Dad was never afraid. In all of the stories he told James, Lily, and I, never did he falter or stutter. He was never afraid of failing, or being killed. Dad was so brave, and was the poster boy of Gryffindor. I think it was because I look so much like him that I was so afraid of not being as brave as he was. I never was brave, I too often second-guessed myself to be strong and courageous.
But, running down the staircase of Malfoy Manor, I felt no fear.
Hazel and Scorpius rushed behind me, and as we came closer to the ground floor the fight grew clearer. I took one step off the stairs, and was ready to barge into the dining room, where I knew the adult Malfoys were.
“Wait, Albus!” Hazel said softly. She grabbed my shoulders and turned me around. Her grey eyes were serious. “Are you really going to stand up to them? Because, remember. Lucias and Narcissa are not like my parents. They are actually real Death Eaters. They could really hurt you if you rile them up.” Scorpius didn’t say anything, he only nodded beside his twin’s shoulder.
I shook my head. “Whenever someone says Malfoys are horrible or evil, you two are always defending your family. I have to do that now.”
“You have to?” asked Scorpius. “Are you just doing this because you want to be a hero?”
“No,” I hissed. I took a step closer to the heavy wooden doors that led into the dining room. “I’m doing this because I won’t let Lucias and Narcissa insult my family.” I flung open the doors, and Hazel and Scorpius squeaked.
The shouting ceased, and all four Malfoys stared at me. I felt Hazel come up behind me, and stand next to me.
Lucias and Narcissa stood across from Hazel’s parents, as intimidating and powerful as my father’s stories had ever made them to be.
Hazel’s mother spoke first. “Albus, honey, what are you doing here?” She motioned to Lucias and Narcissa with her hands.
Lucias curled his lip and took long strides to where Hazel and I stood. As he came closer I could see the Dark Mark on his forearm, and the feeling of bravery drained out of me. I swallowed as he stood a couple of feet away from me.
“You stand there in the house of pure-bloods like you have a right to be here,” he began, and I cut him off.
“I do have a right to be here,” I interrupted. “Hazel’s parents said it was okay.”
Lucias looked at his son. “Draco,” he said, voice soft. “Did you really give sanction for this, impurity to spend Christmas with us?”
Hazel’s father gazed steadily back. “Yes, I did,” he said.
“But that’s not the point,” I said. I took a step towards Lucias. “You cannot insult my family.”
He sneered. “You think that you can just come and tell me that?”
“I don’t think I can. I am,” I said. “I’m also telling you that you are a vile person. You, Lucias Malfoy, are what makes your children and grandchildren suffer. You don’t know?” I said, seeing his face. “Everyday at Hogwarts Hazel and Scorpius get teased by all of the other houses, just because you’re what’s given the Malfoys their bad name.”
Hazel turned pale beside me.
“And why? It’s your obsession with blood,” I spat. Lucias was quiet, and something was brimming beneath his cold eyes. “And you know what, Lucias? Blood is all the same.” I snatched a knife from the already set dinner table. Bringing it down, I nicked part of my finger. Immediately blood came oozing out.
“Albus!” Gasped Hazel. She wrenched the knife out of my grip and hid it behind her back.
I approached Lucias, showing him the crimson drops. “Blood,” I said. “Does not matter. It is all the same. Does yours look any different than mine?”
I turned and walked back to the doors. I turned to glare at Lucias. “I didn’t think so.”