Disclaimer: Harry Potter and all related characters and materials belong to J.K. Rowling and her publishers.
Oh, and I don't own one line from The Kite Runner that so happens to appear in this chapter. It's about sociopaths. I altered some words of it, but it's basically the same idea, so I won't take credit for it. That one line belongs to the great writer, Khaled Hosseini.
Author's Note: Well, I've received many lovely reviews telling me to update. I hope you all received my response. But if you didn't, let me apologize once again. I'm really sorry for not updating in such a long time, but you have to understand how stressful school is. My literature class has been giving me the most stress. He is Hitler and probably part of the Devil.
Actually, I tried to update before this but was being the biggest butt in the world and would not let me upload.
And if I don't update for a long time again, read The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. It's an amazing novel. 20394812348 times better than my crap. Seriously.
Chapter 17: Ave Maria
Echoes of laughter resonated in the dark ballroom, where the violin stopped playing and the chandelier dimmed its beauty. Women with rich dresses and sparkling diamonds around their necks slowly walked across the marble floor, whispering softly to each other with a cruel laughter in them. Among those women, Helen Chamberlain stood with a sense of dignity that the other women lacked. If one did not know the Chamberlains, one could easily mistake her as the daughter of Narcissa Malfoy, who also had a proud disposition about her.
Draco Malfoy watched these women from afar, smoking his last cigarette and drinking the last drop in his cup; his eyes began to blur with intoxication. Helen caught his eye and smiled—something which Draco did not return. He merely stared at her coldly and continued drinking. Her smile faltered a bit, but she determinedly glared back at him. In an air of superiority, she turned her back to him. Draco scoffed. Helen was seething in anger.
He was replaying the conversation Dumbledore and he had just earlier that night…
"We can't be meeting like this anymore."
The old headmaster nodded in agreement, as the young man said this. From the man's perspective, Dumbledore was getting older each time he saw him. The twinkle in his eyes had been gone for the longest time, and the little jokes he placed in their old conversations soon died away. Matters were getting serious, and sacrifices had to be made. The mole did not have any use to the Order anymore, for everything was all up to Harry Potter. Only he had the power to destroy the Dark Lord.
Dumbledore inclined his head and spoke hoarsely, "Another five months, Draco, you will end your services to the Death Eaters. You will no longer be a spy, but a true member for the Order."
"And get out of this shit hole?" said Draco lightly with a raised eyebrow and a trademark smirk. "Yeah, right. You said that a year ago, and I'm still here."
"The events that occurred were not predicted, and these things were inevitable…" explained Dumbledore wearily.
"I was only joking." Draco said, almost rolling his eyes.
Dumbledore nodded silently and sighed. He looked forlorn and tired.
"No matter what happens, always be on your guard." Dumbledore said.
Draco looked at him suspiciously and said slowly, "What's going to happen?"
Dumbledore did not reply. He smiled, but the smile did not reach his once-twinkling eyes. The old headmaster shook his head and said, "I cannot predict the future."
Draco could tell that Dumbledore was hiding something from him, but he did not press on—
"But I can assure you that this will end soon, and you will be recognized as a member of the Order—a true Auror…"
"That doesn't matter to me," said Draco more harshly than he intended to. "I just want out. I don't want any gold medals or people admiring all the noble things I've done. I'm not Potter."
"I promise you, Draco," said Dumbledore earnestly, "This will end soon, and you will be out of it."
Dumbledore's promise did not make him feel any better or lift any unease from his heavy heart. The violin held out a slow and sorrowful tune that tugged at Draco's heart strings. It reminded him of the pretty red-haired girl whom he loved dearly, the girl he would have to live without for the rest of his life.
How many days has it been? How many weeks? How many months? How many years? A lifetime has passed since their first kiss at the train station. A lifetime has passed since he saw her beautiful face.
It had been too long.
"Draco, dearest," came a purr. "Don't you think you've had enough for tonight?"
"Not really, no." muttered Draco angrily. He took another drink just to spite Helen. She fumed, and he smirked. It was almost too easy to anger her.
She abruptly took the glass away from him and shattered it against the floor. Narcissa looked over at the young "couple", her eyebrows furrowed in the utmost concern. The other women looked over at them as well, whispering quietly to one another.
". . . not a healthy couple. . . "
"Narcissa, you should really reconsider . . . "
"…most powerful union…"
"—surely just young love…"
"Highly doubtful of that . . . "
Helen closed her eyes irritably and breathed slowly. She opened her eyes once again—they were filled with blue flames.
