I Think This Is Called an Epilogue...
The young man sitting before me is confident, overly confident, but underneath the pompous exterior is a quiet shrewdness. He has the conservative restraint of an older man. There is certainly more to him than meets the eye.
"So that's it," he confesses, lifting his palms upwards. "Those are all the memories Draco gave me in exchange for my protection and the Order's guarantee."
"Lupin and Shacklebolt allowed your involvement in this?" I ask, I raising an eyebrow in incredulity. It's hard to believe the boy has been given such liberties, such power.
"Of course," he answers in that cocksure tone of his. "They trust me."
He smiles a charming smile full of white teeth and I frown disapprovingly. He's good, I'll admit. He's always been good. But I worry for the Order, so blindly trusting someone like him.
"I performed the Memory Charm on Draco and he's been re-released into Death Eater society as we speak—none the wiser." He speaks as if he's recounting something trivial and mundane and not as though another man's life, his supposed friend's, is on the line. "His cover story has already been circulated and accepted. If interrogated, the Dark Lord will be unable to tell that he is lying. Draco wholeheartedly believes the story that we've made up for him."
His smile widens and it is then that I notice that it doesn't quite reach his eyes. He has become far too clever at this game, but even the craftiest men can be caught, brought down and ruined.
"The Dark Lord will know if Draco's memory has been tampered with if he chooses to inquire further," I explain, but his smile never falters.
"True," he says with a casual nod, "but Draco isn't important to the Dark Lord, just as I am not."
I feel a small flicker of self-satisfaction. He isn't important, to either side, really. At least he doesn't appear to be. No one believes him to be a threat, yet that makes him the most dangerous man of all—perhaps even more so than myself.
"It is always wise to be prudent," I tell him, "to be prepared." I wonder if he knows how power he can truly become in this scheme, or how utterly ruined.
"Not all of us are so gifted at Occlumency as you are, Professor," he says with a half-smirk, and I allow myself to indulge in the compliment.
I lean forward in my chair, gathering the papers and the phials he has given me. There is no need for this conversation to continue any longer. I have work to do, and so does he.
"You've done excellent work," I say, words almost foreign to my own ears, and he bows his head in humble acquiescence. But I can see the faintest traces of a grin tug at the corners of his mouth, and I glower.
If he were my equal, I would stand up and show him to the door, but he's not. It's what he would like to be acknowledged as, but I have never given him cause to think that I like or respect him. Instead, I focus on the parchment in front of me, effectively dismissing him with my negligence.
"Keep me informed of Draco's doings," I order, my eyes still on the papers as he gets up to leave.
"Yes, Professor," he says, his tone never betraying any kind of disappointment.
Perhaps he doesn't care for my approval after all. And as he makes his way towards the door, I am struck by a random thought.
"One more thing," I say, and he turns to face me. "Did you expunge Miss Weasley's memories as well?"
His mouth twitches into an annoyingly smug smirk and he shakes his head. "No." His golden eyes flicker in the lamplight. "She remembers everything."
"Interesting..." I say aloud, turning my attention back to the memories in front of me. "Good evening then, Mister Zabini."
He bows. "Good evening, Professor Snape."
(for real this time... unless there's a sequel!)
Endnotes: And now you know why this story was voted Most In Need Of A Sequel.
So, if you haven't guessed who the main narrator was, it was Blaise Zabini. Snape, who is narrating this epilogue, was the one Blaise was narrating to. I'm not sure if I'll write a sequel to this, but you never know. ^_~