Author's Note: So you may have seen this hanging out on AO3. (I'm cross posting.) I just finished this story after nearly a decade of poking at it. It's melancholy, weird, prose-y piece. It was intended to be funny, but that didn't happen. Anywho, I have it all done, all 18 chapters. I'll post every day or so. (Maybe sooner if a get feedback, lol.)

I hope you enjoy!


September 1991

Blue.

"...who would have thought..."

His tie was-

"...was a Death Eater..."

-blue and bronze and blue. He was-

"...to Azkaban, but no he..."

-a Ravenclaw. How-

"...nothing good can come from being that rich."

His mental fog cleared as the whispers around him grew more vicious. The older boy sitting across from him was glaring at him, his eyes boiling with something Draco couldn't name. Was that what hate looked like? No one had ever hated him before (at least he hadn't noticed). He was a pureblood. He was a Malfoy. His father said-

His father wasn't there.

"Your father is a lying, murdering git."

Draco couldn't stop his eyes his eyes from widening in alarm. "My father-

"Is a murderer. He killed people, tortured them."

Draco couldn't process the boy's words. His father told him how to be. His father sometimes held his mother's hand (even in public). His father sometimes smiled just for him and tousled his hair (in front of people).

What did this boy know about his father? He was probably a muggle-born. Mudblood, he could hear his father's icy tones, there was no room for politeness when dealing with the impure. Though his mother had almost made to frown.

"What's it to you?" he snapped, his voice only shook a little. He wasn't brave, but he was mean. Just like his parents showed him: cold, pure, mean.

(But all he was was scared and alone and blue.)

The boy's eyes grew hotter and Draco wished he wasn't too proud to look away. "Death eaters killed my dad and they raped my mom."

Rape? What did that even mean? His mother had mentioned it once, but she hadn't known he could hear and she been whispering so quietly and she hadn't seen him listening and- "It wasn't him." His father wasn't bad. He was a Malfoy; and Malfoys weren't bad. "It wasn't." Draco didn't believe in God or fate, but he believed in his father. Sometimes his father said things (cold things, dark things, bad things). But that didn't matter. (Didn't, didn't, didn't.)

The boy just smiled, but it wasn't a nice smile. Of course, Draco had seen them before (mean smiles). He had one (his father's was better, his mother's the best). But no one had ever used one on him. He didn't like it.

"Knock it off, Adam," the girl next to the boy (Adam) snapped, disrupting the anger (the hatred) coming off the boy in waves.

Adam scowled at the girl. "Why should I? I'd hate to give him the impression that he's welcome here." He'd hate to. (Hate, hate, hate to.)

The girl absently flicked some her brown-red hair out of her face. "That's all well and good, but he's still a little kid. If you go around saying those kinds of things to him and he tells," sharp pause, "We could lose points or get detention."

Adam's jaw clenched as he swung his gaze back to Draco, his eyes narrowing, "Malfoy, wouldn't lose his own house points, Autumn. He wouldn't want to get us detention. Isn't that right, Malfoy. You wouldn't do that." But he said Malfoy all wrong. It wasn't supposed to sound like that (like it should be whispered, or not said at all).

Draco reminded himself to breathe and shook his head as calmly as he could. This boy, Adam, could get to him where he slept. He'd best try to appease him.

"I dunno, Adam," the boy on Adam's right said with a thoughtful expression. "What if he tells his parents?" The boy had dirty blond hair and a kind face, but his eyes were cold.

Draco swallowed nervously. He had been considering that, but he could tell by the darkening of Adam's face that it would not be allowed.

Adam laughed. The sound was small and vicious. He'd heard a laugh like that once. He'd been small and there were lots of people talking and talking and his mother crying, saying, 'Oh Bella' while his father said nothing and- "Well, I'm sure Draco will allow us to see all his letters before he owls them off. To proofread them. First years have such trouble with grammar and spelling and articulating things." Adam pinned him with a piercing stare (his eyes were blue, blue, blue). Draco nodded his agreement. He didn't have a choice.

There was no one to help him. He could feel all the stares full of anger and malice and cool, cold disinterest, but there was no hope. He wondered how many of them were half-bloods, muggle-borns (he dared not think the other term, they probably wouldn't like it).

His father used to tell him that those who weren't pure blooded were unnatural. That they were little more than animals and loved to eat children who misbehaved. He'd never really believed that, but as he looked up and down the Ravenclaw table (blue, blue, blue) a cold feeling swam through his guts and he was reminded of the time he was sure that something monstrous lived under his bed. His mother had held him and his father told him he had killed it (but he wasn't a murderer, he wasn't, wasn't, wasn't).

But they weren't there to help him. Blue didn't care about money or being pure. Blue was knowledge and knowing and remembering a time that no one talked about.

But he wasn't blue (wasn't, wasn't, wasn't) and he didn't know. He'd barely been alive. His parents hadn't told him. They didn't talk about that time.

