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The Worst of Two Evils

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"When you choose
the lesser of two evils,
always remember
that it is still an evil."

- Max Lerners

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Prologue

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He was leaning over a map in the park, his beautiful face drawn in concentration. Covered in the shade of a large oak, his pale skin was untouched by the harmful rays of the shining sun. His knuckles were purple and black from contact with some hard surface, and a line of red marred his sensual lip. If something awful had befallen him, he gave no sign of it. After a long moment of skimming over the blasted paper, he looked up. Merlin, it was a beautiful day and here he was sitting on this confounded bench trying to read a bunch of gibberish. That was when he saw a ball roll at his feet. He leisurely bent down and picked it up.

The thumping of feet on the grass and dirt met his ears and he looked up to be confronted with eyes too large for the small face that kept them. Draco sat up stiffly in surprise. Those eyes – those eyes were identical to the emerald green ones that he remembered back home. Dear Merlin, but where those eyes were always filled with malice and anger whenever they were laid upon him, these were filled with fear and uncertainty. The depths of black swirls that were born from many trials and tribulations were replaced with innocence, yet somehow contained tiny specks of its own.

The child bit his lip in hesitance and tentatively held his tiny hand out for the ball in silent askance. He couldn't have been more than four years old, Draco mused to himself. The child was tiny and his large clothes hung off his small frame. It rather looked ridiculous, but Draco remembered the state of Potter's clothes back home and decided that it wasn't that big of a change. He sat back, silently taunting the child so that the small boy with a familiar mess of black hair dropped his gaze, a pink flush heating his cheeks. "Is this your ball?" drawled Draco softly, his aristocratic voice clipped and precise.

The response was a coy glance and a small nod. Draco found himself smirking, tossing the ball up into the air before catching it again. The boy stared at the action, seemingly awed at the speed at which this tall pale stranger could toss and catch the ball. Quidditch reflexes, boy, thought the young man with an inner grin. "It's a nice blue ball," he told the child and the small creature met his grey eyes. He was a suspicious little thing and kept his distance, and Draco assumed it was from those confounded lessons that said one should never talk to strangers.

Draco beckoned to the boy to sit upon the bench with him. "Come, sit," he bade the child with a gesture and a charming tone. However, the boy was not one easily charmed. Green eyes glowed with doubt and he took a careful step backwards, his gaze never wavering from the ball being tossed in the air and caught again. It seemed as if the boy couldn't decide whether talking to a stranger to retrieve his ball was worth the potential consequences. "Potter, I'm not about to hurt you," he said condescendingly and when the child jumped in surprise and scurried backwards, Draco felt that he could have phrased that better.

Little git doesn't know me even if I know him, he thought. The boy had tripped over his long trousers and landed upon his rump with a soft 'thud'. Draco rolled his eyes. Potter quickly righted himself, although a bit waveringly, and eyed the pale man before him with mounting fear and suspicion. Well, damn. The prat seems to know how he feels about me even before we've met – in the regular timeline of course.

He opened his mouth to speak again when a large man came lumbering over. "Boy!" Draco saw little Potter grimace and slowly turn around. It seemed as if any thoughts about the ball were suddenly dispelled from his mind. The man was big and had a rather large belly. His mustache was much like that of a male walrus and his face the color of purple grapes as he swelled with anger. "You've lost the ball already?"

"I – I -," but the boy cut himself off when his voice seemingly failed him. He didn't even send a glance back at Draco who held his ball, watching avidly as the scene unfolded.

"It hasn't been a day and already you've lost that blasted ball! Probably think that money grows from trees, you do, and that a toy bought out of your family's bank account is nothing to take careful care of! You're taking advantage of us is what you're doing!" growled the man as he waved a fat finger down at Potter. Draco looked at the tiny ball in his hand in incredulity. He doubted that such a thing was worth more than a Knut.

Potter shook his head quickly as he stared up at the angry, purple mask that looked ominously down at him. "No – no, Uncle Verwon!" exclaimed the child piteously.

But the man called Verwon would hear nothing of it. He grabbed a tight and vicious hold upon Potter's tiny shoulder and dragged him away to a more secluded clearing, still muttering angrily at the little boy who cowered away from the large man. Draco frowned in distaste and stood up, walking towards the duo.

