Although Ronald was the king, it was mostly Narcissa who gave the orders. Ronald, having only been king for a short time and on short notice had hardly any knowledge of how to rule a kingdom and found himself going to his smirking stepmother for help. After two weeks he found himself not making any of the actual decisions, rather, it was Narcissa who told him what to do and him telling everyone else to do it. He was miserable, for, although his elder brother Harold had forgiven him he stayed away from the castle for as long as he could. "You surely aren't expecting me to stay with THOSE two, any longer than I have to, are you?" he had asked in astonishment after Ronald had begged him to stay for a while longer. Ronald sighed. It wasn't fair. He had never asked to be king. but he had been chosen. And now. "I wonder what wonderful tale of adventure is Harold going to tell me tonight?" Ronald murmured. He envied his brother sometimes. He didn't have to be caged up in a castle, a castle that was far too large for the small family, if that was what you could all it, yet was too small. Ronald had always loved the outdoors, the smell of the sweet grass, the cool breezes that danced through his hair. He wistfully remembered times when he was younger, when his mother, father, brother and himself were one whole happy family. They had gone down to a stream for a picnic. It had been one of the best times of his life. He chased the butterflies, swam and wrestled with his brother. After that his father had taught the two boys how to fish, shot arrows and even use a sword, although it had been a wooden one. The day had ended with a lovely picnic lunch and a garland of stringed flowers made by his little sister, placed lovingly around his neck by his mother. After that they had gone back to the castle where Harold taught his adoring little brother everything he knew about fighting and riding. Ronald sighed longingly. He wanted to get out. Or at least have one, just one decent conversation. He obviously was not going to get anything out of Draco. and Virginia. Ronald walked quietly down a long carpeted corridor. A slight smile flickered on his face. Only two weeks ago he probably would have been told off by his brother for 'walking too quietly'. This coming from the brother that liked making his presence known. The man reached his sister's room. He knocked on the door. "Virginia? May I come in?" "If you want," came a muffled, soft voice. Ronald pushed to door open slowly and closed it with a click behind him. His sister sat forlornly on the floor, wiping away tears from her face. The scene almost broke his heart. "Are you all right?" he asked, kneeling down beside her. "Yes" his sister said, her voice shaky. "Here" Ronald said, taking out a piece of cloth. The young woman took it gratefully and wiped her eyes then her face. "So" Ronald said uncomfortably. "I miss him Ronald" Virginia said suddenly, sadly. She wiped her eyes again then turned to her older brother and smiled weakly. "I'm sorry, I'm being so selfish, you must care a lot too. It's just. I loved him so much" she said, wiping her face as fresh tears trickled down her cheeks. "It's okay Ginny. you can cry, no one's stopping you," Ronald said, using the name he called his sister when he had been very young. "No one's stopping you." he repeated, pulling her into a warm and comforting hug. "How can you two do it?" she asked, tears in her eyes. "Two? Me and who? Do what?" "You and Harold. Go on with your lives. Completely ignore the fact that our father is dead. How can you just forget?" she asked, a slight note of accusation in her voice. "Oh Virginia. we will never forget father. He's still right with us" "Where?" the princess asked softly. It's so difficult to remember that she's almost a woman, still a teenager of nineteen, he thought. "Right here. And he's never going to leave" Ronald replied, placing his hand softly over his heart. He gently took his sister's hand and placed it over her heart. "Do you feel it beating? That's where he's gone, and as long as you keep feeling your heart beat he will keep on living and remembering you" "Do you think mother's there too?" the princess sniffed. "Definitely" her brother smiled. Virginia smiled slightly. "They're finally together" she said. The door opened and the two siblings looked up. "Mother wishes to see you" Draco said. Ronald sighed and got up. Just when he was actually TALKING to someone. "What does she want this time?" he asked. "Don't take that tone with ME brother. I am only as mother wished" the prince said coldly and walked away.



