Frog Prince

"—And the princess kissed the frog, and poof! He turned into a handsome prince. And the princess and the frog-prince got married and lived happily ever after."

"Why'd the princess marry the frog-prince?" Draco Malfoy asks. "He was all dirty and gross, and she's a princess."

"Because she saw who he really was, and it didn't matter what he looked like," the strange little blonde girl explains.

"Oh," Draco says doubtfully.

"Like all great love stories, The Frog Prince is about inner beauty and connection. It doesn't matter what people look like, because you can always tell who they really are underneath," the blonde girl says matter-of-factly.

"Who am I, then?" Draco asks, making a face at her. He's trying to sneer just like his father, but somehow the effect is more humorous than intimidating. The girl giggles.

"You're the princess, before she gets humbled," she says.

"Am not!" Draco protests, a little too loudly. Mr. Lucius Malfoy turns around, one eyebrow raised, from where he's been ordering potions ingredients.

"Is there a problem, Draco?" he asks harshly.

Draco may be only five, but he knows that tone never bodes well. "No, Father."

"Good-day, Malfoy," a tall man with salt and pepper hair nods politely to Lucius and walks over to collect his daughter. "Come along, Luna."

Lucius nods to the man, and concludes his own business.

"Father?" Draco asks later. "Is it true that what's on the inside is what counts, not the outside?"

"Why?" Lucius asks, frowning. "Who've you been talking to? Oh, of course," he answers his own question. "Lovegood's little girl. Certifiable, both of them."

"But is it true?" Draco insists.

Lucius sighs, sensing a small child meltdown and not relishing the stares this will earn him from pathetically innocent passersby. He picks Draco up, carries him to a bench, and sets him down, kneeling in front of his son.

"What counts," he says slowly, staring into the gray eyes so like his own. "Is the blood running through your veins. Malfoy blood. You are my son. That's what counts. Understand?"

"Yes, Father," Draco says automatically. "Blood's in my insides, right? Outside, blood is bad!"

"Yes, Draco," sighs Lucius. "But your blood is good. You are my little prince."

Draco smiles. He likes being a prince—so long as he doesn't have to turn into a frog to get the girl. Then he'd have to croak and eat bugs, and most of all, he wouldn't have any magic.

It must be terrible not to have any magic. Draco shudders, and clings tight to his father's hand.

He feels safe. Draco Malfoy is exactly where he belongs.