Status: Work in Progress

Lost in the Echo

Chapter Three

Draco sat in his study that evening with a half empty bottle of brandy. He normally felt no such desire to drown his sorrows at the bottom of a bottle, but so much had happened in the last 24 hours that he had for once indulged himself. The brandy had burned his throat as he swallowed, but it was a welcome sensation. At least he had something that he knew was real. The events of today seemed like they were just a dream.

Or perhaps a nightmare was a better way to describe it.

Aunty Bellatrix had struck again, and she wasn't even alive anymore to gloat about it. He knew she had probably chosen to torture Syndil because she stood against Voldemort, but he didn't know why she had chosen to be especially cruel towards her. Syndil had perhaps been a bit outspoken with her disregard for Voldemort, but Bellatrix had never tortured the others who were especially outspoken - such as Ron, or Luna, or even Hermione. True, she had tortured her a bit, but not so much that Hermione lost her mind. So why had she done it to Syndil?

A slight thud came from outside his study on the balcony, and Draco turned to see what had created the noise. He drew his wand until the door swung open to reveal a regal looking woman with dark hair and a few sections of white blonde piled atop her head in a tight up-do.

"Mother." Draco said, inclining his head.
"Good evening, Draco. Oh, my. Rough day?" she asked gently as she took notice of the half empty decanter of brandy that sat next to him. She knew it had been full that morning when she departed from Malfoy Manor that morning to visit Lucius in Azkaban.
"You could say that." he said, setting his glass down on the desk and sighing.
"What happened?"
"I found an old locket in my desk drawer. I thought it was something of Astoria's that I could give to Scorpius, but when I opened it, it was something of mine."
"A locket? I don't recall your father or I ever giving you one of those."
"You didn't. Do you remember the Metcalfe family that used to live next door?"
"Hmmm. That was... Sheila and Timothy, right? They had two children, if I recall. I think there was a boy and a girl... Oh, but I can't recall their names for the life of me." Narcissa said, avoiding his gaze. Draco narrowed his eyes, but continued.
"Jacob and Syndil, Mother."
"Ah, yes. Weren't you and the girl - Syndil, you say? - particularly close?"
"Yes, right up until the first year we attended Hogwarts. She was the one who gave me the locket. It had "semper amici" carved on it."
"Friends forever. How sweet. So I'm assuming this locket has something to do with why you're sitting here drinking all of the brandy?"
"Yes... and no." Draco sighed and then ran a hand through his hair.
"Well which is it, Draco? You know I've no patience for riddles. It's why I wasn't sorted into Ravenclaw."

He took another sip of the brandy.

"It got me thinking. I knew that she had become quite close with Potter and his friends during our years there, and so I had assumed that she had stood against Voldemort. I looked to see if perhaps she had died in battle, but she didn't - her mother and brother did, however. Her father is still alive somewhere, probably with his memory hidden. Anyways, I could find no other information on her current whereabouts, so I went to the Ministry to see if their records would have more information."

Draco stopped when Narcissa let out a very unladylike snort.

"Fat chance anyone there would want to help anyone in our family." she said, sadly.
"Ironically enough, Mother, it was Potter and Granger who helped me."

She turned incredulous eyes on him.

"Really? That's impressive."
"Yes, I thought so, too, considering everything that happened."
"Well, what did they say?" she said, and Draco noticed she was avoiding his eyes once again.
"Well, they confirmed that she was still alive. But apparently she is not faring very well at all."
"Oh? How do you mean?" Narcissa asked, summoning her own glass and pouring herself some brandy, as well.

Draco tilted his head as he looked at her.

"I think you know exactly what I mean, Mother. In fact, I think you know a great deal more than you are telling me." he said, accusingly.

Narcissa turned wide eyes on him. "Why, Draco, what ever do you mean? Why would I hide anything from my only son?"
"You've done far riskier things in the past."

Narcissa sighed, knowing she was caught.

"Very well. I know of your friends circumstances. I didn't realize the full extent of the damage, however, until I stopped in to visit with her a few weeks ago. In fact, I came across that locket about a month ago. You had left it in your trunk after you returned from your first year, and I had put it in my jewelry box with the intent to give it back before you went to school, but I forgot. Then when I was getting rid of old jewelry that I no longer wear, I came across it. You were off at work, so I placed it in your desk drawer."
"I don't understand, Mother. Why didn't you tell me as soon as you found it?"
"Darling, you said yourself that you thought it was something of Astoria's. It'd been nearly thirty years. If I had just given it to you, you would have set it to the side and forgotten it again. I didn't want that to happen."
"But... Mother, you and Father told me to cut ties with her if she was sorted into Gryffindor. I did exactly as you asked. Why would you not want me to forget it again?"

