Title: Gladiolus

Summary: Time and experiences change people. When the war finally hits home, a revengeful mother will do anything to make sure the Dark Lord suffers for his crimes...Even if it means that she has to train Harry Potter. NM/HP

A/N: I believe Antonin Dolohov may be Russian, but I am horrible at writing accents...heh.

Marigold: Cruelty, Grief, Jealousy

Interlude I

A colorless head of curls were bowed as a chin rested heavily on a thin chest that rose and fell gently in calm breaths of slumber. The chair did not look very comfortable, but if the short man could sleep away in its embrace of leather and sparse padding then appearances just might be deceiving. Pale eyes shot open and muscles tensed with painful, but attentive paranoia. Emaciated fingers grasped the smooth handle of a wand tightly as the owner pressed himself into the back of the chair as he listened for soft footsteps.

There were none.

Then, a pale face peeked around the chair. It was Dolohov, and he smirked slyly at the man in the chair before patting his friend on the shoulder (he ignored the flinch too).

"Rabastan, time to get up! I have something important to tell you," Dolohov smirked down at the white haired man before snatching the mystery person (now dubbed Rabastan) by his angular wrist and hauled him to his feet. There weren't any protests, only a dark scowl and irritable fidgeting as the albino man smoothed down his rumpled robes.

Doholov ushered his friend out of the small, gloomy bedroom and out into the cold corridor of the East Wing-- where all Death Eaters stayed if they had no where else to live or attend to.

Both Antonin and Rabastan were of the few remaining Inner circle besides Rookwood, Mulciber, and Bellatrix. The rest were rotting away in Azkaban or dead like Rosier Sr. and Avery-- the former had died two months ago by Aurors' hands while the latter committed suicide in Azkaban by repeatedly pounding his head against a wall.

Snape was also wandering about, but he was a prized Potions Master which meant he was not considered one of the Dark Lord's soldiers...Which had made the situation even more shameful for Draco Malfoy.

However, the Dark Lord was by no means lacking followers any longer, especially after the death of Dumbledore-- the Lord of the Light.

The two Death Eaters walked in silence towards…where ever Dolohov was leading them to. Rabastan slouched his shoulders, sighed heavily, and kept an alert eye on everything around them. The new recruits were little bastards with big mouths, large egos, and haughty demeanors that were a pain to deal with. Although it was nice to hear them scream, Rabastan grew tired of cursing them at every turn.

So, that was why he seized Dolohov by the back of his cloak and hid in a dark chasm between a bookshelf and snake statue as a slim young man with dirty blonde hair rounded the corner. Dolohov glared at his friend in the dark but wisely kept his mouth shut. Rabastan watched the youth saunter by with malicious pale eyes until the narrow back was completely out of sight. It was stunning how oblivious the youths of these days were.

A few minutes later they swiftly reached Dolohov's chambers, which were a bit more habitable than Rabastan's own. While Rabastan sunk into a chair, the other Death Eater paced in front of his own desk. Pale eyes watched lazily while a bone white hand covered a yawn.

Dolohov's cheerful demeanor had fled, leaving a worried and tired man before. "Rabastan, Master has placed me in charge of finding and capturing the young Potter brat…and I have to choose two others to help me," he muttered, his Russian accent a bit diluted from his long stay in England. It was there, barely, for it had never been as thick as the rest of his family's.

Rabastan stared back blankly and shrugged.

"Obviously I chose you," Dolohov snorted as he rolled his eyes once more, running a hand through his dark hair as he leaned lightly against the desk behind him.

"But who else? Rookwood…well, he hasn't exactly been himself since that faithful day," here, Dolohov gave a grim smile while his dark eyes sparked with sadistic delight.

Rabastan made a few odd gestures with his hands and Dolohov bobbed his head in agreement after a brief second of thought.

"I don't trust him either. Anyone who denies our Lord anything is obviously unworthy of our confidence…How about Mulciber?" Dolohov paused in his pacing to raise a questioning brow towards the lounging man.

Rabastan cocked his head to the side before suddenly shrugging carelessly which tore a frustrated sigh from Dolohov.

"Anyone but Bellatrix," Antonin Dolohov muttered and Rabastan frantically nodded in agreement, but for an entirely different reason than Antonin.

