Disclaimer: All the characters, creatures etc in the Harry Potter universe belong to J. K. Rowling. All original characters, plot etc belong to me. No money is being made.
Warnings: Angst and Dark Magic. Slash. Spoliers for all books (i.e. one to five).
A/N: Thoughts/conscience look like so: 'and'. Not beta read so all mistakes are my own. Thank you for every review received.
"It was foolish to come here tonight, Tom," said Dumbledore calmly. Quote from the duel between Voldemort and Dumbledore at the Ministry for Magic.
After the Duel
Thomas Riddle, now known as Voldemort, rifled through his possessions. His wrath was immense. He had once again lost to Dumbledore, and in the process lost Lucius to the Dementors. Lucius' fragile emotional state would easily be manipulated in Azkaban.
'Must he hound me to the end of my days? Can I not escape? Is there no way to stop him and that pesky boy?'
However, what irked him most was the fear he held for the man. Voldemort knew that the duel had been close – too close. And what exactly did the old man mean by there being worse fates than death? Death was the leveller of all. Death took you to what lay beyond life's veil and that indeed was terrifying.
His thoughts wandered and he circled back to Lucius, feeling the fury peak again. He had lost Lucius how many times now? Three? More? Was this the end? The final loss? The sudden spike of fear that this horrific realisation brought gave him pause. He considered the emotion and from where it had come and the reason for its arrival.
To lose Lucius permanently, either to his mind or to death was a chilling prospect and not one he could bear. Lucius had slipped under his radar and become more than a mere Consort in who he sought pleasure. Indeed, your failure to understand that there are things much worse than death has always been your greatest weakness. Dumbledore's words came back to haunt the tall man and he felt sick.
'Maybe now I comprehend Dumbledore. Maybe now I am not so weak because I realise that there are indeed things much worse than death. And almost all of them hold a future without Lucius or a future with a badly destroyed Lucius. Is this love?'
And something else occurred to the dark wizard. Dumbledore and Lucius were the only people who hailed him by his old name. Thomas Marvolo Riddle. Tom. Did they each see the same things in him as the other? 'Perhaps there is more of Thomas Riddle left in me than even I realised.'
Mind awhirl Voldemort turned to rummage through the possessions that he had given to Lucius before his unplanned departure for a number of years – thirteen years to be precise.
Draco nervously paced his small room, anxious for his father, and for his mother who worried greatly. He paused when he heard low excited voices outside his door and ever curious he crept to the door, pressing his ear to the wood so he could overhear what was being said.
"Our Master summons us." Bellatrix Lestrange.
"Do you know why?" It was Mcnair.
"To storm Azkaban I should think," commented Bellatrix. Draco shuddered. Bellatrix Lestrange nee Black – his mother's sister – always freaked him out. The woman was scary, and quite frankly, more insane than Potter and his friends.
"I should have thought it was quite obvious Walden. Lucius is in Azkaban and Lucius is the Consort to the Dark Lord, our Master." Draco could see in his mind's eye his aunt rolling her eyes at Walden's stupidity.
"Oh. But why all this secrecy? And those ingredients? What are they needed for?"
Before Bella could reply another voice, one as cold and dead as the grave intervened.
"For the Dark Lord to become more powerful than he is now, so powerful that even Dumbledore will fear him."
A whisper went around the assembled Death Eaters, while Draco's heart thundered.
"Now go to our Lord and serve him. I have business I must tend to urgently."
Draco heard the Death Eaters walk away and slid to the floor his heart in his mouth. Fear was a potent elixir that flowed through his body as his mind reeled with thoughts. The Dark Lord would grow more powerful? How? And what did the Dark Lord's second in command mean precisely by his words: 'I have business I must tend to urgently.' What business was so urgent it couldn't wait until morning?
A knock on the door sounded to Draco's ears as the harbingers of doom.
"Open up Draco!" called the icy voice. "It is Valdis. We must talk."
Draco's terror heightened.
"Okay," his voice came out weak and broken, laced with dread.
Fumbling with the lock he finally managed to prise the door open to emit Valids, Second in command to Voldemort.
The dangerous man strolled into his quarters with a reassuring smile.
"Why so frightened Draco? I mean you no harm."
"Wh..why should I think you mean me harm?" stammered Draco.
A mocking laugh met his question.
"Because I know that you were listening to the conversation outside little dragon," the tone fell to a whisper, "you cannot fool a werewolf." A flicker of recognition flashed for a brief second in grey eyes.
"Yes, that is one of the pet names our Master uses for your father and is the reason why Lucius called you after the dragon – a living memory of his Master and love. Now come," a hand was stretched out invitingly, "tonight is not the time to be alone or to be wandering. Too many things are going on for it to be safe. Come Draco, you do not want to be here when all hell breaks loose."
Pale faced with fright Draco clasped the hand and blindly followed.
"What about my mum?" he asked.
A wolfish look played on the grim features. It was a rather hungry expression.
"She is in a… safe place, never you fear."
As Voldemort waited he fingered the torn diary with an amused smile playing on his inhuman features.
