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Yay! Another chapter up and ready to go!

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Draco hated waiting.

He loathed the anticipation and near-desperation that seemed to consume him as he was forced to sit by idly on a daily basis. Nervousness. Anxiety. He didn’t want any of it. All he wanted was to get the meeting over and done with, get his mission, try to fulfill it to the best of his abilities, and be done with it. But as he opened his eyes to the glorious morning light that streamed into his room, he knew that it was not going to be that easy. Things were never that simple with him anymore and it was that thought (that truth) that made him loathe what his life had become.

Despite his obvious aversion to this new twist in life, however, there was a part of Draco that would’ve jumped at the chance to wait forever if it meant that he’d never have to go that meeting and accept what would surely be an impossible task. Call him a coward, but he didn’t care. He was a Slytherin; conniving, self-righteous, deceitful. He had no problem not having the bravery (and stupidity) that most Gryffindors possessed. At least at school he knew who he was, but even that was beginning to slip away. Because now he wasn’t just a student, he wasn’t just a Slytherin, nor was he even a Prefect. He was Head Boy, and with that title came another load of burdens and responsibilities to rest on his shoulders. Draco wondered if his metaphorical-self’s legs would give out by the sheer weight of everything by the end of the year.

Already the internal clock was ticking away at his sanity. Tick, tick, tick.

Sitting up groggily in his bed, nimble fingers reached up to rub the sleep from his eyes before getting up. With a heavy sigh, he padded into the bathroom and closed the door, hearing the locks going into place (upon his first encounter in the loo, he’d discovered that while it was occupied no one could enter) and stepping into the stone shower. Boiling hot water cascaded from the showerhead, steam filled his nostrils and cleared his mind. Draco stood there for a moment, his head ducked beneath the steady stream as his eyes were closed in thought.

The dread of the day set out before him filled every pore of his body.

***


 

Professor Binns droned on and on about the great Wizarding wars that occurred around Eastern Europe, going into detail all of the gruesome battles that occurred. He recounted tales of the Greek philosophers, Chinese alchemists, Japanese Shinto priests, and Russian magisters that dealt with those that had been exiled to the wild tundra. Really it could have been a riveting lesson, but that was not the case and Draco found himself scratching lines onto his parchment, utterly bored. An hour had passed when the door creaked opened and a tiny First year came into the classroom. Draco saw her nervous eyes dart around the room full of Seventh year Slytherins and Hufflepuffs.

The tiny girl walked towards the monotonous ghost who didn't notice her entrance and shyly gained his attention before holding up a slip of parchment. Translucent eyes looked up from the ivory paper and landed immediately on his blond head.

"Mr. Malfoy, you are needed at the Headmaster's office." he said in the same dull voice, not missing a beat before jumping back into the lecture as if nothing had occurred.

Glad to be spared from the remainder of double History of Magic, Draco packed his things as groans from the Slytherins erupted. He shot them a glare and there was instant silence. Blaise maintained his gaze before mouthing, “Lucky git."

Throwing him his trademark smirk, Draco walked briskly out of class, not wanting to be there for another moment if he could help it and ignored the lewd hand gestures that Blaise threw at him from beneath his desk.

Draco strode through the empty corridors, savoring the quiet thinking space as he made his way to Dumbledore's office. As he neared the stone gargoyle, he noticed someone else stood there. Granger. Of course. He gave her a curt nod as she murmured a succinct hello before issuing the password, the staircase wound itself upwards to the thick oak door that hid the Headmaster's office from the rest of the castle. Draco knocked once and almost immediately they were invited in by the Headmaster.

The moment he stepped into the office, Draco had maintained a steady eye-contact with the older wizard—a habit he had been taught when he was younger. It was one of the many ways that Draco liked to remain in control. However, with the looming mission hanging over his head, he felt that control waver slightly.

I’m going to destroy this place, Murmured a dark voice from the deepest crevice of his mind. It was neither a threat nor a thought of glee, merely a statement of fact. At this point it wasn’t avoidable.