"So, the old bastard it is! But how to contact him?" Dolohov had no doubt he would accomplish his goal of capturing Potter in order to complete his mission, although he had been worried for a brief moment. Out of the entire Inner circle he had always been the most optimistic-- not to the point that he was exceedingly cheerful, but if the odds were stacked against him...Dolohov wasn't going to just give up.

He did not care if there were a million people in the world who were looking for Potter, it would be Antonin who would find him first. If he had to travel around the world and back, it would not deter him!

Others would just say that Antonin Dolohov was a determined if not obsessive man...After all; he had been planning Hermione Granger's murder for a little over a year now.

/Interlude I

"Alright, Harry, its time to move on—we have reviewed, worked on a few tricks, and added to your vocabulary of spells," Augustus Rookwood started slowly, pacing back and forth in front of his young charge with a frown firmly marring his brows.

Harry himself was seated cross-legged on the white marble floor, leaning against the equally white wall as he waited for the brown haired man to finish. Today he would start his new classes with Transfiguration/Charms next and Potions/Occlumency ending the day directly after supper.

The Death Eater quickly turned to the boy, pensively surveying him with such a care that Harry new instantly that the intelligent former Unspeakable was conspiring against him. The last time the young Gryffindor had seen such an expression on Rookwood's face, Harry had been forced to run through an obscene and complex obstacle course used to train new recruits that joined Voldemort's forces.

Rookwood reluctantly admitted that very few passed, and that those who failed tended to be discarded to be used at a later date when they could be used as distraction in battles. Harry had landed himself in the hospital wing for two days with tentacles growing out of his ears, a few broken ribs (which resulted in a punctured lung), one broken leg, and multiple burns.

"Well, I believe we shall run you through the daily warm-up and then retire to the library for some research so I can roughly sketch out the details of the next few lessons," Augustus offered a sliver of a smile, which seemed to be more natural than Mulciber's forced ones.

Harry did stretches, jogged around the perimeter of the large room, and engaged in a mock duel with his…teacher?

Yes, that was what Rookwood was. A teacher that wasn't exactly…strict, but he did not appreciate disobedience.

Once they settled in the library with Harry seated in front of a relaxed Rookwood, Harry's eyes drifted from the text that had been shoved into his hands to firmly settle on his teacher.

A question had been nagging at his mind for weeks…

Clearing his throat nervously, Harry shifted in his seat and fidgeted with the black work robe that settled over his thin frame loosely. He idly flipped a page, and glanced back at his scribbling teacher. The man was bent low over a piece of parchment, a quill furiously flicking back and forth before being dipped in dark ink at odd intervals.

Long brown hair swept the edges of the parchment, the bangs pulled back tightly out of Rookwood's face. The Death Eater's expression was that of open concentration which was a refreshing change from the stone gargoyles dubbed Narcissa and Mulciber. But, how to ask him this nagging question?

"Why are you helping me?" Harry blurted out quickly, recoiling further back into his seat as if he expected to be cursed.

Rookwood slowly placed his quill down on the table and glanced up at Harry with a frown. When he remained silent for a long, drawn out stretch of time the young man started to fear for the worse.

"Would you prefer that I offer you a candy coated version or be brutally honest?" Augustus asked with an indulgent smirk, choosing his words carefully as he peered over his black reading spectacles with undeniable patience. The Death Eater balanced his chair cautiously on the hind legs, mindful of the fact he could easily topple over. Casually, he folded his hand over his stomach and watched Harry inquiringly.

'How many people have offered to be honest with me?' Harry pondered, the question instantly solving itself as he decided the answer was a firm 'not many.' But, how would he be able to tell if Rookwood was fibbing?

"The latter…sir," Harry reluctantly added the title of respect at the end. Might as well butter him up a bit...Err, right?

"I was raised as a traditionalist; however when I was sorted into Ravenclaw…my views changed just a bit. The house of the Raven is the nest where all clever chicks meet despite pedigree and so forth. Instead of judging a person by their bloodline or heritage, I learned to value intelligence and talent above all. From then on, my outlook was drastically changed. Sure, I was still a traditionalist but I had gained quite a few progressive ideals…" Rookwood trailed off in thought, staring blankly into the space right above Harry's head.

The man's voice was soft and reminiscent as he gingerly laid out the story so that the young Potter could clearly understand. Augustus sighed heavily and focused once more on his young charge.

