Disclaimer: Much as I'd like to, I don't own Draco Malfoy, or any part of the magical world that J.K. Rowling has all the copyrights to ... please don't sue me. There are some parts of this story that are quotes from the book - it can't be helped - events are the same as in the book, but Draco's opinion of these events may vary from Harry's.

I should also say that, even though I would have thought of it anyway, students going to the Ministry of Magic to bring Dumbledore back was done before, in The Serpent's Society by Amberdulen (very good fic - I advise you to read it if you like Slytherin POVs) ... although they didn't use the Knight Bus, in that one - as far as I know, no one else has done this particular combination before - correct me if I'm wrong.

Author's Notes: I needed to do some re-writing, after reading OotP. A lot of changes have been made to this chapter - mostly the Ministry layout, but there are other changes, too ... including as usual, spelling and grammar.

This is the last chapter of this part. I hope it's good enough to make you want to review it ... or if you think it's sh1t, tell me - I don't mind flames, as long as I get reviews and know people are reading it.

Chapter 10 - Lucius' Big Mistake

The three of us that were left had nothing better to do than watch Cat, through the Spy Ball - that's why I cast the spy charm on her. So we watched the image remotely, as Cat stepped outside, and ran down to the driveway that is often used by the horseless carriages. She stopped suddenly, for no reason anyone else might have guessed, and held her wand up in the air, over her head.

It didn't take more than five seconds for a loud bang and a purple bus to arrive. Cat jumped up onto the bus, as soon as it came to a stop.

"I need to get to the Ministry of Magic ... it's an emergency ... I should have been there five minutes ago ... and can you wait there to bring me back with someone else, as well?" Cat said, very quickly and clearly, before the spotty-faced conductor could even say a word.

"Yeah, we can do that." he said, slightly shocked, "But emergency trips cost more. This'll be two Galleons, and six Sickles."

"Fine. Just get going." Cat snapped, looking at the driver. With that, the doors closed behind her and she started to count out forty silver coins for the conductor. Let's hope Quirrell gets killed off during this incident, or that'll have been a waste of money ... it's still a lot cheaper than bribing the Beaters, though. As soon as she had put the moneybag away, the bus jumped. "That is for the two people going back, as well?" Cat asked, as they trundled to a stop outside the main entrance of the Ministry of Magic. This courtyard-like area - which seemed sealed off with the only way to go on foot being into the Ministry itself - was the designated location for magical vehicles to land, or appear, for access to the most used bureaucratic business area of magical Britain. Cat jumped out as soon as the doors of the Knight Bus opened.

"She's in a hurry." the conductor could be heard muttering, behind her.

Cat ran down the stairway, and skidded to a halt in the echoey foyer of the main building. She looked around, seeing no one at the security desk. There was also nothing on the incoming flights board displayed on the ceiling ... so Dumbledore must have arrived already.

A few Ministry members hurried past, looking important and busy. Cat tried to get their attention but they ignored her. That is until someone grabbed her from behind, by the collar of her robes, snaring a handful of her hair in the process. "What, prey tell, would a Hogwarts student - particularly one as young as you - be doing in the atrium of the Ministry of Magic headquarters at eleven thirty at night?" I recognised that voice but the way the spy charm works meant I couldn't see him until Cat could ... still, I knew it was my father.

"I - I need to -" Cat stammered fearfully.

"You need to learn some sense of boundaries. You aren't allowed out of school grounds until the term ends." Father snarled, deliberately not letting her finish, "I will take you to someone who can deal with you properly." he said, as he dragged her through the main archway, to one of the many lifts, pressing the button for level one (offices of the Minister and his personal staff), "I doubt it could be a coincidence that you appear when Professor Dumbledore has just recently arrived." he continued, as he dragged her into the lift, and it started its ascent, "It may even be possible that you were responsible for the mix-up that has occurred. Thought it would be funny, did you? Couldn't resist coming down to see for yourself?" When the lift stopped, he dragged her to the door at the end of the corridor and knocked sharply. Cat had decided not to protest, since my father was taking her to Dumbledore anyway, she might as well not say anything. Smart move.

"Come in." another voice I recognised. Fudge. Incompetent moron, but he still managed to get the job of Minister of Magic.

Father threw the door open angrily, to show that Fudge and Dumbledore were having an in-depth discussion over why Dumbledore had shown up. Well, Fudge was having an in-depth discussion with himself about paperwork, which Dumbledore had to be present for. "I found this girl loitering in the atrium. I believe she is one of your students." Father snarled, glaring at Dumbledore, who looked up at Cat with surprise.

