I can remember the first time I saw her, standing by herself on Platform 9 ¾. Her parents had already left, essentially stranding her there. I remember thinking that it wasn't right, leaving a girl alone. I walked over to her and introduced myself; she had just stared at me, looking at me like I'd lost my mind. I didn't know until later that I was the first boy to willingly talk to her by himself. Her voice, when she spoke, rubbed up and down my spine like velvet. I was all of eleven years old and I fell in love. Fell in love with Millicent Bulstrode.
I stayed with her for the whole train ride, forcing Draco Malfoy and Vincent Crabbe to join me in the cabin with Millicent. The three of us had explained some things to her; apparently, even though they were pure bloods, her parents hadn't explained much to her about Hogwarts. She knew how to cast some spells and her wand had to be the neatest I'd ever seen. It was about twelve inches long and made of oak; it had all sorts of knots and whorls on it and she said that the core was dragon heart-string. It fit perfectly in her hand, which, surprisingly, was on the elegant side. You see, Millicent was a rather tall pudgy girl, tending to look a little masculine; I assumed she resembled her father. She had already started to fill out and curve like a woman should; something our classmates wouldn't do for another two years.
Draco took to teasing me about my crush on Millicent, until the first time he did it where she could hear him. I had never seen a girl get physical before, but apparently Millicent had been raised like a boy. She grabbed the front of Draco's robes in her fists and lifted him off of the floor, pushing his back into the stone wall of the dungeon. Putting her face near his, she whispered something that made Draco go completely white and look like he'd shat himself. She let go and Draco slid down the wall, whimpering, to sit unmoving on the floor. She turned to look at me and then spun around and ran up to the first year girl's dormitory. I never did find out what she said to him.
I made sure that I knew if anyone picked on her, so that I could threaten them with bodily harm. At the time, I didn't know why I was doing this; I only knew that it needed to be done. I knew that she got along with the Parkinson bitch, so I recruited Pansy to let me know if anything happened to her when I wasn't there. Draco kept me and Vince busy playing bodyguard because he was too much of a coward to try to protect himself. He refused to watch his mouth so that he wouldn't get into those situations. The worst were with Weasley and Potter; I lost count of how many times I had to rescue Draco's arse from a pummelling by Weasley for poking fun at Potter. You just don't mess with those that are bigger than you.
First year ended and the summer hols started. I was hoping to see Millie (she'd asked me to call her that), but my father wouldn't let anyone come to the house. I didn't really want to let anyone see how ill my mother had become, but I did want to see Millie. We sent a few owls back and forth to keep in touch. The only time I got to see Millie was when we met up at Diagon Alley to get our supplies.
Second year was not any better than the first. My grades were horrible and Vince and I were constantly under threat of being expelled because of the sheer number of times we had to beat someone because they picked on Draco, or Draco and Millie, in my case. I was getting royally sick of Draco Bloody Malfoy picking fights with Potter and his friends; that Weasley was getting to have a pretty strong right hook. On the plus side, Millie took pity on me and began to help me with my school work. As a result, my grades started to improve about halfway through the term.
Gilderoy Lockheart was an absolute twerp. He had taken it upon himself to try to improve the way Millie looked by teaching her about 'the proper hair products and make-up'. Millie wasn't one who liked fussing with her appearance, so she tried what he said and promptly abandoned the make-up after about a week. As I preferred to see her without make-up, this was a distinct improvement. She kept using the hair products, though, and her hair no longer looked all fuzzy. I tried to avoid getting caught protecting the runt again, but Draco's mouth always seemed to get me and Vince in trouble. The only one who didn't punish us for threatening someone else was Professor Snape. He seemed to understand that Draco was trouble personified and knew that we were trying our best. The whole episode with Potter and the basilisk in the Chamber of Secrets was all over the school before the teachers could control it and Potter was, once again, the hero. Both Vince and I expected Draco to start foaming at the mouth when this happened, the boy had absolutely no control.