"You're an embarrassment," she hissed, "to me and to your mother."
"Really?" Draco said, with a slight slur. "I'm quite sure you're the one that's embarrassing yourself. Can't you see those poor old ladies you've just frightened?"
"Shut up!" she snapped angrily. "I can't believe you!"
Draco chuckled and stood up, standing just mere inches away from Helen. She did not back down, as most women would over Draco's intimidation. He patted her on the shoulder like he would to a dog and brushed past her.
"Is this how it's going to be, Draco?" she asked furiously, advancing toward him once again.
"Here's an idea I've suggested more than once," said Draco, slowly pushing her away. "Stay away from me."
"You know very well I can't."
"Last time I checked, we weren't bound by any magical contract. Don't you have someone else to follow around?" Draco remarked thoughtfully.
"Don't be stupid, Draco!" said Helen, stomping her foot. It reminded Draco of the child he saw at Diagon Alley when her parents refused her to buy her an ice cream cone. He chuckled at this, which made Helen angrier. "What is so goddamn funny?" she snapped.
"You are, my dear." Draco was always too blunt. He patted her again and walked out of the ballroom.
Helen, persistent and stubborn, followed him out of the ballroom. Even the small octet stopped playing and stared after the two young couple in astonishment. Narcissa shooed the remaining ladies away—it's almost midnight and there's absolutely nothing to see here anymore.
"Don't you dare walk away from me, Draco Malfoy." Helen screamed at his back.
"I believe I'm doing so right now."
"You're acting like a child!"
"So are you, but I never say anything."
"I can't believe you! How do you live with yourself! You are so immature!"
"I'm living quite nicely, thanks."
No matter how many insults Helen flung at Draco, he would quickly retaliate with indifference. It reminded him of Pansy Parkinson; he smiled at the memory of her trying to persuade him into going to Hogsmeade with her that winter. No matter how she begged and pleaded, Draco refused. Finally, she gave up and went to Blaise, only to have her heart torn, shattered into a million pieces. The next year, she died. When the news first reached Draco, he thought she killed herself out of her undying love for Blaise. It wasn't so.
Draco underestimated her strength, and he really shouldn't have. She had always been the cunning Slytherin. Who would have guessed that Pansy Parkinson was being trained by the Order? Apparently, Blaise was not easily fooled. He Apparated to the Parkinsons' mansion and swiftly killed her; he then coolly informed her stunned and horrified parents that their daughter was a traitor to the Dark Lord. With that, he left. Until the Ministry's arrival many hours later, the Parkinsons were forced to stand in the same spot, staring at their daughter's dead body.
Blaise was ruthless. He became the notorious Death Eater that would torture and kill people while their helpless family watched, silently screaming. It was disgusting, and Draco wondered how Blaise could live with himself. Obviously, it didn't matter. If Blaise was capable of killing when he was merely 17, he was certainly capable of killing at the age of 20. Muggles would have called him a sociopath—but then weren't all the Death Eaters sociopaths?
Draco felt a strange dizziness settle within him, his vision became blurred with a strange intoxication. Perhaps he stood up too fast back in the ballroom? It wouldn't have been the first time this had happened. Even now, he never took Ginny's first advice to him. The lightheaded feeling continued as he staggered down the corridor, with Helen breathing down his neck. He breathed slowly and shakily. Helen stopped talking, as she realized there was something wrong with Draco.
"I told you not to drink anymore." said Helen in a snobbish tone that strangely reminded him of Ginny.
"Just. . . don't talk ..." Draco said quietly, as he closed his eyes irritably. "Go away."
"Don't be a prat." Helen retorted. "I'm not going to let you faint in the middle of the corridor. What would your father say?"
Draco wanted to say that his father could care less if he passed out. In fact, his father would probably sneer, "Why didn't he die in the process?" However, he was too lightheaded to even reply, and he had a very strange urge to laugh.
They reached the red oak doors that led into his room. The door flung open with a small wave of Helen's wand, and Draco tried to shut the door before she could get in. However, it was to no avail. Before he could even recall the events that led up to this moment, she kissed him gently on the lips. To his own surprise, he returned her kiss. . .
"Is that how you kissed her?" she whispered with a small hint of remorse in her voice.
"What are you talking about?" Draco said, finding himself wanting more of her and feeling more intoxicated by her touch.
She said no more. No words were needed for the action that took place between them, only the quiet sighs of lust. Draco found himself staring into her blue eyes in a mixture of confusion and hate. Just a few minutes ago, they were screaming at each other over the most trivial matters. But now, they were in each other's arms—though love was nowhere to be found.
