Draco Malfoy walked quickly with his godfather, Severus Snape to the edge of the Hogwarts Wards. As was sensible, they'd headed towards Hogsmeade. Just a few paces beyond the gates, and they both disapparated to the edge of Malfoy Manor. One of Draco's ancestors had been a raging sadist, he thought, as they both walked along the broad cobblestone path towards the Malfoy Manor gates, which were themselves five hundred yards from the Manor itself. There was ostantatious (and the Malfoys were never gaudy), but this was just cruel. Or it would have been, were Draco and his Housemaster not in fine shape.
As it was, it was merely time-consuming and irritating.
Draco used the time well. He trained his will on returning to being the arrogant prat that his parents would remember - and cherish. He needed to be their perfect little son - the perfectly entitled one.
And why shouldn't he be?
He had riches, and a loving family, and even ...
Draco let his mind drift off dangerous thoughts, refocusing on the click-click of his mother's heels. It was a sound he'd longed for, as he grew up - his mother often went on shopping expeditions to France. His father's leather shoes were soft like a whisper.
Draco Malfoy used his familial ring to enter the gates, not ringing as a guest would. He entered as family ought to, without notice or leave. He then turned around and extended his hands to his godfather, "I bid thee welcome."
Snape disdained the normal greeting, instead, scooped Draco into a hug that felt more like an enveloping with black wool (it had been worse when he was younger, and nearly smothered).
With his mouth free of the black wool, Draco merely closed his eyes. As Snape stepped back, Draco Malfoy said in his usual drawl, "You don't have to greet me like that, you realize?" It was a dual strike - on the one hand, poking a bit at Snape's blood status and his lack of bone-deep knowledge of these things. On the other, it was mere adolescent whinging about being treated like a child. Draco liked to think he'd grown up in the past few months, but it was better to seem a bit more innocent - innocuous even.
Approaching the Manor, the first thing Draco noticed were the peacocks (the peahens had been banished to someplace where they'd be less noticeable, presumably Greyback liked his avians rare, and didn't much care what he ate, wolf-form or no). They clustered in little groups, rather than scattered about to feed.
Even Narcissa's beloved gardens were a travesty, a dozen years of care left to grow wild. New-Draco marked that as a useful place to disappear, should it be needed. Old Draco just wanted to wave his wand and fix it in an instant, nevermind what his Mum's wailing would be like.**
As a child, leaving Hogwarts and returning to Malfoy Manor was like going from nightfall to daybreak - the castle was dark and gloomy on the best of days, and that went double for dungeons. Malfoy Manor was white walls, and sunlight and crystal sparkling everywhere.*
The house hadn't changed, physically, but Draco could smell the fear, the haunted aspect of a bright place without shadows.*** Fear felt more natural, more normal at Hogwarts, where there were dark shadows that evil can hide in.
At Malfoy Manor, fear was that creeping feeling that someone was behind you, but when you turn around, no one's there.
Snape had apparently gotten out his shiniest black shoes, as they clapped loudly down the hallway. He was normally so quiet at Hogwarts...
"In the small parlor, I believe," Snape said.
Draco turned away from the formal dining room, feeling only a trace of chagrin. Of course his parents weren't using that.
Draco rushed ahead of Snape, opening the door to the parlor.
At the sight of him, his mother sprang out of her seat, embracing him with her frail and birdlike arms. "Draco!" she said, her voice reminding him of summers long ago.
He was home.
*To everyone else, this does feel cold. But he lived there, so it's home. A pretty white formal home, but still home.
**Narcissa would prefer to spend the time to tend every plant individually. (or by house elf proxy as the case may be).
*** You may feel free to point out that this requires non-point-source lighting.
[a/n: Okay, so maybe the talky stuff tomorrow? Leave a review - are you enjoying the Draco Perspective? Would you rather a look at Harry and the Weasleys next?]