Chapter Sixteen

The walk to Professor McGonagall's office was tense. Draco was trying and failing to keep his composure, because the last thing he needed was to get into more trouble. He hated Seamus and Dean and part of him wanted to go ahead and turn them in as well since he got caught. It was their fault that he was out anyway and they didn't even have the decency to warn him or wait for him, they just left him.

Even though he was able to see Loveless Lizzie, who completely terrified him, he wasn't sure if that was worth all the detention he was about to get.

"Why are you wearing Slytherin robes?" Potter whispered, eyeing Draco before looking extremely confused.

"Don't worry about it." Draco muttered, half paying attention to what Potter had said.

"Shut it!" Filch scolded, "I don't wanna hear another sound from any of yeh." Draco noted that he looked way too pleased with himself.

Draco kept trying to think of ways to get out of trouble and figured he could try and use the astronomy tower excuse, but the fact that he was wearing Slytherin robes was going to throw his story off. He could just say it was a dare from the Weasley twins, but even then he knew that McGonagall wasn't going to care.

Finally they reached her study, Filch told them to stay put and not to say a word while he went to go fetch McGonagall. When he walked out, Potter was in Draco's face.

"Why are you wearing that?" He asked, narrowing his eyes.

"I think you have bigger problems." Draco said, crossing his arms and trying to rack his brain to find a way out of detention.

"He's right Harry! What are we going to do!?" Granger said, obviously on the verge of a panic attack. "We're going to get detention and lose so many house points! How could he be so stupid!?"

"I think Draco threw us off a bit." Potter muttered, "What were you doing up there again?"

"Ghost hunting." He said, half paying attention to whatever Potter said after that. How much trouble had he been in this year? The troll, the three headed dog, Quirrell – the list almost seemed endless.

His mind wandered back to Loveless Lizzie and her ranting. Who was Tom Riddle? For some reason he swore he had actually heard that name before or at least saw it somewhere once. Who had they been? Why had they killed her?

Why did Lizzie saw that he did know who Tom Riddle was?

A moment later Professor McGonagall walked in and she looked so angry that all of Draco's thoughts came to a complete halt. She walked over and towered over all three of them, her nostrils flaring and her eyes narrowed slits.

"I would never have believed it of any of you. Mr. Filch says you were up in the Astronomy tower. It's one o'clock in the morning! Explain yourselves!"

When neither Potter nor Granger said a word Draco realized that he was going to have to come up with something or things were about to get really bad.

"I'm so sorry Professor." Draco began, "We were trying to get some last minute studying in before exams and the only time we can observe the sky for Astronomy is at night." He hoped he was lying as smoothly as he felt he was.

McGonagall didn't look convinced one bit, "Do you take me for a fool Mr. Malfoy? You expect me to believe that the three of you are wandering the corridors at night for academic purposes!?"

Draco felt his chest tighten with panic and then shook his head, "Really Professor, that's – "

"Do not lie to me Mr. Malfoy!" She said, cutting him off. " Also, What are you wearing?"

"I – um – Fred and George dared me to wear these." He managed, wishing he hadn't spoken in the first place.

"Hm. Well, either way even if you're telling the truth all three of you were out of bed! I'm disgusted! Three students out of bed in one night! I've never heard of such a thing before! You Miss Granger, I thought you had more sense than this! As for you Mr. Potter, I thought that Gryffindor meant more to you than this." She turned to look at Draco then, "As for you Mr. Malfoy, I believed that you were growing to actually care about your House, it seems I was wrong. All three of you will receive detention! Nothing gives you the right to be wandering the castle at night, especially these days! It's very dangerous. Also fifty points will be taken from Gryffindor."

"Fifty?" Potter gasped.

"Fifty points each!" Professor McGonagall said, breathing heavily through her pointed nose.

"Professor – please!" Granger started.

"You can't-" Potter started.

"Do not tell me what I can and cannot do, Potter. Now get back to bed, all of you. I've never been more ashamed of Gryffindor students."

