The castle is in ruins. Voldemort is dead. Bellatrix LeStrange is dead. Vincent Crabbe is dead. Severus Snape is dead. Fred Weasley is dead. Remus Lupin is dead. Nymphadora Tonks is dead.
Draco Malfoy is not dead.
He couldn’t understand it. After everything that had happened, after all he had been through with Harry Potter and Voldemort how was it that he, Draco Malfoy could have survived. He had dodged spells and falling rubble but he had not died. He had tried to stop Harry from getting the final horcrux but he had not died. He was the nephew of the most feared death eater of all time but he was not dead.
The people around him were grieving and celebrating all in one big bundle of elated devastation but he could not even bring a single emotion to the forefront of his mind. He was nothing and he felt nothing. Briefly he wondered if he would always be like that. Floating on the outskirts, not being involved in either side because that was how it was at that moment. He was marked as a death eater yet he was not one of them. He was sitting in a hall with the order yet he was not one of them either.
He was floating in a sea of uncertainty. Not knowing if he was to be punished for his part in Voldemort’s plans or rewarded for his part in Harrys plans. Either way he was sure to never be accepted fully just like he was not being accepted as he sat in the great hall as the battle ended.
He and his family were alone at the end of what was the Slytherin table. His mother was silent and pale faced, grieving for her sister but relived that it was over. His father was a broken man no matter which way you looked at it and Draco just did not have the energy to go over to his former classmates and give some sort of comfort like his heart was telling him he should do.
Narcissa lifted her head and looked at her son who gave her a weak smile.
“At least we are alive Draco,” she said softly, reaching over the table and placing a hand on his.
“What good is alive if we are to be shipped off to Azkaban,” his father hissed under his breath as he took a sip of butterbeer that Arthur Weasley had brought over half an hour before.
“I saved Harry Potters life,” Narcissa said in replied careful not to let anyone around them hear, “that has to count for something.”
“For you maybe,” Lucius Malfoy spat back, looking down into the bottom of his mug.
Draco simply rolled his eyes and sipped his own butterbeer, trying not to think of how he was the cause of the death of someone he was supposed to call friend. He didn’t want to think of anything. He just wanted to disappear, away from those on the side of Harry Potter, away from his family. Just away.
How had it come to this? Was it because he was a Malfoy? Probably, no one could grow up with his family and no be forced into that life. Was it because he was a Pure-Blood? No, the Weasley were pure bloods and they pretty much embodied the whole of the ‘good side.’ Was is because he was a Slytherin? Maybe, maybe if he had been a Gryffindor things would have been different. Maybe he would have been Harry’s friend.
No, no, he was a Slytherin through and through. He would never have wanted to be in any other house than Slytherin. Ever.
Slowly he got up and looked at his mother, ignoring his father completely.
“I need some air,” he said quietly.
His mother nodded and smiled at him. With her blessing he turned around and walked through the great hall, keeping his eyes away from Hermione and Ron who were cuddled up together in a corner. Keeping his eyes off Mrs Weasley who was sobbing into the arms of her husband as they stood over their dead sons covered up body. Keeping his eyes off Neville Longbottom who was joking around With Dean Thomas, waving the sword of Gryffindor over his head in a re-enactment of killing the snake.
No, Draco Malfoy walked on through the hall and though he expected stares no one even gave him a second glance. Is that what he had been reduced to; a mere ghost in the eyes of those around him? When he thought about it, he didn’t really care.
He walked through the corridors of Hogwarts, climbing over rubble trying not to notice the legs sticking out of fallen stone or a rouge hand in a corner. The castle was in ruin; it looked just like he felt.
He walked and walked until he wasn’t sure where he was anymore. The castle was so big he was sure there were places he had never been before and now he was in one of those places. The corridor had hardly been touched, there were just a few broken windows that looked out into what seemed to be a closed off courtyard that Draco had never seen before.
There was only one door in the corridor and it lay at the end. It was only a small door, a faded wood with an iron handle. It was just like any other door in Hogwarts but still it called to Draco. Maybe it was because he just wanted space and quiet, maybe it was because he was curious. He didn’t know but he decided that he had walked the whole way there so he might as well go in.
