Title: System Discordia
Author: Eris Mackenzie
Warnings: Rape, torture, future slash (H/D), minor het, minor character death, adult language and situations.
Spoilers: SS, CS, PoA, GoF, Ootp, HBP.
Main Pairing: Harry/Draco
Secondary Pairings: Tonks/Remus, Hermione/Ron, more to come.
Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
Summary: After a failed Death Eater rebellion headed by his father, Draco Malfoy is taken hostage and eventually found by Aurors. How will the rest of the wizarding world react to the fact that the Prince of Slytherin has a wish for the light? Post-HBP
A/N: Just a WARNING - there is RAPE and TORTURE in this chapter, so skip if you don't want to read.
Disinaporus - spell which disintegrates the cells and/or magic of a magical creature.
Chapter One: Release of the Inner Sanctum
It takes more courage to suffer than it does to die. -Napoleon Bonaparte
The cold grey cobblestones rushed out from under his feet in quick succession. Tonight was the night he and his father had been planning for months upon end with scores of fellow Death Eaters across England and Scotland. Heated debates and questions of whether this was the right choice had clouded the heads of the members for days, weeks even. Few men were of courageous calibre, but that was not the reason for their uproar--it was the fact that they were scared, scared of death, scared of pain and retribution. None of that could be allowed, and now in such complete secrecy, nothing could afford to go wrong.
In the crystal clear autumn night, a pale wraith draped in black slid through the darkness with all of the grace befitting a snake. His presence barely stirred a ripple in the sun-bleached grass fields. The boy moved with the agility and elegance of a feline and was as keen as a dancer on where to tip-toe his steps: nothing less had been expected of him when growing up than to show his class.
His breath was smooth and shallow, but inside he was shaking, intimately terrified, yet not showing it at all. In fact, he appeared as if he were merely strolling towards the dense thicket of trees near Leeds for a midnight walk, but those who understood his true intent knew better. A closer inspection showed his steps to be picked with deliberate cautiousness, and even the lightest sound was treated like a gunshot bang--something to be quieted immediately.
The white blond boy looked over his shoulder to glance behind him: he thought he had heard something, but it must have just been the wind. His eyes flicked imperceptibly around the perimeter of the forest as he neared the border, searching for some small sign he had been markedly directed to take.
Suddenly, among a minute rustle of bushes, a female deer strutted out shyly, twisting and turning its head immediately in Draco's direction as he slowed to a stand-still. Its glassy eyes were completely black, but its fur had a strange dotted pattern almost like a star. Draco allowed himself a small smile. This was his sign.
The deer sniffed the air for a second, acknowledging that Draco was of no threat, and then in a blink of an eye, it was gone, leaping through the night soundlessly. It disappeared entirely moments later as if it had never been there at all, which in truth, it might have just been a temporary transfiguration, a rock that had for a moment walked and breathed before becoming earth once again.
Gliding stealthily into the trees, Draco soon saw what he was looking for--the few Death Eaters all the way from Ireland who had joined up in the fight and were, as had been proved mercilessly, excellent marksmen and, in essence, assassins.
One of the rougher looking men whom Draco knew only by his last name, Moriarty, caught Draco's eye from his crouched position on the ground and nodded. The dark haired man curled a finger to Draco, silently signalling him over.
As noiselessly as a fox, Draco trudged over, careful not to step on any sharp twigs or dead leaves. The trees rustled overhead in the dead quiet. The air was warm, scented with the faint smell of lilacs from a bush nearby.
As Draco dropped into a squat beside him, Moriarty murmured quietly, "We have the whole house surrounded. Your father is on the other side, waiting to Apparate here once we break in. From what we know, Voldemort is inside. No movement other than the house elves has been reported."
Draco nodded. His palms were sweaty, and he wiped them against the black material of his tailored pants. Against traditional wizard garb, Draco and the others were not wearing robes; instead, they wore black close-fitting Muggle clothes that were better suited for stealth and drew far less attention. Robes would have gotten caught on the branches when they snuck up on Voldemort, as they planned to do.
All of this in order to be free.
Contrary to what others thought, Death Eaters may have joined of their own choice through Voldemort's smooth persuasion and their own power lust, but once a wizard became a Death Eater, one literally couldn't turn back.
