Flourish and Botts.
If he had never gone to Flourish and Botts when that fool Lockhart was showing off his ugly face, maybe it never would have started. But he had to be there.
That was the first time Draco Malfoy had seen Ginny Weasley, the youngest of the the dratted Weasley clan. Her brothers had been bad enough - one after another after another - he had been to the Ministry enough times with his father to catch glimpses of them on Arthur Weasley's desk, or some such rot. But then to realize that they had a girl on the bottom, and that she was a very pretty girl, was just horrifying. To top it all off, she liked Potter, or so went the rumors at Hogwarts.
Draco was enraged at himself for thinking her pretty, at the time. After all, he hated the Weasleys with the same regularity with which he loved his breakfast. But everytime he saw Ginny, he couldn't help turning his head to look after her. He didn't talk to her all year, he kept his insults pointed at her brother and Potter and Granger. But he soon gave up on trying to convince himself he didn't like her.
He liked her.
The years passed at Hogwarts. He never talked to her, but he had a serious crush on her. He watched her grow up from a distance, watched her go through a number of Gryffindor boyfriends, watched her excel at Charms and fail at Potions, watched her play Quidditch, with a little tug in his heart. But he was also growing up. The Dark Lord had returned, and his father expected much more of him, and his mother would only look on with fear in her eyes and nod when his father told him to do something.
He told Draco to become a Death Eater, and like an idiot, Draco did it. He endured the pain of the Dark Mark burned onto his arm, and he watched as the reincarnated Voldemort and his deranged aunt Bellatrix took residence in his old family home. He had never exactly wanted to be a Death Eater, but Voldemort required it, and you did not say no to the Dark Lord.
And he returned to Hogwarts with the shame of his father's failure and the responsibility of his task settled on his shoulders. Everything at Hogwarts - lessons, Quidditch, even Potter, seemed inconsequential. Everything but her.
He had thought she was pretty, then he'd had a crush on her, then he'd started to go mad for her, but now she was just one of the things that threatened to drive his mind over the edge. He'd made a plan, but he was struggling to carry it out; he couldn't face the task of killing Dumbledore. And Ginny's life went on as if nothing were wrong; she seemed lighthearted whenever he saw her.
He followed her round sometimes. It was crazy, it was pathetic, but he couldn't help it. He'd watch where she went, and he'd go too. She would go to the Quidditch pitch to fly alone, and he would watch. She'd go to the library to do her homework, and he would watch. She would go down to the edge of the forest to sit and think, and he would watch.
Watching Ginny kept him sane and it drove him insane.
He wanted so very badly for her to be his. Not so he could shag her, or brag about her to his friends, but for the simple reason that he wanted someone by his side, someone to talk to, someone to laugh with him or cry with him or just...just be there. She became something of an obsession for him. He would talk to her sometimes in his head, and make up her answers, when he was alone, and he would feel a little - a tiny, tiny little bit better.
And the days and the weeks ticked by and he did not kill Dumbledore and the cabinet remained in disrepair.Then there came the morning that overturned his life completely.