Opening the door he was faced with a small dark room swathed in black fabric hangings that made it look more like a tent. The only stone that could be seen was the floor. In the centre of the room was a large mirror. It had a large black iron frame that had been swirled into a pattern that Draco figured his mother was like. As he stepped forward he watched his reflected stepped forward and that was when he realised that he was a complete mess. He needed a good bath and a change of clothes.
It was only when he was almost nose to nose with his reflection that Draco decided me might as well go back. He didn’t want to worry his mother anymore but as he went to turn around he noticed that the glass was fogging up. At first he thought it was just his breath but it spread slowly until Draco couldn’t see his face anymore. He tried to wipe it off but the fog was on the inside and another face was starting to appear. This face looked nothing like Draco.
It was the ghostly face of an old man with long white hair and a short beard. His nose was crooked as if it had been broken and his face was wrinkled with age. His lips were thin and his teeth crooked with some missing, making him look scarier than he should of.
But it was his eyes that made the most impact or at least his lack of them. Where they were supposed to be the man simply had two back sockets, the skin hadn’t healed over, they were just black.
“Step forward,” his voice echoed around the room, “and I could show you what life would have been like if that one thing had been different.”
Draco didn’t step forward, instead he stepped back.
“What one thing?” he asked, his curiosity burning.
“The one thing that has been on your mind this terrible day. What if you Draco Malfoy had been sorted into Gryffindor?”
“I would be dead,” Draco snapped.
“That maybe so,” the man laughed, “stepped forward and I will show you.”
Draco did nothing, “who are you?”
“I am the keeper of the Black Mirror,” he said, “a mirror that can change a decision you made in your life and show you the difference.”
“Why should I trust you?” Draco asked stepping forward until he was closer to the man.
“I never said you should,” he replied, “you can walk away now or you can see the path you could have taken.”
Draco hesitated. It had been on his mind but did he really want to see it? Did he really want to know what his life would have been like if he hadn’t been a Slytherin? Yes he would. If he turned out different maybe it would give him some hope that this life he had led so far was not the death sentence everyone seemed to think it would be.
The old man seemed to sense his decision and smiled, his face disappearing into the fog and a ghostly hand coming out of the mirror. Draco grabbed hold of it and he was pulled through the glass and into what looked like the great hall.
He turned to his side and found the old man next to him only now he had a body; a thin body wrapped in a cloak. Of what colour Draco did not know for the old man looked just like a Hogwarts ghost though he had never seen him around the castle.
As Draco’s eyes moved away from the old man the doors of the great hall opened and Draco realised that he was standing right next to them in front of a room full of people though they didn’t seem to be able to see him. Instead their eyes were on the procession of first years walking into the room and that was when Draco realised where he was.
He was at his own sorting.
It seemed like forever before Draco’s name was called and he almost walked forward himself before he saw a younger, smaller version of himself walk up towards the stool cockily and sit down with a smirk, ready to be put in to Slytherin. Only when the hat what placed onto his head it did not shout out the name of the snake house but sat there for a little while as the boy’s face grew all the more fearful until it finally shouted ‘GRYIFFINDOR’ for the whole hall to hear.
Draco watched as his younger self did not move from the stool and shook his head as if to say the hat was wrong. The Gryffindor table where cheering but the boy walked slowly towards it as if it was cursed and Draco knew why. If the sorting hat had truly put him in Gryffindor then he would fear the wrath of his father.
“Already you had the mind of a Slytherin,” the old man said beside him, “but in this reality it is not to be.”
He laughed and as he did the scene shifted and changed. Now he was in what he gathered was the Gryffindor common room but seeing as the real Draco had never been there he could only guess. It was much cosier than the Slytherin common room with its roaring fire and warm tapestries. Part of him felt as though he would prefer it.
Draco soon found his younger self and it was odd to see him in red and gold instead of green and silver. He had his head down at a small table in the corner of the room writing on some parchment and reading from a book. Homework, since when had Draco Malfoy done his homework?
“Since he became a Gryffindor,” the old man beside him laughed.