"Now, when I became an Unspeakable…I completed training in an abnormally quick fashion which gained the attention of the Dark Lord through the spies in the Ministry. I loathed the Ministry and most of its outdated laws or practices due to my overly logical thinking so when I was approached by my cousin, Bellatrix, I eagerly joined the Dark Lord's quest to rule the world," he frowned bitterly, glaring at the table silently.

Harry took the chance the interrupt, not quite understanding where the story was going but curious about something Augustus said. "Uh, how are you and Bellatrix related?"

Narcissa had called him cousin, too.

Rookwood glanced up briefly before once again glaring at the table in stony, cold anger directed at himself as he wallowed in past memories. "Our mothers were sisters—however, all purebloods are related," he shook his head and cleared his through, placing his chair firmly on the ground once more.

"Ridding the world of the so-called unworthy was just a consequence of purging the Ministry of corruption and obsolete laws. I soon found myself dutifully playing the role of a friendly Ministry worker that was always willing to lend an ear to everyone's problems. The Dark Lord used me as a spy, and it wasn't until I was sentenced to Azkaban that I realized the Dark Lord was not as wonderful as I forcefully made him out to be in my imagination."

Harry opened his mouth to interrupt, and Rookwood quickly held up a silencing hand. "I was still loyal after the Dark Lord rescued his followers. I had doubts, and it wasn't until the Dark Lord requested certain information that I was unable to offer that those doubts finally swallowed me whole," he once again patiently explained.

Usually Rookwood did not usually speak so much but preferred to keep to himself unless asked a question. Harry often compared him to a dog that was kicked for barking too often and too loud.

Rookwood conjured a glass of water and sipped it before continuing. Harry sat there silently, giving Augustus his undivided attention. The story was finally getting interesting!

"An Unspeakable has…say, a mental safe inside his or her mind. Without the password, any intruder would be unable to access any information held within the safe. I can tell anyone I like, Harry, as long as it is not forcefully taken from me by either mind magic or potions. However," Rookwood gave a self satisfied smirk here.

"I have told the Dark Lord from the very beginning that I could not speak about anything that transpires in the Department of Mysteries to any interloper despite the circumstances. It was a wise and foolish move for it saved me from being pressured, but the Dark Lord was so desperate after he retrieved me from Azkaban that he finally gave up and tried to force himself into the 'safe.'

I didn't work. Instead, he almost destroyed my mind and I ended up in a coma in the hospital wing of the main Death Eater base for almost four months. After I woke up, I kept saying no to him until he became so vexed that he killed my family," Augustus ended in a soft, saddened whisper that was so quiet that Harry had to lean forward to hear it.

Harry swallowed thickly. "How many?" he demanded harshly, his stomach sinking past his knees.

Will Voldemort ever learn?

Rookwood smiled humorlessly, his expression somber. "Four. My beloved wife and three children—I believe my daughter was your age."

Harry swallowed the bile that threatened to rise and pushed away thoughts on how many more Voldemort may have killed. He had never really thought about it until Dumbledore died, but Voldemort has probably killed thousands by now and it was up to him to end the slaughter.

"How do I know you're not fibbing?" Harry accused, eyes narrowing as he stared the Death Eater down. Rookwood gazed calmly back, expression blank except for those sad blue eyes.

Harry tensed up as he spotted Augustus reaching for something in his pocket, but the Death Eater only pulled out a well worn piece of folded parchment. Rookwood slid it across the table to the young man, who grasped it and quickly opened it.


It was dated the week after the last day of school, and appeared to be a section from the second page. He scanned it quickly, looking for anything that could in fact be shocking or related to Rookwood.

'…the most shocking of deaths in the magical section of Weymouth was that of the Rookwood family…'

Harry froze and glanced towards Rookwood to find him calmly staring back, lazily lounging in his seat. Skipping a few lines, the young Potter continued to read…

'Augustus Rookwood is a well known Death Eater that escaped Azkaban during the mass break out in January of 1996. His wife, Calanthe (42) has always been an upstanding citizen of Great Britain despite her husband's alliance with the Dark Lord. She and her three children were brutally murdered this morning, along with many others in the town.

