|The Sins of the Father
Author: child-dragon PM
A child of Death Eaters, orphaned by aurors from the first war, is given the choice of what side she wants to stand on after Voldemort's rebirth.Rated: Fiction K - English - OC & Lucius M. - Words: 2,268 - Reviews: 2 - Favs: 2 - Published: 04-16-07 - id: 3492078
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Like all things from those times the scene was painted vividly in her mind, etched in stark relief along the line of her life. She could taste it when she closed her eyes at night, feel it rolling around in her head like marble mist, haunting her. Disturbing her dreams. Making her ask questions about herself that she would rather not answer. Not now, not ever. Not unless she was forced to.
She could taste that moment now, in the sterile air of the entryway. It was carefully cultured to be the height of luxury with silver etched casings on the doors, thick velvet drapes and polished marble floor slates. A sweeping stairwell rushed to meet the balcony of the second floor and for a moment her eyes lingered on this. Her parent's had been a bit poorer in quality, a simple wooden stairway she'd crouched on, hidden behind where the wall of the upper hallway started, almost afraid to breathe for excitement.
There was someone on it now, watching with glittering eyes and sleeked back hair. So proud. She'd been proud too, once, when she was young and perhaps too ignorant to know better. When the Sorting Hat had yelled out Slytherin and she'd joined the table and been slapped on the back and given knowing winks by those who also had parents that were involved in things terrible. They'd looked after her and some of them had been killed after they left Hogwarts.
He wasn't thinking about those possibilities, she was sure. Draco Malfoy, so very proud of his lineage, his family, his responsibility, and the fact he was being included in this occasion. She wondered how old he was now, if he was the same age as when she too, had been included, and found that she really did not care.
"Brittany Fennel," her host said loudly, smoothly, striding across the floor in a carefully tailored coat of deep green with a silver pendant at the collar of his starched collar, "So good of you to come."
Lucius took her hand, firmly, and she gave him a firm handshake as well. She was not weak. No matter what her decision. She was not weak.
He held on for a moment, looking her up and down, a contemplative look on his face. Then he smiled broadly and let go, taking his serpent-topped cane in both hands.
"You have certainly grown since I last saw you," he said idly, "Narcissa will be surprised. Tea is in the next room. Draco!"
The pale boy on the stairs grinned even more, almost predatory in nature. She shuddered inwardly for she recognized the look, recognized the sensation.
"I'd like you to meet Brittany Fennel," Lucius continued and Draco came over and shook her hand as well, his shoulders straight with self-importance. She pitied him for a moment.
"Her parents were very staunch supporters," he continued, walking off towards the next room where the air grew warmer and more inviting, "Loyal. Good blood."
Brittany followed silently while Lucius continued to enumerate on her family's virtues. How they stood by Voldemort, proudly, and how they remained defiant to the last.
"It's a shame, really," Lucius finished, pushing aside the door and holding it for her, "I always did appreciate their blunt tempers but in the end, they didn't have the patience for subtlety."
That was what got them killed. While the Malfoy's licked their wounds and hid after Voldemort's defeat her parents rallied and were killed by aurors and she was left an orphan. It was another moment she remembered vividly.
Dumbledore calling her into his office. She was curious as to why she was being pulled out of her class, especially with O.W.L.S. so close. The strange look on his face as he informed her of their deaths. Almost protective, but wary. Unsure on how she would react.
Badly, was the answer. Very badly. In the end she'd spent a few days in the infirmary, sedated by potions with her wand tucked away where she couldn't get to it. She remembered hating Dumbledore, blaming him for her parent's death, and then vanishing from Hogwarts as soon as she was of age. Vanishing from everyone as best as she could.
Narcissa rose and embraced her, carefully, just a gentle touch around the shoulders. Then she too stepped back and studied Brittany carefully.
"You've grown so much," she finally said, "Last I remember seeing you, you were Draco's age."
The boy beamed and settled in one of the overstuffed chairs and watched. She found it difficult to look away from him and put her attention back to Narcissa.
"Yes," she finally said, "It has been a long time."
Because no one made an effort to find what had happened to the orphaned daughter of the Fennels. Those knowing winks and pats on the back from older children of other Death Eaters – dead or forgotten. No one wanted to contact anyone after Voldemort's fall.
She pitied Draco.
"You were most difficult to find," Narcissa continued, gesturing for her to sit and bustling with the tea, "Most distressing. You've moved around a lot, haven't you?"
"I have," Brittany replied, "My parents left me a house and some money but I don't really live there. It… doesn't feel like home."
"You poor dear." For a moment there was a flash of genuine sympathy from Narcissa. A mother regarding someone's lost child. But yet, she had never come. Just hid along with the rest of the scattered Death Eaters. Brittany sipped her tea.
"Well, things are changing now," Lucius said grandly, still standing, over by the fireplace and glancing idly at the mantle. "Still, we must be very careful. Someone who has become very good at going unnoticed will be very… valuable in the time to come."
Here it was. Draco sat up straight, expectantly watching. Brittany closed her eyes, briefly, and the memory of that night rolled into her mind again. She could taste it.
Parents were so proud she was in Slytherin. Excited. Promised that they would secure her future, that this new… friend of theirs would make the world a better place for her. They'd tucked her into bed with a kiss and said that she should be so very proud of everything she was and what her parents were doing.
