Be Not Proud
Title: Be Not Proud
Disclaimer: J.K. Rowlings owns the Harry Potter world and its characters.
Spoilers: up to OotP.
Summary: AU Future fic, she left because she thought the bloodshed was over, but she didn't know, it had only yet begun.
Notes: Title from John Donne's poem "Death, Be Not Proud"
"Well, that no-violence rule of yours didn't last very long, now did it?"
She felt like her insides were being twisted and pulled at. Tears streamed down her face as she mindlessly wiped the traces of vomit away from the corners of her mouth. Her stomach was still upset and it seemed very likely that she would become sick again. She couldn't believe what had happened; she couldn't believe what she had just done. Maybe this was all a bad dream, and soon she'd wake up in her small bed with nothing more than a bad memory of this nightmare.
She wasn’t sure what had happened. It had been too fast, and too sudden for her to make much sense of it. She knew that there was a dead body on the floor, that she was holding the murder weapon, and that there were three other people in the room who seemed to have no problem with the fact that she had just killed someone. They hadn’t even flinched when she screamed and threw up what little breakfast she had eaten before. They acted like it was something trivial.
"Of course, I never thought that you were that serious about it. Hell, even Crabbe here said he thought that this was just some sort of 'phase' you were going through. We were laying bets on how long you'd last. And you want to know what the really funny thing is? Pansy would have won that bet. She said you'd drop it the second we tried anything. She didn't have that much confidence in your supposed self-restraint. Turns out that she was right; too bad she wasn't smart enough to prepare for it. But I guess she was right. All you needed was the proper motivation, and you would put all this no violence nonsense to rest. I guess one never really loses that sense of self-preservation, no matter how much they insist that they have. The desire to live always wins out over the desire to do the right thing."
If only he would go away. If he just left she could pretend like this never happened. She could convince herself that this was just a dream, a hallucination even. The blood pooling on the ground, the bloodied dagger in her hand, that still body over there, staring at her with vacant blue eyes-she could wish it all away if he would just leave her alone.
But he wouldn't leave her alone. He had come for a reason; they had all come for a reason. She never thought to ask them what that reason might be. Of course, they hadn't given her much of a chance to question them. One minute she had been going through her daily prayers, and the next minute she was surrounded by four hooded figures, three of which immediately rushed to restrain her. It was when the dagger was produced that she truly started to understand what was going to happen her. She supposed it was the fear that gave her that extra boost of strength to shrug off two of her captors. It was pure survival instinct that drove her to fight her assailant for the dagger. And sometime between that scuffle and now, she had taken that dagger and slammed it into the heart of her old schoolmate.
"One would think that one of Golden Boy's favourite pets would have been better prepared for something like this. You don't even have your wand on you. You really did give it up, didn't you? I thought that particular rumour was just an exaggeration. What witch or wizard in their right mind would give up their wand? But then again, you've aren't regularly accused of being in your right mind, are you? However, I am still shocked, and a little disappointed to see how slack you've become. A few short years ago, this kind of carelessness would have gotten you killed. It almost got you killed this time; but I guess you haven't forgotten about everything Scarhead and the old coot taught you. But still, very poor form for a former member of the oh-so-wonderful Order of the Phoenix."
She was still clutching the dagger in her hand. There was blood stuck in between her fingers, and it was hardening in those cracks. Moving her fingers slowly, one by one, she thought it felt almost like jelly. That thought almost made her laugh. She used to love jelly on her toast. She would just layer up her bread with the stuff and make the most awful mess. There would be jelly on the counter, jelly on her hands, and sometimes even jelly in her hair. But after tonight, she didn't think she would ever be able to eat jelly again. It was an awful shame.
"Of course, the rumours about you are just nonsense. Do you know that Witch Weekly reported that the real reason you left was because you and Potter had a terrible falling out. There was this whole story about a romance gone wrong, a bitter break-up, and the utter heartache it caused you to be around the prat. Utter crap, the entire thing, but most people seemed to buy it as an explanation. None of the newspapers could be bothered with tracking you down and finding out the truth for themselves, could they? It's not like you've made it that difficult to find you. We had relatively no problems discovering your location. You just didn't put that much effort into hiding. Now, why is that? Tell me, did you want to be found?"
