Draco woke with a start feeling for all the world as his face had been used as one of the practice targets he’d used recently in Defense against the Dark Arts class. His head swam and his body ached with a soreness that told him he’d been lying on the cold floor for quite a while. He shifted his wait around letting out a slow moan and blearily tried to focus as the world came into view. But before he could make out more than dark, stone walls and burning green torches that cast the surrounding area in sickening mossy glow, two sets of large calloused hands appeared before his line of vision roughly grabbing him under the arms shoving him to his knees. With a rush of adrenaline he grunted and twisted and turned trying to find any position he could to gain the upper hand and slither away from his captors, scraping his knees on the cold granite floor in the process and ending up with nothing more than a slap in the face for his troubles. Draco’s head snapped backwards and his mind reeled. Who would dare treat him in such a way? “Don’t move, boy,” a thick and slow voice oozed from behind as he felt his arms snap back behind him. He tried once more to wriggle his lithe form out from their grasp, “Get off me! What is the meaning of thi…” “Crucio!” Pain, pain beyond reasoning, pain beyond anything he’d ever felt before tore through his body sending screams of unadulterated agony bellowing from his thin, pale lips. Draco kicked and writhed on the floor of the chamber feeling and thinking of nothing more than the tips of every nerve ending in his body exploding with fire. And just as suddenly as it had come, it was gone. Draco slumped forward on to his hands and knees shivering from the aftershock and retching bile all over the ground. “The great aristocratic son of Lucius Malfoy isn’t so great now, is he?” a slow and stupid voice laughed behind him. The same overgrown hand grabbed him from behind again tying his hands behind his back. This time Draco did not protest, he merely winced and groaned as his aching body was shoved this way and that send his frayed nerves alight with vigor. Finally, the hands gratefully moved away and Draco took a slow steady breath to calm himself looking toward the floor. Two sets of overlarge feet stood in front of him, and he knew in the pit of his stomach why he had been subjected to such torture. Draco took a moment to gather his wits and raised his head defiantly. “Mr. Crabbe, Mr. Goyle,” he sneered looking through the masks at the elder henchmen superiorly as though it were any day at the manor and they were still too inferior to be invited into his mothers dining room. “I was under the impression I was here at the request of the Dark Lord, when are we too acquainted?” The pair had the audacity to look stunned at such a statement. Clearly hoping for some sort of outburst from the younger Malfoy, but he wasn’t about to give them the satisfaction; on bended knee or no. “Well?” he asked expectantly almost daring them to say something stupid. Not that he could do much of anything with his hands tied and his wand who-knows-where, but his father had taught him well how mind games could work on the weak. Crabbe and Goyle merely started at him for a moment and then looked at each other and shrugged. “The Dark Lord will be with you soon,” the man to his right who he recognised as Goyle Sr. mumbled as if he was confused. The pair walked around Draco one of them shooting a half witted attempt at ‘Evenceo’ at the pile of sick and could be heard lumbering out of the chamber shutting a door with a definite clang. Draco spun around as quickly as his weakened body would let him still clinging to the memory of the Cruciatus curse; and in the moment before his blood ran cold at the sight of the bars of the door to the crude cell he now realized he was in, he wondered exactly how two idiots could cast such a flawless unforgivable but could barely manage a simple banishing charm. The Slytherin stared dumbly at the door for a moment before catching himself and replacing the look with one of indifference. Appearances must be kept after all. Draco looked around the chilly cell looking for anything that would get and rough ropes from around his wrists. His father, despite his protests Draco not join his world would be absolutely furious with the junior Malfoy if he met his Master of the first time like nothing more than a common prisoner. No, Lucius would not be pleased at all. But all though the walls were coarse and would do well to file Draco precisely trimmed finger nails there were no sharp edges in which to break apart the insufferable ropes and free him from his bindings. The few sparse green torches were too high upon the wall and a small, bare cot haphazardly secured to the wall yielded nothing of use either. He dared not go near the hole in he floor on the other side of the small cell knowing full well he would find nothing of use in it, judging by the stench. Draco lowered his tender body down on the filthy cot and nearly growled at the humility of it all. Taken forcibly, barely lifting his wand to protect himself, being sick and shaking like a child at a simple pain curse. A curse no less provided by his father’s goons! He would have some questions to answer, he was sure. The disappointment he could already see in his father’s eyes flashed before him, and it made him feel as though he’d been kicked repeatedly in the stomach as if he were involved in some Muggle duel. Draco decided to put his upset and disgust at the situation aside for the moment and try to figure his way out of the bindings. It would do no good at the moment to sit and stew. His father had told him on more than one occasion that the Dark Lord could sense things in others, and the thought of the Dark Lord sensing him pouting made his skin crawl. Surprisingly, the ropes took little effort to come apart and free his arms. Draco thought he should have known better than to think that the two buffoons could tie a decent knot with out their horribly inept magic to help them. Which lead him to wonder, why exactly would the Dark Lord sent those two in particular to do the job? Draco could