Out of the Shadows and Into the Night (Chapter 1: A New Face)

Ron Weasley sat up in his bed thinking. He was about to enter his seventh and final year of Hogwarts school of Witchcraft and Wizardry.  One year left.  That was it.  It was his last chance to prove that he was just as good as his brothers. Each had left behind a unique legacy, and would always be remembered by name.  He knew that before Harry came along, it had been Charlie that was mentioned as the great Gryffindor Seeker, his legacy surpassing that of James Potter.  Bill had been the first of the family to attend Hogwarts.  His legacy was in academics, his 12 OWLs, which were finally lived down by Hermione, and his position as a prefect, and later, Head Boy, the first in the family.  Percy was known for his perfection, his OWL score (12, like Bill) and as the second Head Boy in the family.  Fred and George’s jokes were legendary, although they didn’t beat the Marauder’s number of detentions, though if there been only 2 marauders, Fred and George would have cleaned up.  They had received a personal congratulation from Padfoot himself, although they hadn’t figured out who he really was.

Now it was Ron’s turn. He was just the youngest Weasley boy, Harry Potter’s sidekick. It was the only thing that people ever saw about him. In his eyes, being friends with the famous Harry Potter was nothing to brag about. Harry had lots of friends. The problem was that almost none of them saw the man behind the scar. He knew that Harry found it frustrating. His natural ability for Quidditch, fighting evil and just magic in general made it worse for him. To the wizarding world, he was “The Boy Who Lived”, “Gryffindor’s Seeker and Captain”, or “James and Lily Potter’s son.” No matter how hard he tried, Harry was never able to escape the titles.  To Ron, Harry was just his friend.  The fact that he was an extraordinarily powerful wizard was secondary.  Ever since they had met on the train, Ron had been envious of Harry, although he concealed it well.  Hermione knew, of course, but she had figured it out on her own.  Even when confronted by either of his two friends, he denied it.  Harry believed it.  He put too much trust into his friends.  Hermione didn’t.   She was too smart for her own good.

Ron had longed for so long to have Harry’s power, and Hermione’s intellect.  He knew that he would never be smart.  He was just a mediocre student.  Well, Harry was too, but Ron half suspected that Harry only did it to make Ron feel better.  He could have easily matched or bettered Hermione’s marks.

If only I had that power! He knew that there were ways of stealing someone’s power, but the spells were complicated and he knew that he wouldn’t be able to perform them.  What if someone else performed the spell?  Hermione would never consent to do it, and neither would Harry.  He couldn’t consider anyone else at Hogwarts.  They would immediately go to Dumbledore, and he would most likely be expelled.  He needed to do it secretly.

That left one option.  Voldemort.  The man who had been trying to kill his best friend for sixteen years was the only person who could help him escape the shadows that had been holding him since he was born.

It was the only way, but the problem was that he didn’t know a way to contact any of the Death Eaters.  Granted, he only knew a few names, but that was better than nothing.  His name was another problem.  The Weasley family had always been outspoken against Voldemort, so it would take some convincing to make them believe that he really wanted to do this.  He would do whatever it took, just as long as he got to where he wanted to be.

Finally, he decided that he would write to Malfoy.  He was almost certain that he was a Death Eater.  Even if he hadn’t formally become one yet, he knew that the Slytherin would become one eventually.  With those thoughts, he sat down to write a letter to the person who he thought could pull the strings to get to where he wanted to be.

Draco Malfoy-

I do not know the initiation procedures for those wanting to enter the Dark Lord’s service, but I have heard that you are one person I could contact with my request.  I would like to enter the Dark Lord’s ranks, and as soon as possible.  Send the answer by return owl, as I am not willing to put my name on this paper.  Thank you for your help, if indeed you can help.

He sent Errol off with the letter, knowing that he wouldn’t be recognized. He eagerly waited for a reply.

For three days, Ron was on pins and needles waiting for the answer.  Finally, he couldn’t stand it anymore.  He had just sat down to write another letter when an exhausted gray feather duster flew through his open window. A piece of parchment attached to it.  Finally! He thought.  He knew that it was probably Errol’s fault, the owl was really old, and could hardly deliver anymore.

Ron tore open the letter.  The answer was better than he expected.  Part of him was expecting an outright refusal, and another part was expecting a letter demanding to know who he was, and if he really wanted to be a Death Eater, not just a spy for Dumbledore.

I have presented this matter to My Lord, and he has agreed to meet you and welcome you into his service.  I do not require your name at this time, but know that the Dark Lord will.  Beware, if you intend to join in order to help Dumbledore’s cause, you will suffer, my Master has ways of determining if you are loyal or not.  A portkey will be sent to you tomorrow, activated at midnight.  This will bring you to the meeting where you will be initiated.  If you have any second thoughts, do not use the portkey.  The Dark Lord does not deal kindly with traitors.

