There are certain dates etched in people's minds that would forever stand out; one of them being the 2nd of May 1998. The biggest battle known in wizarding history stormed its way through the lives of so many people, bringing with it darkness and despair, leaving death and destruction in its wake. That was four months ago, and those four months felt more like years have passed. Rebuilding works were at their finishing touches, and families whose loved ones were ripped away from them were finally learning how to cope with the loss.
It was a gloomy and wet Sunday morning. It had been raining for what seemed to be hours and there was no sign that it was about to stop anytime soon. Below the clouds, a dark parade was being held – Lucius Malfoy's funeral. Some cultures believe that the fall of rain during a funeral shows that the deceased is at peace with death.
To Draco Malfoy however, it meant nothing. Nothing at all.
In front of Draco was a casket as grand and lavish as caskets could get. Inside that casket was his father. Father, he repeated in his head. That was how Draco regarded the man who raised him, if one could call that raising. Even so, he always had the need to please his father. It was like an unquenchable thirst that plagued him throughout his schooling years.
In this moment however, those things were at the back of his mind.
Draco did not feel sad about the death of the man that claimed to be his father.
He did not feel upset.
He simply felt numb.
A well-aimed Avada from a Voldemort supporter sent Lucius spiralling into his death. It happened before his trial in front of the Wizengamot, but Draco figured it didn't make a difference. Either way, Lucius would end up dead. Nobody in their right mind would pardon Lucius freaking Malfoy for the things he did. Draco and Narcissa on the other hand had their trial just yesterday. Narcissa was sentenced to a year of probation, while Draco received half of that. They were going to take away his wand for six whole months! What in the hell was he supposed to do without magic?
Narcissa's sentence, which was considered light by a majority of the people, was influenced by the fact that she lied to Voldemort to save Harry Potter albeit it was only done in her best interest – for her son. Also, taken into account was the fact that she never took the Dark Mark but married a man who did. Despite everything Lucius did, she loved him dearly. She sat with her head held high as the rain fell, looking elegant and proud. But oh, Draco knew better. The slight quivering of her lips every now and then, and the excessive blinking punched a huge hole straight through her facade.
Narcissa Malfoy was not okay.
She was far from okay.
The man that was currently giving a speech was spouting lies about Lucius, and Draco rolled his eyes at the man. Lucius was certainly not an honourable man and a loving husband. This man must be off his rocker. However rude this was, Draco didn't feel like being here. He wanted to return to the Manor and try to live a normal life or rather, a life as normal as he could possibly manage.
Draco looked around, trying to busy himself with something more entertaining than Mr. Lie-through-my-teeth. To his dismay, all he saw were the grass and trees, as well as the mound of dirt that would bury his father. He looked up to the sky and frowned. Fireworks exploded outside the cemetery where it seemed to be sunny, creating bursts of colours that were in stark contrast to the clouds that hung above him.
Someone was definitely celebrating his father's death.
"Bloody fireworks," he muttered under his breath as he tore his eyes away from the flashing lights. He scanned the area another five times and sighed inwardly.
Draco found nothing worthy of his time and leaned further back into the chair he was sitting on. He allowed his mind to wander and soon he began thinking about the will Lucius Malfoy wrote. Draco was now the owner of Malfoy Industries at the tender age of eighteen. The entire Malfoy fortune as well as the Malfoy Manor was under his name. He had enough money to last him ten lives. His thoughts drifted further and further away when suddenly, a small movement behind the trees snapped him back into reality.
Draco blinked and focused on the trees to find the culprit who forced his mind from drifting. Surely, no one was cruel enough to cause havoc during a funeral. No one could be that heartless, Draco thought to himself. He unconsciously gripped his wand that was tucked into his robes. Always be prepared, he told himself.
Though he could not clearly see the face of the culprit, he noticed the hair.
Dark brown and slightly less bushy than it used to be. It could only belong to one person. He smirked. Draco finally found his source of entertainment.
Hermione Granger was, and forever will be, that girl who was always sure of her every move. Her entire being was governed by reasoning and logic. Emotions were things she felt, but they rarely carried any weight in her decision making. Hermione Jean Granger, the brilliant Muggleborn, the brains of The Golden Trio.
