With apologies to J. , whose toybox this is.
It was a grey and dreary August morning. In the sky the clouds were billowing as they scudded along, the weather slowly beginning to clear after the storm of last night. In Wiltshire a young boy was brushing his hair into shape, preparing to head off to Town to buy his stuff for school.
'You ready, Boy?' Yelled his father, 'Stop making yourself pretty and let's go. I haven't got all day!'
The boy rushed downstairs at his father's call, pausing only to apologise to an elderly house-elf he'd knocked over in his hurry, he turned the corner and there stood his father, resplendent in his black velvet cloak.
'Come on boy!' his father grabbed his arm and they disapparated only to arrive moments later in the family's London home.
'Ahh you've finally arrived.' Said the boy's mother, 'I hope you brought your list, I've got an appointment with the hairdresser at three...'
'Well we better get going then', said the boy's father.
An hour and a half later they were back at the town house, with bags of shopping for the boy's mother and father, and the boy's school stuff.
'Dad,' wheedled the boy, 'I met this funny boy when I was getting my robes, he had black hair and he said he was with someone called Hagrid. He didn't seem to know much about magic or anything.'
'Do you mean a mudblood, boy?'
'No, Father, he said his parents had magic, that's what's so funny about it.'
'Did he say who he was?'
'Hmm, it couldn't be him could it? Might be, anyway, Boy, that might have been Harry Potter' Lucius muttered, half to himself.
'What? The Harry Potter?'
'No, a Harry Potter- yes of course boy! - who else do you think I was talking about, Harry Potter who does the weeds for Fred the milkman?!' by now, he was positively bellowing, he calmed down to to add an aside.
'I hope you didn't offend him boy, it's very important that you become friends with him, almost as important as getting sorted into Slytherin, in fact.'
'Father, why is it important?'
'Why isn't it important? Just remember this Draco, it's vitally important that you become his friend, do anything you have to. Meet him on the train, anything, just make sure he's sorted into Slyhterin with you. You understand?'
The last days of August passed slowly by, the last strawberries were picked, the first of next year's seedlings were planted in the greenhouse and eventually the first day of the new month arrived. A quick trip to London and Draco found himself walking past the splendid gothic exterior of the St Pancras hotel and into King's Cross station. His Mother saw him through the barrier and onto the train and left immediately. Sitting on the train, Draco remembered his father's words and watched the barrier for Potter. First though he saw Crabbe and Goyle, sons of his father's friends and, like him, about to start at Hogwarts.
Unfortuantely they spotted him and clambered into his compartment. Annoyed at being forced by social convention to quit his vigil and start conversation, Draco began to talk. Twenty minutes later a loud blast from the train's whistle brought Draco back to the task at hand. Then, with a sudden jolt the train started. The noise of the slow puff of the engine began to rise, from what at first was a gentle sighing whoosh to a loud hammering drum roll as the train got underway. Clouds of smoke passed by the window and the mechanical rattles and squeaks of the comfortable carriages soon faded to a background noise as the train snaked out of the outskirts of London. Once onto the main track to Hogsmeade, the driver brought the engine up to cruising speed. The hammering rose to a vast thundering and the squeaks and rattles of the carriages got louder.
'Anything off the Trolley, dears?' asked an elderly witch who was pushing the sweets trolley. Crabbe and Goyle greedily brought as much as they could carry. Draco bought a packet of Drooble's gum and a small bar of chocolate. These soon disappeared and Draco decided to go for a walk, and see whether he could find Potter.
'Shall we come with you?' asked Crabbe.
Draco thought it over, if he came across anyone who didn't like him their sheer size might help put them off doing anything. On the other hand, it might also put off Potter. Draco was undecided, and thought he would take them with him, but as he was opening his mouth he changed his mind.
'See you later then.' Said Crabbe.
'Right. Bye!' said Goyle.
Draco slipped out of the compartment and into the corridor. It was surprisingly empty. He passed a bushy-haired girl asking about a lost toad- honestly! Why couldn't people take better care of their possessions? He had walked right down to the other end of the train by the time he spotted that boy. Harry Potter beyond all doubt, that was the famous scar.. And with him, was a Weasley. Draco felt a sudden urge to head back and get Crabbe and Goyle, but decided to put aside his worries and try being friendly.
He opened the door and walked in.
'Hello, how are you?' Draco opened.
'Can't you see we were talking?' said the redhead.
'Can't you see I was trying to be friendly?' Draco retorted, 'I'm Draco Malfoy by the way, nice to meet you.'
'Harry Potter, I think we've met.' Harry said curtly.
'Madame Malkin's wasn't it?'
'Yes, this is Ron Weasley, by the way.' Harry said gesturing to his companion .
