[author's note: This is a stub of a story. if you're interested in it continuing, read and review.]
Something was wrong, Draco Malfoy thought. Oh, more than the usual... More than the obvious. And that was entirely, thoroughly, aggravating. Walking by the lake, he kicked a stone into the water, watching the ripples echo out. He was missing something - at least one thing. Picking up another stone, he skipped it out on the water, randomly remembering how he used to do that as a child. It skipped five times. The next stone he skipped, well, didn't. It just fell into the water, sinking down into the depths. Kind of like how Draco felt about this problem. He didn't like not knowing. Feigned arrogance was likely to be spotted by some enterprising Slytherin, anyway.
Frowning, he thought back to Harry Potter's funeral - was it a week ago, already? He hadn't wanted to go, truly. Draco was sure that none of the Slytherins had wanted to go... They hadn't been friends, weren't close... it was positively undignified to intrude on other people's grief. Draco looked out over the black lake, thinking - picturing that tossled black hair and green eyes. And his feet started to walk, moving of their own accord. Towards a small graveyard, near the forest and Hagrid's hut. Half closing his eyes, Draco turned his thoughts inward, searching for the missing piece to the puzzle. Nothing had seemed quite right since Potter had died... nothing. But... some things were wronger than others.
Opening his eyes, he looked down at Potter's grave, unsurprised that his feet had led him here, all unknowing. Alright, that was why he hadn't been looking. Because if he had looked, he would have turned away. Here, his eyes remembered Potter's smile - humming with energy; Potter had never done serene, and certainly not while smiling. For a moment, it seemed impossible that Potter was dead. Who'd have thought that Malfoy of all people would be missing that lanky Gryffindor? And yet he was.
While the boy with the scar had been alive, Draco's life had been simple. Childhood rivalries, small fights, who was on top... Nothing really mattered... Now, now things were different. Draco longed for a time when he could be a child. Because that was clearly gone now. Not because death had visited Hogwarts, or any such tripe like that. No, now there were decisions to make. Plans to spin, sides to pick. Before, it had been easy - there were two sides, Dumbledore's and the Dark Lord's. Now? Now!? Dumbledore had cried at the funeral, said that Harry Potter had dedicated his life to ensuring the Dark Lord wouldn't be coming back...
But Harry Potter was dead. And that was a bit of a problem. Everyone had kind of fallen into the habit of Harry Potter saving the day - and even when he hadn't, people had believed that he would.
Kicking an aimless stone, Draco frowned. The very next day, Neville Longbottom had stood at the front of the Great Hall, proclaimed as the new Boy Who Lived. And that was the exact moment when Draco had this shadowy idea sneak close to him, nearly brushing him. Something's off, he had thought. But what?, Draco asked, as unsure now as he had been six days ago. Neville had been shaking, had seemed like a leaf might crush him, as he spoke with a stutter about what Harry Potter would have wanted, and how he was going to follow in Harry's footsteps. Right into the grave, Draco had snarked quietly, unnoticed by any Slytherin other than Theo, who had merely shot him a warning look. Not wanting to get burnt, Draco had henceforth held his peace.
That was a piece, Draco thought, straightening suddenly. That wasn't Neville! Or at least, not anymore. He had been acting like he had acted when he was in first year, for god's sake! Oh, everyone else might still think of him that way, but Draco was good at observing. Closing his eyes, he asked himself what Neville would have said, if Dumbledore had proclaimed him the Boy Who Lived. Surprisingly, it sounded mostly like what Neville had said. Shaking his head, Draco asked himself what would have been different.
Attitude. Neville was in Gryffindor for a reason, after all. It had taken him a bit to grow into, but the lad had courage enough. Gryffindors were suckers for lost causes, anyhow. The Neville who stood in a greenhouse, and with a sure punch subdued the latest vegetal monstrosity - that Neville would not have quailed under the pressure. (A tiny part of Draco muttered that he, himself, might have quailed...). Frowning, Draco sat on Potter's tombstone. Most people were used to thinking of Neville in terms of Potions Class, where he was a hazard and a menace to boot. Quietly, Draco began to plan, his heels drumming a dirge on Potter's tombstone. First, he had to figure out who believed this new-old Neville.