I watched her drift into sleep—her breathing slowed and her eyes shut out the world before her. For a moment, I lied there, watching her, knowing I could not love her like she wanted me to. I could not live to my family's expectations. Yes, it would be the most powerful union—Malfoys and Chamberlains. Both pureblood, of course.
I made sure she was deep in her sleep before I rose from the bed and got dressed.
The manor was silent. My footsteps echoed in the dark corridor, and the pale moon shined through the high windows. It reminded me of Hogwarts and my long patrols at night as Head Boy. It reminded me of the time when Ginny met me by the lake to thank me from restraining her against Blaise. It reminded me of the nights we'd walk, hand-in-hand, around the castle. One hand warmly placed in mine, while her other hand played with her necklace. This was our secret. We were so innocent and so much in love. But I left her in the most cruel and inhumane way possible.
Does she still think of me as I do of her?
My presumption is that she doesn't. I almost killed her with my words, shattered her hearts into thousands of pieces, the same way Blaise did to Pansy. Even though it didn't matter to her…it didn't matter what I was (and still am). Through her sobs and pleas, she said she loved me. She said it so blatantly, yet I could not return that love. No matter how much I longed to tell her I felt the same. I had to go on.
It was my duty to go on. It was the Order's—and my—only hope. But look where we are now…
I walked on through the corridor, brooding over these thoughts. The thoughts of despair bubbled in me. Was I to be a Death Eater for the rest of my life? Was I to be feared by millions, as I walk with my face hidden behind a terrible mask?
I found myself in the garden, staring up at the sky. If there were some way I could write it in the stars…if I could just tell her how much I actually thought about her. The days, the weeks, the months, the years—has time gone by already? I could say that it went by both too quickly and too slowly. When I left her, I was only a boy of seventeen. Now I am twenty and feeling older by the second.
Time should stop…
With everything I keep bottled inside of me, I could explode at any given moment. All the love, the hate, the despair, the sorrow, the anger…When will it all end?
I Apparated to the streets of London. The streetlights were dim, and a blanket of darkness covered the city. There was no one outside, not even a whisper could be heard. My footsteps echoed and faded away into the night around me. I didn't know where I was going. And I didn't know what force was leading me to walk. If I didn't know any better, I was wandering around aimlessly. There was no purpose in my life anymore. The war was hopeless, just like it had been in the beginning. I left the love of my life behind because of the war. I just wanted it all to end.
I walked on, and I suddenly itched for a cigarette. I cursed under my breath when I realized I left my pack in my room. More determined to reach my destination—absolutely nowhere—I forced myself to walk on. I felt something tugging me forward. What it was, I will never know…
The cathedral was tall, no doubt built during, what the Muggles call it, the Renaissance. I felt so small next to it. I opened the heavy doors and walked inside. My footsteps echoed even louder in the cathedral, hitting every stained glass window, hitting every wall, hitting the high ceiling, hitting the cross, hitting the statue of Mary, hitting the marble floor—every inch of the cathedral. I winced.
Why was I sitting here? Why was I staring at the candles that never seem to burn out? Why was I staring at the figure hanging from the cross who was bruised, bloodied, and broken? Why was I staring at the statue? Why was I here? What led me to this place, where Muggles pray for hope and salvation? Would I find my salvation here?
I could hardly believe myself. A wizard, a Malfoy, a Death Eater sitting in a cathedral, wondering if there was such a thing as redemption in these Muggle relics.
"How are you tonight, my son?" came a solemn voice.
Startled, I jumped and abruptly stood from my seat. The silhouette came into the light of the candles and smiled. I noticed a white color around his neck; other than that, he was wearing all black. He wore small little spectacles that reminded me a bit of Dumbledore; unlike Dumbledore however, he didn't have a beard and his gray hair was balding. He bald spot shined in the candlelight—like a small halo. How clichéd.
"How are you tonight, my son?" he asked again.
"I—" Nothing could be said. I didn't know what to say.
"Do you have a confession to make? Is that why you're here so late at night?" he asked kindly.
"No." I said, wondering why I would tell a total stranger my sins.
"You look troubled."
"I'm fine, thanks." I said impatiently. "I don't even know why I came."
"Well, there is only one explanation for that," said the man promptly. "You seek the Lord's comfort and salvation."
"If you say so." I said, sighing at the old man's simplicity and ignorance. He shrugged and stared at the statue of Mary. She looked so sad. I wondered why. Any mother would be delighted to have the son of God Almighty. I thought I heard the door open; a chill escaped through one of the cracks, and I shivered. I sat back down and buried my face in my hands.