'Nice to meet you.' Draco lied. He hated meeting anyone new, but his father had told him to be friends with Harry Potter no matter what, so he'd just have to grin and bear it.
'So what house do you think you'll be sorted into?' Draco asked, using a line given to him by his father.
'Gryffindor,' said Ron dejectedly, 'All my family have been, all my family always will be.'
'I don't know, none of them sound too bad, but I'd rather not be in Slytherin, sounds a bit rubbish really' said Harry. Draco was a bit put out by this, but didn't let it show, after all, he wasn't going to choose Slytherin, he just would get in, just as all of his family always had, just like Weasleys went to Gryffindor.
'What about you?' Harry asked.
'Oh, I don't really know, no-one does until they get there, after all, do they?'Draco hurriedly improvised. This wasn't at all how he'd planned it going.
'Well, no, I suppose not' said Ron.
'Do you reckon it's time to get changed yet, chaps?' asked Draco, after a long silence, in which the two boys he had joined ate their sweets.
'S'pose so.' said Ron.
Draco left to get his robes. He hadn't stuck his foot in it and made an enemy of Potter, but he also knew that they weren't friends. Not yet anyway.
'You were gone for a while' piped up Goyle as he got back to his compartment, 'what were you doing?'
'What I had to,' replied Draco, 'what I had to.'
Night had fallen by the time the train began to slow into Hogsmeade station. Great clouds of steam billowed out from under the engine and the train came to an eventual halt. The three childhood friends bundled out of the train and onto the platform.
'Firs' years this way! Firs years this way!' Shouted the biggest man Draco had ever seen in his life.
He duly followed the great man down to a set of small, damp boats, into which he climbed gently, trying to avoid the water ruining his robes.
'It's like coxless fours' said a boy with sandy hair three boats to his right. Draco wondered what a four was, and what it meant for one to be "coxless". A couple of young girls shrieked as the boats began to move forwards by themselves.
When they had gotten out at the other end of the lake, Draco felt much better, but another thought was beginning to weigh on his mind –how to be friends with Potter. There was no doubt in Draco's mind that Potter would go to Gryffindor, apparently his family had always done in the past, and he was friends with Weasley- no way anything else could happen. And he was destined for Slytherin. Bother! Draco knew that he wouldn't have a chance of making friends with Potter after the Sorting, time for one last try.
'So, the great Harry Potter has finally come to Hogwarts,' Draco orated, 'and he would do well to note that some wizards are better than others. I can help you there.' He added with a final flourish. Harry looked disgusted and quietly said something Draco didn't hear- all he knew was that he had just stuck his foot in it horribly. There was no chance now. Drat!
The new students were lead into the Great Hall by a very severe-looking witch, who introduced herself as Professor McGonagall. She led them to the front, and made them try on a battered old hat, one by one. They were called up in alphabetical order. About halfway through she got to 'Malfoy, Draco.'
Draco walked up to the three legged stool, suddenly nervous, unsure of what he wanted.
'Ahh, a little Malfoy. It's a long while since I've had a chance to get on the head of one of you.' The hat began to speak inside Draco's head in a rich, plumy voice.
So thought Draco, what goes on now? Dad told me I'd sit on the stool and you'd yell out Slytherin.
'I did for him, and your grandfather Abraxus, and his father, and his. And, well, you get the gist of it. The thing is, do you want Slytherin? You'd do well there, certainly, you'd do well almost anywhere in fact, well, maybe not Hufflepuff, perhaps.'
I want to be friends with Potter. Draco looked out calmly, catching the eye of a burly 6th year Hufflepuff, who seemed to be wondering what was going on underneath the hat that it was taking so long.
'Friends with Potter, eh? Well, there's some doubt as to where he's going too, if his ancestry is anything to go by. Not going to be Slytherin though, none of that family ever has been.
Well then, not Slytherin.
'Not Slytherin? Very well. If you're sure, better be...'
'GRYFFINDOR!' The hat yelled to the hall. No-one applauded. There wasn't even the polite applause that happened when someone got sorted into another house, just stony silence. Draco wandered over to the Gryffindor table and sat down next to the bushy haired girl from the train. Professor McGonagall was the first to get over the surprise and she read out the next name on her list.
After an excellent feast, where Draco only narrowly managed to avoid throwing up through nerves, the 5th year prefect led them up to a portrait of a fat lady dressed in a garish pink. He said the password, and the first years rushed wide-eyed into their common room. Soon they were in their respective dorms, underneath the covers, nervously wondering what the next day would be like. In Draco's dorm they bade each other goodnight and went straight to bed. Oh well. He may not have made friends with Potter yet, he may have let down his dad by not being sorted into Slytherin, but he could perhaps still make friends with Potter, the day wasn't a total failure. With this lonely thought as his only solace, Draco fell asleep.