by alejandra

Initially, Harry Potter's death did not cause Draco Malfoy much inconvenience. Draco had his surname and the Malfoy coffers and the Malfoy estate. He no longer had parents or friends, but that did not worry him overmuch. It should have been no skin off Draco's nose at all, except that upon Potter's death, it was revealed that not only had he usurped Draco as the heir to the Black fortune - from which all of the cash Galleons of the Malfoy fortune came - but that Draco was not actually a Black, full stop.

"It's complicated, dear boy," said Dumbledore, and offered him a sherbert lemon.

Finding a way to get his wand to bend enough to stick it through Dumbledore's nose and out one of his eyes was complicated.

Blood was simple.


Draco almost swallowed his tongue upon hearing the news: the executorship went from Regulus Black to Bellatrix Lestrange to Narcissa Malfoy to Sirius Black. End of bloodline. There was a Nymphadora Tonks of whom Draco had never heard, but she was dead as well, and had named no heirs, which left Potter with the lot.

And Potter, in true Gryffindor fashion, had left a dodgy note: Just in case, everything I have goes to Professor Lupin, Hermione, and Ron. Except for 1000 Galleons to Fred and George.

Draco had his doubts about the veracity of the document, but nobody seemed to give a toss. There were plenty of other Blacks in the world who, while not of direct lineage - Severus Snape, for one, and Libella Zabini and Evan Wiggerdly, and Collette du Cartret - were certainly a fair sight better than The Boy Who Lived To Fuck Up Everything.


Draco made them prove it, and they did, and that was that. Draco's bloodline traced in silver from the drop of his blood on the parchment, words slowly appearing in smudged black ink.

He was not a Black.

He was, well, complicated.


"Yes, very complicated," repeated Dumbledore when Draco questioned him. Draco turned to Snape.

"And you, Professor?" asked Draco.

Snape only stared at Draco, ignoring the implied question.

"Were you involved?" demanded Draco. "This whole time? Concealing my true parentage from me?" He whirled back around to look at Dumbledore. "Did my mother know?"

"Your mother never knew," replied Snape. Dumbledore nodded and stroked his beard. Snape continued: "She believed you her son until the day she died."

"Until the day Harry Potter killed her, and you named him hero," snapped Draco. He didn't wait to be excused.


Draco considered it faintly amusing that he would've been dead as well, except that the afternoon before Potter's appearance at the Death Eater Initiation Rites with a strange Muggle device, he had knocked Draco off his broom during a Quidditch match. The height of Draco's fall was considerable enough that Draco's spine had still been regrowing in the infirmary the next evening.

Clearly, it was Potter's one last fuck you to Draco; his way of winning, of beating Draco by taking away his entire destiny. It was the culmination of all of Potter's vindictive words and nasty deeds. It was -

It was probably nothing.

It wasn't the first time Potter had knocked him off his broom during a match, and if Potter weren't dead, it wouldn't have been the last. This didn't stop Draco from wondering if Potter knew about the Rites during the match? He didn't, not if that Muggle-born Granger were to be believed. And, of course, everyone always believed her.

Taking away Draco's reasons for existing shouldn't have been an accident or a side effect. If someone were to bring about the demise of Draco's entire world, he expected some fucking thought to be put into it; but it was an accident, and that was actually even more of a 'fuck off, you annoying prat' than anything else Potter could have done.


"If you were so inclined to pay any attention at all to - "

"No, Mr. Malfoy. It is time for you to pay attention. The spell that conceived you was extremely complex, involved quite a large number of Galleons and hard-to-acquire ingredients, and intense planning. Your father fully intended someone of only Malfoy blood to fulfill the prophecy and - "

Draco stood up from his potions desk, leaving his parchment and quill. "I refuse to pay attention to this drivel any longer. My father supported the Dark Lord and all he stood for, as do - did I. As did you. Your Machiavellian maneuvers regarding this prophecy change nothing."

