A/N: HermioneGreen - Thank you. HecateDeMort - Thank you. SeparatriX - I agree about the Crucio, but it was necessary. Though, he does feel bad about it. Hermione might be marked, but I'm not sure when. I'm glad you liked the ending! LeeLeePotter - Lol, yup. I'm glad you even liked the yucky part. SilverFated - Thanks. SheWolfe7 - I'm glad you liked it. Miss Teinge - Lol. Funny! Thanks. Blackdragonofslytherin - Thank you. Starr Light1 - Yup. Henio - lol. Thanks. Misao-werewolf - Thank you. Welcome! Mayhem El-Diablo - Thank you. Shiseidox - I did, did I? Thanks! Leean Meanlock - Yup. grin Kyra2- Thank you. Linky2 - yup. Dragenphly - Thank you. I'm glad you got past the name change. ManicReversed - Thank you! D Edmun - Thank you. cattie - I agree. I've tried to rewrite it several times, and I just can't get it right. Signeus - I'm glad you found my fic. Thank you. JE aka Yessina - Thank you. Amy2k - I didn't forget! And, everyone can thank your review for pushing me to finish. I kind of got stuck on this chapter.

A/N2 - Everyone thank SeparatriX for being such a wonderful beta. You should check out her HP/DM fic, "Then He Opened His Mouth." It's right here on FFnet!

Ignorance Isn't Bliss

Chapter 22 - Crashing

The next morning, Marcus awoke later than usual. His head pounded in a steady rhythm and he pressed his head into the pillow as he tried to recall the previous evening. He remembered taking a calming potion, entirely too much calming potion if his throbbing head was any indicator. Slowly the memories came back to him: the meeting, Draco, the mark, Draco.

While Marcus wasn't ready to go all the way just yet, he decided that he could survive on what Draco did to him last night. It wasn't just the act itself, but the connection they felt afterwards. There was no way that Draco could have left that bed last night, as he'd had a death grip on him. Marcus realized, as he finally opened his eyes, that he was still clinging to Draco's waist. He spooned up against him tightly and sighed into the silky, blonde hair, inhaling the gentle scent that was Draco. Reluctantly, he placed a soft kiss to the back of Draco's neck before slipping out of the bed.

Out in the dining room, Lord Voldemort read the paper and sipped his morning tea. He looked up pointedly at Marcus as he ungracefully stumbled into the room.

"Sleep well?" Marcus hadn't noticed that those red eyes could show so much happiness.

"Yes, very. Anything good in the paper?"

"Nothing of note. I believe the most pressing matter at the moment would be Lucius Malfoy. He is out in the main room inquiring about his son. He was quite worried, afraid that Draco was in one of the cells. Naturally, I said nothing to discourage the notion."

Marcus snorted, trying to hide the blush rising in his cheeks. He could deal with Lucius Malfoy the servant, but could he deal with Lucius Malfoy the father?

He gasped as he felt a tingling run over his body. He looked sharply at Voldemort.

"You are now presentable to see Lucius." Voldemort said with a chuckle. The chuckle turned quickly to coughing.

"Are you okay?" It didn't seem as though Voldemort could answer through his racking cough. Marcus was at his side instantly, and patted Voldemort's back as the coughing got worse. The cough turned in to a raspy hacking, and Marcus looked around anxiously for someone that could get him a potion, a mediwizard, anything. He was about to go into a full blown panic when he remembered that he was a wizard. He quickly summoned a house elf, ordering a cough-suppressing potion be brought to him. But before the elf could return, the cough thankfully subsided. Marcus's adrenaline level started to go back to normal until Voldemort pulled his hand away from his mouth. It was splattered in blood.

"Great Merlin's beard," he muttered. "I will send for a mediwiza-" Voldemort grabbed his arm, abruptly cutting him off.

"No. Don't. I have a personal healer, and he is well aware of the situation." Voldemort's voice had dimmed, and he didn't sound nearly as cheeky as he had been five minutes ago. For a change, he sounded rather angry, and the sound of that anger made Marcus cringe.

"What situation?"

"Sit down Marcus."

"No. What situation? Tell me."

"I am dying, Marcus."

Silence.

Marcus could feel the magic and adrenaline pumping through his body, heating his face.

