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Draco’s Diary (Part 4)

1st September 1996:

For the rest of the holidays, Mother was quite relaxed and as a result, I was too. Aunt Bellatrix had started teaching me Occlumency. Emptying yourself of emotions was proving to be very difficult. The Dark Lord has been using some other place for his meetings, thankfully. Greyback kept bringing me reports of Borgin’s progress with the Cabinet regularly. It wasn’t very promising.

I said goodbye to Mother and gave her a quick hug. All the non-Slytherins parents and students were staring at us. But I didn’t lose control. I had expected this and by the looks of it, so had Mother. I jumped onto the train and ran to the Slytherin carriage. Zabini, Crabbe and Goyle were there. “Zabini, Crabbe, Goyle.” I addressed them. “Malfoy.” They answered back. Just then, Parkinson came in. “Draco!” she squealed. She hugged me and I returned it half-heartedly. “Is something the matter, Draco?” she frowned.

            “Oh, um, nothing, just feeling a bit under the weather.” I murmured.

            “Oh, no! Tell me if you feel worse, all right?”

            “Fine.” I said, trying to keep the irritation out of my voice.

            Soon, the compartment started filling.

            Parkinson had started telling everyone about her vacation in France, where some of her relatives lived. Apparently, she’d went to see the French Ministry of Magic which was located in Paris. It was supposed to be very beautiful. Then someone knocked on the door. “Come in.” I said. A timid looking second year entered. “H-Hello, I’m s-supposed to deliver this to a-a Mr. Blaise Zabini.” She held out a piece of parchment tied with violet ribbon. “That’d be me.” Blaise said. He opened the parchment and read it. “Oh goodness.”

            “What’s the matter?” I asked.

            “Read it,” he said with a disgusted expression on his face and threw it towards me.

Blaise, it read,

            I would be delighted if you join me for a bite of lunch in compartment C.

            Sincerely, Professor H.E.F. Slughorn.

            “Slughorn?! What is he doing here? I thought he’d retired!” I exclaimed.

            “Who is Slughorn?” Parkinson asked.

            “He’s a Potions professor.” I answered.

            “Why’s he come out of retirement?” she asked again.

            “How am I supposed to know?” I replied, feeling extremely annoyed now.

            She looked a bit offended but didn’t say anything regarding it. Blaise left with a surly expression. Parkinson then proceeded to ask everyone about their O.W.L results. Crabbe and Goyle got just 3 O.W.L.s each. Parkinson got 7 O.W.L.s. Bulstrode got 5 O.W.L.s. Nott passed 4 of them. And Daphne Greengrass passed 8. I was very happy that I had the highest marks out of the Slytherins but I didn’t show off. ­Nearly everyone shared what they did in the vacations, except for Nott, Crabbe and Goyle for about an hour. I wondered who’d get the Defence Against the Dark Arts job. Probably Professor Snape as he’d be out of a job if he didn’t get the DADA one. Everybody quietened down. Some read books, some were going through the new textbooks, some were playing Gobstones. Time passed. I felt quite nervous about the mission. To distract myself, I reached up for my trunk and pulled out the Potions book ‘Advanced Potion-Making’ by Libatius Borage. I saw the table of contents. They all seemed difficult. An Elixir to Induce Euphoria and Draught of Living Death! They were supposed to be reallydifficult potions. When I looked up, it was getting dark. I wondered how long Zabini was going to be. And just then, he entered. He wasn’t able to shut the door. “What’s wrong with this thing?!” he said angrily. Then somehow the door pushed open, hard. Zabini, still clinging onto the handle, toppled sideways into Goyle’s lap. I thought I saw something white flash in the middle of the air. When I looked back at them, Goyle and Zabini were snarling horribly at each other. Then, Goyle slammed the door shut and flung Zabini off him and the latter collapsed into his eat looking ruffled, Crabbe returned to his comic and sniggering, I laid back across two seats with my head in Parkinson’s lap. She stroked my hair off my forehead.

