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Chapter 4 : Nightmares
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The night is snowy and freezing as Draco, and ten other Death Eaters, apparate into a dark shadowed area, behind an abandoned wooden home. Every step he takes seems to take ten minutes, as Draco dreads what he is about to do. His feet drag behind him.
Lucius leads the pack of men before him, they are marching to a man's house who had made an article about how muggleborns are the new purebloods in the Daily Prophet... Victor Harmonda. His sentence from Voldemort is death and if the group of them are not successful, it would be them that will die tonight. Draco was awoken earlier out of his slumber by his father and told to follow them.
The house is lit up and there are no sounds coming from it as the men approach. As usual, one of the Death Eaters is directed to start the usual protective charms around the home, in case the Order tries to intervene. But with the way they are weakened these days, they aren't that worried that the Order, or any Auror, will make an appearance regardless.
Draco, as usual, trails closely behind his father. Staring directly ahead, he walks briskly. His lips are pursed tightly at the bottom of his unflinching face. The blonde-haired boy has worked hard since receiving the Mark to control his emotions, replacing doubt with a hard exterior and fear with a confident stride. Still, when faced with the reality of more blood on his hands, control never comes easily. Already he can imagine the screams, the suffering, and the pleading. Of course, when the Dark Lord has sentenced one to death, the pleading is always in vain. Death will come. It always came. And these days, it never comes swiftly, and Draco fears his time will come as soon as he makes any kind of mistake.
As they approach the small house, Draco shivers. After his failure atop the Astronomy Tower, carrying out orders is all that keeps the next death from being his own. He prays, at least for tonight, that those orders will not include a command that he carries out the killing.
"Son, your duty is to hold the woman down and away from us. She can't distract us or she will also be killed. Do you understand?"
"Yes," Draco says, in a broken voice to his father, hating himself but relieved he is not directed to do the dirty work.
"If there are children make sure they are out of my way or they will also die. I only feel like killing one person tonight," Lucius says, with a nauseating chuckle.
Draco's heart sinks inside of him. Why kill anyone? This man with three children is a muggleborn but he doesn't deserve to die. Not in the way they are about to kill him.
Lucius blasts the door out of the way, just as a woman's blood-curdling scream fills Draco's ears. He wants to cover them, he wants to hide in a corner as he did as a young child and just cry. He has now seen things that no person should ever have to see in their life.
As he does as he was directed to do, he feels the sudden urge to disobey his father, but Draco ignores it and grabs the screaming and thrashing woman and sets the Cruciatus Curse on her body, so that her screaming turns into yelping and utter shrill terror, this means he can control her and get her hands chained behind her back. Soon he lets the curse off of her and she is weeping loudly when Lucius and six other Death-Eaters brings her husband in. Apparently the children are in bed... but they won't be sleeping for long.
"Ah Victor." Lucius' vicious and careless voice makes Draco emotionally sick. He would talk to Draco like that as a child when he 'disappointed him'. "You dare think that we wouldn't find out about this article of yours?"
The man is making noises but nothing comes out of his mouth, it is stuffed with something Draco can't make out.
"It’s sickening to think that there are still men and women like you, contaminating the wizarding world and thinking you are better than us. Our goal, as you know, is to get rid of at least all of you dirty mudbloods and I am sorry but you are no exception. Crucio!"
And the man is writhing in pain as his wife was before him. His handsome brown eyes are now facing the back of his head and his body crumples onto the floor, as though he is having a seizure.
The woman is now screaming louder than Draco can deal with and he wishes that he can stop the wrath of his father or at least not make the wife watch it. But there is no way that Draco can stand up for these mudbloods before him, damn did he hate muggles and muggle-borns, but he doesn't wish them to die such a painful death.
"Shut up or you're next!" Draco spits in the woman's ear while pulling her red hair back with his hand and his wand is now jabbed into her neck with the other, drawing blood. His hands shake from the terror of the situation, but he remains as calm as he was taught.
Suddenly the woman goes silent, her brown eyes fixed on her husband’s, as though she is mentally transferring words to him. Telling him goodbye because she knows what is about to happen, Victor, her husband, will indeed be killed. The Death Eaters don't just come to chat, they are angry.
"DADDY!" a little girl's voice screams, and Lucius lets off the curse from the middle-aged man when her voice startles him.
The little girl looks like a spitting image of her mum as she stands on the bottom stair. "Who are these men? Are they monsters mummy? What's happening?"
"Go to your bedroom and don't come back down or we will hurt you little girl!" one of the Death Eaters nearest her screams at her. But she is about to watch her father die because Lucius is getting ready to strike before she can even turn around.
"AVADA KADAVRA!" And like that, the man is dead and Draco will never forget the screams of his wife and their daughter.
Draco opens his eyes, as his body jolts awake. It is only eleven in the evening and he had gone to bed early after getting off of his first day at the Ministry training with Granger.