Draco could tell how upset both Potter and Granger were about the house points as they walked back to the Gryffindor tower and Draco knew he should care more but couldn't really bring himself to. He hadn't even known they were in the lead until someone brought it to his attention the other day. He had been hoping that his excuse would have worked but there seemed to be no fooling McGonagall.

"I can't believe this." Potter said, "We just ruined everything."

"Everyone is going to hate us." Granger said miserably.

They reached the Gryffindor Tower and when Draco walked into the common room he saw both Seamus and Dean sitting on one of the couches.

"Draco!" Seamus said, "Before you get mad-"

"Too late." Draco said, walking toward the dormitories and not even sparing the other boys a glance.

"We couldn't warn you! Filch was coming and there was no way to get back up there! We thought you were right behind us!" Dean said.

Draco didn't say a word and then walked into the dorms. He threw the Slytherin robes off and then threw himself onto his bed. He was such an idiot! What had he been thinking!? Of course the one night he went exploring so did Potter – it was such a nightmare.

It was just starting to sink in that he had lost fifty House Points and whether or not he cared about them, other people took it very seriously. Granger was right, everyone was going to hate them.


The next morning Draco was filled with complete dread. Seamus and Dean tried to talk to him again,but he had simply ignored them. He wasn't even angry, he was just mentally exhausted. He hadn't gotten any sleep, all he could think about were the House points and how angry everyone was going to be with him.

That and Loveless Lizzie.

Every time he closed his eyes he saw her face and heard her screaming at him. She was filled with such rage and pain. He wondered how long she had waited to yell at someone and wondered how long she had been dead. No one had ever mentioned her before, so part of him wondered how Fred and George even heard about her in the first place.

Still though, he couldn't stop thinking about the name she had told him; Tom Riddle.

He and Neville were walking to the Great Hall, and Draco pulled himself out of his thoughts for a moment to look over at his friend, to see that the other boy seemed to be concerned about something. He almost felt guilty then, Neville was worried about him and in reality Draco was putting off telling him about the House points. He didn't want to see the disappointed look on his face.

"Draco..." Neville started hesitantly, "Are you alright?"

Draco sighed, "Neville, we're friends right?"

Neville nodded, "Yes?"

"So...if I were to have um...done something completely stupid...we'd still be friends right?" Draco asked while grinning sheepishly.

Neville stopped walking and then narrowed his eyes at him, "What did you do?"

"Remember, it wasn't my idea..."

"Draco." Neville started again, crossing his arms, "What. Did. You. Do?"

Draco narrowed his eyes when Neville didn't see to convinced by his shy act, "Oh come on! It wasn't even my fault! It was all Seamus and Dean! They left me there!"

"You got caught didn't you?" Neville deadpanned, shaking his head. "I told you not to go."

Draco rolled his eyes, "I know."

"So what happened?" Neville asked, "Did you get detention?"

"Um." Draco started, "You see that's the bad part..."

Neville stared at him expectantly, "Draco. What do you mean the bad part?"

"Ilostfiftyhousepoints." Draco said so fast he barely understood himself, "But it wasn't just my fault! Potter and Granger were there too!"

Neville looked like he was about to faint, "Wait...what did you say?"

"I um."Draco scratched the back of his head, "I lost fifty House Points." He whispered the last bit, hoping that by somehow being quiet about it, that it would soften the blow for Neville.

"YOU WHAT?!" Neville said, "Are you kidding me!? How – why...you said Harry and Hermione were there!? What where they...and you...what?!"

Draco sighed, "Come over here." He dragged Neville over toward a deserted corridor and shook his head, "I was leaving with Seamus and Dean when that ghost girl appeared and they left me there! Then when I was about to leave again, Potter and Granger showed up with Hagrid's dragon and - "

"Hagrid had a dragon!?" Neville asked, looking like he was about to pass out.

"Yeah but someone came and picked it up, whatever. It's not important. So, Potter, Granger and I were all leaving when Filch showed up and well...McGonagall was furious...I tried to tell her that I was there trying to study for astronomy and she didn't believe me and she was so mad that she took away fifty points from each of us." Draco tried to get the words out as fast as he possibly could, hoping that the quicker he told Neville the sooner he would get over it.

