Yawning widely, I rolled over in my bed and glanced at my watch, which I had fallen asleep wearing. Ten o'clock. I groaned inwardly. The day was already destined to be a terrible one; Kathleen was coming.
"That b!%¢#," I muttered to myself, sitting up and stretching pale, thin arms.
"Draco! Draco Malfoy! Get up right now! You are already late! Put on your nice robes! You haven't seen your cousin in ages! Hurry up!"
My mother. I groaned aloud this time. What was the point of getting up? Why would I want to see Kathleen anyway?
I yelled my reply, "Kathleen probably won't wear robes! Kathleen never does anything!"
Mother ignored me and continued, "Your cousin will wear her nice robes and no son of mine is going to be shown up by my brother's daughter!"
She normally doesn't mind Kathleen - perhaps because she only sees her once every five years - but she and her brother, at the risk of sounding redundant, do not like each other much.
I got dressed as slowly as possible, although my stomach was begging to be fed, just to spit Mother, but she didn't even seem to notice how long I took to get downstairs, merely grabbing an empty plate from the table and shoving it at me.
"Eat," she commanded briskly, and, "Tap it with your wand and say what you wish to eat," as soon as I opened my mouth to comment.
Another inward groan. She did this whenever somebody important would be coming over. Why she thought Kathleen was important, I don't know, but my cousin obviously was special enough, in her opinion, to subject all of us to artificial food.
I sneered at her back as she bustled away and, tapping the plate, drawled, "Bacon. And eggs."
No sooner had the food appeared than my mother, hurrying by, snatched it away and cleaned it of any trace of food, using her wand and a rather familiar word.
"No time, you should have woken yourself up earlier!" I grimaced as she ran into the drawing room. She did this when someone especially special was expected. Like the Minister of Magic. Or like Kathleen.
My only thoughts were of self-pity, that is, until Mother shrieked in my ear, "Get moving!" After that they were of pain and self-pity.
I had not yet even opened my mouth when she anticipated my coming retort and said sharply, "And don't you dare talk back to me, Draco Amadeus Malfoy."
I sneered and she slapped me across the face. She did that when she was extremely uptight about something and I was not cooperating. Well, if she thought I was going to cooperate where Kathleen was concerned, then she was dead wrong.
I exited the kitchen, slamming things around and generally acting uncooperative and spoiled, though I would never admit to the latter.
Once upstairs, I locked myself in the bathroom and looked at my reflection in the mirror. Dark circles under my eyes marred the perfect, pale skin of my face, for I had gotten very little sleep the night before. No matter; a bit of sleep loss could not greatly harm my natural Malfoy charm.
I pushed my painful and self-pitying thoughts from my mind and thought of other things, namely, Caroline. My older sister was in sixth year and, by all standards, quite intelligent. However, she did not act it, because on the last Hogsmeade weekend of her fifth year, she had held up Honeydukes and walked off with a sackful of stolen candy. Candy. At least if she was going to go to all the trouble of holding up a store, she could have stolen something useful. Anyway, she had spent a month or so in a sort of juvenile hall called Azkaban Junior, but would arrive home that day. I would have laughed aloud at the thought of her languishing in prison, if I hadn't been so upset about the arrival of both my sister and my cousin on the same day. I contented myself with a smirk, and set about brushing my teeth and combing my silvery-blonde hair.
After a while, I heard a shrill voice calling, "Draco, oh Draaaaaaco, I'm ho-ome!"
I didn't answer, hoping that if I ignored her long enough, she would go away.
The same voice came again, only louder and with a sharper tone to it, all pretend sweetness discarded. "Squirt! Get down here; Mother wants you!"
It was not my mother, for she would never dream of talking about herself in the third person, and it was most definitely not my father, for the voice was far too shrill and, besides, he would never dream of calling me "Squirt." I knew that there was no escaping it. Caroline was home.
Waking up, I realized that I had slept in again, and today, of all days. I rather wished that I had bought a Muggle alarm clock because neither of my parents cared enough about me to wake me up in the morning. My loud sigh was cut off by a huge yawn and I almost dropped back to my pillow again and slipped back into slumber. Getting a grip of myself, I carefully stepped out of my bed. The floor felt cool against my bare feet, a welcome change after a hot and sticky night. Even in Salem, Massachusetts, the summers were pretty hot. I padded softly over to my bureau and pulled out jean capris and a plain white T-shirt. Slipping into my shoes, I pulled on a white wizard's hat to please my mother, not as if I thought she would even notice my Muggle apparel.