Ever since Mrs. Harmonda recognized him in her house earlier that day, Draco can't stop thinking about what happened that night. The dreams had haunted him ever since that night but went away for a while until now.
A skinny, beautiful girl with flowing chestnut brown hair and olive skin lay beside him, in a tiny white night-gown. Astoria Greengrass, wrapped up in her boyfriend's Egyptian cotton sheets and silver feather comforter, watches her boyfriend with wide mint-green eyes annoyingly. "Are you dreaming again?"
"Just a nightmare," breathes Draco, as Astoria looks on and sighs.
"Well you are covered in sweat and you were making sounds and saying "don't!", I can hardly sleep with you Draco. You are constantly dreaming these odd dreams, ever since you got out the other day."
"I am sorry for interrupting your beauty sleep, Astoria. I think I might just need a little air. And anyway, you don't understand, nor give a damn about what I’ve been through," Draco assures his girlfriend, getting up from their bed and leaving her. Sadly, he is used to people not caring and Astoria is no exception, but he loves her regardless.
He walks outside to their front porch and sits down on the top step to think. Thinking is one of the few things Draco did in Azkaban, he refuses to talk out loud and go as insane as his father, Lucius. He is now in a more intense secure ward, away from Narcissa, because of attempting to kill an Auror, who just happened to pass by his cell at the time, with his bare hands.
It is still raining lightly as it has been all day, and Draco bends his knees enough so he can place his aching head in his hands.
He feels like hitting something as he thinks of the child again, as he often does. The small little girl, who watched her daddy die. She can't have been any older than five. But that isn't the only sad thing Draco has seen since he joined the Death Eaters at age sixteen. He has seen babies die, and old witches and wizards beg for their life. The most violent Death Eater was his Aunt Bellatrix, who loved bloodlust and would kill at any chance she got. She was the leader of many of the Dark Lord's assignments for them and she made sure to kill every living soul in the house, before moving on. Draco can't help but be grateful that she is no longer with them because the things he saw her do will never, ever leave him.
"Ron I just don't know if we should get back together this fast. We just broke up last night and for good reason," says a faint feminine voice, from a hundred yards away.
Draco's head immediately jerks in the direction where he heard the familiar voice. Sure enough there is Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley sitting on the front porch, just like him, and he groans internally. Seriously?
Draco feels very angry all of a sudden. Granger and Weasley are his new neighbors. Why doesn't he just kill himself now? He has to deal with the mudblood at work and now hear her annoying quarrels with Weasley a hundred yards away!
"Hermione, I want you back and I will do anything to prove it. I told Lavender we can't speak by owl anymore and I’ve cut all ties with her. Can we just forget that any of this ever happened?" Weasley is saying to her, attempting to grab her hand which she is rejecting.
He was talking to another woman behind her back? Thinks Draco nosily, as he attempts to hide himself a little more so his two former enemies won't notice him. Maybe that is what her problem was today. Wait, why do I even care?
Weasley is trying hard, even Draco can admit that to himself, as he watches him continue to try and hold her. Granger seems like a tough woman to please to Draco, as she continues to refuse Weasley.
"Ron I just don't think we’re going to be able to patch things up between us. We have been arguing too much," Hermione says, just as Draco hears the front door open behind him.
"What are you doing?" Astoria's high-pitched voice asks from behind him in a whisper, accusingly.
Draco sighs and turns around. "I’m just thinking. That nightmare is coming back, the one about the mudblood being killed and the little girl watching."
Astoria makes a face with scrunched up eyebrows. "Mudbloods are scum, Draco. Why do you think we were trying to get rid of them? Speak of the devil, isn't that the mudblood Granger over there? I told you I despised you moving into this neighborhood!"
"Shush, keep your voice down. You don't live with me anyway, go back to your bloody mum then," Draco responds irritably, praying the couple doesn't hear them. He hopes Granger didn't notice him watching. He is just minding his own business on his own porch anyway.
Eventually Draco observes Weasley going into Granger's house. For some reason this angers Draco, he doesn't like that she is letting Weasley come into her house, after he had supposedly cheated on her. He can't pinpoint why he even cares, but for some reason he does. Maybe it is because he saw how his own mother would let his father back in, time and time again, when his father did the same thing.
"Yes Astoria, I'm coming in a moment," Draco answers his girlfriend’s unvoiced question, as he observes her still towering behind him. She is always nagging him about something and if the attention wasn't always on her, she would go mad, resulting in Draco never getting his own space.
Astoria goes back inside slowly. And soon Draco follows his eighteen-year-old girlfriend back inside and joins her in bed, as she watches him questionably.
She is not living with Draco but he has decided to let her come and stay with him for a while, after he bought the flat a day ago. She can't stand being around her mother when her father is locked up in Azkaban because Mrs. Greengrass is severely depressed and doesn't even notice her two daughters coming and going. Astoria is also the only daughter still living in the Greengrass manor because Daphne, her sister that graduated with Draco’s year, has gone away with her new fiancé, Theodore Nott.
