Summary: Set during OotP. Jerry West is a necromancer in the employment of Lord Voldemort.
A/N: This is one of my first Harry Potter fanfics, and I wanted to do something a bit different to the norm for HP fandom. I'm going for the horror approach with this and I hope people find it interesting. The original intent was to make it a multi-chapter fic, but it's been sitting dormant for a very long time so I think it's best to leave it as a self-contained one shot.
Disclaimer: Harry Potter content belongs to JKR, I am merely borrowing the characters.
The Leaky Cauldron wasn't normally a place Lucius Malfoy ventured into. It was a dark, dirty pit filled with lower class scum, but it was unfortunately the place the necromancer had requested to meet. How on earth Malfoy was supposed to find the necromancer now he was here he didn't know, as the pub's punters all looked much the same to him. Practically all of them were middle aged to old men wearing black robes and drinking beer, and he could hardly go round each of them one by one asking, "Excuse me, but do you happen to be here to negotiate a contract with the Dark Lord?"
As he stood surveying the room with a look of disgust on his face, he was approached by the barman. "What can I get you sir?"
Malfoy turned to the haggard old man and gave him a dirty look. "Nothing, thank you," he said icily.
"Are you sure?"
Malfoy glared at him. "Yes, I'm quite sure. Why would I been uncertain about drinking something from a glass that's no doubt only ever been washed once?"
The barman looked nonplussed at his reaction. "You'll be wanting the man over there, sir," he said, gesturing to a booth at the back of the pub.
His response confused Malfoy. "What?"
"That man over there. He said you'd come in and refuse to drink anything. Wants to meet with you, I think."
"Does he indeed?" Malfoy said brusquely, before turning his back on the barman and heading quickly towards the man sat in the booth. The man didn't get up to greet him, in fact he didn't even acknowledge Malfoy was there, so Lucius made the first move by clearing his throat and sitting down opposite him. "I take it you're Jerry West?"
The man didn't respond, and Lucius eyed him suspiciously. The pause gave him chance to properly study the man's appearance, which blended in well with the rest of the pub. He was wearing shabby black robes, and his shoulder length black hair looked in need of a wash. Not quite as bad as Severus, though, Malfoy noted. He had a thin face with a long nose and sharp cheekbones, which when combined with his pale skin had the effect of making him look rather gaunt and spectral. Lucius would have probably placed him is his late thirties or early forties, though it was difficult to be sure. The poor lighting also made it difficult to make out the colour of his eyes, although Malfoy could tell they were very dark, and at this point were fixed on a point just over Lucius' left shoulder.
After several moments of silence, Malfoy spoke again, "Are you deaf? I asked if you were Jerry West."
The man responded, but didn't shift his gaze from the point somewhere behind Malfoy. "No, I heard you. But I believe the man sat in the corner over there did too. I think it would be best if we waited for him to leave."
Malfoy twisted in his seat to look behind him, where there was indeed a man dressed in a ragged set of robes sat in the corner. To Lucius though, it looked like he was doing nothing more than minding his own business hunched over a copy of the Daily Prophet. Malfoy turned back to West. "Are you serious? You think we should just sit here in silence until he gets up to leave of his own accord?"
"He could be here hours! It doesn't exactly look to me like he's got a home to go to," Lucius said, wrinkling his nose.
"He will leave, when it's convenient for him to do so," West said assuredly.
Malfoy just stared at him speechlessly.
A few more moments passed in silence, and Malfoy began to wonder if this was some sort of joke. "Now look here," he began, "If this is some kind of…"
West held up a hand to silence him, and in his confusion Malfoy stopped talking. He noticed West's eyes were tracing a path across the room, and he twisted round to see what he was looking at. To his surprise, he just had time to see the man from the corner walk the last few metres to the door and leave. Completely bewildered, Lucius merely stared after him in silence, until he heard West's voice say, "So, I take it you're Lucius Malfoy."
Malfoy turned back to West and gave his reply cautiously, "I am. You are Jerry West, aren't you?"
"If I wasn't, this would be a rather bad joke."
