Disclaimer: This work of fan-fiction is not intended for personal profit. All characters utilized herein which are not creations of myself belong to J. K. Rowling.
- - -
Draco had another dream the night after Potions.
The door to his underground lab was open as he worked feverishly on the Arithmancy calculations, only to be started by a sudden slam that indicated that someone had opened and then closed the manor's front doors.
After putting his quill down, and carefully locking away his notes, Draco then locked the door to the lab, throwing the deadbolt with his key and then magically locking it afterwards. He trod carefully up the stairs towards the foyer, only to get the shock of his life as he saw Snape's billowing robes exiting with his mother towards the sitting room. Against his better judgement, his heart pounding, he sneaked up next to the entryway, straining his ears to catch their conversation.
"Severus, why are you here?"
"You know why, Narcissa. The Dark Lord has decided that Draco alive is still worth getting use from."
The sharp rejoinder from his mother buoyed his spirits somewhat, as his mother cried, "The boy is still recovering, Severus! I won't have him leave this mansion until then—"
"You should also know that the Dark Lord will probably relocate his headquarters to this mansion, Narcissa," Snape butted in. "I will advise him that Draco is not yet able to rejoin his ranks, but my word, as you well know, is not final. He is very displeased with the Malfoy family right now."
He thought he heard his mother stifle a sob, but couldn't be sure. "Severus… what of Bellatrix? What of the current news now that Dumbledore is dead? Surely he is pleased by that."
"I have nothing to say about your sister. She does not trust me, nor I her. As for current events, Yaxley is trying to put an Imperius Curse on Pius Thicknesse. So far he has been rather unsuccessful, but our advantage in using Thicknesse over Scrimgeour is that Thicknesse is a pure-blood and already is sympathetic to some of our goals. The Dark Lord, pleased or not, is not one to settle accounts on anyone's terms but his own. We are only waiting until Potter's protections disappear, and for the Imperius to be successful on the head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. Once that is done, our agenda proceeds with all due haste."
Draco, already nervous and a bit rattled, decided discretion was very much the better part of valour. His heart pounded as he hurriedly sneaked up to his bedroom, rapidly changed into bedclothes, then flicked his wand at the candle to darken the room as he feigned sleep.
- - -
That weekend was a quiet, restful one as Draco and Harry rambled over the Hogwarts grounds.
The two boys started an impromptu game of 'tag' around the Quidditch pitch, sneaking in and out from under the stands, trying to send tickling charms at each other. Harry's reflexes proved the superior, as he felled Draco just after the latter dashed out from under the Slytherin stands, hoping to zig-zag across the pitch towards the Hufflepuff section. The former, gloating just a bit, called, "Finite," then came up to Draco with his hand extended.
Draco reached up, picking himself off the grass; as he released Harry's hand, he hurriedly cast a cleaning charm when he realised that his rolling about on the pitch had got green stains on his robes. He was thanking the fates – or Merlin, really – that he was not fully seventeen. He thought he would be rather bored if he had had to spend all his time around ickle firsties and their self-important inanities. It let him be a boy again, something he had not dared to really do at Hogwarts his first time around.
Playing games like this would have been impossible; too worried about his image, too concerned that people might think him un-Malfoyish if he deigned to just cut loose and enjoy himself.
Luckily, however, Harry, being Muggle-raised, had no expectations of Draco except to just be a friend.
As the boys rose to the top of the Quidditch pitch stands, to survey the grounds, the black haired boy called out, "Draco! Up there! That's Hedwig, and your owl, I think."
Draco squinted, looking up at the clear blue sky, where, sure enough, Zeus was flitting about in the air in some kind of acrobatic dance with the noticeable snowy owl of Harry's. All of a sudden, they heard a very faint hoot, and Hedwig suddenly swooped down to the ground; eagerly, they waited to see what she would find.
Disappointment hit briefly as she appeared to come up empty-clawed, and they watched as Hedwig and Zeus flew off to Hogsmeade.
Draco spoke up.
"Harry, didn't you say you got a letter from that man, Hagrid?"
Uncomfortable as he was with the notion of being near the half-giant, he couldn't very well interfere with Harry's friendships too noticeably, or he might wonder what Draco was up to. Hopefully, they wouldn't go to that hut too often.
