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Chapter Eighty-Four: Poisonous Words




"Some old wounds never truly heal, and bleed again at the slightest word."




Returning to the Manor in the early hours of the morning, Wraith fell into step beside the Dark Lord without a word. She was too tired to speak, truthfully. But she hadn't been tired enough to miss that when Harper and Clara had finally reappeared at the wolves' celebration, they had come stumbling out of the forest together. They now walked behind Wraith and the Dark Lord up the Manor's front steps, with Harper's hair mussed and Clara wearing a grin akin to a cat licking cream from its whiskers.

"You seem pleased, pet."

Wraith blinked, pulled from her thoughts, and then she smiled slightly. "I am, I suppose," she replied, slipping her arm through his. "Tonight was fun. I haven't had that in a while."

"I'm glad you enjoyed yourself."

The two of them left everyone else and made their way to Voldemort's tower. They climbed the twisted stair and Voldemort took her up to his bedroom. Wraith stood patiently as he stepped behind her to undo the braids that Clara had put in her hair.

"Are you very tired, my pet?"

Wraith nodded, but she turned to take hold of his robes. Pulling him down, she kissed him lightly. "But not too tired," she whispered.

Voldemort smiled slowly and reached to unlace her dress. When it lay discarded on the floor, Wraith slipped into bed, tilting her head to one side as she watched him undress.

She suddenly had questions, about his hunt for Grindelwald, for Potter, but she didn't dare break the mood he was in. Things were still on edge between them and would no doubt remain so for the time being.

Voldemort joined her in the bed and she took him with open arms, stilling her questions for another time.




As the day began outside the Manor, Wraith still lay awake in Voldemort's bed. His arms were entwined around her. Wraith wondered if he realized how he clung in his sleep.

Damaged little soul. If he were anyone else, I could pity the maimed thing he has made himself.

She was so tired, but sleep eluded her nonetheless. She wanted her own bed—but it would be impossible to leave without waking the Dark Lord. So, Wraith waited.

It was late morning when she finally felt him stir. She turned to see him and smiled wanly when she saw his eyes open. "Good morning," she murmured.

"Did you sleep at all?" he asked, noting her weary eyes.

"No," Wraith admitted, "My mind wouldn't shut off."

Voldemort let her slip from his arms, watched as she drew on the thin silk robe she kept by his bed. "What weighs so on your mind?" he asked, sitting up.

"The future," Wraith said, "My future, to be specific."

"Do tell."

But she shook her head. "It isn't important. I was simply musing." She turned to light the candles scattered about the dark room and sent a silent inquiry. Antony, are you awake?

It took a few moments before she heard a reply. Yes, he said, his voice a whisper in her mind: Did you need something, love?

Wraith smiled at the endearment. Just wondered if you could bring tea to the Dark Lord's tower. We only just woke.

I'll be right there.


"You are quiet, pet."

"I wish you wouldn't call me that," Wraith muttered.

"Pity. I like to."

Wraith sighed, rolling her eyes. "There is just no arguing with you, is there?"

"Yet, you persist in doing so," Voldemort replied dryly, "It grows tiresome."

"Pity," Wraith said, "I like to."

Her retort drew a shadow of a smile from him. "Where are you going?" he asked as she headed for the door.

"Harper is bringing tea," she replied, glancing back at him.

She went down the stairs to the office, lighting a fire to chase away the chill the morning had brought. Voldemort appeared at the hidden door a few minutes later and he sat in his chair before the fireplace in silence. Wraith looked up at the gentle knock on the door and went to answer it.

Harper stood there, a tray of tea levitating in front of him. He offered a bright smile. "Good morning, my Lady." Seeing Voldemort at the back of the room, he bowed slightly. "My Lord."

"Thank you, Antony," Wraith said, taking the tea.

"If there is anything else you require, let me know."

"Again, my thanks," she replied, "If you would be so kind as to wake Clara within the hour?"

"Of course, my Lady." He bowed again and then took his leave.

Wraith closed the door behind him with a thought and carried to the tea tray over to Voldemort's desk. The Dark Lord watched patiently as he poured the tea for the both of them. When she offered him his cup, he caught her lightly by the wrist.

