Chapter 1 : Chapter 1
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Beta'd by the amazing academica at HPFF forums
Draco sighed heavily, tapping his fingers on the chair in an annoyed fashion. He stared across the room crossly, pursing his lips. “I don’t understand why we keep having these. I never talk. We sit here for an hour twice a week. It’d be much more beneficial for both of us if we were to not continue these meetings.” He crossed his arms across his chest, and leaned against the back of the chair, glaring at the Healer. She sighed, placing her clipboard down beside her.
“We both know this was mandated. The aftermath of the war affects everyone – I am supposed to ensure that you have good intentions for reintegrating into society because of your role in everything.” She tapped her pen a few times on the board and looked at her watch. “If you can tell me one sentence about how you feel about your experience in the war, I will release you, as I do have a few things I need to do before the weekend begins. But you won’t get out of sessions this early most of the time.” The Healer leaned back, crossing her legs and staring at the young man in front of her.
Petulant, Draco Malfoy turned and looked at the mirror on the wall. Whom he saw reflected there hardly reminded him of the boy he had been. Yes, he still had the trademark blonde hair and grey eyes. But it was more than that. There were planes in his face that had never been there before, bags under his eyes that never went away; one look in his eyes and anyone would know that he had seen more than anyone his age ever should have to see, not even counting what he had been forced to do. Draco ran a hand through his hair and looked back at the Healer. “Just one sentence about my feelings from then?” The Healer nodded her head, and Draco leaned forward on his elbows, eyebrows crossed in thought.
After an extended time, Draco stood up and paced a small pattern into the floor. One sentence to describe his feelings that would not reveal too much – the less he had to put into words what happened, the better off he would be in the end. No one would be able to handle the truth. He could not even handle the truth of the matter most of the time. Walking to the door, Draco pulled it open and looked back at his Healer.
“I don’t just feel it, I relive it all the time.”
Draco apparated into his flat and immediately headed into the kitchen to get a drink. Closing his eyes, he took a large sip of the Firewhiskey, enjoying the pain in his throat as it went down. Sometimes, pain was the only way that he could convince himself that he was still alive and his nightmares were just that – nightmares that haunted him. Screams that haunted him. During the daytime it was not so bad. He would busy himself with various hobbies, meet with Healers and Ministry officials, read books. At night, when he began to feel sleep or stressed – those were the times Draco felt the most. Those were the times he could no longer keep his hold on his emotions. Opening his eyes, Draco finished the drink he had and busied himself making dinner, his mind nowhere near what he was actually doing.
Draco sat against the wall, keeping his eyes closed tight to avoid looking around the room. The stench alone was enough to cause his stomach to roll, though it would be the worst punishment in the world were he to allow his body to react in that manner. When his father had told him about becoming one of the Dark Lord’s supporters, he had never imagined it to be this way. The pain, the torture, the faces of those he was forced to hurt. Every time he was forced to look someone in the eye and kill them, he felt a small part of his soul die, never to come back. Not one of the Death Eaters he had known growing up had ever mentioned the fact that they willingly looked into eyes crying for help as they took their last breaths away. Then again, he had never thought it would have ever bothered him. It should not have, but they kept bringing him Muggle children, who cried out for their mums and dads. It just was so hard to look a toddler in the eyes, knowing they would never grow up…
Hearing the clang of the door, Draco jumped to his feet, brushing the back of his clothes off. It would not do for Bellatrix or the Dark Lord to find him sulking by the wall. Squinting against the light of the wand, Draco swallowed as he realized the Dark Lord had come down. “Draco. Glad to see you are awake. You can join us.” Draco nodded his head and followed his Lord and his aunt, praying that this time, it would be something easier. Let it at least be an adult; he did not know if he would ever sleep again after the screams of children haunted him.
They came to a stop and Draco hesitantly looked at the individual on the floor, relieved to see that it was not a child this time. Clasping his hands behind his back, Draco tried to stand taller, still wanting to make his father proud with the reports that his Aunt Bellatrix would surely take back. Despite this desire to make his father proud, Draco’s pleasure at the victim not being a child faded quickly as he realized it was a little old man, someone who had to be in his eighties at least. The man’s blind eyes looked past the group, the skin on his face sunken in from time spent in the dungeon.
In a daze, Draco realized that he was being addressed. Absently, he looked up and found both the Dark Lord and his aunt staring back at him. “Really Draco, this is no way to treat your superiors,” his Lord drawled, holding out a wand towards him. “Now, I have asked you to Crucio this man.” Draco stared at the wand blankly, his mind racing as his body refused to acknowledge any command that was being given. No matter what, he could not bring himself to raise his wand. Lord Voldemort sighed extravagantly and turned to face the man. “Do as necessary, Bellatrix. It seems I will be responsible for this man.”
Still paralyzed in place, Draco could only watch as his aunt raised her wand, a crazy smile on her face. In terror, he watched as she yelled, “Crucio!” The curse flew at him, and he bit down on his lip to keep from screaming. The pain wracked his body, and all he could imagine were the children screaming for their parents and the blind old man looking blankly over them, as if looking for his savior. After a time, everything went blissfully black.