“I am alone,” he whispered not taking his eyes from the boy.
“Yes you are. Since being sorted into Gryffindor you have become a bit of an outcast. Can’t be with your pureblood friends because they think you are a traitor, disliked by those around you because you are an arrogant twit. You have sort of become those you used to torture.”
“I’m not sure if I want to see anymore,” Draco said feeling slightly ill.
“You have to,” the man said, “you walked into the mirror you have to stay.”
As they were talking Draco noticed movement at his table. The younger Draco lifted his head to be met with a bucked tooth grin from the bushy haired girl he had spent most of his life bullying.
“Can I sit here?” she asked.
“Yeah sure,” the little Draco said.
Draco watched on as the two exchange tips about the homework and as the young Draco slowly started to smile and put down his quill and get into an animated conversation about potions. Draco watched on in awe. How was it that a simple move to Gryffindor could change his life that much. Now he was friends with Granger. He had hated her half his life!
The scene shifted again. He was still in the common room but from the corner of his eye he could see his younger self hiding behind one of the pillars that framed the doorway to the dormitories. There were only three people in the common room and they seemed to be arguing.
“Harry,” Hermione said as she paced in front of the fire, “he’s lonely, he has no friends.”
“He has you,” Ron scoffed.
“Yes but I also have you, I’m going to not hang out with you guys just because I want to hang out with him.”
“He is a Malfoy,” Ron said.
“He’s a spoilt brat,” Harry put in.
“He has no friends, please guys, it’s nearly the end of the year, I know what it felt like to have no friends before you. He’s bullied more than you Ron for being a blood traitor.”
“So he should be,” Ron snapped back.
“So you are going to sink down the Zabini’s level now are you?”
“Zabini?” Draco said to the old man, “what has Blaise got to do with this?”
“Now you are in Gryffindor the school needed a new bully. In steps Bliase Zabini.”
“He has never said anything bad against you Ron, just let him sit with us please,” Hermione continued.
Draco watched at the Weasley rolled his eyes but it was Harry who got up and walked over to Hermione.
“If it means that much to you Hermione then you can tell him he can sit with us.”
The scene faded into the next one and Draco briefly wondered if this was going to cause him to get travel sick. Every time it shifted it felt like he was being pulled through a wall of water that twisted all his insides and made his head groggy for a few seconds.
This time he emerged in the Malfoy manner. The moment Draco was dreading to see was forming before his eyes and he was powerless to stop it. All he wanted to do was run over to his younger self and protect him but he couldn’t so he stood a little away from himself looking straight into the evil eyes of his father and then towards his mother who looked as though she couldn’t decide if she wanted to be angry or scared.
“A disgrace on the family,” his father spat at his younger form, “I have waited all year to say this to you son and I have still not managed to comprehend how you let this happen.”
“It wasn’t my fault…”
His father whacked the boy across the face with his cane and his mother let out a small gasp before she clamped her hand over her mouth before she too was hit.
The scene shifted quickly to the young Draco lying in bed with his mother at his side telling him that it didn’t matter what house he had been put in she still loved him but tears where rolling down her face and Draco noticed she had a big purple bruise around her eye.
The scene shifted again and Draco and the old man found themselves stood on the Quidditch pitch. Draco’s other self was high on the broom shooting Quaffles against Oliver Wood and then as quickly as it had come the scene changed again and little Draco was sitting with Harry, Ron and Hermione.
“I knew you could do it,” she beamed up at him from where she was kneeling at his feet.
“Never thought I would see a Malfoy on the Gryffindor Quidditch team,” Ron said.
“I never thought I would play chaser,” the younger Draco said, “always wanted to be a seeker but Harry’s already got that.”
“Yeah thanks to Zabini!” Harry laughed downing the rest of his butterbeer.
As Draco watched from the side-lines he wondered how they had managed to get butterbeer but then again, these were Gryffindor’s and they always seemed to get away with everything.
“No one cared when I got into the Slytherin team,” Draco said to the old man, “they were all too busy fawning over their new brooms.”
