Climbing up on Solsbury Hill,
I could see the city lights.
Wind was blowing, time stood still.
Eagle flew out of the night.

Draco fidgeted as he sat on the hard stone of the cliff face, looking out over the village below. His eyes seemed to pick up the movement of fallen leaves blowing through the streets, in spite of the gathering darkness. Lucius had been particularly upset after last night's meeting, and the boy had taken his mother's advice and gone for a walk. That had been at 5:30 this morning. Lights were coming on now in the shops below him, as well as in the manor behind him, though three miles of dense forest hid the manor lights from view.

Ever since Harry Potter had won the tri-wizard cup last year, Draco's life had been hell. Why couldn't Krum have taken the bloody port key? The Durmstrang student probably didn't even know who the Dark Lord was, so maybe the spell wouldn't have worked.

The summer had been marked by his father's sudden disappearances and pot marked again by his angry reappearances, sometimes days later. The first time he'd hit Draco, the boy had drawn his wand. In fury Lucius snapped it, only to apologize and take him to Diagon Alley the next day for a new one. He couldn't very well have his son running around without a wand now that the Dark Lord had returned.

Draco had never heard his father apologize for anything before that day. He thought on it now as he lay back in the grass. He hadn't ever heard him apologize since then, either. It seemed the more often his father hit him, the less remorse he felt about it. He watched a bird glide out over the trees behind him and circle above. For the first time he realized that he was just the same as Lucius. The more often he tormented the Gryffindors the less he felt about it, one way or the other. He remembered the day he'd offered friendship to Potter. The boy had been so cold, though Draco could tell he was capable of warmth. That had hurt. But as they'd grown, the nasty comments from them had hurt him less and less. Now he felt nothing. As a result, his own sneering words meant nothing to him, and the older he got the more hurtful he'd become. He told himself he didn't care as the bird above him looped lower.

He sat up with a start. It was Grypes, his eagle owl. He watched the bird's progress toward him, swearing quietly under his breath, and scrambling to his feet.
He was something to observe,
Came in close, I heard a voice.
Standing, stretching every nerve
I had to listen, had no choice

Grypes landed roughly on Draco's shoulder, but the boy had already placed his feet well apart. He didn't sway at the bird's impact. There was no letter, but Grypes was clicking impatiently, as though waiting for something. Draco fished around in his pockets. When you have a bird as impatient as Grypes, you learn to keep owl treats in your pocket. He took the bird on his arm, though he had no protection, and offered him a treat. Grypes flapped his wings appreciatively as he munched, and Draco didn't wince when the bird's talons dug into his arm. He looked around. The stars were out now; it was probably time to head back home. With luck, Lucius would be asleep, or perhaps gone again, by the time he returned.

He turned toward home, placing Grypes back on his shoulder. The bird kept looking from side to side, and walking across his master's back in order to get a better look in the other direction. Draco finally got annoyed and swatted him away, eliciting an angry screech as the bird took off to fly on ahead. Draco grimaced. If Lucius saw that his owl was back, he might wait up for him. He watched the bird enter the trees ahead of him, and was surprised when a figure stepped out from behind a tree to block his own entry. He drew his wand, though he recognized the elderly man at once.

"Hello Mr. Malfoy," he said as he looked down his long, crooked nose at him. Draco narrowed his eyes, but lowered his wand.

"Professor Dumbledore. What can I do for you?" he answered guardedly. He was the son of a death eater. It wasn't exactly safe to be seen associating with the Dark Lord's greatest rival.

"I am here to make you an offer, Mr. Malfoy. Your mother has brought your situation to my attention." Draco took a moment to curse his mother's meddling, though his cold expression never wavered. If anything, the light in the old headmaster's eyes only caused the young boy to press his lips together the harder.

"Then make it," he said tightly into the silence. "I need to get home."

"In light of Voldemort's return," Dumbledore began, ignoring the boy's involuntary shudder, "The Order of the Phoenix has been recalled. We have only recently determined where our headquarters will be, and we are prepared to offer you sanctuary there. Lucius is out at the moment. If you are willing, we can return to the manor now and get your things. I can take you home with me."

"I don't imagine Potter would be too happy to have me for a guest all summer," Draco stated flatly. It seemed to him that his reminiscing tonight had made him soft, and he vowed to change that as soon as school was back in session.

"Mr. Potter is staying with his aunt and uncle this summer as usual. Do not let a school boy grudge determine your decisions." The headmaster's voice was not loud, though Draco thought he detected an edge to it.
I did not believe the information
Just had to trust imagination
My heart going boom, boom, boom
Son, he said, grab your things, I've come to take you home.

"I'll need some time to think about it. If Lucius isn't at home, then I should be safe there." Draco said finally. The headmaster nodded solemnly and disapparated with a POP. A moment later Grypes flew back toward him, weaving through the branches overhead to land on his shoulder again. This time he kept still and silent as Draco walked back toward the manor, thinking hard.