"I'd like to hear those musings of yours," he told her, letting her go.

Wraith hesitated, turning away to pick up her own tea. "I know there will come a time when you tire of me," she began slowly, "These recent events have made me start to wonder what will happen to me when that time comes."

"You fear I will treat you unfairly?"

"No," Wraith said softly.

Voldemort thought in silence for a moment. "You know my plans for you," he said, "I have need to continue your bloodline. I'd see you well married to that end." He tilted his head to one side, watching as she crossed to the window. "I've had thoughts recently to Draco Malfoy. He is of age with you and his family is ridiculously grateful to you. It would be a beneficial match."

Wraith murmured a soft and uncertain sound.

"You don't approve?" Voldemort asked, actually surprised.

Wraith hesitated again, but she turned to face him nonetheless, leaning back against the windowsill. "I simply wonder…why I must marry at all," she admitted.

Voldemort blinked. "I have told you," he said, infuriatingly patient, "Your bloodline—"

"One does not have to be married to have children," Wraith said archly, "It is my children you require, nothing more."

Voldemort was silent, but it seemed to Wraith that he was pensive rather than hostile.

"The advantages of a…different arrangement have occurred to me," Wraith said, "When the time comes, we could seek something of proper blood—who is also disposable. We use him and discard him and let the world wonder who the father of my children is." She raised an eyebrow. "It would give my children a measure of protection if people would forever be wondering if they were yours."

"You're serious."

"Completely," Wraith told him, a flash of determined fire in her eyes. "I am perfectly aware of why you need my bloodline continued, but I will protect what is mine. I will protect my children."

"How fierce you are to protect that which does not yet exist, pet."

"There are other advantages, my Lord," she said, "Done this way, my way, you would not be forced to give me up before you want to. I remain unmarried—you keep me for as long as it pleases you."

Voldemort stared into the fire, pondering. "The idea has great merit," he admitted, "I think that I like it."

Wraith felt herself smile and she went back to the desk, setting her tea down. "Speaking of ideas of merit," she said coolly, "What would my Lord say to a bath together?"

Voldemort laughed under his breath and pushed himself up out of his chair. "An excellent suggestion," he replied, "Come."




Voldemort took his Wraith to the bath nearest his tower. It was on the edge of opulent, the room done completely in black tile, the bathtub sunk into the floor. Wraith did a turn around the room while the bath filled and Voldemort watched her with curious eyes. He slipped into the water first and Wraith followed, letting her robe fall to the ground beside his. The water was almost scalding, but Wraith did not mind. She sunk beneath the surface for a moment before coming back up with a smile.

Voldemort beckoned to her and she waded over to his side, letting him take hold of her waist to pull her closer still. He traced his mouth down her throat, enjoying the feel of her in the water. Wraith hummed low in her throat, smiling still. She always smiled just before she ruined her Lord's mood.

"Has there been any sign of Potter since his attempt on Gringotts?"

Voldemort stiffened and then cursed, pushing her away from him. Wraith laughed delightedly, settling at the opposite side of the water. Voldemort scowled at her and her grinning eyes. "No," he said at last, "and I have been watching carefully."

"Has he?"

The Dark Lord's eyes flashed with fury, knowing full well what his Wraith had meant by the question. "I have been quite diligent, pet. I assure you. Potter has not been peering into my mind."

"And what then of Grindelwald?" Wraith asked, tilting her head to one side.

"You are determined to infuriate me this morning, aren't you?" he asked in turn, his tone cool.

"Yes," she said at once, "What of Grindelwald?"

Voldemort sighed impatiently. "Come back over here and I'll tell you."

Wraith complied, slipping back to him through the water. Voldemort caught her by the waist and pulled her into his lap. Wraith settled with her back against him, resting her head on his shoulder while he wrapped his arms over her.

"There has been no sign of him," Voldemort admitted, running a hand down her stomach, "Nothing for me to follow."

"Does that mean that it's my turn to play?" Wraith asked, closing her eyes.