'Do they truly believe that my diary was the only fallback plans that I would put in place? My diary was not the only method by which I could return to full power – even stronger than I am now. I am diminished but for not much longer. I shall reclaim my younger self and then… Then no one will be able to stop me. Not even Albus Dumbledore.'
A skeletal hand reached for an object and Voldemort smiled. An evil light seemed to flare in the scarlet orbs as he contemplated his imminent re-birth.
'Soon my children in Azkaban will be free and for the last time that fortress of pain and death shall be sprung open. The end of Azkaban is nigh. And those who have incarcerated my love shall pay in blood and torment.'
His followers had arrived. It was time to begin the ritual.
Even if there had been windows natural light did not penetrate this far down. Guttering candles provided the only illumination and an eerie greenish glow, which seemed to emanate from the cold, stonewalls.
Water dripped. Slime clung to the walls and floors. The shadows held their own secrets. Noises in the darkness were best ignored unless one truly wished to go insane with terror at the very imagination of what dwelt in this…place. Holding cells formed forbidding ranks on either side of the hallway.
A woman lay curled up in one such cell. Trembling with exhaustion and apprehension at what was to come she struggled to erase the images of last night. The howling of the werewolves did not faze her; only the howl of one werewolf could send complete, utter dread down her spine, freezing her blood. And he was not here now thank goodness.
Who was this woman?
A shaft of orange light falls on her head and there is a glimpse of blonde locks before the light once more fails, mercifully hiding the rest of the dungeon in the shroud of darkness.
Narcissa Malfoy, arms wrapped around her drawn up legs, bent her head and wept.
The Death Eaters stood back, stunned into silence at the sight before their eyes.
Throwing back his head, cold high laughter spilt forth, chilling all present. The laugh seemed to come from the very jaws of Hell. Thomas Riddle grinned. 'I'm back.'
Huddled against the tall, grim form Draco attempted to drown out the noises of the night, but was unsuccessful. He clung to the second in command like a swimmer to a life belt afraid of drowning.
He still heard the hellish laugh.
Scratching aimlessly at the dank grey walls of his prison cell, Lucius stared absently into the distance; his grey eyes merely hollows to a soul filled with nothing. His white face was devoid of emotion, unaware of the pitiful surroundings and distant screams of the other denizens of Azkaban.
He heard tinkling laughter; merry as bubbling brook in spring, in his head as he relived the few happy memories he had intact. His mind drifted further, remembering better times.
Sixteen Years Ago
Lucius Malfoy stood proudly beside his Lord and Master, satisfaction shining brightly from his eager face, as he listened intently to his Lord speaking to the few select Death Eaters who had been invited here due to their fanatical loyalty to the Dark Lord.
Bellatrix Lestrange's piercing gaze met his briefly before she wisely moved her attention elsewhere. Bellatrix, mused Lucius, was a very beautiful woman and someone who had followed him at Hogwarts – been part of his cohort and subsequently someone who he introduced to the Dark Lord.
'Who would think that underneath such beauty could lay such cruelty? She is the embodiment of the old saying 'appearances can be deceiving'. And she doesn't like me for dallying with her sister while I am our Master's… whore I believe her words to my wife were. No worry, she is not a threat, if she were I would have dealt with her long ago and without my Master's help. Lucius smiled coldly. I am perfectly capable of surviving without my love having to sweep to my aid as everyone thinks.'
Voldemort's next words brought Lucius' wandering thoughts sharply back to the clandestine meeting.
"Thanks to Lucius we now have the plans for the next Auror raid which would have severely wounded us if we had been unawares. We also know that two Aurors who have been a pain to me – and escaped my personal attention three times–" Voldemort snarled at this humiliation, "will be present. I am not talking of the Potters, but of the Longbottoms. As I will be indisposed for that evening I am entrusting the task to two of my most loyal followers."
Excited faces stared up at Voldemort who smiled pleasantly. Turning to face his love he declared, "And who better to decide than the man who obtained this precious information?"
Lucius flushed with delight at the honour bestowed upon him by his Master and fighting the blush he turned a stern, assessing eye on the gathered Death Eaters. A sudden idea struck him as he stared into the cold hate filled eyes of Bellatrix.
'Well Bella, I do believe that I can give you and your husband this honour.'
Smiling innocently up at his lover Lucius titled his head and stated without any tangible malice to his words, "My Lord, Bella and her husband should be granted the privilege of teaching the Longbottoms a lesson. After all, they are your most loyal subjects and will not fail you in this task."
The Dark Lord furrowed his brow for a spilt second as he tried to figure out what his mysterious lover was up to exactly. He gave up for the moment.
"The task is yours Bella, do not fail me."
"We will not Master."
As Bella and the other Death Eaters bowed and left she cast a calculating look at Lucius trying to gauge his actions. Lucius simply kept his innocent act going which caused Bella a few seconds of discomfort as she fled the room.
'Yes, run Bella. You do see now yes? I can be a nice man to know and befriend. But this is your last chance – snub me again and our Master will be losing his most fanatical supporter in an accident, and believe me Bella, that will be infinitely kinder than what would happen if my love found out about your actions towards me.'
Strong arms wrapping around his waist and drawing him against the tall, lean body of his Lord distracted Lucius from his pensive musings. Hot breath tickled his ear.
