Greatest Desire, Deepest Fear
Looking back, I really can't pinpoint exactly when the change occurred. Certainly the clincher came in my sixth year. At some stage during my increasingly desperate struggles to off the Headmaster, what I once desired most in the world became what I most fear.
When I was younger, Father told me all about the Dark Lord. He told me how he had valiantly mustered up a following of those loyal to wizard-kind and was tragically killed in his effort to cleansing our world of the foul Mudbloods and Muggles who diluted our bloodline and destroyed our culture.
The first time he showed me his Dark Mark and explained what it stood for, I went straight back to my room and using my colored quills, drew an imitation to the best of my ability. I displayed it proudly around the house for nearly a week, continually inking over it to keep it bold, until Mother make me wash it off before we went out shopping.
But at some point between then and now, everything was flipped upside down.
Perhaps it was the moment I was put under duress, no longer attempting the task to gain reward, but to avoid punishment; no longer trying because I wanted to, but because I was being forced to. More effective than any imperious curse, his threats made me keep trying, missing out on sleep, Hogsmeade weekends… even Quidditch became secondary.
I knew off-by-heart every word in those letters, arriving in the middle of the night, enspelled to look innocent but when uncovered, full of dark promises of death and pain.
'My patience wears thin, young Malfoy.'…
'Dumbledore's life or your own.'…
'Do not make the mistake of believing your father safe behind the bars of his cell, or your mother hidden behind the gates of your Manor.'…
The school year was flying past and as Lord Voldemort grew more and more impatient, I grew more and more frantic. I was starting to crack and people were noticing. On the occasions when I forced myself to come to dinner, I would sit and push the food around my plate. Back and forward, around and around my plate, barely hearing Pansy's worried inquiries or Crabbe and Goyle's silent resentment – silent now because they were certainly not missing out on the chance to stuff their faces before I dragged them back to the seventh floor corridor.
I knew I looked dreadful, but just the thought of my parents being murdered for my mistakes made me feel nauseous and was now keeping me awake at night. I desperately needed someone to talk to. Snape was eager enough to help, but Aunt Bella had warned me to be careful of what I said around him and even if her suspicions were unfounded, the Dark Lord had made it perfectly clear that this was my task, no one else's.
I guess that's what led me to my first breakdown in the bathroom, where Moaning Murtle found me and after I'd done it once, it was easier to think less of crying in the toilets and confiding in a ghost, of all things. Matters could hardly get much worse, I figured.
I remember thinking back to my first year when I found that strange mirror and discovered that the image reflected in it had been myself but older. The reflection looked nearly identical to the photos I had seen of Father at that age. My hair was short, but my eyes were sharper, colder and my bearing more confident. The sleeves of my black robes were rolled to my elbows and skull and snake could be seen glaring off my left forearm. I knew that it hadn't been drawn on.
At eleven years old, I had gazed into the Mirror of Erised and my greatest desire had been to be the perfect son, worthy of the Malfoy name… and a proud Death Eater.
How things have changed.
I couldn't believe it when I finally fixed it. I sat, just staring at the cabinet for a good few minutes before it finally sunk in and I let out few victory cheers. All that time spent here working away at it, or worrying that I would never get it done. And now, it was. I had finally done something right.
Even Trelawney almost discovering me couldn't put a dampener on my mood. I was safe. Mother and Father were safe.
Except that they weren't. Not yet. The task itself still needed to be completed; the easiest part, so long as everything else went to plan. And it did. Dumbledore went out that very night and I quickly made the necessary arrangements. I was there to lead them through the castle with my Hand of Glory guiding the way through that Instant Darkness Powder I had bought just in case.
Gibbon left the Dark Mark atop the Tower and when the Order arrived I snuck away and up the stairs. It wasn't until I was standing in front of Dumbledore, wand pointed at his heart, that I realized that this wasn't going to be easy at all.
In the end, I ran. I ran from Dumbledore's body lying at the foot of the Astronomy Tower, courtesy of Snape's curse. I ran from Voldemort's retribution for my failure to do the deed myself. I ran from the parents whose faith I had failed.
And I didn't stop. Not when I was in constant state of hunger and couldn't see a single strand of blond in my hair beneath the dirt. Not when the rest of the wizarding world was embroiled in war. Not even when a passing glimpse of an old newspaper told me of the death of my parents at the hands of their own master.
I don't know how long it was; it might have been months, it might have been years. It felt like decades. But then, in a run down shack in the middle of nowhere, I opened what would long ago have been the pantry and time stopped.
I knew what it was the moment it started to take shape; I still remembered the werewolf telling us all about boggarts. I didn't know what it would turn into, but when it did settle, I couldn't suppress the strange sense of déjà vu. Now all I can do is stand and stare at it, while it stares back through eyes the color of my own, set in a face I see whenever I took a look at my reflection.
The gaze is as cold as it was when I last saw it, the lips still curled into a cruel smirk. It's wearing the same dark robes, sleeves pulled back to expose the Dark Mark contrasting sharply with pale skin. Then, it takes a step forward and withdraws a familiar wand. It waves it once and mouths two words: Avada Kedavra.
Abruptly, I'm struck by the irony of the moment and can't stop a bark of laughter escaping as I look at the figure that represented my deepest fear and remember seeing that same image reflected back at me from a golden-framed mirror that was designed to show me my heart's greatest desire.
Thanks for reading everyone and please, please, take the time to review. Now that I've suddenly been struck by the desire to write a couple of new stories, I really love to hear what you thought about it, good or bad.