A/N: Hello newcomers, welcome to my story. Here we will follow Draco's journey from first year all through the Battle of Hogwarts, and how everything could have been. I encourage you to read starting from the prologue, but if you are more interested in getting your Dramione fix, feel free to skip to the chapters of their fourth year.

My goal, more than anything, is to stay true to our beloved characters, and present you with a quality piece of fiction. By the end, I hope you fall in love with Dramione the way that I have, and that you won't find it so far-fetched after all.

Obligatory disclaimer: I own nothing. Mostly.

Rating: T (some language and violence, suggestive themes) until chapter 33. After that it'll be rated M (language, violence/gore, sexual themes).


Prologue

Draco stood on the platform, rocking back and forth on his heels with an unbridled eagerness as he awaited his first glimpse of the Hogwarts Express. At the age of eleven, he found the bustle of students and families exciting, and he nervously smoothed back his hair. His mother, a vision of refinement and good breeding, smiled dotingly down at him. His father, at his other side, nudged him with the head of his cane.

"Stand still, would you?" Lucius snapped. "No son of mine will be seen dancing about like a fool."

The words stung a bit, and Draco felt his face heat up slightly, but it did little to diminish his high spirits. He planted his feet and watched the crowd.

Only some faces were familiar, no doubt pureblood families that his parents had hosted at some time or another. Everyone else, no matter how plain in reality, just seemed so exotic to his young eyes. Older students boisterously greeted one another after the long summer holiday and younger ones chattered amongst their families, with "promise you'll write" and "I love you" constantly drifting through the background. Draco expected no like sentiments from his parents.

With a deafening hoot of its horn and the rumble of its engine entering the station, the Hogwarts Express finally arrived at platform 9 3/4. Draco, despite knowing that his father might disapprove, grinned.

"Now remember what we've discussed, Draco," Lucius said. He gave a hard look at the eleven-year-old. "You'd do well to make friends in high places. The right places."

The smile on Draco's face disappeared, replaced by a well-practiced mask of neutrality. "Yes father," was his only answer.

They of course had him settled near the front, just behind the prefects' cabins, which Draco accepted with some chagrin - the older students wouldn't like that at all, would they? But no one seemed put-off as they shuffled past his open door. That is, no one seemed to glance his way at all.

Narcissa waved happily from the platform, and Draco smiled back, feeling the weight in his pocket of some extra galleons she'd slipped him during their hug good-bye. Lucius, somehow peering down his nose at Draco despite being far below the train window (which Draco could only attribute to some kind of mysterious parental magic) merely gave a curt nod.

"You're early," grunted a familiar voice. Draco turned to find Vincent Crabbe slinking into the cabin, followed by Gregory Goyle.

"And it's a good thing, too," Draco said. "If it were up to you two, we'd be stuck at the back with the Hufflepuffs."

Vince frowned, but Gregory chuckled. It was a dense, throaty sound.

"Do you think they'll have food?" Vince said, craning his short neck to peer down the crowded traincar.

"Don't be thick, of course they'll have food," Draco replied. He was used to Vincent's (and, well, Gregory's as well) utter lack of brains, having grown up in the same social circles. It was a comfort to have them around, he knew, but at the same time Draco prayed that some more interesting people would join them for the ride.

That wish did come true - well, very nearly. The fourth seat in their cabin was eventually taken by Pansy Parkinson, who Draco recognized by her unfortunate face and the "PP" stamped on her dragon-hide wand case. She at least kept the conversation off of food, at any rate.

The train ride rattled by rather uneventfully, aside from the momentary shrieks heard soon after departure (apparently some idiot had lost his toad) and an occasional interruption by a prefect or the trolley woman. At one point a crazy-haired girl sidled past to ask the prefects when they might need to change into their robes, at which Pansy rolled her eyes.

"There's a mudblood if I've ever seen one," she said, eyeing her fingernails with feigned boredom.

And indeed, this girl had the look of a muggle-born, with her pressed jeans and an unflattering polo t-shirt - an outfit no wizarding family would tolerate, Draco thought. Her eyes snapped to Pansy, a look of confusion on her face. Then her cheeks reddened and she turned on her heel, her mess of hair bouncing as she left.

"Good thing we'll be in Slytherin," Pansy continued, though Draco got the feeling that Vince and Gregory were somehow excluded from that statement. Pansy's eyes appraised Draco as she spoke. "I simply couldn't stand to share a dorm with that riff-raff."

Draco merely smirked in response, then stared out the window. While he agreed wholeheartedly, he had other matters on his mind - matters like the fact that Harry Potter, the Boy Who Lived, was somewhere on the train, and that Draco very much hoped to meet him.

The first years always arrived at Hogwarts separately from the rest, drifting across the dark lake in lantern-lit boats. His father had explained as much, and it made Draco feel confident to know exactly how the evening would play out. They'd sail up to the shores of the castle, he'd be sorted into Slytherin by a magicked hat (all Malfoy's belonged in Slytherin, so he wasn't concerned about that bit) and later, when they reached the first-year dorms, he'd be able to properly meet this Potter fellow. That would a friend in high places, all right. A friend in the right places.

But when they departed their boats and finally entered the castle, Draco found himself anxiously scanning the crowd of newcomers, hoping to glimpse that infamous lightning-bolt scar. Someone else found it first.

