It must have been a year later that the question of Draco going to school arose, arose that is, as far as Draco was aware. The dining room in the daytime was unwelcoming. It faced north and that cold light lay on the walls and furniture without kindness. Lunch was the only meal Draco ate with them. Breakfast and high tea were munched alone in the schoolroom.

He didn't like being alone; he had never known solitude before at Manticore. It was preferable to their company, which seemed somehow more barren and icy than his own. To the contrary, they were excellent, generous hosts, and presumably lively guests.

Lunch, that day, even with the inclusion of Snape remained cool. There was a constant discussion, of politics and current events that largely went over Draco's head. At this stage, he recognized the key names and places, but it still seemed like a different language.

Draco sat quietly and picked at the food, cheese, celery and other unfamiliar food. He was never a picky eater, but rich food and delicacies served here didn't seem to agree with his stomach. Neither did that strengthening potion he was required to drink daily. This constant nausea was intermittently interrupted by relapses of acute sickness, usually around food time.

Dessert was the color of honey and smelled even sweeter. Draco's stomach rolled. He poked it and mashed it into something even less appetizing. He became aware of a deathly silence and everyone staring at him. He looked up and glanced between the three faces. He had missed a question.

Father rolled his eyes. "You already have a long list of flaws without adding selective deafness."

"Sorry," Draco muttered. "What was the question again?"

Mother sighed. She turned to Snape. "He is very delicate and has a fickle appetite. We're hoping it's a phase he'll grow out of once he gets hungry enough."

"He'll find something to suit himself at Hogwarts," Snape commented.

"Severus." Father's voice had a warning in it.

"How would you like to go to school, Draco?"

"I hadn't really thought about it."

"Well think about it. Meet children your own age. Polish you up a bit. Quidditch," Snape said without any enormous conviction. He passed Draco a thick letter.

Draco took it and put it down unopened.

"Mr. Moore is more than adequate," said Father. His voice was northeast cold.

"There are other subjects, which Moore…"

"He is delicate. You've seen the poor lunch he's eaten," Mother agreed. "It might put his health at risk. Healer McAlvery…"

"Healer McAlvery is an imbecile."

Draco stared out the window at the rippling marigolds and kept his mouth shut. Their words rolled up and down the polished length of the table. They didn't raise their voices, the words dropped malevolent and icy from their well-bred mouths.

"We agreed on this a long time ago. You remember. You remember perfectly well, " said Snape.

Draco must have moved, breathed too deeply or something. Snape pinned him with a long dark stare that prickled. "Read the letter."

"You may be excused, Draco," said mother at the same time.

He got down from his chair and left the room. He could feel their eyes watching him as he crossed the miles of floor.

Draco took the letter down to the lake. It lay slightly below and to the south of the house. In the summer it was hidden from the ground-floor windows by the thick leafiness of the shrubs and trees beyond the lawns. Here, he read the mysterious letter.

The letter invited him to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizarding and awaited his owl. Draco carefully folded it back along the creases and placed it back into the envelope. It hardly seemed like he had much choice in the matter. He didn't look at the letter again until the end of July.

Once a week, he was compelled to visit his father's office. These awkward, formal meetings played out the same way. Father would enquire about what he had read and learned since the previous visit. Draco would then regurgitate facts from history or the theory of magic. Father listened to all this with an unreadable expression and then subjected Draco to a lecture that was inevitably pitched over his head, telling without explicitly imparting any information.

Finally he insisted on watching Draco take nutritional potions. These tasted bitter and thin, but Draco drank them quickly and opened his mouth to demonstrate as such. He didn't know what the big deal was and asking had not imparted any answers.

Draco arrived promptly on time and waited as father finished writing a letter. It was a room full of shadows, a watching room. Draco had a feeling always that no matter where he stood or sat that somebody was just behind him. It was unlike the judgemental stares from portraits. There were no portraits in here anyway. Once, he snuck into the study to snoop and was almost immediately detected perhaps by such watchers. He got sent down to the basement in darkness and isolation for two weeks for these efforts.

"We thought it was time for a little broadening of your education. Mr. Moore has served his purpose. In September, you will attend Hogwarts. It's all arranged. There will be a family shopping trip tomorrow. I trust you will act and present yourself appropriately," Father concluded.

"Yes."

Despite several discussions about acting a young gentleman and the responsibilities and limitations of the class into which he was born, Draco wasn't sure what this entailed. Nevertheless, Draco nodded.

"Very well. You may leave."

"You must speak clearly," father instructed Draco the following day as they prepared to set of for Diagon Alley.

Mother dipped her hand into the flowerpot, advising: "Close your eyes. Elbows tucked in. And be sure to get out at the right grate. . . ."

The fire roared and whipped mother out of sight. It looked remarkably straightforward once he got over the fact that fire burned. Draco took a pinch of Floo powder, scattered it into the flames stepped forward calling "Diagon Alley."

