Disclaimer: The whole J

Disclaimer: The whole J.K impersonation thing just isn't very becoming of me. Thus, I can't even pretend that I own any of this.

A/N: This is a response to mackgirl's Character Challenge. It uses Table 3. Thanks for reading, and please R&R!

Chapter 1: Hide

Draco Malfoy

Each resounding footfall caused the cringing boy to wince once more in anticipation of what was to come. I hope that my powers don't cause the windows to shatter again, like last time, he thought ruefully. If only Potty and the Weasel could see him now. In spite of himself, he almost chuckled at the irony if it all. Draco Malfoy, the heir apparent to his father's vast fortune, sobbing in his room like a child.

It had all started after the Dark Lord returned last month. Contrary to being cordial to the small cadre of dedicated followers who had apparated to his side upon his return, he had showed barely contained aggression to all of them. He seemed to have been particularly hostile towards Lucius. On several occasions, Draco had overheard his parents' hushed conversations, and the mere memories caused him to shudder. Their benefactor was, after all, a lawless man who murdered on the slightest whim.

Ever since that time, Lucius had become steadily more violent towards Draco. True, the younger Malfoy had been beaten before, but only when he had truly done something to warrant it. He remembered Father's incredulous outrage when he learned, as a former member of the Hogwarts Board of Governors, that the mudblood Granger had bested his son on every exam during the boy's first year. Draco had been unable to sit down for a week after that knowledge had come to light. Afterwards, he had resolved to commit himself to living up to his status as a pure blood, and yet never seemed to be capable of distinguishing himself from the filth that surrounded him on a daily basis at Hogwarts.

He glanced out of his bedroom window, attempting to distract himself in vain. It was a fine July evening. The splendour and opulence of Draco Malfoy's room was lost upon him as he sought to concentrate on the sound of birds singing in the distance. While his may have been a life of unreserved privilege and apparent indulgence, at this moment it felt like an oppressive prison. His Nimbus 2001 broomstick lay unattended in a corner. He did not truly enjoy Quidditch, and never really had. The broom had simply been a novelty, and represented one more vain attempt to conform to Father's wishes. Assorted posters of the Weird Sisters and the Maelstrom Mages cluttered his walls, although the room was mostly neat. A stack of textbooks lay open upon his desk, which were the only sign that the room was inhabited at all. He had never been allowed a pet, as such attachments were not becoming of a Malfoy. Draco tried to burrow deeper into his four poster bed, as if doing so could prolong the inevitable. When the high pitched voice sounded from just behind his head, he almost jumped involuntarily.

"Master Draco is still up to his unruly habits, I see." When Draco turned to confront its owner, his first emotion was mortification that someone else, anyone else, could possibly see him in this state. However, when he witnessed the bat like ears and small frame, his face flushed with anger, and he was forced to restrain himself from strangling the wretched house elf. He spoke balefully.

"What are you doing here, Dobby? Father doesn't take kindly to trespassing toerags." If Dobby was upset at the insult, he did not show it. Rather, his face was contorted in a gesture of determination and…Draco screwed up his eyes momentarily…pity? He spoke again bitterly.

"Look, if you're looking for revenge now that you're free, and all that, then make it quick. I can handle it. I'm tired of all this, anyway." When Dobby spoke, however, he did not seem upset.

"Dobby has come to help young master Draco. Dobby is a strange house elf, but master Draco has always known this. Ever since master Draco was a boy, Dobby has seen Master Malfoy harm master Draco. This was one of the first things that caused Dobby to doubt his old master." Draco shook his head abashedly.

"So, it was my fault that you left, was it? Father blamed me, you know. He said that I should have kept a closer eye on you." Dobby shook his head decisively.

"No, but Dobby had to punish himself often when Master Malfoy beat Master Draco. He had thoughts against his master, you see, and could not aid master Draco, because this would have directly gone against the wishes of Dobby's other master. Instead, Dobby went to the aid of another boy in a similar situation, one who he could help without bringing direct harm to Master Malfoy. Now that Dobby is free, he may act as he chooses, and he chooses to help Master Draco." He puffed out his small chest assertively, and Draco frowned.

"Other boy? What other boy? Who are you talking about, Dobby?" However, Dobby shook his head firmly.

"No time, Master Draco, no time! Your father is approaching as we speak. When Master Malfoy enters, Dobby will cast a memory charm. Master Malfoy will think that he has already finished with Master Draco, and will leave. Meanwhile, Master Draco must hide." Draco climbed to his feet hastily, the unanswered questions threatening to overwhelm his mind. Dobby prodded him lightly.

"Hurry, Master Draco, hurry!" Draco rushed to a set of French doors and pushed them open to reveal a balcony. His breath coming in rolling gasps, he stepped outside, and closed the doors behind them. The rain abruptly hit his shivering form, drenching him to the skin. The windows in Malfoy Manor were enchanted to portray whichever weather best suited the mood of Lucius, which often proved to be deceiving. Even over the sound of the storm, however, he could hear Father's footsteps hurrying of the winding staircase outside of his room. Abrubtly, they ceased, and Draco swallowed anxiously. He opened the door, unsure of what to say to the house elf who had just negated the many prejudices that Draco had always nurtured about his kind. However, there was no one there. Yet, Draco knew that, wherever he was, Dobby understood.