The holidays had come at last. For Draco Malfoy, it had been one profitable holiday. As usual his parents had spoiled him rotten. Gotten him everything he had asked for. However his most prized gift that day had been from his older sister, Morgaine. In her sixth year at Hogwarts, Morgaine had given Draco a copy of Hogwarts A History. Since he would be joining her in attending Hogwarts in a couple of months, she wanted her little brother to know everything there was to know about his school.
Draco sat quietly in the corner of the ballroom, reading his book while Crabbe, Goyle and the other children played Exploding Snap. He glanced over at Morgaine, who sat giggling surrounded by a bunch of boys. Lucius had let them have a little bit of wine with dinner. From what he could tell, a little bit was all that was needed to make her tipsy. She had bounced about elated, dancing with every boy in the room until their mother made her sit down because she was working herself into nervous sweat. However Morgaine told her male cohorts that she was sitting down because she had a headache.
That was classic Morgaine. She never cowered to their parents. They seemed to respect her independence. No matter what she was told to do, she had managed to do it her way. Draco admired that. He wished he could be like that as well. However he was too afraid of his father. Too eager to gain his praise, his approval, that Draco often that not did whatever he was told.
Draco was never the kind of boy who could do anything right. He always managed to mess things up. Which usually meant that he was punished. He always thought that when he got to wizard school he would embarrass himself. However Morgaine, who was always the one to give him the most reassurance, had started to teach him basic spells from the moment he could pick up a wand. They would spend most of her vacations working on a new spell or potion. Morgaine loved potions. It was her most favorite subject. Her knowledge was extensive, far beyond that of most of her class. Professor Snape, the potions masters at Hogwarts, would often give her assignments over the holidays for extra credit.
He took another glance at his sister. Currently, Pansy's brother Prunus, a fellow Slytherin himself, who had always fancied Morgaine ever since they were children, was now thoroughly engaged in a conversation about how his father had found out his mother was taking Alihosty to induce post pregnancy hysteria as a way for him to buy her presents. Morgaine, tried her best to look amused but managed to mouth the words 'help' in Draco's general direction.
With that Draco closed his book and walked towards his sister.
"Morgaine," Draco announced rather loudly.
"I was wondering if you could borrow to me your potions book. There is something mentioned in Hogwarts A History that I would like to reference."
"Why of course, Draco," Morgaine beamed. "Its in my room, let us go and fetch it. Sorry Prunus, we will take this up when I return."
Prunus, who looked utterly vile at Draco smiled at Morgaine thru gritted teeth.
As they walked out of the ballroom, Morgaine gave Draco an appreciative pat on the shoulder.
"Thanks for the save."
"No problem. What are brothers for."
The duo made their way thru the long and winding halls of Malfoy Manor, past ornate marble statuary, moving portraits of long dead relations, and beautiful potted flowers, all of which were poisonous. When they reached the main hall that lead to the bedrooms on the second floor, Draco noticed that Morgaine look utterly exhausted and seemingly out of breath for walking such a short distance.
"This is so boring," Morgaine announced flopping down on the stone steps that led to the bedrooms.
Draco looked at his sister with concern. From a distance he couldn't tell but now that he was closer he saw that she was rather sweaty.
"Morgaine, are you feeling all right?"
"Of course," she replied. "Why do you ask?"
"You seem rather ill."
"I am not ill," Morgaine protested her breathing still labored. "Its the wine. And the dancing. I am not used to either."
Her answer was enough to convince Draco to drop the subject. From the ballroom echoed the sound of loud music and even louder conversations. The two of them sat there alone, taking in the sounds.
"Do you think anyone notices were gone?"
Morgaine gave a slight smile, "I don't think so. Not really. Father is too busy reveling in the attention he's getting to notice were gone. Mother will. She'll gives us some time to ourselves before fetching us back into the room. That is if she can get out of Father's sight, which with a crowd like that its very doubtful. So were free."
"How do you do that?"
"Stand up to them like that?"
"I didn't always," Morgaine replied as she turned to face her brother. "There was a time when I was afraid of them. Especially Father. Then I don't know how but something inside just snapped and I realized that I had no reason to be afraid. When I showed Father that I wasn't going to be afraid of him it gave me some kind of power. Something they were proud of."
"You think that if I stand up to them, they'll be proud of me too?"
Morgaine was taken aback by her brother's statement. Her face, which had the most content of smiles suddenly screwed itself into what looked like shock.
"Draco Lucius Malfoy, how could you say such a thing, of course they are proud of you!"
"I don't know," he said as he hanged his head slightly. "I have trouble getting things done right and it just feels like I am a screw up. I mean, they say all kinds of nice things to you and how well you have done. They never do to me. Its always things that I shouldn't be doing. I get the feeling that they aren't proud to call me their son."
Morgaine reached out and touched Draco's chin.
"Look at me."
Draco lifted his head and as Morgaine had suspected, he was crying.
"They are very proud of you. They might not show it, but they are. And no matter what they think about you, I am proud of you. You've got alot of talent Draco, you really do. I see it every time we do lessons. You will be something great one day. Something everyone, even our parents will be proud of. You just have to have faith in yourself. Not mother. Not father. Not me. You. Got that?"
"Good, now lets get back in there. I am betting Prunus is dying to finish his story."
With that Draco and Morgaine walked down the hall towards the ballroom.
* * * * *
The stars shone brightly and the moon was full as the horse drawn carriage drove up to the doorstep of Malfoy Manor.
"We're here," Narcissa whispered as the carriage made a full stop.
However Draco's mind was elsewhere. Far away. Back to the last happy memory he ever truly had. Back to when he didn't find happiness in the pain of others. Where he didn't have to deal with perfect Harry Potter and his super friends. A time when he wasn't hated and when he didn't hate his life. He never realized when he was younger how much his sister's death made an impact on his life as it was today.
"I'll be inside in a bit," Draco said as he walked away from his mother and towards the gardens.
Narcissa did not try to stop him or if she did, Draco was too lost in thought to have noticed.
He should have seen it then. He knew she was not herself. He could see she was not well. If only he had continued the conversation. Had told his parents she did not look well. That maybe, just maybe, it could have been reached in time to save her. There was a large window of time, he would learn later on, between their conversation on the steps and the time she died where there was a chance to save her life. When he had heard this, Draco became filled with guilt. He noticed she was sick and didn't act on his suspicions. Since that day, he couldn't get that thought out of his mind. He carried the memory with him everywhere. Her picture hidden within the pages of his potions book to remind him always.
He had killed his sister.
Draco Malfoy stood in the middle of the garden, his eyes filling with tears as he looked up at the sky.
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