Chapter 1 : Prologue
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My grandfather once told me that nothing could survive a fire. It burned everything in its path mercilessly, only hungering for more. No one could outrun a flame, and no one could stay alive in its midst. It ate your skin, your hair, and eventually, you would be gone. It would be agony to die in the flames, he said.
But he was wrong. For I not only survived a fire; I rose up from the ashes anew.
The stench of blood hung in the air, mingled with the screams of the dying and the tears of the alive. Broken stones crumbled beneath my feet as I looked back on the ruin of the Castle I used to call home. Hogwarts, Hogwarts, Hoggy Warty Hogwarts… I glanced up in surprise as the song I had only sung once, in first year, danced through my brain. I had thought it was stupid then, but only now did I realize how much I loved the school. It was my home, far more than Malfoy Manor would ever be.
I walked into a patch of noonday sun. It seemed so strange, to have the brilliant sun shining upon a battlefield. It seemed out of place. Just like me. I should have been chained like the other supporters of The Dark Lord-even now, I could not bring myself to say his name- that survived. Instead, I was free to roam the grounds, to stare at the cold, unfeeling eyes of the dead, to sit on the grass under a tree and think.
It has been only six hours since The Dark Lord fell, yet the Wizard world has already begun to piece itself together. An emergency election was held amongst the Order and those who fought against The Dark Lord, and Kingsley Shacklebolt has been elected as a temporary Minister of Magic. Already, those who supported the Dark Lord are undergoing trial and being thrown into the dank cells of Azkaban. I was told that my family will be pardoned, for switching sides at the end. And yet, that tormented me most.
Did I truly switch sides? Ever? I tried to bring Harry Potter to the Dark Lord, and pleaded with a Death Eater. I’m on your side. Those were the last words I uttered that night. Once Potter saved me yet again, I hid in a corridor in the dungeons, whimpering softly to myself and trying to block out the sounds of the raging battle. Some might say I switched sides, but I knew it was only the fear in my heart that kept me from fighting with the Dark Lord.
I should be glad that I was pardoned. The old Draco Malfoy would smirk at his luck. And yet I feel sickened, thinking that I will not get the punishment I deserved. I placed my head in my arms, wondering what had happened to me. Everything I thought was right has been snatched from me. Now I am told to change my morals, my beliefs, my entire way of thinking.
And somehow, I knew that I could.
Guilt. Remorse. Pity. All new emotions to me. I had never felt the tight fist of guilt gripping my stomach, the knives of remorse stabbing my chest, and the waves of pity breaking over my head. The emotions would not let go of me, no matter how hard I tried to shrug them off. They ravaged my body, until I was forced to curl into a ball and shake with tears, trying to hold myself together. My body was breaking, shattering onto the sweet smelling earth and there was nothing I could do about it. So I gave in to the pain. I let myself be torn apart.
Finally, I laid panting on the grass. My face was damp and I was covered in a sheen of sweat. I was attracting a few stares, too. But they were far from pitying. They were cold, hard, angry. And I realized that they blamed me, in part, for this. That I would always be blamed. I would be remembered as the Draco Malfoy who looked down on Muggle borns, who fought with the Dark Lord, who tried to kill Dumbledore. I had no hope for a future here.
No one would ever be able to see that I had changed. No, it would be the same sad story every day. I would never get married, for who would want to marry a former death eater? I would never get a job, for who would want to hire one who helped in killing his family? I would be resigned to a life of loneliness. And that was worse than any punishment the Ministry could ever put on me.
I wouldn’t be able to survive that.
I would have to leave. To get away from everyone who ever knew me. I would use a new name, a new face, in a new country. I would let people forget that I had ever existed. I would be born again.
I sat up shakily, running over plans in my mind. I’d go to Spain, or Italy. Somewhere that wasn’t hit hard by the Dark Lord’s reign of terror. Where his followers would not widely be known. No one would recognize me. I’d pass myself off as any young English wizard.
I would cast a spell to make my hair dark brown, and my eyes milk chocolate. My skin would have to be a few shades darker. It would be mask, covering my most striking features. No one would recognize me. Even I would forget about this past life.
And I would change my name. To something overly ordinary. William Smith. Yes, that would work perfectly. No one could ever suspect Draco Malfoy to have such a common name. I grinned, in spite of my situation. I was finally getting a new start. I could be brilliant, charming, perfect. None of my old self had to remain.
I would leave tomorrow morning. After telling my parents that I was leaving, but not where I was going, never where I was going, and taking money from my vault at Gringotts. The sooner I got out of here, the better.
Red hot tongues of fire burned Draco Malfoy to ashes. But from those ashes, William Smith would rise.
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