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Love, Not War by Yoshi_Kitten
Chapter 22 : |Chapter 15| A Deal With the Devil
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 12

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A/N: This chapter has been Beta'd by my totally Awesome Beta Reader, Jane Twilight, from the Forums (Jane_Volturi here on HPFF). Credit for much of Lord Voldemort's characterization in this chapter belongs to her! Without her, I would still be staring blankly at the screen, wondering where to go next. (No, seriously, lol!) So please bear that in mind as you are reading. ALSO: With this chapter, the usual strong language and violence warnings apply. 

I am very sorry for the awful cliffhanger I left you all at, but I really must thank you for all of the amazing reviews I have gotten back! And ok. . . I’ll just shut up now so that you can get on with the intense chapter you have all eagerly been waiting for! Enjoy!

This beautiful Chapter Image of Draco's current obsession; Roxi Zarooni, was gifted to my by wonderful Beta: Jane_Twilight!! :)


As Draco slowly started to regain consciousness, he heard hushed voices whispering somewhere close by.

“Roxi, are you sure you’re alright?” Snape whispered.

“Yes, Severus, I’m fine,” she hissed back. “Now would you please stop asking me that?”

“I’m just worried, that’s all,” he said sincerely. “I mean, you first time and -”

“- I’m fine! I’m a bit shaken, to say the least,” she finally confessed. “But over all, I am fine. Just fine.” She had cut him off before he could say anything more because she did not wish to be reminded of the weakness she had displayed against Voldemort this morning, nor of what it had cost them. She was already very well aware that it was her fault, her weakness, they had gotten them caught.

Where are we, and why are they whispering?
Draco wondered to himself as he slowly gathered his wits about him. And why do they both sound so calm? Surely, if we had been caught, they would not just be sitting there having a casual conversation like this… 

“And besides,” he heard Roxi go on. “It isn’t me you should be worried about, you know. I’m not the one who fell down a flight of steps and bashed my head open.” Roxi cast another worried look in Draco’s direction and sighed. “Do you think he’ll ever wake up?” 

There we go, now she sounds more worried. . . Wait a minute; is she talking about me? “Draco’s been through far worse than this,” Severus stated. “Believe me, he’s tough. I think he’s going to get through this just fine. Besides, you should be lucky that he’s even slept for this long.”

“Lucky?” she repeated. “Why should I feel lucky?”

Yes, please, do tell us. . . Why? 

“Because I imagine he’s not going to be very happy with you once he wakes up and learns of our current location,” Snape answered matter-of-factly. “I doubt he’ll be too happy with either of us for that matter.” 

Well, he does have a valid point there,   

“Oh. Right. I forgot about that,” Roxi sighed. “This is all my fault! I hope he doesn’t hate me!

“This is not your fault, Roxi, you understand me?” Severus shot. “If anyone is to blame here, it’s me! I was the one who told that idiot Percy to make damn sure he got back here on time. It was because of me that he felt threatened and scared, and therefore felt obligated to come back early. I am the reason that son of a bitch heard us, and told the Dark Lord what we were doing last night, not you!”

Roxi shook her head. “No, Severus,” she disagreed. “It is not your fault neither. If anyone is to blame here, I think it’s safe to say that we can all blame Percy.”

Severus smiled. He actually liked that idea. He liked that idea very much. “Yes,” he agreed. “Let’s just blame Percy.”

Hmmm. . . .Percy. . . . Percy. . . .Why is it that name reminds me of something? What is about Percy that makes me feel so. . . so. . . Draco struggled for a few moments to remember all of what had happened earlier. His head hurt, which made it that much harder, but all of a sudden, it was like a light bulb had clicked on, and he instantly remembered what had happened. That’s right! Percy was the one who jinxed me in the first place! He’s the real reason I fell down those stairs, the bastard. This is all his fault. 

Roxi and Snape both shared a laugh, but then Snape looked across from the cell Roxi and Draco were in and sighed. “Like I said, I think Draco will be alright. Lucius on the other hand… I just can’t help but keep wondering did I do everything right, or did I add everything in correctly? It’s very frustrating to just have to sit here right now and not know weather Lucius is alive or dead. And if he is alive, is he going to be well again, or will there be some damage that’s… permanent?” He spoke the last word so softly that Draco almost didn’t catch it.

