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Chapter 163 : The Fall
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The tiny room suffocated me with its darkness and with every explosion echoing loudly from beyond it, I inched closer into the corner. I should be used to this by now – the darkness – this is what it was like in Azkaban, but no, not with him standing in the middle of the room with his back to me. He made the experience, dare I say, more terrifying. Were I in a better place, I would scoff at my admission of fear; I was too arrogant to suggest such things existed within me. But that was a long time ago, a time when there was nothing for me or anyone else to fear; a time when he did not exist.
Out of my one functioning eye, I saw the figure in front of me shift and I stiffened. He had summoned me here a while ago to give a report of the battle beyond the confines of these four walls but said nothing more. He didn’t even ask me to leave. I didn’t know which of those I should be wearier about especially since I had nothing to protect me but my two scarred, calloused hands.
It wasn’t always like this. I wasn’t used to cowering in a corner, not knowing what dangers lay ahead of me. For thirteen years, the most I worried about was whether my work would go through or what I should get my son for his birthday. Little trivial things, almost.
Then he returned. For thirteen years, the mark on my forearm was pale but now its blackness glistens menacingly every day. Every day where I lived in fear. The life of comfort and ease I had was snatched away in one night. Everyone expected that we who carry this curse would welcome our so called master with open arms; however that was not the case. It’s what happens when the puppets get a taste of freedom without the master...they never want to return.
It wasn’t the same as when I was a younger man, I had no family to take care of, no responsibilities. Perhaps I would’ve gone to Azkaban with my demented sister-in-law too but I don’t think I believed in the cause as much as she did. I cared about my family too much and now, they are all I have left if I make it out of this war alive.
I shifted my body quietly in the chair, carefully eyeing Nagini in her spherical cage. He had placed her in there of late and I wondered why. Nagini was a creature that could take care of herself as she had proven several times before. Her yellow eyes flickered lazily about the room until they settled on me, immediately she tilted her head with keen interest. I gripped the edges of my chair, never letting my eyes leave hers and considered my options. I had to get out of here soon. I knew my wife would be worried and most importantly, I had to find my son. He was separated from his mother and me the night Potter and his friends escaped. The Dark Lord sent him back to school.
Amidst my restless thoughts, Nagini turned away from me and stared at her master instead. He stood there, in the dim light of the lamp, twirling his wand absently in his hand. His mind seemed to be elsewhere.
“My Lord,” I said in desperation, “My Lord...please...my son,” 
He turned slowly, glaring down at me out of his horrible red eyes. “If your son is dead, Lucius, it is not my fault. He did not come and join me like the rest of the Slytherins. Perhaps he has decided to befriend Harry Potter.” 
I swallowed, my throat suddenly became dry. Draco would never and neither would Potter. I shook my head vigorously. "He wouldn't!"
He smirked at me. "You better hope not, Lucius,"
Shaking my head, I tried again, choking out my words as if I were struggling with an invisible force around my neck. “Aren’t – aren’t you afraid, my Lord, that Potter might die at another hand but yours?” I willed myself not to look at his face for fear of what I might see there.
I could feel my fingers growing numb as my grip on the edge of the rickety, old chair tightened. I had been brave to suggest such a thing to him, brave and foolish. I forced myself to look at him again, whatever my fate would be for my insolence, I will accept it.
"Don't be ridiculous, I have given the others strict orders to bring the boy to me alive,"
His red slits bored into my grey eyes before turning away sharply from me and focussed his gaze instead on the slender piece of wood in his hand. It was no use hiding anything anymore. My defences had broken. I knew he would’ve seen my thoughts of my son. The sight of your child lying unconscious on the floor is agony for any parent and he saw that. I inhaled deeply and bowed my head. It was rather ironic that as his followers, we still tried to hide things from him. I had kept my thoughts of his return locked away from his prying just as those around me had hidden theirs.
"Find Severus for me," he said quietly.
My head shot up in surprise, burying my thoughts as I did so. "Sev - Severus?"
"Yes," he hissed, "there is something I request of him."
Not needing to be told twice, I stumbled out of the room. I glanced cautiously behind me to see if he had sent something after me but he didn’t. There was an eerie way in which he looked at the wand and said he required a service of Severus. It was a look which I did not like at all.
Sometimes I wondered where he would be if he had not joined the Dark Lord. Severus Snape was a man I trusted with my life, ever since he was a small boy, I looked out for him and in the same way, he was my eyes and ears when Draco started Hogwarts. The least I could do now was to caution him of the Dark Lord’s mood.
I ran along the tree line of the Forbidden Forest, being careful not to be spotted by anyone of the other side. He had taken my wand from me, the worst thing you could ever do to a wizard and damaging what was left of my pride. That was the worst punishment that could be ever cast upon me and he knew that. Why, without my wand I was no better than a mere muggle...absolutely useless!
Gritting my teeth, I found my way into the clearing where some of us were assembled. There, I saw my wife sitting on the root of a tree with a tall, sallow faced man standing next to her. At the crunching of the dead leaves beneath my feet, they both turned.
“Lucius,” Narcissa rose from her seat and rushed over to me, running a smooth hand across my face.
Gripping her hand, I glanced over at Severus who calmly approached me.
“Severus,” I began, “He wants to see you.”
“Why?” I watched something flicker over his face before being completely covered by his impenetrable mask. I knew that look well; I’ve been wearing it a lot lately.
“He said he requested a service of you,” I placed much emphasis on the word but Severus merely raised an eyebrow.
“Where is he?”
“The Shrieking Shack,”
We stood there in silence for a while, with Severus as stiff as a board and Narcissa tightening her grip around my fingers. Wordlessly, I stuck out my hand to him which he took without hesitation. With a polite bow to my wife, he swept away from us. Had we known we were about to lose our oldest friend, we would have never let him leave us.
Quotes  –  are taken from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (UK Edition), Chapter Thirty – Two: The Elder Wand, p. 515
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