"Ah, Mr. Malfoy, Miss Granger. Please take a seat." Dumbledore said; a knowing smile on his face. Draco fought the urge to scoff as he took a seat next to Granger and looked at the Headmaster expectantly.

"I’ve asked you here so that you would know that every month I will be expecting a verbal report from each of you over how things are in the castle. Tell me, how has the first two weeks of classes treated both of you since commencing?”

Like normal, Granger’s hand shot up in the air. Dumbledore gave her a smile before nodding his head and letting her speak her bit. Draco tuned out her inane chatter as she spoke on about how they had already organized the schedules for patrols, and so far how things were suited to their liking. The remainder was lost on him as he peered around the office, his gaze landing on the marvelous phoenix that sat on it’s perch proudly. When he returned his attention back to them, he noted that Granger had finished speaking and Dumbledore was looking at him expectantly.

“Basically what Granger said, scheduling patrols, going about our business, keeping up with classes.”

"I see.” Said Dumbledore. “So nothing out of normal has happened then?”

“No, sir.”

Dumbledore gave him a long look for a moment, before allowing a smile on his face. Granger, it seemed, hadn’t noticed the pointed look.

“It's come to my attention that the students have wanted some more social gatherings for the past several years. Seeing as how we are at the brink of possible war, it would be extremely difficult to create such an event. But I must say that this would also be the perfect time for all four honorable houses of Hogwarts to unite as one and stand together as a single body to show the rest of the Wizarding world that we can look past archaic prejudices and differences, which is why I have agreed to allowing this one event to take place in one month’s time during Halloween. You as Heads will be in charge of planning and organizing the event that you come up with and begin preparations after I give my approval. Don’t forget to include the Fifth and Sixth year prefects in the organizing. Are we clear?”

“Yes, sir.” Said Granger as Draco nodded silently. Wonderful, another task to take on.

“Then you are dismissed. Seeing as we have so little time in class left, why don’t you head down to your next subject?”

Both Heads agreed and walked out of the Headmaster’s office, each keeping their gaze glued ahead of them as they made their way to Ancient Runes at a leisurely pace. The silence between them was deafening and tension surged around them. Neither had spoken a word to each other since Draco had given Weasley his detention, Granger being too angry with him to even bother communicating, which he didn’t mind in the slightest. The only time they had communicated were when he’d go down to the common room to find the schedule of patrol times spell-o-taped onto his desk along with a penned note that informed him of the Prefects’ Meeting they needed to hold the following week. Other than that, she’d leave him be and Draco found more time for his thoughts to linger on the turbulent mess that was his life.

They walked for several more minutes in silence before Granger let out a breath of exasperation. Halting her steps, she grabbed hold of the sleeve of his cloak, whirling him around to face her.

“What?” he asked her, his tone cold but otherwise flat.

The fact that he didn’t snap at her for grabbing him, or make a spectacle of himself while he purged his robes of her “Mudblood Filth”; spoke volumes and only attested to the fact that he really wasn’t well. Hermione looked up into his eyes, her lips pursing slightly before she spoke.

“I know you’re going to say no, and I know that this may be odd sounding from me, but is something bothering you?”

Draco looked at her blankly for a minute before he schooled his features back to the aristocratic scowl he always wore. “No. And if there was it wouldn’t be any of your business, would it? But believe it or not, I’m not entirely surprised you asked me. You, along with Potter and Weaselbee are notorious for your inability to keep your noses out of other people’s business.”

“That’s not true! We don’t do it to be nosy; we do it to keep people we care about safe.”

Draco raised a pale brow. “Are you implying that you care for me, Granger?”

“N-No! That’s not it, I just… ugh! I’m curious alright? Curious about how you can go from that row on the first day to the incident on the second and now to this. It’s not normal for someone to act like that.” She muttered as her face turned an amusing crimson color.

“Doesn’t that make your reason for snooping void, then? You care nothing for me, just like I care nothing for you and yet here you are asking me what’s on my mind. I’ve done nothing before that would warrant this sort of worried attention from you, Granger. So the only reasonable explanation would be that you really are prying into my business since you obviously have no part in it.”

