AN: Welcome to the second installment of Aya's Plot Bunny Extravaganza!
I'll preface this with a warning, that I will quite likely never finish this story. If you are the type of person who just HATES to read unfinished stories, then you'd may as well pass this one by.
I will state, however, that part of me honestly does plan to come back to this one and keep going at some point. Just no guarantees when that will be, or how far I will get.
Timeframe: Initially, just before Christmas break in Year 6 (Half-Blood Prince), then reboot to summer before 1st year.
Pairing: HP/DM (although, there would be no actual pairing action for a good long while into the fic)
Tags: Time-travel (yes, again – I've got a thing for time-travel fics), Draco POV, good!Dumbledore, Gryffindor!Draco
Warnings: Um... none really? It's a time-travel fic so that guarantees some clichés.
Disclaimer: I am not J K Rowling and I am making no profit from this.
Summary: It's Draco's sixth year at Hogwarts and he's deeply regretting taking the Dark Mark the summer before. He's miserable and terrified. While in the Room of Requirement trying to mend the broken Vanishing Cabinet he stumbled across a box with details on a rare and forbidden time-travel ritual. He sends himself back to first year, dedicated to getting his life on a better track this time, and saving his family from suffering under the Dark Lord's wrath.
Tampering with Time is Risky Business
Regret. It had become such an enormously powerful force in the world of Draco Malfoy. Regrets about the choices he had made over the years. Regrets about the choices his father had made over the years. Regrets about the unfortunate circumstances that had forced his family to cower to the whims of a lunatic almost constantly. Circumstances that had led him to living in fear in his own home.
Fear. Fear of pain, mostly. It was probably the biggest driving force behind all of his regrets, if he were honest with himself. But remorse and guilt also drove some of them – although he would desperately deny it to any who would dare accuse him of it. He was a Slytherin. Slytherin's weren't supposed to feel remorse or guilt for their actions. They were proud of their actions, or they hid them and denied them while secretly reveling in them.
For a Slytherin to change their stance on an issue because of pain was acceptable. That was self preservation – a trait that Slytherin's were well known for. A good Slytherin could thrive in the toughest of environments and make the most of it. Claw their way to the top no matter the challenges that they were faced with. And Malfoys weren't just good Slytherins, they were great.
Or at least, they had been. Now, they seemed to have been reduced to little better than house elves. His father's substantial wealth was actually draining with horrifying speed for the sake of bankrolling the Dark Lord's bid for world domination, while he and his family cowered in terror and groveled at their master's feet, as if hoping for scraps of approval, as if there was anything that they could hope to do to restore their honor after this mess. Honestly at this point, Draco would be utterly shocked if any of them lived beyond the end of the next year.
Because the Dark Lord was winning. The man was a power-hungry, monstrosity, that fed off of the pain and suffering of others as if it were his life blood.
After his father's failure in the Ministry, it had been expected that Draco take the Mark and fill his father's vacant spot in the Dark Lord's ranks. He hadn't had a choice in the matter. Oh no. It was do it, or die. Simple as that. And so Draco had bowed his head, called the hideous serpentine creature his master and gritted his teeth as his left forearm was flooded with pain he had never before that point experienced and he was branded a slave.
A Malfoy's bow to no man.
He snorted bitterly in his mind, recalling the words his father had said to him numerous times during his youth.
While his Marking had been the most painful thing he'd experienced in his pampered little life up until that moment, it was certainly not the most painful thing he experienced after it. The Dark Lord seemed to get his jollies off by torturing his followers, and since Lucius was still locked away in Azkaban – no doubt enjoying the vacation since the Dementors were no longer there, and being in the prison meant he wasn't at the mercies of his master – Draco was left to the whims of the Dark Lord and all of his deep, furious ire in regards to Draco's father's failure.
Draco had been taught to cast the Cruciatus curse – although he'd never quite managed to summon up enough true hate to pull it off very well – but he had never been on the receiving end of the curse until the Dark Lord turned his wand upon Draco and absently sneered the spell as if he could only barely be bothered with it.
Draco had no idea what he could have possibly done at that time to earn the curse. He later realized that nothing had to be done at all for the Dark Lord to turn his wand on his followers. He just did it sometimes. He supposed the man was bored.
Needless to say, the summer between his fifth and sixth years at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry was the most painful summer he had ever experienced.
But even the knowledge that he would be returning to Hogwarts could not give him reprieve or relief. Because the Dark Lord had given him a task. An impossible task. It was a task intended to fail – Draco knew that. He was no fool. The Dark Lord had absolutely no expectations that Draco could possibly pull of what had been assigned to him, although he was damned well going to try because if... no... when he failed, he would be at the Dark Lord's mercy once again, and he knew it was at that point that his life would meet it's end.
The task in question was to kill Dumbledore of all people. Dumbledore! It was utterly ridiculous! The Dark Lord himself couldn't kill Dumbledore! Of course there was another aspect to his task – one that was slightly more possible, although still proving to be remarkably difficult. He was supposed to find a way to get a group of Death Eaters in through the school's wards so they could mount an attack from the inside.
The very idea made Draco ill. The idea of exposing his fellow school mates to the whims of his Aunt Bella, or Fenrir Greyback... They had tried to assuage his fears by pointing out that none of the Slytherins would be harmed in the attack – they would be warned to stay down in the dungeons and Severus would make sure that they stayed put – but that didn't make Draco feel even the slightest bit better.
He had come to realize that no matter how hard he had tried, over the years, to be just as cold and heartless as his father had tried to train him to be, he had still been coddled by his mother, and found that he really did not have the stomach for all this death and blood. He could be a fine politician someday – assuming of course that he could ever hope to live that long – but watching people that he had attended school with for five years die before his very eyes and because of his actions... he just... didn't think he could stand it.
And so he found himself feeling utterly torn and conflicted as he spent every minute of time not in classes or rushing through his classwork desperately trying to find some solution to his tasks, while trying very very hard not to think about the consequences of success.
It was during these desperate efforts to try and find some solution to his imminent doom, that he stumbled across a box. It was in the cluttered mess of a room that he'd moved the broken Vanishing Cabinet into in order to work on fixing it. The room had been used by Potter the previous year for that damned defense group that Draco had jealously wanted to attend, but would have never ever earned an invite to. Instead he'd ended up on Umbridge's stupid little Inquisitorial Squad. But it was because of that that he'd learned about the room. Umbridge has used some of Snape's Veritaserum on one of the Ravenclaws in the defense club and gotten all of the details about the room out of her. Most specifically the fact that it was called The Room of Requirment and that you could make it into whatever you needed as long as you asked for it properly.
When Draco had requested a room where he could hide something and walked in to discover a cavernous cathedral-type room filled to the brim with mountains upon mountains of junk... well, it had been a bit startling and overwhelming. But he had mostly ignored the mess of junk and focused his limited time and effort towards addressing the Vanishing Cabinet. But sometime after Halloween while Draco had been failing to make any progress at all on his task, he had bumped into something-or-another and knocked a blood stained rug off a broken table to reveal an ornately carved wooden box underneath it that seemed to... call to him.
Generally speaking, Draco knew better than to approach any magical object that seemed to call to him. His rather impressive skill in Occlumency usually prevented him from being effected by such magics as well, but at this particular moment, he couldn't quite stop himself from bending over and picking the wooden box up. He found his way over to a table that wasn't broken, cleared it of the rubbish littering the top of it, and set the box down gently.
He stared down at it feeling bewildered by what he was experiencing. For some reason, he felt absolutely convinced that the solution to all of his problems lay within this box. And that knowledge seemed to have sparked life into a long dead, abandoned seed of hope, deep in his heart. But why he felt this way... he couldn't say.
Hesitantly, he unlatched the small, black, weathered catch holding the box shut, and opened the box. Inside he found a piece of folded parchment and a book.
That note and book would change his life drastically – far more than he ever would have guessed. However, he would come to determine that the changes were decidedly for the best.
Time. It was relative. It was mostly a matter of perceptions as well. Not that Draco had ever really given time much thought before. He was aware, on some level, that Time was not nearly as perfect and measurable as some would insist.
Time could pass so quickly when he was enjoying himself, but it would drag on forever when he was waiting for something. Or when he was suffering under the torturous pain of the Dark Lord's Cruciatus curse. He had been informed that the longest he had been held under the Dark Lord's curse was a mere thirty seconds, but he would swear it was at least five minutes.
And as such, it was very easy for Draco to accept the fact that Time was not nearly as cut and dry as many people believed. But Draco had been raised a pureblood form an old magick family and there were certain 'truths' about magic that had been drilled into him since his youth, and one of those truths was that you don't mess with time.