The letter was not signed.  Instead, the bottom of the parchment was marked with the picture of a skull with a snake protruding from its mouth drawn in dark green ink.

To Ron, the next day seemed to be about forty hours long.  He re-read the letter at least ten times.  And he was starting to feel slight misgivings over what he was about to do.  He didn’t really want to kill or torture anyone, and he didn’t see what was wrong with Muggles or Muggle-borns.  All he wanted was the power.  Was killing and torturing too high a price to pay just so he could be free of the shadows?

He was on the verge of throwing away the portkey when there was a tapping on his window.  He turned to see Harry’s snowy owl, Hedwig, perched on the sill with a letter tied to her leg.  He opened the window immediately to read his friends letter.  As he started to read, he almost felt guilty about what he was about to do.

Dear Ron,

I don’t know how both Hermione and I overlooked this fact for so long, but apparently we live in the same neighborhood, two doors away as a matter of fact.  I have started jogging as a way to clear my head in the morning (even though it has been two years since Cedric died, that night still haunts my dreams).  So, I was out jogging one morning, and was so focused on not thinking about the dream, that I ran straight into a girl, knocking her down, nearly falling myself.  I offered her my hand to help her up, when I noticed how pretty she was.  I mean downright beautiful.   She took my hand and when she was standing and had finally cleared her hair out of her face she took a step back, still looking at the ground, embarrassed that she hadn’t seen me coming.  I stammered out an “I’m sorry,” and finally, she looked up.  As you can guess, we were both surprised that we had run into each other.

Anyway, to make a long story short, I have spent most of my summer over at her house, doing homework and just relaxing.  There is something about her that just makes me let go of everything.  Well, yesterday, I finally got up enough courage to ask her out, and she said yes.  You probably don’t want to know, but we spent a good portion of the day snogging. 

That’s my big story of the summer.  I am looking foreword to going back to Hogwarts so I can see you again.  The only reason I can stay at Hermione’s is because it is so close to the Dursley’s house that the wards still work.

That’s all I have to say for now, so watch out for Fred and George, and I’ll see you in a month.


Dammit!  Harry always got what he wanted.  All of the guilt he had felt was replaced instantly by bitter jealousy.  So they were a couple now!  It was one more thing that would shove him on the back burner for the rest of the year.  They deserved what was coming to them.

I really need a change,’ Ron thought.


Finally, after the longest day of Ron’s life, it was 11:59.  He pulled the hood of his cloak up, and firmly grasped the portkey, an enchanted galleon.  The clock started striking, far two slowly for Ron’s taste.  As it hit the last note, he felt a tug from somewhere behind his navel.  He had been attached to the portkey for what felt like forever, when he felt his feet slam to the ground.

Draco was waiting for him when he arrived at Malfoy Manor. He had a blank expression, which, Ron noticed, was rather tense.  Draco’s eyes gave his expression away.  Ron could tell that he was deadly curious about who the new person was.

“I see that you have a cloak with a hood,” Draco said.  He held out a black mask, “Here, put this on.  If you don’t want to be known yet, then turn your back.”

Ron wisely said nothing, preferring to stay silent in the company of his worst enemy.  He didn’t want to know what Draco would do to him if his real identity were revealed before they reached the Dark Lord.

Nothing else was spoken between them.  When Ron turned around again, the mask covered his face, and the hood of his cloak covered his hair.  Draco made a motion for him to follow, and he did.

He had no idea what to expect.  His very limited dealings with the dark arts were all done from Harry’s side.  He didn’t know what Voldemort would expect him to do.  A feeling started in the pit of his stomach and slowly spread through his limbs.  It was similar to what he had felt before he was sorted on their first night at Hogwarts.

They soon reached a door.  Draco knocked once to announce their arrival before pulling out his wand and muttering a password.  Slowly the doors creaked open to reveal a large and richly furnished room.  The walls were hung with deep green tapestries.  The patterns were so complex that Ron could not make them out from his position just inside the doors.  The floor was covered in a black plush carpet.  Ron could feel how thick it was through the soles of his boots.  At the far end of the room was a throne.  It was black and set with blood-red rubies.

In the chair was the most repulsive man Ron had ever laid eyes on.  Ron could tell that he was tall, even though he was sitting down.  He was made of nothing but flesh and bone, a fact that showed clearly through his long, black robes.  His long spindly fingers were clearly visible from the other side of the room.  But it was his face that made him truly repulsive.  His skin was pure white, a stark contrast to his jet-black hair.  Instead of a nose, he had two flat slits, which reminded Ron of a snake.  He had blood-red eyes that were pointed at the corners.  He didn’t have any marks or blemishes on his face.  Ron had to look closely to ascertain that he had a mouth; no lips were visible.  Curled up on the rug at his feet was a giant snake.  Ron recoiled slightly.  He wasn’t afraid of snakes, but they still didn’t sit to well with him.

