"Have you seen this?" The voice drifted through the seemingly endless room, the tall shelves doing nothing to block any noise, but successfully hiding many dark, cloaked figures from view.
"What?" came the reply. I exhaled sharply, recognizing the voice. He had come, the fool of a boy. And with his friends as well—risking their lives for the life of his precious godfather. The boy had yet to learn the difference between dreams and reality.
"It's—it's got your name on," the first voice said.
My mouth pulled into a grin hidden beneath my mask. They had found it. Now if Harry Potter would just pick it up…
"What is it? What's your name doing down here?"
Did they really not know? Surely Potter would. He was close to the Headmaster of Hogwarts. Potter would be picking up the prophecy at any moment. I drew my wand in preparation. Once I completed this task, the Dark Lord would forgive my disloyalty during his absence. My wife and son would be in no danger from him.
"I'm not here. None of the rest of us are here." I rolled my eyes at Weasley, the blood traitor. Of course he and the others were not there. They were not nearly as important. But of course they would not understand—after all, they are only children. It was a shame that they ended up on the wrong side so quickly. But again, what can one expect from impressionable children?
"Harry, I don't think you should touch it," a female voice said sharply. I recognized the voice as belonging to Miss Granger, the one who kept scoring higher than Draco in all their classes. How a Mudblood could be so intelligent and talented I could never comprehend.
"Why not? It's something to do with me, isn't it?"
Yes, Potter, be a good little boy and pick up the prophecy.
"Don't, Harry." The woman beside me gave a low chuckle. I glared at her and she silenced, but I had the feeling that she was still grinning broadly under her mask and hood. Bellatrix was ecstatic to be working in the Dark Lord's name again. She was always a little overly devoted to the Dark Lord, but I think his disappearance fourteen years ago as well as all those years in Azkaban literally drove her mad. It was difficult to believe that Bellatrix was so closely related to my darling Narcissa.
"It's got my name on," said Potter, reaching for the prophecy. My heart was nearly beating out of my chest. This was it. He picked it up and stared at it as though expecting something dramatic and exciting to happen. Oh, he had no idea…
The Death Eaters, with me leading, all began emerging from thin air around the children, apparating and surrounding them. "Very good, Potter," I drawled. "Now turn around, nice and slowly, and give that to me."
The children all looked around in fear at the cloaked figures around them and at the wands we were pointing at their hearts. I smirked. "To me, Potter," I repeated, holding out my hand, palm up. Harry Potter did not respond, seeming too shocked to do or say anything. "To me," I repeated once again, a little more firmly.
Potter seemed to finally find his voice. "Where's Sirius?" he asked.
Several of my fellow Death Eaters laughed. "The Dark Lord always knows!" Bellatrix said triumphantly.
"Always," I echoed softly, my mind briefly flitting to my family, and how I would do anything for them—and then I realized that the Dark Lord knew that. He knew that my family was currently my drive to succeed. I quickly recovered from these thoughts and focused on the task at hand. "Now, give me the prophecy, Potter."
"I want to know where Sirius is!" he insisted, his green eyes widening slightly in fear of his godfather's fate.
"I want to know where Sirius is!" mimicked Bellatrix. I barely managed not to roll my eyes at my sister-in-law. She was having far too much fun with this.
As one, all of us stepped closer to Potter and the other children so that we were mere feet away. The lights from our wands flickered in the children's eyes, revealing how potent their fear was.
"You've got him. He's here. I know he is." Potter appeared to be panicking now. He would give me the prophecy soon—at least he would once he shut up about his stupid godfather.
"The little baby woke up fwightened and fort what it dweamed was twoo," Bellatrix said in a mock baby-voice. This time I was unable to keep from rolling my eyes. It was good that no one could see my face clearly due to my mask.
"Don't do anything," Potter muttered to his friends. "Not yet."
Bellatrix let out a harsh laugh. "You hear him? You hear him? Giving instructions to the other children as though he thinks of fighting us!"
"Oh, you don't know Potter as I do, Bellatrix," I said softly, smirking under my mask. "He has a great weakness for heroics; the Dark Lord understands this about him." I was becoming impatient. "Now give me the prophecy, Potter," I said threateningly.
