The next stop was Madam Malkin’s Wizarding Wear. Though Harry hadn’t given much thought to his attire during the trip through Diagon Alley, he supposed he did need some new clothes if he wanted to fit into this new world. As they two of them approached the little outlet, Hagrid shuffled awkwardly before gruffly telling Harry “Er, I can’t really fit in there, so… I’ll go get us some ice cream.”
“Oh,” mumbled Harry, “sure.” He did not like the prospect of going in by himself.
“Another Hogwarts?” asked a witch who Harry supposed was Madam Malkins. She looked him up and down then said “Yes, you’re about the same size as this ‘un, so I’ll guess you’re a first year.” She pointed to a bleach-blonde boy who was clearly Harry’s age. He was sitting there calmly as magical measurers took his length and width, and Harry got the impression that he knew what he was doing.
“Hello,” said the blonde boy, turning to extend his hand to Harry. Harry politely shook it and sat down next to the boy. “I’m Draco Malfoy,” he said proudly, as if Harry everyone know his name. Harry wondered if he was a celebrity.
“Harry Potter,” he mumbled sheepishly, embarrassed at not knowing the boy beside him.
“Are you really?!” Draco Malfoy demanded, staring at him now.
“Um… I think so,” mumbled Harry, who wasn’t used to attention.
Draco’s eyes landed on his scar, then he nodded. “I believe you,” he said at last. “Where on earth have you been?” he demanded suddenly.
“Um, what?” asked Harry, confused.
“You disappeared ten years ago! Right after the Dark Lord fell! No one knows what happened to you!” Malfoy told him. Out of the corner of his eye, Harry saw that Madam Malkins was staring at him now.
“I was living with my aunt and uncle,” Harry explained. Draco looked up strangely.
“I thought all the Potters were dead,” he said.
“My mother’s sister,” he explained.
Draco groaned, and Harry was afraid he’d said something wrong, but then Draco asked “You lived with Muggles?!” He sounded horrified, as if Harry had been living in a leper colony. When Harry nodded, Draco continued, more to himself than Harry, “Imagine that. Harry Potter living with Muggles! How did you learn magic?” he asked.
“I didn’t,” Harry admitted. “I honestly didn’t know what magic was until a few days ago.”
Draco’s jaw dropped, and Harry proceeded to explain to him the last 10 miserable years of his life as Madam Malkins fitted them out in new black robes. Much to Harry’s delight, he seemed horrified at the stories Harry told him about the Dursleys. “That is no way to treat a wizard!” he exclaimed sharply when Harry told him about the cupboard under the stairs filled with spiders. “And that stupid, fat, filthy Muggle boy was allowed to hit you?” Harry decided that anyone who was so appalled at Dudley couldn’t be that bad. He didn’t even notice Hagrid standing outside with two half-melted ice creams.
“Oh dear,” said Draco when the story ended. “Oh dear, oh dear. This is terrible,” he was shaking his head sadly. “You’re not going back, are you?” he asked suddenly.
Harry didn’t know what to say- he didn’t know himself. “Well, term doesn’t start for another three weeks, and I don’t have anywhere else to go…” He reached a grim conclusion: he was going back to Privet Drive soon.
“No,” declared Draco imperiously. Harry felt as if he was issuing an order, but didn’t know who he was ordering around. “No, this will not do. How would you like to spend the next three weeks at Malfoy Manor?” he asked. “Lord knows we have room to spare, and you simply can’t go to Hogwarts knowing nothing about our world. Your world,” he added to Harry.
Harry didn’t believe his ears- not go back to Privet Drive? It sounded too good to be true; one of many too good to be true things he’d heard this week, starting with “Yer a wizard, Harry.”
“I’d love to,” Harry said quickly. “If it’s okay with your parents,” he added afterwards. He’d never had a friend before, and he was unfamiliar with the protocols for staying at someone’s house, especially for so long a time.
“Don’t worry about that,” Draco waved. “There’s not a family in the world- the wizarding world, that is- that would deny Harry Potter a room for a couple of weeks.”