Granger glared at him for a moment before releasing his sleeve and storming off to their class, muttering obscenities as she went. A small smirk etched itself on Draco’s face but it was short-lived. With a weary sigh he stuffed his hands into his pockets and followed suit. It seemed that even making Granger’s life difficult brought no joy to him right now.

***

The exuberant chatter in the Great Hall would give one the impression that the sources of the noise were pleasantly enjoying their meal. This wasn’t entirely true. Sitting silently flanked by Crabbe and Goyle, Blaise across from him, Draco was staring desolately into his piping hot bowl of stew. Bringing another helping to his mouth, the blond was just about to take a bite when he paused and pulled back to frown dejectedly at the chopped vegetables sitting in his spoon. With a sigh, he let the helping fall back into the bowl and set his spoon atop the napkin that he had removed from his lap.

“Oi, Draco, are you alright?"

Bleak gray eyes slid up to meet the concerned frown of Blaise. It didn’t look concerned to the average eye, but having known Blaise for several years gave Draco the advantage of being able to look underneath the façade that they had always worn when around others. Really, it seemed they were only able to be themselves around each other.

“I’m fine,” replied Draco dully, his eyes sliding back to peer at the bowl before him. “Just not hungry.” He replied before getting up and walking out of the Great Hall. Draco was keenly aware that Blaise was following him with his eyes, but failed to realize that his eyes were not the only ones.

***

The wind whipped ominously that night.

Draco slipped through the shadows cast from the high towers as he approached the Forbidden Forest where the Portkey would be waiting deep in its depths. Peering down at his watch, Draco read that it was only a quarter till two in the morning. If he wanted to make it on time, he needed to get a move on and search. The lone paths were cast in a gentle glow as the lanterns burned brightly, the flicker of the flames casting odd shapes to appear on the ground. Many would have been slightly uncomfortable, but it didn’t deter Draco in the slightest.

Draco stalked on without another thought. Turning his back on Hogwarts’ silhouette, he continued down until he was well inside the Forbidden Forest. Sounds of all kinds met his ears, the growling of wild beasts and the skittering of unknown entities. He didn’t pause even for a moment, his eyes busy scanning around for the tree that had three knobs lined vertically on it’s trunk and the goblet that would be at it’s base.

After several minutes of searching, he caught sight of a faint blue glow from the corner of his eye that grew stronger and stronger as the seconds passed. Breaking into a run, he located it quickly; his fingertips barely brushed the rim as he was immediately sucked into the spiraling vortex and hauled towards Malfoy Manor.

When his feet touched solid ground again, he was standing in front of the gates of Malfoy Manor. Draco quickly walked through the gate and made his way up to the manor. The large doors opened before him as he walked through the entranceway and the sight of black marble and a hooded figure greeted him. The air was filled with hushed murmurs of the portraits that all had their eyes glued to him, some nodding in approval while others sat by idly, indifferent expressions pasted on their faces.

“Hello Father.” He nodded when Lucius removed his mask.

“Draco.” He nodded. “Come son. It is time.” He said as he led them up the staircase and to the Drawing Room.

The door to the drawing room opened and he walked before Draco in a high and dignified manner, taking his place next to Snape. The room was full of silent people standing in perfect formations off to the sides as they looked to him with varying degrees of indifference. Some, like his aunt, wore prideful smirks as they watched his ascension into the room. Draco walked forward until he was in the middle of the room. The large table that usually sat there was gone and settled a few feet from the fireplace was one of the large sitting chairs, it’s dark silhouette giving away nothing save for the red glow of Voldemort’s eyes and the pearly white glow of his head. Nagini hissed somewhere nearby and Draco noticed the reptile slithering by his feet.

“Draco,” said Voldemort, his voice deceptively soft as his lipless mouth twisted into a smirk. “Come forth.”

“Yes my Lord.” He said, taking several more paces forward until he was only but a handful of steps from Voldemort’s seat and lowering his head in a respectful bow.