However, this reporter firmly believes that they may have been the center of the attack due to an accumulation of well known facts. Haden (20), the middle child of the Rookwood family, was an Auror fresh from training while the eldest Jarret (22) was a talented healer at St. Mungos. Did they pay with their lives for refusing to join their father in the quest to rid the world of all muggle-borns and other related so-called filth?'

Harry couldn't read anymore, he felt nausea start to rise and he folded the parchment quickly. Woozily, he slumped against the chair and wondered when Voldemort was going to stop. He tormented even those who were loyal to him, poked or prodded his own Death Eaters until they became so fed up that they turned on him.

It was sickening.

"Alright, alright…I believe you," Harry whispered gruffly, shaking his head before roughly shoving the parchment away as if it had insulted him greatly.

"Harry…if there is a family to devastate, the Dark Lord will purposely destroy it. Not many of his close followers have family or are unable to produce any emotions beyond hate. The Malfoy family has fallen, followed by my own, and I'm sure one of the Lestrange brothers will be hurting soon. M—"

"What about the Bulstrodes? Parkinsons? Zabini?" Harry interrupted rudely, gritting his teeth as he gripped the table tightly. He just couldn't comprehend why Voldemort tortured his followers, it would be like Dumbledore offing Order Members left and right. He was so confused that the only emotion he could express was anger.

Rookwood shook his head sadly, glancing towards his hands briefly. "Most of those families are unmarked supporters, Harry, but I'm sure their day will come as well."

Harry nodded slowly and closed his eyes for a brief moment until he remembered he wasn't exactly in trustworthy company.

"I have no chance so--"

"So why am I helping you?" Rookwood finished, brows raised and he once again frowned heavily at the young man. He fell silent as he watched Harry, sometimes glancing down at the table. He quirked an amused brow when he noticed the young man's impatient glare.

Shaking his head, "If someone does not give you a chance, then you don't have a chance at all. You are so far behind in knowledge and experience that I doubt you could defeat the Dark Lord directly-- but there are other ways, you know. You must open your mind, Harry."

With that, Rookwood rose fluently out of his chair and left the room without a single word.

Harry stared at his back and sighed angrily. He hated it when Rookwood did that!

Interlude II

"My Lord, may I request that Mulciber join us in our quest to search for our missing…friend?" Dolohov asked politely kneeling at the Dark Lord's feet with Rabastan accompanying him. However, he dutifully allowed sarcasm to drip disgustingly off the word 'friend' as he obviously spoke of the missing Harry Potter.

"No," Voldemort hissed firmly, caressing Nagini's scales with such gentleness that it was almost frightening.

Dolohov gritted his teeth behind his mask and gave a sidelong glance towards Rabastan. However, his friend was staring at the Dark Lord's robe hems with some akin to curiosity. Inwardly sighing, Antonin decided to risk it.

What was life without a few risks?

"Why not my Lord?" Antonin held his breath and prepared to be cursed. The only other option was Bellatrix and that was out of the question. He could torture little girls, rape woman, make grown men cry, and so forth but he just could not stand to stay in the presence of Bellatrix for more than two seconds.

Her insanity and fanaticism was alluring, but he would never admit it. While he, Dolohov, was a complete bastard-- he was also oddly loyal to a fault. One could not classify him as a Gryffindor nor a Slytherin for his characteristics ran strong for both houses.

He had attended Drumstrang and met the odd Lestrange twins during the winter of his fifth year when his parents attended the yearly Yule celebration. Antonin had been attracted to the serious Rodolphus with his dark humor and bitter smiles. They were almost instant friends, and Antonin soon met the strange Rabastan.

Back then, his parents charmed him to fit into the family…Dark hair, tanned skin, and mysterious black eyes. However, Rabastan was only considered strange at the time because he was unable to speak. His vocal chords had been heavily damaged by an accident before his fourth birthday.

Psh, if he was left alone with Bellatrix he might end up screwing her against the wall at the most convenient moment! She'd enjoy it too, that whore…but his loyalty to his friend would not allow it.

He'd allow himself the fantasy, but as long as Antonin dodged the woman he'd be in the clear. His dear friend, 'Rabby,' however completely hated his sister-in-law with such fervor that it was admirable.

Rabastan nudged Antonin hard in the ribs and he jolted, realizing his Lord was speaking. Forcefully, he cleared his mind of moaning naked woman and tried to concentrate.

