None of the doors on Hogwarts Express had locks, but the closed door offered some measure of the privacy Draco had lacked all summer. For the first time in three months, he was alone and no one could touch him or tell him what to do. Freedom was an intoxicating chemical, he decided while stroking the smooth wood of his wand, admiring its polished surface.
"Come on, Harry, hurry up! We're almost there and you need to get your robe on! Honestly, what were you thinking this morning?" Hermione's voice was loud outside in the hallway.
Draco slouched lower in his seat, hoping no one peeked in and saw him by himself, especially Potter, Weasel, and Granger.
"Hermione, don't worry: my robe is in our compartment. Ron changed its color and I need your help to fix it..." Their voices dwindled down the hall of the swaying train.
Draco sat straight again once the voices completely faded. He looked out the window, staring at the reflection in the glass more than the passing countryside. The bruise on his cheek was impossible to hide without resorting to magic, which he could not perform himself without owls from the Ministry descending upon him. His newest bruise was a spectacular shade of purple, blue, and black. Tinges of yellow spread towards his ear and down his jaw.
His summer homework sat undone in the baggage compartment with his owl Starfire, whom he had not seen since he left Hogwarts in June. This morning his father had the house elves stow his luggage on Hogwarts Express while Draco waited in the car. His mind shied away from the memory into a safer area, such as his summer schoolwork that lay unfinished in his trunk.
Finding an acceptable excuse for his uncompleted homework assignments would be no easy task, he realized, when a loud bang thudded at his compartment door.
Draco jerked his head in the direction of the loud noise. He scowled at Vincent's and Gregory's ugly smiling faces. Heart racing, blood vessels throbbing with fury, Draco said in his coldest voice: "Go away."
"But we just spent all this time looking for you," Vincent complained, coming further into the small compartment to make room for Gregory.
Panic eroded Draco's thin control and he stood up, not able to stand having anyone looming over him. "Vincent, Gregory, I'll hex you if you don't leave right this minute." He raised his wand praying they wouldn't call his bluff.
"We don't need this," Gregory said, grabbing Vincent's arm. "Draco, we will find you when we arrive at Hogwarts. Looks like you aren't up for some sport after all. I thought you loved tormenting the first years." Gregory left dragging Vincent after him.
Unsettled, Draco closed the door praying he'd feel normal again by the time he reached Hogwarts. His stomach still rumbled from stretched nerves. He sat back down and continued to stare out the window, not at all interested in finding Potter and tormenting him or the first year students.
The sky was darkening as they pulled into the train stop and unloaded. Fifth years had their own separate carriages waiting for them. He saw Pansy Parkinson at about the same time she saw him. She let out a squeal and ran towards him. "DRACO! I couldn't find you on the train -- I was worried that you weren't coming to school this year," Pansy simpered, her eyelashes fluttering.
Her voice grated on his nerves at the best of times. This time was not the best of anything, but instead of saying anything scathing or anything designed to incite her into trying to flatter him, Draco turned and found the nearest available carriage. He climbed inside and slammed the door. Ignoring Pansy's pouting face, he closed the curtain.
"Draco! I'll never forgive you for this!" he heard Pansy scream, then the titters of fellow students as they laughed at her.
He stumbled over someone's outstretched leg. "Sorry," he mumbled before finding a blessedly empty seat by the other window. The curtain on that side was open, and as he breathed in the fresh air, the darkness of the coach made his chest tighten. The small breeze shifted his longer hair right into his face, which he pushed back with an impatient hand; it stayed behind his ear this time.
"Malfoy, what are you doing here?" Ron Weasley demanded, managing to sound both offended and pissed off at sitting next to him. Granger stared at him, her face much more attractive now that she had her teeth fixed, and her thick bushy brown hair was tied back. Potter opened his mouth, closed it, and finally let it hang open without saying anything. Draco ignored Weasley and continued to stare out his window. He really did not want to talk to anyone at all.
"Draco! Draco!" Two voices were calling for him; it was Vincent and Gregory. "Come on, stop hiding -- we saved you a seat!"
Draco quickly closed his curtain in case they decided to come to this side of the carriages. His shiny blonde hair stood out like a beacon. An automatic glow light came on in the carriage, to Draco's relief. Some of the fading light from outside also seeped through the cracks in the curtain.
"I'm not standing for this! Malfoy, leave our carriage right now!" Weasley demanded, reaching over to open a curtain or the door. He didn't get that far.
"No, wait. I just want to sleep in peace until we get to the school." Draco said quickly, grabbing Weasley's hand.
"Gregory! Vincent! Get in this carriage right this instant!" Pansy yelled from another carriage. It sounded far away and Draco let out a sigh of relief.
There was just enough light in the carriage to see the hate in Weasley's eyes. Draco flipped his curtain open ignoring Potter sitting across from him. He didn't say another word as he stared outside, watching the stars slowly appear in the clear dark blue sky. No one spoke as the carriage rolled smoothly up the road to Hogwarts.
Draco watched the last bit of sun fade and started planning his escape from Hogwarts, his father, the Death Eaters, and the Dark Mark burning on his arm.
"Should we ask Professor McGonagall to check Malfoy? I think there is something wrong with him," Hermione said as they entered their House dorm for the rest of the evening.
Ron didn't say anything. His hatred of Malfoy was not in the least affected by Malfoy's behavior at tonight's dinner or by the bruise staining Malfoy's cheek. The smug irritating asshole deserved that bruise and much worse.
"Well, he was more quiet than usual," Harry Potter offered tentatively. "Maybe he's just tired from catching up on his homework at the last minute? I still wonder how he got that bruise though; it looks like someone hit him."
Ron snorted. "Homework, yeah right. Harry, which rock have you been living under these past four years? I think it's a plot to get us to let our guard down. Come on; let's forget about him. Do you want to play some Wizard's Chess?"
Hermione shook her head before answering. "I have some studying to catch up on for S.P.E.W. I'll see you later." She smiled, looking happy at the thought of liberating house elves.
Ron and Harry shrugged before going and finding the chess boards.
Draco entered the room he shared with his other fifth-year roommates. Luckily, his two followers, Vincent and Gregory, stayed downstairs to torment the first-years.
His trunk and owl cage sat next to his bed; he lifted the cover off Starfire's cage and groaned in dismay. Starfire at the end of forth year was healthy and shiny as any gray owl taken care off at Hogwarts, but the pitiful creature barely hanging onto the branch in the cage, its feathers falling off from starvation, resembled no other owl he'd ever seen. Draco waved his wand, muttered his unlocking incantation, and opened his trunk. He knew he had owl food in the trunk somewhere. His fingers shook with fury over the treatment of his owl in his absence. Did his father lack common sense? Since when did Malfoy's not keep appearances?