Narcissa sighed and drained the rest of her brandy, then sat heavily down in the armchair across from him.

"It was your father's idea. I never wanted you to end your friendship with her. Truthfully, there is a very fine line between Gryffindor and Slytherin, and the two houses are far more alike than one would think. Syndil and you knew each other's ins and outs, and I figured it wouldn't hurt for you to have someone you could trust that completely on your side when you started." Narcissa admitted as she poured more brandy. "Your father, however, was completely against the idea."
"Why did you let me sever those ties, then?"
"Because I was supporting my husband, Draco. That is what wives do. No matter how ridiculous or foolish we think our husbands ideas MAY be, it is our duty to support them and then offer them a hand up when they fall flat on their face. But there is only so much that we can do. It was not my place to question your father's decisions. Even at the very end. Even though I did not completely agree with your father's blind support of Voldemort, I supported him because it was all I could do. There was an ever-present threat in our home, and so I played my part so that I could keep you safe."

Draco took a moment to process everything his mother had said. He'd always been so invested in living up to his father's shadow that he had never even considered that his mother was suffering for his father's choices as well. It shed a whole new light on his childhood.

"I don't understand, Mother. I don't understand why Syndil was snatched... I don't understand why she was tortured into insanity...by Bellatrix, no less. She was my closest confidant throughout my childhood, and Bellatrix knew that... so why would she choose HER, of all of the prisoners that we held, to torture so viciously?"

Narcissa smiled sadly.

"Truthfully, Draco, I've no more insight into my sister's twisted mind than anybody else. That is not to say, however, that I do not have my theories. My dove, I truly think that it is precisely for that reason that she chose her to torture so viciously."
"I still don't understand, Mother."
"Bellatrix took a twisted pleasure in bringing pain to others. Her one redeeming quality, was that she was fiercely loyal and protective of her family. I imagine that in her eyes, Syndil being sorted into Gryffindor and subsequently fighting against Voldemort in the war... was a betrayal that she could not tolerate."
"But that still doesn't explain why she was snatched."
"The Snatchers snatched everyone they could find. Pureblood, half-blood, muggle-born, muggle. It didn't matter to them so long as they got paid and reimbursed. She was just very, very unlucky."

Draco looked away and into the fire that had burst to life a moment ago.

"...Granger thinks that I might be able to help Syndil. She thinks that there's a chance that my Occlumency and Legilimency skills may be useful in retrieving Syndil from... whatever world she is living in now."
"Why does she think that? Even the best in those fields have been unable to retrieve the person she used to be."
"She thinks that I might have more luck because Syndil and I were particularly close growing up."
"Even so... It's been nearly thirty years since you last spoke to her. Who's to say that her real self would even be willing to speak to you again?"
"I know. That's why I'm worried. But... I want to try. If I succeed... well, that's a hurdle I can jump when I get there. If I fail, then there's no harm done because she won't remember what we used to be... what we used to have... or who she used to be. I'm planning on going there tomorrow to see if I can help her at all."
"...Perhaps that is for the best. I would recommend not bringing the locket with you, though. She won't recognize the significance of it right yet."
"Of course. On another note... You said you went to see her?"

Narcissa laughed at the glare he shot her, upset that she had not divulged that information sooner.

"A story for another time, my dove. For now, it is late and I am tired. Being there at Azkaban always drains me. I hope that soon they might say your father's sentence has been served... though I doubt it is likely. I can only hope, though."
"Have you tried Liquid Luck when you speak to them and ask for his release?"

Narcissa laughed once more and then stood and patted his cheek.

"Ah, Draco, you are precious." she said, a sad smile tugging at the corners of her lips once more as she turned away. "Even Felix has his limitations." she murmured, then exited the study and left Draco to his brooding.
♠ ♠ ♠
I am using dove in the way that a dove is pure and authoritative, everything other birds should aspire to be. In this sense, a dove is perfection. Therefore, Narcissa - who has shown in both the books and movies how much she cares for her son - is saying Draco is perfect.