A Black Tie Affair

Chapter 11: The Wandmaker

Draco slowly opened the door, finding himself in the same antechamber from last time. Standing there in the centre was his aunt, Bellatrix Lestrange. He'd never actually met her before, but he instantly knew who she was and what she was capable of. She was thin and gaunt, her tangled black hair reaching down past her shoulders. She was even paler than he was, and her skin had a greyish tinge, an unnatural quality that he guessed came from all the time spent with the Dementors.

But what was most unnerving about her was the raptor gaze she had. It was the look of a killer, and he knew that that was exactly what she was. She was dangerous, ruthless, and possibly crazy. And she was standing ten feet in front of him.

"Ah, Draco, how nice to see you at last. You look very much like your father, though perhaps a bit healthier at the moment." Her horrible smile made the hairs on the back of his neck stand up.

"Errm, hi, Aunt Bella."

"Oh, he even calls me aunt. Isn't that precious. You're an endearing little tyke, aren't you?"

Rankled though his pride was, he didn't dare speak out against her. Before he could think of a response, Snape stepped forward and put a hand on his shoulder. Draco tried to shake it off, but it tensed, vicelike, until he stopped.

"Bella," Snape sneered in a voice of cold menace.

"Severus," she growled in turn. Her voice had gone from sickly-sweet and sing-songy to utter menace in a few short seconds. Draco did not want to get between the two of them if they decided to start tossing hexes. In fact, it would be perfect to just let things play out. Maybe they'd finish each other off.

"Orders?" Snape hissed. The tension between the two could practically be felt.

"Bring him in. He's getting his first mission. Tragically, you're not involved. Can't be trusted with you. How the Dark Lord even trusts you at all is beyond me. But then the Dark Lord is not meant to be understood by mortals such as ourselves."

"You sad, pathetic woman. He barely even knows your name."

But before Draco could figure out whether they were talking about him or the Dark Lord, he felt himself being pulled forward. The doors burst open and he flew inside, landing on his knees before where Lord Voldemort sat.

"Lord Voldemort waits for no one, is that clear?"

Draco was paralyzed with terror. "Ye-yes my lord." He kept staring down at the stone floor, not daring to look up.

"I have a mission for you. Your first, as it were. There is a person of value that I need captured. He must be taken alive, as he is no use to me dead. I believe you know of him: his name is Ollivander. He is the wandmaker of Diagon Alley."

Draco did indeed know of him. Nearly every witch or wizard in Britain had gotten a wand from Ollivander. What in the name of Merlin could the Dark Lord want him for? But of course questioning orders would do nothing except get him killed.

"Yes my lord. I'll go right away."

"You can find him in Diagon Alley. The fool lives in his shop. But beware; he is not as harmless as he looks. That old man knows many tricks. To make sure things go according to plan, Bellatrix is going with you."

Draco felt bitter resentment well up in his throat. How was he ever supposed to prove himself if he was forced to tag along with others? But he couldn't complain. Ollivander was much older than him, and could probably do things Draco had never seen. But he would catch him unawares. Sneak in. Get him with his guard down. And if anything went wrong, Bellatrix was there to handle it.

"Yes my lord. Thank you my lord." He stood, bowed, shook slightly on the spot, and then turned and departed the room. Bellatrix was waiting for him in the antechamber. Snape was nowhere to be found.

"Right, let's go then, shall we?" Bellatrix grinned at him. Draco was as nervous as he had ever been, but she seemed to be right at home now. She was in her element. He had to say he was very glad to be on the same side as her.

They walked outside in silence. The stars were wide-ranged and impressively bright above them. Draco enjoyed spending some nights at Malfoy Manor outdoors, watching the stars. He liked to find the constellation that shared his name. He looked over when Bellatrix stopped walking. She was picking up something by the stairs, a manky old pair of boots.

Draco's disgust registered on his face. "Eugh, something of Rudolphus'?"

