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Love, Not War by Yoshi_Kitten
Chapter 21 : |Chapter 14| To Make an Antidote
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 17

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*WARNING: Strong language is used again in this chapter, and it contains scenes of a slightly violent nature as well… I do hope that you all enjoy it though. Please feel free to leave a review at the end and share your thoughts & opinions. I greatly appreciate any & ALL feedback! Thank You!!! *

“Master,” Percy Weasley said, bowing before the Dark Lord. “I can assure you that I have very good reason for disturbing you this early.”

“Well I should certainly hope so for your sake that this is good, Weasley,” he threatened. His annoyance could not have been plainer. After all, Percy was just a peon in his soon to be world order. He was useless. Dispensable. Easy to be replaced, should that become necessary. “Now on your feet, and tell me why you have come.”

Percy rose, as was requested of him. “I have come, my Lord, to inform you that Severus Snape is plotting to betray you.”

That is a very strong accusation, Weasley,” he stated. How dare he even say such things about Severus. Was it not a well-known fact by now that he trusted Severus Snape above all the others, even Bellatrix? “By what basis do you have to make such a claim?”

Percy flinched. Voldemort hadn’t harmed him, he had barley even moved for that matter. But the malice in his words were quite clear. Percy knew what a risky business it was, accusing Snape. It was common knowledge by now that Severus Snape could do no wrong in Voldemort’s eyes. He would have to chose his words very carefully now, if he wanted to be permitted to tell the whole tale before getting himself thrown out, or worse. “I overheard him last night, in the basement. I was coming back from my break when I heard voices carrying up the steps. Naturally curious, I stopped at the top to listen, and that is when I heard them. Snape was holding a conversation with Draco Malfoy and that American girl. They were all talking about Lucius, my Lord.”

“That’s not possible,” spat the Dark Lord. “If it is, then explain to me, Weasley, how it is that Draco Malfoy and Miss. Zaroo entered that basement to talk to Severus in the first place. Could it be that Severus was merely talking to someone else, and that you were mistaken? I mean, have you any proof that it was them? ”

“No sir,” Percy said, shaking his head. “I have no solid proof. But Snape could have easily let them in, couldn’t he? He was the one in charge last night, and he did seem very pushy when he came down and ordered me to go on break an hour early. I suspected that he was up to something, but I just left it alone and took my break like he asked me. I came back a few minutes early, and I that’s when I heard them. I know for a fact that it was Roxi and Draco he was talking to, because I heard Snape say Draco’s name. And, from what I heard, Snape is planning to help Draco make an antidote that will save Lucius.”

“Very well, Weasley,” he said after due consideration. “Let’s just say, for a moment here, that I actually believe you enough to look into this. I need you to tell me exactly what you heard.”

Percy’s confidence grew as he realized that he now had the Dark Lord’s full attention. He hadn’t been thrown out yet, which was as good as sign as any to continue on without hesitation. “Well my Lord, I didn’t catch all of it. But based on what I heard, Snape is going to make Lucius an antidote for that poison the Ministry is giving him. He was reassuring them that he could do it. They’re supposed to give it to him in 2 days time, at the Malfoy Manor. I heard that Roxi girl saying something about Friday night, and 6:00am.”

“Hmmm…” Voldemort pressed his fingers together, now deep in thought. He had been suspecting of Lucius and Snape’s behavior for a long time now. Even though they both assured him that they’re relationship was strictly business, he had always thought they had been lying. Had they disobeyed him and still continued to be friends, after he had forbidden such behaviors between any of his Death Eaters? After all, he couldn’t have them all being friends and getting close, because then they might decide to turn against him. They might rally together and try to overpower him… Well then, let them try. That had always been his thought to dismiss disturbing things like that.

Of course, he had always known that Snape and Lucius were close. That much was plainly obvious from the day that Draco was born, wasn’t it? Snape had been there, had held Lucius down while he tried to attack me, Voldemort remembered. But I never thought the two of them would carry on their useless friendship, - for after all, that is what all friendships were; useless, - not after I specifically told them not to… But wasn’t this the perfect chance to catch them in the act? Was this not the perfect opportunity to prove that Lucius and Severus had been disobeying his orders for years?

Lord Voldemort looked down at Percy Weasley, who was now waiting fearfully to hear weather or not he accepted the story. He flickered through Percy’s thought carelessly until he found what he sought: the memory of the conversation between Severus, Draco and Roxi. Sure enough, it was them. Percy had been telling the truth after all.

“Well, this changes everything then,” Voldemort said aloud at last. “I have seen your thoughts, Weasley, and I know now that you do not lie.” Percy sighed a great sigh of relief. “However, to hear that my most trusted is planning to disobey me is most unpleasant news indeed,” he hissed. Percy shifted uncomfortably. “Did I not make it plainly clear that no one was to seek to help Lucius Malfoy? He got himself into his current predicament and he can get himself out of it, as far as I am concerned. If he dies by the hand of the Ministry in the process, then so be it! That is just one less person that I’ll worry about killing myself. If Severus is thinking about helping Lucius, after I have given orders not to, then he is out of line, and needs to be punished. However, we must catch him in the act.”

Percy caught it in an instant. “We?” he asked, afraid of what might come next.

Lord Voldemort smiled. “Yes we, Weasley,” he sneered. “You are, after all, the one who is reporting this incident to me. Therefore, it seems only fitting that you should accompany me to the manor Friday night, or Saturday morning I should say. If Severus is indeed there with Draco and Lucius, then you shall be greatly rewarded, Percy, especially if we can recapture Draco in the process. However, if the place is empty when we arrive, I will kill you. You shall die in Malfoy Manor if it turns out you are lying to me, am I understood?”

Percy gulped, too afraid to give a direct answer. He nodded frantically.

“Good. Then I shall see you in two days time Weasley,” Voldemort gloated. “And you shall not mention any of this to Severus, got it? If he knows that I am on to his plan, he is most likely to back out of it. We simply cannot have that, now can we? If we are going to catch him in the act of his wrongdoings, then he must remain completely unaware.”

“Yes my Lord,” Percy squeaked. “I understand, sir.”

“Good,” he replied. “Now get out.”

Percy didn’t need him to say more. He was happy for a chance to leave. Surprised that he had even made it out of there alive. But he should have known better than to be so scared like that. He was telling the truth, the Dark Lord had to believe it! And so he had. Now all there was left to do was wait. Wait and hope and pray that he hadn’t heard wrong. Because if they weren’t there when he and the Dark Lord showed up in the manor, Percy shuddered to think of what might happen next…

It turned out getting Lucius out of Hogwarts wasn’t hard at all. In fact, it required little to no work on Roxi and Draco’s part, because as soon as McGonagall found out what Atropha Rickium does, she ordered the Minister to move Lucius somewhere else. She simply would not tolerate a murder to take place within her school, even if it was permitted by the Ministry. Murder was still murder to her, no matter what the terms or circumstances. And so, Rufus and Minerva reached a mutual agreement to move Lucius to Azkaban Prison, prior to administering the poison to him on Friday evening.

