Chapter 28 : A Death Eater at Westminster Abbey
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This chapter is very near and dear to my heart. I’ve had these images in my head for a long, long time… since the very beginning of this story. A remorseful Death Eater at Westminster Abbey. I hope you enjoy it and can really ‘see’ what I see. And by all means, check out this amazing gothic cathedral that is centuries old on the Internet or in person. The research I did while writing this scene was fascinating and memorable. I do not wish to bring any harm or disrespect to any who are buried there or who live, work, visit, worship, or sing there. I know I would cry to be able to hear the Choristers sing live. What an amazing thing…
With utmost respect and love for a place so sacred,
Hermione’s eyes grew tired and dry. She had just read several hours of a beautiful love story. A vivid, descriptive story from the point of view of a Pureblood in love with a Squib.
It had been two years since they’d seen each other. They would write on rare occasion when it was deemed safe to do so. But it was a miracle of fate that her family moved her to a manor close to his for an entire winter. For one of his magical great-aunt’s health had been failing and it was Delilah who was offered as a family favor to help until the end.
Hermione read of how amazed he was when he first saw her again. He didn’t recognize her at first. She had grown into a beautiful young teenager and her hair had grown longer. But it was those piercing blue-hazel eyes of hers and the kindness in them that had not changed. He could barely breathe at the sight of her. And he wanted to know everything… why she was there and how long would she be staying.
She read of afternoon sleigh rides, an adorable story about a Christmas tree hunt, and quiet evenings beside warm fires while drinking heated pumpkin juice… and of one large holiday ball with every magical person within fifty miles dressing their best and dancing to the finest orchestra. The host even hired an artist to paint tiny likenesses that would fit into silver lockets, broaches, and ornaments.
“Paint her,” he told the man, nodding his head toward the servant girl running about refilling drinks for guests. Handing the artist a sapphire, a ruby, and an emerald as payment, he added, “For the painting and your silence. If you say a word, I will deem you a thief.”
Most were able to sit for their little miniature portraits, but not Delilah. However, in spite of her constant movement, the artist did amazingly without her or anyone knowing of it. It was stunning. And later that night, when all else had gone and Delilah’s chores were finished and she was utterly spent, he waited for her in the darkness just outside the covered carriage that was to return her to his great-aunt’s manor.
As soon as it began moving, he hopped inside of it, sitting opposite her and using the tip of his wand to light the small space. She was startled at first, but upon seeing him, her eyes sparkled. But then she looked embarrassed as she blushed and fidgeted with her hair and hid her hands underneath a wool blanket.
“I thought I would escort you home,” he told her warmly.
“That is very kind of you,” she replied, “but you don’t have to.”
“I want to… and I want to show you something,” the young prince said, holding up an amulet housed in luxurious black velvet cloth. “Open it.”
She unlatched the small token and when she saw her likeness, she was pleasantly amazed.
“Oh, my. However did you…? You had the artist…?” she gasped in awe. “Paint me?”
He could tell that her cheeks flushed a new shade of red.
“It’s amazing… it’s…”
“It’s mine,” he finished.
Her eyes strayed to her lap and she bit her lip slightly. He knew what she was thinking, but not asking. She wanted to know why he would want such a thing, but was much too polite and shy to ask.
“It’s mine because when my great-aunt leaves the living, I don’t know when I will see you next,” he said truthfully. “Two more years? Ten? Perhaps never? I wanted something to remember you as we are right now… before we grow old and the world changes us.”
“Do you think the world has changed you?” Delilah asked, looking straight into his eyes.
“Honestly, I think the world has made me who I am; poured me into the mold of their liking. It is you who changes me,” he said in a gentle, but serious tone. “For the better, I might add.”
Delilah smiled into the amulet with her likeness one last time and then closed it, handing it back to him inside its velvety fabric.
“It’s quite lovely… as is your reason for commissioning it.” She let out a solemn sigh. “Days, I’m afraid, is all that we may have. Your aunt is nearing the end. Please,” she begged, “dim the light of your wand and sit next to me? I’m quite cold. Tell me one of your stories.”
He didn’t hesitate to do what she asked. And as he began his story, she couldn’t help but cuddle up close to him as they rode the rest of the way by moonlight. But halfway through his tale, she was lulled to sleep by his deepening voice coupled with the rhythm of the carriage and her head ended up resting upon his shoulder.
His back still bore the scars from the lashings received from their first mishap at being found together. He understood all too well the threat of violence that loomed like a dark cloud following him should he be found with her once more. Yet, here he was again, enjoying every minute of her presence for an entire winter and lying every day about where he’d been and who he was spending time with.
