This is a rewrite of Eva Ibbotson's brilliant novel "Which Witch?". Thus, all similarities are completely intentional. I am only doing this because I love this book, read it several times a year, and whenever I imagine it as a movie Evanna Lynch plays Belladonna.
Lord and Lady Malfoy were very worried about their baby up until the day he was born. But within the hour of the little boy came howling into the world they were greatly relieved. This was for several reasons. Firstly, he was born with a full set of pearly white teeth, and bit so deep into his father's index finger he left a permanent scar when the man tickled him. Secondly, he had intensely piercing blue-grey eyes that seemed to see everything and not like one bit of it. Thirdly, he didn't cry. He howled like a banshee when they took him from his mother and swathed him in a soft white cloth, but not a tear fell from those perfect eyes. But most importantly; when they came home from the hospital and had the house elves light a cozy fire in the second-best parlour, the smoke in the chimney started blowing against the wind.
"A wizard!" Mr Malfoy, who was from a very prominent magical family, cried with relief. The new mother smiled indulgently at her husband as she rocked her precious baby.
"A dark wizard" she cooed, so proud she felt like she was going to burst.
That they named him Draco, after a very famous and very evil wizard of old, came as no surprise to anyone.
Draco grew up spoilt, as all rich kids tend to do, and by the time he was eleven he was so horrible everyone was positively terrified of his temper. In one of his rages, he had brought the roof down over all their heads and set his mother's favorite curtains on fire before he'd even gotten so far as to stomp his foot. Mrs Malfoy was a bit put out about the curtains, but the power her boy showed made her willing to forgive everything.
Therefore, Mr and Mrs Malfoy encouraged little Draco to practice his powers as much as possible, even though it became rather expensive to continuously having to repair various parts of the manor. But as Mr Malfoy said, "the only ones getting hurt are the house elves, and they are easily healed."
And so it was that Draco grew beautiful and cruel, with a sneer that could terrify even the bravest (and did so on a twice-weekly basis). His eyes had paled to stormy grey, and his hair was the shade of wheat just barely ripe. He was stunning, and he knew it.
Life was rather wonderful for the Malfoys; Draco's powers grew quickly, and by the time he was thirteen he could teleport to the middle of Salisbury and set of a gale that ripped off every pair of underwear from every single clothesline in the entire city and blow them half way to Jericho.
Shortly after that, tragedy struck. Mr and Mrs Malfoy, dark wizards in their own right, were killed when the manor caught fire. There were whispers that Draco had set the fire in one of his tempers, but this was quickly assuaged by the fact that Draco had been in Egypt with his uncle, looking for interesting cursed objects, at the time.
And so it was that at the fated age of thirteen, Draco Malfoy stood alone in the world with a dilapidated manor and more money he knew what to do with.
You could have expected Draco to break down after having lost his parents, and while there were many nights when his pillow was very wet when he at last fell asleep he wasn't a Malfoy in name only. Instead, he had builders in to repair the manor to his specifics (as in, they put the roof back up and patched the worst of the holes in the walls). Then, he set about being the dark wizard his parents had so dearly wanted him to be.
For many years Draco lived alone in his old manor, blighting and smiting and blasting and wuthering and doing everything in his power to keep darkness and wickedness alive and thriving in the country. He also made sure to make the Manor as dark and dreadful as possible. This was not easy; Malfoy Manor lay in the sunniest part of Wiltshire, and was cursed with the most horribly pleasant weather imaginable. It took Draco many months to turn it into the sort of place that a dark wizard could be proud of. He called in rain clouds from the sea to let them drip endlessly on the leaky roof. He filled the battlements with screech owls and bats, and the cellars with salamanders. He lined the avenue with horrifyingly burnt and wilted trees and dug a well that oozed sulphur and brimstone in a terrible way. He planted a yew tree maze that was so complicated no one could ever hope to come out alive, and he made the grand fountains spew out blood. But there was one thing he couldn't do: he couldn't make the house ghost corporeal.
The Malfoy Manor ghost was a medieval warrior named Lord Gilderoy Lockhart, who once upon a time had murdered all of his seven wives and now haunted the house, covered in blood and chains, bemoaning his fate and striking his forehead with a splashing sound. The spirit usually manifested in the wine cellar, where he warmed up with a few horrifying wails. he then floated up the stairs and through the hallway whilst moaning in despair, and finally stormed through a great mural of a man having his arms chopped off while being roasted on a giant grate, howling with self-pity and grief. It was enough to make anyone lose their appetite. Draco absolutely adored it. He would have loved to bring the man back to life, if nothing else than for the company, but resurrecting the dead is the darkest and most terrible magic of all and not even Draco could get that right.
