=Hell butterfly message=
Ichigo talking to Zangetsu/Hichigo
:Inner hollow talking
Okay – here it is. The last chapter/epilogue of Bleach and the Half Blood Prince. A bit short, but things I need to wrap up are really going to be wrapped up in Part Three. Yea, it's up early – I took the week off to rest and relax. I was feeling really tired and drained.
Oh – and I'm only about 58 reviews or so from tying for this being the Number One Reviewed Story in this group! So – come on guys – gimme a hand, here!
And as always, I don't own anything except the ideas that have come out of my own warped imagination.
Chapter 49 – Epilogue
Lucius Malfoy huddled in the corner of his cell, his blanket wrapped around his shoulders in an attempt to fight off the chill from the stone.
Azkaban was a horrendous place; dark, dank, damp and dismally depressing, it was a place of no light and laughter. There was little communication, and even the prison guards spoke in whispers. The only benefit he could see, was that there were no Dementors guarding the prison. At least he did not have to deal with those during his incarceration. No, they had already abandoned the place, leaving the prison to join up with his Lord and Master, Voldemort.
He stared into a corner, hearing a squeak, but seeing nothing. Lucius wondered how Sirius Black, Bellatrix and the others had survived in this place for as long as they had, without losing their minds. He'd only been in for just under a year, and he was near to tearing his hair out.
The conditions… Lucius Malfoy was not used to such hardships. He was used to comfort, and wealth, good food, and fine clothing. Azkaban was a shock to his system. Add to that the worry he had about his family – how were they handling the disgrace? Had the Ministry taken its anger out on them? Had his Master? Were they destitute? Homeless? Were they even alive? He had heard nothing since he had been sentenced and locked up in this horrendous place. No one had seen fit to tell him anything.
He started when he heard the door creak open and a dim light appeared at the entrance – dim so that it would not hurt his eyes, as he lived in near perpetual darkness. The big, burly guard did not need to worry that Malfoy would try to overcome him and steal his wand: on his diet of bread, water and gruel, he had lost a great deal of weight and muscle tone. He thought even Draco or his wife could take him with some ease.
"All right, Malfoy – let's go," the guard said in a hoarse whisper.
"G-go?" Lucius blinked as shackles appeared on his wrists and ankles. "Go where?"
"You'll see," the guard replied curtly. "Now come on, can't keep 'em waiting."
Lucius wondered if he finally had visitors, and if so, what the procedure was. Visitors were very, very rare at Azkaban, it was usually only someone very high up on the food chain in the Ministry who would come, such as the Minister himself, or one of the Department Heads, such as Magical Law Enforcement.
Lucius shuffled forward, and was surprised to find himself at the back of a line of Death Eaters, all shuffling along a narrow hallway, all going God knew where. As they shambled along, down winding stairs, the light gradually grew brighter, although it was still somewhat dull, giving their eyes time to get used to the growing light. This must be the lower security area, he thought, knowing that the Death Eaters would have been kept in higher security areas. These cell doors actually had some small barred windows on them, and occasionally he caught sight of a face peering out. One of them, he thought, even looked like Carlotta Pinkstone… and he found himself sneering at her. Is that muggle-lover in here again? He mused contemptuously, wondering what she had done this time to get herself sentenced.
The finally reached a larger room, which was brighter still. In the room was a large group of people – a handful of Aurors, and, he found himself shuddering with some dread, black garbed Japanese wizards. There were two kinds – one half appeared to be dressed similarly to the Aurors, and the other like the group he had fought at the Ministry. What, he wondered, were they doing here?
One of the Aurors stepped forward, and he appeared to be counting heads, looking through the papers he had in his hands.
"Yes," he nodded, and looked over to two of the Japanese women who were standing near the wall; one leaning apparently casually against it, the other standing next to her with a frown on her face. "This appears to be all of them."
"Good. Let's get on with this then," the second said curtly. She did not appear to have the good humor of her companion.
