(A/N: Sorry it's been so long! I've been really busy lately, and have also had a severe case of writer's block. And I do hope I don't confuse you too much with this chapter! There's going to be a lot of information to take in! But here's the chapter, without further ado!)

Chapter Fifteen

Click.

The door had unlocked, and suddenly everything around me vanished, except that very door at the end of the dark hallway. The image of my mother and father faded, as their voices seemed to muffle into the now engulfing silence. I could hear no screaming from behind the depths of the door. I could feel my own heart thumping madly against my ribcage, as the thrill of something new coursed through my veins rapidly.

I closed my eyes, afraid to look at what new horrors or delights the opening of this door might now put before me. But even through my eyelids, there was no escaping the illuminating light that filtered through, every which way. A variety of colors surrounded by golden light danced across my eyelids, and I had the feeling that even if I did open my eyes, I would see the very same thing. Perhaps it was all in my imagination.

But was I imagining the soft hands touching my face, and the mellifluous voice that whispered my name in my ear? Was everything a figment of my imagination? No, it couldn't be. Feeling myself being pulled to my feet, I decided that it was all real. I hadn't even realized that I was on the ground. Was my rationalizing coming to that? My brain couldn't tell the real from the surreal, and the ups from downs, rights from wrongs.

"Draco!" The voice grew louder, and I opened my eyes. Suddenly, everything seemed so familiar, as I set my eyes upon Circe, who was standing in front of my, grasping my shoulders, her face depicting no outward emotions, as usual. Behind her, the light from the door gleamed bright, seeming to give off the illusion that she was the one doing the glowing, as light ricocheted off her skin, and gleamed off her ebony hair. A fire seemed to have been lit in her hazel green eyes. "Draco, do you know where you are?" She asked again, giving me a light shake into reality.

"No," I said, quite honestly. "It's just-my dream. I've-"

"Yes, you've been here before, I know," responded Circe, rather hastily. Her eyes flickered around, and for a second, I thought I glanced something short of wonder in them. "But Draco, this isn't really a dream," she lowered her voice, as if someone were listening to us, as if the few scrappy portraits on the battered walls had eyes and ears. "This is a reality, in a way. A bit of an alternate reality, so to speak."

"But-"

"Yes, I know, you don't think they exist." Circe finished, as if she had read her thoughts. "Like the worlds of Muggles and Wizardkind. The Muggles don't believe this world exists, just as you don't believe in this place. But even in our reality, people don't know this place exists, merely because very few people know of it. Only five know. Do you know who those five people are, Draco?"

For the first time, a sort of desperate emotion crossed Circe's face. Her eyes narrowed, and she looked me straight in the eyes, as if she were trying to get me to realize something.

"You," I said slowly, holding up one finger to keep count. "Me."

Another finger.

"My mother, my father."

Two more.

"Snape."

That made five. And Circe nodded slowly, pushing her hair from her eyes.

"And do you know what the connections are?" Circe said slowly. "Do you see why we're the only ones that know? Take your time, and think about it, Draco."

It seemed to take an entire eternity for my mind to piece things together. What was the connecting link between everyone? Was it me? No. I was too young. Circe knew my father before I was born. And mother obviously, too. And Snape. And me. Everyone in this circle was connected to my father, Lucius Malfoy. But why?

Father had gone to Circe in his quest to defy Lord Voldemort, in attempt to gain a powerful ally in what he wanted for a power to take for himself, so great that even Lord Voldemort could not muster. But Circe had been neutral, and my father must have been angry. So angry that mother found out, and in her loyalties to the Dark Lord, must have threatened him. with something.

"Mister Malfoy," Circe said softly. "You're beginning to piece things together, quite well. But you're missing out on something crucial. Something crucial to the plot of your very life. Something that I must say I regret more than anything, even over the eternity that I've roamed the worlds. After your father failed to secure me as an ally, he came back just days before you were born, and I pitied him. I know not what possessed me to do it, but I gave him a . . . recipe . . . to help him in his quest for power. And this involved you. You see, your mother had chided your father for being greedy. He wanted revenge, as she had made a small show of humiliating him privately. And what better to take from Narcissa than her unborn son?"