When they arrived at his great-aunt’s manor, he touched her cheek to wake her, but she just cuddled closer to him. This amused him immensely. And being the selfish, over-confident wizard that he was, he decided that it was the perfect time to steal a kiss.
Her eyes shot open wide, but then he felt her smile against his lips. And after a blissful moment, he pulled away and bid her goodnight.
Draco stared blankly out of a window in a quiet room on the third floor of Malfoy Manor. He couldn't remember the last time he was in this room. His eyes seemed trained to the vast white space beyond, watching large snowflakes falling, falling, falling ever so slowly to the ground.
They were the type that Hermione would've loved, he thought.
He recalled the conversation about what she wanted to do before she died; Westminster Abbey to hear the choir sing and Tromso, Norway to see the Northern Lights.
Even though at Halloween, Voldemort had told Draco that he didn't wish him dead, Draco knew that he was still in grave danger. It would only take one miniscule thing to set the Dark Lord off to change his mind. He would be alive one moment and possibly dead the next.
His eyes moved to the orchard, to the barren trees in rows that seemed to stretch forever. It was the season where he could see the most of it, now uncovered without foliage... jet black trees on a canvas of pure white ground. He equated the contrast from a year ago to that very day. White last year. Black this year.
It was Christmas Eve.
He recalled giving all those gifts away the prior year. It all seemed so silly now. But for Granger, it was all worth it and he didn't miss a single thing given away. The end result was precious time with her. It was all that really mattered in the end.
He could tell now that she was on the run, constantly moving around. He could tell because of the light she was sending. Sometimes, he could see what she was seeing, along with the people that she was with.
He could see the Daily Prophet she was reading and know that it was the same day as the one that had been delivered to Malfoy Manor. It had been a stunning revelation, but nothing helped him understand why it was happening.
After about fifteen more minutes of gazing out the window, Draco took out a pocket watch to check the time. After letting out a long sigh, he closed it back up and put it back in its place. He also closed the window and made sure it was sealed.
It was time for dinner and after that, a meeting with the Dark Lord.
“Draco, do come in.” He heard Voldemort’s sinister welcome.
Voldemort was sitting in what used to be his father’s favorite chair next to one of Malfoy Manor’s many fireplaces and a now empty portrait where Abraxas once sat.
Draco stepped to him slowly, trying to get a feeling for the Dark Lord’s mood. Sometimes it was so dark he could feel the tension and anger radiate from him. But luckily, this was not one of those nights. It would seem that the Dark Lord was in a decent mood.
“It’s Christmas Eve, you know. And you’ve been a very good boy these past several months,” Voldemort said in his soft, but sinister voice. “And reports on your schooling have been exemplary. Your skills are coming along and your teachers have been most impressed.”
“Do you have a task for me, my Lord?” Draco questioned.
“I summoned you because I wanted to give you something.” He waved his hand, gesturing Draco to sit down in the chair across from him.
Draco nodded his respect and sat down. He thought it sick and twisted that Voldemort was giving out any gift in the name of Christmas and it made him cringe on the inside.
“I’m granting you a wish. What is it that you desire on this fine Christmas Eve?”
Draco’s guard immediately went up… more so than usual. He thought Voldemort might actually be trying to pry him for information somehow. Like maybe try to get into his head a bit and figure out his deepest desires to use them against him.
He tried to think of something that would be truthful, but not put anyone in any danger.
Voldemort hadn’t given him a chance to think too long before he guessed at what Draco might desire.
“Miss a woman’s touch, do you? I can arrange it, you know. Parkinson’s daughter perhaps? Pansy is her name, right? I can have her Snatched and in your bed within the hour. Just say the word.”
“No, thanks. I broke up with her last Valentine’s Day,” Draco smirked as if Pansy was nothing but a fling.
“Broke up on Valentine’s Day? Oh, I do love your style,” he voiced a dark laugh. “Cry did she?”
Draco huffed. “Of course she did.”
Voldemort gave him a half smile.
“So what is it then, my young Death Eater? What do you want?”
Draco thought it interesting that Voldemort was willing to give him an experience with a girl and not an actual material thing. He wondered if the Dark Lord read into his preference of actual experiences over material things.
And right at that moment, he could only think of doing what had been on his mind earlier.
“I would like permission to leave Malfoy Manor tonight and return at dawn.”
Voldemort was surprised at this and Draco felt the slightest hint of fear and distrust coming from the Dark Lord. He found it most peculiar.
“And where would you go exactly?”
“I want to stop in Westminster for an hour or so, then to Norway until dawn.”
“Be more specific.”
Draco glanced over his shoulder to see if anyone was in earshot, as if he wanted to keep his answer confidential.