"What do you mean you're dying?" He yelled, flinging a teacup against the wall. It burst before it even hit the wall.

"Marcus, calm down. You're letting your magic get out of control."

As quickly as his anger had built up, it evaporated, leaving the realization of what Voldemort had told him in its wake. Suddenly, Marcus felt his knees start to shake, almost causing him to fall

Marcus, who had been too stubborn to sit, now frantically reached behind himself until he felt the back of a chair, easing into it. "But you can't," He whispered. "Who is doing this? Is it a poison or a… a curse? Surely something can be done."

"There is no poison or curse other than my own." Voldemort sighed in frustration. He reached for his napkin on the table and wiped the blood from his other hand. "I knew when I created this new body three and a half years ago that it would not last forever. It was a way to come back, nothing more. None of my previous followers were strong enough to take the reigns of our cause, so I came back to find someone"

"I'm not ready. You can't go."

"Of course you are. And you will have your father and Draco. It is not like I'm going to die tonight. I've got time left yet."

His whole body in turmoil, Marcus swallowed hard to keep his breakfast down. He quickened his breathing, trying to settle his stomach, and he fought to regain control of his thoughts, which were racing wildly. Why hadn't Voldemort mentioned this sooner? They could build him a new body, right? There had to be something he could do. He wanted to voice all of these questions, but risked losing control in the process.

"Marcus?" Of course Draco would come in now. Marcus closed his eyes and took a deep breath, steeling himself. He wasn't ready to deal with this information himself, let alone explain it to Draco. Luckily, Voldemort answered for him.

"Have a seat Draco. Marcus will be fine in a moment. Actually, why don't you find him a calming potion?"

Marcus heard Draco's retreating footsteps and then his returning steps as he came back with the potion. He didn't think he'd be able to keep it down, his stomach was still tied up in knots.

"Just tilt his head back, Draco, and pour it in. He will be fine."

Marcus had no choice but to swallow as the potion filled his mouth. Fortunately, it calmed his stomach as much as it calmed his emotions. He gave the potion a moment to work before opening his eyes. The first thing he saw was the worried look on Draco's face. He was kneeling in front of Marcus, still holding the potion flask.

"What happened? What's wrong?" Draco asked, turning to Voldemort.

"He has just had a bit of a shock. Maybe a mood-altering potion would not be out of order."

Marcus jerked his head up, but regretted it, as he instantly felt dizzy. "I'm not taken any more potions. I'll be okay," he said to his mentor before turning to Draco. "I'm sorry that I worried you Draco."

Marcus leaned down to capture Draco's lips in a kiss, and wondered briefly how strong this calming potion was. His mind seemed to float as Draco deepened the kiss. Maybe Draco was a calming potion himself. The sound of the door opening caused him to pull away suddenly.

"Lucius," Marcus said, calmly, nodding his head.

"My Lord," Lucius nodded in return and started to bow. "Draco, what are... Why are you--"

Marcus tried to answer, but he rather felt like laughing and crying at the same time. This was no ordinary calming potion. Lucius seemed to be sparkly, so was Draco, and Voldemort. He vaguely noticed Draco jump up from his position to face Lucius.

"I am fine father. I think you should go back home."

"Not without you. Your mother was positively nauseating last night. She was ill with worry"

"No father, I can better serve our Lord here."

Marcus tried to follow the conversation, but his head was swimming. He wondered if Voldemort was still in the room, if he was going to allow Draco and Lucius to argue forever.

"And how, Draco, are you serving our Lord? I did not raise a catamite."

Slap. The razor-sharp sound of flesh striking flesh reverberated loudly throughout the room.

Without seeing, Marcus could tell that someone had slapped Lucius, hard. If he had been able to focus properly, he would have done it himself.

"Draco, how--" Lucius was livid, and started to raise his hand to his son.

"Lucius, I do think that it is time for you to leave." Marcus could see that Lord Voldemort was now standing, wand pointing at Lucius.

"Lord Voldemort, I ... but he."

"Draco is fine where he is. If our Lord had not just been given a sedative, you most likely would not be standing. Now leave."

Marcus heard Lucius complaining the entire time he was being forcibly removed from the house. He couldn't seem to concentrate; not even to summon the anger he should be feeling toward Lucius. Unsuccessfully, he tried to stand, but his legs didn't want to work correctly, and a firm hand grasped his arm.