I heard the man whisper a prayer for me. I then heard him say "How are you?" Why did he have to ask three times? I didn't answer him. I stayed buried in my hands, suddenly feeling very tired. I heard footsteps—hitting the ceiling, hitting the walls, hitting the cross, hitting the statue…I tried to tune out the resounding echoes.
Draco felt someone sit next to him, and he presumed it was the priest. Why did this person insist on prying in other people's business, particularly their sins? Draco wondered if it made the man feel better about himself; he probably felt so pure, so noble after he would hear sinners confess their wrongdoings and their flaws. The priest knew that, compared to these sinners, he was one of God's favorites. It kind of reminded him of Potter.
When Draco finally took his head out of his hands, he saw that the priest had already gone. Instead, there was a hooded individual sitting just a few feet away from him, staring straight ahead. From the corner of his eye, he probably saw Draco lift his head. The person never turned to face Draco.
"That was a long prayer." The person said. It was a woman's voice. It didn't sound familiar at all. Draco wondered if she was an Unknown.
"I wasn't praying." He said bluntly.
"You don't seem like the praying type anyway." She said, almost in a scoffing way.
"Aren't nuns supposed to encourage prayer?" Draco snapped.
"Who said I was a nun?"
"Well, you look like one." Draco said. Under his breath, he muttered, "Old hag."
"I heard that," She said quietly. "Anyway, if you're not praying, what are you doing in this Holy church?"
"I don't know." Draco said truthfully. "I guess I was hoping someone could save me here, even though I've never really been the religious type. In fact, religion is just a Muggl—er…muggy subject."
Silence. Both of them were staring ahead, staring at the sorrowful statue, staring at the cross.
"You know," the woman said, "Every night I come here, I always wonder why the Virgin Mary is so sad."
Draco almost laughed aloud. However, he chuckled quietly and said, "I was just thinking the same thing."
It was so weird how easily he could talk with these Muggle strangers and not be able to talk to anyone else like this in the wizarding community.
"I guess it makes sense though," she continued, "Watching your son sacrifice his life for the rest of the world isn't exactly the easiest thing to do. But he comes back to life doesn't he? After three days, he comes back to her. Why should she be sad then?
"She lost a part of him the day he supposedly died, probably felt betrayed by God. I mean, didn't he ask God why he betrayed him? Even though it was inevitable, even though they all knew it was coming. They all felt betrayed by God, I guess…" Draco trailed off.
"Three days isn't that long." she argued.
"I would be shocked if someone came back from the dead after three days." Draco said reasonably.
"I could understand if it was three years though…" she said.
"No one comes back from the dead in three years," said Draco. He wasn't sure if Muggles believed in ghosts or not. "Unless they were ghosts…"
"Oh, I don't know if I believe in ghosts." She said. "Sometimes, I think this savior was a ghost too…"
"It was his destiny to die for the sins of mankind though." Draco said, surprised that he had retained a lot of information from his childhood.
"It doesn't explain why Mary is so sad though…" she said.
"I'm she looks different in other statues. It could be just this one looking melancholy." Draco said.
"Does God exist?" She asked.
"Maybe you should talk to the priest about it. He would know more than anyone." Draco said. "I'm not the religious type."
Wizards were condemned by these religions. Draco remembered his third year study of Binn's History of Magic. Witches were burned at the stake by Christians, even though the fire never harmed them…Muggles were rather dimwitted, now that Draco thought about it. If they knew that these witches had magical powers, why did they think that fire could harm them?
"That's right. Religion is a muggy subject for you." She finally said.
Draco looked over at her, but she continued to stare ahead. She dropped her head and stared at her lap. Her hood still adorned her head. This was the first time that Draco actually talked to a Muggle. They were oddly comforting to talk to.
"This is the first time I've been in a church." Draco blurted out.
"And yet you know so much about Jesus."
"My father has a copy of the book." Draco couldn't seem to remember what that book was called.
"I've been coming here for almost a year now, when my family is fast asleep. I sit here for who knows how long." The woman said with a small sigh. "I think the priest knows now that I don't really like to talk. He figures I will confess my grievances to him when the time is right."
For a wild moment, Draco wanted to tell this woman all his sins. He wanted her to know how he broke Ginny's heart, how he hurt her so much, how sorry he was. He wanted her to know how he betrayed his own family for the Order (though the woman would think him a lunatic at the mention of the Order…). He wanted her to know how hopeless he felt.
