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Chapter 1: Destroyer Of Worlds
I ran down the deserted streets behind Diagon Alley. The houses, which were close together, seemed to be bending over toward me, with their windows and doors boarded-up. There was no one to call for help, nor any doors that would open to offer sanctuary. Skidding to a halt, I sunk into the safety of a shadowy doorway and pressed my back against it. Reaching out, I twisted the handle but the door was locked against me, as if to deliberately force me back out on to the street. The wand in my sleeve offered little comfort; it could not help me now. I had heard what He-Who-Cannot-Be-Named was capable of, and I had witnessed with my own eyes what his Death Eaters could do.
I closed my eyes against the darkness that surrounded me and my mind took me back to a little over two months ago. It had been a happy day for my family, or at least it had started that way, it was to be the wedding of my cousin Ravina, the first wedding in the Patil family for a generation.
The wedding ceremony was to have taken five days. My whole family had gathered at my grandmother's house, where a marquee had been set up in the garden to accommodate the 500 guests, but at the last moment by my grandmother's orders all the awnings, rugs and the brightly coloured silk and satin cushions had been taken out onto the lawn. Such a beautiful summer’s day, all the women were dressed in their finest saris, like bright exotic birds. Their plumage was a myriad of colours to rival the peacocks that ran free around my grandmother's estate. The sound of laughter drifted upwards to meet that of the songbirds, such a happy day, such warmth and sunlight and so much laughter and joy. The day had contained such hope and promise for a bright future, but now as I stood trembling with fear in the dank alley, it seemed that glorious day would be the last day of happiness that I would never know.
The war had seemed so far away, as though it couldn’t touch us here. But less than an hour into the ceremony the Death Eaters had arrived, masked and cloaked, bringing terror to my happy day. Some guests escaped running for their lives and those who could, disapparated. The bride and groom were the first to die, watched by their horrified families. My sister and I clung together, despite all our training, despite all our classes in defence against the Dark Arts; we had no chance against the many Death Eaters that surrounded us. They showed no mercy as we cowered on the ground, the screams and shrieks assaulted our ears but we could to do nothing to save our families or ourselves. Eventually only we two remained, and it was then that he spoke, sounding so utterly bored by the events of the last few minutes, the destruction of my family and the world I had always known.
"Twins I see, a Ravenclaw and a Gryffindor,” He drawled from behind his mask, a cool and lazy voice. “One must die, and the other must live to tell the tale of what happened here, to pass on the message that no Pureblood shall marry a muggle born and pollute their line and the wizarding world. You are judged by the company you keep, such actions will not be tolerated and the consequences will be the obliteration of both the muggle and the Pureblood family. So who will live and who will die, the choice is yours.”
I kissed my sister and told her I loved her, and then slowly I stood to face the man who would kill me. I told him I was ready and closed my eyes, waiting for my life to end. Eyes still closed I straightened my spine, proud despite my tears that I could show some little courage and dignity at my end, courage that clearly this man did not possess or he would not need to hide his face behind a mask whilst he completed his foul mission for his master.
I heard Parvati scream and then I felt a blow to my stomach, as I was physically jolted to the ground. All was silent as I lay there with a huge weight on my chest. When I finally opened my eyes and looked down, I discovered that the weight pinning me down was the lifeless corpse of my twin. Her eyes were open, but empty and devoid of light. Her spirit was gone and now I was utterly alone.
I was frozen in horror. Parvati, in typical Gryffindor style, had thrown herself on top of me to block the curse and save my life. I wanted to scream, I wanted to laugh, to shed a tear, but I was frozen by her lifeless stare.
The Death Eater chuckled. It was not a laugh or a scream of triumph, but merely a chuckle as if he had observed a child do something amusing. I had witnessed my family, my world destroyed, and his reaction was one of mild amusement.
“Remember, this is the fate that awaits all those that would pollute our world – we will destroy yours – remember!” He had explained, his cold silver-grey eyes flashing contempt from behind his mask as he turned and then apperated away.
The birds continued to sing and the sun continued to shine, mocking my pain. I don’t know how long I laid there clutching my sister to me until, despite the warmth of the day; I felt her body grow cold.
The sun was setting as I lit the first of their funeral pyres, and had completely set by the time I said goodbye and lit the last pyre, that of my sister. Of those that escaped the Death Eaters attack, only three dared to come to pay their respects, a distant Aunt and Uncle and one cousin. I had told the others that they would be unwelcome; I had not wanted to give the Death Eaters a second chance.