"Mr. Verwon," said Draco by way of greeting.

The man spun around and let go of little Potter's shoulder. The boy looked up with large watery eyes at Draco and the Malfoy heir looked away from him quickly.

"Vernon," corrected the man. "My name is Vernon Dursley." He eyed Draco's clothing and seemed satisfied with the sophisticated attire the stranger wore.

"Mm, yes – well, I believe your son dropped this," said Draco, holding out the small ball.

"He's not my son," was the quick reply. Mr. Dursley snatched the ball away and scowled at Potter. "Thank you, sir," he replied, then turned his back on him and glowered down at the little boy before him. Dursley looked back to see Draco still standing there and shot the young man a glare. Draco, insulted and rather annoyed, gave the man his coldest glare and turned to walk back to the bench where his map lay.

Draco watched as Dursley continued to gesture angrily and berate the young Potter, and he felt a small sliver of satisfaction run through him. Hmm, the little git deserves it if you ask me, he thought, but there was a nagging feeling in him as well. Apparently, that large chunk of lard was Potter's uncle – a rather crude man if Draco had ever met one. It didn't matter, however, for Draco himself believed in strict discipline.

He was Head Boy at Hogwarts, after all, and took it upon himself to make sure the younger generation of the school was not a complete embarrassment. Everyday he had one of the first years carry his things to class and random others fetch yet more things that he had unfortunately forgotten. This, he believed, was a way of instilling obedience and discipline into the youngsters.

The noble Gryffindors, however, were quick to object to his way of teaching. He was always kind enough to remind them that he was head boy and thus ruled over them. Granger, though, had the same power as he for she was Head Girl. She was always lecturing him about hazing, but he never paid her much heed. If she decided to dismiss one of Draco's commands, the younger children usually did not obey for fear of their Head Boy's wrath.

Draco Malfoy was a very influential figure at Hogwarts.

He picked up his map and when he glanced over, he saw Potter following Dursley away. A boy who Draco assumed was a tad older than Potter joined them with a tall, skinny woman who very much resembled a horse. The boy was as fat as the man Draco assumed was his father, if not more so, and his absurd width seemed to equal his height. It was a rather funny picture to see someone so round steal Potter's blue ball away.

If Draco had been expecting one of the adults to reprimand the chubby boy for stealing the other child's toy, he was sorely let down. Potter ducked his head as if sheepish and seemed to say something to the other boy which only made the child, who looked so much like the ball in his hand, laugh.

"Mum, the Freak told me to give him back the ball!" cried the boy with glee. He laughed as 'Mum' glared at Potter.

When she looked back at the round boy, her face softened into a smile. "Don't listen to him, Duddykins," she cooed. "Don't let him bully you." And Duddykins nodded with an obviously false innocent smile before pushing Potter over. Duddykins laughed raucously and ran off ahead, looking more as if he was waddling than jogging after tossing the ball into the nearby pond.  

Draco expected that familiar face to heat up with anger and those green eyes to darken, but all he saw was defeat written across the small boy's face as the child looked longingly at the blue ball floating on the green water's surface before he walked quickly to catch up with his family.

"Well," murmured Draco thoughtfully, "this does make my job a whole lot easier." Then, with a grace that seemed ethereal, he stood up in one languid motion and disappeared with a soft 'pop'.

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Chapter 1 – Ignorance is Bliss

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He sat silently staring at the blazing flames, his grey eyes smoldering more violently than the orange flames that roared before him. In his fist, a piece of parchment was grasped tightly. The sweat of his palm made it damp and rivulets of blood bled into the yellow of the paper – he didn't seem to notice…or he didn't seem to care. One would believe that he was simply angry at an unknown foe, or stressed about his arduous job – but they were ignorant as to what was written in the letter grasped so tightly in his hand.

And sometimes, ignorance is bliss.

Draco made a low sound of frustration deep in his throat before banging his fist down upon the arm of the chair. If he felt the searing pain that rushed up his arm, he gave no hint of it. His eyes fell upon the crumpled parchment in his hand and in one swift movement it was thrown into the fire. He watched with only the barest tinge of satisfaction as it curled and turned black from the scorching heat of the flames.

