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Crimson Darkness by Fainpathe
Chapter 20: Revelations
I waited with bated breath, listening intently for any sound beyond the tapestry. My fingers curled instinctively around the quartz wand hidden up my sleeve. Suddenly, I heard Malfoy’s low voice mutter, “Aperio.” Then, a high pitched, female shriek filled the corridor. I whipped out my wand and faced the tapestry, ready to blast anything that came through it into next week – and then I heard Malfoy’s voice again, this time muttering a stunning spell.
He cursed as a very familiar voice shouted, “Protego,” and then, “Immobulus!” Tired of hiding, I burst out from behind the tapestry and beheld the back of Malfoy’s immobilized blonde head, and beyond that – a very scared-looking Felicity.
I raised the quartz wand. “Stupefy.” A blinding flash of red light flew past Malfoy’s ear, shattered Felicity’s shield and hit her directly in the chest. With a look of complete shock plastered on her face, she fell to her knees and then slumped to the floor, her wand rolling away across the polished wood. Feeling slightly intoxicated with the power of my spell, I pressed the tip of my wand between Malfoy’s shoulder blades, intending to release him from the immobility charm…but then I paused, and thought about all the wonderful things I could do to him as payback for all the crap he’d put me through over the years. I circled around to stand in front of him and his eyes followed me, the only part of him that could move. I smirked. “What should I do with you, Malfoy?” I asked, pressing the wand tip to the hollow of his throat. His eyes widened and then narrowed into a glare. “I like you this way, Abraxas,” I chuckled, moving closer to him. “If you stayed like this, I’d marry you,” I said softly, drawing the tip of one finger down his cheek daringly. Taunting him like this was just too entertaining to pass up. His silver eyes became liquid, filled with lust. I stepped back from him and snorted. “Too bad,” I said. “Finite Incantatem,” I released him finally.
I watched as Malfoy became mobile and bared his teeth at me in a snarl. I felt enormously satisfied that I’d gotten to him so easily. I turned my back on him derisively and surveyed Felicity’s prostrate form. “What should we do with her?”
Suddenly Malfoy’s arms were around my waist. He pressed his body against my back, buried his face in my hair and inhaled deeply. “Mmmmmm Maura, why do you do this to me?” he crooned in a low, husky voice.
I stiffened as his arms tightened. “Get your hands off of me, Malfoy,” I snarled, tightening my grip on my wand.
“It’s your own fault. You’re just so damn sexy when you taunt me. Makes me think you like the reaction you get,” he ended in a suggestive whisper. I rolled my eyes.
“Malfoy, if you don’t let go of me RIGHT NOW, I swear I will stun you and when you wake up, you’ll be naked in a bed with Mildred Gunther. That ought to fix your…little problem,” I added, feeling his excitement against the back of my thigh. Mildred was a third year Hufflepuff who was absolutely obsessed with Malfoy; she’d stalked him with more gusto than he’d stalked me in the past year. He couldn’t stand her.
He grunted with displeasure and then let me go. “Merlin, you sure know how to turn a guy off!” He complained. “Just the thought of her…eurgh.” He shuddered.
“Good, now that you’re thinking with your brain again, what do you propose we do with her? How much do you think she heard?” I asked, keeping my wand in my hand, just in case he tried anything else.
He sent me one more reproachful glare and then walked past me to kneel beside Felicity. “I think you were a little too enthusiastic,” he commented, pointing to a trickle of blood that was coming from Felicity’s nose.
“Hmm,” I said, feigning concern. “You gonna kiss it better for her Abraxas?”
He glared at me. “Watch yourself Cortes. Maybe I should go to Tom and tell him you’ve been considering my offer. I’m a pretty good occlumens myself; maybe he’ll just see the part when you said, ‘I’d marry you Abraxas.’”
I snorted. “He’d never believe you. Now will you please just focus?” I said irritably.
His silver eyes met mine for an instant and a strange emotion flashed through their depths. Then, he dropped his gaze and picked Felicity up, throwing her limp body carelessly over his shoulder. “She heard enough. Let’s take her to the Room of Requirement until classes are over. Then we can tell Tom, and he can decide what to do with her.”
“Malfoy, that’s – that’s a good idea,” I said disbelievingly.
