Title: In My Heart

Author: Smenzer

Email: PG

Pairing: None

Archive: Yes, please archive. If you want to add this story to a website, please let me know.

Teaser: Draco's thoughts on several things…

Disclaimer: The characters are not mine. Harry Potter characters belong to Warner Bros, Scholastic, Bloomsbury, Heyday/1498 films, JK Rowling and Raincoat books. This is just for fun. No money is being made.

Alone.

I'm alone, even when I'm not. I watch Potter and his companions: the stars of the school, the Dream Team. A bitter taste forms in my mouth and I feel empty inside. The fact that Crabbe and Goyle are with me doesn't matter. They obey me out of fear and perhaps a bit of respect. That was enough before. But something has changed. I have changed, although I can't say when or how. Perhaps it happened so slowly that I never noticed until now. I watch them huddle together, their heads bent near each other as they discuss something; perhaps homework. They are at ease with each other, perfect friends.

Friends.

I've never had a real friend. Briefly I close my eyes and wonder what it would be like. To have someone to whisper secrets to in the night, to go places together, to sleep over at each other's houses.

Father would not approve.

Friendship is frivolous and one should associate only with those of power.

But Father has been sent off to Azkaban.

Azkaban.

The name alone sends currents of ice through my veins. I never dreamed that Father could ever be sent there. No, I should be more honest. I had dreaded the possibility but was too frightened to even consider it in the light of day or the dark of night, less it might happen. The place is too horrible for me to even imagine. My heart skips a beat as I realize that Azkaban might be in my future as well.

No!

I can't be sent there! . Azkaban would destroy me. Within days I would be a screaming bundle of flesh and bones. I'm not strong like Father is, although I try to copy his behavior and mannerisms. But deep in my heart I know I'm actually a coward.

Yes, a coward!

Father would kill me if he ever found out.

My gaze flickers back to Potter and I wonder where he gets the courage from. Bloody Potter even killed a basilisk our Second Year! A great big basilisk over sixty feet long and I'm quivering in fear from a simple wand thrust to my throat, by a Mudblood no less! Me, the great Draco Malfoy, scared of a Mudblood!

Father would kill me…

Bloody Gryffindors!

If I weren't such a coward, I'd walk over there and start up a conversation…

A conversation?

I must be out of my mind. What in the world would I say to Potter?

I shake my head to clear the dangerous thought from my mind but it's too late. The weird idea has already taken roost and refuses to depart. Perhaps I'm farther gone than I thought. Father would clearly be displeased, to say the least.

Still, a real friend would be a nice change of pace and Potter clearly is the one in power, even if he does get the occasional detention. After all, no one is perfect. So in a way I would be following Father's rules, except for the little fact that Potter is Father's enemy.

Voldemort.

It all goes back to him and his stupid plans! Father will no doubt want me to become a Death Eater and …

All warmth drains from my body at the horrible thought.

No! I don't want to kill anyone!

The truth is, I don't have Father's violent streak in me and I know deep in my heart I'd never be able to actually strike the final blow or say the Death Curse. How could Father ask this of me? What kind of man expects his own son to become a murderer? A murderer is vile and disgusting and the lowest of the low! He'd sentence me to a life of torment in Azkaban with that Mark.

A chill travels down my spine in spite of the hot sun on my back.

The Mark.

I've seen Father's and it frightens me more than I care to admit. I have no desire to have it branded into my tender flesh by some abominable creature back from the grave. I'm ashamed to admit I'm too scared to even face him.

I don't want to loose my innocence.

No matter what Potter may think of me, I'm still innocent. I'm nothing more than a child pretending to be brave and thus hoping the pretending will become reality. Without much success, I must add. Sure, I have a lot of self-confidence from being a Pureblood and a Malfoy, but that can only go so far. Perhaps I've said many things I shouldn't have, but surely there's a big difference between bad mouthing and committing real crimes like murder? And the words weren't really my own, even though I've said them. They're my Father's. I'm like a dumb parrot repeating what it had heard. And I was young enough that I never actually thought about it. My life revolved around Father and in my innocent eyes he could do no wrong. I was thought to think that anyone not of Pureblood was less and should be frowned upon. Father told me that since I was old enough to understand his words. If a little kid can't trust the words of his parents, than whom can he trust? But I'm old enough now to make my own decisions, to annualize things and come to my own conclusions. And the deduction I've come to is that Father erred.