His mother obviously trusted Dumbledore, and he trusted his mother. Or did he? After all, the woman had to be a poor judge of character if she married Lucius Malfoy. Draco shook his head as his thoughts spun away from him. This was not a decision he could make tonight. The consequences of hiding from Lucius were dizzying in their pervasiveness. His whole life would be in shambles the minute he left the manor with Dumbledore.
To keeping silence I resigned
my friends would think I was a nut
Turning water into wine
Open doors would soon be shut

It was well after midnight when Draco finally climbed back into his bed, hoping his mother wouldn't be shaking him awake and herding him out the door quite so early tomorrow. He realized belatedly that he was starving, having not eaten all day, so he snapped his fingers and had a house elf bring him something. He didn't know the thing's name, since Lucius had only just bought it last year to replace Dobby. For the first time all year he wondered what its name was. As he ate his sandwich hungrily scenarios started playing out in his mind.

"Where've you been all summer, Draco?" Crabbe would ask stupidly. He would explain that it was none of his bloody business and the dim-witted fool would nod, and then turn right around and report to his father that Draco was being secretive. Lucius would be up at the school to collect him before the Sorting was finished.

"OOH, Draco, I missed you at the end-of-summer party at the Wilkes' house! Why didn't you come?" Pansy would whine. She would bat her eyelashes at him innocently. Then when he told her he hadn't felt well that day, she would go to her father and say he was lying through his teeth, and how COULD he not have wanted to see her at the party? Lucius would be up at the school to collect him before the Sorting was finished.

"Draco, your father is most displeased about your absence and has asked me to keep an eye on you this year at school. Perhaps you would care to share with me where you've been? I'm sure I could smooth things over with him if I only had more information." Professor Snape would probably be waiting at the train station to pull him into his office and begin the interrogation. But at least he wouldn't tell Lucius.
So I went from day to day,
Tho' my life was in a rut.
'Till I thought of what I'd say,
Which connection I should cut.

Draco spent three more days at home before Lucius took notice of him. He'd been flying over the lake each morning, trying to decide what to say to convince Professor Snape to tell the Slytherins not to ask about where Draco had been.

He saw Lucius signaling him from the ground and flew over immediately, not wanting to anger him. Thankfully, all he wanted was to take Draco to Diagon Alley. His Hogwarts letter had come, and he was pleasantly surprised when his father handed him a Prefect badge in addition to the usual book list. Perhaps it was the badge that had assuaged his father's wrath today.

Lucius left him at Flourish and Blotts, claiming that he had a few things to pick up in Knockturn Alley. Draco had always loved it there, but today he didn't ask to go along. Instead he wondered upstairs to look at the Dark Arts books that were not and would never be on his school book list. Draco barely looked at the titles as he flipped through the books and replaced them on the shelf, finding little that he didn't already understand. No one in the shop took any notice of him, which would normally have annoyed him to no end. He was a MALFOY after all. But just for today it was rather nice not to be fussed over. He had too much to think about. He felt the hairs on the back of his neck rise, as if someone was watching him, and turned to see that Professor Dumbledore had entered the store and was gazing up at him shrewdly.
I was feeling part of the scenery
I walked right out of the machinery
my heart going boom, boom, boom
Hey, he said, grab your things, I've come to take you home.
Yeah back home

Almost without thinking, Draco nodded toward the stairs, inviting the Headmaster to join him. No one else was up here, and they could talk in relative privacy. The headmaster immediately asked him if he had considered his offer to join the Order of the Phoenix. Draco nodded. He'd finally come up with something he could say to Snape that would hopefully keep anyone from asking him about his disappearance. Dumbledore looked at him solemnly. Then, without a word, brought out a port key that Draco touched. They appeared a moment later at Malfoy Manor. Draco hurriedly packed his trunk and said goodbye to his mother. Narcissa smiled fondly at him, glad that he, at least, would escape Lucius' wrath for the rest of the summer.

"Who all will be here?" Draco asked quietly as they stood on the street in front of Black Manor. Dumbledore told him and he looked up sharply at the mention of the Weasleys. "I don't want them to know I'm here." He mumbled. The headmaster smiled knowingly.

"It has already been arranged. The house elf will take care of all your needs. You are to have the attic room. No one ever goes up there. You should know that Grypes will not be able to fly outside freely, we can't have too many owls coming and going from the house." Draco nodded, though his relief at being free of Lucius was already waning. How many other restrictions would there be on his existence in this place?
When illusion spin her net,
I'm never where I want to be.
And liberty she pirouette,
When I think that I am free.

They went directly to the fourth floor and Draco looked dispiritedly at the dusty room that was presented to him. Boxes of nasty-looking things were stacked in corners haphazardly, and the vile house elf was groveling pitifully before him. It only took a moment for Draco to acknowledge that the creature was far worse than Dobby had ever been. He grimaced. When Dumbledore had left and closed the door firmly behind him, Draco ordered the elf to get rid of the dust and light the fireplace. The walls were bare and the ceiling slanted sharply. He directed the elf until the entire place was clean, and freshly painted. He had him conjure a bed and blankets, knowing that Dumbledore expected him to take care of himself. Then he sent the muttering thing downstairs to bring him something to eat, with instructions to bring up his trunk as well.