“I honestly believe he’s going to be fine Severus,” Roxi said sincerely. “I trust that you did everything right, and I have faith in your potion-making capabilities. His behavior is perfectly normal right now, I have told you this. It takes as much time to heal from Atropha Rickium as it does for the damage done by it to be caused. Lucius had that poison in his system for a good 14 hours at least, therefore that is how long it will take for him to wake up.”

If he wakes up,” Severus said doubtfully.

“He will wake up,” she said confidently, “around 8:00 tonight, Severus, you’ll see!”

Snape shook his head. “Yeah, we’ll see,” he stated. “I guess it’s a good thing we got done a little bit early like we did, huh?”

“Good? Talk about great!” Roxi exclaimed. “We never would have been done in time like that had you not shown up early.”

“No, being there early had nothing to do with it,” he said. “it was all of your assistance that I had in the beginning that helped us out time wise. I am sorry I snapped at you like I did. I really do appreciate all of your help last night, despite whatever I said.”

“I know that,” Roxi smiled. “You were just stressed. Don’t worry, it happens to everyone.”

No kidding, Draco silently agreed. At least it sounds like they got it done in time though, so that’s a relief. He sighed outwardly in his moment of reassurance. Roxi’s head snapped on to him instantly, her brilliant blue eyes full of hope and wonder. This was the first note of sound that he had made all day. Was he finally coming to, after all this time? 

But did they actually give it to him though?
Draco continued to wonder to himself. His moment of solace now gone, for that was precisely the real question that needed asking here. It sounded like they had, but Draco wanted to be absolutely sure before he went and got his hopes up. So he silently waited to hear what Snape and Roxi would say about his father’s condition next...

Roxi closed her eyes and forced herself to suppress thoughts such as those. Draco was not going to have amnesia. He would remember her. He would remember everything. He had to, because if he didn't remember certain things, then surely Voldemort would take advantage of him.

Every breath he drew in caused him more pain than the last. Draco groaned and slowly moved a hand to his chest. Probably a broken rib, he deduced. Argh, I knew it! This is great. Just great. How the hell am I supposed to defend myself now, if I can hardly move? Draco growled aloud in his frustration, his hands clenched into fists now. I hate Percy! I swear I’m going to kill him for doing this to me! I’ll make him pay! 


His fuming thoughts of revenge against Percy were cut short by the soft mentioning of his name. Roxi’s voice sounded closer to him now than it had before, whilst she was talking to Snape. It also sounded a lot more delicate now too, he noticed.

“Draco, are you alright?”

Draco frowned. Why does she sound like she is addressing a sick person? He was unexplainably annoyed by her tone. I‘m not sick, I’m just injured! And I wouldn’t even be injured if some lunatic wouldn’t have stabbed me -- I-I mean knocked me down the damn stairs. You’re talking about Percy, Draco, not that damn madman from the Ministry. Get your nights straight! But that was easier said than done. So much had happened in such a short span of time, that it seemed like everything was running together now.

“Can you hear me?”

Draco started to nod his head in response to her last question, but it hurt too much to move and the nod was therefore cut short. “OwIhavaheaday,” he mumbled, not quite aware that he wasn’t only talking to himself anymore.

Roxi’s eyes nearly bulged out of her head. He was speaking now! Even if it was only a mumble, he still answered me! She could hardly contain her excitement now.

“Draco, do you know who I am?”

“Roxi,” he whispered slowly. Roxi had to fight back the urge celebrate right then and there. She had been so worked up worrying herself over weather or not he would remember her when he woke up. It was such a relief to finally have that fear lifted off of her shoulders.

“Good,” she said calmly. “Now do you know who you are?” 

“Whatahellkindaqueschtinizat?” he mumbled back, still unable to pronunciate entire sentences very well. The pressure from the pain he was in now was so bad, it felt like his head was being compressed on both sides. He could hardly hear, let alone talk right.

“What?” Roxi truly had no idea what he was saying.”

Draco sighed and tried again. This time saying only one word at a time, and speaking very slowly. “What. The. Hell. Kind of. Question. Is that? Of course. I bloody well now. Who I am!”

“Ok, I’m sorry,” she shot defensively. “I just wanted to make sure you were alright, geeze!”