Harry was somewhat embarrassed about his new fame, but if it meant he didn’t have to go back to the Dursleys, he would milk it for all it was worth.
“Well of course you can stay!” Draco’s mother told him. Draco sent him a knowing look that screamed ‘I told you so.’ Narcissa Malfoy was a very nice woman, especially when Harry compared her to Aunt Petunia. She was pretty and kind, and she showed in every little gesture that she cared about her son. Harry hoped that Lily Potter had been like Narcissa.
“You found Harry Potter in a robe shop?” asked Lucius Malfoy, sounding amused. He had long, straight blonde hair and a face very much like Draco’s. Every detail of his appearance was fastidious, and he looked to Harry like the cool best friend in a Muggle movie who was too good-looking and skilled to be the main character, but always ended up a fan favorite.
“See Lucius, I told you that Draco should go to Madam Malkins,” chided Mrs. Malfoy. “And you wanted to go to Twilfitt and Tatting's.” She shook her head and muttered just loudly enough for everyone to hear “See, that’s what would happen if men got to do the shopping…”
Draco and Harry laughed, while Lucius ignored his wife to say hello to an important-looking wizard in ornate robes who was passing by. “That’s Amos Diggory, Head of the Office of Magical Transportation,” Draco whispered in Harry’s ear. “Father needs authorization to make a Portkey back to the manner because all the fireplaces are blocked.”
That explanation alone set Harry’s head spinning. There was an Office of Magical Transportation? How did wizards get around? What was a Portkey? Why were the fireplaces at Malfoy Manor blocked, and why did that matter?
Before he could ask any questions, Narcissa pulled Harry and Draco into what was obviously a very nice restaurant, gesturing to Mr. Malfoy to join them later.
Another wizard in fancy robes rushed up to greet them. Harry assumed he was a waiter. “Do you have reservations-” he asked, but then he saw who they were. “Ah yes, Mrs. Malfoy, right this way. And of course, your son and his friend…?” The waiter’s eyes scanned Harry up and down, then landed on his scar.
“Yes, this is our guest,” Narcissa said, clearly enjoying the waiter’s shock. “Harry Potter.”
Suddenly, conversations around the room stopped as people turned around to stare at Harry. One could’ve heard a pin drop. “Oh my God!” yelled a tiny little boy who couldn’t have been older than three. “It’s Harry Potter!”
Suddenly, people around the restaurant were getting up out of their seats to shake Harry’s hand and tell him what an honor it was to meet him. A man who claimed to be from the Daily Prophet brought out a camera and photographed Harry as he shook the hand of the Head of the Auror Office, Rufus Scrimgeour, who reminded him of a lion. Narcissa Malfoy was standing right behind him, with Draco at his side. Both of them were clearly enjoying the attention more than Harry, who mumbled his hellos to the crowd around them.
After they left (the Malfoys ate free apparently because Lucius had invested heavily in the restaurant’s early days, and the owner insisted on putting Harry’s meal on the house: Harry thought ironically, so there is such thing as a free lunch), Lucius brought the Malfoys and Harry out to meet Mr. Amos Diggory (who also shook Harry’s hand and told him what an honor it was to meet him). Mr. Diggory brought them to an old, broken flower vase sitting on a shabby looking table outside a book shop. “Your Portkey, Mr. Malfoy,” he gestured. As the members of the Malfoy family all leaned in to touch the old vase, Draco pulled Harry’s hand to the vase, just in time for him to feel a strange sensation- as if someone was pulling on his insides- and then they were off.
Before Harry could wonder what was going on, the spinning and jerking came to a halt, and he found himself with the Malfoy family on the lawn in front of a massive manor house. The manor must’ve contained 50 rooms at least, and the grounds stretched for acres and acres. And strutting across the grounds…
“Are those… peacocks?” he asked Draco.