There was a frightful amount of blood in the human body. There was just tons of it, swirling around the body, and when it came out, it came out by the bucketful. The body had been lifeless for nearly twenty minutes now, and the blood just seemed to keep on coming. Funny, the body was so cold now, and yet the blood was still warm. She thought that it could be colder once it hit the stone floor, but she was wrong. It was still warm; and it was still flowing out of the body as steady as a stream. If it weren’t so heartbreaking, she would have been fascinated.
“I suppose that’s a stupid question to ask, since I know the answer anyway. Of course you wanted to be found, but you certainly didn’t want us to find you. You had your heart set on someone else. A certain redheaded someone else, if I’m not mistaken. It’s pathetic really; after all these years, you’re still pining over that overgrown ape. And I don’t think he’s even noticed yet. Of course, you can’t really blame him. He’s just too dense to notice things like that, even when everyone else on the planet has realized it. I wonder, do you think that he’s going to come rushing in to rescue you right now? I hate to crush your hopes, but it’s not likely to happen. The whole lot of them have conveniently forgotten about the four of us. Apparently they have bigger fish to fry, though I can’t imagine who that could be, especially when they nailed the man himself years ago. You remember that, don’t you? Of course you do, you were there. You were one of the first to level the Killing Curse his way.”
The dagger, despite being covered with blood, was actually very nice. It was long and jaggedly shaped. The hilt was made of silver and adorned with a few emeralds here and there. She supposed that green and silver were still their favourite colours, even after all this time away from the school. She remembered that she had never really liked her own school colours. She would have preferred something that was brighter than what she got. Maybe pink or orange, something different and unique. She mentioned it once to her Head of House, and she never actually got a proper reply to her request.
“You want to know what I think? I think that it was that battle that did it for you. It wasn’t any sort of romance or sordid affairs that drove you away; it was that final battle. You’d never used the Killing Curse before. You’ve heard about it, studied it no doubt, but you’ve never used it. I don’t think that you ever even saw it in action before that day in Godric’s Hollow. That was your first and only experience with the Killing Curse, and not only did you witness what it did, you were responsible for it. That’s what made you run away after the dust settled. It was the guilt, the trauma of having had to take a life. You Order idiots always talked big about settling things and using whatever means possible to stop the Dark Lord, but when it came right down to it, you couldn’t live with what you had to do. That’s why you scrambled your way far from England and into this quaint little monastery. And then you threw yourself into whatever forms of restraint and abstinence you had at your disposal. No meat, no men, no talking, no violence-nothing but prayer and toil. And now, after five hard years of this self-enforced isolation, you’re right back where you started from.”
The dagger had a dragon carved into the hilt. It was quite beautiful to look at. The creature was small, but looked menacing nonetheless. She supposed it would be ludicrous to expect a dragon to appear to be anything other than menacing, but she wondered if it had to look as cruel as it did. It was made with its mouth hanging open just a bit, so that you could see a hint of fang underneath the lip. Its eyes were two tiny bits of emerald, and a heavy brow framed them. It was like the creature was scowling at her. Perhaps it disapproved of what she had done, or maybe it was just that her mind was playing tricks on her. She couldn’t be sure, her mind just wasn’t able to process everything. Maybe this is that post-traumatic shock thing that she had heard Muggles prattle on about.
“But Scarhead and his band of loser followers have kept up the good fight, as I’m sure you know. That’s why they’re not here right now; they’re rather busy tracking down dangerous Death Eaters. They seem to be particularly focused on some members of the Black family. I suppose that’s Potter’s doing. He’s still got that itch for Bellatrix Lestrange. He just won’t rest until he kills the old bat, and trust me, she is an old bat. I guess he never did get over that mess from fifth year. Oh well, more power to him. They say revenge is a dish best served cold, and after eleven years, this dish is as cold as it’s getting. I suppose when he finally gets his hands on her, there‘ll be some sort of party. You‘d be invited, of course. I heard that even though you‘ve been out of the loop, that Potter still tries to include you in things. Maybe Witch Weekly wasn‘t all that wrong with that article they printed. Did the Golden Boy ever have a thing for you? If he did, that would make this whole situation even more pleasing.”
The blood is getting closer and closer to her. She shuffled backwards just a bit, and stopped when she felt the foot of one of her captors against the small of her back. She didn’t turn her head upwards to see who it was, because it didn’t really matter anymore. The only thing that concerned her right now was that pool of blood that just kept getting closer and closer. She did not want to see it, she did not want to smell it, and she certainly did not want to touch it. She had enough blood on her for today, thank you very much; she wasn’t in the mood for more of it.
