borax38: from <user name=joie_de_vivre site=livejournal.com> (Old fashioned)
[personal profile] borax38
This was written originally for the [livejournal.com profile] dramione_awards Special Challenge, and in a classic move on my part, I managed to forget the deadline, wanting to revise it one last time.

Anyway, I thought about posting it for a while, but then the other day [personal profile] musyc said she needed distractions for today, so instead of postponing this forever, I'm posting it now. So here it is, my would-be Special Challenge drabble.

Title:Expectations
Author:borax38
Word count:446
Rating:PG
Warnings:none
Prompt chosen:"I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble." -- Helen Keller




Life is a strange thing; you can never know what it will throw at you.

When he was a child, he had believed that the world rested at his feet, that his name would open all the doors for him. He used to dream about fame, about people fawning over him, about being adored by his friends. Then he went to Hogwarts, where he met a boy, more famous than him, who did brave and amazing things, and made all the other students, including him, look meaningless in comparison.

When his father fell from grace, he thought his time to shine had finally come. He thought he could take down Dumbledore and show them all, those Mudbloods and Muggle-lovers, how weak and stupid they really were, and how much better he was. He failed at that too, and spent the rest of the year cowering in the wake of the Dark Lord, only hoping each night to live through the next day.

When the war had ended, and he had been beaten by all the people he had spent his life treating as inferiors, he only wished the new Ministry wouldn’t sentence him to the Dementor’s Kiss. He would have accepted even death.

He was surprised, then, when instead of going to Azkaban, he was sentenced to the Ministry. That was, five years of menial tasks in the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures. Though it was far better than the year he had spent under the Dark Lord’s thumb, it still was awful.

First, he had to make coffee for everyone in the morning, and then he spent the rest of his day filing. If someone in the Department needed anything in the archives, they’d call him and he had go down and look through the dusty papers and books for the reference he had been given. He told himself he didn’t care about what the others thought of him, but the open hostility of his colleagues wore him down.

However, things got a little better after a while. The older Ministry officials stopped sending him looking for a file they had on their desk just to annoy him, and the younger ones stopped calling him names, finally accepting that he wasn’t up to no good after all.

Then things started going better when he realised that when it came to a certain Ministry employee, he didn’t really mind going on errands, no matter how difficult or pointless the task.

“Oh, thank you so much for these, Malfoy,” she would say, “you’re a lifesaver!” And then she would beam up at him.

Hermione Granger’s smile was the highlight of his day.

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