“You know, I've been to so many wonderful parties here,
Mame. Now, I'm going to find out how they all ended.”
There were days when Draco Malfoy would make Plans—Great Plans, mind you—of all the things he would Accomplish once he had graduated and gotten away from the hellhole of a school he attended.
In these Plans, Draco was always shrouded in fabulously decorative colored lighting and accompanied by a tasteful yet inspiring theme song, which at times varied from peppy and upbeat to stirring and slow, but was always inevitably sung by his favorite rock band, a group rumored to be made up entirely of Squibs who called themselves The Ambiguously Fey Trio.
In these Plans, Draco was always famous: he would win the Quidditch World Cup and become a national hero. He would publicly snub Harry Potter, and the world would follow!—if of course Harry Potter were permitted, in any given Plan, to be still-alive by then, and not murdered in a gratuitously gory fashion, preferably by Draco’s own gratuitously evil hand, after a suitable time of fierce one-on-one fighting in battle, preferably on the school grounds of Hogwarts, during a surprise initiative spearheaded by Draco as the key Death-Eater-on-the-inside, moments after they had graduated.
After successfully defeating Harry Potter, and/or successfully not caring whatsoever that Potter had been duly murdered one way or other, Draco would open a rival school, one where students were admitted based on sheer talent—none of this sissy segregation of the smart from the cunning, or the brave from the deviously underhanded. People would pay good money to go to a school like that—especially since he, Headmaster Malfoy, would handpick all the professors himself, guaranteeing that they would be simply the smartest beings upon the planet.
And if one day the Ministry should approach him to be the next Minister of Magic, well, Draco knew where his duty lay. Of course, he would be married by then, to someone beautiful and gracious, with long, endlessly flowy legs and a narrow tapering waist—oh, and small feet would be good too—but smart too. A brunette, maybe, with brown eyes. Possibly green.
This, however, was where the Plan always began to break down. Brunettes would sully the Malfoy bloodline terribly. Oh, what muddiness would occur. Insofar as Draco knew, all of his grandparents had been striking blondes with alabaster brows and bleached skin pigments.
In reality, Draco didn’t really go for blondes. And in reality, Draco did none of the things on his list of Grand Plans after graduation, because, first and foremost, the British Quidditch Federation didn’t play during wartime. No one came to recruit him, and so from there on everything else naturally went to shite. Also, in reality, one of the first things Draco set out to do shortly after graduation was not kill Harry Potter in cold blood, but to go to a Muggle movie theatre.
After all, he was deadly curious.
Draco did not know much about Muggles, of course, but he had never let this fact stand in the way of his ability to make sweeping generalizations about them. The fact that one Muggle-born was the bossy and aggravating Hermione Granger was more than enough evidence to convince Draco that all Muggles were bossy and aggravating. This conviction had served him well for years, and as no one had ever bothered to contradict him he believed it without reservation.
Draco was never deluded enough to think that in venturing off to the Cock-n’-Rock Playhouse one fine summer afternoon he was being open-minded. No, he simply wanted to see what sorts of things Muggles got up to that were so exciting they wanted to turn them into movies.
The discovery of what Muggles apparently all did in their spare time was an unexpected, if not altogether unpleasant, revelation.
It was the sort of thing that kept Draco up at night, while he contemplated his new-found understanding of Muggles. He gave the subject considerable thought. It was the sort of thing that enlarged his mind. It was the sort of thing that made him reluctant to answer the summons of his mother, who appeared in the doorway of his bedchamber one night and said languidly, “The war’s come to our house again, Draco; be a good boy and go hide in the cellar.”
Being a dutiful son, Draco hugged his robes about him and started for the cellar, but along the way a new destination entered his head, and he found his feet traveling toward the echo of muffled cries and clanging swords that carried along the corridors. They took him to the library, where, despite the closed door, sounds of a fierce and fiery battle could be heard from within.
Draco hesitated, then knocked politely. After several knocks with no response, he muttered, “How rude,” and let himself in.
The book which hit him squarely in the forehead a second later nearly discouraged him from continuing upon his present course of action, but he was a hardy sort, and the inspired death-bed soliloquy he contemplated issuing forth quickly gave way to a more general, very-much-alive sort of annoyance when he saw who had done the throwing.
“Oh, it’s you, is it,” he said wearily. “It figures you’d be here, mussing up the library.”
As the person to whom he was addressing was busy fending off two Death Eaters, a Boggart, and a somewhat evil-looking goat, it was several moments before he could answer. Fortunately, Draco was the patient sort, and settled in to wait.
Sure enough, presently the goat came whizzing over Draco’s head, and Harry Potter growled, “Malfoy? What are you doing?”