He sneered at me and started to walk towards the staircase.
After tying Felicity’s unconscious form to a chair (just in case she woke up) in the otherwise bare Room of Requirement, Malfoy and I hurried towards our divination class. We arrived ten minutes late and without turning around, the wispy old professor said airily, “Welcome Mr. Malfoy and Miss. Cortes. I Saw you coming.” She turned around finally and regarded us with wide, dramatic eyes. Her spooky air might have been more impressive if she were a little taller; including the mass of fuzzy grey curls on top of her head, she only came up to my shoulder. Malfoy gave her a withering glare and stalked to his seat haughtily. I rolled my eyes and followed.
About halfway through class, we were all staring at the swirling white fog that filled the crystal balls sitting on the tables in front of us. Malfoy let out an angry huff and leaned back, rubbing his eyes. “This is so useless,” he muttered. “Do you know what class Tom has? We should ditch and find him, and then find out how much Felicity knows.”
“Shh,” I said, seeing the reflection of two approaching girls appear on the crystal ball. Carissa and Cecily’s images stretched bizarrely in the glass – and then they were standing at our table. Carissa glared at Malfoy ferociously while Cecily eyed me suspiciously.
“Hello Maura. Did you have a good holiday? I haven’t seen you back in our dorms.”
“My holiday was fine,” I said, stretching lazily, trying to hide my nervousness. Did they know we’d captured Felicity? “And I’ve decided to stay with Tom in the Head dorms.”
Cecily crossed her arms. “That’s nice,” she said, sounding falsely sweet. Then, she looked around furtively and leaned in close. “What did you do to Felicity?” she hissed, clearly trying to sound threatening. Malfoy leaned forward and she jumped, displaying her nervousness.
“We didn’t do anything to her. How the hell should we know what she’s gotten herself into? She’s probably busy trying to get into another pureblood’s pants as we speak.” Malfoy sneered unpleasantly.
Cecily’s face went bright red. “Take that back you arrogant toerag!” she said shrilly.
“What is going on back there?” the professor barked.
Malfoy stood up. “Nothing, Miss, we’re just discussing the things we’ve seen in the crystal ball.” He flashed her a dazzling smile and the old witch’s cheeks gained a distinctly pink tinge.
“Well – well alright then,” she said, sounding flustered.
I rolled my eyes disgustedly as Malfoy sat back down. He winked at me and I turned my back to him. “Look, Cecily. I honestly don’t know where Felicity is. I haven’t spoken to her since I got back.”
Her eyes flickered back and forth between mine. “If you’ve hurt her – ,”
“I haven’t.” She pursed her lips, then grabbed Carissa’s arm and pulled her back to their table.
I turned back to Malfoy to find him studying me with a peculiar expression on his face. “What?” I asked irritably. He shrugged, but kept staring at me. I raised my eyebrows and returned my attention to the crystal ball.
The rest of the day passed agonizingly slowly. All I could think about was Felicity. What if she somehow woke up and escaped? What if she went to Dippett…or worse, Dumbledore? What if she somehow got word to Grindelwald and he found a way to get into Hogwarts?
At long last, our final class – potions with Slughorn – came to an end. Malfoy and I made our way silently to the great hall, wondering what Tom’s response to our news would be. As we walked through the double doors, I turned to Malfoy and said softly, “Let me do the talking. Just back me up.” He looked dubious, but he nodded anyway.
The two of us sat down at the table and waited. Soon enough, Tom strode into the Hall, scanned the table, and then made his way to my side. He sat down without a word and began to eat. I glanced at Malfoy, who shrugged. I opened my mouth to speak, but then Carissa and Cecily sat down directly across from us. I dropped my eyes and pushed my peas around my plate.
Tom suddenly turned to me. “Why aren’t you eating?” he asked quietly.
I looked up and was caught in his cerulean gaze. “N – not feeling well,” I muttered, loud enough for Cecily to hear. Tom’s eyes narrowed with suspicion.
“Maura,” he said, with a hint of warning. “Don’t lie to me.”
“I’m not,” I said, turning away from him. Suddenly he grabbed my chin and forced me to look at him.
