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Seven Years

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Seven years.

He had known you for seven years and things seemed like a countdown; like the sand in hourglass that was slowly seeping through the tiny hole. Trickling until no grain was left; until this very fateful day was going to arrive.

And he regretted not making use of these precious years; of that gift that God had given him. But of course he didn’t, for he was the boy who never appreciated the things that he had.

Draco was so sure that if he had a time turner, he would definitely go back in time to experience these memories again.

But this time, he wouldn’t have treated you the way he did; would’ve tried to make things undone – to prevent them.

Time turners existed. But happy endings didn’t.

And so the story had unfolded.

[7]

He was barely over 55 inches; had his blonde hair smoothed back into a sleek, clean hairstyle. No hair strand was standing out in any way. Draco was brought up to be neat and immaculate. He wore expensive clothes – the best and most suitable quality for a Malfoy like him. The finest fabric carefully washed and ironed by the house elves at his home place. There were no creases and no bulges at all, because it had to be perfect.

His eyes were in a constant sneer and lips that curled into a condescending smirk. A rather thin pale boy the blonde had been, yet there was still puppy fat in his childish features. So fair and innocent like all of his classmates that were walking through the hallways in their black robes, following Professor McGonagall to the Great Hall. He’d talked to the Potter guy for the second time; the boy who had lived. This git who was going to be his biggest enemy for his whole school life.

There was timid chatting between those who had the luck of knowing each other already and quiet sighs from those whose eyes were travelling anxiously yet awed through the massive stone walls; not knowing what to expect when this hallway was ending. It was confusing and scary and exciting at the same time.

Hogwarts was gigantic and ancient. With dust layers on its cold surfaces and an icy wind blowing through the gaps. Nevertheless, for all those newcomers – and he hated to admit it; even him - it was an exciting place. Even though he liked it better at home, naturally. This was going to be the place where they would be educated into full, competent witches and wizards. The place that would turn into their – no, his - home and safe haven for the next seven years.

They entered the biggest room in Hogwarts, which was lit with countless floating candles in the air, just below a stunning night sky that was acting as the ceiling.

Draco hastily closed his mouth that was agape in awe; not wanting to show any excitement. After all, his home was just as large – the living room maybe even larger than this room that they called the Great Hall.

Of course, he got sorted into Slytherin just like all his ancestors and family members. The only house he rightfully belonged to and the only house he felt connected to. The blonde briskly walked over to the wooden desk where he got welcomed with gentle slaps on his back and triumphant smirks. He sat between them, instantly feeling at ease as he watched the ongoing Sorting ceremony.

There was a sea of excited yet nervous expressions, all plastered over young, fearful faces, lasting for the whole long queue of the remaining students. Just right before they could sit on this simple stool and get sorted into the houses that were going to be like teams, a second family.

Draco saw you steering towards the stool, fearlessly approaching it and then gently sitting down with no haste at all. The elderly Professor placed the ragged brown Sorting Hat on your head that was slightly moving in her grip.

One minute passed and it was indeed very unusual, for the magical artifact to take such a long time.

The dirty hat was moving on your head and your expressions remained motionless, rather unimpressed. But the truth was that you were in deep conversation with the Sorting Hat.

Another two minutes passed.

The first few students started to feel itchy and Draco could hear shifting and the rustling over cloaks as they moved. Yet, nobody dared to speak a single word. They were staring at you, eagerly waiting for the announcement that the Hat would make in the next few seconds. Any time soon.

When another two minutes passed, McGonagall’s eyes travelled over to search the principal’s gaze who just gave an assuring nod; not startled or worried at all.

And then, finally, after what seemed to be half of eternity, the Hat loudly yelled.

“SLYTHERIN”

But Draco, due to the fact that he had gotten too bored, had missed this peculiar Sorting. He was busy with talking to his friends; already deeply absorbed with more important stuff. And the clapping noises and the way you took your seat in between the rows of the Slytherin students, it all faded into the background. He missed the interested glance that you threw towards his direction, already intrigued by this pale young boy with the dirty blonde hair and these cold grey eyes.

It wasn’t important.

[6]

It all started with a cat and bloodstains across the wall, as the fresh pulsing red was still sliding down the stone, under the flickering lights of the torches. It was an eerie sight. Rumors and whispers travelling behind hands that were supposed to cover mouths; glided through hallways and waiting ears.

Ever since this stupid black haired guy had returned from his little adventure in the chamber that held the Philosopher’s Stone. He was celebrated as the hero, a saint; much to the blonde’s disapproval. If there was one person that Draco loathed to death, then it was definitely Harry fucking Potter.

Draco’s mouth had curled into a satisfied smirk as he watched their backs and slumped shoulders following the teachers. Fire in these marble eyes and the colour of passion and agreement tinted on his cheeks.

Because naturally, Potter and his friends were the first to be at the crime scene, were the culprits of course. Students were in an uproar. Because this was a clear threat, a warning to all the pupils whose blood was just as dirty and stained as the wall was. The truth always hurt; were words that acted like knives to those who refused to see it.

You’re next Mudbloods.”