            “So, Zabini,” I said, “what did Slughorn want?”

            “Just trying to make up to well-connected people,” said Zabini, who was still glowering at Goyle. “Not that he managed to find many.”

            “Who else had he invited?” I demanded.

“McLaggen from Gryffindor,’ said Zabini.

“Oh yeah, his uncle’s big in the Ministry,” I said.

“– someone else called Belby, from Ravenclaw –“

“Not him, he’s a prat!” said Parkinson.

“– and Longbottom, Potter and that Weasley girl,” finished Zabini.

I sat up very suddenly, knocking Parkinson’s hand aside.

“He invited Longbottom?”

“Well, I assume so, as Longbottom was there,” said Zabini indifferently. “What’s Longbottom got to interest Slughorn?” Zabini shrugged.

“Potter, precious Potter, obviously he wanted a look at the Chosen One,”

I sneered, ‘but that Weasley girl! What’s so special about her?’

“A lot of boys like her,’ said Parkinson. ‘Even you think she’s good-

looking, don’t you, Blaise, and we all know how hard you are to please!”

“I wouldn’t touch a filthy little blood traitor like her whatever she looked

like,” said Zabini coldly, and Parkinson looked pleased. I sank back across her lap and allowed her to resume the stroking of his hair.

“Well, I pity Slughorn’s taste. Maybe he’s going a bit senile. Shame, my

father always said he was a good wizard in his day. My father used to be a bit of a favourite of his. Slughorn probably hasn’t heard I’m on the train, or –“

“I wouldn’t bank on an invitation,” said Zabini. “He asked me about Nott’s

father when I first arrived. They used to be old friends, apparently, but when he heard he’d been caught at the Ministry he didn’t look happy, and Nott didn’t get an invitation, did he? I don’t think Slughorn’s interested in Death Eaters.”

I was angry, but forced out a humourless laugh. “Well, who

cares what he’s interested in? What is he, when you come down to it? Just some stupid teacher.” I yawned ostentatiously. “I mean, I might not even be at Hogwarts next year, what’s it matter to me if some fat old has-been likes me or not?”

“What do you mean, you might not be at Hogwarts next year?’ said

Parkinson indignantly, ceasing grooming me at once.

“Well, you never know,’ I said. ‘I might have – er – moved on to bigger

and better things.”

            Everyone was either gawping at me or had a look of curiosity upon their face. Parkinson resumed stroking my hair, looking dumbfounded.

            “Do you mean — Him?

            I shrugged. “Mother wants me to complain my education, but personally, I don’t see it as important these days. I mean, think about it… when the Dark Lord takes over, is he going to how many O.W.L.s or N.E.W.T.s anyone’s got? Of course he isn’t… it’ll be all about the kind of service he received, the level of devotion he was shown.”

            “And you think you’ll be able to do something for him?” asked Zabini scathingly. “Sixteen years old and not even fully qualified yet?”

“I’ve just said, haven’t I? Maybe he doesn’t care if I’m qualified. Maybe the job he wants me to do isn’t something that you need to be qualified for,” I said quietly.

Everyone was absolutely surprised. “I can see Hogwarts,” I said, relishing the effect I had created. “We’d better get our robes on.”

Goyle reached up for his trunk; as he swung it down, I heard a gasp of pain and I looked up the luggage rack, frowning. It was probably a voice I had imagined and let it pass and pulled on my robes, locked my trunk and fastened a thick travelling cloak around my neck. But as I was putting them on, I connected the dots. The white flash and the gasp of pain. Someone could be spying on us.

“You go on,” I told Parkinson, who was waiting for him with her hand held out as though hoping he would hold it. “I just want to check something.” She left.

Petrificus Totalus!” I yelled, pointing at the luggage rack.

And sure enough, someone was spying on us. Who could that someone be but Potter?

