Chapter One

Footsteps quickened down a darkened corridor and the sharp sound pierced the oppressive silence. A black robe billowed out from behind. Paintings on the walls stirred in their sleep as the brightness of the light from a wand touched their faces every so often. Blonde hair and grey eyes glinted in the sudden light, as the young wizard briskly strode down the halls of Malfoy Manor. A painting of Lucius Malfoy glared down at the wizard who had entered the Manor, but said nothing as the rest of his ancestors muttered darkly. A sardonic smirk twisted the young man's features and stopped in front of a double door with ornate silver decorations inlaid into the wood. Taking a deep breath, the wizard shut off his light and opened the double doors.

"Draco," came and icy, high-pitched voice. A pair of red slits glittered malevolently at Draco Malfoy from the darkness. "So dangerously close to being late."

Draco kneeled in front of Lord Voldemort and replied, "My Lord, forgive me. I came here as fast as I could." His black robe pooled around him like ink. Gracefully standing up, Draco faced his master. He could see Lord Voldemort clearly now, in the dull light. His face was bone-white as ever and his lidless eyes were unnervingly perceptive.

"Is that so?" Voldemort asked softly, his red eyes probing into Draco's metallic ones. Draco's spine stiffened but gave into the intrusion of his mind. Resistance was futile. Apparently satisfied with what he saw, Voldemort gestured to one of the seats lining the walls of the room along with a handful of Death Eaters in them. Draco sat in one of the chairs, aware of the eyes on him. His face was stony as he looked back at Voldemort.

"As you all know, Potter is dead," Voldemort addressed the Death Eaters, his voice as soft as ever. "Sixteen years of work and finally the reward has come. My loyal Death Eaters have played an instrumental part in bringing down the Order. There are only a few left who work at the Ministry, but they hardly pose a threat," Voldemort paused and scanned the Death Eaters, watching for any show of weakness. "Under my administration, the Purebloods will remain supreme and those who are not will be eliminated. Yaxley, Macnair, and Umbridge will continue to work in the Ministry, as well as other Death Eaters who have proved their worth. But the Ministry is not what concerns me. There is a small uprising against Lord Voldemort. Do not underestimate them, for size does not account for strength. Draco!" Voldemort addressed the young Malfoy.

Draco stood up, his face devoid of expression. "Yes, my Lord?"

Voldemort's nostrils flared as his surveyed the young man in front of him. "Find and destroy them."

Draco loosened his tie as he Apparated into his flat, thoroughly exhausted from the day's events. He had forgotten how draining it was to be summoned by the Dark Lord and have so much expected of him. This wasn't a particularly difficult mission, other than the fact that there were uprisings against the Dark Lord everywhere. There had been a few steadily gaining support by the general mass of Mudbloods and blood traitors. This group must have been particularly clever to have been flying under the radar for so long without the Dark Lord noticing until a couple days ago. Peeling off his robe and shirt, he pulled on a pair of sweatpants and stuck his wand in the waistband. He turned on the light switch and winced as his head throbbed with a migraine.

"Great, just what I bloody needed," Draco muttered to himself. He flicked his wand at the kitchen and a pot placed itself on the stove and spaghetti promptly plopped inside and began to cook. Draco fingered his wand morosely as his head gave another almighty throb. He had never been good at healing spells, other than to fix broken bones or cuts.

"Honey, I'm hoooome!" Came the sing-song voice of Blaise Zabini, Draco's roommate. The door opened and shut behind a tall, stringy man.

"Merlin, Blaise, keep your voice down," Draco snapped, rubbing his temples. Blaise rolled his eyes and placed his bags against the wall.

"Nice to know I'm appreciated in this place," Blaise replied lightly as he went to his room to change.

"Blaise," Draco closed his eyes, praying for patience. "I have a migraine. That's the only reason why I asked you to be quiet. Now if you would stop antagonizing me, we can eat our dinner. There's spaghetti on the stove."

Blaise came out of his room in a grey t-shirt and shorts. "Well, I feel like a complete prick. Sorry about that – rough day at the Ministry."

Draco's hand curled into fists as he heard these words, but he kept his voice light. "What happened?"

Blaise snorted as he shoveled food into his mouth. "It's that Umbridge woman. Bloody woman has to poke her nose into everybody's business. It's not that I don't support what's going on in the Ministry right now," Blaise amended, waving his fork at the Draco. "It's just that's she's inefficient and paranoid."

Draco let out a small chuckle at his friend. "I don't like her much either, to be honest. I reckon the paranoia is only going to get worse with Umbridge." He walked towards the kitchen and scooped the spaghetti neatly into his plate.

"At least she's not the one calling the shots," Blaise replied casually, but his eyes flickered to Draco's left arm.

"I suppose," Draco answered quietly, his grey eyes suddenly brooding. Blaise opened his mouth to speak, but closed it when he saw his friend's face. It reminded him too much of what happened during their sixth year.

"You want me to fix that migraine for you, mate?" Blaise asked, watching Draco carefully.

Draco let out a hard laugh. "You're just as bad, if not worse, in those kinds of spells as I am. I'll just let it run its course."

"Well, I'm going to bed," Blaise announced and punctuated it with a burp. Draco raised his eyebrow at him and rolled his eyes. "Good night."

"G'night," Draco replied, finishing his spaghetti. He put his plate in the sink. Flicking his wand, the dishes washed themselves jauntily. Draco frowned. It wasn't like him to have sloppy spellwork. Sighing, he turned off the lights in the living room and walked into his room. The room was draped in green and silver, a hangover from his Hogwarts days. News clippings and posters littered the walls and Draco's owl, Hermes, stood regally in his cage. An old Quidditch uniform lay on the floor and shirt and pants peeked out from the drawers in his dresser. There was a window to the right of the bed which allowed a cool breeze to enter his room. Draco crawled under the covers of his bead and lay on his back. His migraine and thoughts thudded in the back of his head like an anvil. Everything was changing it seemed. Ever since the death of his parents, Draco had felt like his world was balancing on a knife's point. He had continued to serve the Dark Lord, like any faithful Death Eater would. Draco had risen among the ranks of the Death Eaters and was picked for the most intriguing assignments. The Dark Lord trusted him almost as much as he had trusted Severus Snape.

Unbidden, the memory of Dumbledore and the Astronomy Tower came to him. It still haunted him after all this time. Draco's chest constricted and his breaths became shallower. Forcing himself to calm down, Draco took a deep lungful of air and exhaled slowly. He did this a couple more times until he was sure he wouldn't have the nightmares or the memories. Inhaling, exhaling, inhaling, exhaling…Draco's face smoothed over into a serene mask as he drifted off to sleep.