"FIFTY EACH!?" Neville screamed, "Draco are you serious!? That puts us in last place! We were winning!"

"I know." Draco said, not knowing what else to say. He had screwed up and there was no other way to put it.

Neville was quiet for a moment before narrowing his eyes at Draco, "Do you even care about Gryffindor?"

Draco opened his mouth but closed it quickly, the question somehow catching him off guard. "What?" he finally asked. He wasn't sure why but he felt his neck get hot and it all of a sudden felt stuffy.

"Do you care about Gryffindor? Do you care about your House what so ever? Or do you still look at it as a mistake?" Neville said, taking on a tone that Draco had never heard from him before. When Draco didn't say anything, Neville just seemed to get more mad. "I kept hoping that with time you'd get over the whole House issue, but I guess I was wrong. You don't care at all. Maybe you wanted to lose the House Points on purpose so Slytherin could win."

Draco narrowed his eyes then, angry with the accusation. "That's not true!" He said while shaking his head. He hated Slytherin, or rather most of the people in Slytherin. He would never want to help them win anything. In fact, once he thought about it, the thought of them winning made him sick.

"It's not?" Neville countered, suddenly seeming to have a lot more confidence. Draco wasn't sure when Neville decided to grow a back bone and say what he wanted to, when he wanted to, but he wished he hadn't chosen then to do so.

"No!" Draco yelled again, glaring at Neville. The other boy didn't look convinced what so ever, and Draco was tempted to just storm off and wait until it all blew over. He didn't have to scream he loved Gryffindor at the top of his lungs in order for him to have any type of pride in his house. He was a Malfoy, he was raised with pride. Anything he did he was supposed to take pride in and anything he was a part of as well.

Which, in turn, meant he had pride in the bloody muggle loving, hero having, goody two shoes House that was Gryffindor.

"I don't believe you." Neville said a moment later, shaking his head.

Draco groaned then, "Fine!" He sighed and hunched his shoulders over in defeat, "I care about our stupid House okay? I don't think it was a mistake...anymore at least." He looked up to see that Neville was still waiting on him to say something else, and he nearly stomped his foot. Neville was almost as bad as his own mother, "I...care about Gryffindor. Okay? Happy now? Can we move on?"

Neville seemed happy with that and smiled, "Okay."

"Okay?" Draco asked, "That's all?" He wasn't sure what he had expected Neville to say, but just saying 'Okay.' Wasn't it.

"I just wanted to hear you say it."

Draco stared at him for a moment, not sure how to take the other boy. "You aren't mad?"

"Of course I'm mad." Neville said while shaking his head, "But just because I'm mad doesn't mean we aren't friends anymore or anything."

"Oh." Draco said, trying to wrap his head around what Neville was saying. It occurred to him in that moment that he must have never had a real friend before, because growing up if one of his friends made him angry he would ban them from coming over or he was cruel to them.

"Did you think I would stop being your friend over some House points?" Neville asked, seeming to go back to his normal self. "That's ridiculous Draco, there's always next year we could win. Or the year after that. They're just House Points."

Draco rolled his eyes, "I mean obviously I didn't think we'd stop being friends over House Points, that's ridiculous." He said, trying to play off his actual relief.

He felt a weird ping of disappointment for a moment when he thought about it. If it hadn't been for Gryffindor, he wouldn't know what real friendship was. He would still be around all of the other Slytherin kids he had grown up with and after being sorter into a different House, he realized they weren't friends of his what so ever.

They started to walk back toward the Great Hall once again. Draco had to admit though, despite Neville's normal demeanor, he knew how to play his cards. It occurred to him that he could be rubbing off on the other boy, because until that moment he never saw himself getting bettered by Neville Longbottom.

When they reached the Great Hall it seemed that the news had already broke out. As they walked across the room to the Gryffindor table, Slytherin clapped and hollered for Draco, which made him want to shrink. He almost stopped dead in his tracks from the shock, but kept his composure. He noticed that Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw both glared at him and muttered things under their breath, things he was glad he didn't quite hear.