With part one of the plan out of the way, Roxi and Draco were free to work out some of the other, more complex details of their little scheme together. As was planned, Draco took Roxi to Malfoy Manor the day before, and he unlocked the front doors for Severus while they were there. However, they did not go in. Roxi knew that it was still too much for Draco to handle, seeing all his mother’s things, and so she did not press the matter. Draco didn’t want to be bothered by another torrent of emotions at the moment. He knew he needed to keep his cool right now, and have his head cleared so as to think properly. It was an absolute must if they were going to save his father, for even the slightest error could cause the whole plan to come crashing to a halt.

The only thing they seemed to be struggling with now, was how to get Lucius out of Azkaban without getting caught. For being caught in the act of assisting with a breakout would mean imprisonment for Draco, and a one-way ticket back home for Roxi. She would lose her job if they were caught at this, and it was for that very reason Draco kept urging her to quit while she was ahead. But Roxi, being stubborn as she was, simply refused to back out now. She was already in way over her head anyways, and not only that, but all their various plottings gave her an excuse to get closer to Draco. The more time she spent alone with him, the more she loved being in his company. Roxi, it seemed, could not get enough of being around Draco, a fact that Draco himself did not seem to mind.

On the contrary, the more time Draco spent with Roxi, the more fascinating he found her, the more he also began to like her in ways he knew he shouldn’t. For it was never a good idea for a Malfoy to allow people to get too close. After all, people were untrustworthy. They lie and they cheat, they’re misleading, unkind and selfish. People disappoint, and they always end up leaving you in the end… one way or another. His own mother was proof enough of that, which was why Draco believed it was best he kept to himself. He would never let too many people in. Only 2 people had ever been allowed to get close to him, before now, and they were both the only 2 people he had ever known since he was born; his mother and Saleena. He didn’t could Lucius as being among the people he’d known forever, because he didn’t truly get to know his father until recently. And his father still didn’t know hardly anything about him. No one did. Except Roxi.

It was amazing to him that she, who had know Draco the least amount of time out of anyone he knew, knew him the best. After all, they had only know each other for about a month now, and already she knew things about him that no one else did. What’s more, she really got him, Roxi did. She understood what he had been through, where he was coming from, and why he was the way that he was. She knew why Draco was so guarded, and why he would never let her get too close. Not as close as she would like to be anyways. They were friends. Nothing more, nothing less. That is what they had both agreed to, had they not? …Then what the hell had happened between them the other day, in Draco’s room, when Roxi went up to check on him? What would have happened, had Molly not come into the room when she did? Neither one of the two could come up with an answer for this, so they both agreed, without saying, to never bring it up again. There was no time for frivolous talk anyhow, for there was much to be done. Friday was already upon them, and today would be the day that they found out weather or not their last 2 days of plotting had been worth it. It was time to put the plan into action. There was no turning back from here…

As was planned, Lucius was moved from Hogwarts to Azkaban at 3:00pm. However, there was one unexpected change. The poison was done ahead of schedule and, since Lucius was there, it was given to him early. At 4:00, Annias came to Lucius cell, accompanied by the Minister of Magic, with the poison in hand. As to insult Lucius even further, he had put the poison in a baby bottle and handed it to him to drink.

Lucius snatched the bottle away from Annias, furious. Was it not enough for them that he had turned himself, in and was now agreeing to go peacefully? Honestly, further torment on their part was not necessary at this point. They were getting their wish, as was he getting his own; he was dying. All he had to do was drink the liquid in his hands now, and he would be no more. However, he simply refused to be made a mockery of as he was doing so. In one quick angry motion, Lucius unscrewed the bottle cap, threw it at Annias and, with as much dignity as he could muster, Lucius chugged down the entire bottle of poison before either the Minister or, Annias, even had time to react.

The Atropha Rickium didn’t taste anything like Lucius had been expecting it to. He thought it would be horrible, repugnant and vile. But it wasn’t. It was sweet, delightful even. It left him craving for more, which couldn’t possibly be a good thing. It wasn’t until after all of the poison was gone that he thought of Draco. He had been so angry at Annias for trying to insult and humiliate him that all other thoughts had vanished from his mind. Now as he sat there, waiting for something to happen, Draco’s last words to him echoed in the back of his head: No, this isn’t goodbye. I’ll get you out of this, you just watch. I will find a way to save you, Draco had said. But what did he mean by it?

Surely there was no way to stop it now. He had already drank the poison, and 2 hours early at that. Lucius closed his eyes, leaned against the bars of his cell, and sighed. Then he noticed how strangely quiet the room was. Curious, he cracked one eye opened a fraction of an inch, so as to see what was going on. He was amused to find that both Rufus and Annias were now staring at him. They seemed to be holding their breath, waiting for something exciting to happen. Lucius grinned inwardly. This was going to be fun, he thought as an idea sprung into his head. Why shouldn’t I have a bit of fun with them before I die? He thought, justifying himself for what he was about to do next.

All of a sudden, Lucius Malfoy gasped for air and grabbed his throat dramatically. Rufus Scrimgeour and Annias jumped and started in shock and alarm, as Lucius collapsed on the ground before them.

“Did it work?” asked the Minister. “Is he…?”

“Nah,” Annias answered, shaking his head. “It can’t of. There’s now way it could’ve spread that fast! I don’t understand…”

Just as Annias bent down to examine him, Lucius jumped up and said, “Gotcha!” Causing another bout of alarm to stun them. “Oh, if only you could see the stupid looks on your faces right now,” Lucius exclaimed, howling with laughter. It was a good feeling, being able to laugh. He hadn’t had anything to laugh about in so long.

The Minister, however, did not find this act funny at all. “Lucius Malfoy, that was a very nasty trick you just played,” he began.

“And the bottle wasn’t?” Lucius snapped.

“That wasn’t my idea,” said Scrimgeour, this time glaring at Annias.

“What?” piped Annias. “I thought it was funny!”

“Not nearly as funny as what I just did though,” Lucius chuckled. “It’s different, isn’t it, when the shoe fits on the other foot for a change?”

Annias glared down at Lucius Malfoy in disgust. How dare he speak to him in that correcting tone. “That’s alright Lucius, you can laugh it up now all you want to,” he said threateningly. “We’ll see who’s laughin' in the end. Just you wait! Give it a few more hours and you won’t be findin' it funny then, I guarantee it!”