Snape slammed his hands down onto his desk before propelling himself to his feet . "You do not seem to understand what I am telling you. It was not that your father did not support the Dark Lord's aims - he did. Is it possible for you to conceive that your father didn't want to be toady for a - "

"I am not a Parkinson or a Weasley or a Potter," Draco sneered. "I am not some piddling Gryffindor anyone can incite to acts of outrageous stupidity with a clumsy innuendo. You yourself were my mentor, Professor; you know what I am capable of."

"You are capable of acting like a spoilt brat, being exceedingly selfish, and taking no one else under consideration," said Snape. Taking a deep breath, he smoothed the front of his robes, and sat back down. "In short, you are exactly like your father."

"I am myself only," Draco said coldly. "Good day, Professor."

Draco turned and left the Potions classroom, closing the door gently behind himself since there were no excuses for bad manners.

He paused for a deep breath before continuing onward through the puzzle of the dungeon hallways. The Slytherin dormitories were far too serene, but as two-thirds of its occupancy had been murdered by that glory-seeking Potter only two fortnights before, it was understandable. Two thirds of Slytherin, half of Ravenclaw, more than a few Gryffindors, and no Hufflepuffs at all, to be precise.

Officials were still sorting the bodies a month later. Slytherin, Gryffindor, Ravenclaw alike, not to mention all those who weren't Hogwarts students. The lists were posted in The Daily Prophet every day of those presumed dead. Whatever filthy Muggle device Potter had used turned everyone to ash, perfectly preserved. Lucius Malfoy had been identified by the Malfoy crest on his finger; Draco could almost hear his father's voice in his head saying, "Family pride until the end, boy."

The majority of the missing students were dead - Hogwarts and otherwise. Draco had never been to Beauxbatons or Durmstrang, but he assumed it would be the same everywhere: the students snuck away from their Saturdays in Hogsmeade, or Süßigkeitgeschäft, or wherever, and met their parents using portkeys. Slytherins were blood-bonded to their familiars, therefore all the students with dead owls and cats and rats were also dead, and even Dumbledore and the Prophet would know that.

Draco would've liked to know how his own blood bonds adhered, since his blood was actually thinner than he'd thought. He would've also liked to know if this was going to be some kind of universal retribution for every time he called someone a Mudblood.

Except he wasn't a Mudblood. He was a Pureblood - born and bred. His blood was just more Pure than he'd originally believed.


Neville Longbottom, of all people, tried to do - something. Whether it was offering Draco comfort, or condolences, or some such tripe, Draco couldn't really say. It was something horribly Gryffindor though, of that there was no question.

Longbottom approached during dinner, which unfortunately was one of Draco's more unbalanced periods of the day, since all of Draco's friends had been viciously murdered by Potter - who was never going to have to stand before the Wizarding Triad for punishment. He would never be known as a rampaging genocidal murderer either. Instead he would be remembered as The Boy Who Lived To Save Wizards From The Dark Lord - which really got under Draco's nails and his skin and every other bothersome place. It was almost as bothersome as the realization that all that remained of the Slytherin house were first, second, and third years, plus Draco, Queenie Greengrass, Tracey Davis, and Esme Thorstythe. There were a few others scattered about who were possibly in Draco's year, but he couldn't be certain as he paid them no mind. The point to all this being that there simply weren't enough of them to fill a table in the Great Hall, and rather than allowing them to sit with each other and possibly start a revolution or at least comiserate, Dumbledore had had forced them to integrate. Which was the only reason Draco was spending every breakfast, lunch, and tea sitting with Gryffindors.

He'd refused for the first three days, but the House Elves wouldn't bring him food, and none of the first years would be intimidated into sneaking him scones. Apparently even Draco Malfoy was not scarier than Professor Snape's wrath; Draco would take their quivering, trembling, stuttering words for it.

In addition, Queenie Greengrass had lectured him about not severing potential relations, and he had allowed it because Queenie was the only Hogwarts student with a more venerated bloodline than his own. She had forced him at wand-point him to where she sat with Longbottom and Granger and the Weasel, and Draco had ignored them all in favor of blood pudding and Cornish pasty.