The scene melted away and Draco wondered how many more times he would have to endure this and how long it would last. Would it simply taken him up to the moment he was at now or would it show his whole life? He wasn’t too sure he wanted to be stuck in the damn mirror for ever.
The scene this time was different and from the way the younger version of Draco looked he could tell he was in his third year, or at least just about to start his third year.
“Listen,” the younger Draco said to Harry as they sat at a table with Ron in what looked like the leaky cauldron, “this guy that escaped. I heard my dad talking to my mum about him. One of you know who’s followers.”
“I gathered that was why he was in Azkaban,” Harry shrugged, “I don’t get why everyone’s being all twitchy though.”
“Because he blames you,” Draco said, “he blames you for the downfall of Voldemort, you’re the one he’s escaped to come after…”
“Bloody hell,” Ron whispered.
Draco laughed to himself. So being in Gryffindor turned him into one of them. He never would have believed it and as the scene faded he wondered if he would become just another of Harry Potter’s friends. Willing to sacrifice their lives just on his word. Surely he had more strength than that.
“It is not his word, Draco Malfoy, that they sacrifice themselves for. It is for the greater good.”
Draco scoffed to himself in disbelief and let his eyes focus on the next scene that was emerging from the shadows. If the last one had been different then this one was so farfetched Draco was sure the old man had gotten his potions mixed up, either that or he was missing a couple of screws in his head.
Another Draco, maybe about thirteen or fourteen was sitting on a stone step at the bottom of a staircase somewhere in Hogwarts and by his side sat Hermione Granger.
They were sat close together, way to close for Draco’s liking. Hermione had a hand on his arm and the young Draco seemed to be telling her something. He stepped closer to hear what they were saying.
“I’m sorry,” the young Draco said to Hermione, he sounded like he was crying, “I don’t know how to be different from him.”
“You are already different Draco,” she said rubbing his arm gently, “you are a Gryffindor.”
“And he has never let me forget it, that is why he did what he did at the game, he gathered the Death-eaters to try and show me the true way. If he knew…about us…”
“Us?” Hermione asked a little taken aback.”
“I mean if he knew we were friends,” the other Draco said quickly, “he thinks my friendship with Harry Potter can help him but if he had any idea about you…”
“It is fine,” Hermione said, “we don’t have to say anything, about us being friends.”
“I’m surprised you haven’t turned and ran… I’ve never told anyone here that he is…that he is a death-eater…”
The real Draco took a step back and turned to the old man who was smiling at the pair on the step. Draco was holding in his fury. He would have never told the mudblood that his father was a Death Eater! He told the old man that but he just laughed and changed the scene with a wave of his hand.
They were in the stands at the first task of the tri-wards tournament and the other Draco was adorned in the colours of Gryffindor cheering on Harry as he dived and swooped to avoid that Dragon. It was strange to see him cheering Harry on when his real memory was so different.
“Your being a prat you know,” the other Draco said to Ron who was half cheering, half sulking, “he didn’t put his name in the goblet, there is no what he would have.”
Ron glared back at the other Draco and the scene shifted again to Harry hugging Ron, then Hermione and then Draco as he celebrated at finishing the task. Then the scene shifted again and the other Draco was standing in a dark room but he was not alone. Instead he was with Hermione Granger, holding her hands in his, only a little taller than she was.
“So,” he asked, “will you go with me?”
“To the Yule Ball?” Hermione asked, “what about your father finding out.”
“It doesn’t matter anymore, I shall take whatever it is he hands out, just say yes.”
Hermione Granger smiled and nodded her head, “yes I will go to the ball with you.”
Draco turned to the old man and glared at him.
“This is all completely insane,” he said motioning to the pair, “this would never ever happen, not in a million years.”
“It would if you were in Gryffindor,” the old man laughed, “and that is what you wanted to find out is it not, what would happen if you had been sorted in Gryffindor, well this is it.”
“With Granger though?”
“With Hermione yes,” the old man laughed, “though you don’t tell anyone for a while, it doesn’t really happen until…well…we will get to that bit later.”
The old man waved his hand again and the scene melted into another, this time he was in a place he did not recognise. It was a house set in a large garden. The house looked like it was being held up with magic it was so rickety and odd looking. Then he realised as he saw numerous red-heads running out of the door followed by a fifteen year old Draco Malfoy, holding hands with Hermione.
