Draco's fourth year, end of June

On the designated day Draco went to bed early and took out his diary. He had a date. Draco smiled. Today he would know the girl's name. He was fortunate to have his roommate gone home for the weekend, so he simply flopped down on the bed, not bothering with the usual privacy charms.

'I'm here,' he wrote and opened a textbook to study while he waited.

But he couldn't settle enough to actually read. Draco couldn't help but think she would be beautiful. He knew all the pureblood girls in Britain and once he had the name, he'd know everything about her in mere days. The thought that she might be half-blood bothered him, but he'd deal with it if he had to. The idea that she might be a Mudblood, he brushed aside. Even though she had never given anything particular away, the way she talked about them indicated that she couldn't be one. Besides, how could someone of filthy blood be as witty and passionate? Surely they couldn't.

“Come on!” he mumbled glancing at the diary for the umpteenth time. It was past eleven.

'Brat?' he wrote again a quarter of an hour later.

She was obviously having cold feet. Was probably sitting right there next to her diary, staring at it.

'It's quarter to twelve, Brat,' he added a while later, now angry at her stalling. At himself for feeling the way he did. But it was just a righteous anger.

Ten minutes.

Seven minutes.

He had every right to be angry. But he waited just the same.

And waited.


Three minutes.


Draco closed his eyes. Opened them. Fuck.

He had no idea how long after the pale yellow light had come and gone over the diary that he stared at the blank pages.

“Fuck you!” he yelled after a few long seconds and shoved the book against the opposite wall where it lay, unacknowledged, until his roommate was due back.

Three weeks after Draco's father's death

Draco's hands were shaking as he shovelled all the documents into leather duffel as quickly as he could. Someone was at the gates and whether they were Aurors or Death Eaters, he didn't care; he couldn't talk to either of them yet. Draco had known they would arrive at the door in less than ten minutes, but all too soon there was a soft pop.

“Mr Jugson and Mr Avery is waiting in the drawing room, Master.”

“Thank you, Trinky.” Cold sweat was gathering at his hair line. “Tell them I will be along shortly. Stall as long as you possibly can and let me know when they leave or start looking for me.”

Damn, it was too bloody soon, Draco thought as Trinky popped out.

Hopefully Mother was out of the country by now. Draco continued with the clean-up, mindful of taking the most recent materials first. All too soon the bag was full. He shrank the bag and pocketed it. Next he transfigured three empty drawers into leather bags and filled them with what documents he could. Fortunately, the most important documents were in a special safe which no one but a Malfoy could open (not that he knew where it actually was or how it opened exactly), but as father had died so unexpectedly, Draco couldn't be sure that there was nothing incriminating in Father's study.

There was a second pop. Draco startled.

“Master, the gentlemen uses a point-me spell to find Master.”

For a moment Draco experienced a surge of panic and closed his eyes.

“Thank you, Trinky,” he said, trying to swallow, but his throat was too dry. “Now I want you to do something very important for me. I'm going to Floo out of here very soon. If Jugson and Avery try to sniff around in here, set fire to these two bookcases before they can get their hands on anything. If they try to take anything else from here or anywhere else in the Manor, either stop them or destroy the thing before they can take it with them. You – any of our elves – are allowed to hurt them on my behalf. Put the fire out only after they've left or when the thing they want has been destroyed. When they are out, block the Floo network.”

The House Elf's eyes seemed to be even more bugged out as she assured her master of her understanding while nodding emphatically.

The door handle moved. Draco scrambled for Floo powder, threw it into the fire and jumped into the flames.

Draco's sixth year, 4th week of September

Dear Mr Malfoy,

Our merchandise is easy enough to replace, but your time and faith in us isn’t. We apologize for your recent experience with the Girard Fitzroy delivery last Friday and we’ll do our best to remedy the situation to your satisfaction.

We would be obliged to fulfil your every desire at any of our stores on the house the next time you decide to visit us or return the galleons you've spent, tripling the amount. We apologize for the inconvenience and hope that either of the solutions is satisfactory. The new items of the same articles you requested are being delivered as soon as possible.

Girard Fitzroy Jr

Draco smiled. Mother was safely in Paris. Ignoring other students' covert curious glances, he pointed his wand to the letter and muttered, “Evanesco”.

Dinner was almost over, so the letter had drawn more than a few looks, but no one was bold enough to ask questions. Feeling magnanimous he turned to Pansy Parkinson who seemed to be the only girl in his year with half a brain. Draco tried to flirt with the girl and nearly got his ears boxed for his trouble.

“Hey!” he shouted, evading the girl’s book bag.

They were still laughing when he took his own book bag and briskly walked out of the Great Hall. He'd have to deal with Crabbe and Goyle very soon; they tended to follow him just about everywhere. Once he even had to wave them off to visit a lavatory in private.