She growled at him. "Listen up you little twat scar, I'll only explain this once. These do in fact belong to Rudolphus, but I'm letting you borrow them for the night. When I explain what they do you should get on your knees and thank me."

Draco was about to voice a sarcastic retort but kept his mouth shut. This was Bellatrix. Aunt or not, he had a feeling he'd regret it if he pissed her off.

"What do they do?" he asked quietly.

"They're Seven-League Boots. Passed down through his family for ages, and one of the only useful things the man inherited besides his blood status. Mind you, they're essentially useless these days, but I'll get to that in a minute."

"What do they do?" Draco asked cautiously.

"They grant unnatural speed to the wearer. They were created, and more common, before apparition had been invented. Broomsticks and carpets were also common for travel, but much less innocuous. Of course, they come with a price. For one thing, you can only use them in short bursts, or you'll kill yourself running into things. For another, if you trip, you'll break your leg clean off, so don't trip."

Draco's eyes widened. "Well what if I'd rather take my chances then?" he asked hastily.

She gave him a serious look, very rare for her. "I'm not going to protect you tonight. Once we get in there, I'll be busy enough on my own. You forget- to them, you won't be a 16 year old student. You won't even be Draco Malfoy. You'll be an enemy, a Death Eater, and they will respond without mercy. The Dark Lord has ordered me not interfere, but I would not anyway. You must learn what is at stake here, and conduct yourself accordingly."

"Okay, okay. I don't want you babysitting me anyway. How do I use them?"

"The spell to activate them is prodeo. To stop, the spell is modero. Now put them on and try them out, we don't have much time, but I don't fancy you slipping on wet stones and launching yourself thirty feet into the air, either."

Draco began to untie his dress shoes, which Snape hadn't bothered to transfigure. "Where do I put these? I don't want to leave them out in the weather, the dew probably isn't good for the-"

Before he could finish she picked them up and chucked them off into the forest. Draco sighed. "Why does everyone keep doing this to me?" he grumbled.

"Draco, there are more important things in this world than footwear! The Dark Lord's will must be done! Now put them on."

He gritted his teeth and bit back a retort before grabbing the boots. They were large and black and studded with chain. They looked to be unnaturally heavy and much too big for him. Determined to get it over with, however, he slipped them on. To his astonishment, they resized themselves to his feet as he put them on, so that soon he was standing there with perfectly-fitting boots. Not only that, but they were now modern looking and rather fashionable. A far cry from what they had looked like a few seconds ago. He looked up in question.

A smirk flicked across Bellatrix's face. "Yes, Rudolphus never was one for fashion. They are supposed to be innocuous, remember? They change themselves to suit the wearer. Now go, have a little jog. I'll try and hex you, and you try and dodge."

"Wait, what! Wait!" his yells of protest were drowned out by laughter as Bellatrix began firing spells at him. She was fast, very fast, and he thought prodeo! before sliding left. In the blink of an eye, he was about 50 feet away, sprawled on his ass. He could still hear her cackling as she fixed her aim.

In the next 10 minutes (it was a bit difficult for Draco to keep time, as he was trying hard to balance dodging Bellatrix's spells with not killing himself via the Seven League Boots), Draco managed to figure out a workable strategy for using the boots. By focusing on a target a short distance away, say a tree, a rock, some sort of identifier, he could control where he went and minimize the chance of tripping over something.

He was just starting to get the hang of it when Bellatrix screeched "Enough! We have to go. Practice more tonight if you have to run for your life. Nothing quite like a bit of danger to keep the heart pumping!"

He disengaged the boots and walked back over to her at normal speeds. It seemed to take forever. "So what will you do, then?" he asked. There was only one pair of boots.

She snorted. "Draco, I'm Bellatrix Lestrange. If anything, I wish they all had Seven League Boots. It might actually be a challenge. But no matter. Come on now, to Diagon Alley."

They stepped through the magical barrier that protected the grounds and walked a bit further into the darkness. Bellatrix turned and grabbed his arm and disapparated. With a great pulling sensation, Draco followed along with her, disappearing into the void between space and time.

