Summary: Lying was the easy part, it was second nature to them. The truth was hard, especially when you've only be lying to yourself. "We're different now." "No we're not. We've only stopped pretending everything's okay." SEQUEL
Author's Note: This is a sequel to Simplicity you should probably read that first. Also if you haven't read Deathly Hallows and you don't want to read spoilers...I suggest you not read this story or you just might hate me.
Disclaimer: If I owned, Harry Potter...I would have given Draco some redeeming moment, I mean much bigger than he did...I mean he wouldn't be the anti-hero or anything, just...better? haha
July 19, 1997-
A month...Draco thought as his fingers played with a pendant under the table. Oddly it was his only source of calm, when it should have been the complete opposite. His mind kept flashing to that night. The night he was supposed to kill Dumbledore, but he couldn't. The last night he saw Angeline. The last night he heard her voice filled with so much calm, yet so much hate. Angeline turning her back on him...giving up on him...
"There's not a single bone of compassion in your body, Draco Malfoy."
Don't think about it...
Draco sat in his family's drawing room waiting for the current meeting of the Death Eaters to begin. He felt sick and he couldn't remember why he thought that the life he lived would be so glamorous.
Because you're an idiot.
Let out a very small sigh as to not disturb the silence that filled the drawing room. More specifically not to draw any attention to him from the Dark Lord. He'd rather not be like the woman suspended, and revolving above the table.
Draco looked at the woman for what had to have been the twentieth time since entering the drawing room and seeing her hanging there. She looked familiar to him, as if he should know her. As much as he told himself to look away from her, he couldn't. His curiosity and his fear was too much for him.
Not even the opening of the door couldn't bring his attention away from this person, but he didn't have to turn to see who had entered. They had been waiting for Snape and Yaxley all this time so that they could start this meeting.
"Yaxley. Snape," said a high, clear voice from the head of the table. "You were nearly late."
The speaker was seated directly in front of the fireplace, so that it was difficult, at first, for the new arrivals to make out more than his silhouette. As one drew nearer, however, his fave shone through the gloom, hairless, snakelike, with slits for nostrils and gleaming red eyes whose pupils were vertical. He was so pale that he seemed to emit a pearly glow.
The Dark Lord.
Possibly the only man, Draco genuinely feared.
"Severus, here," said the Dark Lord, indicating the seat on his immediate right. "Yaxley—beside Dolohov."
The two men took their allotted places. Most of the eyes around the table followed Snape, and it was to him that the Dark Lord spoke first.
"My Lord, the Order of the Phoenix intends to move Harry Potter from his current place of safety on next Saturday, at nightfall."
The interest around the table sharpened palpably: Some stiffened, others fidgeted, all gazing at Snape and the Dark Lord.
Draco was one of the ones to stiffen, he knew he wouldn't be one of the ones to intercept the transport the Golden Boy. He and his family were practically on house arrest, being watched at if not all then most hours of the day. Though it annoyed he greatly, this was the first time he was actually grateful for not being trusted. For as much as he hated the Boy-Who-Live...
Watch what you think, Draco...He reminded himself as he looked up at the body rotating above the table and then back at Snape and the Dark Lord.
"Saturday...at nightfall," repeated the Dark Lord. His red eyes fastened upon Snape's black ones with such intensity that Draco and some other watchers had to look away as though fearful that they themselves would be scorched by the ferocity of the gaze. Snape, however, looked calmly back into the Dark Lord's face and, after a moment of two, the Dark Lord's lipless mouth curved into something like a smile.
"Good. Very good. And this information comes—"
"—from the source we discussed," said Snape.
Yaxley had leaned forward to look down the long table at the Dark Lord and Snape. All faces turned to him.
"My Lord, I have heard differently."
Yaxley waited, but the Dark Lord did not speak, so he went on, "Dawlish, the Auror let slip that Potter will not be moved until the thirtieth, the night before the boy turns seventeen."
Snape was smiling.
Draco didn't know that his former professor could smile.
"My source told me that there are plans to lay a false trail; this must be it. No doubt a Confundus Charm has been placed upon Dawlish. It would not be the first time; he is known to be susceptible."
"I assure you, my Lord, Dawlish seemed quite certain," said Yaxley.
"If he has been Confunded, naturally he is certain," said Snape. "I assure you, Yaxley, the Auror Office will play no further part in the protection of Harry Potter. The Order believes that we have infiltrated the Ministry."
That's because you have...
"The Order's got one thing right, then, eh?" said a squat man sitting a short distance from Yaxley, he gave a wheezy giggle that was echoed here and there along the table.
The Dark Lord did not laugh. His gaze had wandered upward to the body revolving slowly overhead, and he seemed to be lost in thought.