"Patience, pet," Voldemort murmured, letting his hand drift further down.

Wraith's soft laugh turned into a gasping breath. Voldemort smiled, taking pleasure in the way she writhed.

"Why must you chain me?" Wraith demanded, her voice breathy, "You hold me back always."

"I like you where you are," Voldemort told her, "Are you not satisfied with your position?"

"I want more," Wraith hissed. She turned over, straddling him, her hands beneath the water. "I always want more," she murmured, her lips hovering over his, "And I don't take it well when you prevent me from getting it."

Voldemort smiled slowly and he lifted his head to catch her mouth with his. "My proud little pet."

Wraith hissed again, biting down and drawing blood. Voldemort gripped her by the waist, holding her in place. His eyes narrowed as they met the challenge in hers. Wraith grinned, a touch of blood at the corner of her mouth. Voldemort twisted a hand in her hair and pulled her back to him.




"I think we need to pay Hogwarts another quick visit," Wraith said to Clara later in the day.

"What makes you say that?"

"I'd like to speak with Hagrid about taking thestrals for you and Antony," Wraith explained.

"I am not riding one by myself," Clara said flatly, "Get one for Tony. I'll ride with him or with you."

Wraith laughed, but she agreed. So, that afternoon, Wraith took Harper to Hogwarts on Hakuul. Clara stayed behind at the Manor, opting to play in Wraith's wardrobe again. Hakuul landed lightly on the lake's edge, his wings curling back against his sides as Wraith and Harper dismounted.

"Run up to the castle and let Severus know we're here," Wraith instructed, "I'm going to attempt to talk to our groundskeeper."

She took hold of Hakuul's reins and approached the groundkeeper's hut, not at all sure of how the man would take her request. When she neared the hut, she started at the sudden booming barks that erupted from within. Then she smiled slightly, shaking her head.

Given warning by Fang, Hagrid opened the door before Wraith had reached it. He had one heavy hand on the great dog's collar, holding him back. His other hand held a crossbow, aimed at Wraith's heart. She stopped cold in her tracks, but her lips twisted into a wry smile.

"Going to shoot me?" she asked.

"Would it work?"

"It would hurt."

With a sigh, Hagrid lowered the bow. "I got no reason to shoot ya."

"You're afraid of me," Wraith said softly, "That's reason enough for some."

Hakuul took a step forward, putting his skeletal head over Wraith's shoulder. Wraith lifted a hand to brush over his nose.

"Ye been taking good care of 'im?" Hagrid asked, looking the thestral over.

"I have," Wraith said, "His name is Hakuul," she added, "It means 'phantom'."

"Suits," Hagrid said, "I don't guess ye just came by fer a visit."

"I need a favor," she admitted, "Another thestral, for my Harper to ride…and to keep Hakuul company."

Hagrid didn't say anything for a minute. "This way," he told her. He stepped out of the hut, releasing Fang. The dog bounded over to Wraith, who obliged the hound with a scratch of the ears. Still holding tight to Hakuul's reins, Wraith followed Hagrid into the woods beyond his hut.

They had only walked a short distance when Wraith saw the herd of thestrals through the trees. Hakuul saw them too and, for the first time, he fought against Wraith's hold. The girl turned to her mount, frowning as she ran a hand down his neck. "Poor love," she whispered, "You've been lonely, haven't you? I'm sorry."

Hagrid glanced at her and then whistled sharply. The thestrals all turned at the sharp sound and Hagrid stepped forward, putting a hand out to one of the dark creatures. "She'll do fer ya," he said, looking at Wraith again.

"She?" Wraith murmured, moving closer, "Does she have a name?"

"Gysa."

"Gysa," Wraith repeated, "She's lovely. Will she get along with Hakuul, do you think?"

"I'd say so," Hagrid said, glad that she had asked, "They were close when yer Hakuul lived here."

"Let me get Harper," Wraith said, "We'll see if she likes him." She released her hold of Hakuul's reins. "Visit with your family, love," she murmured to him.

"Wraith."

She paused, looking at Hagrid. The large man seemed unsure of what to say, but he obviously need to say something.