It was dark in Knockturn Alley, though to be fair it was always dark there. Draco lit his wand with a muttered lumos and attempted to get his hearings. Bellatrix, staring right through the dark like some unearthly predator, just grabbed his arm and started pulling him along.

He yanked it free, grumbling "I'm going, I'm going. I'm not a child, alright?"

She snorted. "Draco, you might as well be. You're a child who's just gotten his big-boy pants and can't wait to show them off to the world."

He fumed silently, but knew better than to argue with her. He was busy just trying to keep pace with her as she strode very quickly through Knockturn Alley. Fortunately there was no one else around, or they'd be finding themselves in an early grave. They reached the exit to Knockturn Alley, and Draco nearly ran into her when she paused, throwing up a hand.

Draco tried to point his wand out into the darkness to get a look around, but she slapped his hand away. He extinguished his wand and stood there in the darkness, waiting for his aunt to finish whatever it was she was doing. He heard her murmuring away under her breath. It didn't sound good, whatever she was doing, though he couldn't make out any of the actual words.

After several minutes of this, she stopped and gave a grunt of approval. "He's craftier than I thought. Listen carefully, Draco. The wandmaker has his shop heavily warded to prevent intruders, such as ourselves. I can defeat them, of course, but as soon as they start going down, he will feel the loss in magic, and doubtless this will set off other wards designed as a fail-safe. Do not underestimate him."

Draco nodded. "Er, okay. What am I doing, then?"

"You must capture Ollivander. There's no other way to it. We cannot ignore the wards, and only I can counter them. Go! Capture, but do not kill! The Dark Lord must have him alive!"

"I will capture him." The resolved in his voice sounded hollow in his mind. In truth, he was very nervous, and didn't know how on earth he was supposed to capture an old and powerful wizard with an army of wands at his disposal. No. You can do this. The Dark Lord thinks you can do this. Aunt Bellatrix does too. They wouldn't make you do this if you couldn't. Right? Right?

He didn't have time to think about these questions. Bellatrix swept down Diagon Alley, until she reached Ollivander. She whipped out her wand and began casting spells. He watched with wonder as the wards became visible, great purple shimmering domes over the building, electric blue fences across the entrance way, and a hazy green mist that hung by the eavestroughs, as if at the ready. Beautiful, but quite the arsenal.

Now that the wards were visible, Bellatrix stepped forward and began casting at them, and they lashed out in return, arcing across the night. Windows shattered and an unnatural gust picked up, tearing through the narrow street. Draco did not wait to find out who would win. He sprinted forward, and burst through the door. He felt an electric charge rip through his body, but kept running and the feeling began to fade.

Once he was clear of the wards, he stopped and looked around. He was standing in the middle of Ollivanders. It had been years since he'd last been in here, but he still remembered the day he got his wand. He remembered pulling it out of the box, holding it like his father had shown him. The feeling of power that came with it was intoxicating. He'd been hooked ever since.

He noticed there were stairs to go to the upper level. Seeing as how the ground floor was deserted, he knew that Ollivander must be up there. He took the stairs as quietly as possible, knowing that Ollivander was waiting for him, readying his last defense. He began to sweat. The slower he took the stairs, the more he wanted to turn around and let Bellatrix handle it.

He shook his head mentally. No, he couldn't. He knew that the Dark Lord would kill him if he didn't come out of here with Ollivander. Hell, Aunt Bella might kill him before the Dark Lord even got the chance.

He steeled himself and marched up the final steps, stomping his way onto the landing, making as much noise as possible. Ollivander knew he was coming. Knew someone was coming. He might as well sound as intimidating as possible. There was only one door at the end of the landing, and he knew that this was where the wandmaker must be.

"Confringo!" he shouted, and the lock in the door burst apart. He kicked it open, and ducked as a spell shot over his head.

