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Author Notes:

As usual, what's JKR's is not mine. Fair warning, this story may have quite a bit in common with many of my others. Don't like, don't read.

Draco Malfoy huddled on the floor in his bedroom, halfway between the bed and the toilet, struggling to get his breathing under control as his throat burned from the acid.

He killed her, and the snake ate her—first she was alive and awake and crying, and then she was dead and she fell, and then he told the snake dinner and it climbed onto the table and—

He gagged again, but there was nothing left, and he forced his stomach to calm.  He had to be strong.  He couldn't disgrace the family again.  They'd barely survived as it was.

This is my home.  I don't want them here.  Not with what they think is funny…

He hated the things Potter and his friends always managed to do to him, but Potter at least wasn't supposed to be on his side.  These people were, and they still liked to wait in dark hallways and scare him, or jinx him from behind and laugh at his struggles to get free.

And it isn't ever going to change.  Not even if the Dark Lord wins.  It'll just be more of the same, more of the strongest people taking what they want and everyone else fighting over what's left.

And I'm not strong.  Draco pushed himself to his feet and stared at his pale face in the mirror over the sink.  I never was.  All my life, I tried to make people afraid of me, and inside I was terrified that they might see through it and make me afraid of them instead.

Well, now it's happened.  The whole world knows I have no guts.  Anybody can push me around if they try hard enough.  And hard enough isn't very hard at all.

Draco leaned against the wall and slid back down.

I wish I could just disappear.  Just go away.  Find somewhere else, somewhere they don't know me, somewhere I could start over.  Start fresh.

A huge yawn overcame him, and he made his way to his bed and stripped off his robes.  For this one night, he could sleep in shorts and undershirt.

He was asleep almost before he hit the pillow, and his only thought was to hope he didn't dream.


Draco was awakened by someone screaming practically in his ear.

He shot upright with a yell of his own and stared at the screamer.  She was about eleven, she had brown hair that reminded him of Granger and hazel eyes, she was wearing a long green nightgown, and she had a cuddly snake clutched to her chest.

He'd never seen her before in his life.

Which begs the question, what the hell is she doing in my bed?

“Abby!” shouted a familiar female voice from nearby.  “Abby, we're coming!”

The door burst open, and two people about Draco's own age piled in, wands out and trained immediately on him.

Draco scrambled backwards, away from the threat—

And fell off the bed, landing hard on his back.

Ow.

A feminine snigger found its way into his ears, followed by a discreet cough and a little-girl giggle.

“Yeah,” Draco wheezed, catching his breath, “real funny, hilarious, now who are you—” He caught a handful of the bedcovers and pulled himself more or less upright.  “—and how did you get in my house?”

“Your house?” said the pajama-clad boy, arching one brown eyebrow in a move Draco thought he'd cornered the market on.  “I do believe you're a tad confused, my friend.  This is Fidelus Manor, home of the Beauvoi family for forty generations.”

“Th-the what?” Draco stammered.

“And I know all of the family,” the nightgowned girl added (she's got to be Granger, said a little voice in the back of Draco's head, apparently independent of the frozen rest of his mind, no one else has that hair, but I could have sworn her eyes were brown, not blue).  “You're not one of us.  Unless a cousin of ours married a veela and didn't bother to inform us.”

Draco drew himself up, outraged.  “Don't you dare say that about my blood,” he snapped.  “I'm as pureblood as any wizard in Britain—”

The little girl broke down laughing, and the older boy and girl, after one incredulous glance at each other, joined her.

Draco sat down on the edge of the bed, watching them.  “What,” he demanded, “is so funny?”

“You said a silly word,” the little girl said in between giggles.  “You—said—pureblood!”  She went off into a fresh peal of laughter.

The boy took a deep breath, shook his head hard, and sat down on the other side of the bed.  “Look, mate,” he said companionably, “you're obviously lost.  I don't know how you got in here without tripping any of our wards, or how you got in Abby's bed, but you didn't hurt her, right?”

