Chapter 4 : Nightmares
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The night was snowy and freezing as Draco, and ten other Death Eaters, apparated into a dark shadowed area, behind an abandoned wooden home. Every step he took seemed to take ten minutes, as Draco dreaded what he was about to do. His feet dragged behind him.
Lucius led the pack of men before him, they were 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 was death and if the group of them were not successful, it would be them that would die tonight. Draco was awoken earlier out of his slumber by his father and told to follow them.
The house was lit up and there were no sounds coming from it as the men approached. As usual, one of the Death Eaters was told to start the usual protective charms around the home, in case the Order tried to intervene. But with the way they were weakened these days, they weren't that worried that the Order, or any Auror, would make an appearance regardless.
Draco, as usual, trailed closely behind his father. Staring directly ahead, he walked briskly. His lips were pursed tightly at the bottom of his unflinching face. The blonde-haired boy had 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 came easily. Already he could imagine the screams, the suffering, the pleading. Of course, when the Dark Lord had sentenced one to death, the pleading was always in vain. Death would come. It always came. And these days, it never came swiftly and Draco feared it.
As they approached the small house, Draco shivered. After his failure atop the Astronomy Tower, carrying out orders was all that kept the next death from being his own. He prayed, at least for tonight, that those orders would not include a command that he carry 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 said, in a broken voice to his father, hating himself but relieved he was 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 said, with a nauseating chuckle.
Draco's heart sunk inside of him. Why kill anyone? This man with three children was a muggleborn but he didn't deserve to die. Not in the way they were about to kill him.
Lucius blasted the door out of the way, just as a woman's blood-curdling scream filled Draco's ears. He wanted to cover them, he wanted to hide in a corner as he did as a young child and just cry. He had now seen things that no person should ever have to see in their life.
As he did as he was directed to do, he felt the sudden urge to disobey his father, but Draco ignored it and grabbed the screaming and thrashing woman and set the Cruciatus Curse on her body, so that her screaming turned into yelping and utter shrill terror, this meant he could control her and get her hands chained behind her back. Soon he let the curse off of her and she was weeping loudly when Lucius and six other Death-Eaters brought her husband in. Apparently the children were in bed... but they wouldn't be sleeping for long.
"Ah Victor." Lucius' vicious and careless voice made Draco 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 was making noises but nothing came out of his mouth, it was stuffed with something Draco couldn't make out.
"Its 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 was writhing in pain as his wife was before. His handsome brown eyes were now facing the back of his head and his body crumpled onto the floor, as though he was having a seizure.
The woman was now screaming louder than Draco could deal with and he wished that he could stop the wrath of his father or at least not make the wife watch it. But there was no way that Draco could stand up for these mudbloods before him, damn did he hate muggles and muggle-borns, but he didn't wish them to die such a painful death.
"Shut up or you're next!" Draco spat in the woman's ear while pulling her red hair back with his hand and his wand was now jabbed into her neck with the other, drawing blood. His hands shook from the terror of the situation, but he remained as calm as he was taught.
Suddenly the woman went silent, her brown eyes were fixed on her husband, as though she was mentally transferring words to him. Telling him goodbye because she knew what was about to happen, Victor, her husband, would indeed be killed. The Death Eaters didn't just come to chat, they were angry.
"DADDY!" a little girl's voice screamed, and Lucius let off the curse from the middle-aged man when her voice startled him.
The little girl looked like a spinning image of her mum as she was standing 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 was saying. But she was about to watch her father die because Lucius was getting ready to strike before she could even turn around.
"AVADA KADAVRA!" And like that, the man was dead and Draco would never forget the screams of his wife and their daughter.
Draco opened his eyes, as his body jolted awake. It was 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 couldn't stop thinking about it. The dreams had haunted him ever since that night.
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, was looking at her boyfriend with wide mint-green eyes annoyingly. "Are you dreaming again?"
"Just a nightmare," breathed Draco, as Astoria looked on and sighed.
"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 assured his girlfriend, getting up from their bed and leaving her. Sadly, he was used to people not caring and Astoria was no exception, but he loved her regardless.
He walked outside to their front porch and sat down on the top step to think. Thinking was one of the few things Draco did in Azkaban, he refused to talk out loud and go as insane as his father, Lucius. He was 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 was still raining lightly as it had been all day, and Draco bent his knees enough so he could place his head in his hands.
