The first family was easy. They didn’t struggle, too bound with terror in the face of the hooded and masked intruders to their homes. Resignation showed in the faces of the adults, and even the children looked merely solemn, the fear in their eyes burning but not hysterical. Had they expected the visit? It seemed impossible to Draco, but something in their attitudes scraped at his intuition roughly.
You’re here in the service of someone else, he reminded himself, not your own hunches.
But as they approached the second house, his doubts waxed.
Pansy felt the emptiness deeper, more profoundly at night than during the day. The night had always been her place of refuge, her home, for who was more suited to the night than a creature of the Dark? Night held promise for her: the promise of anonymity if she chose it, the promise of mystery when she wanted it, the promise of adventure when she needed it. But without Draco, the night seemed vastly more empty to her- the world so much more threatening when she was facing it alone.
He had been gone this long before, and many times, too many times, she had woken to find that he had left her in the night. She tried so hard not to hang on to him, not to ache without him, not to need him. How could he ever need her so much? He was cold, he was beautiful and untouchable and so vulnerable in so many ways that it seemed only she could see. And for all his ice, for all his frozen heartbeats, he still burned through her with every glance. And for all that she tried not to, for all that she reminded herself that she wasn’t brought up this way and that she wasn’t taught this way and that she shouldn’t be this way, she trembled with yearning for more, for him to look at her that certain way that he had, as though cutting into her and healing her at the same time.
Sometimes she wished that he wanted her the same way, and sometimes it seemed that he did- he showed her the only way he knew how. He was frost on the windows, never melting but gleaming in the candlelight until you would swear it was fire.
He could cut into her until she wanted to break, and still she wanted more.
She didn’t want to face the night. She closed the curtains and lit the lamps.
Seventeen. What an age to be.
Seventeen, and still, her dark hair curled and waved over her shoulders in the same way. Seventeen, and still, her undecided blue-green eyes stared like nighttime. Seventeen, and still, she sat straight, she spoke softly, she gazed deeply and she moved gracefully. Seventeen, and still the rain caressed the windows. What an age to be.
Her last year at Hogwarts, gone. Her future pulled at her, but she couldn’t see through the mist. Marriage, said her mother, every year since she was four. But her mother wasn’t here to tell her that now, and the war that raged somewhere beneath this rain was telling her otherwise.
Pansy looked down at her hands, splayed across the piano keys but not playing anything, soft and long-fingered but not inclined to coax any notes to break the soft monotony of rain against the roof.
She knew which side she would be on, if it came to it. Her parent’s had informed her. It wasn’t really a matter of belief, merely fact. Now that she was of age, she would likely be petitioned any day now. The Dark Lord was gaining followers, but the Aurors were still affecting the ranks, with more and more being sent to Azkaban- Nott, Avery, Malfoy. Malfoy…
The father imprisoned, and the son…
The son missing for months, not seen since the Christmas Ball.
Pansy breathed slowly, recalling the look in his eyes when he had last seen her – desperate, urgent, pleading in a way she had never imaged he could look, but his face as impassive as ever. Reading him was solving a mystery.
“Pansy,” came his voice from behind her, and her breath hitched a little. No illusion, this one- only he could say her name that way. She stiffened, listening as his footsteps crossed the room, stopping right behind her. He didn’t touch her, didn’t need to for her to feel him standing there. She turned and saw him just a foot away, his eyes blank.
“Draco,” she breathed, standing up and letting her eyes roam over him, observing his soaked robes and the tiny scar on the side of his throat that hadn’t been there when he had left. She had so many questions for him but she didn’t know how to ask, she wanted so badly to touch him but she didn’t know how to cross the distance between them. He didn’t move, and his expression didn’t change, but she could see him watching her.
“What are you doing here?” she asked, reaching for her wand and performing the drying spell that he seemed to have forgotten. He looked down at himself briefly, gave her a nod, then answered.
“You’re of age, Pansy. Its time to go.”
So He had sent him. Earlier than she had expected, but not alarmingly so.
“I’ll get dressed,” she told him, before hurrying to her closet to find her robes. She slipped out of her dark green nightdress, then emerged to find him looking out the window.
“Pans…” he said, not facing her. “Its not what we thought.”
“What do you mean?”
“It isn’t… its different, Pansy. Everything they tell you. Everything you think it will be, it never is."
Pansy looked up, shocked. “Draco…”
"But they don't ask you. No one is asking, are they?" He stared out into the rain, past her shoulder. "I'll take you now, and that will be my damnation. And yours. Of course yours."
This was so different from the Draco that had left. He was speaking to himself, it seemed, lost in thought or perhaps in memory. He was so changed that she could only watch him, wondering why she hadn’t seen it before. She didn’t know what to say.
“We have to go, Draco,” she said softly, and he turned from the window. He took her hand, preparing to Apparate.
“Happy Birthday,” he said quietly, just as they disappeared.
Pansy knew now how hard he had tried. There was nothing more that he could say, knowing her situation. And as much as she knew he was right, she was glad that she hadn’t listened, glad that she hadn’t left him.