"--he's busy with a special project I assigned him, Dolohov. I'm sure Bella will be most eager, but she's not the most subtle person I believe. I will allow you to work with only Rabastan and ask Mulciber for help but you are not to distract him. Is that clear?"

"Yes, Master," Antonin replied dutifully, watching Rabastan nod his head in acceptance and sign something quickly. Relief flowed over him, but it was short lived.


As they were halfway out of the large, a former ballroom: "And, Dolohov?" the Dark Lord drawled lazily, crimson eyes glittering malignant fire as he twirled his wand casually from his seat at a large velvet throne.

Slowly, Antonin turned and bowed. "Yes, My Lord?"

"Crucio! Don't you dare speak to me like that ever again!"

Rabastan watched his friend scream and writhe on the ground with emotionless eyes. However, once the curse was broken he bowed and quickly helped his friend out of the room.

/Interlude II

"Welcome to Transfiguration and Charms, Mr. Potter," Mulciber started smoothly, sitting stiffly behind his desk. Those mint green eyes followed the young man's every move like a hawk.

"This class will be combining the two arts of magic with dueling-- we will start from the very beginning for I'm sure the old cat McGonagall only taught you the valuable skill of turning a rat into a teaspoon," Mulciber sneered as he gracefully got to his feet.

Harry (who had been standing awkwardly near the door due to the lack of seats or desks) wisely watched his new teacher with wary eyes. He still remembered the haunting loathing he had often seen lighting up the old man's eyes every time his gaze turned on Harry. It gave him the impression that Mulciber had been forced unwillingly into helping out.

"I am not fond of theory work or researching-- I'll leave that to Rookwood and Narcissa. Thus, there are no desks beyond my own for there will also be absolutely no writing. Everything must be committed to memory. What's the point otherwise? A wise Death Eater will not allow you to pull out a book to look up a counter curse. A new recruit…possibly."

Mulciber aggressively took a step forward, a hideous smirk curling his lips. It was the only hint of an expression on his otherwise stony face. The cool tip of a wand was pressed against Harry's throat, and the old man leaned in so close that Harry could feel his breath against his cheek.

"If you have allowed me to get this close, than Rookwood has obviously taught you nothing!"

Harry was pushed away roughly. He scowled at the old geezer but said nothing. If he didn't allow his mouth to get away with him, than this old man had no reason to curse him…right?

That day he ignored the taunts (all the while wondering where the charming Mulciber had went) and silently did as he was told. Mainly they worked on conjuring, which was Harry was something he had yet to learn in Transfiguration. Charms was easy enough, it was mostly review and lessons in how to apply those spells in a duel.

Mulciber had the strangest capability of acting both pleased and displeased with his young charge at the same time. His capabilities at derision was not as skillful as Snape since Mulciber didn't know Harry's sore points, but at this rate the old man would discover them all by the end of the week. The two tones were almost indistinguishable because for every compliment there was also an insult.

"As I have stated before, Potter, Transfiguration is mainly powered by sheer will power. The theories that have been drilled into your thick skull are all nice and well, but it does not work for everyone. As a Gryffindor, I highly doubt that you enjoy theory work, correct?" Mulciber asked snidely. Unlike Rookwood, who almost always had his hands moving in wild gestures as he lectured and sometimes paced about, Mulciber stood stalk still (arms crossed) and stared down his nose disdainfully at Harry with hard eyes.

"Yes...erm, sir," Harry hastily added the title when he saw a muscle in Mulciber's cheek twitch at the lack of respectful title.

The old geezer had hit it head on. It was probably the reason why he favored Defense so much. When Harry had to read anything for his favorite class it was usually straight forward, simple, and informative.

"So tell me why are you having so much trouble! You obviously have enough will power and stubborn qualities in your self righteous persona!" Mulciber hissed, trying to keep his cool. He had never been adept while dealing with children or teens, especially when his ideal of a young adult was far too mature to be real. Growing up in a house like he did, Mulciber had been extremely mature which had made him develop awkward social skills around his peers until he graduated Hogwarts.

Thus, his expectations were extremely high-- especially for Potter who was supposed to be a godsend for all those unworthy.