He ended up pulling everything out of his trunk before he found what he was looking for. It wasn't the best food, but it would get Starfire through the night until he could take her to the Owlery in the morning. Opening the cage, Draco carefully reached in and pulled Starfire out. She was much lighter now than when he had first found her in Diagon Alley. He cradled her in his arms and got on his bed, careful not to squeeze her hard. Her chest rose very slowly but she managed to eat everything he put in her mouth. He fed her a little at a time, not sure, what would make her sick. She did drink a bit of the water he poured into her water tray.
The door burst open, banging against the wall and startling Draco into clutching Starfire to his chest. His heart rate skyrocketed and his cry of fright remained locked in his throat. He lost control at seeing Gregory's and Vincent's dumbfounded expressions and yelled, "Get out of here! Get out!" He picked up his wand and waved it at them; neither boy had ever seen Draco this angry, and they ran out of the room in a panic, slamming the door again behind them.
Chest heaving, Draco on the verge of tears again. He looked down at Starfire. She was trembling in his arms and looked ready to go back to her cage. She would not be flying anytime soon. Holding Starfire as if she were fragile china, he carefully placed her back in the cage. She looked steadier with the food he gave her, but her feathers were still falling off; some were stuck to his shirt.
He pulled off the shirt, threw it in the corner, and went back to his trunk to get his nightclothes. His back ached and he knew there were still bruises and scars from this summer. He quickly changed before Vincent and Gregory came back, and then packed up everything again. He was almost finished when he realized he had no fifth-year books. Instead, his fourth year books were neatly stacked at the bottom of the trunk where he had placed them three months ago. He had foolishly assumed his mother or father had received his book list and purchased the required texts. But they hadn't; instead he found a note attached to the inside of his trunk lid.
Draco, Don't fail this year or you won't be returning to Hogwarts. Find another way to get your books.
Feeling sick to his stomach, Draco looked at the pile of homework he didn't do this summer and sank back down on his bed again. He did not know where to start or who to go to for help. He'd spent the last four years making sure the only friends he had were in his house and alienating every person that could possibly have helped him. His head started pounding and the Dark Mark throbbed. Draco pushed his sleeve up and stared at the skull branded into his skin before quickly hiding it again.
Stealing the books he needed seemed like the best solution; however, he had no idea what books were on the list for this year. He could probably borrow Vincent's or Gregory's. They never really studied anyway ... Feeling much better after coming up with a temporary solution, Draco got up and unpacked the stuff he normally kept out and locked the rest away. He tried on his cloak from the last school year and discovered it was too short: he had grown about four inches over the summer. He would have to find a spell to alter his other clothing as well, Draco decided after he tried on his clothing and found most of the sleeves too tight or not long enough. His robes didn't fit either. He managed to find one robe that fit him and a note attached to them.
Don't tell your father but I hid this here for you.
He wouldn't be able to wear his usual clothing underneath the robe until he found new clothes or a way to alter the old ones. He would just have to be careful and avoid Quidditch practice until he had trousers that fit.
Feeling exhausted, Draco locked his trunk again, making sure his one good robe was inside the trunk and protected from any mischief the Slytherin students liked to play on the unwary. His broomstick he stuck in the corner and put a hex on it so that if anyone but him touched the broom they would get sores all over their body.
He climbed into bed and used his wand to turn off the lights. His back ached but it felt nice to be alone in bed and not worry about someone coming in to hurt him at their whim. Turning on his side, Draco clutched the pillow under his head with his hand and looked at Starfire's cage and through the cage to the sky beyond the castle walls. He never cared for the bed by the window because it was the coldest part of the room; however, Starfire liked it. Now it was a symbol of freedom he might never have.
"Draco! Wake up, you are going to be late for breakfast." Vincent stood too close to the bed for Draco's comfort but he didn't say anything. Gregory was glaring at him from his side of the room, which was probably why Gregory was still trying to tie his shoelaces when Draco returned from the bathroom dressed only in his undergarments and black robe. He hoped no one noticed that he wasn't wearing pants under the robe.
"Vincent, Gregory, you can go without me, I need to take Starfire to the Owlery; I think she's sick." Draco was too ashamed to tell them his father nearly starved his owl to death this summer.
"We'll save you a seat," Vincent said before leaving the room.
Draco got a towel from the bathroom and brought it back to his room to wrap Starfire up. Her feathers fluttered and brushed against the cage every time she shivered or shifted on her perch. He carefully pulled her out of the cage and wrapped the fluffy towel around her before leaving the room with his notebooks and wand. She was easy to carry in one arm.
No one said anything to him as he passed through the common room, and for the first time it didn't worry him that people weren't sucking up to him as soon as he got within hearing distance.
He ignored everyone in the hallways, although he did notice the strange looks. This was probably the first time he went somewhere during the day without Vincent or Gregory following him. The blue towel bundled in his arms did not help his cause. The Owlery was relatively quiet and only a few students were here, one he recognized right away. Ron Weasley was talking to the person Draco had come to see.
Draco quickly ducked behind some cages and turned the other way so Ron wouldn't see him as he left the Owlery. It didn't work. "Malfoy! What are you doing here? Did you come to poison the owls and make their lives miserable? What are you hiding in that towel?"
Draco scowled. What type of person did this Weasley think he was? Poison owls? He quickly turned around to confront him. He normally would not mind tormenting Weasley, but not now, when Draco's owl was dying. "Shut up, Weasley. I'm not in the mood for your petty, small-minded thinking."
Ron had grown taller than Draco had over the summer. Draco's head barely topped Ron's shoulders. Draco stepped back when Ron took a threatening step forwards. Keeping eye contact never hurt.
"What's going on here?" a gruff voice asked.
"Nothing," they both answered, keeping eye contact.
"You're not worth the trouble, Malfoy," Ron said, his mouth was pinched and his eyes as angry as Draco had ever seen. He looked as if he had just bitten a lemon.
Then Ron turned and stalked out of the chamber. His bearing was proud, even in hand-me-downs robes from his older brother's days at Hogwarts.
Draco tore his attention away from Ron and looked up at the owl keeper, Mr. Croft. "Sir, my owl Starfire is sick and I don't know what to do to help her."
Mr. Croft held out his arms for the towel and Draco carefully handed her over to the expert. It wasn't till then that he really noticed the chamber, the high ceilings, the pungent smell of owl feathers, and the slight breeze that drifted through carrying out most of the smell. The flutter of at least twenty owls shifting in their cages waiting for someone who needed their mail delivered.
"Come with me," Mr. Croft said and led him to a large wooden work desk. Mr. Croft set the blue bundle down on the table and carefully opened the towel. Starfire still looked exhausted and an inch away from dying. Draco knew he was biting his lip in worry. He hoped Mr. Croft really knew how to heal her because he had no clue.
"I fed her some food last night but I wasn't sure how much to give her..." Draco said, just before a large warm hand snapped up, grabbed him around the neck, and pushed him away.
