“Father!” Lucius called.
Abraxas Malfoy stopped in his tracks, almost unwillingly. He rested his hand on the doorknob before turning to Lucius.
“Is something wrong?” Lucius asked uncertainly.
His father shook his head and was ready to leave.
“I know something is,” Lucius quickly said.
His father let go of the knob, and said, “No, you don’t.” Before Lucius could prove his point, his father apparated without another word.
Knowing there was nothing he could do to find the answers he wanted, he sighed and exited the basement. He was so sure of leaving the dingy shop empty handed when he saw a familiar face at the counter.
The boy rang the rusted bell on the wooden surface, but no one came out to greet him. Disappointed, the boy turned towards the door and caught the reflection of Lucius in an old copper cauldron. Immediately, he stopped in his tracks.
Lucius caught the boy’s surprised expression and walked up to him.
“What are you doing here, Severus?” Lucius asked. “Who gave you permission to visit Hogsmead?
“Professor Slughorn. I was looking to buy a new cauldron, but…” Severus trailed off.
“What happened to your old one?”
A boy with talent in potions could not have blown up his own cauldron.
“It?” Lucius asked.
Severus shrugged. Lucius knew he was too embarrassed to admit he was still being bullied. Maybe if Severus joined the Dark Lord, he would find a reason to stand up for himself.
Walking up to the counter, Lucius gave the bell three rings. When not a soul showed interest in selling a cauldron, Lucius took out a few galleons from his cloak and placed it on the counter.
“Take that one,” Lucius said and pointed at a new silver cauldron seated by the window.
“But…” Severus only managed a word.
“Thank you would suffice,” Lucius simply replied.
Severus nodded his head and muttered the softest ‘thank you’ Lucius had ever heard. He then hurried towards the cauldron, but before he could reach for it he stopped and picked up something from the floor.
“What is it?” Lucius asked.
“I don’t know,” Severus answered, as he handed the piece of paper to Lucius.
While Severus struggled to find the right position to carry the cauldron, Lucius examined the piece of paper. The only thing written was, “Dr. Maddock. Highly recommended” and it was signed off with D.B.
Something about it felt familiar and when he thought it through, he recalled the last time he fell ill. His mother called the family doctor who signed off a few exotic herbs with ‘D.B’. At the memory of it, Lucius wondered if the piece of paper belonged to his father. Something was definitely wrong and Lucius was beginning to worry. Yet at that very moment, he kept his cool and headed back to Hogwarts with Severus stumbling beside him.
That night, Lucius could not fall asleep. He wrote a brief letter to his mother asking if everything was fine back home before he rested his head, but that only made things worse. His worry would not die down and when the sun came up the next day he decided to act on his own. He did not have a plan but he hoped the day would work to his favour.
When afternoon came, day was on his side as Lucius stumbled upon a prefect reprimanding a group of students. It was not hard to guess what had happened as the students were split into a group of three boys against one. Picking up speed, Lucius closed in on the debate on ‘who started it’ before saying, “I know who the bullies are.”
Little did he know, he was wrong with his assessment. The three boys were Avery, Mulciber and Severus, and the one they were against was a Gryffindor boy; a boy he had not seen before. He was probably someone no one noticed, making him an easy target.
“You do?” The Hufflepuff prefect asked.
Lucius was not sure if he should sell out his own to save this new face, so he played it safe and said, “Better they confess to lighten the sentence.”
“He did it!” the Gryffindor boy said, and pointed at Severus.
It was unbelievable as Severus was commonly the target of bullies, not the other way around.
“He jinxed Severus’ cauldron!” Avery responded in accusation.
“We just wanted justice,” Mulciber added, in the most threatening tone.
When the Gryffindor boy hesitated to defend himself, Lucius knew it was true.
“What’s your name?” Lucius asked him.
“Detention Mr Pettigrew. And if you jinx another cauldron, you’re paying for it,” Lucius said.
The Hufflepuff prefect looked at Lucius uncertainly and Lucius doused his suspicion of biasness with, “Ask Professor Slughorn about the cauldron. As for the fight, we can just let it go.”
Reluctantly, the Hufflepuff prefect nodded his head and took Pettigrew with him. When the two were out of earshot, Avery and Mulciber began high fiving and praising Lucius. Severus on the other hand, thanked Lucius and turned on his heels.
“You owe me, Severus,” Lucius simply said.
It was then that Lucius had an idea. Maybe he could use Severus once more, and do the Dark Lord’s bidding at the same time. After all, Severus was indebted to him, and Tanya was no longer around to question his motives.
To Be Continued…
(Leave a comment below or vote on whether Lucius should use Severus again or let him go!)