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Conditional Love

By Lestatian


It's funny how life turns out. Looking back, I see that more than once it has been luck, and not skill or caution that has saved my life. A good example would be when I was in school, and Sirius Black lured me towards the shack, and Potter saved me. That was luck. I see that now. Although I couldn't have been more ungrateful at the time. Being saved by a Potter! The indignity made my skin crawl. Even now, I am not sure whether he did the right thing. That one kind act of saving my life led to so many more deaths and destruction. Would James have saved me if he had known the type of man I would turn out to be? Would he have drawn back and left me to die? Or would the true Gryffindor valour have come through and saved my life anyway?

I lost count of the number I killed. When it was all still new and exciting, I used to log the numbers in a little black book, bound in velvet, and watch the list grow week by week. But one day I came in and found Lucius reading it, and laughing. I burnt it the next day.

Lucius, I see now, was not luck, but a curse. We were friends from day one; from the moment the hat shouted 'Slytherin!' He was always the leader of the group; all others strove to gain his grace, friendship, and respect. Our families knew each other of old. I saw no reason to favour such a self- opinionated fop. And that was why he chose me. He did not want a snivelling lapdog, a puppy to click at his heels. He wanted an equal, a partner in crime, someone to rely on, someone to trust, someone to love. Someone who could hurt him as badly as he could hurt them. Someone who could hurt him as badly as he needed to be hurt.

Many have accused Lucius of having a heart of stone, skin like ice and fingers only capable of cruelty. How wrong they are! I have more memories than I care to count, of Lucius being friendly, passionate, and even tender. I'll admit, freely to anyone who cares to ask, that his love was not what most people would call normal. He'd be jealous if he detected another's scent on my skin, though he tried not to show it. Sometimes, he could fly into an uncontrollable rage at the slightest provocation. He'd be violent, lashing out with unrestrained fury, with any tool that came to hand. Nobody else could stand up to him but me. Nobody ever did.

Lucius was my world for fifteen years. I was his shadow, and he was mine. We shared all our precious moments, our triumphs, our failures, and basked in reflected glory. We took the mark at the same time, sharing the pain, savoring it, enjoying it. How stupid we were. How na´ve.

I should have known, really. Lucius always had a love of inflicting pain, both on those he loved and those he abhorred. But at least he always used to kiss the wounds he gave me. Lucius was so particular in what he considered 'pure'! Anything that was not pure wizard, whether it be Muggle, Mudblood or Squib, he went after with a terrifying vengeance. They always begged for death before the end.

The deaths, oh, the deaths. The screams, echoing through my ears, the blood pounding through my veins. I always tried to keep up with him, but not even I could match his lust for blood and pain. So many died at our hands. We were the Dark Lord's most devoted followers.

It's all about control. Control over them, control over me, control over himself. He loved making them suffer, making them beg, making them cry out in delicious agony. Not even I could give him the ecstasy he felt when he killed. After those terror-filled nights, we used to spend ourselves, locked deep in one another, lying in each other's arms, shuddering in satisfaction, trembling in pleasure. But I knew I could not give him the same thrill that he needed, that he received from their blood, and he would kill again before the night was out.

It became his life. So desperate became he to fulfill his need for torment that he grew careless, and nearly got caught on more than one occasion. If he had been taken, he surely would have received the Dementor's Kiss before the night was through. I'd find him in my chambers, ecstatic, begging me to go with him for more, when there was already blood on his hands. How he must have wept when the war came to an end. How he must have rejoiced when it started again.

As his passion for blood soared, so too did his demands on those around him. More violent became our bloodplay, behind closed doors, and fool that I was, I let him do it. But I can see now that by then his new need was separating us. He was shutting me out; I couldn't satisfy him anymore, and all he did was devise new methods of gaining his pleasure. Eventually, the matter came to a head. I suppose that it was inevitable.

Lucius killed a boy I knew. He'd been born with wizarding blood, but turned out to have no magical powers. Lucius had already killed that night; a Muggle girl that had shrieked in delicious pain and quivered delightfully from the effects of the Cruciatus curse. The boy had been taken in by my Father, and lived in my house for a number of years. In my own way, I'd grown quite fond of him, and had seen no reason to end his life so horribly. Lucius had no such qualms, enjoying the power he exacted over the lad. I tried to stop him, I even begged him to stop, to at least finish it quickly. But Lucius said no. He said that he was the only thing that should mean anything to me, and that he should cast Crucio on me for my disobedience and disloyalty. I managed to reverse that spell just before it hit me. Unfortunately, by that time the boy was already dead.

The strength of that Crucio that I returned upon Lucius stunned even me. How jealous he must have been, how hard he wanted to prove to me how much I was really his! I watched dispassionately as he writhed on the floor, incoherent cries escaping his lips. What a beautiful sound. I didn't lift it even after he'd fallen unconscious, his body still twitching from the tremors running through it.