Draco gagged and stumbled falling down, too shocked at Mr. Croft's actions to have prepared for the sudden attack.
"Get out of here, Malfoy, before I do something I regret." Mr. Croft's kind, gentle face had transformed within seconds to an angry, disgusted man who -- judging by his expression -- was wishing Draco would turn into a turd and get flushed down a toilet.
Picking himself off the floor, as well as his spilled notebooks and wand, Draco dusted off his robe and warily backed away from Mr. Croft until he was at a safe enough distance to turn and run out of the room.
It was not until Draco was in the hallway that his chest tightened and he could not breathe. His knees were shaking and he could feel his eyes start to water. He gasped for breath and tried to think calming thoughts. He stumbled down the hall and turned the corner before sliding down the side of the wall still gasping for air, praying whatever was happening to him would stop soon.
Last year, he would have run to Dumbledore and demand Mr. Croft be fired for mistreating him, but he didn't want to risk having his father's attention drawn to him so soon. What if he decided to pull him out of school all together? He did not want to take any chances of his father coming to Hogwarts. Draco didn't even want to think about the possibilities. He hung his head down and tried to relax. Draco didn't know how much time had passed before he felt collected enough to go to his first class. He knew he'd missed breakfast by now. He opened his black notebook and found his schedule; it was 5th year Advanced Potions with Professor Snape.
Standing was harder since the fall had reopened some of the wounds on his back, and Draco could feel some of the blood seeping down his skin and sticking to his robe. He walked quickly, not wanting to push his luck with Snape too far. Class had already started by the time he made his way to the dungeon.
Harry, Hermione, and Ron were standing together at a table closest to the door, mixing stuff into a cauldron. They noticed him first and then from the front of the room, "Mr. Malfoy, come here," Professor Snape's familiar voice sounded exasperated. Draco barely controlled his urge to flinch, but he had no control over blushing from embarrassment. What was wrong with him, he wondered?
It felt like Fred or George Weasley had switched his shoes for ones with lead soles. Draco slowly made his way to the front of the class, conscious of every eye on him. A few titers from the Gryffindor didn't bother him nearly as much as Vincent and Gregory's snide laughter or Pansy's snicker. Draco had a sinking impression Vincent and Gregory knew how he spent his summer.
"Mr. Malfoy, is there a reason why you think you can miss half of class?" Snape asked leaning closer to him.
"My owl was sick, sir." He replied stepping back, not having to fake his worry. "I took her to the Owlery this morning and I must have lost track of time."
He could feel Snape's eyes boring into him, and Draco looked away not wanting to stand up to anyone's scrutiny. "Did you fall on your way to the Owlery as well?" The question startled him and his hand flew to his cheek. He had forgotten about the bruise.
"Oh no." Draco paused, trying to think of a good reason why he would have a fist sized bruise on his face. "I fell down and hit the door knob at home, sir. I guess I didn't put ice on it fast enough. I bruise easily." There, that should do it, Draco thought, hoping Snape wouldn't ask any more questions.
"Very well, two hours of detention. Now get to your desk."
Draco opened his mouth to protest the harsh punishment. Professor Snape had never given him detention before! However, he could not afford to alienate the one Professor who might respect him. "Yes, sir." He bit out and walked stiffly to his desk, unhappy with this turn of events.
Vincent and Gregory did not look happy to see him at all. In fact, they looked like they wanted to punch his face in. Draco tried to keep his expression blank and as emotionless as possible. He would not let anyone see what he was feeling inside. He would ignore the whispering of his classmates and the stares that followed him. None had ever seen Professor Snape so much as give Draco a cold look and now he just gave Draco detention for two hours.
Luckily, their desk was at the back of the room, and Vincent and Gregory had already almost completed the assignment. Draco picked up the sheet of instructions and quietly helped them to finish it, correcting some of the errors he noticed before the potion blew up in their faces. The rest of the hour passed quickly and Draco was relieved when class was over.
"Before you leave, I want pages twenty to fifty read by tomorrow. There will be a practical application quiz over what you have read." Half the class groaned and he got a few weird glances from his housemates when he didn't complain the loudest. In fact, he almost bumped into Potter trying to escape the classroom as quickly as possible.
"Get out of my way," Draco ordered, pushing past his arch-nemesis.
"Hey!" Potter exclaimed, stopping to pick up the scattered books.
"He can't get away with that. Harry, you should have pushed back or hexed him or something," Ron said, bending down to help Potter.
Their voices drifted away as Draco walked faster towards the stairs. He now had Advanced Divination for fifth year students. No Gryffindors in the class this year, thank you very much.
Professor Trelawney's class was the same. The fumes from her fire were overpowering but he got used to it after a while. This year they were learning about reading their future through Tarot cards. Everyone had a deck except him. "Mr. Malfoy, why aren't you getting your cards spread out?"
"I don't have a deck. My dad must have missed that on the list." He said trying to keep his fair skin from turning bright red. He would think he get used to humiliation but apparently not.
"Oh dear...Let me see if I can find you a spare one. It's vital that you get your own deck so you can bond with it." She went to her cluttered desk and opened a few drawers until she found what she was looking for.
"Well, come up here and get it," she said, motioning with her arm. Draco stood up again and walked over to her desk. "This deck won't predict your future correctly but you can get used to setting up the correct pattern and learning the names of the cards. Take good care of these. This is my very first deck that I learned on."
"Thank you, Professor Trelawney," Draco said politely and returned to his seat, ignoring all the shocked stares including the professor's puzzled frown.
"It's no problem, Mr. Malfoy. Now, where were we?"
The rest of the day followed the same pattern as Draco's first two classes. He was missing books, items, and assignments that were due he didn't have. Before the end of the day, he had lost sixty points for the Slytherin House for being unprepared. The mood in his House dormitory was hostile to say the least. No one said anything to his face not wanting to scare the first years, yet. However, he knew there was something brewing that would not be beneficial to his health.
Draco quickly went to his room and closed the door. Starfire's empty cage stood out accusing him of neglect. He sighed and tried to remember it was not his fault. He quickly searched through Vincent's trunk and found some of the books he needed for his assignments and quickly did the homework. It wasn't as difficult as he remembered; maybe working without distractions makes a difference. He'd just put away the books he borrowed when Vincent and Gregory entered the room both laughing. They stopped when they saw him there. And their usual dumb scowls returned to their faces.
"So Draco, what did you do this summer?" Vincent asked, sauntering over to Draco's bed and leaning against the post. Draco didn't like lustful expression in Vincent's eyes; he'd seen it too often this summer.
"Nothing at all," Draco said, slowly his mind frantically trying to figure out what Vincent had seen or heard.
"Funny, that's not what my mother said in her letter." Vincent held up a hand with a white sheet of parchment in it.
"Strange. I didn't know you could read."