That shut Lucius up in a heartbeat. The smirk on his face had completely vanished, and replaced itself with a look of pure fear. But it wasn’t a fear that derived out of anything Annias had just said. It was more from what Draco had said to him 2 days ago at Hogwarts: You’re about to die a horrible, painful death, and it’s like you don’t even care!

He did care though, and that was the thing. As much as he tried to put it off like this was no big deal, the tingly feeling he now felt in the back of his throat suggested otherwise. He gulped, hoping it would go away, but it didn’t. And now, for the first time, Lucius Malfoy was actually afraid of the concept of dying. Just how horribly painful was this actually going to be? He tried to assure himself that he could handle this by thinking of how he had endured so much that was far worse. This cant be worse than Voldemort’s Cruciatus Curse, or more painful than loosing Narcissa, he silently thought to himself, attempting to null some of the fear away. I can handle this. It’s nothing… nothing… nothing, he kept on repeating this, over and over in his head again, hoping that, in doing so, it might make the statement true.

Scrimgeour had left immediately after seeing to the fact that Lucius had drank all the poison. The only person who remained in there now was Annias. He was the night guard at Azkaban. His job was usually pretty boring and uneventful, because all of the prisoners there were given a potion to drink everyday that forced them into a tranquil state. Nothing exciting or unusual had ever happened during his watch, which was why he decided that it would be safe not to patrol the corridors tonight. Tonight he was only interested in what was going on in Lucius Malfoy’s cell. Therefore, nearly 5 hours later when Roxi and Draco arrived, he had no idea that they had just illegally apparated there. In fact, he was unaware that anything odd was going on until the young witch who usually guarded the entrance came hurrying up to him.

“Annias,” she panted, “there is something outside, you need to come quick! I have just discovered an unconscious body near the shore. He may be a prisoner who’s tried to escape!”

“WHAT?” he roared in shock. “Then you must take me to him right now, Julie!”

“Yes sir,” she said, inclining her head. Julie turned and hurried toward the front door, Annias right on her tail. Once they were outside, she stopped and pointed out toward the beach. “He’s over there.”

Annias followed her gaze but didn’t see anything. He slowly walked closer to the beach, looking for any sign of the unconscious body. But still, he seen nothing. “Where?” He started to turn back to face Julie, but at that moment everything went blank. Annias fell in the sand and saw no more.

Julie, who’s long hair was now changing from its usual shade of black to magenta was laughing. “Oh I’m sorry Annias,” Roxi, who had been disguised as Julie, laughed. “I forgot. The person who was lying unconscious on the beach was you.

“That’s very funny,” a voice called from behind her. “Now could you give me a hand over here?” Draco was dragging the body of the real Julie over to where Annias had fallen. With Roxi’s help, they laid the two of them next to each other. “There,” Draco said, standing up to admire their handiwork. “Now when he wakes up next to her, he will be under the impression that they both got stunned at the exact same time. I have already modified her memory so that she remembers going in and getting him. I also made her believe that she seen a masked Death Eater coming towards her just before she got stunned.”

“Draco, that’s genius!” Roxi exclaimed. “Now when they find Lucius missing tomorrow, they’ll just assume that Voldemort was behind it! They will never expect it was us!” She bent down and reached into Annias’ pocket, withdrawing the keys from within it.

“Well, that’s the plan,” Draco said modestly. “Now let’s get going. We have to meet Severus in just 1 hour.”

“Right,” she agreed. They walked back up the beach and Roxi stopped and turned back around once they reached the front doors. “Just one more thing first,” she said, raising her wand. She flicked it once and the majority of the tracks in the sand vanished. But she was careful to leave the footprints leading out alone and in place. She even added the nonexistent Death Eater’s tracks, just to be sure their implanted story was bought to the fullest.

“Good idea,” Draco commended. “I hadn’t even thought of that.” Roxi smiled and then turned to lead the way to Lucius’ cell. It hadn’t been difficult to find the first time, because Lucius was the only person making any noise in the entire place. Once they reached it, Roxi used the master key she had obtained from Annias to open the door. Her and Draco stepped inside together.

Lucius was laying in the far corner of the cell, his body curled into the fetal position. Every now and then, a moan escaped him. He was panting and gasping for air, his breath coming out in short wheezes. Upon hearing the cell door open, he slowly turned his head to see who was there. His heart literally skipped a beat when he saw his son standing in the doorway.

“Draco?” he gasped. “What the hell are you doing here?”

“I told you I was going to find a way to get you out, didn’t I?” he answered.

“Well yeah, but you - both of you - here? I-I mean, no! W-what if you get caught?” Lucius was having a difficult time speaking due to the fact that his throat was dry, and completely raw, and felt like it was on fire. Not only that, but he could hardly catch his breath now, which only made matters worse.

“Relax Mr. Malfoy,” Roxi said. “We’ve got this entirely under control. Do you really think we would just up and come here without a plan?”

Lucius shook his head. “it-it doesn’t matter because there is n-nothing you can do now,” he said hopelessly. “They say there isss no antidote. So why don’t you just leave me and g-get out of here before you’re both caught.”

“Look, that’s very noble of you Lucius,” Roxi smirked. “But like I said, we already have a plan. There is an antidote. It’s just really, really, extraordinarily difficult to make, that’s all. But we have managed to gather all 5 of the main ingredients, and Draco has found someone who is up to the job.”

Lucius looked from her to Draco. “Surely it’s not… S-S-Severus?"

“Yes,” Draco confirmed. “Severus has agreed to make the antidote for you. He’s the only one who has the stuff to make it, dad. I had to go to him!”

“Draco that was very f-foolish, Draco” Lucius scolded. “Very foolish indeed. You should kn-know better by now than to go there. The-the Dark Lord c-could have seen you!”

“He was away when I went,” Draco said. “And I was very careful, so don’t worry. Voldemort knows nothing of tonight’s plan. And once it’s all said and done, he will also have no idea that Severus is the one helping us. I covered my tracks just as well there as we did here. There is no way the Ministry could possibly link your disappearance to me, or to Roxi now. So just relax, alright?”

Lucius was still slowly shaking his head when another burst of pain exploded in his chest. He groaned and pressed a hand to his throat. He opened his mouth to speak, but no words came out. He swallowed dryly and wheezed a deep, shaky breath.

Roxi, who had been observing his behavior throughout the entire conversation, was beginning to worry that the poison may be spreading faster than what was normal. However, she did not want to confess this fear out loud, for fear of what it would do to an already distraught Draco. So instead, she asked; “Lucius, are you ok?”

