|a deadly, poetic infection (sappholococcus) wrote in hp_traditions,|
@ 2008-06-02 12:09:00
|Entry tags:||draco/hermione, r|
Happy Traditions, angelofdreams13!
Title: Sempre Catena
Gift For: angelofdreams13
Summary: There are some enchantments that were meant to be forgotten. And stay that way.
Warnings: none that I can think of
Author's notes: (if any) You asked for "summoning rituals, mental connection/Legillimency-related rituals, or Dark Magic rituals." I kind of combined the "Dark Magic" with "Legillimency" and somehow came up with this! I had lots of fun writing it, so I hope you enjoy it, too!
Read it here or at Livejournal, and be sure to leave feedback for all of our lovely participants!
There are some spells and enchantments that were lost long ago.
Nevertheless, many have been found again. Even the simplest of spells have been forgotten by the Wizarding World at some point – during the Dark Ages, ‘lumos' was unknown by all but a few wizards, and now it is mere common knowledge. The stuff of First Year.
There are other enchantments, however, that were meant to be forgotten. And stay that way.
"I want out."
The dark and mangy room lit by a single candle did little to reveal the identity of the fugitive on the other side of the table.
Hermione didn't need faces, though. The voice was more than easy to recognize.
"Not so simple, Malfoy. You can't just talk your way out of this one."
"In fact, Granger, you will find that I can."
"And how, precisely, do you intend to do that from the inside of an Azkaban jail cell?"
"Ah, and there lies the heart of the matter. See," that god-awful smirk was on his face again, the light being just enough to see his feral grin, "The thing is… I won't be in a jail cell. No Azkaban for me."
She gave a short, quick laugh. "No, Malfoy. Azkaban is what you deserve, and it is where you will go. I hope you like the cold; I hear the weather's pretty hellish there this time of year."
She had a smirk of her own now, though nowhere near as impressive as Malfoy's.
His grin only widened though, as he drawled, "Well, that's a real pity then. Here I was, all ready to hand myself over to you good Order members, offering you Voldemort's defeat on a silver platter… And I am rejected."
"That would be so incredibly moving if I actually believed a word of it. You show zero remorse whatsoever, and frankly, I am not inclined to trust your word."
"Good. You'd be insane if you did, and ‘frankly'" – God, she hated it when people mocked her more than anything else – "I refuse to work with crazy people."
"Then prove it, Malfoy. Prove you left Voldemort's service and are willing to bind yourself to the Light."
"I'm afraid only time will prove that."
"Then I'm afraid I can't help you."
"I'm afraid that you need to. I know the War isn't going for your side right now. You need all the help you can get. And the information I have is more than enough to turn the tide in your favor. So get over your pride, silly woman, and listen to what I have to say."
His voice had been calm and bitingly witty the whole exchange, up until this point. Suddenly, his words were loud and demanding. He was serious. Deadly serious.
"Alright," she said, "I'll give you thirty minutes. You have a half hour to tell me everything you must in order to gain some semblance of trust from me. If after thirty minutes, I am unsatisfied, I will let you go freely, as per the agreement made prior to this… meeting. However, if the information you supply is enough to warrant a partial pardon, I will escort you back to an Order safe house where you will be on probation for an indeterminable amount of time. Agreed?"
"Alright, then. Your half hour stars now."
There was one spell among many that stood out in particular during the Medieval Ages. At a time when loyalty to one's sovereign was more important than all else, rulers sought a method to bind their subjects to them in a way that could never be broken.
A permanent, irreversible bond.
Ensured loyalty for the rest of the serf's life.
Twenty seven minutes later, Hermione sat gaping at the man before her. If even one third of the things he said were true, the war could be over in mere weeks, if not days.
If they were true.
"Do you swear, Draco Malfoy, that all you say here is true?"
"Would you swear an Unbreakable Oath on it?"
Without hesitation he replied, "I would."
She, however, had reservations.
"What made you do this, Malfoy?" she asked him quietly, "How did Voldemort's top Death Eater, public enemy number two, come to be compelled to betray everything he has ever known?"
He was silent for a moment.
"Because," he sighed, "I believe in free will. Servitude to the Dark Lord is anything but that."
That small, little statement – I believe in free will – was enough for her. Grasping his hand with hers, she performed a complicated binding spell found the Order had found one of the Ministry vaults from the old wars.