With that, he turned on his heel and walked out of the Slytherin common room. His face was drawn taut with tension and his shoulders were stiff with the strain of the decision that weighed so heavily upon them. It was more of a burden than a choice, for his will was no more his own than his life was – it had always been that way and he now hated that fact more than ever.

He walked quickly, trying to avoid crossing paths with any unwanted company. Unfortunately, when one's destination was the owlery, that wish was usually made in vain. Just as he turned the corner, he had the misfortune of running into a young man, notably more than half a foot taller than he was. He was knocked ungracefully upon the ground and was tangled in his black school robes. Furiously, he righted himself and made to walk off unnoticed, but a familiar mess of black hair and bespectacled green eyes blocked his path.

"Are you going to move out of my way, Potter, or are you going to continue being an unnecessary obstruction?" he snarled. Perhaps his tone was a little more harsh than was necessary, but he was in a hurry at the moment and had no time for mindless bickering.

There was a scuttling sound nearby and Draco's eyes wandered towards the tall red-haired boy standing up once more at Potter's right side. Ironically, it was the famous Boy-Who-Lived's right hand man, Weasley. He looked at the full form of the boy and sneered at the dingy robes he wore.

"You ought to watch where you're going, Malfoy," Weasley said with a scowl and the blonde noted that Granger wasn't with them today.

Draco fought the urge to roll his eyes and the words, "Missing the Mudblood today I see, did you two have a fall out? Or did she finally put those brains of hers to work and toss your sorry arse out the door?" slipped from his lips. It was known to everyone in Hogwarts that the Mudblood loving fool Weasley and Miss-Know-It-All Granger were a couple now.

Weasley blinked in undisguised shock before his face contorted into that mask of outraged crimson that always foretold of pain. Draco ducked as the Weasel threw his first punch and after that, he expected Potter to hold him back like he always did. But the git did nothing and the Malfoy heir was subjected to another crudely thrown blow to his stomach. The air in his lungs was quickly expelled and for a short moment, the contents of the letter, safely stashed away in his inner robe pocket, was forgotten. The pain didn't kick in until after he had retaliated with a kick between Weasley's legs.

The red-headed boy doubled over with a groan and that's when he felt the cold touch of wood at his back. His face twisted into glower and he froze on the spot.

Didn't even notice Potter sneak up behind me, he thought, his temper boiling at his mistake rather than the fact that Potter had a wand at his back. Blind like a fool – the very thing Father said I should never be.

He found himself yet again with words spilling carelessly from his lips. "I didn't come here to have a fight with you today, Weasley, nor you, Potter – if you care to believe it. I've actually a bit of business to attend to." Slowly, he moved a step forward so that he couldn't feel the tip of Potter's wand on his back anymore. He side-stepped Weasley and began walking away and unbeknownst to him, he left the duo staring in astonishment after him.

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Moments after the short brawl found Draco petting his short-eared owl. It's feathers were beautifully pattered with colors ranging from tawny to a rich chocolate brown. At its talons was a small package and Draco eyed it with distaste. "Father said you'd be bringing the package, Archimedes," he murmured.

The owl hooted affectionately and nipped at his sleeve. He sighed as if in defeat and picked it up. It was feather light in his hands and, his curiosity getting the better of him, he tore through the wrapping and opened the box. He pulled out all the package cushioning and found himself looking at a small hourglass. His scowl darkened as he pulled it out. He hated the cursed thing and if it wasn't for McNair and his stupid connections in the ministry, then he wouldn't have found himself in this predicament.

Draco slipped the chain of the Time Turner around his neck and hid it under his cloak. The belly of his left forearm tickled painfully and he rubbed it gingerly. He still remembered the terrible screams of torment and agony that had accompanied his very own ceremony – and he found it ironic that the screams had been his own.

++Flashback++

He was blind with fear as he sat in the lounge, despite the fact that his stance radiated tranquility. Draco had never been so afraid in his life. The elder initiates said that it was the greatest honor and that there was nothing to fear, but his mind and heart screamed the exact opposite of that. As he looked at Vince and Greg seated before him, he wondered if they felt the same.