Otherwise, he could charm anyone he wanted. Either with magic or a charming persona, it hardly mattered. He had tried to be nice and charismatic in order to lure the boy into trusting him or at least into a fragile sense of security but Mulciber had decided to give up after a few days, for his loathing for the boy was far too deep. Alvyn Mulciber had long ago fell into denial, thus he blamed all his problems on the Potter boy rather than the Dark Lord or himself.

Sometimes, playing nice was just too stressing.

"Um, not sure?" Harry answered sheepishly, shrugging. He was sitting cross-legged on the floor, and had been for the past hour. His butt was numb, his foot was falling asleep, and he was really hungry.

Mulciber's patience was quickly running thin and he reminded Harry uncomfortably of McGonagall as his lips thinned just as his tolerance was rapidly disintegrating. "You're not sure," he asked, deadpanned.

Harry blinked at him, unsure how to answer. He opened his mouth to speak, but Mulciber just focused a scalding glare on him.

"You can oddly conjure snails...how useful," Mulciber sneered scornfully, shaking his head sadly.

"Vanishing something is difficult due to the fact that it's right in front of you. Conjuring on the other hand is quite simple due to the fact that everyone always appears to be wishing for something. So, up boy!" Mulciber stepped forward quickly and yanked Harry to his feet by an arm. The young Potter winced in annoyance more than pain, but stood there awkwardly.

Mulciber was about to say something but abruptly shook his head. Sternly pointing to the door, "Out," he spat stonily.


"I don't want to see your behind in this room, young man, until you learn to conjure at least a rock! Maybe you can poke an eye out with a pebble during a duel rather than slime a Death Eater to...a deranged existence!"

When Harry didn't move, the Death Eater swiftly shoved the boy out of the room and slammed the door behind him.

Shaking his head in bemusement, Harry wondered off towards the kitchens. Mulciber was weird, and Harry was tempted to just dilly-dally on his practice of conjuring so he wouldn't have to deal with the old man. He had no doubt that Mulciber was perfectly serious, but the young Potter also knew he needed those lessons desperately.

If only Hermione was here…

After finishing a ham sandwich, he wondered back to his room and noticed that he had almost an hour worth of free time…but what to do?

Green orbs wandered around the room slowly, a soft sigh escaping Harry's lips as he realized just how alone he was. Sure, the three ex-Dark Lord supporters were slowly but surely proving they could be trustworthy…it hardly meant they were good company! Narcissa was always hidden away, Rookwood was too quiet (and too hard to find!), and Mulciber was certainly too cantankerous.

They weren't as belligerent as he had previously believed, but his nostalgia was making Harry depressed. Sometimes he wondered what his friends were doing in the past few weeks, or what happened to Tonks and Shacklebolt during his kidnapping. Mulciber had said they were fine, but Harry didn't exactly find him to be the most sincere person.

Settling on his bed after a few moments of wandering blindly around the room in the dark, Harry yawned and stared up at the ceiling as he tried not to think of his friends. Slowly, green orbs slowly closed as the young man drifted off into a light sleep…

The curtains were flung open, allowing sunlight to flood the room. The messy haired Gryffindor groaned and rolled onto his side in order to hide away from the peeping sun. The only noise was the soft rustle of fabric as long robes drifted over deep brown carpet. A firm hand pried the soft duvet off Harry with some struggle, but the silent blonde woman was triumphant in the end.

Harry groaned again and tried to hide his face in the pillows, but was unsuccessful for they were soon banished from underneath his head.

"Time to rise and shine, sweetheart!" Narcissa chimed with a sing-song tone smugly as she flicked her wand at the ruffled, and reluctant young man.

Yelping as he was suddenly lifted into the air by his ankle, Harry was grateful that he had fallen asleep in his robes last night!

"LET ME DOWN!" Harry bellowed, tempted to struggle but knew it was useless. Instead, his face quickly turned red as all the blood rushed to his head.

Narcissa cocked her head to the side and seemed to ponder the bellowed request. "Nope."

"NOW, NOW, NOW!" Harry howled, flailing as she levitated him towards the bathroom door. The cruel woman stepped forward and opened the door, from which steam rushed out. Harry's eyes widened comically as the clear sound of a running shower greeted his ears.


As his doom loomed ever near, Harry made a mad scramble for the door frame and quickly attached himself to it.

With the aid of magic, Narcissa easily pried his fingers open and kept him afloat with little difficulty. Instead, she maneuvered herself so that she could keep her concentration on the boy while she opened the shower door.

