Disclaimer: The characters herein do not belong to
me; they are of J.K. Rowling’s creation.
With an enormous crash and a clatter, the golden
goblet dropped from mid-air and hit the stone floor.
The clatter, followed by the laughter of the
Gryffindors, assaulted Draco as he stalked into the Great Hall for breakfast.
Shooting glares at the Gryffindor table, still laughing over their game of having
one person levitate a goblet while another distracted him, Draco slid into his
seat at the Slytherin table, across from the ubiquitous Pansy Parkinson. “Good
morning, Draco!” she chirped.
“’Morning,” he mumbled, seizing his fork and starting on his bacon and eggs.
Pansy happily and obliviously began her one-sided conversation. Nodding vaguely
at her, Draco watched as the Gryffindors, ‘including blasted Potter,’ collected
up their things, preparing to be off. Before they did, however, they looked
up to watch the owls arriving with the post. Draco also turned his eyes heavenward
and scanned the flutter of feathers, wings, and parcels, his eyes finally lighting
on his own eagle-owl. The owl dropped the letter it carried into his outstretched
hands. It was marked with his name. He ripped it open, Pansy continuing to
babble mindlessly. The letter, a few lines in his mother’s perfect looping
script, was quickly read. It took a few seconds more, though, for its meaning
to sink in. Draco’s eyes hardened. The sounds of the Hall pressed in on him,
smothering him with happy, oblivious banality. Silently seething, he jumped
from his seat, knocking over his half-full goblet and splashing pumpkin juice
over the table. Startled and cut off mid-word, Pansy could only stare after
him as Draco stalked off, the letter clutched tightly in his hand.
With an enormous crash and a clatter, the golden
goblet dropped from mid-air and hit the stone floor.
Harry and Ron laughed at the twins’ antics. Fred grinned triumphantly as George
bent over and retrieved the goblet, setting it back on the table. Ron, snorting
with amusement, leaned over to his brother. “Mum would have a fit if she knew
you were horsing around in the Hall.” ‘Mum.’
“You great prat! Besides, Dad would protect me!” Fred laughed as he made a
face of mock-terror. ‘Dad.’
“No,” replied Ron with a laugh, “Mum’s too tough!”
‘Mum.’ Harry turned away and started collecting his things, a shudder running
through him, but he was quickly distracted by the timely arrival of the post
owls. All feathers and fluttering, the owls dropped their letters and parcels
into their owners’ hands. There was nothing for Harry. There was a letter
for Hermione. “What’s it say?” Ron asked, before stuffing another piece of
toast in his mouth. Hermione scanned it.
“Oh, it’s just a note from Mum and Dad, clearing up the arrangements for tomorrow.
Where to meet at King’s Cross and so on.” Ron nodded, washing down the toast
with a gulp of pumpkin juice, and continuing to collect his things. Hermione
tucked the letter from her mum and dad in her bag and stood up, ready to leave.
“Coming, Harry?” she asked. ‘Mum, dad, family…’
“Huh? Er, oh, right, sure.” Ron and Hermione surreptitiously
exchanged a concerned glance. Ron raised an eyebrow and Hermione shrugged.
Harry, noticing nothing, stood and the three headed for the Entrance Hall.
Draco stopped at the entrance to the hall, where he had nearly run into Harry,
Ron, and Hermione. He glared at them, his eyes burning with a cold hatred.
He pushed past them and stalked off. Hermione and Ron glared, but Harry just
watched, too tired and drained to muster any sort of look or glare. Moving
on, Hermione piped up, “Want to have a walk around the grounds?” Ron nodded
enthusiastically and looked to Harry for his response. Harry, lost in thought,
had to have Hermione repeat the question. Harry considered, his eyes falling
on the edge of Hermione’s letter poking out of her bag. A sudden urge to see
his parents washed over him as the voices of the hall flooded his mind. ‘Mum,
“Er…I…forgot to…that Professor McGonagall wanted to see me. I’ll join you
later.” Ron gave him a skeptical look.
“Are you sure?” Harry nodded, so Ron shrugged. “Well,
then, don’t be long!” With that, Harry turned and Ron led a concerned Hermione
outside. Harry headed for Gryffindor Tower, his mind intent upon the photo
album tucked carefully in his trunk.
