Heyyy guys! So, I'm back :D And I've got a nice new story for all of you. This one was written for round three of Fanfiction Idol, down at the Harry Potter Fanfiction Challenge forum. The challenge for this round was to write about a first time, so I wrote about the first time Draco Malfoy was ever nice to a muggleborn. This takes place in 6th year, and can be cannon compliant (I'm shocked too, I think it's a first) if you decide to look at it in that way.
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter.
The halls were quiet.
Maybe too quiet for some, but Draco Malfoy had never minded the quiet. It was peaceful, really, and Merlin knew they could all use a bit more peace in their lives. Especially him.
Because contrary to what he was telling his friends, he wasn't proud of being chosen by the Dark Lord. Oh, no.
Draco Malfoy was terrified out of his wits.
He continued patrolling around the corridor, glad for the excuse to be out –the Prefect badge really was a sort of benefit (not that not having the authority to tour the castle at night would deter him if he'd wanted to pace the castle, mind you) that he intended to make full use of. The Slytherin common room just felt too stifling nowadays, with his housemates breathing down his neck half the time and trying to persuade him to come to bed the other.
He would never admit it, but what Draco Malfoy needed the most now was space. Personal space, to be precise. Space he wasn't getting around anyone, which led him to where he was now –walking around the castle after curfew.
He had his wand out, of course, just in case he should bump into anything less than desirable –a quick obliviate would fix just about any pesky teacher or student, and he'd be free to continue on in his usual manner (you'd think this was something Potter and his lackeys would have thought of, but no, they were always going around getting caught. Blithering idiots. He found comfort in the fact that he was smarter than them –always had been, and always would be.).
He continued strolling around, focusing his attention on the sights and sounds of the castle instead of whatever plagued his mind in the day. It was raining that night; the sound of the rain beating against the walls and windows consumed all other sounds, and he let himself get lost in that one sound, a sort of ordered chaos, proof of some battle going on outside –a battle that was none of his concern. He liked that. If he had his way, the upcoming battle wouldn't be any of his concern either, or he'd at least get to choose where he stood. But no, his father had gone and gotten him roped into this mess, on the side that, if he was being honest, terrified him.
He turned the corner, and continued strolling. Strolled past a couple of empty classrooms, and then an ugly tapestry of some sort, and then a girls' bathroom –
That was odd. He hadn't heard anything but the rain his entire walk that night, but he could have sworn he'd heard something then –someone crying. And it wasn't the fake, phony whines that were Pansy's attempt at guilting him into coming to bed (didn't work, mind you), but they sounded like genuine cries. Sounded like real sobs.
He hesitated, but then doubled back to the entrance to the bathroom. Yes, it was there –the sound of someone crying. He didn't know if he should go in –it really wasn't any of his business, was it now? But that night, Draco Malfoy was tired. He was tired of every single person being depressed and deprived of what they should have had –peace, and, if he might go so far, happiness. And that night, Draco Malfoy was not going to leave a crying girl to cry her heart out in the bathroom without anyone noticing. He may be on the wrong side of the war –even he knew that –but before everything exploded, he'd do something nice, just this once. It was by no means his soul's salvation, but he needed to do this, probably as much as the person inside needed to be comforted.
And, well, since their needs met, he might as well go ahead and do it.
He pushed open the door slowly, making as little noise as possible. He was glad for the rain –they masked the sounds he made, and he managed to cross the stone floor to the circle of sinks without being noticed. The crying was coming from the other side of where he stood, so he gripped his wand hard –being a Malfoy, he wasn't exactly very welcomed around school nowadays –and slowly walked over. He took several steps forward, and then saw something that made him pause.
The girl was sitting on the ground, hugging her knees. Draco Malfoy couldn't tell much from her back, but he could see the head of slightly bushy brown hair that told him all he needed to know.
The girl in front of him was none other than the mudblooded Gryffindor bookworm.
Should he leave? It didn't matter if she needed the comfort, he wouldn't be able to give it to her. Both of them were too involved in the war to take comfort in the other, and Draco Malfoy had already taken a step back to leave when she spoke.
"What do you want, Malfoy?"
She didn't sound very accusatory, which surprised him. In fact, there was no hint of accusation in her voice at all, just an overwhelming sense of weariness.
She sounded exactly like he felt.
"What do I want?" he asked, making a show of putting away his wand so she would notice he was wandless (that is, if she could somehow see out of her back. Which seemed plausible to him; she knew so many spells that it wouldn't surprise him if she had one for that). "I want a lot of things, Granger. I want Pansy to stop trying to get me to go to bed with her, I want the war to stop, I want to leave all of this behind me and just run, I want Snape to stop trying to give me detention. A lot of things, now that you mention it. And how about you?"
"What do you mean, how about me?" she asked, turning to look at him. Her eyes were bloodshot from crying, he saw, and she didn't just sound as tired as he felt, she looked it too.
"What do you want that's led you to where we are now?" he clarified.
"And why should I tell you anything?" she snapped.
Well, at least you tried. He shrugged, more or less conceding the point to her. He turned to leave, but something –some feeling he couldn't name –pulled him to stay and he turned back around. "Was it the ginger boy?"
He hit the cauldron boiling hot –she stiffened, and the waterworks started up all over again. "Go away, Malfoy."
"Look, I'm not trying to make you feel any worse," he defended himself. "But you really shouldn't be in this fix in the first place."
Granger looked at him like he had just admitted a burning passion for divination. "I –what?"
"So that Ginger boy ran off with that Brown girl," he said, shrugging again. "I don't see why you're so upset about it. You like the Weasel? Please, even you could do so much better. You, of all people, shouldn't be so hung up over them being together. In fact, I'd actually consider letting you date me if the situation weren't highly inappropriate for the times."
"I'm sorry, are you sure you're Malfoy?" she asked, sounding dubious now.
"Don't be daft, Granger, of course I'm Malfoy." He rolled his eyes at her. "But I'm a tired Malfoy, and tired Malfoys have this tendency to talk too much. You know, you're actually rather pretty. Or, well, you could be, if you tamed your hair some more." He paused, wondering if he should go on. What the heck. He'd already said that much, hadn't he?
"And I wouldn't normally admit it, but I'm not bothered by the fact that I'm not top of the class –it's something of an honour that I'm second to a girl with the smarts like you. You have brilliant charm work as well –I've often found your charms a bit of a captivating thing. Face it, Granger. A witch like you could do a lot better than a Weasel who doesn't know how to appreciate what's in front of him."
When he finished, Granger was looking at him with an expression that was something in between wonder and gratitude. "I don't know why you just said all that," she said, sniffing, "but thank you, Malfoy."
"I live to serve," he said, mock bowing. He was aware of the double meaning his words conveyed –that he was here to help, but also that he was still the Dark Lord's servant. He wondered if Granger had caught it. "Clean yourself up, Granger, and go back with your head held high. You have bigger things to worry about. We all do."
Without another word, he turned on his heel and left the bathroom, continuing on his stroll. The rain hadn't let up, and he found himself lost in the sound of the rain beating against the walls as he walked. He couldn't help but let his thoughts drift back to his encounter with Granger in the bathroom, though –and then he realized something, and that realization actually made him half-smile.
He'd just been nice to a mudblood, for the first time in his life.
Take that, father.
Thanks for reading :D