"Hello my son. How are you?" "What is it this time?" Ronald asked somewhat wearily. It irritated him that his stepmother always referred to him as 'my son', even though he wasn't and how she always put on such a pleasant manner. What was the point? It was obvious anyway, that below those pleasant words there was a sting. Narcissa frowned. "If you are king you are expected to have manners" "Sorry" Ronald ran his hand through his flaming red hair. The queen smiled, a cold and cool smile. "I found this in one of your father's chests," she said, placing a scroll onto the table. Ronald stared at her. "You went through father's chests?" he asked, slightly horrified. He was superstitious and strongly believed in not disturbing the possessions of the dead. "Of course I did. Now open it" Narcissa said. Hesitating, Ronald slowly picked up the scroll and glanced at the top lines. He froze. Then put the scroll down with trembling hands. "This is to us," he said. Narcissa just looked at him. "He. he wrote it to us." "Just two days before the battle" Narcissa finished calmly. "May. may I be excused?" Ronald stammered. Narcissa nodded, smirking, and Ronald ran.



"What?" Harold asked incredulously. "Father left us a letter! Written before he. he." "Left" the raven-haired prince finished. He sat down on his bed, resting his elbow on his right knee putting his chin on his closed right fist. "Read it" Ronald cleared his throat and started to read. "To my children. If you are reading this, I will not with you anymore. Life will continue as normal in the castle. Ronald, you will be king and Harold will be your protector. I am planning a battle now, as I write. I have heard that the Beauxbatons are gathering forces and are planning to attack. If I don't succeed in counter-attacking, I want my sons to go to the village of Beauxbatons. Reason with them and try to come up with a solution. Then I want you to travel to the land of the Durmstrangs-" "Durmstrangs!" Harold exclaimed, sitting bolt upright. "Who are the Durmstrangs?" Ronald asked. "They are a kingdom bordering ours. Did your history tutor not tell you this?" Harold asked. Ronald shook his head and the prince snorted. "And you being the king too" "What's so bad about the Durmstrangs?" Ronald asked. Harold gazed out of the window. "Did you know that our cousin is Durmstrang?" "What?" "The king of Durmstrang is father's half brother" "We have a cousin?" Ronald asked. "Why wasn't I told?" "Father did not like to talk about them" "Why?" Harold sighed. "At first I believed it to be sibling rivalry. Then later I learned different. The Durmstrangs are ruthless. They have hardly any law; if a criminal is caught, whether the crime is stealing a piece of bread or even talking back to a knight they are hanged the next day" Ronald stared. "Do not joke brother, it's not funny" "Who said I was joking?" Harold asked grimly. "We. we have a cousin. what is his name?" Harold frowned, trying to remember. "If I'm correct I think his name was Krum. Viktor Krum" "What kind of a name is Krum?" Ronald asked bluntly. Harold grinned. "His father is called Igor Karkaroff," he said. "Oh. I see. Karkaroff?" "He feels the same way about father as father feels about him. He had his surname changed" "Oh." Ronald said, feeling somewhat confused. "Continue with the letter" Harold said, lying back on the bed. "Oh, right. Travel to the land of the Durmstrangs and retrieve a possession stolen from me. I know with all my heart that you succeed in these missions. I trust each and every one of. of." Ronald squinted. "What is it?" Harold enquired. "His writing gets messy. as if he was unsure of whether he should write the next part or not" "Then read the part after!" Harold said impatiently. "A malicious man disguises himself with his lips, but in his heart he harbors deceit" "What's that got to do with the Durmstrangs or Beauxbatons?" Harold asked, puzzled. He sat up. "I think he's trying to say something but maybe isn't saying it straightforward so if someone found it before we did the person wouldn't understand" "So what is he saying?" "I think. a person is deceitful and cruel at heart but is able to put on a false air to hide it" "So." "Maybe it's a warning? To take caution of someone who would do harm to us?" "Anything else?" Ronald looked at the scroll. "Beware the rabbit with the soul of a serpent"

"I thought so!" Harold said triumphantly. "What?" "Draco. It has to be" "What has this got to do with our brother?" Ronald asked, mystified. "It makes sense. First he says 'in his heart he harbors deceit'. Then he says 'beware the rabbit with the soul of a serpent', probably meaning that someone that looks harmless can be deadly. Who else could it be? Think about it, who would benefit the most with us dead? With us two gone our brother can take the throne, with his beloved MOTHER," Harold spat the word, "at his side. Then the part about the serpent. Draco is the only one who carries the snake emblem. It's an obvious hint!" "Too obvious. You're rushing to conclusions" "I am not. Think about it brother!" Ronald decided not to and continued reading. "I love you all. I'm sorry I never said it. With all my heart, Lucius" A silence followed. "For