Lucius just shook his head, still in too much pain to speak at the moment. Roxi frowned. This wasn’t right. Lucius was behaving as if he had drank the poison 5 or 6 hours ago as apposed to just 3 and a half. Why is it spreading so fast? She wondered. “Did they give you the poison to you at 6?” she asked Lucius, trying her best to keep the worry out of her voice.

Lucius shook his head no and Roxi gasped. “Before 6?” Lucius nodded. Roxi mouth dropped open. “Oh bad, oh bad, this is not good!” she exclaimed. Draco looked at her, his eyes wide and his expression fierce. But she ignored his prying eyes for a moment and focused all attention on Lucius. “Lucius, I need to know exactly what time you drank that poison. It is important that you tell me this.”

He looked up at her and tried to answer, but found that he couldn’t. He winced, moaning with the pain the effort had caused him. He looked back down at the ground, ashamed of his weakness, and held up his hand.

“They gave it to you at 4:00, is that right?” she pressed. He nodded again. “Oh my god, that’s bullshit!” she exclaimed. “They weren’t supposed to give it to you until 6:00! Aw man, we‘ve gotta go!” she turned to Draco. “Are you ready?” she asked.

But Draco wasn’t paying attention to her anymore. He was staring down at his father, unable to believe his eyes. For the past 20 years, Lucius Malfoy had been the strongest man he had ever known. So for Draco to see him lying here now, to weak to even whisper, was something else. His father had never shown signs of weakness like this before. He had always had a very high tolerance for pain, so Draco knew right away that whatever Lucius was going through, it couldn’t be good. Because it would have to take a lot to make him hurt like this.

“Draco?” Roxi had placed a delicate hand on his left shoulder. “Are you gonna be alright?” she asked softly.

Draco nodded quickly, pulling his eyes away from his anguished father. He snapped his attention back on to what needed to be done, and became serious immediately. “Yeah, I’m fine,“ he said. But she could tell by his tone that he was only just saying that. “And you’re right. We do need to get going, if we are to meet Severus at the Manor by 10.”

She smiled at him warmly, looking into his sad grey eyes. Than she patted him on the shoulder comfortingly and said; “Are you sure you can handle it? I could take him and meet you there, if you’d like.”

“Nah, I’ll apparate there with my father.” he said shaking his head. “It’s ok. I’ve been there hundreds of times, whereas you have only been there once. It’s no big deal, really, I can handle it.”

She sighed and even though she didn’t believe he was up to it, she did not argue. “You two had better go on ahead then,” she sighed. “I’m gonna relock this cell and return the key back to Annias’ pocket. Then I will meet you there.”

“No! I’m not leaving without you,” he said stubbornly. “What if he wakes up and you get caught? Let me return the key.”

“No, Draco,” she insisted. “Because if you do it, and he wakes up, they will lock you up in here for good. But if I get caught they’ll only just strip me of my status and send me back home. I at least will still be free. And besides, getting Lucius safely to the Manor is the most important thing right now.”

“Then I will wait here with my father while you go and return the key,” he offered. “In case you end up needing backup.”

“No!” she yelled. “Damn it, didn’t you hear what I just said? You need to get him out of here, NOW! I wont need any backup. I’ll disguise myself again so that if he does wake up he wont even recognize me. I’ll be fine, you’ll see. Now just go and I will meet you there shortly!”

Draco furrowed his brow, glaring at her. He hated the thought of leaving her behind, but could not deny that she was right; getting his father out of here was their main priority. It was for that very reason that they were here right now to begin with. It was the reason they had spent the last two days plotting and planning this breakout. If he stayed behind and waited on her, it could possibly jeopardize their entire mission, and she knew that. He hated the fact that she was right.

“Ok, fine! I’ll go,” he snapped. “But if you aren’t there in 15 minutes, I am leaving my father there and coming back for you. Got it?”

“Make it 20 minuets, just in case.”

“Fine,” he agreed grudgingly. “But that’s it!” Then he walked away from her, crossing the cell to kneel down next to his father. “Can you stand?” he asked. Lucius nodded weakly and, with Draco’s help, got to his feet. Lucius draped an arm over his son’s shoulder and leaned on him for support. Draco grimaced as his father put most of his weight on him. 

His own body had not yet recovered its full strength from the attack, which had only happened exactly 1 week ago from tonight. But even though his muscled screamed in protest, he did not let the pain he was in show on the outside. He needed to be strong right now, for his father’s sake. He could take care of himself later, once Lucius was safe, and he knew that he would be ok again. Now was not a time for weakness, now was the time to stay focused.

He stood to his full height, gripping his father’s arm tightly as he did so. He looked back at Roxi. “20 minutes. That’s it,” he reminded her.

"GO!" she said with a jerk of her head. And without another word, Draco turned on the spot and disapparated away from Azkaban Prison, pulling his father along with him…

They know… Somehow, they found out what we were up to, and now they know. They must be in the house, waiting to ambush us as soon as we walk through the door. That’s just great! What the hell am I supposed to do now?

Draco had apparated onto the front porch of Malfoy Manor, and was now standing just outside the main door. No one had inhabited this place for months, yet now there were lights turned on inside. He was just contemplating what to do about the intruders inside when he heard the latch click. Someone was about to come out.

He silently raised his wand with his free arm, aiming it at the door. His other arm was still supporting his poisoned father. He held his breath and waited for the intruder to come out. The door knob turned and the door began to open slowly.

Then out stepped Severus Snape. Draco exhaled in relief and lowered his wand. “Oh Severus, thank god it’s only you!” he exclaimed.

“You were expecting somebody else?” he said, now slightly amused by the look on Draco’s face.

“No!” he yelled. “I wasn’t expecting anybody! It’s only 9:30 for crying out loud, and you weren’t supposed to be here until 10! You scared the hell out of me! Are you crazy? I thought the Ministry was in there waiting for us… or worse!”

“Draco, I would not be so careless as to let slip our plans to anyone,” he said smoothly. “So I can assure you that the Dark Lord will not be visiting here tonight. As for the Ministry, I do not believe they can get in here without direct permission from a Malfoy. The house is too well protected. So unless you have given anyone other than myself, and Roxi, permission to come in here, I believe we are all safe. And speaking of Roxi,” he said, looking around. “I don’t see her here. Where is she?”

“She had a few more things to take care of before coming here,” Draco explained. “If she isn’t back soon though, I will have to go back for her.” Snape nodded and understood what Draco meant straight away. “Why are you here so early anyways?” Draco asked.

“I got the opportunity to leave a little earlier than I expected, and decided that it might be a good idea to come here and start getting things set up in advance,” Severus explained. “I haven’t been here very long though. I was just getting the cauldron set up when I heard someone apparate. I knew that it could only be you, and thought you might need a hand with him,” he indicated to Lucius who was leaning against Draco, barely holding himself up now.