Aurors, both Indian and British stood discreetly to the back; I had no words for them, just as I had no tears for my family. I watched in silence as the flames lit the night sky and the black ashes danced upwards circling briefly before finally disappearing in-between the stars that sprinkled the inky blackness. Every second of that night imprinted itself on my mind, the stench of the incense and perfumed oils, the creak of the wood as it cracked and heaved in the intensity of the fire.
Professors Flitwick and McGonagall stood to the back. Professor Trelawney had also come, but she had to be led away in distress, so many spirits starting their journeys affected her deeply- it had been her curse that she had witnessed it all but had been powerless to prevent it. She had foreseen our deaths and I remembered her words, ‘You will see your sister pass then you will follow shortly thereafter, the fates will decide your sister’s time but you will decide your own.’ At the time, I had thought she had got it wrong – even a seer as talented as Professor Trelawney could confuse twins in a vision. To me it seemed that I had been left to the fates while my beautiful Parvati had been the one to choose her own time. Even then, I did not have the complete faith in Professor Trelawney that Parvati and Lavender had, I knew she had a natural talent, but I also realised that daily predictions were far fetched at best and fraudulent at worst, but her prediction about us – something in her voice had told me it was real. As I watched my family, my beloved Parvati, burn, I knew she had seen our future, but I believe she had confused sisters, how wrong I was!
In the days that followed, I felt numb and exhausted. I would lay there on my bed in my Grandmothers house, unable to sleep but unwilling to move. Eventually the tears came and I cried for a whole night and a whole day. Professor Flitwick had begged me to return to Hogwarts, he had talked and talked, just words, nothing but words that meant so little to me. Finally, the tears slowed and I slept and with sleep came dreams and nightmares and out of that emerged my plans for a future for myself. Something of what Professor Flitwick had said must have sunk in. ‘Live to fight another day, in living there will be a chance to avenge their deaths. Do not let her have sacrificed her life in vain.’ Of course, I was now of age and Professor Flitwick could not have forced me to return, so I told him to go, but promised to follow once I had done what I needed to do.
Now I was back in London, and running for my life. What madness had led me to believe that I could pull this off, following Death Eaters into the backstreets around Diagon Alley, only for them to have turned the tables? Now, they were following me, hunting me down like a wounded animal that needed to be put out of her misery. They thought me defective because I cared for muggles and muggle-borns, and therefore to their minds I was better off dead. As far as they were concerned, I had already served my purpose by relating the tale of my cousin’s wedding day to the wizarding world, that done, they were happy to eliminate me.
In my fear, my senses seemed heightened, every noise made me - jump the rustle of papers blowing down the street sent shivers down my spine, the scuttling feet of the rats that ran in and out of the gutters grated on my nerves like nails down a blackboard, setting my teeth on edge.
I could hear the voices of my hunters just around the corner, not the hushed whispers of those hiding in the shadows but the hue and cry of those who would openly pursue their victim, safe in the knowledge that they were the righteous protectors of wizard kind. They were splitting up – now was my chance.
Most were heading away, only one coming my way, I had to move now if I was to complete my mission and not fall victim to the Death Eater behind me. I must not fail, I could not fail; I owed it to my family to survive this night and to avenge their deaths.
Swallowing my fear like burning bile, I pushed away from the doorway and started to run. I could hear him behind me. A man, with my sharpened awareness I could tell by his footfall, a calm stride gaining on me no matter how fast I ran. Despite the stench of the filthy street, I could almost smell his excitement at the prospect of taking my life. I refused to give him that satisfaction, they had taken everything from me, and I would allow them no more.
Coming to a fork in the narrow road, I turned and turned again trying desperately to get my bearings. Lavender, Parvati, and I had been lost here last year but it had been daytime and the streets were not so scary in their company, and at that time we had that feeling of immortality that only the young and naïve can possess, tonight I felt neither. I glanced quickly up at the sky, the stars could lead my way, but the irony of my situation was that it was my tolerance of muggles that had led me here, but it was the muggle street lighting that had tinged the black of the night sky with orange and blocked the stars that could lead my way. If only I could see the stars, I would know my way, my love of astrology had nurtured a love of astronomy and I knew the stars well, but on this night of all nights, even they had deserted me. Professor Trelawney had foreseen my death, but had she seen this?
