The Sugar Quill
Author: cranston  Story: Clasp  Chapter: Clasp
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I’ll not be a party to this

Disclaimer:  I do not own the characters in this story.  J.K. Rowling owns them.  Me, I wouldn’t even want to own them.  Neither would you.

 


 

Clasp

 

 

I shall not be a party to this.

 

True, he found me and so I am now forced to go with him wherever he wishes.  But I refuse to bend to his will and do what I suspect he intends me to do.  My master would never have wanted it.  He taught me ways by which I might resist, and resist I will.

 

He is powerful, this one – more powerful than any that I have seen in many years.  He boasts of terrible deeds, and I see that his heart is entirely minus and lacking.  Yet my master always believed that such a lack makes one’s power less than it might be, and also less than that one believes it to be.  We shall see soon, I fear.

 

And what of this other, who is with him?  I see craven cowardice in him, a lust for importance that has driven him to treachery.  Surely my master would be quit of him.  He has not even the strength to do evil, unless he has fear to impel him to it.

 

Curious.  The strong one, my captor, speaks of contempt for Muggle-borns and half-bloods, and the sycophant of course agrees with everything he says.  But I see that only the weak one is pure-blood, the strong one is half-blood.  How often it happens that the pure-bloods have less magic than the others, as my master knew.  These two are blind to that, though, and do not even see that the servant insults his master by agreeing with his master’s own bigoted words.

 

Of all places they might have taken me, they have taken me home.  The strong one brings me into the house, while the weak one hangs behind, no doubt afraid of a fight.  There is a man here.  I recognize that he is of my master’s House.  But then so is the weak one – can being a Gryffindor mean so little these days?  Perhaps not.  The man is surprised, as he should be:  a Gryffindor would never expect betrayal, least of all by another Gryffindor.  Caught unprepared, he nonetheless fights the evil, and fights well.  My master would be proud.  I cannot help him, however, and though he fights bravely, yet he falls.  Now that he is dead, the battle will come to me.  Now is my time to fight.

 

But no!  Somehow it is not my time yet.  I do not understand why not.  The strong one marches me through the house, as though he is seeking something.  One door after another, until we find a room that is tenanted.  A woman shelters here, no doubt the brave man’s wife, and a child, young, scarcely old enough to walk.  She recognizes the intruder and is terrified, rightly so, but she does not flee.  The child feels her fear and wails.

 

I look more deeply into the woman.  She is Muggle-born; my master would approve, though my captor knows and loathes her for her parentage.  And yet now he offers her life?  Having just murdered her pure-blood husband?  I cannot imagine that this could be mercy, for I know he has none in him.  Again I am mystified.

 

No.

 

I suspected that his intent was to make a Horcrux; it is this that I was prepared to fight.  Such was the measure of his evil, or so I thought.  But he has committed the necessary murder.  Though that should be enough, yet he chooses instead to kill again, without need – he plans to make his Horcrux using the murder of a child!  Tophet!  Even among abominations, this is unspeakable.

 

This. Will. Not. Stand.

 

The woman is unarmed and defenseless, or so she believes.  She does not realize the potency that her courage and love and power of choice can have.  Nor does my captor.  I know he is blind to this, for he has committed a grave error:  By offering her the choice of life or death, he has granted her the opportunity to turn these into a weapon against him.  She too is unaware of the magic I learned from my master.  She does not know the choice she must make for me to work the spell.  But perhaps she does not need to know.

 

Dear lady, he has offered you your life in exchange for your child’s.  He has told you that, live or die, you cannot save the child from him.  Much as it pains me, I call on you now to choose sacrifice.  Courage, my friend.

 

Bravely done!  My master would be proud.  I will mourn your death, and your husband’s as well, but now the third murder my captor commits tonight need not be your son’s.  The wretch is pointing his wand at the child now, but my master taught me well.  I know what to do, and you have given me the means …

 

It is done.

 

Destruction surrounds me now.  I am on what remains of the floor, and so is he:  dead, of his own malice.  But what is this?  No, not dead, not quite – only the body is dead.  He already had a Horcrux!  Imagine!  A wizard who feels the need to make not one Horcrux, but a second?  Who then wastes a murder, no, two murders, so that he could murder a child – murder a child to make it?  Never have I imagined, let alone seen, such depravity!  And I go back a very long time.

 

And now here comes the coward.  Where, pray tell, did you find the courage to walk into the wreckage of this house?  Are you not afraid that something might fall on you?  You must seek something very valuable, then.  Me, perhaps?  What a pity.  I can hide far more effectively than you suspect.  I will not be found again until I want to be, and you most certainly will not be the one to do it.  Oh, the poltroon picks up his supposedly dead master’s wand.  What, do you hope it will give you some of his power?  Thank the stars, rather, that it will not.  Vermin.

 

And you, young man, you now have a task before you.  He has left you scarred and orphaned, but, thanks to your mother and the power she gave me, alive.  Live now, and when you are of age, come back here for me.  Wear me on your cloak then, as did my master, Gryffindor.  I have refused to become a Horcrux for your would-be murderer, and when the time comes I will gladly help you rid the world of him.  Do not worry, I will wait for you.  I am made of silver; I can wait a long, long time.

 


 

A/N:  Tophet:  Essentially a synonym for “Hell,” as in “What in Tophet …?”  It comes from Topheth, the name of a shrine in the valley of Hinnom, south of Jerusalem, where children were sacrificed to the god Moloch by burning.  The valley’s name in Greek is Gehenna, meaning “place of fire.”

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