"Do you see me laughing? Gregory, I think our fearless leader is trying to make a joke."
"What does the letter say?" Gregory asked, looking puzzled, which wasn't any different from his other expressions.
Vincent held up the letter, gripping the sides in two hands and started trying reading it to them. "My Dearest Son." Draco snickered at that line, which earned him a glare from both his roommates. Vincent continued. "I have some concern over your association with Draco Malfoy. His father has involved his son in some questionable activities this summer, including prostitution with other men and you should not talk to him anymore lest he spoil your honor."
Gregory started laughing. "Prostitution -- is that what she really wrote?"
"This is my mother: do you really think she would write whore or slut on paper? My dad sent a note as well -- let me read it for you."
When Gregory stopped laughing, Vincent held up another sheet and started reading again. "Son, you are no longer to be friends or confidants with Draco Malfoy; he is now property of You-Know-Who, and is not fit for anything other than sexual favors. Please treat yourself to him. He is spellbound so he cannot tell anyone what is done to him. His arm has the proof of my words, if you touch the Mark and say Alizar, the Malfoy boy will be firmly in your power. Vincent, one year is a long time away from available women...
P.S. Burn this letter."
Gregory didn't start laughing this time; instead, Draco could almost see the wheels turning in Gregory's brain, trying to sort out the implications. Draco could feel the spell already wrapping around his mind rendering him helpless to anyone who wanted sex with him. He gripped his wand tightly and fought against it. Vincent was still taller and heavier than he was; he needed to get Vincent away from the door so he could escape the room.
Vincent gave him a chance by moving to the burning fireplace and tossed the letter in. The second Vincent turned his back, Draco ran past Vincent to the locked closed door of their bedroom. Draco pointed his wand at the door and yelled, "Alohamora!" The door flung open from the force of his spell and Draco rushed past Gregory who was too stunned to try and grab for him. He made it down the stairs without falling and past the common room; he probably knocked over some of the first-year students but he did not care. He could hear Gregory and Vincent crashing after him, knocking over students. The portrait was open when he reached it, and he knocked over Pansy who was standing there chatting with some other Slytherin girl.
He didn't stop running until he was safe in the library. Vincent and Gregory would never think to look for him here. Draco couldn't stop panting. He was so out of breath. Everyone in the library studying or doing homework turned and stared at him, including the three Gryffindor students who made his life a living hell for always escaping his plots all these years and earning him punishment at home.
Draco stood up straighter and walked towards the back of the library to hide among the shelves of books in case Vincent or Gregory did decide to look for him here. He pretended to actually be looking for a book when Madam Pince walked past him. He grabbed something random off the shelf and found the darkest corner to hide in. He slid down the wall and buried his face in his knees and tried not to let the horror of his situation overwhelm him. All he had was his one robe and his wand. There was no way he could safely make it back to his room to get his notes or already finished homework or his broom.
Draco for the first time at Hogwarts did not know what to do.
Draco didn't know how long he sat there; his legs had long since fallen asleep on him. His mind was wonderfully blank until he heard whispers nearing his location.
"He's got to be here somewhere." It was Granger: he could recognize her distinctive voice from anywhere.
"Why are we even bothering? He's a bastard and is probably plotting some new way to make our lives a living hell. I say we let him rot back here." Weasley was so predictable in his hatred.
Potter's voice was curiously soft and kind. "Ron, you didn't see his expression. It looked like he was running for his life. And that bruise? I fell down often, and I never got bruises like that on my face. I think someone switched bodies with the real Malfoy because this isn't the same guy."
"I agree. Malfoy hasn't been himself since we saw him on the train. Since when doesn't he go and tease or torment the first years?" Granger was a smart girl.
"I still think you are making a fool of yourself. I'm telling you Malfoy is the enemy." Weasley stayed committed to his side of the argument.
"Ron..." Whatever Potter was about to say dwindled off when the three rounded the corner and saw him sitting on the ground. Draco could not find the energy to stand.
Granger of course spoke first. "Um ... hi, Malfoy. We were just trying to find you to tell you dinner will be served soon. You've been back here for three hours now."
Three hours it didn't feel long enough. "Don't worry about me, I'll go down to the kitchens when it's safer," Draco said miserably. His stomach did hurt from hunger and his throat was scratchy from thirst.
"Who's chasing you?" Potter asked, looking confused and not able to believe that the resident school bully could have enemies as well.
"I can't talk about it," Draco said, which was the truth. The spell Voldemort cast on him prevented him from telling anyone anything about this summer or the mark on his arm. "Now please go away. I want to be left alone."
"Did you leave your pants at home, too?" Weasley asked snidely.
Blushing, Draco pulled his legs in closer and stepped on the bottom of his robes to hide his bare legs. "Go away," he muttered too tired to think anymore. He could deal with embarrassment in front of his father and his father's friends but not the people he used to look down on as Muggle-lovers.
Granger pushed past Weasley and knelt in front of him. "You can eat with us at dinner tonight."
"Hermione!" both Weasley and Potter exclaimed in shocked whispers.
"That is Malfoy! Draco Malfoy, did you bump your head this summer?" Weasley asked, starting to sound angry.
"No, I didn't! I went to the bathroom and overheard Pansy talking about Malfoy, and it wasn't with affection. There is something going on and for some reason half the guys in Slytherin have it out for Malfoy."
"Herm, there is a reason for everything. Maybe they are pissed because he lost sixty points from their house in just one day. They probably just want to rough him up to teach him a lesson. I say he deserves it."
"Ron Weasley, you weren't there. They sounded like they were seriously going to hurt him. We can't let someone get hurt like that if we can stop it."
Draco looked back and forth between the two friends arguing. He could almost sympathize with Potter. The other teenager looked just as confused and conflicted on whom to support.
"Don't worry about me, I'll take my chances on my own. I'm sure the house elves can find me some food." Draco slowly stood up. His legs were shaky and he could feel a cold coming on ... just what he needed.
"That is unacceptable," Granger said, grabbing Draco's arm.
"Fine, if he eats with you then I'm not eating with you. I'm going back to my room. Harry, are you with me?"
"Ron, someone has to stay and watch Malfoy to make sure he doesn't do anything. I'll bring you back food." Potter said, coming up with an acceptable compromise judging by fading anger in Weasley's eyes.
"I'll see you later, then." Then Weasley was gone.
They walked out the library at a slower pace than what Weasley had taken. Draco could feel another panic attack coming on as they approached the entrance to the dining hall, but he managed to control his breathing and blank his mind from what was worrying him. Tonight he was going to steal as much food as possible: enough to last the next few days so he could avoid people more easily.
His table, the one he used to be so proud to be a part of, had a hostile atmosphere to say the least. The Gryffindor table was more cheerful: people cracking jokes and talking excitedly. Granger held her head high and stared down anyone who looked like they were about to protest when she loudly told Draco he could sit in Ron's usual place.