I walked down the stairs, stifling another yawn, and walked into the kitchen, where the large clock announced that it was now 10:30 AM. My mother was sitting at the table reading something.
Quietly, I asked, "Mom, why didn't you wake me up? I think I'm going to be late."
My mother rolled large brown eyes and said boredly, "Well, you better hurry up, then. If you are too lazy to wake yourself up at a proper time, then I think that's your problem; am I right?" I didn't answer but rolled my eyes back at her.
I couldn't wave my wand and Apparate myself a decent breakfast, so instead I snitched a piece of toast from the plate in front of my mother and, scraping a thin layer of butter onto it, sauntered out of the room again and up the stairs to my bedroom, where I grabbed my bag of necessary belongings and ran down the stairs again. When I stumbled and almost fell down the remaining stairs, my mother didn't even look up from her book.
I walked out into the kitchen again and, putting my bag down, stood tapping my foot impatiently. Then my father made his entrance. He had obviously also been up for quite a while, as he was dressed in long black robes already. He must have been positively sweltering but he looked perfectly calm and cool, which was more than how I felt. He looked at me impatiently.
"Well girl," he said, sneering at me. "About time you woke up and got yourself moving. Your mother and I have been ready for hours."
I stared at him with my eyebrows raised and my mouth partly open. "Close your mouth, Kathleen," my mother commented in a drawling manner. "You look like some repulsive sort of fish."
I closed my mouth and then immediately opened it again to speak to my father. "You could have woken me up, you know." I wasn't exactly flabbergasted, because that was just about what I expected from my father.He didn't even deign to reply. I shook my head and picked up my bag again and resumed tapping my foot. "So are we going?" I asked.
Again, he didn't reply but merely gestured towards the fireplace and the jar of Floo Powder. I didn't walk over but instead said, "So are you going to bewitch my clothes? They're white, you know, and I don't particularly feel like showing up at Malfoy Manor looking like a chimney sweep."
After replying with, "I'll thank you to speak with a more respectful tone to your elders and betters," he waved his wand and muttered some strange word. My clothes were covered in a purple filmy substance and I dearly hoped that it would go away after my journey through the fireplace but hated my parents too much to ask. I threw a pinch of the powder from the jar into the blazing fire in the fireplace. This close, the fire was making beads of sweat trickle down my forehead and chin, and when it sprang up in the tall green column of flames the heat was even more oppressive. I yelled, "Malfoy Manor" as I stepped into the roaring fire.
When I arrived at the Manor, I was greeted, if you can call it that, by the Malfoys. My cousin Draco's eyes swept over me and he seemed to look a bit resentful upon noticing my summery outfit. I goggled at his formal black robes.
"Just like my father!" was my first thought. "He'll probably be absolutely horrible, too." I stuck out my hand for him to shake, and when he did, it felt rather clammy and, upon finishing the handshake, I discreetly rubbed my hand against my pants. I realized that the Malfoys' home was much cooler than mine; they must have had air conditioning spells in every room. I smiled coldly at him and was just turning to greet my aunt Narcissa when my father stepped out of the fireplace. My mother followed shortly afterwards and there was no time for me to speak to my aunt. She and my uncle hurried off with my darling parents and I was left with their charming children, one of which, I had heard, only recently was released from a sort of juvenile hall.
Caroline looked at me and I sneered without thinking. She sneered back and I wanted to apologize and explain that I had things on my mind, but somehow the way she was looking at me made me feel rebellious and instead I stared in mulish silence. The older girl shook her head and looked away, so I turned to Draco.
"So," I said to him. "We've got a whole summer together looming ahead of us. What fun." I was sneering again and I couldn't help myself as my eyes swept over his lanky frame and took in his pale skin and sneering face.
"Yeah," he snarled. "Fun. Leave me alone. I've got plans." He started to stalk out of the room but turned around and added, "And they don't include you."
I could hear my parents talking in a low voice with my aunt and uncle and suddenly I heard Lucius raise his voice to say, "Well, I've heard that the Alexander Mansion is occupied again by its owners." Then I could hear Aunt Narcissa hushing him and so we just sat and waited in silence as Draco started to walk out of the door again.