“Well I’m fine,” he feebly lied. The last thing he wanted right now was her pity. He already knew it had been very foolish to head down the stairs without a wand. Maybe, if he had taken his wand with him, he could have blocked Percy’s attack. Or maybe he could have cursed Percy before he himself had been attacked. Maybe. But that’s all it’ll ever be is a maybe… I knew what I was getting into when I hid that wand and went downstairs unprotected. 

“Draco, you’re not fine,” she commented. “You’re a mess! Do you have any idea how worried we’ve been?”

“What happened?” he asked.

Roxi and Severus exchanged glances. This is what they had feared, that he would not remember. “Well Draco,” Roxi began. “You fell down the steps and --”

“-- Yes I know that!” he cut in. “I meant what happened with my father? Did you give the Antidote to him in time or didn’t you? When I seen him on the couch, he looked…” Draco trailed off, unable to finish describing out loud how his father had looked.

“Yes. We gave it to him,” came the answer he had been most desperate for from Snape. “And we had no sooner moved Lucius up off the floor when Voldemort showed up. We were cutting it close, but we did it.” Excitement welled up in Snape as he finally said this out loud, making it more than just a thought. Yes, they had done it and, deep down, he began to believe that they had done their jobs very well. He knew now that Roxi was right, Lucius would be ok once he woke up again… At least he will be until the Dark Lord shows up that is…

“So then, he’s still alive?” Draco asked for confirmation once again. He would not allow himself to feel even the slightest bit relieved until he was absolutely sure.
“For the moment,” Snape added bitterly. “But that is only because Voldemort has not been down here yet.” 

Oh yeah, that’s right. I almost forgot about Voldemort, Draco thought in response to Snape’s bitter comeback. Good feeling’s gone...

“Yes,” Roxi noted, “and I was just beginning to wonder why that is. It seems odd that he just put us down here and then left.”

“He usually sleeps during the day,” Draco answered matter-of-factly, “because he mostly operates at night.”

“Especially when he’s working with the Giants,” Snape added. “He likes the dark, reckons its more terrifying at night I guess. It‘s also easier to hide more sufficiently in the dark.”

The casualness in which they both responded caught Roxi off guard at first. But then she remembered that these two had been living with Voldemort for 2 years or more. It was only natural that they would know certain things like that about him. “Makes sense I guess,” Roxi shrugged. Then she turned back to Draco. “So, what all do you remember from last night?”

Draco’s eyes were still closed, he had not opened them yet. And now he allowed visions from the night before to creep back into his mind. “I remember everything. Breaking into Azkaban, kidnapping my father, taking him to the manor, you two working on the antidote, and then seeing all the blood…” The more Draco spoke, the more easy it was to get all the words he was saying out. “And then I left. Sorry. But I couldn’t handle watching that anymore.”

“That’s alright,” Roxi soothed. “We don’t blame you one bit. Where did you go?”

“I didn’t leave the manor,” he stated. “I just walked around for a bit, then I went to my room and… and I fell asleep. I didn’t mean to, but I was exhausted!”

“Again, its ok Draco,” Roxi said. “You obviously needed your rest.”

“Voldemort and Percy’s apparation is what woke me up,” he went on. “And then I heard you telling me to stay upstairs. But he was torturing you! I couldn’t just sit there and let that happen! So I hid my wand and headed down there as quickly as I could.”

“You hid your wand?” Snape asked skeptically. “Draco, that was very foolish of you!” he scolded.

“It was my mothers wand, thank you,” Draco spat. “And I’ll be damned of I’m going to allow her murder the pleasure of snapping it in half! I was trying to keep it safe, it… it’s all I have left of her.” Another torrent of emotion swelled up inside of him, making him hurt that much more.

“It’s ok, Draco, go on,” Roxi urged.

“Well that’s it really,” he said. “you both know what happened after that. Weasley heard me coming down the stairs and did the leg-locker curse on me. I lost my balance, and I fell. The last thing I remember, Voldemort did some kind curse on me and I blacked out.”

Roxi bit her lower lip, some of her fears now slightly confirmed. “No Draco, that’s where you’re wrong I’m afraid, because Voldemort didn’t touch you actually.”

“What? Yes he did, I saw him!” In his minds-eye he visualized the Dark Lord towering over him once again. “He was standing over me with his wand pointed right at my chest. I saw his lips moving. I may not have heard him, but I know he did something.”

