Chapter Eight: The Death Eater Children
Disclaimer, Keys, and Warnings are all in Chapter One.
A/N: Thanks to animehplife, Knight25, Lurking Silence, EterNite, tonks*is*cool, The Dark is Gaining, ams71080, disgruntledfairy, Tommy14, and kitsunekiri for reviewing. Let me remind you that this is a WIP. All I have are notes on how I plan for this story to turn out, and details in my mind that change as I type them. I debated for a while over several of the events in this part of the story, but in the end, this is what I went with. If something doesn't work out later on, I may have to change it. There are reasons for all of what I did, but if the goals the story works towards and the ones I'm working toward aren't the same, then I'll have to fix it. Trust me, I'll warn you if I do change something. Hopefully that won't happen.
Tom encouraged Cris to use the Slytherin emblem and crest often as decoration because, as a speaker of Parseltongue, it was his birthright. He may have not found where exactly his family descended from Salazar Slytherin himself, but to have his own imfamous trait, the interaction must have occurred.
So at 10:45 on Platform 9 3/4, Cris stepped through the magical barrier dressed princely in black Italian trousers and a peacock blue silk shirt with a collar trimmed in gold to accent the black, with a white summer cloak streaming along behind him. It was the cloak that attracted the most attention. The Slytherin Crest adorned the left side, growing in ebony thread from the small of his back to cover his shoulder and left sleeve. However, it was unrecognizable for what it was, swirling around, curving in on itself, lines broken and formed like vines, snakes wrapping and devouring the crest as a whole. The small, glittering diamonds sewn every centimeter along each twirling line were hard to miss, though. With his hair tied back in a ponytail that curved slightly to the right, Cris carried Leto's cage in soft-leather-clad hands, the Bengal Eagle owl's horns giving her a regally stern look that complemented the way Cris held himself.
His Vampire escort followed, dressed completely in black except for the startling crimson amulet around his neck that had his own family crest in it and the crimson-hilted sword at his side. Castor had been chosen to come with him partly because of the practicality of it. He had announced at breakfast the day before that he had been assigned a mission and had to leave for a while, so it was no hassle for him to drop off Cris on his way. Tom wouldn't have minded to get out of the Manor for a while, but of course there was a reason as to why his excursions had been limited in the first place. And they needed the element of surprise for when Dumbledore found out about Severus' son. So the option was clear. Cris had worn his best to impress and Cas had dressed like some sort of an assassin for his own amusement.
On the platform, the duo silenced the crowd. People stopped and stared, not even bothering to whisper and gossip with their neighbours. They cleared a path to the train and wondered about who the royalty was. Neither of the pair let on that they knew they were being put on display, merely keeping their faces emotionless as they headed to the area reserved for boarding the train. If they had looked from their path even once, they would have seen the many heavy glances that were passed around the outskirts of the throng, all from the finest dressed of the lot, and then the slight nods to the children they stood beside.
Gracefully stepping up the three feet or so into the scarlet boxcar, Cris turned to face his escort for a moment. The man nodded once in farewell before murmuring slightly in French.
"See you at Hogwarts."
Cris raised an eyebrow as confusion took the foremost spot in his turbulent emotions for a moment before the plans fell in place. Smirking in acknowledgment, he turned and headed out of sight towards the seating compartments of the train. Cas watched for a moment before simply disappearing in thin air.
The magical platform at Kings Cross erupted. The fringes of the crowd saw their children off quickly and escaped, knowing that only the Heir of the Dark Lord would be seen off by a Vampire and that their progenies knew what to do, but most of the platform seemed likely to stay and chat for hours.
Cris heard the sudden wall of sound and grimaced. Those people were idiots. Cas was most obviously a Vampire, and judging from his earlier words, he had succeeding in getting himself a job at Hogwarts. The main purpose was to announce who he was to the right people, but Cas' presence on the platform also held some other purposes. For one, his accompaniment of Cris to the station could easily be explained by him being Severus' friend, which would give Castor some leeway with the Headmaster because he could pretend to be a Dark individual searching for the Light, or some such rubbish. With Dumbles support, that the fool would surely give just to get a Vampire on his side, Cas could keep his job and continue to protect and teach Cris and keep an eye on Dumbles. Later, as both Severus and Castor pretended to be spys on the Dark, Dumbledore would be less suspicious of either of them. Just as he planned to do, they could hide right under the old man's nose.
He let his analyzing of their plans go as his stomach churned with a full flock of butterflies. Cris was searching for an empty compartment and was already halfway up the train without finding one. Passing up two more, he saw a group of older students and then no one. He quickly slid open the door and entered, grateful for the silence after the door closed again. He set Leto's cage down on a seat and started to relax, just as a whistle shrieked.
