Theo listens—watches, withers, waits—as the hastily reformed Wizenmagot sentences him to
twenty-three months of incarceration with no opportunity for parole; and all he
can suddenly think about is how the Malfoys are under house arrest, strolling
through pleasantly fragrant rose gardens and drinking hundred year-old bottles
of claret in their elegantly appointed drawing rooms and just—just biding their time, counting their gold
and feigning their remorse and clawing their way back from the dead like the
royal fucking parasites they’ve always been.
Theo, though—Theo is in chains.
He doesn’t speak as he’s led out of the courtroom. There’s
nothing to say, not really. His parents are dead. Zabini had fucked off to
France with his slinking, deadly snake of a mother. Theo had never had a lot of
friends—had never particularly seen the point of making any—but there is, he
imagines now, something uniquely terrible about being completely alone for this, the war-drum solemn moment his
life is inextricably altered.
The tattoo they ink onto the inside of his left wrist—prisoner
number 700, exactly—hurts less than he expects it to. He can almost feel the
power of the runes seeping into skin, mucking about with the chemistry of his
blood and his magic and his sense of self. Who he’s been, who he is, who he will be. It’s cruel, he decides. A
punishment fit for a crime he’s still not entirely sure he’d even properly