Roxi shook her head. “No. When you saw his lips moving, he was ranting about how victory was finally his at last, and how he always ends up getting what he wants in the end, and blah, blah, blah! You know how he is,” she chuckled. “But Draco, you passed out on your own, and you’ve been unconscious now for the past 8 hours. You hit your head pretty hard.”  

Well that would explain this ungodly headache I have right now then, he thought. “But I’m ok though,” he insisted. “I-I mean, I feel fine. I’ve got a slight headache and my side hurts a bit, but I’m fine.”

"Draco, if you were seeing what I am seeing right now,” she said sympathetically. “You would realize that you are not fine. No offence, but you look like hell.”

“Non taken,” he snorted.

“Open your eyes, Draco,” Roxi said.

“I don’t want to.”

That was odd, she thought. “Well, why not?”

“Because,” Draco began. “If I just keep my eyes closed, I can go on pretending that we’re still back home, and I’m just laying on the floor, that your sitting next to me, my father’s up on the couch, and Snape is still standing by over by the fireplace… Of course, I know where we really are, I’m just not ready to admit it yet. I cannot seem to face the truth right now.”

“Then maybe you should just try and get some rest,” Roxi sighed. She did pity him right now after all.

“This godforsaken floor is not comfortable enough for me to rest on,” he said bitterly.

“Then here,” Roxi moved closer to him and carefully moved Draco’s head into her lap. It was uncomfortable for her, but she knew that it would help him to have his head more elevated. She smiled and began to run her fingers through his hair again, delicately massaging his scalp. “Does that help?”

Draco opened his eyes for the first time and looked straight up into Roxi’s bright blue ones. At first he wanted to say that she was crazy, and demand that she release him at once. How dare she touch him like this! But even he could not deny that she was a hell of a lot more comfortable than the floor was, not to mention her touch felt really good. At the thought of this, Draco blushed and looked away from her gaze. “Yeah, I reckon it is a bit better than being entirely on the floor,” he answered. “Thanks.”

“You’re welcome.” She too was blushing.

And before they knew it, the both of them had drifted of to into a deep and restless sleep…

 The hours ticked by as Severus waited for the time when the Dark Lord would come down to punish them all. And Lucius had only just woken up from the antidote when that time finally came. Snape guessed that somehow Voldemort had known that Lucius was awake, and that that was why he was down there now.

“Ah, Lucius,” Voldemort hissed. “Glad to see your finally awake. How do you feel?”

Lucius sat up and looked into the gleaming red eyes of Lord Voldemort. Of all the places he had expected to wake up at, here was not one of them. I must still be asleep and this must be some kind of a dream. It cannot be real, I cannot be back there, I refuse to believe it! he frantically thought.

Lord Voldemort heard his thoughts and smiled. “Well believe it, Lucius, because it is real. You are not dreaming.”

Lucius took a moment to observe his surroundings. He could see Percy standing just behind Voldemort, and behind Percy was Severus. Severus was standing in front of the cell directly across from his and in it, Lucius swore he could just make two, bodies laying huddled together inside. But he had to be imagining things, his mind must be playing tricks on him.

Voldemort glanced back over his shoulder, following Lucius’ gaze. “Oh no Lucius,” he smiled, “you are not imagining things neither. There are people in there, two of them to be exact, and yes, one of them is your son.”

“No,” Lucius breathed. He did not care so much that he had been caught, but Draco? He could not bare it if anything more were to happen to his son. Lucius’ throat was still dry and raw, and in his mouth he could still taste the bitterness of blood. He was dying for a drink of water now, but knew better than to bother asking for one, for he was already aware what the answer would be.

“So what are you going to do to me now?” Lucius did not have the strength to speak in more than a whisper. “Torture me some more, kill me? Whatever it is, can we just do it and be done with it?”

Voldemort was skeptical of Lucius’ behavior, but one look into his mind told him that Lucius was being dead serious. He had no objection whatsoever to being punished, and was ready and willing to take whatever it was that Voldemort had planned for him next. “Hmm… it appears I may have underestimated you, Lucius,” he stated.

“What, did you think I would beg for you to spare me?” Lucius snorted. “I’m not exactly in the mood for playing games tonight. If you’re going to kill me, then just do it, please. I am sick of waiting and I am done caring what happens to me anymore.”

