Draco Malfoy sat in the Slytherin common room, surrounded by his housemates. He leaned back on one of the couches, his posture one of arrogant superiority as he smirked and chatted with the people around him.
This was what one would see if they were observing the scene from the outside. If you were in the mind of Draco Malfoy, though, you would see something completely different.
Harry Potter is dead, the boy repeated to himself in his mind. You should be ecstatic. He was a thorn in your side the entire year, he did nothing but insult you and try to make your life difficult. And, like his parents, he meddled in things which he had no right to poke his nose into, and he got himself killed. Serves him right. He got his hero status, saved the stone, but ended up dying of a fever due to magical exhaustion. How pathetic.
But another part of his mind was struggling to believe his own words. He wished he could go back to yesterday; yesterday had been so much simpler. Harry Potter had still been alive for him to hate, for him to insult, for him to mock. He could dislike the boy and have no scruples about it, he could smirk at his misfortune, he could rant and rave to his dormmates about what a little brat he was. But in the space of just one night, everything had changed.
All his life, he'd grown up hearing stories of Potter from his father. Lucius Malfoy had told him that the boy had somehow bamboozled the Dark Lord when he was fifteen months old. Potter had forever earned Lucius's hatred, for the older man had told Draco that the Dark Lord was the most powerful wizard in the world, and that he was on the road to becoming their savior. Under his rule, Mudbloods would no longer be free to pollute wizarding society with their foul, base, Muggle ways. The Purebloods would have everything they desired; the wizarding world would be theirs. And then Potter had gone and ruined it.
When Draco had learned that the boy was to be in his year at Hogwarts, he couldn't help but feel intrigued. An idea cemented itself in his mind: he would introduce himself to the boy and befriend him, and guide him down the path to greatness. If Potter learned the ways of the world from Draco, perhaps he would one day see how great the Dark Lord was, and instead of being known as the boy who defeated him, he'd be known as his right-hand man. What an irony of all ironies that would be to the wizarding world! And he, Draco Malfoy, would be responsible ... he had brimmed with excitement just thinking about it.
But everything had gone wrong. When he'd met Potter on the train, he'd been shocked to discover he was the same boy he'd met in Madam Malkin's at Diagon Alley. He was dismayed he remembered Potter's defense of Hagrid when Draco had told him his opinion of him. And the worst thing was, he was now hanging out with, of all people, a filthy weasel.
And sure enough, Draco's plans went right out the window when he'd held out his hand and told Potter he could help him meet the right people. He'd felt pure anger and indignation at the boy's response, and then, it looked like he and the weasel were about to fight him, Crabbe, and Goyle. Draco had been ready to fight, too; it had only been when the weasel's foul pet rat had bitten Goyle on the finger that all three boys had fled.
And from that point on, Draco Malfoy had hated Harry Potter with all his being, and it was clear that the other boy had felt the same way. They heckled and insulted each other at every chance they got, and Draco took every opportunity that was given to make the boy's life hell. How dare he refuse Draco's friendship and hang out with riffraff like the Weasels! And it became even worse when after Halloween, he'd accepted a filthy little Mudblood among his circle of friends. How dirty and disgusting!
But now, everything was different. Potter was no longer here to hate. There was no doubt that in a few days' time, he'd be six feet under the ground, never to be seen or heard from again. And even though he knew it shouldn't, this left Draco Malfoy floundering. The thought of Harry Potter, lying dead in Madame Pomfrey's hospital wing, was unfathomable.
"Hey, Malfoy, great news, isn't it?" a seventh-year Slytherin by the name of Darryl Hunt smirked as he came over to the couch Draco was sitting on. "You always despised Potter, didn't you? You can do whatever you want now without his little hero complex getting in the way. No more Harry Potter! This is truly a great day!" His smirk grew wider, lighting up his face as he put out his hand to high-five Draco.
"Yes, thank Merlin. I told him he'd end up just like his parents. It's not my fault he didn't listen to me," Draco sniggered, smirking back. From beside him, Crabbe and Goyle had identical looks of triumph on their visages.
But even as the words escaped Draco's mouth, he couldn't deny that there was a little voice inside his head arguing with them. Draco felt anger then why was the thought of the disgusting boy finally meeting his end bothering him so much? This should have been the happiest day of his life.
And as the morning passed, and he continued to talk to the people gathered around him as they went on with their vitriol against Harry Potter, Draco Malfoy realized the feeling brimming deep within his gut, a feeling he hated more than anything else: it was that of pure, deep uncertainty.