Because the rumored Chamber of Secrets had been opened.

He was staring; was glaring daggers at your back, tousled hair that was spreading like a fan over black fabric. The Slytherin girl whose name he would never forget. Not because you were so stunning, or so beautiful, or any kind of mesmerizing.

No, not at all.

It was because you beat him in every single class and Draco was furious; fuming with anger when every single time he had to find out that you had gotten better results than him. This name, these two words always emblazoned in black lettering just above his name, putting him into the shadows. And the young Malfoy mumbled them under his breath, like a curse as he clenched his fist, determined to beat you in the next exam. Because he was young and competitive and girls were stupid, especially when they were as plain looking as you.

He began a secret but not-so-secret competition, trying his best to surpass you by spending hours in libraries where there were no sounds except the soft thunks of books being placed on the table and the rustling of paper when it was flipped. Fingers travelling over words, accompanying his grey eyes as he absorbed all the facts and teachings, occasionally taking notes.

What the key to your success was, he would never know; as he rarely stumbled upon you when he was going to the large library.

Anticipation was rushing through his veins as he eagerly waited for the teacher to return the test papers. Draco was sure that this time, he was at the top of the class. No mistakes, perfectly written essay. He’d gotten all the points down; hadn’t forgotten to mention a single thing.

However, his frustration was just as intense as the former anticipation and who else would be a better scapegoat for his anger than the one who was responsible?

“It’s disgusting how she’s fraternizing with the Gryffindors!”

“A Mudblood in the house of Slytherin? Tch, plain impossible”

“She must have hexed the Sorting Hat, no wonder it took so long with sorting her.”

“You’re a disgrace to all of us Slytherins, Mudblood. You don’t belong to us,” Pansy Parkinson’s sweet smile accompanied you as you walked past her table.

“I’ve always been wondering why a girl like you; so plain and low-ranking could be a part of this house. You do not deserve to sit here, dressed in these colours, wearing this emblem that fills us with so much pride,” he spat, deliberately making it sound as if you were nothing more than a piece of dirt, a thorn in their side.

“Because you don’t have pride, aren’t as cunning as we are – with this blood heritage. Muggleborn. Hah, why not replace it with scum?”

Out of all people, the blonde was the first who happened to learn about this precious piece of information that he delightedly used to bully and humiliate you. Because you deserved it, for this audacity - to simply surpass him in all of the studies.

Draco Malfoy, a pureblood wizard, wasn’t going to let a mere Mudblood outperform him. He’d rather eat dirt than accept this matter of a fact. Knowledge was power. And he had just been granted the freedom to proceed however he liked with this little, yet significant piece of information.

It was your second year and you were a blood traitor; the renegade of the house; the two-faced bitch that was having intercourses with the Gryffindors. But you weren’t stupid; were never at loss for words.

Upon hearing your house mate’s snarling, you returned to the table where he sat, provocatively leaning in.

“Malfoy, let me teach you something that only Mudbloods do. I think it’d be an enrichment for your non-existent, narrow-minded brain, seeing that you were never able to get better grades than me.”

“Pay close attention,” you grabbed his face, tilting it so that he couldn’t look away.

“You can go and fuck yourself,” you gave him your middle finger before releasing the pale boy’s face again, strutting to your seat with your head held high.

You were 12 and barely used to curses and swearing yet. But drastic measures required drastic actions.

Draco never apologized. And neither did you.

[5]

You invaded his territory by setting your foot onto the Quidditch with a broomstick in one hand and a club in another.

“Why is she here?” Draco gestured towards you, an annoyed expression on his face and lips in a frown.

“_________ applied for the Beater position,” Flint just answered, ignoring the younger’s dumbfounded expression.

“You’re letting the Mudblood play in our team?”

“I don’t care about that whatsoever. If we can beat Wood with her, she can stay,” the dark-haired replied before he opened the training session.

“Did you hear that, Malfoy?” he rolled his eyes in response to your provocative remark.

Draco growled, seemingly annoyed, then he shrugged his shoulders – as if he was trying to convince himself to accept the fact that the girl he disliked the most was now also in his Quidditch team.

You were everywhere, really; sharing most of the lessons with the young Malfoy heir and now you had entered his Quidditch team as well; haunting and following him wherever he went. Not even in his free time, was he spared from your presence. He sighed in agony and mounted his broom but not before he made sure to shoot you another hateful glare.

 

The first match was against Ravenclaw, the house with fairly good players. They weren’t the best, yet their abilities shouldn’t be underestimated. With Cho Chang as their seeker, Draco had to pay close attention. If your team won this match, Hufflepuff would be easy to defeat; to crush. It was only for Gryffindor who was the real threat – with Harry as their Seeker and  with marvelous Beaters as the Weasley twins. The blonde had always particularly liked to pick on the Weasleys. However, he did have to admit that they sure were skilled at this sport.

Flint had set up another meeting before the game, making sure to tire you out to your bones and hammer the strategy and the flying formations into your heads. You had adjusted to the team by now, finally being accepted by most of your comrades for your Beater skills. Flint had also revealed some confidential information that he had found out by investigating and studying the Ravenclaw practices.