“I am very much aware of that Lucius,” Voldemort spoke in a voice that was only slightly above a whisper. “Lord Voldemort knows that you do not value your own life. He also knows that there is a life, however, in which you do value. That life is the life of your son, isn’t it Lucius?”

“Of course I value the life of my son!” Lucius exclaimed in a harsh whisper. “But Draco’s life has nothing to do with me turning myself in to the Minister. You leave him out if this!”

“Such brave words from such a broken and foolish old man,” Voldemort said mockingly. “Lucius Malfoy, have you lost your mind? Do you honestly believe that you can tell Lord Voldemort what he can and cannot do?”

Lucius gulped. “No my Lord,” he reproached himself. “I-I am sorry, I did not mean for it to sound that way. Honestly, I meant no disrespect.”

“You expect me to believe that you are being honest with me right now, after all the lies you have told?” Voldemort was still speaking with an eerie calm tone to his voice.

Lucius did not reply to this, for there was nothing more that he had to say on the matter. “So what are you going to do to me now?” he asked again.

The Dark Lord flashed an evil, devious smile. “You’ll see,” he said, and then he slithered away from Lucius and approached the cell across from him. Severus stepped out of the way as he saw Lord Voldemort approaching. He waked over now to where Lucius was being held prisoner at and positioned himself there instead.

Even though Lucius and Snape were close enough now to talk to one another right now, neither one of them dared speak for fear of being overheard. But their eyes did meet for one brief moment, and Severus knew then that Lucius meant to thank him for making the antidote. He gave a short nod as if to say; your welcome.

Voldemort opened the door to Roxi and Draco‘s cell and saw them sleeping. Roxi was still leaned up against the bars in the back, and Draco’s head was still resting in her lap. “Aww, now isn’t that cute?” The Dark Lord said mockingly. “Wake up. Both of you. Right now!” he commanded in a booming voice.

Roxi did not stir at first for she was a rather heavy sleeper. But Draco, who had years of experience at being woken up like this, jolted awake at once. He jerked up, but then doubled over as the sudden movement sent another shot of pain coursing through his chest. He closed his eyes and bit his lower lip to keep from crying out in pain. He refused to let Voldemort see how truly injured he was. He forced himself up into as best of a sitting position as he could manage, and it was his movement that finally caused Roxi to awaken.

“Draco, are you --?” She stopped dead when she saw Voldemort standing in the doorway. She looked at Draco from the corner of her eye and was terrified. She had never seen him look so miserable before. It was obvious that he was in deep pain, but was fighting not to show it and, judging by his eyes, he was extremely frightened. He was trying not to show that too however, but Draco was not a very good liar.

Voldemort and Draco’s eyes locked onto one another’s and, for one intense moment, neither one of them spoke a word. They just stared at each other, with mirrored looks of hatred on their faces. Then Voldemort’s thin lips curled into a cruel smile. “Get out here Draco,” he ordered.

Draco’s jaw clenched, and his nerve wavered slightly at the thought of even trying to stand up. He knew he was too weak to move, and was sure that the Dark Lord knew that as well. So he remained there, sitting absolutely still, waiting to see what would happen next. He refused to led the Dark Lord know how much pain he was truly in. If Voldemort had come down here to kill him, then he was going to die with as much dignity and pride as he could muster.

“NOW!” Voldemort said more forcefully.

“He can’t just get up and come over there,” Roxi spoke up bravely. “He’s been injured.”
Damn her!
Draco raged inside his head. What the hell is she playing at, giving him that kind of information on me? Is she crazy? Does she honestly not know what he will surely do to me now that he knows?

“Do you think Lord Voldemort cares about Draco’s weakness, you silly girl?” the dark Lord spat. “No! All I care about is punishment. Now, get up, Draco. Imperio!” 

The spell hit him before he even had time to react. But Draco did not care that he was now completely within Voldemort’s control. In fact, he welcomed the happy feeling of nothingness as if it were an old friend, for the wonderful sensation of the Imperious Curse had temporarily relived him of nearly all the pain he was currently in. Lord Voldemort once again commanded Draco to get up and walk out of the cell to join him, and he willingly submitted to the order without question. He got up and walked away from Roxi, joining the Dark Lord on the outside of their cell.