I walked out on him, having had it with his Draconian antics and his insane desire for 'purity'. I walked out without a second glance. I left the cause, I left Lucius, I left Voldemort. And walked blindly straight into Dumbledore's clutches.

I still don't know if I made the right choice, switching sides, changing faces. At least with the other Death Eaters, I was one of them, I acted with them. I was a true member. Lucius protected me from all things bar himself, and Voldemort at least appreciated me.

I suppose an ethical person might be shocked at that last question. Did I make the right choice, changing from dark to light, from evil to good? Do I regret making a decision that saved so many lives, that eased so much pain and suffering? Do I? I don't know.

When I returned to Voldemort's side, he welcomed me, if not with open arms, at least not with wand raised. Unlike the others, unlike Lucius, he never questioned my absences. Only Lucius knew. Why did he never tell anyone, when he could have exacted the perfect revenge he felt I so richly deserved? Why did he always ignore me, never include me, never betray me? I cannot say in all honesty that I would have shown him the same consideration.

But although Voldemort was pleased to have me return as Master of Potions, I was never truly part of that group the same way again. Everyone noticed the distance between Lucius and myself, and they were scared of incurring either of our wraths if they were to broach the other. So Lucius and I were a circle apart, though on opposite sides, both separated from the Death Eaters, by them.

We reacted very differently to our new estrangement. Lucius used this opportunity, with nobody to restrain him, to take his obsession to new heights that not even the Dark Lord could surpass. I melted, stuck in my shell, not daring to inflict any pain that I didn't have to unless word got back to Dumbledore and I'd be in Azkaban faster than I could Apparate there. But this was new for me; I'd always been able to indulge my occasional lust for pain. For I had not been faking when Lucius and I had killed and tormented together, nor had I feigned the moans when we lay in each other's arms. But I could not freely indulge that vice any longer, and so I shut myself off and tried to let my frustration and resentment leak out wherever it could. I suppose this could partly explain why the Gryffindors' do not completely thrash all others when it comes to the matter of house points.

Dumbledore trusted me, of that I had no doubt. But it was a different trust from any other that I'd had before; it was a trust that said, 'I know you'll do as I say, because I know that you know the consequences if you do not'. It was a conditional trust, and not at all what I wanted.

But Lucius had proven to me that he had given me a conditional trust as well. And I had already broken the barriers. Sometimes I regret reversing that spell. Sometimes I don't.

So I belonged to neither group. The Death Eaters did not want me, and the Ministry did not trust me. I can't honestly say I blame them; I killed enough of their families to be guaranteed a Kiss. So I live today, apart from either side, knowing that I'll never be part of their midst again. I suppose I must be grateful to Dumbledore, for it is only him that stands between Fudge taking his deserved revenge. Remove him, and my life is done for.

But what's done is done. The past is gone, and nothing can now be done to change it. I have to live with the realities of the decisions that I have made, and accept that it could all have been so different with a bit more sense, or a bit more luck. But, as Dumbledore is so fond of saying, 'it does not do to dwell on dreams..'

But there is one choice that I do have to make. Or rather a decision. I was always so much more practical than my friend. Lucius knows my secret; Draco overheard Dumbledore and I speaking one evening in my study. I wanted to cast a memory charm on him, but Dumbledore wouldn't hear of it; told me it was 'unethical'. Lucius made sure I knew, for the only time since I cursed him, did our eyes meet the next time we stood together. He lifted his eyes to me, smirked a little, and did something I'd never seen him do.

He winked.

It is far too dangerous having such a volatile person know the key to my own destruction. I have to be rid of him. I have to go that one step further, one that I always hesitated to take, and one that I never dreamed of doing to the one I loved so passionately with all my heart and soul. I have to kill him.

I shall not stoop to his level. I shall not cause him many hours of needless pain and suffering; I shall not make him scream though I so desperately want to. My blood aches for pain, my body needs the echoes and the pounding of the blood through my ears. But I know that Lucius would make sure that his last wish would be to defy me; to deny me the reverberation of his screams. Why should he grant me that final desire? I did all I could to take away his.

I shall creep into his study, while he swirls his vintage whiskey and reminisces of times long past. I shall make sure the hour is late, for indeed I have no yearning to see him proving his possession of his son. Rumours have long since spread through the circle of Lucius' perversions. I must say that I was both disgusted and quite flattered when I heard of the acts that Lucius commits over his family. It means he still wants me, even though he has no desire for me, though he still hates me.

It means he still needs me.

And when I creep into that study, I shall say those two words quickly and meaninglessly, and not indulge my petty whims. I shall show you courtesy, Lucius, courtesy that you most certainly do not deserve. You shall not suffer pain from my hands.

Lucius, you are such a fool. There was nothing I would not have done for you. For fifteen years you loved me, you controlled me, you owned me. We could have been so powerful together, nobody could have stopped us. There was nothing we could have not achieved, no heights that we could not have reached. And you threw it all away. You threw it away, for passion, for lust, for greed. For you.

It was all for you.

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