He turned back and stared at the group of Death Eaters aligned in front of him. "My name is Pius Thicknesse; I am the current Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. The current Minister of Magic has made an arrangement with our allies in the country of Japan, and you will all be going to separate prisons there – so there will be no more mass breakouts from Azkaban engineered by your Master."
Lucius's eyes widened slightly, and he glanced quickly to his left when he sensed the uneasy shifting of weight of his compatriots at this bit of news. The Ministry of Magic was now officially allied with the Japanese – it wasn't just Dumbledore's Order of the Phoenix that had an alliance with them? They were officially entering the fray? He wondered what had brought that on, and watched silently as one by one, a Japanese Auror and sword bearing guard escorted a prisoner out of the room – where they most likely vanished, probably using a port key, if they were traveling a long distance.
He was finally the last one standing there, with Thicknesse and the two women near the wall.
"Is there anything else you need?" Thicknesse asked them.
"No, that'll be all. Thank you for your help," the taller of the two replied. Lucius recognized her: she had been at the Ministry, and in fact, he thought she had actually broken a few of his ribs with a well placed kick. She wasn't armed, the way her companion was – but she didn't need a sword to be deadly. She was fast, and her hand-to-hand combat skills were good enough to take down someone as large as that oaf, Hagrid. As for magic… she could toss off wandless spells faster than he could with a wand.
"We'll need his legs free," she said, coming forward to take him by the arm. One of the guards nodded and vanished the shackles.
"Thanks," she said, as she led him from the room, following her companion, who was drawing her sword.
"What…." Lucius gulped.
"Relax, we aren't going to hurt you – this is how we open the gateway," she smirked at him.
Lucius gaped at the doors that suddenly appeared when the white coated woman stabbed into the empty air with the sword, and he had no choice but to walk forward, especially when he was pushed. And he suddenly only wanted to get back to his dark, damp and depressing cell.
The gate opened, allowing three people to step out: Lucius Malfoy and the two women who had escorted him to this place – wherever this place was. It looked like it was still in England, and according to the new Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, he was supposed to be in – Japan. He looked around curiously, trying to place why it felt like England.
The stopped in front of an ornate set of gates, which the smaller of the two women opened; the griffon caused him to nearly faint with terror, but it merely stared intently at him before it turned and led the way to the large manor it was guarding. The woman holding his arm, a purple haired, mocha skinned beauty, knocked once before she opened the door and stepped inside.
Lucius followed meekly; he had no wand, and the one had already defeated him easily; the one with the sword probably could as well. They walked through the house, a very well-lit and well-kept manor, into what could only be a drawing room, where five people awaited them – and he knew them all, although the mix confused him. So much so that he stood there and stared at them slack jawed.
His wife sat in a chair and like a queen holding court, appeared to be very well off; while his son stood next to her chair, one hand resting on the back, and bother were talking softly to a taller, orange haired young man of Asian descent. Not far from them stood another of the Japanese; Severus Snape stood conversing quietly with him. All conversation ceased when the newcomers were spotted. His wife stood.
"There you are, Lucius," she said softly, stepping over to him, "a bath first, I think, and then a hot meal. Taffy?"
An elderly house elf popped into the room next to Narcissa.
"Madame called Taffy?" she asked in her squeaky little elf voice.
"Yes, Taffy, my husband is in need of a hot bath and clean clothes – if you would, please."
Those large eyes turned to look at him and blinked. "Oh, yes, Madame Cissy! Taffy will gets on it, right away!" and she vanished.
Lucius Malfoy stared dazedly at his wife, wondering what the hell was going on, as the others watched with some amusement. Draco leaned forward to whisper something to Kurosaki, who snorted with laughter at whatever it was he had said. Since when had they gotten on such good terms? And since when did they treat house elves with such – kindness – and say things like 'please' to them?
"N-Narcissa? He stammered, with confusion; was he dreaming?
"Not now, Lucius," she said firmly, "First we need to get you cleaned up and fed, and then I'll fill you in on what's going on."