“I do have a question for you: how come you never sought revenge for your family? I know what happened to your father, and to your grandparents. They did not leave this world quickly, or painlessly. It was one of the most brutal killings I can remember, and even though you knew that it was Nott that did the deed, you never went after him yourself. Why was that? I’m sure if you asked him nicely, Potter would have saved Nott for you. You could have punished him for what he did to your family, but you never did. I saw you during that raid on Knockturn Alley. You had him in your grasp, you could have done anything to him and none of your companions would have faulted you for it. But you just stood there and let Weasel kill him, like it didn’t even matter to you that this man was the one that butchered every last living relative you had ever known. If I had been in your shoes, there wouldn’t have been anything left of Nott to bury.”
Her eyes slid from the nearing pool of blood to the ceiling overhead. It was a plain monastery, without much decoration or luxury, but she had always found it to be so beautiful. It was so simple and yet so majestic, she had been in love with it at first sight. The second she stepped onto the grounds, she knew that she would never willingly leave this place. It was everything that she had wanted. It was isolated, tranquil, and far away from anything connected to her life before. And now she would never be able to think on it with kind thoughts. After what had happened today, she would never be able to think of this place without her stomach turning.
“What’s wrong pet? Don’t you feel like talking with me? You know, I’ve spent a good deal of time planning this whole excursion. You could at least pretend that you’re glad to see me. I didn’t have to come here, you know. There were plenty of other candidates for this little plot, but I picked you because I thought you would be perfect.”
“Perfect for what?” It was the first time she had uttered a noise since that horrible moment when she had slid the dagger into soft, pale flesh of her attacker. Her voice sounded weak to her ears, and even she could hear the defeat in her tone. It certainly seemed apparent to him, because he was smiling quite broadly now.
“Well, well, well, she finally speaks. You know, I was starting to wonder if you had taken some sort of morbid vow of silence after you gutted Pansy like that. I’m glad to see that that isn’t the case. In fact, I‘ve missed hearing your voice over these past years. The stuff you used to say was utter crap, but you‘ve always had such a nice voice. You should have been a singer, you know, and left all that fighting stuff to Potter and his bunch. You probably would have avoided this whole mess too.”
“Perfect for what?” she repeated without recognition of his other words.
“Now, that would be telling, and I really would hate to spoil the surprise. All you need to know is that from here on out, you and I are going to be very close. And I mean very close. Hey now, no need to shed tears over it. It’s not the worst thing in the world. I say you lucked out. It very easily could have been Crabbe or Goyle that you were to be ‘close’ with. You should be grateful.”
“What do you want from me, Draco?” she moaned pitifully. “Why are you here? It’s all over now. It’s been over for five years.”
“Actually, darling, it hasn’t been over for five years. In fact, five years ago, it had only just begun. If you and your little band of bleeding heart-Mudblood lovers thought that the worst had passed, you were sorely mistaken. What’s coming, what you’re going to help bring about, will be unlike anything anyone has ever seen before. Do you think that we would actually stop after the old man bit the dust? It didn‘t stop us the first time, it certainly won‘t stop us now. And this time, we don‘t have to worry about doddering old fools who want to waste all their time trying to kill children when there‘s actual evil to be done.”
She felt as if he had stabbed her with an ice pick. She didn’t think it ever occurred to them that the Death Eaters would be able to carry on after Voldemort’s demise. They certainly seemed to have scattered to the wind in confused packs. But they underestimated them, she realized that now. She raised frightened blue eyes to meet fierce grey ones. He smiled wickedly and turned to look at his two companions.
“Collect the blood,” he ordered them. “I’ll go ahead with her. Do not dawdle; I don’t want Potter to know that any of us are involved.”
Crabbe and Goyle nodded obediently and immediately produced jars, which they immediately started to fill with Pansy’s blood. She watched them with wide eyes, not understanding what was happening and not sure that she wanted to know. She jerked when Draco grabbed her by the arm and hauled her roughly to her feet. She barely had time to focus before he performed the Apparition spell. She felt the familiar wrenching feeling in her stomach before her feet touch the ground once again.
She opened her eyes to find a run-down house in front of her. It looked like be Victorian-styled, and very old and ill-kept. There were shingles missing from the rooftop and the paint was peeling off almost everywhere. The lawn in front was all yellow and most dead. There was no garden to speak of, and it looked as if it was located in the middle of a forest.
“Well Luna darling,” Draco chuckled into her ear. “Welcome to your new home.”