Warnings: Mentions of torture and some descriptions, harrassment, and discrimination. Before you begin reading, I should warn you to take that M rating rather seriously for this story.
This story contains graphic content relating to torture and multiple scenes of physical assault.
If for any reason that is not your cup of tea I honestly suggest that you not read any further.
On the other hand, if you are not bothered too much by this than please read on and I hope you enjoy the story.
I expect this story to be at least twenty chapters, but I'm really not sure how long it'll go on for.
Updates will come every week, and I expect this will be a rather interesting story.
Before you begin reading, I should warn you to take that M rating rather seriously for this story.
Chapter One – A Never-Ending Nightmare
He awoke to screaming.
Draco Malfoy shut his eyes again in what he knew by now was a futile attempt to block out the agony filling his ears. His hair stood on end and his flesh broke out in the bumps of terror that he was so used to having. He knew beyond a doubt that the Death Eaters must have found a new victim to torture into insanity. Judging by the voice it was likely a man. Draco's stomach gave a violent lurch as he pictured what was likely happening to the poor bloke. He forced the images down into the recesses of his mind, not feeling keen to ruin his sheets this morning.
Draco ignored the chronic tremors and muscle weakness he had suffered all summer at the Manor and dragged his body out of bed. He could feel the cold sweat that dampened his hair and groaned. At least it was an excuse to escape into the shower. It had to be short though, seeing as he had a meeting with the Dark Lord himself after breakfast. Draco wasn't sure he should eat at all, but it was a chance to see his parents. It was a small comfort, but he was willing to take what he could get.
The bathroom door clicking shut behind him did almost nothing to muffle the man's horrendous screaming, and the longer Draco heard it the more he could feel the bile trying to rise into his throat. He still had nightmares about the first days after Voldemort decided to take up residence in his family's ancestral home. Listening to the torture victims only brought those memories back to the surface of his thoughts.
The pain of receiving the Dark Mark was the sharpest and most disgusting of them all. It had literally seared itself into his skin, and he could still smell the burning flesh if he concentrated hard enough or got too lost in his thoughts. He remembered hearing other Death Eater's talk about the glory of being part of the Dark Lord's chosen. That was enough to make him scoff. What glory? The only glory in being a Death Eater was knowing you would die, and more than likely at the Dark Lord's own hand. Being chosen to become a monster, there was no glory in that.
Then there was the torture. Merlin, the torture sessions had been- there were no words to describe what those had been like. Part of Draco's initiation had been to learn how to torture people. The Dark Lord had assigned Bellatrix, his Aunt, to mentor him in the ways of delivering pain. It had eaten up an entire month of his summer last year, and every day had been a very bloody nightmare. He'd been forced to learn simpler things like the Cruciatus Curse, and while it had been hard it was nothing compared to the muggle methods he'd also had to learn.
Draco felt the color drain from his face as he remembered all the ways he had learned to use knifes, fire, ice and many more things to bring people to new levels of suffering. Draco couldn't even think about adhesives anymore because that made him see all the people whose eyes he had glued open, preventing them from sleeping. Most of them had lost their minds due to the paranoia that prolonged exhaustion had brought on.
There had been so many times Draco wanted to refuse to do it, to say that doing this to people was revolting, but the lives of his parents were on the line every waking moment. Aunt Bella had been proud of him- Draco would never understand her particular brand of insanity- and her good word was keeping his family and himself alive. That was all that mattered. That was all that could be allowed to matter.
The blood-curdling shrieks finally died away. Draco sighed in relief, and then felt a pang of guilt because that meant that the man was probably dead. He had no right to be glad that yet another person had died here, especially in what had most assuredly been a sickening death. Beyond painful and drawn out for far too long. Draco lunged for the toilet, unable to force the bile down again.
Draco's throat burned like he had just gulped an entire bottle of Firewhiskey as his empty stomach purged again and again. With no food or drink in his body the only thing that came up was the putrid acids of his digestive system. Tears welled up in his eyes and he choked out a sob between heaves. He spit into the toilet and flushed it when his stomach finally started to settle and took a few moments to just breathe before casting a breath freshening charm and herding himself into the shower.
The water was like a warm welcome, a sweet retreat into a place where none of the horrors he lived through everyday existed. It washed away the uncomfortable sweat in his hair and rid him of the last traces of vomit. He splashed more of the water over his cold cheeks, reveling in the warmth as it woke him up and renewed his spirits. It wasn't much, but this was the only time he felt anything close to peace in his own home.
Draco had learned to appreciate small moments such as these. Times when he could imagine that the Dark Lord wasn't in his home and there were no expectations were far and few between. He piled a small amount of shampoo into the palm of his hand and sighed as he massaged it into his hair. He quickly washed it out but the sense of normalcy it brought him was worth having to rush himself. Knowing he had time for little else if he was to see his parents this morning he stepped back out into the chilling air of the bathroom. The atmosphere outside of the shower was cold and uneasy. Draco could nearly feel all the lives that had been lost here.