Tampering with time was even more forbidden than the Unforgivables. Anyone that the Ministry discovered dicking around in Time Magic without proper authorization, got themselves a one-way ticket to Azkaban. But when the voice in the back of Draco's mind reminded him of that fact, his eyes would slide down to his left forearm and see the ugly black tattoo that now tainted his otherwise perfect flesh and remember that he already bore his ticket to Azkaban – or death, which ever came first.
And so he pressed on, because the more he had thought about what he had discovered inside the box, the more and more tempting the possibilities became. Because Draco Malfoy had a lot of regrets. A lot of things that, looking back, he would do differently. And what would things look like today, if certain other things had gone differently?
He had come to realize that he would give just about anything if it meant the end of the Dark Lord. The thing was that, he really didn't know how to do that. Harry Potter was being heralded as the Chosen One, and if what he'd learned of the Prophecy that had gotten his father in Azkaban was true... well if it was true Potter was the Chosen One. The Dark Lord had only ever learned the first three lines of the Prophecy. Not many people were privy to that information, but Draco was one of them. His father had told his mother the previous Yule holidays while the Dark Lord and the Death Eaters were quite desperately trying to find a way to acquire the damned thing from the Ministry.
Draco had long ago taken up the habit of spying on the goings on in the manor whenever he was there. Malfoy Manor had passages between all of the walls that the house elves used to move things, or to hid in the shadows so that they would be ready at a moments notice when one of their wizard masters needed something. As a young boy, Draco had taken to playing in the tiny tunnels, and discovered that the old silencing wards on them had degraded over the years and his parents had not realized.
He'd learned quite a lot of interesting, and occasionally disturbing, information that way. Especially since the Dark Lord had taken up residence in his family's home. He'd learned that Sirius Black had never been a Death Eater, and reports that he'd betrayed the Potters were greatly exaggerated. The man had been a member of the Order, and he had apparently died during the debacle at the Ministry at the hands of his mad aunt Bella.
He'd learned that Peter Pettigrew was called 'Wormtail' because he was an animagus who turned into a rather fat, ugly looking rat that had apparently been Weasley's pet rat – which he had to admit he found very amusing. He'd learned that the insanity that happened in his second year at Hogwarts with the Chamber of Secrets had something to do with a Diary that the Dark Lord had left in his father's care during the first war. The thing was that his father had not had permission to let the book out of his hands, and somehow at the end of Draco's second year, Potter had managed to destroy the book and that had absolutely infuriated the Dark Lord.
But despite the things that he did know, he still realized that he really had no idea how to go about saving his family from a fate he considered worth than simple death. Servitude, groveling, and pain, at the feet of a psychotic masochist.
He did know that it was Pettigrew that had found the Dark Lord's disembodied spirit and helped him regain a body. So if he could somehow prevent that... well, the man had just been a stupid little rat, right? So, he kill Weasley's pet rat when Wormtail was still Weasley's pet rat, and that's one crisis averted. But he realized that he wanted to go back... well, he wanted to go back to first year, if he were being honest with himself, and if what he found in The Box was true, he could.
Going back to first year would also mean going back to the year that Quirrell was at Hogwarts with the Dark Lord hidden beneath his smelly turban. Potter and his friends had somehow stopped the Dark Lord at the end of their first year, and something Potter had done had banished the Dark Lord to whatever dark forest Pettigrew had later found him hiding in. So if Draco went all the way back to first year, he either had to make sure he didn't mess with time so badly that Potter failed at stopping the Dark Lord, or he would have to personally make sure that Potter succeeded at it again. Seeing as how he really didn't know many of the details about that whole ordeal didn't bode well for his chances.
Sure there were loads of rumors at the end of his first year, but it was hard to know what to believe and what not too. He was fairly sure that the rumor that Dumbledore had been hiding the Philosipher's Stone in the school was actually true, because that was just the sort of barmy thing the old coot would do, not to mention, it was one of the few magical artifacts that the Dark Lord would actually risk exposing himself over. But still – Draco just didn't know. He would be leaving a lot of things undecided and unplanned, which never sat well with him.
For once in his life, Draco was willing to just take a chance and leap into things head first. Quite simply, his current situation was so miserably dire that just about anything would be better, and he was willing to take the chances and deal with things as he was faced with them.
It was a disgustingly Gryffindor approach, but Draco was desperate. And desperate times call for desperate measures. And thus, Draco found himself rushing with only one day left before the Yule Holidays would begin and he would have to return to a Malfoy Manor filled with Death Eaters, and one very horrible Dark Lord, in hopes of completing his preparations, arithmancy calculations, and the last of the series of potions he would need to take, in order to perform the complex ritual described in the book and letter he'd found within The Box.
He was going to send his memories, knowledge, and magic back in time to his previous self. He was going to change the past, and hopefully make for himself and his family, a much better future.
His father would not approve of what few plans Draco had made, but in the long run it would benefit them far more than the poor choices Lucius Malfoy had been making and the miserable path it had led them all down. Draco was willing to take his younger father's disapproval in the short term if it saved them all in the long run.
If Harry Potter was the Chosen One, then Draco was going to make sure that Potter would be as prepared as possible to fulfill his destiny and rid the world of the horrific monstrosity that was the Dark Lord. He would befriend Harry Potter, at all costs. He would get his family on the side of the Light, whether they liked it or not.
Hopefully, he wouldn't get disowned for it before they realized it was all for the best.
Pain. Disorientation. Confusion.
His head exploded with pressure and a maelstrom of confusing images, memories, emotions and sensations filled him, coursed through him, and a moment later, caused him to black out completely.
Draco Malfoy woke up in the center of his bedroom, sprawled out on the plush carpet floor to the sight of a pair of large, terrified-looking eyes and enormous floppy bat ears starting down at him and a pair of long-fingered and wrinkled hands wringing nervously, over top of him.
He screamed in shock and pushed himself back and into a sitting position before scrabbling to the wrist holder he'd taken to wearing on his left arm that had the dual benefit of making his wand easily accessible and covering the damned bloody tattoo on his arm – but the holster wasn't there. Neither was his wand anywhere on his person.
For that matter, his scream had been shockingly high pitched. Nearly as high pitched as the terrified shriek that had emitted from the house elf as it too jumped back in shock. The elf in question then began to beat its own head in with the nearest blunt object as it berated itself for scaring the young master.
Draco just gaped and watched the familiar elf punish itself for a moment as he attempted to sort through and make sense of the garbled mess in his mind. Clarity increased with each passing second and finally he seemed to collect enough of himself to order the elf to stop hitting itself and tell him the date.
The elf promptly stopped hitting himself and informed Draco that it was the young master's eleventh birthday – June 5th, 1991.
It had worked.
It had been an absolutely exhausting month and a half. His mother was convinced he was ill for almost all of June and had brought in several healers to look him over. He'd been a bit nervous, but the first two hadn't found anything, and the only thing noteworthy that the last had mentioned was that he seemed to have a remarkably powerful and well-developed magical core for an eleven-year-old. That remark had caused his parents to both look at him with surprise and interest. His father's eyes had gleamed with pride and greed, which didn't exactly sit well with Draco, if he were honest with himself.
He'd only just barely began to collect his frayed nerves during July and focus on playing the part of the young, spoiled little boy he'd been at age eleven. It wasn't easy. Mostly because he was so disgusted with himself in hindsight. How naive he'd been. How blind. He had been so ignorant of the hardships of the real world, and so convinced in his own superiority even though he'd done absolutely nothing to warrant or earn such confidence or influence. It was all his father's power. His father's influence and money and respect. He was just the spoiled little rich boy who whined and bullied until he got whatever he wanted handed to him on a silver platter. But when he was suddenly thrust into the real world he realized that every 'skill' he'd nurtured during his first few years at Hogwarts was absolutely worthless out there where there were real consequences. Consequences that involved a lot of pain.
Not to mention that he'd been a right bastard back then. Not that he'd seemingly gotten much better in his later years, but much of that had been for the sake of maintaining appearances. He'd felt trapped in the role he'd established for himself at home and at Hogwarts. Any change in his personality or actions would have only been looked upon with suspicion by the majority of the school, and possibly seen as a sign of weakness by the other members of Slytherin who would have greedily taken advantage of the situation to improve their own status by diminishing his.
But that was one of the glorious things about having gone back this far. He could start over with a clean slate. He could be whoever he wanted to be now. Re-invent himself... assuming he was even capable of that. He was really rather accustomed to the way he'd acted for the majority of his life.
He had to maintain the old stuck-up spoiled boy act with his parents. His change in behavior and attitude had already drawn their notice and because of it, they were watching him more closely now and it was a scrutiny that he did not want, nor appreciate. But they were his parents. They'd known him his whole life, and while his father wasn't around nearly as much as his mother, they both knew him well enough to know that something had happened, even if he denied it.
But at school no one would have any expectations set in stone. Sure, some people would have preconceived ideas because of who his father was that they would have a hard time letting go, but he still had a fresh chance to define himself in their eyes, mostly from a blank slate.