Cat squirmed out of my father's grasp and straightened her robes indignantly. Then she looked straight at Dumbledore and spoke very quickly and clearly, as she had to the conductor on the bus, "There's a problem at Hogwarts. At least two people, only one of whom was visible, have entered the Forbidden Corridor on the third floor." that was all she needed to say.

Dumbledore stood up immediately, all the humour and congeniality were swept away and replaced by a sense of authority and power that made it obvious that he was in charge. "Cornelius, I am afraid I will have to cut this conversation short. Fascinating, though I'm sure it is." Fudge looked put out but didn't seem to argue. "Lead the way, Miss Feral." and Cat bolted to the door, leading him out to the waiting Knight Bus. I was fairly surprised that he had remembered her name. Although the rumour is that he remembers every student who has ever passed through his school, in much the same way that Ollivander remembers every wand he has every sold.

As the bus took off for its return journey to Hogwarts, the conductor stared, "Blimey. You said it were important but I'd no idea it was this high-level," he said to Cat. He didn't have time to say anymore, because they had already stopped mere feet from the main doors of the school and Dumbledore was marching quickly towards said doors. Cat followed, having to jog to keep up.

On reaching the Entrance Hall, Dumbledore turned to her, "Thank you for alerting me, Miss Feral. I had expected one person to venture down there, but not more. I have a fair idea who these people are. You will return to your house area, now."

"But -" Cat tried to protest - she obviously wanted to see what was going to happen - but Dumbledore cut her off with merely a stern stare. Cat nodded silently and ran off down the dungeon stairs.

I tapped the Spy Ball, saying, "Entrance Hall." and the image switched to a view from the above the main doors, showing most of the Entrance Hall where Dumbledore was now ascending the marble staircase. Suddenly and without warning, Weasley and Hermione hurtled down the second-level flight of stairs and stopped pretty suddenly when they saw Dumbledore.

"Professor Dumbledore." Weasley said shocked.

"Harry's gone after him, hasn't he?" Dumbledore asked.

Both Gryffindors nodded dumbly, probably shocked that Dumbledore had made an appearance. Dumbledore immediately resumed his high-speed march towards the third floor. I couldn't watch him further, so we watched the Gryffindors instead.

After two minutes Weasley stopped pacing and snapped, "What's taking so long?"

Hermione looked up from chewing her fingernails, to say, "Calm down. Dumbledore will fix everything."

Cat burst in to our dorm at that moment, "What'd I miss?"

"Not much." Blaise said, not taking her eyes off the image.

Another fifteen minutes passed before Dumbledore finally re-appeared. Even I was getting edgy with the tension of waiting. He was directing a levitated stretcher with Potter on it. I couldn't tell from here if he was alive or dead. Another thing that caught my attention was that Dumbledore was holding a shiny red stone in his left hand.

"That's the Philosopher's Stone." Theo said awe-struck.

"I wish I could just ... even just to touch it." I whispered.

"Don't drool, Draco." Blaise scolded. I didn't even bother to glare at her - I was too busy watching the scene before us.

Hermione had rushed to Potter's side, "He's not ... I mean. He is alive, isn't he?" she asked, staring at the immobile form of the Boy-Who-Took-Stupid-Risks.

"He is alive, although I am not sure if he will remain such." Dumbledore said briskly, while moving down through the Entrance Hall towards the Hospital Wing's corridor, "We must get him to the Hospital Wing, immediately."

"Where's Snape?" Weasley asked, keeping step with Dumbledore and Hermione.

Dumbledore looked surprised as he answered, "Professor Snape is safely tucked up in his bed, downstairs."

"Then Who -" Weasley started but Hermione interrupted.

"It was Quirrell, wasn't it?" she asked, with a look that said she hadn't expected it but still knew it all along.

"QUIRRELL?" Weasley asked in confused amazement.

"Yes, Miss Granger, that is correct. Now, would you two please run ahead and alert Madam Pomfrey."

The two Gryffindors ran off and Dumbledore - still levitating the stretcher - followed, leaving the scene lifeless again.

"That's it." I said, still staring, "I can't get anything else."

Cat and Blaise looked at each other, then Blaise turned to me, "We're going to sell this to the gossip ring before Granger talks to Patil and Brown." Cat nodded and the girls left with a purposeful attitude.

"How the Hell are they going to get to the Ravens without getting caught?" I asked, knowing perfectly well that the Ravenclaw girls were always at the centre of any gossip ... even if I didn't bother with such things.