"Sempre Catena" she intoned, waving her wand over Malfoy's left shoulder where a brand bearing the Order's seal instantly appeared. It would allow her to subdue him with force if necessary, not to mention track him at any time. He would be under her power now. Completely and absolutely.
Baring his teeth with a hiss, his shoulders clenched with the pain.
She just barely caught his whisper, "Always chained…"
But there was no way for Draco Malfoy to know the translation of that spell. It was known by only a select few in the Order. So she convinced herself that she must have heard wrong. Yes, that must be it.
This spell was all the rage for a time. It was used between Lord and peasant, but also Lord and Lady. Unending loyalty is a fair thing between husband and wife.
It wasn't until Grindelwald that a wizard took another look at the seemingly ambivalent spell and saw its' true potential. Its' true meaning.
Instead of just loyalty, he saw servitude. And so he took the spell and bent it towards his wishes.
Suddenly, the spell was labeled "dark magic" and was never used by ‘respectable' wizards again.
"So the spell Voldemort uses to bind Death Eaters to him can actually be manipulated by the person he casts the spell on?"
"Stop muddling your words, Malfoy. Speak straight and just tell me the truth."
"What I mean is that there are limitations to what you can do, as there are limitations to everything." He paused before continuing, "For instance, you cannot reverse the spell, nor can you alter it in any way. Once the spell is cast, it is done. No ‘finite' works for this."
"So the loyalty is truly irreversible?"
"Then how were you able to come here and betray Him?"
"Because I did not directly assault his person," he grinned, "As usual, the Dark Lord is brought down by the smallest of follies; he only protected against physical harm, and this is not physical in the slightest."
"Alright, that makes sense, I suppose. Continue."
"So while one cannot remove or alter the binding spell, they can manipulate the bonding that it creates. See, bonding is not a one way street. It must go both ways; while you are bound to Him, He is also bound to you. And after several years, I have found a way to exploit this bond between us. I can now probe the mind of Lord Voldemort – I can see everything he sees, I can feel everything he feels, and I know everything he knows."
But this spell was one of thousands – it was forgotten, as so many before it.
However, something happened that had never occurred before.
After being found in an ancient tome in some crumbling vault, it was given a new name by the Ministry.
The Aurors needed something to ensure that the prisoners they took would remain docile and dutiful – they needed something with control and power.
Masked by Ministry approval, the spell flourished once more.
"You're telling me that you can see everything in the Dark Lord's mind? Isn't that just Legilimency?"
"Yes and no."
"Quit it, Malfoy! I told you already – speak plainly to me. I don't have time for games and tricks."
"It is a form of Legilimency, but not Legilimency in itself. You can see into the mind of another, but they cannot know you are there, nor can they force you out of their mind. It is like a more powerful, and wonderfully indefensible, branch of Legilimency."
Hermione sat quiet for a long time. The sheer magnitude of what was happening was unreal, and she could scarcely believe any of it.
Snapping her head up, she said, "Alright. Prove it – what was Voldemort thinking about… an hour ago?"
He didn't even skip a beat. "He was planning an attack on muggle Kent. Three weeks from now, on an Auror stronghold there. Rather large one, too, is it not?"
All color drained from her face, leaving her white as a ghost. Or rather, white as the man sitting before her.
The Auror barracks there were the largest in Britain, housing nearly half of all the Aurors still able to fight. Not to mention that Harry was there, with the Ron and the rest of the Old Guard as well.
He grinned lazily, "And at this particular moment, he is currently watching my dear old Father rip apart a muggle girl limb from limb. Ooh, got a spot of blood on his robes, he's not going to like that. And now Bellatrix is joining in. She favors the Cruciatus, you know. Can't say I've met a witch or wizard more proficient in Cruciatus than her. But don't go too far, Bellatrix. We wouldn't want the little mudblood to go insane before Voldemort's had his fun with her, now would we? He's got quite an event planned out and would be most displeased if you ruined all the fun."
He raised a single, aristocratic eyebrow at her, "Shall I continue?"
"No!" she gasped, stomach churning, "No. Stop, please."
There was one thing, however, that the Ministry either failed to realize or chose to ignore.
There is no way to mask the true essence of a spell.
A Dark spell will always be Dark, no matter if you use it for ‘good' or for ‘evil.'
So that binding spell Aurors preformed on newly captured Death Eaters was merely one more yolk on their backs – one more oppressive spell on a list of many.