By the middle of the first week, Draco had read all his new schoolbooks. Out of things to do, he began going through the boxes that were still in the corner. He snapped for Kreature, who conjured shelves for him. Draco still found him foul, though his usual muttering had vanished. When questioned, he explained that he had seen Narcissa's name on the Black Family tree, in one of the rooms below. Draco nodded, understanding that his mother's right to order the elf about had been given to him as well. Kreature was much better company without the mumbling, and even helped him lay out the dangerous objects on the shelf. Some of the more rare and valuable found their way into his trunk, but he didn't think anyone would mind.

He was sitting on the floor, going through the last box, when his door burst open and Sirius Black entered, looking irate. Draco only blinked up at him mildly. At the sight of the room, painted a deep royal blue, and decorated with various dark arts objects, Sirius stopped abruptly. Draco would have laughed, if he hadn't known the man's reputation. The surprise on his face was almost comical.

Sirius recovered quickly. "Malfoy, right?" he questioned sharply. Draco nodded. He knew he looked a lot like Lucius, so there was no sense in pretending otherwise. "When did you get here?"

"At the beginning of this week," he answered, standing and wiping his dusty hands on his robes. He grimaced a bit when he saw the resulting marks on the dark fabric, but held out a hand to his host anyway. "Draco," he said.

Black grinned and shook his hand. "Sirius." They stood in uncomfortable silence for a moment before Sirius spoke again. "Well, I'm glad Dumbledore managed to get you away from Lucius. The man could corrupt a Hufflepuff given enough time."

Draco shouldn't have been surprised to learn that Black knew his father, after all, Narcissa had been a Black. But he was nevertheless. Before he knew it, he'd been drawn into a conversation about the pros and cons of being born into a dark family. Sirius understood better than Draco could ever have hoped. Kreature had brought them lunch and dinner before they realized the time and Sirius stood to go.

"Harry will be here by the end of the week," he said, "and Ron and Hermione are already downstairs. It would probably do you a lot of good to get to know them. It would definitely be better than sitting up here by yourself."

Draco shook his head violently. "I don't want anyone to know I'm here!" he said quickly. "Please don't tell them. I'd much rather just stay up here and read." Sirius looked at him sadly. He knew better than anyone what it meant to be trapped alone in this house with no friends and very little contact with the outside world. He told him that Kreature could bring him books from the library on the second floor if he wanted them, and that he would come back and visit. Then he made his way back downstairs.

Draco passed a very lonely month indeed, watching Order meetings using one of the many scrying devices he'd found. His only company came in the form of hurried snatches of conversation with Sirius. He was thankful when Dumbledore came to collect him and put him on the Hogwarts Express in his own compartment. The headmaster charmed the door to look like the wall as he left, assuring that his housemates wouldn't bother him.
Watched by empty silhouettes
who close their eyes, but still can see
No one taught them etiquette
I will show another me

Draco's fifth year at Hogwarts went well. Far better than he had expected. He had run for Snape's office in the dungeons the minute his carriage had stopped, and the professor had been more than helpful. He had made an announcement in the Slytherin common room on the first night that Draco had been working on a mission for the cause that was so secret not even Lucius knew about it. This caused his fellow Slytherins to hold him in even higher esteem than before, if that was possible. Lucius would hear that Draco had turned up at Hogwarts, but he wouldn't dare punish him, in case Snape's explanation was correct. And even Lucius Malfoy wasn't going to ask questions of the Dark Lord about his son's disappearance.

He enjoyed his time as deputy to the Hogwarts High Inquisitor immensely, though he was a little concerned that if Dumbledore didn't come back he might have to go back to Malfoy Manor at the end of the year. He often noticed the portraits of Hogwarts watching him. They hardly bothered to hide their stares. It didn't take long for him to realize that they saw a change in him, even if none of the students did. By the end of the year, the only real conversations he had were with the portraits in the dungeon corridors. With them he could talk normally, like he did with his mother; like he did with Sirius.

When he heard that his father was going to Azkaban, he put up a great act, hexing everyone who so much as mentioned it. In truth, his bad mood stemmed from the death of Sirius Black, the only man who'd ever taken the time to talk with him, other than Professor Snape. But Snape was a death eater, and Draco had been distancing himself from him steadily since the beginning of the year, growing more and more afraid that he might tell Lucius something that would get him into trouble.

When he stepped off the Hogwarts Express at the end of the year, he looked around the platform for his mother. She was no where to be seen. He watched as Moody, Tonks, Arthur Weasley, and Professor Lupin escorted Potter off the platform and sneered. But his expression changed only a few moments later when the Order members came back through the barrier and headed toward him, smiling.
Today I don't need a replacement
I'll tell them what the smile on my face meant
My heart going boom, boom, boom
Hey, I said, you can keep my things, they've come to take me home.