Chapter 1 : Chapter 1
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New one shot alert :) This was just a little one shot that refused to leave my mind, and it was a little exercise I indulged in to beat my personal demon, writers block… I hope you like it :)
He moved quickly through the passages, but quietly. His feet made no noise as he glided down the steps towards the library. The view of the library from the wide sweeping stairs was an impressive one, with bookshelves over three stories in height, but he paid no heed to it as he walked down, immersed in his own thoughts. It was a place he visited often, plagued as he was by insomnia. The entire Manor was pitch black, but he preferred it that way. There was a certain comfort that existed in pure solitude, comfort that was missing in the bustling lanes of London or under the high ceilings of the manors he was forced to visit due to his social obligations. Man was said to a social animal, but Draco Malfoy was more than willing to live the life of a hermit. The loud bustle of people and the constant level of noise that accompanied any gathering was not something he ever pursued or desired.
He had never truly connected with any person in his life, except one. Somehow every person he had met either wanted to know him for his name or his wealth. Others sought him for the reflected power they got from being around him. The Malfoy name, though bruised during the War, was one that still commanded respect in Wizarding society. His father had always flaunted the status that came from being a descendent of such an old and powerful family, but he was not his father. Though with his blonde hair and grey eyes he was a spitting image of his father, all similarities ended there. Their personalities couldn’t have been more different, his father’s obsession with money and power was something he did not share. His mother too was someone he could never connect with. As caring as she had been, she was always wary of showing too much affection to him. She didn’t want to make him soft, and she had succeeded. He had built an icy cage in his heart, one that shut him off from the rest of the world, and one that made him feel more machine than man.
The cage around his heart was not one that could be melted or shattered. His life had never been easy, even as a child. Though the people sympathised with the Chosen One, and spoke derisively of him, no one knew the pitiful lie he had growing up. Yes, his life had been full of comforts and there never was a material desire of his that was unfulfilled, there was a glaring absence of warmth and laughter in his childhood. His parents deemed any external form of affection crass and ‘pedestrian’; it was not the Malfoy’s way to cuddle with their children or to tuck them in at night. Any nightmares he had at night he had to wipe away his tears himself. And his Hogwarts life was even harder. His father had been unable to accept that a muggleborn could be better than his son, and he had spent summers with expensive tutors learning from dawn to dusk. He was doing the best he could, but that was never enough for his father. As a result of this, he vented his frustration at the source of all his problems – the muggleborn who always did better than him. Endlessly teasing and tormenting her first started as a result of the unrealistic expectations of his father, but soon became a part of him. He looked forward to doing verbal battle with her, as she would never back down from him. For the first time in his life here was a person who couldn’t care less about him. For a person who had always been sought out, this was a startling, yet not unpleasant change.
Somehow, her blatantly obvious hatred and disdain for him only spurred him, instead of turning him away. He started to chase her, even if it was only to direct barbs her way. The way she retaliated each time made him have to conceal a smile. But slowly, every glare of hers started to sting. It hurt to see her glaring so ferociously his way, and too late he admitted his feelings to himself. Each and every slur he had ever directed her way began to drum a constant tattoo on his brain.
He was always watching. He began to feel the first twinges of jealousy he had ever felt in his life when he saw her direct gentle smiles and laughter towards her red headed friend – smiles which he wished he could receive. And then he would mentally scold himself – firstly, Malfoy’s were not caring and secondly, he was entertaining an impossible situation in his head, one that would only hurt him more the longer he continued it. But he found it hard to stop. It is not so easy to let go of people. So he continued to watch her from a distance as she watched Weasley, who was completely oblivious to her feelings. That year had been exceptionally difficult too; as that was the year he had to kill Dumbledore. He pushed himself into his task – a task he hated – to avoid going about the same things in his head but it was nigh impossible. At the very last moment he chickened out, but before he could grasp the lifeline being thrown to him by Dumbledore, Snape burst in and murdered the man in front of his very own eyes. His heart broke as he saw the very last chance of ever escaping this wretched life of his fall off the Astronomy Tower.