“Watching you battle,” said Draco with a yawn. “You wouldn’t happen to know where Professor Dumbledore is, would you?”
“Professor Dumbledore,” said Harry, gritting his teeth and rolling under a desk just in time to avoid a curse from the nearest Death Eater, “was killed last week battling a Boggart.”
“Really? A Boggart?”
“You’re battling a Boggart now,” said Draco helpfully.
“Don’t remind me!” replied Harry, casting Riddikulus from under the desk as the Boggart transformed from a twenty-foot tall Delores Umbridge into a giant toad with a suspiciously strong resemblance.
“Well, if he’s dead and all, perhaps you can help me out,” Draco mused, kicking off his slipper and settling onto the couch.
“Me? Help you out? With what?” retorted Harry incredulously, as he hunted for a way out from under the desk. The nearest Death Eater, obviously deducing this task would take Harry a few moments, gave a labored grunt and shrugged out of his black-on-black robes.
“Want me to hold those for you?” Draco offered pleasantly.
“Hey, thanks,” replied the Death Eater courteously.
Draco caught the robes as they were tossed in his direction. “Malfoy!” cried Harry from under the desk as Draco stretched out lengthwise on the couch, using the Death Eater’s robes as a pillow.
“What about my robes?”
“You can’t possibly get out of those robes and dodge curses all at once, Potter. Surely I don’t look that thick to you.”
Harry let out a loud, strangulated curse and rolled clear of the desk just as a sinister-looking hex came flying right where he had knelt seconds earlier. Scrambling to his feet, Harry sprang around the couch behind Draco, artfully deflecting a curse with the flat of his sword. Draco shielded his head from the books that flew off the shelves around them as the spell rebounded off the walls.
“I’d be able to do that and a lot more,” seethed Harry, “if you would, oh, I don’t know, help me.” He ducked down, still using the couch as a shield, but too late to prevent a spell from singeing the sleeve of his robes.
Malfoy eyed him disdainfully. “Well, if you’re going to get them all charbroiled you might as well hand them here,” he clucked, lazily conjuring a barrier between himself, the Death Eaters, and the toad, who was hopping around in a distracting way.
“Bloody finally,” muttered Harry, removing his robes and flinging them into Draco’s lap. He was suddenly quite shirtless. “Ah. Much better.”
“Erp,” said Draco. “Ulp.”
“Gah. Meep. Werble.”
“Oh,” said Harry, flushing. “I’ve been trying to look like Bruce Lee.”
“A movie star, Muggle—you wouldn’t know—”
“Oh!” interjected Draco eagerly. “Was he in 32-Carat Engorgement Ring? That was a good one!”
Unfortunately, the Death Eaters chose that moment to break through the barrier with a curse cleverly aimed in the general vicinity of Harry’s mouth, which was conveniently wide-open and gaping in astonishment. Had the barrier not been equipped with a built-in spell modification deflector, events might have taken a decided turn for the worse; as it was, the Death Eater’s crafty Slaughterus-maimus spell was transformed upon contact into the equally cruel, though far less harmful in the immediate sense, Auntie Mame hex.
The Death Eaters shrieked. Even the toad shrieked.
Draco, however, thought Potter looked positively smashing with earrings.
“Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death!” squeaked Harry, looking simultaneously horrified and campy.
“You make the cotton easy to pick, Mame,” sang the two Death Eaters in unison, joining one another in a poorly executed slow-kick. “You make the Muggles easy to kick, Mame!”
“Now, look here, Potter, are you going to get on with it, or should I just take my dilemma to someone else?” snapped Draco, growing bored.
“I—I—” Harry struggled, his tone wretched.
“Yes?” Draco arched an eyebrow.
“Ihavetogoexchangeonegemstone-studdedeveninggownforanother!” Harry burst out, rushing from the room, the train of his dress rustling in his wake.
“Oh, for—” Draco eyed the remaining occupants of the room. The toad had now joined the two Death Eaters in a chorus line. “Riddikulus!” Draco barked, and with a crack, the toad transformed into a naked Carol Channing.
One of the Death Eaters (the one who moments before had been doing an impressive series of high-kicks, complete with jazz hands) uttered a cry of sheer, heartstopping terror, and fainted dead away.
Carol Channing gave a satisfied grunt.
The remaining Death Eater stared from his prone partner to the Boggart in evident increasing fright.
“Howace Vandergelder, is that you?” croaked the Boggart hoarsely, gazing at him with sloe-eyed curiosity, striking a grotesque pose.
After only a moment’s hesitation, the second Death Eater ran screaming from the room.
