I do not own, or receive any benefit from the Harry Potter series.
Each of us has many possibilities in our lives, sometimes the ones that seem the best at the start have major drawbacks when looked from a longer prospective.
1-Misha handed him the goggles, helped him put the elastic headband under his silver hair. He twisted his shoulders a bit, loosening up. Viktor had told him how to handle this. People made fun of Viktor, until things went down the toilet, and then they followed what he had to say like a holy text. Three duels, three victories and honorable scars like silver lines over his right arm and along his neck.
"Keep moving, don't stop dodging. The one you dodge is the one that won't need to be shielded against. You don't have the power, and you don't have the knowledge to go strength to strength anyway. Out think him, try to set things up to stack, hit him with more than one at a time. You're smarter, stay cooler."
2-He'd follow the advice, Viktor had never steered him wrong, from the first day when he'd told him to get a "back-brother" so that they could check each other's blind spots. That's when he had walked over to Misha, just as scared and new to Durmstrang as he was, and just as young and vulnerable. It was a little awkward; Latin was still hard to think in, despite the crash course over the last summer. But you didn't use you native tongue here, it was an offense with a painful punishment.
Anyway, his family charm and charisma had finally convinced Misha (or 'Michail Orlov' as he insisted then) that since they were in the same sleeping room, it wouldn't hurt to try things out that way. And three days later in the shower room all that Chaser training he'd done for the last few years meant it was an easy toss to get the soap under the foot of the Optio who thought the cute Probatio should get a little 'special' attention. It had worked, and was funny enough that the Optio's friends ridiculed him for wanting revenge. And afterwards he and Misha always walked together, and covered each other's backs. Michail Orlov had become Misha to him. Now they also knew why the girls always walked in groups of threes and fours.
All year they watched out for each other, and turned down gifts of sweets, even from those who were probably 'safe'. They promised each other to write during the summer holidays, and unlike most 12 year olds had kept those promises. You didn't stop talking to your brother.
He never told all about what Durmstrang was like at home that summer. Mother would have probably fainted. Father would have yelled at him for trusting someone, especially some foreigner. Neither of them had gone there, they had a local education and local expectations. Father continued to give cryptic boasts about his political connections and influence, Mother continued to chat with her friends about the best way to socially 'cut' someone of lesser linage. He wrote to Misha, and flew and practiced with his parent appointed friends preparing for the next year when he might get on the Team. Oh, and studied a bit.
3-Father gave him a new broom, but still made him take the International Floo to go back to school in September. Well, the trunk would have been awkward to handle over the Channel anyway.
Seeing Misha was the best part of returning. Walking back to their room, checking out the shadows and then making sure nothing was waiting for them back in the room, felt like old times. Back home it had been absolutely disturbing, being expected to enter rooms without checking behind the curtains, not casting Lumos into the dark parts of the garden when he went out.
Back in the room it was just check the trunks, and break out gifts. Misha gave him a Sykes-Fairbairn with an agate hilt. And got back enough Honeydukes chocolates to make up for most of the mysterious packages that had shown up last year, but were too dangerous to open. But the crowning touch was the Handbook of Spell and Potion Detection picked up from a back shelf in a little used book shop in Knockturn Alley.
After that it was back into the routine. He gave Misha tutoring in Potions, got help in his Charms in return. They both tried out for Quidditch that year, but the Team was unusually strong, Viktor was getting an international reputation as Seeker. They even worked up the nerve to talk to some of the girls outside of class, and didn't fumble it. A good Second year all told, until the Yule break came.
4-When they'd returned that year they'd gone over to the new Probatios and passed on the advice they had been given on their first day, noblesse oblige after all.
Viktor might get away with that sort of stuff; he already had three duels under his belt. Besides, as the hero of the Team he could defy even the Immunes and Optios. Two of the general Public though, wouldn't be allowed to interfere with joyful sport of Probatio hunting. Something would have to be done.
But revenge is best eaten cold, and for Ivar Knudsen the temperature had become just right. Slipping and falling on his bare arse, being made a laughing stock by a pretty boy Probatio, these were things that demanded payback. Enough time had lapsed since the incident, now no one could think him a bad sport if something turned up to trash the little English twit. Everything was coming together, and when the students were allowed to take visits to the local town during the break all sorts of offenses and insults could be arranged that couldn't be avoided by merely being quiet and inoffensive.
So Draco Malfoy had to either challenge a student four years older and nearly the size of an Icelandic Polar Bear, or admit he was a coward, his father a pimp and his mother a whore. Once he had realized that, it was all simple. He had asked Viktor Krum to be his Second. Viktor wasn't really a friend, but he was notorious for being reasonable and trying to help out the lower rankings. Misha had wanted the honor, but Knudsen and his friends and their habits were too notorious for Draco to allow someone who looked like Misha near them without backup.