Back when Voldemort had found out that some of his followers were betraying him--even before he found out about the prophecy seventeen years ago--he had created an orb that actually stole part of an individual's life force. This orb contained a very small fraction of their magic, but it was enough to connect it to them and, in a case of displeasure, kill them. The Dark Mark became the very connection between the Death Eaters and the orb. Voldemort bled and branded his new recruits with the Mark, though he did not bother with those of his intelligentsia whom he regarded as his elite.
Draco had seen what happened in the case of a turned Death Eater when someone had tried to betray. Once part of a Death Eater's magic was contained, it was suicide to consider leaving. Draco himself had gone through the ceremonies with no less pain than others. He, too, abhorred the ink and magic imbedded in his once-pure skin. There was nothing for it that anyone could do, not anymore.
The orb came to be called the "Burning Ball" because of the torturous agony bestowed upon a Death Eater if he tried to turn to the Light. Once the fires that literally ignited the viscera of his body died down, there would be nothing left but ashes to blow away in the wind. None of the Death Eaters, including Draco, wanted to face that fate.
However, ever since Voldemort has been resurrected three years before, after the Triwizard Tournament, his more astute followers had immediately noticed a drastic change in their lord. Before, the spiteful wizard had seen a purpose in ridding the planet of half-bloods and Muggles tainting what he viewed as a 'pure world,' but now he was simply hell-bent on destroying a boy no more than Draco's age--a boy who had miraculously conquered him at the tender age of one year old with no more than a back-fired spell from Voldemort himself. It was ironic that the prophecy might not have come true had he not tried to stop it in the first place, and now everyone suffered.
From the increasingly erratic and random pillages and murders that the Death Eaters still dutifully performed, it did not take much insight to predict that Voldemort's power was quickly spiralling out of control. He would not win the war.
At the beginning of Draco's sixth year, Voldemort had set up an inaugural trial for him: kill his legendary headmaster, Dumbledore, or kill his own family. Draco could not do it, no matter how hard he tried to force himself to. He knew that if he did not do so, then his mother and father would most certainly be killed. His mother--being the beauty she was and also just being a 'frail' and therefore 'weak' woman--would first be raped and beaten, though it would probably be much the same for his father too. Torture was one thing in the world that seemed to bring Voldemort pleasure, as sick as it was. Something like that should not have been put on Draco's shoulders, yet it had been.
Luckily, his godfather and also a secret spy for the Light, Severus Snape, had covered for him. He had killed the old man himself and said that the headmaster had put Draco under mind grips that not even the great Lord Voldemort himself could begrudge.
Draco had gotten off the hook--but not without a price, of course. It was just one set of afflictions that had been methodically replaced with another: maybe one time it was simply killing a few Muggles, the next torturing a mother in front of her children and laughing as she begged and cried to take her over her babies, and the next a senseless bloody massacre overlooked by a masturbating lord.…It was just the same hell over and over and over…
That was when Draco had truly known what it was like to be like his father.
When he was younger and naïve, even up to a point past his initiation ceremony and his first blooding, he had never truly understood, never fully grasped just what he was doing. But the look on his first victim's face just before he cast the Killing Curse--the pale, utterly broken eyes of but a five year old child--it was one look that set his whole world. He knew now why his father always had such a weary and sick face when he thought no one was looking, and why he would shut himself away, or drink himself into oblivion, or scream and yell. He understood now why his father would come home, smelling of smoke and drenched in blood and Merlin-knew-what else, lay his head in his mother's lap, and just cry. That pain shaped them both. That was the year he finally grew up.
Draco's father had not wanted him to get involved in this business, despite what everyone else thought. If anything, Lucius was the first one to notice something was off with Voldemort, and now he was the first to lead a Death Eater rebellion against the very master who had made them what they were. It was not to say, however, that every Death Eater wanted out; in fact, if many of the others had found out about the ambush, the rebels would have already been dead.
Draco swallowed as he marched dutifully through the underbrush. He did not want to die.
Only a small group of Death Eaters had actually come here to retrieve what was needed. That was all that would hopefully be required, and none of them were dull enough to risk giving everyone in their society away. The plan was to go in, take the orb, and flee. Not a very strategic plan, but one that should work none-the-less. 'Should' being the operative word. Even with extensive researching, no one had actually figured out how to destroy the orb without destroying themselves in the process. However, they hoped that once they had it, they could figure it out.
Draco caught the sight of Moriarty's hand going out to signal the other Death Eaters crouched in the trees to move forward. Almost like the way the American-Muggle FBI were portrayed when they stalked out through a potential battlefield, the Death Eaters slunk slow to the ground and kept quiet. The partial Invisibility Charms on them glimmered and distorted their bodies, but they could not go completely invisible for fear of getting Avada Kedavra-ed accidentally by a fellow rebel in the heat of the moment.