Voldemort leaned in toward him, encouraging him to tell of his secret wishes.
“I hope you do not find me a bit off when I tell you this, but… I should like to visit the Westminster Abbey and listen to the midnight service held tonight and to Norway to witness Aurora Borealis firsthand. Two places I’d like to visit before I die.”
Voldemort was taken aback. He sat for a long moment, pondering his request.
“The Young Malfoy wants to go to church to confess his sins?” he asked with a slight chuckle.
“No. I go there to hear the choir sing Christmas hymns. I suspect it would sound… heavenly.”
Again, Voldemort was surprised at his truthful answer. Not many would admit such things, especially to him. He appreciated the truth and was grateful when Draco wasn’t struck dumb like most during a conversation.
He leaned back into his seat and glared at Draco for a moment.
“Your wish is granted. You have from now until the dawn.”
“Thank you, my lord,” Draco replied, eager to go.”
“I do have one stipulation, Draco.”
“I’ll have two people to escort you… for security purposes, of course. I wouldn’t want anything… bad to happen to you.”
Draco gave him a nod and took his exit. Their distrust was mutual. Voldemort trusted Draco to go to the places he mentioned. He just didn’t trust him to make additional stops along the way, seeing and doing who knows what.
And Draco didn’t trust Voldemort or his two that he placed on security detail. He wasn’t convinced that they wouldn’t turn on him and leave his body somewhere in the mountains of Norway.
He didn’t trust them at all. So, he had Skippen Apparate them while keeping a careful watch.
The Westminster Abbey:
Poet’s Corner. The place in the South Transept of Westminster Abbey is where Draco found himself at near midnight on Christmas Eve.
The height and grandeur of one of the most beloved and cherished gothic cathedrals in all the world was nothing less than breathtaking. Mere words could not describe the beauty found there.
Upon his arrival, he could feel the age in the air and in his bones. But as his gray eyes moved from the floor up, up, up to the magnificently designed ceiling, he also felt the sanctity of the place as a house of God. His eyes moved back down to the polished checkered floor as a heavy feeling of a great unworthiness slowly crept over his spirit like a veil.
The two Snatchers that had followed kept their distance from him, wondering why he had come to such a place as this... a place of such holiness and history. Why would he come here?
While sounds from the grand organ pipes filled the senses, the shorter Snatcher couldn’t help but stand in true and complete awe of the place, while the other dutifully watched Draco.
The young Malfoy had pulled his black hood back over his head, magically donned his Death Eater mask, and sunk into the shadows of the age-old memorials of England’s literary greats; Chaucer, Tennyson, Byron…
Moving past the carved likeness of William Shakespeare, Draco imagined asking it if there could be another, less tragic ending to a forbidden love story.
But then his attention quickly moved to the floor, noticing a gold name engraved in black marble that would take him down to one knee.
BORN 7TH FEBRUARY 1812
DIED 9TH JUNE 1870
It was such a simple memorial; speaking nothing of why the man, buried just below the slab, had been famous. As he placed a gloved hand on the memorial bearing the name, he couldn’t believe that exactly one year earlier he was having a dream based on Dicken’s best-known story.
He glanced at the birth and death dates, quickly figuring that the man died when he was only fifty-eight years old. He had a habit of doing that, calculating how old a person was when they passed and wondering how old he would be.
Would people say of him, “He was only seventeen?”
He wondered this for a long moment. That is, until he noticed that the Abbey had grown completely quiet.
And then, he heard it. The choir, without harp or organ, begin to sing the most beautiful song he’d ever heard. A song dedicated to those around the world that were suffering at war. It was the song that Hermione had wanted to hear them sing before she died; so beautiful it was if the angels from Heaven were singing for them... on their behalf.
The voices of the choristers was pure and most perfect, singing the eight-part chorus that was Agnus Dei by Samuel Barber.
Draco closed his eyes as the song, sung in Latin, built ever-so-slowly, increasing in depth and power as they went. It built and built to an all-encompassing glory and just when it reached its highest height, it halted in perfect silence.
And then, ever-so-gently the choir started again… hushed and unhurried. Peace.
Over and over again, the verses repeated in Latin. And oh, how Draco wished the words were possible. He knew them. He understood them.
Draco still had his eyes closed for fear that if he looked up, a river of water would flow from them.
“Scabior?” the Snatcher asked in a hushed whisper to the other watching Draco’s every move. “Why do you think he wears his Death Eater mask in this place?”