 


 

The weather was actually very mild on the match day. With the sun shyly peeking through the clouds and cold but strong winds occasionally brushing through the valleys. After the traditional handshake of the Captains, you mounted your brooms, getting into the position as Madame Hooch released the Snitch and the two Bludgers.

And things were close from the beginning. Chasers dressed in blue and green mingling with each other as they fought for the Quaffle; dodged Bludgers that were hit into their direction. You zoomed past a Ravenclaw player, pulling a hairpin bend so you could hit the Bludger with your club in such a precision – even the partial Jordan Lee had nothing to say against that. Flint flashed past you, chasing the Quaffle that was in possession of Davis. Your eyes searched for Derrick but you got distracted due to the fact that Samuels just hit the Bludger into your direction. You ducked in the last moment, only to get hit by the second Bludger. A groan escaped your lips as you struggled to keep your balance on the broom. Someone snickered.

“Pay attention, Mudblood,” Malfoy swooshed past you and there was a clear mocking smile on his lips as he chased something that you couldn’t spot.

There was uproar in the audience and you realized that Ravenclaw had just scored a goal. Your fellow players cursed under their breaths and you prayed that Draco would catch the Snitch soon. You had still the chance to win. The blonde was heading towards the left corner of the stadium, closely followed by Cho Chang, the Ravenclaw Seeker.

Derrick passed the Bludger to you, so you could get it towards the Chaser that was tailing Montague. Slytherin scored soon after and the Lee Jordan tried his hardest not to boo while your fellow housemates were bursting into cheers and ovation.

And it was like a ping-pong game, the teams almost taking turns with their scoring. Things were getting a bit tense and you blinked, shielding your watering eyes from the cold wind. Players were swooshing across the whole field, performing almost elaborate stunts. Quaffles and Bludgers were travelling back and forth; hit and dodge, steal and throw. It was confusing and you were losing track of time, as you tried your best to temporarily knock out the opposing players.

“Nice hit, Inglebee. Prevented Flint from entering your territory, huh?”

“Malfoy’s spotted the Snitch and there he goes, the guy whom we’ve awarded to be the smallest player in the Slytherin team!” the commentator’s voice soared

“Actually, I take that back. I forgot that _______ is even smaller,” Lee Jordan added after a brief pause.

“Anyway, Cho is on his tail – or should I say broom?”

“Oooooohh, Cho’s passing Malfoy. Looking old on your Nimbus 2001, huh? With a Comet 260 passing you…what humiliation that must be for our Malfoy boy”

Perhaps, irritated by Lee’s jibe, Draco clenched his teeth and leaned forward, putting on more speed. It was a neck to neck race now and Lee broke off, most likely holding his breath as well. Who was it going to be?

Cho closed the distance again, reaching out her fingers to get a hold of the golden ball that was just mere inches away. Draco jostled her without success.

And it was like a broad hint when the Bludger was hit in your direction again. With the giant brown flying potato rapidly racing towards your face, you speeded forward to meet it halfway, taking a big swing with your club.

It gave a loud knock and you were catapulted backward; losing your balance. The impact of the wooden club meeting the aggressive Bludger had been too strong. And off it was, zooming towards an unknown goal.

“Merlin’s beard, please” you muttered, silently begging for your plans to work as you watched its flight path, hoping that nobody had caught on your intention.

“Looks like Slytherin’s going to suffer a defeat, today. Even _______’s slacking off. I mean where did she hit that Bludger to?” Lee’s breathless voice sounded through the microphone and suddenly things happened very fast. Cho was hit by your Bludger and Draco used the chance to reach out for the Snitch, ceasing the narrow but definite victory for the Slytherins.

There was a moment of complete silence as everyone was trying to grasp the situation.

“And Slytherin wins! All due thanks to ____’s Bludger,” Lee’s voice roared in surprise as your classmates’ loud cheers and the Ravenclaw’s cries of disappointment were mixed into a weird song.

Green uniforms crashing into you as they seized you into a big hug, their howling killing your ears. But laughs spilled over your lips while you brushed your disheveled hair out of your face; fingers shaking from the adrenaline and tension.

“Good job ____,” Flint patted your shoulder and you managed to give him a wide smile.

Draco watched you from the grounds, his graphite coloured eyes following the rest of his team as they accumulated around you. The fine wings of the snitch were still fluttering in his hand as he tightly clutched the ball. And the blonde was confused; not knowing whether he should be jealous or happy. Because even though he had caught the snitch; had led them to their victory, it was you who got all the glory and the cheers. You were the center of their attention.

“Bloody Mudblood,” he pursed his lips, chewing on them.

Yet somehow, he also realized that if it weren’t for your Bludger, he wouldn’t have had the chance to wrap his fingers around this small annoying thing.

His thin lips formed an even thinner line as he gulped down the words of admiration as if they were some bitter medicine. He’d rather drink acid than compliment you.