It was just a moment. It passed as soon as it came. For a really long time, neither of them uttered a single word. They just stared ahead, each lost within their own thoughts. Neither of them were really paying any head to the cross or to the holy statue next to it. Instead, they immersed themselves in the hypnotizing glow of the candles.
Suddenly, Draco smirked. "I know why Mary is so sad."
"Why?" asked the woman, keenly interested.
"She was a virgin."
Draco could almost see her roll her eyes, even though he had no idea what this woman looked like. "Oh, that's real mature."
Draco shrugged and said, "Just thought I'd lighten the mood."
I thought about asking her name and maybe politely asking her to remove her hood. But then I didn't. What good would it be to know a Muggle's name. After tonight, it's not like I was going to see her again. I wasn't coming back to this cathedral, that was for sure. She could come here every night if she wanted to, but I wasn't going to. My mind wandered…Time passed, and I didn't even realize it. The heavy doors opened and closed, and I didn't even notice. The woman noticed, I felt her turn her head and quickly put her head back down. Reality came back to me, and I noticed that the person was walking in fast footsteps—hitting the ceiling, hitting the walls, hitting the cross, hitting the statue…
"Mr. Malfoy," someone whispered urgently into his ear. It was one of the Death Eaters from the headquarters, one of the inferior ranking ones.
"What is it?" Draco whispered back.
The woman was craning her neck to hear. The Death Eater felt very uncomfortable and eyed her suspiciously. He tugged at Draco's sleeve and beckoned him to step outside the cathedral. Draco nodded and looked over at the woman, who quickly stared straight ahead.
"Nice chatting with you." He said shortly.
"Good bye." She whispered.
The Death Eater and Draco walked down the middle aisle of the cathedral. Footsteps echoing—hitting the walls, hitting the ceiling, hitting the cross, hitting the statue…
Once they were outside, he and the Death Eater walked a bit further until they were far away from the church.
"What is it? What's going on?" asked Draco.
"We've captured the prisoner," said the Death Eater excitedly and breathlessly, "The one we've been trying to get for months, the one that was in hiding for months…"
Draco eyes widened in alarm, which the Death Eater apparently took for surprise or satisfaction. He continued in the same enthusiastic way, "Anyway, the prisoner is in the dungeons now, the Dark Lord himself interrogating—"
"WHAT!" Draco yelled. The Death Eater looked at him in a startled way. Draco quickly regained himself but still felt panic run through his veins. He suddenly felt lightheaded again. Why was the world starting to spin? "I was suppose to interrogate the prisoner!" Draco barked.
The Death Eater narrowed his eyes. "With all due respect, sir, this is the Dark Lord we're talking about," he hissed, "our master!"
Draco did not have another breath to waste on him, and he abruptly Disapparated. He arrived at the Malfoy Manor and quickly looked for his broom. The grounds of the Death Eater headquarters, like Hogwarts, did not allow any Apparating or Disapparating. He ran to the broom cupboard and grabbed whatever was available: Firebolt.
"Where are you off to?" It was Helen. She was wearing Draco's dark green bathrobe.
"Business," he said curtly.
Without another explanation to Helen, he went outside, mounted his broom, and soared into the night sky.
The cold wind stung his face, but he couldn't even feel it. The fear he felt was numbing—if this prisoner died, it would be his fault…it would be his fault…
Draco suddenly saw the image of the Sorrowful Mary before his eyes. Why was Mary so sad? Because everything in the world was about to be ruined, despite his son's desperate attempt to save mankind from sins. Mary was mourning for the sins of mankind, how her son's sacrifice had little effect. Mary was crying because evil, like Voldemort, was still hovering over the world. Mary was weeping. Hopeless. Everything would be ruined if the prisoner died.
Author's Note: I don't know if there are any Renaissance-like churches in London. I've never been to London, so forgive me for not being so accurate.
Please point out any mistakes I have made. I don't have a beta right now because I never update all that often anyway...So I'd really appreciate...and I'm going to start editing my earlier chapters too.
Oh yeah, I also made a forum for Misconception (discussion or anything).
If you review, I'll update faster. It was really your reviews that made me update. Anyway, I'm sorry this wasn't the long chapter you were all hoping for. I did the best I could.
Thank you my dear, dear reviewers. You have no idea how much your reviews mean to me. You may not think so, but I really take all your reviews to heart. I really hope you enjoyed this chapter, and I'll try (No promises) to update as fast as I can! So for now, please review!