~ Chapter Twenty ~

Nerves frayed easily. Every supporter of the Dark could say that they weren't concentrating on their school work nearly as much as they should have been. Yet how were they meant to remain calm when they knew that the attack was coming? How were they meant to concentrate when any second they could be fleeing for their lives? It simply wasn't possible with how they were coping.

Ciaran and Draco huddled together in Potions. They were supposed to be reading.

"I can't believe this is actually happening." Draco whispered.

Ciaran glanced around the room. Granger typically was hard at work though she'd probably read the same information several times before class. Weasley on the other hand had his eyes glued to their forms. Obviously they'd been given the flick from their "stalk Ciaran" duties and he wasn't pleased about it.

"Don't get ahead yet Draco. We still have to get from Potions to the Chamber without being followed."

He didn't believe Dumbledore had given up regardless of how Granger and Weasley were acting. If anything it only further proved that the old man was up to something. Their caution could only be taken down a level once they were out of this place and away from the Headmaster altogether.

Ciaran watched as Severus sat calmly at his desk, his father ever the perfect picture of hidden emotions. With everything that was occurring, his concentration was slipping and permitting snippets of thought from those surrounding him to enter. Even with Draco beside him he was finding it difficult to block them out.

'The properties of the amaranth can be split into several sections-'

Yep that couldn't be anyone other than Granger. Was her mind the only one on the task at hand? He didn't understand why he hadn't found her constant book smarts irritating when he'd lived as Harry Potter. Scoffing silently to himself, he knew the answer was likely because she used those smarts to get the Trio out of trouble. Too bad she wasn't good for anything else.

Breathing, he attempted instead to focus on Draco's thoughts alone. Silence filled him leaving him with his own thoughts. At least with Draco he knew that focusing on him wouldn't lead to any awkward thoughts crossing between them.

"That's the end of this session get out of my sight." Severus' voice cut through his thoughts.

Excitement gripped him. This was it. This was the beginning and the Light wouldn't see what was coming until it was too late. Perfect, Ciaran grinned.

The Gryffindors eagerly scurried from the room, desperate to enjoy every second they had before dinner. Ciaran noticed that many of the Slytherins lingered, watching them with a mixture of emotions. It was nothing that a glare from Severus couldn't solve though sending them fleeing as well.

"You know what you have to do." Severus instructed once they were alone.

Draco stood jittery in the doorway. Though he was eager to do this there were nerves coursing through him once again reminding him of what could go wrong. He didn't need to focus on that currently. If anything went wrong it would be his family that would suffer and it wasn't something he would permit. Failure at this stage wasn't an option.

"Yes," Ciaran replied.

"Everyone will be preparing to leave whilst you go down and let our friends inside." Severus instructed. "There are points around the castle that allow easy getaways. Listen to your grandfather and the both of you will be fine."

Ciaran gave his father a brief hug. This plan may have been risky but nothing would stop it from happening. His grandfather would finally be back inside the castle (with his own body) and the Death Eaters would all celebrate by taking down the Light.

"If this works the way grandfather planned then we can return next year." Ciaran smiled.

He'd grown attached to this place as Ciaran. There was hardly any danger and he wasn't needed to solve everything under the sun to stop the Dark Lord. Instead he was aiding the Dark Lord and it was so simple.

Severus hummed in reply. He wasn't about to allow his son false hope. If they did return next year many things would be different. Everything would be different regardless of whether or not they returned.

"I will see you soon." He promised.

Ciaran nodded, turning to leave. This was it. Together Draco and Ciaran walked calmly to the dorms and placed their bags into their trunks before shrinking them and placing them inside their robes. Many others were doing the same, some more hectically. However they ignored anyone that stopped them. If they were late it wouldn't be pretty.

Once free from the common room they started up through the dungeons taking the swiftest root them knew. Once they were in corridors that no longer held people they ran. Any time they could add to their time in the Chamber would be beneficial. However nothing was ever that simple.

Ciaran and Draco raced around the corner only to come to a complete stop. Dumbledore stood before them appearing remarkably lucid. Neither had planned this. With Dumbledore's mind going south everyone had naturally assumed the man wouldn't be much of a problem. They would simply find him wondering around the castle and allow the Dark Lord to take care of it. This was something else entirely.