[4]

Fine feathers made fine birds, Draco realized the evening of Christmas. The Great Hall was decorated in snow and its ceiling almost won the non-existent competition against the real night sky and its twinkling stars. Silvery Christmas ornaments and tall trees and on the tables. The house elves had lined out the finest silver cutlery and the food was a feast, really. The Triwizard champions had opened the dance with the infamous waltz and the blonde watched how Potter embarrassed himself with growing satisfaction.

Because Potter had always been so full of himself. The boy who lived; Saint Potter who had always been the fancied student; Dumbledore’s favourite. And now that git couldn’t even dance properly. How pathetic.

Crabbe and Goyle were still stuffing their faces as he led Pansy to the dance floor, her sweaty hand firmly placed in his. She looked plain beautiful in her full dress that was in the same colour of his eyes. With her hair slightly curled and the subtle but playful makeup, the young Malfoy heir was proud to show her off to the fellow Slytherins whose jaws hit the ground as he walked down the stairs with her arm linked with his.

An arrogant smile was plastered over Pansy’s face. She had always been the confident type and Draco liked how she always understood exactly how he felt about certain things. They shared the same beliefs, the same views and the same opinions. The brown haired was perfectly suited for a noble family like the Malfoys; was worthy enough to stand by his side.

Placing his hand on her waist, he allowed her to put her hand on his shoulder before he took her other hand. They started dancing another slow waltz. His feet were elegantly leading her at a comfortable pace, perfectly in sync with the beat. Draco swirled her around and when she came back to him; a bit like a boomerang, there was a malicious grin on her face.

“Look there’s Mudblood. Guess she couldn’t find someone to accompany her. ‘cause she’s all on her own.”

“Where?” grey eyes interestedly wandering through the Great Hall, scanning through the dancing crowd and chattering students as he was searching for your familiar silhouette. There was no way that he would let the chance to bully you slip away like this.

“Fred’s approaching her. Or George? Dunno, actually. One of the goddamn Weasley twins,” Pansy continued as she craned her neck towards your direction when he moved towards the opposite direction.

It was for the conspicuous flaming red hair in a sea of decent coloured hair, that he had found you so quickly but you were covered; hidden behind the Weasley’s tall figure.

 


 

“All on your own today, ______?” George’s smiling face came into your view as he walked closer.

“Well, no….actually, yes. I’ve been stood up, George,” you replied politely. Even though you were in opposite teams, somehow – and that was the odd thing – you still got along with the Weasley twins. It was an unusual friendship, forged over the fact that the three of you weren’t particularly fond of Draco Malfoy.

Draco’s enemies are always our friends,” George had winked before offering you a hand so he could introduce yourself.

“Likewise. My company is currently in the Hospital Wing. She’s been throwing up ever since the afternoon,”

“I am sorry to hear that, George.”

“Don’t be. Reckon that she took something from the Skiving Snackbox,” he mumbled as he scratched the back of his neck, apparently deep in thought.

“Then, care for a dance?”

“Shouldn’t I be the one asking?” playful twinkling eyes in the shade of the creamiest milk chocolate.

“Oh come on, we live in a world where women are allowed to ask too,” you slightly smiled but placed your hands in his held out hand one anyway, letting him pull you to towards the dance floor.

“Alright,” George chuckled, swiftly bringing your bodies closer so he could place his large hand on your hip while the other steadied its grip.

Draco’s breath hitched, feet briefly haltering as he stared at this girl that was now dancing in the arms of the younger Weasley twin. Your skin that seemed like gold, so smooth and clear with a glow; your hair that aroused the impression of the most expensive silk – imported from China, where it had been threaded by utmost carefulness. Your hair was the ocean when it was calm – with soft waves caressing your naked skin.

And he suddenly would have loved to let his pale fingers run through these strands of loose waterfalls; would have loved to convince himself of their softness.

“What’s wrong Draco?” Pansy’s face blocked his view and the young Malfoy was back from his daydream; confusedly blinking. He’d just been far, far away as if he had just been immersed in an exciting book.

“Nothing. Just couldn’t believe that _____ looked so ugly,” he replied a bit too loud for his own good, subconsciously covering up for his embarrassment. Draco felt as if he had just been caught at doing something improper and he had this urge to justify himself.

“Shut it, Malfoy. She’s prettier than your soul could ever be, you rotten brat,” George’s deep voice sounded close to them and the blonde snarled, rolling his eyes. Pansy raised her eyebrow before snapping back some rude comment.

“It’s alright, Georgie. Don’t worry about it,” you assured your dancing partner. Yet the older boy saw the hurt in your eyes and he clenched his teeth, swallowing the anger that was roaring in his ears.

It was a sheer lie; even though it wasn’t his first.

But Draco was going to master the games of manipulation and pretention. And like always he was playing his role perfectly.

[3]

Lord Voldemort had become more than just a horror story and his father has started going on secret missions. No words were spoken about these errands; these tasks – despite of Draco’s constant pestering. He uttered soft, polite questions towards his mother over breakfast; when his father had already left the bed for hours. And the blonde was well aware that it wasn’t for work. Yet her lips were sealed tightly as if someone had smeared glue on her mouth.