"I know Sirius is here," Potter said. "I know you've got him!"
All the Death Eaters laughed as I said, "It's time you learned the difference between life and dreams, Potter. Now give me the prophecy, or we start using wands."
"Go on, then." Potter raised his wand to chest height, as did the five other children. I was bewildered. They could not possibly believe that they had a chance against us.
"Hand over the prophecy and no one need get hurt," I said coolly. We could not allow the prophecy to break. I wondered if Potter knew that, if he was gambling that we would not take the risk.
I was surprised when Potter suddenly burst out laughing rather madly. "Yeah, right! I give you this—prophecy, is it?" Did Potter honestly not know about the prophecy? Dumbledore was even more useless than I had believed. "And you'll just let us skip off home, will you?" Yes, Potter, we will—the Dark Lord wants no one getting in his way…
Potter shouted, "Protego!" just in time to block Bellatrix's spell. I felt my heart leap into my throat as I saw the prophecy slip to the tips of Potter's fingers. He barely managed to hold on to it.
"Oh, he knows how to play, little bitty baby Potter," Bellatrix said in her mock baby voice. I glared at her, wondering if she had any idea what she had almost done. "Very well, then—."
"I TOLD YOU, NO! If you smash it—!" I cut myself off, realizing that I had just revealed that we could not risk breaking the prophecy. However, Potter did not seem to be paying any attention at all, his eyes blank as though in a trance. He was probably desperately trying to find a way to get out of the situation alive. Give me the bloody prophecy, damn it!
I watched Bellatrix step forward. She pulled off her mask, revealing her hollowed face. All those years in Azkaban had done nothing for her looks. "You need more persuasion?" she said, her chest rising and falling rapidly, her eyes wide and mad. "Very well—take the smallest one. Let him watch while we torture the little girl. I'll do it," she said with a wicked grin.
I watched the children all close around the Weasley girl, the one I had given the diary. I winced, remembering how the Dark Lord had reacted when he discovered that the diary had been destroyed—and that it was my fault. I shuddered. I glanced around and was thankful that no one had appeared to notice. They were all focused on Bellatrix and Potter.
Potter had stepped in front of the girl, holding the prophecy up to his chest. "You'll have to smash this if you want to attack any of us. I don't think your boss will be too pleased if you come back without it, will he?"
No one moved.
"So," Potter said after a moment "What kind of prophecy are we talking about, anyway?"
I blinked in amazement. It was true—Potter really didn't know about the prophecy. I smirked. This could be used to our advantage.
"What kind of prophecy?" Bellatrix repeated, echoing my thoughts. "You jest, Harry Potter." I silently hoped that Bellatrix wouldn't tell him. It needed to be said just right…
"Nope, not jesting." Potter's eyes flicked around him, going from Death Eater to Death Eater. "How come Voldemort wants it?"
I inhaled sharply as some other Death Eaters hissed. "You dare speak his name?" Bellatrix breathed, her eyes wide.
"Yeah," Potter said defiantly. "Yeah, I've got no problem saying Vol—."
"Shut your mouth!" Bellatrix exclaimed harshly. "You dare speak his name with your unworthy lips, you dare besmirch it with your half-blood's tongue, you dare—." Just when I was prepared to tell the woman to shut up herself, Potter interrupted her.
"Did you know he's a half-blood, too?"
My mouth dropped. Again, I was thankful for my mask, as much as I despised wearing it. I had once questioned the Dark Lord's parentage long ago, but his actions had seemed to disprove any possibility of him being anything but a pureblood. Could Potter possibly know something the Dark Lord's inner circle didn't?
"Voldemort? Yeah, his mother was a witch but his dad was a Muggle—or has he been telling you lot he's a pureblood?"
"NO!" I managed to deflect Bellatrix's spell before it struck Potter. My spell caused hers to hit the shelf my right and several glass orbs shattered. Ghostly figures appeared, appearing from the broken glass upon the floor and they began to speak. I ignored them and turned to Bellatrix.
"DO NOT ATTACK!" How difficult could it be to get through to someone? "WE NEED THE PROPHECY!" Does she not realize the price if we fail?