"Ciaran… come with me."

Draco tugged on his arm. They were needed in the Chamber of Secrets now. They couldn't be worried about this. The senile only man wouldn't even realize they had passed him until they were long gone. Ciaran knew however that this wasn't going to be a time when everything went according to plan.

"I won't go anywhere with you." He replied.

The old man snarled. Ciaran would have expected a villain to do something like that. It was downright creepy for someone associated with the Light.

"Come with me or I shall have your father thrown in Azkaban where he belongs."

Both teens were finding it hard to believe the old man even had the guts to suggest such a thing. Surely his morals would have long ago demanded that he never attempt anything remotely like this. Yet it appeared as if those morals disappeared with the use of his now blackened hand.

Though Draco may have wanted to simply bypass Dumbledore, Ciaran wasn't going to permit the man to get away with speaking like he did.

"My grandfather won't allow that to happen." Ciaran spoke. "Father would be out within a day."

"I'll have Severus' custody revoked. You'll have to live with the Weasley's and they would permit me to speak to you at any length I desire."

Ciaran recoiled at that. The leer he was being given really made his stomach revolt. Beside him Draco was also having a difficult time keeping everything down.

"My grandfather would automatically get custody of me. No one will allow you anywhere near me."

The confidence in his voice had the desired effect. Dumbledore floundered.

"I'll just have to deal with your grandfather then."

Ciaran smirked. That was exactly what he would be waiting to see.

"Good luck with that."

Ciaran grabbed Draco's hand dodging around Dumbledore with ease and running down the hallway. There wasn't any way Dumbledore would catch them even with the numerous secret passageways within these walls. He'd chosen this path because it didn't have any passageways to provide an ambush. The old man wouldn't be able to follow at this speed. Soon they would be free from beneath the man's gaze.

x-x-x-x-x

The Chamber was as dark and miserable as ever. Having not been in there for a few weeks the water had returned thankfully keeping clear of the cabinet. If water had damaged the cabinet in any way it might not have worked accordingly. It could also have simply allowed the water to flow freely through the cabinets and land in the shop on the other side. Luckily they didn't have to think on that scenario.

Cabinet doors wide open; all they had to do now was wait for the Death Eaters to pass through.

Ciaran kept casting glances at Draco. He knew there was something on the blonds mind. Unfortunately that was one of the many downsides of not being able to read his mind. He could never tell what his partner was thinking. It wasn't something that he truly cared for unless he wanted to know the answer to a question without asking. However it was invasive and not a measure he easily stepped into.

Just as he was about to ask, his grandfather passed through the open doors.

The man stood imperiously, robes fanning out around him elegantly. Red eyes surveyed the pair as more Death Eaters piled into the Chamber all in silent awe to be in the sacred place. At least it gave the small group a semblance of privacy as the eyes narrowed.

"What happened?" Marvolo demanded.

"Dumbledore stopped us on the way here." Draco replied.

The answer came immediately. Having realized this was what Draco had kept on his mind, Ciaran turned to his grandfather ready to explain it away.

"It was nothing."

His grandfather however wasn't taking that for a reliable answer. He stalked forward examining every inch he could see. Muttering something in Parseltongue, Marvolo focused his gaze.

"He didn't harm you, did he?" he questioned.

Ciaran shook his head. "Of course not, however I believe he'll be leaving soon. The excitement around the castle is hard to block out so I slip occasionally and hear snippets of thoughts."

Marvolo turned to make certain his Death Eaters were entering properly, deep in thought. If the old man were leaving it would make taking over the castle simple however it would negate the effect of having Dumbledore killed before his students. Either way he was going to get the castle.

"What did you hear?"

Frowning, Ciaran thought back.

"He kept muttering about Horcruxes and me. However I can't be sure what he meant because the thoughts kept cutting out whenever he spoke. It was almost like he was split into two different people. When he spoke his thoughts were jumbled but when he was silent they were clear. It was odd."

His words had Marvolo buzzing in anger. Horcruxes weren't meant to be known especially his. How had the old man figured out… of course. The diary he'd handed Lucius might have been destroyed however it had still provided Dumbledore with the thought. The entire "quest" Dumbledore was likely leading all stemmed from such a small mistake. Yet he knew he couldn't punish Lucius for that any longer. His grandson wouldn't permit it with the tie he had to the Malfoys.

