My Enemy, My Brother

Chapter 3 The Worst Birthday Present

Fred sighed as he paced his confines for what seemed to be the millionth time. He was bored. There were only so many pranks and jokes he could come up with without actually pulling any of them. And he would think he'd been forgotten, if it weren't for the nervous house elf that always brought him food. If it could be called food, that was. It was always the same thing. Bread and water. Really…no imagination whatsoever. Thank goodness the bread was decent, but something told him that if he ever got out of here, he would never eat bread again.

It had been about a week since he'd been brought here. Wherever here was. He'd settled into a bit of a routine. Wake up, eat boring bread, ignore water until later-he only got two glasses a day-pace until he got tired. Take a nap-the floor wasn't that bad. Wake up, drink the water. Sit and dream up new pranks to play or new products to sell. Pace. Drink the second glass of water. Sleep.

He wasn't going to die of torture or malnourishment. He was going to die of boredom.

Then, one day, something did happen out of the ordinary, but it only made him curious now.
Screaming. Loud, agonized screaming. I only lasted for about a minute, but it made Fred cringe, and wonder what in the world was happening.

He really didn’t want to think about when they would make him scream like that. He was under no illusion that he’d be forgotten forever.

Sighing, he leaned up against the hard wall, and felt sorry for the poor bloke that had run into misfortune.

Draco unsuccessfully tried to blink back his tears. He would not cry! Malfoy's weren't supposed to!

But how could he not?

He had come today, to wish him a "happy birthday".

Draco would have snorted if he hadn't been hurting so much.

He was sitting on the floor of his bathroom, the tub at his back, and the toilet to his right. Swallowing convulsively, he desperately hoped he wouldn't be sick again.

He uncurled his legs, and slowly brought his left arm out. He had had it pressed tightly to his chest, and as he released the pressure, he emitted a small whimper of pain.

There, black, ugly and writhing, was the Dark Mark.

He'd not had much of a choice. Who says no when the most powerful, evil wizard in the world comes to you on your birthday and says he was going to give you the “ultimate gift”?

And that wasn't all.

The task. His task. To bring back his family's honor and make up for his father's failure. Again, he almost snorted. What honor had his family ever had? But even if he had been stupid enough to say no, he had threatened his mother.

Draco loved his mother. She might not be the greatest motherly person ever, but he knew she cared for him, and he for her. There was no way he would ever do anything that would put her in any danger.

So he, Draco Malfoy, had become the youngest Death Eater in Lord Voldemort’s ranks. And he, Draco Malfoy, had to kill Albus Dumbledore, the greatest wizard alive, and Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, before school let out next Spring.

If the Dark Lord couldn't do it, then how the bloody hell could he?

He didn't notice when Libby came in.

"Would Mast-ter like anything for the burn?" she asked. Draco jumped slightly when he noticed her. But yes. He would take anything to help the burn. Wordlessly, not trusting his own voice, he held his arm out to her.

This was another reason why he liked Libby so much. She always knew how to help, and offered to do so without being told.

He tried not to wince as she gently smeared some cream on the inflamed red skin and the black tattoo.

"Thank you Libby," he said, truly grateful for her help, as the burning lessened immensely.

"Libby is happy t-to serve Mast-ter Draco," she answered, looking at him with great concern.

It was some time later, his arm still aching, that he was once again wandering the halls of the Manor. It was late, or maybe early-perhaps 1:00 in the morning. But he couldn't sleep. Who could in his situation? He was thankful that the Dark Lord had left shortly after his joining the ranks of his Death Eater's. And Greyback was gone as well. There were other ones here, but he wasn't too worried about them. "Bad guys" had to sleep too, after all.

It was quite by accident that he found himself in the dungeons. Or as his mother preferred to call it, cellar. They had a total of four separate “cellar’s” in their massive home, and they referred to each as the “north, south, east, or west” cellars.

He had ended up by the north one.

Realizing that the Weasley boy was down here, he quietly crept forward, wondering what he would see.
It was dark, but he lit his wand tip, trying to see in past the bars of the door. One of the perks to living in a wizarding home: if he used magic, the ministry couldn't prove that he was the one doing it.

He could just make out a figure curled up, back facing him, in the middle of the room. And he cold make out the red hair. Definitely a Weasley, and he was sound asleep.

Draco didn't know why, but a sudden feeling of despair washed over him. This time, he didn't hold back the tears. He let them fall. Moving to the wall beside the door, he sank to the ground, hugging his knees, and quietly cried. He was completely oblivious to the fact that the person in the room behind him was indeed awake, and wondering once again what in the world was going on.

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