After almost getting lost in the east wing, he finally found his quarry near the second floor landing. The bespectacled third year was standing under a large landscape with three lazy looking crups sniffing around a tree.

“Did you get it?” Draco barked without a greeting.

The boy flashed Draco a self-satisfied grin and held out a piece of parchment.

Draco glanced at the sheet. “Are you sure about this information?”

“No one's ever complained. I take pride in my research; ask anyone.”

Draco stared at the boy for three long seconds and nodded. He took out his money pouch and handed the guy several coins.

“It was a pleasure doing business with you,” the third year said and trudged away.

Draco pocketed the parchment and set off towards his own class.

By the end of Binns's class he had already added his own notes to the original list.

Year 7:

Katie Bell – HB, plays Quidditch – when did she start?
Sarah Owen– MB
Adria Belle D'Argenio – PB, exchange student, left home
Liz Kershaw – MB

Year 6:
Lavender Brown – PB, very pretty, but into Divination? - check for brains
Hermione Granger – MB
Parvati Patil – HB, exotic, Divination?

Year 5:
Chloe Bower – HB
Ginny Weasley – PB, plays Quidditch
Georgina StJohn – PB

That left six girls. Not too bad, but still too much. He'd have to do some reconnaissance.

Later in the week

It took him a couple of days to acquaint himself with all the girls on the list and it took only two short (separate) conversations in the library to eliminate Brown and StJohn due to the total lack of any common sense. Brat was smart. Next he eliminated Bell, who according to Flint had been on the Gryffindor Quidditch team since her second year. So now there was only three: Parvati Patil, Chloe Bower and Ginny Weasley.

He spotted Bower in the courtyard and as he had a free period, he sauntered out.

“Hey, you Bower?”

“Yeah?” the girl asked with thick Yorkshire accent.

“Brilliant,” he grinned. Bower's eyes opened wider in bewilderment. Draco continued, “I heard you'd be the prefect to ask about tutoring.”

“Oh, you want to be a tutor?” The girl's expression softened in understanding and she stepped away from the gaggle of her friends.

“Yeah, extra credit, right? Is it too late to put myself up?”

“No, not at all, most of the tutoring starts in spring semester. Just tell me for which classes, at which level and how often you're willing to tutor.” She sat down on the bench under the large oak tree and took her notebook and quill out.

“I can do sixth year potions and history easily,” he said looking at her notes over her shoulder, “but I'm also willing to do Arithmancy for a fifth year or below.”

“Arithmancy? That's good. How often?”

“Once or twice a week, so no more than two students I guess.”

“Great.” Bower smiled and closed her notebook. “I'll let you know if there are any takers. And there will be, I can promise you that.” She stood. “Anything else I can help you with?”

Draco shuffled with his feet as if embarrassed. “Well... I thought... You going to class now?”

“Yes, why?” The girl didn't seem to know if she should be excited or suspicious.

“Can I... Um... accompany you? To class I mean.”

“Um.. sure.” She blinked and turned away as if trying to hide her twitching lips.

They started towards the castle's back door, when Draco seemed to remember.

“I'm sorry, I didn't introduce myself properly.” He stuck his hand out to her. “I'm Draco Malfoy.”

“I know. I'm Chloe Bower.”

“I know.”

They smiled.

“So...” Draco had no problems with making small talk, but Chloe seemed to be the girl to go for bashful boys. He'd seen her flirt with some hapless Hufflepuff the day before. “You've got some great Quidditch facilities.”

He heard Chloe sigh. “Yes, so they say.”

“Not a fan?”

“Well I enjoy the house matches the same as anyone and I even thought of trying out for a chaser at one point, but no, not a fan any more.”

Hmm, not a fan, but used to be.

“Do you play?” she asked before Draco had a chance to think up a way to change the topic.

“Used to be a back-up seeker for Krum.”

“Really? You must be brilliant then!”

Draco grinned. “I do consider myself quite decent, yes. But with Krum flying I hardly had much playing time.”

“That sucks.”

Draco's lips quirked, but he shrugged.

“You gonna play for the Slytherin team?”

“I missed the try-outs this year, didn't I?”

“You did! But why? Everybody's wondering why you arrived three weeks late.”

“Are they now? I can only imagine what's the most imaginative theory.”

“I'm sure you can. So, what's the truth?”

“What, you want me to tell you all my secrets, just like that?”

“So it's a secret, is it?”

Draco smirked.

Unfortunately they reached their destination before he had a chance to bring up the diary, so Draco decided to bide his time and waved her goodbye. Draco had no idea what he'd do when he found out who his pen pal was, but there was no way he could leave his curiosity unsatisfied.

