Disclaimer: I don't own the Harry Potter universe and J. K. Rowling is God.

Draco Malfoy grimaced in disgust when he saw the body. The man had once been his best friend and now the lifeless shell was laid out so unceremoniously on the table. The people surrounding the body was so blasé and uncaring for it. Almost as though Blaise Zabini had never really been alive at all.

Draco inspected him from head to toe. The man had grown into quite a specimen.

"Did you kill him?" Draco had asked his uncles when he first saw Blaise's cold body.

The older men had scoffed, shaking their heads. "Happy accident."

"What does that even mean?" Draco had murmured in disbelief.

"He knows details. He works at the Ministry in the Records and Bookkeeping Sector. He knows much too many details," Rabastan Lestrange had explained to Draco. "And we need those details. Anything you can find. Anything and everything you can find in ninety days."

"Ninety days?" Draco had asked, narrowing his eyes.

"Or faster," Rodolphus Lestrange had interrupted. "Potion won't last too long."

"Polyjuice?" Draco had wondered, knowing the answer.


"Ugh," he sighed again as he thought back to that conversation, revolted. Polyjuice for ninety days was going to ruin his appetite and his stomach. But it was something that must be done. Passing up on such an opportunity would be a waste and a crime. Besides, now he could do what he had been meaning to do for years.

Infiltrate the Ministry.

After the War, Draco and his family had been disgraced by the events that followed – numerous heavily publicized court dates, criticisms and isolation. All this Draco had been prepared for. He had known that he would be shunned by society. He knew that his life would be forever destroyed because of his lack of strength and will. He understood that he was not worthy of anything. First his friends abandoned him. Then Draco's inheritance was seized as a cost for all the lives ruined because of the Malfoys. What right did the Ministry have to put a price on death? And finally…

His father had been killed.

The culprit was never captured. There were many men and women, even children, who were out for vengeance for the deaths of their loved ones at the hands of Death Eaters. Death Eater scum, they were called now. The officials didn't even find Lucius' body until three days had passed. And even then, they cared little for it. The paperwork was pushed further and further down the pile - the murder was never a priority. Draco and Narcissa were left to wonder about the manner of Lucius' death, whether he had suffered, whether he had been tortured, or whether he had wanted to see them one last time.

Narcissa mourned. Draco was now sole heir, all debt and burden on his weak shoulders. His mother refused to look at him, the pain of seeing her husband in her son making her weak. They never spoke, rarely ever stayed in the same room together. Isolated in the mansion, they cried privately. Draco was driven away by his own. Narcissa, who loved Draco dearer than life, couldn't bear the sight of him. Draco, who lived for his mother's love, wasn't allowed near her. He couldn't bear it. His delicate mind couldn't cope with the losses. He slept through dreams of ending his life and leaving it all behind.

His mother beat him to it.

Draco found her lifeless body in the study, so beautiful even when shrouded with death. She had always been heavenly. And now she would let him touch her.

He stroked her hair, pressing teary kisses on her cheeks. How he wished she would shower him with love once again…

But she was dead.

Dead from the slashes on her wrist.

Barely two years had passed since the War had ended. Draco was alone in the world, young and inexperienced. For three months he kept to himself, trying to drown his body in alcohol and drugs. Damned body… It just wouldn't die. Try as he might, he couldn't do it. He was pitiful. He had blindly followed a man who he knew was less human and more monster. He had allowed himself to be used and abused, manipulated and weakened. He had turned into nothing. No money, no future, and no life.

Draco grew haggard and weak, refusing to feed or cleanse himself. His mind slipped away from him, insanity taking over until all he saw were ghosts and hallucinations. The mansion that was once his safe haven was now his cage. He couldn't find his way out. He needed to find his way out.

He stepped out into his overgrown grounds, filled with weeds and vines. He crushed the overgrowth, wandering through the jungle. He had nowhere to go. He had nothing to do. The undying ache in his body wouldn't go away. He fell to his knees, sobbing raggedly. Why had this happened to him? Why him?

He let out a strangled cry and scrambled away when he felt a snake trying to move up his leg. With an angry hiss, the serpent struck its defensive pose at being jolted. Draco had his arms out in front of him, heart hammering with fear. Then he realized what he was doing. He screamed in rage.

Why was he always scared of everything?

He hated this.

He hated being scared.

"Just kill me!" he shrieked, begging the snake to strike him dead. "Kill me!" He shouted his voice away, falling to his side and curling into himself.

The snake wavered uncertainly, watching and waiting to be harmed. Draco let his eyes fall shut. "I beg you to kill me," he pleaded soundlessly. "I beg you."

The snake slithered towards him, rustling the crushed leaves and dried twigs as it moved in all its superiority and elegance. Draco reached out with his hand, holding out his wrist. Offering his life. The snake didn't take it. Not yet. She slid over his warm arm, weaving around his thin limb. Her body moved flawlessly over him, soft and without hurry. Her head rested against Draco's chin. She flicked her tongue out, tasting his tears. He felt more tears cascading down and replacing the ones she had licked away. A rolling sibilant touched his ear, the snake speaking to him in an extinct tongue. Her head slid down his chin to his neck.

And she bit down on the white column of skin. Her fangs sunk in easily, as would a hot dagger to the gut.

Draco went limp, not from the poison but from relief. "Thank you," he whispered, fainting away.

The serpent unwound herself from his arm but did not disappear into her world of darkness. She stayed beside him, coiled against his fluttering heart for warmth.

It was two nights and three days before Draco awoke, screaming from his nightmare. He promptly emptied his stomach of what little he had in it, bile and all. He shivered from withdrawal and shock. He whipped his gaze around him. He was sprawled in the middle of a jungle. A jungle at nighttime. Crickets, toads, beetles, and asps sounded around him. He brushed away his sweat, trying to get up onto his feet. He had no strength. He fell to the ground, breathing heavily from the exertion.

He smelt the wet soil, feeling water from recent rainfall seeping into his skin. He laid in the cold brush, his eyes following the spindly spider that had decided to eat Draco for dinner. He shook it off of his hand, his lips quirking up at its antics. It wasn't about to let Draco go that easily. It started climbing up his fingers once again. Draco could barely feel it biting. He shook it off like before. The spider clambered around the leaves, raging and pacing out of frustration at being refused a meal. Then it tried one more time.

This time Draco let the spider settle firmly on the back of his hand. Then he turned around so he was facing the large moon. He held his hand to the light, looking at the spider. "You can't eat me," he said sensibly. "I'm not dead."

That didn't seem to stop the little spider. It happily chewed on Draco. He laid his hand on his stomach, blinking up at the pale and pure moon above him. "I'm not dead," he sighed.

It took him an hour to find his way back home. Once he did, he raided the kitchen, shoveling as much food as he could into his stomach. Then he threw it all up, feeling surprisingly good afterwards. He washed his face, shaving his rugged beard and brushing his teeth. That was enough moping for a lifetime.

He stood up tall and stared at the sickly looking man in the mirror. "Draco Malfoy," he greeted. "Slytherin, remember?"

Never again would he bow down to the will of another man. Never again would he accept defeat. Never again would he force Death upon himself.

He was going to make everyone pay for what they had done to him. No mercy, no conscience. No one mattered but him. And he would care for no one but him. Vengeance can go both ways.

And that's how Rodolphus and Rabastan Lestrange found their nephew a year later, cold-blooded and suave, sharp and poisonous. The perfect Slytherin.