Sitting with Gryffindors wasn't quite so bad as he'd imagined it to be; they left him alone - Queenie's doing, he expected - except for the days when Ron Weasley went into fits. Draco suspected that to be less because the Weasel's best mate was dead and more because the Weasel tended to indulge in smuggled butterbeer more often than was healthy. That could have been because his best mate was dead, but Draco did think overindulgence in anything showed a weak constitution.

His father always said, "Bad blood always tells." Draco's best mates were all dead, too, but you didn't see him carrying about a snifter of firewhisky and flying into a rage at the tea table. At least the Weasel had his parents - and that was exactly what Neville Longbottom had jumped up and said after the Weasel made one snide comment too many, which had pretty much shocked the lot of them into silence.

No one had seen any kneazles flying about, but Neville Longbottom taking Draco Malfoy's side was on par with such an occurrence.

It was unconscionable that Draco had been relgated to being defended by Longbottom


Draco didn't even look over when the door to the Slytherin common room opened, and Longbottom tripped over the bottom of the entranceway with an "Oops." Instead he turned another page in his book and said, "Longbottom, because it's late, and I am tired, I will actually allow you some leniency, and give you until the count of four to exit the Slytherin dungeon." Draco didn't have to look up to see Longbottom fidgeting with his robes; it was exactly how he behaved when he added too much papaver oil to his healing potions: nervous habits, and more trepidation than a Good And Courageous Gryffindor should contain.

"How did you know it was me?" asked Longbottom.

"Do you understand what I said? At the count of four I will - "

"What, kill me?" Longbottom flopped into the chair opposite Draco's. "Oh, this is lovely. The Gryffindor common room is always noisy."

"The Slytherin common room is quiet because most of us are dead, and the ones who are alive have gone off to sully themselves by associating with your lot." Draco's disdain was clear.

"Queenie Greengrass is in the library," said Longbottom, "so that's not - not entirely true."

Draco examined Longbottom, and found his face was free of guile. Only a Gryffindor, he thought scornfully. Longbottom had never been an attractive boy, and he still wasn't. His jaw was still puffy, and his hair still lank and his skin sallow.

Perhaps if Purebloods killed all the ugly children, more problems in society and explosions in the potions laboratory could be averted.

"Harry thought it was me, you know," said Longbottom. He leaned forward.

Draco stared at him.

"He thought I was the one in the prophecy."

"Did everyone know about this sodding prophecy but me?" Draco asked, continuing onward before Longbottom could answer. "They mean nothing anyway." . He turned his face from Longbottom and stared into the fire. "You've all been duped, but else can one expect from Gryffindors?"

"No, they mean an awful lot. Everyone's lives were turned upside-down for this one, and it didn't help at all," said Longbottom earnestly. Such honesty made Draco ill

"That's because prophesies are complete and utter rubbish," said Draco. "Your parents were as good as killed for this prophecy, and so were mine, and Potter's. All of my friends. Your Boy Who Lived. Don't you find sacrificing for a perceived - and wrong - greater good to be tedious?"

Longbottom took a deep breath; and Draco wondered if he were about to pass out from the shock of Draco speaking more than three words at a time to him If he did pass out Draco would no longer be forced to endure his presence, but he would then have to figure out somewhere to store Longbottom's body in the interim.

The fire flickered and turned a bit blue. Draco didn't move.

"Aren't you going to answer that?" asked Longbottom. It was clear to Draco that Longbottom was relieved to not have to actually say what he'd been gearing up for. He leaned forward and tapped the hearth with his wand. "Yes?"

Queenie's face appeared in the flames. "Don't talk to Draco, Neville. He doesn't care. Come to the Library now, please."

Draco rolled his eyes.

Longbottom leaned even further forward, and Draco didn't stop him. Perhaps if he pitched himself into the fire, he would leave Draco alone.

"Queenie, I just want him to understand that I know how it feels."

"Draco doesn't believe in prophecy or destiny or fate," she said. Her hair floated about her face as though she was under water instead of kneeling in front of the fire in the Great Hall. Behind her Draco could see House Elves setting the table for breakfast. "He thinks it's all toss."

"There's no fate but what we make," snapped Draco. "And our blood."