"Go to the left," Moriarty muttered in Draco's ear so closely that Draco jumped.
Draco glanced back over his shoulder to look at the dark-haired hunter, but he was already gone. Draco gritted his teeth at the sudden lurch of his stomach and did as he was told without question. His fellow Death Eaters followed his lead and took off in the same direction as Draco.
Within moments, the trees cleared to reveal a dark looming mansion set on the side of a hill. Voldemort had not taken to Riddle Mansion, and he had found another, more elegant and regal, house right smack in the middle of the secluded woods--an added benefit of natural privacy, Draco guessed.
Around the Victorian-era mansion was a snaking veranda covered in night-blooming moonvine. The heavy heads resembled large Morning Glories, but these flowers were as black as night itself and twined atop the woodwork like parasites.
Draco tripped on a hidden rock and almost fell but caught himself just in time, luckily with minimal noise. One never knew the dangers surrounding the property of Voldemort's estate. Most of the enchantments and spells were disengaged toward Death Eaters, but, all the same, that did not mean Voldemort was not hiding something up his sleeve.
Beside him, another wizard walked so low that his entire torso was bent. Alaric Maud was a handsome brunet German, but he had come to England in the early 1980's looking for something better than what he'd left behind. Unfortunately, he had met up with Voldemort one fateful night at a local tavern, and Voldemort had instantly taken a liking to him. Irony was such a bitter thing, it seemed. Draco hated it as he did so many things now.
Quickly, quietly, they surrounded the house, and then Moriarty signalled one of the wizards to go up to the door. The poor man's screams ripped through the air as he attempted to push open the door only to have his hands, feet, and every other appendage ripped off by an invisible force. Draco gulped as he looked at the carnage, but he neither nor anyone else moved to help; instead, they all watched with hard eyes as the man fell.
It was obvious that Voldemort had protections. With extra caution now, two more Death Eaters hurried to the door with a nod from Moriarty and cast a disarming spell on the place where the dead wizard had stepped before pushing the door open to reveal the familiar interior of the house.
Draco, along with everyone else, advanced, and he was one of the last in. He needed to stay behind the rest in case something happened--he was the one solely responsible to retrieve the orb if everyone else failed.
At the time when they had been planning, Draco had wanted to be able to free his family and volunteered despite the very real chance that he could die in the process. Death Eaters had been killed for far less an offence. Now he was not so sure about his decision, but he swore he would go on with it.
The small group wandered down a darkened hallway lined with portraits of legendary purebloods and weaponry. They were so nervous that no one was aware of the banshees until they heard the screams.
"Don't listen!" Someone screamed in warning just seconds too late.
Instantly, a dull film slunk across his eyes, and around him several Death Eaters dropped dead. Their faces were sick looking and grey, contorted in an expression of pure pain, hands still raised to their ears as if to ward off the sounds even in death.
A pounding throb that he instinctively knew was his heartbeat slowed down minimally, making him panic. Around him, green-skinned banshees resembled ruinous angels coming from the pits of hell with their flowing black hair and empty, bottomless eyes framing a mouth screaming silent sorrow.
Thinking quickly and taking the person's warning literally, Draco pointed his wand at himself and whispered a Deafening Spell. Immediately, to Draco's great relief and his very life, the screams stopped to be replaced with a heavy silence. He was safe from them, at least. After all, he could only be harmed by them if he could hear them. If not, then they were harmless. He still did not know who had yelled the alert, but it was not important.
Apparently, the Death Eaters around him caught the idea, but by now most of the damage was done. The petrified banshees floated in the air. The nearly translucent cords binding them shimmered.
Draco looked away. They had to hurry before Voldemort discovered them, and the chance of that was becoming greater by the minute. Taking the initiative to move on, Draco waved his hands to get their attention and signalled them to fan out and search.
'Quickly,' he mouthed with a hard look in his eyes. He had a feeling most of them would not be coming back.
As the rest of the Death Eaters fanned out, Moriarty, himself, and another Death Eater whose name Draco did not know hurried to the door they knew leaded towards Voldemort's inner chambers. If nothing else, at least the other Death Eaters would prove to be a distraction.
As Draco took the Deafening Charm off, he wondered when his father was going to get here but shook his head. He had no time to worry about his father; he would get there if, no, when he did.
