A Slytherin at War
Once upon a time, there was a young boy in Britain. When he was 11 years old, he traveled on a magical journey to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, where he discovered the many joys of magic. Over the course of seven years, with the mentorship of a powerful wizard, he learned the Power of Love and True Friendship, and with his friends by his side, he defeated the terrible Dark Lord Voldemort and saved the Wizarding World forever.
This is not quite that story.
A Slytherin at War Part 1:
Draco Malfoy and the Last Second Chance
Chapter 1: Platform Nine and Three Quarters
In which Draco Malfoy returns from the future and nearly falls the hell over.
"103: My commander is not old enough to have fought in the Civil War, and I should stop implying that he did."
- 213 Things Skippy is No Longer Allowed to Do in the U.S. Army
I straightened myself on the platform, struggling to keep my balance. Mother of Merlin, here I was again. It actually worked. Sweet Zombie Grindelwald, it actually worked. That definitely explained the pain in my head – that, and the sixteen layers of hair gel gluing my platinum locks to my skull like a particularly thick helmet. Stars and stones, I can't believe it took me two years to grow out of that hairstyle the first time. As soon as I get to the common room, the gel will be the first up against the wall when the Revolution comes.
My father was lecturing quietly, and I turned to at least act like I was paying attention to the tall man with hair that half the witches in Britain would have killed for. That, of course, isn't even counting the couple of witches who actually followed through on that threat.
"Remember, Draco," he said, "You are better than this rabble and have an obligation to show it." I tried my best to keep my trademark sneer on my face while looking over the platform's occupants, and tried even harder to keep the flash of sudden loss and sudden gain from my face as I saw people who, when I last laid my blue eyes upon them, were lifeless corpses. Or worse. Lucius, of course, was still talking.
"Our family is the finest in Wizarding Britain, and by extension, the entire world," the man who abandoned Voldemort for me said. He hadn't actually done it yet, but then – thankfully – the Dark Lord was a few years from returning this time. I had time to prepare before his inevitable return, and this time, the finest family in Wizarding Britain would be on the right side. No matter what. Even if I had to drag Lucius and Narcissa Malfoy kicking and screaming.
"So do make me proud this year," father added. "You're a Malfoy, so I expect nothing less. 'Ours is the Glory'," he finished, quoting the Malfoy family motto. The official one, anyway. The unofficial motto, 'Do not FUCK with House Malfoy,' wasn't exactly something you could quote to an eleven-year-old before boarding a train, even if that eleven-year-old was secretly an eighteen-year-old time-traveler in his old body and keeping that secret from everyone, including his beloved father.
"Thank you, father, I'll keep that at the front of my mind," I drawled, not disrespectfully. "Still no chance you've managed to convince the board of governors to rescind that ridiculous 'no brooms for first-years' rule, I assume?" I distantly recalled that being important to me when I was eleven, and writing a rather petulant letter once Potter got his spot as the Boy-Who-Scored. Lucius scowled.
"No, but study hard, and I'll make sure you have the best by next year," he said. "Only the best for a Malfoy, of course." I bit back the urge to sneer, reminding myself that my father had a lot of growing up to do still – and at this point in my own history, I had even more. The memory of being bought onto the Slytherin team still rankled, though. I am, after all, a Malfoy, and pride has always been our sin du jour.
I nodded my agreement – and yes, I would absolutely study hard. Lesson one of warfare: the Muggle Boy Scouts are right. If you enter a battle unprepared, you've already lost. I knew the moment I stepped into the Room of Requirement after the last battle that I was signing up to fight a war again, and I damn sure planned to win it this time.
As Dobby loaded my chests, filled with silly little trinkets (only some of which would be useful to me in the coming conflict), onto the gleaming red and gold Hogwarts Express (Salazar's teeth, even the train was biased toward the bloody Gryffindors, come to think about it), I took stock of the platform.
The giant clock at King's Cross read 10:30 a.m.; father and I were more than on time. Of course, with father's appearances to maintain, I expected no less. Arriving early, of course, meant limited interaction with the Weasley clan, which for the moment was a good thing. There was, after all, nothing but bad blood – pun not intended, though I would surely have to work that in somewhere later – between my father and the red-headed patriarch of that consanguineous mob of blood-traitors. I sighed at the thought – I really needed to stop thinking of them that way, or it would start to come out in my speech, which would at this juncture be counter-productive.
I closed my eyes, leaning against one of the barriers to the platform, and began to re-arrange my thoughts. I built a bucket in my mind, hung a sign on it that said "casualties of war," and began dumping terms into it. "Blood Traitor" went in first, followed by "Half-Breed" and "Mudblood." I did keep "Insufferable Know-it-all" out of that bucket, since I knew I'd find more use for it than I cared to admit as soon as Granger showed up, but that wasn't terribly offensive so much as it was an uncomfortable truth. A few more terms went in as well before I slammed down a mental lid on the bucket and literally threw it toward the back of my mind. As I opened my eyes again, I even heard it clang.
I might as well have left my eyes closed – opening them was clearly a mistake for the unprepared. Two living corpses – or so they appeared to my eyes before my mind caught up with my sight – blundered toward me on the platform. Vincent Crabbe, last seen burning to death in his own Fiendfyre in the Room of Hidden Things, held his own massive duffle over his shoulder with one enormous hand, leaving the second arm free for more important things, like stuffing his face with what was likely his second breakfast. Accompanying him was Gregory Goyle, whose final demise I hadn't witnessed, "merely" coming across his body, lying with no visible wound, on the line of fallen students after Potter put paid to Voldemort.
