Rewrite Notice: I've been working on this fanfic for about a year now, and the more practice I get, the more I've wanted to go back over the earliest chapters and rework them. It is only to update content (no plot changes), so if you don't want to reread them, you'll still be able to follow it. I just wanted to make it read better. And if you've just joined us, welcome aboard:-D
Author's Notes: I probably should not confess to this, but this is my first fanfic. The first part of the story will be told from Draco's point of view. Most italicized passages will indicate his thoughts, so hopefully, those will be clear. (Draco is not the narrator per se, but I think you'll be able to see when the story changes viewpoints.) Constructive criticism would be appreciated, as are kindly worded reviews. Thank you for reading -- I hope you enjoy it!
Spoilers: Will eventually include all five books.
Disclaimer: I am the Queen of England, I own everything . . woah, wait . . . . that's not right. I don't own anything but a '94 Mazda with bad tires.
Chapter 1 – I Scheme, Therefore I Am
Shortly after 11 a.m. on September 1st, the shiny red express chugged along at full steam, wending its way through the English countryside. The wind was bitterly cold and blustery, and the trees that lined the tracks swayed vigorously as the train whooshed past them, threatening to snap them from their roots.
The train's cargo consisted of a few hundred children and, for most of them, all their worldly possessions. A full day's journey ahead of them, they would not reach their destination until after nightfall. From there, the children would take a short ride, either by carriage or boat, to their school.
But these weren't just any students going to an ordinary English public school. They were young witches and wizards, all of whom attended Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, a place found on no muggle map. The muggles, bless their hearts, didn't even know it existed. Even so, it did exist, and these children called it home for the better of part of the year. Closer to their housemates than their own siblings, friends had missed one another dreadfully during the past eight weeks; for some, it had seemed like an unbearable eternity. Several joyful reunions were underway as they animatedly exchanged news about their summer hols.
A few of the travelers were feeling a tad nervous, this being their first ride on the barreling express. They were curious about what lie in wait at the end of their journey. Which house would they be sorted into? Which classes would they do well in, struggle in, or just plain muddle through? What were the professors really like? Was detention as awful as their older siblings had said it was? How would they ever make it till Christmas?
However, one passenger in particular, Draco Malfoy, felt none of these things. This being his sixth time to make the long, boring cross-country trip, he was in no mood to be joyful, apprehensive, or curious -- or to watch those who were. As of late, joy had been conspicuously absent from his life. He rarely felt apprehension, and frankly, any fascination he might have had with the school had long since waned.
In fact, to Draco's mind, the only unresolved mystery about Hogwarts was why the hell Harry Potter was still allowed to attend, given all the trouble he had caused. He sat and pondered why that green-eyed, bespectacled freak of nature continued to live. Did he do it just to annoy him? Thinking back to the events of the previous spring, he thought to himself, Damn scarheaded orphan . . . I warned him, he'll get what's coming to him someday very, very soon. And I'll be more than happy to deliver it to him, personally.
He had a number of good reasons for taking this harsh attitude. Most of them had to do with his father, Lucius Malfoy. A pillar of society, Lucius was wrongfully imprisoned at Azkaban at the end of last term; as his son had always had the highest regard for him, it had been quite a shock to the poor lad's system. When he had first heard the news, he simply couldn't comprehend it. My father, in prison? A man who had championed so many noble causes and donated thousands of Galleons to countless charities, now lay rotting in jail, next to murderers and thieves? How could that be?
Once the initial shock had subsided, revenge had consumed Draco that summer. And since the goody-two-shoes Gryffindor had so thoroughly ruined his life . . for Lucius's arrest was surely all his fault . . . he was more determined than ever to destroy Potter's.
I hate him. That smarmy, arrogant bastard.
The perfect plot was formulating in Draco's mind as the train rocked back and forth. He was rudely awakened from his scheming by several loud voices outside of his private compartment. He peeked out from behind the curtained window to see who could possibly be making such a racket.
Ah, he thought. Make that "what."
It was none other than Mr. Perfect Potter himself and his two -- Wait, make that three -- revolting sidekicks. The youngest Weasel had evidently joined the golden trio, making it a foursome.