A week and five days had passed and still Malfoy sat in the corner of the dark room. Hermione hadn't seen him move since he arrived, but she knew he must shift when she was out of the room. It was inhuman to sit that way for so long.
But that wouldn't matter anymore, because this was the last morning they would share in the shack. Malfoy had told them that Voldemort planned for a small skirmish on the banks of the Thames at eleven this morning. He would arrive with small numbers (Malfoy said probably fifty, but Voldemort was indecisive at the best of times) and be unprepared for the massive Auror force that would greet him there. If all went according to plan, the final battle would be over within the day.
And then… what?
Hermione had no idea what she would do with Malfoy when it was all over. Clearly not Azkaban; part of Malfoy's agreement to meet included the clause that he not be put in Azkaban after he had served his purpose. The Order had been so desperate that they acquiesced.
So he walks free? Obviously not. But what?
She could lie to herself and say that she didn't care. But honestly – she did care.
Hermione had spent twelve days in almost complete seclusion with him. For fear of his escaping, she had alerted the Order, strategized and prepared for the battle, all from the privacy of the little shack.
And she had watched him.
She had seen how he pushed the food away when she brought a plate in. How the pallor of his skin grew more and more pale each day. How his eyes seemed sunk in his head, his cheekbones jutting out prominently.
And perhaps it was the solitude that drove her to it, but by Merlin, she had actually come to understand Draco Malfoy.
Life wasn't easy for her, but she had gotten over her prejudices of Hogwarts and realized that life sure wasn't easy for him either.
Everyone has a path laid out for them when they are born. A little winding, yellow road leading them to their destiny, no matter what that may be.
And sometimes, most of the time, that path is the path of justice. It leads you to what is good and right.
But there are others in the world whose course has been warped.
And it is those unfortunate few who have to choose between stepping off their predestined road and making a life for themselves, completely alone, or staying on that corrupted journey to whatever fate it may bring them.
He chose to take a different road that what was meant for him, and Draco Malfoy was paying for it in every way imaginable.
Though there are many variations, all binding spells are fundamentally the same.
You and another are chained together forever – whether benignly or not is no matter.
And the spellcaster has complete and utter control over the other human being. He decides what you can and cannot do. And how and when you will die.
He literally holds your life and soul in his hands.
Just one flick of the wrist and it can all come crashing down.
"So what am I going to do? Sit here in this miserable shack waiting for you like a bitch waiting for her master to come home?"
"I believe, Malfoy, that my answer was ‘yes', that is what you will do. I cannot risk you re-joining the Death Eaters when you get the opportunity."
Instead of making some snide remark about how that was exactly as he planned, or perhaps vehemently denying it if he was feeling self-righteous today, Draco simple laughed.
"You think they would take me back alive? How foolish you are, Granger!"
Stung at being mocked – yet again – she snapped, "Excuse me for thinking that you might wish to go back to your old cronies!"
Sighing, he said, "Even if I did wish that, which I don't, I wouldn't be able to. Not now. They know I betrayed them. I would likely meet the same fate as that little muggleborn I was telling you about. If not worse, of course."
She eyed him, trying to gauge if what he said was genuine. She had no luck.
His voice got lower now as he continued, "But, really, Granger. Surely you must know by now that I no longer believe in Voldemort's cause?"
"Yes, I believe that. But just because you don't believe him doesn't mean that you do believe us. And because of that, I can't trust you."
"You're right, as usual. I'm still a pig-headed pureblood, stuck in his ways. However, that doesn't make me evil. The world isn't split into Death Eaters and Order Members, Granger."
"Hermione." The name slipped from her lips before she even realized what she was doing.
"My name is Hermione. Not ‘Granger.'"
"Alright, Hermione," He said slowly, eying her now, surely trying to figure out her motives for offering him her first name. Good luck with that, because even she had no idea why she did it. "You may call me Draco, then."
"Draco." She whispered his name, and it came out little more than a sigh.
There was one aspect of this spell that neither Grindelwald nor the Ministry ever understood.
With perpetual servitude comes a price. No man can serve two masters, and the constant strain of wishing to be your own person, yet forced to live as another's, makes one weary.
And slowly, ever so slowly, the one who has had the spell cast upon them begins to fade away.
It was ten a.m. and nearly time to leave.