“I reckon he is ashamed… ashamed to stand before God in this, this place,” Scabior surmised, not really knowing how to describe the space around him. “A remorseful Death Eater is rare, indeed. I’ve never witnessed one until this moment. This one is different, which makes him dangerous, I think. The Dark Lord thinks the same or we wouldn’t be here.”
“What are the words, Scab? The only Latin I know is in spells and stuff.”
Scabior knew what the choir was singing and he was trying not to think about it, knowing that it could gnaw on a man’s mind and question their thinking of things.
“They are singing the same two verses, over and over again.” As he listened, he translated…
“Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world…
Have mercy on us.
Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world…
Grant us peace.”
Mercy. Peace. Those were things that Draco wanted in his life, above all. Things were so different now that when he thought of how much he’d changed during the last few years, it amazed him. There was so much that just didn’t matter anymore.
At the song’s end, Draco swallowed the lump in his throat and didn’t wish to listen anymore.
Guilt-ridden, he thought of the original reason why he came and found Hermione to be absolutely correct.
He wished she could’ve been there with him… listening to most beautiful sound he’d ever witnessed. She should’ve been beside him. The experience of it was on her list and it was exquisite. It was divine. And it would be something that he would never forget.
Skippen came out of the shadows with Draco, who had just joined hands with him, ready to Apparate to Tromso, Norway. The house elf looked up at his master with huge saddened eyes and in a blink, the four were gone.
The town sat inside the Arctic Circle and as such, it was below freezing. It was a wonder that the place wasn’t frozen solid. How anyone habitated the land was beyond the normal imagination. And yet, here they were in the darkness near the top of the world.
Skippen found a beautiful spot away from the electric lights of the town… away from noise and people.
And when the four of them looked up, they saw the light that Hermione had wanted to see.
It was green with a hint of purple… Aurora Borealis.
Beyond the light, were billions of stars that sparkled like a canvas of diamonds.
They all watched in hushed silence. For there was no sound… only the most amazing natural lighting phenomenon on the planet; a light show that mesmerized all who had the privilege to see it.
Draco moved a few steps ahead, wanting to be alone with his thoughts.
He had given specific instructions to Skippen. Should he see the Snatchers raise their wands to his back, Skippen was to protect him by any means necessary, including killing them if need be.
Despite the cold, their eyes remained transfixed to the movement high above them. The light danced across the sky in waves and then it would dart and roll back and forth.
It seemed that the Earth had some kind of protective force. For when the light seemed to want touch the ground, it always fell short and stopped at some invisible line.
It was truly a magnificent, wondrous, hypnotizing experience. Draco was sure that one could inadvertently freeze to death watching it. He remained still and unmoving, wanting to stay as long as humanly possible.
“Have you… ever heard or seen such th… things?”
“No,” Scabior replied truthfully.
“Are we on the rrr… right side, Sss… Scab? Are we?” the Snatcher asked quietly shivering, feeling as though it was the second holy thing he’d witnessed that night. God’s Abbey and now God’s light.
“I’m no Death Eater and I take no mark. I’m a hired tracker and a Snatcher. I’m indifferent of who is being tracked or snatched or who it is that is paying me to do so. I take no sides of the war, but my own,” he answered without hesitation, even as the coldness stung him. “The only difference between a Snatcher and an Auror… is how we get paid. One earns his living by the number he brings in. The other gets a salary, no matter how many arrests he’s made.”
But even the hardened Tristen Scabior wasn’t immune to the night’s events. “I must say though, if you want to go home and not return to this line of work, I’ll understand. I won’t say anything. But if you choose that path, then it would be best of you to get good and lost and not found for a long, long while. You understand?”
“Aye, I do mate. It’s jj… just that well… that there light looks like all the magic contained in every wand ever made throughout all ‘a time. Bbb… but it isn’t hurtin’ nothing. It isn’t killin’ anyone that I can see. It’s rrr… really something magical, you know? And that music earlier… when they was singin’ ‘bout Peace. It’s just really somethin’ pure ‘n good.”
After watching the light fade a bit and stars come out in all their glory, Scabior never felt so small and insignificant, but he wasn’t ever going to admit to that. And he didn’t exactly know what to say. So, he said nothing and stood in silent agreement.
When Draco witnessed the stars that filled the sky, he nearly fell to his knees in awe.
“Oh, if you could see this with me…” he mouthed. “Where are you, Love? Here, here is where you belong… to witness the light… to see these stars as I see them. You will not believe your eyes,” he said to Hermione as if she could hear him somehow.
He could not believe how peaceful it was… no war, no killing, no torturing. He was just a mere young man on top of the world wondering why wars happened at all.
“It’s bbb… beautiful, Master,” he heard Skippen say next to him. “Bbb… but I’m afraid that if we don’t leave soon sir, I won’t be able to Aaa… Apparate us hhh… home. Sss…sorry.”
