The standard disclaimer applies, only the plot is mine.

This is a departure from my normal style of writing. I needed to exorcise this plot bunny (actually more of a plot werewolf considering the content). Bear with me please.

There are many types of hate and Draco Malfoy knows them all, because he feels them all.

There is the abstract hate he feels for Muggles, Mudbloods, and Half-bloods. He doesn’t know many of them but he hates them all in a detached way; they are contemptible and beneath his notice other than to hex and curse.

Then there is the almost intellectual hate he feels for Dumbledore, McGonagall and most of the professors at Hogwarts. He cannot understand why they do not allow the Dark Arts to be taught, and why they do not accept the superiority of Purebloods … it is beyond his comprehension and he hates not understanding.

And then there is the intensely personal, visceral hate he feels for Potter, Weasley and Granger. Oh, this hate threatens to consume him at times, it makes him almost lightheaded as he stares at Pothead, Weasel and the Mudblood, a red haze in his eyes as he imagines the terrible things he wants to do to them.

He can deal with most of the hate he feels because it does not really affect him, the inner him, the being that is intrinsically Draco Malfoy. But the hate that he feels for the Golden Trio … that he cannot deal with. At night, he lies in his bed and trembles with the force of that hate, and slowly he comes to realize that he hates that hate most of all.

He starts to analyze, to intellectualize, to pick apart this hate he has for them, trying to understand why it takes up so much of his being.

Does he hate Harry Potter because he rejected his offer of friendship so long ago, because he always, always, beats him to the Snitch, or because he is the one everyone admires rather than Draco?

Does he hate Ron Weasley because he is the one Harry Potter chose as a friend, because he has a family that accepts him the way he is without hesitation, or because he has a sense of purpose that Draco cannot fathom?

Does he hate Hermione Granger because she is a Mudblood, because she is the pet of almost every teacher at Hogwarts, or because she is smarter than Draco will ever be?

He doesn’t know the answer to those questions, and it bothers him, worries him, makes him feel uneasy, and almost sick … how has his life been taken over by his hate for these three people?

Draco believes that he loves his mother and his father, but what he feels for them is no longer the blind love, the trusting love of a child. He understands that his mother is torn between her love for his father and her hatred of the life he has made for them. He knows that she will be pulled under by her conflicting emotions, and will perish if nothing changes.

He understands that his father has been changed, been warped by his own hate for Muggles, Muggle-lovers, and those who do not accept the superiority of the Malfoys. His father’s service to the Dark Lord is not one of loyalty but of blind ambition and revenge, yet all it has earned him is a cell in Azkaban.

Does he want to be like his parents? No … he does not want to be compelled to do things because his hate blinds him to everything else. He wants to be himself, not ruled by his hate; he wants to have a choice in what his life will be. This is his final year at Hogwarts and he knows that soon he will be expected to make certain choices – he wants them to be his own.

And so, in the dead of the night, Draco makes a decision. He will overcome this hate; he will somehow control it and not let it control him. But he does not know how, and he realizes he needs help to do so. The question is who … who can help him overcome this? None of his so-called friends, he knows that instinctively … they are as bound by family and tradition as him.

Who does he know or know of that has overcome this type of hate? And then he has it … Ginny Weasley, the small sister of Ron who managed to overcome the specter of being possessed by Lord Voldemort in her first year. Few know that she was possessed; he only knows because his mother let it slip as she bitterly ranted about his father and his imprisonment in Azkaban.

Perhaps she can help him, this slip of a girl who held the Dark Lord at bay for so long. Perhaps she can help him to take that first important step to no longer be controlled by his hate.

But will she do it? She has no reason to help him, after all. In fact, she has many reasons to curse him into oblivion, and has shown no hesitation in doing so when threatened in the past. He still winces when he thinks of that evening in Umbridge’s office, when his dreams of finally besting Potter disappeared in a flurry of Bat Bogeys and pain.

Whether she wants to or not, he will seek her out tomorrow and somehow make her help him. He falls asleep, his sense of purpose driving out the blood red dreams of hate he normally has, and for once, his face is peaceful as he sleeps.

The next morning he awakes, for once feeling rested and at ease. It comes to him, his decision of last night, and he gets showered and dressed quickly, eager to put his plan into motion. Of course, his plan is still nebulous, not yet fully formed … it will not be easy to convince Ginny Weasley that she should help a Malfoy.

He goes down to the Great Hall, shadowed as usual by Crabbe and Goyle who follow him more from habit than from any sense of friendship. He would ditch them in a moment if he could, but they would find him and follow, needing his guidance to get through their day without mishap. He accepts their presence as he accepts the fact that he is a Malfoy … it simply is, and he cannot change it.

Once in the Great Hall, he spies his target and sits at the Slytherrin table where he can keep her in his sight. She is hard to miss with that fiery head of hair, similar yet different to that of her brothers. She’s sitting with a group of friends, and her laughter can be heard clear across the Hall … his stomach clenches at the sound and he is overwhelmed by a deep envy that she can be so carefree.

He ignores Crabbe and Goyle, shakes off Pansy, and dismisses Zabini with a curt nod – he cannot be distracted this morning. Finally she rises from the Gryffindor table and leaves with a cheery wave to her friends. Perfect, he thinks, she’s leaving alone and if he leaves now as well, he can intercept her on her way to class.

When Crabbe and Goyle move to leave with him, he mutters a terse command to stay and quickly exits the Hall, only a few paces behind her. He keeps to the shadows, not ready to reveal his presence until just the right time. She seems oblivious to his following her, as she walks with determined steps to the stairway to the dungeons. Her next class must be Potions, he thinks, and moves quickly to intercept her in the corridor near an empty classroom.

Ginny Weasley is lost in her thoughts as she walks towards her first class of the day, Potions. Her friends had been horrified when she decided to continue with Potions after fifth year, aghast that she would deliberately choose to spend time with Snape in the dungeons. Ginny knows that they think her balmy but she really doesn’t care … she’s very good at Potions and she needs the NEWT level to pursue her chosen career as a Healer. Snape is as miserable to her as he was to her brothers but she ignores this most of the time … he cannot escape the fact that her marks put her at the top of her year.

She is caught by surprise when a hand reaches out and grabs her arm in a strong grip, pulling her into an alcove off the corridor. Malfoy, she realizes, and goes for her wand instinctively. He pushes her against the wall, one arm going immediately to hold the hand with her wand immobile, one hand against her mouth, rendering her speechless. They stare at one another for a long moment, neither able to move lest the other gain an advantage, and suddenly Draco realizes how deadly hate can be.
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