She had been quietly packing her things for the past hour, not eager to rouse once more her argument with Draco.
He was so stubborn, and absolutely refused to be left behind.
She saw no reason for him to be so eager for battle – who would wish for certain danger and a very high probability of death?
And so she asked him, and got a stark answer that chilled her down to her bones.
"Why would I not want that? When I am to die so soon anyways? Why would I not wish to go out in a blaze of glory – the last fight of Draco Malfoy? On the winning side for once."
Her lungs filled to their highest capacity with her gasping breath. "Why do you think you will die soon?"
"Oh, I don't think it, Hermione. I know it."
"But… Are you terminally ill? Is it cancer? You know there are ways to treat that. Muggles can fight diseases, too."
"No!" he laughed, "Not that, Hermione. I don't have cancer. Or AIDS, Ebola, smallpox, yellow fever, or any other disease you care to name. What I ‘have' is something a little less tangible."
She was silent, mouth still gaping open, obviously waiting.
"The spell Lord Voldemort uses…The binding spell. It…" he was so hesitant. He stopped and raised his eyes from his lap to her face, and she saw how expressive his eyes were now that he had taken down that mask. They showed fear and anxiousness, the slate-gray a flat tone nearly the color of concrete.
"What?" she whispered, "What does it do?"
He closed his eyes then, and whispered back, equally small, "It kills you."
There is no way to remove this spell. There is no way to change it.
And there is no way to reverse its' effects.
Once it has taken your soul and grabbed hold, you are chained to it forever.
Death is imminent, though you may not know it.
Your life could be over in five years or fifty – only the passage of time and the temper of your master will tell.
And so every day might be your last. And you would never know it.
Her heart was racing, pumping much too fast.
And then suddenly, it stilled.
"It kills you? What? How?" her voice was frantic, her words slurring into what must be an unrecognizable mess. Yet Draco did nothing but quickly rise from that seat he had never left, and knelt by the chair she was perched on.
Slowly petting her hair and rubbing her shoulder he said, "It's a complicated thing, Hermione. Even I don't fully understand it, and I've been researching this bond for many years."
She motioned for him to continue, not sure that she could keep her voice steady.
"Basically, it all goes back to the idea that loyalty must go both ways. Each is bound to the other. What I believe is that, when the spellcaster dies, his serf must die with him."
Her heart was frozen. Cold as ice. Dead.
"Yes." He said, simply and matter-of-factly. "It seems that when one's master is dead, your reason for living is gone, too, since a serf's duty is always to serve his master. And if you have no more reason to live, then…"
He trailed off, as Hermione finally lost it and tears began to stream down her face.
"It's alright Hermione," he soothed, "it's not that bad. It's only me after all. I don't really matter."
"But you do matter!" she sobbed, covering her face with her hands, "I tried so hard not to care! But I do, god dammit! I care about you, Draco Malfoy, and may Merlin strike me down for it!"
Draco's hand froze on her hair. He stopped his soft shushing noises. And with her hands over her eyes, Hermione had no idea what the look on his face might be.
The moment seemed to drag on for eternity, every millisecond a thousand years to her.
"You… you care for me?"
His voice was small and fragile, and for an instant it sounded as if it was a child's voice, just looking for acceptance.
Suddenly, his lips were crashing down on hers. He wasted no time in moving her from the chair and laying her on the rug-covered floor. And surprisingly, she found that she didn't care.
Because right now, what could possibly be more important than the mouth covering hers? More important than the hand running through her hair or the feel of his legs sliding with hers?
Not even the knowledge that somehow, for some reason, this man giving her so much pleasure would die soon.
There wasn't love behind this kiss – no, she was not naive enough to believe that.
But there was care. And lust. So, so much longing.
And that was enough for her.
His hand slithered up her thigh, touching the waistband of her panties.
With a soft tug, they fell to her knees.
Three Years Later.
There were a large number of headstones these days.
The War had claimed very many, and as such, there were very many places to grieve.
Some were in open parks, where mourners could come and go as they pleased. Others were on private land, which was always harder to get into.
But some were laid to rest in a place far from any other. Perhaps a garden where they often spent time or a particular tree they favored.
Or maybe a little old shack just outside of Wales where the sun never shined and the birds never sang.
Only one headstone stood there.
It was a modest thing, bearing only a name, two dates, and one small line of text.
Chained by life, freed by death.