Panic flooded back, for a bad decision now would cost me dearly. One way would head back towards Knockturn Alley and then to the safety of Diagon Alley; the other way to a dead end and aptly enough death. I let out a snort of laughter in my anxiety.
Taking a chance, I chose the left fork in the road, but in those few seconds of hesitation he had gained on me.
It was the dead end; I was trapped by high railings in front of me, more boarded up widows to the right and to the left of me. In a futile gesture born of desperation, I grabbed at the bars and try to shake them. I turned, but I was too late to change paths now, the Death Eater stood just a few yards away his wand already in his hand.
“Nowhere to run little girl,” drawled the man. I recognised his voice; this was the same man that had demanded us to choose, the man that had taken my beloved Parvati’s life.
A cloud moved at that moment, bathing me in bright moonlight.
“Ah Miss Padma Patil, how nice to see you again” he drawled. “But why so pale my dear you should have a healthy glow after your family holiday in India.” He laughed at his own joke as if he were at some inane social function rather than trapping his prey in a derelict alleyway about to take her life.
I tried to dodge to the left and he stepped to the side to block my path, I tried to dash to the right, again he matched my movement cutting me off again. I knew it was hopeless but felt I had to put on a show for the Death Eater.
“My dear Miss Patil I am hardly dressed for dancing – Avada Kedavra!”
I saw the green light flash from his wand; I watched it as it flew towards me like a green streak of lightening splitting the air as it went. I heard it crackling and spitting its way towards me. Time had slowed, allowing me to witness every detail of the curse but I too had slowed, it seemed as if it should be a simple thing to just step to one side and let the curse pass me by, but I simply couldn’t move. As hard as I tried my feet were rooted to the spot….until the curse hit me squarely in the chest.
As I hit the ground, thrown there by the force of the curse, my eyes closed and I felt my spirit soar. For a brief moment, I felt more alive than I had ever felt before. I could hear the Death Eater approach me, I could hear his heart beat and yet I could not hear my own. He reached down to check my pulse – there was none. I felt rather than saw his satisfied smile.
In a movement born of preternatural strength and agility, I took the man in my embrace, as if he were my lover, and pulled him down into my lap. Holding him tightly but tenderly I sealed my lips around a sensitive spot on his throat and clenched my teeth through his skin, cutting through to his jugular. The scent of his expensive and delicious cologne was overwhelmed by his precious and delectable life’s blood; ironically enough, the blood he had valued so highly was his gift to me.
He was my first, my lover for the night, I would remember him forever, and I savoured his taste. As his blood warmed my cold mouth and throat, I could feel his life coursing through my veins now, – it was exquisite.
Pulling back slightly as I felt his heart begin to slow, I pushed his mask off and allowed my lips to trail slowly towards his mouth to kiss him gently, wondering how it must feel to taste your own blood on your lover’s lips.
I shifted slightly to cradle my new lover in my arms more securely, and for the first time to take a truly good look at him – my beautiful one night stand. Silver-grey eyes looked at me in bewilderment as I stroked his cheek and smoothed his white-blond hair from his eyes.
“Why, Lucius Malfoy, you look so confused, didn’t you realise that you can’t take a vampire’s life with an Avada Kedavra? We have no life to take.” I smiled at my new lover indulgently. It was a wonderful moment, like meeting your blind date and finding that he was the most beautiful man you had ever seen.
In that moment I loved him completely, he was so beautiful, so pale and fragile. He had little blood left in him, out of love, I must work fast and explain why I had done this to him and that he would be immortal now. I would not turn him of course, he would not want my blood, tainted as it now was by that of my vampire sire, but still he would live in my memory forever and that was immortality of a kind. My thoughts were interrupted by a whimper from my beautiful lover; he had not the strength to scream.
“Shush now my love,” I crooned softly as if to a child. “Lucius, you still look confused, let me explain. You think of me as the Ravenclaw twin, a Hogwarts student, at school with your son, and a member of a family that doesn’t fit in with your Dark Lord’s view of the world, but I am so much more, or at least I was. I felt so very lost.”
I caressed his face, so smooth and soft, now cool under my fingers. He was struggling to stay focused now, as he knew his life was coming to an end. I paused to lick his neck, he was so weak now that I could take no more blood, at least not yet, but I could not resist that dark longing for just a small taste, its metallic sweetness sending shudders of excitement through me.
