Lucius smiled in a self-satisfied way as he fasten the clasp of his cloak around his neck. Tonight was the night. He had finally made a decision, the decision, the decision that would mold the rest of his future. Tonight, he was going to join the Death Eaters.

It hadn't been much of a decision, really. He had always known he would one day become a part of their league. The decision had long ago been made for him; it was practically written in the stars (not that Lucius believed in the silly concept of Divination). His entire family was counting on him to do them proud.

And I will, he thought, glancing himself over in the long mirror before sweeping down the stairs and out of his house. I will make them proud. And I will make myself proud as well.

Lucius had known years ago he would one day work in the Dark Lord's service, but he had only decided the matter as fact last night, when the job offer had first been proposed to him officially. Rodolphus Lestrange had owled him, writing that the Dark Lord was interested in meeting him tomorrow if Lucius were keen on being in his service. Lucius had promptly snatched a spare sheet of parchment to write his response of 'yes', but as he dipped his eagle-feather quill in the ink and poised it over the letter, his hand hesitated.

"What are you waiting for?" he actually had asked himself aloud. "You know what you want, no need to deliberate the matter."

Still, his hand did not move. This was, after all, a life altering choice; deep, intent, irreversible.

"But you don't want it to be irreversible anyway, Malfoy," he told himself. "You want to be in the Dark Lord's service. This is what you have waited for all your life, isn't it?"

The answer was yes: it was what Lucius had waited for all of his young life. But now that the opportunity was, quite literally, centimeters away from him, he suddenly found his thoughts in a whirling blaze. Images flashed in front of his ice gray eyes: himself, bowing in front of the Dark Lord; himself, sent on a mission by his lord, his heart swelling with pride; his family, surrounding him and proud; his future wife, a smile on her face but her eyes oddly bleared and shaky; himself, looking almost remorsefully at a tattoo of a skull and snake on his arm . . .

He had jerked himself from his mental pictures. Enough of this weakness, his thoughts snarled at him, and he jabbed his quill at the parchment, scrawling, every letter sharp with his determination:

I am most definitely interested.

Lucius was jarred back to the present of today as he Apparated to the location Rodolphus had given him, finding himself in a dimly lit stone room. At the far wall was the Dark Lord himself. His thin lips curved into a smile as Lucius approached him. "Good evening, Lucius Malfoy," he hissed.

Lucius smiled covertly as he walked to the front of the room and knelt in front of the snake-like being. "My lord," he whispered, "I am forever at your service."