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That which you recognize from the books belongs to the inimitable JK Rowling.

Draco Malfoy listlessly perused the letter from his mother, sliding his finger down the length of the expensive parchment stationery. Aside from her personal entreaties to mind his appearance and excel at his lessons, there was little in her message that he hadn’t already read in the society pages of the Daily Prophet. Or rather Pansy read them to him while he lounged around the common room with his head in her lap. He could already see himself falling into some of the same habits as his father, especially when it came to letting the women in his life deal with nagging social matters. The old man had done well for himself, Draco reasoned, so he might as well follow the tried and true approach.

The letter was a welcome diversion after a long and unpleasant day. Professor Umbridge had ordered Draco and the other members of the Inquisitorial Squad to capture Potter and his band of collaborators when they broke into her office. That was all well and good, but then Granger started blubbering about some weapon that they were supposed to be delivering to the school’s disgraced former Headmaster. Naturally, Umbridge decided to seize all of the glory for herself, and sashayed out of the office with Potter and the filthy little mudblood held at wand-point. Draco was already planning to speak to his father about making sure that he got at least some credit for whatever Umbridge discovered.

That left Draco and his fellow Slytherins burdened with the chore of guarding the others. Everything was going fine until that idiot Warrington allowed Weaselbee to slip free of his grasp. From there, all hell broke loose. Draco had been about to attempt the Cruciatus Curse to restore order when Weasley’s little sister managed to pry Crabbe’s wand out of his hand. She cast some sort of hex at him and the next thing Draco knew, he was running toward the dungeons with a swarm of angry bats attacking his head. He didn’t even bother to see how the rest of his mates were faring, he simply kept running until the bats finally disappeared.

Draco remained in a foul mood until the post owl dropped the neatly addressed letter onto the table in front of him. To the rest of the world, its contents were probably uninteresting to the point of banality. He carefully eyed the rest of the room, making sure that at least one or two other people saw him reading it. Then, just to be certain, he walked over to Daphne Greengrass and pointed out something his mother had written about one of her cousins traveling to Bulgaria to court a witch from an old and wealthy family of dragon breeders. When he was satisfied that he had made a sufficient show of it, he retreated to the sanctuary of his dormitory.

The room was empty, sparing him the need to kick his roommates out. Crabbe and Goyle had been assigned additional practice drills by Montague after their sad showing during Slytherin’s recent Quidditch match. Nott was probably snogging Millicent Bulstrode somewhere in the dungeons to cheer her up after Loony Lovegood turned her hair purple. Draco shuddered slightly. He could only imagine how those two got together. That left Zabini, whose whereabouts were usually a mystery since he changed girlfriends more often than Crabbe and Goyle changed their socks. If he wasn’t chasing some slag around the castle, he was probably being chased by one who wanted to hex him.

Draco turned his mother’s letter over and mumbled to himself as he tapped the four corners of the parchment with his wand. The hand-written words that emerged were what he really wanted to read. Since the Dark Lord had returned from his long absence, it was an exciting time to be part of the Malfoy family. Nearly every letter from his mother also contained a hidden message from his father, giving him tantalizing hints of the great strides the Death Eaters were making. Draco relished each and every one. His father’s stories conjured images of a boundless future, one where there would be no need to tolerate the riffraff that filled the corridors outside of the Slytherin common room.

Even by his father’s grandiose standards, the words that appeared on this letter were extraordinary. Draco read them again, just to be sure that he hadn’t missed anything. On this very evening, the Dark Lord had instructed his followers to infiltrate the Department of Mysteries at the Ministry. There, he assured them that Harry Potter would unwittingly assist them in locating something very important to his plans for taking over the magical world and ridding it of blood traitors and mudbloods.

Draco chuckled sardonically to himself. Whatever Potter and his friends had been up to, it was probably all part of the Dark Lord’s plan. He suddenly felt fortunate that Umbridge decided to leave him behind when she went to locate this “weapon” that Granger had been prattling on about. She was going to wind up looking like a fool. The last line of his father’s letter put a wicked smile on Draco’s thin face. If we are very lucky, perhaps your wretched little schoolmate won’t be returning at all.

