Author's notes: This was written from a prompt given by Kayla on Hogwarts Online II, which is a lovely community that everyone should check out. Her prompt was a character - Draco Malfoy, and a word -vulnerable.

I'm sorry this isn't quite 800 words, but I just felt I had to write something quickly to get stories out of my head.


Why wasn't it working? What was he doing wrong? Draco was trying, trying everything he could think of but still the cabinet sat empty and useless.

He snatched up an old potions bottle and whipped it across the room, where it hit a wooden trunk and exploded into a cloud of dust and broken glass. An empty aquarium, its inhabitants long riduced to skeletons and cobb webs, was smashed by a flying book. Object after object Draco threw, broken glass and dust swirling around him. Fury burned through him, and he smashed the Room's contents as though he could somehow destroy his own self-hatred.

Suddenly he froze. He let the snuff box in his hand drop to the floor with a dull thud. What was he doing?

He was letting his emotions get the better of him, he needed to concentrate - he had to concentrate - or he would be facing a far worse punishment than he had ever received before. He needed to do this, not just for himself but for his family well. Mother, alone now that Father was in Azkaban, looking older and her face more lined than he ever remembered. And Father... Draco wasn't sure how he felt about Father anymore.

Draco collapsed onto a nearby stack of books, sliding crookedly as the pile crumpled under his thin and haggard frame.

He wanted to hate his father for being so stupid, for getting them all into this mess. That was how Draco usually felt, but recently he couldn't help but pity his father. He had been in the wrong place at the wrong time, with Potter having brought the wrong people.

He wanted to blame Potter too, but he was older now. Scapegoats, if perhapse necessary in public, were of no use inside his own head. Potter was working for the same reason he was: for their families. Draco didn't pretend there was any kinship between the two of them; Potter was still a pretencBious prig, but perhapse they were not as dissimilar as they believed. It was not their faults that they were on opposite sides, really.

In the end Draco blamed him, the Dark Lord. He was the one who had brought this upon them. Draco had changed from the beginning of the year, no longer taking pride in being a Death Eater. Instead, the brand on his arm felt shameful, disgusting, and dirty. Draco had always known that the Dark Lord did terrible things, but he hadn't cared until it had begun to affect him too. He hated him, with his twisted joy in everything that brought pain to the world. But Draco would help him, hiding his traitorous thoughts deep within his mind until he could get his family out. He didn't know what he would do then, but he knew he wouldn't fight. Draco was no hero, and he pitied Potter for having that thrust upon him. At least no one expected him to save the world.

What was he doing, thinking of Potter, feeling sorry for him? He had work to do, and quickly, if he truely wanted to be able to save his family. Draco stood up slowly, feeling slightly ashamed of himself as he looked around at the destruction he had caused. There were valuable objects in this room, and he may well have just distroyed something useful.

Trying not to cut his hands, he carefully picked up the book Borgin had given him and dusted it off, feeling another twinge of regret. That had been stupid. He need this book to get him through this, and tossing it across the Room of Requirement was not going to help him. He was lucky he had found it again, in this cavernous Room.

This would all be so much easier if he could just ask his godfather, but the man he had known before was gone, replaced by a power-hungry stranger that Draco quite frankly did not trust. He could not let himself believe that Severus truely wanted to help him. Trust was too risky these days, resulting in far more pain than the comfort of sharing one's troubles would be worth, even if being alone left him feeling so vulnerable. He was on his own now. There was no one left to help, no one else to turn to.

Setting the book down beside the cabinet once more, he used his shoe to sweep the shattered glass away from his work area. Taking his wand back out of his robes, he hunched back over the book and began to read again.

Author's notes: This is the first time I've written from Draco's point of view. It was a bit tricky!

I think by this time in his life he had finally matured. He's seen more of the world, seen people be tortured and his father imprisned and he seemed to be mostly over his petty squabbles with Harry and the gang. He was under a lot of stress during this year, and even if he made some stupid mistakes I think he's a fairly relatable charactethat more realistic than a fearless Gryffindor hero. He's very scared, just like worlds lot of teenagers out there.