“I didn't get in Abby's bed, she got in mine,” Draco retorted.  “This is my room.  My house.”

Then he took another look around.

The shape of the walls was the same, some of the furniture occupied the same places, but everything else about this room had changed.  A grass-green carpet covered the floor where last night it had been polished wood, the ceiling sparkled with stars cunningly placed to mimic the night sky, and the walls were covered with a mural of children and animals dancing together to the playing of a hooded man with a silver pipe.

My room never looked like this, not even when I was little…

“I hate to put it like this,” the boy said, drawing Draco's eyes back to him, “but if you really think this is your room, you've got some serious problems.”

“Maybe not,” the older girl broke in, shooing her little sister towards the bathroom (the girl went reluctantly, backing towards the door with her eyes fixed on Draco).  “May I use magic on you, please?” she asked Draco.  “It won't hurt, and it should only take a moment.”

Draco nodded dumbly.

Is she Granger after all? he wondered as he watched her wave her wand around his head.  And if she is, who's he?  I thought Granger was going with Weasley, but he's no one I've ever met before…

“You have strong magical traces around you,” the girl announced, taking her wand away from Draco's left ear.  “And they're not anything I'm familiar with.  We'll have to get Father and Mother to look at them, and maybe Lord Albus.”

“Albus?”  Draco blinked.  “You mean Dumbledore?”

“A light begins to dawn,” the boy said in satisfaction.  “We have preliminary communication.”  He cupped a hand over his mouth.  “Beauvoi to…” He stopped and took it away again.  “I'm sorry, I've just realized I don't even know your name.”

“Malfoy,” Draco said icily.  “Draco Malfoy.”  He glared at the girl.  “Stop pretending you don't know it at least, Granger.  We've only been to school together for six years.”

“Granger?”  The girl frowned.  “How odd.  That was my mother's maiden name.”

“Your mother?”  I can't be in the future, can I?  No, that doesn't make sense…

“Yes, my mother.  You do know what a mother is, don't you?”

“Of course I—stop laughing at me!”  Draco rounded on the boy, who had his hand over his mouth again.  “What's your name then, if you think mine's so effing funny?”

The boy laid his hand over his heart.  “Reynard Beauvoi, at your service,” he said, executing a sitting bow.  “I believe you've already met my younger sister Abigail.  May I present my twin sister Hermione.”  The girl curtsied neatly.

That settles it, she has to be Granger.  No idea who he's supposed to be, but it doesn't matter right now.  Try and get some sense out of them, trip them up with things they couldn't possibly not know.  “Do either of you know a kid named Potter?  About our age, skinny, glasses, black hair that looks like it's been through a windstorm and a scar right about here?”  Draco tapped his forehead.

“No, we've never met Harry Potter,” Beauvoi said.  “Never even heard of him.”

“Ha!”  Draco was on his feet.  “Then how'd you know his…” He trailed off, seeing the tell-tale shaking of Beauvoi's shoulders, the way Granger's lips twitched.  “You're taking the mickey.”

“What was your first clue?” Granger asked, giggling a little through the words.  “Yes, we know Harry.  The Potters are actually our nearest neighbors—”

“Some of our nearest neighbors,” Beauvoi cut her off.  “The Blacks live almost as close.”

Granger accepted the correction with a flip of the hand and kept talking.  “Their parents and ours were good friends all through Hogwarts.”

First Granger and Dumbledore, then Potter and Black, now Hogwarts.  There are some things still the way they should be, but the rest of it is so screwed up…

“And I'm a little worried that you think Harry has a scar on his forehead,” Granger added, frowning at him.  “I was so sure you were just confused, until then.”

“I'm confused?  I'm confused?”  Draco stared at her for several seconds, then sat back down on the bed.  “I don't even know where to start with that one.  Why don't you just tell me what about my thinking Potter has a scar made you worried?”