Cursing, he jumped at the strange noise. Why would a magical train be so Muggle-like; belching smoke and steam and making weird noises? Plus, and he would never admit it to anyone, it was daunting. Cris was used to quiet, peaceful places and this sudden transition into loud sounds and crowds of people made him feel claustrophobic. Sure, he went traveling and shopping with his mentors, but they steered clear of the most crowded places and disguised themselves so they wouldn't attract attentition. Here, he couldn't escape back home at the end of the day and he couldn't pretend to be anyone else. What if he couldn't adjust? It was enough to make him nauseous. And yet at the same time, he was happy to get to study Magic in a formal setting.
Shaking his head like he could get rid of the feelings he disliked, Cris tried to distract himself by unshrinkng the book he had shoved in his pocket: his new favorite, Moste Potente Potions. He hadn't attempted any of the mentioned concoctions, but the theory was fascinating. His father's gift turned his thoughts in that direction. Things were still somewhat awkward when they were alone, but he was hopeful for the future and both of them seemed to be coming out of their shells. It had been a full month since they had met and Severus hadn't been ill towards him once. Cris was getting over his irrational fears and enjoying his time with the man.
When the train finally lurched to a start, it jarred onto the tracks and let out a final siren call before chugging into a rhythm, startling Cris and causing him to fall off his seat. This time, he cursed creatively and in several different languages. He didn't notice the door open as the picked himself up and tried to find his place again.
"Can I sit here?" Sheepishly looking back over his shoulder, the vividly red-haired boy blushed and shrugged. "I can't find nowhere else."
Cris didn't look up until he found his place in the book and marked it carefully. With one look, he knew he was never going to be associated with this boy. He had on a well-worn jumper and denims that looked too short on his lanky frame. He also seemed unlike the type to get along with the Slytherins, who had enough class to not use incorrect grammar, and judging by the dirt smudge on his nose and an intimidated look downwards at Cris' scrutiny, he didn't put a lot of thought into his appearance and neither was he charismatic. In other words, unless he had intelligence he didn't show, he was useless. Until he actually proved to be, Cris chose to be civil.
"I'm waiting for my friends. Sorry, but you should sit somewhere else." He quickly dismissed the boy and returned to his book.
Not half a moment after the boy left, the door slid open again. This time, Cris didn't even bat an eyelash towards the intruder.
A practiced cool tone was directed to him after a few seconds of being ignored. "Do you know the boy that was just here?"
Cris decided that he might as well just give up on his reading. He looked up with a bored expression and replied, "No. Do you?" Studying the features of the blonde boy in front of him, he recognized the profile. It would be his son that got to him first.
"Of course." The carbon copy of Lucius Malfoy sniffed. "That was only the youngest son of the biggest family of Blood Traitors in Britain."
Looking to either side of the speaker, Cris saw that he was framed by two beefy louts that could only be classified as minions. He couldn't help but turn a corner of his mouth up in amusement. "That would explain the hair; he's a Weasley."
Mini-Lucius smirked and inclined his head. There was a pause before he spoke again. "Might I ask who you are? I'm Draco Malfoy."
"I know. You look like your father." Draco didn't seem surprised, so that clued Cris in that he was the Dark side's most likely suspect of being Tom's heir. "Did he tell you about me?"
Draco seemed to get the ploy. His father had taught him speaking techniques and he knew better than to give away anything he knew until this boy's identity was revealed for sure. It could be a plot to get information, especially since the spy in the Death Eater ranks had never been caught. "I wouldn't know. Father mentions a lot of people."
Nodding approvingly, Cris smiled. "Suspicion is a good thing, but I'm only going to prove myself once. Would you gather those who are of interest?"
Draco cocked his head slightly. "Is there anywhere specific you want them to meet?"
The blonde raised both eyebrows, glanced around the small train compartment, seemed to hold in a shrug, and disappeared back out the door, taking his minions with him. Cris dug into his pocket quickly. Finding the magical expander that Tom used to expand inn rooms when they traveled inconspicuously, he dropped the shiny marble to the floor, where it made the walls and seats shimmer before they slid and stretched to provide enough seating for at least thirty people comfortably. Draco may have expected him not to have the power for magical expansion, which he did, but he could cheat and achieve the same end much easier. He also dug out his wand to ensure that this meeting would be held in utter secrecy.
Less than half an hour had passed before a polite knock sounded on the door. He waited and the door slid open to Draco again. This time, he had students of all ages with him. They filed in and took seats, the younger ones with slight trepidation and eying the larger room, the older ones with arrogance and better-than-thou attitudes. Cris had a hard time not rolling his eyes. As the door slid shut once again, he decided to get the show on the road.
Reaching to his neck, he loosened the cloak and allowed it to fall to the ground as he stood. Only to disappear and reappear in his shrunken trunk, not that his audience knew where it went. Wandless and wordless spells were taxing, but it gave him the slight edge he needed to really impress them later. He raised his left arm in a fashion that he imagined their parents had imitated numerous times and unbuttoned his cuff enough so that he could bare his inside forearm.
