Disclaimer: I don't own the Harry Potter series.

A/N: Basically my take on a common plotline in this fandom, with a bit of a twist though. Character pic in the profile.


In The Shadows

Prologue


'Ting, ting, ting-

Narcissa Malfoy really only had to rise from her seat in order to captivate the entire table full of familiar people, however she opted to tap her champagne glass, as was customary when making a toast. And this would be a toast to remember!

"I would like to thank you all for joining my son and I on his sixteenth birthday. I know if his father were here, he would agree with me when I say how proud I am of Draco and everything he's accomplished thus far." She paused so everyone could applaud the haughty looking young man, who sat up straighter, basking in the glory. It would have meant more coming from his father, but that was impossible at the moment, as Lucius was incarcerated at Azkaban currently for his crimes.

"However, my son's birthday is not the only occasion we are celebrating tonight. It is my pleasure to welcome Ms. Britannia Violetta Laurila into my beloved family. Her parents and I have come to an arrangement, in which she and Draco will be wed following their final year at Hogwarts." she finished, raising her glass to the guests, who in turn rose theirs back and engaged in a very formal cheers.

Draco Malfoy couldn't completely hide the smirk that slid onto his lips as he drank to his own betrothal. He wasn't entirely surprised, as Britannia's parents and his mother had been having frequent meetings as of late, however he'd suspected it was more to do with Death Eater business. Of course, it made sense that his mother would arrange something now, since Lucius was in trouble and the Malfoy's standing with the Dark Lord was in jeopardy. Narcissa wanted a binding that would save them if need be, and the Laurila name was almost as well known as Malfoy in the wizarding world. Almost.

His eyes focused to on the green clad vision sitting two chairs down from him, separated only by her parents, another suspicious sign considering the two fmailies were rarely placed this close together at any gathering. Britannia's sleek blonde hair was tied up on her head, save for the few strands that brushed her sun-kissed shoulders, small white blossoms he couldn't identify woven within the strands. Draco enjoyed the fact she was in a kelly green dress, his signature house color being his preferred, regardless of shade. Her painted lips were parted slightly as her large blue eyes stared back at him, a slight flush on her cheeks.

"E-excuse me. I think I need some air," Britannia announced, all eyes on her as she departed the long dining table and made her way outside into the back gardens of the Malfoy Manor. She took a deep breath of the crisp, June air and closed her eyes for a minute as her head slowly stopped spinning.

This was big news indeed, though she'd known it would happen nearly all of her life. Not only was she a pureblood, but she was an extraordinary witch, coming from a respectable and noble lineage that could be traced back to ancient Slavic lore and the royal blood of English monarchs. It came as no real surprise to Brita, as she was often called, that she was chosen a husband of Draco's caliber and status. However, the moment still shook her, knowing it was now a reality instead of a lingering future she generally pushed to the back of her mind.

"Well?" was the single word spoken in the particular tone typical of Draco Malfoy, the ever-present, harsh, cold snap to his voice. She turned to face him, finding the blonde leaning lazily against a decorative arch. Quickly, she put her straight face back on, adjusting her skirt slightly as she fixed her posture.

"Well what? We both knew we'd inevitably be put in a situation like this, be it together or not. It is the puerblood way of doing these sorts of things. My father took me to meet the Dark Lord last week, so I've been expecting to find out why. I suppose I needed to be approved of." Britannia was not devastated by the news of the current arrangement. In fact, she was rather content with the decision now that the initial shock had fluttered away. Draco was intelligent, held a high social status, and his family had more money than they knew what to do with. Those were the three most valued aspects when looking into a potential spouse if your blood was pure.

Of course, there were negatives. He was rather arrogant and seemingly obsessed with competing against Harry Potter. Malfoy also had a short fuse, but the pros far outweighed the cons, in both her parent's eyes and her own. It also helped that he was strikingly attractive. Britannia had no real qualms with marrying into the Malfoy family what so ever now that she really pondered it.

"I think you and I both could've done a lot worse, yeah?" His tone was now casual, as casual as it could get anyway. That fierceness was still laced in there though, as usual. It was indeed as if he'd read her mind.

"Yes, after all, you could've ended up with Parkinson." An edge similar to that trademark of Draco's voice came out in Brita's when the pug-faced girl was mentioned, the snide brunette's fan club minimal with other females in attendance at Hogwarts, Slytherins included. Pansy Parkinson was a horribly annoying, whiney girl, who really seemed to be under the impression she was much more attractive than she actually was. And not to mention, she was a desperate slag, this being the main reason Britannia wasn't fond of her.

"And you could've been Mrs. Goyle," Draco shot right back, knowing the fat load was just as unappealing to his future wife as Pansy Parkinson was to him. This whole arrangement was a relief to Draco really, knowing how much worse he could have ended up. His parents had always seemed much too interested in Pansy, and he was thankful she hadn't ended up his chosen.

Britannia was indeed lovely, and pale features from her Scandinavian heritage would fit nicely into the Malfoy gene pool, much like his mother's had. She was a Slytherin, from a well off, pureblood family (not as well off as his own of course, but that was difficult to match anyway). Britannia had been at the top of their class alongside himself and Granger since they'd been in school. She wasn't a gossip hound, and she also wasn't a tart. It actually delighted Draco to think that she may even be a virgin, since he'd never heard any of his mates bragging about their erotic encounters with the witch. And she was much too pretty to keep a secret.

All in all, Draco decided he'd lucked out. He'd known form a young age he wouldn't have much, if any, say in whom he married, and he was particularly thankful for his parents' good taste.

He knew exactly what would be expected of him now. He had nearly his whole young life planned out for him by his parents since he'd been born, but of course, much of this depended on how things turned out in the end. Now that the Dark Lord was back…

"You're aware what they expect of us now, aren't you?" Malfoy looked up from the batch of white lilies beside his feet and focused his gaze back on his female companion when she spoke.

Shifting himself off of the wooden arch he'd been leaning on, Draco made his way closer to the young woman he'd know for a good portion of his life, sitting beside her on a stone bench she'd since occupied. With his elbows on his knees and hands under his chin, he stared blankly past her, those words echoing in his mind. He knew exactly what was to be expected of them from this point on.

And suddenly it was obvious to him why they'd been betrothed. There was no better match when analyzing it properly. They were on the inside, both with above average intelligence, and their slyness had rightfully gotten them both into Slytherin.

They were meant to become Death Eaters now. They would receive the Dark Mark, much like their parents had, and they were going to be the Dark Lord's gateway into Hogwarts. "Are you ready for it?" he questioned, voice suddenly soft, but not without the usual bite.

His gray eyes had snapped to her own fair blue ones as she thought about his question. "I don't know," she replied honestly. It was true, she had been raised by pureblood Death Eaters. She had their opinions ingrained into her. And it wasn't as if she didn't know she would be expected to one day join them. But now that the time was quickly approaching, she wasn't sure how she felt.

"It doesn't really matter if we're prepared though, does it? Join or… die." Brita knew her words were all too true as they flowed from her mouth.

Draco just nodded his head in agreement, knowing full and well what she said was completely correct.

Join the Death Eaters and serve Lord Voldemort, or die.