It was Gryffindor that was the worse though. They didn't even look at him, and if he happened to walk into someone's line of sight, they immediately glared at him with such ferocity that he thought they might pounce and attack him.

"Aren't you sitting at the wrong table?" an older Gryffindor who went by the name of Alistair asked as Draco walked by. When Draco didn't say a word but kept on walking, they continued, "Hey! Malfoy! Shouldn't you be sitting over there?" He pointed to the Slytherin table then, "That's were you belong right?"

Draco was about to tell the other boy where he thought he belonged when Neville spoke, "Hey, that's enough." He said quietly, not exhibiting the same confidence he just had in the corridor with Draco.

"Why don't you go join him Neville? It's not our fault that your so hopeless that your only friend is that prat." Shot another older Gryffindor that Draco didn't know.

"Leave him alone." Draco said, "He didn't do anything wrong."

"He does by hanging around you, that's wrong enough." Alistair said while shaking his head. "Why don't you do us all a favor and just go where you belong? We were about to finally beat Slytherin before you ruined it."

Draco hadn't felt like this before – he had never felt so angry but also so...hurt? He wasn't sure what he was feeling. The most he had ever been bullied was by Zabini but even then he always felt like he could take care of himself. He was never afraid to shoot back with something twice as vicious. However in this case, he didn't think that he would be helping himself out any if he did shoot back at them.

"That's enough." Percy Weasley finally intervened, "If you don't stop I'll be forced to take more House Points away, and we've already lost enough." he glanced at Draco then, "Besides, it's not like he lost them all by himself. We also have Harry Potter and Hermione Granger to thank for that."

"A bunch of stupid first years. I swear." Someone else said.

"You know you're thinking the same thing Percy, just send him over to the Slytherin table. Send Longbottom too if the idiot is to stupid to dump that waste of space."

Draco blinked for a moment, completely caught off guard by the viscous comments. He had never heard someone from Gryffindor be so rude before, but maybe that was because he had yet to get on anyone's bad side. They did say that Slytherin and Gryffindor were the same coin but different sides.

"That's is Alistair, you just got yourself detention." Percy said, "That goes for you as well Conall." He turned to Draco and Neville then, "Go on and sit, if anyone else bothers you let me know."

Draco didn't say a word but walked toward the end of the table where there were some open spaces. He noticed that both Potter and Granger were both sitting there as well, both looking as exhausted as he felt. He and Neville sat down a moment later, and without a word they ate and studied for exams.


About another week passed in the same manner. Draco kept to himself and mainly hung around Neville, Potter and Granger, since no one else wanted anything else to do with them. Minus Weasley, who unfortunately he had to be around since Potter decided to keep such awful company.

Draco was in the library with Neville, Granger and Weasley when Potter walked in and told them about how he had just saw Quirrell crying, and how it sounded as if he was being threatened. Draco sighed, he had promised himself after the Astronomy tower incident that he would no longer get involved in things that didn't' concern him, he didn't need anymore problems.

That didn't stop him however, from giving his two cents.

"Oh come on Potter." Draco said, taking a break from his potions book. "You know that Quirrell has been known for talking to himself. You saw him do it."

Weasley looked from Draco to Potter and sighed, "It sounds to be like he's being threatened."

Draco rolled his eyes, "Weasley, you know just as well as I do that something is wrong with that man. You heard the same thing I did that day."

"That doesn't mean that Snape isn't trying to get the stone." Granger said, "Why can't they both be up to something? Maybe Quirrell is just afraid of Snape."

Neville looked at Draco, nudged him and then shook his head and then pointed back to his potions book.

"It sounds to me like Snape's done it." Weasley said, "He's gotten Quirrell to tell him how to get passed his Anti-Dark Force..."

"That still leaves Fluffy." Granger pointed out.

"He's probably figured out a way to get passed it already!" Weasley said, "I bet there's a book in here somewhere that tells you how to get passed a three headed dog like Fluffy."

Draco stared at Weasley like he had three heads, "You're still on about this? Why do you keep adding up this equation without adding how suspicious Quirrell is?"