A loud sound like an explosion accompanied by screams came from the walls and Moriarty whipped around, searching wildly.
"Come on, hurry!" he ordered sharply.
Draco instantly sped up to a jog as he followed Moriarty, who, being in Voldemort's inner circle along with Lucius, knew the house better than anyone. He was taken by surprise, though, when suddenly the floor under them started to ice over.
He skid uncontrollably, trying to gain his balance. His hand went to the wall and was instantaneously rubbed raw of skin on stones as sharp as broken glass. He hissed, pulling his hand back to him, and hurried to catch up to Moriarty, but he seemed so far away all of the sudden.
In front of his eyes, he watched the hallway expand and stretch, curving around to make a corner and pulling the other two Death Eaters out of sight. He tensed further in fear as he heard a compound scuttling growing louder and louder…like the sound of insects. He felt something hit the back of his neck, out of reflex turned around, and ran even faster.
He swore as he slipped on the iced floor and scraped more and more skin off his hands and wrists, but he kept himself up. Behind him, Raethyns (fiery demons made of shadows and who-knew-what else) flitted across the walls. The gravity did not weigh them down, and in a child-like dream, Draco seemed to run slower and slower.
He tried to fight it off. This was what they were trained to do: they would drag wizards down agonisingly slow to be eaten between their saliva-dripping jaws. However, before that he would probably be torn into little bite-size pieces like a bloody steak.
The thought of becoming a human fillet spurred Draco on, and he fought violently against the curling blackness that was trying to invade his mind and shut him down. For a few moments it seemed like he would not succeed but he pushed harder than ever, the effort making his breath come in pants, and then, finally, the darkness appeared to back off and sink back to the Raethyns. Draco breathed a short-lived sigh of relief before he ran even faster: just because he had fought them out of his mind did not mean they could not still kill him.
He racked his brain frantically for any spell or curse that would possibly help, and then a light blinked off in his head.
"Disinaporus!" Draco shouted over his shoulder, aiming his wand back and hoping to hell he had hit something.
Lady Luck was on his side, and he heard a noise like sand bursting out into a cloud as he ran. He did not need to look behind him to know his aim was on target. He shouted the spell numerous times before he finally found the end of the seemingly infinite hallway, and he turned left on instinct.
On the other occasions Draco had been there, he had never actually travelled through Voldemort's house, and he knew he was rapidly becoming lost. It scared him more than the creatures behind him as he streaked through room after room of dusty furniture and half-hidden statues that he had no recollection of. He could not afford to be lost, yet he was.
His heart beat a rapid, uneven tempo in his ribcage. He thought if it were to pump any harder, it would surely explode and cave in his abdomen.
Draco could not believe his luck when, through his peripheral vision, he caught the sight of a familiar room purely by chance. He skid to a halt and bolted through the door of what was actually one of Voldemort's meeting quarters that Draco had been in when he had been giving his assassination assignment.
He ran past the engraved marble fireplace, moving quickly and surely now that he knew where he was going. Hopefully, Voldemort had not had the intelligence to cast anything too impairing on the room.
He made his way through the hallways as fast as lightning. The Raethyns were still hot on his tail, but so far Draco had miraculously managed to keep out of their grasp, which was becoming harder and harder by the second.
A sweat drop slid down the base of Draco's hairline, and he flicked his tongue out, tasting salty moisture on his upper lip. He was in good shape but definitely not enough to be running from hell-bound demons.
At first, he did not know what was happening when he suddenly heard unearthly shrieks reap through the air. Draco cringed but did not cover his ears. He looked back to see the Raethyns writhing in agony on the threshold of an archway Draco had run through, howling as if they were being torn apart from the inside. They gave Draco one last burning look and turned on their haunches and fled back down the corridor from whence they came.
Shaking, Draco took deep shuddering breaths. His every sense was alert now; the tiny hairs on the back of his neck practically surveyed the direction of the air waves when he moved. He swallowed, vaguely noting past his anxiety that his throat was sore and throbbing from his panting.
Immediately, even as he was still catching his breath, Draco studied his surroundings.
He knew where he was--the inner junction of the house itself far below the top floors. He was in what could be called the dungeons but was definitely more like an underground fortress, complete with stone walls and secret passages. At the moment, he was standing in what was the entrance hall to the lower floors.
He breathed a sigh of both relief and anxiety as he realised that the Raethyns had been dissipated because of the protections surrounding the room. He hoped he was not triggering any curses as he walked towards the door that he knew led to the main chambers.