"What are you up to my little demon?" purred the Dark Lord. "What game are you playing my love? What has Bella done to deserve your 'mercy' and 'favour', hmmm? Do tell me my little kitten."
Lucius gasped softly, turning his head so he could brush his lips over the cheek of his lover.
"Nothing my love. She has done naught to rile up my rage."
The luxurious warmth of his Master's body was suddenly absent. Angry, black orbs peered into his soul as his love's grip on his arms became painful.
"I warn you Lucius," he rasped, "if you are lying to me about Bella – and anyone else for the matter – then the punishments shall be severe. I will not stand harm coming to you or you lying to me about any danger you are in, is that understood?"
Fearfully the blond swallowed. Stuttering slightly he managed to dredge up a response.
"Y… yes my Lord. But please do not worry my Lord. The situation is under control. It is only the normal childish power games that we play. If matters get worse I will tell you my Lord."
Voldemort studied him then relaxed as he saw the promise in the grey eyes he lusted – and loved in his own way, unbeknownst to him – for so much.
"Very well," he murmured. Then a wicked light sprang into his eyes and gathering Lucius up into his arms he deposited the startled blond on the table. Crowding the sprawled man he licked Lucius from chin to forehead.
"How many uses can you think of for a table Lucius?" he whispered.
"A few," came the dry croak.
A nefarious grin appeared.
"Then we better examine these uses minutely my dragon."
With that said Thomas Riddle proceeded to study the different methods a table could be used for with great vigour. Lucius moaned as kisses descended onto exposed flesh, hot and cold skin tingling, yearning for more. Much later the world moved for the two men and Lucius lay dazed under the still weakly thrusting body of his Lord, never thinking that this indescribable pleasure would end.
Jarred back to the present Lucius felt tears form, crystal jewels falling from pained eyes. Where had it all gone wrong?
'I am going mad in here – the walls are no barrier between them and meOh my Lord why have you abandoned me so? What have I done to displease you? I know I am weak, but the Dementors are so strong, so very terrifying. They are not even evil per se, for to be evil implies knowledge of good and wrong and the grey areas in-between.
'No…they are simply being what they are. They are not evil for they cannot understand such emotions or choices; it is their nature to feed on our joyful memories leaving only guilt and dark reminders, therefore I cannot hate them. How can you hate that which only does what it must to survive?
'But my Lord when did you stop loving me? Is there even any Thomas left? Or is this my punishment for deserting you all these years? I thought you understood! Thomas did…does. Have thee found another? Please no! I cannot bear such a loss. Is my love repugnant to you? A weakness? At least allow me to serve you if not love you, anything is better than losing you again.
'Oh, how pathetic my pleas are! It is true what thee say, to love is a weakness, yet I am glad to have loved and love. I begin to comprehend the Order and Dumbledore's words on love being their strength and guiding force. If you love someone and they love you back what can stop you? A paradox indeed, love reveals weakness, brings pain, yet it also brings hope and joy, strength in yourself and each other. My Lord where are you?'
In silence Lucius bowed his head, his sobs filling the frosty air of Azkaban.
Ignorant of the cries and sounds of magical battle Lucius did not move until two fingers forced his chin up. Through a haze he saw his Master as he once was. Almost. Trembling, a shaking hand reached outto trace the rims of eyes and gently brush eyelids. Resting questing fingers on a damp cheek Lucius whispered, "They are rubies not obsidian, but beautiful all the same. Are you a dream?" Then the fact that the flesh under his fingertips was wet registered.
"Nothing Lucius," whispered the Dark Lord.
Voldemort carefully studied the pale silver-blond man in front of him. Azkaban had not been good for him, nor had his absence of years past. Most cruel, however, was that little fiasco with the diary – how could he have been so callous and selfish? Their game had almost destroyed this delicate man. Well no longer, he would heal Lucius now that they had time.
"My Lord," came the urgent high voice of his guard.
"We must leave now!"
It was time. Leaning forward Voldemort addressed the stunned man.
"I am no dream or hallucination. I am Thomas Marvolo Riddle and I am back to re-claim our future together." Standing he drew the blond up. "This is only the beginning Lucius." Raising his voice, "My Lucius: Consort and love of the Dark Lord."
Smiling a triumphant smile Thomas walked out with his Consort to wrest the future to them.
Narcissa's death followed, releasing Lucius from the bondage of marriage. Harry Potter – hope and saviour for all – fell in battle against Voldemort – no, against Thomas Riddle. Dumbldore also perished at the hands of our enemies and many more deaths followed on a blizzard of blood, gore and dread.
The Ministry was broken asunder and Draco Malfoy presides over one of the prisons for the 'traitors'.
Panic gripped the country. Wizarding society froze. As darkness ruled and fountains of blood flowed in majesty it seemed that God had abandoned Britain. Is there hope? Deliverance from the Dark Prince and his Consort? Or are we all doomed?
Bill Weasley – leader of the remaining members of the Order of the Phoenix in exile.
Read the sequel: 'The Dark Prince and Consort' if you wish to know what happens to the Wixarding World!