"Harry! What is going on? Why is he sitting here?" Fred Weasley asked, sitting down across from them.
"Ask her," Harry answered, pointing towards Granger, who was also being ignored.
Draco ignored the stares and whispers. No one said anything rude to him, however, as the dinner rolled on. Draco started any time one of the Slytherin students stood up to leave the dinner hall.
By the end of dinner, Draco started to relax when nothing bad had happened, until Vincent and Gregory walked over to his table. Draco slid one leg over the bench so he could run if he had to, but instead of coming around to his side, they stood behind Fred and George Weasley.
Vincent said, just loud enough for him and half the Gryffindors to hear, "Draco, we are going to catch you. Maybe not tonight or tomorrow night, but when we do, you are going to suffer. I shared what was in the letter to everyone of importance in our House. Hide behind Granger's back as long as you can, but just know we will get you." Vincent stood up straight and added, "Have a nice day." Before he turned and walked away.
Before Gregory followed, he turned and said with a leer, "Watch your ass, Malfoy." He followed Vincent out of the hall.
Draco tried to breathe, gasped a few times, and realized with sudden clarity that he was having an attack right here in the Great Hall.
The Gryffindor table had fallen silent, which only intensified the attack. Hot red claws had reached into his chest and closed on his lungs. He could feel eyes on him ... hundred of pairs of eyes. Fred and George were staring at him, speechless, before looking again at the door Vincent and Gregory just left through. Hermione looked furious and she glared at the Slytherin table where five or six of his classmates were pointing at him and laughing.
Draco bent over double, clutched his arms to chest, and struggled to draw in air. He felt Potter patting his back in a petting motion that soothed the muscles in his chest enough for him to draw in a slight bit of air. His head felt fuzzy, and he knew he was going to faint soon if he didn't get more air. That thought sent him sitting straight up. He could not pass out; he would be helpless to protect himself.
"Professor McGonagall!" Neville stood up and yelled at the head table his round face was filled with worry, "Malfoy can't breathe!"
Draco saw through tear-blurred eyes the old woman throw her napkin down and stand up. Professor Snape sitting next to her set his fork down and calmly walked to the Gryffindor table, arriving just after McGonagall.
Draco could hear the laughter of his House, laughing at him. Everyone else had fallen silent, not knowing what was going on. Hermione was speaking but he couldn't hear her. He felt himself falling until strong arms caught him and gently lowered him to the ground.
"We are taking him to the hospital wing," Professor Snape announced, bending down to help Draco to his feet. Draco clung weakly to the professor's black robes. His breathing still hadn't improved, his head swam, and black spots dotted his vision.
"Professor McGonagall! I think Crabbe or Goyle hexed Draco! This didn't happen until after they came over," Neville said excitedly.
"Granger, Potter come with us," Snape said, bending down to pick him up.
Draco's hearing had returned, and he had another moment of vertigo as Professor Snape lifted him off the ground. "Here, get his arm and put it around my shoulder," Snape said shifting him into a more comfortable position to carry. Draco closed his eyes again, feeling dizzy and nauseous. The attack was lessening in strength, and he opened his eyes long enough to see Hermione and Harry walking next to Snape, their expressions worried and confused.
By the time they reached the hospital wing, Draco was able to breathe more comfortably, but his heart still pounded against his chest and his face was flushed red from his ordeal.
The empty hospital wing was eerie in its silence, their footsteps, and breathing the only sound in the room. Draco released his hold on Snape's robe as he was laid down on a bed. His fingers were trembling and the tremors traveled down to the rest of his body. "What's wrong with him?" Harry asked.
"Potter, what brought about this attack?" Snape asked, his voice was cold towards Harry, and sounded accusing.
"It wasn't us! Crabbe and Goyle were the ones that started it." Hermione defended herself and Harry.
"Ask Malfoy! He'll tell you what happened." Harry piped in.
"I think he's still trying to catch his breath," Snape's dry response almost made Draco smile.
McGonagall clapped her hands loudly, getting their attention. "Children, please. We just want to know what happened."
Harry and Hermione exchanged a glance.
"We can get answers from them later, maybe with one of my truth potions," Snape said, his hands already moving to undo the buttons at Draco's neck. Snape ignored Potter's and Granger's outraged expressions.
Draco sat up and hit Snape's hand away. "No! I'm fine." He gasped out not wanting anyone to see the other bruises on his body or the fact that all he had on under his robe was a pair of shorts.
Snape frowned and looked over at Professor McGonagall, exchanging some silent message. She nodded her head. "I'll be back," she said and left the room.
"Mr. Potter, Ms. Granger, I highly doubt your presence will help anything so kindly remove yourself from this room. Now," Snape said.
Draco wanted to ask that they stay, but he had already shown so much weakness in front of everyone. He couldn't beg them to stay. It would be too humiliating.
"Draco, are you sure you are okay?" Hermione asked.
He knew she wanted to know if he was okay with them leaving. "I'll be fine," Draco said, trying to sound convincing and not frightened. Professor Snape, after all, was the head of his house.
At Harry and Hermione's doubtful stares, he added, "Honestly."
"Come on, Hermione, Malfoy will be fine. Professor Snape is here." Harry pulled at Hermione's arm, probably feeling the heat of Snape's glare as well.
She looked reluctant to leave but she finally turned and walked with Harry out of the hospital room.
The closing door heightened Draco's anxiety. He pulled his wand out of his belt and held it in his hands. At least he would have some chance of escape if anything bad happened. He knew a few spells that would freeze a person, but he didn't think those spells would work with Snape.
Snape was sitting on the edge of the bed not saying anything, just waiting. "Can I leave?" Draco asked, a little shocked at how rough his voice sounded.
"No, you may not. We are waiting."
They sat there in silence until Professor Snape finally spoke. "Did you have a chance to finish your homework or read out of your book?"
Miserable, Draco shook his head. "No, Vincent and Gregory came back too quickly."
"I just found out today that you had lost sixty points for our house. Most were lost for lack of preparation. Do you have any of your summer homework finished or any of your books for this year?"
Again, Draco shook his head keeping his eyes downcast too ashamed to look at his favorite Professor in the eyes.
"Not a single book?" The disbelief was obvious in Snape's tone. "So how much detention do you have, then?"
"Twenty hours for this week." Draco replied back, starting to feel angry at the unfairness of his situation. "And I think ten for next week. The Gryffindor professors gave the most detention."
Snape stood up suddenly and started pacing, deep in thought, judging by the blank expression on his face. Draco sat up straighter on the bed and tried to inch away as much as he could. "Your father let you get on the train without providing you a single book for the new semester?"
"I didn't realize I didn't have any of my new books until I arrived and opened my trunk." Draco tried to defend himself from Snape's look of disgust.