"I think it says a lot 'bout a person when they treat their animals good."

Wraith smiled, but it was rather sad. "Not as much as you'd think," she said gently, "After all, Voldemort treats his Nagini very well, you know." She looked away, her eyes bitter, "Treats me well too."




It took a little longer to return to the Manor than usual. Harper was unused to flying, but Wraith was impressed by his nerve nonetheless. They landed near the forest's edge and Harper all but fell from his thestral's back.

"I think I'm in need of a little practice," he gasped.

"I think you're right," Wraith said lightly, dismounting. "You fared better than Clara did," she added with a smirk.

Harper grinned. "Now there is a woman with her feet firmly planted on the ground."
"Physically, at least," Wraith replied dryly.

They released the thestrals into the woods and trudged up to the Manor. Clara was waiting in the sitting room for them, her smile bright when she bounced up to wrap her arms around Harper and kiss Wraith's cheek. "So, do we have a thestral?"

"We do," Wraith told her.

"Oh, good," Clara said, only a little pale at the thought of flying again. "The Dark Lord was asking for you, my Lady," she added in a whisper.

"And his purpose?" Wraith asked.

"Nothing specific, as far as I could tell," Clara said, "He simply wondered where you had gone."

"I'd best let him know I've returned," Wraith said, stepping back. She touched a hand to Clara's cheek before she turned to leave.

Voldemort, to Wraith's surprise, was not to be found in his tower. Following the link between them, Wraith tracked him to the ballroom below. She did hesitated to join him there. Memories clouded her thoughts as she recalled the only other time she had ventured into the once grand room. But she pushed past her reservations, too curious as to her Lord's purpose there to let it pass.

Unlike the last time she had seen it, the ballroom was brightly lit, the dust cleared away. The Dark Lord stood upon a raised dais set before the glass doors across the room.

"Ah, my Wraith," he said, turning to see her, "There you are."

"Apologies, my Lord," she said, her eyes searching the ballroom for other changes made, "I had an errand to run."

"So your servant informed me, with her own apologies," Voldemort said, "What do you think, pet?" he asked, gesturing to the room at large.

"I begin to see a shadow of its grandeur," Wraith admitted, "Have you a purpose for it?"

"Convenience," Voldemort replied, stepping down from the dais, "And pride towards my blood and what it once held in possession."

"What you hold now," Wraith said.

"Quite." Voldemort lifted a hand to brush against Wraith's cheek. "How did your errand fair, my pet?"

"Successfully," she said with a smirk, "Do you want to meet my new pet?" she asked him, stepping closer.

"Why not?" Voldemort said, his hand drifting light down her neck, "Show me."

Wraith's smile widened and she took his hand, pulling him towards the glass doors that were not quite blocked off by the dais. Stepping out into the cool evening air, Wraith walked slowly towards the forest, sending out a silent call. Voldemort slipped an arm around her waist, drawing her closer as they walked.

"You are of a mood tonight, my Lord and love," Wraith said wryly.

"I have received pleasing news," he told her, "Talbot's location has been discovered."

Wraith raised a brow. "Share it and see the thorn removed, my Lord," she said, "I am tired of chasing that man's shadow."

"I send others to confirm that it is more than shadow this time," Voldemort said, "I will not waste your powers on another ploy."

Wraith sighed. "That is his usual, isn't it?" she muttered, "It's a pity that he turned on us—he is a terribly clever man."

"Oh, yes," Voldemort said, sneering, "He was quite the loss."

"Ah, but you still underestimate your foes," Wraith told him, "Talbot has eluded us for years now, my Lord. That bears some respect in itself."

She pulled away from him as the thestrals appeared at the tree line. Wraith murmured soft words to her Hakuul before turning back to Voldemort. She touched a hand to the other thestral's neck. "Her name is Gysa," she said, "With her I can travel easily with her servants." She tilted her head to one side. "We could even go riding together, if my Lord ever likes."

"And would my Lady like to?" he asked, tilting his head to match hers.

"She would," Wraith replied.

"Then I shall oblige."