He'd dropped in unexpectedly that night, their friend. Her parents were careful about what they told her, always respectful, always positive. A better world. But she listened along the walls and heard through the plaster the agitation in their voices. The anxiety. The fear that something would go wrong, that they'd make a mistake, or he would make a mistake. And Brittany had realized that this was a very, very dangerous game they were playing.
Still. The hushed commotion downstairs was too much to ignore. She stole out of bed, slipping on a bathrobe and tiptoeing down to the stairs. She could remember the texture of the carpet, even now. How she balanced just at the edge, peering around, trying to catch a glimpse. And how he'd glimpsed her.
Instant hero-worship. No other word for it. His eyes had lit up and her parents had followed his glance in seconds. Her father had beckoned for Brittany to come all the way downstairs, into the entryway. She stood there, looking up at Lord Voldemort and felt awed, bewildered, and somehow proud at the same time. He'd looked at her.
"Lord," her father had said, "Our daughter, Brittany. She's in Slytherin house, third year."
"Following your parents footsteps, very good," he'd replied, "Very good indeed, Brittany. You doing well at your classes?"
"Very," she whispered, then added, "Lord."
"Continue to do so. One day you'll be able to serve me and I'm certain that your parents will have great pride to know that their daughter is a faithful follower, just as they are."
Brittany's mother smiled at this, indulgently, and sent her back to bed. Even now, Brittany could remember how her heart had beat so fast for so long after, excited. Dreaming of this nebulous future that had been promised. She didn't really understand fully. She didn't understand fully when her parents died and she'd lashed out at Dumbledore and everything else that came near her.
She was starting to understand.
"I dreamed about serving Lord Voldemort," she said carefully, "I was indeed close to Draco's age then."
When her parents had died.
"You have a chance to do that." Lucius had turned to watch her. Very excited. Lost sheep being brought back to the fold. "I'm sure your parents would be proud. You can avenge them too… we know the aurors that killed them."
She knew, as well. One quiet night she had snuck up to the windows of the house where one of them lived and sat there in the clouded darkness, holding her wand and contemplating. Avada kedavra. Her parents had told her about the curses, before they died, and explained that all things must be weighed carefully. That just because something said something was forbidden or wrong didn't mean that it truly was. These things had to be considered. Avada kedavra.
It went both ways. Just because someone said something was right didn't mean it was. She'd left the house and the occupant alone.
"It-it would certainly be an honor to my parent's memory if I were to serve Lord Voldemort."
Her parent's memory had left children orphaned or grieving just as she did when she was Draco's age. The facts came out, slowly, until one day she wondered if she really wanted to redeem the name of Fennel. If even she, Brittany herself, was worth it.
That was a very lonely time and she'd half-starved herself in isolation, pondering these things, wondering if the Dark Mark had already been branded in her skin by sheer lineage or if there was a matter of choice to be done first.
"I can arrange for you to have an audience," Lucius said, so formal, "It's difficult right now, you understand, as secrecy is key. The Ministry is denying his rebirth – our unwitting allies." He allowed himself a small smile. "Of course, Dumbledore is always stirring up trouble. I hear you tried to curse him when he told you of your parent's heroic deaths."
"I lost my temper," she replied.
"I hope you have somewhat better control of it than your parents did?" Narcissa asked, raising an eyebrow.
"I would like to believe it's been tempered somewhat, yes."
"Lord Voldemort could use an ally like you. Good lineage. Strong talent. And an unknown among the wizarding community. Contacts are useful things but sometimes a stranger is just as useful."
She desperately wished that the Malfoys had left their son out of this conversation. They were trapping him just as she'd been trapped as a child.
"You talk like it's such a certain thing," Brittany said and for a moment her mind reeled. There. The line was right there, a delicate thing, and she'd crossed it. Everything was thrown into sharp relief in her mind and this was a moment that she would remember in perfect clarity. The taste of the tea. The sudden, startled look on Draco's face.
"I'm sorry Lucius," she said, "But this is my choice to make. Not my parents – they died and left me alone to make my own decisions. Lord Voldemort will have to do without me. The Fennel lineage is not what you think it is anymore."
There was tight anger in the room. Narcissa had gone slightly pale and was setting her teacup down. Lucius was flushed at the neck.
"Brittany, what happened to your parents was regrettable," Narcissa said, gently, "but you're throwing away an opportunity…"
"To do what?" she replied, sharply, quickly, softly. "There's a reason I vanished after leaving Hogwarts. I'm not putting any other child through what I endured – pureblood or muggle-born."
All things had to be weighed and considered. Just because someone – even parents – said something was right did not mean that it was.
She turned. Part of her mind told her that she would not make it to the door, that the Malfoys had to do something since she'd rejected their offer. That Lord Voldemort would accept nothing else. Her heart broke for Draco, given so little choice. For his sake, she would turn and leave. Let him make his own decisions about his heritage and not lose a parent far too early.
Avada kedavra was not her curse to use.
It was Lucius's.
His wand was out and pointed at her back before she was even halfway to the door. The incantation was low but firm, almost regretful. Narcissa kept her head looked away and Draco was shaking despite himself.
"Go upstairs," Narcissa said, calmly, and the boy complied, slowly stepping around the edge of the room, unwilling to look at the still form of Brittany but unable to do nothing but that.
Lucius put his wand away.
"A shame," he said, "She inherited her parent's will, but little else."
Which was the reason why Brittany had so quietly let the Fennel lineage finally die with no regrets.