Even the people who he had ended up being 'friends' with from Slytherin house hadn't known him all that well as a child. Sure, he'd known Pansy and Theo, Greg and Vincent, since they were all quite young thanks to their parents social events, but they never saw each other in any regular or frequent occasion. They were all home schooled and privately tutored. They had occasionally had play-dates arranged by their families, but not so much as one might expect.
If he went to Hogwarts and acted in a manner significantly contrary to his original eleven-year-old self, no one would really know... well, except for Severus. He might notice. But it was common for a kid to try and reinvent themselves when going into an all new environment, right?
But until he got to Hogwarts, he needed to keep himself held together for the sake of his parents. The first real opportunity to set his only vaguely constructed plans into action was quickly approaching. July 31st was quickly approaching, and with it, his trip to Diagon Alley for his school supplies.
If there was one person he had desired a 'clean slate' do-over with, it was Harry Potter, and this would be his chance. He had to make it count.
"This way, dear," Narcissa said as she nudged Draco away from the window display at Quality Quidditch Supplies.
"What is the next stop?" Lucius asked blandly as he looked around the bustling crowds of witches, wizards, and children, currently cluttering the cobblestone streets of Diagon Alley with an obvious air of disdain and superiority.
Narcissa Malfoy consulted Draco's list of school supplies for a moment before responding. "We still need to get Draco his school robes, his text books, and his wand. So, robes next."
Lucius barely covered a grimace, but Draco saw it. He knew how his father felt about clothes shopping, especially if his mother were present.
"For the sake of saving time, seeing as how I do need to pay Minister Fudge a visit for tea this afternoon, I propose I go to Flourish and Blotts and get Draco's textbooks while you attend to his robes," Lucius drawled.
"Fine with me, dear," she said as she separated off the sheet of parchment that listed the text books and handed it to her husband. He took it and with a few parting words, turned and headed down the opposite direction towards the bookstore.
Narcissa led Draco down to Madam Malkin's robes for all occasions and spent the next fifteen minutes looking through patters, fabrics, and making a complex list purchases while Draco sat in a small chair to the side, bored out of his mind and feeling both incredibly anxious and impatient.
So far things had progressed almost identically to the way it had in his original timeline. They'd gotten him a brand new top-of-the-line three compartment trunk with space expanded interiors – Draco had to admit that it had been a necessary indulgence considering how many things he owned and would be taking with him to school – and they had gone to the apothecary for his potions kit. They had also gotten his telescope and stationary supplies already as well.
Now he was just waiting for his mother to finish her business with the madam so he could start getting measured. Finally, she did just that and as Draco was led up to a small pedestal so the matron could begin taking his measurement, Narcissa Malfoy informed Draco that she was going to browse a little at several of the shops along the Alley and would meet him at Ollivander's for his wand when he was done.
He impatiently waved her off and heaved a sigh of relief as she finally vanished out the front door. It was only a matter of minutes later when he heard the little bell over the door ding and heard the voice of Madam Malkin as she asked, "Hogwarts, dear?"
Draco felt his heart rate peak with nerves and anticipation as he waited a moment longer before the familiar and yet shockingly small black-haired boy appeared around the corner and was led to the pedestal to Draco's left.
He'd gotten used to his own short stature and the frustratingly high-pitched childish voice over the course of the last almost-two-months, but it was still oddly surprising to see Harry Potter so young again. The boy's slight form was only emphasized by the thread-bare, oversized clothing he was wearing that hung off him unflatteringly. It was almost a relieve when Madam Malkin threw a robe over Potter's head and began to pin it.
"Hello," Draco began tentatively. "Hogwarts too? First year?"
Potter turned his head and looked up at Draco through his fringe with a cautious bashful look about him that Draco couldn't honestly recall ever seeing on Potter's face before, but he knew that when he was actually eleven, he wouldn't really have been paying attention enough to have noticed something like that. He had probably been too distracted by Potter's ratty muggle clothes to notice.
"Er, yeah," Potter said in reply, and the childlike voice sent another pang of shock reeling through Draco, but he masked the surprise. It was all just so surreal.
"Me too. I'm Draco Malfoy," Draco said, turning slightly toward Potter and extending out his hand. The pang of deja vu did not go unnoticed by the blond.
Potter eyed the hand for a moment as if he didn't know what to do with it before he seemed to pull himself together and maneuvered despite the seamstresses pinning so that he could take Draco's hand and he shook it.
It was entirely idiotic how happy that made Draco feel and he internally scolded himself for it.
"Harry Potter," Potter replied.
Draco heard the slightest intake of breath from the witch who was pinning his robes, but didn't give any reaction himself to Potter's name. He may have been obsessively jealous and bitter about Harry Potter for years, but he'd also watched him enough to have admitted – even if only to himself – that the Boy-Who-Lived actually despised his fame and would not appreciate it if Draco approached their new relationship with anything resembling hero-worship. He knew that would be the wrong approach here, so he chose to go with treating Harry as if he were any other boy.
"Pleasure to meet you," Draco said with a polite nod as he shook Potter's hand. "So are you excited? I've been looking forward to Hogwarts for as long as I can remember."
"Excited? Oh, definitely," Potter said with a huge grin before it became a bit sheepish and he ducked his head. "But I er... I only just found out about it. I didn't know about Hogwarts before last night."
That gave Draco pause. He'd had no idea that Potter hadn't known about Hogwarts at all before this point! He'd known he was raised by muggles, but that he hadn't known at all?
Draco's lightening fast mind flew through potential responses to move the conversation forward. For a fraction of a second he considered asking Potter if he were muggleborn, but he realized it would be far to unbelievable to anyone besides Potter himself that Draco did not know who Harry Potter was, so that direction was out.
"Raised by muggles, then?" Draco said, putting as much effort as he could into not sounding derisive or condescending when he said the word 'muggles'.
"That's right," Potter answered quietly.
"And they never told you? Really?" Draco asked, honestly curious.
Potter scowled and ducked his head. "No, they never did," he grumbled under his breath.
"But they knew, right? I mean, when you were left with them, they were told that you're a wizard, right?"
"Yeah, I think so... wait... how did you know that I was, er... left with... I mean, that I don't live with my parents?"
"Er... well, I mean... I have heard of you. You do know that you're kind of famous in our world, right?"
"Oh... yeah. I um... I know. I sort of ran into a big crowd in the Leaky Cauldron. It was erm... a bit much."
Draco snorted. "I bet. Personally I think they're all being a bit mental and insensitive. I mean, do you even remember the night? You were like... thirteen months old when it happened right?"
"Yeah, I guess so. I don't remember any of it."
"Exactly! I can only imagine how unpleasant it would be to be famous for not dying. Being constantly reminded of it... I dunno. People are insensitive and stupid sometimes. Although, I suppose I'm not being much better, so please accept my apologies."
"No, no. You're, er... much better. Really. I mean, you haven't like, tried to touch me or shake my hand or asked about the scar or something. The people in the pub... it was... strange. And yeah... they were a bit much."
"So who did you end up with? After your parents, I mean... You don't have to answer that if you don't want to."
"Oh, I ended up with my aunt and uncle. My aunt is my mum's sister."
"And they're muggles, and they never told you? What did they tell you happened to your parents?"
Potter scowled again and looked down at his feet. "They said they died in a car crash."
"Car... that's one of those otomo-bills right?" Draco said, stumbling slightly over the unfamiliar word as he wasn't entirely sure how it was pronounced.
Potter looked back up and the corner of his mouth turned up and Draco could see the slightest indication of amusement sparkle in his eyes, but he squashed it admirably.
"Um, yeah. It's automobile, actually, but that was pretty close. So er... do wizards not use cars?"
"No, we really don't have much need for them."
"How do you get around then?"
"Well, there's flying broom travel, for one."
"You mean wizards really do fly on brooms?" Potter exclaimed excitedly.
"Of course. But for long-distance travel, few people go with brooms. Brooms are mostly used in sports now. There's professional broom racing, Quidditch, and arial acrobatic competitions. We also have professional hippogryph races – they fly too, of course."
"Wow... so how do people do long-distance travel then?"
"Well, there's the Floo Network for one."
"What's that?" Potter asked with sparkling interest in his eyes.
Draco had just finished describing what the Floo Network was when the madam said she was done with taking Potter's measurements.
"How come you're not done yet?" Potter asked, looking at Draco who had yet another robe drapped over his head and being pinned again.
"My mother is getting me a whole knew wardrobe. You know... you're just getting the basic student robes, right?"
"Why not get more? Get a full set for yourself too. Trousers, silk shirts, casual robes... maybe even get one set of dress robes."
"Oh... I never... I... yeah. Alright. Sure. Um, Madam?" Potter said, turning back to Madam Malkin who had been listening in and gave him a soft smile. She quickly brought out a listing of options and began to show Potter samples and patterns.