Queenie and Longbottom both ignored him. "So he said." Longbottom hesitated and looked at Draco. Draco sneered at him with his very best Lucius sneer, the same one Snape used during Potions every time Longbottom made a particular mess, which tended to be every class. "I think he's lonely," he added in a low tone, as though Draco wouldn't be able to hear him.

"Morgana's toes, Neville," said Queenie, and blinked out. The fire went back to yellow and orange, and Draco wished for that snifter of firewhisky.

Longbottom turned back to him. "Draco - "

"I would thank you to not address me by my given name, Longbottom, as your clumsiness might soil it."

"Merlin!" exclaimed Longbottom. "Give over already. We all know you're just posing. You're - "

Draco interrupted. "If you are about to tell me that I am not so bad and that secretly I must have a core of inner fluffiness as though I were a Gryffindor, as though I am to forget my Malfoy blood as well as my lack of Black blood - you may stop right there this instant."

He stood, and looked down at Longbottom's shocked face. "I think you are all bumbling imbeciles with no idea of what is going to happen on the day Arthur Weasley finally goes too far and Muggles learn of our presence. I'd have rather died with my family while supporting what I believe than be alive because of an accident, and have to know that I am the only one of my kind, the only one who dares critique anything openly left in the entire world. The only one left who understands the danger we face! Do not have the misguided notion that suddenly, just because I am alive, I am one of your ridiculous army of foolish children. I am not. I would just as soon kill you all."

Longbottom's mouth fell open. Draco turned on his heel and stalked away, up to his room. Longbottom wouldn't be able to get through the warding to there, at least.


"I realize it's doubled in your blood, but you needn't have been quite so nasty to him," said Queenie. She used a small clipping of chocolate mint leaves to trace the lines of their Arithmancy homework.

"Don't bother," replied Draco.

"I think you're right," she said, thoughtfully chewing on one of the leaves. "At least, what I've heard you say to others. Muggles do pose quite a threat, and it's Wizards and Witches like Molly and Arthur Weasley and Hermione Granger who will one day convince Wizarding-kind that we should try to play nicely with them rather than allowing them to intimidate us into the underground."

Draco rolled his eyes. "Don't patronize me. The Greengrasses have never been for the side of Voldemort."

"Voldemort was a ninny," said Queenie. "His ideology was flawed. The problem lies not with the Muggle world, but with our own."

He rolled his eyes again, and with his quill drew a perfect black symbol for infinity and connected it to the line through a triangle. Alchemical formulas translated into numbers translated into magic. The symbols turned silver, then faded into the parchment. Another answer correct, of course.

"Do you ever wonder if you're dreaming your reality?" she asked before slipping another chocolate mint leaf into her mouth. Her cheeks glowed a bit before she swallowed it.

"Only when we do Arithmancy homework together," Draco replied, and, with a bit of an extra flourish, completed another line of equations.


Draco needed answers to pressing questions. Not 'How did my father both father and mother me?' or 'How did my mother not realize that I was not of her blood?' or 'How do the blood wards at Malfoy Manor work if I don't have the right blood?' although getting an answer to that last question would satisfy a strange academic craving he generally liked to indulge. One never knew what information would come in handy.

But Draco needed answers to the gauche and practical questions.

"Professor Snape, do you have a moment before tea?" he asked after Potions. He had dawdled at his desk, arranging his fichus leaves just so before he could leave. He did not want any of the students to think he was deliberately staying after class - no, he had made a clean break with Snape and wished to keep it that way. However there was no other professor of whom he could ask these questions. After all, he wasn't on anything resembling conversational terms with anyone but Vector - and Vector certainly wouldn't know any of the answers Draco needed.

"One moment, Mr. Malfoy," said Snape. He placed homework parchments on the upper right hand corner of his desk, and folded his hands. Even though Draco was standing above him, Snape still managed to look down his nose.

"What of my tuition? Pocket money? New robes?" Unfortunately, it all came out in a rush, when Draco had been determined to sound as though he didn't care.

