A/N: Hello everyone. I'm sorry this sequel is so late in coming but I struggled a lot with the plot. I was unsure which direction to take it. But then, I was unsure where Falling was going when I started that too, and look how that turned out!
I've been meaning to answer a few questions and comments I never got to reply to. If I've forgotten any, feel free to remind me.
What's with the random bold letters throughout the chapters? – Well… The truth is, that was accidental. Those were the corrections of my Beta. I thought they were just highlighted, not bolded. So I only un-highlighted before posting and didn't notice the bolded letters. Sorry for the confusion! (If you're thinking that's a lame explanation, well the truth is… it is. Lame, I mean. :] )
Why didn't you include more Ron and Hermione? – I actually did that on purpose, (sometimes I manage to think ahead). Young love is very powerful and consuming. Most times, the first time you fall in love, you become so wrapped up in that person that you begin to completely neglect and forget other friends and family. I planned from the beginning to write a story that focused pretty much on two characters because it focused a lot on a room that only Harry and Draco could see.
Are you really going to write a sequel? – Answer = yes.
That's all I can remember. XD
Btw, yes, I know I suck at summaries. Don't remind me.
Please remember while reading this, that I, as an author, have changed. I'm more mature now than I was and that will show in the characters. After all, they've also grown since the last story.
And don't freak out, only this prologue is written in first person.
Also, I'll make you all a deal. If this breaks 20 reviews, I'll immediately post the next chapter. :]
Well, without further ado, here's the sequel so many of you asked (threatened) for.
It all ends here…
It's been a hell of a journey too; but this is most certainly the last stretch of it. I don't know how I ever imagined that being a spy would be better for me when it all ended; that I'd be safe no matter who won. I can't comprehend the thoughts and logic that had seemed so unquestionable to me less than a year ago. I don't understand the person I used to be.
I understand now—now that the end is so tangible I can nearly feel it on my skin, that only Harry's victory will spell success for me. He has to win. He has to. If he doesn't…
I can't even allow myself to consider it. I won't finish that thought.
It doesn't feel like I'm a year older. It feels like I'm ten years older, like an eternity has passed since I last felt young; since I last felt free. Last summer was eons ago but I remember almost every excruciating second of it.
Those first few months were hellish. Snape and I were constantly on the run. We apparated here and there, always cautious of the Aurors looking to kill us on sight. We camped a lot during that time, in the country side, keeping far from cities and towns. But as the weeks wore on, Dumbledore's death took its toll on the world. Voldemort gained more power and we had less to fear. There were a few times that we'd briefly stayed with other Death Eaters, taking refuge among their recruits and taking part in their rituals.
It was in one of those homes, that I got my first order to kill. Not even an order from the Dark Lord, simply from a Death Eater that ranked above me. I had to obey. I had to kill a girl with my own hands. I don't think her screams ever quite left my ears. When it's very quiet, if I listen close, I can still hear her.
Even though the Death Eaters we stayed with were stupid and mindlessly cruel, I've always been secretly glad that Snape and I didn't go directly back to Malfoy manor. I know that for a while, I was only barely holding myself together. If I'd been around more intelligent, observant people I would've been found out right away. I fell apart every time I so much as heard someone say his name…
The boy who lived. The boy I should hate but I most certainly don't. The boy that I loved and left, that I betrayed, that I broke. It still causes me pain to think about, I'm beginning to think it always will. But at least I can hold in my winces now. At least, I no longer sob as quietly as I can at night, like the weakling I'm beginning to accept I truly am.
After those first long tumultuous weeks of running from place to place, things began to calm down. I started to put myself back together. I remembered who I was, what I was doing, who I was doing it for. I found new strength, a determination that I hadn't seen in myself before. I wouldn't fuck up. I wouldn't let this all be for nothing. I'd do anything, whatever it took, to make my betrayal worthwhile. The pressure of it, of knowing that I absolutely couldn't let him down again, was suffocating. Eventually though, I began to push past it, and then, I began to flourish in it.
I returned to Malfoy manor about halfway through the summer, though Snape continued to travel. I thought that because I'd finally learned to stop sniveling and whining that I'd be ready to face Voldemort, that I'd be strong enough to do it. I was wrong, as I'm beginning to accept I frequently am.
He was terrifying.
I felt like he could see right through me, like absolutely no part of me was barred from his eyes. I felt like I was worthless, like he was a God and I was an insect. He was absolutely terrifying, and I, as part of the inner circle had to sit in the same room as him. I had to pretend not to be disgusted by him; had to bow and cater to and love him.
