Chapter 1 : An Unlikely Confidant
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No one ever said that being a Death Eater would be quite this hard. No one ever said that the Dark Lord was going to threaten my mother if I didn’t succeed in doing his bidding. I mean, who wants to have the constant threat of death hanging over their head every minute, of every hour, of every single day?
I had been glad at first, excited at the prospect of finally being chosen. He had laid it all out for me, in such a way, that it made perfect sense. I have to do this, it must be me, it can only be me. No one would ever expect it to be me, and that was why I was the man who was perfect for the job. A secret weapon, that is what the Dark Lord had called me. I was, and am, the youngest Death Eater in his entire army. No one will ever be expecting me, especially not my target; Albus Dumbledore, the old fool!
I may be able to fool them; the Dark Lord, my father, and maybe Dumbledore. But I cannot fool myself. I can’t do this! I’ve never killed anyone in my entire life! I had thought that I was ready, and I have even made my first attempt… but it didn’t work out very well. It didn’t go very well at all. I almost killed the wrong person! I should have never told Rosmerta to give the necklace to the first girl that walked in there, no! I should have been more specific. I should have taken my time, chosen a better candidate myself, and waited for the right moment...
Oh well, at least that Bell girl was a Gryffindor, and someone off of Potter’s precious Quidditch team at that! There you go Draco, just keep telling yourself things like that. That’ll make it all better! ...Yeah, right! Who am I kidding? I can’t do it!
“I can’t do it,” I say again, this time out loud. I am still looking in the mirror, and I watch as tears begin to fill my eyes. Again. I cannot stand to cry. I hate the way it makes me feel, makes me look. Real men should never cry, that’s what father always said. Only those who are weak cry. Only the weak are foolish enough to let their emotions get the best of them!
My father’s reasoning makes sense now,, I suppose, because I am weak! I can’t even kill, which is something that all Death Eaters have to learn right off. It’s kill or be killed when you live to serve Lord Voldemort. You either do, or you die, for he shows no mercy. The Dark Lord does not merit failure.
“AARGH!!” I cry out. That felt good actually. I needed a good scream, and it is a good thing that there is nobody around to hear me. I am in the prefect’s bathroom, because I know that there is no way I can be overheard in here. I’ve been using this room a lot this year, just to vent. After all, I have to talk to somebody - even if that somebody is only just myself. If not, I fear I’d go mad!
But fortunately, no one ever travels this corridor at this hour of the day, for it is still very early. I couldn’t sleep last night. I can never sleep at night anymore, because he always haunts my dreams. I have been getting up with the sun for the last month
The nightmares are always the same; I am standing before him, he asks me if I have completed the task I was given, I hang my head and tell him that I was unable to… and then he kills her, right in front of me. I always watch, helpless to stop it from happening, as my mother’s body crumples to the floor. Then he turns to me, aims his wand in my face, and then I wake up in a cold sweat, too afraid to fall back asleep after seeing something like that... In order to stop my mind from thinking such terrible things, I usually force myself to think on a different subject for a while: The Vanishing Cabinet.
Yeah right, what a joke! I cannot fix that no more that I can kill Dumbledore. I’ve tried everything! I hate it when even my conscience won’t stop telling me what a screw up I am... I can’t fix it, nothing works!
“Yeah right Draco, who‘re you trying to kid?” I said out loud, speaking to no one but my own reflection. “It’s not going to work,” I argued with myself. “It’s never going to work! I-I can’t fix it!”
It will work, just give it time. You can do this Draco, the voice in my head reassured. That voice had always stayed more focused on the positive side of things. I hated that voice. And think of how much he will reward you when it does work! He may even let father out of jail if it does.
“Yeah, but if it doesn’t...” My throat clenched tight the tears continued to flood my eyes. I really am not used to all this crying. In fact, I downright hate it, I really do. A Malfoy is never supposed to cry, or show any sort of sign of emotion on the outside whatsoever. These are the things my father has always taught me. But of course, he and I have both known for quite some time now that I was never going to live up to the family name. I was a failure, a nobody; I couldn’t even best the mudblood on exams.