Pinning resumed again and Draco then began to explain what apparition was. The seamstress witch that was working on Draco finished first and as she packaged up his robes he continued to stand beside Potter talking and explaining things to the enthusiastic boy who was quickly slipping out of his shell and eagerly asking more questions.
"Alright then dear, you're done now too," Madam Malkin said and Potter turned and smiled up at her thankfully.
The two boys followed the witch up to the counter where Draco's package was already waiting for him. He pulled out the money pouch his mother had given him and paid, then stood aside and waited as Potter paid for his.
"Have you gotten your wand yet?" Draco asked.
"No, not yet."
"Well that's where I'm supposed to go next. My mother is supposed to be waiting there for me. Would you like to go with?"
"Oh, I don't know, I'd have to see what – oh, Hagrid!"
"There yeh are, 'arry! I got yeh some ice crème," Hagrid, who was standing just outside the store as they walked out, said holding two towering cones of ice cream that Draco knew must have been charmed by Fortescue not to melt or else it would have been dripping all over the half-giant's hands. "Who's yer friend?" Hagrid asked, turning his attention on Draco.
"Hey, Hagrid! Wow, thanks. Erm, this is my friend Draco. Draco, this is Hagrid. He's the gamekeeper at Hogwarts. He brought me here from my relatives."
Draco found himself feeling shockingly warm and giddy at the introduction as Harry's 'friend'. Which was silly and he knew it. He momentarily tried to convince himself that it was because his efforts were paying off so quickly and that it had nothing to do with the stupidly still-painful rejection he'd experienced during his original first year.
"It's a pleasure to meet you, sir," Draco said to Hagrid, extending his tiny hand and keeping his face as impassive as he could and using every bit of self control he had to keep from grimacing as the enormous oaf shifted one of the cones into his other hand that was now holding both in one of his giant hands and then used his now free, but slightly sticky, hand to shake Draco's hand.
"Draco, was it? Will yeh be startin' Hogwarts this year?"
"That's right, sir."
"Ah, none of tha' sir nonsense. Call me Hagrid."
"Alright... Hagrid," Draco said, still managing to keep his expression impassive. He knew that insulting Hagrid had been one of his first significant mistakes with Harry Potter and was dedicated to not repeat it... no matter how repulsive he found the man.
"Draco asked me if I wanted to go with him to the wand shop," Harry said to Hagrid. "He said that his mother is waiting there for him."
"Well, I s'pose we could. We've still got a few more places teh go before we're done fer the day. I was thinkin' tha we could head to the menagerie next though."
"What's there?" Harry asked.
"Tha's where yeh can get yet pet, a'course!"
Draco had a vague recollection that Potter's owl had been a gift from Hagrid, apparently during this trip.
"Harry could come with me to Ollivanders while you go to the Magical Menagerie. My father told me that getting your first wand can sometimes take quite a while," Draco said as he remembered the frustrating twenty minute process of getting his wand the first time.
"Yeah, tha' is true. I suppose it would be fine then. I'll walk with yeh and then head off to let you two get yer wands."
The group made their way down the alley towards Ollivanders and Draco mostly kept his eyes on Harry who was still looking around wildly as if he were desperately trying to see everything there was to see, all at once.
Draco chuckled at a few of his reactions and easily answered the questions Potter actually asked out loud, while figuring by the other boy's confused or curious looks what Potter might be wondering about and taking the prerogative to answer per-emptively.
It was a strange experience for Draco in general. It was very outside his normal acceptable range of behavior to be so openly helpful. Normally he would take the opportunity to openly scorn another person's lack of knowledge. There was a time when the very idea of someone who was muggle-raised daring to step foot in and sully their noble and far superior society would have disgusted him, but he'd seen and experienced a lot since then, and his eyes had been opened.
Having a deep, determined, need, and powerfully driving reason to motive his change in behavior was helpful as well.
But that was simply the catalyst. Now that he was doing it, he was finding himself enjoying Potter's reactions. The open, trusting, smile on the smaller boy's face. The delighted glow in his eyes as he experienced the world of magic for the first time. The wonder and awe that he was experiencing was wonderful. Draco had grown up in the wizarding world. He had always known this world. There really wasn't any awe or wonder in it for him. When he was very young and he'd been taken to Diagon Alley for the very first time, there had been some degree of it, but mostly he was trying too hard to impress his father by acting like a stupid little prat to enjoy the alley for what it was.
Now he was getting to enjoy it through Potter and it was rather exhilarating. Seeing the world that had become commonplace to him through the eyes of an outsider. And outsider who was clearly entranced with it's beauty and wonder.
They arrived at Ollivanders far too quickly for Draco's taste and the two boys made their way into the shop while Hagrid hunched down slightly and stuck his head in through the doorway and squinted into the dim shop.
"My mother is just over there," Draco said quickly. "Thanks for letting Harry come with me, by the way."
"Oh yeah, no worries, Well, alright then, I suppose I'll be seein' yeh is a bit, Harry. I'll probably be done and back bef'er the two of yeh are done in here. But if not, just come find me in the Magical Menagerie."
The half-giant man's head retreated from the open doorway and the door closed a moment later.
Draco sucked in a slow breath as he turned his attention back to where he'd seen his mother standing towards the wall opposite the front where they were currently standing. She'd turned around slowly and was currently looking at him with mildly concealed curiosity mixed with an obvious air of bewilderment. He had, after all, just come in with another boy while being escorted by the Hogwart's halfbreed groundskeeper.
"Draco, dear – who's your friend?" Narcissa Malfoy said, clearly choosing to ignore the undesirable escort and instead focus on the unidentified boy instead."
"Mother, this is... Harry Potter," Draco said after the slightest of pauses where he wondered the merits of simply introducing the boy as 'Harry', but knew that would never fly with either of his parents.
His mother's eyes widened minutely and then jerked over and went straight to Potter's forehead. Even in the dim room, he could see Potter's cheeks pinken and his head duck with embarrassment.
"Harry Potter?" she echoed mildly, and yet the shocked question in her tone was clearly there.
It was at that moment that Ollivander decided to make his mysterious appearance out of nowhere, pulling attention away from the uncomfortably bashful Harry Potter and to the silvery-eyed ancient wandmaker instead.
Draco volunteered to go first and Ollivander then proceeded to list the wood and core type of both his parents wands, and his father's father's wand before walking over to the wall and beginning to pluck wand boxes out from the wall of wand boxes.
About ten minutes had passed with no discernible progress and Draco was honestly wishing he could just tell the old man what his wand was supposed to be, but that was obviously not an option.
His mother made an effort to point out how long it had taken her to get her first wand, just as she had his first time around, in order to reassure any childhood nerves he might be experiencing, even though he actually wasn't. He continued to talk with Potter through the whole process, telling the boy what he knew about wands.
He told him about the primary wand core types he'd heard of being used, and about how the wood type, more often than not, tended to be associated with whatever time of the month you were born in.
"Really? But if it does, how come he hasn't asked you when your birthday was?"
Draco shrugged. "He probably knows. You'll notice that most of the wands he's had me try are either Hawthorn, Willow, or Oak?"
"Those are the three woods around my birthday. Willow is for mid-April through mid-May, so it's actually one early. Hawthorn is for mid May through mid June, so Hawthorn is probably my best match because my birthday is June 5th. Oak is from mid-June through early July."
"What's for late July?" Harry asked.
"Holly. Most of August is Hazel if I recall correctly."
"You are quite knowledgeable about wandlore, Mr. Malfoy," Ollivander said as he reappeared at his side with a mildly impressed sparkle to his eyes.
Draco couldn't help tilting his nose up and smirking slightly.
His eyes glanced hesitantly over to his mother who was perched stiffly on the spindly little chair by the door and he could see that her brows had risen slightly into her forehead and she looked honestly impressed herself that he knew much of anything at all about wands. It was an obscure branch of magic and few people bothered to learn much about it. Most people's interest only went as far as getting a wand that worked for them and then some basic maintenance and polish.
Draco had found it rather interesting when he'd stumbled across a book about it in second year when he was first entering his secret bookish phase that he'd kept tightly hidden from anyone who might ridicule him for it.
Ollivander then presented him with another box, lifted off the lid and Draco was faced with a gloriously familiar wand. His eyes lit up with recognition which he quickly concealed as he reached out and took the wand in his hand.
A relieved breath escaped him, despite his efforts to control his reactions and he felt himself smile as a warm tingle rushed through his hand, up his arm, and down his chest.
"Hawthorn, 10 inches, reasonably springy, unicorn hair," Ollivander was saying as Draco gave the wand a swish and a shower of green sparks shot from the end.
Harry gave a happy whoop and clapped his hands in congratulation. Draco looked at the shorter boy and smiled in both thanks as well as honest joy at being reunited with his precious wand.