“Are you sure that you want to join?” George’s concern was underlined with the deep crease between his eyes. He seemed sorrowful somehow and you couldn’t quite understand why.

“Why shouldn’t she?” Fred chimed in, taking the quill out of his brother’s hand so he could put his scrawl of a signature below Hermione’s and Ron’s names.

“You’re being bullied enough,” George brought in the first argument when Fred passed the quill to you. You shrugged, lifting your hands while holding the quills.

“And isn’t this some sort of treason?”

“I’m already a disgrace to all the Slytherins. Why not finally make the rumors true? After all every story contains a grain of truth,” you replied and put the tip on the paper to sign it in swift but elegant lettering. The determination in your voice was impossible to be overheard and while you were still focused on the parchment in front of you, Fred and George shared a look before the younger twin just shrugged.

“She’s got courage, that kid,” Fred mused, holding his chin like a wise old man and you laughed.

“Thanks, Fred.”

He saw you slipping through the dungeons and hallways, walking a bit too decisive for the fact that you could be roaming aimlessly through the grounds of Hogwarts after the curfew, like Draco and his friends had done in the past. The way you set one foot after another reminded him of Potter and his friends. And Potter was never up to something good.

The Slytherin took pride in being part of the Inquisitorial Squad; enjoyed being Umbridge’s right hand that lent him so much power and freedom. Not even Prefects could be as equally powerful as he was right now.

Something about your behavior had aroused his suspicion. You had always been rather quiet due to the fact that you had no friends among his house. However, it seemed as if you were having a secret.

Draco just knew it; because somehow, the blonde had unconsciously started to study you just as intense as he would study the Cabinet in the following year. So it wasn’t particularly difficult to read between the lines, to notice the small but evident changes in your demeanor.

His eyes were tracing the curves of your lips and his fingers were travelling over your skin for an invisible touch for the hundredth time – until he was sure that he could’ve drawn your face just out of his memory. He’s been sucked in, lured into a bittersweet trap of yearning and hate. And he bit his lips and clenched his jaw and knuckles until they were as white as snow.

Because he did not forget that you were a Mudblood.

Did not forget that your veins bore filthy blood, even though these blue veins that were occasionally shimmering on your skin looked more like the ocean rather than dirt. Did not forget that you weren’t worthy, for the fact that your ancestors were only mere pathetic Muggles; were dumb peasants. Never forgot the fact that your name stood for dishonor and ignominy for the house of Slytherin.

How disappointed his father would be if he knew what inappropriate things were running through Draco’s head. And the young Malfoy, who had always had so much respect for the head of the house, never wanted to be a disgrace, a shame to his family.

This was pure hate that he was feeling, the boy told himself. The blonde had no intention of accepting this; would deny and refuse to admit these emotions till the end.

And he proved himself that point by catching you with his own hands; by tracking you down between the hallways after one of the DA meetings. It was easy to overwrite these fragile feelings with violence and snarky remarks. His slender fingers were closing around your wrist like an iron grip as he pulled you into the office of the headmaster; to where the rest of this scum had already been abducted to.

Draco’s eyes met yours that held so much loathe. You had spat into his face, had thrown curses and insults that should have been the substitute for the slaps that you wanted to give for the betrayal that he didn’t commit. But he just smiled his usual triumphant, sadistic smile; let his lips curl in a way that scared you.

“Asshole.”

Because things were back in order.

He was back to despising you, you were still detesting him and these feelings; this strange affection had vanished.

There was a thin line-

[2]

Ink was woven with his skin and it was itching like thousand needles and pins sticking in his arm. A mark for eternity, emblazoned on his pale arm like a red flower in midst of snow-white petals. It stood out and he started to wear long sleeves to hide the stamp that was burned into his flesh.

He had sworn undying loyalty and faithful allegiance to the undefeatable Dark Lord and the mark was proof, was a confirmation for it.

Draco Malfoy had turned even paler than you ever believed. Eye bags were decorating his face like black paint as if someone had allowed himself to play a prank on the blonde. With cheeks so sunken and hollow, he looked like a white statue whose creator had accidentally carved out too much of the material.

You walked past his friends and him for quite a few times but it was only Pansy who called out to you, greeting you with her usual malicious comments.

“Here comes that Mudblood, the tramp who leads our Quidditch Team into misery.”

“Here stands the girl who used to have such a pretty face before some acid was poured over her,” you smiled sweetly at her horrified face and strode past her with your books in your hands.

It was only for weeks later when you realized how isolated Malfoy was. He seemed quieter and as if he was lost in thought. Distraction was plastered over his face as he seemed to brood over things that you could never find out. At some evenings, you could still see him in the library, sticking his straight nose into books and furrowing his brows while his eyes were flying over complex texts and formulas. You didn’t care; couldn’t care less about the most despicable person on earth.

Long after the last bits of snow had molten; the students were allowed to go to Hogsmeade again to either do some shopping or to simply spend their free time with drinking Butterbeer. Spring had taken over Winter and the first few buds were growing everywhere. Life was taking its claim after such a long slumber and for a moment, you forgot the threat that was waiting for the right time to unfold. Forgot about war and Voldemort, about Katie Bell and Death Eaters.

