Chapter 1 : The Explanation
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Of course I was influenced—I was impressionable and youthful. I was taught that because of my surname, I was superior to everyone else; that I should answer to no one and be someone to be feared and respected. And above all else, I would always be defined by wealth and the company I kept. The wealth was easy enough. I was the sole heir to the Malfoy fortune. The company I kept—proved to be a bit harder. I couldn’t be the Crabbe and Goyle—I had to be the leader, not the follower. And so I took up that role, and I hated pretty much every second, much to everyone’s surprise. Most were unintelligent—very unintelligent. But hang out with a Ravenclaw and I was toast. All were cowards—but hang out with a Gryffindor, and I would be disowned.
Funny enough, being disowned was a huge threat in itself. It was continuously dangled in front of me. I do admit to not being strong. I wasn’t strong—in fact, I was downright living up to the Slytherin name—greedy, ambitious, and cowardly all at once. It was a person I grew to hate but be comfortable with: in conclusion, the worst kind of person. Finally, it all seemed to catch up. My mother threatened to leave and take me with her, something that ended disastrously. It was an event that was life altering. From then on, she no longer had a semblance of freedom—or piece of mind. I was pushed harder than before to live up to my name. The Dark Lord used me to get back at my father for failing and put me up to a job that I would definitely fail. My father threatened to kill my mother if I didn’t do it—work my hardest—redeem the Malfoy name.
I learned true pain that year. The pain that caused tears to fall from my eyes and my stomach to feel like it was heavier than a hippogriff. I was truly alone that year. Professor Snape would offer his help, but I had no idea who he really worked for. The Dark Lord said Professor Snape had always been his, but even at that age I knew there was more to that story. Dumbledore wasn’t a fool to be tricked so easily. I was right, of course, about that. Harry Potter building a shrine to Snape was proof enough. Dumbledore. Dumbledore was defenseless in the end against me, but even then, he convinced me to lower my wand. What he said—about giving my mother safety—almost pushed me to the edge. That’s what I wanted above all else. But before I could wrap my head around the fact that moving to the other side was probably better, Aunt Bellatrix burst in with a cackle and Professor Snape well—finished the job.
The Dark Lord was smug about the entire thing, although he didn’t kill any of us. He needed us in the end. He was a lonely bastard, and I was relieved when Potter finished him off. Potter. Potter is the one thing I will not apologize for. Potter was arrogant, and stupidly brave, always earning Gryffindor points for being an arse. His holier than thou attitude made it easy for me to despise him—that much was real. He loved the fame that followed him—reveled in it. And his two sidekicks were no better—feeding off of his own triumphs.
So when I went back to Hogwarts for my seventh year, you could imagine my elation at not seeing Potter anywhere in sight. I almost suspected he’d come in with a flying carpet, but thankfully, he didn’t use any of his usual dramatic entrances—or any kind of entrance. Neither did Weasley—in fact, red hair was dramatically missing, except of course for the girl Weasley’s. She was sitting next to Granger, who I really had no doubt would show up. She took school seriously. I suppose I did too, but she was always one ahead of me. But now she was several ahead of me. Because I was a Death Eater—not part of the fucking Golden Trio. I knew, even then, getting a job after Hogwarts would be hard. I was surprised that Hogwarts even let me come back.
McGonagall knew though—I think—how everything was with me. I think she saw the relief in my face when the Dark Lord was blown to smithereens. I sat next to Parkinson and Zabini, and the sparse amount of Slytherins looking solemn. There was gloom that surrounded the green decked table. I mean, aside from the usual gloom. No one around the castle would spare us a glance, other than Slughorn, who looked sympathetically toward our table every now and then. The hat was in its usual place, and of course, students began to file in. There was a dismal amount of first year Slytherins—probably because no one wanted to be in Slytherin, and I’ve heard that hat takes that into account.
The song started, and the hat sang about how we’ve rebuilt and it’s time to forgive but not forget. All that crock that no one was really listening to anyway. I looked at the maybe—four—first years sitting around and they looked slightly miserable. One looked prideful—but he was the only one. I wasn’t even prideful any longer. It was all the same to me, one way or the other. Seeing my father behind bars changed my mind about everything.
“Welcome everyone—to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.” Professor McGonagall stood in front of everyone, with a neutral expression on her face. “We had a hard year last year, but hopefully, it’ll be put behind us. Of course, the last of the Death Eaters must be caught, but they should be no more harm upon our castle. But as always, be safe and be alert. But for now, dig in!”
And as always, golden plates appeared on the tables, laden with delicious food. None of which I felt like eating. Instead, I looked toward Granger again. She was laughing, talking to the Weasley girl. And then for some reason, I remembered her in my house, on my sitting room floor, her face pale and her screams echoing through the room, while Aunt Bellatrix stood over her with that awful knife she had. And I felt vomit rising and pushed it back, breaking out into a sweat. I know that I wasn’t supposed to care about all that—I was a Malfoy. But I couldn’t shake it.
