Chapter 1 : The Way Things Appear--Edited, so please re-read
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When I heard the prophecy, I knew that it was my chance, my big chance. Quite possibly my last chance. It was all ironic, really. My life has been little but irony.
My home life was never good to start out with. Why my Pureblood mother deigned to marry a Muggle, I never knew. Perhaps I was the only one that ever found her beautiful, but I knew that she could have done better than my father. I never knew why she allowed him to trample all over her, why she allowed him to treat her as she did. She was greater than he. I asked her why she had married him once, and all she told me was that she wanted to escape the society of Pureblood, where her every action was dictated. I understood the lack of control she must have felt, but it was still my opinion that she had only traded one misery for another. I loved my mother, and I hated her. Because my father was not even a Mudblood, I had no right to the society that my mother had escaped from. When I got to Hogwarts, therefore, I called myself a Pureblood and no one questioned it. I found myself a small group of friends, basically a group of students with Pureblood but little family wealth. Do you begin to see the irony yet?
And then I saw her, I saw Lily Evans. A fiery redhead with a heart that showed such kindness it astounded me. Even when I looked at myself in the mirror, my pitiful, greasy-haired self, I could still imagine her accepting me as I was...until I remembered my mother's prison. Yes, that is what I called it, my mother's prison. Trapped as I was behind the prison I had fashioned for myself, I could not approach this fiery angel as she was a Gryffindor and worse yet, had no magical family whatsoever. And so I watched her, and so I chose the coward's way out.
I remember one day, in particular, that I was a coward. I was cornered by Potter and his cronies one day, hanging in the air with my underwear showing no less, and Lily showed up. She spoke up in my defense, and I was angered because one of my favorite fantasies was me rescuing her as a knight of old would rescue a damsel in distress. This situation didn't fit that. Potter then offered to leave me alone forever if she would go out with him, and I hated him for it. Unlike me, Potter was handsome, popular, and even in Lily's house...he had the chance with her that I knew that I would never have. And I hated him for it. She refused and unleashed her temper on Potter, still fighting for me, and I called her a Mudblood. And I hated myself for it. I hated myself because I had never been able to stand up for myself or anything I believed in, I hated myself because I was a coward. I hated it because I knew Lily would have an arrogant git before she would have a coward.
I enjoyed watching Lily reject Potter. I relished in it, and everyone thought that I did so because I hated Potter. Well, I did, but the reason I watched with such glee was because I could still dream that some magical twist of fate would give her to me. But then one day, Potter's ego deflated, Lily stopped resisting him, and I was crushed. Knowing that i could not win, I surrendered without fighting. Perhaps it was too late to fight, like I told myself. Perhaps this was the reward for my cowardliness.
I watched their wedding from the bushes, unnoticed. I couldn't help but wonder if she had ever felt anything for me at all. Pity perhaps, but she had never smiled at me the way she was smiling at Potter that day. When I could not watch anymore, I left. Then, I resigned myself to my mother's prison hoping to find comfort with the cellmates I called my friends, and tried to forget the angel of fire.
The Dark Lord was rising. He was rising even while I was in the safe confines of Hogwarts, he was gathering followers and causing terror. My group of prisoners was not the first group to be taken in by him, but nonetheless, there we were, standing in a circle around the Dark Lord, ready to do his will. The Dark Lord seeks to use each that follow him to the best advantage. Once again, I found that in the pursuit of control I became controlled. The Dark Lord used us, tended us, and treated us as any craftsman would his tools. That's all I was, a tool in the hands of its master. A tool does not get any respect from its owner.
Soon, he decided what it was that he intended to do with me. I was to seek a teaching position at Hogwarts, and become a spy for him. I had a natural talent for hiding what I wished, and I mastered Occlumency quickly. The Dark Lord trusted me, and this may have been his first mistake. He could feel the bitterness, the hate, the desire for control and he misinterpreted it completely. He thought my circumstances had made me bitter, when I had done that to myself. He thought that I hated his enemies when what I hated the most was myself, and mistook my desire for control as power-lust. Undetectable to even myself, I had not totally forgotten the angel of fire. It wasn't long before I remembered her.
I saw her one day...on a cold, wet, Halloween day. It was only from a distance in Hogsmeade, but I could tell that she looked...older. She looked worried about something, as if she was carrying the weight of the world on her shoulders. Just when it occurred to me to wonder where Potter had gone, he returned to her side for wherever he had been. She smiled up at him, her face once again glowing with the spark I had always associated with her. It was with her still in my mind that I entered the Hog's Head that evening.