"Say you're sorry," Narcissa whispered icily, turquoise eyes staring at the struggling boy with an unnerving steely glint.

"For what!" Harry choked out, arms hanging limply while his eyes darted around beseechingly. Sadly, he couldn't find anything to hang onto except a flimsy towel rack.

"Apologize!" Narcissa snarled, moving him closer to the scalding hot water.

Harry could barely see the blonde woman through the steam now, and vaguely he noticed how her soft features were twisted into a scowl.


"You missed my lessons! You ungrateful brat! Do you always take advantage of other's freely given kindness?" Usually, Narcissa wasn't so inclined to bouts of anger, but she had sat through supper last night as Mulciber ranted and raved about the little brat he had to teach…then coupled with her stress it was just too much!

The ministry was investigating her, Lucius was in Azkaban, Draco was dead, her sister was insane, and then Potter had to balls to completely skip her class! Her mental shields had grown pressured and strained under the one emotion that was skyrocketing. Thus, in the end she had decided to take it out of on someone.

Who cared if she lost her composure so openly? Potter would be so swamped with work the next few days or weeks that he would completely forget about it.

If Rookwood could use the Cruciatus Curse on the brat for disobedience than she could very well throw him into the shower! In the end, Narcissa decided she would be very calm and composed when she had to attend her meeting with the Minister that afternoon once she let some steam out.

Usually, her sense of propriety would demand that she had an escort with her before entering the chambers of another male that was certainly not her husband…but, she ignored it. Narcissa had broken the rule once, so this really held no great importance.

"I fell asleep!"

"No, excuses Potter!"

Harry bit his cheek hard enough that the coppery taste of blood filled his mouth. Exhaling noisily, he quickly tried to think his way out of this. If she shoved him in there, he sincerely doubted she would heal any burns he received.

But, if he said sorry he would look weak.

So, pride or pain? Hmm, what a difficult choice…

But, he had to take something else into consideration. If she believed he didn't appreciate her help, would the training stop? Harry realized he would be free, and yet also lost.


"You're kindness wasn't freely given!" he blurted with little thought, kicking out his free foot in frustration as he glared broodingly at her silhouette through the steam.


"You're quite right, Mr. Potter, but you shall apologize despite your logic," even over the roar of the shower, her words could curl ice.

When Harry didn't respond, she inched him closer to the spray. He winced as a few drops splattered him, which quickly made up his mind. His pride could recover far more quickly than his skin!


"Good, you will spend the rest of the day with Rookwood and meet me tonight in the potions labs," Narcissa informed him pleasantly. A few flicks of her wand, the shower was shut off and Harry was lowered gently to the floor.

As the steam cleared, Narcissa delicately offered the boy a hand up. Harry tried to ignore the way she wiped her hands off on the nearest towel in disgust after helping him. At least she was attempting to be polite.

It was then he noticed her attire. It was extremely disarming how…amiable the blonde woman appeared in a summer dress of white lace and sun hat. The image was shattered when she smirked loftily down at him, her chin raised imperiously.

"Well, shoo!"

After Narcissa had left, he took a very cold shower—still traumatized by his near torture, which had been quite innovative. Harry got dressed quickly, and was out the door in less than half an hour.

Rookwood met him on the ground floor. He was sitting casually on the railing, his feet swinging back and forth serenely as he waited patiently for his young charge.

"Am I gonna be able to eat—"

"Ah, just the young man I was looking for!" Rookwood interrupted easily, his soft voice firm but also pleasant enough that Harry was almost convinced that the brown haired man was actually happy to see him.

Slipping off the railing, Rookwood patted down his robes until he thought they appeared presentable. Glancing up at Harry with his crystal gaze, Augustus offered a thin smile.

"Come along, we have much to discuss over breakfast." Pivoting on his heal, the Death Eater strode quickly across the room into the large doors that held the dining room.

Harry rushed to catch up with him, but it was pointless since the brown haired man had politely stood by the doors as he waited for his charge to catch up. Once they were seated, the food was served.

Rookwood ate like a bird, mostly picking at his food and eating very little. For a while, the only sounds in the room were the clinking of silver upon porcelain. Harry dutifully noted that the Death Eater drank quite a bit of tea.

