Tanya stopped her pleas as her eyes glistened with the fear of Lucius’ next move. There was a part of her that actually believed he would do it. Lucius could see it too, but he knew he was too weak. A coward, perhaps; too afraid of what his decision would do to him.
“The secret is to not hesitate,” the annoying death eater added.
Lucius was glad he hesitated, because at that moment he knew what he should do.
“I can’t,” Lucius whispered.
“What is it, Lucius?” the Dark Lord asked, as he took a step closer to him.
Lucius took in a deep breath, readying himself to defy an order.
A bright spark shot from behind them, whizzed past Lucius’ head and struck Tanya in the chest. The emotions in her eyes faded into a blank glare before her lifeless body hit the ground. In shock, Lucius stood frozen in place. He did not even attempt to look at the person who fired the curse as his mind tried to process what had happened. Tanya was dead and dead silence waited for someone to acknowledge the murderer.
“Ah, it is nice to see you on your feet again,” the Dark Lord said.
There was no reply to his words. Lucius wanted to see who it was, but he struggled to pull his eyes away from Tanya’s body.
“You should be resting, Abraxas,” the Dark Lord added.
Upon hearing his father’s name, Lucius managed to turn his head just enough to see his father giving the Dark Lord a bow. Silence continued on for a few seconds before the Dark Lord announced, “I’m feeling tired. Walk with me, Abraxas.”
Everyone, including Lucius, watched as the Dark Lord ascended the dungeon stairs with Abraxas right behind him. The moment both of them were out of sight, murmurs were exchanged. Everyone had something to say, but no one said anything to him.
Lucius stood statue-like as the other death eaters finished up the job. As his mind seeped into a world of emptiness, reality sped up around him. Spells were fired, ending the lives of the remaining aurors, and bodies were dragged to a corner, before the death eaters apparated with the dead, leaving Lucius behind. There was no one around to tell him what to do any longer and suddenly, he felt lost. Constantly having to choose, the lack of a choice disturbed him.
Standing in the lifeless dungeon as the cold air wrapped around his conflicted soul, Lucius completely lost track of time. A few hours later, he heard the dungeon door open and a series of hurried footsteps. He would have turned to see the stranger, but he didn’t know how. He had become too comfortable, stuck in the same dark and lonely place.
“Lucius!” the voice called out, as the footsteps hurried to his side. “Lucius, my dear boy.”
His mother reached out for him and pulled him into an embrace. The sudden warmth defrosted his petrified state and he slowly returned to his senses. When his mother released her grip on him, she reached for his wand, still tight in his grip, and took it from him.
“Are you alright? Talk to me, Lucius,” his mother asked worriedly.
“I knew her,” Lucius replied instead.
His mother did not say anything and waited for him to continue.
“Her name was… Tanya,” Lucius continued.
Lucius could not help but imagine everyone who knew her; the pain in their eyes when they learn about her death in a few hours. All her friends and teachers in Hogwarts would be in shock. Everyone had such high hopes for her, thinking she would become a great auror, but none of them would have expected death to take her so quickly. The worst part of it all was the fact that no one would ever know that Lucius watched her die. It was something he had to live with, a secret he had to keep from everyone who knew her. How was he going to do that?
“Mother,” Lucius said softly, “she was a friend.”
“Oh, my dear-”
“She was not your friend,” a voice echoed throughout the dungeon, interrupting what would have been comforting words to a distraught soul.
“You did this!” his mother accused.
“I protected him,” his father replied.
“No. You never did! You cursed our family,” his mother stated, “I should have taken Lucius and left many years ago.”
“Why didn’t you?” his father shot back with a question he could never retract.
His mother simply shook her head before storming off. Lucius watched her leave, wishing she took him with her.
“She’ll understand soon enough,” his father said.
No. She won’t. I don’t.
“You should have listened to me, Lucius. People you care about are only a liability.”
Like mother and me.
“Don’t make the same mistake again. And the next time the Dark Lord asks you to kill someone, do not hesitate.”
I won’t have a choice the next time. Lucius nodded.
“It’s late. Go to you room,” his father ordered.
Lucius retreated to his room as he was told to, but he could not find rest on a night as such. So, he took the family album off his wooden bookshelf and took a seat by the fireplace. He did not know what he hoped to accomplish looking at the family tree and old pictures, but he found that it distracted him.
Halfway through the album, he stumbled upon a picture of his father and the young Tom Riddle. Taking it out and turning it over, Lucius saw a message that read, ‘Don’t be mean, Malfoy.’ and it was signed by a girl named Joanna.
“I’m sorry, Joanna. I’m sorry you were a liability,” Lucius whispered, and then turning to look at the two people in the picture, he added, “I hate you.”
“I hate you both.”
In a swift motion with no hesitation, Lucius threw the picture into the flames and watched it burn. That was the only thing he did that he wanted to… for the rest of his life.