Weasley shook his had a Draco, "Harry, what do we do?"

"You do nothing!" Neville finally said, "You don't do anything because you all have nothing to go off of. Do you know how ridiculous this all sounds? Snape is trying to get passed a three headed dog, which I still can't believe is real and Quirrell is...well...I don't know about Quirrell...he is a bit creepy." He looked at Draco then, "I still remember hearing him that day before the Quidditch match, the same match you almost fell off your broom." He looked at Potter then, "You need to just leave it alone before you get in more trouble."

Granger didn't seem to agree, "We need to go to Dumbledore, like we should have a long time ago."

Potter groaned, "We don't have any proof! Neville is right! How are we going to sound walking in his office and accusing Snape of trying to steal the Philosopher's stone? Quirrell wouldn't back us up, and we still don't even know everything there is to know about him either. It would be our word against Snape's and who is Dumbledore going to believe? It's not like it a secret that we don't like him, except Draco anyway and it would look like we're just trying to get him in trouble. Besides, then we would have to let him know we know about Fluffy and the stone – that's a lot of explaining in itself."

Draco nodded in agreement, not only because he thought Snape was innocent but because it went the other way as well. They have no evidence against Quirrell either and it was no secret as of late of how much he didn't like his DATA teacher. He had nothing on him, just like the others had nothing on Snape.

"We just need to dig around a little -" Weasley started.

"No!" Both Potter and Draco said, the last thing either of them needed was more trouble.

"We've done enough." Potter muttered while opening his charms book.

Draco nodded in agreement and then turned his attention back to his studies, he could feel Neville's uneasy gaze on him, but ignored it. Neville didn't need to worry, he wasn't going to do anything else. He had learned his lesson.

The next morning at breakfast, Draco, Potter and Granger received notes from McGonagall that all said the same thing.

Your detention will take place at eleven o'clock tonight. Meet Mr. Filch at the entrance hall.

Professor Mcgonagall

Draco had completely forgotten that they still had to do detention over the points they had lost. He had been so wrapped up in studying, he almost forgot it had even happened at all. Except when a Slytherin or Gryffindor reminded him, which was getting less often.

At eleven o'clock that night Draco walked down to the entrance hall with Potter and Granger, who were quiet the entire walk down. He was thankful for that, because he didn't really have the energy to try to hold on a conversation when they all knew they were on their way to some type of punishment.

"Follow me." Filch said when they met him. He lit a lamp and then let them outside. "I bet you'll think twice about breaking a school rule again, wont you, eh?" He said, looking all to pleased with himself. "Oh yes...hard work and pain are the best teachers if you ask me...It's just a pity that they let the old punishments die out...hang you by your wrists from the ceiling for a few days, I've got the chains still in my office and I keep 'em well oiled in case they're ever needed...Right off we go, and don't think of running off now. It'll be worse if you do."

Draco rolled his eyes and locked eyes with Granger for a moment, who looked just as unimpressed with Filch's little speech. She shook her head and when they looked over at Potter, they saw he looked a bit put out. Draco bit the corner of his mouth to stop himself from grinning, and saw that Granger looked a little amused as well.

They walked across the dark grounds and Draco wondered what their punishment was going to be. Filch sounded happy, which would mean it was going to be terrible. Draco had concluded early on that something was wrong with Filch, because he got too much joy out of other people's misery.

The moon was bright but the clouds in the sky kept throwing them into darkness. They walked for a little bit longer until Draco could see a light by Hagrid's hut. He felt relieved for a moment, if they were going to be with Hagrid then it couldn't be too bad.

"Is that you Filch? Hurry up I wanted ter get this started." Hagrid's voice made him feel even better, and when he looked over he saw that both Potter and Granger seemed to relax as well.

Their relief must have shown because Filch was quick to correct them.

"You three shouldn't get too comfortable – I bet you think you'll be enjoying yourselves huh? Well think again, it's into the forest you're going and I'm much mistaken if you'll all come out in one piece."