“Yes, some help would be nice,” Draco replied instantly.

“Well, lets get him inside and lay him down, shall we? He shouldn’t be on his feet anymore than he has to be.” Then Snape crossed the threshold and grabbed ahold of Lucius, taking him away from Draco.

Draco sighed in relief as Lucius’ weight was lifted off his shoulders at last. He followed closely behind Severus as he steered Lucius into the grand sitting room and laid him down on the long black leather couch. The fireplace had already been lit, and there in front of it sat a large-sized cauldron. Next to the cauldron was a little table that was over-crowded with various potion ingredients. Snape walked over to it and began to finish his preparations immediately. Draco took a seat on the sofa, across from where his father lay, and waited.

Lucius moaned, casing Snape and Draco to both look up. “What is it father?” Draco asked. “Do you need anything?”

“S-Sseverus,” Lucius whispered weakly.

Snape crossed the room and knelt down next to Lucius. “What is it Luc’?” he asked.

“Y-you don’t have t-to-to do this. I c-can’t ask you -”

“Ask me?” he repeated, cutting Lucius’ attempt at speech off. “Lucius Malfoy you don’t have to ask me to do anything for you, especially not this! I am more than happy to do it, it’s no trouble at all, really. I told you how I felt about you leaving, didn’t I?” he said, reminding Lucius of the last conversation they’d had at the Riddle House. “And I hate to say I told you so, especially at a time like this, but didn’t I tell you that turning yourself in wasn’t going to do you a damn bit of good? I mean, just look at the state you’re in now!”

Lucius cracked a smile, despite all the pain he was in. “Y-you were r-ri-right Sev’, a-as always,” he confessed.

“No need to thank me,” Severus chuckled. “Just promise me that, after this, you’ll stop tying to off yourself. Then we’ll both be even, alright?”

This time, Lucius couldn’t help himself. He laughed aloud at Severus’ remark, but then regretted the move instantly. Another sharp, excruciating ache erupted, this time causing him to feel as though he had just been punched in the gut. His laugh quickly turned into a moan as he doubled over, clutching at his stomach in pain. Before Snape even had time to react to this however, a second crack resounded from out front, signifying that someone else was with them now. He had almost forgotten that Roxi would be coming until she barged through the door, letting herself in, and made her way to the sitting room.

Roxi came in, assessed the situation, and began dominating the scene at once. “Ah, Severus,” she said, “I seen you came early, and you’ve already gotten things set up. That’s wonderful! We’re going to need that extra time advantage, because now it seems we are running 2 hours behind schedule! Stupid ministry, and their stupid way of changing things at the last minute!”

Wait! What? 2 Hours?” Snape stammered.

“Didn’t Draco tell you?” she said, casting a look in Draco’s direction. He wasn’t looking at her though. His eyes were fixed on his father.

“No. We haven’t had time to talk about anything yet actually,” Snape explained. We just got Lucius inside and laid him on the couch not too long before you walked in.”

“Oh…” she said, trailing off for a minute. She glanced back at Draco. He still wasn’t taking his eyes off his father. “Well then, in that case, you should know that the Minister just randomly decided to up and give Lucius the poison 2 whole hours early.”

“Why the hell would they give it to him early like that for? Snape demanded.

“How the hell should I know?” she shot, a little bit too offensively. “My only guess,” she added in a slightly more calm tone, “is that they got it done early and decided not to wait. But I could be wrong.”

“Well then, we need to get started. Immediately,” he added. With that, Snape turned back to his work area and lit a fire under the cauldron. Roxi joined him. “I couldn’t officially start until you got here,” he explained, “because the Agrimonia leaves need to be added first.”

“Oh, that right, duh!” She clapped a hand to her forehead. “I had almost forgotten.” She then drew a small zip-lock bag full of crushed, yellowish colored leaves from her pocket and handed it over to Snape.

“Why don’t you add things while I stir,” he suggested. “That way we can get things done quicker, since we’re already 2 hours behind.”

“Good idea,” she replied. “After all, he’ll be through the 1st quarter soon, so we really can’t afford to waste any time getting this done.”

“I already don’t see us getting this done until around 5:30, or after, as it is,” Snape said grimly. And that’s only if we’re lucky.”

Roxi just nodded and started handing him things right away. She was a bit surprised as to how organized Snape’s per-setup had been. It came in very useful to have things all lined up and in order before hand, and made for a rather quick start. But they were no more than half an hour into it when the complications began, and their perfect little system came to a crashing halt.

Lucius’ entire body started trembling from head to foot and his breathing became slightly more ragged. Roxi left Snape and rushed over to his side. She placed a hand on his forehead and took it away immediately. He was burning up, just as she thought. She sighed as she conjured up a small towel, soaked it in cool water from the tip of her wand, and placed it delicately on his forehead. She was constantly aware that Draco had been watching her the whole time.

“Why are you doing that?” he asked after she had placed the cloth on his head.

“To try and keep his temperature from getting too high,” she answered. “He’s already burning up. I’m just trying to help.”

And so, for the next for the next two and a half hours, this procedure continued. Roxi ran back and forth, helping both Snape and Lucius as she was needed, and Draco continued to do nothing but stare blankly at his father. The only time his hard expression changed was whenever Lucius would wail louder that usual. In which case, he would turn his head away, squeeze his eyes shut, and wince discomfortingly.

Roxi often wondered what Draco was thinking. She could tell that watching all this was causing him intense emotional pain. She wanted to be able to say something to comfort him, tell him that it was alright, or that everything would be fine here in just a couple of hours. But she could not bring herself to do it. Not when she knew that everything was not alright, and that Lucius was going to get a hell of a lot worse before he got any better. So instead, she consented to just keep her mind focused on helping Snape with the antidote for the time being.

Everything seemed to be going smoothly. Between the two of them, things were getting done in a rather quick amount of time. Roxi noticed that Snape looked very nervous and that even his hands were slightly trembling. But she didn’t say anything to him about it until he almost dropped one of the main ingredients on the floor.

Snape had just picked up a vile of dragon’s blood when Lucius screamed in agony once more. He flinched and it nearly slipped from his grasp. ”Careful Severus,” Roxi said in a scolding tone. “One wrong move could and you could mess up the whole thing.”

“Don’t you think I know that?” he snapped, sending a poisonous glare in her direction.

“Hey! Don’t you snap at me,” she said defensively. “You’re the one who doesn’t seem to be able to concentrate here, so I don’t even wanna hear it!”