Summer, once again, but this time I got to have Millie over several times. My father was still despondent over my mother's death, but didn't let it show to anyone but me. I took to hiding most of the liquor in the house, just so that my father wouldn't drink himself into an early grave. There were whisperings of the Dark Lord's return, but no one knew exactly what was going on. I tried to avoid any conversations about Him at all costs. I didn't want to concern myself with most pure blood principles and tried to shut Draco up whenever he started to spew them like he had diarrhoea of the mouth. Millie had a tendency to look amused at my attempts.
The next term started off with a bang...Dementors on the Express. I heard about Potter's fainting episode and did have to laugh a bit...until Millie told me about what she'd overheard. Apparently, every time the Dementors got close to Potter, he got to hear his mother being murdered again. Just the thought of hearing my own mother's death rattle one more time was enough to make me feel sick, how could Potter handle hearing his mother scream over and over again? I decided, with a little push from Millie, to start backing away from Draco. I'd talked it over with Vince and we both said that it seemed like a brilliant idea.
At some point, close to the end of the year, Potter's godfather showed up at the school. This was a feat unto itself because the man was the only one known to have escaped, without help, from Azkaban. Got to hand it to someone who wants revenge that badly. I heard from Draco that the rat Weasley had been carrying around with him was Peter Pettigrew in his animagus form. Pettigrew was the one who had betrayed Potter's parents, not Sirius Black. They caught the rat, but he got away; Professor Lupin turned out to be a werewolf, so he was forced to leave the school.
Summer again and Millie was now an almost permanent fixture at my house. My father didn't seem to mind, as long as the alcohol was kept in plentiful supply. We kept away from him because he kept muttering under his breath, things like 'soon, soon it'll be over' and 'I'll be there soon, Love'. I knew that The Dark Lord was coming back, but they needed Potter for the spell...or something like that. I tried to send an owl to warn Potter about it, but it came back unopened. Maybe the rumours about the muggles he lived with were true; I had heard that Potter got abused every summer when he went back to live with them.
Fourth year was pretty decent. Potter's name came out of the Goblet of Fire and he raised such a stink about it that he was allowed to drop out of the competition. That had never been done before, but then again, no one had ever put the name of a fourteen year old in the Goblet before. Draco, surprisingly, made no comment about Potter or how his name got into the Goblet. He was beginning to see things a little differently, but he wouldn't say how differently he was seeing them. He took to watching Potter constantly; no matter where he was or what he was doing, if Potter walked into the room, he started watching him. Millie told me it was because he had a crush on Potter, so I began to watch Draco.
Close to the end of the year, Peter Pettigrew let himself get captured by Aurors while he was out on some mission for The Dark Lord. At his trial, he exonerated Potter's godfather who then took Potter out of the muggle home he'd been living in.
I received an owl from Draco not long after the summer began, begging to let him stay with us as Lucius Malfoy had gone crazy. Once Draco arrived, I could see that he had bruises and cuts all over his body and he was shaking uncontrollably. Millie brought over a phial of Veritaserum (from somewhere, I didn't ask) and we dosed Draco up. Some of the things he said that his father had done were just sickening. I sent an owl to Potter again, hoping he'd get it this time. Three hours later, Potter and Black showed up at the house. Draco begged them to listen to him and to help him. Millie gave him the Veritaserum again and they began to question him. Potter actually had to stop at one point so that he could find the loo and vomit. He came back in and wrapped his arms around Draco; it was the only thing that made Draco stop shaking.
Black left and brought Dumbledore back with him. He agreed to give Draco asylum at Hogwarts, after hearing some of what went on with Draco's father. You know, you hear about some of the disgusting things that people can do, but you never believe it until you find out that you know someone that it's happened to. Draco and Potter are two of those people. Potter's relatives abused him...they'd beat and starved him; they made him work harder than the Malfoys did their house elves. And Draco...Gods! The things we heard...it makes my stomach churn to think of it; Lucius Malfoy was one sick fuck. He would torture Draco and then heal him, so that no one knew what was going on; who would believe Draco if he told them anyway? This year was the worst, though. This year Lucius had taken the torture one step further; he'd...nope...not getting into descriptions here, suffice it to say that Lucius Malfoy is truly a sick fuck. I hoped that Draco would recover from what his father had done to him.