“Well…” Beauvoi said slowly.  “It could be that we've known Harry since we were too young to crawl, and he's never had a scar on his forehead.”

Draco gave the other boy the most skeptical look he could manage on short notice.  “Never.”

“Never,” Granger said surely.  “His head was hurt once, though—right there, where you said—” Her finger traced the familiar lightning shape on her own brow.  “But that was back during the Troubles, years and years ago now.  We were just babies then, barely old enough to talk, not old enough to remember anything, and you don't look any older than we are.  You couldn't have remembered that, not on your own.”

Draco was still trying to come up with a response to this which would make him sound both intelligent and sane when a shriek sounded from within the bathroom.  “Mother!  Father!  They're coming!”

“And how do you know that, O great herald?” Beauvoi teased, crossing the room to throw the bathroom door wide.

“Mother sent her lion to tell me!” the little girl announced, leaping at her brother, who caught her and spun her around.  “She said they'll be here within the hour and we're to dress for company!  Friends, and lots of them!”

“Oh, wonderful!” Granger exclaimed, jumping up to embrace the two.  “Did she say who was coming?  No, never mind, of course she didn't, but lots of friends… that sounds like more than just the Blacks and Potters…”

“Neenie wants the Weasleys to visit,” the little girl sing-songed.  “Neenie's in looooove…”

“Hush, Abby,” Beauvoi scolded, dropping his sister to the floor.  “Wait until they're both here.  Then tease.”

“Oooh!”  Abby laughed aloud.  “Can I wear my blue silk, please, Ray, please, Neenie?”

Granger pressed her hands against her flushed cheeks.  “Not for breakfast,” she said firmly.  “Wear your gray linen instead.”

“But—”

“No buts,” Granger interrupted.  “Or I'll tell Mother you've been naughty and shouldn't be allowed to dance at the ball.”

“Ball?”  Abby's eyes widened.  “What ball?”

“Yes, Hermione, what ball?” Beauvoi asked, frowning.

“You don't think Mother and Father would invite so many guests if they didn't plan to make a night of it, do you?  It may not be tonight, but it won't be long, either.  We'd best tell all the staff, and start getting ready ourselves.  And—” Granger looked back at Draco.

“Ah, yes,” Beauvoi said, following her line of sight.  “Our unexpected guest.”

“Sounds better than ‘prisoner,’ I suppose,” Draco muttered loud enough to be heard, glaring at all three of them.

Granger sniffed.  “Wherever you come from, I hope I never go there,” she said.  “It doesn't seem to teach very good manners.  Come on, Abby, we'll dress in my room.  Echo can bring your things.”

Abby trotted to her sister's side and took her hand, then looked over at Draco.  “I'm sorry I startled you,” she said politely.  “I hope you find your way home soon.”

Draco nodded to her, automatically.  His mind had finally finished putting together everything he had observed with everything the siblings had said and everything they hadn't, and it was now presenting him with the sort of conclusion that tended to make people scream and tear out all their hair.

Either this is the most elaborate charade ever put on, or it's not a charade at all.

And if it's not a charade, then…

Where am I?

Fingers snapped under his nose.  “Malfoy.  You in there?”

Draco jerked upright.  Beauvoi was standing over him, looking down with a mixture of confusion and concern.  “I don't know how you dress where you come from, but you'd better borrow some of my clothes for today.  We look about the same size.  That all right with you?”

“Fine.”  Draco wanted to say more, a lot more, that no, it was not fine, that he wanted to go home, but somehow the monosyllable was all that would come out.

“Great.  Let's get going, or the girls will beat us downstairs and hide all the toast.”

Draco got to his feet, allowing himself one last look around the familiarly strange room.

I wanted somewhere I could start fresh.  Somewhere no one knew me.

I should probably be more careful what I wish for.

Shoulders hunched, he followed Beauvoi out the door.

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