Then it was just waiting the two days until the duel, trying not to breakdown and huddle under the blankets, taking advice on how to handle things, and listen to the whispered comments as he went to meals or the exercise rooms. The whispers of what parts of him would be broken or cut off.
Viktor had been optimistic. Less than one in five died, less than one in three were permanently crippled at a proper School supervised duel. Medical attention was on hand and there was a Professor as Referee to make sure that no Unforgiveable spells or foul play was going on. The spectators were protected by powerful Wards and would be there cheering, mostly for Draco, as Knudson as his pals were a good deal less than popular in general. And anyway, Misha had told him that Draco had been working up a Signature Move. So, not to worry, keep on moving, Knudson was strong and had decent enough knowledge, but not really all that quick on his feet or in his wits.
5-So now the goggles were on, really the only allowable protective gear. Wouldn't be much of a show if both duelists came into the arena covered up in double thick Dragon Hide Battle Robes. The PA system was turned on and began the introductions, the reasons and the limits. Until the Referee stopped it, or one surrendered, or incapacitation, or death.
Draco was glad there were so many ways it could end. The Referee, Putiloff, a Slavic supremacist wouldn't care if both of them died, and would probably think it was just a way to decrease his class load. Any way Draco was sure he had loads of body parts he didn't really need, especially if he was killed. But if he surrendered he was admitting Knudson was right, in front of all the school, and every person that was, or could have been his friend would never talked to him again, or allow him to continue in school. Father said a Malfoy doesn't surrender, so Draco wouldn't. If only he didn't feel so much like he had to vomit.
Draco walked through the short tunnel from the Visitor's locker room (after all, as merely a part of the general student body he was hardly the one to get the working hot water showers or lockers that actually locked when one of the Optio Upper Classmen was in opposition). The lights were bright, no shadows to hide in here. Twenty yards away Knudson entered through the other tunnel, Putiloff stood in the middle and motioned them together.
"You have had everything explained to you? Good, good. Any question? No, then each go ten paces turn and begin on the count of three."
Draco walked the ten paces. He was so tense he almost lost count. At the end he stood still for a second, and then turned. Putiloff had got to a neutral edge of the oval, and was casting protective wards as fast as he could. When he was finished he looked up, nodded, and slowly counted out: "One. Two. Three!"
At three Draco had gone into a slight crouch, Knudson had just smiled, six feet of perfect muscles, teeth and hair. Draco hated every inch of him.
Then the spells began. Disarming ones, leg breakers, blinders. Draco danced around and sent out a few Jelly-legs and tried to lodge a Lumos on Knudson's nose. Follow the plan, conserve your strength, get into the right position, get into the right range, and keep on dancing.
Knudson realized that powerful, even killing, spells that didn't connect were just a waste of time, and let out a slashing Spatha Majorum like the slice of a saber. Draco felt a cold pain, starting at his hairline and going diagonally across his nose and down to his upper lip. He tasted his blood, and the vision in his left eye began to go as the goggle lens was getting covered by his dripping blood. Then he felt Knudson getting lucky again with a slower, deeper cut across his right thigh, just above his knee. Draco staggered as he made his next step with his right leg, now or never time!
Draco threw himself to the right and forward, sending out the spell his godfather had drilled him on over the summer: "Serpensortia" sending a long black snake slithering as fast as it could toward Knudson. Then he rolled another foot to the side and still upside down shot out the damn "Signature Move" Misha had insisted he work on: "Incendio Draconis!" and an oversized fireball left his wand and trudged off toward its target, not quite fully powered enough for full speed. Draco felt his vision graying out from blood loss and the magical exhaustion brought on by using two such advanced spells so close together. And the grey became black.
Draco didn't see Knudson's slash down with a Spatha Majorum that cut the snake apart, or how that distracted him enough that the slow moving Incendio Draconis was too close to dodge easily and reflexively batted at it with his left hand, turning what would have been an unpleasantly close miss into a glancing hit that burnt off two and a half fingers.
6-Draco woke up slowly in the Infirmary, smelling the endlessly familiar scent that any student knows means "Oops, I did it again." He started to ask a question: "How long…" when a finger slipped over his mouth, stopping him from speaking, breaking the scab on his lip and sending a surge of pain through him again. He looked up and saw Illyna, a girl that he had noticed paying a lot of attention to Misha lately. "Latin" she said, and took her hand off his mouth as his mind got back into the proper frame.