“Do you know why you are here?”

“Yes my Lord. You are in need of a spy and I have been granted the honor of being chosen.” Draco said, keeping his eyes trained on the checkered marble tiles beneath him.

The drawing room immediately burst into hushed and rapid whispers. Several Death Eaters were looking from Draco to the Dark Lord, while others openly glared at what had been said, sending him their looks. Draco ignored them all as he continued facing the roaring fire, waiting for Voldemort’s confirmation. He was taken by surprise, however, when Voldemort spoke.

“That is partially true, young one. I am in need of a service, but espionage is not one of them."

At this Draco’s gaze snapped up involuntarily, his eyes meeting Voldemort’s reptilian ones. Voldemort continued without a sparing glance. “Draco. Over the span of your summer holidays you have proven yourself a worthy candidate to become a Death Eater and a large supporter of our cause, one of a rare few. You are also one of the few of your age that have the potential of becoming a great asset to me in the near future. That future, for you, is now.”

“My Lord?” Draco questioned, his eyes betraying his façade and revealing the hidden questions he had beneath. Draco shot his father a quick look and saw that he as well looked confused. This made him pull his brows together.

Something was not right. There was more to this mission than what he had been told.

A twisted smile came from a lipless mouth and Draco fought back a shudder of revulsion. He was keenly aware that everyone in the room was looking intently at him and felt his hands break out in a cold sweat. Voldemort raised his hand, wand in it, and motioned him to step forward. Draco did easily, his confident gait betraying nothing of the internal urge his body had to flee. A cold hand seized him and pulled his left sleeve up, revealing pale unblemished skin.

Before Draco could process what was happening, the tip of Voldemort’s wand touched his skin, sending a searing pain shooting through it. It was like holding it over an open flame and Draco half expected the stench of burning flesh to fill his nose.

Nothing came.

The pain was indescribable, and Draco watched with fascinated horror as black lines began appearing on his forearm. A skull first before opening it’s mouth and a serpent slithering out. When the fire vanished, Voldemort pulled his wand back, his red gaze sweeping the crowd of Death Eaters jeered and howled in approval.

“Enough!” Voldemort called, and the room fell silent in an instant. Despite the silence however, the entire room became acutely aware of what was to take place and looked far more lively than they did before Draco got the mark.

“Now, before I give you your first assignment, are you aware of the consequences should you fail?”

Draco nodded. Of course he knew, he had the scars on his back to prove it. After his father had failed to bring the prophecy, he had been the one that endured the Cruciatus Curse while his parents bore witness to it. He still had nightmares sometimes, and his mother’s cries would always haunt them as she tried to get to him frantically, only to have his father and several others hold her back. But despite the pain, Draco had preferred it be him than his mother.

“Well, let’s refresh your memory, yes? Rodolphus, would please bring in your dear sister-in-law?”

“NO!” Draco shouted, breaking his calm demeanor.

“Temper, Draco.” Voldemort tutted. “We wouldn’t want pure blood spilt tonight, do we?”

Draco fought to keep his temper in check, forcing his body to go into a rigid stature. It took all of what Draco had to stop himself from going to Rodolphus and forcing his dirty hands off of his mother. Anger boiled over in him as he watched his uncle drag her in at wandpoint, shoving her forward. Looking closer, Draco saw that she had restraints upon her wrists. He acutely felt the beginnings of fury starting to brew as Rodolphus brought her to the Dark Lord's feet and forced her upon her hands and knees, staring at the floor. It was only then did Draco realize that she was under the Imperius Curse. Draco clutched his wand tightly in his hand.

The Dark Lord took one look at her and muttered a bored Crucio, sending her screaming in agony.

Draco wheeled around to face Voldemort and he gave him another sickening smile, flicking his wand, making her hurt more. "Stop." Draco muttered, trying his hardest to keep his composure.

More agonizing screams were heard.

"Stop." he repeated, his gray eyes pleading as they darted between his writhing mother and the jovial Death Eaters. His mother's cries were becoming more gurgled as she began frothing at the mouth, her hands clutching her hair in tight fists.

