Draco cracked open his eyes. He had a splitting headache. Maybe the centaurs just whacked him over the head. He wouldn't put it past them. Why he listened to the hoofed bastards is anyone's guess. He must be crazy.
The sight that greeted him definitely wasn't the forbidden forest anymore. That's one point in favour of the theory that the mules weren't chatting shit. It looked like a room. A bedroom. He opened his eyes more fully. This was his bedroom. More specifically, eleven year old him's bedroom. The walls were still covered in the old childish cartoon dragon wallpaper he had replaced when he was twelve. His Hogwarts trunk lay untouched on the floor; clearly newly purchased. Toys still lay on the shelves- he had not yet tried to throw them out on deciding he was too old for them (only to have his mother order the elves to place them in the attic instead).
He climbed up from the bed, feeling slightly uncoordinated at first. He looked down at his tiny limbs, hardly believing what he was seeing. His reflection in the mirror was even more alarming. Evidence seemed to suggest that it hadn't been some kind of centaur prank and inexplicably he had been transported nearly a decade back in time, and was now residing in the body of his eleven year old self.
Quite frankly Draco wanted to scream, but that would likely bring his parents running and that was a whole kettle of fish he wasn't ready to deal with yet. A stiff drink wouldn't go amiss, but he dreaded to think of the reaction the house elves would have if he asked for one. In frustration, Draco threw himself back down on the bed.
He really did it. He travelled back in time. If he hadn't already fucked up his life enough, now he had a second attempt to do it all over again. This was crazy. He was crazy. The centaurs must have been crazy to think it was a good idea to send him of all people back in time to "fix everything”.
Like, where would one even start with that?
The more he thought, the more he realised he had absolutely no clue what to do now. At the very least the centaurs should have given him chance to research before they sent him back here. He'd have paid more attention the first time if he knew he was going to have to do it again. He had almost no clue what Potter and the Order of the Phoenix had been up to when they were taking down the Dark Lord. He'd been busy fighting on the other side (or more accurately, trying to save his own hide and hoping the noseless prick didn't decide to brutally murder him and his parents). He had the feeling Potter had muttered something about Draco and a wand whilst monologuing during his final fight with the Dark Lord. He really should have been paying more attention. Alas, he wasn't.
Putting that aside, in order to try and push down the rising panic, Draco decided to focus on the here and now. He was just about to start his first year at Hogwarts. Why not focus on one day at a time for now? What of importance happened during that year first time round? He racked his brain. Potter had done something dramatic at the end of the year. The defence professor, what was his name? Quirell, that's it, he was involved somehow. Dumbledore gave Potter and his cronies a whole bunch of points for it, enough to steal the House Cup from Slytherin. Weasley's were definitely something to do with chess. Draco couldn't remember much else about it; at the time he'd been more annoyed about Potter getting a load of attention, and Gryffindor stealing the House Cup. But in hindsight, Draco got the feeling it was probably important somehow.
He tried to think of other clues to what that was about. What else had Potter been up to that year? Suddenly he remembered the detention they had together, after getting caught out after curfew (wasn’t that because Potter made up a story about a dragon or something?). They'd gone down to the Forbidden forest, searching for whatever was killing unicorns, and nearly got attacked by some monster. If that wasn't an example of the reckless child endangerment that went on at Hogwarts, he didn't know what was. Sure, Dumbledore might have been instrumental in taking down the Dark Lord, but Draco's opinion of the scheming old bastard's skills as a headteacher wasn't particularly high. That was probably one belief that his father did have right all along.
So in conclusion, Draco had almost zero clue how to "save everyone", and next to no idea where to even start. One thing he reluctantly admitted to himself was that this time, he probably did need to be actually successful in befriending Potter. The place to be getting all the useful intel was likely at his side. So that meant he needed to do a better job of making a first impression than he did last time. Not being rude about Weasley and the Mudblood would probably be a start. In fact, he'd better avoid using that word altogether. He was reminded of the time Weasley tried to curse him for calling Granger that, and managed to make himself vomit slugs. He took a second to laugh out loud at the memory. But he couldn't be having any of that if he wanted to make a success of his mission.
Suddenly there was a "pop" to his left, and Draco nearly jumped out of his skin. He scrambled around trying to find his wand, only to realise he didn't even have one yet. Urgh. That was something he hoped would be rectified sooner rather than later. He felt so weak and defenceless without it. He turned to the sound of the noise; a house elf staring at him, pulling a smug face. He scowled back.
"Master Draco should be going down to the dining room now to be eating dinner with the Master and Mistress," the elf informed him. Dobby, that's what the elf was called. Draco never liked him much. He was weird, even for a house elf. His father ending up giving him clothes, maybe at the end of second year, he thought, then the demented thing went round being a "free elf". There were a few odd rumours about what he got up to. He even managed to turn up somehow when Potter and the other two were being held captive at the manor, and apparated them away. Draco resolved that he should keep a good eye on the elf.
With trepidation, he headed downstairs. It was weird seeing the manor how it was before. Before the war, before the Dark Lord took it over, before everything. He entered the dining room and had to hold in a gasp when he saw his parents. They looked so young. The war hadn't been kind to them, which wasn't exactly surprising. He'd not noticed it as it happened, but the stress of it all had aged them considerably. Particularly his father. The stay in Azkaban can't have helped.
He thought he schooled his face well, but he still must have let something show, because his mother turned to him with worry.
"Draco darling, what's the matter? Come sit down."
"Nothing. I'm… I'm fine." He took his seat and busied himself spreading his napkin on his lap, avoiding her gaze. He needed to be careful. He mustn't attract suspicion. His father he could probably work his way around, but his mother, that would be more difficult. If she thought something was wrong she would worry, and she would dig around until she found out what it was. And Merlin help him if she came to the conclusion that he was an imposter (he was a very different person to the child he was back then after all); he'd seen how strong he maternal instincts could be, and he hated to think what she might do.
He managed to make his way through the dinner without creating any further suspicion, he thought. He'd managed to pick up some useful information about what was going on at this point in the timeline. Apparently tomorrow would be when they'd go to Diagon Alley to get the rest of his school stuff; he didn't have to fake the enthusiasm when his mother asked if he was excited about getting his wand.
He went to sleep in his old bed, thinking he might wake up and find out this had all been a dream.