It felt as though he were being sucked down a giant drain. He spun faster and faster until he started to feel sick. The, he fell, face forward, onto cold stone. Dizzy and bruised, he sprawled on the floor and clutched his head. The world titled around him and grayed.

"C'mon, dear," mother said reaching out to pull Draco away. "Sit down over here. It will pass in a minute. It's a good thing you skipped breakfast or we'd be seeing it again."

This warmth and compassion snapped Draco out of his daze rapidly. He threw her a glance, but complied without passing comment. It was for show. Father warned him to act appropriately; presumably this wasn't limited to himself.

"Don't mind your fussing, darling," said father, once he had emerged from the fireplace. "He's fine, aren't you?"

"Yes," said Draco. This seemed rather cold and abrupt. He added, "what is the first stop?"

He looked around the bustling crowds of witches, wizards, and children, currently cluttering the cobblestone streets of Diagon Alley. Compared with Manticore on the Manor, it was very loud and undignified.

Mother consulted Draco's list of school supplies for a moment before responding. "Robes first. You will need a whole set, which should take some time. Your father has a meeting in Gringotts and I must meet Elizabeth for brunch. We will meet up afterwards."

Father led Draco down to Madam Malkin's robes for all occasions and handed the lady a complex list of purchases that had been pre-decided. "Be good. Your mother will see you outside."

"Yes sir."

Madam Malkin's assistant stood Draco on a footstool in the back of the shop and slipped a long robe over his head and began to pin it to the right length. 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 dropped as the boy appeared. He was even smaller than Draco, with unkempt dark hair, crooked glasses and baggy clothes. Someone like this was simply not fitting companion. At best, he might be a mere acquaintance.

"Hello," Draco began tentatively. How did one go about making friends? He couldn't remember not knowing his unit and somebody else had always facilitated introductions since his time in the manor. This could be a sort of rehearsal for real appropriate friends. "Hogwarts too? First year?"

"Er, yeah," said the boy, peering out from under his fringe, looking as awkward as Draco felt.

"Play Quidditch at all?" Draco tried again. He hadn't much opportunity to play himself, but it seemed to be a popular topic from his few play dates with children from other old families.

"No."

"Know what House you'll be in yet?"

"No," said Harry.

"Well, no one really knows until they get there, do they, but I know I'll be in Slytherin, all our family have been."

"Mmm."

There was a long period of silence. Draco was very acquainted with awkward, crippling silences, squirmed and looked around for any other topic of conversation. The weather? Politics? Thankfully, a large giant appeared in the front window, a lifelong for conversation

"I say, look at that man!" he said

"That's Hagrid," said the boy. "He works at Hogwarts."

"Oh," said Draco. Hagrid didn't look anything like Snape. "He's not a professor, is he?"

"He's the gamekeeper."

"Is he with you? Where are your parents?"

"They're dead."

"Oh, sorry," Draco said, not feeling very sorry at all. '"My parents are too busy with important meetings to be here."

Draco didn't mind this very much. He wasn't sure that he liked his parents. Not the way he liked his siblings. Despite blood, he knew exactly who is real family were. They were all he had though.

"They were our kind, weren't they?" Draco asked.

He eyed the other boy up and down, suddenly suspicious. The boy didn't seem to know much of anything about magic. Draco's stomach coiled into a tight knot. He swallowed a lump in his throat and suppressed to urge do something stupid.

Although it wouldn't do to be friendly with the scum, it wouldn't do to cause a scene. He had to play nice. It was a political thing. Draco didn't want to associate with mudbloods. He already suffered almost a decade at Manticore. Father explained it all to him, that Draco had been kidnapped by the mudbloods because they wanted to understand and ultimately steal magic. If they tried once, they could try again.

Draco mightn't like his folks much, but he liked Manticore a lot less. He wasn't going back there. The mudbloods probably weren't all bad, but the sheer volume posed a major threat to wizard kind. It was much safer to keep his distance.

"They were a witch and wizard, if that's what you mean."

"I really don't think they should let the other sort in, do you? They're just not the same, they've never been brought up to know our ways. Some of them have never even heard of Hogwarts until they get the letter, imagine. I think they should keep it in the old wizarding families. What's your surname, anyway?"

"That's you done, my dear," said Madam Malkin.

The boy hopped down from the footstool and completely ignored the question.

"Well, I'll see you at Hogwarts, I suppose," said Draco. Someone here had to be polite.

"Yeah, see you."

What do you think? This is all I've got written so far (except for a small bit in Snape's POV). I'm still figuring out how to handle the rest of the story. The meeting with Harry is basically canon, only it's a lot different from Draco's perspective. I'm not sure whether to stick with this, or else change it up. Saying that, certain events will be altered to fit this version of Draco.

Also, I'm not sure if it's obvious, but I'll soothe my conscious anyway ny admitting that some of this is a bit derivative, not of HP, but of another story I read a couple of years ago, but it fit so well with how I visualised the Malfoys in this story, so I tried to make it my own.