You had done some basic shopping before taking the path to the Shrieking Shack, a place that you preferred over the busy streets of Hogsmeade. You enjoyed being on your own; were simply used to your solitude.

Sometimes you’d conquer the hill and climb up the stairs that led you to the run down inside of the house. It was still rather cool and the wind was shaking loose pieces of wood, whirling up some dust when it brushed through the surfaces of the interior.

“Ahh, it’s cold today,” you mumbled more to yourself as you clambered through a broken window, freezing in midair as you made out some distinct noises of the piano that was located on the first floor. It gave you quite a scare if you were honest. The noises stopped and you started to breathe again.

“Probably just a rat that was walking over the keys,” you tried to calm down your racing heart while carefully pulling the other leg over the rim of the window.

You were standing in the middle of the living room. Grey blankets that probably used to be white were covering the interior that indicated a sofa and some armchairs. There was a silver rusty candle-holder in the corner, somehow slightly looking out of place.

The piano was heard once again.

Tunes that strung together into a melancholic melody. They seemed unharmonious and the piano surely needed some tuning, yet the song was downcast, simply beautiful. You were instantly drawn him; were fascinated.

“This is no rat,” you muttered, averting your eyes from the interior. Your feet were moving across the floorboard, automatically carrying you closer and closer to the source of music.

The wind was howling through some gaps and you were once again remembered why this abandoned house was called “The Shrieking Shack”. But today the Shrieking Shack was singing underneath the loud howling. With the piano that was softly weeping. You didn’t know why, but something about this melody told you that the pianist was carrying a burden as he coaxed out another sorrowful song out of the worn out piano.

 


 

Draco had accidentally discovered the hidden passage from Hogwarts that found its end in this house while he was on his nightly travels. Not much time had to pass until he found the decrepit grand piano that was situated on the first floor.

And oh, how did his fingers itch; yearned to run over these yellow but dusty keys. He had never liked dirty, run down things. Although somehow, this time the desire to play was just too strong.

He hadn’t played anything for a long period of time; had hated the lessons that he was forced to take when he was younger.

Still, lately it seemed to be the only solace as he struggled to find a way to kill Dumbledore. With fear sticking on his body like sweat and Lord Voldemort’s cold fingers in his neck like an iron grip, he was waiting for his life thread to be cut.

The Malfoy wasn’t going to succeed; was going to fail. Because that was what cowards usually did.

With his days counted and his hours stolen, he once again was debating about the fact that he had fallen in love at the most inappropriate time. When his future conveyed nothing but darkness and death. What an audacity to fall in love, to fall for the girl that carried his doom in her veins.

And he played and played, let his fingers dance over the black and white keys as he mourned for the chance of a happy ending that he never got granted.

You didn’t know how exactly you had managed to go up these stairs without alarming the mysterious piano player. The wood had been creaking and groaning underneath your feet and your heart was at the verge of bursting every single time another creak rang through the house.

Peeking over the railing, you caught a glimpse of a slender, slumped back and platin blonde hair. Your breath hitched and you bit your lips. Blood was rushing in your ears and a prickling wave of hot realization washed over your body.

This was Draco Malfoy.

The very same Draco Malfoy whose cold eyes – that resembled the colour of ashes- were killing with mere glances. The Draco Malfoy who spent his spare time with humiliating and bullying others. The Slytherin boy who played in the same Quidditch team as you for almost three years. And he was able to play songs filled with so much emotion; it broke and healed your heart.

He seemed almost gentle, almost soft in this position.

He did not tell you and you didn’t tell him.

between love and hate .

[1]

Escaping was pointless.

The disgusting face of Scabior appeared in the moonlight before he tossed three other prisoners into the carriage. They landed on you and you huffed, groaning as someone’s elbow was thrusted into your side.

“Ugh,” you blinked and crawled away from the heavy body that was on top of you.

“This is my fault. I said the name, I’m sorry-“

“Harry?” you called out, eyes wide in surprise as you stared into the boy’s face that was as swollen as if a hundred bees had just stung him. He was beyond recognition, but he was your friend and of course, you could recognize your friend.

There were some noises while the four of you were sitting back up, before you took the time to examine the other two newcomers.

“Hermione! Ron!” you then whispered a bit breathless.

“______?” he replied just as perplexed, leaning a bit closer to see your face in the dark.

“____ what are you doing here?”

But you didn’t answer, instead, you had to warn them. Things were quite different now and Muggleborn students were hunted down, so they could bring the pupils back to the prison that they called school The school who was dominated by the Carrow siblings; nothing but a torture camp really.

“Blimey, if they find out who you really are, they’re going to turn you in, to him. They are Snatchers that are looking for truants to earn some extra gold-”

“But-“ Ron chimed in but both of you got interrupted.

“’ermione Granger,” Scabior stepped closer while taking another look at your brown-haired friend. He had checked the list, yet Hermione’s face was showing no sign of fear even though her eyes were nervously flickering from side to side, “the Mudblood who is known to be traveling with ‘Arry Potter.”

