Persephone Malfoy checked her school supplies list over once more while exiting the robes shop. She took up position by the door, where she had been instructed to wait for her mother. As she examined the list, a fat little check mark appeared next to "School robes" as if drawn by an invisible hand. Madam Malkin's shop was the second-to-last stop they had to make.

She stood on the tips of her toes to peer over the mannequin display in the shop's front window. What was taking them so long with her brother? He was nearly the same size as she was, after all. There couldn't be that much difference between the girls' uniforms and the boys'.

She caught the glint of her brother's light hair far in the back of the shop. He was standing in front of a mirror, just stepping down after having his measurements taken. There was another boy that Draco was chatting with, Persephone didn't know him.

Her brother came out of the shop. Rubbing at a spot on his arm, he complained about getting stuck with a pin during his fitting.

"Who was that you were talking to?" Persephone asked her brother.

"Oh, that boy, there? I didn't catch his name. Didn't seem all too talkative, really."

He linked his arm with hers as they walked to their mother when she appeared from around a corner. She gave them a disapproving look but didn't say anything as they followed her to the wand shop. Her mother's customary look of disdain grew even stronger, if possible, when she laid eyes on the shop's goggle-eyed proprietor.

"If it isn't Narcissa Malfoy... Rosewood, unicorn hair, 9 and one-half inches?"

Narcissa nodded stiffly and placed a hand on one shoulder of each of her children.

"Ah, starting off at school. Always a fine time in the life of a witch or wizard. Let's see what we can find for you, shall we..."

He quietly started rooting through the boxes upon boxes that lined the many shelves that lined the walls around them.

More than an hour later, Persephone and her brother left the shop in possession of new wands. Persephone's was hawthorn, ten inches, and it was infused with dragon heartstring. She held the polished handle, wanting to get used to the feel of it.

The rest of the summer passed without incident, relatively speaking. She got invited to a slumber party by Millicent Bulstrode. At first she had told her mother that she absolutely, positively wasn't going. Unfortunately for her, her mother had other ideas. It simply wouldn't do "not to keep up appearances." She wouldn't want people thinking she was a snob now, would she? She'd turned so red in the face from trying not to laugh that her mother had ordered her to have a lay down.

The slumber party turned out not to be too terribly horrible, as Mrs. Bulstrode kept a careful eye on them the whole night. Aside from having her hair spelled a few strange colours by some prank ice mice, it was completely uneventful. Tame, by Millicent's standards. It had seemed odd until she'd heard Millicent talking to her mother about all the different kinds of owls she liked. It looked like she was in line for a present at the start of term, so she was being on her best behaviour. It was a nice, rare occasion to be spared Millicent's teasing and snickering, and Persephone counted her blessings. She'd not had peace from Millicent for days when her own parents had gotten her an owl for her last birthday, useless bird that it was. Too small to carry much, and hardly ever finding the time to deliver anything between preening sessions.

After that night, only two weeks separated her from the start of school. Before she knew it it was the end of August and her school trunk was packed.

She had been trying to get to sleep for nearly half an hour when Draco tapped gently at her door, asking quietly if she was awake. She padded softly to the door and opened it, letting him in. They sat cross-legged facing each other on the large rug covering the floor on one side of her room, and the fireplace next to them promptly lit itself.

"I can't even think of sleeping with school so close." He started, a rare hint of nervousness about him. She was feeling the same way, if not more so. She smiled and gave his knee a pat.

"I know how you feel."

They sat and watched the fire for a few comfortably quiet moments. "I've a secret." He told her suddenly. "I don't think it'll hurt to tell you though. We tell each other everything, don't we?"

She nodded, unsurprised that he would be suspicious even of her. Their father usually left her to her own devices, but Draco got the brunt of their father's speeches about what he considered 'truths of the world.' The most important rule was to suspect everyone, no matter who they were to you. "Of course. I've never kept anything from you."

A warmth was brought to his eyes. Persephone wished it was more than just a reflection of the crackling fire. "I heard father talking to someone from the ministry earlier. They said Harry Potter's coming to Hogwarts.

"Harry Potter, like from the history books...?" That was hard to believe, but if Draco thought it was true then there was no reason to doubt him. "That's interesting."

"Yeah..." Draco seemed contemplative. "Think we'll both be sorted into Slytherin?" He asked after a small while.

Persephone shrugged, moving to lay her head on her brother's shoulder. "Probably. Mother and father were. They say that it's not genetic, but more often than not children follow in their parents' footsteps. Part of me hopes I won't be, though."

Draco gave her a surprised look.

"It's just that... I'm not like you, I can't deal with that lot they always put us in with. You know as well as I do that they're likely the biggest bunch of Slytherins there ever was." She sighed. "None of them like me, either."

"They just don't know you like I do. You just need to give them a chance."

"Don't you think I've tried?" She had, again and again.

"You don't need them, anyway." Draco broke the silence they had seeped into. "You've got me. You're my best friend, you know."

"Really? She asked, even though she hardly needed the confirmation.