He wanted to go home.
***

The next day he woke up hungry having forgotten to eat the night before. It had been very hard to fall asleep. Apparently, he'd insulted one of his dorm mates, Stephen Cornfoot, on the train. He couldn't remember doing it. Back on the train seemed like a lifetime ago. A time when he knew he'd have the backing of his father's name and childhood friends. A time when he was going to be a Slytherin, not a Ravenclaw. Green, not blue. Malfoys were always Slytherin, always.

Was he still a Malfoy? (Blue, blue, blue.) Maybe not.

His hunger had him up before any of the boys sleeping around him, their blue curtains drawn closed. He didn't want them to see him, not that he was scared (blue and scared and blue). He showered and dressed in under fifteen minutes. Normally it took him longer, but he couldn't bring himself to care about his hair.

The common room was empty so he noticed it better. It had been so hard to see anything the night before. He'd only been able feel. (Blue, blue, blue.) The walls were covered in blue silk and the windows were larger than they had any reason to be. The ceiling was charmed to look like the nighttime sky. It twinkled down at him. The stars seeming much friendlier than any of his follow Ravenclaws (but they weren't really his fellows, he wasn't really a Ravenclaw).

His eyes found a constellation long and twisting. Draco. But that didn't mean he belonged in that tower. That dragon had only been placed in the sky after it was killed. Its body banished to the night. That thought almost had him running out of the common room and down the stairs, but he managed to make his feet move slowly because Malfoy's didn't panic (where anyone could see).

No one else was in the Great Hall when he sat at end of the Ravenclaw table closest to the door. A diligent house elf was quick to bring out some food. The elf didn't ask him what he wanted, but he supposed that didn't matter. All the food tasted like ash and disappointment and fear.

"Starting your day early, Mr. Malfoy?"

Draco blinked as he recognized the stern voice from the night before. Professor McGonagall. He hadn't even heard her approach. Eventually he nodded. Draco Malfoy. He was Draco Malfoy.

She nodded, a smile touching her lips. "Can't say I don't approve. Just remember to get enough sleep."

Draco just stared at her mute.

But his eyes must of said something (his father's never did). He saw her face cloud in what he thought was concern. "Everything is alright for you in your house?" she asked hesitantly like she knew. She probably did.

Blue, blue, blue.

"It's fine." Because Malfoys didn't ask for help. Maybe he would have (Adam's angry blue eyes flashed through his mind) but that wasn't an option. Not anymore.

Her lips flattened like she wanted to say something, but then she shook her head. "Well, if you're sure," a careful pause, "You should go see Mr. Flitwick and get your schedule. His office is on the seventh floor. Most students won't be down here for an hour yet."

He just nodded and kept his eyes away from her face. She could see and he didn't like it.
***

Flitwick was nice and cheerful and Draco knew his father wouldn't have liked him. Lucius Malfoy didn't think it seemly to be so openly jovial. Draco couldn't force himself to mind.

He had History of Magic in the first morning block and double Charms in the afternoon. That didn't sound too bad. He thought perhaps he would make it through the day.

As he climbed the stairs back to the common room he marveled at the amount of steps there were. There hadn't seemed so many going down and he didn't remember walking up them at all the night before (someone had kindly kept him distracted the whole time by trying to trip him). He supposed he would be in great shape by the end of the year.

"What three letters make a man out of a boy?"

Draco started and almost fell back down the stairs. Then he remembered. To get in he had to answer a riddle. He eyed the brass knocker warily.

He frowned and ran the question through his head again. 'What three letters make a man out of a boy?' What did make a boy a man? His father said men were proud and strong and contained, but all those words had more than three letters. Both boy and man were three letters long. Did that mean anything?

What three letter words did he know?

Boy. Man. Sad. Cry. Blue-wait that wasn't right. Not. Fun. Son. Dad. Mom. Home-that had four letters. Toe. Eat. Ash. Elf. Hat. Blue, blue, blue.

Lie.

He was getting a headache. It wasn't fair. It shouldn't be happening. He didn't belong there. He didn't want to. (What good would that do?)

The knocker, thinking Draco had forgotten the question, repeated itself, but that didn't matter. He didn't know. He wasn't blue and it should know. (Maybe it did.)

Cat. Bat. Dog. Rat.

Blue.
***

No one let him in and he missed both History of Magic and Charms, He didn't go to lunch or dinner. And he did not solve the riddle. Everyone who entered would whisper their answer so he couldn't hear them. He sat on the stairs and didn't cry. Malfoys didn't do that (didn't, didn't, didn't).

It was cold and dark when Flitwick found him sitting there and told him the answer. 'Age' he said, 'Age is what turns a boy into a man.' His eyes full of understanding (because he was blue and he should know).

Draco curled into a ball on his bed and wished he was older. Then maybe everything wouldn't be so hard.