Draco’s mother laughed from behind them and explained “When Lucius first began courting me, the two of us went to a fair together. He played one of those ring-toss games, and won me a miniature enchanted peacock. So that day next year, I got him a flock of miniature peacocks, and the year after that we got married and he got me a real peacock, then I gave him a flock of peacocks, then he got these lovely albino white peacocks here…”
“And your mother, stumped, couldn’t find a nicer peacock to give me, so I won the game,” ended Mr. Malfoy, grinning ear to ear in a way that he never would have in public.
Harry really didn’t see much sense to it, but it wasn’t the strangest thing he’d observed this week, and it seemed to make the Malfoy marriage work more smoothly than all Uncle Vernon’s yelling, so he didn’t comment.
“Draco,” called Narcissa as she stood there with her husband admiring their flock of brilliant white peacocks. “Why don’t you show Harry around the Manor? That should occupy you until dinner.” It was still 3 in the afternoon.
True to Mrs. Malfoy’s prediction, Harry was still listening to Draco explain various aspects of the Manor when at 6 pm sharp a small little creature with big eyes and pointy ears popped up and announced that it was dinner time.
“What was that… thing?” asked Harry, staring at the spot where the creature had disappeared.
“Oh, that?” Malfoy laughed, “That was just Dobby. He’s a house-elf, a family servant. Useful little things, elves. Great for running errands.”
Harry’s expectation that the four of them would sit far apart at the great table in the Dining Room (like the usual rich noble family in a movie) was proved wrong as he walked in- the Malfoys were all situated on one end of the table, looking for all the world like a normal family sharing a normal dinner with a hundred-galleon bottle of wine, 7 courses, and 200 hovering candles to provide light.
By the end of the summer, Harry felt more at home in Malfoy Manor than he ever had at Number Four Privet Drive, and was quite sad to leave the house, with its seemingly infinite decorated rooms and halls, kind little servants, and wonderful inhabitants. He also felt a closer bond to Draco than he’d ever shared with anyone in the Muggle world- and from what Mrs. Malfoy had told him, Harry didn’t think Draco had ever had a real friend before either.
When the first of September came, Lucius Malfoy ordered another Portkey from the Ministry, this time an inflated red-and-white flotation device that belonged on a life guard’s chair in some Muggle pool. Harry wondered if the Ministry wizards who made Portkeys had had any idea about what the object was before they took it.
“Dobby! Wanda! Please bring these trunks to Hogwarts castle please, the elves there will know what to do with them,” said Narcissa, looking around to make sure nothing was forgotten before Harry and Draco left. The two little elves bowed, grabbed the trunks, and vanished into thin air- a phenomena Harry was now much more used to than he had been at first.
“Ready, Potter?” asked Draco, grinning. Harry supposed it was a pureblood thing, but Draco referred to him (and everyone else in the world, for all he knew) by their surname. Harry preferred to just call him Draco.
“Ready,” he answered, checking his pockets to make sure he had everything- a bag of change, pocketwatch (gift of Narcissa’s for his birthday), and of course, his wand. He also wore on his right hand a silver ring with a cursive M on it, gift of Lucius Malfoy- a sign that he was forever a friend of the House of Malfoy. Draco and his parents wore identical gold rings, which meant that they were members of the family. Lucius had assured him that there was a similar gold ring in his Gringotts vault with a P, waiting for the return of the House of Potter to the wizarding world. Draco’s present had been the best of all- after teaching Harry how to fly, he’d given Harry one of his brooms, a Cleansweep 7 that was only a few years old (Draco himself had received a Nimbus Two Thousand for his birthday back in December). Then there had been a fantastic feast for his birthday, where Harry met hundreds of wizards and witches, received a wide variety of trinkets, and eaten the top layer of a cake that was taller than he was- all in all, more spectacular than what the Dursleys or Hagrid the gamekeeper had done.
“Don’t worry, we’ll have our brooms with us before Halloween,” Draco quietly assured Harry as they boarded the bright red engine. The one place where Harry truly felt confident- where he understood Draco’s self-assurance- was in the air.