"You'll never take me alive!" he heard a voice shout. It was old and hoarse, wizened from years of use. Another spell, a flash of purple light, shot toward Draco, and he had to dive back onto the landing to avoid it.

"Stupefy!" Draco growled, casting it over his shoulder and into the room. He risked a quick glance. It was a small room, but it was full to bursting with all manner of wand supplies, woods and books and notes. A large workbench sat in the middle of the room, and he could see Ollivander crouched behind it. He was cornered.

Well at least there's that slight chance I might survive, Draco thought. He tossed another stupefy over his head. Scrolls on the bench exploded, but it appeared that Ollivander was unharmed. Damn.

Ollivander suddenly appeared from behind the bench, standing up for the first time since he had dived behind when Draco had destroyed the door. The wandmaker looked on in wonder, lowering his wand. "You're no Death Eater at all, Mr. Malfoy."

"On the contrary, old man," Draco snarled, rolling up his sleeve to show him the Dark Mark there. He stepped closer and levelled his wand with Ollivander's heart. "The Dark Lord has need of you. You will come with me or you will suffer his displeasure."

Ollivander shook his head sadly. "I'm not coming with you, Mr. Malfoy."

Draco was growing frustrated. "You don't have a choice!" He threw the Conjunctivis Curse at him, but Ollivander deflected it with ease. He looked thoughtful for a moment, and then said, "it was only 5 short years ago that you purchased that wand from me, Mr. Malfoy. 10 inches, Hawthorn. A unicorn hair core, and if I'm not mistaken, reasonably springy. An innocent wand for an innocent boy. I could sense the seeds of darkness within, and certainly your family's reputation long proceeds you, but you were not set on any path, then. Now look at you. Truly, it was too soon."

"I don't want to hear it, old man. I've got you cornered. You're coming with me."

"No, Mr. Malfoy, I am not. I'm sorry I must do this, but you've left me with no choice."

In an instant he had disarmed Draco and with magic thrust him aside, bound to the floor as if a ton of concrete had suddenly been placed on his chest.

Shit, shit, shit, shit. This is not the plan. He struggled to free himself but he was trapped firmly, and his wand was impossibly out of reach, lying on the floor a few feet away. Suddenly, he heard an insane cackle, and knew that Bellatrix had found Ollivander.

He didn't doubt his crazy aunt, but Ollivander had just demonstrated how formidable his power was. What if she wasn't enough? What if Ollivander escaped? He almost shuddered at the thought of the torture that awaited him if he failed. He listened as hard as he could, straining his ears. There was a whirlwind of noise and various explosions, so it was hard to pick out what was happening, but it was clear a duel was unfolding below.

Draco was growing very impatient. He wanted to be the one to capture Ollivander. A voice in his head was telling him that he didn't stand a chance in hell of doing that, but he wanted to anyway. He did not want Bellatrix to get all of the glory. He needed this to stay in the favour of the Dark Lord. And staying in his favour meant staying alive.

At last the hold over him broke and he charged down the stairs to a scene of devastation. The shop was in complete ruins. Exploded fragments of wands and their boxes littered the floor, and several of the tall shelves were tipped over completely. And standing over a bloody Ollivander was his aunt Bellatrix, looking only slightly more dishelved than usual, catching her breath.

"This bastard was a fighter. But I like a challenge. Good thing you made it out without a scrape, eh?"

Draco shrugged non-commitally. Now that it was done, he just wanted to get out of here.

"Levitate the body, I'll have to disapparate with him first and come back for you. Let's go."

She headed for the door and into the narrow Alley. Draco cast a levitation charm on Ollivander, who rose into the air and floated along behind him as he followed his aunt out. Once they reached the street, however, things took a turn for the worse.

Out from the shadows stepped a man that Draco was sure he recognized, but he could not place from where. Bellatrix stopped and whipped out her wand, screeching "Avada Kedavra!"

The man conjured a large black bear, which took the spell full in the chest before exploding into bits of fur.

"I am Florean Fortescue. That is my friend you have. You shall not live to escape this night."