This time, it felt right. The security was advanced- wards on all of the entrances and windows, Dark Detectors hidden in prominent places. Draco’s doubts abated slightly, this at least was a challenge. He waved his hand at Goyle, who moved in a crouch toward the front door. The tiny silver device in his hand was twitching slightly as he wound it around the doorknob. The door rattled, creaked, and finally, with a barely audible sigh, clicked open.
Draco led the way inside of the house, striding silently down long corridors. The first door on their right seemed promising, and upon entering it silently he found a bedroom occupied by a single man, looking to be perhaps Draco’s own age. He was glad they had found this room first- men his age tended to be noble and reckless, a bad combination that often led to rash actions. Moving over the bed, he pointed his wand sharply.
“Incarcerous,” he hissed, and as ropes bound him the man woke up, thrashing but silent at the gag in his mouth. His eyes fell on Draco and burned with murderous rage, but immobilized he was helpless.
The rest of the family was soon similarly bound, despite an unfortunate incident in which Goyle tripped heavily, quickly awaking the three members who had not yet been captured. After binding the frantic members of the family, Draco strode back into the hall.
“Goyle,” he hissed in a dangerous voice. “Never do that again, or I will let Crabbe use you as a battering ram again. And this time it will be a very solid door.”
He turned to Avery. “Deal with it.”
Goyle’s pained screams echoed briefly as the effects of the Cruciatus Curse took hold.
Draco paced in front of the captives.
“You are now captive under the orders of the Dark Lord,” he announced to them, the words slipping automatically from his lips. “You will obey my orders, or I will kill you. You will not attempt to escape, or I will kill you. You will not attempt to contact anyone outside this room, or I will kill you. You will remain silent. Be grateful for the Dark Lord’s mercy.”
He turned and left the room.
Pansy awoke suddenly, alone in the room and gasping. The mark on her left forearm was burning painfully, jet black against her pale skin. She grabbed her arm, biting her lip against the burning, as intense as when it was first scorched into her skin.
Pansy and Draco hurried along the corridor, he pulling her along, past torches and doorways from which faces leered. Her mind was reeling in the shock of finding him in her bedroom. They stopped outside a heavy and ornate wooden door, upon which Draco knocked three times. The door swung open slowly, and they hurried inside.
Pansy stopped short just inside the doorway, her mouth opening and her eyes wide in horror. The Dark Lord sat before her on a heavy, throne-like chair, his eyes red and gleaming, his skin pale and sickly blue. Pansy shuddered and began to tremble, but even as she unconsciously began to step back, Draco’s hand slipped into hers. His touch was not tender, but firm. The warm sensation of his skin against her, so lacking in the past months, quelled her horror and allowed her to move forward, into the light from a circle of torches.
“My Lord,” said Draco, kneeling before him (Pansy did the same). “She is here.”
“Miss Parkinson,” he said, and his voice was cold as a blast of icy wind. “Just of age, and ready to join me, I presume.”
“Yes, My Lord,” she confirmed, struggling and almost succeeding in keeping her voice from shaking.
“Are you prepared,” he said, leaning forward to stare hypnotically into her eyes, “to give up everything you have? To fight and die in my service?”
She took a moment to answer. “Yes, my Lord,” she said, unable to tear her eyes from his.
“Very well,” He said. “Draco, mark her.”
Draco rose and followed the Dark Lord’s gesture toward a side chamber. Pansy tore her eyes from the Dark Lord’s and followed, bowing as Draco had done.
They entered a small chamber, bare except for a raised stone dias surrounded by a black velvet curtain. They stepped inside the curtain and Draco swept his wand once, closing it.
A scroll hovered near the curtain, slowly unrolling as they turned to face it. It was written in Latin that Pansy didn’t understand. Draco took Pansy’s left arm, rolling back the sleeve and raising it. Pansy’s breath hitched as his fingers trailed the delicate skin of her wrist. Draco placed his wand at the middle of her forearm, the white skin there gleaming the candlelight.
“This will hurt,” he warned, and Pansy nodded.
“Vestigium Is Viscus,” he said, and Pansy gasped her skin began to burn. “Quod Redimio Lemma ut Suum Fortuna,” the flesh was turning black, twisting before her eyes, “Signum in Cruor Quod Servo Insquequo Nex.”
The mark was appearing faintly, then growing darker, burning at an excruciating intensity. Pansy gasped. A cry rose from within her, but before it could escape her lips Draco brought his mouth to hers in a crushing kiss. He held the wand steady at her arm as the burning grew, his lips searing against hers, rough and demanding. Pansy felt weak at the knees, her breath was short as he kissed her, the burning in her arm not forgotten but somehow less intense compared to this. He pushed closer to her, pulling her against him with the arm not holding his wand, but as suddenly as the pain in her arm had started it stopped. Draco broke away from her, lowering his wand. His pale cheeks were slightly flushed and his lips pink, and Pansy felt weak again just looking at him, but as he stared at the Dark Mark now charred into her skin he looked a little sick.
Write a Review Sinners: Chapter Four: So Cold it Burns