Draco whipped around as he heard his name and feared the worst, but to his relief he spotted Moriarty and the other Death Eater from earlier running towards him through one of the other subsidiary chambers connected to the hallway he was in.
"Where have you been?" Moriarty said harshly.
It was more of a statement than a question. He did not bother waiting for Draco to respond before he pointed towards the corridor he had just come out of.
"There's at least ten or fifteen Dementors down that way."
Draco automatically turned his head to look at the now sealed and fully closed entryway, thanks to the other Death Eater. It would not keep the creatures away for long though.
Draco nodded. "The orb is still where you indicated before, correct?"
Moriarty nodded his head affirmatively. "Should be."
Draco did not even bother answering as he strode towards the binary doors armoured in triple-layered defence curses and good old-fashioned steel. He could feel the magic radiating off the metal as he neared, and he slowly put his hands out, palms facing the doors, and stopped. He turned his head as if listening and closed his eyes in concentration.
One of the reasons Voldemort had wanted Draco especially as a Death Eater was because, unbeknownst to everyone else but his family and the Dark Lord himself, Draco was a psychosomatic conjurer. This meant that he was far more powerful than most wizards, with the envious ability of extremely strong and unsurpassed mind abilities that combined with his innate magic. Unfortunately, his delicate mindset also made him far more susceptible to the few violent and often brutal mental curses that could be successfully performed by only the most powerful of wizards--and Voldemort, for one, loved to break into his head.
As he stood silently, he could almost see the trip spells on the doors displayed on the inside of his eyelids. The doors were practically cross-wired from corner to corner in spells threatening more harm than a Vampire, Dementor, and Raethyn combined. He opened his mind and allowed his magic to search out.
There, that green line: a Burning Hex. The red: a Mind-twist Curse. The blue: death by suffocation.
Carefully, he wound through the other signatures fluidly, contaminating each one until they actually glowed to the other Death Eaters. His eyebrows scrunched in intense focus as he twisted and manipulated the curses on the doors. It was like tightening a guitar string; magic could only stretch so far before it broke.
Finally through all the strain, there was at last a break, and with it, all the others loosened and broke within seconds.
Draco breathed a sigh of relief and opened his eyes and backed away from the door before opening it to reveal Voldemort's inner chambers. Moriarty and the other Death Eater quickly followed suit as he walked in the room, careful not to touch anything until he knew the dangers.
He whispered, "Lumos," and looked around him quickly but spotted nothing that caused alarm.
The circular room was bare of anything but a round table in the centre. The portraits on the walls were devoid of landscapes or people, so there was no one nor nothing there to inform Voldemort of their intrusion.
There was, however, something twinkling just above the table.
Sweat ran stickily down Draco's neck and trickled lazily along his spine, but he wasn't warm at all: in fact, he was cold as ice. The tips of his fingers twitched as he palmed his wand, ready to aim and kill in a heartbeat if necessary. He was terrified. True, he had at one time been slow on the duelling uptake; however, now he was almost quicker than his own father.
Draco looked at Moriarty stonily.
The stocky brunet gestured toward the glowing in the centre of the room. His eyes flickered nervously to and fro, searching the perimeter for any intrusions.
Draco nodded once and then turned back around. He walked as close as he dared to the light. A slight humming gradually filled the air as he got closer, and he slowed cautiously as the orb itself came into focus. He almost had to shield his eyes as he studied the flowing silver, purple, and black smoke twisting and disappearing in and out of sight within a clear glass sphere.
They had found the Burning Ball.
Draco's heart leapt to his throat and he thought for a moment he had been hit, but he swung around when he heard the scratchy, harsh voice screech through the muffled silence.
His eyes connected with those of his aunt Bellatrix, still the most faithful to the Dark Lord. Behind her was a group of loyal Death Eaters. Draco swallowed, pain and fear radiating through his body from a curse he had not heard, but luckily most were unaware he had been hit at all.
Moriarty and the other Death Eater were on the ground, both dead within a single second. Moriarty's head was turned in Draco's direction, staring sightlessly through dead eyes that were already clouding. He did not have time to regret the death of the assassins.
"You look surprised, nephew," Bellatrix spat from her place at the head of the group.
Draco's eyes snapped to her face. Her lank, bedraggled hair had once been shiny and sleek as had her eyes been cunning and clever, but now they were filled with a crazed frenzy. The sallow skin of her cheeks stretched unsightly as she sneered.