"There's a secret passage from the girls' dorm-corridor to the same corridor in the Ravens house area." Theo explained, "It's used by the gossip ring specifically for situations like this. There's one between Lions and Huffles too. But the boys can't use them, 'cause they can't even get into the girls' corridors."

"How'd you know?" I asked sceptically.

"My sister told me. And she knows more tunnels than anyone else in Ravenclaw. She's friends with the Weasley twins, who can get anywhere if they want to." Theo said smirking.

"That could be a useful source of information." I said, pondering the concept.

"Problem is she never tells me anything useful. She'll only tell me about something if she's sure it's of absolutely no value to me," he said in a sulky tone.

"Right." I wasn't really feeling like thinking about it now, "Go to sleep." I said, dragging myself towards my own bed.

Theo made his way, also exhausted, to his bed and collapsed without bothering to get changed. I fell asleep before my head hit the pillow.

* * *

The next day I made my way up to the Hospital Wing (abandoning Crabbe and Goyle to their own devices - last I saw, Theo was going over some parchment with them) with the intention of finding out if Potter had survived the night. It would be a shame if he'd died after we'd gone to so much trouble. I admit - I only did it to stop Failed-Evil-Overlord from returning but as I've said before - I don't want Potter dead ... he's far too much fun to provoke.

When I arrived in the Hospital Wing I found the place empty, save for Potter who was lying on one of the beds looking lifeless, and Dumbledore sitting near the bed keeping a vigil.

"Is he alive?" I asked.

Dumbledore looked up at me and smiled, a tired smile that said he'd not slept all night, "He is recovering." he answered, giving me a searching look that put Snape's mind-reading-trick to shame. "Would I be correct in assuming that you were involved in calling me back here?" I nodded silently. "And I believe you had two more accomplices as well, am I right?" I nodded again. "I believe Mr Potter owes you his life."

"I don't want that." I snapped, not meaning to sound so harsh, "I don't want to be pegged as a hero. I'm not the sort of person who does well in that light."

He gave me that calculating look again, "What are you interested in, Mr Malfoy?" he asked calmly. I couldn't stop myself from noticing that as he said that he produced the red stone, which I had seen in the Spy Ball last night, from a pocket in his robes. I stared at it in amazement for a moment. "Everyone who is Sorted into Slytherin house has ambitions for something."

"I - I don't really know." I admitted, "I want to make a difference but I don't want to be acclaimed a hero." I was still staring at the Stone but I was trying not to - really I was, "Is that -?" I seemed to have been unable to not ask.

"The Philosopher's Stone. Yes." Dumbledore said calmly, "Professor Snape has informed me of what you had worked out, so I didn't see any harm in letting you see this."

I still couldn't stop staring at the Stone. I don't know why. It just drew my attention, like a shiny coin attracts a magpie. I took a deep breath and forced myself to look at something else. The wall made a good substitute. "I don't know why you've kept that. It's too dangerous. If He tried to get it again, next time He might succeed."

I could feel Dumbledore's gaze but didn't meet it. "It is strange, how so many would choose this over any other treasure - infinite money and eternal life - yet you are not even asking to hold it?" I think he was trying to test me. I didn't want to let myself touch that Stone - if I did, I might never want to let it go.

"I've already got plenty of money." I said, with a hint of bemusement, "And even if I didn't, I could earn it easily. I'm not the lazy spoilt brat I like to give the impression of being." I turned to face Dumbledore and smiled, "And who wants to live forever? It'd get very boring. One of the main reasons life is exciting is because it's short and you never know when it'll end ... of course, self-preservation is a major factor in most of my life-choices but that Stone would make it too easy. I'm not afraid of death, I just have a lot of things I want to do before it happens."

Dumbledore raised a bushy eyebrow and smiled, "I am impressed, Mr Malfoy. Your morals outstretch your chosen path, by far."

"I don't want to be the good guy. It's no fun. You don't get the chance to make a single mistake and your expected to be invincible." I said, looking at Potter now, even though I was directing my words at Dumbledore, "I may have morals but I prefer to stay in the safety of the shadows - shades of grey. Granger didn't understand it and I don't think Potter would either ... do you know what I mean?"

"I understand completely." Dumbledore said, placing the Stone on the table between where he sat and I stood, "Everyone has the potential for darkness and light, both. Which way would you choose? The easy way or the right way?"