so long. he has never told me he loved me," Harold said quietly. "Are we going to take up this mission?" his redheaded brother asked. "Are we to deny father his final wish?" "This seems. dangerous" "Dangerous, pah!" Harold spat. "What's an adventure without danger?" "I think we should tell Draco about this. This favor father asked of us" "Why on earth should we?" "Most of the Beauxbatons speak French" Ronald said simply, rolling up the scroll. "And?" "Do you speak French?" Harold grinned. "No" he admitted. "But I still don't see what. no" "What you have probably guessed is correct. I can't speak French either. And the only person who can is-" "Our brother" Harold finished angrily. "Can't we go without him? We don't need to know French" "If we are to have a conversation with their leader we will have to know how to speak their language" Ronald said. Harold frowned. "I'm beginning to reconsider going on this mission," he muttered. Ronald sighed and ran a hand through his hair. He hoped that Harold wouldn't hate him for what he was going to say next. "Father wanted us to go on this mission and I say we should. We should- WILL bring Draco with us. You will come with us" "And that's an order!" Ronald added quickly as he saw his brother open his mouth to protest. He took a breath. "And is the king gives an order, everyone is expected to obey. Even older brothers," he said. He took a deep breath, hung his head, taking a sudden interest in his shoes, and waited for the yelling from his brother to come. Harold stared at his brother and frowned, then burst out into laughter. Ronald looked up in amazement. "You act like I'm going to kill you!" he said, smiling. "If only I knew, that the funny little kid I used to throw into the pond whenever he disobeyed me would one day be telling ME what to do." "I'm thankful for those moments. At least I know how to swim" "Hah!" Harold laughed. He calmed himself down. "All right, I'll come with you. But don't blame me if one day you find our brother hanging from a tree" Ronald wondered whether he was serious or not. Harold certainly was capable of murdering his brother; he hated him that much. Both brothers' heads snapped up as a shriek pierced through the air. "What." Harold ran to where the sound came from, his brother following him. There was a sudden green flash and then nothing. The siblings exchanged looks. Narcissa's room. Harold slammed open the door. Narcissa lay on the floor, a green glow surrounding her. The brothers took a step back. They were ready for an attack, but they were completely afraid of magic. Ronald stepped forward slowly. As he approached the woman the glow dimmed and disappeared. Hesitantly, he bent down next to her and took her wrist. Narcissa's hand flopped over limply as he felt for her pulse. Nothing. Narcissa's hand was as cold as ice and as smooth as marble, and it slipped out of Ronald's shaking hand onto the floor. He noticed a mark on the deceased queen's neck and looked at it closely. He recognized it. "Harold." The prince looked and his mouth set into a grim line. "The mark of death" Both the brothers recognized it. How could they not, when their own younger brother made it so often? Harold remembered the first time he had seen it. He had been sitting with Ronald in a room, quietly watching Draco take a lesson. This had been years back, when Draco had only been around five. The teacher had explained something and Draco had calmly told the teacher that he was wrong. Going purple in the face, the teacher had asked why he was wrong. Draco told him, then told him what he perceived was correct. The teacher had laughed and started to ridicule the boy. At the time, Harold had not yet begun to hate his youngest sibling so he had been about to shout at the man and tell him off, but Draco had acted before he did. Furious at being laughed at, furious at not being taken seriously, he had taken out his wand and shouted the two deadly words. Avada Kedavra. Harold shuddered. It was horrible, and it happened so fast. The man's eyes widened, then a bright green flash. When it had cleared, the man was lying on the floor, glowing green, staring sightlessly at the ceiling, mouth open in a silent scream. He didn't know what had scared him the most, that the man was dead, after only a few seconds, or the fact that his little brother was sitting in his chair continuing with his work as if nothing had happened. After it all Draco had refused to admit that what he had done was wrong, that the man deserved it all. The two brothers had seen the mark on the left side of the man' neck. Exactly where it was on Narcissa. Out of the corner of his eye he saw Ronald shudder. He remembered too. Both of them knew of the dark magic that Draco and his mother used, in and out of battle. They didn't mind them using it. Much. But when it was right in front of their face. "She's dead," someone said, voice soft as silk. Harold jumped. Draco knelt down next to his eldest brother and stroked the mark on his mother's neck softly.







I finally write another chapter! Sorry for the long wait, but I only had three reviewers. which was a bit discouraging. But they wrote really positive things, which was really EN-couraging! ^^