Wraith grinned, delighted. "Take Hakuul," she said, "he is the better trained."

Voldemort came forward, taking Hakuul's reins in his hand. "It would seem I am not the only one of a mood," he commented, pulling himself up onto the thestral's back.

"It is fun to share in yours, my Lord and love," Wraith said, mounting Gysa. She turned the thestral towards the woods. "Would my Lord further indulge me with a race?" she asked with raised brow.

"How could I refuse such a challenge?" he replied.

"To the edge of the Manor's boundaries, then," Wraith told him.

"But what shall be my reward when I win?"

Wraith smiled slowly and did not reply. She spurred Gysa into an abrupt gallop, disappearing into the trees. Voldemort cursed under his breath and urged Hakuul to follow.




Wraith pulled Gysa to a stop beside Voldemort and Hakuul, grinning despite having lost. She sighed, tossing her tangled hair back. "Almost got you," she said around that cheshire smile.

"Perhaps another day, pet," Voldemort replied, smiling, "I have won, Lady Wraith. What is my prize?"

Wraith's eyes narrowed even as her smile grew. She dismounted swiftly, urging the thestral to run for the deeper forest. Voldemort tilted his head, but he did the same. As Hakuul hurried to join Gysa, Wraith raised a brow.

"So, my Lord wants a prize?" she said slyly, "He'll have to do more to earn it."

With that same puckish grin, she took her skirts in hand and turned to run. Voldemort stood a moment, staring after her before he sighed and took up the chase.

"Wraith!" he shouted after her, "Is there a point to this?"

"The thrill of the hunt," Wraith shouted back, "I think you've forgotten the taste of it!"

Voldemort cursed, making Wraith laugh as she darted between the trees. Her path twisted and turned and at times Voldemort lost sight of her, only to have her reappear somewhere behind him. Her laughter floated back to him on the wind, seeming to come from all directions.

Bit by bit, his annoyance gave way to the very thrill Wraith had spoken of. Neither ran now, they moved all but silent through the twisted paths of the forest beyond the Manor grounds. His Hunter played at being his prey, the link between them enticing him to chase. But their bond could only tell him so much, quick as a snake she moved.

Voldemort paused, slipping behind a large tree. He remained still, waiting. The only sun was the wind in the trees, the light quickly fading as the sun set in the distance. There was the slightest change in the air and Voldemort's arm shot out suddenly to the side, his hand catching Wraith by the wrist. He pulled her forward and then shoved her back against the rough bark of the tree. Wraith's arms came up to wrap around his neck at once, binding them further. Voldemort's mouth crushed down against hers, his hands keeping her pinned against the tree.

Wraith's breath escaped in a laugh as Voldemort turned his teeth on the tender skin of her neck. She bit at his earlobe and drew her nails down the back of his neck in retaliation.

Her gaze shifted and landed upon the figure approaching silently. She had known he would be here, even before she had initiated the chase.

Grindelwald.

Watching him from over the Dark Lord's shoulder, Wraith met his eyes. For the briefest moment, she smiled.

Grindelwald returned the sharp expression, even as he raised his wand. Wraith swiftly shoved Voldemort to the side and lifted her hand to catch the curse that had been aimed for him.

The bright green of the spell illuminated the fury etched on the Dark Lord's face when he turned and saw Grindelwald. "You!" he snarled, taking out his own wand.

Grindelwald smiled thinly, giving the Dark Lord a mocking bow. Voldemort held up his wand, keeping it aimed for the dark wizard's heart.

"What do you want here?" he demanded, "Is it not enough that you stole my prize?"

"I've no interest in you, boy," Grindelwald replied with his rasp of a voice.

Voldemort's eyes flickered in Wraith's direction and Wraith saw the slightest flash of panic in the Dark Lord's gaze. She raised a brow in Grindelwald's direction, but she said nothing. Calling up her power, she circled Grindelwald with it, binding him from Disapparating. Voldemort uttered a swift curse at the wizard, but Grindelwald blocked it easily and threw one in reply. Wraith stepped over quickly, catching the second curse in the palm of her hand.