"I don't know that one yet. I don't even know which one is which." I said smirking as I picking up the Stone. I turned it over in my hands and looked into its depths, "I guess I'll have to burn that bridge when I cross it." I said, trying not to make sense even though I'm sure he knew what I meant. If I had to definitively pick a side, I'd be unable to go back from whichever side I chose. That's why I've tried to stay neutral, so far.

Dumbledore watched me carefully, as I examined the Stone. I finally set it down again, where Dumbledore had placed it, "I'd be careful not to leave that lying around if I were you, sir." I said smirking.

Dumbledore smiled as if satisfied that I had passed the test. He picked up the Stone and put it back in his pocket, then said, "Your little bit of espionage may have broken a few school rules but you did play a major role in the events of last night. Even if you do not wish to be acknowledged for your deeds, and I am sure your friends feel the same, I will give twenty points to Slytherin for what the four of you have done." is there ANYTHING in this school that he doesn't know about?

I smiled at him, "Thank you, sir." I said, before trying to turn the conversation away from myself, "You don't suppose he'll wake up for the Quidditch match tomorrow, do you?" I asked, looking at Potter.

"I do doubt that, even if he wakes in time, Madam Pomfrey would let him go that soon." Dumbledore said, "Why do you ask?"

"I really don't know who I want to win." I admitted, turning to see that he gave me a questioning look and I'm sure he must have thought, for a moment, that I might have been talking about something other than Quidditch, "If Gryffindor win I'll be able to make the team next year, for sure. If Ravenclaw win then Slytherin will win the Quidditch Cup again."

* * *

And speaking of Quidditch, the Lions and Ravens match was the very next day, as you may have figured out. I had gotten a front-row seat in the Slytherin stands - all the first years had.

It was actually very funny. The Gryffindors had no reserves this year, so one of the Chasers had to play Seeker. They were left with only two Chasers and their Seeker-substitute was inexperienced. Ravens, on the other hand, had a full team and a game plan that I hadn't seen in their last match. They were really running the Gryffindors into the ground. The game lasted for an hour before the Ravens' Seeker made an easy catch and it was the worst loss Gryffindor has suffered in three hundred years.

The entire Slytherin stands were cheering wildly. "Thank you, Cho Chang!" Theo yelled at the top of his voice, to the second-year Ravens' Seeker.

"We love you, Chang!" someone behind me yelled.

I caught her eye and mimed blowing her a kiss, just to see her reaction. She pulled a face at me and flew off to meet up with the rest of her team.

Then I turned around to see Flint stand up on his seat in the back row and tap his wand to his throat. He then raised his right fist in what looked like it should go with a war-chant and yelled at the top of his now-magically-enhanced voice, "SNAKES RULE AND LIONS DROOL!" the rest of the team stood up along the back row and stared yelling and jeering.

The Weasley twins both gave Flint a one-handed obscene gesture. Flint returned the favour by doing the same with both hands. Wood's reply to this was a gesture very few would recognise but I was able to identify it as sign language ... literally translated as 'F off'.

It might be said that there was some hostility between the Snakes and the Lions, mightn't it?

* * *

After the match, Theo, Blaise, Cat, and I were walking past the Hospital Wing when Dumbledore left.

"Have you been in there since I visited?" I asked, out of pure curiosity.

"No. I have been attending to some other important business." he answered, smiling at us, "And I did attend the Quidditch match, as well."

"You saw Flint make an idiot of himself, then?" Theo asked grinning.

Dumbledore did not answer that ... and I didn't expect him to. Instead he suggested that he had something we might be interested in seeing before it was removed from Hogwarts for good.

Being Slytherins, we will rarely give up an opportunity to find out about something that might be of interest, or use, to us. We all decided to follow him as he led us to a small, disused classroom. Therein stood a large, ornate, gold-framed mirror.

"Wow." Blaise said, looking up at it.

I spotted the inscription on the top of it, which read, 'Erised stra ehru oyt ube cafru oyt on wohsi'. I frowned, not sure how that should be pronounced.

"This is the mirror of Erised." Dumbledore said, "Can any of you figure out what it is, without stepping in front of it?" he asked, holding his hand out to stop Cat from examining the mirror from the front.

I continued to look at the inscription ... then I thought about what Dumbledore had said - Erised ... it was the mirror of Erised and MIRRORS show the reverse ... Desire. With a fair deal of concentration, I read the entire inscription in reverse, "I show not your face but your hearts desire."

"Very good, Mr Malfoy." Dumbledore said, smiling, "I thought it might help you decide what path to take if you could see what this can show you. It is your choice and you do not need to look at it if you do not want to."

