Chapter 1 : Ambivalent
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Ambivalence - To feel two conflicting emotions at the same time.
Sitting in the parlour of his childhood home, the orange flames of the fire reflecting off the white marble of the floor, Draco Malfoy stared unseeingly out of the window as his mother read her book of poetry in the rocking chair opposite him.
He was dimly aware of his father’s presence behind him as he paced back and forth in front of the large open fireplace, his long blonde hair pulled into a black velvet ribbon and his fingers interlinked behind his back.
Draco didn’t have to look to know that a deep set frown was engraved on his father’s face. It seemed that whenever he looked at his father these days he was wearing the same frown. Everyone wore the same expressions these days, including his mother who always looked drawn and harassed, Wormtail who lived in abject fear of everyone and even his Aunt Bellatrix had a strained look about her already hardened face.
As for himself, Draco was always busy trying to ensure that fright and indecision did not show in his eyes or cross his face for an instant. His Aunt was like a bloodhound where betrayal to the Dark Lord was concerned, she could sniff it out a mile away and was always happy to inflict the necessary punishment herself.
That was something Draco didn’t want to have to deal with, the wrath of his Aunt Bellatrix. She was a good witch, a powerful witch, hadn’t she taught him the skill of the dark arts herself when his father had been indisposed in Azkaban? Draco had seen her in action and he was glad he had never been on the receiving end of her anger.
Lifting a weary hand, Draco rubbed his palm along his jaw feeling the stubble rasping along the smooth skin. His appearance had taken a back seat to all his other worries and he only realised at that moment that he hadn’t shaved for a couple of days.
His mind drifted from the neatly tended gardens of Malfoy Manor and he found himself, as he did so frequently these days, wondering where Harry Potter was and what he was doing. At first, Draco had found it mind boggling that he thought about Potter so often, he was fighting for all the things that he, himself, despised, and all the people who were beneath him.
Still, Draco wondered if the rumours were true, if all the hype about Potter was in fact real and he would end up defeating the Dark Lord.
The Dark Lord was all powerful, ice cold with not a sliver of mercy inside the hardened shell of his body. Draco had seen this first hand and the memories caused bile to burn the back of his throat. The Dark Lord and the Death Eaters were fighting a war they started seventeen years ago, a war which would restore the wizarding world to rights again, where mud-bloods and half breed’s would be banned, winnowed out and destroyed. He wore the Dark Mark and had been proud to receive it, to follow in his fathers footsteps and stand up and fight for what he believed in; the world the Dark Lord was trying to bring back for them.
But now, Draco didn’t feel the same sense of glowing confidence or cockiness as he had done at the start of his fifth year which had sustained him through to his sixth year until the fear and desperation had become almost too much to bare. Now, Draco had taken a step back, he stood outside the circle and had taken a long, hard look at what had become of his family. Draco didn’t like what he saw.
The Dark Lord had not rewarded him for bringing the Death Eaters into Hogwarts, and therefore arranging for the death of Dumbledore, as he had often imagined him doing, even if it had not been he who had ended up doing the deed. Instead, he had been forced to watch as his father, his own father, Lucius Malfoy of Malfoy Manor, of the long line of pureblood Malfoy’s had, in front of all the other Death Eaters whom he had once commanded in his own way, had his wand taken from him.
Draco’s grey eyes shimmered lightly and he closed his eyes in distress at the memory. That had been one of the hardest things he had ever had to endure where his father was concerned, his imprisonment in Azkaban aside.
Luicus Malfoy was always so strong, so in control and so competent in everything he did. Draco smiled wistfully, his father was his hero. He still was. Draco was sure his father would work out a way to give the Malfoy’s back the honour that had been taken from them, and then he could be restored, have his wand back and be the man and wizard that Draco knew he was.
However, as much as he wanted the Malfoy name to reflect it’s former glory, he knew all that glory had been won due to dark deeds and Draco wasn’t altogether sure that he wanted to live in a world that was full of darkness.