“If it doesn’t work soon... he will kill her. And if I still can’t do it after that… he will kill me!” I swallowed and gasped for air. “I don’t want to die!” I shouted. I had never felt so much despair in my entire life. It was hopeless, the whole damn thing! I was stupid to think I could ever do something like this! Never has there been a moment when I thought that I would not succeed... until now. I cannot kill Albus Dumbledore. And for that, the Dark Lord is going to murder my entire family, before coming after me.
“Dying’s not all that bad you know,” came a small voice behind me. I spun around and had my wand out in an instant. This was crazy! Who the hell could be in here? I hadn’t even heard anybody come into the room.
“Who’s there?” No one answers me directly, but the voice did giggle in response. It was a girls voice. Wait, that couldn’t be right! This was the boys bathroom. “Show yourself,” I demanded.
A pale figured drifted out through one of the stalls next to me. She had long dark hair and thick glasses. Oh no, not Moaning Myrtle, I groaned inwardly. She was the last thing I wanted to see or hear from right now.
“I heard you, you know,” she said happily. “You were crying.”
I wiped my face off on my sleeve quickly. “No I wasn’t,” I lied, although I don’t particularly know why. She was only a stupid ghost! What difference did it make weather or not she knew if I was in here crying? My pride was a right pain in the arse sometimes.
“It’s ok you know,” she said reassuringly. “It’s ok to cry sometimes. I cry all the time! I won’t tell.”
“You won’t?” I however, was not reassured. I found this a rather difficult statement to believe. From what I knew about Moaning Myrtle, she seemed to be a bit of a gossip. “Well, uh, thanks Myrtle. I’d really appreciate it if this could stay between us.”
“Oh it can,” she said cheerfully. “I am good at keeping secrets!” Is she now? I somehow find that difficult to believe as well, but maybe that has something to do with the way she giggles after saying this to me.
“Sooo,” she says to me in a prying manner, “why exactly are you in here crying, hmmm? It‘s not too often that I find boys crying in the bathroom! Especially not handsome boys.” She winks at me and I cringe inwardly. This is not how I imagined spending my morning.
“I’m sorry, Myrtle. But I really don’t think I should be talking to you about it,” I said. And I really was sorry too, because I wanted to be able to talk to somebody about it. About all of it. “Actually, I shouldn’t be talking to anybody about it.”
“Nobody ever wants to talk to meee!” she wailed, and I was instantly reminded of a 3 year old. “Nobody likes Myrtle. Poor, stupid, whining, moaning Myrtle!”
Hmmm... she does have a point, I admitted to myself. If nobody ever talked to her, maybe I could talk to her then… Maybe, just maybe… Honestly though, who would she tell? I suppose just talking to her just this once couldn’t hurt. I do need someone to hear me out...
“You see, the thing is,“ I say, speaking over top of her repulsive whining. “All of it is top secret, what I’m supposed to do. I could get in real trouble if I ever told anyone.”
She stopped droning and looked back at me. “Are people being mean to you?” she asked firmly. I don’t know why she was being so defensive all of a sudden.
“Yeah,” I nodded, “I guess you could say that.”
Myrtle frowned and put her hands on her hips. “People bully me too,” she pouted, “so I think I know exactly how it is you feel. You can talk to me!”
“Well my situation is far different than your everyday bullying,” I told her. “I am talking about dealing with the Dark Lord.”
Myrtle gasped dramatically. “What are you dealing with him for?” she asked. “Has he done something to you?”
“Not yet,” I replied bitterly.
When I said nothing more on the matter, she added, “you can tell me.” Merlin she is annoying. “I won’t tell, honest. Please, tell me what he’s making you do.”
“I never said he was making me do anything,” I said quickly. I hadn’t, had I?
“No,” she giggled. “I just thought that much was obvious. You come in here a lot you know.”
“Have you been spying on me?”
“No, not necessarily. I just notice things and, from what I’ve seen, you’re clearly upset because there is something you cannot do. What is it?” she pried. “You can tell me.”
“No I can’t,” I said shaking my head. “I can’t tell anyone what it is he’s asked me to do!”
“Well, I heard you say that you were trying to fix something. What is it? Maybe I can help you,” she offered.
“No on can help me,” I said hopelessly. And with those five simple words, I lost my nerve. Everything that I had been holding in for days came boiling to the surface, and began pouring out of me. I turned away from her and leaned back over the sink. I didn’t dare look at myself now though, for I knew that I would be ashamed of what I would see there. Before I could stop myself, the words I had been biting back this entire time came spilling out.