"I have an idea of what he is attempting. I'll need to find him before he leaves."

"He should be pretty easy to locate." Draco commented.

"How so?"

Draco simply cast a look at Ciaran who replied.

"He's been trying to recruit me for something for months now however I've always found ways around being near him. My guess is that he'll still be looking for me. He doesn't want anyone else to do the job."

"He was remarkably lucid for a change. I think there is a good possibility that having Ciaran around will lure the old man into walking straight into a trap." Draco added.

Marvolo growled. He didn't want to have his only grandson as bait however if that was what it was going to take to trap the old man he would need to work with it. It was time that the old man finally died and allowed the Dark to rule. Without a Light Lord the Dark would easily take control of the situation and move politically. Merlin, he would be allowed to move however he wanted to. There would be no one to stop him.

"Very well, though I don't like it."

Ciaran and Draco smiled.

"Though I would hate to see what your father says when he finally learns of this."

The smiles faded. Severus wouldn't like this at all. In fact out of everyone Severus would probably be the most infuriated. Lucius at least looked sour in the background. However he kept his mouth shut. Severus wouldn't be that reserved even around the Dark Lord.

"We'll just have to be really careful." Draco muttered.

Ciaran agreed. However either way Severus wouldn't be pleased with this result. Marvolo nodded to them once before turning towards his Death Eaters. They were silent yet not paying attention as they spoke. The group were far too enraptured with the Chamber of Secrets to even realize their master wanted their attention.

"My loyal Death Eaters," he began. "Today is the day we conquer."

It was simple, Ciaran acknowledge, simple and to the point which was how his grandfather preferred to do things.

"You know what it is you are to do. Don't fret about killing those that are on our side. They have already been removed from the premises. All you need to do is take down the Professors and anyone else who attempts to take action against you. Kill them if it pleases you but Dumbledore is mine."

Cheers rose up, each already preparing for who they wanted to target. Out of everyone present they knew the Inner Circle always had first pick of Order members. Yet they could still plan. After all the attacking other students was fair game. No one could tell them otherwise and their master certainly wouldn't order them to not kill.

"My loyal followers," Marvolo spoke. "Clear out the castle."

The Death Eaters scrambled through the doorway and up the tunnel all eager to be the first one to step into Howarts. They would eagerly cause panic and mayhem like their master wanted.

Turning back towards his grandson, Marvolo watched the pair. They looked both eager and cautious which in his mind was rather acceptable. His Death Eaters didn't have anything to worry about but they were still children. Caution would suit them well. At least he wouldn't have to listen to Severus complain about their lack of.

"Where did you last see the old man?"

Draco snatched Ciaran's hand hoping that would keep his boyfriend by his side. He didn't want Ciaran to actually be trapped with the old man when they moved out. He wouldn't ever forgive himself if he permitted Dumbledore to get to Ciaran.

"We were side tracked as the stair cases moved so we were forced onto the fourth floor. He was wandering the Third Floor Corridor looking a bit dazed when we ran into him." He told the Dark Lord.

"Then that is where we shall head."

Motioning them first, Draco dragged Ciaran who pouted. Yet again he was going to have an adventure however this time he would be with entirely different people for which he was rather grateful. If he'd had to do this with Granger and Weasley he wouldn't have made it far.

Once out of the Chamber, they were off. Death Eaters were everywhere within the hallways however since many of the students weren't currently about the hysteria had yet to set in. Once it did however, finding someone would be terribly impossible. Ciaran would have brought the Marauder's Map with him but he didn't think carrying that around would be in his best interest at the moment.

Coming up to the third floor, Draco and Ciaran glanced at each other. This was it. All year had been building up to this. Soon it would all be over. Luckily the Headmaster was still walking around the corridor appearing very lost.

Ciaran assumed he was getting his years mixed up. Logically Dumbledore knew that he needed Ciaran however subconsciously he was pulling forth imagery of Harry Potter. In doing so he connecting it to Ciaran's first year when he had come face to face with the Dark Lord and managed to escape. Though it was rather a farfetched attempt, Ciaran doubted the old man's mind could actually link to the now any longer.

"Headmaster Dumbledore…" Ciaran spoke.