His eyes bored into mine and I knew he was reading my mind and seeing Felicity unconscious and tied up. His eyes narrowed questioningly, as though asking why I wouldn’t have told him. I flicked my eyes towards my old dorm-mates and a look of comprehension dawned on his features. He nodded and released me. “Perhaps you should go to the hospital wing if you’re not feeling better soon.” He said offhandedly, returning to his dinner. I nodded, my heart pounding, as I took a bite of potato. I could see Cecily staring at me out of the corner of my eye. She was way too suspicious; she had to know something.
A few minutes later Tom’s cold fingers wrapped around my arm. “Let’s go.” He murmured, pulling me to my feet. Malfoy shovelled a last forkful of food into his mouth and followed.
Once we were out of the great hall, Tom turned to us. “What were you two talking about? And where is she?”
“We put her in the Room of Requirement.” I said, purposely ignoring the first question. If he hadn’t seen it in my mind, there was no need for him to find out. He glared at me sideways, and then turned to Malfoy.
“What were you talking about, Malfoy?”
Without hesitation, Abraxas answered, “Maura wanted to know if you were the only one who could read her mind.” I glowered at him, feeling traces of fear in the pit of my stomach.
Tom’s cerulean eyes flashed angrily in my direction. “And what did you discover?” he hissed through clenched teeth.
“I can’t read her mind.” Malfoy said with a hint of disappointment evident in his voice.
“Hmm,” Tom said, looking slightly placated. “And why did that warrant Felicity’s capture?” Malfoy looked at me uncertainly.
“Erm,” I started, avoiding Tom’s gaze. “We were actually talking about the quartz wand too. And…I might have mentioned that I’d taken it out of Gringotts,” I added with a grimace purposefully avoiding the rest of our conversation. Tom didn’t need to know that I knew that he was keeping something from me.
Tom took a deep breath. “Well let’s go find out what she heard.” I chanced a glance at him, but he wasn’t looking at me.
We made our way up to the Room of Requirement in silence. Malfoy passed the blank stretch of wall three times and a door appeared. The three of us stepped into the room to find that Felicity was still out cold, tied to the straight-backed wooden chair that the room had conjured for us.
“Woah,” Malfoy commented. “That was some stunner, Maura.”
I smirked slightly, but it faded as Tom approached Felicity and cupped her chin in his hand. A wave of jealousy ripped through me unexpectedly, even though I knew Tom hated her; I couldn’t stand to see him touch another girl. I shook myself and watched as Tom pointed his wand at Felicity and muttered, “Ennervate.”
Felicity’s eyes flickered open, and then widened when she caught sight of Tom. Slowly, her eyes travelled around the room and came to rest on Malfoy and I. “I – what – what did you do?” she breathed, staring at me.
“We need to know how much you heard, Miss. Anderson.” Tom said quietly, and Felicity’s eyes snapped back to his face.
“I – I don’t know what you mean,” she stuttered, beginning to struggle against her bonds. “What the hell is going on? You have no right to treat me this way! I demand that you let me free of these ropes right NOW!” she snarled.
I narrowed my eyes and stepped forward, feeling a surge of anger. “And did you have a right to betray me and hand me over to Grindelwald? Tell me, were you always planning it or were you just jealous because Malfoy didn’t even know you existed?”
Her eyes widened to the point where it almost seemed as if they would pop out of her head. “How – how dare you!” she spluttered, struggling wildly. “You – you – ,”
“Enough.” Tom said in a tone of finality, and Felicity shut her mouth abruptly. “Felicity you will tell me what you heard or I will make you. You have one chance. Talk.”
Felicity pressed her lips together stubbornly, but she looked terrified. Tom raised his wand and she shut her eyes tightly. “Legilimens!” I watched as Felicity’s eyes opened wide and then rolled back in her head. She twitched for a few seconds before Tom released her.
They stared at each other for a few, tense seconds – and then Tom lunged and caught her by the throat. Felicity yelled and spluttered and I looked at Malfoy, shocked. “What the hell was that?” Tom demanded ferociously, shaking her. She gasped and coughed and Tom loosened his hold slightly. “What do you know, Anderson? Tell me!”
Felicity heaved a shaky breath and then blurted out, “I overheard a conversation Grindelwald was having. He – he said something about an ‘Older Wand’ I think…and he said that she,” she jerked her head in my direction with a sneer, “could keep the quartz wand because he doesn’t need it anymore.”