"While I was all for turning you out into the Scottish winter, you're not yet a pauper, Mr. Malfoy." Snape pursed his lips and Draco wanted to punch him, but fisticuffs were unbecoming a Pureblood patriarchŠ which Draco would be if there were actually a Malfoy family of which he could be the patriarch as opposed to just himself and a bunch of rowdy House Elves with Muggle-ized notions of freedom.

"You have a trust of money in Gringotts from your father, as well as a bequeathment from your mother, as you would know if you'd paid attention to anything but blood at the reading-off. Your school expenses have been paid for from the Black fortune, by Mr. Lupin. I believe he said it wasŠ" Snape pursed his lips. "Fair."

Snape reached out for the parchment, and a silver tray with green scrolling, containing a few small sandwiches, a cup, and a pot of steaming tea, appeared on the left hand side of his desk with the *pop* of House Elf magic. "I would thank you to go now and leave me to the misery of your classmates' essays."

"I want no one's charity," replied Draco. "Especially a werewolf's."

"You have no choice in the matter; your trusts aren't accessible until you come of age. How would you pay your way through school if not this? Would you work?" Snape chuckled, a grim sound, and Draco grit his teeth. "Once again, you are dismissed."

Draco scowled, but turned and left and went to tea. Queenie smiled at him as he took him his usual seat on the blasted Gryffindor bench and patted his thigh; Longbottom slide a plate towards him.

"I know you prefer the pasty to shepherd's pie," said Longbottom, "so I saved you some."

Draco only took it because it made the Weasel turn purple and splutter, not because he wanted to encourage Neville Longbottom's alarming propensity to be extremely Gryffindor in his vicinity.


Draco had always known not to let down his guard, but he was so very tired of fighting all of the time, of Gryffindors and Slytherins, of everything really, because there was nothing left to fight for except things that no longer existed.

"Don't be stupid," Queenie snapped at him. She pulled his hair. She was plaiting it into long, silver braids, using her fingers, even, not her wand, and sort of rubbing his head a bit every time she started a new plait.

He shifted slightly, and Queenie tugged a few strands of his hair out from under his arse. "I'm glad you decided to let your hair grow," she said. "It's so much more attractive long."

"I prefer it short," replied Draco. He shifted again, this time tilting his head back, into Queenie's fingers. She had long nails that sunk into his skin and withdrew bone fragments.

She wiped them off her fingers, into Draco's hands. "Keep these; I don't need them."

"What do I do?"

"About what?" she replied. Her fingers grew longer and stronger and Snape said, "Follow your blood."

Draco pulled away from Snape, and ran a hand through his hair. Short again, blonde instead of silver; he glared. Snape glared back, arms folded across his chest. "Follow your blood," said Draco. He spat on the ground. "Follow my arse."

"Your crude and overblown verbal mea - "

Draco cut Snape off with a wave of his hand. "I am tired," snapped Draco. "I am not stupid."

"Prove it," replied Snape, and he shrunk a bit, and turned into Neville.

"Remind me," said Draco, "to have a long chat with my subconscious about its lack of subtlety."

"You're just - you know," said Neville. "F-feeling a bit. You know."

"Cranky?" Draco leaned forward.

"H-hoary," said Neville.

"Horny," said Draco.

"Your father wants to know if you fucked Harry Potter," said Neville, but he sounded like Snape.

"Enough of this," said Draco. "If I wanted some sort of nebulous nonsense about my true feelings and my inner life, I'd go to Trelawney."

"She's dead," said Queenie. Her hands were back on Draco's head. "Everyone is dead."

"At least it's not my fault this time," said Draco, and tilted his head further back. With his eyes closed, the room he was in looked a lot like his bedroom in the Malfoy Manor.


Draco counted down the days until school was let out and he could sink back into Malfoy Manor and not have to interact with anyone. He didn't have a guardian - everyone was dead. He kept repeating that to himself: Everyone is dead.

At least once every day he would think, My father - And then he would remember that his father was dead. His mother was dead. His relatives were all dead. He wasn't a Black anymore, so he couldn't claim Snape, even if he wanted to. He was the very last bit of Malfoy blood left alive.

His father had been successful after all. Or maybe not.

