A/N: This is an out-take from my main fic, "From Across the Great Divide". Readers of that story will know that I’ve killed off Draco and made him a ghost. If you haven’t read my other story, you know all you need to now to understand this one. Enjoy. Standard disclaimer applies… It’s not mine; it’s JKR’s.
Draco Malfoy was bored. It was Halloween night, and he couldn’t find anything new to do, which was a depressing thought, actually, since he was a ghost, and it was supposed to be his night. If a ghost couldn’t find anything to do on Halloween, he really was in a bad spot. Draco had been dead for just over five years now, and the afterlife stretched on ahead of him, looking bleak indeed.
He’d thought it might be a nice change of pace to come up to Hogsmeade and haunt Potter for a while. He knew Potter was living here with Weasley’s scrawny little sister. But looking into the cottage where they lived had made him feel queasy more than anything else. (He thought it an ironic form of torture that ghosts could feel queasy given that they couldn’t even eat.) Potter seemed to be engaged in an endless shagfest with his girlfriend, and Draco definitely did not want to witness any more of that than he had to. It only served as a reminder of something else he could no longer indulge in his ghostly state.
He decided to float up towards Hogwarts, where he knew there were at least others of his own kind. Maybe he could find someone to commiserate with him. Upon his arrival, he immediately noticed that the entire student population of Hogwarts was happily gorging themselves at the annual Halloween feast. There were live bats flitting about, carved pumpkins here and there, and there was obviously more entertainment in the offing later on. The sight did nothing to improve Draco’s mood.
Suddenly, a thought struck him. Where was the Bloody Baron? Shouldn’t he be present at the Halloween feast? Casting back in his memory, he realised that the Hogwarts house ghosts had never shown up at any of the Halloween feasts he’d attended. It seemed quite odd that there were no other ghosts about. He would have expected to at least see Peeves about trying to pull off some prank or another on the unsuspecting students. But Peeves was nowhere to be found, either.
Where could they all be? Draco wondered. Were they having their own private celebration somewhere? Not really know where to begin searching, he headed for the dungeons. Perhaps he’d have a look around his old Common Room. But as he floated through the underground passages that led towards the Slytherin Common Room, he noticed something. The air was growing steadily colder—not that this bothered him at all; in fact he found it quite comfortable. And there were black candles burning with blue flames on the wall. They seemed to be leading to one of the larger dungeons. As Draco continued along the passage, a sound reached his ears. There was music coming from somewhere.
Draco turned a corner and came upon a black-draped doorway. There seemed to be some sort of party going on down here. He went in through the door (although he could have gone through the wall, if he’d wanted), and found himself in a room full of other ghosts. So this was where they all were. He spotted a few of the familiar Hogwarts ghosts in the crowd. The Bloody Baron was easy to pick out, since he was sitting by himself in a corner, a situation he didn’t seem to mind in the least. Most of the ghosts were unfamiliar to him. This was certainly a party for more than just the Hogwarts ghosts. The crowd was thick enough that Draco thought he could blend in well enough. It didn’t bother him at all that he hadn’t been invited. At least it was something different.
He made his way around the other ghosts towards the end of the room. Here he discovered a buffet table had been laid out. Draco wondered about this. He knew very well that ghosts were unable to eat… Not that anything on the buffet was actually edible. The table was laid out with all manner of spoilt, rancid food. At the centre was a large, mould-covered cake which proclaimed Sir Nicholas de Mimsy-Porpington, Happy 511th Deathday.
"Five hundred and eleven years," mused Draco. "What a bloody awful long time to be dead. What does a ghost do for five hundred years? The first five were bad enough… Why isn’t there some sort of help out there for the newly deceased? They could pair us up with older ghosts, help us learn to cope…" That was an idea. Maybe he could talk to someone who had been dead longer than he had…
The first ghost he saw who looked like he had nothing else to do was Professor Binns. Bad idea. Even the other ghosts seemed to find him deadly dull and were giving him almost as wide a berth as the Bloody Baron. It was out of the question to approach the Slytherin House ghost as well. Ever since the Sorting Ceremony in his first year, Draco had found this particular ghost very creepy. The fact that he was now dead did nothing to alleviate this feeling, and he knew he wasn’t the only one who felt this way.
The Fat Friar’s laugh rang out nearby. He seemed approachable enough to Draco. It was odd that he’d even become a ghost in the first place, as jovial as he was. Draco was just making up his mind to go over and talk to the Hufflepuff ghost, when Peeves flew straight though him. He had the nasty sensation of being splinched—he’d unfortunately found out what that felt like before his demise, when his father had tried, and failed, to teach him to Apparate while he was still under age—for an instant until his spectral body had put itself back together. "God," he thought, "I hate when that happens." A live human passing through him gave much the same effect.
Peeves wheeled around and looked ready to make another pass. Draco ducked out of the way just in time. Peeves’ cackle rang in his ears, and he picked up some rotten fish from the buffet table to throw at the poltergeist. But Peeves had reflexes, as well, for he easily dodged the putrid projectile. Instead of its intended target, the piece of fish hit a short, long-haired ghost on the back of the head. She turned around, and Draco saw a glum-looking face fall even further, as her eyes began to leak tears behind her thick spectacles.
