Title: By Any Other Name, Part 4 of 5
Fandom: Harry Potter
Words: 3137 this segment, ~12,000 overall
Genre: Adventure, Slash, Darkfic
Warnings: Adult Language, Sexual Content, Non-con, Torture, Major HBP Spoilers
Disclaimer: I do not own these characters, I am merely a hobbyist/tourist visiting J. K. Rowling’s world, for the love, not for the money.
By Any Other Name, Part 4 of 5
by Ravenna C. Tan
It was far from their first private lesson. Snape had been teaching Draco on the side ever since the boy’s first year at Hogwarts. They both regretted the demise of that ill-fated dueling club of Gilderoy Lockhart’s. A pity that hadn’t worked out better as Draco had shown a real knack for it. Snape could not have been the one to propose such a thing, especially if it turned into a chance for his prize pupil to manhandle the others. But when Lockhart had brought it up, well… Snape was the one who had taught Draco the Serpentsortia charm, and he had been amazed to find the boy could cast it so strongly, animating a rather impressive snake for such a young wizard.
Draco threw himself into learning the new spells with equal zeal. Snape would have gladly spent all day, a week even, coaching him this way, but their absence was sure to be missed soon. And Draco would do even better with his own wand.
They Apparated directly into Draco’s room, and there was the wand, where he had left it on the side table. The young wizard blushed as he went to pick it up. For all his bluster to Snape, he knew he should not have left it there. He would not willingly put it down again while Death Eaters were about. As his hand closed around it, Draco gasped.
Snape felt the pull, too. “So, the summons comes at last,” he said. “The others will have to wait.”
Draco nodded, his throat closed suddenly. He took hold of Snape’s arm, closed his eyes, and held his breath.
Before he opened his eyes, he could smell the place they had landed. It wasn’t a smell Draco recognized, but it made him want to gag. Putrid and sweet at the same time, a smell that his brain told him was simply wrong. He opened his eyes, clamping his jaw shut, and saw they were inside a torch-lit stone building.
No, not a building, a tomb. There, in front of a sarcophagus upon a pedestal, was the Dark Lord. Wormtail sat at his feet, the look in his eye not quite sane. There did not appear to be anyone else there, though Draco did not think it wise to try to look behind him. Snape had dropped to one knee, and Draco hastily imitated him.
“Rise, my servants, and welcome to Grindelwald’s tomb.” Voldemort said, his voice soft yet perfectly clear in the dead air. “You have done well.”
Snape’s face was impassive, but Draco stuttered as he got to his feet, “You know…?”
“Your work with the cabinet was exemplary, young Malfoy. I will commend you for that. But I see the questions in your eyes. Yes, I know what happened on the Astronomy Tower.” Voldemort stepped down from the pedestal and began walking around the two wizards in a leisurely circle. “You fear that I took your measure and that I find you wanting.” The Dark Lord clucked his tongue as he came around behind Draco. “But it never occurred to you, young Malfoy, that perhaps it was another’s measure I took by setting you to that task.”
Voldemort now circled around Snape, who stood erect and stone-faced. The former professor did not speak.
“May I see your wand?” Voldemort said, and held out his hand.
“Certainly, my Lord,” Snape said, drawing it from the pocket in his robes and handing it, handle first, to the Dark Lord.
Voldemort hissed as he pressed the wand to his cheek, cradling it almost lovingly in his hands. “So this is the instrument of Dumbledore’s destruction! Ah, I can almost taste the bitter tinge of the old man’s soul clinging to the wood.”
Draco stared. The previous time he had been in Voldemort’s presence had been when he took the Dark Mark, but there had been a dozen new recruits there, and the other Death Eaters. Now, with just Snape and he and the Dark Lord, he found his heart hammering in his throat and he didn’t know where to put his eyes. He felt a little ill. He had just been holding that wand himself an hour ago. Could some of Dumbledore’s spirit be…?
Voldemort was now sniffing the wand with his snake-like nose. “Hmm, busy, busy, quite a battle you had, my servant,” the Dark Lord said, his eyebrows raised in question at Snape.
“I have been teaching the boy,” Snape said in reply.
“Indeed?” Voldemort’s eyes returned to Draco.
Surely, Draco thought, surely he can’t smell what spells have been used? What would the warding charm smell like?
“Perhaps, young Malfoy, you would like to offer us a demonstration of your skills?” Voldemort’s eyes glinted red in the torchlight. “Wormtail, come here.”
Pettigrew was truly pathetic, Draco thought. The man, if he could be called such, could barely stand straight, and he didn’t so much breathe as snivel constantly. He approached hesitantly.
Snape opened his mouth to speak but Voldemort silenced him with a hand in the air. “Come, now, young man, show us something that will amuse us.”
Draco drew his wand and took a deep breath. Perhaps it was something about being so close to Voldemort, perhaps it was adrenaline, but he could feel his power more strongly than usual. What did the Dark Lord want to see?
“Imperio,” he said and pointed his wand at Wormtail. The wizened little man was now in his thrall. But what to do with him? Make him dance the tarantella? An idea came to him, something his father used to make the house elves do, but the thought of Pettigrew coming near him was repulsive to him. Instead, he made him drop to his knees and crawl to Professor Snape’s feet. There he kissed Snape’s boots, then drew back. Draco released the spell and glanced at the Dark Lord to see if he had done well.
“Hardly a challenge,” Voldemort said to Snape, as if Draco were not listening. “Wormtail acts like that anyway.”
“I had Rosmerta under Imperius most of last year,” Draco said, stung by the criticism.
