Crossroads
Peregrinus

Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter and all associated, those rights are reserved for JK Rowling.

Draco held out his hand to the small dark haired boy. He repeated the ideas his father had ingrained into his head, and he could see it in the boy's eyes before he said anything that Harry wasn't going to accept his offer. The boy was disgusted with what he had said, and Draco knew that he had failed his father once again. He hid his disappointment and fear with a cold sneer as Harry declined his offer. From that day on he would never let Potter get the better of him, he swore that.

Draco shook his head trying to erase that particular memory. He wondered why he saw it. Why now? Why here? It wasn't his worst memory, and yet it haunted him. Taunted him with unanswered questions that had never been asked.

What if Harry had taken his hand? What if he had put aside his prejudices for one moment? He had spoken to Harry only days before that day and the boy had seemed nice. He could have eventually influenced Harry to his perspective…but his perspective was wrong...It always had been. But no one had showed him any differently. It didn't excuse his behavior, he knew, there was nothing that could justify his horrendous actions that night. But how was he to have known? One mistake had condemned him to an eternity of torment and pain.

That had been his crossroad, that day on the train so long ago, and he had followed his father's footsteps.

That was where he had lost.

It wasn't when he had murdered that family four years ago, no, it was Potter's refusal of his hand. Or perhaps more accurately his pathetic offer of friendship. What if Potter had accepted his hand? What if he hadn't been so rude? Would Potter have helped him? Changed his views, taught him the truth? Given him a paradigm shift before it was too late? Given him something he truly could believe in…something to fight for. A friend to stand beside. What was it like to have a true friend? But could Potter truly have done that? The Boy Who Lived had never reached out to him, why would Potter even try? He was too busy with his Gryffindor friends…even that traitor Weasley.

Did it really matter now? He was forever entrapped behind the darkened, looming walls of Azkaban. He had seen them carry out his father's rotting body, and Avery's, and even Crabbe Jr.'s body.

Dead.

Gone.

He wished he was dead. At least the dementors no longer resided here, but that didn't make it any better. The cell remained damp and closed. Differentiating between dreaming and waking had long since been impossible. Only small lucid intervals between the nightmares revealed a horror beyond his dreams – the truth.

He had no desire to escape; he had lost his chance long ago. Draco could have done things differently on the train that day. And if he had, he knew that Harry Potter, ever loyal to his friends, would have saved him, just as he could have saved Potter from his ghastly end.