Draco read the letter one last time and then tossed it into the fireplace. As he watched the parchment burn, his thoughts were filled with the endless possibilities of life at Hogwarts without Harry Potter. Dumbledore was already gone and his father assured him that the blathering old fossil would not be returning. Granger, Weasley and the rest of their meddlesome friends would either learn their place or they would be dealt with as well. He absentmindedly polished the Inquisitorial Squad badge adorning his chest with the sleeve of his shirt. It seemed that things couldn’t be looking any better for him.

Once the letter was reduced to ashes, he strutted back into the common room with his chest out and his chin held high. At the moment, it felt like his own, personal domain. All of his pure blooded housemates would be lining up to thank him when word of his father’s exploits reached the school. Looking around, he found Pansy sitting near the fire, copying Tracey Davis’s Charms essay. She wrinkled her already abbreviated nose as she seemed to be debating which words to change in a particularly long sentence on Sticking Charms. Draco sat down beside her and placed one arm around her shoulder while his other hand came to rest on her thigh.

“You’re working awfully hard, lovely,” he drawled, staring into her dark brown eyes. “It’s not befitting for a witch of your beauty, breeding and excellent taste in men.” Pansy giggled at his advances, sliding closer to him and pointedly doing nothing about the way he was slowly massaging the inside of her thigh. “Davis,” Draco called, searching out the mousy-looking girl where she sat in a quiet corner of the room, writing a Potions essay. She looked up, surprised that Draco would even think to speak her name. “Be a dear and finish this for Pansy,” he said, gesturing toward the parchment, quill and ink pot in front of his girlfriend. “Be sure you do a good job. We wouldn’t want either of you to get in trouble with old Flit-wit, would we?”

He didn’t even bother to wait for her response as he stood up and pulled Pansy to her feet. She giggled furiously as he turned with a flourish and began to stride toward the boys’ dormitories. The common room door opened and Draco noticed Crabbe and Goyle enter, soaked and filthy from their Quidditch drills. Goyle managed to give him a beseeching look before he casually turned his back on them. “I need the room tonight,” he called out over his shoulder. “Don’t wait up.”

Draco entered his dorm room and lifted Pansy onto his shoulder before unceremoniously dumping her onto his four-poster bed. Her feet flew into the air and she burst into another fit of giggles. Then Draco flicked his wand at the door, locking it securely. Pansy had never once tried to stop his advances or even slow them down, so he didn’t feel especially nervous as he laid down beside her. She pressed her lips against his while his hands roved all over her body. His father’s letter had put him in a mood to celebrate and he was not feeling shy or reserved.

After a few minutes of passionate snogging, Draco pushed her away, feeling her teeth reluctantly relinquish their grip on his lower lip. Her face was flushed and she let out a low groan, looking slightly hurt. He smiled at her and wagged his finger, softly chastising Pansy for her impatience. Then he reached over the side of his bed into his school trunk and pulled out something made of glass and wrapped in a pair of trousers. She smiled quizzically at him as he slowly unwrapped it, revealing a bottle of very expensive firewhiskey he had purloined from his father’s billiard parlor.

“What’s the occasion?” she asked, retrieving a pair of highball glasses from beside Draco’s bed and wiping them quickly with the hem of her blouse.

“I can’t tell you yet,” he answered, drawing another mocking frown. “But suffice it to say that by this time tomorrow, you’ll be dating the most eligible bachelor in the wizarding world.”

He poured two glasses of the shimmering, brown liquid and set the bottle aside. Then he took his glass and sipped it slowly while Pansy downed hers in two painful-looking gulps. Her breath caught in her throat as she shivered and suppressed a cough. She set her glass aside and when she turned back to face him, the look of concern on her face was no longer in jest.

“It sounds like you’re going to be a very popular wizard,” she pouted. “Do I need to be worried about us?”

Draco smiled adoringly at her, then took another sip of his drink and set the glass aside. He reached over and slipped his hand under the skirt of her school uniform, sliding it up the back of her thigh until his fingertips came to rest just below her bum.