"You think this will help us choose sides." Theo said flatly, "That's it, isn't it? You want to know whether you can trust us or if we really want something dark and sinister?"

Dumbledore didn't react as badly as a lesser man might have, "You could put it that way, however, I was more interested in helping you find your own path, since you all seem to be stuck between sides."

"I like my shadows very much, thank you." I said coldly.

Cat, however, stepped in front of the mirror. She gasped and stepped back, "No way! I don't want HIM!" she yelled.

"What'd you see?" Theo asked curiously.

"My family ... my whole family. My mom and dad, happy and trusting each other ... and my godfather friends with dad, like he used to be before ... it'd never happen." Cat said horrified. "I thought I'd gotten over not having him around ... I don't want to see that, ever again!" she yelled, running into the corner away from the mirror.

"Ouch." Theo said in sympathy, "It could show something we don't want to admit, for all of us." then he shrugged and stepped in front of the mirror, himself.

"How can you just do that?" Blaise asked, "Say how bad it could be, then do it anyway?"

"Because I want to know. If knowledge is power and ignorance is bliss, I'd rather have power over my destiny than be blissfully unaware of what's sneaking up behind me." Theo said, staring at the mirror. He reached out to something in awe. "Wow. That is cool." then he snorted, "I wish. Shows how shallow I am." he shrugged and wandered over to Cat.

"You're not going to tell us?" Blaise asked looking at Theo who shook his head. She then stepped in front of the mirror, too. "Oh my ... that's not what I expected." she said, staring. Then she turned around and joined the others.

"Mr Malfoy?" Dumbledore asked, "Do you want to see what the mirror has to show you? You don't have to if you don't want to."

I stared at the mirror from an angle - I couldn't see anything in it from here. I didn't know whether I should look in it or not. What if I saw something I'd rather not? What if I saw something that I could never have? What if I find out more about myself than I bargained for? "There are so many different things I think I want ... if I saw what I really wanted it could change my outlook on life forever. That's not always a good thing." I said cautiously. "But I don't want to give up this opportunity. It's so difficult to see inside your own soul, so to simply look in the mirror and see what you really want most in the world..." I stepped in front of the mirror, staring at the writing across the top for a minute. Did I even want to see my 'hearts desire'? Didn't I already know what I'd see, anyway? I didn't want to be proven right ... that was the height of it. I still hadn't admitted it to myself, yet.

I lowered my gaze to see myself, older, a prefect, but that wasn't the point ... anything but my father's image and free, out from under his shadow, but that wasn't the point either ... the point was that she was there with me ... also older and a prefect ... but it was HER. I had tried denial ... but that just wasn't an option anymore, now was it?

* * *

That evening we celebrated. The Quidditch Cup was ours and the whole house was in a party mood. Dinner was rowdy to say the least. Crabbe and Goyle arrived about two minutes after the meal had begun ... not normal for them to miss a moment of gluttony that is offered to them. They were both grinning evilly.

"You did it, then?" Theo asked. Crabbe and Goyle both nodded.

"Did what?" I asked.

"The pumpkin juice thing." Crabbe said, looking as smug as stupidity can be.

I watched sceptically, but when everyone had started their drinks and when the Gryffindors were the only ones who started laughing uncontrollably, I picked up my goblet. Theo was to my right, Pansy to my left, Cat and Blaise opposite Theo and me. "To victory ... and the future. May we always win when it really counts," I said smirking. Theo, Cat and Blaise raised their goblets as well. We weren't just celebrating the Quidditch victory ... we were celebrating our own secret victory. A victory that we'd never get credit for, but we knew we did it and that's what really counts.

* * *

But the bad new came soon. Potter woke up, but that wasn't the problem. He made it to the Leaving Feast and the announcements that had been delayed so that Precious Potter could hear them really screwed up what had, until then, been a good day.

You'd think a hundred and sixty point lead would confirm victory for the House Cup, wouldn't you? Well The-Boy-Who-Nearly-Got-A-Toilet-Seat-For-A-Get-Well-Gift and his little gang (somehow including Longbottom) all got really high scores of points. Fifty (Weasley), fifty (Hermione), sixty (Potter), and ten (Longbottom) ... that's just not fair. We saved his life and we only got twenty points for it, between us. And they only won by ten points, too. Curse Longbottom ... preferably literally.

* * *

End of chapter 10

End of Book 1

Part two can be found at this address: http://www.fanfiction.net/read.php?storyid=1401353