Fifth year started and Draco and Potter were now a couple. Who would have thought, The Golden Boy and the Ice Prince of Slytherin? Draco had gone to live with Potter and his godfather; Potter had apparently helped Draco start to get over some of the shite his father had done and they realized exactly what they meant to each other. Millie was happy about that, so were Vince and I; it meant we no longer had to try and protect Draco's arse from beatings anymore. Weasley and Granger took their time reaching a decision, but, in the end, they decided that whatever made Potter happy made them happy.
During this year, it became obvious to me that things were heating up with The Dark Lord. Most of Slytherin house had sided against me, Millie, Vince and Draco; we asked to be moved to different rooms, so that we could avoid people trying to kill us. It's a sad day when you have to cast a spell on your food to see if your housemates had put poison on it. We were moved to a set of rooms that looked very much like it had been a fifth dormitory at one point; it was huge, with a room for each of us. Potter asked, and was allowed to move in with us. He wanted to be close to Draco, so that nothing happened to him. He did this before any of the rest of us found out about it, and it was a good thing he did. The first night we were all there, a blood-curdling scream came out of Draco's room. I jumped out of bed and ran to get there before anything else happened. When I opened the door, I almost couldn't believe my eyes. Vince lay on the floor, petrified, bleeding from a gash on his head, but was fine otherwise. Potter had a hold of Draco, who was shaking so badly it would have been visible from the other side of the castle.
Potter asked me to get Professors Dumbledore, McGonagall and Snape and bring them to our dorm. I ran to the floo in the common room, grabbing Millie as I ran. The professors all came through the floo at once and went to Draco's room; Dumbledore had a pensieve with him and I wondered what it was for. Millie and I stayed in the common room, drinking hot chocolate that we had asked a house elf for. Hours later, they trooped out of the room, Dumbledore still holding the pensieve (it was now much more full than it had been), and Professors Snape and McGonagall walking side by side with a floating Vince. I wanted to ask what had happened, but Snape shook his head and said that he would be back later; he asked that I let no one into or out of the dorm and that we would be excused from classes until further notice.
I noticed that Millie was shaking, so I put my arms around her and held her close to my chest. She stopped shaking after a while and fell asleep; I leaned back on the sofa and rested her head in my lap. I must have fallen asleep too, because the next thing I knew, Potter was shaking me awake and he quietly asked me to come up to their room. I eased myself out from under Millie and covered her with a blanket, then followed Potter.
Once in the room, he held out a phial I recognized to be Millie's Veritaserum; I stuck out my tongue and he put three drops on it. I could feel myself get a little dizzy, so Potter led me to a chair. He asked me the normal questions, name, age, where am I, and all that mess. Then he got into the really interesting ones; did I know that Vince was still loyal to The Dark Lord, did I know that Lucius had asked Vince to kill Draco, did I have anything to do with the attempt on Draco's life. My answer to each of the questions was no. I told him that I had resented Draco when we first came to Hogwarts, but that my opinion had changed since then. Draco was one of the few real friends I had, especially if Vince had just tried to kill Draco. Potter asked me what I meant and I told him that I have three friends in the world now, Millie, Draco and Potter; he seemed kind of shocked that I would include him on a list of my friends and asked why.
I looked at Draco, lying asleep on the bed and I told him that I had changed my opinion of Draco because of how he had changed his of Potter. If Potter could get Draco to change the way he acted toward people, then he was deserving of my friendship; I only hoped I was deserving of his. He gave me the antidote and told me that I was very deserving and that he knew Draco would appreciate knowing that I was a true friend to him. I went back down to the common room and sat down again, Millie's head in my lap and smiling.