“Why is he still looking for her then?” Tom demanded harshly.
“How the fuck should I know – ,”
“TELL ME!” Tom shouted, and by the look on Felicity’s face, I was sure that his eyes had flashed red.
“O – o – k, he – he said that he wanted her because of her ability…he said he’d never seen anything like her…and that he had…uses for her…that’s all I know, please let me go!” she rasped. Tom released her throat finally and she sagged against her bonds.
Tom raised his wand once again and pointed it at her. “Do not try to run.” He warned, and then the ropes disappeared. Felicity hugged herself and stared up at Tom with a look of utter terror plastered on her face. To my complete surprise, I felt a twinge of pity for the girl; I knew what it was like to face Tom’s wrath. “Obliviate!” Tom cried, and immediately Felicity’s face settled into a dreamy, detached expression. “Malfoy.” Tom said without turning around. “Take Miss. Anderson back to the Slytherin common room.” Malfoy passed me silently and helped Felicity to her feet.
“Ohhh, hey Abraxi,” she said thickly. “Where are we?”
“We’re ah, going back to your dorm. You’ve had rather a lot to drink.” Malfoy invented.
“Do you want me to come with you Abraxi?” I called, delighted that I actually had something to tease Malfoy about.
He glared at me and opened his mouth, but Tom interrupted. “Maura will stay here.” I turned and found myself pinned by his intense stare. Malfoy exited the room and closed the door quietly and then – silence.
I held Tom’s gaze for a few seconds, but then looked at the floor, feeling extremely uncomfortable. The tension in the room was almost tangible; I could only assume that Tom had seen the rest of our conversation in Felicity’s memories.
“Sit down, Maura,” he said finally, gesturing to Felicity’s vacated chair.
A strange wave of stubbornness kicked in at his commanding tone, and I crossed my arms. “I’ll stand.” His eyes flashed and he strode towards me suddenly, making me flinch.
He stopped in front of me and regarded me critically. “Maura, do you trust me?”
I stared at him, feeling a flutter of fear in my gut. How should I answer? Trust was such a touchy issue with him…if I said I didn’t he was likely to torture me or something. So, I settled with a half-lie: “Yes.”
His lip curled into a very Malfoy-esque sneer. “Then why do you still doubt my explanation about the wand?” he asked quietly.
I squirmed under the intensity of his gaze. “I dunno, Tom, I just…it didn’t make sense to me – ,”
“So you automatically assumed that I was lying to you?” he interjected.
I shut my mouth and looked at the floor. Then I remembered Malfoy’s answer; he said that Tom had placed a Fidleus charm on the real reason…which meant that there was another reason that Tom didn’t want me to know about. This, in turn, clearly demonstrated that it was Tom who didn’t trust me. I looked up and met his gaze haughtily. “Can I ask you a question, Tom Riddle?” Without waiting for an answer, I continued, “Do you trust me?”
He pursed his lips and folded his arms across his chest. “That’s beside the point.”
“No it’s not!” I cried, clenching my fists. “I know that you’re hiding something from me! Why the hell else would you put a Fidleus charm on the information? Clearly, you do not trust me. So why should I trust you?” I demanded.
Suddenly his hands were at my throat and he’d shoved me backwards against the wall. Caught off guard, my wand slipped through my fingers and clattered away across the floor. He brought his pale face close to mine and hissed, “You should trust me because I haven’t killed you yet, and believe me I’ve so wanted to many times! But instead I saved your worthless life Cortes!”
“If my life was worthless, why did you save it?” I snarled, matching his anger. I shoved him, hard, and he stumbled backwards. I lunged for the quartz wand and by the time he was coming back towards me I had the wand between us and pointed at his chest. “Stay away from me, Riddle,” I hissed.
His expression settled into one of smouldering rage. “What are you going to do, Maura?” he crooned, reaching past the wand and stroking my cheek. I flinched away from him and in that second that I took my eyes off of him, he threw himself at me. I screamed and suddenly there was a flash of purple light and Tom was thrown across the room. His body slammed against the far wall and he crumpled to the floor. I gasped and dropped the wand, horrified. I had no idea what spell I’d cast; I didn’t even remember trying to cast anything. I stared at Tom for a second…and he didn’t move. It didn’t even look like he was breathing.