“Well I’m sure you would be having the same problem if it were your best friend screaming in the background, while you were trying to concentrate on saving his life. The whole time knowing if you fuck up even just once that he’s done for,” Snape coldly replied. “You try dealing with that and tell me how you handle. In the meantime, why don’t you just leave me alone and let me do this my way. I’m already sick of you standing over me all the time, trying to tell me what to do. I know what to do, alright?”

“I was only trying to help to make things go faster,” she said.

“Well I don’t need your help.” At that moment, Lucius screamed again. “But I think maybe he does,” Snape added. “So why don’t you leave me alone for a while and go help him.”

“Humph!” Roxi turned her back on Severus without another word and marched over to Lucius. Even though she was annoyed by his rude behavior, she couldn’t honestly say that she blamed him. She didn’t know what he was going through. Hell, it was hard for her to tell what any of the three men in the room were going through at the moment…

…Nearly an hour later, Lucius was thrashing about on the floor, howling in agony. His convulsions had become so violent, that Roxi was forced to move him on to the floor. She was afraid that he might fall off and hurt himself. And now, she was sitting at his head, dabbing at his forehead with a cold cloth. She was trying in vain to calm him down and keep his body temperature as low as possible.

He was an absolute wreck, Lucius was. He was constantly screaming and whimpering in pain and his whole body was trembling spasmodically. And breathing had now become a laborious effort, due to his airway being constricted as it was. He could hardly seem to catch his breath, and was therefore gasping desperately for air in between moans.

Severus Snape was still over by the fireplace, his face fervently bent over the now steaming cauldron. He was stirring the liquid inside it, which had turned a shade of bright green. So far, so good. The antidote was coming along great. Snape kept having to remind himself to slow down though, because every time Lucius would scream, he would start going faster and then get ahead of himself. He could not afford to make a mistake. Lucius’ life now depended on this antidote. There was no room for error here. This had to be done perfectly. If he made just wrong move… he was afraid to think of what the consequences might be, therefore he buried himself deeper into his work.

Draco was across the room, sitting in silence on the leather sofa. He was staring off into the distance, his face full of anxiety. He had said nothing more since asking Roxi why she was putting the cloth on Lucius’ forehead. The only signs of life he made was to wince every time his father cried out in pain.

Suddenly, Lucius turned over onto his side and started retching. Roxi, who’s face showed no sign of surprise at any of this, simply started tapping him on the back to help. “Get it all out, Lucius,” she crooned. “It’s alright…” Based on the amount of time Lucius had now been subjected to the Atropha Rickium, she had a pretty good guess as to what was about to happen next. With a flick of her wand, a bucket appeared right next to her. She held it out to Lucius, just as he began to gag again, and this time, blood came spewing out of his mouth. Roxi pursed her lips in disgust, but held the bucket steady. She knew she had better get used to it, for this was likely to keep happening until the antidote was given.

Snape, who had been buried in his work looked up, worried. “What the?” he exclaimed.

“It’s alright Severus, this is perfectly normal. It‘s been 10 hours now,” Roxi explained, the animosity between them instantly vanished with the sight of blood. “You just keep working, please! And try not to get distracted.”

Snape took note that she was being sincere now, and not rude or sarcastic. “Right,” he replied, giving her a short nod. Then he added to himself; Because its just so damn easy not to be distracted when your best friend is laying on the floor, coughing up blood and crying out in pain every 10 seconds or less.

“About how much longer do you think it will take?” she asked cautiously. She didn’t want to set him off again.

“I think it should be done a little after 5:30,” he replied with forced calmness.

As Lucius vomited more blood into the bucked, Roxi closed her eyes and sighed. It was only a little after 2:00 now, 5:30 seemed so far away. She didn’t mind the sight of blood so much, but when it was coming out like this, it was an entirely different story. However prepared she had been for this portion of the evening earlier on, nothing could have readied her for seeing something quite like this.

As for Draco, seeing the blood was just too much to handle on top of everything else he had already witnessed that night. He got up off the couch and abruptly left the room.

Roxi cast a worried look in Snape‘s direction. “Should I go after him?”

“Don’t you dare!Snape exclaimed. “I know Draco, and trust me, it’s best to just let him be for now. He’ll be alright, he just needs time. I cant even imagine what he’s going through right now.”

Roxi sighed as Snape turned back to his work. She looked over at the couch, staring at the exact spot Draco had just vacated, wondering where he might be going and what he could be doing now...

But Draco himself had no idea as to where he was headed. He only knew that he would rather be anywhere but there in that room right now. He needed to get out, to get away from all the screaming. He simply could not take it anymore. The blood had been the last straw for him. He could not bare to watch his father suffer. What he really needed now was someplace quiet, someplace that he could go to get lost within the confines of his own mind. He was desperately seeking an escape from the reality he now found himself in. It was senseless, pointless even, to try to get away. But he knew he had to do something besides just sit there, otherwise he feared he would lose all control. And so he walked. And walked. Draco wondered the halls of the manor, not really paying attention to where he was going. His feet subconsciously brought him to a halt. He looked around and realized that he had stopped in a corridor on the third floor. But not just any corridor, it was the corridor.

This had been the scene of one of the most violent acts of abuse he had ever had to endure from his father whilst growing up. He had been 14 at the time, and it was the summer before his 5th year of Hogwarts. The last summer they had ever spent together in this manor as a family. Voldemort had returned and because of that, Draco’s lessons with his father had intensified greatly. Lucius was now demanding that Draco begin to begin to prepare himself for Death Eatership. His teaching in the Dark Arts had then become more sinister, more demanding, more difficult, and even more demented than ever. Of course, standing here now, Draco knew what the real reason behind it all had been. But back then it had only seemed like Lucius was trying to force the Dark Lord’s customs on him. He had stormed out of the door to his left, his father trailing after him and catching ahold of him in this very corridor….

“I do not want to do that!” he had cried.

“It doesn’t matter what you want,” Lucius had insisted. “You must do it. It is all a part of your training. If you do not master this, then the Dark Lord will -”

“It’s always the Dark Lord this, or the Dark Lord that with you, isn’t it father? That’s all you seem to care about is the Dark Lord! You don’t care about what happens to me!”

“If I did not care, Draco, I would not be teaching this kind of stuff to you.” he replied in a cold voice. “But you are a Malfoy. You are my only heir. And as such, there are things that are expected of you. Things that you are going to have to know, and come to terms with eventually. Sooner or later, you will be expected to perform that curse. I just want you to be ready when the time comes for it.”

Draco had shaken his head in protest. “I don’t think I’ll ever be ready to just flat out kill somebody in cold blood like that. I am not a murderer like you are, father. I’m nothing like you, and I take pride in that fact!”

“It’s just a useless old house-elf, Draco“ Lucius countered. “It’s about to die anyways. So why not put it out of it’s misery? You’d be doing both it, and me, a huge favor.”

