It arrived by owl, and he snuck it into an unused classroom to open it alone. A small box tied up with ribbon and accompanied by a note from his mother – a flat little note, wishing him a happy birthday. He swallowed hard to stopper the hysterical laugh-sob that bubbled up. Happy?
You have come of age. But hadn't his true coming-of-age been months before, when the Mark had been burnt into his arm? When he had been given his task, chosen for it by the Dark Lord?
It was a watch, of course, predictably silver and ornate. The traditional coming-of-age gift of wizards; he had thought, once, of how proudly he would receive it, how this day would stand out. A tiny, shining green serpent slithered about the edge of the face, and he watched it for a while, slithering and writhing and sometimes making a sliding about-turn to circle in the opposite direction.
It was trapped, trapped in its everlasting circumnavigation of the face, bordered in, irrevocably, by engraved silver and magic. Trapped. Trapped. Trapped.
He drew in a long harsh gulp of breath, and his hand clenched around the watch, shaking. And he threw it suddenly, furiously, at the stone wall.
He was making pathetic little soft panting sobs, and he dropped to his knees and crawled to where it had thudded to the floor, hoping inanely that it would be smashed and broken. But when he picked it up, it was whole and perfect, and the green shining snake still slithered around and around and around.
'That snake isn't you any more, Draco.' Her little white finger traced the snake once around the face, and then she raised her face and looked up into his, a quiet steady look. And he bent down and kissed her, rather desperately, and the watch dropped onto the floor, because it didn't really matter so much after all.