And so, the years passed. Though Draco hardly ever left the manor, his reputation spread far and wide. People called him Draco the Despicable, Destroyer of Goodness, Loather of Light and Wizard of the South. They said he was friends with Beelzebub himself. But Draco only kept working. He had grown from gangly boy, to awkward teenager, to young man and more beautiful by the day. Now he was tall, pale, with striking grey eyes and elegantly cut blond hair. He had a strong chin and an aristocratic nose, and he was always impeccably dressed. The loss of his parents had knocked all the spoilt, vain parts of personality straight out the water and it was as if he was completely unaware of how stunning he was.
Amongst other things, Draco amused himself with setting up a private zoo that he filled with the ugliest, nastiest creatures he could find. Menacing dogs with foam dripping from their hideous fangs, giant lizards that spat poison at you if you got in their visual range, and vultures with plumage that seemed to be constantly molting, to name but several. He turned the grand ballroom into a laboratory in which fiendish things bubbled all days and gave out terrifying smells, and he installed traps and pitfalls all over the mansion.
Then one day, he woke up feeling absolutely miserable. He knew he ought to get up and throw someone into his dungeon or order some new horrible creature to his zoo, but he just wasn't in the mood.
"Remus" he said to the servant who came in with his breakfast, "I'm done. Through. Exhausted. Bored."
Remus Lupin was a werewolf, but much to the disappointment of his lycanthropic relatives he was neither big nor menacing. Apart from a tendency to get rather hairy and slobbery on full moons and a rather severe silver allergy, he rarely made a fuss. He was frighteningly thin and had messy brown hair, with the most peculiar amber eyes who always caught you off guard with the intelligence and gentleness in them. Before Remus had started working for Draco, he had been a sword swallower at a fair and still liked to swallow the occasional sable or rapier. It soothed the nerves.
Now he looked at his master with eyes full of compassion and said, "are you, sir?" as he handed over the tea cup.
"Yes I am" Draco complained, "I am sick of all of this. I've been thinking that maybe I ought to go on vacation. Set up in some nice small town somewhere and write a book."
The werewolf was shocked. "But what about darkness and evil, sir?" he protested.
"I know!" Draco cried, his elegant eyebrows furrowing, "I know I have a duty, I see that! But for how long, Remus? How long?" he desperately waved his arms around, sending the tea flying. "How long?"
Remus wasn't the stupid sort of werewolf that just goes around snarling and baring their fangs at people. Now he looked thoughtfully at his master and said,
"Well, I can't tell you that, sir. Werewolves can't tell the future. But I know of someone who can. Sybil Trelawney. She was a soothsayer at the fair I worked at, and she knew her stuff."
So the following week, Draco and Remus went into Salisbury to look for the market. They found Trelawney's caravan. It was easy to spot it because everyone who came out looked befuddled.
"She tells the truth" Remus said as he happily breathed in the smell of fried onions and hot motor oil that laid thick over the entire fair ground, "not that usual rot about dark handsome strangers and journeys across the sea."
Sybil Trelawney was a tall, thin lady with very frizzy hair. Draco had dressed in muggle clothing in order to fit in, but the gaze she levelled on him was very sharp.
"For you, it'll be a fiver" she said, "sit."
Draco obeyed. Trelawney took a deep draught from a bottle labelled 'Firewhiskey', then stared deeply into her crystal ball. Draco waited with baited breath. Eventually, Miss Trelawney leaned back and lit a pipe.
"All is well" she said, "he's on his way."
"Who?" Draco demanded, confused and frustrated.
"The new wizard. The one who's going to take over after you."
"What?" Draco didn't get it.
"Do you need me to spell it out for you?" Trelawney complained. Then she half-closed her eyes and and put on a droning tone. "The Great and Terrible Wizard cometh, he whose power shall be stronger than thine. When he cometh, thou, Draco the Despicable, shall at last be able to lay down the burden of Darkness and Wickedness that thou hast carried for so long." She opened her eyes. "Got it?" she sneered.
"Oh yes, yes!" Draco cried in delight, "you don't know when he cometh?"
"No, I don't." Miss Trelawney replied crankily. "Next!"
After the visit to the fair, Draco was a happy man. Just to pass the time, he made an oil ship spring a leak just outside of Dover, made the entire east part of the London Subway stop working for a week straight, and invented a new spell that made people's hair fall out. But most of the time he spent by the grand gates, looking for the Wizard.
It was cold business. Wiltshire was having an unusually rainy period, and when Draco one morning discovered that he did not own a single pair of shoes that did not leak he came up with the great idea to create a Wizard Watcher.
For the body, he used the shape of a sea lion except larger and cuddlier with soft, dark fur. The watcher had four feet and one tail, but most importantly it had three heads with keen-sighted and very beautiful eyes on short stalks. And every morning, at sunrise, this friendly monster waddled its way out of the Manor, through the gardens, and down to the Grand Gate where it sat down to Watch for the Wizard. The left head looked to the west, across the moors, the middle head looked north, towards the city, and the right head looked east, towards the great woods.
And there the monster sat, watching, day after day after day as the months and years passed. But on the ninehundred and ninety-ninth day when it had sat there waiting and watching for the no-show wizard, the Watcher got disillusioned and lost hope.