I was stupid to have thought my surname would garner me any respect. My family was torn apart. My mother killed as a traitor, my father was blank faced and absent from his own mind, stripped of his wand by Voldemort himself. And my crazy old aunt Bella was obsessed with killing Lupin and his Auror wife. That reputation would get me no where. It took only one meeting for me to understand that the Malfoys were kept in the inner circle only as an example of how far the mighty can fall. We were a laughing stock.
I realized then that I would have to assert myself as a separate entity from the rest of my family. I could not make a name for myself as a Malfoy; I had to do it as myself, as Draco. I had to distance myself from the stigma of failure that my last name now carried. I had to get close to the Dark Lord and learn his secrets so I could give them to Harry. I didn't understand everything about what Harry was doing, but I figured it must be the Horcruxes.
Harry only ever mentioned them to me once, and then promptly clammed up about it. That's what made it stick out actually, his refusal to talk about it further. I had to study it on my own to truly understand what it was. And even the Malfoy library, full of books on dark and forbidden magic, had limited information about Horcruxes. Still, I learned enough to know that the best way to defeat Voldemort would be to find out what the Horcruxes were and where they were hidden. To do that, I'd have to get extremely close to him, and even then I might not find out. And I had almost no time to work my way up from the bottom. Snape had had years, and I didn't think even he could ask Voldemort about Horcruxes without getting killed…
So I did absolutely everything I could, including giving what little information and insight I could about Harry. I was confident the boy would always manage to slip away no matter what hints I gave Voldemort; that's what Harry was best at after all. And the Dark Lord slowly but surely became more and more pleased with me.
I was the one who guessed Harry would be leaving his muggle home on brooms, even before that rat Mundungus sold him out. I was the one who figured out which of the seven Harry's was him. I'd memorized his flying style and I knew him so thoroughly it was only a matter of looking him in the face to figure it out. I know he saw me that night on my Nimbus 2001, and his widened eyes haunted my dreams for weeks afterwards.
I didn't know if he had already given up on me, if he hated me, if I would go straight to Azkaban after he won. I'd have given anything to talk to him… Anything…
I only had a very short amount of time before school started again and I tried to do everything I could to gain rank. My father was unsurprisingly unhelpful. Ever since my mother died, his eyes glazed over. It was almost like he wasn't there anymore, even though his body was. He was a walking corpse. Still, I think he knew even from the very first day that I returned that something in me had changed. He'd give me the oddest looks sometimes…
Luckily, despite my father mostly ignoring me, Voldemort took notice of me. I made sure he did. I forced myself to look him in the face bravely, as I'd only ever seen a few do. I bowed to him, and catered to his oversized ego. I whispered my praises and adoration like Bellatrix whilst still standing strong and sure of myself. I knew he liked it better that way. What kind of accomplishment is it to have power over the meek and mindless? It's much better to see those who are confident, arrogant, self assured, bow before you.
I thought he liked to see me bow because of the power trip it gave him. I thought he might respect me as a servant. Hell, I thought I was on the right track, that soon I'd have information for Harry. But of course, I was unprepared. I was so young back then…
Which brings me to the day I met Astoria. I thought I was so much better than her. I hated her just for existing. Just because she had absolutely no fucking right to waltz around my home with dark hair and green eyes.
She wasn't the only guest at the manor, and not by far the only student. In the backlash of Dumbledore's death, the Ministry tried to stop as many Death Eaters as they could by seizing assets and land. Malfoy manor was one of the few protected enough not to be taken. But those Death Eaters that were displaced frequently stopped over, just as Snape and I had in the houses of others. Students, too young to do anything about their situation, stayed at the manor where they could be close to their Lord.
But I didn't care about those other not-so-welcome guests. It was her, with her snarky comments and unexpected resiliency. She was infuriatingly innocent and had a blind trust in me that I couldn't understand. Sure, she was cunning and sharp tongued, as any good Slytherin should be, but she was also annoyingly optimistic and almost childlike in her ignorance.
I hated her, because it only took me a week to realize that I loved her. She stirred some protective quality in me that I never knew I had.
It wasn't my fault! She was just so… vulnerable! She wasn't cut out for the life of a Death Eater. She wouldn't have made it on her own. I had to keep her from getting killed…
In the end, she turned out to be an invaluable asset and an irreplaceable friend.
She found out about my connection to Harry. Because I was an idiot and she saw my bracelet. I hardly ever took it off back then, it was too painful. It was like I was letting him go, like I was leaving him behind again. I shoved it as far up my forearm as I could get it and pulled my sleeve down over it, but I didn't take it off.