Byakuya stepped forward. "I trust, Madame, that we can leave the current situation in your hands?"
"Of course, Lord Kuchiki," she nodded at him, "I can handle this, not to worry."
"Very well then," he nodded back to her, "We should be going."
"Wait!" Lucius yelped, "Where – where are we? What is this place?"
Ichigo coughed to hide his laughter and shared another amused look with Draco. "You're at my family home," he said with some amusement, his lips twitching, "You," he continued, "are under house arrest here instead of being locked up in a Japanese prison; your wife is in hiding from your boss and your buddies; Professor Snape and Draco are supposed to be 'on the run' from the Ministry, but hiding out here for the time being. Does that sum everything up?"
Lucius gaped at him, which caused Ichigo to sigh and roll his eyes at the Professor and Draco.
"Never mind, Kurosaki; we shall explain everything," Snape told him.
Ichigo gave him a grateful look, and joined the other three Soul Reapers at the door.
"I'll be assigning two additional guards on rotation here," Soifon told them, "So you won't have to rely solely on the griffon for protection." She pinned Malfoy with a stern glare. "Of course if you try to escape…"
"He won't," Narcissa said, giving her husband the same kind of glare; had she been taking lessons? "You can count on it."
Ichigo and Draco shared another amused look; Draco was seeing a whole new side of his mother the past few days that he had never seen before – and there was no doubt in his mind who was going to be wearing the pants in their family. Even Snape appeared to be amused by the turn of events.
Lucius looked around at everyone, even more confused than he was already. Obviously there was something else going on here than even the British Ministry knew about, some plot the Japanese were playing…. Was this one of Dumbledore's games?
"All right Lucius – Rule Number One. Taffy is not to be abused, in any way," Narcissa said sternly to her husband. He blinked at her.
"The house elf – the one that was just here. She's a dear old thing, I have developed a great fondness for her, and I don't want her injured or abused in any way. You won't have just Kurosaki to deal with, you'll have me."
Draco looked away so he wouldn't burst into laughter at his father's flummoxed expression.
"Rule Number Two – if the griffon starts to herd you back towards the house – do not argue with him."
"Never," he whispered, gulping. No, never argue with a griffon.
"Rule Number Three - No kicking the dog."
"Of course not." There was a dog here, too?
"There's a good dear," she said, reaching out to pat his cheek just as Taffy returned to lead him away.
Lucius Malfoy wondered if he wouldn't have been better off staying in Azkaban.
Aaaaand – there's the end of Part Two of my three part Bleach – Potter series! Like I said, I'm going to be taking a much-needed break before starting on part three. I'm a little burned out right now.
For more on Azkaban:
http colon /harrypotter dot wikia dot com/wiki/Azkaban
http colon /www dot hp-lexicon dot
http colon /en dot wikibooks dot org/wiki/Muggles%27_Guide_to_Harry_Potter/Places/A zkaban
Carlotta Pinkstone (b. 1922) was a witch who famously advocated for the repeal of the International Statute of Wizarding Secrecy. It was Ms. Pinkstone's belief that the anullment of the International Statute of Wizarding Secrecy (established by the International Confederation of Wizards in 1692) and consequent mixing of the wizarding and Muggle societies was opportune and convenient in the 20th century. As such, she became a vigorous activist for that cause, and deliberately and unlawfully used magic indiscriminately in public places, in full sight of Muggles, which led to a series of convictions and imprisonments in Azkaban. Pinkstone was featured on a Chocolate Frog Card, which pictured her symbolically in shackles. She was also Wizard of the Month on J.K. Rowling's Official Site. It should be noted that Pinkstone lived through the Second Wizarding War, despite Lord Voldemort being shown to specifically target wizards with strong and public pro-Muggle. http colon /harrypotter dot wikia dot com/wiki/Carlotta_Pinkstone
Pius Thicknesse, who was Imperiused by Yaxley in Book 7, has not yet fallen under the Death Eater's influence. He is still his own man at this point.