After storming past the Gryffindor trio, Draco had briefly considered heading
for Slytherin’s dungeon common room, but had rejected the idea. Crabbe and
Goyle might have gotten out of bed, and the last thing he needed was the presence
of his double shadow. He changed course and headed up the grand marble staircase,
going nowhere in particular. He just wanted to be going, going up and away,
perhaps in the process escaping his thoughts. ‘How could she? What kind of
a person is that cold? ‘Me’, he thought, bitterly. ‘Like mother, like son.’
“Bloody hell! And she calls herself my mother. I hate her!” he muttered viciously.
Behind him came a voice, melancholy and exhausted, but tainted with a mix of
sadness, anger, and envy.
“At least you have a mother.”
Draco spun on heel and came face to face with
Hearing the anger in the muttered words, Harry had felt such a wave of bitterness
and longing, envy and sadness, clenching his chest and near stealing his breath,
that his voice had answered before his mind could think. He watched as Draco
turned. He saw no sneer gracing the pale boy’s face, but rather eyes so icy-cold
that Harry felt himself shiver. Words were hurled at Harry with such a vicious
intensity that he doubted Draco had planned them. They cut like a knife, sharp,
cold, and devastatingly painful.
“At least you know your mother loved you.”
Draco stood, stunned that the words had left his mouth. Quick as lightening,
he crumpled up his mother’s note and hurled it at Potter with the same force
with which he had hurled his words, then stormed past him, down towards the
dungeons. Instead of fuming, cursing, or clenching his fists in anger, Draco
kept himself absolutely and perfectly controlled, rigid and tense, until he
was alone. When he finally reached the deserted dungeon hallways, without a
thought he broke into a dead run, stopping only to call out the password granting
him access to his house. He soon collapsed, curtains drawn to block out the
light and the world, on his bed, tears of anger stinging his ice-blue eyes.
Harry stood in horrified silence as the piece of crumpled parchment fell at
his feet. Draco stormed past, the air between them thick with tension. Harry
was frozen in place as he listened to Draco’s measured footsteps leaving the
hall, clicking on the stone with cold precision, growing fainter, and finally
disappearing altogether. Slowly, carefully, Harry bent over and retrieved Draco’s
letter. Almost in slow motion, he opened and flattened it out, reading and
rereading it. Burning it into his mind and running it through his heart.
Your father and I will be traveling next week.
We will leave tomorrow.
looked up and saw that it was dated the day before yesterday).
Mrs. Hargreave will collect you at the station and bring
you home. Once at the Manor, you will be looked after, and may rest and relax.
We will see you in a week’s time.
‘Why? Why was he so upset?’ Harry’s mind spun
with the effort to comprehend the knowledge he held in his hand. ‘He thinks
she doesn’t love him, that she doesn’t care.’ Reading the note again, he saw
it as Draco must have. ‘Cold, callous and dismissive.’ A mother who sent a
carelessly written last-minute note, only days before what should be the joyous
homecoming of a beloved son from school. The most Harry saw to counter the
brusqueness of the note was the “Love, Mum” at the end, but even that
now seemed routine and robotic, lacking in true feeling. There was no apology,
explanation, or interest in the note – just information, delivered with military
precision, not one word more or less than was necessary. Harry looked again
at the bottom. “Love, Mum.” ‘Mummy.’ The word formed and swirled in
his mind on such a low, longing note that his chest tightened and he felt breathing
becoming difficult. His breath coming in quick, desperate gasps, he felt his
eyes stinging from his attempt to keep from crying. ‘Mummy. Mum. I will
not cry.’ Resolve taking hold of him, Harry took one step. Then another.
And another. Soon he was taking the stairs two at a time, hurtling along corridors
and up to Gryffindor Tower. He rushed through the common room and up to his
bed. Harry drew the curtains around him, grabbed his pillow, and allowed himself
the tears that had been threatening to flow.
Quietly allowing a few tears to escape him, Draco angrily
slammed a fist into his embroidered pillow. ‘For my mother’s note, for Potter’s
insolence, and for my own weakness and tears.’ He allowed a bitter smile to
play over his lips. ‘If my father could see me now. He’d be his righteous
and properly ashamed self. Ashamed to have me as his son.’ He frowned. ‘My
mother’s never done that.’ Draco sighed, his anger having run out, and lay
back on his bed. He reached a hand through the curtains and pulled in his picture
of him and his parents. His father was as controlled as ever, hands firmly
clamped on his son’s shoulders to keep the ebullient and active boy in place.