“Draco?” I turned sharply and saw Parkinson watching me, an expression of concern on her face.
“You seem… a bit sick,” she said, moving her hand to place it on my forehead. I moved away from her.
“I’m fine,” I muttered. “This place is just—shit.”
“I can’t believe dad made me come back here,” she said, taking a bite of potatoes.
“I know,” Zabini said quietly. “Mum made me come and I told her it would be terrible and everyone would just be looking down on us.”
“Well,” I said, with a bit of a sardonic laugh, “we pretty much did that for the past six years to them.” Everyone turned to look at me, eyebrows raised. I shrugged and drank some water out of my goblet, not looking at any of them.
“Somebody became a bit of a softie,” Zabini said, snorting. Pansy was looking at me like she didn’t know me.
“Oh get over yourselves,” I snapped. “I’m over all of this shit. I just want to be normal. All those Death Eaters were assholes too—and now look, most of them are dead. Or on the run. I’m not much for either of those things, so I’m just going to shut my trap and not complain.”
“You’re just extra cautious because you have the mark,” Pansy whispered, looking sympathetic. “Don’t worry, Draco, this will all blow over and then you can be yourself again.”
“I don’t want to be myself again,” I said angrily. “I didn’t like it. And I’m not fucking talking to you all about it.” Pansy looked very affronted.
“Fine then, Draco,” Pansy said, with a sneer, “be alone, if that’s what you’d like. I just thought it would be better—in this kind of climate if we’d all just stick together.”
“Right, because it worked so well last year,” I retorted. I felt a tap on my shoulder and turned to see Professor McGonagall standing over me, looking a bit concerned. I looked at the others, who were resolutely staring down at their plates, shrugged and stood up, following her to the corner of the noisy Great Hall.
“Mr. Malfoy—I wanted to ask you something.”
“Yes?” I asked, watching her.
“This is a bold move on my part, I realize,” she said slowly, “but I’d like to offer you Head Boy position.” I stared at her. Was this woman crazy?
“You’re kidding,” I said quietly. She shook her head.
“You were never a bad person Mr. Malfoy, and I believe it’s a good way to get you back on the right track and it will be a vote of confidence on my part in the Slytherins as a group.”
“Oh, so you want to use me to gain back everyone’s favor,” I said, glaring at her.
“No, Mr. Malfoy,” she said steadily. “First and foremost, I care about my students. None of you did anything wrong. Well—that’s stretching it,” she said, at the look on my face, “but your parents were all the true culprits and this silence and anger directed toward the Slytherin table is unfounded. And I think you will do a good job, Mr. Malfoy, otherwise I would not have asked you.”
“Well, thanks but no thanks, Professor,” I said, trying to be as courteous as I could. “But there is no way in hell I’d put myself in more spotlight than this,” I pulled back my sleeve to show her the mark, “already has me in.”
She glanced at it, but didn’t show any signs that she was ruffled by anything I said or showed her. “Mr. Malfoy, I am not really asking,” she said, “I’m strongly requesting.”
“So basically, I have to do it,” I said flatly.
“Yes, basically,” she replied, standing steadily in front of me. “The perks—” she continued, “you will not have to live in the Slytherin dormitories and I couldn’t help but overhear your conversation with Mr. Zabini and Miss Parkinson.” I mulled over that for a second and nodded.
“Well yes I guess that’s true—” then I glanced up at her. “Wait,” I said quietly. “Who is the head girl?” At this, McGonagall looked slightly frazzled.
I stared at her and started shaking my head. “There is no way on this godforsaken Earth that I will share a room and half of my time with Granger,” I said venomously.
“I believe that it will be good for both of you.”
“Fuck this,” I said angrily.
“Language, Mr. Malfoy,” McGonagall said tersely.
“Can you just understand that this is probably the worst plan you could’ve come up with?” I asked.
“I understand that I am doing the right thing, Mr. Malfoy. Your bags have already been moved to the Head Boy Quarters. I know that you are unhappy with me now, but I have confidence that this is a good move.”
“If someone dies in there, Professor, it’s on you,” I said, glaring at her. She just shook her head and smiled.
“You both are quite capable of defending yourselves. You’re number one and two in the class.” I didn’t even acknowledge her last statement. Instead, I just walked back to my table, feeling angry and upset. Especially because she was about to announce it to the entire fucking school.