Draco watched at Greg fell to his knees and bit through his lip as he tried to fight against the pain. He saw his companion's skin blacken with the mark that would forever brand him as one of the many devoted followers of the Dark Lord. His chest constricted painfully as he saw Greg's eyes shut in pain and lines of blood fall down his chin – this was Greg, big and bulky Greg who feared no one and was always quick to jump to Draco's aid.

It seemed like hours until it was over. Greg was helped up and he spat out the blood that had welled up in his mouth before looking proudly around the room at the other Death Eaters that applauded for him. Draco saw the triumph that shone on his friend's face and, as fearless and confident as he pretended to be, he wondered if he would be able to go through what Greg had and pass.

But it wasn't his turn yet. If it had been, he felt that he might have been more ready.

Vince walked up as boldly as Greg had done, and his eyes were clouded by the fear that only Greg and Draco could see for having been close friends for so long. Don't worry, Vince. If some of the gits in the Dark Lord's circle passed the initiation, we'll have no trouble, Draco had said just two weeks before. At that time, he had still been confident that getting the mark would be nothing…now…now he knew better.

The tall boy that was always at Draco's side sauntered up to the Dark Lord and held out his arm, palm side up. Lord Voldemort's glaring red eyes pierced Vince's own brown ones and he saw the young man visibly shudder. A murmur rushed through the crowd and Draco saw Vince close his eyes as if to build himself up for the torment that would inevitably occur.

He never knew the extent of that torment until it was too late.

At the beginning, Vince trembled and shook – and then he began to scream. It wasn't a sole yell of pain, but a shriek of agony. Draco felt the last sliver of his resolve slip away, leaving a terrible emptiness in its wake. It seemed like only a second before Vince crumbled to the ground, his huge form jerking as he lay upon the ground as if he was being held under the Cruciatus curse.

That was when the Dark Lord drew his wand and pointed it at Vince's heart. Draco was frozen to his spot even as the green glow appeared at the tip of the wood. "Who speaks in Vincent Crabbe's favor? Who would grant him mercy?" Lord Voldemort's terrible voice echoed around the room and there was complete silence that smothered Draco in its horrible grasp. His eyes darted to Crabbe, Sr., but the elder man had lowered his eyes to the ground, a frown creasing his brow.

Is that all you can do for your son? Would you choose Voldemort over your heir? wondered Draco in horror, but he himself could not find his voice.

When the words, "Avada Kedavra," left Voldemort's lips, all the young man was able to do was stare at the limp and lifeless figure of his friend. Across the room, Draco's eyes met Greg's and both shared their horror through silence.

And then someone grabbed his upper arm tightly, pulling him forward. He dug his heels into the ground and his eyes wandered from Vince's corpse to meet icy grey eyes so much like his own.

Would you choose Voldemort over your heir – your son? His silent entreaty was met with yet more ice.

Of course Lucius Malfoy would.

Draco pulled his arm away and stumbled backwards, beginning to hyperventilate. His father's eyes narrowed and the elder man came forward once more, McNair at his side. They dragged him forcefully towards the Dark Lord as Draco began to scream and twist, trying in vain to escape the fate that would be a burden to him rather than an honor.

His screams came not from pain as the spell seared his flesh, but from anguish at the fact that he was branded now for life. He jerked and pulled, but the hold the Death Eaters had on him were too strong. There was no structure as he screamed and shameless tears fell down his pale face. They were like individual drops of fire straight from Lord Voldemort's own red eyes. They burned and scorched his skin and he tasted the bitter salt on his tongue. He wanted nothing more than to stop the pain, and to stop the searing feeling in his chest. It felt as if his very heart was being torn apart, and his soul was being shredded – and indeed, it was. Voldemort was binding Draco to himself, and only then did the young man see what it was that he had been reaching for his entire life.

And then it was over, and Draco was pulled away, his father's eyes shooting drops of venom ice at him. He saw the dark red swirl of his master's eyes and felt as if the world was a cruel, cruel place. His life was his own no longer, and it was only now that he began to regret what he had made of himself.

++End of Flashback++

He was now branded as a beast to the wizarding world if anyone was to see the mark he bore upon his forearm. Now more than ever, he had decided to lessen his confrontations with the 'Golden Trio' for fear that in a slip of his sleeve and a misplaced spell, all the glamouries he placed over the mark would slither off leaving his mark bare to the entire world. He fingered the hourglass under his robes and scowled darkly.