I had heard that Dumbledore had come to hire a Divination teacher. Although I hated Divination, I went nonetheless. I had been ordered to find a teaching position, and find one I would. Defense Against the Dark Arts would be better, I thought. I had always been attracted to them, thought I did not know if it was because the defense against them would distance myself from the name 'coward' or if it was because I longed to use them to gain a control over my life that I had yet to find.
At any rate, I saw Dumbledore going into a room, and I stationed myself by the door to wait. And then I heard it, a throaty voice predicting the birth of a child that could defeat the Dark Lord, and in that moment, I had power. What else is power but the ability to make a choice? And then I was caught, the door opened and they saw me, and the wizard with the power to decide the fate of the magical world was unceremoniously thrown out of a dingy bar.
I laughed as I ran, not thinking to disapparate. I could say nothing, but that would benefit no one. I could tell my master everything, and he could destroy the only one with the power to destroy him before the child grew into a true threat. Or, I could tell my master only the first part, the part that showed that he was in danger. Without the full knowledge of the prophecy, I had little doubt that my master would mark his equal, and give those that opposed him their champion.
If this champion succeeded, I would be free. Not only would I be free, but since I had caused Voldemort to choose the champion to stand against him I would be partially responsible for his fall. I would be a hero, and I would be free of any prison I had ever been in. And so I apparated back to my master, and told him only the first part. And then I learned the truth of the Law of Unintended Consequences. My master was after the Longbottoms--whom I neither knew nor cared about--and the Potters. I had put Lily in mortal danger.
This was about the time that my master remembered his idea of me spying on Dumbledore and decided that although I had been rightly distracted from that pursuit, it was time to take it up again. And then, with nothing else I could do, I told Dumbledore about what I had done. He gave me a second chance, and in return I worked as the Potions master. With my help, Dumbledore was able to thwart six attempts on the lives of the two couples, three apiece. For whatever reason, the Dark Lord changed his mind about the Longbottoms and decided to focus on the Potters.
Before I knew it, Lily was dead, and again I had reason to hate Potter, but could I have defended the fiery angel any better than he had in the end? Would I have been able to do anything besides die with her?
And the years continued to pass, and I found a miniature Potter sitting in my class, just as saucy as his father was...but he had his mother's eyes. Vibrant green, almond shaped eyes. Whatever power that controlled fate never had any mercy for me. He had Lily's eyes, so I could not abandon him; the boy looked like James Potter in all other respects, so I could not help but hate him. Yet, I realized that it was because of me that he sat there, a scared as he was. It was because of me that his mother had not kissed him goodbye before sending him to school, as so many mothers had done before leaving the platform 9 & 3/4. And once again, I hated myself. In trying to escape the prison I built for myself, I had destroyed the angel of fire, and I had laid the greatest burden the wizarding world had to offer upon her son. I wonder, sometimes, if it would have been better had I kept my mouth shut...but then would the world have no savior at all?
I half hope that she can't see what is happening, she would hate me.
And now, once again, I am in the presence of my enemies and am calling them my friends while those that are my friends would kill me even as I continue to send them vital information. And once again, I see a chance, but it is the chance of another.
Young Malfoy is in his prison, one that he had built for himself. And there is an angel, albeit not one with the fire-hair that mine had. She is a darker angel, one more suited to a perch in a library than one in the sunshine. The Dark Lord believes young Malfoy will be able use her to garner information, but I know better. I know that even as she gives in to him, that she will take in return. Young Malfoy will loose, even as he wins. It is the way of things. It is the irony they call love.
This is why I have not told the Order to beware of the spy in their midst. He needs a little time to learn what I know, to become what I was meant to be but never became. I think that I understand, now, why some parents push their children so hard. They believe that the success of their offspring vindicates them in some way. It is illogical, but there it is; it is irony, but that is how it always was.
On the night of Dumbledore's death….
It was a fairly quite night at the Malfoy Manor, until a blond young man apparated just outside and ran into the house. He was gasping for breath as he ran around searching the rooms. Finally, in the sitting room, he found his mother.
Narcissa Malfoy looked up from the book she was reading by the fire to see who the intruder was, and gasped. Draco knew that he was probably a site. His clothes were stained by dirt and vegetation from the times he had fallen, his hair was messed from running, he could feel sweat running down his face and back, and there was a very real fear revealed in his face. He had every reason to feel fear.
"Draco!" his mother gasped. "What…did you…what happened!?"
"I failed, and he isn't happy with me. We're leaving," he answered.
His mother turned white as her mind processed this information. "But…we can't run. They'll catch us!"
"Not if we're already dead," he answered, rolling back his sleeve. An unspoken spell withdrew blood from his arm and formed a red globe in the air. "Now, hold still for a second," Draco said, performing the same spell to remove some of his mother's blood.
