Hey so, I guess that I've joined Hogwarts School of Witchcraft & Wizardry (Challenges & Assignments) now. I guess it's kind of an attempt to not fall off of the face of the earth for months on end (again). Whoops. So, for the class of Herbology, where the first prompt is to "Write about a character who is extremely possessive towards another character. You must also write about the possessed character escaping the relationship, or being released freely." A quick glance at the entries showed me that most were taking a romantic direction with the stories, which of course is an easy one to take. But possessiveness isn't a solely romantic thing, so I'm going to try to be different (this is NOT me bashing the already admitted stories, this is just me trying to go a different way with the prompt.

I'm working (well, I say working, I haven't typed anything yet) on my second prompt for the Restricted Challenge. So yeah, there are a few things to look forward to (unless you hate my writing, that is). Anyway, enjoy!

Control

When it had first started, he'd been far too young to realize what was going on. Certainly too young to stop it, to protest. Either way, in the beginning it was minor enough to be considered normal, if slightly overbearing. So he'd been a good kid. He'd done what he was supposed to, and sometimes even more. It was fine. Really.

So what if he wasn't allowed to play with those Muggle children? Dad said they were filthy anyway. There wasn't any need when there were perfectly fine, untainted kids to be around. They were even nice, sometimes. Blaise and Theo became good friends of his, even if it was out of convenience rather than true choice. Even Crabbe and Goyle weren't horrible once you got used to them.

It was the Parkinson girl that he didn't like. Not that his parents cared, forcing the two on many a play date while the adults talked about boring adult things. She was mean and rude, in the subtlest of ways. She always had a sweet smile on in front of the older wizards, but the moment they were gone her eyes went cold. The smile remained, but it hid a venom that even snake's would envy. He'd seen it in action and avoided being its target. So he entered into a script with her, much like the one he'd gotten ensnared in with his parents. He smiled. He agreed. He laughed. He told them – and everyone else – exactly what they wanted and expected to hear. He was the perfect child. The perfect candidate for Slytherin.

Not that he'd ever been asked about what he wanted. Of course, he didn't really know that himself, but he was fairly sure that it wasn't Slytherin, if everyone there would be like his parents and Pansy. That would never be what he wanted. Still, though, he put on a show. He voiced his agreement for nearly everything his father said. He learned the rules of etiquette to appease his mother. He made fun of Mudbloods and Muggles with his friends. He perfected his performance, did it so well that he even sometimes fooled himself. Those were good times, when he slipped into the role, when he genuinely thought that, perhaps, this was him. This was what he wanted.

Then he'd run into that boy, in the robe store. He looked a little worse-for-wear, but since his parents weren't around he hadn't commented on it. Still though, his second nature of forced arrogance showed itself. He'd taken up nearly all of the conversation. He'd gone on and on about his knowledge in varied fields such as wands and brooms and Quidditch. The boy didn't seem to enjoy the conversation, but he ignored that, pleased to be speaking to someone other than his family and friends for once. Then he'd found out that the boy's parents were dead. A spark of sympathy flashed within him, but instinct took over allowing him to remain indifferent on the outside.

Then the boy was gone, before they'd even exchanged names. He couldn't miss the expression of relief on the kid's face as he rushed away, barely even listening to his offered farewell. It was for the best. Undoubtedly his parents would never have let him pursue a friendship with someone like that. Unless perhaps he wound up in Slytherin, which seemed unlikely. Later, he'd found out that the boy had been none other than Harry Potter, the Boy Who Lived, having found him in a compartment with a Weasley.

He hadn't wanted to insult the redhead, but his friends were nearby. And besides, the kid came from a family of blood traitors. His father had told him all about blood traitors and why they were so awful. So he'd done it. He'd insulted the boy and offered a hand of friendship to Harry Potter. He knew even as he did so that it would be refused. He was glad.

Rivalry sparked from that moment on. Constantly, he provoked and taunted Potter. It seemed like something he should do, so he did. His rival wouldn't have it and nearly always retaliated. It entertained his friends and that was all that mattered. If they were laughing – with him, not at him – then he was playing his part correctly. He wasn't foolish enough to believe his parents didn't have access to his actions. If he were to be their perfect Pureblood, it was a twenty-four seven job. Whether they were there in person or not.

So he pestered and ridiculed and jested at Harry Potter throughout their years at Hogwarts. He called the Granger girl a Mudblood and made fun of her appearance. He taunted Weasley about his family, his skills, anything that had the chance of getting on his nerves. It was fun. He couldn't believe it. He was having fun with this. Maybe this whole time his parents had been right? Maybe he'd just had to figure it out for himself. This was who he was. He'd made this revelation during fifth year, throughout all the chaos of nobody believing Harry Potter. He did. He'd be foolish not to, since his parents served the Dark Lord. He couldn't understand why Purebloods were so scared of it all. For halfbloods and Mudbloods it made sense, but for them? Only blood traitors need fear him. He was only preserving the old ways. Used to, most every witch or wizard was pure and removed from Muggles. The Dark Lord only wanted to restore things to the way they used to be.