Voldemort chuckled. “Impressive,” he said, the condescension dripping from his voice. “And you know it to be so. I am pleased. But I would like to see if you might be able to be a bit more aggressive, young Malfoy. That was your father’s weakness, in the end. Never wanted to get his own hands dirty. Always wanted someone else to do the deed.” Voldemort gestured to Wormtail who drew a wand from his pocket.
Draco’s wand hand shook. So the mission to kill Dumbledore had been a test after all.
“I assume,” Voldemort said to Snape, “that the boy has been taught proper dueling procedure?”
“I assure you he has, my Lord,” Snape replied, his eyes unreadable.
“Excellent. Wormtail, bow to your opponent.”
Draco and Pettigrew bowed to each other, then walked to opposite ends of the crypt. Draco turned and shouted “Expelliarmus!” but Pettigrew had already ducked and shot a silent curse at Draco. His aim was poor though, as his main goal had been to avoid being disarmed, and a section of stone behind Draco shattered. Wormtail was serious. He hadn’t spoken the curse out loud, so Draco couldn’t be sure what it was, but it could not have been nice.
Wormtail ran behind the sarcophagus and shot another curse at the young wizard, who deflected it. More stone went flying and Draco pressed himself against the other side of the stone resting place, wondering if it were truly the dark wizard Grindelwald in there. Funny how his brain could latch onto a detail like that, even while he was straining to detect where Pettigrew was. He couldn’t stay put, Pettigrew would be coming around, but which side?
Suddenly he felt a searing pain in his leg, as if he were on fire. Wormtail had climbed right over the top and had his wand aimed downward. Draco reached up and grabbed him by the shirt collar, and with a pull, flung Pettigrew to the floor. The burning sensation stopped the moment Pettigrew went flying, but Draco found his leg a little numb as he regained his feet. The little bastard! The pain had driven any thoughts of fear out of Draco’s head and replaced them with pure anger. Wormtail was fast, though, and scampered behind Snape.
“Crucio!” he squeaked, but the curse missed Draco as Snape fussed, trying to shoo him away. The rat man ran for the corner now, and the statue there, but Draco’s shot was clear.
“Petrificus!” Draco shouted, and Wormtail fell as his legs froze, even as his arms flailed for balance. “Levicorpus!” His body shot into the air as if dragged by a rope around his ankle and he squealed. “Sectumsempra!” Draco slashed his wand upward.
Wormtail’s scream was worse than the blood, which sprayed everywhere. It made Draco want to clap his hands over his ears. It was inhuman.
So was Voldemort’s laughter. “Well done, well done young Malfoy.” And then he was there, in front of Draco, his red, slit-pupiled eyes searching Draco’s for something.
Draco sniffed and the flare of anger he had felt–how dare that sniveling wretch…?–was extinguished. He realized this was the way his father would have acted, and Snape, too. Both men could go from passionate to unruffled in the blink of an eye. Besides, the Dark Lord’s stare made his blood run cold. “Snape can fix him, if you want,” Draco said, not sure now where the feeling of confidence he had came from. “I didn’t want to kill him in case you needed him.”
“Oh, Wormtail has been quite useful to me, assuredly so,” Voldemort hissed. “I am quite satisfied with your demonstration. That is an incantation I shall have to remember.”
“One of my favorites,” Draco said, still not quite believing that he was now bantering with the Dark Lord. He was not shocked to hear how much his own voice sounded like his father’s when speaking to high ranking ministers and the like. “Snape is an excellent instructor.”
“I am pleased that you have benefited from his tutelage,” the Dark Lord said. “Return to the others and await my next instructions.”
“Yes, my Lord,” Draco said, realizing that Voldemort was giving these orders to him, not to Snape, who was busy tending to Pettigrew’s gruesome wounds. The moment stretched out and Draco realized he had been dismissed. He concentrated on the room in the house where he had slept. Could he Apparate directly there? Surely he could. He pictured the room, the tea pot on the side table, and stepped through spacetime to get there.
Hunger finally drove Draco out of his room at dinner time. He startled Yaxley, who was sitting in the kitchen reading a two-day old Daily Prophet. “Godsblood, boy, when did you get back?”
“Just now,” Draco lied. There had been no sign of Snape and Draco suppressed his worry. “What is there to eat in this place?” He pulled open the ice box to find what looked like vial upon vial of dragon blood. In the door was a square of the hardened rind of some cheese, and on the counter was the heel of the bread they had burned at breakfast. Draco sat down across from Yaxley with both and began to gnaw at them.
“Where’s Snape?” Yaxley asked, pretending not to look up from the newspaper.
“Still with Him,” Draco answered. His hand twitched, remembering his earlier fantasies of disemboweling the other Death Eaters, and what he had done to Pettigrew. He found he had lost what appetite he had. It wasn’t that Pettigrew didn’t deserve it, the evil little thing, and it wasn’t as if Draco really had a choice. If he had done any less, Voldemort would not have been pleased. He was sure of that.
He took the remains of his sorry meal back to his room. He still didn’t know where they were, yet he had been able to Apparate there, because he had been there before. Could he now Apparate to Snape’s underground hideaway, too? The Dark Lord had told him to return to the house, but could he take a quick trip there, just to borrow a book or two? He remembered the low shelf, the leatherbound volumes there, and wondered what he might learn from the books Snape would have hidden away in the bunker.
Ten minutes later he returned with two books under his arm. One answered the question of how the tea cozy worked and how to make tea with magic, as well as how to acquire and prepare survival rations, very handy if one is going to be in hiding indefinitely. The other was a heavy old thing, with a cracked black leather cover and locking strap on which Draco could just make out the embossed words “grimoire” and “sang.” When he attempted to open the book, it would not open until he pricked his finger on the lock accidentally–at which it sprang open. Of course, he thought. The Grimoire of Blood required a sacrifice.
He stayed up reading it half the night, and still Snape did not return.