The desserts, as if on cue, vanished, leaving everyone with clean plates. The chatter slowly died down and everyone looked up at the Headmistress, who was standing in the front. “Welcome and welcome back. Last year was trying, but we won’t go into that further. I’d like to make a few notes. Quidditch captains will need to submit their team roster to me in two weeks’ time. The Forbidden forest is just that—forbidden. Mr. Argus Filch, Hogwarts caretaker, has requested that none of the Weasley Wizarding Wheezes are brought into the school. A full list of products is tacked on his door. Lastly, but by no means least, I’d like to congratulate our Head Girl, Miss Hermione Granger—” there was enormous clapping, as expected, and my stomach dropped because I knew exactly what would happen next, “and our Head Boy, Mr. Draco Malfoy—”
The quiet was astounding and I did my best to remain calm and uncaring. But it was a ringing silence and I felt everyone watching me in shocked silence. McGonagall had to clear her throat and then suddenly a huge amount of muttering broke out. Zabini looked at me with raised eyebrows but said nothing. Pansy on the other hand—I don’t think she could’ve held it in if she tried—“With Granger?” she started laughing as she said this. “Good luck with your new best friend, Malfoy. You couldn’t have picked a less attractive girl.”
“I didn’t pick it. It was forced upon me,” I muttered, irritated and burning red. I wanted to jinx Parkinson, she was being so annoying. Finally, after McGonagall finished the rest of her speech, everyone stood up but me, filing toward the doors. Someone cleared their throat in front of me and I looked up to see Granger standing in front of me. I couldn’t help the annoyed scowl that found its way to my face.
“What?” I snapped.
“We’re supposed to um—lead them.”
“They can lead themselves,” I said. “Leave me alone, Mud—Granger.” She just shrugged and walked away, which was probably a good thing. I thought about my first year and how she would have insisted. She no longer insisted. It sparked my curiosity. I wonder what those three really did last year. There were whisperings but no one really knew exactly why the Golden Trio left school. After it was clear they weren’t running, that had been the new center of gossip. But they weren’t spilling. There was rumor that even McGonagall didn’t know. I wonder if it’s something that would have changed them.
This sat in my head as I climbed the stairs to the third floor, took a right, and walked to the eagle statue in the middle. I knew the Head Boy, Jackson, when I was in second year, and knew exactly where the entrance was. I drew my wand and tapped the eagle’s head seven times and flicked my wrist twice. I knew it only responded to the Head Boy and Head Girl’s wand taps and like expected, it spiraled and opened, revealing a set of stairs leading down. I climbed down the steps and into a fabulously furnished living room. It was decked in red and green—Slytherin and Gryffindor, I assumed. The couches were leather and I slipped my shoes off and collapsed onto one. The rug was fur and felt amazing under my feet. I took a moment to flex my toes in the carpet and rub the leathery seat next to me. Bookshelves filled with books lined the walls and there were two desks with fresh flowers in vases. There was a kitchen attached and I stood up, walking towards it. It was large, with every appliance you could think up. I opened the fridge and it was filled with food. Good, I didn’t have to eat in the Great Hall anymore. I walked out of the kitchen and poked my head into the bathroom. It was tiled with green and red, but it didn’t look like Christmas—it was tastefully done. There was a Jacuzzi on one side and a shower on the other. There was a counter with two sinks and when I opened the drawers, I saw every kind of soap, shampoo, face cream, foot cream, every kind of cream, makeup—for Granger I assumed. I walked out of there and saw a room on the other side, with a huge lion glittering on it. It was Granger’s room. I glanced at the entrance and stepped lightly toward her bedroom, pushing on the door. It wouldn’t open for anything. I pulled out my wand and tapped on the door in the same sequence as I did for the Eagle entrance. It still wouldn’t open. Sighing, I walked toward the other door, with a glittering serpent, and touched it, expecting it not to open. But the door opened easily at my touch and my bags were sitting on my bed. I walked toward the center and touched the green and silver bed spread to find that it was silk and felt amazing under my fingers. It reminded me too much of my own room, and how it looked exactly like this.
For some reason, I couldn’t bring myself to stay in it.
I walked back out to the living room and sat back down on the couch. I kicked my feet up, lay down and fell asleep. I woke up to the sound of the door slamming. I looked up and saw Granger walking in, looking frazzled. I sat up on the sofa and checked my watch. It was three in the morning. Curious, I looked over at her.
“What the hell are you doing up, Granger?” I sneered. She looked at me in surprised contempt.
“There were Head duties to do—but you wouldn’t know,” she said. She looked slightly irritated.
“I didn’t opt for this job. Why the hell would I want to be around you so much? I might catch something.” She glared at me.
“I didn’t really opt for this either, Malfoy. I would have rather a different Head Boy thanks.”
“You live for this kind of shit don’t you? It makes you feel appreciated and important doesn’t it? You fucking goody two shoes.”
“I’m going to bed,” she said curtly.
I watched her walk to her room and push it open gently, and I couldn’t help but try and peer in but it quickly closed behind her. Grumbling, I just pulled my feet back up on the couch and fell into a restless sleep. It was going to be a longer year than even I could have expected.