Draco’s heart was thumping loudly in his chest as they dragged Potter and his friends into the room, the three of them stumbling over their own feet as Greyback pushed them roughly on the ground and another detainee got revealed.

His grey eyes met yours and his heart sunk; skipped a beat as the horror started to seep beneath his skin, the painful realization of what was going to happen as soon as his family has alarmed The Dark Lord.

And he was scared, gulped down the big lump in his throat as his insane aunt demanded him to identify this swollen piece of meat that was Potter’s face. But he couldn’t focus; couldn’t fixate his eyes on the boy in front of him. Instead, his eyes kept flashing over to your huddled figure; dirty, worn out and thin.

“I don’t…know,” he replied, furrowing his eyebrows. He unsurely walked back to where his mother was standing at the fireplace.

There followed a discussion that involved Potter’s identification and the gleaming sword of Gryffindor that the Snatcher had found in Potter’s tent.

Draco clasped his fingers behind his back, hiding the fact that they were shaking; that the anxiety was taking over his body. Fuck, fuck, fuck. He suppressed the urge to swear loudly in fear of his aunt and his father.

“Take the prisoners down to the cellar, Greyback,” Narcissa’s cool voice finally cut through the air. You watched how her lips formed into a strict thin line as she spoke. The werewolf proceeded to grab Harry’s and Hermione’s arm when Draco’s aunt spoke up, stopping him. And you feared them, dreaded the next words that would slip past these red lips that had just now curled into an eerie smile.

She had something on her mind and nobody could overlook the fact that there was this triumphant, satisfied smile on her face, indicating things that weren’t peaceful at all.

“Wait,” said Bellatrix, her voice oddly soft. You couldn’t decide whether it was dripping with venom or honey, if you were honest.

“All except…except the Mudblood,” her voice from soft to sharp knives within seconds. Her dark eyes were fixating on Hermione and you unconsciously stepped forward but got held back by the other Snatchers.

“Take me, Bellatrix. I am the Mudblood,” you voice was oddly clear despite the fact that your heart was thumping rapidly in your chest. Adrenaline was circulating in your body, racing through your veins like you used to do in the Quidditch matches. It gave you courage.

“Isn’t this the Mudblood that got sorted into Slytherin, Draco?” Lucius Malfoy stared at you with sudden interest. He titled his head, the disheveled blonde hair falling into his face. It covered his hollow cheek as he took the time to look at you.

“Oh?” the dark-haired woman that declared herself as the most loyal servant to the Dark Lord, took her eyes away from Hermione. Her interest had been caught. Like a predator and its prey.

“A Mudblood in Slytherin?” she screeched, also tilting her head as these mad eyes examined you from head to toe.

“Take the others away. I’ll give them a small demonstration of what will await them,” she then ordered and Fenrir Greyback moved to take the trio away, “With this little one.”

“No, no, _______!” Hermione’s shrill and shaky voice was drowned in the halls as they dragged her away.

“It’s okay, Hermione,” you assured, but weren’t so sure yourself.

The Snatcher that had held you captured for the entire time, released his grip. You automatically sunk down on your knees, suddenly drained of all the energy that had just overwhelmed your body for a few seconds.

“Mother,” you could hear Draco whisper to the woman beside him. But she just gave him a warning look.

“Hehe, Muuudblooood,” Bellatrix stepped closer, her body slightly swinging from side to side as she approached you.

You didn’t reply. Didn’t need to, because you had fallen to the floor, pain conquering your body like the small figures on Ron’s chess game as he beat Harry.

A groan left your lips as you writhed in agony. Every cell inside your body was on fire. Needles and pins. Knives and swords piercing through your body. Veins exploding and suffocating lungs.

Bellatrix giggled in joy, slightly jumping as she watched you squirm on the ground; your face contorted in pain.

“Want more?”

You started to scream in pain after she had granted you a small break, just to continue even harder.

Draco bit his lips until he tasted blood and clenched his jaw. He had unconsciously closed his hand tightly around the wand, his fingers twitching uncontrolled. He wanted to move, wanted to do something; anything. Yet he was numb. Frozen. Petrified.

There was another loud scream and he flinched.

She had used the Cruciatus Curse on you. His mother slightly touched his hand and he closed his eyes, not wanting to witness these cruel things that Bellatrix was doing to you without even lifting a finger.

“That’s just the beginning,” his aunt smiled as she absentmindedly curled strands of her hair around her crooked wand.

You screamed and screamed and screamed. Permanently, repeatedly. Like a broken record. And they filled the hall, were intensified by the high ceilings. Shrill songs of torture and misery; echoes that would haunt him in his dreams. His view clouded, sweat running down his temple. Yet he shivered, cold ripples traveling down his spine with every additional scream.

Tears were streaming down your cheeks, your vision long blurred by the intense pain that was shaking through your bodies. Waves of devastation; of destruction with no visible harm washing over your skin, as if someone was letting a brush run over your arm; but with no brush but a big, sharp knife.