In the proper language he asked:" How long was I out? Did I get Knudson, did the snake bite him and did he turn black and die and..?"
Misha came into view, sadly shook his head, then smiled and replied:" No such luck, but now at least we can call him Lefty, he only has half of that hand right now, and we should remind him of it. You nicked him with the Draconis, sweet, sweet spell. You just have to get a little more power so that you launch it faster and it's a winner."
Draco quickly figured that while he had certainly not won, he hadn't really lost either. Going down in flames was also going down in glory. He had proved his courage and honor, if Knudson kept on with his little vendetta everyone would feel he was not an alpha male, showing off his glory, but just someone who was pushing on a younger student because he felt threatened. But Optios, by definition, could only be threatened by their equals; if he kept on about Draco he would just be elevating his status way beyond his years. That wouldn't fly. A spell or a knife in the back was a different deal, of course. But Misha and he had gotten pretty good at spotting ambushes, and Draco knew that his Draconis would be stronger and faster soon, very soon. Time to start on getting Misha his own "Signature" it seemed, and running his arse ragged training with it!
After his friends (real ones, not assigned idiots!) left Draco turned his head and saw Knudson leaving, his hand bandaged and his arm in a sling. The Optio studiously ignored him and briskly walked out. Draco wondered as he started to fall asleep under the influence of all the potions he had been given. Magic made wounds are hard to heal, sometimes impossible, fire is also was known to be sometimes impossible to really heal from. How good a chance was there that a powerful spell like Incendio Draconis would create a wound that would linger, maybe never really heal. Well, a person could hope.
7-Lucius Malfoy sat in the back garden under an awning and sipped his Firewhiskey, frowning out at the bright June morning. The basilisk was dead, the Diary seemed to be erased, and Dumbledore still held his place preventing a proper realignment at Hogwarts. The Cause was not prospering. Severus wasn't complaining (more than usual, anyway), but it was obvious the House wasn't being given its proper respect. And the damn Potter brat was diving into sewers and coming up smelling of roses. Damn good thing Draco wasn't involved in that mess, though thinking of it he might have been able to put a spoke into some of those wrong way going wheels. He heard a shriek, Narcissa's voice: "Draco, what…" Lucius was on his feet like a shot and was off to the front with a quick apporation.
There was Narcissa and Draco, his trunk in the entranceway behind him. Her hand was reaching out, touching a vivid red scar that came across his face diagonally. He was smiling and laughing at her.
"Mother", he said," don't get all protective, it'll fade to just a little line in a year or two. Then all the girls will be finding me mysterious and sexy, you'll see. Oh, Hello Father. Just a little memento of a duel, all the rage at dear old Durmstrang! Would it be too much if I invited some school friends for a few weeks this summer?"
He had grown several inches, Lucius noticed. He stood stronger somehow, looked more solid and confident. Igor had been right, Durmstrang was agreeing with his boy. Getting Narcissa to finally agree to let Draco go there rather than Hogwarts had been worth all the cold shoulders and cold sheets too. He looked…, more like a Malfoy should. Now if only Draco could learn to tolerate Crabbe and Goyle's boys. No, on further thought Lucius wouldn't try for a transfer for Draco to Hogwarts. Let Potter set the tone of that decayed old relic, Draco had better things to do. Well, time to let the boy settle in for the summer.
Draco looked around his room, definitely time to redecorate. He needed it to look more, adult. Fit for a Man from Durmstrang, one that had dueled at risk of his life, one that was on first name terms with Viktor bloody Krum! One that had worked up, with his friends, two damn good spells. Yes, he didn't need a boy's room any more.
Spatha Majorum is a spell that cuts like a broadsword, moderately hard to learn, but limited to flesh and bone, and therefore too specialized except for combat and butchery.
Igor is Igor Karkaroff, the headmaster of Durmstrang and an old acquaintance of Lucius Malfoy and a former Death Eater. The location of Durmstrang is never given, just that its student catchment area is primarily Eastern Europe, and that the winters are cold.
Durmstrang prides itself on its antiquity, claiming a founding back in late Imperial Roman times. This is unlikely, but who is going to argue with a bunch of Dark Arts expert wizards about things like that? The student body is ranked according to the level and number of classes completed, as well as time attending. In common with using a common tongue (Latin) for its multi-national nature there is a distinct Roman flavor for how the student body is classed. A new student will be a Probatio. After some time, and having passed the introductory knowledge tests a student will be considered an Immunes (no longer subjected to various petty and annoying hazing chores). Further passed qualification tests will allow entering into the ranks of Optio. From the ranks of the Optio the Centurion body is picked, equivalent to Hogwarts Prefects.