Once they'd paid for his wand, it was obvious that his mother was torn between her desire to get out of the grubby little store and rejoin his father, and the desire to get to observe the Boy-Who-Lived getting his first wand.
Finally, Draco was able to whine his way into staying to keep his new friend company since Harry had so graciously stood around while he got his wand.
Harry seemed grateful that Draco had stayed and that gratitude only grew as he went through more and more wands, and the old wandmaker got more and more excited. He was muttering quietly under his breath as he went back and forth from the little table and his walls of wand boxes. He seemed rather thrilled with his 'tough customer', and after about a half hour of trying out wands and constantly blowing bits of the store to pieces, Ollivander finally muttered something under his breath before disappearing back into the rear of the store and reappeared with a single box that he opened hesitantly – almost reverently – and offered it to Harry.
Harry reached out tentatively and grasped the wand in his hand. Wind seemed to blow in the tiny, dusty, shop and Draco could feel the magic that seemed to pour out from the small boy as he was chosen by the wand in his hand.
"Go ahead. Give it a wave," Ollivander whispered.
Harry did just that and a huge shower of golden sparks emerged from the tip, lighting up Potter's elated face and filling the room with light for the next few moments.
"Curious... very curious," Ollivander whispered, eyeing Harry and the wand with intense, silvery eyes.
"What's curious?" Harry asked, his voice little more than a whisper as well, since the tense atmosphere in the small shop seemed to call for it, still.
"The Phoenix whose feather lies in the core of your wand gave another feather – only one other feather, ever. It just so happens that the wand who shares a twin core to your own was the very wand that gave you that... scar," the old wandmaker whispered as his finger came up and brushed across Harry's forehead, exposing the scar beneath the fringe.
Draco heard his mother gasp from several feet behind him, and felt his own heart pounding in his chest as he processed what the old man had just revealed.
"You mean, Voldemort?" Harry whispered as he looked up at Ollivander with wide eyes, filled with a boiling cauldron of emotions.
Draco noticed that his mother made a quiet hissing sound as she pulled in air through clenched teeth as the boy dared to speak the Dark Lord's name. Draco couldn't help but feel the slightest tinge of envy and awe at the boy's courage. Of course, at this point, it was mostly ignorance. But even after Potter had known how terrifying the Dark Lord was, he'd still continued to defy common sense and propriety and freely used the forbidden name.
"I never forget a wand, Mr. Potter," Ollivander said in that eerie voice of his. "Curious indeed how these things happen. The wand chooses the wizard, remember... I think we must expect great things from you, Mr. Potter... After all, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named did great things — terrible, yes, but great."
Potter paid for his wand and the three left the shop in silence. Hagrid was out there waiting for him and offered up the best distraction from the eerie events that they had all just witnessed unfold. A present. He was standing there with a bright, accomplished smile on is face, holding an owl cage with a familiar, beautiful snowy owl in it.
He presented it to Harry with a hearty 'Harry Birthday, Harry!', to which Potter gasped and muttered something about never getting a birthday present before as he flushed and looked over his new owl.
Draco couldn't help but wonder if Potter could possibly be exaggerating, or if he really hadn't gotten a birthday present before.
Potter went on to say something to Hagrid about a cake and how he hadn't needed to get him anything, which Hagrid quickly dismissed.
"Harry," Draco said, calling the smaller boy's attention back to him, "I've got to go now, but er... well, now that you've got your own owl, would you mind if I wrote to you? Until school starts up, that is."
Potter's eyes widened and his face seemed to glow with surprise and joy. "You'd want to write to me?" he whispered, and Draco felt something twist inside him. He realized that he'd known on some level that Potter did not have a pleasant home-life with the muggles , years ago, but it hadn't really meant anything to him then. But now he was seeing Potter as a young, innocent boy, who was obviously so very desperate for somewhere to belong – somewhere to be happy – and a friend.
The whole thing was confusing and conflicting and Draco found himself quickly burying the flurry of confusion emotions and swallowing the lump that had manifested in his throat.
He forced a warm smile out and rolled his eyes playfully. "Of course I would. Is it alright?"
"Yes! That would be brilliant. I've um... well, I've never had an owl before or anything, obviously, so I'm not entirely sure what to do."
"Well, we can exchanges addresses now," Draco said as he turned to his mother. "Can I use some of the parchment we bought at the stationary shop?"
"I've got some in my handbag. It would be simpler than unshrinking our purches," his mother said as she slid the ornately beaded handbag off her shoulder and began to dig around inside it for a moment. She came out with a small leather-bound address book and a self-inking quill and handed them to Draco, who quickly wrote down the owl post address to the Manor on one of the pages and tore it out.
Harry took it and read it briefly. "Draco Malfoy's room, Malfoy Manor, Wiltshire, England. Is that really enough for the post?"
"That should be more than enough. The owl should be able to find me from that. Really intelligent owls can find a person with only their name on the letter, but putting a bit of an address is usually a good idea, just in case."
"Oh, alright, um, for mine –" Harry hesitated long enough for Draco to get the quill and address book ready again. "Number 4, Privet Drive, Surrey, England."
Draco wrote it down, tore out the page and put it into his pocket. He then handed the address book and quill back to his mother and thanked her politely. She gave him a curt nod and went back to observing her son's curious interactions with the Boy-Who-Lived, in silence.
"Alright, well I'll write to you later tonight, probably, if that's alright?" Draco said hesitantly.
"That'd be brilliant, I'll watch for your owl."
"Great. Well, it was a pleasure to meet you, Harry Potter. You too, Mr. Hagrid," Draco said, slipping into a slightly more formal tone and bowing his head slightly to Hagrid.
"Now, I told ya – just Hagrid. It was nice meetin' ya to. Er, nice seein' yeh, Lady Malfoy," Hagrid said, giving a small bow of his head to Draco's mother. Draco noticed the slightest bit of concern enter the halfbreed's eyes as he glanced at her and then back down to Draco, but it was gone a moment later. Draco had wondered if Hagrid had realized who exactly he was, but apparently he had at some point figured it out.
"Yes, thank you. It was... pleasant, seeing you as well, Mr. Hagrid," his mother responded in a rather clipped tone but Draco noticed she managed not to grimace or sneer. She was no doubt going along for Draco's sake. He was fully anticipating a rather thorough inquisition as soon as Harry Potter was no longer present and he was not looking forward to it. "It was also a pleasure to meet you as well, Mr. Potter," she continued as she knelt down in front of Harry and ran her hand over his chaotic fringe. Potter's eyes widened significantly at his whole body seemed to tense at the unexpected contact. Draco rolled his eyes. Even with a complete stranger of a boy she couldn't keep herself from some excessive public mothering.
"Did you know, Mr. Potter, that you and I are second cousins?" Narcissa Malfoy said with a small smile and in a quiet voice.
Potter's jaw dropped open and his eyes widened even further. Draco's jaw dropped with it because – cousin? – this was the first time he'd ever heard anything of the sort!
"C-cousins?" Potter gasped.
Draco's mother smiled kindly and nodded her head. "Yes, that's right. Your father, James Potter, was the son of Charlus Potter and Dorea Black. Dorea Black was my great-aunt."
"Potter's grandmother was a Black?" Draco gasped in shock.
"Yes, dear. The Potters are listed on the Black Family Tree. I've shown you my copy."
"Well, yes, but... I... I guess I just ever noticed," Draco said, his voice faltering as he was still feeling rather overwhelmed by this shocking revelation. Why had he never heard anything of the sort before now? Then again, his family probably hadn't been all that eager to parade around a familial relation to the boy who vanquished the their Lord.
"Wait, so Draco and I are related?" Harry exclaimed, looking both stunned and elated at the same time.
"That's right," Narcissa said with that same warm smile.
Hagrid was looking confused now, but that concerned expression was back in his eyes and they darted between the two Malfoys and the Boy-Who-Lived. No doubt Dumbledore would be hearing about this when the oaf got back to the castle.
"I... I didn't know I had any family... other than my aunt Petunia and cousin Dudley, anyway." Potter said in a quiet voice with a bit of a quaver.
"Well, now you know," Narcissa said with a curt nod and after a light pat to his shoulder, she stood up tall and proud returning to her normal public persona. She turned her attention on Hagrid and Draco noticed a bit of her obvious disgust for the man show on her face, but it was carefully controlled. "You are his guide while he gets his school supplies?"
"Tha's right," Hagrid said with a nod.
"Might I suggest you take him to Aspicio's Oculus. His glasses are practically falling apart and he clearly needs new ones. He's at the right age for eyesight correction, if he's interested in that." She turned her eyes back down to Potter and her gaze softened some. "I had my own eyesight corrected the summer before I attended Hogwarts. If you wish to do it, you should do it soon. If you wait too long, you won't be able to fix them and will have to rely on glasses your whole life."
