Disclaimer: This story is based
on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various
publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic
Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being
made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
Author's Note: Even if you hated
this fic, please review, and comment on my Draco Ė is he in canon? Can
you see him being conflicted like this? Did you enjoy the fic? Thankyou,
and I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.
Lucius Malfoy stopped reading for a moment,
took a few deep breaths, then slammed his book shut. The book whimpered
and crawled to the far corner of the table as its owner strode to the
door and grabbed a nearby House Elf.
"Y-yes, master?" the poor thing squeaked, the potato sack
smock gathering quickly around her neck, in ever-tightening folds.
"Go to Master Draco, and tell him
to stop. Making. That. Infernal. Noise!" he said, forcing the words
out through clenched teeth. The elf managed to make a small, breathless
sound that seemed to satisfy him, and Lucius dropped her unceremoniously
to the floor.
The solid oak door slammed shut once
more, and the House Elf simply sat, shaken, for a few precious seconds.
Suddenly realising that Masterís orders had, as yet, gone un-obeyed,
she yelped in alarm and scrunched up her tiny face in concentration.
"Room of Master Draco!" she
spluttered, still in considerable shock. The world spun giddily for
a matter of moments, and she opened her eyes.
Music was everywhere. It reverberated
from the dizzying heights of the arched cathedral ceilings, echoed down
each corridor until every stone in Malfoy Manor shook with a magic that
predated wands and wizards. Notes that had been played time and time
again were pulled screaming into raw sound. Tuneless, the repeated phrases
of his own composing made the spine crack.
For the first time in her small existence,
"Master Draco! Master Draco! Stop
it now, stop it says your father, Master Draco! Stop it! Stop it! Stop
Abruptly it finished. There was no jarring
halt, no irritated final burst of angry noise. Silence. Relieved that
this far from pleasant task was done, Hetty mentally ran through a list
of other jobs in her head. Next she should be sweeping out the fourteenth
bathroom in the East Wing, followed by setting out the sheets in the
guest room next door, as Mistress Narcissa was expecting some people
to be stay-
"Why havenít I seen you before?"
Hetty nearly fainted. Goblins and pixies, he was quiet!
"I-I donít know it why, Master,"
she stuttered, looking down at her small feet. Every word of his was
languorous, drawling, as though he really couldnít be bothered to speak
at all. As though it were an honour bestowed upon the few and the lucky.
"Itís just that Iíve seen most of
our Elves before, and I wondered why I hadnít noticed you. I suppose
Lucius replaced KnobbyÖ"
There was a long silence, and she felt the coldness emanating from him
like an icy sword. This was a different voice. This was the sharp tone
of somebody who takes every correction as direct criticism. "You
shouldnít correct me. If I were Lucius youíd be missing an ear, or something
equally delightful. As it stands, I need a page turner."
At this, she looked up, curious. "Page turning, master?"
"For the music."
A fearful tremor crept into her voice once more. "But Master Draco,
sir, Master Lucius says no playing, sir! He says no, sir, he says stop
"He means for me to stop playing my own music. It upsets
him. Now stop telling me what to do, or youíll wish that I were
With that, he turned sharply on his heel,
with an economy of movement and excess of dismissiveness that was so
carefully devoid of any true feeling, it hurt to watch. Hetty made a
nervous sort of hop, then hit her head hard against the wall, once.
Feeling slightly better, she followed him into the room.
It was much like any other room in the
Manor, as regards to shape and size. Large and grey, the walls were
made from enchanted stone that had stood since the days of the Founders.
A fireplace at the far end could have easily been Amplified to warm
each frozen corner, if it werenít for Master Luciusí instructions. He
believed that a temperature slightly below comfortable was conducive
to higher levels of thinking. Master Draco simply wore thicker robes.
A bed, with green and silver coverlet,
that would have easily allowed space for a family of three took up space
on the left side, along with a wooden dresser and a wardrobe that was
bigger inside than out. The fireplace was set into the right hand wall,
and just in front of its flickering golden light was a piano.
There were no other items. No belongings.
No ornaments. Not even parchment and quill. Hetty knew that this was
Master Dracoís own choice; in fact she had heard Mistress Narcissa comment
on the spartan tidiness earlier in the Christmas holiday, with a concerned
"Itís simply not the normal behaviour
of a fifteen year old boy, darling. He has nothing, absolutely nothingÖI
have no idea where he puts all of his presents!"
"In the wardrobe, of course. Thereís plenty of room."
Hetty knew it was bad to listen to the private conversations, but she
couldnít help it if Master had told her to pour them more wine.