At this point, the adults reentered the room and Draco smacked right into my father, who stared coldly down at him and then, without apologizing, swept past him towards the fireplace, where he threw a pinch of Floo Powder into the fire and left the Manor. My mother followed without a glance in my direction and I rolled my eyes after her and sneered. Draco goggled after my father and I suppressed the sudden urge to laugh loudly in his face. Aunt Narcissa hugged me and my uncle ignored me. I guess it runs in the family.
"Home, sweet, home," I grinned. After 7 years traveling around the world we were finally going home. The last time we had been home in Britain was last year when we went to the Quidditch World Cup, but that didn't count since it was only for a week. My parents worked for the Ministry as diplomats or something along those lines.
"Oh, shut up Daphne," my twin sister Lucille said. "If your not going to go home now, then let me go through the fire first."
As I stepped into the flames I rolled my eyes and threw the bit of powder from the floo jar. "Alexander Mansion!" I said happily.
In a few seconds I was there, and I heard scampering and a noise that sounded like whispering. "Roaches!" I shrieked. I had a fear of roaches, spiders, and other insects except for worms, since worms are pretty harmless. I also had a slight fear of rats.
Lucille stepped out of the fire place. "What's wrong?" she asked in this rude way that she speaks.
"I heard some sort of scampering, I think there are creatures in the house."
"It's our first 10 minutes here and already paranoid! Good God!" Lucille said in her impatient voice.
"I'm not paranoid!" I snapped. "I just have a phobia of disgusting creatures!"
My mother arrived and then my father with our house elf, Smoogy. We stopped squabbling instantly.
Smoogy was coughing. Lucille and I looked at each other and started laughing. Then I started sneezing. I always had an allergy problem and our house had grown dusty after being deserted for so long.
"There are only 8 days (counting today) until you both start Hogwarts." Mother said.
For some reason the words echoed ominously through my head. I had been saying how much I wanted to go to Hogwarts when we were in France, but now that school was so close, a million questions went through my mind. What if they hate me? What if I'm really very far behind all the other 5th years and have to start school in first year? What if I fail all my classes? What if I get expelled from school?
"First thing tomorrow we are going shopping for school supplies. Don't worry about a thing, I already have talked to the headmaster, Albus Dumbledore. He says that your tutor has taught you very well and most likely you will get to start in fifth year with other people your age." Mother's voice had that business-like tone that she often has, which is partially the reason she has her job.
I looked at Lucille, I could tell what I looked at by looking at her. She was my identical twin; looking at her was like looking into a mirror. I remembered the time just two years ago when we were in Japan and Lucille and I had been arguing at some fancy dinner that our parents had been having with the Japanese diplomats and then everyone except us and out parents started laughing. We were embarrassed so we stopped arguing and the one of the diplomats said that arguing with your identical twin is like arguing with your self. I rolled my eyes at him, and thought, 'What does an old mad like him know anyway?' But now I understood what he meant; sometimes Lucille and I had a special connection even though we didn't really like each other that much, but our whole family didn't really like each other because we had gotten sick of each other over the past 7 years. The expression on Lucille's face was one of fear and happiness.
"Mother, what's the headmaster like?" Lucille asked.
"He is a very nice man, he was headmaster when I was at school. He is a wonderful wizard, and you will have great teachers. I had a great time there." Mother smiled and I could tell she was thinking of all the great memories she had of when she attended Hogwarts. "Tomorrow we are going to Diagon Alley to get your supplies." Her voice became businesslike again.
Lucille yawned. "What time is it?" she asked.
"11 o'clock, PM of course." Father replied. "Shouldn't you be going to bed?"
"How do we get to our room?" I asked.
"Smoogy will show you the way." Smoogy said. I rolled my eyes at him; I thought Smoogy was nice and all but I always thought people who talked about themselves in the third person were idiots, but a house elf isn't exactly a person.
Lucille and I each had our own room, actually we didn't really since our rooms were both in the attic, but our parents had construction done on the attic so there were two separate rooms in the attic.
Lucille decided to take a shower before bed so she wouldn't have to in the morning. We each went our own separate ways; I fell asleep as soon as I got into bed.