Draco’s smaller self laughed and waved excitedly for the camera. His mother
was smiling and giving a very sedate wave, reminiscent of royalty. Draco ran
his thumb over the engravings on the small plaque affixed to the frame. Lucius,
Narcissa, and Draco Malfoy. ‘Honestly’,
he thought, ‘she’s not so bad. I’m making her out to be the villain.’ A
cruel smile twisted his lips. ‘Not her, no, not her. My father. It was probably
he who planned such a hasty trip, perhaps running off on Death Eater business,
causing her to write such a brusque note.’ Draco looked at his father’s stern,
unmoving image, the only one in the photo who held still. ‘That would be like
you, wouldn’t it? To run off and leave me, dragging Mummy with you. It’d be
like you, but not her. She really does love me, and I know it, even when I
get mad at her sometimes. But you. You don’t give a damn about me, do you?
Sometimes I just can’t tell. At least I have her. Not like bloody Potter.
Oh, pity me, I’m the poor little orphan! No parents at all. Poor little Potter.
Hmph. It must hurt not having a mum, eh, Potter? I’m glad I’m not you. For
all my foolish rage, I’m glad I have Mum, even if she sometimes makes me mad.
I’m glad I’m not you. It probably hurts more not having a mum at all. I’m
lucky – and you’re not. So much the worse for you, Potter. At least I have
Harry let his silent tears pour into his pillow. Only one
word remained, circling in his mind. ‘Mummy.’ After a time his tears had run
dry and he rolled over, pushing his pillow aside. Carefully, he drew the curtains
aside and cast his eyes around the room. Not a soul. ‘Good.’ He slipped to
the floor, opened his trunk, and pushed off extra robes, his Invisibility Cloak,
and a few books. Finally, he came upon the bound leather of his photo album.
He took it back to his bed and left the curtains open just enough to allow a
slit of warm, summer sun to fall across his parents’ smiling faces. The glint
in Lily’s green eyes seemed brighter than ever. ‘Oh, Mum. What I wouldn’t give
to have you back.’ Harry frowned. ‘Voldemort’s promise – he
told me that I could have her back. But I don’t care. Even my parents aren’t
worth that. They wouldn’t want it. There are worse things than having my mum
back. Like betraying her with the very word that would resurrect her.’
A look crossed Harry’s face. ‘What would it be like? I’ve imagined it
as sweetness and light, but what, in truth and honesty, would it be like if
they’d never died? I wouldn’t, perhaps, love them so much? Might I take them
for granted? If I’d always had them – wouldn’t I not feel this terrible longing?
And what if…what if…’ Harry almost dared not form such a traitorous thought,
but he took a deep breath and thought, ‘what if they weren’t so wonderful? Okay,
so they were Lily and James Potter and were probably awfully nice, everyone
says so, and probably would have been wonderful parents, but what if? Or what
if I’d been born to parents like Lucius and Narcissa Malfoy? What is better?
No mum at all, or one who doesn’t care? And what about Draco’s dad? Harry shuddered.
I’d sooner jump off a building than have him as my dad. I’d sooner not have…’
That stopped Harry dead. He paused, then continued, slowly. ‘I’d sooner
not have parents at all…’ He shook his head. ‘Really? I don’t
know. But maybe, just maybe, I can see a little bit where Draco’s coming from.
Not,’ he thought sternly, ‘that it gives Draco any right to act
as he does. Even if his family is a lot of slimey gits, he could and should
try to overcome that, but he’s just rotten. But still, maybe just a little…’
Harry was jolted from his reverie by the sound
of the door crashing open, accompanied by the laughter of Dean Thomas and Seamus
Finnigan. Harry pulled the curtain back, blinking at the light. “Harry!” cried
Dean, “What are you doing in? It’s really lovely out, go and enjoy it!” Harry
nodded and laughed.
“As ordered. Thanks, Dean. I think I will.” Harry
looked down at his parents. ‘All the same, I wish you were here. Or are you?’
Harry allowed a grin to tug at the corners of his mouth. ‘Maybe you’re always
here. But, like Dumbledore said, it doesn’t do to forget to live.’ With one
long lingering glance, he smiled at his mother, closed the book and dashed out,
not stopping until he was outside and could see one red and one brown head.
“Ron, Hermione! Wait up!”
A/N: Yes, I know Voldemort only offered to bring back Harry’s parents in the
movie. But I liked that as an extra touch to the story.