"I can get my eyes fixed?" Potter gasped in awe.
"But of course. I look forward to seeing you again, Mr. Potter. Do keep in touch. Come along, Draco. I'm sure your father is beginning to wonder what's keeping us so long."
"Yes, Mother," Draco replied automatically before turning his head back to Potter. "I'll see you on the train, Harry. I'll send an owl tonight."
"Yeah, see ya," Potter said, seeming somewhat stunned still.
Waves were exchanged and Draco followed his mother down the street towards the bookstore while Potter turned back to Hagrid and his focus seemed to shift back onto his new owl.
Draco and his mother rounded the bend before the silence was broken.
"Well, that was unexpected," Narcissa Malfoy spoke loftily. "Tell me, Draco – what exactly was it that you were aiming for with that encounter? I couldn't help but note how unexpectedly... genial you were being with that... halfbreed. That's quite unlike you. I assume you were doing so for a good reason?"
Draco kept his chin tipped up and his stance proud and controlled as he replied. "It was obvious that Potter held the man in high regard. If I had openly insulted the oaf, Potter would have taken offense."
"That's quite astute of you, Draco."
"Thank you, mother."
"I am curious though, as to why you would desire association with the boy. I assume that it's his name alone that caught your eye. His clothing was atrocious and judging by his escort and his... esteem, for the man, his taste in company is rather lacking."
"While we were at Madam Malkin's I got him to purchase himself a new wardrobe, so at least his clothing should improve by school," Draco said quickly as he attempted to plan out in his mind how best to approach his mother's question. "And he cannot entirely be blamed for his company or his manner of dress. He was... well, he's apparently been raised by muggles –"
"I gathered as much from your conversation in Ollivanders," Narcissa stated.
"Yes, well, he was never told about the wizarding world at all. The beastly people have apparently treated him rather poorly from what I can gather, and they lied to him about being a wizard. That's why he is so fond of the halfbreed oaf. He sees the man as a rescuer since he was the one to took Potter from the muggles."
"I see..." Narcissa said in a slightly clipped tone.
"Potter knows nothing of our world! Nothing. The Boy-Who-Lived is completely ignorant of the magical world! The filthy muggles that raised him not only lied and mislead him, they clearly treated him awful. It's unforgivable that muggles would have the audacity to do something like that to a wizard! But anyway, after some careful observation and listening, I determined that by lending some simple assistance and teaching him a few of our ways, I would gain his favor, and it's worked. I also saw that it was an opportunity to get close to someone of potential social and political importance without having to use Father's name to do it. Harry Potter doesn't know anything about the Malfoy family or anyone else, for that matter. If I can earn his friendship and trust, it will be entirely on my own worth." Draco tried to remain calm and confident through all of it, but his voice trailed off a bit quieter towards the end since he was unsure exactly how such a statement would be taken by his mother.
In his first youth, he'd basically existed off his family's name and wealth, and his father's political power. Only later on did he realize how... well, pathetic, that had been.
Narcissa stopped in her progress and looked down at Draco with surprise in her eyes. Her expression slowly softened and she gave him a small, but warm, smile and then a short nod. "I understand, dear. I must admit, I'm surprised by your shift in priorities and approach over the course of this summer, but I'm also quite proud of you. You're turning into quite the young man. Maturing so quickly," she sighed wistfully, "Well done, Draco."
Draco felt his cheeks flush slightly and he only just barely fought the urge to duck his head bashfully. But something like that was just not proper for a Malfoy, so he maintained his calm facade instead. "Thank you, mother." he said in a slightly quiet tone.
July 31st, 1991
I hope this letter finds you well. I enjoyed meeting you today at Diagon Alley. I must admit that I'm still reeling from the realization that you and I are actually related – even if it is a vaguely distant relation.
I hope those muggle relations of yours treat you better for the month remaining before school. I got the distinct impression from our meeting that they are far from the best guardians for a person, and of course there remains the fact that they're muggles, which is rather awful in and of itself.
Oh, my owls name is Theron, by the way. You can send him off if he's still waiting for a response and use your own owl when you have a response ready. I got him for my birthday earlier this summer. I had an owl of my own already since I was younger, but she was smaller and not able to carry large packages or make terribly long journeys. Hogwarts is a fairly long flight from home and I'll likely be sending correspondences to my parents rather regularly and she wouldn't be able to handle the strain. Theron is pretty brilliant so far. His name means Hunter in Greek. I think it's rather fitting. Have you named your owl yet? She really was quite beautiful, although I didn't get a good look at her in the brief time I saw her.
Have you started looking through your text books yet? I'm going to try and read through my entire potions text before getting to school. My godfather is the Potions Master at Hogwarts and he's a serious taskmaster. It doesn't put up with incompetents or 'dunderheads', so I would recommend you do the same.
Actually, I have a book that he gave me for my birthday that I would recommend you read. It's a companion potions guide for wizards our age that would probably help drastically in preparing you for his class. It's not on the list for school books, but it really should be. If you'd like I can send it to you and you can read through it and return it to me when we see each other on the train to Hogwarts.
If you have any questions about the magical world or just magic in general – like if you encounter something in one of our setbooks that you don't quite understand, feel free to ask me and I'll write back right away. I can only imagine how overwhelming it would be to be faced with going to Hogwarts and learning magic when I'd never even known it existed a month prior.
Hope to hear from you soon,
July 31st, 1991
Thank you so much for writing. I have to admit that part of me didn't really expect you to really write It's hard for me to believe that anyone would ever want to write me. I'm still in shock about everything that's happened in the last day. Part of me keeps thinking that it's all been a big crazy dream, or I just imagined it all, but then I look at my books, or hold my wand, and I realize that it really is real. It's so crazy!
You're owl is really handsome by the way. What sort of owl is he? I gave him some owl treats – is that alright? He seems to be getting along with my owl pretty well so far. Oh, and I named my owl Hedwig. She's a snowy owl (obviously) and so far she seems absolutely brilliant.
After you and your mother left, Hagrid took me to the Oculus like your mum suggested. Apparently getting your eyesight fixed is really really expensive and can only be done when the eyes are still developing, so our age is considered the perfect time for doing it. Since I just discovered that I've got a huge vault full of money my parents left me, and I can't even imagine what I'll ever do with it all, I figured if I was ever going to splurge on anything, fixing my eyesight was probably the best thing I could do. So I went for it! No more glasses! And I can see so well, it's incredible! I never realized how much I was missing.
It's going to be great to not have to worry about my glasses getting broken or taken from me anymore.
After we got back to Surrey, Hagrid talked with my relatives and they've been keeping their distance from me ever since, which has been great. They even moved me into my cousin's second bedroom! It's smaller than his main bedroom, but its so much more space than I'm used to.
I'm going to start reading through some of my textbooks tomorrow. I'll focus on the Potions book like you suggested. If you're really okay with lending me the book you mentioned, I'd really appreciate it, so thanks. I have to admit that I'm really worried that I'm going to get to Hogwarts and be so far behind everyone because I hadn't known about any of this stuff before last night.
Also thanks for the offer to answer my questions. It's great to know I've got someone I can ask about this stuff.
Oh, and I did have one other thing I wanted to ask about. You mother said that my grandmother was a Black and that she was your mum's great-aunt, right? Does she know anything else about my father's side of the family? Are any other relatives from that side still alive? I only really know about my mum's side of the family and they're all muggles. My aunt and uncle told me that my father was a drunkard, but considering all of the things they've lied to me about him, I'm thinking they were lying about this too.
Anyway, thanks again!
August 1st, 1991
You're owl really is beautiful. I told her she could rest in our owlery until she was ready to fly back to you.
I asked my mother about your family and she dug out the small copy she has of the Black Family Tree for me to look at. (My mother's maiden name is Black, like your grandmother). I'm afraid that I can't tell you much about the Potter's from it. All I know is that your Grandfather was named Charlus Potter and he married Dorea Black. They only had one child – your father, James Potter. Dorea and Charlus Potter both died in 1977, on the same date, so it obviously wasn't from natural causes and certainly not old age. Most likely, they died during an attack or something during the war. In fact, looking over the Black Family Tree, it looks like most of them died in 1977 or 1978, so the family clearly had a lot of involvement in the war.
Dorea Black had two brothers and one sister. One of the brothers was a squib named Marius and nothing is really known about him because he was disowned and went to live in the muggle world. Dorea's sister is named Cassiopeia and she's still alive and apparently unmarried because the tree still lists her as Cassiopeia Black. Her brother, Pollux Black was the head of the Ancient and Noble house of Black until he died last spring. He was my great-grandfather.