He had always wondered how different his life would have been, if he had hesitated a fraction of a second less that night and accepted Dumbledore’s offer. He could have switched sides, and instead of watching her being tortured in front of his own eyes, he could have been the one to try and save her. But that required bravery he didn’t possess. Bravery he had been stunned to know that Snape had had, when he learnt about his godfather’s true role in the War.
But after the dust of the War had settled, and the living was mourning the dead, Draco found himself alone. No family left, no friends by his side, just an empty Manor and a large pile of gold to his name. For the first time in his life, Draco realised the pointlessness of wealth – it only gave you happiness if there were people to share your happiness with. People were given to you to love, and things were given to you to use, and not the other way around. So he started giving his wealth to people who needed it. Orphanages, charities, the homeless. He always gave it anonymously. It made him feel better when he saw the money that had been greedily hoarded by generations of Malfoys before him used by the very people they despised. His amusement was at its highest when he gave to the charity run by Hermione Granger for house elfs. She hadn’t left the cause which she had been championing since their Hogwarts days.
A loud knocking jerked him into consciousness. With a start, he realised that the book he had chosen, A Complete History of Salamander Breeding, had been boring enough to send even his restless mind into the arms of Morpheus, if only for a few hours. Loud impatient banging on his front door shook him into motion, and he made his way to the front door wondering who was paying him a visit so early in the morning. A sudden thought stopped him in his tracks for a moment, and then had him hurrying faster than before. The Manor had been protected with various ancient enchantments; no ordinary wizard could have bypassed them and reached his front door. A loud voice reached his eardrums.
“Open the damn door Malfoy!”
He recognised that voice instantly, having heard direct many an insult towards him. What on earth was Hermione Granger doing at his front door?
As he approached the door, he flicked his wand, and the doors opened. Hermione was on the other side, her fist directed halfway towards where the doors had been. She strode in without hesitation, still yelling at him.
“I don’t know what you’re planning to do Malfoy, but you won’t succeed. Whatever game you're playing, I suggest you stop right now because I will never back down. You can’t stop me, so don’t even try. I know you must find it amusing to have me in a tizzy, but I’m telling you, your plan won’t work.”
“A good morning to you too, but Granger, what are you talking about?”
Hermione’s eyes narrowed, and for a moment, Draco found himself looking straight into them. They were a common shade, a dark brown, but uncommon intelligence glittered in them.
“So now you're going to pretend that you never donated 5,000 galleons to my organisation to stop it from securing basic rights for elves?”
“Listen to yourself for a moment. Your saying that I’ve concocted a devious plan to stop you from fighting for elf rights and to secure this end I’ve donated a large sum of money to your organisation. Your brain truly works backwards.”
She opened her mouth to retort angrily when the truth of his words hit her.
“You want rights for elves?”
“Would that really come as such a surprise Granger? In case you haven’t noticed, the reason you waited so long outside is because I don’t have a house elf myself. And do you think everything I do is because I have some ulterior evil motive?”
“How did you find out anyway, it was made anonymously.”
She looked sheepishly at her feet. Draco looked at her, an idea forming in his head. He turned on his heel and strode out, calling over his shoulder.
“Now that you’re here, I might as well show you something. Follow me Granger.”
He left the room without looking over his shoulder to check if she’s following. He heard her hesitant footsteps trailing behind him as she mumbled,
“You’d better not be taking me to a secluded part of the Manor to kill me…”
He snickered as he heard that, and then asked.
“Where’s Weasley? Why isn’t he here with you?”
“Ron is on his honeymoon right now with Luna, in Greece. And besides, I can take care of you myself.”
Even though he wouldn’t admit it to himself, something about that statement made him feel a lot lighter. He retraced his steps back to where he had been so rudely woken up this morning. As he approached the stairs, he heard a gasp behind him. He turned around to see Hermione stopped dead in her tracks, he eyes greedily taking in the scene around her.
“Well, what do you think?”
She said nothing, but her awestruck expression told him everything he needed to know. As he ushered her into the library, he began to feel something in his bones.
This could be the start of something big.
So? What did you think?
Do you think it felt like a realistic peek into the mind of Draco Malfoy…?
Please let me know! :)
A brownie for everyone who reviews :P
Lots of love,