Something in Grindelwald's eyes sharpened as they met hers and Wraith felt the slightest shiver course down her back. She took a single step towards him and he vanished from sight. Wraith waited, turning in a slow circle. He had not Disapparated, Wraith would not let him, so he merely disappeared.

There was a flash of light and Voldemort cursed as it hit his shoulder from behind. He fell to his knees, grasping his arm. He turned to fall, aiming a curse in retaliation. The dark light hit Grindelwald in the leg and the old man snarled at the sudden pain, but it did not slow him as Voldemort had intended. Once more, the man vanished.

"Wraith, take his wand!" Voldemort commanded, pushing himself up off the ground.

"His wand?" Wraith repeated, frowning at her Lord.

"Don't question me!" Voldemort snarled, turning to face her. That was his mistake. There was a rumble like thunder and the ground beneath the Dark Lord surged suddenly. He was thrown clear away, hitting the trunk of a tree like a stone. He fell to the ground and did not move. Wraith hated the surge of fury and distress she felt at seeing him so.

"Now," Grindelwald said, walking back into sight, "We can speak uninterrupted."

"What can I do for you, good sir?" Wraith asked, tilting her head to one side as they began to circle one another in a wide loop.

"I'm curious, Lady Death," Grindelwald said, "You must have known that I was here. You all but gift wrapped your Lord for me. Why?"

"I wanted to see what you would do," Wraith told him, "But I am curious as to why you've returned yet again."

"I know what you are," Grindelwald said slowly, "…and that you should not exist. Your Lord has been a naughty boy…little Mage."

That word coursed through Wraith's blood like fiery poison, burning her from the inside out. Like she had in the dungeon, she could almost hear that strange and furious voice in her mind, screaming in pain. She stumbled, closing her eyes against the pain that beat inside her skull. She brought her eyes sharply up to Grindelwald's.

"Wh-what did you call me?" she whispered, her voice trembling.

Grindelwald smiled, the expression cold and sharp. "Oh, the little Mage does not know," he said in a mocking voice, "Your Lord has been a very naughty boy indeed."

To the side, Voldemort stirred, pushing himself up. Wraith looked at him and then back to Grindelwald. He cocked his head, raising a brow at her. Voldemort shook his head to clear it and saw his Wraith and the dark wizard facing off not far away. "Wraith!" he shouted, "Take him!"

But Wraith simply looked at him again, her face giving him nothing. She took a step back from Grindelwald, keeping her eyes on the Dark Lord.

Grindelwald felt her magic release him and with a cackling laugh, he Disapparated.
:iconmegustamuchoplz:



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Harry Potter & Characters J.K. Rowling
Wraith T. M. Zai
Add a Comment:
 
:iconalikuma:
Alikuma Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
wow.
So..... Mage, huh?
I like it!
Reply
:iconravens-death:
Ravens-Death Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I will destroy you........
Reply
:icontmzai:
TMZai Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
But then you wouldn't get the rest of the story. :trollface:
Reply
:iconravens-death:
Ravens-Death Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
:iconfuuuplz:
Reply
:iconaniteowl:
ANiteOwl Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
You evil little....
Reply
:icontmzai:
TMZai Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
I'm going to get more out of you, right? ;)
Reply
:iconaniteowl:
ANiteOwl Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Ha, of course. My brain simply took a little longer to process it all. ;)

I'm still not quite sure what to say about that ending. Having already known what Wraith is, the scene I'm most looking forward to is the confrontation that will inevitably follow this particular revelation. I doubt Voldey will be too pleased that Wraith essentially let Grindelwald go...but then again, I doubt she's very happy either.

I'm hoping this won't have a lasting effect on her plans because, before she can even begin to think about taking her revenge, she absolutely needs for her bond with Voldemort to be severed. I'm certain that these events will create a greater rift between them but hopefully Wraith can set it to the side for the time being and carry on normally, as impossible as that seems.

It's almost impossible to keep track of this massive web you've woven but everything is starting to reveal itself and I feel that you're gradually building up to something that I absolutely cannot wait to read. As always, this was a great chapter and I hope you'll update soon! :D
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