Chapter One:
The Enemy

"Draco – I can't believe you stooped to that level!" Lucius Malfoy said as he paced the dorm room. Draco, still in his Quidditch uniform, stood against his dresser as he pulled off his leather gloves and folded them neatly in his hands. His normally neatly combed blonde hair now hung over his eyes, and he had to brush it out of his face in order to pay attention to his ranting father...
Or pretend to pay attention. How many times had he heard rants like this?
Too many times, he thought to himself.
Lucius continued to pace the room, waving his serpent-headed cane around in the air to make his points more visible to Draco. Draco hated it when he did that. He was already feeling bad enough – did his father have to intimidate him on top of it all?
"You were supposed to spit in his face," his father went on heatedly, not making eye contact as he poured problem after problem in waves at Draco. Draco continued to listen only to make the blows easier. He was glad Crabbe and Goyle weren't there to see this. After all, he'd worked so hard to build up a reputation. Now he wondered if it was his reputation, or his fathers.
"But, Father – we won the game," he protested, knowing immediately that he shouldn't have.
His father spun on his heel to glare at him, prodding his chest with the chrome serpent's head.
"Do you think I really care if you won some pansy game of Quidditch against Gryffindor?"
This crushed Draco. He'd always thought that his father at least enjoyed watching him take home a victory for Slytherin, his school house. But, apparently now that wasn't even good enough.
"What you have to realize, Draco," Lucius went on, staring coldly into his son's bright eyes. "Anyone could beat Potter at Quidditch. I want him to be crushed. Do something more cunning next time."
At this point, Draco snapped.
"Do you think I enjoy being in fights competing with Potter all the time?"
He felt his breathing pick up as his father glared down at him.
"It doesn't matter what you want, Draco. Don't you realize that we're playing at more than a push over Quidditch Cup?"
Draco looked away. "Y – You-Know-Who is in contact with you, isn't he?" he pressed out.
"You know I can't tell you anything, Draco –"
"But I'm your son! What – do you think I'm just going to go up to Dumbledore and tell him everything? Come on Father! I'm not stupid!"
"You could have fooled me," Lucius pressed on, and Draco could see that he was fighting to hold back his sneer. He saved that for enemies of the Dark Side, but it was occasionally aimed at him. "The way you treated Potter today was disgraceful to our family name. I'm just relieved your mother wasn't here to witness it."
Draco felt his shoulders loosen as his father walked towards the door to his dorm room. He'd had enough to deal with without his father pressing on him all afternoon.
But before Lucius stepped out the door, he glanced over his shoulder and glared at Draco.
"Just do me one thing if that's all you can ever get right in your entire life," he started, his gaze not faltering. "Never – and I mean never shake Potter's hand ever again. None of them. For all we know, their Mudblood ways could be rubbing off on you."
With that said, he stepped out of the room and closed the door behind him, leaving Draco alone.
Draco let out a sigh as he fell to the bed, letting the warmth of the setting sun filtering through the window wash over him, comforting his trembling body. He hated nothing more than having his father at Hogwarts. He went to school to get away from him. But, a year away wasn't nearly enough time.
I can't wait until I graduate and get out of here, he thought to himself as he ran his fingers through his messy hair, and for once, he didn't care that it wasn't perfectly combed. He actually liked it messy sometimes. He never really liked any of the preppy school things, though the uniform did look all right on him. He preferred his own clothing – though his father and certainly not his mother disapproved of it. But, he could get away with wearing the Muggle-looking clothing on weekends or during free time. Crabbe and Goyle didn't care.
Draco peeled the silk Quidditch uniform from his sweat-covered chest and gave a sigh of relief as the cool air hit his hot skin. He was glad he could slip into something more comfortable – even though the uniforms weren't as bad as everyone made them sound.
Walking over to his wardrobe, he pulled out a pine-green shirt and put it on, shrugging into it after it was over his head. He felt free in the soft fabric. And it was his house colors. Who said you couldn't support your house and look casual as well?
He pulled on a pair of light khaki's to finish his outfit and folded his uniform, placing it at the foot of his bed for the House Elves to collect and clean. Nobody cared to notice how neat he was.