- - - - -
Harry Potter was surprised when Draco agreed to come along to Hagrid's hut, for he had got the impression Draco was still adjusting to being one of several hundred children instead of an only child. At first, Draco had given off the impression of being like Dudley, when they had chatted at Madam Malkin's, and Harry knew all too well what excessive doting did to Cousin Dinky Duddydums – he thought himself too good to lower himself to talk to the poorer kids at the local primary. However, Draco had become more affable and conversational as time went on, showing that he wasn't going to sniff at Harry just for being Harry.
The huge gamekeeper had called out, "Oi, it's 'Arry! And yer friend here, who's he?"
"Hi, Hagrid. Thanks for agreeing to see us. This is Draco, Draco Malfoy."
The half-giant's expression went just a bit guarded as he said, "Hullo, Malfoy. I remember yer Dad, and yer Dad too, Harry. I've been here a long time now, yeh know. Seen many people come and go."
Draco said nothing, and simply nodded once as he trailed behind Harry into the hut. Luckily, Fang the dog seemed content to sit in the corner and drool just a bit.
Draco, for his part, seemed to be trying to put his best foot forward. He accepted the large cup of tea without complaint, and sipped at it without expressing distaste. Harry found that Hagrid's tea tasted quite good, and happily gulped it down as he began chatting with the half-giant. Both boys, however, attempted with as much diplomacy as possible to ignore the rock cakes, after they heard an audible clunk when Hagrid put them on a pair of plates.
After they were seated, Hagrid said, "Yeh know, Harry, I've got ter say I wasn' expectin' yeh to be in Slytherin. But I hear they've got that Muggleborn now. Things mus' be changin' here at Hogwarts. Las' time tha' happened was abou' thirty years ago and the kid ended up asking to be sen' to Beauxbatons."
Harry nodded, and replied, "Honestly, Hagrid, the Hat thought Slytherin would be the best place for me. My friends Ron and Hermione are with me in Slytherin, too, and Draco here met me at Madam Malkin's and wrote back and forth to me about the wizarding world. We've become friends, too."
The gamekeeper's eyebrows lifted as he said, "Well, blimey! I hope yeh don' mind me sayin' so, Draco, but I didn' always have the bes' encounters wi' yer Dad. But any friend o' Harry's is good enough fer me. So tell me about yer week, the both o' ye?"
Draco (somewhat stiffly, Harry thought) answered, "Well, Professor Snape gave us the usual first-year orientation and speech. He is very keen on being sure we all fit in at Slytherin, you know. As for my classes I think I like Potions the best, actually."
Harry nodded, adding, "Yeah. I think I like Transfiguration and Charms a bit better than Potions; no offence, Draco. I thought Defence Against the Dark Arts was going to be great, but Professor Quirrell's just been talking to us about vampires and things like that; the smell of garlic's a bit distracting, though.
"About Potions, though – I've got just this idea that Professor Snape doesn't seem to like me that much."
Draco and Hagrid both put innocent expressions on their faces as Hagrid cried, "That's rubbish, Harry. Why would he do tha'? Anyway, lemme tell yeh about yer Mum an' Dad, all righ'?"
Harry was happy to listen to stories of his parents' seventh year, but he didn't miss the fact that Hagrid had clumsily changed the subject when he'd brought up Snape.
For Draco's part, that innocent face was just a bit too studied, considering that Harry had already been warned by Draco himself that Snape had had encounters with his Dad. But Draco seemed more interested in the previous day's Daily Prophet than in hearing about James Potter and Lily Evans.
- - - - -
Draco noticed that the Daily Prophet sitting on the large table in the hut had a story about a break-in at Gringotts. He realised with some consternation that it had been the same day that Harry and he had been at Diagon Alley to get their school robes, and wondered (again) if the break-in had to do with this stone thing that kept nagging at the back of his head. He did know that Professor Quirrell had to be behind it, somehow, considering that a Dark Lord was hibernating within the man.
Oddly, he noticed he felt less afraid of Quirrell than Snape. He supposed this was because the Dark Lord would ignore Draco (being all of eleven years old and therefore not a good Death Eater candidate) and focus on Harry to settle accounts. But Snape – it was a matter of time before he would have to make a decision as to whether to trust the man part-way, or cut the man out of his plans to stay on Harry's side of the upcoming war. At least Harry didn't mark his followers, and wasn't about to throw Unforgivables all over the place.