"Did you really think you could pull this off? The Dark Lord will have your head for this, and I intend to collect tonight. Narcissa should have killed you when you were born."
The robes she wore were midnight black, the colour of bloodied and feasting leeches. They swished when she strode closer, stepping neatly over the two bodies.
"Such a sickly child," she purred, lifting a finger under Draco's chin.
He glared at the woman, if that was what she was anymore, and felt his stomach twist with revulsion and disgust.
"You're despicable," Draco sneered. "You're even worse than me. Are you so mad not to realise your Lord is going to fall? I hope I'm there to see him drag you down."
Draco was not prepared for the blinding slap. He reeled backwards but caught himself before he touched the orb, fingers stilling just a few centimetres above the surface. He winced as his head was yanked back by his hair. Bellatrix was in his face, her vile breath blowing as scorching and pungent as a crematory furnace.
"You had better hope you're even alive after tonight, wretched bastard!" Bellatrix screamed at him, pulling the strands in her fist tighter.
Draco grimaced and lunged out wildly with his fist, cheering silently when he heard the whoosh of breath leave his aunt. She let his hair go and staggered back. He dodged her stunned form, just missing her flailing arm striking out for him. Instantly, spells and curses lit the air, but the room was so dark they could not see much of Draco but a blur of blond hair.
"Get him!" Bellatrix shrieked.
She pointed towards him, and Draco swore before ducking under the sudden onslaught of curses his way. A whiz of white-hot magic sizzled past his head, and he smelled the acrid stench of burnt hair.
He reached out for the orb still floating innocently in its nimbus of light. He did not have time to worry about the consequences of touching it directly as he swung around, cradling it in his arms like a child.
"Don't hit the orb!" His aunt commanded. "Get him, but don't let him shatter the orb!"
'Shatter?' Draco thought as realisation dawned on. Of course! No curse nor spell could be used on it for fear of damaging the magic contained inside, so the only way to free it….
"Fuck you!" Draco yelled defiantly as he threw the glass sphere as hard as he could towards the stone ground.
Bellatrix shouted a Levitating Spell, and for a second Draco thought she actually might have succeeded, but after what seemed like an eternity of suspense, the orb finally fell to the ground in slow motion…and exploded into a million shards.
Everything came back in a colossal outburst of motion, and Draco had to squeeze his eyes shut and clamp his hands around his ears at the harsh, blinding light. A thousand angry voices shrieked simultaneously; it was worse thing Draco had ever heard. It felt like his ears were bleeding.
He felt more than heard the magic leaving the room one by one to go back to the people to which it rightfully belonged, and then wonderfully, Draco felt like he was whole again--his magic was back.
Draco could not hear the frenzied yells of the other Death Eaters, but someone grabbed him from behind before he could recover. His eyes snapped open to witness the last vestige of spiralling smoke leave the room before settling on Bellatrix's hate-filled face leering at him.
"You spiteful brat, you're going to get what's coming to you. Stupefy!"
Draco had just enough time to spit in her face before the spell hit him.
The next time Draco awoke, it was to a blur of grey shapes, harsh laughter, and a splitting headache. The inside of his mouth tasted like cotton and iron. The metallic taste was blood, he realised. His body hurt everywhere, and his right arm throbbed with such pain that he instantly knew it was broken. He was just surprised they had not woken him up for the beating.
He did not know where he was, but his wrists and ankles were shackled with heavy chains, and he was upright. It did not take a genius to realise he was chained to a wall. He tried to move his arms and could not stop the groan at the pain that shot through his nerves from the movement.
Draco opened his eyes and saw Ciarán Byrne, one of Voldemort's most fanatical mercenaries and self-proclaimed sadists, leaning against the wall of Malfoy Manor's dungeon. Draco almost cringed at the prospect of being in his own house, in his own dungeon, and awaiting his fate.
Almost as if reading Draco's mind, Ciarán smirked.
"Scared, are you?"
Defiantly, Draco raised his chin proudly as he answered in a clear and mercifully steady voice, "I'll never be afraid of you."
Ciarán's attitude turned solemn and menacing in a second. His eyes flashed as he growled, "You should be."
Draco snorted but did not get the chance to answer as the door leading to his cell suddenly swung open. In walked another Death Eater, a brute-faced brunet whom Draco vaguely recognised, holding a rolled-up piece of parchment toward Ciarán.
"Voldemort approves, he just says not to damage him too badly--" he glanced over at Draco's already bruised and bloody form hanging from the wall; "--and Bellatrix sends her…love."