Naively, Draco hadn’t given much thought to a world where the Dark Lord ruled, only that the mud-bloods and half breeds would be stripped of their magic and the mud-bloods would be put back into the muggle world where they belonged. He hadn’t thought of anything else, of the desolation and the darkness, of the oppression and tyrannical rule of the Dark Lord. Now that he had seen first hand how the Dark Lord worked, the punishments he doled out right, left and centre, Draco shuddered at the thought of living in that kind of world.
If Harry Potter won the world would stay as it was, Draco knew this, a world that he was used to living in, where the Malfoy name stood for something, meant something. He despised Potter and his do-gooder ways. Draco hated that Potter bested him at every turn, that he could see through him and in his own way looked down on him. Him, a Malfoy!
The knowledge was intolerable, just like Potter, the idiotic Weasley and the irritating mud-blood. Everything about the boy was intolerable, and yet, Draco couldn’t help but feel he would rather live in a world where Potter had won. A world which was just like the one he had known, what seemed like so many long years ago rather than only months before this day.
Draco shook his head slightly, pressing the heel of his hand into his temple. He couldn’t quite grasp the concept of hating Potter and yet wanting him to triumph while he wore the Dark Mark and agreed with the Dark Lord. But that was what he wanted really, that was the way he felt. Draco knew he would never agree with Potter’s warped idealistic way of looking at the world, at how he thought things should be.
He scowled suddenly, what did Potter know anyway? He had never heard of the wizarding world until he received his Hogwarts letter, he had grown up in a different world altogether, a world that did not correspond with magic and mystery and had no right to encroach upon it in any way.
Standing up, Draco stretched out his stiff knees and crossed to the small bar in the corner of the room to pour himself a goblet of water. The water was clear, reflecting the gold of the goblet onto the surface and tasted clear and cool in his mouth, it refreshed him and Draco wished he could use a similar technique with his mind, it would be nice to be able to refresh his mind every so often and attempt a new way of looking at things.
It had taken so long for him to think of new ways of looking at things, to examine different angles of a situation, and Draco did not enjoy the pain, darkness and sorrow that he saw. Although, he was very pleased that only the darkness applied to him, that he didn’t feel pain or sorrow over anything.
Darkness was a different matter. Darkness was all consuming. Darkness crept up on him when he least expected it and plunged over him, drowning him. Darkness tormented him. Darkness made him pray fervently that Potter could do something to stop it all, to stop the darkness from taking over the world that he knew. A world he was comfortable in, a world where he held a proper and well respected place in society alongside his father.
It was a world he liked, a world Draco enjoyed living in, where he could be someone important. It was a world where his father was looked up to and respected and Draco desperately wished for this world to come back, for Potter to bring it back.
Wandering aimlessly back to his chair where an open book sat on the little walnut table beside it, the wood smooth and glossy in the fire light, Draco flopped down and crossed his feet at the ankles. A small wrinkle appeared in his forehead, still, after all those thoughts, he didn’t believe in Potter’s cause.
For the first time in his life Draco was discovering that it wasn’t always possible to have everything that he wanted.
“Draco? Is something wrong?” Narcissa asked softly, when she noticed the flicker of annoyance crossing over her son’s face.
Draco glanced up at his mother and shook his head as he lifted his book up off the table. “Not exactly, I just realised that at the moment I’m rather ambivalent,”
“Oh, I see,” Narcissa said, not bothering to try to understand what he meant, Draco didn’t like to delve into his feelings in any way.
Draco smiled warmly at her before disappearing behind his book, a frown creasing his forehead again as soon as he was hidden from sight.
The Dark Lord or Potter to triumph? The choice was a difficult one to make and Draco still didn’t know at this moment where his allegiance truly lay. It was disorienting not knowing exactly how he felt.
Ambivalent. Draco nodded to himself, that’s exactly what he was right now and he didn’t much care for the feeling.