"Blimey, it's Harry Potter," he heard someone whisper beside him. Draco turned.

Everyone's eyes were set on a scrawny, pale boy with a mop of rather unruly black hair, and he merely stared back at them all with a look of bewilderment. Sure enough, a scar was just visible under the boy's bangs. The other students fell silent.

Seizing this opportunity, Draco pushed past the others and stood before him. Vince and Gregory, ever at his side, followed.

"It's true then, what they're saying? That Harry Potter has come to Hogwarts?" Draco blurted out, in part thinking they all must be mistaken. He couldn't help it, anyone would doubt that this feeble-looking kid had once defeated the great Dark Lord.

But the boy nodded, then adjusted his round glasses. "Yeah, that's me."

Well, he is only eleven, Draco thought. He lifted his chin, drawing himself a little taller. "Well this here's Crabbe, and Goyle. And I'm Malfoy - Draco Malfoy."

Someone just beside Potter sniggered, and Draco shot a glare in that direction. Sure enough, he recognized all the trademarks of a person from a particularly dishonorable pureblood family.

"Think my name's funny? Well, no need to tell me yours. With that hair, and those second-hand robes, no doubt you're a Weasley." Inwardly pleased with his display of knowledge, Draco smirked. He looked back to Potter, intent to pass along his father's advice. "You'll find that some wizarding families are better than others. I can help you, there." He held out his hand.

But Potter only stared, not returning the gesture. Then he said, quite calmly, "I think I can sort that out on my own, thanks."

Taken aback, Draco opened his mouth to retort, only to be cut-off by the arrival of the stern-looking older witch he would come to know as Professor McGonagall.

Before he could set Potter straight - this wasn't how it was supposed to be, not at all - the first-years were whisked up into the Great Hall and thousands of eyes were upon them. Draco spotted the familiar green banner over the Slytherin table and a sudden doubt gripped him; what if he didn't get in? What if that didn't go as planned, either? He felt quite certain that his father would disown him.

The sorting began, and from there the night moved along quickly. McGonagall read names off of her scroll, and one by one, the students found themselves under that ragged hat. He recognized the bushy-haired girl from the train, who perched shyly on the stool for her turn. Hermione Granger, what a name. It even sounded muddy to Draco's ears.

"GRYFFINDOR!" the hat bellowed, and, like the others, the girl named Hermione was welcomed to her house amid raucous cheers.

Weasley went some time after that, as well as Gregory, Pansy, and Vince. There weren't any surprises, really, except that Neville Longbottom (Draco recognized the name as one usually accompanied by dishonor and ineptitude back home) was also sorted into Gryffindor. Draco started to sweat.

That hat is bloody defective, he thought.

"Draco Malfoy," called McGonagall.

Swallowing back his fear, Draco ascended the steps toward the stool. He turned, trying not to look out over all the expectant faces, and braced himself for the worst.

"SLYTHERIN!" roared the hat.

Had it even touched his head?

It was no matter, for the table in green erupted in applause, and Draco found himself grinning with relief. So, this would be home now.

He made his way to his new place among the Slytherins, feeling more elated by every hand that reached out to pat his back as he walked by. They were just so... proud. He didn't hear the next names called out, but instead focused on keeping his hands from shaking. There hadn't been any reason to fret after all, had there?

"Harry Potter!"

This caught Draco's attention. A hush fell over the hall.

Lucius Malfoy had been so sure that Harry Potter would really be something. He'd spoken of it regularly in the last few months, impressing upon Draco the weight of Potter's name and how vital it would be for the Slytherin house. That kind of power doesn't just go away, after all. He'd be the next great name in wizarding history.

After their introduction, though, Draco just wasn't so sure.

Now Potter was seated on the stool, hat on his head, and looking up rather stupidly at the brim of it. Draco found himself unimpressed. Really, that would be the next powerful wizard?

"GRYFFINDOR!"

No, it wouldn't be so. Lucius Malfoy had been wrong before.

Watching as Potter was welcomed warmly - and loudly - by the table on the other side of the room, Draco frowned. Potter slid onto the bench just between Weasley and that Hermione girl, and Draco eyed them with a sense of foreboding. No, Lucius must be mistaken. There was no way that Harry Potter would become anything formidable in the least, and Draco was sure of it.


A/N: Hello all! This story takes place primarily during Draco's later years at Hogwarts, but there is a bit of backstory to lay out first. In the case of chapter one, I decided to use the movie scene, rather than the one from the books. Some small events will be moved around, and I always have a reason for it - I have a tendency to over-analyze all my character's motives and personalities.

I also used this story as an outlet to express some new information J.K. has given us, via interviews or Pottermore. She did tell us that the Malfoys expected Harry to grow up to be the next Dark Lord, in a sense.

It's easy to look at a story that's already established with this many chapters, and to think that reviewing the early chapters is pointless. I constantly go back and revise, so don't think your reviews are pointless. I love critique and I love to hear feedback. It keeps me motivated and pushes me forward. That being said, please leave a review every few chapters as you go - it helps me immensely in knowing what I did well versus what I did poorly, and what I can improve on. This is a story for you guys just as much as it's a story for me.

Thanks for reading!

PennyDreddful