"I've got you Marcus. Maybe you should lie down."

Marcus nodded, and allowed Draco to lead him back to the bedroom.

"Stay with me Draco."

He felt the covers being pulled up around him and then a depression in the bed to his right. He rolled to his right, wrapping his arms around Draco, and drifted off to sleep.

A couple of hours later he awoke, and was pleased to feel the effects of the calming potion wearing off. Of course, everything that had transpired that morning came washing back over him like a bad dream. The sadness and nausea at Lord Voldemort's announcement, and the anger at Lucius Malfoy were fighting for dominance in his mind. Merlin, what was he going to do?

"Voldemort can't die." He wasn't aware he had spoken aloud until he heard Draco murmur.

"Of course he can't. He's Voldemort."

Suddenly Draco's head shot up and his eyes opened. "Wait a second. What did you say? What's this about?"

"Lord Voldemort, he told me this morning that he's dying. I'm not ready for that. I need him." Marcus relished in the contact as Draco pulled him closer, wiping his hair from his forehead.

"I don't want Lord Voldemort to die either, but you are ready. Don't doubt yourself."

"It's more than that though. He is almost like a grandfather to me."

Draco just smiled and tried to kiss away Marcus' fears, and Marcus did nothing to stop him

As if suddenly remembering Lucius' words from this morning, Marcus grasped Draco's chin, forcing their eyes to meet. "You don't consider yourself my catamite do you?"

"Of course I don't. Well, even if it was like that, I don't think you're old enough. But, no, it's not like that. My father was just upset."

"Yes, well he is lucky that I was in no state to hex him."

"Marcus, he walked in to see me kneeling in front of you at the dining room table. What's he going to think?"

Placing a kiss to Draco's cheek, Marcus answered, "You're right. I suppose we did shock the old man. It is good to see that he really is looking out for you, especially after last night's fiasco."

Carefully he lifted up Draco's right arm to look at the mark he placed on it last night. He kissed it softly, knowing that it would send shivers through Draco's body. He grinned before hopping out of bed. "I think I've been in bed long enough today"

He heard Draco groan as he went down the hall.

This time when he came downstairs, there was nobody in sight. He was grateful for a bit of silence while he mulled over his thoughts. He was not going to let Voldemort give up yet. Maybe a certain Potions Master could help? Reluctantly he admitted to himself that Voldemort would have thought of that. But Marcus would write his father anyway. He sat at his desk, and began writing some letters that he had been meaning to get around to. Hermione was probably mad that he hadn't replied to her latest letter yet.

My dearest Hermione,

How is University? Have you begun telling the Muggles about magic? I would think your roommates would like it if you enlarged the room. It has been a while since you've visited, so I would like to invite you to lunch tomorrow. As you have all ready been here before, you can just Apparate. I hope to see you.

Your Friend,

Marcus

His next letter was to Remus.

Mr. R. J. Lupin,

I wish to formally set up our appointment for next week to Mark you and those werewolves you have managed to ally with our cause. If I could get plenty of advance notice I will have everything ready, and we can make a splendid event of it.

Lord Snape

And lastly, he had to write the letter to his father. He nibbled on his lower lip briefly before setting quill to parchment.

Father,

I hope you are well. I have something important to discuss with you. If you can pop over sometime tonight it would be appreciated. I know you are a busy man, but I think that you would agree in the importance of this.

Love,

Marcus

As he scribbled away, there was a loud, impatient knock at the door. With a wave of his hand, it opened.

"My Lord, an urgent owl for you."

A Death Eater handed him the envelope, and shut the door behind him. The scroll of parchment was sealed with wax, and there was an imprint of the Dark Mark upon it.

Lord Snape,

The old bird has flown the coop. Whereabouts unknown.

Everything made of glass in the room shattered in that instant. He sat there stunned, trying to figure where to go from here. His day had been nothing but blow after blow; first Voldemort, then Lucius, and now this. Were the stars against him today? He'd have to consult a Centaur later.

Hurried footsteps were heard from all directions, shortly followed by incessant knocking. When he didn't answer the door opened on its own.

"Marcus, what has happened?"

He turned around to see Draco and Lord Voldemort standing in the doorway, surveying the mess he had made of the room.

"Albus Dumbledore has escaped St. Mungo's."