Chapter 15 The Plunge
Narcissa walked quickly into her bedroom, closing the door securely behind her. She supposed she was being paranoid, but considering she was defying all she had been brought to believe and support her whole life, she felt it was very justified. She really couldn't understand how someone could be so...Gryffindor brave. She certainly could never be. But her son…he was another matter entirely. He had changed, and she knew it was Fred Weasley that had caused it. Someone from the most Gryffindor family she had ever known. She couldn't believe she was actually thinking this, but she was glad that Fred Weasley had influenced her son.
Anything was better than what had been planned.
And that was why she was now going to call in a favor. Something she was told to do if it meant her son's safety. If it included the Weasley boy as well, who cared? Narcissa smirked. Well, maybe he would care quite a bit. She would have to settle for Draco's description of the look on his face when he found out there was an extra person with him.
"I'd say grin and bear it," she muttered as she pulled the necklace from the secret compartment in her dresser, " but you don't smile, do you Severus?"
Her smirk was a full blown smile now, and she carefully placed the necklace into her pocket. The smile vanished though, when an angry shout echoed down the corridor outside the room. As panic suddenly clenched her heart, she all but ran to the door and yanked it open. The sight that met her eyes as she looked down the hall towards her son's room seemed to freeze her blood in her veins.
Bellatrix, Greyback, and Pravus were there. And thy weren't alone.
Draco was sure his heart would beat right out of his chest as he looked at his aunt standing in the doorway.
This couldn't be happening! Where was Libby? Why hadn't they been warned?
What was going to happen now?
"Pravus!" Bellatrix shouted. A moment later, the unkempt Death Eater strode through the door. "Bring him downstairs. Now."
For a moment, Draco thought she was referring to him, but then he saw Fred out of the corner of his eye try to scoot away, but he was met by the edge of the bed, and Pravus had already grabbed his arm. Draco made a move to help, Fred's cry of pain as his cut arm was squeezed making Draco feel more panicked. He only made it a few steps though, his wand outstretched, when he felt a hand grip his own arm rather painfully. Turning, he saw his aunt looking at him, a manic gleam in her eyes.
"Ah, ah. You, Draco dear, have a lot of explaining to do."
Bellatrix yanked his wand out of his hand, then proceeded to drag him out to the hall, Pravus following closely with Fred. The ginger was no longer making any noise, but the expression on his face betrayed the pain he was feeling. Fred could barely stand on his own two feet, let alone walk, so Pravus was almost literally dragging him out.
Draco felt another wave of panic and fear as he set eyes on Greyback who was waiting for them out in the hall. The werewolf shot a beastly grin in his direction, and Draco gave an involuntary shudder.
"Greyback! Hold him! I'm going to call our beloved Dark Lord. I have a feeling he will be rather interested in our little situation." Draco felt his fear shoot up about a hundred notches, as his aunt shoved him toward Greyback. He tried to avoid him, but the werewolf was too quick, and ended up holding Draco to his chest, his arm almost cutting off Draco's airway. By now, Draco was trembling with fear, and Greyback chuckled at it. Draco quickly darted his gaze over to Pravus, and was met with the Death Eater standing over Fred. The boy was on his knees, looking like he was going to pass out any moment. Pravus didn't need to restrain Fred-there was obviously nothing the boy could physically do.
Draco grimaced as he felt the burn of the Dark Mark on his arm, as Voldemort responded to Bellatrix's call. He bit his lip in an effort not to cry out from the pain.
Bellatrix jerked her head in the direction of the stairs, and they were about to head that direction when he heard a voice that managed to lessen his fear somewhat, but at the same time had him even more afraid, if that was possible.
Draco jerked his head to the side, and almost cried in relief when he saw his mother hurrying down the hall toward them. "Bella, what is the meaning of this!"
Bellatrix smirked. "It seems, Cissy, that your son has decided on doing something rather stupid. Imagine my surprise when I went down to the cellar this morning, and discovered our favorite Weasley was gone?"
"Oh, thanks. I was worried you liked George better." Draco winced, anticipating the blow before he saw it land. Fred fell backward, landing in a heap, a red mark now gracing the un-bruised side of his face. Pravus kicked him for good measure, getting a pained gasp and a few coughs as his broken ribs protested.
"You are obviously not seeing the whole situation as it really is!" Draco gave his mother a sideways look, trying to figure out where she was going with this. "Draco was trying to do something that none of you have been able to manage so far."
"Really." Bellatrix raised an eyebrow, unconvinced.