"Get rid of Potter for sure," he snarled angrily.

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Someone tugged on his sleeve and he turned to look at who it was. The boy was short for a first year, and he looked as if one touch would shatter him into pieces. "D-Draco?"

Draco inwardly sighed. He remembered this first year's name – Danny Baddock, Malcolm Baddock's younger brother. "Danny," greeted the Malfoy.

The child's eyes were brimming with tears, but before the Head Boy, he furiously blinked them back. "Did you – did you know about Malcolm?" he whispered, lowering his gaze to the floor. Draco frowned and tried to meet Danny's gaze. "D-Did you know 'bout how he was initiated?"

"Of course," replied Draco slowly, but his voice dripping with curiosity.

Danny looked at him past wet eyelashes and his light brown eyes were large on his face. "He – he wrote me a letter," said the boy quietly. "He said that he was in trouble and – and that I should be brave and talk to – to you."

"What kind of trouble is he in?"

The boy sniffed and hastily wiped a sleeve across his face. Draco handed him a kerchief which was gratefully accepted. Danny hid his face in the soft cloth. "He said he – he made a big mistake and that – that the Dark Lord is very angry."

Draco's heart skipped a beat as he looked at the boy before him. "What sort of mistake, Danny?" he probed, his voice turning cold with fear.

"M-Malcolm…he – he said that he made a big mistake about the Master and that – that he wouldn't be able to fix it." Danny's shoulders were shaking with repressed sobs and Draco gently put a hand on one shoulder.

"Why is that?"

"B-because he said that he didn't want to fix it," whispered Danny and he looked up with wide fearful eyes at Draco that told of dark things. "He told me to tell you that he was sorry a-and that he chose his side. He said I can't see him anymore because he's going away to hide and that – that he doesn't want me get hurt. He -," but he cut himself off when they both heard the sound of footsteps upon the stone floors of the dungeons.

Draco slowly stood, his hand still on Danny's shoulder and he looked at Severus as he approached. "Draco," greeted the potions master. He turned to look at the sobbing boy who had once again hidden his face in the handkerchief. "Danny, would you come with me to my office?"

Danny wiped his face and hiccupped before holding out the kerchief to Draco. "You can keep it," said Draco, he didn't notice the look of blind adoration upon the younger boy's face for his own was trained upon the professor. The cloudy color of Severus Snape's eyes made his stomach turn.

"I will speak with you later, Draco," said the potions master, before he led Danny Baddock away with a reassuring arm across the young boy's shoulder.

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Draco sat on his bed, fingering the Time Turner in his hands, the chain still looped around his neck. "Only seven turns with this particular Time Turner," he said, repeating a sentence from the letter in his pocket. "Too many or too little will spin you off course." He unfolded it and re-read a short section.

You will not fail this mission. The Dark Lord thought you fit to succeed, but I think differently. If you fail to comply with our Lord's wishes, the consequences will be dire indeed. This is your last chance, Draco. After the fiasco at your ceremony, many of our comrades are doubtful about your loyalties. Any weakness in you is passed on to me and I do not abide well with weaknesses. You will arrive back just before you leave and we expect the necessary changes. Everything in our past has been recorded and our Lord is certain that he will remember. Thus, a failure is in no way possible.

He sighed deeply and locked his dormitory door. It wouldn't do to have anyone see him with a time turner. Seven turns would activate the settings and he would be sent to the right time in the past. That done, he took a deep breath and stood up, looking at himself in the full length mirror.

Father said that it was the customary Muggle attire and in order to blend in, it was necessary to dress as such. Therefore, he wore black trousers and a grey jumper. He was able to choose his own clothes and felt more relaxed with these items instead of like he was wearing undergarments, feeling naked without robes. Despite the warm weather, as it would be when he was going, he had decided on this attire and was very pleased. Perhaps he would dress in Muggle clothing more often – it wasn't half bad. However, he would never say such a thing in front of anyone.