If Dumbledore and Snape were to be believed - and Draco had his doubts about their trustworthiness - his father's goal was actually for Draco to kill the Dark Lord and then for Lucius to ascend to the position. The death of the Dark Lord was just something that had to happen in order for Lucius to succeed in his goals.

Perhaps Snape and Dumbledore weren't entirely full of bubotuber pus, since that sounded exactly like his father. He had a single-mindedness that Draco lacked. After all, this was the perfect opportunity for Draco to ascend to power, and yet all Draco did was his homework. It just seemed like it would be so much work, so much bother, and for what? Power? Power over who?

Everyone was dead.

Everyone was dead.


Draco shifted in his chair and flicked a piece of lint at the fire. It had been flashing blue all night, but he refused to answer it on general principle. Everyone was dead, therefore no one he could possibly want to talk to would be on the other side of the flames. It was probably for Longbottom anyway - let him answer it.

Draco shifted again. He could feel Longbottom's eyes on him, but every time he looked over, Longbottom was engrossed in a thick Herbology text on the many uses of lavender and rose petals. Or maybe that was last week and this week Longbottom was studying the various healing properties of beetles. Draco didn't want to ask and then find himself involved in a conversation with Longbottom that didn't involve Draco insisting hevacate the Slytherin common room and Longbottom insisting that he didn't have to. Those conversations invariably ended with a visit from Dumbledore - or, worse, Queenie parading through his dreams.

The other conversations invariably ended with Draco feeling soiled.

He twisted a bit in his chair and glared at Longbottom until he looked up. "You're a bit off, you know?" said Draco. "Like Creevey and that horrible Muggle camera."

Longbottom looked back down to his text.

"You come in here every night and sit," continued Draco. "Why don't you go back to your nauseating Gryffindors?"

Longbottom sighed, turned a page and made a note on his parchment.

"And!" Draco twisted in the chair to target Longbottom in his sights. He tucked one leg underneath him and leaned over the arm of the chair. "And you drink herbal tea. Who drinks herbal tea? It's disgusting."

Longbottom frowned. "Are you all right?" he finally said.

"What?" asked Draco. "What?"

"Are you feeling all right?" repeated Longbottom.

"I heard you the first time!"

"Then why did you ask me to repeat myself?" asked Longbottom reasonably. Draco scowled at him. "I just meant that you - the - you're lacking, you know. Vehemence."

"I do not lack vehemence. It was bred into me."

"So I heard," said Longbottom, and took a sip of his noxious piss-in-a-cup. Camomile tonight - Draco could smell it over the piney cedar of the fire.

"What does that mean?" demanded Draco. "Is this another ridiculous Gryffindor prophecy designed specifically to ruin as many lives as possibly and improve nothing?"

"The prophecy improved everything," said Longbottom hotly. He slammed his book shut.

"Forget it then. Think what you like. You Gryffindors always do, regardless of the destruction you wreak on everyone else." Draco turned his back to Longbottom and faced the fire. He slouched a bit, straightened his posture automatically, and then slouched again on purpose.

He heard Longbottom shuffling behind him. The book opened. The fire popped, turned blue. Quill scratched on parchment.

Draco frowned at the fire, then turned back around to Longbottom.

"Don't take this the wrong way, Longbottom," he began.

"What way would that be?" asked Longbottom. He met Draco's eyes evenly.

"The way that might suggest I cared in any way other than one that might benefit me."

"I would never," replied Longbottom.

"Fine then," said Draco. He pressed his lips together, organized his thoughts, and continued. "What are you going to do when Arthur Weasley convinces the Wizarding world that we should integrate with Muggles the way that the Slytherins have integrated with the other houses?"

"What should I do?" said Longbottom. He closed his book again, but gently this time, and kept his finger in the pages to hold his place. He leaned forward a bit. "It can only benefit both races."

"Wizard-kind is not a race," said Draco. He did not lean forward. He did not sit with his mouth slightly open and his eyes wide. "We're a species. It's not like comparing roses to tulips. We are higher beings."

"You believe that?" said Longbottom.

"You sound surprised."

