IMPRESSIONS chapter one

Disclaimer: Don't own anything, except for stuff you don't recognize.

Summary: An emotionally, physically, and mentally wounded Draco needs someone to help him, whether he wants to admit it or not, after his father lands in Azkaban, his mother is committed to St. Mungo's, and his entire world crumbles. Romance/Angst.

Author's Note: Please review!

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It was interesting, how something so dependable and stable could so suddenly fall apart completely, leaving you with only the memory of how it used to be. And with the demise of the world as you know it, you realize that so many things you thought were priorities faded out of thought and mind until you don't even recognize that you have forgotten their importance. So, the things that you used to be obsessed with become lesser; things that you had grown up believing fall away to reveal secrets long lost. And the only things that remain as a constant reminder of the way it used to be are the scars, which you had never taken into account before.

            A rather pale, haggard-looking boy lay on his bed, absentmindedly flicking his wand at a moth that had gotten caught inside his chamber after dusk. The moth would get close to the open window and then zoom backwards. He was endlessly pushing the stone up the hill.

            Finally the teenager tired of the game and released a weary sigh. He settled into the mound of pillows with even more conviction but refused to close his silver-gray eyes. He still grasped his wand in his hand tightly, causing his knuckles to lighten in color.

            And then the sound came which made the boy twitch as though he had been expecting it: a sharp knock on his heavy oaken door. The door opened, the man on the other side not waiting for permission to enter.

            The boy made no movement as the tall, silver-blond man advanced on him, wand drawn. "Your mother tells me she caught you on the balcony this afternoon," he said silkily.

            "I wasn't trying to kill myself, if that's what you were asking," muttered the boy, irritated.

            "It seems that in my short absence you have forgotten your lessons," hissed the man.

            At that, the boy stiffened. "Father…" he trailed off.

            "Stand up, boy. I'm going to give you a lasting impression. Something new," said the boy's father menacingly.

            In halting movements, the lanky teenager rose from his bed and stood in front of his father, head bowed.

            "Have you no pride, you disgrace of a son?" spat the man in disgust.

            The boy looked up into his father's eyes, his face expressionless.

            "If this is how you act in two months of my absence, I shudder to think of how you act at school. I am going to Azkaban tomorrow; that does not mean that I will disappear from your life. I am giving you a lesson that will remind you of your duty to the family. When you visit me in the future, I expect you to give me a good report. And then it will be ended. Am I understood?" Lucius, for that was who he was, didn't wait for a reply and instead hit his son in the jaw with a ring-adorned hand.

            Draco, his son, said nothing and didn't make a move to touch his bleeding jaw.

            "Yes, I was right. It is time for a lesson."

"Harry! Ron!" called Hermione joyfully to her two best friends. She broke into a jog, lugging her school trunk behind her with difficulty. Two boys, one with startling green eyes and black hair and the other with conspicuous red hair, turned to her voice in unison.

            "Hermione!" yelled the redhead, grinning widely as he saw his friend.

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Harry, the other one, managed a smile when he saw her, but immediately after he held the half-hearted greeting on his face for the required amount of time, his expression slipped into one of depression.

            Hermione, oblivious to the dampened mood, hugged both boys happily. "I'm just so excited for school! We're starting our N.E.W.T. classes this year; we'll be doing so much more advanced magic! Especially in Transfiguration, Professor McGonagall told me that in light of everything with Voldemort our classes are going to be even tougher!" Hermione bubbled on while ignoring the progressively unhappier looks Ron was giving her.

"Hermione, term hasn't started yet," Ron moaned, casting his eyes upward.

"Hey, what's wrong with Malfoy?" Harry asked curiously, speaking for the first time. His eyes were directed towards a silver-blond boy detached from the rest of the students.

Ron and Hermione looked to see Malfoy dragging his trunk a few feet, stopping to wince and hold his stomach. He looked considerably more unkempt this year; his normally gelled hair was loose and his face held an almost hollow look.

Ron shrugged. "Who cares? He probably can't handle being in the presence of so many non-evil people," he sniggered. "It's making him sick to his stomach."

Harry laughed, a real laugh, and Hermione grinned in spite of herself. "Dad told me that his father got an official life sentence and that his mum went berserk and is in St. Mungo's," continued Ron, pleased with the success his first joke had made.

Hermione's grin dimmed. "That's not something to be making fun of!" she scolded Ron, who looked surprised. "Where was he staying over the summer?"

"Hermione, why do you care? It's Malfoy," said Ron, raising his eyebrows.

"I don't care about Malfoy, but making fun because his mum is in St. Mungo's is like… Well, it's like making fun of Neville!" she said, pink.