Draco stopped walking completely, "The forest?!" He didn't care if he sounded like a little school girl or not. He was not going in that forest. He had heard awful stories about it and he was not going in there. "We can't go in there, especially right now! There's all kind of things out there! I heard there's even werewolves."

Filch smiled from ear to ear then, "That's your problem isn't it? Should have thought about those werewolves before you got yourself in trouble."

Draco was about to tell him that he was going in there over his dead body when Hagrid walked up. He was holding a cross bow with a quiver of arrows over his shoulder and Fang was right behind him. "I been waiting fer an hour already. Alright, Harry, Hermione?" He looked over and saw Draco then, "Oh, didn't see ya there fer a second Draco, you alright?"

"You shouldn't be too friendly with them Hagrid," Filch said coldly, "they're here to be punished."

"Oh, is that why yer late is it?" Hagrid shot back, "Bin lecturing them, eh? 'Snot your place ter do that. Yeh've done yer bit, I'll take over from here."

Filch looked angry at Hagrid's comment, "I'll be back at dawn." He said nastily, "For what's left of em." He walked away then, his lamp bouncing in the darkness.

Draco looked at Hagrid then, "I am not going in that Forest." He said flatly.

Hagrid sighed, "I'm sorry Draco...but yeh are if yeh want to stay at Hogwarts...you've all three done wrong..."

Draco sighed, "You don't even believe that."

Hagrid huffed then, "It doesn't matter what I believe, what matters is what I was told, I hate it fer yeh three but the sooner we start the sooner we can get out. If yeh don't come in the forest, then yeh'll be on the first train back home... Now come on, it's dangerous what we're gonna do tonight an' I don' want no one takin' risks. Follow me over here for a moment."

They walked over to the edge of the forest and it took all of Draco to hold in the little temper tantrum he wanted to throw. It was not only ridiculous but dangerous! What were the professors thinking? Hagrid held his lantern up to a small path leading into the forest and pointed out a small puddle.

"Look there," He started, "see that stuff shinin' on the ground? Silvery stuff? That's unicorn blood. There's a unicorn in there bin hurt badly by summat. This is the second time in a week. I found one dead last Wednesday. We're gonna try an' find the poor thing. We might have ter put it out of its misery."

Draco could feel himself go pale, "And what if what hurt the unicorn finds us first?"

"Don' worry. There's nothin' in this forest that'll hurt yeh if yer with me or Fang." Hagrid said, "An' keep to yer path. Right, now we're gonna split in two different parties. Hermione, yeh're with me, Harry and Draco, yeh two take Fang and go the other direction. There's blood all over the place so it must have been staggering around since last night at least. Now, if any of us find the unicorn, send up green sparks – get yer wands out an' practice now – that's it – an' if anyone gets in trouble...send red sparks an' we'll come and find yeh – so be careful! Also, grab a lantern, I should have known Filch wouldn't give yeh one." Draco and Granger both grabbed one, "Alright, lets go."

Draco looked at Potter and for a moment he didn't think that either of them were going to move. Hagrid and Granger disappeared into the forest and eventually Potter took the first steps into the treeline. Draco followed him, Fang right on his heel. He held the lantern as high as he could manage, and didn't realize he was holding his breath until he felt his lungs burn for air.

"You seem a little scared Draco." Potter said lightly, grinning at him.

Draco narrowed his eyes, "Oh please. I'm not scared." He sneered. Malfoy's didn't get scared. He was merely practicing self preservation.

Potter laughed a little and then sighed, "So...I heard that you went ghost hunting the other night?"

Draco groaned, "Potter, as not scared as I am right now, I don't think I want to talk about ghosts in a dark forest filled with creatures that probably want to kill us."

Potter thought for a moment, "I'm just trying to make conversation."

"Why not something normal like, 'How are your studies?'" Draco offered, rolling his eyes. He didn't think he had met anyone else as dense as Potter.

"That's boring." Potter muttered, "Come on, did you find a ghost or not?"

He sighed once again and then shrugged, "I did actually." He didn't tell anyone about Loveless Lizzie yet, mainly because the only people that knew about her were, Seamus and Dean. Neville knew as well but he wasn't interested and didn't really want hear about it.