"But I worry. When I look in
there, it might as well be the room of a stranger Ė he doesnít think
of it as home."
"Donít be so stupid. Of course he thinks of it as home. He just
doesnít feel a need for clutter and trinketsÖgood." Master Lucius
grunted approvingly. "At least the boyís learnt something."
"Heís learnt many things. He did extremely well at school last
year. Iím very proudÖ"
"Oh, yes, very well. Beaten by Mudbloods and Hufflepuffs."
Mistress Narcissa placed a smooth, shapely hand over her husbandís.
"He was top in his house, and third in the year. Surely he deserves
"I told him Iíd buy him a new broom. Surely thatís enough?"
There was a disapproving silence from Mistress Narcissa, and Master
Lucius frowned. "Iím a busy man, especially now. The Potter boy
saw meÖ has me deeply involved with the Voldemort investigationsÖDiggoryís
parents are kicking up a fussÖitís a trying time."
"But the Lord has risen againÖsoon everything will be fine."
Standing by the instrument, his face
lit harshly by the dancing flames, she understood the reason why Mistress
Narcissa was disturbed so. A face that had always been thin could now
be described as gaunt. In the time of his life when child should turn
to man, his features had remained painfully young. The grey eyes were
flat, frozen lakes, that seemed only to reflect everything, like sheets
of glass. His wrists were delicate, and his hands tapered into long,
elegant fingers that Hetty fancied would snap at the slightest provocation.
It would be obscene to call such a boy handsome, yet she could see what
humans would call attractiveness around the sharpness of the bones.
She wondered if he ate at all.
He sat down at the seat without making a sound, and she scurried over
to his side. The piano had a distinctive scent, ivory and polished wood.
Unsure of how she would ever reach the music to turn the pages for him,
Hetty wrung her hands together. "Master, I canít reach the book,
"Iím not blind," he replied scornfully, and Hetty felt smaller
than ever. A House Elf was happiest in doing a proper job, and right
now she felt inadequate. Inadequate was the worst thing for an honest
elf to be. Grabbing her by her dirty smock, he lifted her to the top
of the piano, and paused, her grubby feet dangling inches above the
black paint. "Wait," he murmured, "Youíll make a mess."
"Oh sir, I is dreadful sorry for being so disgracefully disgusting
"Be quiet. I wasnít talking to you; I was talking to myself. If
you speak again, Iíll throw you out of the window."
She opened her mouth to apologise, then closed it again, very slowly.
He reached into a pocket on the inside
of his robes, and produced a linen handkerchief, embroidered with a
silver ĎMí, complete with a coiled and sleeping green serpent. Spreading
it on the piano, he finally let go of Hetty. She trod on the snake by
mistake, and jumped in alarm as it hissed loudly, before lunging at
her ankle. Jumping backwards, she noted Master Dracoís mouth upturn
slightly at the corners.
"I bewitched that one myself. Normally
they just hiss. I thought it would be more fitting to the Malfoy name
if the creature attacked."
Flexing his fingers, he pointed at the
new looking loose parchment pages on the stand. "When I nod, turn
the page. Iíd charm them to do it by magic, but I canít use my wand
out of school," he added, as a reminder to Hetty that he only needed
her help due to circumstances out of his control.
He began to play again, and this time
the music was soft and flowing, like water sliding smoothly over sand.
The piece was executed perfectly.
It wasnít music. It was simply an ordered
row of notes.
Watching carefully for his nod, she saw
an expression that sat awkwardly on that too thin face. Something like
tenderness as he pressed each key, the keys that she felt sure would
be faded if they werenít kept new by spells. Something like care as
he caressed them with his fingers, and still he was holding back.
She, who understood little of the ways
of humans, understood that he was talking to a loved one and someone
else had written the words.
They continued in that way for five drawn
out minutes, and Hetty turned the final page with heavy eyelids. Finally
his hands stopped moving, and the last note died away.
"Now itís time for my lesson."
Hetty made as if to move, and he pressed a cruel finger against her
forehead, forcing her to sit. "You stay there. I teach myself.
You still have to turn the pages."
He walked over to the wardrobe, and opened it, before disappearing into
the cavernous depths, returning moments later with a thick volume, bound
in some sort of red dragon-hide.
Master Draco sat back down at the piano,
and placed the book on the stand. It remained obstinately closed, until
he pursed his lips and whistled. The shrill sound made Hetty shudder,
and the book fell open at what she presumed was the right page.
He studied the page intently for a while,
then straightened up and placed his fingers on the appropriate keys.
"This is C Diminished."