"What in the world were you doing all summer? What was Lucius doing all summer that he couldn't once find the time to buy five books? Even the Weasleys get their children the books they need." Snape paced back and forth with an angry scowl.
Before Draco could try and defend his family honor, the doors opened and Professor McGonagall walked in followed by Albus Dumbledore who was also carrying Starfire. They strode quickly to the bed he was sitting on; both looked angry, but Starfire looked much better than she had this morning.
"Draco, would you like to explain why your owl was half starved and close to dying? I have never seen any owl in my lifetime as mistreated as yours." Professor McGonagall voice cracked like a whip against his conscience. Her eyes had lost whatever pity they may have had for him.
"Minerva, please calm down. I believe there is more going on that what meets the eyes. There is a powerful spell intertwined with Draco's soul." Albus Dumbledore sounded kind and that almost undid Draco's control.
"Draco, can you please remove your robe for us?" Dumbledore asked gently.
Shaking his head, Draco stood up slowly. "I can't," he bit out and started searching for a way out of the room. He started backing away from Dumbledore. He clutched the ties at his neck more tightly with his free hand holding his wand with the other.
Hands grabbed his shoulder and held tightly. "Draco, there is no reason to be afraid. We are here to help you." Snape's voice wasn't nearly as loud as the pounding of his heart.
He pulled away quickly, spun around, and climbed over the other bed, trying to get more distance between the three adults and himself. "Stay away from me!" Draco demanded, glaring at Dumbledore and Professor Snape, making sure their hands didn't reach for their wands.
He glanced at Professor McGonagall and noticed far too late that her wand was already swishing; he didn't even hear what spell she had cast. Draco had time to notice that he could not move his hands before he fell to the floor; his body was completely frozen. Snape bent over and lifted him again, laying him back on a hospital bed before starting to undo the ties on his robe.
Feeling violated and betrayed, Draco could do nothing as Professor Snape and Dumbledore peeled the robe off of him. The air felt cool against his bare chest. He hadn't looked at himself in a mirror for a long time, so he wasn't sure why Professor McGonagall gasped and pressed her hand to her mouth. Snape started taking the robe off with a dispassionate 'I can't believe I'm wasting my time doing this' attitude, and by the time he managed to get him down to his shorts, his expression was furious and his movements jerky.
"Minerva, if you please." Dumbledore said sadly.
With a flick of her wand, he could move his limbs again. Draco sat up so angry he didn't know what to do. He felt a tug at his hand and realized too late that Dumbledore had taken his wand. Draco grabbed at his black robe and yanked it from Snape's shocked hands.
"You had no right! No right to do that to me," Draco yelled, nearly inarticulate with rage, trying to use his robe to hide some of the scars on his chest. Voldemort never cared much for healing any damage he had caused.
Draco could feel the tears building and he turned away from them so they wouldn't see him crying. It was not until he heard gasps of horror that he realized they could now see his back. All the freshest cuts and bruises were still there; he had only just been freed yesterday. His mother's spell kept most of the damage from hurting him so he could function day-to-day while his body healed on its own.
Not knowing which direction to turn, shame overwhelming him, he started sobbing and trembling. He felt warm hands on his bare shoulder and he flinched and tried to pull away. "Shhh ... It's just me Draco." Professor Snape had never sounded more sympathetic in all the years Draco had known the head of the Slytherin House. He turned and buried his face in Snape's shoulder, crying uncontrollably.
After his sobs dwindled to hiccups and sniffles, Snape released him and let him sit on the edge of the hospital bed. Draco couldn't look at any of the three adults. He tried to keep his eyes on the floor or over their heads.
"Draco, can you tell me how long this has been going on?" Dumbledore asked, his voice kinder than Draco expected.
Draco wanted to tell them about returning home and the change in his father since Voldemort's return and his father's bargain to save his own skin at the expense of his son's sanity and well-being. But when he opened his mouth, he couldn't speak. "I ... this summer." Draco tried to say more but the words would not come. "I can't tell you," Draco finally admitted.
"He's spell-locked into keeping this secret," Professor Snape said angrily.
"Yes I saw the spell myself when he tried to speak," Dumbledore agreed.
"Unfortunately, this is a particularly difficult spell to reverse. It can take months. If I tried breaking it now, it might cause damage to the mind."
"Is it possible to answer questions under this spell?" Professor McGonagall held Starfire in her arms. She had her wand stuck back in her belt and was absently petting the owl's feathers.
Snape and Dumbledore looked at each other. "Draco, do you mind if I ask you a few questions?" Dumbledore asked. "All you have to do is say yes or no. Or, if you can't do that, simply nod or shake your head."
Dumbledore sat on the edge of the bed. Draco lowered his arms, too tired to try to hide himself any longer.
"Was it your father who spell-locked you?" Dumbledore asked gently.
Draco opened his mouth to say no but he could not speak, so he tried shaking his head instead. It worked. He couldn't speak of what had happened, but the spell didn't control his head movements.
Again, Draco shook his head.
"Was it a friend of your father?"
Draco nodded. His hair fell into his eyes and he shook it back.
"Did this friend also cause the scars on your back and chest?"
Draco nodded and raised his arm to show the skull burned into his skin.
Snape cursed and stood up. "It was Voldemort?" Professor McGonagall asked, moving closer to see the brand.
Dumbledore held his arm and peered closely at the brand. "This brand isn't like the other Dark Marks. The magic in it is different."
Draco jerked his arm back before Dumbledore could touch the brand. "I'm sorry, but I can't..." Draco held his arm close to his chest, using one hand to hide it from view.
"This mark was used for another purpose, wasn't it, Draco?" Snape asked, his voice cold with hate.
All he could do was nod again.
Snape ignored him and continued. "I saw the same magic used seventeen years ago at one of Voldemort's parties. They had a boy there about Draco's age and he was there to serve anyone's sexual needs. They brought him in kicking and screaming, but when Voldemort grabbed his arm and said a particular word, he became Voldemort's willing slave and anyone else's who touched the mark and knew the spell word. That will haunt my nightmares until I die. It wasn't the Imperius Curse but it was close; the boy could not refuse any command."
"What happened to him?" Draco asked softly, numb and sick.
Professor Snape stopped pacing. "He killed himself before I had the chance to rescue him or find a way to undo the spell. That I should see this mark on Lucius Malfoy's only son does not bring good news. I wonder how badly your father stepped out of line so that he had to sell his only son into that life."
"Draco, does any of that relate to what happened to you?" Dumbledore asked.
Professor McGonagall sat down next to Draco and patted him on the back softly. "I talked to Fred and George Weasley, and they repeated Goyle and Crabbe's conversation to me. I think I now know what they said that panicked Draco to the point where he couldn't breathe. I think Goyle and Crabbe know the keyword to this spell and shared it with the rest of their house to get back at Draco."
"Draco isn't safe in his House anymore," Dumbledore stated sadly.