He left control of the family to my mother's cousin Sirius, who is the eldest living male Black alive, but he's currently in Azkaban, so no one is really running the family's assets now. You and I are basically the closest thing the family has to heirs at the moment. We both have more claim to it than my mother or aunt Andromeda do since we're male. Andromeda had only had one child and she's female as well, so we're still at the top. Also, I'm fairly sure that Sirius Black is your godfather, so that only adds to your claim to it. He and your father were supposedly as close as brothers according to my mother, so he most likely named you his heir before he was imprisoned.
I don't see myself having any real need to lay claim to the Head of House Black title since I'm already heir to the Malfoy family. But then again, I suppose you're the heir of the Potter family, which is almost as old and powerful as the Blacks and the Malfoys. I don't actually know what sort of assets you might have inherited though, but I know the Potters used to be considered high society.
I've sent Theron with the book I mentioned. It's fairly thin, so it shouldn't take you too long to get through. It mostly covers some fundamentals like the best ways to cut, crush, dice, etc. different ingredients, and talks about how preparation effects potency. It also talks about ingredient interaction and how to avoid explosions. I definitely recommend you read through it a few times, but don't neglect your main text either.
Oh, and congratulations about ridding yourself of your glasses!
August 2nd, 1991
I don't even know where to start, I've got so many questions! I'm just going to go down your letter and ask about everything I didn't understand. First off, what's a squib? Why would Marius Black be disowned for being one?
What does it mean to be the Head of the family, exactly? And what would it mean for either of us to be the heir of the family? Can girls really not be the head of a family? That doesn't seem very fair to me.
Why is Sirius Black in prison? How did he know my father? Or was it because they were cousins? Was he really my godfather?
Can you tell me more about the war? Hagrid told me that my parents fought in the war, and the reason it ended was basically because of what happened to me the night my parents died and I got my scar.
Hagrid didn't seem very comfortable talking about the war or about Voldemort, and he was kind of vague with describing what happened. I feel like everyone in the wizarding world knows more about it than I do, and it happened to me.
Oh, and thank you again for the book. It's really helped me understand so much! At first I sort of assumed that making potions was sort of like cooking, and I'm pretty good at cooking, but I realize now it's so much more complicated and delicate. With a stew it doesn't really matter all that much if you chop or dice the ingredients, all that matters is that you get the right ingredients in the right amounts in, but with potions what order you put them in matters, and how exactly they're prepared and what sort of knife you used to cut them matters, and it matters if the flame is on or not – it's crazy! It's going to take a lot of focus to make sure I do it all just right.
Anyway, I've got to go tend to my aunts garden or she'll have my hide.
August 3rd, 1991
A Squib is someone born from magical parents who has no magic. Basically like a muggle, but with magical parents. It's sort of the opposite of a muggleborn, where a pair of muggles somehow manage to produce a child with magic. A lot of the old families consider a squib born into their family as disgraceful.
Even when they aren't disowned, most squibs choose to go live in the muggle world since trying to live in our world when you don't have any magical ability is near-impossible.
The old magical families are usually very wealthy and very powerful, both magically and politically. The Head of the Family is the one who is primarily in control of the family's assets and estates. If the family holds any seats on the Wizengamot (this is Magical Britain's legislative and judicial body) or the ICW (International Confederation of Wizards), the Head of the family is the one who casts the family's votes.
Right now, since the House of Black is currently without an active head, I would assume that the Gringotts Goblins are handling the family's investments and properties, and the family's seat in the Wizengamot is going unrepresented. Whoever ends up being declared the family's heir after Sirius Black dies will have to take over those responsibilities. When you're of age (in the wizarding world, that's at 17) you'll have to take on those responsibilities for the House of Potter. I'm fairly sure that your family has a seat on the Wizengamot, but I'm not positive. You could probably ask the goblins at Gringotts and they'd know since Wizengamot membership require a yearly due and they're no doubt paying it automatically.
The vault you mentioned is probably a trust account and when you reach 17 you'll be granted access to the Potter Family vault. Until then, the goblins will handle the investments.
My father has been teaching me about money management and our family's investments for the last couple years to prepare me for when I have to take over the title of Head of the Malfoy House.
Next question was about Sirius Black, I believe. First off, I asked my mother about how he and your father knew each other and this is what she had to tell me.
Hogwarts had four 'Houses' and on our first night in the castle we'll be sorted into one of them. Sirius Black and James Potter were in the same year at Hogwarts and they were both sorted into Gyrffindor, so they were dorm mates for seven years. My mother told me that when he was fifteen Sirius ran away from home and moved in with the Potters. Every summer after that, instead of returning home he would go stay with James Potter. They were 'inseparable'.
Sirius Black was your father's best man at his wedding, and was named your godfather when you were born.
As for why Sirius Black is in Prison... well, it appears to be complicated. I think that in reality it has more to do with political alliances, biases, and subterfuge than any actual crime that Sirius Black committed. It sounds to me like he was framed and is actually innocent. He never even got a trial, he was just chucked away in Azkaban and forgotten about.
He was accused of being a Death Eater, a spy and a traitor, but my mother is absolutely positive that he's been wrongly accused and says without a shadow of a doubt that Sirius Black would have never in a million years betrayed James Potter.
I think that he may have been locked away without a trial just to get rid of him. You've got to understand that certain families are looked at in a certain light because of past alliances and history. The Blacks are considered a very Dark family and a great many of them were supporters of the Dark Lord during the war. Sirius Black wasn't one of them though, but the prejudice was still there. No doubt there were some people that were very against the idea of the Boy-Who-Lived ending up in the hands of a Black. They probably thought he'd raise you to be Dark or something equally ridiculous.
Seems to me that anything would have been better than leaving you will muggles, but some people are just stupid like that.
Officially, Sirius Black was accused of killing twelve muggles in an explosion and killing a man named Peter Pettigrew, but Pettigrew was a marked Death Eater, even if most people don't know it. Add to that the fact that Sirius never even got tried or questioned and the whole thing smells fishy to me.
Anyway, this letter has already gotten incredibly long and my mother is calling for me to come to dinner. I'll send this one off now and I'll write you again tomorrow with some information on the war.
One last thing – officially, we aren't allowed to do magic until school, but there's nothing stopping you from practicing potions. You can owl-order for ingredients if you don't want to use the ones you got in your school kit. Just send Hedwig off to Slug & Jiggers Apothecary and ask for their owl-order forms. You can arrange automatic payment from your bank vault too.
Weeks progressed in much the same fashion with letters exchanged every day between the two boys. Harry had nearly blown his top at the information about his godfather. He clearly wanted there to be some way to help the man, but even Draco wasn't sure what could possibly be done. He knew that his father would never lend any of his political clout behind trying to get the man out of Azkaban, innocent or not. Not only had Lucius Malfoy not liked Sirius Black at all, but his father went to great lengths to avoid anything news worthy that could remind anyone about his supposed ties to the Death Eaters during the first war, and as far as the public was currently concerned, Sirius Black was a Death Eater.
Draco had written several letters describing what he knew about the first war to Harry. He told him about the rise of the Dark Lord and the way he had been charismatic and powerful and had made promises to many of the old families about restoring the old ways and a return to honor and complete separation from the muggle world. That he had made promises to many people, offering power and influence and luring in wizards who believed that they were fighting for a cause they believed in when in reality the Dark Lord was just using them for his own power-hungry ambitions.
Draco had no qualms describing some of the horrors the Death Eaters had perpetrated in the name of the Dark Lord because he'd seen his fair share with his own eyes.
He was grateful for the Manor's wards the prevented the Ministry's Trace from actually tattling on him because his paranoia was in overdrive during these correspondences. If he hadn't had his wand handy and known a few charms to make sure that only Harry could read the letters, he probably wouldn't have been willing to write them at all. If his father got a hold of any of those letters and read what Draco had written, he would be disowned on the spot. Or at least, he was pretty sure it would be.
In any case, Lucius Malfoy would never ever approve of his son saying such disrespectful things about the Dark Lord. But then again, Lucius Malfoy hadn't yet endured the things that Draco had witness him endure years from now. Draco didn't think that his father from his own time would object quite so readily to Draco's words.
In his correspondences Draco also admitted to Harry of his own family's connections to the Dark Lord and the role they had played in the war. He still stuck to the public story that his father had been under the Imperius curse because no matter how stupid he was being with some of the statements he made about the Dark Lord, he still wasn't stupid enough to ever admit in print – protected or not – that his father had done all those things willingly.
The mention of the Imperius had lead to another series of questions and discussions in and of itself. He'd ended up telling Potter about the Unforgivables, and more specifically, the Killing Curse and the simple fact that Harry had survived it, was reason enough to be famous, even without the fact that the Dark Lord had been seemingly destroyed that night by the rebound.