I was angry and scared when she saw it. I thought I'd have to kill her, and I really didn't want to. But instead, she surprised me with a soft understanding smile and promised to help me. She wanted to be safe after the war too. I was the one who was able to promote her enough so that she could receive her Dark Mark, and I would also be the one to protect her from prison when Harry won. She was safe either way and was more loyal to me than she ever was to Voldemort.
I felt sort of guilty for getting her the Dark Mark. When I'd first met her, she was little more than a servant among the ranks of Death Eaters, and the Mark is a great honor, not just given out to anyone. I was the one who recommended her, kept her close by my side, and eventually the Dark Lord "rewarded" her with his mark on her forearm. It was necessary, it would keep her safe, but she was just so… endearingly sweet. She wasn't made to be a killer, a torturer, an evil sick person like me. She couldn't have handled the things I'd had to do. She cried for days from the pain of her arm and I tried my best to soothe her. She was my closest and nearly only friend as time wore on.
She kept me level when I was losing my mind. She was the one who came up with the idea of how to contact Harry; a message paper. It was similar to the kind used for announcements; in which the head of a department, or something or other, could write down an announcement and the words would appear on announcement boards for others to see. Banal and yet ingenious. She even altered and preformed the spell herself. It only worked one way. I could write on a piece of paper and the words would sink in and appear on another piece of paper, no matter how far away. But the receiver could not send anything back.
Ingenious, like I said.
It was my idea, however, to enlist Dobby's help for getting it to Harry; since neither Astoria nor I could really venture far once school started. Dobby didn't tell me how he did it. Only that he wasn't seen when he left it with Harry, as I had requested.
My clues had to be vague, on the off chance that someone else would read it. But I trusted in Harry's and even Ron and Hermione's intellects. They would figure it out.
Not that I had any clues to give for a long while. Then seemingly out of no where, I caught a break. Voldemort said he wanted someone to carefully monitor Hogwarts. He said that Snape couldn't do it because he'd be busy as Headmaster. Voldemort wanted to listen for gossip and news from the Gryffindors and other Harry supporters, just in case they were getting any information. So he asked me.
I was surprised, since I didn't think such a thing would truly be important to him. What with the Ministry now fallen and the world basically under his thumb, who cares about a few scheming teenagers? But he requested I meet him every week to update him on any changes in the school and report any students of dubious lineage.
Of course I jumped at the chance, thinking maybe I'd be able to further gain his trust. There was never much to report besides a few not so innocent pranks pulled by Neville and Luna. Still, even if there was no new information, he requested a meeting with me every single week.
School was already hell and the Carrows did a damn good job of weeding out those of questionable blood. The discipline at Hogwarts was harsh, and I had to pretend to enjoy it. Who enjoys cruciating an eleven-year-old? Besides Goyle, I mean.
The only way to leave the school was the fireplace in Snape's office. It was connected only to a few key places and the manor was one of them. That's where I met with the Dark Lord. In one of my many trips to the Headmaster's office for the use of his fireplace I was able to catch Dumbledore's portrait unaware. He was sleeping in the frame and mumbling something about Snape's patronus. I didn't understand the information at first, but it came to be monumentally important.
And then of course, reality came crashing back down on me.
It was a typical evening in one of the sitting rooms at the manor. Voldemort was sitting, staring at me intently with his blood colored eyes, while I stood and reported meaningless information.
He cut me off half way through with a long sigh and asked, "How obedient would you be for me, Draco?"
My response was to immediately sink to one knee and bow my head low, "I would do anything you wish, master. If my obedience has been called into question, please allow me to reprove it to you."
He laughed at me. A derisive sort of chuckle really, but I'd never heard the sound from his lips before and I only barely suppressed a shudder.
"Ever a Malfoy," Voldemort said with obvious amusement, "You're a very charismatic boy, you know."
I chanced a look up at him to find a disturbing sort of grin on his face as he gazed down at me.
"And how much do you wish to please your master?" He asked, virtually ignoring what I'd just said.
I think I realized in that moment what he was asking me, but I didn't admit it to myself. I didn't think it was possible. My voice was weak when I replied, "Very, very much, my Lord."
It clicked when he stood and pulled me to my feet. It seemed clearer than ever when he stroked my cheek and whispered about how much pleasure it would give him to entirely own someone as proud as me.
Part of me was screaming, furious with myself for not recognizing this for what it was months ago. I'd rationalized and ignored Voldemort's inexplicable soft spot for me. I'd left myself unprepared and ignorant.
So fucking naïve…
And all this time I'd thought Astoria was the blissfully oblivious one between the two of us.
But in those few seconds, while I watched his thin lips curve up into a smile as he listed the things he wished to do to me, I heard the logical side of myself offering its opinion. This wasn't a disaster, this was an opportunity.