Draco doesn't want to close his eyes because he is afraid the dreams will return. Of course being in Azkaban is a nightmare all in itself, but his dreams were the worst in there than they could ever be. He would wake up in sweat and tears almost every night and his mother attempted to comfort him from her cell directly across from him.
"It's okay Draco, it's okay," she would say, as Draco curled up in a corner and just wept.
Narcissa confided in Draco that she wished she never let him be apart of the Death Eaters. She wished she had not let herself follow in her family's footsteps either and went the same route as her sister, Andromeda.
"I don't want to do this... the Ministry thing," Draco tells Astoria, as she leans over on her elbow to look at him, irritated that he is once again interrupting her sleep.
"Today I went to a woman's house with Granger, who is training me. It was the wife that I restrained that night we killed that man, the same night I keep dreaming about," Draco confesses.
Of course Astoria had only heard something that worried her more about than her boyfriend. "You're training with that mudblood bitch? And she's our neighbor too?"
"I don't have a choice, Astoria. She's pretty high up in the Department’s training program and our boss kind of threw me onto her as my mentor because of that," Draco says, irritated. "I didn't have a choice in the matter."
"I can't believe that she is allowed to walk around freely. She helped kill the Dark Lord and should be dead, shouldn't she?" Astoria asks, sitting up and scowling at Draco.
"No. She shouldn't be dead. I don't want anyone dead after what all I have seen. Let's just go to sleep!"
"I want her dead," Astoria admits, before rolling over. "I want all of them dead. All three of them. So should you, you used to want that too. What changed you when you were in prison Draco? Are you starting to have a soft side? If you are I don't like it."
Draco stares at the wall on the other side of the room and doesn't answer her, feeling disgusted with Astoria. But why? He felt the same way until he saw all the death and destruction of the war. Astoria, like him, is just going by the way she was raised. Mudbloods are supposed to be looked at as lower than dirt.
Thunder awakes Draco on the second day of work.
He gets up from the bed and walks into the lavatory to start a shower. It is a huge bathroom, filled with a garden tub and a shower that ten people could fit in easily. Astoria complained about how small it was when she first arrived at the house and Draco had to rearrange it just how she wanted.
He turns on the tap and walks into the huge shower, his mind already alive with thoughts. He thinks briefly of Astoria’s and his relationship. Why does he put up with her?
Astoria and Draco weren’t an item before he was sent to Azkaban. The two of them talked and hung out together a few times before the war happened, but Draco didn't think much of her because she was two years younger than him.
After he was put in Azkaban though, they started talking every day. The owls kept coming and coming after the Aurors got through searching them each time and Astoria eventually admitted that she ‘loved’ him.
Draco of course was either betrothed to marry Pansy Parkinson, Daphne Greengrass, or Astoria Greengrass, according to his family while growing up since a young age. His father declined to let him court anyone else.
Well, Parkinson was out of the question because Draco had wanted to punch her pug face ever since he met her their first year, even though they had flirted at times. She has laid eyes on Zabini anyway now. Daphne is stunningly beautiful, with long brown hair like Astoria and bright blue eyes. But she had eyes for Nott near the end of their Hogwarts schooling, so Draco backed off and tried to search elsewhere. Astoria was it, and she is breathtakingly attractive like her sister, with her tight body, bright mint eyes, and silky chestnut hair. She is also very funny and confident –which Draco likes.
Draco and Astoria had made-out a few times during parties in the common room near the war time, as he did with a lot of other girls. Girls who were children of the Death Eaters were attracted to Draco because he was 'brave', in their eyes, for joining the Dark Lord at the young age of sixteen, when most of the other sons of Death Eaters refused to join until at least after they graduated Hogwarts.
The shower is painfully hot as Draco finishes bathing himself and turns the tap off, trying to tune out his thoughts.
He is nervous for his second day at the Ministry. Mostly he is afraid of coming across another person that he had hurt, like he did the day before. He had a feeling his past is going to haunt him. But he knows he deserves it, he helped the Death Eaters after all and he hates himself now for it.
Draco's stay in Azkaban has changed him internally. Is it for a good cause? He isn’t so sure yet. He is afraid that he may be losing his confidence and arrogant personality. He doesn't want to be caring, but, if that is true, why does he care about Weasley cheating on Granger? That's something he would have laughed at in the past.
A/N: Draco is not the same guy he was before the war. But do you think he is a different person or is he just the same guy but broken?
Astoria of course doesn't like that he may have a softer side to him now because she fell in love with the 'bad guy' he was before the war. Maybe Draco's softer side isn't such a bad thing? Azkaban is a life changer for some after all..
I hope you like my story so far and I hope you read on ;) please R&R and thanks for even opening up my story. There will be less Draco POV than Hermione POV but there will be some here and there :) Thanks so much!
A special thanks to Kirsty for betaing this chapter, and to TidalDragon for the help in re-wording Draco's nightmare.
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