A/N: alright, my first harry potter fic, so do be kind and considerate with feedback. This is Draco-sympathetic, since I sometimes feel myself in the same position. But anywho, do review me.


Maybe they would've felt differently.

Maybe the endless spite, sneering, resentment wouldn't have ever had to happen.

Maybe all the times they scorned him, insulted him, mocked him, complained about him weren't as justified as they thought. After all, they saw the hard, cruel, unyielding side of him, the wall of anger and hatred he had built all those years ago, because it was how he'd been taught.

Maybe it wasn't just his fault.

All the secrets and insecurities and truths were kept locked inside of him, they were beginning to engulf him, threatening his cold exterior, until he feared they would all burst out. A thousand reasons for the snide remark he'd offered to a heavy second-year girl on his way to Transfiguration, a million motives behind the threats and intimidation he'd offered to the scrawny social outcast who'd looked at him wrong. There were secrets whispering behind his cold blue eyes that no one bothered to look for.

Not even his victims, the ugly ones, the fat ones, the misfits, the stupid ones, the smart ones, the popular ones, everyone had faults and weaknesses, he'd discovered. Over time he'd learned how to use those.

He built that wall so he didn't have to be like them. He gave in to violence and hate and cruelty so he wouldn't have to endure it from anyone else.

He inflicted pain to justify the suffering in his own life. For every malicious word, ridicule, or insult his father gave to him, he administered twofold on his victims. In this way he always felt better, not because it helped to hurt them but because now they were hurting as he did.

Maybe if they'd seen the other side of him, they would have felt pity.

The hidden side of him, all the mistakes, the lies he'd been told, the pain and anger, the suffering, the blunders punished by torment and disparagement, and in the end, how he always came crawling back to his afflictor, begging forgiveness, because this was all he knew. This was the only man who would ever love him, despite the wounds and intense emotional torture. In the end he always was made to feel he deserved the abuse. In the end he never came to resent it.

It was almost complete insanity, he thought. He so worshipped this man, whom he'd become an exact copy of, this hard, unforgiving, cruel, strong man. Lucius Malfoy. His abuser. His idol. From as early as he could remember, Lucius had been the one to teach him, help him learn. He'd instilled ideas and thoughts into his son that the others didn't have. You're worth far more than them; they're filthy, filthy because of the blood in their veins, it doesn't matter how talented or special or wonderful everyone makes them out to be; they're worthless. Then he'd turn around and lash out at his son for a single wrong word, one thoughtless action. You never think, do you, Draco? My God, if any other boy had been my son… you never learn. You're a complete fool. You'll never amount to anything unless you do as I say. And he'd thought, maybe he's right, I can't make it on my own, I can't do it myself, I need him to tell me what to do, I need to listen to him, everything he says has to be right.

Everyone always said, "So-and-so turned out to be such a bad apple, because look at his childhood! Simply dreadful." His own childhood was a blur of memories—his mother, pale and cold and always worrying about something, who always pampered him and coddled him, the exact opposite of his father. She was weak, this he'd realised early on. She was not like his father; she was not to be trusted, not to be obeyed. But Lucius was different. From day one Draco learned to believe in everything his father taught him. His father had power. He had influence. Everyone else listened to him.

Then he began his instruction at Hogwarts. Perhaps he hadn't tried hard enough—Harry Potter could have become one of his close friends, he could have been very useful to Draco. But instead, the "Boy Who Lived" chose to fall in with the "good" people, the losing side. And continued to do so, again and again, until Draco gave up and Harry became not someone to be persuaded but an enemy.

Everyone thought Harry Potter, the wondrous, amazing, talented boy who would grow up to be one of the best wizards in the world, was so special. He was—he could've been so useful to Draco and his father. But instead he would waste his powers on the people who were always trying to do useless, good things that would never amount to anything. They thought that being upright, virtuous, and loved by everyone was important.

But Draco knew otherwise. He knew what he'd been taught since he was a small boy. You'll never survive unless you have what it takes. And to have what it takes doesn't come easily. You have to work hard. You have to make sacrifices. You have to do things that will turn out to your best advantage. They won't always be pleasant, but if you can't do that, you're nothing. You're worthless. You might as well crawl in a corner and die, because no one will care what happens to you. You've got to have what it takes. If you do that, then one day when you are strong and powerful, no one will dare question you or insult you, and it will be worth it all.

You-Know-Who was back, and now he was finally discovering what his father meant by "what it takes." The courage to carry out the Dark Lord's demands. The fortitude to endure the pain, the suffering, the endless pitfalls along the way, because it would all be worth it in the end - he held fast to that belief.

It was getting harder every day. The tasks and purposes he'd been assigned weren't fun and games. He found himself wishing it were all over, wishing things could be easier at least. It was hard to keep his eyes on the goal in the end when such suffering marked the path. He felt lost, like he didn't know what to believe in anymore. There was nothing.

He was dying, a little, every day.

Finding that no one could understand.

No one would have pity on him now, because he'd never showed pity to anyone else.

The man he worshipped most of all next to his master the Dark Lord, was turning away from him, making him find his way on his own.

He had no one. He had nothing except his mission.

For weeks now he'd been suffering from the same nightmare, that woke him trembling and in a cold sweat, twisted sheets, racing heart. In his dream he was kneeling before the Dark Lord—how his master looked so noble, so powerful, finally whole and alive again, unstoppable now. He was bowing to Lord Voldemort, trembling with a mixture of excitement and fear, waiting for his reward. So many years of suffering, anguish, difficult tasks he'd had to master, and now he would receive his payment. Glory, honor, power, respect. What he'd been taught to work towards his whole life.

Only there was to be no glory.

The Dark Lord would lift his hood, revealing gleaming eyes that eerily mirrored the look in Draco's eyes every time he took out his own spite and pain on someone weaker, and raised his wand.

In his dream, Draco never had time to cry out before the shot of green light burst from Voldemort's wand and exploded before his eyes.

That was why he worked so hard, pushed on by fear of failure and the yearning ache within him to succeed and be something, because he knew nothing else.

It was all he had.

Maybe if they knew this they would've felt differently.