Disclaimer: I do not claim any ownership over anything related to Harry Potter.
A/N: Harry/Lucius. My favourite.
At the moment, anyway.
This will likely at least attempt to be an epic fic, with many, many chapters and plot twists.
Slash, and... violence. Note the rating, please.
All comments, critique, hate-mail etc. appreciated. If your review bothers me, I shall delete it. Don't be shy, we starving authors crave comments!
Lucius breathed slowly, pressing himself even more tightly against the wall behind his back, hoping the shadows that so far had kept him hidden, would not reveal his position. He thanked whatever whim it had been that had made him dress completely in black, the darkness helping him hide amongst the shadows of the alcove.
Another shriek of terror rang through the air, and Lucius forced himself to remain still as a man stumbled backwards, only a few steps away from him. "Please," the man begged, his words ragged from the scream. "I have a family, my children-"
"Will surely live a far happier life with you gone," a cold voice whispered, and with a flash of green the man's life was gone, the spell appearing without the man even uttering the dreaded incantation.
With a soft thump the body's back hit the ground, the dark eyes staring up at him unseeingly, as if accusing Lucius for having done nothing to save him.
When there were no steps to indicate that the killer had left, Lucius fearfully lifted his head and came face to face with a tip of a wand, glowing green in the darkness of Knockturn. Swallowing with difficulty Lucius lifted his hands before him, palms facing the danger to indicate he had no intention drawing his wand. The moments passed, the wand still pointed at him, but slowly the green from the tip faded, and finally the man turned and Lucius allowed his body to sag against the wall.
That was the last time he would wander into Knockturn after dark.
Still trembling Lucius drew his cloak tighter around him and stepped over and around the five bodies that had all fallen to the green flare of the Killing Curse. The men had not gotten even a single curse to land on their intended victim.
It was the silent casting that most frightened Lucius. Not even the Dark Lord had been able to succeed in such a feat.
Pushing the incident to the back of his mind, Lucius headed towards his destination, all the while cursing Armando. If this was not worth his while, he would kill the man. He could not afford to risk his life for nothing, and he did not have the luxury of time. Already it had taken far too long to arrange all this.
A slice of yellow torch light cut through the darkness and Lucius, mindful of the other shadows around him headed towards it. He soon heard the sounds of drunken laughter and joyous singing, along with shrieks of either pain or pleasure. One could never tell in the pits of Knockturn. What you thought was a rape might turn out to be consensual, and vice versa. You couldn't trust your senses in the dark alleys at day, let alone at night when everything was twisted on its head.
He stepped inside the bar, thankful for the warmth after the chilly autumn air. Yet no matter how stifling the heat was inside with so many people and roaring fires, he refused to pull off his hood or remove his gloves. It wouldn't do for him to be recognized, and he loathed to actually have to touch anything.
Armando was easy to spot. Red hair, reminiscent of a Weasley shone like a beacon on the man's pale head. The ugly red scar running from the corner of his left eye to his jaw made him even more recognizable. The dark shadows under his eyes made him appear weary and insomniac, yet it seemed he always had too much energy, as if he'd just woken after a refreshing nap.
Lucius made his way through the crowd and sat down opposite the redhead. He pulled back the hood enough to let Armando get a glimpse of his face, but drew it back soon so no one else could look close enough.
"You look like you've seen a ghost," Armando commented with a grin. "Something spook you? I hope it's not a vampire. I bloody hate the leeches."
"Not a vampire," Lucius answered, confirming that something had spooked him. "I just saw someone kill five men."
Armando shrugged. "Not unusual in the alleys."
"Oh, but this is," Lucius replied, leaning closer in the hopes that his words would not be overheard. "He did silently. And the way he moved, like a shadow. If I hadn't seen a wand I would have thought him a Dementor."
"Lots of people move fast, and silently," Armando answered, but had also leaned closer, eager to hear the tale.
"Move silently, yes," Lucius admitted with a dry chuckle. "But how many can cast the darkest of all curses without uttering a word. Five times. And there was not a hint of hesitance of tiredness in him. I'm quite surprised to be alive, actually."
"Maybe he didn't see you."
"He saw me," Lucius whispered, and shivered as he remembered the glowing wand tip. "Just decided to let me live for some reason."
Armando grunted and emptied his drink. "What'd he do with the bodies? Not leave them, I hope. The Aurors'll be all over it soon, otherwise. They'll do another sweep. Who knows what they'll dig up this time."
Lucius shrugged, and decided not to mention that the bodies were still there. It was not his problem. Besides, the Aurors swept Knockturn at least every six months, and yet they never really cleaned it. "We have business," Lucius reminded Armando. "Do you have them?"
Armando shook his head. "I told you, he doesn't deal with middle men. You'll have to meet him."
Lucius's lips twisted, but he had expected this.
"You arranged for the payment like I told you, yeah?"
"Of course I did," Lucius snapped.
Armando nodded and stood up. "Upstairs then. He's got a room."
Lucius followed him through the crowd and to the back where they ascended the stairs, passing a witch with a fresh cut on her lip, and dishevelled hair, but she quickly diverted her eyes from them. It was not an unusual to see women or men violated on the premises, and the rooms upstairs were rented by the hour.