She was pacing outside the gates of a private cemetery. Yes, she decided to attend Lucius Malfoy's funeral. Obviously, no one else knew she came. Especially not Harry and Ron. Merlin, they would have turned this funeral upside down and danced on Lucius's grave! Perhaps not Harry, but definitely Ron.
While Lucius was a vile and cruel man, she came to pay her respects to Narcissa and Malfoy. After all, funerals were more for the living than the dead. Despite having a harsh history with Malfoy back in Hogwarts, he didn't give away their identities when they were brought to Malfoy Manor. For that, she was thankful. It was also the moment she began to see him in a different light. Oh, he was still a right prick, but she was sure he wasn't evil, and he probably had less of a choice than she did when it came to fighting in the war.
As she walked towards the funeral, something furry grazed her legs. Her hands flew to her mouth, muffling her shriek just in time. Looking down, she saw a ginger cat much like Crookshanks, staring up at her with wide questioning eyes as if it was asking her if she was lost. She was, you could say. Hermione didn't belong here. But she ignored the cat and went on her way, looking for a familiar face in the crowd. Perhaps someone from the Ministry was here.
She groaned softly at the first thing she saw.
Oh, Merlin. Draco Malfoy was staring back at her.
Draco whispered something to his mother and excused himself. He marched up to Granger, all the while smirking to himself. It reminded her of a young Draco Malfoy whose biggest problem was a bunch of Gryffindors, and not a man burdened by an impossible task.
"Granger," Draco said as morphed his face into one of indifference.
"Malfoy," she greeted.
"Are you lost? Or did you come to get hexed into the next century? Because if it's the latter, you could march right on. But I'd advise you to leave," he said. She obviously didn't belong here. There were at least ten people at the funeral who would have hexed her into oblivion if they saw her. I didn't save you during the war to have you get hexed to death here, he added silently.
"I'm just here to pay my respects."
"Surprisingly, I don't find that hard to believe, but it's probably not the best place for you to pay your respects, Granger."
"I.. Right. You're probably right," she said.
"I'm sorry for your loss, Malfoy. Send your mother my condolences," she continued with an empathetic smile. She turned around and Disapparated with a pop before Draco could even mutter a word.
Good, he thought to himself. At least she had a sense of self-preservation because he wasn't joking when he said ten people would hex her if she made her presence known. He made his way back to his mother and relived the memories of saving her. It was during the final battle. Curses were flying right and left, and Unforgivables were being thrown almost every second. Hermione was battling a Death Eater on her own, and was completely oblivious to the green spark that was being sent her way from another Death Eater.
It felt as if time stopped right then. It was in that moment that Draco realised her blood status did not make her inferior. She made it known that being a Muggleborn didn't render her magical abilities useless. Without much thought, he sent a blast in her direction, causing her to move out of the way of the killing curse. Confused as to where the blast came from, she looked around for the person who saved her from the curse, but Draco had already fled the scene.
He took cover amongst the rubble and ruins of Hogwarts, breathing hard and fast. Adrenaline was pumping through his veins and everything became clear to him. He wanted nothing more than to be rid of the beliefs he was brought up with. Of course, he never admitted that to anyone, especially not Granger. He was a Slytherin after all, and Slytherins have a reputation to maintain.
Sitting a few rows behind him were a trio of Slytherins who unbeknownst to Draco, noticed his interaction with Hermione just minutes ago.
"That Gryffindor bitch," Pansy Parkinson said.
"Will you keep it down, Pans? It is a funeral, you know," said Blaise Zabini. With that, he got up and took another seat further in front. Pansy stared after him like he sprouted another head.
"How could he be so indifferent about them! They ruined our lives!" she exclaimed in a rather loud whisper.
"I get what you mean. That bitch killed my father the night of the battle," said Theodore Nott as he clenched and unclenched his fists. It didn't matter to him that she didn't know who was behind the Death Eater mask.
"They need to pay, Theo. For everything that we've lost. Especially that stupid little mudblood. Why was she even here, anyway? And why was she talking to Draco?"
"Now isn't the time to discuss this, Pans. But we will when the time is right. And they will pay. She will pay." Theo smirked and Pansy could have sworn that she saw an evil glint in his eyes.