Draco shuddered as he dressed himself and quickly strode out of the bathroom. Most of the Dark Lord's followers preferred dark places, ironic as that was, so as Draco walked through the halls hardly any of the lights were on and all of the curtains were shut. They had been closed for so long that dust had begun to layer on them. Every time his Mother saw them she needed to shut her eyes and push down her annoyance. Draco could sympathize with her, as it was repulsive to him as well to see their home in this state.
"Good morning, Draco." His Mother greeted him as he walked into one of the smaller dining rooms. There was an edge to her voice that he was still not used to hearing, and it always made him more uneasy. It meant that his Mother was concerned enough about something that it reflected in her voice.
"Good morning, Mother. Did you sleep well?" Though he knew the real answer it was a question he had always asked his Mother since before his first year at Hogwarts.
His Mother graced him with a small smile and Draco was glad to feel the comfort it brought him. "Well enough," She said. "Please, join me. Your Father should be here shortly."
Draco inclined his head, allowing the years of training in civility and mannerisms flow back into his body. It was something subtle and familiar to him, and to some- his Mother for one- it was considered a form of artistry. As he was seated he heard his Father approach and exchanged some rather empty pleasantries with him. Other than the occasional word exchanged between him and his Mother the table was close to silent.
As always, the elves took away their empty dishes. His Father tensed, but stood and left the room without a word to Draco. Where most children might have been affronted by this behavior Draco understood its meaning. His Father was beyond concerned for him. Today would be his first time meeting the Dark Lord alone, and no matter how much other people thought he only cared about money and power, he really only did it to secure the future of his family.
Draco said a brief good-bye to his Mother and then stood to face reality.
The pace of his heart sped up as he remembered that he would have to walk across the first floor of the Manor and right past the ballroom. It was the room now used for torturing the prisoners of war. As he got closer to that room the air around him felt like it was changing. It became harder to breath; it was a struggle to keep it even. The worst part was the bitter tang he could taste all around him. Draco felt as if his mouth were full of knuts.
He ignored all the images and memories that tried to pry their way to the surface. It was for the best if he thought of absolutely nothing until he was safely out of the Dark Lord's presence. He was, after all, notorious for using Legilimency on the people he suspected of being weak or less than loyal. Traitors especially were not tolerated. Sometimes he would just beat the fear out of the weaker Death Eaters. Draco could admit he was a coward, and he wanted to protect himself from either of those fates.
The entire Manor reeked of dark magic. There really was no mistaking it. It felt like slime on his skin and the power that remained in the air long after those distinct spells were cast could be felt like a constant presence against his skull. Almost like a hat, it tried to wrap around his head. Draco resisted the urge to shake his head as he stepped into the wing belonging to the Dark Lord. It was a place where those sensations were especially strong.
Draco felt his senses heighten as he entered an area where some of the most loyal and most dangerous Death Eaters also resided. The Lestrange's and the Carrow's were among Draco's least favorite to run into. He nearly jumped when he heard a disturbingly high pitched cackle from a room off to his right.
This was his home, and there should be nothing here that could scare him.
It wasn't at all true, but Draco knew he needed to act like it was. If there was ever a time for him to embrace a perfect blend of his parents' ideals now was really the time to do it.
He saw the door he was heading towards at the end of the hall. Like all the doors in the Manor it was nice, made of some of the finest mahogany wood. What was different about this door was the holes torn through it by curses the Dark Lord had thrown around. Sometimes in anger, other times he had aimed to kill someone. Draco desperately hoped he'd never be on the other end of one of those curses. Through one of the holes he could see Nagini slither forwards to greet him. The snake was strange, but it had never scared Draco. In fact, as long as the Dark Lord didn't command it to kill anyone it seemed perfectly harmless. He just needed to try to stay in the Dark Lord's good graces.
He opened the door and Nagini gently hissed at him. "Is that you, Draco, my dear boy?" While the words themselves were kind enough, the slightly maniacal tone was sufficient to send a shiver up his spine. Draco swallowed his emotions as best he could and swiftly responded. The Dark Lord despised having to wait.
"Yes, my lord."
The Dark Lord chuckled. "Then come closer. I don't wish to speak to you across a room." Draco obeyed without hesitation, silently displeased that he couldn't avoid seeing a face that haunted some of his nightmares.
The Dark Lord's face was horrifying. He was ghostly pale, his skin translucent enough in some places that you could see the veins beneath the skin. His eyes didn't glow like many people had taken to saying they did, but they were a bright red. Draco had always thought they matched his blood thirsty nature. Then there was his nose, or lack thereof. He simply had nothing there and you could see the bones of his skull right where something should be. It was sickening, and Draco had to wonder if he'd ever tried to get his nose back. Because who would want to walk around without one?