Ron looked remorseful. "Yeah, you're right," he muttered. "But it's not like Malfoy hasn't made fun of Neville before –"

"That's really not the point, Ron," said Hermione tersely.

"Come on, we're not even on the train yet. You're not due to start arguing until then," said Harry, a spark of light-heartedness showing.

Hermione let out a laugh and grinned. "You're right, Harry."

Ron shoved his trunk onto the train and helped Hermione with hers – which was, of course, much more heavy with the library she brought to school every year.

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Who cares about the stupid Sorting? All it does is make more first-years that don't have a clue. And all the Houses cheer like they found out they've won a million galleons to be split evenly or something. First-years don't even serve a purpose. They don't know anything, so they can't do homework, and they don't know their way around so they're constantly asking for directions, grinning up like they expect you to be pleased with them. Everyone should learn magic by himself or herself first and then come and be automatic second-years. There shouldn't even be a first-year. Then I wouldn't have to sit and listen to a stupid Sorting, while a dirty charmed hat sings about the glory of Gryffindor.

            Draco smirked as another first-year was Sorted into Gryffindor. And the morons think it's great that there are more of them. Crabbe and Goyle were sitting up front, with the other Slytherins. Draco was alone, the second half of the table deserted because he was sitting there.

            To the outsider, he looked supremely unconcerned that his house was avoiding him. Inwardly, he was furious and a little bit unsure of himself. He had never been in a situation where he wasn't "It." A sharp pang from his stomach caused him to wince and from the corner of his eye, he saw the Mudblood glance at him. He shot a glare in return, crossing his arms and just daring her to look back. It worked.  She returned to her whispered conversation with Scarhead and the Weasel. Stupid Mudblood lovers. Should just completely renounce the wizarding world and go and live in Muggle London or something.

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            Hermione lay flat on her back, looking up at her crimson canopy. She was immensely tired and pleasantly full, but the look of pain of Malfoy's face was unnerving. She had never seen him with that look before. In fact, she had never seen a look on his face resembling anything other than arrogance and condescension. And now, she had seen him grimace from pain twice now. She could understand letting down your guard once, but twice… She sighed. It really was sad that he had been left by himself over the summer, in a huge Manor somewhere in the country.

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            "Morning, 'Ermione," said Ron, his face stuffed with treacle tart. Hermione glanced at him witheringly and accepted her schedule from the fourth-year passing them out. Hermione frowned when she saw her day's schedule.

"We have Defense Against the Dark Arts today, but who's the teacher?" she asked Harry, who was buttering toast.

"I don't know. Dumbledore didn't mention it yesterday, did he?" said Harry, getting his schedule out from his bag and peering at it. He and Hermione looked up to the staff table at the same time, scanning the familiar faces for an unfamiliar one.

"No, that's why I'm worried. What if we aren't going to have it this year?" said Hermione.

"They wouldn't put it on our schedule's if we weren't going to have it, Hermione. Maybe Harry can start the D.A. again!" said Ron.

"Ron, it might just be a free period. Anyway, I have Arithmancy first so I'm going to go and get there early," said Hermione, grabbing a roll and a quick sip of orange juice.

"Aren't you going to eat?" Ron looked positively aghast.

"I'm not hungry," she informed him, and grabbed her bag, walking out of the Great Hall.

Fully expecting the Arithmancy classroom to be empty, Hermione was unpleasantly surprised to see Malfoy sitting in the back corner, absorbed a book. "What are you doing here?" she asked, the question coming out quite nastier than she intended.

Malfoy ignored her and turned a page.

Hermione, put out, moved closer to see what he was reading. "Why aren't you in the Great Hall?"

He continued to ignore her, which both angered and bewildered her. Malfoy had never backed down from a fight before.

"If you are going to continue to block the light than I will be forced to make you move, and I'd rather not stand. So, if you don't mind…" he drawled, finally speaking. He didn't look up from his book.

Hermione, well aware of how annoying it was to be unable to see while reading, found herself moving to the side to allow light to creep into the corner.

"What are you reading?"

"Granger, you are full of annoying questions," Malfoy observed. His tone was light, not mean or mocking in any way. Completely expressionless.

"Well I would quit asking if you would just tell me," said Hermione, folding her arms crossly.

"I am reading Catcher in the Rye, if you have to know," said Malfoy, turning another page.

"But that's a Muggle book!" said Hermione, shocked.

"I didn't know you were prejudiced to Muggle literature, Granger," said Malfoy, not lifting his eyes from the book.

"But you hate Muggles! Why would you read a Muggle book?" asked Hermione, ignoring his statement.

He shrugged. "I don't know. If it's bothering you so much I'll banish it to my room," he offered, not making the slightest indication that he would do anything of the sort.