He then glared at his father. “You disgust me. This is your life, not mine. And no father in his right mind would ever force his own son to kill -”

“My life?Lucius spat, cutting him off. “Weather you like it or not, this is your life now as well young man. Now that he is back, a lot of things are going to change around here. I have been too soft on you over the years and -”

“Too soft?” Draco scoffed. “Too soft? Are you insane? You call beating the hell out a defenseless child being too soft? I suppose that time you gave me a black eye when I was 10 you were being too soft then too, weren’t you? And threatening me with the Cruciatus Curse every other day, well, now that’s just being entirely too soft.

“Draco Lucius Malfoy, you will not speak to me in that tone,” Lucius bellowed, drawing out his wand and pointing it at his son. “You are only 14 years old. I am the parent, you are the child, and you will do as I say. Now you had better march your ass back in that room right now! Or else I will be forced to show you what the difference in being too soft all this time is. Do I make myself clear? I am the one who makes the rules in this house, not you! NOW GO!”

But Draco had refused to go back in. Refused to learn how to perform the Avada Kedavera curse properly. Even at such a young age, he knew that he wanted no part in that kind of magic. His desire for power and control only stemmed so far. And for this refusal, he had suffered dearly. The last thing Draco could remember clearly was his father’s voice quietly whispering; “Well then you leave me no choice.” Then pain had erupted in every inch of his body. Unending, unimaginable, and unbearable pain. A pain that had went away just as quickly as it come. It had left him laying on the ground, gasping for air, staring up at his father in shock and terror.

As it turns out the difference in being too soft was only the difference between a mere threat and an actual promise. For instead of just threatening Draco with the Cruciatus Curse, this time Lucius had had actually done it. And that was the very first time that Draco had ever felt the wrath of that such curse. He would never forget that feeling of being engulfed in flames, or pierced by the blades of a thousand knives. As long as he lived, he would not forget it. And from that day on, he listened to his father and did whatever he was told to do without question…

Another piercing scream echoed through the hallowed halls, pulling Draco out of his reverie. He was now back to living in the present, which was full of even more painful despair than his dreadful past, if that were even possible. Draco fell to his knees and covered his ears. He too let out a terrible scream of anguish as tears began to pour from his eyes. This night had been too much. Would it ever end? Were they near being done yet at all? He wiped his eyes and glanced up at the grandfather clock at the end of the hall. It was only 2:30 in the morning. The potion wouldn’t be done until around 5:30, Snape had said. That means that Lucius still had 3 hours of suffering left to endure.

If he even makes it that long…

Draco forced himself to disregard that last thought. He will make that long. He has to… Draco closed his eyes and remained on the floor in the middle of the third floor corridor, too weighed down by his own apprehension to move anymore. He took several deep breaths in attempt to calm his nerves. But nothing was helping. Nothing would be able to help until his father had drank the Antidote, and he was absolutely certain that Lucius would be ok again. In the meantime, he would just have to sit up here and wait it out. However much he was suffering right now, he knew that it was nothing compared to what Lucius was going through at the moment. 

Three more hours… just three more hours…

Draco had decided to spent the remainder of those three hours in his room. He collapsed onto the bed, sending small putts of dust into the air. This was the first time he had been in here since leaving for 6th year of Hogwarts, which had been a few years ago now. He took time to look around the room, surveying everything he could make out in the dark, for hadn’t bothered with putting a light on. Things were not quite as he remembered leaving them. They were much more organized now.

He shivered as a cold thought ran through his mind. Narcissa had lived in this house alone for the entire three months that he had been Voldemort’s prisoner. He could just picture his mother spending all her of time here in his room, picking up his things, refolding all of his clothes and even alphabetically organizing his entire book collection. She had done so many things, sacrificed so much for him and now, now he would never be able to thank her for any of it. The thought of this only made him cry again. He cried and cried until he could cry no more. And once the tears stopped flowing, he dozed off into a restless, but much needed, slumber.

Draco tossed and turned in his sleep. He was having a very vivid and horrific nightmare in which the antidote did not work and his father continued spitting up blood until there was nothing left of him and he shriveled up and died. He found that he could not look away and had to watch the whole thing happen, the whole time knowing that there was nothing he could do about it. And from there, it shifted to his mother throwing herself in front of Voldemort’s killing curse. Her cold, lifeless body fell in slow motion and landed right on top of him with a loud crack…

Draco jerked awake. A crack? he wondered, pondering his dream. That wasn’t right. He had had this dream several times before, and it had never changed yet. There was no sound when she fell any other time before, so why was this time different? Another crack sounded and Draco, who was now fully conscious, realized at once that the sound he heard had not come from the dream. It had come from outside. Somebody had just apparated… two somebodys actually.

He got up off the bed and dashed over to the window. Fortunately, his room overlooked the front lawn so he would have a clear view of who the intruder was. He looked out of the window and froze. A fear like no other gripped at him and held him, rooted to the spot. His heart began to pound frantically in his chest. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath. He was imagining things. This couldn’t possibly be real, Snape had said he would not come. But when he opened his eyes again, Lord Voldemort was still slinking across the front lawn, his pale-white skin gleaming in the twilight of the approaching dawn. Following closely behind him was a very anxious and weary looking Percy Weasley.

Seconds later, they had reached the front porch and disappeared from view. He crossed the room and sat back down on his bead, straining his ears, listening for signs that the people downstairs were aware of the Dark Lord’s presence. The whole house had gone silent and deadly still as a rising sense of panic spread through the air. Deep was his concentration, and so focused that he nearly toppled off the bed in alarm when Roxi’s voice rand out in the silence.

“Draco, I know you’re up there somewhere,” she hissed. “And if you can hear me, stay where you are. You must stay hidden, no matter what, while we get rid of him. We can handle this, don’t worry!”

Draco rolled his eyes in annoyance. Why was it that every time Voldemort showed up, he was asked to stay put and hide like a good little boy until all of the danger was gone? He hated being told what to do, even if what he was being told was for his own good, it didn’t matter. He could not stand having to hide to begin with, he wanted to fight. But he knew deep down that he could never stand up to the Dark Lord and expect to come out of it alive. After all, he was no Harry Potter. He knew it wasn’t worth the risk and therefore, he reluctantly obeyed her orders.

After a few moments had passed, Draco was able to hear muffled voices coming from downstairs, but he could not make out exactly what they were saying. Then suddenly, Voldemort’s booming voice rang out, clear as day. It was loud and furious as it filled the house. “I DON’T BELIEVE THIS, SEVERUS! YOU‘RE HELPING THEM?”

“What? No!” Roxi quickly answered before Snape could get a word in. “He didn’t make the antidote, I did. It was me. This entire thing was my idea.”