A melancholy chorus filled her ears, and he held it on for longer than
was necessary, staring at the keys with the lifeless grey eyes, the
grey eyes that hid everything. Hetty wondered if they worked in a similar
way to his wardrobe, if he stored all the things that mattered behind
a locked door. He drew his hand away sharply, as if it had been burnt.
His breathing, which until now she hadnít noticed at all, was fast and
harsh. Still staring at the keys, he recited what could only have been
a passage from the book.
"The diminished chord is even more
dissonant and even darker than the minor. It is played by lowering both
the third and the fifth notes a half step. Any dissonant chord can never
be restful. It sounds like it wants to resolve and really pulls toward
the major chord."
Looking up sharply, he looked past Hetty
into some distant place she couldnít see. "Do you know what dissonant
means? It means discordant. It doesnít fit with the harmony. It pulls
and pulls and strives to fit, but it never can, because itís different.
" Shaking his head, his eyes suddenly focused on her. "You
really are ugly little creatures, arenít you?"
He turned back to the book, and muttered
under his breath. "Letís seeÖthatís this oneÖand this one."
A slow wrist movement and he played another chord, then another, then
another, until she couldnít stand the sound any more, the way it pressed
against her heart like knives that knew their own sharpness, couldnít
stand it any more and pulled her long ears down underneath her chin,
and buried her head in her hands, and still he was playing them with
a mouth slightly open, and a breathing slightly quickened, and eyes
slightly widened until he had the gaze of a mad person and she couldnít
stop the words.
"Stop it, Master, stop it! Stop
And the lid of the piano crashed downwards
with a terrible cacophony of jarring discord, and she was choking and
flying, from the cool into the freezing air, wind whipping at her face
and forcing her breath back into her throat. Thrashing uselessly, she
sobbed as he twisted her around and brought her close to his face.
"You never tell me what to do! You
never, ever tell me, because I am better than you! You never tell me
to stop playing the diminished chords because I am diminished,
donít you see? Donít you see, I am living in C Diminished! Iím
dissonant, and I try so hard, and I canít be what he wants, I just canít,
because Iím not like him, I canít kill people, and I canít be
a Major or even a Minor, I canít go either way because I donít want
either way and itís not fair, I just want to be in my own melody, in
my own melody where I fit, and Iím part of the tuneÖ"
She bit her tongue as he shook her in all directions, all throughout
his screaming, garbled monologue that was brought to an end as he threw
her across the room, inside the room, where she hit the wall.
Shakily, she scrambled to her feet, and
saw him leaning out of the window, shoulder blades sticking up through
his robes. He leant further still, and for a moment she debated whether
or not to call for Master Lucius, for somone to stop him for she was
sure he would fallÖ
Then he spoke.
"If you ever tell about this, Iíll
have youÖIíll have you dead."
He said he couldnít kill people. Was she a people?
"Iíll have you locked in the cellar
for the rest of your miserable life. Understand?"
She nodded dumbly, and hoped that somehow he had seen her. Hetty didnít
want him to turn around. It was a terrible thing that he had done, a
terrible thing and she knew why he didnít want nobody to know, to ever
And as she hurried from the room, Hetty collapsed by the door. Yes,
a terrible thing he had done.
Master Draco had been crying.
Draco bit down hard on his lip, until
the fierce pain stopped the tears. Tears. He never cried, he never,
ever did. And in front of a House Elf, a stupid sub-human thing!
Ashamed and angry, he wiped his eyes
furiously and then turned around.
Smoothing his hair with trembling fingers
that he willed to be steady, he returned to the piano. Sat down, and
started to play.
It was tuneless at first, then as he
grew stronger, as he recovered from the outburst that had torn apart
his defences, he began to form some semblance of melody. He deliberately
made it different to anything he had played before, forced himself to
use the correct notes, the music everybody liked to hear.
In his study, Lucius stopped working
and listened. He smiled, and returned to the task at hand.
Draco closed the lid gently, and allowed
himself a bitter smile. He had made his own music, and his father hadnít
objected. Lucius only objected to the diminished chords, which he had
purposefully left out.
If he was to succeed, he had to stop
hearing Diminished C every time he saw a Mudblood (person) or
a Muggle-lover (human) or indeed anyone who opposed to Voldemort
Murdered? He meant killed in the
name of what was right. Because Lucius was the Major, and he was always
right. Unless one made Dumbledore the Major, of course.
He would miss dinner again. Draco was
never hungry, not anymore. Still fully-clothed, he fell on to the bed
and didnít bother to move into a more comfortable position. Scowling
at the thought of Dumbledore, at the thought of Potter, at the
thought of all those who had a song of their own devising, he closed
The Diminished C prepared for another
The Fic has now ended.