After the thing with Vince, Draco was a right mess. Dumbledore had decided that, to save us all further problems, we would be tutored in our common room. Weasley and Granger joined us and moved into the dorms as well, as they had been getting flak from their housemates about Potter's choice of boyfriend. Professors Snape, McGonagall and Flitwick all came to tutor us in most subjects, but the big surprise came when Professor Lupin came back to tutor us in Defence Against the Dark Arts and History of Magic. He made the subjects really interesting and it helped that he was our 'Head of House'. He brought this huge black dog with him and it stayed with him at all times. I found out, quite by accident, that the dog was really Sirius Black; only Potter, Granger and Weasley had known who the dog was. I think Snape knew, but he never said; he and Black didn't get along too well, but they tried because of Draco and Potter.
I guess I should eventually start calling him Harry, but after knowing him as Potter for years, it's kind of hard. He did so much for Draco that year. By the time of the Leaving Feast (which we had in our common room), Draco was about as back to normal as he could get after what had happened to him. He was different, he no longer picked fights and was on the quiet side, but he still had his arrogance and sarcasm to wrap himself in. For some reason, those things seemed to make Potter love him even more.
We were taken to Black's home the following morning and within two weeks, Potter, Draco, Black, Lupin and Snape had defeated The Dark Lord. The rest of us never found out how; all Potter would say was something about 'the power he knows not'. We found out that Lucius had been killed by The Dark Lord right before his own death and, when Aurors went through Malfoy Manor (at Draco's request), they found the horribly decomposed body of Narcissa Malfoy. This threatened to undo all the work that Potter had put into keeping Draco sane over the last year.
Between myself, Millie and Potter, we were able to keep Draco on an even keel. Potter would wake him up and help him get dressed and then Millie and I would get him something to eat and keep him busy until Potter returned for the day. He was going to the Ministry to make sure that they took nothing of Lucius' that was supposed to be entailed to Draco, like the Manor and all of the vaults. He and Black supervised when the Aurors really started to clean out the Manor of all the dark objects and books. They would come back with amusing stories of Aurors who wouldn't listen to Black and almost lost fingers to biting books and boxes that would close suddenly, whether your fingers were there or not.
Millie and I took Draco shopping; muggle London seemed to have a cathartic effect on Draco and we would go daily to get money changed at Gringotts and head out into London for the day. When the next term started at Hogwarts, not only did Draco have a new wardrobe, but so did Potter, Millie and I. Draco loved buying things for other people and he treated both Granger and Weasley to shopping sprees at Harrods, which sent Granger into another world when she saw all of the things she would be allowed to buy. Weasley was harder to convince, but when Draco said that he could buy things for his family too, Weasley agreed. Draco looked at him with a strange look in his eye. "Your family means that much to you that you'd give up things for yourself?" When Weasley nodded, Draco went to the floo and got Molly Weasley to agree to go with them. Weasley almost cried when he did this and Draco realized that Ron Weasley had the one thing he'd never had, a loving family.
This bothered Draco for a while that day, even while shopping. He pulled me and Millie into one of the sitting rooms at Grimmauld Place after they got back and asked what it was like to have a loving family. I couldn't give him an answer because the only love I had gotten from my family came from my mother, my father usually being too drunk to care. Millie's parents had almost ignored her, allowing her to raise herself...as long as she brought no shame on their family, they hadn't cared what she did. Draco sighed and began to talk.
"I never really knew if my parents loved me or not. I can gather, from his actions, that my father didn't. I think Mother did, but she never let on. I have absolutely no memories of my mother holding me or telling me that she loved me." He didn't notice Potter entering the room behind him. "When I would fall or injure myself, the house elves would be the ones to tend to me. I learned how to play games by playing with the elves and their children. Once I turned eight, however, my father began to take an interest in me, although, at the time, it was only to groom me in his image. I hated that. He couldn't be arsed to be around me any other time, but when he deemed it was time for another lesson, he wouldn't leave me alone until he felt it was drilled into my skull. Mother was always too busy to spend much time with me...she had her clubs and charities that she supported, they were her life, not me. I think that if I had disappeared, neither one would have noticed until it was time for my next 'lesson'."
