Disclaimer: I wish they were mine, but they're not!
A/N: The idea was tossed into my head while listening to U2's "Sunday, Bloody Sunday". I'd suggest listening to the aforementioned song, if at all possible, while reading. If not... check it out sometime!
Prologue - Sunday, Bloody Sunday
"And the battle's just begun,
There's many lost, but tell me who has won?
The trenches dug within our hearts,
And mother's children, brother's, sister's torn apart !"
-U2, "Sunday, Bloody Sunday"
Sunday, October 28, 2001
There were bodies scattered on the ground around his feet. For a moment, he couldn't remember what side he was supposed to be on. A flash of red on the ground, a scarf? Draco grabbed it up. Red and gold stripes, the colors of Gryffindor. Somewhere in the mass of dead, might there be someone he'd known at school?
None of the others were watching him, they were making sure the dead were really such. Yes... there was someone, probably the owner of the bloody scarf he'd clutched to his chest. He knelt next to the body, appearing emotionless.
His name had been Neville, Draco remembered after a moment's thought. He'd been terrible at potions; the one Professor Snape had picked on for the seven years the Slytherins had shared the class with the Gryffindors. It seemed like just yesterday that the poor git had melted his umpteenth cauldron, to the dismay of Severus Snape. Yesterday, not three years of bloody Sundays ago.
It had become tradition, almost, the Sunday attacks. At first, it had been because the average wizard spent the morning sleeping in, much like his Muggle counterparts. It had been easy to take them unawares, finish the killing quickly, and shoot off the Dark Mark into the sky. Fast enough to be home to the wife and kids in time for breakfast.
The ease of the Sunday morning massacres hadn't lasted long. Soon enough, the magical community got the hint and was on guard for the next attacks, but somehow the Sunday morning combat had become a part of the Death Eater mystique. The Ministry knew they'd be attacked each Sunday, but they never knew where, or what the cost.
Draco stared at the scarf. It was ripped in a few places; stained and discolored from the use it had seen since it was first issued to Neville, almost ten years earlier. Sure, there were other bloody, now ownerless pieces of clothing lying around, dropped by their owners before the Death Eaters appeared on the streets of Hogsmeade, a half an hour earlier.
He glanced up again. There had probably been fifteen or twenty people eating breakfast at the Three Broomsticks, that morning. Neville had been sitting alone, and from the dumb stare of shock on his still face, he'd probably been one of the first to die. The side of his head was bleeding; he'd probably been tortured too. Sent tumbling to the ground with a Cruciatus or something equally vile. Maybe Draco had been the one to do it. There were so many, he couldn't remember anymore.
The first time he'd gone home following a bloody Sunday morning, he'd felt something. He could remember the face of every man and woman he'd faced that day, even if it was two years in the past. And the next week, and the next... but soon the faces blurred, were indistinct. He'd killed a Weasley, that one he remembered. And the Irishman, another Gryffindor from his year, he couldn't even remember the man's name. When had he stopped remembering each one? When had he stopped keeping tally?
The Dark Mark began to burn slightly on his arm, just enough for him to notice. As Draco glanced up, he saw the others of his group disapparating one by one. He reached out and closed Neville's sightless eyes. When his family found him, at least he would be dignified. Not like some of the others Draco had left behind.
He stood and surveyed the rubble of the morning. Madame Rosmerta was back in the corner, slumped dead over her bar. Draco had dozens of good memories from this place... why couldn't he think of them? All he could see now were the puddles of blood on the floor and the dead, lying how they fell, shock and fear written eternally into each face.
He heard a crunch behind him and, wand held at the ready, whirled around. A frightened looking woman had stepped on a broken glass tankard; her foot was still in the pool of butterbeer next to the patron's confused and blank stare. She backed up, hitting a chair and table, eyes wide in apprehension.
The goal was to leave none able to tell the story of what had happened on another bloody Sunday. Draco looked down at the tattered Gryffindor scarf still clutched in his hands. She stared at it too. She was so familiar to him... curly red hair, another Weasley. He'd killed a Weasley. He could kill another, couldn't he?
Draco took a step toward her, and she backed away, tripping on the chair. Barely able to maintain her balance, she stood tall, head held high. The fear changed to acceptance. She spoke; none of his victims had done anything but plead and moan. "Go on. If you're going to do it, just get it over with."
Ginny. Ginny was her name. Didn't she recognize him? Oh... the mask. Draco slowly reached up, no longer leaving his wand trained on her, and pulled off the black hood, trademark of the Death Eaters. "Were you here with Neville? With Longbottom?"
She stared in shock at his face. She was going to cry, he was sure of it. He couldn't stand it when they cried. But then she didn't. She didn't even sneer at him, or mock him, as her brother and Potter had been so good at, years ago. She just nodded and said simply, "Yes. I was here with Neville."
Draco stepped forward, noting that she no longer backed away. Was the mask the only thing frightening about him? "Where's the glory in all this?" Draco murmured to himself. There they all were, bloody and dead under the rubble of this place of his childhood. What did it mean?
He held out the scarf, offering it to her. She took it hesitantly, a flash of gold and diamond visible on her finger. Clutching the scarf to her chest, she looked to the side, spotting Neville lying in the rubble. "Why?" she whispered, holding the Gryffindor colors to her like a lifeline.
"I don't know anymore," he admitted. Draco stepped back, smashing a bottle under his feet. He could hear a shout outside, the sound of the Aurors arriving. The Dark Mark burned harder, his final warning to get out before he joined his father in Azkaban.
But he didn't apparate to Malfoy Manor, where the ranks of Death Eaters would be waiting to report to Voldemort. He knew of one other who'd felt what he now did. Leaving Ginny Weasley staring after him impassively, he dropped the Death Eater hood and ran for the back door. The Aurors wouldn't come there; they'd take the front. As in all the other bloody Sundays, the Death Eaters responsible would be gone when the law arrived, no one to take the blame.
Unlike the other bloody Sundays of the years past, one would survive and another would be changed.
Draco ran through the forest, the paths he knew well from skulking around and meeting his fellow Death Eaters during his last year of school. He ran blindly, feet knowing exactly where to take him. Past the lake, past the Groundskeeper's home, past the greenhouses where he'd spent hours of detention with Professor Sprout. She'd died the same day as Trellawney, who hadn't foreseen her own death. He shocked a group of first-years roaming the grounds, pushed past the fearful professor who trailed the known Death Eater.
He wouldn't make it there, not alive. Not before someone managed to shoot off a curse and stop him. Past the stairway down to the dungeons, the Slytherin home. The gargoyle opened as he approached, as if they knew he'd be coming that day. But maybe they had, he'd known everything else when Draco had been at school.
Professor Snape, looking old and tired, stepped forward, nearly crashing into Draco. Dumbledore was there too, just inside the door of his office. He could take him now, get rid of him, just like Voldemort wanted. Snape moved to sacrifice himself for the Headmaster's life, but Draco knocked him aside as if the Potions Master weighed nothing at all.
Draco threw his wand to the side and collapsed to his knees in front of the old man, whose eyes were just as kindly as they'd been on the day Draco had arrived at Hogwarts. He didn't dare look up into the Headmaster's face; the guilt was too much. "Forgive me," he whispered.