"The short version is that I couldn't do it, so Snape did," he said, explaining. "We got back to headquarters, and the Dark Lord questioned Snape and I about what happened. He was pleased with Snape for killing Dumbledore, but he was angry with me for failing. I did manage to disarm Dumbledore, so I wasn't killed on the spot. After I left to the other room, he talked to Snape for a minute, and then called me back in. He said that I should come back and get you because the Order knows that I almost killed Dumbledore and might come after you. After he left, Snape told me that the Dark Lord plans to punish me by killing you and me when we get back to headquarters, and I believe him. We're going, just as soon as I can fake a murder scene so the Dark Lord will think that the Order did get to us, but of course I'll be leaving the Dark Mark to make it look like the Death Eaters did it."
This was one occasion where the truth would be much stranger than the lie that would be told. The truth of the situation would be so bizarre, anyone merely looking at the facts that appeared on the surface would assume that the lie was true.
"What do I need to do?" she asked, only barley wincing as blood floated from her arm.
"Get a few sacks of gold, and come right back down here. I should be finished in a few moments," he said, finishing with the blood. As soon as his mother left the room, he set about destroying the parlor.
He sighed, throwing curses around the elegantly decorated parlor. This was his last chance, and he couldn't tell his mother the truth about the situation. In reality, the Dark Lord wasn't out to kill him…yet. Upon hearing about the offer that Dumbledore had given him while he and Snape had been explaining to the Dark Lord what had happened, Snape had gotten the idea that this was too good of an opportunity to miss, and that Draco should take whoever succeeded Dumbledore up on the offer and become the new spy in the Order. Snape guessed that Potter had overheard the whole thing and so would carry out Dumbledore's proposal, so it was worth trying.
Draco was sure that the Dark Lord had intended to kill him as soon as he found out that Snape had been the one to kill Dumbledore, and had chosen to go forward with Snape's idea only because it was more practical than simply killing him on the spot. If he could make himself useful as a spy, everything would be forgiven. After all, he was credited with fighting Dumbledore until he was weak and then disarming him. However, if he wasn't useful…. The Dark Lord had made it very clear that this was his last chance.
Draco had then been ordered to fake his and his mother's deaths, so both the Death Eaters and the wizarding world think them dead, and then to throw himself on the mercy of the Order. While the very idea of throwing himself at Potter's mercy was repugnant, he knew that if he did not, he and his mother would be dead within a few months, no matter how hard they ran. Oh, and he couldn't tell his mother what was really going on. She would be more convincing if she thought that the Order taking them in really was their only hope of survival, which in a way, it was.
When his mother returned several minutes later, he wordlessly took the smallest sack she had, and dropped it on the floor. In moments, he was finished spraying the blood everywhere, and added a few particularly large holes. Nodding, satisfied with his work, they went outside only long enough to leave a Dark Mark in the sky, and then disapparated.
Less than fifteen minutes later, Bellatrix Lestrange apparated outside the Malfoy Manor. Silently cursing herself for not remembering that there was a shrub there now, she crawled out of it, brushing sticks out of her robes. If it wasn't for that sensor, she could simply apparate inside the mansion, but in order to get around it she had to start from outside the house.
She had been sent by the Dark Lord to see what was keeping her sister and nephew. They should have arrived back at headquarters by now. She supposed that her sister had wanted to pack first, but she had hoped that her nephew had the sense to override his mother. If the Order decided that it wanted a quick retribution, they had to be out of the Manor within the hour, at the very least.
Bellatrix stopped grumbling as she looked up into the sky and saw the Dark Mark hanging there. Something was not right. She hurried into the mansion, regardless of the sensor she knew the Ministry had put into place to notify them of the presence of any known Death Eater, and soon found the parlor. The furniture was overturned, the pieces that hadn't been almost completely destroyed, and the room was littered with papers, splinters, and ash. The walls were blackened in many places, and a coppery smell hung in the air. There were two rather large holes, where whatever had once occupied the spaces had been totally consumed by the curse that had caused the damage. And then there was the blood. It was everywhere, and still fresh. It did not take much logic to figure out that whomever it belonged to was dead.
A quick spell confirmed that the blood had belonged to her sister and nephew. For a few seconds, Bellatrix stood there, shocked. Snape's intuition had been right; the Order had acted for vengeance, and then, of course, blamed the Death Eaters.
'They will pay for this,' she thought, anger coursing through her veins. 'Oh yes, they will pay. They will pay in oceans of blood!'
Without doing another thing, Bellatrix disapparated from where she stood, back to headquarters.
Oh yes, they would pay.