I dashed across the room, falling to my knees beside him. “Tom!” I breathed. “Tom, wake up, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to – I don’t know what happened,” I paused, waiting for him to respond. He didn’t. “Please be breathing,” I whispered, leaning in close to his face to listen for breath. I heard none. “Shit!” I breathed, scrambling back across the room for my wand and then back to Tom’s side. “Ennervate!” I said desperately. Nothing happened. “Ennervate!” I tired again. Nothing. “Dammit Tom! ENNERVATE!” Finally, something happened. Tom gasped loudly and his eyes snapped open before he curled up in a fit of coughing.
I scrambled away from him as he stopped coughing and looked up at me. His eyes were livid. “What. Did. You. Do?” he ground out through clenched teeth.
“I – I d-don’t know,” I stuttered, standing up and bracing myself against the wall behind me. “I’m s-sorry,” I whispered.
He pulled himself shakily to his feet, wiping a trickle of blood from his nose. “Give me your wand.” He commanded in a voice of deadly quiet.
I tightened my hold on the wand. “No.”
He picked up his own wand from the floor. “Maura,” he growled warningly. Then, “Expelliarmus!” he shouted.
“Protego!” I countered, and his spell bounced off of my shield. “Tom, stay away! I’m warning you! I don’t – I don’t want to hurt you,” I begged, holding my wand with a shaky hand. He advanced towards me menacingly and I shrank against the wall. “Tom, please,” I whispered as he pressed his chest into the tip of my wand and levelled his own wand between my eyes.
I looked up and became locked in his cerulean gaze. I knew that if I was fast enough, I could hit him with a stunner that he wouldn’t be able to block thanks to the power of the quartz wand – but I was worried that it might be too powerful. His nose was still bleeding from my first spell; I wasn’t sure if he’d be able to recover from a second stunner. I wasn’t lying when I said I didn’t want to hurt him. I let out a shaky breath and lowered my wand, dropping my eyes to the floor in defeat. Tom’s pale hand became visible in my field of vision and his voice spoke softly in my ear. “Give me the wand.” Reluctantly, I obeyed, and then looked up to find his face inches from mine.
He pressed the tip of his wand into the hollow of my throat. “Tom,” I whispered.
His lips pulled back into a snarl. “If you ever turn your wand on me again, you will beg me for death.”
I raised my eyes defiantly, feeling a flash of anger. It had been an accident. It wouldn’t have happened if he hadn’t been about to attack me. “I told you, I didn’t mean to,” I snapped. “It’s your own bloody fault for throwing yourself at me – ,”
I staggered, clutching my cheek in shock, staring at Tom in disbelief. He glared back at me stonily and raised his hand again. Something inside of me snapped. I’d had enough. “DON’T YOU FUCKING TOUCH ME TOM RIDDLE!” I screamed and somehow, even though I didn’t have a wand, a wave of energy passed through my body and he was blasted away from me. He staggered backwards and I made a break for the door, wrenched it open and took off down the hall. A jet of green light streaked past my ear and exploded against the wall ahead of me as I skidded around the corner and through a tapestry.
I didn’t stop running until I got to the entrance of the Slytherin common room. I gasped the password and then ran through the empty room and up the boys’ staircase, finally coming to a stop in front of the door marked ‘Sixth Years.’ There, I paused, wondering if going to Malfoy was safe. Would he just turn around and bring me back to Tom? Or worse, would he take me to his father? I shivered and hugged myself, wishing more than ever that I had someone who I could trust. Well, I thought, I guess Malfoy is the best I have. I raised my fist and knocked. At first nobody answered; I heard a groan and some shuffling, and then a bleary-eyed guy opened the door and squinted in the light. “Yeah?”
I hadn’t realised how late it was. Apparently everybody was asleep. “Hi, umm, is Mal – Abraxas there?” I asked uncomfortably. The guy, whose name I thought was Troy, looked me up and down, smirked, and then retreated into the darkness of the room.
A few seconds later Malfoy emerged from the shadows, looking dishevelled. “Maura?” he said confusedly. Then, he looked closer at me and shut the door behind him, pushed me backwards gently and then raised a hand to my bruised cheek. “What happened? Who did this to you?”