I could save Harry
I could get the clues he needed. I could get closer to Voldemort than probably any of his servants ever had.
I could end this god damned war. It only took a little sacrifice…
So when he leaned in close to kiss me, I didn't push him away, I didn't run screaming or let my disgust show on my face. I allowed it, my only protest a small whimper that I couldn't hold in. I opened my mouth when he wordlessly demanded. I let him do it…
But no, that's not even true.
I couldn't just let him do it. He wouldn't have been satisfied with that. And if I was going to suffer, it'd had better fucking be for a reason. I couldn't just do it halfway; I'd end up still being abused by him and not getting close to him like I wanted. He'd get bored of me if I imitated a mannequin every time he wanted me. I'd still lose to him and not gain what I needed. So I… participated. As much as I could without vomiting, that is.
When he pushed me down on the sofa, I realized some things. I learned more about myself and my place in the world. I was constantly growing older, understanding more, realizing things I'd never known; things no one should ever have to know. It was one of the most pivotal nights of the war for me. That was the night I realized, that no matter who killed who, in the end, I'd already lost.
Everyone loses in war.
He was vicious at first. He enjoyed causing me pain as much as he did causing me pleasure, and I had to pretend to enjoy both. For a good servant enjoys whatever makes his master happy, even at the cost of himself.
I'll be the first to admit, the "pleasure" was the worst. Pain was pain; understandable, acceptable, even expected when in the Dark Lord's presence. Pleasure was an embarrassment, a betrayal of my nerve endings against me. That was what I hated the most. Being male, it's not exactly like I could fake an orgasm. I resorted to lust potions, usually reserved for the sexually inadequate. They would leave me in a fog of desire that I could hardly think through until the deed was done. And then I would feel monumentally guilty and revolted by myself. Which is why I began to hate him more and more as the weeks wore on and his violent lust transformed into a sick affection.
The times he would cause me pain became fewer and far between. Instead, he would whisper to me about how we, together, would rule the world. How as soon as Potter was dead and he could claim his rightful throne, I would sit at his right side. I wished he would be violent again, that he would see my body as a thing and not a person. That he could only claim me as an object of sexual desire and not as me, not as Draco. It didn't matter that suddenly I flew through the ranks of Death Eaters and all those beneath me heeded my word without question. It didn't matter that I was the youngest to ever reach as high as I did. It didn't matter that I managed to talk to Voldemort about my interest in Horcruxes, under the guise of wanting to live forever with him in the new world we would create.
Because it all came back to his unnaturally long fingered hands sliding against my skin. His sharp teeth marking me, his long tongue claiming me. His body forcing itself into mine. His thin lips hissing parseltongue into my ear while he thrust into me; ruining my memories of Harry.
I didn't have the luxury of crying or fighting back, or even just laying unresponsive. I had to act. I had to bare myself before him and moan. I had to beg him for more, hating myself when I did. All the while, only barely managing to remind myself this was all for Harry. All the while, knowing Harry would hate me if he ever found out…
I knew by then though, you have to lose to win.
I did get the information I needed. With my now bi-weekly visits to the Headmaster's office for the use of his floo, I was able to talk to Snape a few times. I knew, despite what the Dark Lord thought, that Snape was still firmly on Harry's side. He knew of my closeness with Harry last year and yet he didn't have me killed; that was proof enough. It wasn't as though I could obliviate him. Snape had a strong mind, the most I could hope to do was keep him out of mine with Occlumency. But there was no way I could successfully take his memories. Some time around then. I realized the importance of his patronus and that was the first clue I ever sent Harry.
"Follow your mate" was all it said, but I knew he'd understand if he saw it.
The next after that was "He-who-must-not -be-named." I figured since Harry wasn't caught again for a long time that he must've understood the hint. Voldemort's name now had a Taboo on it and anyone who used it would be immediately caught. The next was, "Do not go to Godric's Hollow." I sent it as soon as I learned about Bathilda Bagshot from another Death Eater. But of course I was too late. Not a day after I wrote it to him, a Death Eater watching the small town reported that Harry had fallen into the trap only to escape again.
I was so worried about him…
And then the bastard had the nerve to show up at my doorstep during my Easter break. I suppose it wasn't exactly his fault but I was still angry and shocked to see him. His face was swollen nearly beyond recognition, but I could tell it was him. I knew him so well… Or I thought I did. I used to, at least…
I tried to get my father to delay calling the Dark Lord. I didn't want Harry caught, after all. But he and my aunt were ecstatic at finally having something to reinstate themselves amongst Voldemort's ranks. They wouldn't be swayed. I tried to be callous when Bella tortured Hermione. But I winced and I know my father saw. I've never been sure why he didn't say anything.