“Ah sweet Lucius, it was then I thought of my mentor, the great seer Sybil Trelawney. She had told me of her prophecy about Harry, that he will face your master. I believe Harry shall win, but then what of the Death Eaters - who will see to them?” Lucius gave a strangled gurgle and I placed one finger gently against his lips to quiet him. “Of course she knew of the prophecy, it was hers after all, my love. It was then that I thought of my mentor’s prophecy about Parvati and me. She had told me that Parvati’s time to die was chosen by fate and you were that fate my love, and I, I would choose my own time to die.”
I paused as I thought of the night I gave myself to my sire and the complex charms and magical contracts I had to complete to ensure the vampire would bring me back and that I would retain my purpose in doing so.
“Yes, my love, I gave myself willingly to that vampire, but I was not a Ravenclaw for nothing - I had planned it all, I knew what I was doing.”
Lucius coughed as he tried to speak and I knew what he was trying to say, I knew him by his blood and I knew him well. I smiled at my beautiful Lucius, he knew that he was a hair’s breath from death and yet he wished to threaten me, even now he wanted to try to scare me.
“No, my love, no. I had thought of that, and that is why no one will ever find out what has happened to you. You will simply disappear, I cannot leave your body for others to find. You wanted publicity when you killed my family – I want none. We cannot have the other Death Eaters find out, that’s part of the plan, you see.”
He didn’t see of course, so used to being the centre of attention, he couldn’t conceive of any one doing what I was about to do.
“Oh my Love, you will disappear, Narcissa will eventually find out.” Lucius began a feeble struggle at the sound of his wife’s name, but he was no match for me now. “But only in the moments that she lays dying in my arms, then Draco. Oh yes, I know where he is, Snape could not hide him for long. One by one, they’ll all go, all your bloodline. I’m going to kill them all; I won’t leave a single one. In a few years no one will even remember your name. I’m going to destroy your world.”
There was panic in his eyes now, finally he understood and it horrified him more than his own impending death.
“You see if a person is, oh how did you put it, ‘defined by the company they keep?’ To others, I was a beloved daughter, treasured granddaughter, favourite cousin, a valued friend and of course the other part of my sisters soul. You are right Lucius, you are defined by the company you keep, by your relationships with those around you. And you see my love, that was my problem, if you are defined by those around you – who was I? You had taken them all away; can you be a twin if you are on your own, a daughter if you have no mother? A granddaughter if your grandmother is dead? You had taken them from me, you had destroyed my world, and I didn’t know who I was without them, so I had to find a new identity. You destroyed my world, my identity, but in doing so, you gave me a new one to take its place.”
At that moment, I knew that he was approaching his last breath. It had been a brief but beautiful love affair. I stood up and lifted him in my arms, I would take him somewhere he would never be found, my beautiful lover, mine now, and mine alone for all eternity.
“I am become Death, Destroyer of Worlds!”
A big thank you to Madame for the great beta job she did for me.
Hue and Cry - Hue and cry is an expression that used to mean all the people who joined in chasing a criminal or villain. Nowadays, if you do something without hue and cry, you do it discreetly and without drawing attention.
I’m told it’s not a common expression the other side of the pond ;)
Padma = Sanskrit for "lotus"
Parvati = the name of a Hindu goddess, the consort of Shiva
Patil = a Hindi term used in central and southern India to refer to the head of a village
The Bhagavad-Gita is the best known and most widely read Hindu religious text in the Western world. It considers social and religious duty, the nature of sacrifice, the nature of action, the means to liberation, and the relationship of human beings to God. It culminates in an awe-inspiring vision of Krishna as God omnipotent, disposer and destroyer of the universe.
The Bhagavad-Gita verse is as follows:
kalo 'smi loka-ksaya-krt pravrddho
lokan samahartum iha pravrttah
rte 'pi tvam na bhavisyanti sarve
ye 'vasthitah pratyanikesu yodhah
If the radiance of a thousand suns
Were to burst at once into the sky
That would be like the splendour of the Mighty one ...
I am become Death, [Shiva]
The destroyer of Worlds.
"...now I am become Death [Shiva], the destroyer of worlds..." was quoted by Physicist Robert Oppenheimer, the Supervising Scientist of the Manhattan Project on 16 July 1945 at 0529 HRS, in the Jornada del Muerto desert near the Trinity site in the White Sands Missile Range when he witnessed the first atomic detonation by mankind.