"I thought - maybe you - your father." Neville lifted a shoulder and let it fall again. "I dunno."

"Why would you think that?" snapped Draco. "My father - " He faltered, swallowed, began again. "My father was a brilliant man with brilliant ideas. His vision for the world was embraced by - "

"You - your father was a plonker," said Longbottom, his voice rising. Longbottom's face was red, the fist that wasn't holding the book clenched. "It's his fault I have no parents."

"And it's Harry Potter's fault that I've none," replied Draco. "The world isn't fair, Longbottom." Draco stood. "I'm going to bed. Clearly your mind is addled. I don't know why I expected anything else."

"You're such a prat, Malfoy. Can't you back up your opinions with rational thought?"

"You wouldn't know rational thought if it planted itself in your precious greenhouse." Draco used his wand to put out the fire. "Go to bed, Longbottom." He left the room in darkness when he closed the door to his room, and was pleased by the symbolism of it.


Classes were much easier now since no one really wanted to teach, which was all right, excep that all the Muggle-loving idiots all wanted to talk about ways to change the world instead of ways the world had changed in the past. Draco wanted to point out the large number of times in Wizarding history that someone rose up and called himself or herself "The Dark Lord" and tried to take over the world as a way to incite change, but didn't, because it made him uncomfortable. He didn't want to think of the Dark Lord as being an entity existing only to spark changes - because what if the changes the Dark Lord had wanted to spark were the changes being made now?

The logic didn't quite follow - but it didn't not follow either. It was possible that someone would bring that up in class if Draco pointed it out - possibly someone like Luna Lovegood would say that it would be interesting if the Dark Lord was pro-Muggle and Mudblood, and this was his secret plan, his plan to unite the two worlds.

Possible but not probable, and in return Draco would have to say that the Dark Lord hated Wizards as much as he hated Muggles, which is why instead of going through normal channels and bringing his politics out into the open, he kept it all secret and made everyone humiliate themselves in front of him for his amusement.

He was clever, and he was right - he was more right than Dumbledore, anyway - and while his plan to get rid of all the Muggles and Mudbloods had been flawed, it was not so deeply flawed as every single plan anyone had come up with as of yet to merge the society of Wizards with the society of Muggles.

But Draco just didn't feel like talking about it, especially with the superficial idiots at Hogwarts. He also didn't feel like listening to other people mangle the intricate politics of Wizarding-kind, so he went to Potions, because Snape had instituted a strict no-talking rule, and no one was partnered anymore. He went to Arithmancy because he sat next to Queenie and she was - well, she was weird, but it was okay; Otherwise stayed in the Slytherin dormitory.

Dumbledore's head appeared in the fire regularly, telling Draco to go to class, because it was "complicated" - Dumbledore's favorite word - but he never disciplined Draco for skivving, so Draco refused to take him seriously.

Not that Draco really ever took Dumbledore seriously anyway.

Snape told him he was wasting the money of his benefactor, and Draco snorted.

Trelawney left a tarot card and a rune for him outside his bedroom door, and Draco didn't bother to look at them before lighting them afire. "Death is in the cards," said her message in a tremulous voice, and Draco rolled his eyes; it screamed as he burnt it.

"Death is everywhere," he said to the ashes. "You just have to live with it."


"Dumbledore says - oof!"

Draco watched from his chair by the fire as Longbottom fell through the entranceway. Dirt went one way, the pot and plant he carried another, and a small package landed directly in front of Draco. One small nudge from Draco's foot would send it into the fire; he resisted the impulse.

Longbottom's attempts to clean up the dirt with his fingers bordered on amusing, but ultimately were irritating because it was Longbottom.

"Not to interrupt you crouching at my feet," said Draco, "but don't you have a wand?"

"That usually makes things worse," replied Longbottom. True enough.

"Reparo," said Draco, pointing his wand at the dirt and pottery shards. It took more than a moment, but all the dirt went back into the pot, with the plant, and was off the carpeting. "In the future, please refrain from entering the Slytherin common room."

"Thanks," said Longbottom. "But - this. This is for you." He held the pot out to Draco, who looked down on it.