He made the first turn and felt the wind pick up. He made the second and it began to rush through the room, and then he made a third. That was when someone decided to knock and he remembered that he had failed to cast a second silencing charm so that he could not hear what was taking place outside his dormitory.

"Draco? Draco, are you in there?" It was Blaise Zabini. Draco swore under his breath and set the Time Turner down upon his desk being. "Draco, I need to talk to you about the Quidditch match this weekend!"

"Blaise!" yelled Draco through the door. "The bloody door is locked, take a hint!" Then he cast the silencing charm he had meant to set moments before. Once the silence soothed his nerves. "Blast, how many turns did I make?" he muttered and decided that he could just alter the Turner's commands if he ended up in the wrong timeline. He spun it five times more and cast the spell that would take him to the proper timeline.

And then the world tilted on its axis and rolled over.

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"Bloody hell!"

Draco untangled himself from the other young man upon which he fell. "Merlin, what the hell do you think you were doing?" he exclaimed and soon after, decided that that particular question was a bit odd seeing as how it was he who fell upon the other. He sat up and rubbed his head as he scowled fiercely at the person before him. The man was tall and looked to be in his late teens. He was handsome and radiated an air of confidence that was very much like Draco's own.

The boy glared back at him and turned to look over as another one came over. This one had light brown hair and kind hazel eyes. His expression was comical as he looked at the two young men glowering at one another as they straightened their clothes. "Is everything all right, Padfoot?" wondered the brunette, holding his hand out to help his friend up.

The black haired boy that was called Padfoot nodded gingerly and rubbed his head with an angered expression upon his handsome face. "Sure, if you think raining men is all right," he replied sarcastically. He glanced at his friend and took in the young man's pallor. "Hey, Remus, are you all right? I thought James was supposed to bring you to the infirmary?"

Draco doubled backwards at the name 'Remus'. "Bloody Circe," he murmured, his grey eyes widening in disbelief. Then he quickly touched his neck to see if the Time Turner was still there. Thankfully, it was and he hid it under his shirt while the other two were talking.

That was his bloody old DADA professor, Remus Lupin! Heavens, he looked a lot like he did in the future except that streaks of gray were missing in his hair.

The young Remus Lupin grinned and rolled his eyes. "I'm perfectly all right until later this afternoon," he replied, but the dark black circles under his eyes contradicted his light words and tone. "Honestly, you ought to stop worrying!" 'Padfoot' shrugged, but continued to eye his friend warily. Lupin turned to look at Draco who was staring at him with large eyes. He grinned and walked over, holding his hand out. Draco stared at it in shock before slipping his hand into that of his future professor's. "Hi, I'm Remus Lupin, I don't think we've met before," he said.

Draco shook his head. "No – er – my name's Draco and…I'm just stopping by. My father wanted me to…to look around Hogwarts. He wants me to transfer next year, you see."

Lupin's eyes brightened. "Oh! What school did you come from? Beauxbatons?"

"Heavens no! Durmstrang!" said Draco skeptically. Lupin laughed, but the blonde didn't think that it was a laughing matter. Him? Look like one of those Beauxbatons fools? Dear Merlin, what was the world coming to?

"Well, Draco, this is my friend Sirius Black." He seemed not to notice Draco's small, ungraceful 'eep' of surprise. Later, the Malfoy heir would deny that any sound similar to an 'eep' left his lips, but that was what happened. "I hope he didn't hurt you too badly – you never know with Sirius over here. He tends to border insanity most of the time," said Lupin teasingly, his smile amicable and open.

Draco stepped back quickly and eyed the boy called Sirius Black. The convict was glaring at him and Draco couldn't help but feel threatened. He drew his wand and pointed it at Black. "Don't think of coming any closer, Black, I'm warning you," he told the young man threateningly, his voice turning cold.

Lupin looked surprise and Black's scowl faded away into a grimace and a bitter look in his eyes. "No need to worry, you fool," snapped Black as he gestured for Draco to lower his wand. "I'm nothing like my parents." Beside him, Lupin nodded and put a hand on his friend's shoulder.

If they expected Draco to feel more comfortable after this declaration, then he believed them to be bigger fools than they already were. "Bloody hell," said Draco, before backing away and then turning to race towards the castle.