A part of him would be disappointed if Chloe turned out to be Brat. But then again, she was intelligent, fun and un-Gryffindorishly non-judgemental. Which was a point against her. Brat was anything but. But she might have changed since.

Most of his brain was still engaged in the Bower dilemma when he sat down for dinner. Blaise, Marcus and Daphne were talking about something inconsequential Draco wasn't listening to until he heard them mention hunting. Suddenly Draco remembered this lame horror story that was so popular to tell to youngsters on long dark winter nights in Durmstrang.

“Yeah, it's like that story about a hollow Muggle,” he said, thinking it a fairly well-known story.

“A hollow Muggle?” Blaise shook his head. “Never heard of it.”

It turned out none of them had and so he told them. Or rather tried to. It started funnily enough and very soon the Slytherins were listening to him avidly. Generally Draco relished being the centre of attention, but as more and more of the students started paying him attention, it gradually dawned on Draco that he was committing some kind of terrible faux pas.

When he got to the point where the Mudbloods were begging for their lives it had turned somewhat awkward, but to stop would've been even more awkward and his pride wouldn't let him. So, with a great flourish he continued to awe his house mates. It seemed that these kinds of stories were apparently not told at Hogwarts publicly. He should have known.

By the time the black Gryffindor stopped him, the tensions were running so high that a part of him was even grateful. And then Potter stepped in and said that. Not that Draco was very beat up about his father's death, but he would not let anyone say anything bad about his father. The Malfoy name would not be tarnished by some kind of local celebrity.

Brilliant, he thought as he walked back to the Slytherin Common Room. Bloody effing brilliant.

“That was brilliant, Malfoy!” was the first thing he heard upon reaching the Common Room.

A tall Slytherin patted Draco on his back and plopped down on the armchair.

“Yeah, that showed them!” was a second year's assessment.

“I knew old Lucius's son couldn't be a pussy!” said another student almost gleefully.

“If it hadn't sounded so rude, I'd thank you for the compliment,” Draco answered drily and everyone laughed.

Draco sat, joking and chatting with his housemates for a while, trying to sound out how much his reputation among other houses was actually damaged, but it wasn't until he saw the covert look Montague sent to Pucey that he really started worrying. Despite everything, though, the respect with which the Slytherins now regarded him was enjoyable.

When he went to bed that night, he cast several Muffliato spells on his bed curtains before starting a furious string of curses. Slowly and deliberately he called himself all the names he could remember until he noticed that he was repeating himself. He thumped his fist on the bed but that didn't help either.

He knew that the Montagues were Death Eaters and the Puceys were at least sympathizers. He knew that Crabbe and Goyle weren't following him out of having nothing better to do, and he also knew that if he wasn't careful, acquiring a shiny new tattoo straight after school would be unavoidable.

It was only his second week here and already he'd managed to define himself as a pureblood supremacist, which in this school was extremely stupid by any account.

Draco pulled his pillow over his face and groaned into it.

Draco's 6th year, 1tst week of October, Monday

Draco was on his way to the library when he heard it again.

“... Junior Death Eater...”

He turned and quickly found the boy that looked at him with the most glee. Draco concentrated his stare at the boy and looked on until the Gryffindor's gaze faltered. When all three students started turning away, Draco took out his wand and, quick as a lightening, sent three tongue enlarging hexes their way. It would be a very unpleasant twenty seconds for them.

The whisper seemed to accompany him constantly these days. He was hexing students right and left with mildly unpleasant spells, but it was no use. Unless he was prepared to do something really serious that would land him in trouble with the professors it wouldn't stop any time soon.

When he passed an ugly statue of an old crone, Draco noticed Chloe Bower among several other girls. His lips started to lift in a smile, but when the girl saw him she turned away as if she'd never known him. All of her friends did the same.

Suddenly it was too hot in the corridor and Draco stopped looking at the people he passed. He stared straight ahead, a low hum in his ears. When he arrived at his class he had to wipe his palm on his robes before taking hold of the door knob.


Draco woke up with a headache. He had gotten little sleep last night, because he had finally got down to examining the documents he'd brought with him from the manor. The first stack he’d looked at were the purchase orders, business propositions, notifications and simple memos, but the one he was planning to read today looked more promising.

Outwardly, it seemed that his father's business was not particularly dark, but already at a glance Draco had spotted some company names which he knew were set up for money laundering. He wouldn't know all of them, of course, but Father had started Draco's education in business after the fourth year and by now he was quite knowledgeable of the discipline. Draco thought he would be able to decide which companies were just names on the paper and which provided legal profit.