It took a moment for her words to settle in. Even before I was born, I was a pawn on my father's chessboard? It hardly seemed fair; I was deprived of my own life, even before it had begun. Yet Circe continued on, before everything was set in stone in my mind.

"Do you recall my lessons on your other self? I showed your father how to separate your other self from you, Draco. And for that, he needed a Potions Master to help him. And that Potions master was Severus Snape. I spent several days discussing the risks with Snape, who had been planning to leave the Dark Side, as well. Having always led a life of being used, he was eager for power to be free, even if it did mean serving Lucius. And thus we devised a plan."

"And something went wrong?" I asked heatedly.

"No," Circe said softly. "Everything went right; too right. And I backed out. I decided it was best to let the men fight their own battles. I should not have meddled in human affairs for my own pleasure and fun. I am an Enchantress, Draco. These are not my wars, not my battles. But I've contributed greatly to your mess, and left things setting in gelatin, so to speak."

I could feel the blood rising in my face. Circe had thought it would be fun to mess with the lives of humans. She had taken something; I wasn't quite certain what, away from me. But I knew that the little empty feeling inside of me was what she was responsible for. When I didn't feel complete, that was partially her fault. And my father's fault, more than anything.

"Draco, we created an alternate world, to send your other consciences and souls to. We created a place, behind a curtain, that only we could reach unharmed. And when your father realized that I had backed out, he donated our creation to the Ministry to study, in hopes that they would unlock the secret of it all. He wanted them to find the way to get to your soul, and all the others that have passed before. It was a way of getting to the souls of the dead, where our spell sent yours.

"But it has been returning to you," breathed Circe softly. I could feel her hot breath on my face, and she looked furious with herself. She looked like she was ending the world. "In your dreams, you've been getting to your missing pieces. You've been getting closer, and closer, and soon you'll reach it. And I beg of you, do not. Do not bring back what your father wants most dearly, to help him to power."

"You want me to stay incomplete?" I hissed, backing away slowly. "You haven't lived your whole life as an incomplete human being. You have not wondered what was wrong with you, your family, your lack of friends, and your life. You haven't been feeling a hole inside your heart. You know nothing of what it's like to be human. If I want my missing pieces, I'll damn well have them, and there's nothing you can do to stop me."

And before Circe could react, I stepped inside the doorway, and felt a warmth engulf me.

~*~

As I heard a door slamming behind me, it was as if I had cotton in my ears, and the sound had been dulled, and was not as loud as it should have been. And thought I had immersed myself into the abyss of light, the place that I found myself was quite the opposite, even in feeling.

Stepping into the door of light, one would expect to feel warmth radiating off from every which direction. But on the contrary, it was cold, damp, and rather dark. The only faint source of light came from behind some dim, shabby sort of curtain, which seemed to be trying to shimmer, or make itself more obvious to me, the only occupant of the space (or alternate world) I had become instantaneously immersed in.

Everything around me seemed to be made of crumbling stone, and looked as if it would fall to ashes if I touched it. In some areas, there were cobwebs, and I shuddered to think of the size of the spiders that could have possibly produced them. There was also an odd sort of dull blue mist around, which was starting to remind me of a gloomy fog. It danced around me eerily, and I got the feeling that I was at my own funeral.

And I could sense the lurid aroma that death left lingering.

Stepping forward, I could not hear the dull thud that should have echoed throughout in the silence. There was a distinctly muffled sound to my steps, as I stepped closer to the slightly gleaming curtain. But then there was a voice that reverberated with such crystal clarity that it sent chills down my spine. Its tone was familiar, yet not welcoming. Perhaps it was the words that the clear voice spoke. Perhaps that was what sent shivers through my body.

"It's been a while, Draco," it said complacently. "My how you've grown without me."

~*~

(A/N: And yet I leave you with another cliffhanger! Don't you absolutely love it when I do that? Well, as I'm sure you do, I shall now ramble on about things you've probably heard before.

This is another one of these things that I had perfectly plotted out in my mind, yet I just couldn't seem to get it to come out right. I can never put what I really want into words. Anyone have any tips on becoming a good descriptive writer? I'd love to hear them!

Oh, and some imaginary Clearly Clayr dollars will go to the first person who can guess who is speaking to Draco now!

--Clayr)