Draco mused, Hmm, now that sounds kinky, even without the incest factor. It definitely has possibilities. If only people would believe that anyone would actually stoop to sleeping with that straw-haired, know-it-all mudblood, it would make an excellent rumor. Probably even make her cry in Potions class. Now that would be rich, he decided, nodding to himself approvingly.
After thinking about it realistically, he clicked his tongue and rolled his eyes. Hmph, not bloody likely. No one would buy that for a second, especially about Ron Weasley. Now his sister, on the other hand, she's certainly matured nicely . . . mmm, don't mind if I do . . . her . .
He shook his head in disgust and squinted his eyes. He obviously had a momentary lapse of reason and needed to clear his mind. He asked himself: Where the hell did that come from? She's absolute rubbish!
He banished such ridiculous thoughts as he silently cursed his enemies. He was itching to taunt or confront them, just for fun. Instead, he remained safely in his sanctuary. Not that he was afraid of them; if he couldn't take on a few bleeding-heart Gryffindors, then what had he become? A Hufflepuff? However, four to one did tilt the odds slightly in their favor. Besides, he hadn't forgotten what had happened in Professor Umbridge's office last spring. So he sat there, fidgeting and wishing that his muscle-bound, half-witted friends would return. Damnit all, where are Crabbe and Goyle when you need them?
Suddenly, the ill-mannered group became markedly quieter, but they still wouldn't go away. Draco peered out once more and thought angrily, Get your arses out of my hallway, you stupid wankers! Why were the insufferable prats still blighting his part of the train?
He realized then, Oh, they must be waiting for the girls to finish in the loo. How very chivalrous of them. He returned to his schemes. Thinking this might be the perfect opportunity to advance his plans, he tried desperately to focus on their conversation. He concentrated intently, trying to figure out what the devil they were talking about.
Unfortunately, all he could really hear was Potter's constant companion yapping very loudly. It sounded as though the peasant was actually . . bragging about something. What could that poor-as-a-church-mouse Weasel possibly have to be proud of? Like any Slytherin worth his salt, Draco made it his duty to find out, just so he could insult him about it later. Smirking, he quietly turned the handle of his compartment door, opening it just enough to allow him to eavesdrop on the gullible Gryffs without being found out. So easy.
But their trite conversation soon became so boring that Draco thought he would literally fall asleep. He reflected on that now-distant, long-ago trip to Diagon Alley when he had first seen the speccy git. Thank all the gods Saint Potter didn't accept my friendship the first time we met. What a blessing that was. When Ron spoke up again, Draco refocused on the task at hand. Their voices grew a bit louder; with the door slightly ajar, his quest for information to use against them became even easier.
"I know, Harry. All I'm saying is it's just bloody strange," Weasley insisted.
Tsk, tsk, Weasel, cursing in public. What would the family cow that you call Mum say?
"It's coincidence, mate. Things just happen sometimes." Even though they were both truly pathetic, Draco found himself wondering vaguely what they were talking about. Were those two losers actually arguing?
What's wrong, lovebirds? Trouble in paradise? Draco chuckled softly to himself.
"So you don't think I have any ability as a diviner?" Ron asked his best friend.
"No, I don't. In fact, I don't believe that anyone does. It's all bollocks." Harry snickered, "Professor Trelawney is living proof of that."
"But Harry, what about the prophecy? Are you saying you don't believe in it?"
Harry countered, "Pure luck. She made a good guess, if that much."
Trelawney? That worthless hag who got sacked last year? And what prophecy are they talking about? Draco was more than mildly intrigued. He nudged the door a bit further to see if he could pick up any truly useful tidbits.
"Well, you just don't want to accept it. Anyway, what about Peter Pettigrew?" Ron pointed out emphatically. "You were there, you heard her yourself. The old bat was right about him." Harry shrugged, unimpressed by Ron's new approach.
"I suppose. I don't know. Doesn't mean you can predict anything, does it?"
"But how do you know I can't?" Ron challenged him.
Harry laughed mockingly, "Are you serious? Watching you for three years in Divination classes, that's how."
Potter was losing his patience with this pointless argument. Shuffling his feet restlessly, he grumbled irritably, "Why does it take girls so ruddy long to go to the bathroom?" He looked up and down the hallway impatiently. When he narrowed his eyes and stared in the direction of the unlatched door, Draco felt certain he was caught.