“I’m sure that my parents will receive a lot of owls from families trying to introduce their daughters to me. But you...” he pulled himself closer to her as he let his hand wander, “you have a certain advantage of imcumbency, my darling. If you play your cards right, I’m sure you’ll come out on top in the end.”

Pansy’s expression gradually changed from insecure to infatuated as the alcohol warmed her veins and Draco’s meandering hand found its way into ever more sensitive places. “I suppose I shouldn’t let you get bored with me then, should I?” she purred.

“That would be inadvisable,” Draco crooned, grinning lustily at her. Her eyes betrayed a hint of discomfort, so he quickly added, “Not that I can ever see myself getting bored with you. You’re so... creative.”

Pansy gave him a crooked smile before she grabbed his head and locked onto his lips once again. Draco was beginning to feel impatient. He started trying to undo the dainty buttons on her blouse, but the bloody things seemed to be designed for somebody with elf-sized fingers. He abandoned subtlety and tried to simply pull her top off over her head, but the garment proved too tight. He was about to grab his wand and use a cutting hex when he suddenly had a better idea. He pushed her face away from his, staring into her slightly unfocused brown eyes.

“Stand over here, next to the bed,” he said in a throaty whisper. “I want to watch you undress.”

Pansy grinned wickedly at him, then hopped off the bed and did her best to disrobe as seductively as she could. It was all Draco could do not to laugh as he watched her try to act sultry in spite of her intoxication. She stumbled and nearly fell while unzipping her expensive high-heeled boots, and the clasp of her bra seemed to be nearly as challenging to her as it would have been for him. Pansy simply couldn’t handle alcohol, and it was one of the things that Draco liked most about her. Usually it only took two drinks to wash all of her inhibitions away.

While she struggled to get her stockings off, Draco suddenly began to wonder how his parents really would handle the process of finding a wife for him. In proper pureblood society, such things were never left to chance. His mother would insist on carefully studying each young lady who vied for his attention, ferreting out any flaws and determining their suitability to bear the children who represented the future of both the House of Malfoy and the Noble and Most Ancient House of Black. But the final word would come from his father, who would decide which pairing would create the greatest prestige and political advantage. The negotiations might take months.

Truthfully, the Parkinsons were not in the same league as his family. Their fortune was smaller, their estate was newer and less opulent and their family tree could be traced back nine generations at most. By comparison, Draco had been taught from a very young age which of his ancestors shared the Slytherin common room with Merlin, himself. It wasn’t that the Parkinsons were bad people. Pansy’s father was quite adamant about finding her a proper, pureblood husband and he planned to send her abroad if she had been sorted into any other house. But there was simply nothing in it for his family if he married her. No ancient bloodlines would be united and her inheritance would represent only a modest addition to his own.

Draco was so lost in thought that Pansy surprised him when she hopped onto the bed and pulled his face into the middle of her chest. She slowly slid lower, pressing herself against him until her mouth finally came to rest against his. He felt his body getting uncomfortably warm as the firewhiskey mixed with lust. “You’re way overdressed,” Pansy whispered into his ear before nipping gently at his earlobe.

“Undress me,” he hissed back, feeling her thigh pressing uncomfortably against his nether regions.

“Am I going to have to do all the work tonight?” she asked seductively, leaving a trail of small, sharp kisses down the side of his face.

“I’m saving my strength,” he replied. “I have some surprises in store for you.”

“Ooh,” she moaned, inhaling sharply. Pansy continued to slide down his body until she was perched on the foot of his bed, between his feet. As she pulled his shoes off, a different realization hit Draco. There was no guarantee that the bride his parents ultimately selected would be anywhere near as eager to please him as Pansy. Setting aside how nauseating it was to think about his mother while Pansy slowly undid his belt, he realized that there was no way in hell that she would be caught dead doing the sort of things that Pansy seemed to relish doing for him. Narcissa Malfoy insisted that her husband kiss her only on the cheek so as not to smear her lipstick. At the moment, Pansy was probably getting her lipstick all over his boxer shorts while she tugged at them with her teeth.

