Chapter 2 : Regrets- Too Little, Too Late
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First of all, please, please leave a review. Whether it's about what you liked from the chapter or what you think I could have done better, I'd really appreciate your thoughts!
Second, I'm sorry that it took so long to get this chapter up. I was in a play this weekend that had performances, and with dress rehearsal and such I didn't have time to post. Other chapters will start coming up much more quickly now!
Last but not least, sorry in advance, this chapter ends on a sort-of cliffhanger. Originally this and the next chapter were going to be one, but the second half ended up being so long that I decided to split it up. So I guess you'll just have to wait, tingling in suspense, for the next part!
Six years before....
It was the last day of the school year, and Draco Malfoy was utterly miserable. Of course, that in itself was not so unusual. Nearly the entire school was in mourning. Their great headmaster, the legendary Albus Dumbledore, had been murdered after a band of Death Eaters had stormed Hogwarts Castle. But what most of the students did not know was that it was Draco who had let them in, Draco who was to blame, Draco that had been the one appointed to the task of killing Dumbledore. It was Draco who now sat, hidden away in one of the many empty hallways of Hogwarts, wallowing in self-pity, guilt, and fear.
Voldemort, the Dark Lord himself, the most powerful and most feared wizard in the world, had himself commanded Draco to strike the killing blow to Dumbledore. Draco had been absolutely terrified, and he had agreed, whimpering his consent. Anything to appease this man who could so easily kill Draco or his family, without a thought or regret. Draco had agreed to the demand, and he had known that he would have to follow through, or there would be terrible consequences. And yet, at the critical moment, he had not been able to do the fateful deed. Draco didn't keep a list of all the people he was most afraid of, but if he had, his father and his aunt Bellatrix would have taken spots two and three. After he had been chosen for the terrible task- though they would have suggested that "honor" was a better word, both of them had prepared him all year for this moment of destiny. He had been abused, instructed, and groomed for the Death Eaters’ attack at the end of the year that he might be better prepared to murder Dumbledore. Aunt Bellatrix and the other Death Eaters had been right there, taunting him, egging him on, and he had been unable to look the man in the eyes and utter the Killing Curse.
He hadn’t even been able to kill Dumbledore from afar. His “attempts” to kill Dumbledore over the year- the cursed necklace, the poisoned mead- had been too easily defeated. He had known that his plans were hardly foolproof, though they were fairly desperate. He knew that his heart simply wasn’t in it. It was figuring out exactly where his heart was that was slightly less certain.
No, Draco Malfoy was no Death Eater, and he suspected that now they knew it too. That was the most horrifying part. The Dark Lord did not appreciate failure, and he would not forgive mercy. When he learned of Draco’s deeds, he would find a way to make Draco and his family pay for it. That was certain enough. And the thought of the Dark Lord seeking revenge was enough to make any sane person- but especially Draco- very afraid indeed.
Draco unsteadily got to his feet, his eyes feeling puffy and swollen. If his father were here, he would call Draco a coward. But he wasn’t here. No one was here. Draco was all alone in this part of the castle, which meant that it was safe- for the moment- to let go. Everyone else, he knew, was in the Great Hall, at a final remembrance ceremony for Dumbledore. The funeral had been a few days before, though Draco hadn’t gone to that either. There had been plenty of ceremonies for Dumbledore already, and yet today here the school was, having another one! Didn’t they see how it hurt Draco, to constantly remind him of his failure, and of all that it would cost him?
But no. The few that knew that he had been there at Dumbledore’s death, those who knew that he had been the one ultimately responsible for it, all hated him. They always had, and they always would, no matter how much Draco might sometimes wish differently.
Eyes downcast, he trudged down the hall, hands in his pockets. He decided that he would go back to the Slytherin common room, and see what he could salvage of his reputation, since many of the other students in the house were also the sons and daughters of Death Eaters. Perhaps- yes, perhaps he could tell Crabbe and Goyle all about how Snape had simply burst into the room and killed Dumbledore before Draco himself could. No doubt Snape had wanted all of the glory for himself. It was ridiculous, simply ridiculous, to think that Draco himself didn’t have the grit or the guts to speak the fatal words. That was just foolishness.
Even as he devised the story, Draco knew that he himself didn’t believe it. He knew now very well that he would never have killed Dumbledore, something that his father and aunt would be sure to label as a weakness- though Draco now wondered if it was perhaps the only redeeming quality of his soul. But then, did it really matter what he thought anymore? All that mattered was that there was a slight chance that he might be able to convince a scattering of others that he wasn’t entirely to blame for his failure that night. And if that story got around, then perhaps they wouldn’t hurt his mother, the only person that mattered at all, quite so bad.
Lost in his scheme, Draco ceased to pay attention to where he was going. His feet knew the way, after all, and in a deserted hallway he hardly had to worry about traffic flow. Which is why, when Draco turned a corner and ran right smack into a girl, he was just as shocked as she was.
So there you are! I hope you liked it! Please leave a review, I'd really appreciate it! The next chapter should be up within a couple of days!
This story is in no way associated with or endorsed by JK Rowling, Warner Bros, Scholastic Books, or Bloomsbury Publishing.
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