Giving that up as a bad job before his stomach twisted itself completely in knots, he mentally came back to the present conversation, as he heard Hagrid say, "—well, yer Mum was really good at Charms, she was. They say she might o' worked at the Department of Mysteries fer a bit before she had yeh in 1980."
Harry, wide-eyed, said, "What's the Department of Mysteries?"
"Aye, it's this secret area o' the Ministry. The people that work there're called Unspeakables. It's more than their job's worth to tell yeh anythin' 'bout what they do, which tells yeh how important the Ministry thinks their work is."
Harry, in surprise, said, "Did you hear that, Draco?"
Draco, impressed despite himself, said, "Yeah. She would have been, um, how old?"
Hagrid scratched his beard and said, "Hm. I reckon probably nineteen or twenty."
At that moment, Draco knew exactly what he wanted to do after he helped Harry get rid of the Dark Wanker. If Potter's mother was smart enough to get a job there at nineteen, he wanted to beat her record!
- - -
As it turned out, Ron and Hermione had also rambled the Hogwarts grounds and came across Harry and Draco as they were leaving Hagrid's. The foursome walked back up towards the castle, and Ron and Draco, to Draco's surprise, had an amiable chat about the Quidditch Pitch.
Draco had said, in a bit of a stilted fashion, "I think the grass is a bit too stiff, actually."
Ron Weasley replied, "I think it's all right. You don't want it to be too soft. Then it's just ugly when you smash into it because you get all that dirt and sod on yourself."
"You thinking of going for the team?"
"Maybe. I dunno, my brothers are the really good players. Charlie was Seeker for ages, and Fred and George – they're practically human Beaters themselves. Even Percy actually becomes a bit human, according to them, at Quidditch games, when Gryffindor actually win."
Draco smirked, saying, "Afraid it'll be Slytherin for the foreseeable future. I'm thinking of going for the team next year, as Chaser or Seeker. You should go for Keeper, I think."
"Me? I'm not exactly big, like your Quidditch captain, Flint. Now there's a scary bloke."
Draco privately agreed, and mentally grinned. "Well, look here – Harry, and, ah, Ron. Why don't we all agree to go out for Chaser next year, and then when we're older, you try out for Keeper."
Weasley looked surprised, but said, admittedly sounding guarded, "Sure. I've heard stories about those old school brooms, though. I wish I could get a good broom – not everybody has your money, Malfoy."
At that moment, Draco nearly bristled, but forced himself to remember they were all Slytherins now, and said frostily, "My father will buy brooms for the whole team if I make it."
The other three children all stared at Draco, their jaws open before Weasley spluttered, "Do you know how much that'll—"
"Nimbus 2000s, Weasley. Don't tell me you'd turn that down."
"Bloody hell, I'd have to be crazy not to. All right, Malfoy. You want an official Truce?"
Hermione broke in. "Truce? What's this?"
"It's a pure-blood custom and ritual. It's used between families that have been at odds for a while, like my family and the Malfoys. Dad's never been happy with Malfoy's Dad, but I can live with being nice to Mal… uh, Draco here if he can fix it so we get great brooms next year. Merlin's pants, I can't wait!"
Draco noticed Hermione get a glint in her eye, which he rapidly learned was associated with her desire to rush off to the library and look something up. In fact, as soon as they entered the Hogwarts castle proper, she rushed off to the library, and came back that night babbling to Weasley about the Truce, sounding exactly like she'd inhaled A Compendium of Basic Pure-Blood Rites.
The startling thought occurred to Draco that Hermione Granger might well end up acting more pure-blood than Pansy by the end of first year.
Hi all. This chapter was betaed by Maddevillechilde. Unfortunately, though, I have lost my betas for this fic owing to their own workload on other things, and so need to ask if anyone reading this would like to take up the task. If you do, please private-message me outside of a review. :) Thanks. :)
As always I particularly appreciate con-crit and suggestions, and as you'll notice I'm retconning in some DH canon :D
Apologies for the short length of this chapter. Remixing the first year is actually proving to be a bit of a tough situation, trying to avoid veering off so drastically as to make it implausible, but also avoiding just nicking off the entire first book. :)