The quiet words were enough for the old man to snap to attention. The first sight he acknowledged was Ciaran and greedily moved forward. Of course when he realized had two other people with him, Dumbledore stopped. Ciaran smiled allowing the shark like grin to startle the old man.

"I would like to introduce you to my grandfather. Headmaster, this is Marvolo, my grandfather. Grandfather, I believe you already know each other."

Marvolo merely copied his smile. Dumbledore floundered.

"Your father isn't related to the Dark Lord."

It was a statement not a question yet Ciaran felt it necessary to answer.

"Of course my father isn't related to my grandfather. My mother on the other hand was."

He allowed the words to stew in the old man's mind for a time. Dumbledore obviously had no idea what he was doing anyway so Ciaran figured allowing him the time would permit some sanity.

Marvolo stepped forward as the first screams echoed throughout Hogwarts halls. The Dark Lord grabbed the front of the old man's tunic and pulled him close.

"You have been attempting to locate my Horcruxes."

He gave a quick glance at the old man's right hand.

"You even managed to locate one of them. How many others do you know about?"

"Evil magic like that shouldn't be permitted life."

Marvolo released a tut and waved his wand. The old man snapped backwards and crashed into a wall. Dumbledore could do little but wheeze. Ciaran watched in slight glee as the man suffered. Beside him Draco kept calm.

"That wasn't my question. Again, how many others do you know about?"

A snap echoed around the hallway somewhat dimmed by other screams. Yet it had the desired effect.

"I realized the Diary was one. Then there was the Ring, the Cup, and the Snake. I couldn't think of any more until Harry Potter came to mind and realized his scar also contained one. The others, what do I do about the others? I can't get Harry Potter to destroy them as his dead. But that's a good thing because then I don't have to kill him as well. But the other what do I do about the others?" Dumbledore waffled.

"Destroy the Horcruxes containers to the soul. Can't let Harry Potter know. Must keep him in the dark but how to do that when he needs to know? Eventually must kill him. But he's already dead. Who do I take on the trip with me? But can't go… already dying… the soul must be destroyed before the body…"

Ciaran had paled significantly. He couldn't believe it. Dumbledore had planned on killing him off. He'd planned on having Harry Potter travel around and destroy these objects that held a piece of his grandfather's soul. He had a piece of his grandfather's soul inside him. Dumbledore planned on killing him. This was a lot to take in for one afternoon.

Draco wrapped Ciaran in a hug refusing to let go. This notion had also shaken him. Their lives would have been so different had Ciaran never discovered his ancestry. To think that the leader of Light could possibly even think of sacrificing someone he so relied on was unimaginable.

Shaken slightly, Ciaran looked down as his grandfather kneelt before him.

"This will never happen now. We are family and we know what makes you so special to the Light now. No one will take you away."

Ciaran nodded. He knew this to be true. His grandfather would never allow anyone to harm him.

"We shall take care of the old man once and for all and then the Order shall be next."

A shaky smile was all he could manage. Marvolo turned and strode towards the aged headmaster. The frailty in which he slumped against the wall was rather telling. Regardless of this night, the old man would be dead within the week. He was simply glad that he'd planned this first.

"You will die tonight old man for what you have done."

They had agreed early on that telling people who Ciaran once had been wasn't a very useful tactic. Perhaps when everyone had finally conceded defeat they would speak up but until then he would remain an unknown.

"Everything I did was for the Greater Good!" the headmaster gasped.

Breathing was becoming difficult for him. He knew there was something he was meant to be doing but he couldn't quite grasp the idea. All he knew was that in a few seconds he would be dead.

Marvolo sneered down at him.

"Tell that to all the people you've wronged. Good bye Headmaster."

The last thing the renowned headmaster witnessed was the very spell that destroyed Ciaran's life.

x-x-x-x-x

They walked on in silence. Chaos surrounded them. Though Marvolo had attempted to reassure his grandson it did little to improve his mood. Ciaran understood that his grandfather would never harm him, not any longer, but it still could have been. What he really wanted more than anything was for this nightmare to be over. He wanted to return home.

Severus was the first to spot them. He rushed over ignoring the pleas for help from numerous students and teachers alike. Of course when they realized the Dark Lord was within Hogwarts everything became even more chaotic.

"Someone, call the Order!" a student shouted.