"No, I just didn't know that you read," said Hermione.

Now he raised his eyes, looking at her quizzically. "That is an astonishingly dim-witted thing to say," he said.

"I didn't mean that you can't read –" said Hermione, flustered.

He smirked. "Please, continue to make a fool of yourself. It's quite amusing," he said, closing the book and putting it in his bag. He stretched out his legs and crossed his arms.

"Why are you acting like that?"

"Like what, precisely?"

"Like – not so mean – and – you haven't called me a Mudblood once, yet!" she said.

"Would you like me to?"

"No, just I can't understand why you're acting so strangely," said Hermione.

"Come off it, Granger," said Malfoy. "Class is about to start." It was true. A Ravenclaw had just entered the room.

"Fine. I was just curious, is all," huffed Hermione, turning and sitting across the room. Malfoy smirked at her back.

A few minutes later, the few people in N.E.W.T. Arithmancy had arrived and Professor Vector had entered the room. "Welcome back, students," said the professor briskly. "This is good class, so I expect a lot of things. We'll be doing a lot of difficult magic this term, so if anyone isn't willing to put 110% in this year you might as well leave right now."

Hermione quivered with sheer excitement and Malfoy snorted.

"Mr. Malfoy? Something to add?"

Malfoy said nothing, so Professor Vector turned back to the class. "Now, I want you all to get out your books and take notes from chapter two, The Theory of Advanced Arithmantic Spells. It will aid you immensely for the first term, so I suggest you do a good job. Tomorrow we will go over the first of the spells," said the professor, her verbal instructions appearing on the blackboard as well. The students removed their books and got rolls of parchment without another word.

Hermione, Malfoy noticed with a grimace, had started scribbling words as though her life had depended on it. He sneered and opened his own book, taking care to set up his quill, inkpot, and parchment perfectly.

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            Later that night, Hermione climbed out of Gryffindor and went to the Prefect Bathroom, intending to take a nice long bath before she went to sleep. The first day back had wearied her more than she had originally reckoned, and her writing hand ached. Almost all her teachers had had the same idea for the first class back; take notes on theory.

            At least she had been able to get ahead in Potions by reading up three chapters during the free period that was supposed to be Defense Against the Dark Arts. She muttered the password to the bathroom and climbed inside, rubbing her tired eyes with a hand.

            She froze when she saw Malfoy standing, in the tiled room. He had sweatpants on but lacked a shirt, and the reason was obvious. He was unwrapping a black-stained bandage from his stomach, and when it came up, she saw a terrible gash across his stomach, oozing black blood. She dropped her bag in surprise and horror, and his head snapped up, his eyes narrowed immediately.

            "What are you doing here, Granger?" he asked coolly, conjuring a strip of linen and wrapping it around his injury as though it was perfectly normal to have black blood dripping down one's stomach.

            She was speechless and said nothing until he slipped on a tee shirt. "What happened to you?" she finally managed, horrified.

            "I got a paper cut," he said shortly. He pointed his wand toward Hermione. "Don't tell anyone," he growled. "Swear you won't."

            "I-I..." Hermione trailed off, unable to get the image from her head. "Why haven't you gone to Madam Pomfrey? Have you told anyone? Why is black? Who did it?" She fired a barrage of questions at him.

            "Last I checked, Granger, you wanted me dead. Why all the sudden concern?" he asked, running a head through his wet hair.

            Thank goodness I walked in when he was clothed… I can only imagine how awful that would have been…

            "Granger?"

            He startled Hermione. She glanced up at him. "I don't want you dead. I think you're – misguided. And anyway, that looks really serious. Why won't you go to Madam Pomfrey?"

            "She can't help it," he spat, his eyes hardening. Immediately, he returned to his emotionless state. "Look, swear you won't tell anyone."

            "Why can't I? You could be really hurt!" said Hermione angrily.

            "Don't worry, Granger, I'm not dying," said Malfoy, smirking. "I had no idea you cared for my health so much."

            "Wait a second – why can't Madam Pomfrey help?" asked Hermione, confused.

            "Haven't you heard of the Permeus Surpos curse?" asked Malfoy, crossing his arms.

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Author's Note: I hope you like the first chapter! Please review, I need feedback. I don't care if it's a flame or not, it's worse to think that NOBODY reads your story. Also, I'm sorry if it ends on a little bit of a cliffhanger, but 2,400 words seemed like a good place to stop, haha. TELL ME if you see any mistakes. I wrote this on a whim, so I did it in a hurry… Also, is Professor Vector a man or a woman?

If you want to contact me: KellenER@aol.com

Ar-Zimraphel (Formerly "Aphrodite")