"When love is suppressed hate takes its place." - Havelock Ellis
Eleven-year-old Draco Malfoy was standing perfectly still, admiring his reflection in the mirror. A frumpy middle-aged witch pinned his new robes, and he sighed. Draco's gray eyes stared back at him from the mirror and his reflection gave a small wave, accompanied by a hesitant upturn of thin pink lips. The corporeal Draco frowned at his effeminate features: the soft white-blond hair smoothed back from his pale skin, the delicate pink lips, the thick white-blond lashes framing gray eyes. Truth be told, Draco found himself to be rather beautiful, but this opinion was constantly undercut by his father's comments of "You'll grow into your features one day, Draco." A cock of the head and a frown often accompanied the phrase, his father clearly not finding in Draco's appearance what he'd hoped of the heir to the Malfoy lordship.
Draco's reflection shrugged and lifted a hand to stroke its own cheek. Though the image could not extend beyond the glass to physically touch Draco, he felt the caress all the same, and was comforted by it. Draco had been told that most reflections did not move independently of their person, even in the wizarding world, but Draco's always had. His reflection had always been a companion of sorts, keeping Draco company at his most lonely – which was often. Draco had led an isolated childhood, having only his father's cohorts' progeny as a selection for playmates. After making the mistake of mentioning it once when he was six, his interactions with his reflection had, from then on, been one more thing he kept from his parents, at risk of appearing too fanciful. It seemed to Draco that everything he did revolved around avoiding garnering his father's disapproval, something that always seemed to follow displays of supposed softness of character on Draco's part: his looks, his imaginary friendship with his reflection . . . most of it things he could not help.
Draco sighed, directing the air upward to toss a few stray hairs off his forehead. He was starting Hogwarts in a few days. He hoped things would be better there.
Just then, there was a tinkle of a bell as the door to Madam Malkin's shop opened. Draco's animated reflection tossed a startled glance towards the door then disappeared, so that all that remained was Draco. Alert, his eyes watched in the mirror as the door admitted a scrawny boy with black hair and round-rimmed glasses. He looked nervous as he exchanged a few words with Madam Malkin, and then made his way towards where Draco was being fitted at the back of the store.
Draco's pulse elevated in excitement – his first chance to make a friend of his own. His father considered friendship a dalliance for the weak-spirited. But Draco could not think about his father at a time like this – he'd been so lonely for too long; his eyes widened in anticipation of befriending this tousle-haired boy.
As the boy got closer, and then stepped up onto the stool next to Draco, Draco got a better look at him. He was about Draco's size – a little shorter, but just as wiry – with messy black hair that fell into his dark green eyes. The lenses of his glasses were smudged – honestly, has he never heard of a cleaning charm? – but despite the fog, the vibrancy of those eyes was clear and undiluted. When the boy cast a look at Draco, the effect of those eyes focusing on him, Draco Malfoy, sent a jolt of anxious delight through the pit of Draco's stomach.
"Hello," said Draco to cover up the turmoil of exhilaration and nerves within him, "Hogwarts, too?"
"Yes," said the boy.
"My father's next door buying my books and my mother's up the street looking at wands," Draco informed him. "Then I'm going to drag them off to look at racing brooms. I don't see why first years can't have their own. I think I'll bully father into getting me one, and then I'll smuggle it in somehow." Draco's voice fell into the Malfoy drawl he'd affected in public since he learned to speak. It became especially exaggerated whenever he bragged, as he was beginning to do now.
The look on the other boy's face caused a stirring of unease in Draco's stomach. The boy did not seem particularly taken with Draco, much to his alarm. He'd assumed friendship would be easy to forge once he had the chance, but it seemed that might not be the case after all.
"Have you got your own broom?" he asked. Perhaps the boy just needed an invitation to speak of himself.
"No," said the boy. Draco tried to swallow against the worry that he was going about this wrong. Shouldn't friendships start off with conversations which consisted of more than one-syllable replies?
"Play Quidditch at all?"
In desperation, Draco allowed himself to succumb to the desire to brag. Perhaps if he could market himself well enough the situation could still be salvaged. "I do – Father says it's a crime if I'm not picked to play for my house, and I must say, I agree. Know what house you'll be in yet?"
"No," said the boy, yet again. Draco resisted the urge to stomp his foot in frustration. He desperately wanted to impress this boy, for some reason, wanted this strange boy with the bright green eyes to like him. He was unlike any of the dull brats his father set him up with: Pansy, Crabbe, and Goyle.
"Well, no one really knows until they get there, do they," he babbled, "but I know I'll be in Slytherin, all our family have been – imagine being in Hufflepuff, I think I'd leave, wouldn't you?"
"Mmm," said the boy, looking nonplussed.
A looming figure outside the window caught Draco's attention and he latched onto it as a point of conversation, an anomaly the two of them could share. Wasn't that the sort of thing people bonded over?
"I say, look at that man!" Draco exclaimed, pointing.
"That's Hagrid," said the boy, and Draco wanted to sigh in relief that he was finally saying more than 'yes' or 'no' in response to something he had said. "He works at Hogwarts."
"Oh, I've heard of him," said Draco, eager to continue this thread as long as he could, to prolong their conversation. "He's a sort of servant, isn't he?"