“Then why is he here?” Voldemort hissed.

“She’s very convincing, my Lord,” Snape offered.

“I uh, Imperioused him,” Roxi made up of the top of her head.

“You Imperioused one of my Death Eaters?” Voldemort cocked an eyebrow, looking at her skeptically. He then looked around the room at everyone else. Lucius was lying unconscious on the couch. Percy was still standing right behind him.

“Well Severus,” he said after a long pause. “Since you don’t seem to be Imperioused now, grab her and bring her back with us. Weasley, you grab Lucius. I’m going to search the house for Draco. I know he’s here somewhere.”

“He is not,” Roxi practically yelled. “Draco’s not here. He knew nothing about tonight’s plan. I operated the whole entire thing alone. that’s why I needed Snape’s help.”

“Really? Is that so?” Voldemort turned to Percy. “Weasley, remind us again what it is you overheard them talking about in the basement when you came back from your break Wednesday night,” he commanded.

“I heard Draco asking Snape to meet them here,” Percy promptly replied. “And they said something about giving Lucius an antidote at 6am. Then I heard her asking Snape if he was sure that he could make it.”

Voldemort smiled triumphantly. “Caught,” he said in a voice that was barely above a whisper. “Both of you have just been caught. Both of you are lying to me.” Then he turned on Snape. “What is it you have to say for yourself now, Severus?”

Snape swallowed hard, wishing he could come up with a story that would save him from the Dark Lord’s wrath. But his mind was blank. If Percy had really overheard them talking, and then ran and told Voldemort everything, there was no way out now. He was right; they were caught. “Lucius is my best friend,” Snape said, bowing his head. “I wasn’t going to just let the Ministry kill him.”

“So you thought you would defy my wishes of letting Lucius Malfoy get what he deserves,” Voldemort deduced. “And you came here tonight here to make an antidote for him, rather than do the task I assigned you with.”

“No, I got my job done first, my Lord, before I even came here.”

“Well that doesn’t make your current standing with me any better,” Voldemort spat. “As of right now, there is only one thing you can do to stop me from Cruciating you out of your misery, and that is to bring me Draco Malfoy. I know he’s here somewhere. I have already seen it in the girls mind. No where is he?”

“That is one thing I can assure you I honestly do not know,” Severus replied. “Draco left this room nearly 4 hours ago, and neither one have not seen him since.”

Voldemort growled in frustration. And then an idea dawned on him suddenly. “Well no matter then,” he said with forced calmness. “If we cannot find Draco, we will just have to make Draco find us.” Voldemort moved so quickly that neither one of them had time to register what was happening until it was too late. He pointed his wand at Roxi and shouted; "CRUCIO!" Roxi, who had never felt the wrath of the Cruciatus Curse before, fell to the floor. She was writhing and shrieking in pain as Voldemort’s wicked, cold and high-pitched laughter filled the room.

“DRACO,” he yelled overtop of Roxi‘s screams. “Only you can put an end to her suffering. Come out now, and I will spare her. Refuse to show yourself, and she will die. Then after she is dead, I will rip this house apart searching for you myself, if I must. For I am not about to leave this here without you.”

Draco had snuck out of his room and crept towards the staircase at the end of the hallway in order to better hear what was going on on the floor below. He covered his ears to drown out Roxi’s screaming. What the am I supposed to do now? he wondered. She told me to stay hidden, no matter what, but I very well can’t just sit here and let her die for me! Is this what she would call handling it? he highly doubted the latter of his thoughts. Of course this wasn’t how she had planned on handling it! No one had foreseen Percy overhearing their conversation in the basement and then telling Voldemort of their entire plan, no one!

Lord Voldemort was absolutely right; they were caught. Caught with no hope of escape this time. Draco could see no possible way out now. He would have to go back.

Back to the Riddle House… Back to hell.

He turned around and ran back down the hall, returning to his bedroom as fast as he could. He no longer cared about not making a sound or trying to be sneaky. For one thing, it would be near impossible for anyone downstairs to hear him scurrying about on the flood above with Roxi’s piercing screams echoing throughout every hall in the manor. For another; it wouldn’t matter even if was heard, because he would be downstairs with Voldemort soon enough. The only thing that mattered to him right now was speed. The more time he took getting down there, the more time Roxi spent enduring the intolerable pain of the Cruciatus Curse.

But there was just one thing he absolutely had to take care of first...

He reached his room, threw open the door, and dashed inside. He took his mothers wand out from his pocket and gently tucked it inside his pillowcase. He knew it was rather foolish to go down there unprotected like this, but it didn’t matter. Once he was caught, the Dark Lord would just take the wand away anyways, and most likely and snap it in half like he had done to Draco’s first wand. He simply refused to allow that happen to his mothers wand. It was all he had left of her and he treasured it dearly. And f keeping it safe meant facing Voldemort unarmed, then so be it. If he ever made it back out of captivity alive again, he would be sure come back here and retrieve it. Once he was a absolutely certain that the wand was safe, he hurried back out of the room and down the hall again.

Once he reached the stairs however, he slowed down and became more cautious as he crept down them, one by one. He was hoping to get a chance to asses the situation before being discovered. Most of all, he wanted to know exactly whereabouts Voldemort was standing. About halfway down the stairs, he was able to glimpse his father, who was now back up on the couch. Lucius was lying flat on his back, his rigid body laying eerily still. His eyes were shut tight and his skin had turned deathly pale. Draco’s immediate thought was that Lucius was dead and his throat tightened as he fought off another wave of emotion. He faltered in his step and nearly lost his balance. The stair creaked slightly as he regained himself.

Percy Weasley, who was standing nearest to the staircase, was the only one seemed to have heard the noise. His head shot up and he saw Draco standing on the stairs. He took aim and shouted; “Locomotor Mortis!” Draco screamed as his legs locked up and he came tumbling down the remaining steps. He cried out in pain as he landed hard on the wood floor with the wind knocked out of him. He could hardly move and was almost positive that he now had a broken rib, or a dislocated shoulder, or both.

“I've got him my Lord!” Percy cried triumphantly. And even though Percy was now standing right next to him, his voice sounded distant, and Draco didn’t even hear Voldemort’s reply. He was barley even aware that Roxi had stopped screaming. The entire room was spinning as Draco fought to remain conscious. He had hit his pretty hard on the landing before the last few steps. But even though his vision was fading in and out, he could still make out Voldemort’s pale, daunting figure, which was towering over him now. He was smiling victoriously, his red eyes gleaming, his wand aimed directly at Draco’s chest.

Draco saw the cold, thin, cruel lips of the Dark Lord form words that he could not hear, and then he slipped into unconsciousness. . .

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