Since, technically, I was above him in the inner circle now, I hadn't made his life easy. It was childish sure, but I felt I needed to get back at him for all the terrible, mean things he did to me and my mother while I was growing up. It was his fault my mother was dead. And when I'd returned, he'd been silent and empty, abandoning me to the mercy of the Death Eaters. For some reason though, he made no move of revenge against me, no matter what suffering or humiliation I put him through.
I was sent to the dungeons to retrieve Griphook. I wanted to say something to Harry, even something cryptic, anything that would at least let him know I wasn't ignoring him. His eyes locked with mine nearly the moment I stepped into the room. But there were too many others there. I couldn't reveal myself. So I simply grabbed the goblin and left as quickly as I could.
When we heard the sounds coming from the dungeons, my heart rose like a levitation charm had been cast upon it. Harry was escaping. Relief flooded me. Until Wormtail was sent to check. Then I was internally gnawing on my lip again with worry. The next thing I knew, the door was crashing open and Bellatrix was disarmed. I immediately pulled my own wand from within my sleeve, trying helplessly to prepare for battle. My wand was wrenched from my hands by Harry, along with the other two he and Ron had been using when they first arrived.
I gaped at him, surprised he would be so cruel, but his eyes were tired and angry. So I backed away, not bothering to fight. I'd noticed the conspicuous absence of his own wand. If he needed mine, he could have it, I didn't care. I knew it always worked well for him. At least, if my memories of the circular room were real and not just delusions my mind had created to cope with the stress.
I'd never dared go back to the room even in all my long boring months at school. I avoided the owlery all together actually. I didn't want to look at what I'd left behind.
He was breathing hard, his eyes alight with sorrow and fury, and then he was just gone. Apparated away with Dobby and Griphook.
I was still trembling when the Dark Lord arrived to find Bellatrix and I wandless with Harry Potter, again, escaped.
My public punishment, torture at his hands, was far lighter that that of my aunt and my father. But that was only for what the others saw. In private, he punished me again.
He was angry when he threw me onto the bed of one of the guest rooms of the manor. I should have known it would be like this, but I'd stupidly thought he'd punish me the same as any other Death Eater. I should've realized; I wasn't being promoted the same way, I wouldn't be punished the same either.
Up until that point in my life, I had never experienced anything so humiliatingly, terrifyingly painful and soul wrecking as that. He beat me into submission, cruciated me into unconsciousness, woke me again and made me lick his feet and beg for forgiveness, fucked me until I couldn't breathe… He did things to my body that I will not even think about, that I will not allow myself to remember.I was only barely holding back full choking sobs when he was finished with me. As it was, even after months of hardening myself to the tortures I'd faced before, I couldn't stop the tears that flowed freely down my cheeks. Then he sat with me, stroking my hair and telling me I'd brought this all on myself.
As terrible as he'd been to me, the worst part was the kisses he demanded afterwards. I apologized again and again and he forgave me. He claimed, in fact, that this was a test of my resilience and would only strengthen me for the future I would have with him. His perverse fondness of me made my stomach twist with nausea but I accepted it because I knew the war couldn't last much longer.
I'd already made it this far, I'd already put up with him for months. Just a little longer… It was the only solace I had. It was nearly the only thing that kept me getting up everyday. The hope that it would soon be over. The knowledge that it would all be worth it if I could only persevere for just a little longer.
After my failure, Voldemort wished to meet with me more often, nearly every night. He reasserted his dominance over me, reminded me that he could be as cruel as he could be "kind". His "kindness" was one of his own making. It catered to his God-complex and truly was more destructive than his cruelty, I thought. Still, I obeyed and was able to weasel another tidbit of information from him.
I learned that there was a Horcrux in Gringotts and one in Hogwarts castle. I had no idea what or exactly where they were, but that information alone was priceless. I sent it to Harry without delay.
It was only shortly after that when Voldemort tried to convince me to make a Horcrux of my own. I had said that I wanted to live forever with him, that's the only reason he even let as much information slip as he did. Which truly, was never very much. I had to reason a lot of it out myself.
I persuaded him to let me wait until the end of the school year, claiming to want to concentrate on my studies for a little while longer. It was already spring, it wasn't as though it was a very long wait. I could only pray that the war ended by then.
Which is why now, my heart is pounding in my chest, and I feel like I'm about to pass out because there's pain in my left arm. The pain is not what's making me faint. It's the fact that I know what this means. Harry's made it to Hogwarts.
He's here. And there's very little chance he'll escape again.
This is it.
It all ends here…
It all ends now!