He felt like hitting something as he thought of the small child again, as he often did. The small little girl, who watched her daddy die. She couldn't have been any older than five. But that wasn't the only sad thing Draco had seen since he joined the Death Eaters at age sixteen. He had 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 couldn't help but be grateful that she was no longer with them because the things he saw her do would 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," said a faint voice, from a hundred yards away.
Draco's head immediately jerked in the direction where he heard that familiar voice. Sure enough there was Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley sitting on the front porch, just like him, and he groaned internally. Seriously?
Draco felt very angry all of a sudden. Granger and Weasley are his new neighbours. 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 was saying to her, attempting to grab her hand which she was rejecting.
He was talking to another woman behind her back? thought Draco nosily, as he attempted to hide himself a little more so his two former enemies wouldn't notice him. Maybe that was what her problem was today. Wait, why do I even care?
Weasley was trying hard, even Draco could admit that to himself, as he watched him continue to try and hold her. Granger seemed like a tough woman to please to Draco, as she continued 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 was saying, just as Draco heard the front door open behind him.
"What are you doing?" Astoria's high-pitched voice asked from behind him in a whisper, accusingly.
Draco sighed and turned around. "I’m just thinking. That nightmare is coming back. The one about the mudblood being killed and the little girl watching."
Astoria made 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 neighbourhood!"
"Shush, keep your voice down. You don't live with me anyway, go back to your bloody mum then," Draco responded irritably, praying the couple didn't hear them. He hoped Granger didn't notice him watching. He was just minding his own business on his own porch anyway.
Eventually Draco observed Weasley going into Granger's house. For some reason that angered Draco, he didn't like that she was letting Weasley come into her house, after he had supposedly cheated on her. He couldn't pinpoint why he even cared, but for some reason he did. Maybe it was 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 answered his girlfriend’s unvoiced question, as he observed her still towering behind him. She was always nagging him about something and if the attention wasn't always on her, she would go mad.
Astoria went back inside slowly. And soon Draco followed his eighteen-year-old girlfriend back inside and joined her in bed, as she watched him questionably.
She was not living with Draco but he had decided to let her come and stay with him for awhile, after he bought the flat a day ago. She couldn't stand being around her mother when her father was locked up in Azkaban because Mrs. Greengrass was severely depressed and didn't even notice her two daughters coming and going. Astoria was also the only daughter still living in the Greengrass manor because Daphne, her sister that graduated with Draco, had gone away with her new fiancé, Theodore Nott.
Draco didn't want to close his eyes because he was afraid the dreams would return. Of course being in Azkaban was 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 told Astoria, as she leaned over on her elbow to look at him, irritated that he was 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 said.
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 neighbour too?"
"I don't have a choice, Astoria. She's pretty high up in the department and our boss kind of threw me onto her as my mentor because she's one of the top trainees," Draco spat, 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 asked, 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 said, 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 stared at the wall on the other side of the room and didn'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, was just going by the way she was raised. Mudbloods are supposed to be looked at as lower than dirt.
The thunder awoke Draco on the second day of work.
He got up from the bed and walked into the lavatory to start a shower. It was 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 turned on the tap and walked into the huge shower, his mind already alive with thoughts. He thought briefly of Astoria 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 everyday. 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 going to have to marry Pansy Parkinson, Daphne Greengrass, or Astoria Greengrass, according to his family while growing up. He was basically betrothed to marry one of them 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 had laid eyes on Zabini anyway now. Daphne was stunningly beautiful, with long brown hair like Astoria and bright blue eyes but 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 was breathtakingly attractive like her sister as well, with her tight body, bright mint eyes, and silky chestnut hair. She was also very funny and confident –which Draco liked.
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 was painfully hot as Draco finished bathing himself and turned the tap off, trying to tune out his thoughts as well.
He was nervous for his second day at the Ministry. Mostly he was afraid of coming across another person he had hurt, like he did the day before. He had a feeling his past was going to haunt him but he knew he deserved it, he helped the Death Eaters after all and he hated himself now for it.
Draco's stay in Azkaban had changed him internally. Was it for a good cause? He wasn’t not sure yet. He was afraid that he may be losing his confidence and arrogant personality. He didn't want to be caring, but, if that was true, why did 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? You will be able to find out eventually..
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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