However, the two continued their discussion, completely oblivious that they had an audience. Ron shrugged, "Dunno. Bill says the rest of us boys had better get used to it. It takes Fleur hours to get ready for anything, and when she's done, she doesn't look any different than before." He then returned to the previous topic as if they had never left it. "Anyway, why do you think I always win at chess?"
"Maybe because, umm, you're good at it?" his friend replied sarcastically.
Then in an almost whisper, King Weasley elaborated. "All I'm saying is that things are starting to happen. I've been named Captain of the Gryffindor Quidditch Team, plus I am a prefect, so I could . . feasibly . . . maybe be Head Boy next year, and . . . just, you know, some other stuff."
"Yeah, I know, I know. Just like you saw in the mirror. I'm telling you, it's pure coincidence."
"That's not all," Ron said, almost as if to himself. "I saw some other things, and it looks like they're going to happen, too."
"Like what?" he asked, eyeing him suspiciously.
Draco felt a surge of energy rush through him, his mind racing with excitement. Yes, Weasel. Do tell us, please.
"Well," the freckled wonder began nervously, clearing his throat and glancing down at his well-worn trainers, which looked to be two sizes too small. "You know that I wrote to Hermione over the summer? And that she wrote me back?"
"Yeah, so? You guys always do," Harry replied flippantly. Sighing exasperatedly, he said, "Where is that trolley witch? I'm dying for some sweets."
Ignoring Harry's last comment, Ron said in an almost dreamy voice, "But it's never been like this time." Remembering himself, he coughed a little then said stolidly, "I mean, she's a very special girl, Hermione. We're lucky to have her as our friend. After what happened down in the Department of Mysteries, she was a really big help to me."
That got Draco's attention. They were in the basement of the Ministry of Magic? But no one can get in there! And what mirror? Is that where it is?
Harry turned to Ron and gaped, his mouth hanging open, his eyes as round as Professor Trelawney's. If he had been holding a teacup, he would surely have dropped it like Neville had done many times in her classroom.
"Are you saying . . or rather, not saying . . . do you mean to tell me, that you, Ronald Weasley, have a girlfriend? In one Hermione Granger?"
The look on Potter's face was priceless. Not all the Galleons in Gringott's could have bought it, and Draco suddenly found himself wishing that that dolt Creevey was here with his muggle camera. Was Potter simply stunned by the thought that one of them was dating their other best friend, or amazed that Weasley was capable of finding a girl who want to would date him, or was he -- dare he think it? – actually jealous (although Draco couldn't fathom why) of his best mate? That would be a first, considering how things normally went in Potty-Weasel relationship.
Ron looked down shyly. "Well . . . maybe," he mumbled noncommittally.
"Well? You either do or you don't! Which is it?" Harry insisted eagerly.
"I'm working on it. But that's just my point, Harry. I didn't tell you what else I saw in the mirror that day." In a hushed tone, he practically whispered, "She was kissing me, in a very . . err, grown-up way . . . if you know what I mean."
Draco scoffed to himself, Now that's just sick. There's actually someone who wants to shag Miss I've-got-a-broomstick-end for hair? He couldn't quite wrap his mind around that disturbing thought.
"But . . ." Harry stuttered, "we were only eleven, for God's sake! Are you sure?"
"Positive," Ron said resolutely. "I've known it all along. Suppose I just didn't want to admit it, even to myself. But I saw it in the mirror."
What fucking mirror? Draco decided he had to find out.
Just then, the two girls emerged from the loo. Oh, looky, it's the mudblood herself and her muggle-loving friend, the Weaslette. Draco noticed that Granger gave a foolish grin to the red-haired oaf, whose lop-sided smile made him look even more pathetic than he normally did.
When the prat took her hand, Draco decided he'd had all he could stand. Urgh. I've heard enough now. Nothing I can use against them, anyway, he concluded, grimacing. Anyhow, I'm getting a splitting headache from this sickening display. And now I may well lose my lunch -- definitely not worth it.
He attempted to shut his door as gently as possible. However, at that moment, Crabbe and Goyle unexpectedly made their return to his end of the train. Acting like rowdy first-years, they were chasing a young boy, apparently intent on hexing him. In the ensuing commotion, the ignorant youngster made the mistake of falling into the door of Draco's compartment and landing clumsily on the floor.
