I watch the ripples change their size
But never leave the stream
Of warm impermanence
So the days float through my eyes
But still the days seem the same
And these children that you spit on
As they try to change their worlds
Are immune to your consultations
They're quite aware of what they're going through
-- Changes David Bowie
Sunday, August 23rd 1987
"Mum," sniffed a pale boy of barely seven. His slate eyes were clear and glassy, shining brightly with tears that fell heavily passed his reddened eyelids. "I don't want to be naughty; I want to be so very good for you."
A soft palm cupped the boy's chin with understanding, tilting it up so his wide eyes would meet artic blue orbs softened with sympathy, wise and knowing, yet stern. Long, graceful fingers pushed the platinum locks from his forehead and caressed the curve of his rosy cheek. "You cannot be good for anybody, Draco. You have to choose to be good for yourself. And only yourself."
The resonance of his mother's warm brogue swam around him, enveloping him in comfort, creeping into his innocent heart, and weaving into his impressionable mind. Making a memory to last a lifetime. He wouldn't know it then, though, for all his childish attention lay solely with her beautiful smile that graced her lovely face, and shone like the sun. It was entirely for him and only him. He folded it into his heart's pocket for safe keeping and suddenly it was simple to want to be good.
Sunday, December 18th 2005
It was a very crisp evening. The navy spangled sky stretched above a small, dank shack on the outskirts of Gorsemoor. Glistening, pure white snow blanketed the countryside and to anyone who came along, the shack appeared to be desolate, abandoned. But inside, settled stiffly in a dark corner, was Draco Malfoy.
His thick winter cloak was draped around his shoulders, the hood concealing his bright hair and causing a shadow to darken his brow and hide his eyes. He was not a tall young man, but his legs had length and as one was stretched in front of him, the other was bent so that he rested his forearm upon it, absently twirling his wand from shapely, gloved fingers.
He was waiting with practiced patience, which with the chill threatening the very marrow of his bones, was nearly depleted.
He dared not light a fire, or cast a warming spell for fear of being found. Nobody could know where he was save for one person. The chance for redemption was held in the hands of an unknown member of the Order. Somebody trustworthy, someone who had a natural fortitude, understanding, and a kind, but logical mind. A person completely unlike himself.
Two weeks prior Draco Malfoy had decided that he no longer cared for the despicable wizard he had become.
All his life he had done things, terrible things, with a well-placed detachment. He had built walls around his heart, his soul, making himself completely devoid of emotions, of morals, of virtues. He had failed his mother, for nothing good lived inside of his black soul.
Honestly, he had never chosen this lifestyle. It had been handed to him on a golden platter and forced down his throat on a silver spoon. He had been cowardly and never argued, just accepted it readily, with a greedy smirk signature on his pristine aristocratic face.
A Malfoy was pure, powerful, and perfect. Feared by all, and indefinitely nefarious. A Malfoy stopped at nothing to wield the world to their pleasure.
And Draco had never questioned it. It was simple, easy to remember.
But then, that night…that horrible night when his heart began to beat again. The wretched evening he was no longer a boy following his father's footsteps, but a man who held his mother's tear-streaked face in his hands as she asked brokenly "How could you do this to me?"
How could he do this to her?
Suddenly a clatter interrupted his thoughts, but he kept his post, only lifting his eyes in wary welcome. It would seem his hope for redemption had finally arrived.
The slight form was quick, pushing the door open only enough to slip pass. Immediately Draco guessed it was a woman. The wind howled in her wake, a swirl of loose snow dancing around her alert frame.
Under a heavy cloak of burgundy, he could see she was dainty and her movements were distinctly feminine. He bit back a snort and wondered what idiot would send a mere woman to speak with a notorious Death Eater.
But then the witch pivoted, lowering her hood to reveal a cloud of unruly curls. She glanced around the shack, her eyes flashing in the moonlight, chin upturned. All business. But then again, that was always …
"Granger," he said curtly, fully understanding why the Light had sent a woman after all.
Her head jerked to his corner and she nodded shortly. "Malfoy."
She did not reach for her wand or show the slightest sign of contempt or fear. She merely gestured to the fireplace and inquired about the lack of warmth.
Draco casually responded, "Didn't want to use magic."
She lowered her chin patronizingly, a mocking smile ghosting her mouth. "You don't need magic to build a fire." Slipping off her gloves, she crossed to the mantle, picked up a few logs from the basket and placed them strategically in the hearth. Diligently she searched the room until an "Aha!" and a box of matches were produced from a drawer.