"You can't be serious."

"I am. It's - "

"I live in a dungeon, Longbottom. There is no sunlight. Do I look like the sort of wizard who keeps plants (plans, yes; plants, no)?" demanded Draco. "Why didn't you get me a kitten while you were at it?"

"Do you want a kitten?" said Longbottom. Anyone else would have been taking the piss, but of course Longbottom was more sincere than any eight Slytherins put together.

Draco turned his face away and stared into the fire.

"Anyway," said Longbottom, "I just thought you needed some company. Something to think about other than your parents."

Why did everyone think Draco spent countless hours thinking of his father and mother? "Don't speak of my parents again," said Draco.

"Or what?" Longbottom sat in the opposite chair, and Draco made a mental note to have the chair transfigured into a small table for tea, so that Longbottom could no longer sit facing him. Longbottom sat the small pot next to Draco's chair and picked up the box from the floor. "And Professor Trelawney sent this for you."

"I'm not even taking Divination," Draco pointed out refusing to take the box of cards Longbottom held. "If I were taking Divination - "

"Go on," said Longbottom. "It's like Arithmancy."

"It is not like Arithmancy."

"It is," argued Longbottom. He leaned in to Draco and put the cards in Draco's lap. "It's Arithmancy with pictures."

"It is not Arithmancy with pictures," snapped Draco. "How far did you get, anyway? Level Two? I'm taking OWL-levels."

"Just look at the cards, all right? Otherwise Professor Trelawney is going to predict that - "

"You can't do that with Arithmancy," Draco said triumphantly. "You can't make up loads of bollocks just because you feel like it." He pushed the cards off his lap, and they landed back in front of the fire. One was slightly sticking out of the box and Longbottom squinted at it.

"That's the seven of wands," he told Draco. "See, there, that bloke - "

"It's all crap," said Draco.

"It means you shouldn't surrender," said Longbottom.

"What are you doing here, Longbottom? Are you going to tell my future? Are you here to convince me to start attending class again? Do tell - liven up my dull existence with your clumsy attempts to - "

"You know, we - we have a lot in common. And I just - I just - I thought maybe - " Longbottom tripped over his words, faltered. Draco sneered at him.

"You thought maybe now that all my friends are gone, you and I could be friends?" He rolled his eyes.

And Longbottom scowled. That was interesting. Draco didn't realize he had more than three expressions - dumbstruck, dumbfounded, and just dumb.

"I don't want to be your friend; I thought maybe you needed someone to talk to. Maybe I'm not evil, but I'm a Pureblood. If Muggles come to kill us, they're not going to start with you - they're going to start with me, because they can't tell the difference." Longbottom stood up and glared down at Draco. "You're just afraid."

Draco stood up so he and Longbottom were eye to eye. "You're just an idiot," he replied. "Muggles have spent the past four thousand years killing us off every time they figure out that we're real. They are constantly fighting amongst themselves about ridiculous things that are easily supplied. Why do you think we still have Binns teaching history - so that we don't learn anything. Do you want to know why Voldemort - " Draco bared his teeth when Longbottom flinched at the Dark Lord's name, and repeated it - "Why Voldemort had so many followers for so long? Because when he graduated from Hogwarts, there was a war going on in the Muggle world. They were killing each other by shoveling Muggles into ovens and baking them because of their blood. And you want to form alliances with them? And Granger thinks that Purebloods should be punished for believing that our blood is better?"

Longbottom's eyes had grown wide. Draco scoffed at him. "Morgana, Longbottom. Pick your side and stay there - don't come nancing around after me, thinking that we're going to be mates."

"I - I - "

"Go!" said Draco.

Longbottom turned and practically ran for the door. Of course. Cowardly Gryffindor. But he turned before he left and said, "That makes you as bad as the Muggles."

Before Draco could explain that he didn't want to kill Muggles, just protect himself from them, Longbottom was gone.

He left the cards and the stupid, bolloxy plant.

"At least I'm not the five of goblets," said the boy on the tarot card. Draco kicked the whole deck into the fire, and went to the Library.


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