Wraith Chpt. 61
Chapter Sixty-one: Trustworthy
"A man who doesn't trust himself can never truly trust anyone else."
Wraith knocked on the Dark Lord's tower door, waiting only a moment before she stepped inside. Voldemort, sitting behind his desk, looked up as she crossed the room to him. She wore a black dressing gown and her feet were bare.
"I thought you might like a report before I went to bed," Wraith said quietly, tucking a strand of damp hair behind her ear.
"A correct assessment," Voldemort said, gesturing for her to sit.
Wraith did so, settling at his feet. "We didn't find any sign of the ghosts," she began, "but we did stumble into a trap."
Voldemort's gaze sharpened. "A trap?"
"The staircase from the third floor to the fourth," Wraith said. "About halfway up a few stairs gave way. Judging from the depth of the rift belowIt was meant to be deadly."
"But you and Severus are unharmed?"
"Yes," Wraith said. She cleared her throat, not meeting the Dark Lord's ey
Wraith Chpt. 60
Chapter Sixty: Within The Walls
"Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth."
Wraith strode up the front steps of Hogwarts, breathing in the cool air of evening as she approached Snape. He raised an eyebrow at the sight of her. For the first time in his memory, she wasn't wearing a dress. Instead she wore black pants and vest over a pale blue shirt, her dark hair twisted into a long plait down her back. When she saw his surprise, she sneered delicately.
"My Lady," he said, bowing his head.
"I hate those words from your mouth," she told him as she stepped into the entrance hall. "You mock me with them."
Snape's temper flared, but he kept his mouth shut. He fell into step beside her without comment. She glanced at him out of the corner of her eye, almost disappointed by his lack of sharp retort. With a sigh, she stopped and turned to him. "The Dark Lord explained what he could about the ghosts of Hogwarts," she began, cr
Wraith Chpt. 59
Chapter Fifty-nine: Silence
"The silence of a treacherous man is to be feared more than his words."
The sun had set only moments before and the edge of the sky was still stained blood-red and orange. The evening air was frigid when Lord Voldemort stepped outside. He had used one of the Manor's side doorsthe door that opened onto the Rose Maze. His odd awareness of his Wraith had led him there.
Voldemort stood near the entrance of the Maze, on edge to see whether or not the girl had dared to disobey him by entering the Maze. "Wraith?"
"Here, my Lord." Wraith stepped around the corner of the Maze, smirking just a little.
"May I ask why you are out here, pet?" the Dark Lord asked, turning to face with her suspicious eyes.
Wraith shrugged lightly. "Curiosity," she replied ambiguously as she touched a hand to one blackened rose.
Voldemort relaxed slightly, recognizing the mischievous air about her. "Were you testing me again?" he asked her.
She tilted her head to t
Wraith Chpt. 58
Chapter Fifty-eight: Fractured
"There is no good and evil, there is only power...and those too weak to seek it."
Wraith stared at him, uncomprehending. "And you expect me to do that how?" she asked incredulously. He must be joking, A piss-poor joke but
"You are the most important of his followers, Wraith," Snape told her. "Your words have weight."
"And yours don't?"
Snape's patience, already a thin thread, snapped. He grabbed hold of her arm and began to pull her towards the stairs. "We don't have time for this," he said. "I have already done my best and it was not enough. We need her alive!" He pushed her through the front doors impatiently. "Keep her that way."
But Wraith did not move. "Why?" she asked swiftly. "Why can't she die?"
"Because we have gotten nothing from her," Snape said. "I have Veritaserum, truth potion, brewing, but it will not be ready for another month. We need to buy that much time at least!"
"I" Wraith f
Wraith Chpt. 57
Chapter Fifty-seven: Unasked Help
"Sometimes you feel other people's pain worse than your own. We're armored against our own troubles. We can't afford to give in to despair. Then you see someone else struggling, and it breaks your heart."
Wraith slipped almost silently into Voldemort's tower and quickly closed the door. "My Lord."
Voldemort was looking through the upper bookshelves and did not seem surprised by her entrance. "What are you hiding from now, my Wraith?"
Her eyes narrowed as she gazed up at him. "I'm not hiding," she told him with the slightest pout. When he simply looked down at her with vague disbelief, she gave in. "Oh, alright," she said. "If you must know, I'm hiding from the babies. I'm rather tired of their oh-so frightened glances and the rest." She sat on the edge of his desk and shrugged. "It's all well and good to be so terrifying, but it is so very tiring."
"It is more effective for them to fear you," Voldemort reminded her.
"At least there's Harp
Wraith Chpt. 56
Chapter Fifty-six: Reconciliation
"It is better to be feared than loved, if you cannot be both."
He found her later, not in her tower as he had expected, but in a ruin of a room that had served as the Manor's library a thousand years before.
The room was immense, filled with broken and decaying shelves and thick with dust and the scraps of books long ago forgotten. It was only at the front of the room that a little restoration had been done. It was as if someone had started, seen the amount of work required, and then quit. The shelves closest to the doors were repaired and cleaned, though they had not yet been stocked with new books.
And in the corner of the room was a faded sorry excuse for a couch, set there as though it too had been forgotten. It was on that couch that she lay, gazing up at the ceiling and the faded gilt there, tears silently streaming from the corners of her eyes.
Voldemort stepped into the room and, ignoring the dust, closed the doors behind him.
Wraith Chpt. 55
Chapter Fifty-five: Watcher, part eight
"I have made plenty of enemies in my lifetime, but none has ever done me as much injury as I do myself."
Wraith entered the drawing room still wearing that smile and settled into a chair near the windows. Wormtail was sitting in the corner of the room, nursing a butterbeer and Rowle had a glass of something stronger.
Seeing her expression, Rowle hesitated before he spoke. "M-My Lady?"
"Yes, Rowle, what is it?"
"Was that the Dark Lord leaving?"
"Yes," she replied, not taking her eyes from the window. "He'll be gone for a few weeks."
"D-did he mention his purpose away?"
"He did not," Wraith said. "But then, he so rarely does." She turned her head and smiled at him indulgently. "I'm sure we'll all survive in his absence."
Although still disturbed by the odd glint of her smile, Rowle had to smirk at that. "I'm surprised he left without dealing with the newbies."
"So was I," Wraith confessed. She shrugged lightly and turned back to the w
Wraith Chpt. 54
Chapter Fifty-four: Watcher, part seven
"The secret of life is to appreciate the pleasure of being terribly, terribly deceived."
Janesch only remained a little longer before he chose to take his leave. Wraith walked him back down to the door, rather unsurprised to see Harper and his pale shadow, Vaisey, idling about the entrance hall.
At the threshold, Janesch paused, looking back to her. She saw the shadow of worry in his eyes and was touched by it. "Be careful, ma petite," he whispered to her gently. "Gavin is a foolbut even fools get lucky sometimes."
"I won't give him that chance," Wraith retorted. "I'm done letting him hurt me."
"I believe you," Janesch told her with a crooked smile. "Write to me," he instructed firmly. "Else I'll return to haunt your steps."
Wraith rolled her eyes and made no reply, not trusting herself not to laugh. With one last grin, Janesch slipped through the door and was gone. Wraith stood at the door for a moment longer bef