So, when pressured by his parents, he'd easily succumbed. After all, he finally wanted this. The goal he'd been reluctantly working towards his whole life was now fully embraced. He was happy and sure of himself. He did everything the Dark Lord asked of him eagerly, always ready for his next request. Until his perfect fantasy was shattered. Kill him. Kill Dumbledore. Why was he upset? Dumbledore was one of the biggest advocates and supporters of Muggles anywhere. Taking him out would ruin the balance, tipping the scales to the Death Eaters' favor. It was an honor. His parents would do it gladly. His aunts and uncles would do it gladly. So he bit his tongue and accepted. Because really, what else could he do? If he refused, he would be showing ungratefulness. Best to just get it over with.

And he would have. He really would have. Dumbledore was right there. What should have been the deciding factor to his success actually started his downfall. The man was kind. Even knowing what he planned to do, what he would do. He was kind. He wasn't vicious or cruel. He maintained the same peaceful nature he always had. He'd offered him the one thing he'd never had the chance for. A choice. They would hide him, protect him. All he had to do was give the word. And it was tempting, so tempting. He nearly did. It made him hesitate, anyway, and then the moment was gone. He'd lost it. He'd lost the only choice he'd ever been given. Snape took it, killing Dumbledore swiftly. He watched his choice dissolve into the night, along with the life of its supplier.

After that he was whirled back into the world he'd grown accustomed to. Except it was different. Things had changed. He wasn't happy with it anymore. It was a dark and cold world where the people didn't care about anything, not really. The only hobby to be found was that of killing, of violence, of destruction. Perhaps the worst part of it was that he was one of them. That he had once enjoyed it all. Too late. The moment had passed. His only chance at choosing was gone. This was his life. His punishment for hesitating. He wished he could go back and accept the offer. Anything but this.

He'd barely been able to hold himself back as his aunt tortured Hermione. He could hear the shouts of Ron and Harry from below. If he could just slip away and free them… He didn't move. The perfect Pureblood wouldn't do that. His parents wouldn't do that. He had to be perfect. For them. He would watch the spectacle before him and enjoy it. Even if his heart wasn't in it. So he did. Not that it mattered, the group escaped through their own efforts. Every fiber of him cheered them on, while his exterior raged at the turn of events.

It was exhausting, being two things at once. He had to be the Slytherin prince. He wanted to be him. Just him. He just couldn't be both at once. It was maddening. He absolutely despised it. Though he couldn't bring himself to leave, he found little ways to rebel. Potterwatch, for one. He listened to each and every update he could, wishing for things to not be the way they were. Maybe if he'd taken the chance when he'd received it. Maybe, even further back, if he'd have told the Hat, anywhere but Slytherin. He'd looked into it in third year, with the Sirius Black incident. He was just like him. Family of pureblood Slytherins who hated Muggles. Except he'd been brave. He'd left for Gryffindor, for real friends, and, eventually, a real family.

He hadn't been that daring. He'd stayed where life had placed him. Desperately trying to convince himself that he was content. By the time he'd been forced to acknowledge his unhappiness, it was too late. He'd already been put on a downward spiral, started by his parents and egged on by non other but its victim.

A few years later, the war had ended. Voldemort had been defeated. His father went to Azkaban and his mother retreated into a shell. His friends all moved on, not changing a bit from their childish ways. He maintained pretenses for as long as he could. Until he couldn't.

It was the most inopportune time. He'd run into Loon – er, Luna – Lovegood in Diagon Alley. He kept quiet, but she didn't seem to feel the tension. She greeted him, uttering some nonsense about something or other. Habit wrestled to take over, like it always had. But he'd been working on it, attempting to free himself of its hold – of his parents' hold. He somehow managed to win this battle, returning her greeting. He thought that maybe she was shocked by his actions, but he'd never really known her all too well. Caution coated her words as she continued a somewhat subdued conversation with him. They talked for a while. It was… nice.

Maybe he'd spent seventeen years a puppet. Maybe he'd done a lot of things, hurt a lot of people. Maybe he'd burned a lot of bridges. But was to say that bridges can't be rebuilt? Surely they wouldn't be as strong or sturdy as before, but perhaps time could solve that. So there he sat, chatting and laughing with the blonde girl he'd always thought of as strange.

It was definitely time for a change of perspective, he decided.

The whole thing (minus the author's note and this part) ended up being 1,849 words. Which fits the limit of 600-3000 I was offered quite nicely. I hope you guys all enjoyed this. I hadn't initially planned on not using his name, but then decided I quite liked the effect. So that's how that happened haha. Sorry for any confusion on that end. Hopefully it was enjoyable, or, at the very least, bearable. I had a lot of fun with it anyway, which I hadn't really expected given my planning process (which lasted maybe a minute or two… I'm not much of a planner). I hope that I managed to do it justice…the idea was that Draco's parents had kind of a grip on him that took a war to remove. Thanks for reading!