On the evening of the very same day, the Most Ancient and Noble House of Malfoy held a birthday party for the twins who just turned eleven.
Draco and Rigel were bored out of their minds standing at the entrance to the huge ballroom, greeting the arriving guests. Some arrived via apparition, port keys, or floo, while a few others were more creative and came with carriages which were led by abraxans, hippogriffs, pegasuses, or even thestrals.
This was the day that Rigel found out he could see thestrals, the flying horses that reminded people of skeletons with rotten flesh, which could be seen only after witnessing death. Rigel has witnessed death quite a few times in his past life and being an archeologist, made his job to deal with sarcophagus or tombs quite often.
Today was also the first time that the twins were participating in any kind of official event with their parents. In pureblood society, children were introduced to others at the age of eleven because that was when their magic settled and they were considered to be more mature.
Until then children were raised in their families without much outside contact. Often times there was one more reason - until the child was eleven-years-old it was hard to tell whether he or she was magical.
What would happen if a child in question was a squib, someone without an ability to use magic? So, in case the child turned out to be a squib, it was easy for the family to say that the child 'died' somehow or somewhere between being born and the age of seven or that there was no child, to begin with.
Magical society was cruel because every witch and wizard always carried a weapon with them and didn't hesitate to use it when they were in need. A magic wand allowed them to use magic not only to travel but also to make light, cook, or help with other practical things. It was also a powerful weapon and people learned how to use it at school when they were children.
The magic wands couldn't be restricted like weapons in the muggle world, so magic people faced more danger and, naturally, were more inclined to be cruel and barbaric because of their customs that only catered to the strong like in the middle ages.
Rigel was spacing out, contemplating philosophical questions, while standing between his parents with a stiff smile. They conducted themselves with pureblood manners, politely introducing themselves, accepting wishes, and making small talk.
On the invitee list, there were also Bones, Abbotts, Macmillans, Smiths, and even Browns (Rigel remembered Lavender Brown being in Gryffindor in Harry's year). There were, of course, more familiar names and surnames, all of them pureblood, however, Rigel couldn't be bothered to care. He just wished he could return to his peace and quiet study, with the familiar scene of ink and parchments, with the occasional dessert or snack Dobby brought him.
After greeting and introductions, they were finally allowed to go to the children's game room. This was an additional space created for children to party away from their parents and away from the boring talks and the twins were expected to play the host there.
His initial impression of children being well-behaved was quickly challenged when he entered the game room. True, some children, mostly those of Hogwarts age, were sitting in various corners of the room in groups and discussing whatever, not bothering others. However, the younger children were rather noisy, running around and wiping their dripping snot on their own clothes, laughing happily as though they have never participated in a party.
Rigel wanted to escape, or just hide his head like an ostrich and pretend that he was all alone in the safety with his lonesome self...
But duty called and as the only 'responsible' person in the room, as well as the host, he had to make rounds and chat with everyone.
He found, unsurprisingly, that the most bearable were older children who would be going to Hogwarts soon. He could chat with them about rumors, magic, and other quite interesting subjects. Younger children invited him to games, a few of which Rigel and Draco had to participate in.
Among the younger children, Rigel liked Daphne Greengrass, Theodore Nott, Susan Bones, and her best friend, Hannah Abbott, the most. They were a rather quiet and intelligent bunch. Zacharias Smith, who was also playing with them, was an arrogant boy and Rigel couldn't bear to be within three meters of him. The same could also be said about Ernest Macmillan, while his loyal goons Crabbe and Goyle stood behind him.
Levander Brown, future Gryffindor rumor-princess, was getting along very well with Pansy Parkinson and Millicent Bulstrode, both of whom would later be sorted into the Slytherin house. Rigel was quite surprised by this, he supposed that children, who weren't sorted into different houses and haven't yet learned of different ideals, could interact very well between themselves, without any differences. After the sorting, they would, sadly, drift apart and house prejudices would prevent them from being close like they were now.
Rigel resolved himself to ignore house differences when he went to Hogwarts and to get along with these, for now, little people. All of them would grow up to be powerful forces and he didn't want to give up the connections, especially considering that if everything went according to the books, Voldemort would rise again, be defeated and the Slytherin house's reputation would be in ruins. Draco still wanted to be a Slytherin, however, he didn't want to become the Dark Lord's servant and be labeled with the 'evil, and 'to be avoided' tags.
Thus, he tried to play and interact with everyone and leave a positive impression on the group. He didn't find it very easy as he was not the best social butterfly of a person. All of these children already had their eleventh birthdays, which meant that most of them already met their peers and even had friends.
He and Draco were born on the fifth of June, so he would be one of the youngest in their year when they went to Hogwarts. He only knew that Neville Longbottom and Harry Potter were younger than him as they were born in July.
However, these were children, and they were still very trusting, so it also wasn't hard for him to integrate himself among them. He even found himself a dance partner for the etiquette class. Daphne Greengrass agreed to come to the Malfoy manor once a week to assist him in dancing lessons and learn to dance herself as well.
Rigel could only be glad - it was fucking awkward trying to dance with his stern Smith while he could only reach up to his shoulder. However, he suspected that his mother made the house-elves take some really memorable photos out of these events - he sometimes heard suspicious snapping sounds whilst dancing.
Even though Daphne was also a bit shorter, and a loli he would never lay hands on. But anything was better than trying to lead a male partner when you were only half as tall as them and when they were the stuck-up-Smith.
Surprisingly, at the end of the party, he found himself enjoying the children's company. The last few months were spent mainly by himself and any kind of prolonged human contact was nice. But that was not all.
He also enjoyed behaving like a child, something that he couldn't do as an adult. Growing up means that you cannot run around playing games, get dirty while wrestling others on the ground, prank people, and do other childish stuff.
Adults lose their freedom and usually not because someone else tells them that they are childish, but because they themselves feel that it would be 'unseemly' to act in one way or another as it would create rumors, make other people lose respect and other nonsense.
Now Rigel was free of all these considerations and constraints, he could allow himself to completely relax in the presence of others his age.
In the end, the twins' eleventh birthday celebration was also the beginning of many friendships and new connections that he formed. Later, when Rigel looked back on his second childhood, he didn't regret making these friends at all, even though many of them created so much trouble for him over the years.
A/N: The story is mine and even though I took a lot of references, it's still mine, I decide what to take and put, and how to change or keep it the same...
But, if there are some editing mistakes or conceptual mistakes, please point them out.
I plan to drag this to the end and I will do my best to make it enjoyable for everyone.