“There is a Vanishing Cabinet in the Room of Requirement,“ I told her. “I have been trying to mend it, but nothing I do is helping. He has not asked me to do this, it was my own idea. But if I cannot fix it, if I cannot get outside help when it comes time, then I fear I will not be able to carry out the task the Dark Lord had given me! If I cannot get the cabinet to work soon, I know I am doomed to fail.” I paused to catch my breath. “But that’s probably what he wants anyways. He wants me to fail so that he can kill me!” The tears just kept coming and I could not stop myself from crying now.
I could barley see what Myrtle was doing, but it was apparent that her vestige of merriment had vanished. She was no longer laughing, no longer chuckling, no longer smiling even. It was a well-known fact that to all that Moaning Myrtle enjoyed watching other people cry, but she was not enjoying my pain right now. She was genuinely concerned, of that much I could tell.
“Aww, now don’t cry,” she cooed. “It’s alright, you can still fix it. I’m sure you still have lots of time. You do have time, don’t you?” I nodded. It wasn’t even Christmas yet, the school year wasn’t even half-way over yet, or course I still had time. Myrtle was right.
“So just keep on trying then,” she encouraged. “I don’t know anything about vanishing cabinets, sorry. But if I did, I would tell you. But still, I’m sure it can be fixed somehow, and if anyone can do it, you can.”
I wiped my eyes on my sleeve. “Thanks Myrtle,” I sniffled. I hated admitting it, but she was right; I did have time still. Time to go back and try again. Time to find another way even, before it was too late.
“You didn’t have to say any of that, you know. You didn’t have to say anything really,” I told her. “But I’m glad you did, because you‘re right; I do still have time left.”
“Well, I was happy to help,” she said, brimming with happiness. “You can talk to me anytime you know, and you don’t even have to tell me why it is you’re fixing it, not if you don’t want to. I don’t mind. It‘s just nice having someone to talk to every once in a while, that’s all.” She certainly was right about that. Maybe talking to her isn’t such a bad idea after all. Maybe she could be of some help to me in the end, who knows?
I looked out the window and sighed. The sun was rising fast now, and soon the halls would be full of children running off to breakfast, or off to their first classes, all of them without a care in the world. What I wouldn’t give to be as careless as some of them were right now, to be able to just go downstairs into the Great Hall and actually enjoy my morning for a change. But I would never have a peaceful morning again, at least not until my job was done, the Dark Lord would see to that.
“Well Myrtle, um, it was nice talking to you,” I said awkwardly. “We should, uh, do this again sometime.”
“Oh, that would be wonderful!” she exclaimed, returning to her slightly, overly creepy self. “You can come back anytime you know. Maybe next time, you could visit me in my toilet?”
And that would be my cue to leave. “Erm, I don’t think so, sorry. It’s just, well, this place is a bit more... private. No one really comes down this way,” I said, trying to let her off easy. I really don’t feel like listening to her whine again.
“I get it,” she pouted. “It been a very long time though, since any boys have come to see me.” In normal cases, I would usually have a comeback for that, but I though better of it at the moment. After all, she had her own problems, as did I. It wasn’t right for me to pick fun at her, just because I could... And, wait a minute, what the hell am I saying? Geeze, maybe I am losing it!
“Right. Well, I’m going to go get some food now, I have class soon. Thanks again for talking with me. I’ll see you Myrtle.” Then I turned to leave without another word to her.
As I walked down the corridors, making my way to the Great Hall, I could not help but feel slightly relieved. Somehow, talking to someone else, besides myself, had helped take some of the weight off. It felt like I could breathe again because, for the first time this year, I no longer felt alone. I had been secretly searching for someone to share my feelings with, and now, I had finally found my confidant in the most unlikely person of all.
And, even if Myrtle did tell someone she had spoken to me, who would believe her? I smiled to myself, knowing that my reputation would win over any of her meaningless claims. People who know me know that I would never tell my secrets to some girl, much less an obnoxiously whiny ghost like Myrtle. I was a Malfoy; and tall, proud, arrogant, selfish, careless, and fearless are only a few of the terms that are most often associated with those in my family. That is how Malfoys are supposed to act, but as for me, I am very afraid, lonely, worried, and anxious all of the time.
The people who know me well, really don't know me very well at all...
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