Thinking about her made him shutter. He was never really able to shake the experience off completely. There was something about her that just, haunted him. It was as if she had latched herself onto him and whenever he thought he had forgotten about her, she somehow came back up.

"Really!?" Potter nearly gasped, "What happened?"

"Nothing really." Draco said. He thought he heard something in the distance nearly lost his footing by turning around so fast, "Did you hear that?" He asked.

Potter ignored him, "Nothing?" he pressed.

Draco shrugged, "She yelled at me some..." he looked over his shoulder then, his paranoia getting the better of him, "She thought I was someone else though..." He thought back to Tom Riddle and felt as if the answer was right on the tip of his tongue.

"Who did she think you were?" Potter asked, "Come on Fang!" He called over his shoulder. "I don't see anything yet, do you?"

Draco shook his head, "No...and she thought I was the person who killed her."

"She was murdered?!"

"Yup. By some bloke named Tom Riddle." He said absentmindedly. He couldn't shake off the feeling of being watched and felt his heart start to race. The realization that something was in the forest started to make itself known, and he was starting to fear whatever was in the forest more than the memory og Loveless Lizzie. "Potter, do you see anything?"

"No...why?"

"I just...never mind." He muttered. He wasn't sure what he was feeling, but whatever it was, it wasn't good. He had an awful feeling in his gut and wanted to turn around right then and there. He didn't want to hunt for a unicorn and he didn't care what had struck it in the first place. It wasn't his job, and he was angry that for some reason the professors decided that it was.

They walked for a few more minutes until they reached a clearing. Draco was about to tell Potter to turn around and go back when he heard what sounded like someone slurping soup. He held his lantern farther away from him and saw that there was the same silvery substance on the ground. He felt the hairs on his neck stand up and when he walked a little closer he froze;

The unicorn was on the ground, but that wasn't what cause Draco to freeze. It was the black hooded figure that was devouring it that was.

"Draco...what are you..." Potter started as he walked up to him, "doing?" His last word ended up as a whisper.

They were both frozen, and it was as if Draco's senses didn't catch up to him until the figure looked up from it's place next to the unicorn and stared at them. It hissed at them and stood up, and before Draco realized what he was doing he had sent up red sparks and screamed. He turned around to run away and only got a few steps away when he realized that Potter had collapsed behind him and was holding his scar like he had the day when they were spying on Quirrell.

"Potter!" He screamed. Fang ran right past him then, and part of Draco wanted to leave as well. Couldn't he just act like he thought Potter was right behind him? He thought back to the night with Loveless Lizzie and how he had been left alone, and hated himself. He couldn't leave him.

The figure seemed just about to strike when Draco ran back and pulled Potter to his feet, "We've gotta go Potter! Let's go."

"My scar!" Potter hollered, "It's burning."

"I'm sorry Potter but you're just going to have to run and hurt at the same time." Draco said frantically, "Let's move!" He dragged Potter a few steps before he tripped over his own footing and they both fell down the the ground.

Draco heard the most hideous sound he had ever heard in his life in that moment; it sounded between a scream and a screech. He looked up to see the figure coming right toward them then and Draco froze. All he could do was stare, completely helpless.

Right when the figure neared them however, something caused it to pause. Draco heard galloping from behind him and suddenly he saw a centaur jumping over them and charging straight for the hooded figure. He watched as the centaur reared up and almost kicked the figure in the face, and in that same moment the figure turned around and soared away.

Potter seemed to calm down a moment later, and Draco tried to regulate his own breathing. He stood up, staring at the centaur who had it's eyes on Potter. He reached down and helped pull Potter up a moment later who still seemed disoriented.

"Potter, are you alright?" Draco asked, not able to keep the fear out of his voice. That was more than just a unicorn getting killed. This was something that hurt Potter's scar...the scar given to him by...

No. Draco wasn't even going there. He couldn't.

"Draco! Harry!" Hagrid was yelling, "Where are yeh!?"

"They're over here Hagrid." The centaur called, he turned to look at Potter then, "You must be the Potter boy."