Draco came to on the floor of the kitchen, clutching his chest and surrounded by broken glass. Catching his breath for a few moments, Draco staggered to his feet and used his wand to clean up the mess. Leaning on the counter, he breathed heavily and poured himself another drink, taking a long sip before walking out of the kitchen, waving all the lights out. In the bathroom, Draco looked in the mirror. Even though it had only been a few hours since his time at the Healer’s office, his cheeks seemed to have sunken in even more and his eyes appeared to be haunted still by memories. Draco set his glass down and splashed his face with the cold water, welcoming some of the relief it brought. Toweling his face dry, he grabbed the pill bottle sitting by the sink and walked into his bedroom, getting ready for bed.
Crawling into the sheets, Draco held the glass in one hand and the pill bottle in the other, looking at the bottle He hated relying on something as mundane as Muggle medicine; it disgusted him to realize he had become so weak. But the sleeping pills were so blissfully wonderful and much simpler than making his own potion, something he did not even have the motivation to attempt. And pretending to be a Muggle and getting the pills was far easier than admitting to the Healer that he needed a sleeping draught. Popping the lid off and putting a pill into his mouth, Draco downed the rest of his drink and set everything beside the bed, quickly rolling over under the sheets. In a few short minutes, Draco felt the pull of the alcohol and pills, allowing himself to be lulled into a deep and dreamless sleep.
Several weeks later, Draco found himself standing in Flourish & Blotts, watching the little old man scurry into the back room with the paper. The Healer had suggested he try and find a job simply to occupy his time and had even offered to put in a good word for him there. Draco had accepted begrudgingly, not wanting to admit that he had already been wanting to find a job so as to have something more to do in the daytime. Eventually, he intended to train to do something more in the wizarding world, but he was not sure if he would ever be welcome at a position at the Ministry.
Shaking his head, Draco focused on the man scurrying back out, refusing to let his mind go further down the track it had taken. He accepted the papers from the old man, absently flipping through them. “These papers will have the answers to any and all questions as well as explain how everything is arranged. As mentioned before, we are going to start off with you stocking shelves – we’ve had a backup of books needing to come out and you’ll be a huge help for that.” Draco nodded and followed the older man into the back. Setting his jacket down with the papers on top, Draco took the box that was pointed out and went to the shelf instructed in order to put the books out for customers to see.
Hours passed with the same motion, and Draco felt amazed at how many books he had shelved, wondering if it would not be easier to use magic to do this. Taking a break, Draco looked into the box he was responsible for and grabbed a book at random. Not recognizing the title or author, he assumed it was a Muggle book, though it had a rabbit on the front reading a watch and a girl who seemed to want to talk to the rabbit. With a shrug, Draco opened the book and started reading it, forgetting where he was and what he was supposed to be doing. Hearing the doorbell at the front of the store ring, Draco quickly dropped the book in the box, realizing he had lost track of time and read at least half of the book without realizing it. He quickly stuck books on the shelf and tried to look as if he was busy and should not be interrupted.
“I’ll be over here – I want to see if they have an old favorite of mine,” a voice echoed through the rows, and Draco crossed his eyebrows. He knew that voice from school and he dreaded the moment he made contact with whomever it was and they saw him working. Quickly trying to devise an escape plan, Draco turned on his heel to head into the back, but he halted in place as he saw a bush of brown hair step around the corner in front of him. Frozen in place, Draco swallowed as recognition dawned on her face.
Regaining himself quickly, Draco quickly sneered. “What are you staring at, Granger? See something you like?” Draco smirked, thankful he had regained himself before he had to listen to her say something stupid. Of all the people that would come into this bookstore, he should have known she would come into this section.
Huffing, Hermione shoved her way past him. “Just looking for a book, Malfoy. Go and be a prat elsewhere.” Hermione headed to the section he had been stocking and Draco watched as she grabbed the book he had been reading. “You can go back to your insolent sulking now.” She quickly walked out the other end, heading towards the front desk.
Clenching his fist, Draco stood still for several moments as he listened to ensure that no one else in the Golden Trio walked his way. He finally could not resist walking to the other end of the shelves and looking towards the sound of Hermione’s conversation with someone else. Stopping where he was hidden but could still see, Draco watched her and the Weasley boy talk. They were no longer near the front desk and Draco could tell whatever Weasley was saying was making Hermione extremely upset. “Ronald, stop,” she said loudly, obviously annoyed by what he was saying. Draco heard a noise and continued to creep forward, knocking a small stack of books on the floor over. Draco held his breath, hoping that neither of them would come looking his way. Neither did and Draco came around the corner, stopping in the shadows just beyond sight. He watched as tears fell down Hermione’s face as she held her hand up to wipe them away.
Draco watched as Ron stormed off and stared at Hermione for a few more minutes. She pulled her hand away and looked down at the book in her other hand, which was trembling. She finally took a deep breath, seeming to decide something. She looked up at directly where Draco was standing before walking off.
Author's Note: Well, I originally was writing a different story and this one was just begging to be written. It's going to be short, only three to five chapters or so (I have not quite decided on one factor). Rate and Review please!
edit June 16th: Beta'd version updated.