He started slightly when Potter slid his arms around him from behind. "But you have me now, you have Greg and you have Millie. We're your family." Draco started to cry when Potter said this, but we agreed with him. We were Draco's family, we were each other's family. Both of my parents were gone, my father had been found just before the term ended; he had finally succeeded in drinking himself to death. Millie's family really didn't care if she came home or not, she wasn't the boy they had wanted and they had been unable to have more after her. Millie and I walked over to Draco's chair and hugged him along with Potter.
The next two years slipped by. Since the Slytherins and Gryffindors were still antagonistic toward us, we kept our family dorm. Granger and Weasley added to the fun...Ron Weasley took after his twin brothers more than he'd realized. We were still tutored by Snape, McGonagall and Lupin and we still took all meals in the common room. Except for trips to the library and Hogsmeade, we rarely left the dorm and it never seemed to bother us. We learned more about each other in those last two years than we had in the first four combined.
When it came time to graduate, we were all surprised when we were called up to stand on the platform in front of the head table. Professor Dumbledore asked for quiet and everyone listened.
"Before you, you see six students whom you have persecuted and tormented beyond anything I have seen in all my years at this school. However, none of them allowed this to get in the way of their education. It gives me great pleasure to tell you that you are looking at the top six students of the graduating class of 1998." I could feel my jaw drop open slightly at this; Me? One of the top six students? "They have overcome the greatest odds imaginable: one has been an orphan and abused since the age of fifteen months, one has worked to overcome some of the harshest treatment I have ever been witness to, one watched their mother die and then watched again as their father drowned in his sorrow, one was essentially ignored by their family and was forced to grow up alone, one came from a family so large that they felt buried beneath everyone else and one has overcome the 'stigma' of being muggle-born to become the brightest witch or wizard of our current time. I tell you all of this now, but did any of you ever ask them about themselves? Did any of you ever care enough to want to know more about them than what you were told? No, you did not; but they never let that get to them. Between two of them, there have been more attempts on their lives than on all of the rest of us sitting in this room now. Those two, along with three adults, defeated the darkest, most heinous creature to ever walk this earth. Did you even thank them for saving your lives? No, you did not. And all of you have the temerity to threaten them and their family? Yes, these six courageous people have formed a family. I hope, in future years, when you look back on your time at Hogwarts, you look back and feel remorse for what you have done to them. They did not deserve your horrible treatment of them. I give you Harry James Potter, Draco Lucius Malfoy, Gregory Goyle, Millicent Bulstrode, Ronald Bilius Weasley and Hermione Jean Granger. They are the true heart of Hogwarts."
That was six years ago. I think we've all been doing rather well since then. Potter and Draco opened a business together, privately teaching people Defence and wandless magic. Granger, well Weasley now, works for the Ministry, she is the next in line for the position of Minister of Magic; when she gets the post, she will be the youngest Minister that England has ever had. Weasley makes custom made brooms for professional Quidditch teams. Millie and I keep the house and the kids; we all moved into Malfoy Manor after graduation. We were married almost three years ago, just a year after Potter and Draco bonded in a double ceremony with Granger and Weasley. Potter and Draco have one child so far, a beautiful little girl with Potter's eyes and Draco's hair. The Weasleys have two, a boy and a girl, both with bright red hair and serious brown eyes. Millie and I have one child, a gorgeous little girl, and another child on the way.
If someone had told me thirteen years ago that I would be married to that tall girl I introduced myself to on Platform 9 ¾ and that we would be happy, I'm not sure I would have believed them. It's amazing what can happen when you open yourself up to love. None of this would have happened without Millie...all for the love of Millie.