"He's the gamekeeper." The boy frowned slightly, and Draco wondered what he could have possibly said wrong.
"Yes, exactly. I heard he's a sort of savage – lives in a hut on the school grounds and every now and then he gets drunk, tries to do magic, and ends up setting fire to his bed," said Draco, a laugh ready on his tongue for the moment when the other boy would join him in amusement at the peculiarities of some of the more eccentric members of the wizarding world.
That moment didn't come. The boy's frown deepened as he said, "I think he's brilliant," in a chilly voice.
"Do you?" Draco was aghast. Then comprehension dawned. He had said something wrong, because this boy was – for some inexplicable reason – with the gamekeeper. "Why is he with you? Where are your parents?"
"They're dead," said the boy, bluntly.
"Oh, sorry," said Draco, too taken aback to remember to sound sincere. "But they were our kind, weren't they?"
"They were a witch and wizard, if that's what you mean."
"I really don't think they should let the other sort in, do you? They're just not the same; they've never been brought up to know our ways. Some of them have never even heard of Hogwarts until they get the letter, imagine," said Draco, well aware that he was shooting off his mouth again. "I think they should keep it in the old wizarding families. What's your surname, anyway?" he added, suddenly realizing he didn't yet know the boy's name.
But that silly old woman in her hideous robes had to go and interrupt before the boy could answer. "That's you done, my dear," she said to the boy.
"Well, I'll see you at Hogwarts I suppose," said Draco, cursing the fact that he had ordered so many robes. Because of that he had to continue getting fitted rather than being able to leave with this boy and walk around Diagon Alley together, buying the rest of their school supplies. Not that the boy seemed very inclined to want to do such a thing with Draco anyway, he admitted to himself, cursing his ineptitude at this whole making friends business.
The boy left with a shrug, not meeting Draco's eyes, and Draco was once again alone with his reflection.
When the witch pinning his robes accidentally poked him with a pin he squealed much more indignantly than necessary, just to relieve his frustration.
… & …
A few days later Draco strode down the hallway of the Hogwarts Express, moving as fast as his pubescent legs could carry him toward the compartment everyone was saying was his – Harry Potter's. A boy they were all describing as a scrawny little thing to have defeated the Dark Lord, with black hair and glasses. And green eyes, Draco was willing to bet.
His usually quiet heart was pounding yet again, with this boy as the cause: partly out of panic that he might have fudged an opportunity to befriend the most famous wizard in Britain, and partly out of excitement at the opportunity to redeem himself. Draco could just see it, the pair they'd make – the Malfoy heir and the savior of the wizarding world. At the moment, he didn't care to waste any thoughts on the fact that his father served the very Dark Lord Harry was said to have defeated. His father approved of seldom when it came to Draco; if he was going to be scorned for forging friendships in the first place, Draco didn't think the scorn could increase all that much depending on who the friends were.
Draco paused briefly to collect himself and ascertain that Crabbe and Goyle were still following him, and then slid the door of the compartment open.
The boy from Madam Malkin's was sitting inside, across from a flame-headed boy in a shabby homemade sweater. He looked up, startled, at Draco's entrance, then his features settled into wariness.
"Is it true? They're saying all down the train that Harry Potter's in this compartment. So it's you, is it?" asked Draco, though by this point he was all but certain. He fancied he could see a faint edge of a scar on the skin of the boy's forehead, in between clumps of dark hair.
"Yes," said Harry Potter, back to one syllables. Draco caught his gaze drifting behind him towards the two large boys flanking him.
"Oh, this is Crabbe and Goyle. And my name's Malfoy, Draco Malfoy," he said, eager to return Harry's attention to him.
The red-head sniggered and Draco glared, now having the presence of mind to resent that the boy had evidently succeeded where Draco had failed in winning over Harry Potter. "Think my name's funny, do you? No need to ask who you are. My father told me all the Weasleys have red hair, freckles, and more children than they can afford," said Draco, slicking his voice with disdain. His only hope now, he thought, was to show Harry Potter how much better he was than the Weasley boy. With this thought, he turned back to Harry. "You'll soon find out some wizarding families are much better than others, Potter. You don't want to go making friends with the wrong sort. I can help you there." Draco extended a pale hand towards Harry.
Harry looked at it for a moment. Draco felt his skin warm beneath the potency of those green eyes. Then his eyes rose to meet Draco's, a piercing and unintimidated gaze that made Draco want to look away. He wasn't used to people looking him in the eye without a shred of respect. But he refused to break Harry's gaze. That would feel too much like backing down, and eleven years of training as the future Malfoy patriarch meant that backing down was an impossibility.
"I think I can tell who the wrong sort are for myself, thanks," said Harry.
Draco's heart froze in his chest, then fell into his stomach and shattered.
Even as a disappointed, embarrassed blush spread across his cheeks, a sharp-edged new resolve hardened in Draco's stomach: a reformation of the shards of his broken heart. Draco's father had been right, he decided. It had been foolish to desire to befriend Harry Potter.
No, if Harry wouldn't have him as a friend, he would have him as a rival. And Draco would not rest until he came out on top.