"Yes. He wanted the Dark Lord's favor, so he pretended to be the blood traitor's friend, helping him, in hopes of getting information such as the location of the headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix. It might have worked too, if you hadn't interfered!"
Draco had to admit it, his mother was good. He never would have thought of using that as an excuse.
"Is this true, Draco?" Draco managed to shake Greyback off, and stood, adopting his usual "Of course you idiot" look, and straightened his shirt.
"Things were going slow at school, so I thought I'd try something else to maybe buy me some extra time-get me a bit of a good reputation with the Dark Lord." Draco didn't look at Fred directly, but he could tell even out of the corner of his eye, that the boy looked hurt. He wanted to tell him it wasn't true-he was a little hurt that Fred didn't realize they were making it up-but he kept his cool composure. He was rather surprised that he was no longer shaking, because if anything, he felt more scared than before.
"Hmm. Well, we'll take it up with the Dark Lord and decide what's what then." His aunt started toward the stairs, and Draco followed after, closely followed by Greyback, Pravus, Fred and Narcissa. Draco stopped at the bottom of the stairs, waiting for his mother. She shot him a look that said, "just wait-I have an idea" and turned the opposite direction toward his father's study.
Draco grimaced again when Pravus threw Fred to the floor. The older boy made a move to get up, but a boot in his back kept him down. He lay on his side, his left arm visible. There was blood soaking the once white bandage, and Draco hated to think how much the cuts were hurting him.
"So, Draco. That house elf of yours. You weren't too fond of it, were you?" Draco looked at Bellatrix in surprise.
"Libby?" he squeaked out.
"The one who stutters. You see, I wanted her to tell me if she knew anything about Freddie missing, and she wouldn't give me a straight answer for anything. So I put the poor thing out of it's misery. She really was annoying."
Draco felt as though the wind had been knocked out of him. He couldn't find any words to say, the shock hitting him hard. He just blinked at his aunt stupidly, and she gave an exaggerated pout in return. Draco supposed he should be feeling really upset right now, but all he could think was, That's why she didn't warn me.
As Bellatrix turned away and the three Death Eater's attention were not on him at the moment, his mother walked up. She simply stood there for a small moment, and Draco was unsure about what she wanted, when he felt something being slid into his pocket. He started, then regained his composure as his mother walked away. He thought she was playing her part well when she shot the most venomous glare he had ever seen on her face before at Fred.
Draco was trying to think of something to say, when the air suddenly felt a little colder. His fists clenched into tight balls as the smoky form of Voldemort materialized in the middle of the room.
"I trust your call to me was something of great importance?" he almost hissed out.
"Yes, my Lord." Bellatrix said, bowing her head slightly. "As you know, Greyback and I were out last night, wreaking havoc on some of the Order of the Phoenix members-burnt down the Weasley's home, actually-" Draco noticed Fred jerk out of the corner of his eye "-and we didn't get back until this morning. We went down to the cellar, hoping to have some more fun with the prisoner, but to our immense surprise, he was gone."
"Does this have a point, Bellatrix?" Draco hoped for a minute that Voldemort would just get too irritated to care, but those hopes were dashed when Bellatrix eagerly continued.
"Oh, yes. You see, we three," she gestured to the other two Death Eater's and herself, "found him, of all places, in Draco's bedroom, all bandaged up and everything. Here is his wand, which I took from him."
The final sentence said, Draco had to use every ounce of his strength to not flinch under Voldemort's piercing gaze.
"Draco," he said in a sickly sweet voice. "I don't suppose you have an explanation for this?"
Draco swallowed a few times, trying to bring some semblance of moisture to his parched throat, but couldn't. He was staring at Voldemort's hands, as he twirled Draco's wand around. Finally, he said, "Yes." He then parroted the story his mother had used as an explanation.
When Draco was done, Voldemort tilted his head to the side, before suddenly, he was there...in his head. Draco couldn't help but gasp, as Vodemort started to sort through his memories. Using the skills his aunt had taught him, he called up an image of him punching Fred, and put his feelings of hatred at Harry Potter for putting his father in prison behind it.
Voldemort studied Draco carefully. Hoping that his occlumency was working, he did his best Lucius Malfoy imitation. When Voldemort smiled a moment later, he was sure he'd been found out.
What was said next, though, meant it didn't matter either way.
"Take your wand," he said, holding it out to Draco. He took it, completely surprised that his hand held steady. "Now, Voldemort continued. He looked down at Fred who was now kneeling on the floor, contempt in his voice, as he said, "Kill him."