Ciaran had no clue who it belonged to, only that several Death Eaters headed in their direction. The student wouldn't live past this night. No one was really left alone. Since everyone that truly mattered had taken off already there was no reason for them to concern themselves with worrying about others.

"What happened?" Severus questioned as soon as he saw their rather troubling expressions.

"All will be explained later tonight." Marvolo spoke.

Ciaran cast a look at his father but agreed. This wasn't the time to speak on those matters especially with the Order still around. Yet it really didn't matter. Everything was basically over.

Students were injured in the hallway. They were simply lying around not bothering to move or defend themselves any longer. After all if the Order couldn't protect them what would stop Death Eaters supported by the Dark Lord? It didn't help that the Order was cornered within the Great Hall. No one was going to come to their rescue. It would all be too late.

"The Headmaster is dead!" Marvolo exclaimed to the people still fighting.

The sound in itself was terrifying. Four words completely undid the Order. All the fight they held seemed to fade. Though they hadn't dropped their wands, no one appeared ready to use them against the enemy. Their leader was dead and though he had been rather crazy at least he'd been something everyone rallied towards. Without Dumbledore, without Harry Potter, they held nothing.

The Order was cornered in the Great Hall. Death Eaters swarmed them yet created a path when their Master and his grandson walked past. Severus, Lucius, Draco, and Charlie all followed but they remained as far back as was protocol. This was after all serious business.

"Charlie, what are you doing?"

The exclamation came from Molly. Most of the Weasley's were huddled together along with Granger. Fred and George weren't present. They might have supported Ciaran but that didn't extend to Marvolo which was accepted. Percy was at the Ministry and likely to also have a death sentence once he was captured. Ciaran rather liked it that way.

"I'm supporting my friends and family, mother. Why else would I be here?"

The outrage that sparked through the Order was insurmountable. Their disbelief appeared quite comical.

"Charlie come we can get through this…" Molly whimpered.

The Death Eaters laughed. No one knew how she had managed that train of thought however she believed it. The Order weren't likely to survive the night and yet she still held out hope even though they had nothing left to fight towards. Without their leader they couldn't focus properly. Charlie merely smirked at them.

Then the view turned towards yet another to be standing on what the Order believed was "the wrong side". However this didn't turn out like the last realization.

"You traitor!"

The sentiment was aimed at Severus but Ciaran couldn't help the smirk that crossed his face. They still hadn't figured it out yet. Not even Dumbledore had been able to figure it out. Wouldn't he get quite the shock in the afterlife. James, Lily and Sirius would all be furious with him.

"I can't believe Albus trusted you after all this time!"

Severus sneered. They didn't even have all of the facts and yet they still continued to place blame on him. Honestly did Gryffindors give anything thought before they spoke?

"He overturned our agreement and I wasn't about to let it slide."

"What he do, not give you enough money to wash your hair?" Ron Weasley sneered.

As a collective, the Death Eaters winced. That certainly wasn't the smartest acquisition on their part. Dark eyes narrowed upon the now blushing Weasley. Though terribly frightened, Weasley still had an air of defiance that didn' sit well with anyone. Even his parents were attempting to shush him.

"Imperio." Severus intoned.

Ron Weasley's eyes glazed over instantly causing Molly to burst out into tears. They knew that their son was about to get what was coming to him but they still didn't move to stop anything. Ciaran felt pity for the children. They'd only been dragged into this by their parents' ideals and yet their firm belief destroyed what little chance they had at survival.

"Walk into the lake. Continue breathing."

The teen walked off, no one stopping him.

"Albus Dumbldore threatened my son. I would do anything to keep him safe which is more than I can say about you." Severus explained snidely.

He couldn't believe they'd allowed their son to simply walk away knowing he had a death wish. He'd found his son and never wanted to let him go. Their luck with children was something they just didn't deserve.

Marvolo smirked at the display knowing once and for all that he had won. The Order had given up and everything was going his way. Nothing was going to stop him. Not Dumbledore… nor Harry Potter… not even Mad Eye Moody was tempted to lift his wand. Each member of the Order had dropped their wands leaving for a Death Eater to pick up and take away. They were defenceless. The Dark had finally won.

"Hogwarts is ours!"


And here is another chapter. Hope you enjoy!

~MidnightEmber