“I thought so,” I said jubilantly. “I heard Goyle’s trunk hit you. And I thought I saw something white flash through the air after Zabini came back…” My eyes lingered a moment upon Potter’s trainers. “That was you blocking the door when Zabini came back in, I suppose?”

“You didn’t hear anything I care about, Potter. But while I’ve got you here…”

And I stamped hard on Potter’s face. I heard his nose break and saw blood spurting everywhere.

“That’s from my father. Now, let’s see…”

I dragged the cloak out from under Potter’s immobilised body and threw it over him.

“I don’t reckon they’ll find you till the train’s back in London,” I said quietly. “See you around, Potter… or not.

And taking care to tread on Potter’s fingers, I left the compartment.

As I went outside, I saw Crabbe, Goyle, Zabini and Parkinson waiting for me. We got ourselves a carriage and headed over to the gates. Filch opened them. He prodded us all with Secrecy Sensors, giving all the Slytherins some extra pokes. Goodness, the nerve of some people. Done with the check, we went to the castle. The Great Hall was as glorious as ever. The floating candles were my favourite part of the Hall. Parkinson started asking me what held me up. I told her to wait for everyone till every 6th year came. As everybody came, I started narrating the events. As I reached the nose-breaking part, I saw Potter come in with blood on his face. He looked incredibly idiotic. Every person on the table started laughing and clapping and I felt satisfied. That is what he deserves after putting my father in a cell on that horrendous island full of gloom and despair. Dumbledore did say something but I did not hear. I felt guilty. Guilty that he was going to be killed because of me. I wish I had gone to the good side before I came in this mess. The food appeared and I ate without heeding to what I was chewing. Dumbledore stood up and the Great Hall was silent at once.

“The very best of evenings to you!” he said, smiling broadly, his arms opened wide as though to embrace the whole room. I saw his hand. It was dead-looking and I felt quite nauseated. Everyone started muttering. I was levitating my fork and hardly paying attention. “Nothing to worry about,” he said airily. “Now … to our new students, welcome; to our old students, welcome back! Another year full of magical education awaits you …” I kept tuning in and out and kept staring at his hand.

“Mr Filch, our caretaker, has asked me to say that there is a blanket ban on any joke items bought at the shop called Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes. “Those wishing to play for their house Quidditch teams should give their names to their Heads of House as usual. We are also looking for new Quidditch commentators, who should do likewise.

“We are pleased to welcome a new member of staff this year. Professor Slughorn,” Slughorn stood up, his bald head gleaming in the candlelight, his big waistcoated belly casting the table below into shadow, “is a former colleague of mine who has agreed to resume his old post of Potions master.”

“Potions?”

“Potions?”

“Professor Snape, meanwhile,” said Dumbledore, raising his voice so that it carried over all the muttering, “will be taking over the position of Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher.”

All the Slytherins started applauding and Snape raised a lazy hand in acknowledgement to our clapping.

And then I was lost in my thoughts about how I’d kill Dumbledore, how Borgin would give me instructions for fixing the Cabinet, how Greyback could send me reports. I woke up from my thoughts when I heard the screeching of the benches, I went to the dungeons. I didn’t know what the password was, though. Just then, Parkinson came hurrying up and said, “The password is Serpentem Vectem!” “Thanks,” I said back. I hurried into my dormitory and unpacked my trunk and put on my night suit. Aunt Bellatrix told me to empty myself of all emotion and thought. It took some time but I did it in the end. I pulled the covers and went to sleep. What seemed like a second later, I was having a nightmare. My parents were being tortured; they were screaming, and I was just standing, watching them. I woke up, panting heavily. I got up, went to the far end of the dormitory, felt for the jug and poured myself a glass of water. It’s okay, it’s okay, it was just a nightmare, that wasn’t real, I consoled myself. i went back to bed and I slept after just a few minutes.

-Know more about Occlumency: https://www.wizardingworld.com/features/a-guide-to-occlumency

-Know more about Azkaban: https://www.wizardingworld.com/writing-by-jk-rowling/azkaban

Written by – Snigdha Tiwari

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