"Love, my arse," Draco grunted, but no one caught it. He glared at Ciarán when the sandy blond turned to look at him but behind his bravo, Draco was worried about just how the hell he was going to get out of this. Whatever 'this' was.
"Bolton," Ciarán addressed the other Death Eater.
Bolton looked at Ciarán expectantly.
"Tell the others to come down now, would you?" He asked in mock politeness as if this were all just a dinner party. Bolton nodded and left the room promptly, shutting the steel door behind him with a clash of metal.
Draco stayed silent as he watched Ciarán smirked at him maliciously, purposefully trying to rile Draco up for a fight that he would surely lose. He felt blood trickle down from a drying cut at his hairline. He clenched his fists as he waited for what was to come.
The minutes passed maddeningly slow, but it was not long before Draco heard the tell-tale footsteps echoing on the iron steps leading to the room.
"You're going to wish you were dead." Ciarán promised just as the door opened again to reveal a slew of four or five men.
Some men he did not recognise, and others he knew were a few of Voldemort's favoured. One by one they filed in silently, each stone-faced and cruel to the eye. Draco forced down the instinct to cower as the door shut with a final slam.
"You can begin."
Draco did not understand what Ciarán meant for only a fraction of second before the first of the fists and kicks came flying his way.
He bit his lip as someone punched him in the gut hard enough to make his spine hit the wall. He squeezed his eyes shut and tasted blood as his right arm was twisted and he bit through his tongue. Bloodied spittle flew when his face was punched to the side, and a knee thrust to his groin.
The pain was so thick that he could taste it like a bitter spice in the blood that ran down his throat as thick as Polyjuice Potion.
Over and over the blows came: Draco heard the sharp snap as one of his ribs gave out from the constant pressure and he could not hold in a whimper. He had been taught not to scream, just whatever he did: do not scream.
The back of his head slammed against the wall so loud the crack reverberated throughout the room. Draco saw sparks of colour explode like a thousand fireworks behind his eyes.
"Thought you could outsmart us, traitor? We found all of your conniving bastards and they're being slaughtered right now," Ciarán spat from his position standing just out of reach of the chaos in front of him.
Draco did not answer him; indeed he could not--more than one rib was broken now, and it was all he could do not to choke on his own blood.
"Daddy…" he cried almost silently, the word sticking in his throat. He was unheard among the grunts from the Death Eaters still beating him with fists of steel.
Slipping in and out of conscious now as the strikes continued to rain down on him, Draco almost was not aware of them stopping until someone forced his head up. His breath was ragged as he opened his eyes. Something cold ran down the side of his face, leaving a stinging, almost warm trail in its wake.
Ciarán grinned darkly, drawing blood with the knife he stroked down Draco's face lovingly, making a long slit down the previously unmarred skin and loving the dark crimson stain that smeared across his cheek.
"Oh, you poor thing," Ciarán cooed. It sounded almost heartfelt, but the cloying undertone of malevolence told otherwise. The statement came out mocking, sarcastic.
Draco bit back a groan and lifted his head to glare at the sadistic Death Eater.
"Do you know what Chinese torture is?" Ciarán asked conversationally.
When Draco did nothing but glare at him, he smiled.
"It was created by the Chinese obviously, and I'll tell you--they were very, very vicious in their punishments. This handy little knife I have here--" he twirled it in his fingers like a baton; "--is particularly small for a reason. See, one can stab another many times before he bleeds to death. It doesn't hurt as much as the Cruciatus curse, but it can be used much longer and eventually you'll wish you were under a spell. Muggles really are quite cruel, you know."
He smiled nastily at Draco, who did not move a muscle.
Ciarán ran the tip of the blade further down Draco's cheek, taking in the barely detectable grimace as the tip pierced deeper through his skin.
"Yes," he said calmly. "I'll enjoy cutting your perfect skin. I always wondered how on earth someone of such despicable morals could possibly look as you do…but then, all whores do, don't they?" he smirked; "After all, we have no use for you other than to warm our enemies' bed, but you can't even do that anymore. You're so pathetic."
He brought the knife away from Draco's face, but the young man held no illusions Ciarán would leave as he pondered where he would strike next.
He was soon answered as the knife found its way imbedded in his gut. He could not hold back the shortened scream as the hilt was twisted, cutting a quarter-turn and back. A raw sound choked out as the knife was pulled back.
Draco felt moisture on his cheeks and knew it was not blood.