“Of course. Let’s go then.”
Draco took one last look at the amazing sight before him, bidding the view farewell.
Skippen got them all safely home. And once warmed up, Draco trudged to his room.
But there was a sick and twisted surprise that had been magically bound to his bed against her will; a Christmas gift from Lord Voldemort.
With a snap of his fingers, two candles lit the room in just enough light for him to be able to see. But what he found there horrified him.
“Luna? My God, what have they done?”
She looked horrible. Her hair was a knotted mess. She looked like she had been crying. And she certainly didn’t look happy to see him.
“Draco,” she acknowledged, but didn’t look at him. “Are you going to do what they say you are going to do to me?” she asked feebly.
He had never seen Luna like this. She was doing quite well under the circumstances, but there was fear in her voice… fear of him and what he was going to do.
“I’m no rapist, Luna,” he said as he pulled the covers over her body in an attempt to comfort her. “You can rest tonight. We’ll talk in the morning.”
“Will you let me go?”
“No,” he said quite bluntly. “I cannot allow you to leave. You are the Dark Lord’s prisoner of war, not mine. And he enjoys humiliating people. This is just another example of that. Get some rest.”
“I can’t sleep. I want to go home. It’s Christmas Eve. I want to be in my bed. I want to see my father in the morning and watch him open the gift I made him.”
Draco closed his eyes for a long moment, listening to her go on and on. With every word, he was getting more and more annoyed. He wanted to sleep. He didn’t want this drama. He hated drama. And he hated that Looney Lovegood was in his bed as a sick gift!
He left the room while she was still rambling. And when he came in, he had a potion with him.
“What is that?” Luna asked as Draco readied it.
“Sleeping Draught, drink it.”
“No, thank you. I want to go home. Take me out of here, please Draco. Do one good thing in your life and let me go.”
Draco’s patience had worn thin. He was exhausted and her words made him furious.
“One good thing? Is that what you think of me? I’m a Death Eater and a monster, Luna. Incapable of doing anything good, right?”
She was already bound to the bed. So, with gritted teeth, he held her head and forced the potion down.
“I said… You. Will. Sleep.”
As soon as it was down, he threw the bottle hard against the far wall.
He didn’t want to do it. He didn’t want to force her. He just wanted her to shut up and go to sleep.
He backed away from her. He needed to think. He needed to sort out what to do with her and what he was going to say to the Dark Lord the next day. He didn’t want this.
His head was pounding. What was he going to do? This must be a test. One that he could not fail. It was yet another one of Voldemort’s sick head games.
He wasn’t sure, except he knew one thing. He could not let her escape. She would have to stay until the Dark Lord allowed her to leave the manor and return home… hopefully before he killed her.
Once Luna fell limp and unconscious, he moved to her side, allowing himself to take a few breaths and slow his heart rate down.
He undressed and put on sleep pants. And after much sitting and thinking, he began to grow extremely tired and thought that if the Dark Lord asked if they had slept together, he could say yes and not be lying.
Yes, that’s what he would say, if asked.
And so, even though Luna was taking up the middle of his bed, Draco managed to lie down beside her.
And after a few moments of thinking of Hermione and how she would never have approved of his behavior, he finally was able to fall asleep, deeply sorry that he’d been so cruel and forceful to Luna.
Deeply and utterly sorry…
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone! I do hope you enjoyed the Westminster Abbey scene. I wanted to give it much more detail, but time has run out to get this in before the queue closure for Christmas break! Oh, how I wish I could visit it in person… that and Aurora Borealis as well. I can only imagine it and watch it from a computer screen. I would encourage anyone who has the chance… go see these wonders!
A special thanks to each and every one of you who have been so wonderful and faithful to this story. It has been my great pleasure to read your thoughts and amazing comments. I have a lot of replying still to do. I will get there eventually. I love having a conversation with you.
Update: 82,700 Reads! And 327 wonderful people have Favorited! Can you believe it? I cannot.
Credits: The amazing “Agnus Dei” by Samuel Barber… one of my favorite music pieces of all time. Listen to it if you can.
“A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens. (If you can recall all those chapters ago, this was the very start and inspiration of this story).
Thank you all to my lovely readers and reviewers who continually make my day, leave me speechless, and give comfort to me in my hour of need. Merry Christmas and a safe and wonderful New Year.
Thank you, Love you,
P.S. From the previous chapter… yes, I ship Tom/Minerva. And for this chapter… yes, I loved Scabior from the movies and had to include him! Hope you enjoyed those little tidbits. Please, please, tell me what you think!
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