"Never again," I whispered to myself. "Even one more death is too many. Never again, you manky half-blood terrorist."
Goyle was less interested in stuffing his face than he was in preparing for later, as both his shoulders appeared to be occupied with bags. From past experience, I knew the enormous bags were even more roomy on the inside, having been charmed for both space and ease of carrying. Still, Goyle stumbled under their weight, having apparently decided to bring an entire gymnasium's worth of weights to his first year at Hogwarts.
"Crabbe, Goyle, all right?" I queried with the slightest hint of a drawl to hide the tremor in my voice. Their faces lit up, in so much as faces such as theirs have that capability, and I waited until they'd loaded their own overstuffed baggage onto the Bias-Against-Slytherin Express before changing the amused look to one requesting an answer. Crabbe, ever the slightest bit brighter than his companion, answered for him.
"All right. Good summer?" Dear Merlin, he's managed multiple syllables. Ten points to Slytherin, or it would be if we'd been sorted yet. I nodded, though I couldn't for the life of me remember if the summer before my first year had been decent, terrible, or some eldritch combination of the two. I did fight back memories of my actual last summer, that turbulant time between my botched Dumbledorian assassination attempt and Voldemort's in-every-way-more-successful assassination of Rufus Scrimgeour. 'Good summer' would have been just short of blatant lies describing that fiasco, but I did manage to learn something. Of course, the idea of THAT being a good thing would be lost on both Crabbe and Goyle at this point. Hence the simple nod.
"Got everything you need?" I asked, and Goyle's look of confusion – not entirely out of place on his pudgy face – reminded me that I'd never been considerate of my fellow first-years needs, even these two, who I'd known since we were toddlers. I looked over to the adults, where Crabbe and Goyle Senior were chatting with father. I met his blue eyes and tossed off a quick and somewhat irreverent salute, which garnered a raised eyebrow and – dare I say it – the slightest hint of approval. "Come on," I told my flunkies – since apparently they weren't yet my friends – and we moved toward the train.
Oh, yes, I would have to do something about this. I'd seen Crabbe and Goyle move with precision and teamwork before – they weren't the best pair of beaters Slytherin had ever had, but they did manage to give the Weasley twins a run for their money for a game or two, without the benefit of being twins. Add to that the advanced spellwork I'd seen them eventually master – Goyle's "diss-lusionment charms" and Crabbe's ill-fated Fiendfyre, just to name a pair, and I got the feeling I had greatly underestimated two very important assets in my war. Of course, the first time around, I hadn't known I was fighting a war until I had my wand pointed at the Headmaster with Aunt Bellatrix whispering madness into my ear.
This time would be different. If the Sorting Hat could be said to have a theme, it was all the houses of Hogwarts needed to stand united as one to survive the coming conflict. Thankfully, it was wrong – Hogwarts did just fine without most of Slytherin House – but the losses were unacceptable. I had no intention of seeing my classmates lying on a slab again.
No Goyle, his life clearly ended by the Killing Curse, lying next to tiny muggle-born Colin Creevey. No Fred Weasley, half of the only part of that particular family worth remembering, dead from a Death Eater's wand. No Crabbe, burnt alive by his own curse, a child soldier fighting a war that he didn't even have the capacity to understand. No hearing Lovegood's wails from the basement. No watching a Hogwarts teacher be eaten. No standing in front of a madman, scared shitless that the wrong word would spell doom for me, for my family, and knowing the right word would kill three people I couldn't stand but couldn't stand to watch die. Like Hell I would let it happen again.
The Wizarding World had seen years of Gryffindors fighting wars – Dumbledore's duel with Grindelwald, Longbottom's totally-unexpected heroics, and of course, Precious Saint Potter. Hogwarts had certainly seen the way Ravenclaws and Hufflepuffs fought – Fenrir Greyback's head would never be the same after Ravenclaw's resident lunatic – no, the other one – dropped a crystal ball on it, and anyone watching Ernie MacMillan defend the gates of Hogwarts against six Death Eaters at once would never doubt Hufflepuff's undying loyalty. But with the sole exception of double-agent Severus Snape and reluctant force of nature Horace Slughorn, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry had never seen my house fight a war.
I resolved to show the school, the Wizarding World and that thrice-damned hat something they'd never seen before. I would need a large discretionary budget for explosives, of course, but that could be obtained. With cunning, ambition, wit and guile, I intended to lead a campaign that would make Salazar proud. I would show the world something it hadn't seen in years: a Slytherin at War.
With that cheerful thought, I boarded the Hogwarts Express.
Author's Note: This fic was written entirely during National Novel Writing Month 2010, and has been edited only in the loosest sense of the term (notes and such removed, bits about head crabs in the forbidden forest expunged, et cetera). If Draco seems a bit OOC, realize that this Draco has been through all seven books as written in canon (minus the epilogue; while I like little Scorpius, he's not exactly here, is he?), and for his enlightened self-interest is attempting to make a change. He's still a little prat, and hopefully he'll grow a little more as the story goes on. So there that is. -mb