“Thanks again,” Draco said to Ron.
“No problem mate, we are moving tomorrow anyway, Grimmauld place for the order. Good to know whose side you’re on.”
“It was when my father tried to recruit me that I realised I needed to get out, so I came here. It was the only place I could think of.”
“You are welcome anytime,” a woman who the real Draco recognised as Mrs Weasley said.
“Thank you,” the other Draco said again before he squeezed Hermione’s hand.
It was only the real Draco that noticed the look of jealousy splashed across Ron’s face before the garden melted into a room in the castle.
He saw Blaise Zabini and he saw the other Draco shouting at him and the only thing the real Draco could assume was that Blaise had been the one chosen in his place to kill Albus Dumbledore. It wounded him a little that the great honour had been given to someone else but then again, when he thought about it Draco Malfoy hadn’t been the one to kill Albus Dumbledore anyway
Blaise looked as scared as Draco remembered being and he wished he could tell his other self that. Snape would always be the one to kill Dumbledore because that was the way it had to be.
“Yes, even in this reality, Snape stays the same,” the old man said.
Draco rolled his eyes. He was getting sick of this old man reading his thoughts every two seconds! But then he had a thought.
“But my mother, she saves Harry Potter’s life because I am on their side, because I am in the castle.”
The old man laughs as the scene starts to change only this time it is slower and Draco can see the way that Blaise’s face melted and warped.
“You will see,” he said.
“No! Tell me!”
The old man turned to him and folded his skinny arms. He didn’t look at Draco as he spoke; instead he adopted an nonchalant air and stared at the moving space above his head.
“Your mother still loves you though you are a Gryffindor, you saw that earlier. You will be in the castle fighting with them, she was always save him for you in whatever reality because in every reality your life is in danger and she is willing to sacrifice herself for that.”
“Good to know,” Draco said watching as the image of his mother and father appeared in front of him looking just past his head where a Draco that looked almost identical to him stood. He didn’t look happy and his parents looked as though they were out of place.
The real Draco quickly figured out why.
They were standing in what looked like a muggle village, just outside a small cottage.
“I won’t join,” the other Draco said, “I have taken my uncles inheritance and I am not joining the death eaters.”
“He will come for you,” his mother begged, “please, it might save your life.”
“But it won’t save my soul, tell him I want to finish my education, whatever I don’t care. I will not be a death eater.”
“Draco,” his father’s voice said sternly.
“No Father,” and with that Draco turned on his heel and opened the cottage door to see a bushy haired woman waiting behind it.
“I’m living with Hermione Granger?” Draco cried as he saw his parents apparate away and the cottage door close.
“She’s staying for the week before you go to the Weasley’s,” the old man shrugged, “don’t blame me,” he said when Draco shot him a glare, “I am not the one that make the rules.”
They were now standing on a beach and the wind ruffled through Draco’s hair. He had only been to the beach once in his life but the smell flooding back to him as if it had been yesterday. He spied himself standing by the door of a pretty little cottage talking to Hermione, both with a mug of tea in their hands.
Had he been on their trip with them? Had they worked together?
Draco walked up to them slowly and caught the blush of red on Hermione’s face and then noticed he same blush on his own face. They were silent but Hermione looked as if she was trying to say something.
“I thought you were at the school?” she whispered, “I was surprised to find you here.”
“I helped try to steal the sword,” Draco admitted, “they came for us all on train, Neville had gone into hiding by then but Luna, Ginny and I…we had to get away. Ginny and I apparated but Luna was too slow.”
“At least she is safe now,” Hermione smiled.
“How was my mother?” Draco asked.
“Quiet,” Hermione said, “she didn’t really say much, just stayed in the corner. It was your aunt that was the ringleader.”
“She looked okay?”
“Tired but she was dressed well, not a hair out of place.”
“Then Voldemort isn’t being too harsh on them,” Draco said softly and the real Draco knew that he couldn’t care less about his father but his mother, all she had ever done was love and protect him.