I looked at Kathleen, envious and distasteful. A fresh burst of hatred for her swept through me, for while I suffered in hot, black robes, she looked carefree and cool with Muggle clothing - capris and a white shirt. I would have been slightly comforted by the fact that she had obviously been forced to wear a normal wizard's hat - except that it was also white!
My mother threatened me with everything from grounding to a slow and painful death in order to force me to stay with Kathleen, something I would rather have eaten nails than done. However, in the end, staying with Kathleen was exactly what I did, though the time we spent together was peppered with sneers, smirks, and insults. Caroline certainly didn't help.
Kathleen and I were sitting in the kitchen at the kitchen table the day she arrived when Caroline entered. She hit Kathleen in the head.
"Hey squirt!" she advanced on me as Kathleen glared after her. "Hey squirt junior!" she smacked the back of my head. She sat in the middle of me and Kathleen and whispered, "Wanna know a secret?"
"Not particularly," Kathleen drawled, sneering.
"I don't care!" Caroline said. She advanced towards me.
"Wanna know a secret?" she whispered. I sighed.
"No!" I hissed. She decided to tell us anyway.
"I'm in sixth year, you rotten midgets! And you two aren't!" She slammed our heads together. Caroline hit me. "Bye squirt Junior!" she said to me. "Bye squirt!" she said to a sneering and flabbergasted Kathleen.
Kathleen stood up and, venomously, spat, "Caroline!" When my sister turned around she continued in a low furious hiss, "If you ever touch me again you will not like what happens afterwards, sixth year or not."
Caroline adopted a fake look of cowardice, rolled her eyes, snorted and replied, "Ooh, save me, I'm shaking in my boots, or I would be if I weren't wearing high top sneakers!"
Kathleen sneered and said, "You know, you are they most immature sixth year I have ever met. And I wouldn't be taking my threats so lightly. I don't make empty promises; I've studied dark arts since I was seven."
I was looking back and forth as if I were a spectator at a tennis match. Caroline smiled and got into Kathleen's face, "Doll, I live for the dark arts. You do not scare me one tiny little bit. You don't scare a flea and I've been out here longer than you and you don't even know half the stuff I do. Can you get that through your small head? I'm asking because normally people who are unrealistically hideous and have a halloween mask face, spend more time buying and using as much make-up as they can get, looking in the mirror, or hiding their heads in a paper bag, or trying to cut it off and sell it at a store as a mask, OR become a dementor!
"Trust me kid, don't mess with me. You already are a mess enough already." And Caroline turned on a dime, not waiting for a response from Kathleen.
I watched Kathleen spit after her, stick her nose in the air and heard her mutter things like 'mentality of an infant' or ' so predictable.'
I would have felt bad for Kathleen if it weren't for the fact that I prefered Caroline over her, any day. I just laughed and she turned her glare on me. Taking a page from my elder sister's book, I pretended to be terrified and she just sneered as I got up from the table and left the room.
Unfortunately, I bumped into Mother.
"Where is your cousin?" she asked sternly. I backed off and bowed.
"In the kitchen," I replied straightening my back. I could hear Kathleen laughing derisively even before my mother started yelling.
"YOU LEFT HER?! WELL, YOU BETTER GET RIGHT BACK THERE AND GET HER! THAT IS THE RUDEST THING! YOU GET THERE AND THEN HOP TO YOUR ROOM! YOU ARE PUNISHED UNTIL I TAKE IT BACK! THINK ABOUT THAT! IN FACT, FORGET IT! I'LL GET HER BECAUSE I HAVE TO DO EVERYTHING AROUND HERE!" My mother walked away cursing to herself and slamming things around.
As I walked to my room, I saw my parents' bedroom door open. My father seemed to be talking into his wand, or rather, shouting into his wand. Though I could not help hearing a few phrases such as "Get them out of there!" and "It's inhabited again," I really did not want to find out what was going on. My father had always kept secrets from me. I did not doubt that this had something to do with the Dark Lord, but I was not prepared to find out what, exactly, the connection was. I continued walking away to my bedroom as fast as I could.