"You haven't told me what's so special about this prophecy I'm supposed to be handing over." I slowly turned back to Potter.
"Do not play games with us, Potter," I said quietly.
"I'm not playing games." My eyes narrowed as I saw Potter step on the Mudblood's foot. He was still trying to find a way out.
"Dumbledore never told you that the reason you bear that scar was hidden in the bowels of the Department of Mysteries?" I said with a smirk, flicking my wand slightly to motion towards the lightening-bolt scar on Potter's forehead.
"I—what?" Potter stared at me, wide-eyed, but this time out of interest and shock instead of fear. I smirked again. He was curious. Perfect. "What about my scar?"
"Can this be?" I said, grinning. The other Death Eaters began laughing again. For a moment, I thought I saw Potter whisper something to the Mudblood, but then I decided that I had imagined it. "Dumbledore never told you? Well, this explains why you didn't come earlier, Potter, the Dark Lord wondered why you didn't come running when he showed you the place where it was hidden in your dreams. He thought natural curiosity would make you want to hear the exact wording…"
"Did he? So he wanted me to come and get it, did he? Why?"
"Why?" I asked, delighted as many of the Death Eaters snickered. "Because the only people who are permitted to retrieve a prophecy from the Department of Mysteries, Potter, are those about whom it was made, as the Dark Lord discovered when he attempted to use others to steal it for him."
"And why did he want to steal a prophecy about me?"
I was becoming suspicious—Potter almost seemed to be buying for time. "About both of you, Potter, about both of you… Haven't you ever wondered why the Dark Lord tried to kill you as a baby?" I asked, my voice softening. I could see in Potter's eyes that he was beginning to piece this mystery together. He was wondering if the prophecy in his hand contained the secret as to why his parents had been killed. He was wondering if he was holding the secret of his scar.
"Someone made a prophecy about Voldemort and me?" Potter said hesitantly, gazing into my eyes through the slits in my mask. He held onto the prophecy more tightly. Good. Potter was more than curious now—he had to know. "And he's made me come and get it for him? Why couldn't he come and get it himself?"
And this was the boy that keeps escaping the Dark Lord's grasp? The boy must have an incredible amount of luck on his side. But luck eventually runs out.
"Get it himself?" Bellatrix shrieked. She wasn't the only Death Eater who laughed at Potter's question. "The Dark Lord, walk into the Ministry of Magic, when they are so sweetly ignoring his return? The Dark Lord, reveal himself to the Aurors, when at the moment they are wasting their time on my dear cousin?" Potter's eyes flashed at the mention of Sirius Black. I suppressed a growl. Bellatrix was upsetting the delicate balance I was creating to get Potter to hand over the prophecy.
"So he's got you doing his dirty work for him, has he? Like he tried to get Sturgis to steal it—and Bode?"
For being naïve, Potter caught on quickly. "Very good, Potter, very good," I said slowly. "But the Dark Lord knows you are not unintell—."
To my great chagrin, I was caught off-guard when the children all cast "Reducto!" and caused the shelves and prophecies around us to start raining down on us.
"RUN!" Potter yelled. I heard many fellow Death Eaters lumbering after the group of children. I followed, cursing myself for letting my guard down. If they got away with that prophecy…
Though we were momentarily split up, the Death Eaters met up a few minutes later. I was ready to curse the lot of them into oblivion. One failure was all the Dark Lord needed as an excuse to make my darkest nightmares some alive. I swallowed hard as I looked around at the dark lot, thinking about Narcissa and Draco. I could not fail.
I motioned for the group to follow me when I heard hushed voices. When I glanced behind me, I saw that a few had stayed behind. Nott was lying on the ground, motionless and bloody with a few Death Eaters standing around him, concerned. "Leave Nott, leave him, I say, the Dark Lord will not care for Nott's injuries as much as losing that prophecy." My words struck me as foreign, as though someone else had spoken them. It was as though the Dark Lord was speaking through my mouth—he did not care for us personally.
But no matter what, I was not going to let the Dark Lord have an excuse to hurt my wife and son. I quickly organized the Death Eaters, sending pairs off in different directions, blood thundering in my head the whole time. This mission had to succeed—the family of Malfoy depended on it.