Content Warnings: Implied violence between Tim and his father, mindcontrol.
It takes ages for the Aurors to finally arrive. During that time, Danny can barely stay still; he walks back and forth in the house, checks on his dazed father, checks on Tim's empty room, walks in and out of his own room, thinks about writing a farewell letter and deciding against it over and over again. By the time a group of five strange wizards Apparate into the living room, Danny feels like house of cards, ready to collapse at any second. But he steels himself, tilting his chin up at the newcomers.
"I just want to say," he says, "that I'm not sorry."
He expects some shocked gasps, frowns, maybe an angry lecture; he doesn't expect to be laughed at. The two women of the group are especially amused, one leaning against the other while the other points at him and throws her head back in her amusement, her face strangely porcelan-like in effect. The men are snickering too, one of them grinning at Danny before heading for the stairs. He's probably on his way to check on Danny's father, Danny realizes, John who is sitting obediently on the bed in his room, waiting for his next order. Danny shudders, his shoulders slumping. He knows he can't take on five Aurors at once.
Although, it's a strange group that he's facing. The woman who reminds Danny of a doll is finely dressed, but the other is disheveled and there is something unsettling about her eyes whenever her gaze drifts to Danny's direction; it's like the person inhabiting that body isn't quite home. The second one of the remaining men sits down on the sofa, his body large and muscular enough to take quite a lot of space on it, while the the other still stands in the middle of the room. Danny takes a good look at him for the first time, and that's when his blood freezes.
He has seen that face in old newspapers, there is one in his father's room right now. These aren't Aurors at all; these are Death Eaters, and it's no other than Lord Magnus himself standing right before him.
Speechless, Danny can only gasp, his heart hammering fast.
"Finally, he pays attention." Lord Magnus is smiling, holding his hands and wand behind his back as he paces closer to Danny. He looks Danny over from his head to the hem of his robes, circling behind him as he calls out in a sharp voice: "Mr. Crew! Is Mr. Stoker under Imperio?"
"He is! It's incredible!" Danny dares a look over his shoulder, seeing past Lord Magnus's tall figure how the fifth Death Eater, a short, slight man with piercing eyes, hurries down the stairs and rushes back to the group. He glances at Danny quickly, and this time, he looks impressed. But Danny has no time to think about what that could possibly mean when Lord Magnus steps before him.
"That's most impressive." Lord Magnus reaches out with his long fingers, grasping Danny by his chin. Grasping him firmly, Lord Magnus leans down, still smiling as he stares at Danny with his cold, grey eyes. "I have to admit, I didn't think much of the Stoker family before. Poor John has tried so very hard to devote himself to our cause, but he just doesn't have what it takes. But it seems like someone in his family does."
Danny swallows, trying to summon strength into himself before he speaks. He doesn't feel any, but he opens his mouth anyway: "What- what brings you here, Lord Magnus?"
Lord Magnus chuckles, stroking the line of Danny's jaw with his thumb before releasing him.
"You dare to say my name," Lord Magnus comments. "Daring to ask for my intentions, too. Aren't you a bold one? How come I have never heard about you until this day
Danny feels shaky now, unable to believe what is happening. It really is true; Lord Magnus really is back, and he is right here in Danny's house. "I've been trying to be subtle at school," he says, feeling a little dazed. His words spark another round of laughter from the Death Eaters, but they go quiet when Lord Magnus raises his hand, his eyes still on Danny.
"Or at least you were, up to this moment. You do realize that tricks like these won't go unnoticed by the Ministry?" Lord Magnus shrugs. "Not without a little help, at least."
It takes few seconds for Danny to realize what Lord Magnus means. Lord Magnus and his Death Eaters are here instead of the Aurors; Lord Magnus must have someone working for him inside the Ministry for that to be possible. Danny's mind spins as he tries to imagine too before he shrugs the thoughts off; at the moment who is at the Ministry is the lesser concern. Right now, what he needs to know is what Lord Magnus wants from him.
"My Lord," he says. "What can I do for you?"
He thinks of his father, who is sitting upstairs in his room. He thinks of his father with Tim earlier, pinning Danny's beloved brother to the wall, his wand raised, about to do something more unforgivable than any curse could ever do; he thinks about Tim, who had refused to leave first when Danny had told him to run, who had to be persuaded to leave. Tim will return soon, that much is sure, and maybe he will bring the Aurors in. Danny has to act before that. He has to fix this somehow, and make sure that his father will never hurt Tim again.
Danny has to make sure that whatever happens in this world now, Tim will be safe. With him.
"That is an interesting question," Lord Magnus says. "I don't think we have answer to that yet, but I think we will find one." Lord Magnus has been smiling this whole time, but now his smile fades, and his eyes turn serious. "We will set it up so your father will take the fall for your spell. There is someone at the Ministry who will make sure he will go to Azkaban for it, and they can arrange someone here to look after you and your brother. And you will be free to serve me." Lord Magnus narrows his eyes at Danny. "Is that what we both want?"
"Yes, my Lord." There is a bubbling feeling inside Danny's chest, a hopeful one. He tries to keep it in line, forcing a blossoming smile off his face. He needs to be humble now, be something that the Dark Lord wants. "I will do whatever you want, my Lord. I have been preparing for it for years."
"For your brother?" Lord Magnus's smile returns.
Danny flinches, but he nods. "And for you, my Lord."
He will do whatever it takes to have the life he wants, what he and Tim deserve.