Draco moved toward the throne and bowed low, kissing the hem of Voldemort’s robes.

“Rise, Draco,” Voldemort spoke in a cold, high-pitched voice.  “I see you have a new servant for me.”

“Yes, My Lord,” Draco spoke, bowing once more.  Draco motioned Ron to his side, bowed a final time, backed away from the throne and left, closing the door as he left.

Ron was almost visibly shaking now.  Following Draco’s example, he bowed low and kissed the hem of Voldemort’s robes.  He straitened up to find himself looking directly into the Dark Lord’s red eyes.

“You have nothing to fear if you come to me out of loyalty to my cause,” Voldemort addressed him directly for the first time.  Ron’s physical trembling stopped, and Voldemort seemed satisfied, although he didn’t break eye contact.

After what seemed like an eternity, he spoke again, “Is your blood pure?”

“Yes, My Lord.”

“What is your surname?  People have a habit of lying about this particular trait.”

“I am a Weasley, My Lord.  There has never been a Mudblood in our family tree.”

The name caught Voldemort’s attention.

“A Weasley? Interesting.  And you are not spying for Dumbledore?” Ron shook his head.  “I am compelled to believe you.  Which Weasley are you?  If you are in school, then you will be highly useful to me.”

“I am Ron Weasley, My Lord.  I am in my final year at Hogwarts.”

“The same year as Harry Potter.  What house are you in?”

“Gryffindor, my Lord.”

“Better and better.  I am assuming that Harry Potter is also in Gryffindor?” Ron nodded.  “A Gryffindor will not be suspected of being treacherous.  You might prove to be my most valuable servant.  What brings a brave Gryffindor like yourself to my service?”  His voice was laden with sarcasm.

Ron was a little daunted by his tone, but continued anyway.  After all, the Dark Lord knew his name now.

“I came to you because I want power, My Lord.  You are the only one who can provide me with the power that I want.”

“You have much potential.  A perfect servant.”  Voldemort stayed silent for a long time.  He seemed to be contemplating the boy who stood in front of him.

“Kneel, boy,” he said at last.  Ron followed his instructions.

“You say that you want power, but in order for me to give that to you, you have to offer me your powers, for me to use as I see fit.  Are you willing to make this offer?”

“Yes, My Lord”

“Are you willing to give up your life for me?  It is the thing that most humans value above all else.”

“Yes, My Lord, I will give up my life for you, if that is necessary to help your cause.”

“You claim that you have not been sent by Dumbledore, is that correct?”

“Yes, My Lord.”

“Because of your name, I doubt that claim.  Crucio.”

A pain worse than anything Ron imagined ripped through his body.  It was as if the curse were tearing him apart from the inside out.  Time slowed to almost a stop as the pain took over his senses.  After far too long, Voldemort removed the curse, and Ron staggered to his feet.  He swayed for a few seconds as he tried to regain his equilibrium.

Voldemort spoke, “Do you still maintain that you are loyal to me?”

“Yes, My Lord.”  Ron’s voice surprised him.  It felt colder and harsher than what he had known his voice to be before.  Maybe it was just an effect of the Cruciatus Curse.

“I find that you are a suitable servant for me.  Hold out your left arm.”

Silently, Ron did as he was instructed. Voldemort placed his long, spidery hand over Ron’s forearm, just inside the elbow and murmured a spell. When he removed his hand, a skull with a snake protruding from its mouth was burned into Ron’s arm. He let his hand fall, and his sleeve covered the mark.

“There are several spells that you must learn, but first, I promised you power, did I not?”

“Yes, my lord.”

Voldemort raised his wand and pointed it at Ron’s chest.

“Tout a un prix. Vous vous êtes donnés me, je vous donnez votre souhait. Puissance,” he spoke; his voice void of all emotion, of all life.  A blood-red mist poured out of his wand and surrounded Ron.  He felt a surge of energy as the mist invaded his body.  It was the best feeling he had ever experienced.

Slowly, Voldemort lowered his wand.  Ron looked him in the eye for a second.  Then, he bowed, once again kissing the hem of his master’s robes.

“Thank you, My Lord.  I am honored to be in your service.”

“You must speak of this to no one, not even Draco.  You do not know if the enemy is listening.  You are excused.  You will be summoned.”

Ron made his final bow, and walked backward to the door.  He did not turn around until he was outside, and the door was closed.  This would be his year.  He now had the power he craved.  No one, not even Harry, would be able to beat him.


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