Pansy planted herself on top of his hips while she unbuttoned his shirt, causing Draco to let out a feral-sounding gasp. As he watched her chest sway inches above his face, he arrived at a decision. Even if his parents chose a different witch for him to marry, he was going to keep Pansy as his mistress, propriety be damned. If the rumors were to be believed, his father had at least one mistress, possibly several. Once they helped the Dark Lord take control, his family was going to be so wealthy and powerful that he could have whatever he wanted.

Draco reached up and seized Pansy by the back of her neck, pulling her mouth toward his. She initially gasped in surprise at his rough treatment, but quickly warmed to it and pressed her face urgently against his. He held her tightly, mashing her little pug nose against his cheek while they snogged. With a sudden lurch, he tried to flip the two of them over so that he was on top of her. After scrambling a bit to avoid falling off of the side of the bed, he managed to maneuver the two of them into a comfortable position. He could hear her moaning as he kissed her neck, and he reveled in the combined intoxication of firewhiskey, arousal and power.

Perhaps he was deluding himself about being able to keep her as a plaything indefinitely. Perhaps his mother would never allow it. It didn’t matter. This night was his, and he was not going to deny himself a thing. He swiped his wand from beside the bed and extinguished the lamps with a single flick. Then he turned his attention back to Pansy and proceeded to indulge himself in every way that came to mind.

Hours later, Draco and Pansy were jarred out of their satiated slumber by the sound of the dormitory door slamming against the wall. The lamps in the room suddenly blazed to life and Professor Snape stood at the door. Pansy yelped and pulled Draco’s blanket up to cover herself. Snape almost seemed to fly across the room as he covered the space separating them in a few long strides.

“Get. Out. Now.” he snarled through clenched teeth, drawing out the last word in a forbidding tone of voice. Pansy gathered the blanket around herself and sprinted out of the room. Snape banished the pile of her clothes from the floor into the corridor and slammed the door with a flick of his wand.

Draco’s mind was reeling. The fact that the Potions teacher had not immediately given them both detention was his first hint that something was very, very wrong. It wasn’t like Snape to ignore such a severe violation of the rules, even when it occurred in his own house. He fixed Draco with an angry stare, then spoke very slowly and carefully.

“Listen closely, for I shall not repeat a word of this. Your father’s mission to the Department of Mysteries has failed.” Draco immediately began to formulate a denial in his mind, just in case Snape accused him of some involvement, but the professor seemed to already know what he was thinking. “You know exactly what I’m talking about, Mr. Malfoy, so save your lies for someone who cares. When you return home at the end of the term, life as you know it will cease to exist. Your father will be locked away in Azkaban. Your home will be crawling with Aurors. Everything you say and everything you do will be scrutinized for the slightest hint of a connection to the Dark Lord and if they find one, real or imagined, you will join your father in prison. Do you understand?”

Draco nodded slowly. Why Snape was sharing any of this with him was beyond his comprehension. His mind was spinning faster than he ever imagined possible. Everything he had spent the last few hours imagining, his entire life, was swirling down the drain before his eyes.

“You have two hours before first light,” Snape continued. “I suggest you use that time to rid your belongings of anything that might be construed to suggest your involvement in any of this. Do not use your own wand to cast the spells. That is the first thing they’ll check.”

Snape turned and made his way back to the door. When he opened it, Draco could see Goyle and Crabbe peeking into the room, looking terrified. “And Mr. Malfoy,” Snape added menacingly, “if I ever find that little trollop of yours inside this room again, I promise that you will come to know a new definition of the word regret.” He turned toward Goyle and Crabbe and flicked his wand at them. “Obliviate.” Their eyes went blank and Snape stormed past them, his black robes billowing behind him as the door slammed shut in his wake.

And so it begins! My new project will take Draco Malfoy through some of the darkest days of his young life. As always, thanks are due to my brilliant beta reader, sophie_hatter. Please take a moment to let me know what you think! The comment box is at your service!

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