Well, it had been a few hours since I arrived and I had already managed to get on the bad side of my older cousin Caroline. It didn't really matter to me, though. I have never been scared of people who can't do anything but insult others for no reason. Besides, she has always been the most immature wizard I have ever met. One of the things I didn't like about her was that when she wasn't calling me "Squirt" her nickname for me was "the Worst Witch." I think that is the name of a fantasy series written by some Muggle. Caroline knew that American women thought of themselves as wizards, so not only did the rude girl find a way to taunt me, she also found a way to insult the customs of the magic folk of my nation. Still, I managed to ignore her, pretty much, after that first day. Poor Draco (ha, ha, as if I would feel sorry for the pathetic jerk) seemed to be under strict orders from his mother to be nice to me the whole summer. I suppose I wasn't exactly sensitive, but the towheaded little wizard managed to insult me anyway, so I don't think he deserved the sympathy and understanding that I am so stingy about giving out.
I smiled to myself at these thoughts and stared at the ceiling. I rather missed my home, even though I was ignored all day and when my parents weren't pretending I didn't exist, they were treating me like dirt. A good reason to be homesick, correct?
Draco and I actually had an intelligent conversation one day, after about a week and a half.
I started by commenting that I had almost been late on the first day. "My parents don't care enough about me to wake me up in the mornings."
Draco surprised me by replying with a sigh, "Tell me about it."
I think I stared at him rather rudely before answering, "You're not saying your parents are like that too..? I mean, I can believe it of your father, but Aunt Narcissa always seems so..."
"Nice? Charming? Comforting?" Draco sounded sarcastic but I nodded solemnly anyway. He continued, "The day you came I woke up at ten. On my own. I probably would have been woken up anyway 'cause five minutes later I heard her screaming, 'Get up! Get up! Get up!' That's my normal wake-up call."
I wasn't exactly shocked. Somehow I could imagine my aunt standing at the foot of the stairs screaming for her son to get up. I rolled my eyes and sneered. "Makes me wish Voldemort had killed my parents, like that Potter kid's mom and dad. Some people have all the luck."
Draco let out a laugh, then said, "Yeah."
We sat in silence for a moment, and then I said, "So, you're in Slytherin, I s'pose...?"
"Yup." I was at loss, trying to think up replies for my cousin's one-word answers. In the end, I just there in complete silence until Draco said, "So. Why did you come to England anyway?"
My short laugh as way of comment to this question was more like a bark. "Oh, my parents are too busy with their dark arts business to look after me themselves, and I guess they don't want me being in any near vicinity of them on the off chance that I somehow ruin their oh-so-brilliant plans. You know, running around devastating the countryside with their 'Dark Lord,' that sort of thing. Sometimes I think I'm going to go mad and go run off and kill everyone in my path, good or evil. Voldemort would be nothing compared to me."
I rambled for a while about this sort of thing while Draco stared at me with a strange look on his face. And that was the end of our "intelligent conversation."
One morning about a week and a half before school began, I had another argument with my dear cousin Caroline.
I was reading one of the books of Dark Magic which I had found hidden underneath the floorboards of my bedroom in Malfoy Manor. I was enjoying it greatly even though I already knew how to perform more than half of the spells described in the tome. The older girl walked into the den and snatched the book out of my hands.
"Oh, trying to learn more stuff, huh? Going to try to get someone to go out with you?" Along with this snide comment, the despicable girl positively cackled.
I calmly took my book back and plastered my most malicious sneer onto my face. Setting the book onto the table behind me, I retorted, "Actually I was just reviewing my Dark Magic. Might come in handy once we're at Hogwarts. You'll have no parents to protect you there, if you catch my drift. You wouldn't know anyway; you're practically a Squib you loser!"
"Oh yeah; reviewing," she scoffed. "Imperio is in there, ya know. Yours probably wouldn't even be strong enough to make someone go out with you."
I carefully kept my face free of expression, but her taunts were beginning to get to me. I spat full in her face and said, "Of course, you would know all about guys, you lousy ho. You're probably a hooker in your spare time." I paused and then hissed, "Although if I were a guy, I wouldn't pick you up off the street!" I didn't wait for her to reply but turned on my heel and stalked off towards my room.
"What are you! B!%©#!" Caroline shouted. My aunt Narcissa ran up the stairs and dragged Caroline off. I had my back turned, but I could hear Caroline shrieking, "Stop! You're going to rip my earrings out!" I smirked to myself. I was pretty sure Caroline was going to regret her choice of words.