There, in the same black as the Dark Mark that adorned their parent's arms, was what seemed to be a tattoo of a fang-bearing snake. When Cris gently ran a finger along it, it began to move. It bubbled and writhed underneath his skin before chewing and ripping its way free of his arm. Cris showed no sign of pain, even as blood dripped down and stained the carpet and the younger students gasped. A good six feet of scaly skin grew out of pale flesh and wrapped around Cris' torso, partially dropping to the ground. Finally the tail wriggled free, allowing the skin to knit back together, tattoo-free this time.
Ixion, these are the ones to bind. Cris' gaze didn't stray from the snake, but he could imagine the faces of those around him. This would seal his proof. Tom hadn't told his followers of the gift his equal possessed, but everyone knew the Dark Lord could talk to snakes, and his Death Eaters knew that both of their lords spoke Parseltongue. Smirking, he lifted his head to sweep a gaze at those staring at him. "Tell me your names."
Ixion replied in a hiss without translation, scenting the idividuals and imprinting their cores to memory. Easily, he bound them to secrecy as they called their name.
With the final name, Ixion let loose the magic, melding it to Cris and making his eyes glow crimson.
"My Lord." Draco dropped to his knees and bowed his head. One by one, all but the oldest followed his lead, and even the most arrogant allowed their heads to fall to their chests.
"Don't call me that," Cris sharply ordered, causing several flinches as the red eyes that had yet to fade back to emerald glared at those kneeling. "I am your lord, sure, but this mission requires that Dumbledore neither knows anything of me nor of the fact that I'm not a normal student. Any slip-ups by calling me by any title would give that old fart a clue. Failure is not acceptable." Quickly, all those kneeling rose and settled into their seats once more, knowing the penalty for failure within the Dark side: death.
When his eyes blurred back to the startling emerald they were before, it seemed to settle the others slightly. That and the fact that he wasn't glaring at them anymore.
"For all intents and purposes, I am merely an acquaintance you grew up around. Act as such. And to ensure you do not blow my cover within minutes, I'm going to let you in on a secret." Looking around, Cris makes sure that everyone is paying strict attention. They are, hanging on to his every word. Good. "My full name is Cristiano Ares Snape." Without giving them time to fully process what he threw out, he continued. "Come to terms with that and do not act surprised when Dumbles scrutinizes your expressions. Unless you have a parent in the Inner Circle, dismissed."
Most of the students hurried from the compartment, faces showing varying signs of confusion, trepidation, and resignation. Those that stayed were too caught up in thought to notice Cris accio the expansion marble back to his pocket. They did notice, however, when the compartment shifted back to its original state to only seat the ten people remaining. Conjuring himself a comfy chair, he seated himself so that he was facing his new elite. He was surprised to notice that almost all of them appeared to be his age.
Silence ensued until someone had the nerve to break it. Speaking softly, Draco spoke up. "You do look a lot like my godfather, but I didn't know he had a son." His pale face flushed slightly at the weight of everyone's stares, but he held Cris' gaze.
Cris smirked. "He didn't have a son before..." He trailed off, implying. Dawning appeared in most of the eyes.
"So he really wasn't the spy?"
Glancing at the girl, Pansy Parkinson, Cris shook his head. He wasn't going to spill his father's past. "But I assure you that your parents weren't slighted in honor. He was chosen because he works best for our plans. Now, are any of you not a First Year?" One boy, Conlaine, raised his hand. Noticing in disgust that the two minions that were with Draco earlier, that he now knew as Crabbe and Goyle, were practically dozing in their seats, he decided to send them away, too. Their fathers were merely used as bodyguards and it seemed that the sons were following in their footsteps.
"Then, Conlaine, I ask that you continue as normal. And you two as well." With a quick affirmative, there are only six other Death Eater children sitting in front of Cris. He leans back and tries to get comfortable. "Well, you're my new friends."
To make their story convincing, Cris and Severus had to have as much evidence as possible. Having friends that he had grown up around and could collaborate his story would appease the Headmaster, who was said to believe that children could grow up different from their parents. These six eleven-year-olds are now going to be his closest friends, and even if they may think that he accepted them only to further the ultimate goal, like they think for his reasons for accepting his father, that wasn't the truth. He wanted friends, he really did, and he knew that a ruler could never be friends with the people below them. It was he who made the decision to try to make friends and be a leader, not a ruler. He hoped that in time, they could accept him, and he hoped in turn that he could learn to accept and understand them.
Merlin knew that he had to grow more comfortable in his surroundings if he planned on staying at Hogwarts, and with true friends there for him, it could be much easier. This is the most that he had interacted with people in his life, and it was starting to wear on his nerves, breaking him down mentally and emotionally. And they had yet to reach the castle. Trying to ignore his growing headache, he turned back to those that he's supposed to be friends with and begins explanations.
A/N: You know, I think I'm going to just give up on appologizing every time it takes me decades to update. I give you a blanket appology right now. Forgive me for writers block, my life, and my extreme laziness. I do promise that it will get out at some point. Reviews, corrections, etc. are appreciated.
Next Chapter: Sorting.