He had initially thought that he would find himself in a safe environment again and would be able to find a secluded corridor where he could turn the time turner four times more so that he ended up in his designated timeline. His belief, however, was quickly dashed to the ground when he saw a crowd standing before the doors. He roughly pushed his way through and was surprised to see the familiar face of his future potions professor. "Severus!" he exclaimed, but thankfully, the crowd's shouts and jokes drowned out his reckless cry. He turned to a girl near him and asked, "What's going on?"

She grinned at him. "James is giving Snape his due of course!" and then she peered around the boy in front of her and watched the scene unfold with relish.

"So, Snape, do you really think you can call my girlfriend a Mudblood in front of me?" wondered the young man standing before Draco's head of house. He had black hair that seemed messed up by the imaginary wind and black rimmed glasses. Draco couldn't see his face, but the taunting undertone he bore was dark and angry despite the superficially light voice. Severus himself was pressed against the doors of the school, his wand in his tormentor's hand and his still crooked nose bleeding. His scowl was one of the most hateful ones that Draco had ever seen. On occasion, it was directed at Potter, but not nearly as passionate as it was now.

"She deserved it, you fool," hissed Snape, his fists balling at his side. "Butting into my business and then subjecting me to her Know-It-All personality!"

The boy Draco had learned was called James fisted his hand around his wand and he could almost see the stick of wood wavering ever so slightly. Behind him, he heard Black's voice shouting over the din of the crowd. "Move out of my way, damn you!" And when Draco looked back, he saw Black push a boy out of the way and receive no retaliation.

They must all be afraid of him is why, thought Draco with an unpleasant roll in his stomach.

Black caught sight of Draco and nodded, albeit a bit coldly, before squeezing through and drawing his wand. "What've you done now, Snivellus?"

The boy called James turned his head to the side. "He called Lily a Mudblood is what and she ran off in a huff because of it," was the angry reply. Black dropped his wand and lunged at Severus, but thankfully, James pulled him back. "No, not that, Sirius," said the boy with a nasty smile.

Draco saw his face fully at that moment and found himself stumbling backwards once more. Merciful heavens! It was Potter! But…no, no, it was Potter's father! Dear Merlin, he wasn't sure if that was worse or not. "Hey, you all right there mate?" said a soft voice in his ear. He was helped back to a steady standing position before he looked to his right. Lupin was looking at him in concern.

"Er – yeah," he replied.

Lupin looked at the scene that seemed about to explode into fighting with a terrible expression upon his face. He seemed to be torn between two decisions and it looked like both were too heavy to choose from. Thus he stood there in uncertainty, his youthful face looking drawn.

James Potter, for now Draco now knew his name, handed Black his wand again and both backed up a little. Severus had no choice but to watch for the doors were at his back and no one in their right mind would turn their back to those two for one second.

"Hit him hard, Sirius!" exclaimed a chubby boy to Draco's right and he shoved him away.

"Oh," said Draco when the boy looked irritably at him, "sorry, mate, I got pushed too."

The boy nodded and shrugged before turning a hungry gaze back towards the fight. "Peter," Draco heard Lupin say and turned to see the shorter man shaking his head with a pained expression.

"Wingardium Leviosa!" cried Potter and Black watched in satisfaction as Severus was levitated into the air.

Draco watched with a terrible feeling in his stomach.

"Do you remember this, Snivelly?" drawled Black viciously, his onyx colored eyes dancing with dark pleasure.

Severus was helpless to do anything except shoot both boys dreadful glares that promised disgusting things placed on their beds at night.

Potter actually had the nerve to laugh and muttered under his breath. The crowd became louder with merriment as Severus was turned upside down, exposing his underpants beneath his robes. He struggled to free his face from his upturned robes and when he finally succeeded, it was flushed red with humiliation and anger. Around him, everyone laughed, pointing and yelling jokes until, to his embarrassment, his shadowy eyes glimmered brightly.

"Enough!" shouted Draco before he knew what he was doing. He had stepped forward with his wand raised. He muttered the counter curse and Severus dropped to the ground, his face red and his eyes glittering furiously. "How dare you!" he yelled. "Expelliarmus!"