He figured that the image would fade out but it stayed on the pair as they stood in silence but Draco watched as they kept glancing at each other and smiling to himself and he wondered why being in Gryffindor would mean he could have this love. He had only had Pansy in his life, though other girls wanted him. He had never loved like this other Draco seemed to love Hermione.
A part of him felt sad for himself. He wanted that.
Hermione turned to the other Draco and kissed him gently on the cheek while he put an arm around her and pulled her close.
The scene did change then and Draco was stood in the middle of the battlefield. He saw his other self-duelling with death eaters. It was pure Chaos and Draco realised with a pang that if he was battling the death eaters then there would be no one to try and stop Harry getting the diadem. Crabbe would not die in the room of requirement.
Spells flew over his head and shouts echoed through the ranks of both side. The other Draco was fighting alongside a Weasley against Rookwood. It was strange to see it but the image made him feel oddly reassured. This picture had been very different just hours before and now… now he was watching it as it should have been.
He should have been in Gryffindor. He knew that now. His life would have been better if he had been friends with them. If he had just made the effort then he would have a girlfriend and real friends and something to fight for.
“Now you’re getting it,” the old man said beside him.
“So you brought me here to see how crap my life is?” Draco said through gritted teeth.
“No you came here because you were curious; I showed you what you could do if you changed.”
“Thanks,” Draco mumbled.
“You’re welcome,” the old man said with a sly smile on his face.
Just as Draco was about to turn away and focus his attention on the other side of the war he heard a piercing scream from inside the castle. The other Draco’s head shot up and he rushed away from Rookwood and into the entrance hall screaming Hermione’s names.
Draco followed him and found him battling a death eater who had Hermione in his clutches. She was crying and the other Draco was so angry he looked like he might explode. The death eater was laughing and with one final blast Hermione was released from his grasp as the Death Eater crumpled on the floor.
The Other Draco rushed forward to catch Hermione, she was sobbing and her face was cut up and her leg was bleeding.
“Draco,” she said through her sobs, “Harry.”
“I know,” he said as he pulled her up and kissed her hard on the lips, “I love you.”
“I love you too,” she said as she gripped on tightly to her wand and nodded.
There were screams from outside and bother Hermione and the other Draco snapped their head up and whispered the name of the man they thought was dead. The man they could see duelling Lord Voldemort as they watched. Draco didn’t need to see any more of that. He knew how it ended.
The scene shifted and changed back to the battlefield only this time it was empty of bodies and fighters. Only pieces of stone and wood littered the grass.
The other Draco was standing with his back to him alongside Hermione, Ron and Harry. The world was quiet. Not even a bird sang. Not even the wind whispered. The other Draco was standing alongside the woman he loved and the friends he had fought for.
“This is what you could have been,” the old man said quietly as if not to disturb the peace that had settled over the castle.
A strange sensation bristled through Draco and as quickly as the image had appeared it disappeared and he was faced with the mirror and his own reflection once again.
He didn’t know how long he had been gone. Hours? Days? It had felt a long time yet he wasn’t tired and he wasn’t hungry though that could have been from what he had seen rather than how long he had been away.
Carefully he examined the mirror but there was no sign of the old man, just his own reflection. The Black Mirror stood silent and cold.
He didn’t know whether to walk away or simply stay and wait for the old man to come back. That couldn’t be it could it? Surely there was more but as he waited nothing happened and he was resigned to the fact that he would just have to walk away from this dream and back to his life as a Slytherin and an outcast, back to his life without Hermione Granger by his side. Hermione Granger. How was it that he could hate her one minute and have a small twisting feeling in his stomach when he thought about her the next?
He turned his back on the Black Mirror and walked from the room forgetting all about what would have happened if he was in Gryffindor. Forgetting about Hermione Granger and his life of true friends.
He walked back through the castle pushing the Black Mirror and the old man to the back of his mind returning to his parents and the judgment that would pass over him for his crimes in the war because if Draco Malfoy admitted it to himself he would realise that he would have been a happier man if he had been Gryffindor. Only that dream had slipped away the moment the sorting hat had made its decision and now he had to live with that for the rest of his life.