Chapter One: Punishment

Night lay upon a large fortress-like place. There was no moon, but stars shed their frosty glitter to the ground blew. The starlight reflected off a dusty old path that led up to the towering fortress with huge iron gates. Trees surrounded the path and the mansion, swaying lightly in the breeze.

A figure, dressed in all black, walked solemnly up to the gates, dragging a trunk behind him. Long, messy white-blonde hair quivered in front of his face, covering his eyes. He glanced up only for a moment to look at the house behind the iron bars. Once he approached, he stood and looked up at it and the sky behind it.

He began to take in deep breaths. His body began to shake as he began to prepare for what was to come. He closed his stormy grey eyes, wishing that he could just disappear. If only, he thought, but that would be impossible. Besides, his family would probably be able to find him again. But he was too afraid to try and hide.

The white-blonde haired boy reached beneath the folds of his robes and produced out a dark-colored wand. He tapped the gate three time. Just then, the gates because suddenly foggy, just enough to see the shape of it in the starlight. The boy grabbed the handle of his trunk, took a deep breath, and walked (literally) through the gates. Slowly, he ascended up the steps to the giant mansion, not noticing that the iron gates materialized once again.

The front door opened at his slight touch, making him jump out of his own skin. He pointed his wand, half expecting to see someone there. Thankfully, he didn't; so he stowed away his wand in his cloak pocket. He quietly brought his suitcase up a small flight of stairs toward the grand polished-marble staircase. He cast nervous glances as the pictures of grim-faced witches and wizards watched him go by. Fires on torches flickered brightly as he left the trunk by the first step if the grand staircase and looked around.

A sudden laugh came from the room closest to him. It had a nasty edge to it that made the boy's blood run cold. He knew that laugh anywhere. His aunt was here; probably here to see him and humiliate him some more. He knew he had to face here eventually, but he didn't mean right now. The boy ran a hand through his already untidy hair and sighed in dismay. Then, trying to gather as much courage as he could, he walked briskly over to the room. Another screech of laughter echoed from the dining room, followed by a flash of red sparks. A sickening thud cam abruptly after the red lights vanished. Someone had just been stunned.

The boy pushed open the door into a slightly empty room. A roaring fire burned beneath a marble mantelpiece, surmounted by a jewel-encrusted mirror. A glittering chandelier hung from the ceiling, glowing brilliantly like the stars outside. The boy stood on the threshold, taking in what was happening. All eyes were on him. His mother was standing up, her hands on the table and her chair pushed carelessly aside. The boy's father sat next to the boy's mother, careful to avoid eye-contact with his son. His aunt was at the head of the table, her face fell when she saw the boy. He noticed a body that lay unconscious on the table, while two others sat near the other end of the table.

"Draco," his mother began, her face softening. The boy looked away from her gaze, and saw out of the corner of his eye his mother's expression turn smug. Draco's father didn't even bother to look up at him. His aunt Bellatrix had a sneer on her face as she calmly stood up.

"Draco," she said too sweetly that it was sickening. "About time you got home. I was getting worried that you weren't going to make it." She gave him an innocent look, but Draco knew that she was up to something. "It's a pity that the Dark Lord wasn't able to be here to you after your little assignment. He would've congratulated you," She was about a foot away from Draco's face. He black hair straggled down in from of her eyes that pierced Draco's. "If only you did as you were told!"

Suddenly, her hand reached up and slapped him across the face. At first he didn't feel anything, but a burning sensation crept onto his cheek. He turned his head to the side, letting his hair fall in front of his eyes again. Bellatrix let out a devilish laugh before turning back to the table.

"Bella!" Draco's mother screeched. She was at her son's side in an instant, trying to examine his face. But Draco pushed his mother away.

"He deserved it!" Bellatrix spat back. "Unable to carry out the Dark Lord's demands, humph! It was the simplest of tasks, yet he didn't have the nerve to do it. Welcome to the world of being a Death Eater, Draco! Here we kill everyone to do what must be done." She then lowered her voice but Draco could still hear. "Maybe he's not one of us."

Draco's mother stared aghast at he sister. "How dare-"

"Think about it, Cissy!" Bellatrix interrupted. "He's just a big coward. A disgrace to the Dark Lord." She lowered her voice once more. "Just like his father."

At this, Draco's father's head shot up. "Excuse me?" he snapped defensively. "How dare you insult me in my own home!" He was practically shouting at her.

Bellatrix gave him her innocent look. "No, I don't' know what you're talking about, Lucius." she murmured, making it completely obvious that she did know. "It's just that I was surprised that you didn't hop to the occasion about heading into Hogwarts once Dumbledore was killed."

"I was busy at the time." Lucius said, thoughtfully remembering the time in question.

"Sure, sure," Bellatrix rolled her eyes. "That's what they all say."

"It's true!" Lucius yelled, raising his eyebrows. "Unlike you, I suggested to the Dark Lord that he use my house as a base."

"You mean he forced you to let him use it." Bellatrix responded. But she then waved her hand dismissively.

Lucius's face darkened with anger. Narcissa held him back so he wouldn't go and pound the crap out of Bellatrix. He said something else as Bellatrix laughed in high pitch, but Draco didn't hear. He was already gone to the grand staircase.

By the time he got to his room, it had started to rain outside. Draco sat on the edge of his bed and listened to the droplets patter on his window. His bony white hand went up and gently touched his cheek. It still stung from when his aunt's punishment. For some reason, he felt that he deserved it. To Draco's dismay, he knew that his aunt was right. He was a failure and a coward. Why was he put into becoming a Death Eater if he messed up everything?

But the worst part was that the Dark Lord didn't know that he backed out of it. He didn't know it was really Snape who ended Dumbledore's life and not the person he chose personally for this taskā€¦

Why did he have to be a coward? Why couldn't he have the strength? Why does he have to be who he is? If only he was Dumbledore, and it was him who would have been killed.

Draco knew that he would get Crucio-ed for being such a fearful person. He needed to get out of here, needed to get out of the country. He needed to find a place where he could clear his head. Somewhere where he didn't have to worry about his body being at risk. And he was going to leave tomorrow.