The first few begs were slipping past your lips. Desperate and broken as you pleaded for the end, pleaded for it to stop.

“Please.”

“Ah, she’s begging now. Let’s see how long she’ll last.”

The Slytherin’s stomach curled into a tight ball of nausea when Bellatrix took out her shining knife.

By the time she began to use her favorite tool, your voice was long gone. Things had died down to silent screams and quiet sobs. Hoarse and broken and almost not audible. Your body had numbed down from the torture; your nerve ends singed and damaged.  Bellatrix was whispering insults into your ear. Things she liked to do. Things she wanted to do. Things that she would do. But later.

And her voice sounded so soft, so affectionate.

The tears were still falling and although you were so exhausted, you were still resisting as she hovered over you, using the knife like a pencil, to carve in images on the blank paper that was your skin.

She let you go, a few minutes later. Minutes that felt like hours, like eternity; not only to you but to Draco as well. Your head had rolled to the side, silent tears still spilling over the rim of your eyes, as you lied there motionlessly, injured and broken by the woman who was Draco’s family. The last weak attempts of resistance had vanished and you had given up.

He didn’t save you.

Couldn’t.

[0]

“Are you here to humiliate me even more?” your voice sounded hoarse from so many hours not speaking. You were the only one in the cell. Dobby had been able to rescue the others, taking them into safety; away from this hell.

They couldn’t take you though. And it was okay; was alright, really. Because you would have slowed them down anyways with all your injuries.

“Shh,” he hushed, his feet carrying him to where you sat, leaning against the wall.

You tied hands jerked up, ready to defend yourself as he stepped closer, slowly kneeling down and Draco slightly flinched by your reaction. You were scared and he had let his aunt torture you until you were nothing but fear, nothing but panic. With the clear images of the past few hours still vividly in front of his eyes, he took a deep breath.

“Shh,” he made again, not able to say anything else. He lifted his hands and showed you his empty palms, still approaching you. You let him come closer, reluctantly.

“I am so sorry,” his voice broke as he tried to make up for the things that he couldn’t make undone; as he tried to apologize for the crimes he didn’t commit. But he had sinned, would carry this burden on his shoulders for eternity.

“What are you doing, Draco?”

The blonde was alone with you in the dungeon and any time someone could barge in and catch him here with you while he was trying to untie the ropes with shaking fingers. Of course, he failed to do so. He could feel your eyes on his very movements as if you were supervising him as Snape did in Potions.

When had he ever done something the right way?

“Untying you.”

A small, nervous laugh escaped his lips before he let his eyes flicker across the whole room, resting a second longer at the door before he drew his attention back to your chafed, purple skin, deliberately avoiding to look at your arms that were still carrying the results, the aftermath of Bellatrix’ wrath. Black and blue bruises and dried blood and open wounds. She left devastation and the sick thing was, that Bellatrix regarded it as a true piece of art.

Draco gave up and took out the slender wand that he had snatched away during the chaos, during the time where everyone was trying to shield themselves from the shards of the massive chandelier; during the time where his aunts shrill scream was echoing through the room as she frantically tried to get Harry Potter back into her claws.

The ropes untied themselves after a few clumsy attempts and you rubbed your sore, stiff wrists, feeling the odd freedom. Your wand seemed oddly out of place in his hands as he healed some minor scratches; as he mended some nasty cuts. Warm, shaking fingertips occasionally travelling over your cold skin as they tried not to make too much physical contact; tried to erase the letters that were carved into your flesh. Because you flinched, weren’t ready for the touch of others. It was too early.

He showed his respect by letting you walk on your own even though he was painstakingly ready to catch you as soon as you would stumble; as soon as you would fall.

With his soft instructions, the two of you had somehow made it to the border of the Malfoy property. Draco slightly bent down to pull out a small bag that he had hidden among dead leaves and the shadows of the bush.

“Take it. There are some clothes and food,” his voice was hoarse, nothing but a whisper, really. He returned your wand, seemingly defenseless; didn’t fear that you could attack him the moment your fingers closed around your weapon.

“Why are you doing this?” you sounded tired, used up – your eyes were resembling broken glass that was full of sharp edges; yet, at the same time, they were so fragile and so, so devastated. Draco bit his lip, clenching his jaw as he gulped; trying to calm down his rising heartbeat, trying to bear the pain that your shaken appearance had caused.

Memories worth of seven years flashed past his eyes; things and thoughts he had never spoken about; never even uttered. Regret and remorse. Mistakes and sins.

He had intended to take it to his grave; had preferred to rather die than admit this.

Furrowing your brows, you unconsciously reached out, wanting to smooth out the crease between his eyes. But they haltered in midair. You couldn’t touch him.

Not the boy who watched you being tortured. Who ignored the silent pleas in your eyes when you once made eye contact. You pulled back.

His eyes were lingering on your face before his tense expression melted into an affectionate gaze; before his lips almost curled into a defenseless smile. You could see painful affection, the helpless love that seemed to cause him so much physical pain. He seemed shy, forlorn somehow.

Because you’re my heart.”