"Indeed." Lucius scowled in distaste. He had decided he didn't like this man, and if it wasn't by the Dark Lord's orders he wouldn't even be here.
"So what it is you wanted to discuss"
Lucius leaned across the table towards him and spoke quietly, "Perhaps we should go somewhere a little more…private."
"Here will do just fine."
Malfoy sat back down in his seat with a foul expression on his face. Well, if the man insisted. "My master would like to offer you a job."
"A contract or indefinite long term employment?"
"A contract, initially. Although would you be open to long term employment?"
"Why did you bring it up then?" Malfoy's urge to put some rather nasty hex on this man was rapidly growing.
"To get an idea of what kind of man your master is."
"A very rewarding one."
"I'll be the judge of that. What would the terms of my contract involve?"
The level of this man's insolence was beyond belief. "My master wishes you to reanimate a deceased Unmentionable," Malfoy replied, a rather frosty tone to his voice, "Would you be able to do that?"
"I can certainly reanimate the corpse, although I'll play no part either in recovering it for reanimation or the upkeep of it afterwards."
"That won't be a problem. We have others who can do that."
"Good. But there will be a fee."
Malfoy gritted his teeth. "A fee. How much are we talking?"
"Ten thousand galleons."
"Ten thousand galleons?" Malfoy could hardly believe his ears. The nerve! Who did he think he was asking for that much money? "Are you…" Malfoy began, but West cut him off abruptly.
"That is non-negotiable."
Lucius glared. "Very well."
West held out his hand to Malfoy, and after a moment Lucius took it and they shook on the deal. Both gripped rather harder than necessary.
"I expect I will be hearing from you via the usual contact when my services become necessary?" West said, getting up to leave the table. Malfoy stood up too, still glowering at him.
"I will be in contact with you, yes."
"Good. Well, it was nice meeting you, Mr Malfoy, but I'm afraid I have a rather busy schedule and need to be leaving now."
How busy a schedule can a man in his line of work have? Lucius thought, but made no comment on it. "I will be seeing you again soon then, Mr West."
"Yes, Mr Malfoy, you will," and with that Jerry West disapparated with a loud crack.
Malfoy scowled and straightened his robes. Atrocious little man, he thought, unfortunate that he is so necessary to the Dark Lord's plans. He headed for the door that lead on to Diagon Alley. If he'd wanted to he could have apparated straight home, but there was someone he needed to visit in Knockturn Alley first.
There were few people about as he exited into the chill air outside: it was both too cold and too dark for them to be out shopping now, and he was grateful there was no one around to watch him as he headed hurriedly towards Knockturn Alley.
As he took the final turn that led into the dark and dingy street, he suddenly felt something slam into him sideways and he was knocked to the floor. Both panicked and stunned, he grabbed his wand and directed a curse at the dark figure now looming over him. "Impedimenta!" The jet of red light from his wand hit the figure but seemed to have no effect. He tried another one. "Stupefy!" Again this did nothing, and he had no chance to try anything else before the figure was on top of him and he felt hands close round his throat.
As it leered in his face he suddenly recognised it – the man from the pub; the one who had been sat at the table in the corner! But something seemed wrong now - his eyes were bloodshot and crazed and his skin had a waxy pallor to it, and he was fixed on throttling Malfoy with inexplicable strength and determination. Malfoy's vision began to blur as he was deprived of oxygen, and as he gasped for air a foul stench filled his nostrils – the stench of something rotten and decaying. The smell of death.
Through the intermittent blackouts of his vision he could make out the thing's face. He saw its mouth open in a twisted leer and noticed that many of its teeth were yellow and rotten, and God were they maggots? This thing was dead. And soon he would be too.
Just as he thought he was going to pass out the thing suddenly stopped. Its grip on his throat went slack and it stopped moving. He shoved it off of him and stumbled to his feet, gasping for air. As he staggered round he noticed a dark figure in the corner of his eye and suddenly whipped round to face the man standing in the shadows of Knockturn Alley.
"This is just so you know, Lucius, that I am deadly serious," West said, before turning and disappearing into the night.