They stopped before the third room on the left, and Armando knocked. There was no answer, but the lock clicked and Armando pushed the door open, yet stepped aside. Lucius turned to Armando and lifted on eyebrow, but the man simply shrugged and returned downstairs.
Uneasy now, Lucius entered the room, taking in the surroundings with little ease. A bed, a table and a chair. A man with a hooded cloak stood beside the bed and with a gloved hand gestured Lucius to step inside and close the door. When he did so, Lucius felt wards snapping into place around him. Privacy wards, he guessed, and a few others he could not recognize.
"There's an enchantment on the room," the voice, cold and unemotional and oh so familiar spoke. It belonged to the man that had spared his life earlier that evening, after killing five others. "A contract that secures our identities and anything we might learn in this room. You will need to acknowledge it."
"I am familiar with it," Lucius replied, knowing the enchantment the man spoke of, having used it many times himself when dealing with various people. "I agree to the oath of secrecy. Confined to the secrets shared in this room, and to you and I."
"I agree to the oath of secrecy. Confined to the secrets shared in this room, and to you and I," the man repeated after him and the borders of the room, the windows and the door flashed white in
acknowledgment of the oath. From now on anything that was said in this room would remain between them.
More comfortable now that the secrecy was assured, Lucius pulled back his hood and waited for the other man to do the same.
"Ah, Lucius Malfoy," the man spoke, making no move to unmask himself.
"You have me at a disadvantage," Lucius replied, frowning. If the man pulled of his cloak, he would need to reveal his true face. The enchantment assured not only secrecy, but made null all glamours and even revealed several potions. If the man had used any kind of potions to mask his appearance they would be ripped away, yet the enchantment only prevented magic, and could not force him to reveal his face if he was wearing a mask or a hood covering his features.
"And I intend to keep it so," the man answered Lucius, clearly amused. "Yet I see no harm in revealing my face. I doubt it would be of use to you." The arrogance in which the man spoke reminded Lucius of the Dark Lord, even the artful grace in which he lifted his hand was familiar. But there was coldness, a lack of malice and insanity in the man that had always been present in the Dark Lord.
When the face was finally revealed, Lucius was surprised at the smooth and youthful face. Handsome, without question, yet unassuming, someone you could easily overlook as pleasant and charming, yet not threatening.
"Will you not tell me a name," Lucius ventured to suggest.
The man waved his hand dismissively. "You have no use for it," the man smiled, and it was a charming and inviting smile, the kind Lucius encountered at dinner parties and had learnt to recognize as neutral. The man was neither trying to threaten or endear himself. It was the smile of a man confident in his power and abilities, someone who did not need anything from you, but was willing to spend a few minutes in your company simply for the pleasure of it. It was an expression that was rarely directed at him.
"We are here for business," the man reminded him, and pulled out a purse from his belt and laid it on the table. Slowly the man unravelled the ties that held it together and revealed the contents. Ten perfectly cut ruby red shards of Dirham. "They will not be missed by the previous owners or their successors, as specified. Feel free to inspect them, Mr Malfoy."
Lucius pealed off the glove from his right hand and cautiously approached the table. He lifted one shard and held it to his eye. "Perfect," he breathed, lowered the shard and inspected the others. "It couldn't have been easy acquiring these," he said, and looked up at the man, noting the cold glint in his eyes that he now saw were a particular shade of green, almost identical to the killing curse. They were a rough contrast to his pale face and black hair that reached well over his shoulders in a silken fall, reflecting the red and orange light of the candles.
The man's mirthless smile revealed a set of pearly white teeth, and when the man lifted his chin, the arrogance was practically oozing off him. "Were it easy, you wouldn't have needed my services," he chuckled. "Now," he intoned sharply. "The key."
Lucius fished out the Gringotts key, along with the bank statement from his pocket, laid them on the table and slid them to the man. He watched silently as the man studied the statement that only held one figure, dated earlier that day, and the name of the account holder. "Valiant J," the man chuckled quietly and the corner of his mouth lifting upwards. "J would have sufficed." He folded the bank statement and slid it to his pocket along with the key. "You have now not only purchased the shards, but a means in which to contact me should you ever require my services again. Simply place one hundred galleons to this account, and I shall contact you."
"One hundred-" Lucius repeated, outraged.
"My services are not cheap, Mr Malfoy," the man interrupted. "For one hundred galleons you buy an opportunity to present me with your matter, no more, and no less. Confidentiality is the only thing I can guarantee with that price."
"And what other services do you provide, besides theft?" Lucius asked, his mind on the dark alley and the five dead men.
"Anything you may require," the man replied, that same neutral smile plastered on his face. But now there was a strange difference in it, and his voice carried a huskiness that would have been more appropriate in a brothel. Yet Lucius could not find it in himself to be disgusted by the tone as he would have been, had someone else spoken to him like that.
Unnerved by the man and his suggestive tone Lucius gathered the shards and gave a sharp nod. Without another word he excited the room, and once the door closed felt the pressure of the oath slightly tighten and then snap into place. The pressure would lessen within a few days when the encounter was no longer so prominent in his mind, and he was less likely to let something slip.
Pulling up his hood Lucius made his way downstairs and through the crowds, not stopping to greet Armando even though he saw the man entertaining some people around a table. Back in the streets Lucius quickly turned a corner and headed towards the less hostile environment of Diagon.
The blow to his head came from the back, and he never even saw his attacker.