Status: Work in Progress

Lost in the Echo

Chapter One

Draco Malfoy stood on Platform Nine and Three Quarters with his son Scorpius waiting for the whistle signaling that it was time for the Hogwarts Students to board. Scorpius was now in his final year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and Draco found himself reminiscing about the times when he and his late wife Astoria would wave him off stoically for his first day back at his home away from home.

"Father, do you think Albus could come spend the holidays with us this year?" Scorpius asked, searching the bustling platform for his best friend Albus Severus Potter.
"I have no issue with it as long as his parents do not mind."
"And if they do... do you think maybe I could spend Christmas with them?" Scorpius asked hesitantly.

Christmas was a difficult time for both of them, as it was a painful reminder of the memories they could no longer enjoy since Astoria's passing. Scorpius knew that time of year was particularly difficult for his father, and he felt bad even asking such a thing, but he also wanted to enjoy his last Christmas before finishing out his time at Hogwarts in a jovial way. Though Draco tried to be cheery for his son, Scorpius could see the shadows behind his father's eyes, and Christmas at Malfoy Manor was still relatively melancholic, no matter how hard Draco tried.

Draco knew that it would be lonely without Scorpius there, but he had a feeling that the Potters would be far more willing to have Scorpius at their holidays than have Albus over at the Malfoy's. Despite their newfound goodwill towards each other, there were some things that could not be forgotten.

"If you would like to spend Christmas with your friend, I have no problem with that, so long as the Potters don't mind having another guest. Just make sure you inform me of what your plans are so that I can plan accordingly."
"Really?" Scorpius asked, and Draco could not help but smile softly at his son. Despite having inherited his father's looks, he had inherited Astoria's good nature, and for that, he would always be grateful to his wife - even if their marriage was only to appease their parents.
"Yes. Now, you must go." he said, as a conductor walked down along the platform calling for all students to board the Hogwarts Express.
"Thank you, Father! I'll be sure to bring it up to Albus."
"Good. Be sure to write me." Draco said, waving goodbye at his son as he boarded the train.

Before long, the whistle blew and the Hogwarts Express began to lurch forward, taking the students to another year. When the train was out of sight, Draco turned back towards the entrance to King's Cross and left the crowded train station and returned home.

A few days had passed since the start of the semester, and Draco sat at his desk in his study looking over the books for his bank, making sure to dot his i's and cross his t's. He was on the very last page of his books when his fountain pen died. He grunted in disgust and tossed the pen into the trash, then reached for another on his desk, only to discover that his pen container was empty. Groaning, he opened the top desk drawer and rifled through the paperwork, hoping to find another of his silver fountain pens. Finally, a flash of silver caught his eye and he pulled it out, but instead of a pen, it was a silver locket pendant.

He frowned in confusion. How had this gotten into his desk drawer? He pressed on the latch to open the locket - perhaps it was a trinket of Astoria's he could give to Scorpius - and when the locket opened to reveal the photos inside, he couldn't help the small, rueful smile that crossed his face.

There in the locket on the right side stood an eleven year old Draco dressed up in a crisp white dress shirt and black slacks, with a big, bright smile on his face. He remembered the day clearly. It was the day he was to depart for his very first year at Hogwarts. He looked to the left side, and his breath caught in his throat. There, in the left photo, stood a young girl, the same age as Draco. The photos were in black and white - the young girl's choice - but Draco could still see her clearly like it was the day of.

She had been born albino, and so her skin was ghostly pale. The pigmentation of her eyes had been messed up in her genes, and so they were medium pink in color, while her silver-white hair blew in the breeze. She always tried to keep her naturally straight hair tamed in a half ponytail, and almost always, she failed. Like him, she wore a crisp white dress shirt, but wore a light grey skirt rather than slacks, and a broad smile in eager anticipation of her first year at Hogwarts.

Her name had been Syndil Metcalfe. She was a half-blood witch...and she had been one of Draco's only friends growing up. Even now, his fingers ran themselves over the Latin words carved into the back of the locket - "Semper Amici" - which meant "Friends Forever." Pain lanced through him as memories of their time together filled him, and he found that he no longer desired to work on his books. They weren't due until the end of the week, anyways, and he only had a page to go... so he switched his attention from the paper notebooks to the flat computer screen angled at the corner of his desk towards him.

Him and Syndil had lost touch over the years. She had been sorted into Gryffindor and he into Slytherin, which meant their friendship was buried in the past. After all, Gryffindor's were loud and pigheaded, while Slytherin's were refined and cunning. They had had several classes together, but he had always made a point of ignoring her. By the end of their first year, she had completely stopped trying, and while it pained him greatly to lose her friendship, that was what was expected of him. But now... he wondered how her life had turned out. He clearly remembered her becoming close friends with Harry, Ron, and Hermione, and so he had assumed that she had stood against Voldemort in the Second Wizarding War.

His gut twisted uncomfortably. Had she even made it out alive?

Draco logged onto the computer and entered into the WWWW - the world-wide wizarding web. Quickly, he did a web search through Woogle - Wizarding Google - searching "all deaths in the second wizarding war." He sorted the list by last name, and scrolled down to the "M" section, then nervously read through all the names of witches and wizards who had died under Voldemort's brief reign of terror.

