Lucius did not expect it to be so soon. Barely a week after his little meet up with the Dark Lord, he was called to Professor Dumbledore’s office. Lucius never liked Professor Dumbledore and was rather glad Professor Slughorn was also present when he entered the circular room.
“Professor, you have requested for me?” Lucius asked.
“Yes, I’m afraid something has happened,” Professor Dumbledore said as he handed Lucius a letter.
Without hesitation, Lucius tore the letter open and gazed at the words on the brown parchment.
“Your mother. She wrote us a letter too, explaining-”
“Professor, this is…” Lucius interrupted Professor Slughorn, but immediately stopped himself from continuing. What he intended to say would have ruined the Dark Lord’s plan of getting him out of school, and it was a good thing he caught on fast.
“Don’t worry, Lucius. You will board the train right away,” Professor Slughorn said as he placed a comforting hand on Lucius’ shoulder.
“Thank you, sir,” Lucius replied, keeping his gaze on the handwriting that was clearly not his mother’s. He was afraid that if he looked up, he would not be able to hide the truth from Professor Dumbledore.
“Pack what you need and I’ll send someone to escort you to the station,” Professor Dumbledore said.
“Thank you, professor,” Lucius said, quickly turning on his heels.
“And Lucius,” Professor Dumbledore called out. When Lucius turned but did not look him in the eye, there was a short awkward moment of silence. Professor Dumbledore did not speak until Lucius forced his gaze upon him. “Your father will be fine.”
Lucius gave him a firm nod before he hurried off. Letter still clutched in his hand, Lucius headed to the empty dungeons and went straight to his room. Once alone, he heaved a sigh of relief; relief that no one called the letter a bluff. What would happen if Professor Dumbledore knew he was working for the Dark Lord? Lucius can only imagine the horror his family would have to go through.
After a few minutes of complete silence, Lucius changed into something more muggle-like and began packing. The letter said he would be away for one week, so he decided to pack light. One suitcase should suffice, so Lucius swiftly grabbed what he needed before running into Professor Slughorn outside the common room.
“I told Dumbledore I’d escort you. Better if no one else knows what is going on,” Professor Slughorn said.
“Thank you, sir,” Lucius replied.
“So much gossiping among the students these days, this is the least I can do for you.”
Lucius gave a nod and followed after Professor Slughorn. As the two made their way to the train station in Hogsmead, an unwanted conversation took place.
“Ms Lovegood has been writing to me, you know,” Professor Slughorn said. “She’s doing very well in her training. They even sent her on field!”
“That’s good to hear,” Lucius responded shortly.
“Don’t you two write to one another? I thought you were friends.”
“Well, sometimes. She’s been busy,” Lucius lied, not knowing why he did.
“Yes, yes. A clever girl she is.”
Lucius merely nodded.
“I wish she could have finished her studies here. But I guess it is better for her to start her training now.”
“It is.” Two words that were the opposite of what Lucius was thinking.
“Can you believe it? I do not even have a picture of her!” Professor Slughorn exclaimed.
Thankfully, the conversation could not continue on the Hogwarts Express, as Lucius thanked Professor Slughorn again and boarded the train. When the train started to move, he heaved another sigh. This time, it was not a sigh of relief but a sigh of uncertainty.
As the train chugged into the night, Lucius found himself slowly drifting off into dream world. The scenery could not keep him awake and the thoughts he had became tiring. When he finally realized he had dozed off, the Hogwarts Express hissed and screeched as it came to a stop. Pulling himself up, Lucius wasted no time and hopped off the train.
Platform 9 ¾ was awfully quiet that night. The last time he stood on the platform, it was full of noisy students. Now, it was dead with not a single soul lurking about. Lucius did not like how the atmosphere felt and headed straight for the pillar. Once through, the stillness was ripped from him.
King’s Cross Station was busy, with muggles transiting home after a long day. Lucius blended in with the crowd and casually strolled to the exit. The moment he stepped outside, he felt lost. He always had an escort, but that night was different. Even though the letter said he would have a pick-up, he did not see anyone waiting for him. Lucius looked up and down the sidewalk he was on, hoping to see a chauffeur and a car, but when no one fit his mental description he gave up.
Lucius decided that since waiting did him no good, he should start walking. As he headed down his right, slipping past strangers, he kept his eye out for someone who might be waiting for him. When he saw someone leaning against a car, he decided to try his luck. But just before he could approach that man, a stranger brushed past him and whispered in his ear.
Not catching the whispered words, Lucius spun around to see who it was, but it was impossible to play the guessing game in such a crowd. A few seconds later, the same stranger bump into his shoulder and whispered again. This time, Lucius heard him.
“Follow me,” he said, as he continued walking ahead rather slowly.
Lucius was not sure if he could trust that man. He had never seen him before, and he couldn’t help but doubt. Things could go wrong very quickly if he made the wrong decision. Was following the stranger the wrong decision?
To Be Continued…
(Leave a comment below or vote on whether Lucius should follow the stranger or keep on looking!)