Malfoy Inc. was a large business and until Draco turned twenty-one it would be run by a board of directors. Originally he was meant to have started working for the company after passing NEWTs, but Draco wasn't sure that considering all the circumstances, it would be the best course of action. If Father hadn't died, he wouldn't have any other choice, but now, for the first time in his life, all roads seemed to be wide open.


Draco clenched his jaw and opened the library door. He had just hexed a couple of Ravenclaws to stop their snickering. The boils under their collars would teach them! If the Slytherins were the only ones he'd befriend in this school, then so be it. He closed the door with a resounding thud.

“Ah, there you all are,” he said moving to the table his house mates had gathered around. Soon he was telling them another story and this time he didn't even resist – clearly these were the only people who would at least make an effort of cordiality. That it directly contradicted his initial plans he refused to acknowledge.

The anecdote he was telling now was just starting to bore him when he noticed Crabbe staring over his shoulder. Draco turned. It was the girl he'd seen looking at him several times over the past three weeks. Ginny Weasley from his list. Always too far away to see her expression and always turning away when caught. Nice figure.

Now though, her eyes were fixed firmly to the floor as she purposefully strode towards them. Or their aisle, most likely. He couldn't have that – he wouldn't be ignored!

“Why, you must be another Weasley!” he said, grinning at the sudden flush in her cheeks.

She was blushing so enticingly that Draco was really looking forward to what she'd say, but then Goyle glued the hem of her skirt to their desk.

“Nice knickers, Weasley!” Draco said, unable to hold himself back.

Everybody laughed as the redhead ineffectually tugged at her skirt. Even the red-faced fury in her countenance was fetching, so when she only cast Finite, he was a bit disappointed. Only for a second, before she hit him with an extra painful Stinging Hex. The unfairness of it hit him rather less than the physical pain.

Second week of October, Wednesday

After the skirt incident there was no hope of Weasley ever looking at him with anything other than disgust. As he'd had a chance to ascertain. It was just after Transfiguration the day before that he saw her standing opposite the door he was exiting from. She was chatting with her friends when she noticed him. Their eyes met, held for a moment in surprise and then her chestnut eyes narrowed with such an intense hatred that Draco startled. This time the unfairness. Of. It. All. Really hit him.

What the hell did he do? So he told a couple of stupid stories, hexed some students and laughed at a glued skirt, so what? Draco didn't think it was worse than other teenage wizards did all the time and it's not like his hexes did any lasting damage, nor was he distributing illegal potions or anything like that. He thought he was a decent-looking guy from a rather good family. Why was everybody acting like he used an unforgivable on his own granny?

Now, suddenly all his carefully laid plans to find out who Brat was were useless. Trying to talk to Weasley was pointless. In Arithmancy he tried to smile at the Patil girl, but she also ignored him. He tried a couple of times more, once even going as far as picking up a book she'd dropped, but nothing seemed to change the girl's suspicious, narrowed-eye slits. Although Draco wasn't very hopeful, the next day he again hunted down Bower. Frankly, she would've been the best of the three, he realised now. She was quiet, confident and pretty. She didn't smile back, but neither did she glower which was an improvement even if she was a half-blood.

After a week of fruitless attempts to make contacts outside his own house, Draco decided that he hated it at Hogwarts. The local girls near Durmstrang were always easy to charm and the ones he'd flirted with in France during summer holidays had been fun. Here, most of the school was looking at him as if he were some kind of a disease. Slowly it dawned on him that it had something to do with his father. But it couldn't be, could it? So far his entire life experience had shown that being a Malfoy was an asset, not a burden. Although maybe it was just him, a voice whispered quietly in his head.

Shut up.

Telling the story in the great hall had been a mistake. A misjudgement on his part, nothing serious. Only that silly little story seemed to have ruined everything. Draco had no idea how to fix it, but he just had to fix it somehow!

Third week of October, Monday

This was intolerable! Draco stepped into the Common Room and turned back towards the opening, crossing his arms on his chest. He knew that the gesture was considered defensive, but experience told him that if he looked down his nose, people tended to find it rather intimidating.

He levelled his stare on entering Crabbe and Goyle, who stepped into the room only a few moments later.

“Well?” Draco said.

“What?” Crabbe asked back in confusion.

“I know you're following me. Care to explain?”

For a second or two there was silence, where the oafs stood, just blinking at each other, but then Draco more sensed than saw a presence behind his back. He turned round to see Adrian Pucey looking at him.

“Call off your goons,” Draco said calmly.

For a beat Pucey seemed to be mulling over what to say. “You don't know what you're asking, Malfoy.”

"Is that so?" Draco purposefully relaxed his stance. This was the conversation that would be the unavoidable Step Number Three in his plan. “So, let's hear it then.”


Author notes: Please review. :)

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