Theron and Hedwig got plenty of exercise during the month of August thanks to their constant exchanges, and Draco's parents took note of the frequent owl traffic in and out of his window. Draco's father didn't seem like he quite knew what to make of his son's friendship with the Boy-Who-Lived. On one hand, he clearly saw the potential political benefits of such a relationship and in that regard he promoted it. But the fact that Draco was writing to Potter so much seemed to bewilder him some. Draco had never been that active a writer with any of his other friends during his youth, but he'd never been particularly close to any of them and saw little point in the effort most of the time.
He saw a very valid reason for working as hard as possible to grow a friendship now, and Potter was clearly starved for friendship and information so it was easy to get him to write frequently.
Draco's mother also seemed a bit bewildered by the whole thing, but in general, also seemed to approve. She seemed to think that his new friendship was as much an attempt at achieving some independence as it was anything else.
She had helped Draco with finding the Black Family Tree and had answered a few questions here and there, but generally, Draco had avoided relaying any of Potter's questions to either of them. He didn't want them to realize just how much he was honestly telling the boy. They would no doubt expect him to be twisting the truth around and manipulating the boy the way any good Malfoy would, and the level of honesty he was relaying to the Boy-Who-Lived would no doubt horrify them.
But he knew that the only way to get Potter to trust him was honesty. He censored some things by necessity, but tried to keep it to a minimum. He had a captive audience at this moment, but once they got to Hogwarts, there would be plenty of other people around and any lies Draco told could come back to haunt him. It was why he'd come partially clean about his father. Potter would get sorted into Gryffindor while he ended up back in Slytherin and the second their friendship came out to the other Gryffindorks the insults to Draco's family would begin. No doubt Ron Weasley would not hesitate for a moment to inform Potter that Draco's father had been a Death Eater, and if Draco had kept something like that hidden from Harry... well, it would only make him question his trust in Draco and he most definitely did not want that.
All the more reason it had been so important to use this last month of summer to lay and firm a foundation for their friendship as he could manage. The real question would be whether or not the friendship could survive house rivalries and the bias of their dorm mates.
And oddly enough, Draco was finding himself honestly hoping it would survive. And not just because he needed to stay on Potter's good side to get himself and his family out of this war alive and in tact. The most shocking thing to come out of the month of August and their many letters was the realization that he was honestly coming to like Harry Potter.
While their letters were never entirely free of questions and answers, as the weeks passed the two began to just talk about themselves more and more. Potter was surprisingly clever and shockingly enough, quite funny. Draco even managed to forget a few times that he was corresponding with an eleven-year-old Potter, and not the sixteen-year-old version he'd left behind when he'd traveled through time. The boy was far too mature for his age, Draco realized, and it was no doubt a by product of his upbringing with those wretched muggles.
It became clear to Draco that Harry had absolutely no trust in adults and no respect for authority figures beyond trying to avoid getting caught in order to avoid punishment. Harry had never been coddled or pampered his entire life. Instead he was raised by jealous muggles who treated him like their own personal house elf. It was obvious that much of what Draco had been led to believe about Potter's home life was greatly misrepresented.
He'd been trying to prepare Harry for Potions mostly in an effort to lesson some of the animosity between the boy and the head of Slytherin house. He wasn't sure if it was even possible because he knew that Severus' grudge ran much deeper than Potter's poor performance in his class, but he figured it was somewhere to start. He knew that Potter was undoubtedly going to come to hate Slytherin house just like every other Gryffindor, but any efforts he could make towards reducing that hate would be worth it. In his previous timeline the two factors that most contributed towards Potter's hate of Slytherin house had been himself, and Severus Snape.
Thus, his efforts with the potions books.
In that regard, Potter seemed to be making great progress. He'd brewed a handful of potions all on his own during the month of August. They were all very simple things, and he couldn't help but notice that Potter had focused on simple healing potions. A bruise balm, a pain reliever, and a burn salve being the three he had put the most effort into. There were easier potions to make for a first year, and he had suggested them instead, but Potter said he had no use for any of them.
This told Draco that Harry did have a use for the three he had made and he could only frown down at the parchment when he'd realized that, wondering just what those muggles did to the small boy.
Guilt often filled Draco's gut as he thought back on some of the cruel and thoughtless comments he had made to the Harry Potter of his timeline during his original youth. He distinctly remembered making some petty snide remark about people staying at the castle over the holidays because they weren't wanted at home, back during their original first year.
With what he now knew, Potter had probably been relieved not to go back to his relatives over the holidays – but just the same, the reminder that his only family wanted nothing to do with him would still have stung, painfully.
But apparently those muggles weren't Potter's only family. As bizarre as it was to think, it was true that he was actually related to the Boy-Who-Lived. How odd. But then again, it really shouldn't have been that surprising. The Potters were a very old, well-respected, pureblood family, and while both the Blacks and the Malfoys generally preferred to stick to Darker families, all that really mattered in the end was purity, and the Potters fit the bill. Or at least, they did before Harry. His mud-muggleborn mother had now sullied the line, but Draco had to admit that she was probably a very powerful witch, despite her poor parentage. After all, it was most likely something that Lily Potter had done that protected Harry from the Dark Lord's killing curse.
Or, at least, that was what Draco had come to assume the last few years when it became obvious to him that there was nothing all that magically powerful about Harry Potter. His class performance was average – below average, even, in some subjects. Certainly there didn't seem to be some incredible hidden power that only he possessed that had somehow saved him from the unblockable killing curse. There had appeared to be nothing all that remarkable about the Boy-Who-Lived at all, in fact, and Draco had come to the conclusion that whatever it was that was destined to defeat the Dark Lord by Potter's hands would most likely be one of his freakish 'dumb luck' things.
However... during the last week of August he and Harry exchanged a series of letters during witch they described the bouts of accidental magic they had each performed as young children. It seemed that Potter had been hesitant to talk about it at first, clearly because those damned muggles had conditioned him to believe that his 'freakish outbursts' were the most awful things in the world, and Harry had put forth a great deal of effort to keep them from happening. Despite his efforts, they happened still, and with slowly increasing power.
Accidental magic was extremely common for young witches and wizards and Draco was very acquainted with what was common and what was not. The things that Harry described to him... well they weren't common by any stretch of the imagination.
Changing the color of things wasn't that surprising, so when Harry admitted that he'd accidentally changed his teacher's hair blue once, it wasn't that shocking. What was surprising was to hear that Harry had done it when he was five. The story about growing his hair back after his aunt had shaved it clean off was also rather astounding. That just was not at all normal. And the story about the time he had accidentally apparated himself onto the roof of his school at age seven? Well, to say that Draco was left speechless would be a dramatic understatement.
Accidental magic usually involved things shaking or rattling a bit. Some children, when really really upset, could crack glass. Potter had shattered windows. Many windows. All when he was very very young, and only just barely old enough that he still remembered it. As he aged, he managed to prevent the shattering of windows, but there had been a few occasions where he'd shattered vases. But even more surprising was that when it had happened he'd panicked and instantly mended them back together. He had also accidentally summoned objects to his hand when he needed them, on several occasions during his younger years, but after his uncle had seen it happen when he was eight and had 'taken the switch to his back' he'd managed to stop it from happening again.
The more events he read about, the more stunned Draco became. Perhaps Harry Potter really could have been an indescribably powerful wizard – only the mistreatment by the beastly creatures he'd been left with had conditioned him against accessing that power and left his development stilted upon coming to Hogwarts.
Draco hesitantly brought the matter to his mother, revealing only what he had to, but enough for her to put the necessary pieces together. After listening to everything he had to say she came right out and said it was likely that, given Harry's unfortunate upbringing, that his magical skill in school would likely appear poor until addressed properly. A really powerful wizard with no outlet for many years would become so accustomed to holding back, that they would likely find it difficult to let that power out when needed.
Then she said something that Draco was not prepared for. She said she was going to write to Severus and ask him to look after the boy and make sure the problem was addressed in his schooling. Draco made a move to protest, but had no way of explaining, logically, why he would expect there to be any problem with his mother's suggestion. After all, what reason would he have to expect his godfather to treat Harry Potter poorly? Draco would have no way, at this point, of knowing about the rivalry that had apparently existed between Severus Snape and James Potter. So, he kept his mouth shut, and wondered what sort of repercussions this set of events would have.
He did not mention to his mother the event that Potter had described in his last letter, however. It was the story about a trip to something called a 'zoo' for his cousin's birthday. In the letter, he had confided to Draco that he had accidentally made the large glass pane on a boa constrictor's enclosure disappear, allowing the enormous serpent out and then making it reappear a moment later, trapping his cousin inside. It was during that letter that Potter told Draco that he had spoken with the snake, and that it had told him thanks.
Draco, of course, was already more than aware of Harry Potter's secret talent in Parseltongue, but he was not yet ready to impart that information on to his parents. He was not entirely sure what they might do with such knowledge and decided to keep it to himself. For that matter, he would probably be warning Potter as soon as possible about the stigma surrounding his skill since he was obviously ignorant of it.