Surprised at the intrusion and hoping no one would figure out what he'd been up to, Draco jumped up quickly and snarled angrily, "What's wrong, little boy? Afraid the big, nasty men will catch you?" The boy's eyes were wide with fear; he didn't move, except for the fact that he was shaking and his lip was trembling. Then Draco got down in his face and sneered menacingly, "I'm the one you should be afraid of."
The boy gulped when Draco got even closer to him and said, "Now get out of here, you little worm, before I kick your scrawny arse!" He scrambled to get up as quickly as he could, and once he did, he wasted no time in removing himself from the compartment. The child darted out of the door, sprinted up the hallway past the older students, and ran toward safety. If he couldn't fight the bullies, maybe he could try and outrun them this time.
Typically, the four Gryffindors put on the nobility act and began spouting vague threats. Everyone reached for their wands and stood as if ready to duel, but Draco seriously doubted whether any of them had the nerve or the know-how to win a duel. The only possible threat was Granger -- she knew exactly what she was doing in that department.
Then he spotted Ginny Weasley. He was reminded of a particularly disgusting hex that he did not wish to fall victim to again: her vicious, deadly accurate Bat Bogey Hex. He shuddered slightly at the thought of having to relive that. Besides, the Slytherins were still outnumbered -- and considering his numbskull crew, they were certainly outwitted and quite possibly outskilled.
At that moment, the trolley witch came into view, followed by some of the older prefects. The revolting Gryffs tossed out a few more stupid insults and then stepped away. They made Draco sick. They weren't better than anybody else -- they just wanted to stay out of trouble. Obviously, they were only interested in self-preservation. The lying hypocrites only did the right thing when it suited their needs. Hmph -- and they call themselves honorable, he snorted.
"That's right. Leave,"Draco growled. "And don't forget, watch your backs."
The male Weasley led the way, taking Granger's hand again and casting a look of extreme loathing at his enemies. His girlfriend, or whatever she was, echoed his sentiments, shooting daggers at Draco with her eyes. He merely raised one eyebrow and gave both of them an evil, superior smirk.
Harry stepped forward next, staring coldly at his nemesis. Draco looked back at him with equal anger, neither of them flinching. Ginny later told Harry that the looks on their faces could have burned off Seamus Finnegan's eyebrows again.
Draco could see the pure hatred burning in Harry's eyes. It was more intense than ever. He mused to himself, Hmm, the rumors must have been true. Mum's sister really did kill Sirius Black. Yay, Bellatrix! You always were my favorite aunt. He smiled serenely at the thought. He'd planned to ridicule Black and throw it directly in Potter's face, just to gauge his reaction. However, as he watched him with Ginny, he thought of something even better.
Harry was gazing at Ginny with a concerned look on his face. He politely stepped aside to allow her to walk ahead of him as he placed his hand lightly in the small of her back. Draco couldn't resist and jeered haughtily, "So, Potter, finally got that girlfriend, did you? Took you long enough -- what four, five years! It seems there's hope for all of us." Draco laughed at his own wit, and Crabbe and Goyle chuckled too, as if they were cassette tapes on automatic playback.
Surprisingly, Ginny was not the least bit unnerved by his comment or by Harry's touch, as Draco had predicted she would be. After all, her infamous yet unfathomable crush on the great Saint Potter was nearly as recognizable as her trademark Weasley features. She merely glowered at him and said nothing, yet her eyes practically screamed, 'You are scum. I hope you die a painful death.'
Looking unfazed, Draco returned a dismissive look that said, Yeah, as if I care what you think, you silly bint. His eyes followed them down the hallway. Grateful that the rabble was finally leaving, he motioned to Crabbe and Goyle to join him in his compartment. Smiling broadly, he sighed with satisfaction and said smugly, "That was fun. Now, gentlemen, let's enjoy the rest of the trip, shall we?"
End of Chapter
Thank you for reading! Please, please review and let me know what you think -- if you feel you must flame, just let me change into my fireproof underwear first! ;-)
P.S. Fyrechild, thank you for beta-reading it for me!