Wizards on Acid
*written by Gale*
Disclaimer - characters from the Harry Potter books are property of JK Rowling and are used without permission. New characters will be introduced later, which belong to me. You may note some references to bands and movies in the next few chapters, and their copyrights go in as well. In fact there’s a reference to Willy Wonka in the first 20 lines of THIS chapter. Ten points to your house if you find it. PLEASE NOTE that I have read the four Harry Potter books, even the sorcerer’s companion, but I have not read the lil mini-books (the Quidditch Through the Ages one and that other one). If there’s canon information there that I missed, please forgive me. I’m trying to envision this the best that I can. Also, I PROMISE the title will be explained in later chapters.
Chapter #1: Here are Your Choices…
“You wanted to speak to me, Father?”
Draco resisted the urge to lean in the doorway while he waited for an answer. His father was not the most patient man, certainly not as of late, and of all the things he feared (that he would admit to), it was disappointing him. So he kept his shoulders back, chin up, and tried to keep his eyelids from drooping under the golden haze of the fireplace, the only light in the chamber.
Lucius Malfoy sat in his usual chair before the blaze, savoring a goblet full of what the boy guessed was snozberry wine. It was his favorite, after all. A faint touch of color had already set into his cheeks, which told the young man that this had not been his first glass. That made him shift on his feet nervously. Father never drank much unless he was angry about something.
His father finally turned his head toward him and set the glass aside. Their new house elf, Gibby, took it into trembling hands and hurried to fill it again. “And make sure it’s chilled this time,” he slurred after her, in such a shrill manner that even his son jumped. “Come in here and sit down, Draco.”
That tone alone was enough to make the platinum boy wonder if he should just turn around and go to bed. If Fate were on his side, then perhaps his father was tipsy enough to forget he was there.
Fat chance. Cripes, what did I do?
Biting his lip, Draco came stiffly into the room and took a seat on the stool near his father’s chair. Rather than press for his father to go on, he waited, not wanting to insult the man by pushing. His temper was short enough as it was.
After an uncountable measure of time, and when Draco had begun to nod off, his father spoke, startling him back into consciousness. “I received an owl from your Headmaster today, rather than a list of school supplies, with my mail today.”
No list of sc--does that mean I’ve been expelled?!
Lucius had his hands pressed together in front of him and was staring at his fingers in the dim light. “He has brought it to my attention that in your final hours under Hogwarts’ care, you orated some highly spirited sermons amid your other classmates….”
Draco tensed. He’d made a few proud claims that it was only a matter of time before the Dark Lord purged the world of his enemies, some in school before leaving for the train, more on the ride back to Kings Cross. And seeing the look on Potter’s face…
“Stop smirking, Draco, you foolish child…because of your ranting, when I specifically told you to keep to yourself, Dumbledore has received letters from concerned parents, even violent ones, I should say.” He sat forward, a grim look in his eyes, “He’s expressed to me that, since many students share the same sentiments as their parents, it might be dangerous to send you back to school.”
“Are you saying I’ve been expelled, Father?” Draco’s fists clenched in his lap. It wasn’t something he could easily believe or even condone. So some people were a bit pissy about what he said at the end of the year. Big deal. They wouldn’t touch him, not when he had Crabbe and Goyle around. Even then, his father would have done something. Being a Death Eater he half expected some praise for such enthusiasm.
“No, Draco, you have not been expelled. Lucius’ voice was still low and very agitated. “But you will not be returning to Hogwarts until after Christmas, and duri--”
“After Christmas?” he echoed, completely forgetting who he was talking to now. “So I’m just to be denied half a year of schooling for--”
“Draco do NOT interrupt me again!”
His heart leapt in his chest, and all he could do was stare in white face terror while his father stood out of his chair.
Lucius gazed down his nose at him in disgust and snatched another glass of wine from the returned Gibby. “Stupid boy,” he muttered. “You get that from your mother.”
Draco’s face fell.
“You’ll still get a full year’s education,” his father continued, no assurance in his voice, just a statement of cold fact, “If you could call it that. If it were up to me, you’d spend it here at home with a tutor who’s allowed to use corporal punishment. Maybe that would get your grades up, then.” He took a long swig from the goblet and shoved it back into Gibby’s hands, then he began to pace the room in a distracted manner. The House Elf followed after him carefully, sure to be there if he reached for another drink. Draco almost asked where he would get in half a year’s studies, if not at home or at Hogwarts, but thought against it; he still felt shaken from the last time Lucius raised his voice. “No, your mother wouldn’t stand for that. So I’m taking up your Headmaster’s suggestion.”
Lucius turned to stare him down again, and Draco realized he was waiting for a response. “W-what was his suggestion, father?” he asked, barely above a whisper. Neither of them liked Albus Dumbledore; terrible Headmaster, and a Gryffindor, which made him even worse all around. Most importantly, he was the only wizard alive that Voldemort stayed away from as a rule. Nothing but trouble, all around. But right now, Draco wasn’t talking contempt. Whether he was merely following his father’s example or not, he tended to get himself into trouble for being too haughty in his presence. His reason for being here right now was a prime example. Not because his father had been there, but his father had been complained to.
“He’s signed you up for a new program the Ministry’s been experimenting with. International Student Exchange. Some idiot Muggle idea. You’ll be going to a school in America.” He spat out the last word as though it left a bad taste in his mouth.
Draco could understand why. There were four schools in the United States, each of them very small because wizards there very rarely followed their calling and continued to live like Muggles. Bloody Conformists is what father’d always called them in the worst of moods. What was worse, they were all in places swarming with the things. (Muggles, not just “conformists”) But he only knew of one school. And if it were the only one to come to his attention, then the others could not have been very prestigious by American standards. Why would they send him anywhere else, if it had to be there, than their best school? “Not the Salem Institute, father. They don’t play real Quidditch there!”
“No, Draco. You’re not going to Salem.”
He breathed a sigh of relief. Then… “Wh-”
Lucius grabbed up the glass again, nearly taking Gibby with him, and drank the rest of the contents down. “Further inland. You’ll be spending your first semester of school at the Buckland Wizarding Academy.”
Well at least it sounds a little less American than Salem. But…
“I have to go by myself?”
His father paused in his pacing and looked at him as though he’d just been re-transfigured into the bouncing ferret (minus the bobbing of his head as he watched). “I don’t know if you realize this, Draco, but you’re in trouble. If you expect me to make this experience more bearable for you then you’ve got another thing coming.”
Draco winced as Lucius plopped back down in his chair.
“Whether this would have happened or not, I’m fed up with the results I’m getting from putting tens to hundreds of galleons into sending you to Hogwarts. Your grades will have gone up by the time you get back to England in the winter, or I’m pulling you out altogether. Out of school and out of my inheritance. You can work in some shop in Hogsmeade for all I care. You‘re not stupid, Draco, and it‘s about time you started showing that in your marks.”
By the end of the ultimatum, Draco’s shoulders had sunken down a great deal and his clenched hands were shaking. His eyes remained on the floor, and he felt he was actually fighting back against angry tears.
“Do I make myself clear, young man?”
TO BE CONTINUED….