"What are you talking about?" Hermione asked, narrowing her eyes at him. "You've got some nerve coming here."
"Oh," Draco looked incredibly confused, but she could hear the relief in his voice, "you know who I am?" This was so incredibly strange, even for the foul Slytherin boy. Was this some kind of elaborate plot to humiliate her, or was it punishment for the fall of Voldemort?
"Yeah," she chose a noncommittal answer. He smiled, looking hopeful but also somewhat ashamed.
"So…who am I?"
"You must be kidding."
"No, I'm afraid I'm quite serious." This didn't even sound like the sarcastic Draco Malfoy she knew. He was so…polite. She sized him up grimly then sighed and stepped out of the way, allowing him entrance. He nodded gratefully to her and walked inside, looking around. She shut the door firmly behind them, and gestured toward the couch. He took the hint and took a seat on the end. She walked around so they were face-to-face, but remained standing. She wanted to make sure the power in this situation remained in her hands.
"So what are you doing here?" She asked once again. Draco looked at his hands again.
"Well, I seem to have…lost my memory."
"Lost your memory?" She asked skeptically. He nodded. "Right. How did you find me then?"
"Well," he rustled in the pocket of his long dark robe and produced a small slip of paper which he handed to her. She glanced down at it. Sure enough, her address was written there neatly. She didn't recognize the handwriting. "I found this in my hand when I woke up."
"When you say 'lost your memory', how much do you--"
"I know my letters and numbers," he interrupted bitterly. "I know that this is England, I know who the muggle Prime Minister is. Yes, I know I'm a wizard. I have a wand and I know a few spells I can do with it. I know all sorts of things. But," he looked down, and she knew he was holding back tears. "I don't know how old I am. I can't remember my family, or where I'm from. I don't know what I've done with my life. I can't…" he raised his eyes to meet hers, and she shared the pain that was building there as well as the tears that were spilling forth now. "I can't remember my own name."
Hermione couldn't think of an answer. She bit her lip and looked away from him.
"You must be tired." He nodded. "You can stay on the couch. We'll talk more in the morning."
"Thank you…" he trailed off.
"Hermione." She supplied and he smiled.
"Thank you, Hermione. Thank you so much." She felt a twinge of guilt at the purely exhausted and grateful look on the face of the young man she had ridiculed both to his face and behind his back for years.
"Don't worry about it."
She turned halfway back as she walked to her own bedroom. "What
is my name?"
"Drac-" She stopped suddenly. She didn't know why, but she heard herself saying, "It's Drake."
"Drake," he sounded as though he was trying out the name, seeing how it felt in his mouth. He pondered for a while, then nodded slowly in acceptance. "Drake."
Hermione rolled over in bed, but she couldn't sleep. Why had she lied to him about something as simple as his name? And now he surely thought she would dedicate herself to helping him regain his memory…but…did she really want that? Did she want this polite, open Draco to revert back to his old cynical and vicious self? She was so alone here…sure, it was a self-imposed loneliness, but she had hoped she would be able to make friends. The closest thing she had to a friend was Madeleine, and they were more passing acquaintances than friends. It would be nice to have someone to talk to.
She rolled onto her other side. It was foolish to even think of. Toying with someone's mind was a dangerous thing. She had to get him his memory back. But…Draco had been a terrible person, hadn't he? So, she would really be doing the world a favor to make a new man out of him. It's not like he could tell the difference. And he seemed perfectly content to be kind. It was the perfect opportunity. The most wicked schoolmate she had could become the perfect companion. This kind of thing, when attempted by muggles, required heavy psychological conditioning, electroshock therapy, all manner of expensive and strange things. And she could do it simply and easily with her words.
Sitting up, she got out of bed quietly. She wouldn't wake her sleeping guest, who was blissfully unaware of the plotting happening in the bedroom. She slid open her closet door, and felt around on the shelf until she pulled down the box she had avoided that very night. She took a deep breath and untied the twine that bound it shut. She stared at the shut box for a long time. There would be no going back from this. If she opened it, it was a can of worms she could not close.
She took in another breath, held it for a few moments, and let it out, eyes closed in the dark. She lifted off the lid, and pulled out a thick photo album, some pieces of parchment, a bit of ink, a quill…and her wand. She fingered the wand, biting her lip to try and hold back the flood of emotions that were coursing through her. Memories she had been trying so hard to forget snuck back into her consciousness, and she ducked her head, as though she could hide from her own thoughts.
After a few moments, the painful rush subsided to a dull ache, and she flattened one of the parchment sheets and dipped her quill in the ink bottle. She let the feather brush her mouth, remembering doing the same thing in a dormitory only a few years ago. But those years seemed so long now. Refusing to think back any longer, she began to write.
Draco wrinkled his nose in sleep. He was a small boy, standing next to a tall man in a long black hooded cloak. He looked around the room, which seemed strangely foggy, and saw there were several other hooded figures standing in a circle. In the center of the circle of wizards--he wasn't sure how he knew they were wizards--was another cloaked figure and a man kneeling the floor who was not wearing a cloak at all. He was sweating profusely and looked very frightened.
He looked up at the man beside him, and could see a few strands of blonde hair that had escaped the hood. He turned back, a strange feeling of foreboding building in his stomach. His worry was not ungrounded, for the hooded figure in the center produced a wand from it's sleeve and murmured a spell. Immediately, the kneeling man began to writhe and wail with unbearable pain. Draco looked around the room, eyes welling with tears in a panic, but no one was doing anything.
He turned towards the cloaked man he stood by and buried his face in the black robe. He thought he heard a disapproving grunt, and a cool hand grasped his chin and forced him to look back at the man being tortured. The tears began to slip out of his eyes, but he stared as the unearthly screams continued, unable to look away.
He gasped and his eyes snapped open. He panicked for a moment before remembering where he was. Hermione…his friend? He wasn't sure. She had invited him in, and allowed him to spend the night. But, she hadn't really acted as though they were friends. He would have liked to learn more from her, but he was so terribly lost and confused, he didn't want to press it. She was his only chance at discovering who he was. He was alone and in the dark without her. She would help him. She had to help him.
Hermione had only been back to sleep for a few hours when she was awoken by pecking on her window. She rose swiftly and slid it open, smiling at the familiar sight of an owl. She untied the letter and package carefully and managed to stroke the feathers gently before he took off to return to his master. She set the package down on her dresser, and opened the letter, eyes quickly scanning the words.
Glad to be rid of these. Can't imagine what you want them for. Where've you been? See you sometime soon?
She smiled. Colin was never one for lengthy correspondence. She carefully opened the package, and grinned. He certainly came through when she needed him, though. She picked up one of the photographs, carefully opened her album and readied her wand. It was time to work.