"My Lord," Yaxley went on, "Dawlish believes an entire party of Aurors will be used to transfer the boy –"
The Dark Lord held up a large white hand, and Yaxley subsided at once, watching resentfully as the Dark Lord turned back to Snape.
"Where are they going to hide the boy next?"
"At the home of one of the Order," said Snape. "The place, according to the source, has been given every protection that the Order and Ministry together could provide. I think that there is little chance of taking him once he is there, my Lord, unless, of course, the Ministry has fallen before next Saturday, which might give us the opportunity to discover and undo enough of the enchantments to break through the rest."
"Well, Yaxley?" the Dark Lord called down the table, the firelight glinting strangely in his red eyes. "Will the Ministry have fallen by next Saturday?"
Once again, all heads turned. Yaxley squared his shoulders.
"My Lord, I have good news on that score. I have – with difficulty, and after great effort – succeeded in placing an Imperius Curse upon Pius Thicknesse."
Many of those sitting around Yaxley looked impressed; his neighbor, Dolohov, a man with a long, twisted face, clapped him on the back.
"It is a start," said the Dark Lord. "But Thicknesse is only one man. Scrimgeour must be surrounded by our people before I act. One failed attempt on the Minister's life will set me back a long way."
"Yes—my Lord, that is true—but you know, as Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, Thicknesse has regular contact not only with the Minister himself, but also with the Heads of all the other Ministry departments. It will, I think, be easy now that we have such high-ranking official under our control, to subjugate the others, and then they can all work together to bring Scrimgeour down."
"As long as our friend Thicknesse is not discovered before he has converted the rest," said the Dark Lord. "At any rate, it remains unlikely that the Ministry will be mine before next Saturday. If we cannot touch the boy at his destination, then it must be done while he travels."
"We are at an advantage there, my Lord," said Yaxley, who seemed in Draco's eyes determined to receive some portion of approval. "We now have several people planted within the Department of Magical Transport. If Potter Apparates or uses the Floo Network, we shall know immediately."
It was times much like this, that Draco questioned why he wanted so badly to a Death Eater. Most of them lacked common sense or rather lacked the ability to use their brains at all. Even one such as Yaxley was a fool. Why was being one of them so appealing to him?
"He will not do either," said Snape.
Draco thought that perhaps it was because his father made it seem so wonderful. But look at him now. He thought glancing at his father out the corner of his eye as Snape continued to speak.
"The Order is eschewing any form of transport that is controlled or regulated by the Ministry; they mistrust everything to do with the place."
"All the better," said the Dark Lord. "He will have to move in the open. Easier to take, by far."
Again, the Dark Lord looked up at the slowly revolving body as he went on, "I shall attend to the boy in person. There have been too many mistakes where Harry Potter is concerned. Some of them have been my own. That Potter lives is due more to my errors than to his triumphs."
The company around the table watched the Dark Lord apprehensively, each of them, by his or her expression, afraid that they might be blamed for Harry Potter's continued existence. The Dark Lord, however, seemed to be speaking more to himself than to any of them, still addressing the unconscious body above him.
"I have been careless, and so have been thwarted by luck and chance, those wreckers of all but the best-laid plans. But I know better now. I understand those things that I did not understand before. I must be the one to kill Harry Potter, and I shall be."
At these words, seeming in response to them, a sudden wait sounded a terrible, drawn-out cry of misery and pain. Many of those at the table looked downward, started, for the sound and seemed to issue from below their feet.
But Draco didn't have to look, every night at the same time, their prisoner, as the Dark Lord called him, would scream.
"Wormtail," said the Dark Lord, with no change in his quiet, thoughtful tone, and without removing his eyes from the revolving body above, "have I not spoken to you about keeping our prisoner quiet?"
"Yes, m-my lord," gasped a small man halfway down the table, who had been sitting so low in his chair that it appeared, at first glance, to be unoccupied. Now he scrambled from his seat and scurried from the room, leaving nothing behind him but a curious gleam of silver.
"As I was saying," continued, looking again at the tense faces of his followers, "I understand better now. I shall need, for instance, to borrow a wand from one of you before I go to kill Potter."
The faces around him displayed nothing but shock; he might have announced that he wanted to borrow one of their arms.
"No volunteers?" said the Dark Lord. "Let's see...Lucius, I see no reason for you to have a wand anymore."
Lucius Malfoy looked up. His skin appeared yellowish and waxy in the firelight, and his eyes were sunken and shadowed. When he spoke his voice was hoarse.
Azkaban...Was Draco's initial thought whenever he saw or heard him speak. For the life of him, Draco wasn't entirely sure why he wanted to be like this father, why he looked up to him so much like he did.