Draco, looking around at the carnage, rolled his eyes and went to find Harry.
It did not take him long. Following a series of muffled whimpers led him to the nearest cranny, where Harry was leaning against the wall, holding a lime-green feather boa in his hands and looking forlorn and distracted. All else that remained of his stunning costume was a pair of bright red stiletto heels and the same pair of glittering diamond earrings, that hung down to his shoulders and swished whenever he turned his head.
“Er. There, there,” said Draco awkwardly.
“There was—there was singing,” said Harry, voice a high-pitched, traumatized whine.
“It could have been worse,” offered Draco cheerfully. “You could have been wearing chiffon.”
“Well, look here, it’s not my bloody fault you couldn’t just kill them and get on with it! What did you think I meant to do, come down here and rescue you?”
Harry looked furious, and swung the feather boa over his shoulder with all the haughtiness he could manage. “What did you come down here for? Don’t you usually hide in the cellar?”
Drawing himself up to his full height, Draco said with dignity, “As a matter of fact, sometimes I simply stay in my room waiting to be captured.”
“Really?” For a moment Draco could have sworn Harry looked deflated. “I’ve never been, you know, ordered to search your room or anything. Not that I’d want to. Capture you, that is.” He cleared his throat and clutched the boa possessively, and Draco, who was already impatient, stamped his foot.
“Look here, Potter, whether you capture me or not is beside the point. I want to know how to become a Muggle.” He crossed his arms and eyed Harry expectantly.
“You heard me.”
“But—why? I mean, you can’t become a Muggle, but—but—”
“What do you mean I can’t?” rejoined Draco, waving his hand dismissively. “I’m a Malfoy, I can do as I please.”
“Malfoy. Why on earth would you want to become a Muggle?”
“I don’t suppose that’s any of your business, now, is it?”
Harry furrowed his brow, which incidentally caused his earrings to dance on his ears and sparkle lots and lots.
“No, I guess not… but—Malfoy, you understand even if you did manage to become a Muggle you wouldn’t automatically look like Bruce Lee, right?”
Draco sniffed. “Potter, your manly and well-defined torso has nothing to do with my desire.”
“Oh,” said Harry, sounding deflated again.
“I wish to become a Muggle so that I can insert various things inside the body parts of my fellow Muggles.”
With a soft flump!, Harry lost his balance in his stiletto heels, and fell to the floor. Draco was tempted to let him stay down there sprawling, but the suspicion that it would be most ungentlemanly to refuse aid to anyone in a boa overcame the impulse, and he stretched out a limp palm to help the lad up.
This proved to be a mistake, because instead of allowing himself to be helped up, Harry yanked fiercely on Draco’s hand and pulled him down to his level.
“Ouch, my knees.”
“Shut up. Malfoy, are you saying you want to breed with—with Muggles?”
“What? Good god, no, whoever said anything about breeding, Potter?”
“Well, when you—” Harry trailed off, looking abashed.
“You’re being far too literal,” Malfoy said arily. “I simply admire the way Muggles engage in various anatomical rituals.”
When Draco finished speaking, Harry was blushing so fiercely even the hollows of his throat were pink.
“Malfoy,” he said with a gulp. “You don’t have to be a Muggle to do that sort of thing.”
Draco tilted his head. “You don’t?”
Somewhat shyly, Harry leaned forward and shook his head. “No,” he murmured, his green eyes sparkling even more brightly than his earrings.
And then he elaborated.
There were days when Draco would make Plans—Great Plans—For The Future. Such Plans were still swathed in decorative colored lighting, and still featured deliriously happy music from his favorite singing group, who had finally come out as full-fledged wizards and were now calling themselves the Not-So-Ambiguously Fey.
More often than not, however, these Plans were less grand than trivial—such as the Plan that involved someday learning how make Breakfast, so that the house-elves would cease to be always knocking on the bedroom door early in the morning, often just when the anatomical rituals were at their most pleasant.
No longer did the Plans involve bloody murder, or indeed any of the more evil variants of Grand Plans. And, in fact, so far from opening a rival school after the war had ended, when the Ministry approached him to be an esteemed Professor at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Draco knew where his duty lay.
Occasionally these Plans would involve secretly dyeing Harry’s hair blond in his sleep, in order to avoid the wrath of countless generations of future Malfoys who would be forever sullied by the insertion of a Potterian gene in the bloodline. Because although ordinarily Draco didn’t go for blonds, he felt he could probably go for Harry one way or another. But somehow, he never got around to attempting it, and Harry’s dark-haired, green-eyed gene lived on.
And Draco, more often than not, was forced to admit that the best things never happen the way they’re Planned anyway.