This is the sequel for my story "Didn't You Know", so if you haven't read that, I suggest you go over to my profile now to check it out, because otherwise this story will probably not make a lot of sense.
To everyone who did read "Didn't You Know": welcome back. I'm sorry it took me so long (10 months, can you believe it?), but I did always intend to keep my promise, so here it is.
I apologize for any linguistic mistakes, since I am not a native English speaker, so please bear with me.
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter.
Who would've thought?
The mark had burnt as painful as it never had in the last – how many? – years. I wasn't keeping track. I didn't know how much time had passed since it had burnt like that. It was constantly burning slightly by now. But today, whatever day it was, it was different. I could feel it.
I could feel him.
It wasn't exactly a happy thought. I couldn't remember anything happy anymore. I couldn't remember anything happy, anything good about Tom anymore. I fairly remembered that sometime, there had been something like that. Nowadays, I only remembered the bad parts. The torture. The killing. Red eyes glowing in the dark.
And I was innocent. I had never been a Death Eater! Even that wasn't a happy thought. It was a damn frustrating thought.
I faintly heard a screech, almost triumphing and I wondered what that was. I heard yelling, other screeches, a high voice giggling, laughing maniacally.
And then – suddenly – it was as if the veil was lifted. I felt like I could breathe for the first time since – since so very long. Memories were streaming through my head, memories I had all forgot about.
"Is that seat still free?" I smiled and nodded and Tom sat down next to me.
... Tom's face lightened up and he hugged me. "I missed you!"
... "You already have my heart. You should have a part have my soul, too."
... "Stay," he whispered and I nodded
... He kissed me on the cheek as he passed me
... "But they can't tell when to be scared and when not. They don't know me well enough... that's only you."
My eyes widened as the cell's bars were suddenly busted away. I jumped to my feet, new energy filling every inch of my body.
The dust settled and I could finally see a tall man with a pale, snakelike face standing there and watching me
His red eyes were glowing in the dark.
Water was running over me and I sighed contently, leaning against the shower wall. There was no way that I had appreciated hot water any more in my life. In the fifteen years I had spent in Azkaban, I had not once enjoyed a real shower; that bit of icy cold water once in a while simply did not count. The Dementors, I figured, didn't care about smell and appearances.
Reluctantly, I turned the shower off and stepped outside, reaching for a towel. As I dried myself, I looked up to the mirror over the sink. I barely recognized myself; I was by now 69 years old and I looked it. Azkaban hadn't exactly done anything for my appearance and I tried hard to find what had once been features that I liked about myself, but it was nearly impossible. Not only did I look old – I was thin. So thin, every bone in my body seemed to be showing. Hadn't he freed me, I would probably have died soon, I thought as I looked myself over. I wasn't sure how I felt about that.
I groaned and reached for my clothes. Well, I would have to ask Tom to help me a bit there; my wand had been thoroughly destroyed when they had thrown me into Azkaban and I couldn't very well go around looking like that. Of course, good looks didn't seem to be a top priority these days. I wondered if Tom had ever looked in a mirror.
I exited the bathroom, taking in my surroundings for the first time. I had never stayed much at Malfoy Manor and what I had known of it had changed. Narcissa would never keep the same furniture for fifteen years. I ran a hand through deep gray hair and moved to join Tom, who had sat down in an armchair, waiting for my return from the shower.
"I need your help."
He looked up, smirking slightly, red eyes glittering with amusement. "With what exactly?"
"I don't look good. At least twenty years too old for my liking. I would do so myself, but I don't have a wand..."
"Weren't you always the one that told me it was natural to grow old-"
"I want to grow old," I answered. "I just don't want to look it."
"My, haven't we grown shallow?"
"Clearly, this is something you wouldn't understand," I bit back. "But I don't want to scare people off by just looking at me."
"Merlin, woman, show a little respect."
He sounded more amused than angry, though, and so I just rolled my eyes.
"I don't show respect to people who don't own a nose."
The smirk on his face grew slightly as he stepped closer, long pale fingers wrapped around his wand. "I'm the one responsible for how you look... you might as well find yourself without a nose."
I narrowed my eyes at him. "You wouldn't dare!"
He pursed his thin lips thoughtfully. "Let's just not find out."
He had done it in the end – actually, I now looked pretty much the same I had when he had left that night. I figured he had done it out of memory. Narcissa had smiled widely at my new appearance, gushing about how lucky I had gotten to have the Dark Lord do this for me. Personally, I figured that he owed me at least that.
As I sat, moving the spoon in my soup out of sheer boredom, Lucius walked in, freezing in place as he saw me.
"My name," I answered, "I'll refrain from stuttering yours in turn."
He took a deep breath and sat down opposite to me. "I never knew-"
"Never knew what?" I asked, letting go of the spoon, which fell onto the plate with a loud clatter. "That I was still alive?"
He frowned uncomfortably. "Why, I just assumed..."
"Assumed it would be too much for an old woman like me. How convenient would have that been?"
He swallowed hard. "Well, I..."
"I heard you gave away the diary."
His eyes widened and he paled even more. "I-i j-just thought t-that-"
"Do stop stuttering," I snapped. "I told you to never give it away. Now it was destroyed."
He quickly licked his lip, clearly growing even more nervous.
"I'm disappointed," I stated matter-of-factly.
He opened his mouth, but I got up before he could say anything else.
"I am very disappointed. In fact, I'll see to it that you will get the proper punishment-"
"The Dark Lord has already seen to that," he muttered, almost inaudibly.
"You are still alive," I remarked. "That means you haven't received proper punishment."
"Again with the stuttering," I sighed. "If nothing sensible comes out, please just shut your mouth, Lucius."
Tom was sorting through the various letters laid out in front of him. "When do you want to go out and get a wand?"
I looked up from my book, startled by the sudden question. "We'll see."
If Tom still had eyebrows, I was sure they would have risen to incredible heights. "I was going to offer you to-"
"Take care of it? Very friendly, but I'll manage."
He had taken to offer his help in any and all circumstance – which was rather confusing. It wasn't like him at all; in fact, he obviously had to have a goal or he would not have acted that way.
"There were times when you would have been more than happy to accept my help."
"There were times when I was naive enough not to question your motives."
His lips curled; he obviously wasn't pleased. "And what exactly do you think my motive is for helping you out, huh?"
"I don't know," I answered lightly. "And I don't particularly care, either."
"What if I just wanted to make sure you're okay-"
"Don't be ridiculous," I said. "If you want to convince me to be on your side – you don't need to. I'm not your enemy, never was. Nothing's changed."
I got up to leave, but his long, white fingers wrapped around my wrist, pulling me back slightly. "What's wrong with you?"
I smiled slightly. "There's nothing wrong with me. I'm fine."
"No," he said. "No, you're different."
"It's been fifteen years, Tom," I chastised. And it had been fifteen years, fifteen long years that had appeared to be even longer...
He narrowed his eyes at me. "You never once asked how I was..."
I raised an eyebrow. "Aren't you well?"
"Of course I am well."
"What do you want, then?" I asked.
"That's what I mean," he said. "You don't behave like your annoying, compassionate self-"
I sighed. "I got thrown into jail for crimes I never committed. I spent years without any sign of happiness. I came to realize my faults. I am done caring about others."
Reviews have always been and still are welcome ;)