A cold, long nailed finger extended out and caressed his cheek after he had approached and kneeled before the Dark Lord. His skin crawled wherever that finger touched him, and it was all Draco could do not to wince.
"I trust you know by now why you are here?" Though it was phrased as a question, it was anything but.
Draco forced his voice not to tremble as he spoke. "You have finally deemed me worthy of my first task. Am I correct, my lord?" To be safe, Draco bowed his head in respect, ignoring how much it disgusted him to do so.
That finger hooked under his chin, Draco could feel the nail dig into his skin, and lifted his face up so he was looking into the eyes of the Dark Lord. "You are correct. Please, stand Draco." Draco stood, as did the Dark Lord who began walking in a leisurely circle around him. He continued facing forwards, unsure what would provoke the Dark Lord's anger and not willing to risk anything.
"Seeing as you will be returning to Hogwarts for one final year I am appointing you a task of utmost importance. You must complete this task or all of my work up to this point will have been for nothing, do you understand?" The Dark Lord made it sound as if his task was the key to his grand plan succeeding, and wasn't that just great? Draco nodded his understanding and the Dark Lord smiled. "Good, good. Draco, my boy, you must find as many ways into that school as you can. The more people we can get inside before they notice the better."
"Yes, my lord."
The Dark Lord, rather than looking at him in approval and dismissing him, turned to Draco and narrowed his eyes as if considering him. "That is not all," he finally said. "You must repair the Vanishing Cabinet that is hidden in the school. It is the twin of the one from Borgin and Burkes. It will ultimately be the key. Can you do this?" His voice was a low hiss, and Draco had to fight to limit his body's reaction to the skipping of his heart.
"Yes, my lord," Draco responded. "It is not outside my ability."
The Dark Lord smiled at him, and before Draco could even think of reacting he had pulled out his wand and hissed a curse at him. "Crucio." Draco crumpled to the ground. Agonizing pain crept through every inch of his body. It went from his head, to his gut and the tips of his fingers and toes. Even in his mind he could feel the pain. He knew he was screaming, but by some miracle he was not crying.
The true suffering was feeling the pain pinch every corner of his mind, trying to make something snap. It tried ruthlessly to bend his mind to breaking point. It paled in comparison to everything else he was feeling, but he could feel the soreness of his lungs as he continued to scream. His voice was getting more primal sounding every second, but he couldn't be bothered to care. It felt as if his nails were being torn off, his skin cut open, his eyes being burned and more than that all at one time.
Draco was barely able to contain the sigh of relief as the pain lessened and finally ebbed away. He heard the Dark Lord approach again before he saw him. Draco forced himself up and was quickly kneeling again, not wanting to provoke the Dark Lord further.
"That was to remind you of the consequences should you fail. However, next time it will be your parents instead of you. And I may not be so merciful with them. I might decide to see how long they can tolerate it." The Dark Lord bent low and hissed the words into his ear. Draco nodded.
"I understand, my lord."
The Dark Lord stood straight again and seemed to consider him. Draco eagerly awaited his dismissal. The tremor he could feel in his arms was getting worse and he was starting to have difficulty subduing it. Then the Dark Lord let out a low laugh, and Draco had never felt so cold. It wasn't a physical chill, but he felt it so deeply that he thought he could feel it in his bones. He recognized it for what it was; a frightening combination of horror and despair.
"You may go," He finally said, and it was all Draco could manage to calmly stand up, bow to the Dark Lord and appear to walk calmly out. He really just wanted to sprint all the way back to his room.
When he was safely behind his bedroom door he let out a shaky breath and slid down to the floor. He took a few minutes to just get the shaking out of his system. His hands shook badly, and he could even feel the muscles in his legs vibrating.
Eventually, Draco bottled up the feelings again and told himself that he needed to act as I everything was normal. Wallowing for too long was always dangerous. He was going to Hogwarts tomorrow, where he would at least be away from the building full of Death Eaters that he called home.
Draco stood back up, brushing off his pants and walked back out the door. Instead of going to the first floor though, he remained on the second floor and went to the family library. He needed to pick out books to bring with him for when he had time to himself.
From the moment he entered the library though Draco noticed something off. For one, there was intense dark magic in the room. The familiar sliminess crawled over his skin. Draco shivered. The other clue that something was wrong was the little black book sitting by itself on one of the end tables. It was an old looking book, the cover was well-worn. Yet, it wasn't a book he had ever seen in the Malfoy library.
Against his better judgment, Draco decided to walk up to the book. The pages appeared to be thoroughly yellowed and it didn't close all the way.
Draco reached out and opened the book, more than curious about a book he'd never seen in his family's own library in previous years. Despite its obvious usage it was oddly blank on every single page. He looked carefully at the yellowed pages. They were even tattered in places. The thing had to be ages old, but there was no reason for anyone to keep a blank book around.
Then something happened, which both fascinated Draco and also struck terror in him. Words appeared in the book. And it looked as if the book was trying to communicate with him of all things.
Hello. Who are you?