Someone cleared their throat, and Harry slowly turned his gaze from the tea cup and saucer to the Death Eater himself.

"You're awfully silent, Harry," the man observed quietly, his gaze curious.

"Yea, well you would be too if Narcissa tried to shove you in a scalding hot shower," Harry grumbled, viciously skewering his ham.

Rookwood gave a rich chuckle, which made Harry stare at him incredulously. He had never…ever heard the man laugh. Hell, this entire place was void of any possible laughter or cheer.

"Ah, yes, Narcissa did that to me at her 16th birthday when I charmed her hair neon green," he sipped his tea quietly.

At Harry's skeptical expression, he placed the tea cup down gingerly and offered another thin smile. "I was quite a trouble maker in my day, but my humor has significantly decreased over the years for obvious reasons."

There was another interval of silence until Rookwood was once again the one to break the silence.

"Well, I believe I will be helping you solve your conjuring problem and step up your lessons in defense," here, Rookwood sighed softly.

He sipped his tea once more; his gaze focused somewhere over Harry's head. He was muttering something, but it was indistinguishable.

"Umm, okay," Harry replied, not sure if the other wanted an answer or not.

Rookwood only nodded absentmindedly and poured himself some more tea as he waited for Harry to finish his breakfast.

"I spent all last night working on a project, Harry, for our training sessions. Thankfully, it was already close to completion but sadly it had been shoved aside when I was condemned. Last night, with the aide of a few energy potions, I picked out the bugs and set it up," Rookwood explained softly, his gaze focused on his tea which he stirred a bit of sugar into slowly.

"What is it?" Harry inquired eagerly, unable to help himself as he scooted forward a bit in his chair.

"Finish up and I'll show you," Rookwood laughed again, shaking his head in amusement.

Harry finished off his breakfast reluctantly for he would rather just go now instead. But, at the stern glare Rookwood gave him, he was forced to finish his meal. Soon he found himself following the brown haired man up the stairs towards their unknown destination.

As they walked along silently, he couldn't help but let his mind wander.

'How does Rookwood deal with his grief so easily?'

Harry's thoughts also wandered to Narcissa. 'She must be on the rag. For a moment she reminded him of Bellatrix…just briefly. I almost feel sorry for her husband…'

Briefly, he wandered about his Auror friends also, but Rookwood opened a door and ushered him inside.

It was a room that was simply a great expanse of white just like the rest of the house. There weren't any windows, furniture, or anything really. Yet, it was different. Everything was smooth, not a line of tile or marble in sight!

However, he soon noticed the small little balls of little bobbling around the room near the roof. Each one was encased in a neatly numbered glass box attached to the wall in numerical order. These boxes lined the perimeter of the room like odd little ornaments one would expect to see on the Hogwarts Christmas tree.

Harry hardly noticed that Rookwood had disappeared through a well hidden door, but when the lights went off…he wasn't too pleased.

"Hey Rookwood! What's going on?" It was so dark that he couldn't see his own nose!

Then, the lights flared but the walls surrounding him were completely black that Harry only noticed the light due to the fact he could see his nose now. Uncertainly Harry wobbled forward precariously, the sensation that he was going to fall into a black hole was overpowering and he soon found himself standing stalk still.

"Are you afraid of the dark, Potter?" someone hissed malevolently, a cold crackle of laughter following those sinister words.

A spine-chilling shiver worked its way over him, and Harry slowly turned around. His fear turned instantly into courage and the emotion of overwhelming betrayal. In front of him stood…

Lord Voldemort.

Uploaded: 1/5/07

A/N: I apologize for my tardiness! I re-wrote this chapter almost five times, so it was quite frustrating. Sadly, this chapter was becoming extremely long so I was unable to fit lessons with Narcissa in. Hmm...Maybe Narcissa is Bellatrix's sister afterall! Next chapter will probably be the longest, featuring: more lessons, Mulciber's project, a peek with Death Eaters and the Order, and basically a plot twist and the base for the rest of the story.

Next chapter will probably be the last of descriptive training chapters also and will certainly contain far more action than the last three :D

I went through the last chapters and picked out any errors I could find, and hopefully this chapter does not have too many typos. For anyone willing to offer, I need a Beta-reader.

Please READ & REVIEW! Constructive criticism welcomed, but please tell me what you think!