Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter or any characters from his universe used in this story.

Chapter 1

Days had turned into weeks and still Draco waited in his dank, lonesome prison. Had the Dark Lord forgotten him? He thought not, but he wondered why else Voldemort would delay his promised execution. The Dark Lord's anger and rapture had mixed so naturally the night Draco was taken that it had frightened him even more than his current position as an attempted murderer. Voldemort had been ecstatic to hear of his old enemy's demise, but when his red slit eyes fell on Draco, he saw a coward worthy of punishing. Severus Snape he had scolded like a misbehaved child before rewarding, but it was Draco who had received the bad end of their master's wand.

Narcissa Malfoy had not gone unpunished for asking Severus to make the Unbreakable Vow. She had felt her bones ache as Crucio swept through her body. However, the Dark Lord leniently let her walk away after the curse. The Dark Lord would let Draco take her and Lucius's punishment, and he would only be happy after the destruction of the Malfoy's future—after the death of their only heir. This was the mercy of their master—he was in such a good disposition to let them off so easily.

Draco let a choked laugh pass through his parched lips. Mercy. Mercy would have been death that very evening instead of prolonged torture within a cell. What had Dumbledore said on the subject? "It is my mercy, and not yours, that matters now."

Draco had realized the power of those words, and their foolishness, the moment that the old wizard had muttered them. Draco would be at the end of Voldemort's wand soon, and it would not be the Dark Lord in need of Draco's mercy. Murder would not effect Voldemort the way it might a normal wizard.

Footsteps sounded down the stairs, two sets. Draco looked up and pulled himself from his cot. He stood at the center of the cell as the two Death Eaters unlocked the entrance and walked inside. They were masked and did not speak. Instead they pointed their wands at the young man and gestured for him to walk. Normally, these two would be jeering at the doomed wizard, but they recognized him as their own and were too stilled by the thought of his punishment to even reveal their identity.

Draco's palm itched for the chance to hold his wand, but he knew that the instrument had been twice broken when he had been locked behind bars. There was no chance of escape for him. The young wizard swallowed a snarky comment threatening to burst from his lips at the wand poking him in the elbow and slowly walked up the stairs with the Death Eaters at his tail.

They entered an open chamber where only a few candlestands lit the middle of the room. Draco could see his fellow Death Eaters holding to the shadows—many would play audience in order to learn from the Malfoys' example. In a makeshift throne of twisting wood and metal sat Lord Voldemort, his pet snake slithering at his feet and his wand dangling from between two long fingers. The Dark Lord did not stand or even look in Draco's direction as he entered.

The young man walked to the center of the room, where the lights shined their brightest, as if it were the safest spot.

"On your knees," the Dark Lord commanded.

Instinct told Draco to disobey but futile hope made him drop down to the ground.

"Your family is in disgrace," Voldemort hissed, his voice high so that all could hear his judgment. "I give you the chance to redeem them. I tell you to kill a pathetic old wizard. . ."

The only one you ever feared.

"And all past sins would have been forgotten. Had you died in trying, your family would have had reason to take pride in you. Instead, you surrendered your glory to my new right hand. Think, boy, you could have had that place beside me—were you not such a coward. Oh, yes, your lord knows what words passed between you and that muggle lover. And I know that you lacked the strength to ignore such temptation. You failed, and therefore, you will die on this day, a pathetic worm."

Voldemort's thin lips pulled into a grin. "In my kind generosity, I shall grant audience to any last words you may have. They say a man is wisest as he watches his life fade—enlighten us."

Draco's hope had vanished. He was at death's door and no amount of sucking up would hold the lock.

"See you in Hell, you filthy mudblood."

Voldemort's smile only widened as he raised his wand with practiced grace. His mouth opened to form the Killing Curse.

"My lord . . ." came a faint whisper. It shook the room, and Draco saw the Death Eaters move about uncomfortably. Voldemort's wand lowered ever so slightly, and he looked past Draco toward the entranceway.

"Darien, my servant, what brings you to this humble execution? Fishing for leftovers?"

Draco's curiosity would not allow him to stay still. He turned his head toward the newcomer. The man towered over the shadows of Death Eaters as he stepped past them. Darien, as Voldemort had called him, looked down at Draco, a mane of smooth black curls curtaining most of his face. Pale blue eyes shined out from beneath the dark brow, dancing over the young wizard's still form. His paper-white skin seemed to glow as he looked up at the Dark Lord before him.

"Actually, I wish to take a burden off of your hands, my lord," Darien said in a crisp voice that made Draco think of a music box.

"Surely you do not refer to this one?" Voldemort asked. The other man was quiet. "If you want him, take him, but he will be the only one. Do not come asking for another when this one has proved his uselessness." His voice lowered, forgetting the careless manner of his previous statement. "And do keep in mind that I prefer not to feed the dogs at the table."

Darien raised a finely arched brow. "Of course, my lord, but I think I will be pleased with him."

"A matter of taste, I must assume," Voldemort said with an unnatural shrug. "Claim him and remove him from my sight before I change my mind."

Darien held a hand out, and Draco stared at the stranger a second more before hesitantly taking the help. Darien's mood seemed to change as he touched the young man's flushed palm. Before Draco was fully standing, Darien released Draco's hand only to grasp the young man around the neck, lifting him up until only his toes scraped the floor. Draco tried screaming but found that he could no longer breathe. Darien smiled, his sparkling blue eyes stained with veins of crimson that encircled the piercing irises. Panic flushed through Draco, and his body went limp at the knowing in its mind.

Darien ripped open Draco's robes at his neck and stared at the white flesh screaming back at him in a coat of beaded sweat.

Darien's mouth widened, long fangs peaking out from above his lower lips. Draco's vision blurred as his body cried out for oxygen. The young wizard recognized the creature that held him. It was a vampire, a drinker of blood. Draco braced himself as Darien pushed cold lips against the skin at the base of his neck and teeth sliced into warm flesh.