"Hurts, doesn't it?" Ciarán murmured quietly.
Draco forced himself to lift his head higher, still defiant even in light of broken bones, knife wounds, and scorching agony that burned his nerve endings to crisps. His hateful gaze caught Ciarán's calm and patronising eyes as he whispered the two words he had said to his aunt, "Fuck you."
He felt the blinding pain from the blow that resulted from his words. His head hit the back of the wall again, leaving a bloody print where it lay. Ciarán lost all guise of innocence as he sneered down at Draco.
"No…I'll be fucking you, boy toy," he snarled into Draco's ear, "I'll be fucking you."
He was not lying.
Draco screamed again as Ciarán pounded into him.
Blood slicked his lower half, and his belly churned in agony as his muscles clenched unbearably. His knuckles were pressed white against the skin, most of them broken. He squeezed his fists tighter, gritting his teeth against the pain, but it did not stop the tears that escaped his strict hold. Gods, it hurt…it hurt worse than anything he had ever felt.
"Are you going to bow to me yet, pet?" Ciarán grunted in his ear, out of breath from the perverse pleasure he was deriving from this. Draco forced himself not to shrink away from the filthy, decrepit touch.
He tried to answer but some of the phlegm and mucus in his lungs came up to choke him. "No," he panted stubbornly when he stopped coughing enough to catch his breath.
Instantly, he felt the never-ending pain double in concentration and he cried out, almost on the verge of begging him to stop, please just to stop--even death was rapidly becoming preferable.
Warm salty tears streaked their way down his face in rivers, smarting the tissue in the numerous gashes he had on his face, neck, chest, even on the thin skin covering the shaft of his penis. Vomit pooled at his feet from where he had thrown up long before, hours, it seemed, and very possibly may have been. The foul concoction was cooling on his skin, the smell threatening to make him retch again.
The other Death Eaters stood around the wooden table that had been conjured up. Draco was bent over it, too weak to even stand on his own, and the Death Eaters watched the spectacle unfold with hungry and depraved eyes. More than one of them had tented trousers. Draco supposed with a feverish half-thought that he would probably be handed over to them once Ciarán was done.
The harsh, splintery wood dug into the sharp ridges of Draco's hipbones; he bit his blood-slicked lip as some of the larger slivers broke off in his skin. The blood covering his chest was not even red anymore. It was in such a copious amount that the blood was blossoming a velvet purple where it flowed from the wounds.
His head bounced against the hard wood, and he started sinking into the tempting darkness that he had been shoving off for what seemed like days. He panicked but could not seem to wake himself back up to the agony his body was under.
Suddenly though, just as his eyes were slipping shut, the body ruthlessly beating into him disappeared. He did not know if it was a mercy or a curse that it had ceased. Weakly, Draco tried to open his eyes, and he just barely succeeded.
He heard panting and his head was pulled back by his roots, but it did not hurt as much anymore. He supposed maybe his body was finally shutting down for good. He felt warm, sticky semen seeping down the backs of his thighs and wondered how he could not have felt the initial heated spurt.
Draco knew it was Ciarán as he said, "Time for a little mind game now."
Draco gritted his teeth, spitting blood on the floor at Ciarán's feet. "Play your games," he sneered past shredded lips.
Ciarán laughed. "Oh, my, getting feisty, aren't you?" His gaiety died down after a second to be replaced with a look equal in malignance. His angelic looks only furthered the wicked aura he radiated. "Well, we mustn't waste anymore time." He shot a toothy grin in Draco's direction before turning back to the half-circle of Death Eaters. "Damien, your turn."
Draco felt his stomach drop to the floor as he was sure that his earlier thoughts were right, that they all were going to take their turn with him, but the rather small, dark haired man who stepped up made no attempt to disrobe. Instead, he seemed almost subdued as he shuffled over to the bloody table. His eyes stared at Draco sorrowfully. 'Such a deep blue, so sad,' Draco thought feverishly.
He reached out to Draco and laid a hand gently on his cheek. Draco closed his eyes for a second, not caring if that very hand that seemed so gentle in that moment could next deliver a death strike; it was just so blissfully cool against the backdrop of sweat and tears.
"I am truly sorry…" he whispered to Draco, confusing him just before the flashing, pulsing images flew past his brain, burning and throwing him into a state of delusional nightmares. Hell in his own mind.
His raw screams started anew, but none of the Death Eaters, not even Ciarán, could summon up a laugh.
End of Chapter One.