Hagrid and Hermione ran over to them a moment later, Hagrid looked hysterical. "Are you two alright!?"

Draco nodded, "We're fine...thanks to him." He gestured to the centaur then.

"I am Firenze." The centaur said, "Hagrid, you must get them our of the forest at once. It is not safe here especially for the Potter boy." Draco looked over to see that Potter looked like he was going to pass out, and then when he glanced down at his own hands, he saw they were shaking. He looked over to see Granger staring at him worriedly. "Get them out of here at once," Firenze continued.

"Thank you Firenze." Hagrid said, "Come on," He said gently, "Let's go."

Draco nodded and then turned to look back at the centaur, "Thank you." He turned back around when he heard Firenze speak.

"I have seen you moving in the stars Draco Malfoy, you need to be careful as well."

Draco was about to ask what he meant, but before he could Firenze galloped off, leaving the four of them standing there.

He knew in his heart who he had just seen, and he could admit that until that moment, he had never truly felt fear before. It had paralyzed him and had stolen his breath.

Voldemort.


Back in the common room, Potter and Draco were explaining everything to Granger and Weasley, who had fallen asleep in the common room waiting for them to return. Weasley looked sick while Granger looked terrified.

"That has to be what Snape wants." Potter said, "He wants the stone for Voldemort."

Draco cringed, "Can you not say his name like that?" It felt like a curse to his ears. He had grown up being taught to never say his name. "Also, no he doesn't. I think Quirrell does."

"Quirrell?" Granger asked.

"When Potter, Weasley and I spied on Quirrell that day, not only did we hear a voice...but Potter's scar started to hurt. What happened tonight when that figure appeared? Potter's scar started to hurt." Draco crossed his arms, "I supposed you all think that's a coincidence?"

"Regardless of who it is...Voldemort is back...and once he gets that stone, he's going to try and kill me...to finish what he started." Potter said, his shoulder sagging. His voice was quiet and helpless, and Draco thought back to the time he had seen Potter like that before around Christmas and how he hadn't liked it. He still didn't like it.

He also didn't like the idea of He Who Must Not Be Named being back either.

Draco cleared his throat, "Potter from what I've heard...You Know Who was afraid of one person. That person is inside this castle at this very moment. Dumbledore wont let anything happen to you. As long as Dumbledore is around, you're fine...you're safe." He wasn't sure what come over him to try and calm Potter down, but he tried. If he was being honest with himself though, he wasn't only trying to calm Potter down. He was trying to calm himself down as well.

Potter looked over at Draco then, and almost seemed hopeful, "You think?"

Draco rolled his eyes, "Obviously. Dumbledore might be crazy, but he's very powerful. You Know Who has never beaten Dumbledore and he isn't going to start now." The words sounded even better out loud than they did in his head, and once he thought them over a few more times, he started to believe them.

Despite that though, he couldn't shake off his own fears.

Potter seemed to calm down after that and they talked for a little while longer until the sun started to come up. Eventually they all retreated to bed for the few hours they could try to squeeze in before classes started again. Even when Draco was lying in his bed and saw the sun shinning on the grounds below, the ice cold feeling in his chest stayed. The morning light did nothing to chase off the darkness that Draco felt had settled over him in that forest.

He couldn't shake off Firenze's words.

I have seen you moving in the stars Draco Malfoy, you need to be careful as well.


I'm sorry for the extremely late update. As always I've had a lot going on. This story seems to be taking an emotional journey with me though. Seeing as my grandmother passed and my other had a stroke two months afterwards. She's fine and better now, she still seems to have mini strokes but she is doing better. That was a few years ago though and since then I've been dealing with work issues, money issues and the regular problems that 20 something year olds seem to deal with.

In May however, my father was in a terrible car accident and it's taken over my entire life almost. They thought he was going to die, but he lived and is working every single day to get back to normal. It's a long story that I wont go into on here, but please know that I will never abandon this story. I enjoy writing it and it's helped me take my mind off of my own issues.

Please review if you can. We are a chapter or two away from finishing their first year! :D

-C