find no answer that suited the situation figuring that it must be a test of some sort. He picked himself off the cot and attempted to dust his robes free of debris and of his worries. Despite his dire surroundings he was here at the request of the Dark Lord, the most powerful wizard in existence: the one who would conquer, the one who would prevail. And if he had his way, Draco would be by his side as his father had done for so many years before him. And if the Dark Lord chooses this as a place to meet, then so be it. The momentary inconvenience would be well worth the reward. And what a reward it would be, he thought to himself with self-satisfied smirk. Though his mother and father demanded that he wait until after his schooling at Hogwarts was over until he became skilled in the fine and precise magic of the Dark Arts, at every opportunity he would eavesdrop on his fathers conversations hoping for any small hint of wisdom he could add to his small, but ever growing arsenal of dark magical knowledge. By joining the Dark Lord he would no longer have to wait. He would no longer have to be patient. The Dark lord would show him true power, something he’d long desired for, and the only thing he’d ever been denied. Finally, his time had come, and the power he felt he lacked would soon be remedied. He allowed himself another smile and brushed off his robes some more and adjusting them as befitted his station in preparation for his meeting. The conversation between his father and young recruit Draco did not recognize in the parlor of the Malfoy estate the summer before last played itself out in his mind. “In his presence you must focus, you must be mindful of his mood, his speech, his stature. You must be humble and serve him in anyway he wishes- for if you do you will earn a place by his side and on his lips as we move forward into the new world he has envisioned. A world were wizards regain and mudbloods and muggles are put in their rightful place- beneath our feet.” “How very accurate your father is, young Draco. How very precise-” Before he spun himself around to face the Dark Lord, his future master, he could feel the power and aura of greatness behind his back that sent a chill and longing up and down the length of his spine. The look of the man before him now however was not what he envisioned. Truthfully the shock of such a horrid creature was a memory he would never be able to erase from his mind and he was sure it wore plainly on his face. Draco gulped, suppressing a small shudder. The Dark Lord grinned managing to narrow his slit like eyes even further. “My Lord,” Draco pronounced, dropping to his knees prostrating himself in the manner in which his father had instructed the young recruit to do. “You are not my servant yet, young Draco,” the Dark Lord declared, “I do not require such displays from you just yet –Though I can already see that your loyalties will be as great as your father’s – of that I have no doubt,” he said menacingly. “Rise, we have much to discuss you and I.” Draco raised his head with his heart in his throat, standing deftly, waiting quietly, alertly for the Dark Lord to begin. The Dark Lord however had other plans. He stood very still for sometime looking at nothing but one of the green torches bracketed on the wall. Patience was not something Draco had in any quantity. Indeed it had run out making his arms itch with anticipation with in the first few moments after the Dark Lord declare his intentions to converse. But he dared not move, dared not show anything but unwavering loyalty and attention to the powerful wizard while his mouth ran dry and his stomach lurched to and fro. Minutes or maybe even what Draco felt like hours passed before the Dark Lord turned his attentions from the fire and back to the young Slytherin. Appraising the scared but tempered youth with cold, merciless red eyes. He walked once slowly around the cell, his boots clicking loudly against the stone floor causing Draco jump with ever step. Draco thought he couldn’t stand this sort of torture much longer. While his very bones chilled with every step the power he could feel intoxicated him with a sort of madness that made him think he would do anything or this creature. Anything for the sort of power he craved. The Dark Lord stopped before him once more and grinned peering into Draco’s eyes, and Draco knew that which his father had often talked about, had often commented on. That the Dark Lord could see in to you very soul. “You are much more like you father than you should give yourself credit for, Draco. Indeed, I stand before you impressed that he would give his seed to and rear someone so much like himself. And I know now why wanted to keep you from my circle,” he said raising a long bony finger to his lips and taping them thoughtfully. “Why indeed.” “You already know why you are here. You’re father’s blunder last June, of course-” he cut off abruptly, leaving his disgust at the matter hanging in the air like some horrible dark cloud. He turned his head ever so slightly, an abrupt sinister smile crept along the length of his thin lips, and he said, “But you shall be his penance. His worst fear comes to pass.” Draco’s eyes nearly bulged out of his head and he swallowed once more as the Dark Lord glided toward him swiftly, unsheathing his wand. “Kneel.” Draco didn’t hesitate, he kneeled at once feeling torn one way and the other, between his father’s wishes and his own desires but he knew which choice he had to make- he only hoped that one day his father and mother would forgive him. “Do you wish to join me? Do you wish to wear the mark and stand at my side? Will you do everything I say without a second thought and do what is needed to win?” “Yes,” Draco replied in barely a whisper, and he closed his eyes as the cold white hand took a hold of his own, pulling his arm forward and whispering the incantation that would forever change him. And as his arm burned with a heat so intense that he thought his very skin would melt, he heard the Dark Lord whisper in his ear through his screams: “You are your father’s son.”
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