Both Black's and Potter's wands soared out of their grasps to Draco along with Severus'. "What the hell do you think you're doing?" cried Potter, his eyes darkening as he whirled around to look at the boy who interrupted him.

"I'm stopping this bloody madness, is what. You're out of line, Potter. I thought your chivalrous Gryffindor self would know that," drawled Draco, twirling his own wand and pocketing the others. The crowd was silent as they watched.

Black took a step forward, his face a dark mask as he regarded this stranger before him. "I thought you were just visiting. How in Merlin's name do you know that James is in Gryffindor?"

Draco's mind whirled and he covered up by throwing Severus his wand. His potions professor looking at the wooden stick in surprise before he turned his gaze towards the blonde man that now stood between him and Black and Potter. "What do you think you're doing?" wondered the man and Draco found a small bit of comfort that the young Snape had the same cold tone of voice Draco was so used to hearing during class.

Grey eyes met onyx and Draco smirked. "What does it look like I'm doing?" and for some reason, that response seemed to pacify any ill feelings that Severus had.

That was when Black's temper blew up and he gave Draco a blow to the temple. If the blonde headed boy had not been accustomed to unexpected attacks, the punch may have caused more damage than it did. However, he turned his head to the side as he was hit and the brunt of the impact was left for the air as Black, surprised, stumbled forward. Potter caught him, and Draco retaliated with a kick to the convict's stomach and followed that up with a fierce right hook. Black was caught by Potter again and looked at Draco with something else shining in his eyes. His dark eyes seemed to swirl with something akin to admiration as he rubbed his cheek. Instead of striking back himself, Black was helped up by Potter who began attacking in his place, but Severus had launched himself into the brawl and jumped on Potter's back.

If the situation had been a bit less serious, Draco would have laughed. Severus wasn't the older man he was in the future just yet, despite the cool tones he had mastered, and was rather on the skinny side. His height wasn't the towering stature that the man possessed later in life and he stood a good six or so inches beneath Potter and Black. Thus, the picture of him jumping on Potter's back was humorous indeed.

Potter's eyes widened surprise as his head was bombarded with weak blows as Severus fought to hold on tightly around his neck. Black turned around at the sound of everyone jeering and laughing and snorted at the sight. James scowled at him and yelled in a hoarse voice, "Get him off of me for Merlin's sake!"

Black laughed uproariously, and that was when Draco felt his arms freeze tightly against his sides. He looked up in surprise, and saw Potter's face freeze with an expression that matched how Draco felt. The crowd seemed to have long ago dispersed and he heard a familiar voice, though younger, say sternly, "What is going on here?" Draco moved his eyes so that he was looking to his side, but he still could not see the woman who would be his future professor. "Finite Incantatem," she murmured and he found himself with control over his body once more.

Once free, he whirled around and looked at the tall woman who held the air of her future self. He caught sight of the tight bun atop her head and the stern expression she wore, then instantly turned tail and ran.

He ran past a corner and made for the Forbidden Forest. What the hell had he been doing? He hit Sirius Black for Merlin's sake! Was he bloody trying to get himself killed? And he had bloody seen Potter's father! Heavens, he hadn't even gotten to the right timeline yet and already things were going downhill! What would Father say?

His glance wandered back towards the Time Turner around his neck. He was one generation too far into the past so one turn and the right future incantation for the timeline specialized Time Turner should do the trick. He muttered the instigation spell and spun the Turner once.

"Ciao," he whispered, and felt that ethereal sensation of the world rolling over.

+++++

Once Draco landed, he found that he was in the middle of a muggle street. A large, green contraption growled at him and he vaguely remembered seeing something much like it in one of his Muggle Studies texts. With no affinity to muggles as well as a great dislike for them, he hadn't had the desire to take the blasted class, but upon his father's orders, he was obliged to. He had learned next to nothing, but not one wizard of witch could forget the strange mechanical thing called an auto that they had seen in one of Professor Nolan's "movies."

He jumped and walked quickly away when the green auto made a rude sound at him. Fingering his wand with a dark scowl upon his face, he watched until it was out of sight around the corner. Draco glanced around and saw numerous people walking on the white walkways and then he heard the high pitched laughter of children nearby. Deciding to find his way with his map, he made his way towards the bench near the playground.

It was time he found Potter.