"Your wand, Lucius. I require your wand."
Lucius glanced sideways at Narcissa Malfoy. She was staring straight ahead, quite as pale as he was, her long blonde hair hanging down her back, but beneath the table her slim fingers closed briefly on his wrist. At her touch, Lucius put his hand into his robes, withdrew a wand, and passed it along to the Dark Lord, who held it up in front of his red eyes, examining it closely.
"What is it?"
"Elm, my Lord," whispered Lucius.
"And the core?"
"Good," said the Dark Lord. He drew out his wand and compared the lengths. Lucius Malfoy made and involuntary movement; for a fraction of a second, it seemed he expected to receive the Dark Lord's wand in exchange for his own. The gesture was not missed by the Dark Lord, whose eyes widened maliciously.
Draco could only close his eyes, he didn't want to see what the Dark Lord would do to his father for being so...foolish...
"Give you my wand, Lucius? My wand?"
Some of the throng sniggered.
"I have given you your liberty, Lucius, is that not enough for you? But I have noticed that you and your family seem less that happy of late...What is it about my presence in your home that displace you, Lucius?"
"Nothing – nothing, my Lord!"
"Such lies Lucius..."
The soft voice seemed to carry on even after the cruel mouth had stopped moving. One of two of the wizards barely repressed a shudder as the hissing grew louder; something heavy could be heard sliding across the floor beneath the table. Though not wanting to, Draco opened his eyes and looked down the table.
The huge snake emerged to climb slowly up the Dark Lord's chair. it rose, seemingly endlessly, and came to rest across the Dark Lord's shoulders: its neck the thickness of a man's thigh; its eyes, with their vertical slits for pupils, unblinking. The Dark Lord stroked the creature absently with long thin fingers, still looking at Lucius Malfoy.
"Why do the Malfoys look so unhappy with their lot? Is my return, my rise to power, not the very thing they professes to desire for so many years?"
"Of course, my Lord," said Lucius. His hand shook as they wiped sweat from his upper lip. "We did desire it—we do."
Draco had never felt so ashamed of being a Malfoy as he looked up at the body briefly. He was ashamed for so many reasons, it would probably take him hours to list them all.
To Lucius Malfoy's left, Narcissa made an odd, stiff nod, her eyes averted from the Dark Lord and the snake. To his right, Draco, glanced quickly at the Dark Lord before looking away. He was terrified to make eye contact. Draco has no doubt the Dark Lord could break his mental walls.
"My Lord," said a dark woman halfway down the table, her voice constricted with emotion, "it is an honor to have you here, in our family's house. There can be no higher pleasure."
Our family house?
She sat beside her sister, as unlike her in looks, with her dark hair and heavily lidded eyes, as she was bearing and demeanor; where Narcissa sat rigid and impassive, Bellatrix leaned toward the Dark Lord, for mere words could not demonstrate her longing for closeness.
"No higher pleasure," repeated the Dark Lord, his head tilted a little to one side as he considered Bellatrix. "That means a great deal, Bellatrix, from you."
Her face flooded with color; her eyes welled with tears of delight.
"My Lord knows I speak nothing but the truth!"
"No higher pleasure even compared with the happy event that, I hear, had taken place in your family this week?"
She stared at him, her lips parted, evidently confused.
"I don't know what you mean, my Lord."
"I'm talking about your niece, Bellatrix. And yours, Lucius and Narcissa. She had just married the werewolf, Remus Lupin. You must be so proud."
Can this family do anything right?
There was an eruption of laughter from around the table. Many leaned forward to exchanged gleeful looks; a few thumped the table with their fists. The giant snake, disliking the disturbance opened its mouth wide and hissed angrily, but the Death Eaters did not hear it, so jubilant were they at Bellatrix and the Malfoys' humiliation. Bellatrix's face, so recently flushed with happiness, had turned and ugly blotchy red.
"She is no niece of ours, my Lord," she cried over the outpouring of mirth. "We—Narcissa and I—have never set eyes on our sister since she married the Mudblood. This brat has nothing to do with either of us, nor any beast she marries."
"What say you, Draco?" asked the Dark Lord. Draco felt his blood turn cold. It was possibly the worst feeling he had had in a while. It once again reminded him of that night. "Will you babysit the cubs?" Draco looked at his father, who was staring down into his lap, then caught his mother's eye. She shook her head almost imperceptibly, then resumed her own deadpan stare at the opposite wall.
"Enough," said the Dark Lord, stroking the angry snake. "Enough."
And the laughter died at once.
"Many of our oldest family trees become a little diseased over time," he said as Bellatrix gazed at him, breathless and imploring, "You must prune yours, must you not, to keep it healthy? Cut away those parts that threaten the health of the rest."