"Well," she asked miserably, "aren’t you going to try again? See if you can hit me in the nose this time?"
"Sorry," Draco mumbled. Normally, he wouldn’t have bothered to apologise, but for some reason, he felt uncomfortable about having accidentally hit this girl. He chalked it up to the maudlin feelings he’d been having all day.
"Sorry?" she wailed. "Is that all you can say. I was just minding my own business here when you decided to use me for target practise."
"Look," said Draco, starting to get annoyed, "apologies aren’t my thing. You’re lucky you got one at all."
"Oh, that’s just fine, then! Let’s all throw food at Myrtle! This is a party after all!" She was shouting now. Draco winced in embarrassment as everyone around them began to stare. She paused for a moment and looked him up and down. Suddenly the tears stopped. "Haven’t I seen you somewhere before?" Her tone of voice had changed dramatically. It was almost suggestive, Draco noted with dismay.
"Erm… I don’t think so. I, uh, haven’t been dead that long." He hated sounding so unsure of himself, but the way Myrtle was looking at him was quite off-putting. He also noticed something else. Myrtle was about his age… or at least she had been when she died. This was the first younger ghost he’d met since his death. Every other ghost he’d seen in the last five years—not that he’d seen many, since he’d never gone out of his way to encounter fellow denizens of the afterlife—had been old, at least his father’s age, at the time of their demise. The thought that he was the only younger ghost about had been unsettling, but having met Myrtle, he wasn’t sure he felt any better.
"I’ve got it!" cried Myrtle gleefully. "I know where I’ve seen you before! You used to be a student here."
Draco gulped. "Yeah, so what?" He tried to sound nonchalant.
"You were a Prefect!" she crowed.
"Yeah, so what if I was?" Draco was tired of this conversation. It was going nowhere, and the volume at which Myrtle had been speaking had attracted far too many eager listeners.
"What did you say your name was, again?"
"I didn’t. Listen, if you’ll excuse me…" Myrtle’s face fell, and Draco could see the tears start forming again. He’d never known anyone, alive or dead, who could turn the waterworks on and off faster. "Great," he thought, "now she’s going to make another scene." He knew he was going to regret this, but something compelled him to add, "look, why don’t we find somewhere, I dunno, more private to talk?"
Myrtle immediatly brightened at this thought. "Ooooh, I know a good place we could go." Before Draco could come to his senses and get away, she grabbed his arm in a death grip and dragged him from the dungeon. She was much stronger than she looked. Draco wondered how she was able to grasp him without passing straight through.
"How can you do that?" he asked.
"Take my arm like that? Peeves went straight through me," he added with a shudder.
"Oh, well, Peeves is a poltergeist. He isn’t a real ghost like you and me. He passes through you, just like people or objects do. Ugh! I hate that!" She paused for effect. "But real ghosts can touch each other."
Draco definitely didn’t like the sound of that, but there was nothing he could do. She was gripping him so hard it hurt. They’d reached the second floor, and Myrtle dragged him through a wooden door. Draco could immediately see that they were in a toilet, but one he’d never used. The absence of urinals told him it was a girls’ toilet.
"Wait," he protested, "I shouldn’t be in here. This is the girls’ loo…"
"No one ever comes in here to visit me," Myrtle replied morosely. "It’ll be all right. Besides, we’re not staying here. We’re just taking a shortcut."
"A shortcut where?" Draco said, beginning to panic a bit. She still had a death grip on his arm.
"You’ll see. Come on."
Suddenly, Myrtle zipped into a toilet stall and dove into the toilet with a splash. Draco felt nauseous, but had no choice but to follow. She squeezed both of them through narrow pipes, moving in an upward direction now, until they came to a very small opening. They struggled through this, and Draco was surprised to find himself in the Prefect’s bathroom.
"This is where I’ve seen you before," said Myrtle triumphantly. "In here!"
Draco was taken aback. "You mean you spy on the Prefects while they bathe?"
Myrtle positively leered at him. "They don’t just bathe. Sometimes they bring their girlfriends up here and…"
Draco didn’t want to hear any more. If he weren’t already a ghost, he knew he’d be blushing now. He was remembering the time he’d convinced Pansy to come up here with him. He’d had an odd feeling of being observed then. It had been a feeling he’d never been able to place. But this explained it. He had to get out of here.
Wrenching his arm from Myrtle’s grip at last, he zoomed through the wall, but Myrtle was in hot pursuit. "Come back!" she cried. "I could teach you a thing or two, I could. The things I’ve seen in here…"
Draco flew faster until he’d reached the outside. He didn’t hear Myrtle following him anymore, but just to make sure he was safe, he took refuge in the Forbidden Forest. He laughed bitterly, thinking that he should be breathing hard at the moment, but since he no longer needed to breathe, this was not an issue. After a while, he felt better, knowing he had shaken her off. Being bored, he thought, wasn’t so bad after all. He’d just learned that some fates were worse than death.