“What was that?” asked a bushy haired girl from behind them, who unlike Draco and Harry was dressed in Muggle attire. “I hope you weren’t talking about broomsticks, because first years aren’t allowed to have them. Don’t you know? It’s been that way for a hundred years now,” she continued, putting far less space between her words than she should have if her goal was to be understood properly.
“You really ought to talk more slowly,” Harry told the verbose girl. “It will help people understand what you’re saying.” Leaving the now embarrassed-looking girl behind, Draco stepped into an empty compartment.
“Once people hear that Harry Potter’s here, this compartment will fill up rather quickly,” he told Harry, who looked at his feet, still not comfortable with his fame.
Sure enough, the compartment was crowded in no time with other students, all eager to meet Harry. There were two identical redheaded twins who came in, and started saying “He is! He really is!” to each other before leaving. Then came an awkward looking boy clutching a toad, followed by the bushy-haired girl, who told him that he should put the toad in a cage if he didn’t want to lose it. There was another set of twins, two Indian girls, who were also first years, Marcus Flint, captain of the Slytherin Quidditch Team (“Can’t wait to have you two on the team next year,” he told Harry and Draco), a boy so haughty he made Draco look humble by comparison (“Blaise Zabini, pleased to meet me,” he introduced himself), two “friends” of Draco’s (“I can’t stand those idiots,” he confided in Harry) called Crabbe and Goyle, and a girl named Pansy Parkinson, who insisted on sitting between Harry and Draco, and laughed at everything either of them said.
People came and went throughout the train ride, with only Pansy staying with Draco and Harry. By the end of the ride, Harry was positive he would offend people all week by not remember who exactly they were.
“Firs’ years, firs’ years!” came a familiar gruff voice as they stepped off the train, and then Harry saw Hagrid, the enormous keeper of keys (whatever that meant) and gamekeeper of Hogwarts. “’Ullo ‘arry,” he shouted to Harry, who waved back meekly. He was then swept away in the tide of first years heading for the boats up to the castle.
As Harry and Draco boarded one of the boats, Draco turned around and said “Go away Pansy.” Much to Harry’s pleasure, the unpleasant girl did, and Harry was glad that he was with Draco, because he never would have been brass enough to make Pansy leave. Instead, the boat was filled with the arrival of the two Patil twins, who reintroduced themselves.
“I’m Parvati,” said one, who was wearing red earrings.
“And I’m Padma,” said the other, who was wearing green. Other than their earrings, Harry couldn’t tell them apart.
“What house do you think you’ll be sorted into?” asked Draco after the introductions.
“Well,” explained Parvati, “Padma here wants to go into Ravenclaw, but I would rather be in Gryffindor.”
“I’m the brains between us,” said Padma in her defense. “Do you think the Sorting Hat will put us in different houses if that’s what we want?”
“So you know about the Sorting Hat?” asked Draco. “Are you purebloods?” Draco always made a bigger deal about blood status than Harry did- after all, any magic seemed… well, magical, to him.
“Yes,” said Padma, frowning. “But we don’t feel that it matters- after all, when you English aren’t discriminating by blood status, you’re discriminating by race.”
“English?” gasped Draco. “Good God no, I’m Scottish to the core. It’s him you want to complain to,” he said, pointing to Harry as the Patils giggled, who had no choice but to confess that yes, he was English.
“What about you?” asked Parvati, “What house do you want to be sorted into?”
“Slytherin,” said Draco immediately, “My family’s been in Slytherin for generations.” Harry was not so quick to reply: sure, he hoped he would be put in Slytherin, but he wasn’t sure if he was good enough. He fervently hoped that he didn’t end up in Hufflepuff.
“Slytherin too,” he said at last. “Though Ravenclaw would be alright,” he said, nodding to Padma. “But hopefully not Gryffindor or Hufflepuff. Imagine being in Hufflepuff, I think I’d leave,” he joked, hoping that his confident exterior would hide his nervousness.
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