Are people inherently good, or bad? Some may think that it depends on the surroundings one grows up in — then again, the outcome is different for everyone. Take the Black family, for example.

There are individuals like Bellatrix Lestrange, who is an eager follower of pureblood traditions and values. Then there are others who, like Andromeda Tonks, change their worldviews halfway through their life for reasons like love. And finally, there are those who wholeheartedly reject the values and beliefs which had been taught to them from an early age; an example of this is Sirius Black.

What if Draco Malfoy had a mind of his own, and realised the hypocrisy of the Malfoy principles?


Prologue

His mother stood by the front door, apologising profusely to the guests.

The eight-year-old looked on as a bawling Pansy Parkinson and a loudly swearing Blaise Zabini were dragged away by their parents. They were followed by the families Crabbe and Goyle, whose sons actually looked bewildered —

"Draco Malfoy! What in the name of Merlin were you thinking?!"

Said boy started, then dropped his eyes onto the marble floor. He shrugged, and tried to look as nonchalant as possible.

"I cannot believe you ruined your very own birthday party! Really, is it so hard to get along with the other children? Why did you—"

Tap-tap.

The furious woman stopped mid-lecture and both turned to look at the figure at the grand staircase.

"That's enough," said his father quietly. "I'll take care of this." He stared at the child, who gulped. "Dobby!"

With a crack!, a house-elf appeared. It started groveling at the human's feet, squeaking "What can Dobby do for Master Malfoy?"

"Clean up the dining room." Lucius looked at the mess beyond the threshold with distaste; cutlery was strewn all over the place, as were shards of crystal and porcelain. There were juice stains on the Savonnerie carpets, and cake was smeared all over the antique furniture. Shaking his head, the man hit the elf with his walking stick before motioning for his son to follow.

Once they reache the study, he sighed and sank onto the chair behind his desk.

Draco suddenly broke the silence. "I didn't mean to do it, Father. Really, I didn't! They're the ones who've started it —" He broke off as the adult held up a hand.

"There's no excuse to act in such an outrageous manner, Draco— and in front of our guests, too…Remember, you are a Malfoy. As such, you have to be on your best behaviour at all times; appearances are everything. This means being polite to everyone, as to earn their respect, and amicable, as to earn their trust." A pause. "Whether that person is someone like Vincent Crabbe or Blaise Zabini. They all have their uses, and could become powerful allies: Crabbe for his loyalty and strength, Zabini for his cunning and connections which stemmed from his family's neutrality. Any questions?"

The boy, who had been frowning (a gesture which had been mistaken for confusion), shook his head. Although he was feeling quite the contrary, he didn't want to risk talking back at his father. Lucius was wearing one of his no-nonsense faces.

"Very well. Don't do that again… And you may leave now."

Draco shuffled out of the room and down the stairs, sulking. Father hadn't even let him defend himself! He knew that the chaos he'd caused was wrong, of course, but he couldn't have helped it! They were practically asking for it! Pansy had been clinging onto his arm, which had grossed her out (girls had cooties). Zabini had been acting as if today was his birthday instead, being the incredibly stuck-up prat he was. And Crabbe and Goyle had been no fun at all; the two of them had their eyes on the gateau the entire time.

He passed by the dining room, then backtracked. Dobby was scurrying around, restoring the broken dishes and clearing off the table. He looked around him furtively to make sure that his parents weren't nearby…

Well, Father had said to be well-mannered to everyone. While he suspected that this excluded the house-elves, he didn't dwell on such a thought. It was good practice, if nothing else; after all, he had to start somewhere, right? Taking a deep breath, he crossed the threshold.

"Dobby…?"