"Not at all, and I also received a complaint from Mr. Croft this morning concerning the treatment of Draco's owl, Starfire."
"Draco, I'm assuming you had no control over taking care of your owl this summer, correct?" the older woman asked.
"Yes, I ..." Draco tried to say what happened and groaned in frustration. He tried a few combinations, but the words would not come out. He finally managed to say, "My mom's responsibility, I think; she's forgetful."
"So if I'm correct, the moment you stepped off the train, your father took you someplace new not telling you where you were going. Meanwhile, all your baggage went home and you did not see it until the day you boarded the train. Is this what happened?"
"Close enough," Draco managed to say. It was scary at how close Snape came to describing his father's deception.
"Is there anything you can do to help stop these panic attacks?" Draco asked hopefully.
The three adults fell silent, thinking. "The Sorting Hat can sort him into a new house. We can send someone to town to get books for Draco, and start him off on a clean slate. That should relieve most of the anxiety causing the attacks. And if they don't stop on their own, I have some calming potions in my workroom," Snape suggested.
"There is no need to go to town for books; I have a extra copy of all the books needed." Professor McGonagall offered.
Dumbledore was the last to speak. "I can work on breaking the spell-binding, Draco. If all of us keep on eye on Draco, we can protect him. Right now, Draco needs to get some rest and healing. Minerva, can you heal Draco's wounds?"
"Of course I can," she said primly.
"No, really, it's okay. My mom did a spell so I won't feel any pain and it's working for the most part." Draco complained. He did not want to spend a night in the creepy hospital.
"Come here, young man," Dumbledore ordered.
Draco stood up and followed Dumbledore to the end of the room. Dumbledore pulled a dark blue curtain open, revealing a silver-plated mirror. It dominated the far wall, reflecting back the entire hospital ward. Draco blinked, startled to see his image staring back at him.
Whip scars stood out white on his shoulder blades. Multiple burn marks on his thighs and chest, were an angry red. Bruises from the beating he took yesterday morning covered his arms, hips, and ribs. His shorts hung low on his hips and emphasized how much weight he had lost. Draco ran his hand over his ribs. Dumbledore's sad expression, humbling. Professor Snape and McGonagall were standing by the hospital bed, their faces also filled with pity.
Draco frowned and kept his head down, afraid to see his face and unable to stand the changes he might see. "Draco, you can't hide from yourself forever," Dumbledore said.
"I'm not hiding," Draco said and tossed his head, looking up at the mirror this time to face himself. His gray eyes had dark rings around them, his face was much thinner and paler than he remembered, his blonde hair was much longer -- never having gone three months without a cut, and the bruise on his face was a molted blue-black color with some purple shot through. He saw a stranger staring back. "This isn't me," Draco whispered, tracing the scars on his chest trying to remember who placed those particular ones there.
He saw Snape come up behind him in the mirror and realized that he was much taller now as well. He didn't quite believe it even when his clothes didn't fit. Draco reached over and pulled the rope to close the curtain. He didn't want to see himself in the mirror ever again. Thank God, the place he was held didn't have any mirrors. Could he have withstood watching his youth stripped away an inch at a time?
"Come on, Draco, let Minerva heal some of the damage." Snape led him back to the bed. Draco knew he should feel furious but was too numb to find that fury.
He climbed back into bed and lay down. Dumbledore was gone. "Draco, I need to know. Were you raped?" she asked gently.
Feeling another tear slid down the side of his face, Draco gave a small nod and wiped his cheek. He felt partially relieved when no one accused him of asking for it.
A hand brushed his forehead. "Draco, this may hurt for a minute because I have to take down the pain blocking spell to heal you," Professor McGonagall said, waving her wand over him.
Draco tried to prepare himself, but a thousand years couldn't have prepared him for all the pain rushing back in an instant. He whimpered and clutched the sheet under his hand, twisting it trying not to show any pain. Everything ached, felt hollow, raw, torn, and dirty. But as Professor McGonagall waved her wand over him, saying one healing spell after another, the aches dwindled, the burns stopped throbbing, and the aching and rawness between his legs went away. The only pain that remained was the brand on his arm.
Exhausted, Draco desperately wanted to sleep after Professor McGonagall finished healing him. The doors to the hospital wing opened again and Dumbledore strode in carrying the Sorting Hat. Without saying anything, Dumbledore placed the hat on top of Draco's head.
Draco couldn't see the hat's mouth open the words, but the voice was familiar and comforting. "Hmmm. Not a new student, but a much-changed student. Draco Malfoy, I remember you, the perfect Slytherin; however, not anymore. Too much change requires a new house. A more fitting house for you to fit your new self is Gryffindor!"
"Gryffindor! You're joking! They hate me," Draco protested, horrified.
"Thank you, hat," Dumbledore said and plucked the black hat from Draco's head. He rotated the hat a few times in his hands before he spoke again, "Draco, the hat chose that house for a reason: yes, they may hate you, but of all the houses, you will be safest there."
"Tomorrow we'll see about moving you to your new house. Tonight you can sleep here safely. The hospital is protected by spells," Dumbledore said, matter-of-fact.
Professor Snape pulled back the blanket on the bed and covered him with it.
"Here, I grabbed an extra blanket in case you get cold, Mr. Malfoy," Professor McGonagall said, coming back over to the bed carrying a folded comforter.
Draco rested his head back against the pillows and pulled the sheet and blanket up to his chin, watching the older woman gently place the extra blanket at the end of the bed while still holding Starfire in one arm. Draco resisted the urge to bury his head in the clean-smelling sheets. By the time, she finished pulling the extra blanket chest high, Draco was struggling to stay conscious, afraid to fall asleep.
"Dumbledore, may I stay and watch over Draco?" Professor Snape asked in a low voice. "I know the students in the Slytherin House -- they are clever and I don't want to take any chances."
Dumbledore nodded his head after a few minutes of thought. "Very well, Severus, it's not a bad idea at all. We'll dim the lights on our way out."
"Good night, Draco." Professor McGonagall said gently and smoothed his blonde hair away from his eyes. "I'll take care of Starfire for the night."
"We'll see you later, Draco. Sleep well."
With that, Dumbledore and Professor McGonagall walked out of the hospital wing. At the door, Dumbledore said something and the lights dimmed. Draco could make out Professor Snape's body as the older man readied himself for bed in the hospital bed next to his.
Trusting Professor Snape with his life, Draco fell asleep.
In his dream, Draco was riding home in his family's magic non-Muggle car. Draco told his father about the school year and about the Tri-Wizard tournament, not noticing his father's silence. They reached the mansion mid-afternoon just in time for afternoon tea with his mother. However, there was another car waiting in their driveway.
The car came to a slow stop and Draco reached for the door handle, but his father stopped him and said, "Draco, you're not coming home this summer. Instead, you are going to a friend's place to serve him. Try to think of it as a summer job." Lucius Malfoy opened his door and stepped outside into the bright afternoon sunshine.