"Yes, my Lord," whispered Bellatrix, and her eyes swam with tears of gratitude again. "At the first chance!"
"You shall have it," said the Dark Lord. "And in your family, so in the world…we shall cut away the canker that infects us until only those of the true blood remain …" the Dark Lord's eyes lingered across the table. "You've been very quiet tonight, Demetrius."
Draco had forgotten that Angeline's parents were present at this meeting. Or rather he just ignored the fact they were there. Draco ignored plenty of things that made him feel uncomfortable.
"And where is your daughter, Demetrius?" the Dark Lord continued. "Does she not wish to join me? I have heard she wished to do so. Or was it all lies."
"We do not know the whereabouts of our daughter, my Lord," Demetrius said looking at the Dark Lord. "It would seem she has run away."
"And if found she will be disposed of I would assume?" the Dark Lord questioned.
"Of course, my Lord," Celeste Jensen spoke up. "She's nothing but a blood traitor. Demetrius and I have discussed and we'd like to be the ones to take care of our daughter, my Lord."
Draco frowned slightly. He had grown up hearing of the horrors of being disowned by family and believed it to be the right thing to do if one was to betray the family. But to hear it...to hear it happening to someone he knew, someone he had gotten close to whether or not he liked it made him more sick to his stomach than he already was.
The Dark Lord watched Celeste Jensen for a moment before looking away. Draco watched as Celeste glanced in his direction relief flashing through her eyes and something else. As though she was trying to tell him something. Something regarding, Angeline...
Yet, why? Why would she look relieved. Why would she look at him the way she did... Draco wondered just as the Dark Lord began to speak again. "As it should be," he said as he raised Lucius's wand, pointed it directly at the slowly revolving figure suspended over the table, and gave it a tiny flick. The figure came to life with a groan and began to struggle against invisible bonds.
"Do you recognize our guest, Severus?" asked the Dark Lord.
Draco knew the woman now. Even though he had not taken her classes he knew her face and exactly what course she taught. It all made sense as to why she would be in that room. And he could not bare to look at her any longer. Draco's fingers began to spin the pendant faster, as though that would keep his mind off of what he knew was inevitable.
Snape raised his eyes to the upside down face. All the Death Eaters were looking up at the captive now, as though they had been given permission to show curiosity. As she revolved to face the firelight, the woman said in a cracked and terrified voice, "Severus! Help me!"
"Ah, yes," said Snape as the prisoner turned slowly away again.
"And you, Draco?" asked the Dark Lord, stroking the snake's snout with his wand free hand. Draco shook his head jerkily, keeping it down so he didn't have to look up at the woman anymore.
"But you would not have taken her classes," said the Dark Lord. "For those of you who do not know, we are joined here tonight by Charity Burbage who, until recently, taught at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry."
There were small noises of comprehension around the table. A broad, hunched woman with pointed teeth cackled.
"Yes…Professor Burbage taught the children of witches and wizards all about Muggles…how they are not so different from us…"
One of the Death Eaters spat on the floor. Charity Burbage revolved to face Snape again.
"Silence," said the Dark Lord, with another twitch of Lucius' wand, and Charity fell silent as if gagged. "Not content with corrupting and polluting the minds of Wizarding children, last week Professor Burbage wrote an impassioned defense of Mudbloods in the Daily Prophet. Wizards, she says, must accept these thieves of their knowledge and magic. The dwindling of the purebloods is, says Professor Burbage, a most desirable circumstance…She would have us all mate with Muggles…or, no doubt, werewolves…"
Nobody laughed this time. There was no mistaking the anger and contempt in the Dark Lord's voice. For the third time, Charity Burbage revolved to face Snape. Tears were pouring from her eyes into her hair. Snape looked back at her, quite impassive, as she turned slowly away from him again.
The flash of green light illuminated every corner of the room. Charity fell, with a resounding crash, onto the table below, which trembled and creaked. Several of the Death Eaters leapt back in their chairs. Draco fell out of his onto the floor.
"Dinner, Nagini," said the Dark Lord softly, and the great snake swayed and slithered from his shoulders onto the polished wood.
Draco slowly climbed back into his chair his entire body shaking as he tried to ignore the sounds of the snake eating its dinner. Clutched in his left hand the pendant warmed slightly as his thoughts flew at the same speed that his heart was beating.
So that's the beginning. You should recognize most of this chapter as the very first chapter of Deathly Hallows. Next chapter we'll find out where, Miss Angeline Jensen is.
I was originally going to release this a few days ago, but I got sick...I'm actually still sick, but I'm definitely happy with this chapter and the beginning of this story!
So I hope you liked it to! Why don't you tell me in a review! :)
Got any questions let me know! ^_^