He clearly was wrong. Why else would he be in Azkaban?

My life is my own and I realize I can't let Father ruin in for me. I don't want to end up like him locked in some dank, dark and damp cell with Dementors breathing down my neck. No, I'd never hang onto my sanity in that place.

I wonder if Father has? Will he be a mere shadow of his former greatness if he ever gets out or is his mind already gone? Nor can I with all honesty blame Potter for Father's mistakes. He made the decision to follow Voldemort a long time ago. Just like I must make mine. Sometimes when you gamble, you loose.

Father lost his round of roulette.

I must choose more carefully.

But is choosing Potter the right decision? I would be aligning myself with Father's enemy and that means Voldemort would most likely try to kill me. Do I really want to take that all on? Would it be worth it? I imagine having close friends to whisper to in the night, to share jokes with. And somehow I instinctively realize they would be there in both good and bad times. They would support you through any crisis. They would even risk their own life to save yours. Somehow I doubt if Crabbe or Goyle would do that. In fact, I have the distinctive memory of hearing their laughter that one day when Potter pounded me into the Quidditch field. Disloyal buggers! Wouldn't even pull the Gryffindor off me!

But what do I expect from Slytherins? It's every Slytherin for his own neck, isn't it?

Can I really change? Could I really be brave and stand against Voldemort? Even worst, could I go up to Potter in front of half the school? What would the other Houses think? Not to mention the other Slytherins! They would all think I've gone crazy…

An artic chill settles in my heart and I know the sand is falling through the invisible hourglass. With Father locked up, they might expect me to take on Death Eater duties sooner than before. And I can't let that happen or my life will be ruined. Yet I can't fight it alone. I'd crumble under the pressure and give in, from fear if nothing else. So I must acquire powerful allies to help me stand firm. I'm not brave like a Gryffindor.

Where does Potter get his bravery from anyway?

Perhaps I should go ask him…

He may laugh in my face and I'd probably deserve it. I've taunted them too many times in the past and by doing so I may have reserved a cell in Azkaban for myself.

The chill in my heart deepens. I don't want to go over there by them. Potter rejected me once and I know he can do it again without blinking an eye. How can I ever convince him I'm being sincere? Why, I've probably never been sincere in my life. My constant tormenting of others has dug my own grave and now I'm desperate to escape it.

Before it's too late.

My eyes settle on Granger. She would be my best hope, my only hope. Granger, I must admit, is rational and fair. She could be my salvation. Hope soars within and I nervously climb to my feet. All I have to do now is walk the short distance across the grass to the water fountain where the three sit. I've walked the same expanse countless of times, but now it seems stretched to thousands of meters. My heart pounds loudly in my ears as it thuds like a drum within my chest cavity. I think of making a beeline for the false safety of the castle, but no, I will stand firm! My nerves seem to be jumping all over the place and the impossible happens: sweat breaks out on my forehead. Malfoys never sweat! Worst, I have no idea what I will say when I reach the Dream Team.

And all too soon I'm there.

I stand there nervously as slowly three pairs of eyes rise in surprise to my face. My mouth seems to have gone dry. My palms are soaked.

"I don't want to be a Death Eater." I blurt out.

Potter's green eyes widen in shock. Weasley is just gawking at me in confusion and no doubt, mistrust. Granger also has surprise clearly written on her face. She was probably expecting another cruel taunt. Then the surprise fades to a smile and she holds out her hand. My spirit leaps at the sign of acceptance and I place my wet hand in her dry one. I know it's not really that easy to be accepted into the Dream Team, but it's a good beginning.

And now I have hope against the darkness for I'm not alone any more.

The End