm sorry if that's a disappointment, but I had the choice to either abandon this story completely or write the chapters in non-entry form. Obviously, I chose the later. Please read on into Part Two, and I hope you enjoy the remainder of the story!
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