"Please, stop!" Draco yelled, going over to her, trying to still her. Cackles from all the Death Eaters resonated through the stone walls, piercing his ears, raising his panic. Draco clenched his eyes tightly, feeling the magic swirling dangerously within him, much like it did back in the Muggle’s home. When Dolohov and Yaxley did things to them that had made his stomach churn and his mind grow more and more guilty with each passing second.

Their faces flashed beneath closed lids as unwanted memories he had suppressed for so long finally surfaced. The picture, the pool of blood, the pair of unseeing eyes, the house going up in flames. And now his mother was there, her body convulsing in his arms, the sound of her choking, the wet spots from her tears she left on his shirt as he clung to her.

Draco began trembling violently, his ears ringing and head pounding as blood rushed though it. He fell onto his knees, gasping for breath but refusing to let go of his mother. He felt the same pressure as before begin to build up, the same force that tried to escape him then rising now. Draco released a yell as he felt the energy around him explode like a bomb. A blinding white light lit up the room, and crashes were heard. His mother stopped thrashing immediately.

He opened gray eyes to see half of the Death Eaters sprawled on the floor, knocked unconscious. Those who were able to summon a shield looked to him in silent astonishment. His father looked as if he were going to be sick, and Snape’s eyes quickly darted to Voldemort’s. On the other side of the room, Bellatrix looked at him warily, the tip of her wand resting on her lip as she hummed thoughtfully.

When Draco finally plucked up the courage to look at Voldemort, he wasn’t sure what to expect. Anger perhaps, or mockery, but he wore neither. Instead a twisted smirk appeared on his face, his red eyes roving over Draco in dark satisfaction, as if Draco had proved his worth of something. But what, he did not know.

"You are to kill Albus Dumbledore within a year’s time." he said, Draco's eyes widened at the impossibility of his task. With his limp mother in his arms, and the exhausted state he was in after releasing all of the energy, all Draco could do was nod his acceptance.

Nothing more was said as Voldemort adjourned the meeting, the Death Eaters filing out of the room. Draco’s father quickly called forth two House Elves, ordering them to take his wife to their chambers and make sure that everything was alright before promptly following them. He slipped a note into Draco’s pocket as he did so.

Draco stood on shaky legs, a sense of vertigo sweeping over him. He was caught by steady arms and looked up to see Snape’s rigid face peering down at him. He hauled Draco roughly out of the room, walking back to the entrance and outside to the wrought-iron gates. When they had passed the safety of the fence he rounded immediately on Draco.

“Do you have any idea what you’ve done you foolish boy?!” he snarled.

Draco was conscious enough to look up at him owlishly. “Whu—?”

“Nevermind.” Snape snapped as he took hold of the goblet that lay discarded on the ground, taking them both back to the Forbidden Forest where Draco had come.

Once they arrived at the castle, Snape was quick to get into the Head’s dormitories and promptly deposited him on his bed, taking no care to remove his shoes or cloak. He walked briskly to the door before pausing a moment. He looked over his shoulder, taking in the prone form of the boy before whirling about and making his way to his own quarters. The events that had taken place within the Drawing Room a quarter of an hour ago swimming in his mind. He shook his head roughly, damning Dumbledore for putting him in this position and damning Lucius for ever having been as power-hungry as he was the time that the boy was born.

Because of you, Lucius, Draco will never live to be the same.



 

Tada! And there we have it. IF you guys are confused feel free to ask me questions either here or on my Authors Page at the forums. The link is on my summary page here.

 

 

 

For my Vets, if you recognize what's goign on with Draco, please try to refrain from tellin the Rooks and commenting about it with a review. Just go on over the forum and drop me a quick PM if you absolutely have something to say about it ^-^. You wouldn't want them to find out the big surprise so early on right? Right.

 

 

 

Now I'm off, chapter 5 is slowly crawling forth from the recesses of my mind and is in dire need of attention! Until next time.

 

 

 

xx LCF

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