"Mayweather... Merryview... Metcalfe... Metcalfe!" he read, and then glanced over at the first names that were listed. "Jacob... Sheila... but no Syndil." He sighed in relief. She had apparently lost her brother and mother, but she herself had not perished, and that was good news for him. With his interest piqued, he searched for any other information regarding her... and came up with absolutely nothing. There was no record of her, really. It was as if she had vanished into thin air, and so Draco bit his lip in thought.

It was crazy. It was absolutely ludicrous. Yet he couldn't stop himself from thinking about it. If Syndil had not been killed in the war, there was a good chance she was still alive out there somewhere. While she may not wish to see him or speak with him - after all, he had abandoned her barely 24 hours after she had given him the precious gift he held tightly in his fist - he just wanted to see her in person. Perhaps... it was a slim chance and he knew it, but he and the Potters and the Weasley's had made amends more or less. Perhaps Syndil, too, could forgive his follies. But nowhere he searched could he find any information regarding her current whereabouts, and finally he sighed in defeat. There was only one place he had not checked out for information regarding her... and he dreaded it the moment he stepped out of the green flames into the Visitors Entrance of the Ministry of Magic.

All around him, witches and wizards from every department hustled and bustled trying to get their work done so they could go home to their families - something no one had been taking for granted these last two decades or so - and it was difficult for him to find someone who did not ignore him, until finally...

"Malfoy? Is that you?" came a man's voice from behind him. Draco turned and saw Harry Potter standing there, a large mug of either tea or coffee in his right hand while he held a pile of paperwork in his left.
"Hello, Mr. Potter." Draco said, trying to be formal and polite to the brunette.
"It really is you. What brings you here?"
"I am looking for someone who may help me locate some information, but no one seems to be willing to even stop and answer a question."
"Haha, yeah, Friday's get pretty hectic around here. Everyone is in a rush to finish their work and go home. What kind of information are you looking for?"
"Erm..." he hesitated, unsure if he could trust Harry to tell him the truth. While they had more or less resolved their differences, there was still awkwardness on both of their parts. However, Draco saw no other choice. "I'm actually looking for information on a certain witch. I saw that she was not listed in the "Casualties" and so was thinking she must still be alive, somewhere."
"Oh, yeah? Who are you looking for?" Harry asked, but Ron and Hermione chose that moment to catch up to them.
"Oi, Harry, you left in such a hurry that - " Ron began, but stopped himself when he and Hermione saw Draco standing there. "Malfoy? Bloody hell, what are you doing here?" Ron asked, and Hermione smacked him lightly on the arm.
"Ronald! Mr. Malfoy is part of the Wizarding World and has every right to be here. Honestly!" she said, shaking her head at him, but he sent her a lopsided grin that made her blush.

'Twenty four years and those two are still very much in love. Must be nice.' Draco thought sourly.

"He was looking for information on someone." Harry supplied helpfully, noting Malfoy's nervousness.
"Oh? Did you check the web?" Ron asked, and Malfoy had to restrain himself from snapping at him. It never ceased to amaze him how such a bloody idiot had landed an intelligent woman like Hermione.
"I did, actually, but all I found was that they weren't listed under the "Casualties" from the War, which was a relief, but I could find no information on their current whereabouts."
"Who are you looking for?" Hermione asked, kindly.
"Erm... Syndil Metcalfe." Draco said, his face getting hot. The trio exchanged sad glances among each other.
"Syndil, you say? Well, she is still alive. Alive and..."
"Don't say well, Hermione, when we all know she isn't." Ron said, grimly.
"She is not well? Is she sick?"
"In a manner of speaking..." Harry and Ron mumbled quietly, while Hermione shot them a glare, then looked back at Draco.
"I'm sorry, Draco. Syndil is still alive, but she has...changed... quite a bit from back then. She's not the same Syndil you presumably knew."
"That's fine. I've changed, as well. I simply wished to see with my own eyes that she was alright."
"She's... fine..." Hermione said, clearly uncomfortable.
"You sound as if she really isn't." Draco said, his eyes narrowing in confusion. Hermione sighed and rubbed at her forehead.
"She was not exactly a casualty of war in the sense that others were - she did not die. However, she is...different..."
"Different? In what way?" Draco asked, hoping she hadn't been turned into a werewolf.
"She's... erm... She is... Actually..."
"She's a loon now." Ron cut in rudely.

Draco blinked as Hermione once again smacked Ron on the arm and scolded him.

"I'm sorry, what?" Draco asked.

The trio sighed and Hermione spoke up - apparently she was the only one who knew how even now, all these years later.

"Syndil was taken by some snatchers the year Voldemort rose to power. Do you recall what happened to Neville's parents?"
"Longbottom?" Malfoy asked to clarify, and Hermione nodded. "They were tortured into insanity, weren't they?"
"Yes... Syndil suffered the same fate." Hermione said, looking away from Draco, who felt the color drain from his already pale skin.