He watched her warily, his jaw set with annoyance. Of course he knew how to build a fire without magic! Any fool would, but he had not wanted any signs of life emanating from the desolate shack. Did the insolent muggle-born witch not understand the phrase: Keep it covert?
Nonetheless he let her do what she wished and promised inwardly that at the first sign of danger, he would disappear. Surely after years of acquaintanceship, she knew that he would most positively leave her alone to defend herself. After all, he was callous and cold, the poster-boy for the opportunists of the world.
"Don't worry, the Dell is un-plottable," Granger said deprecatingly. She was kneeling before the hearth, both hands keeping her feral locks at bay as she attempted to use her breath to feed the small flame.
He turned his head away from her then because she was unlike anything he had ever witnessed before, and he was not comfortable with her dirty, all-knowing constitution.
Sunday, June 27th 1999
"Do you ever wonder what it would be like to be a muggle, Draco?"
His pale head rose, inky eyebrows creased together, his straight nose lifted in a disgusted sneer. "Of course not, and lower your voice, Pans, before you are overheard."
The dark-headed girl sighed deeply and turned from the window to face him. Her violet eyes were narrowed and she bit on her lip nervously. "I hate it here. It's dreadful and boring."
"So leave." He said simply and returned to his paperwork.
She tilted her head. "You won't miss me." It was a statement.
"I surely won't miss your silly disruptions."
She touched his shoulder softly, and he turned his cheek to glare at her peripherally through his lashes. Her round face held an air of pity. "I know." She smiled at him. Only a little. "I won't miss you either. You can't miss something you never had." She studied the angle of his jaw, the curve of his ear, the curl of his hair. "If only you had a heart." She whispered and pressed a chaste kiss to his cheek.
Pansy Parkinson disappeared three days later. Draco did not even notice.
Sunday, December 18th 2005
They had not spoken in forty-five minutes.
The fireplace was alive with dancing warmth, and lit the small space in planes of orange, red, and yellow. She had found a rickety rocking chair and placed it in a precise distance from the fireplace. Her shoes were set neatly aside, and her cloak was draped over her petite body. Only her pert face was visible, and a tiny, stockinged foot set the chair in rhythmic motion.
She had not asked why he wanted to meet with a member of the Order. Had not demanded to know his reason for being present. Had not shown an ounce of apprehension or inquisitiveness, as he had expected from the moment he saw her.
It was incredibly maddening and he thoroughly wanted to strangle her, yet could not find the will to wrap his perfect fingers around her filthy slender throat.
Draco remained fixed in his spot, carelessly resting against the wall, the ideal picture of comfort and relaxation. It was as though he was lounging on a cloud with naught a worry on his mind. However, his muscles ached and he drummed his fingers on the fabric of his cloak to obscurely concentrate his restlessness.
Then, with a malicious smirk he said, "Tell me Granger, how do you know I'm not here to kill you?"
Her metrical rocking ceased immediately but she did not address him directly. Her focus remained on the hypnotic flames, but her full lips did move and from them came a simple, "Because you are not a killer."
He suppressed an indignant scoff, his eyes flashing to the opposite corner of the room then back to her. "How would you know?"
"I just do." She turned her upper body, letting the cloak fall to her lap, and rested her chest on folded arms against the arm of the chair. She blinked sympathetically and smiled softly. "If you were a ruthless murderer, you would not be seeking salvation from the Order."
Ah, yes, his salvation. He preferred to call it self-preservation. "And are you positive I'm not a spy whose intent is to infiltrate the order and break it down from the inside?" He felt pride at that statement; surely it would plant a seed of doubt in her ever-working brain.
She let out a soft chuckle. "That is what I'm here to find out."
He scowled at her easiness, his gaze probing her face. She was flushed with eagerness and reminded him of something he had thought he might have loved, if he knew how too. Hermione Granger was the embodiment of humanity, and Draco realized grudgingly that she would be the fire that melted the ice which coursed his veins.
He closed his eyes tight and turned his cheek away from her because not for the first time in his life, he was afraid of tomorrow.
Sunday, June 26th 1994
Her laugh was rich, clear, and womanly. Like a thousand silver bells in symmetrical melody.
Draco was aware that the sound should be delightful to his ears, should provoke an amused expression and endearing emotions.
He remembered loving his mother's laugh, but it felt like another lifetime. Somewhere far, far away. It was a rare and mythical experience, yet as he watched her covertly as she took tea with a friend, he could not find it in himself to even care what it meant.
It was the worse day of his young life.
It was the day he found he was completely devoid of all emotions.