Chapter 1 : Aftermath: Family Ties
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August 15, 1998; 11:20 PM
Iíd been standing in front of the full length mirror for nearly an hour but not really paying attention to my reflection. I was too caught up in my thoughts that I hadnít noticed the time flying by. A tapping on the bedroom window snapped me back to reality. I shook my head as if to get rid of the thoughts that had been plaguing my mind for the last few weeks. I crossed the room slowly to open the window. The owl hooted as it flew in and perched itself on the nearest desk. I gingerly untied the ribbon that secured the letter to the owlís outstretched leg.
ďHere you go, girl,Ē I said, handing the owl a treat. †It nipped my finger affectionately and flew out as soon as it finished the treat. I stared out the window for a few moments, the warm breeze whipping my hair around gently. Then moon was shining brightly tonight, casting a hauntingly beautiful glow on the surfaces its light reached. I sat on the edge of my bed and proceeded to open the letter. Judging by the seal, I deduced that it must be from either my parents or my brother.
I heard you were staying home for the rest of the summer. May I ask why? Donít get me wrong, dear. Itís not that we donít want you around, quite the opposite actually. Your Father and I were just used to the fact that you stay home for a period of two weeks at most, before spending the rest of your vacation at your friendsí home. Anyway, we are glad you had decided to stay. We are in France, as the elves might have told you. We had originally planned staying here until the end of August. But due to the circumstances, we are coming home early. I will be arriving in two or three days and your Father will follow in a weekís time. That will give us the opportunity to catch up on some girl time, I hope.
†I owled your brother and asked him to come home as well. His replied that he would try his best to visit at least once. But he will surely be spending the holidays with his family this year, and probably bring along his new girlfriend. I have met her only once but I have taken a liking to her right away. Letís just hope your brother decides to settle down soon. I am not getting any younger and would still want to spoil my grandchildren. Same applies to you, my dear. But do your Father does not agree. He is determined to keep you away for a long time yet. Rubbish, if you ask me! And he is scowling now as he read that sentence over my shoulder. Ha!
I wonít be keeping you any longer, love. We will see you soon.
A smile graced my lips after reading the letter. To most people, my family appears to be the epitome of pureblood elitists- rich, proud, and power hungry. It didnít help that my father was a high ranking official in the Italian Ministry of Magic either. But in reality we werenít that much different from any other normal wizarding family. True, the past few years had been quite difficult due to the war and everything. Being pureblood, my parents were expected to join in the ranks of the Dark Lord and we, their children, to follow as soon as we were out of school. But see here, not all purebloods believe in the old ancestral belief about blood purity. Most are just too proud to admit it, the others are downright afraid of the repercussions. My parents had remained steadfast in their decision to remain neutral though. My brother and I were asked to do the same. I, however, was a supporter of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix ever since. My parents had warned me about this many times through the years. They feared greatly for my safety, even resorting to extreme measures to keep me safe. It didnít matter much now, though. The war is over and the world had begun to heal itself. Maybe, just maybe, it was time to tell the truth.
ďI will have to speak about it with Mother when she arrives,Ē I whispered silently to myself as I placed the letter on the desk and climbed into bed.
August 16, 1998; 2:28 AM
This was the third night in a row I found myself unable to sleep. Even if I did manage to doze off, I would often be roused by a house guest or an elf claiming Iíd been thrashing wildly. Nightmares, I said. They seem to be the only sure thing in my life at the moment. Since my sixth year, nightmares had become a common occurrence in my evenings. The infamous Dark Lord deciding to use me as revenge for my fatherís failures was no improvement. Throw in the same worthless lunatic and his pathetic excuse for an army living in my familyís home into the mix and youíve got yourself a surefire night of utter hell. It was maddening and dare I admit, frightening. People I have never seen before were brought in the Manor on an almost daily basis. Most never made it out. The only way to block out their screams was to find a soundproof room, cast a silencing charm around yourself and plug your ears. It wasnít enough for me though. It plagued my life, invaded my dreams. I thought the nightmares would stop as soon as the war was over. I was sorely mistaken. If anything, they seem to have gotten much worse. Scenarios of how the final battle would turn out were replaced by snippets of the aftermath. I was there in battle that day. It was bloody, it was messy and it was downright ugly. It isnít as glorious as people might be telling nowadays, or as epic as historians might write down in their books. Whenever I closed my eyes, I would see all those who perished. I have seen pain, suffering and death in my young age but it was nothing compared to the torment I saw in their eyes. The pleas of surrender and immunity, the screams for vengeance, the wails of loss and sorrow. My decision to switch sides during the last moments of the war did nothing to alleviate the immense guilt I was feeling now. There were times I was tempted to concede to the souls clamoring for my death. I had survived after all and it did not seem fair. But surely there was a purpose, a reason to why I had been given a second chance. My father is in Azkaban; my mother had fled to the States. Me? Iím going back to Hogwarts; prove myself worthy of the life I had almost thrown away. I am going to face this new era and gain back the dignity of the Malfoy name.
A/N: That little box down there is reserved speacially for you! Thanks for reading! ^^,
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