"He cometh not from the west" said the left head.
"He cometh not from the north either" added the middle head.
"And you can forget the east" the right head said grumpily, "because the Wizard cometh not from there either!"
There was a pause.
"Our tail feels like an icicle" the left head complained, "and our feet feel like they're about to fall of!"
"Our feet are falling off!" The right head whined.
"I think the boss has been had" the middle head finally said.
"You mean there isn't a wizard?" The left head asked.
This time there was a long pause.
"It won't be fun to tell him" the right head sighed deeply.
"Someone's got to" the middle head pointed out.
So the monster turned and waddled back to the Manor, where it found Draco getting dressed for dinner.
"Well? Any news?" he demanded the moment he saw the Watcher.
"The Dread Wizard cometh not from the west" said the left head, as it had done every night for nine hundred and ninety nine days.
"He cometh not from the north" said the middle head.
"Nor cometh he from the east" the right head added. Then all three heads steeled themselves and said bravely:
"We think there is no Dread Wizard coming at all."
"You can't mean that! It's not possible!" Draco cried, horrified. He turned to Remus, who had entered to brush the lint from his master's suit, "What do you think?"
"Trelawney is never wrong, sir, but she is not always completely accura-" Remus didn't get to finish his sentence as Draco, who was inspecting himself in the mirror, let out a howl that would have frightened a banshee.
"A white hair!" He bawled, "a white hair, in my perfectly golden hair! Oh, darkness and wretched shadows! This is THE END!"
His anguish brought Severus Snape, his guardian, secretary, and honorary uncle, storming in like a bat out of hell.
"What is all this nonsense?" he demanded. Severus Snape was a tall, dark and gaunt man that had been born the son to a Dark Witch and a muggle. This had made him think he had something to prove. It was rather silly of him, as loads of Dark Witches have children with muggles these days. But Severus didn't know any other dark Witches than his mum, so he had spent years and years being a downright tosser and alienating everyone around him. Then he realised that villainy didn't suit him and started working for Draco instead. Now he frowned in concern at his sort-of nephew.
"Are you alright, Draco?" he asked, concern colouring his voice. "You seem upset."
"Upset? I'm FINISHED! Don't you know what a white hair MEANS? It means aging, it means death, it means the end to Malice and Malcontent at Malfoy Manor! And where is the new wizard, where where where?"
The left head of the Witch Watcher sighed deeply. "She cometh not from the west-" it began.
"I know that she cometh not from the west, you dolt! That's what I'm complaining about. What am I going to do? I can't wait for ever!"
Severus hummed thoughtfully. "Have you considered marriage?"
Draco spun on him, little lightning bolts shooting from his fingers in his agitation.
"Married? ME, married? Are you out of your MIND?"
"If you married, it'd ensure the succession" Remus, who was a quick thinker, pointed out.
"What in Merlin's name are you on about?" Draco snarled. He felt completely wretched and consequently upset.
"If you got married and had a son, then she would take over after you." Severus explained, momentarily despairing at his nephew's thickness. Lord Lockhart moaned in the paneling. Draco considered it. If he concentrated, he could see the baby. A darling little lad, with big blue eyes and a full set of teeth, happily chewing a marrow bone to mush. Then he shuddered.
"Who could I possibly marry?" He asked, his voice very small.
But they all knew the answer to that question, of course. The only person a Dark Wizard can possibly marry is a Dark Witch.
"It wouldn't be so bad" Severus said encouragingly.
"Not so bad!" Draco screeched. "A big black crone with warts and boils in unmentionable places from their eternal broom flying! You want me to sit opposite one of those every morning and eat my cornflakes?"
"I think Dark Witches have changed since-" Severus began but Draco was not having it.
"Running through the corridors in her horrible nightgown, shrieking and flapping! Getting egg in her whiskers! Wanting her kitty cat to sleep in the bed, no doubt!"
"She doesn't have to-"
"Every time I went into the kitchen for a snack they'd be there stirring their cauldron with disgusting ingredients! Eye of newt and turtle toes and all that muck! Not a decent steak in the house, I expect, since she'd gotten here!"
"It doesn't have to be a witch" Remus said, but no one could reason with Draco in this moment. Severus said nothing, busy giving Draco the stink eye. He rather liked potion making.
"And she'd wash her disgusting yellow teeth in MY SINK!" the Dread Wizard howled, growing more and more hysterical, "or worse - she'd NOT watch her disgusting yellow teeth in my sink!"
"She could have her own bathroom" the middle head said practically.
But nothing could calm Draco, who kept ranting and yelling for another ten minutes. Then he suddenly went very still, and very pale. "Very well. I see it is my duty."
"That's the spirit!" Remus cried encouragingly.
"But how do I choose?" Draco's voice was only a thin thread. "It has to be a Salisbury Witch, of course, or they'll take offence. But how do we choose which witch?"
"I might have an idea" Severus said.