I glowered. “Who do you think?”
I flinched as his hand tightened. “Tom did this?” he said disbelievingly. “Why?”
“Because we had a fight. He thinks I don’t trust him because I don’t believe that the only reason he told me to take the quartz wand out of my vault was because he wanted me to have a wand that worked for me. But why would I trust him?” I fumed, turning away from Malfoy. “All he does is tell me half-truths. I feel like I don’t even know him at all!”
Malfoy ran a hand through his unruly hair. “Maybe – maybe you should go back and talk to him,”
“No I will not! He tried to kill me!”
Malfoy’s silver eyes widened in shock. “He would never – ,”
“He’s tried before – he almost succeeded.” He looked at me dumbstruck. “He almost choked me to death with his bare hands before. Tonight, I saw a jet of green light shoot by my head.”
Malfoy swallowed and ran his hand through his hair again. “If he had really wanted to kill you, he wouldn’t have missed.” He said bluntly.
I glared at him. “Well that makes me feel LOADS better,” I grumbled.
He let out a weak chuckle. “So…why are you here?” Suddenly one of those painfully hopeful looks crossed his features again. “Did you decide – ,”
“No.” I said firmly. His face fell and guilt made my stomach clench. “Um, I was just wondering…I can’t stay in my dorm, obviously…and I’m NOT staying with Tom tonight…so I was wondering…would it be okay if I…stayed with you?” I asked hesitantly, glancing up at him.
His cold silver eyes softened almost imperceptibly… and then a trace of his trademark smirk graced his lips. “You know you’re always welcome in my bed.”
I snorted, and then arranged my face into a pleading expression. “I’m serious Abraxas. I just need a place to sleep.”
Malfoy rolled his eyes. “Fine. But on one condition.” I pursed my lips and crossed my arms, waiting for him to suggest something vulgar. “You have to let me heal you.”
I looked at him uncertainly, wondering if there was any possible way he could twist that into something sexual. I couldn’t think of any. “O – ok,” I said hesitantly.
“Wait here.” He said quietly, and then let himself back in to his dorm. I fidgeted nervously in the hallway until he returned with his wand. He pointed it at my face and I felt myself tense involuntarily. “Trust me,” he murmured. Then, “Episkey!” I flinched as the spell stung, but a moment later the throbbing pain was gone. I raised my hand to my cheek and poked it gently; it was still a little tender, but it was much better. “How does it feel?”
“Much better,” I said, trying not to flinch away when he raised his hand to touch my cheek gently.
“Good.” He lowered his hand and looked at me a little awkwardly. “Erm…are you…ready to go to bed? Sleep, I mean?”
I smiled at him, truly smiled at him, for the first time that I could remember. Then, I nodded and said softly, “Thank you.”
A crooked smile broke across his features and he rubbed the back of his neck before holding the dormitory door open for me. I made my way past him and then froze as the door shut and the room plunged into darkness. I experienced one moment of pure panic – and then Malfoy’s hand was on the small of my back, guiding me gently through the room. “This way,” he said softly in my ear. “Watch your step. There. The bed is right in front of you.” I leaned down and felt his unmade bed. I pulled off my cloak and shoes and sat down, squinting through the darkness at a pale splotch that I thought was Malfoy’s hair. “Just pass me a pillow and a blanket; I’ll sleep on the floor.” He said, clearly trying to suppress a sigh of resignation.
“No,” I said, feeling guilty again. “The bed’s big enough; I don’t want you to have to sleep on the floor. I don’t take up much room.”
He paused and I thought he was probably looking down at me. “If you wanted to get me in bed all you had to do was ask. You didn’t have to make up a whole story.”
Anger flared in my gut. “I did NOT make it up!” I hissed angrily, reconsidering my offer.
His low chuckle emerged from the darkness. “I know, I’m just joking. Move over then.” I hesitated, and then slid under the covers and scooted over to the far side of the bed. I felt his weight settle beside me and then the covers tightened over top of me as he pulled. “Goodnight Maura.” He said softly, and soon after his breathing deepened and he fell back into the deep sleep that I’d no doubt awakened him from.