Annoyed and disbelieving, Draco climbed out the car after his father. "But Dad, what about our vacation trip? I thought we were going to New York to see that coven of witches you raved about over Christmas break?"
His father turned his cold glance towards him and Draco felt a chill go to his heart. Maybe his Divination professor was right in telling him he would not have a fun summer. "Draco, things have changed and contracts have been signed."
It was then that Draco noticed the tall dark-haired man standing next to the other vehicle in their driveway. "Lucius, he's even more handsome than I expected. Won't you introduce us?"
"Draco. Meet your new master and owner, Lord Voldemort," his father said without hesitation.
Voldemort raised his skeleton-like hand and beckoned Draco to come to his side.
"What?" Draco said in disbelief. "I don't understand? I'm my own person, Father, no one is going to own me." Draco took a step back from Voldemort's outstretched hand, shivering in fear at his daring, knowing Voldemort did not hesitate to use any of the three forbidden curses.
"Dad, I want to stay here, at home, with mom and you."
Voldemort laughed. "You can't, you foolish boy. Your father isn't going to sacrifice his life to spare your honor. It's been a long time since I've had companionship; your company is all that keeps me from killing both your parents for betraying me and not helping me these last fifteen years. Now slave, get in my car."
Draco shook his head in horror before he turned and ran, knowing that whatever Voldemort had planned was not going to turn out well for him. Five feet from the edge of the drive, his body locked up and he fell hard on the gravel, skidding to a stop. His arms got scraped and burned. The spell prevented him from cursing or screaming for help, or using his arms or legs to fight back.
"Lucius, get him in my car. I'll have someone return him before his train leaves for Hogwarts," Voldemort ordered, his red baleful eyes rich with derision.
Draco's father turned him over and yanked him to his feet, not caring that he grabbed his scratched arm and dug more gravel into the wound. Tears of pain filled Draco's eyes as his father picked him up and carried him to the black vehicle, not once showing an ounce of remorse. He was placed in the back seat next to the already-seated Voldemort. His head was placed on Voldemort's lap, while his feet were shoved in and bent so the door could be slammed shut.
"Lucius, take his wand," Voldemort said, grabbing Draco's wand from his belt and holding it out through the window. Draco tried to protest: not his wand. He needed his wand, but he couldn't move his lips.
His eyes turned to the driver of the car, hoping that maybe this person would help him but Voldemort had a zombie driving his vehicle for him. Rotting flesh stuck to the steering wheel as the zombie shifted gears in the car. The smell grew worse in the car with the windows rolled up.
Draco struggled to stay calm: after all, if Harry Potter could face Voldemort and come back alive and sane, so could he. But then he remembered seeing Potter's pale and bruised body falling flat on the ground, one hand holding onto the dead body of Cedric, the other holding the Tri-Wizard cup. Draco remembered Potter's green eyes that never quite lost their haunted gaze for the rest of the school year.
Draco tried to move his head and didn't succeed until Voldemort shifted his legs. He felt those long bony fingers caressing his neck, and couldn't help but stare up into the pale face, with red eyes and strange nostrils.
"I never knew Lucius would have such a beautiful son. Still so young; too bad I was not resurrected two years ago. Boys age so quickly and soon you won't be as attractive anymore. I knew I had to have you as soon as I saw your picture on the mantel." Voldemort's voice was silky and creepy.
Not knowing what horrible torture Voldemort planned for him, Draco moaned and tried not to pass out from hyperventilating.
"Of all my supporters, Lucius managed to breed true. You'll make a fine addition to my growing household. I'm sure with proper training you can be of good use." Voldemort's skeletal hands continued their exploration of his body and Draco moaned again, disgusted and afraid.
When those hands opened his robes and slid through to touch his chest, pinching his nipples, Draco whimpered, too scared to feel ashamed of the weak sounds were coming from him.
"Shhh ... Relax. Don't worry, Draco, I won't damage you, much. Besides, you might find you enjoy my games after all."
Draco doubted he would learn to enjoy anything Voldemort had to teach; everywhere Voldemort's hands touched felt dirty, like rotting flesh stuck to his skin, and nothing Draco did could break the spell holding him frozen. He wanted to scream, don't touch me.
Slowly, Voldemort stripped him of his clothing. First, hard shoes, socks, then Voldemort carefully unbuttoned his shirt and peeled it back and down his arms, leaving his chest bare. His belt buckle did not slow the older man down at all. As each piece of clothing fell to the floor, Draco's heart pounded faster and Voldemort's breathing grew heavier in the stuffy car.
Fear began to overwhelm him as his last item of cover was taken off and he was laid bare for Voldemort. Draco thought he was going to die from humiliation and shame. He could not evade the bony fingers that were ... shaking him ... shaking him.
"Draco wake up. Wake up, you're having a nightmare." Draco flinched from the hand on his shoulder.
The hand withdrew, to Draco's relief. Draco's pillow was wet with tears, his nose was running, and his sheets were damp with sweat. Blinking his eyes open, he saw Professor Snape sitting on the edge of his bed. It was just a dream, Draco thought, with relief and some horror. He hadn't thought of that first day in such a long time. Molestation in the car was nothing in comparison to Voldemort's other idea of entertainment: torture.
"Are you all right? Do you want me to get you a glass of water?" Snape asked sleepily.
Sniffing back fresh tears, Draco nodded his head, once. Snape patted his arm before standing and walking out of the room. After Professor Snape left, Draco let himself sob into his pillow, knowing that the burning fear in his heart would never go away.
The terror of his helplessness overwhelmed him. Draco forced himself to remember his vow to become the most powerful wizard in the world and destroy Voldemort once and for all.
Snape's footsteps returning calmed Draco. Snape was a powerful wizard; nothing bad could happen as long as Snape was there, Draco believed with all his heart. Draco sat up and wiped his eyes removing traces of his tears. The glass of chilled water felt good. Snape took the glass from him when he finished and set it on the stand next to the bed.
"Can you talk about your dream?" Snape asked, keeping a safe distance between them, much to Draco's relief.
"It was my first meeting with You-Know-Who, he ... he ... " Draco tried to speak past the block and almost sobbed in frustration when he couldn't say more.
"My dad gave me to him and he hurt me," Draco managed to say by thinking of someone else. It worked but it hurt his head.
Professor Snape shifted closer and put one hand on his shoulder. "You're strong, Draco, and you'll get past this, just give it time. You know if you ever need me, I'll be there to help you, even if I'm not the head of your house anymore. Try to get some more sleep. I'm here to protect you."
Draco lay back down and tried to return to sleep but he kept seeing Voldemort's red eyes in the dark corners of the room.
Eventually, too exhausted to stay awake any longer, Draco fell into a dreamless sleep.