Looking at his reflection in the mirror, he tried to straighten his hair a little – but then stopped when he noticed how it looked. It reminded him of what some of the Muggles wore around the school. They were into the whole gel thing, and though Draco used hair gel to keep his hair straight, he'd never thought to use it to make his hair stay messy. He enjoyed the way it made his face look a little brighter.
Maybe I could do with a new look, he thought to himself as he admired his hair. It wasn't really different, except for being a little messy, but to him – it was all the change in the world.
This might be the answer, he thought as he crossed the room to the window and pushed it open, letting the evening breeze blow into the room. He hated his reputation of always being angry with people. He didn't want to be a goodie-goodie – He hated those! But, maybe he'd gain a little more respect from his classmates.
He had to admit that the other Slytherins weren't exactly the best crowd to hand out with. Sure, he could make them laugh, but he could make anybody laugh, excluding his parents. He had been ignoring a craving for real friendship for the past year.
He was startled out of his thoughts by the sound of three voices passing beneath the tower. He recognized them as Potter and his two friends.
"- Don't worry about it, Harry," came Hermione Granger's voice from below, and Draco watched as the three of them stopped below the window – not noticing him watching – and talked.
Harry, still wearing his Quidditch uniform, sighed and leaned against the wall.
"That's the problem, Hermione. I do worry. What if something was to happen? I'd never forgive myself..."
Draco, intrigued by what he had caught, listened on, resting his head on his fist.
"Harry," came Ron Weasley's voice as he put a hand on Harry's shoulder, looking reassuringly at him. "I wouldn't let it get to me. Didn't Dumbledore say that the Dementors couldn't get back on school ground?"
Harry sighed and nodded, and Draco felt a little sorry for the boy he'd always fought with. He too knew of the powers that the Dementor had on the mind, though he'd only heard about it from his father's friends.
"I know you're struggling, Harry," Hermione pressed on. "But, you have to let that go. That was a freak accident what happened last week. That Dementor was sent as a precaution –"
"But," Ron cut in. "Dumbledore didn't authorize it. Things are getting too creepy around here. I really don't feel safe anymore."
Who does? Draco thought coldly to himself. He certainly didn't, even though his father was one of the Death Eaters. They all think I'm so safe, he thought angrily to himself, his temper he'd tried so hard to overcome slipping over him once again, but I'm really not. Who's to say those Dementors don't just suck my soul out anytime they're prowling around?
He'd had his share of close calls with the Dementors, though nobody noticed. It happened his third year at Hogwarts when the school was swarming with the cold-blooded, filthy creatures. He'd been walking back from the Quidditch game when a Dementor sprung at him on the path. He'd practically wet himself, but that was when one of the Centaurs leaped out of the woods and scared it away.
"Thank-you –"Draco had started, but the Centaur was gone before he could get off the ground. He'd never forgot what the Centaur had done, and he had a strange inkling that it was the one that had subbed in for Hagrid – the one that Harry always talked about meeting their first year at Hogwarts.
If Centaurs were that nice, Draco thought to himself as he watched the three friends below continue to talk, I'd have met them sooner. But, he couldn't spread that he was making friends with Mudblood-lovers. That would ruin his reputation of being strong, and he'd never live it down with the other Slytherin's.
"- It's okay, Harry," Hermione said as she took Harry into an embrace. In public, Draco would have mocked the display of affection towards another student, but deep inside he wished that he had someone who would hug him.
Harry closed his eyes and rested his head against her shoulder and Draco could tell it had helped him.
"Thanks, Hermione," Harry said as they parted and Ron patted him on the back. "I'm just glad we're still friends after what I...did last year." He looked away guiltily. "I'm sorry about everything, you know."
Ron smiled.
"We know, now stop bringing it back up!"
Harry shared a chuckle with them, and Draco caught the way Hermione's smile lit up when she laughed. He'd never really seen her smile, or at least not in his presence. He liked it.
"Let's get you changed so we can go see Hagrid tonight," she said as she took his hand and they walked away towards the entrance hall.
Draco stood up as he watched them walk away hand-in-hand. He didn't know that Hermione and Harry were a couple.
Maybe I'm just assuming, he thought to himself as he turned away from the window and the fading sun. It had disappeared behind the trees in the distance. But then again, what do I care? I don't like Granger. At least – not like that.
And with that, he left his room and went out into the common room, hoping to find something remotely like the friendship the three below him shared in his pack of Slytherin classmates.