“Now bow to your master, Draco, go on,” Voldemort said, a note of amusement in his voice. Draco lowered himself into a deep bowing position and held himself there, awaiting to be told when he could stand back up. Had it not been for the Imperious Curse, he wouldn’t have even made it up off the floor, let alone be able to remain standing for this long.

“Are you crazy?” Roxi yelled in protest. “He has a broken rib! If you make him move around too much, it will only make it that much worse!” Roxi seriously did not get what Lord Voldemort was capable of! “Why are you doing this to him?”

“Let me make one thing very clear,“ Voldemort stated. “Whenever I punish one of my Death Eaters, I expect that punishment to stand, and Draco’s punishment for his excessive failures was death! I thought that I had killed him, after all Lucius did give him the poison. When I left here that night, I honestly expected Draco not to survive. Therefore, you can imagine my surprise when, the very next day, Percy Weasley comes up to me and informs me that his father told him at work that day that Draco Malfoy was living with them now!” Lord Voldemort was pacing back and forth now, a sign that Draco knew could never be good. Though at the moment, he hardly could care less. He was completely and totally at ease with everything that was happening, and showed no signs of fear or discomfort whatsoever.

“I was outraged! Furious at the knowledge that he had survived,” Voldemort went on. “But of course, it is, to an extent, my own fault for leaving before the deed was finished. But no matter, no matter I shall not make the same mistake again, because this time, I shall see I it through.”

“Please, no,” Roxi pleaded. “Please don’t kill him!”

“Kill him? Who said anything about killing him?” Voldemort asked rhetorically. “While that is a very good idea, I have, of course, deduced by now that I cannot kill the boy. Much as it was in the case of Harry Potter, his insolent mother got in my way when I tried to kill him the first time! So he now surely has a similar protection over him, that will see to it that no harm comes to him by my hand.” Voldemort stopped pacing and turned to face Draco who was still bowing in submission, just as he had commanded.

“Now then, since the right to murder you technically belongs to none other than myself,” he began. “I have decided that I will just have to have you tortured until you lose your mind. This way, I will have plenty of time to come up with a way to bypass your mothers protection over you. And once I figure that out, I can and will kill you,” he promised. “But in the meantime, I am going to have to ask you to just stay right there, for I have one last thing that needs addressing.”

Then Voldemort stalked back over to Lucius’ cell and addressed him once more. “And now, Lucius, the time for your punishment has come.” With a flick of his wand, he magically forced Lucius up into a sitting position in which he would be sure to have a clear view of Draco. “You will be forced to watch the undoing of your only son. You shall not be able to turn your eyes away, or even blink for that matter.
"I want you to watch him as he loses his mind and forgets everything he has ever known. Everything about you, about his mother, about Hogwarts, and even about himself. Once I am through here, there will be nothing of Draco Malfoy left. And then... then I shall move on to you.” With another flick of his wand, Voldemort immobilized Lucius so that he would not be able move, close his eyes, or be able to look away in any manner.

Voldemort returned to Draco. “Now, where were we,” he pondered, “Ah yes, your punishment. As you may have heard by now, I am going to have you tortured to the brink of your sanity, Draco. But seeing how as I cannot touch you, I am just going to have to have someone else do it on my behalf. Now I know that watching you suffer won’t be nearly as fun as being the one to cause your suffering, but I’m sure I’ll manage it somehow.”

“No please,” Roxi begged. “Please don’t hurt him anymore. You-you can have me! Hurt me instead!”

“And what would Lord Voldemort want with you?” he questioned, turning his attention over to her.

“I-I don’t know,” she stammered. “You’re creative, I-I’m sure you can think of something. Or you could just t-torture me in his stead.”

“You know,” Voldemort said as he slowly began to advance on Roxi. “That might not be such a bad idea, come to think of it…”

The feeling of protectiveness that he always seemed to get whenever someone was threatening Roxi, came over Draco once again. And for the first time, he began to fight against the grip of Voldemort’s control over him, inwardly protesting the Dark Lord’s descent upon Roxi. Draco broke free of the Imperious Curse and cried out as the pain washed back over him once more. His body could not handle standing in the bowing position any longer, and he collapsed on the floor, but refused to be held back by the pain any longer. “I thought you were here to punish me, not her,” he snarled.

Voldemort turned and gave Draco a curious look. He had broken out of the Imperious Curse to help that girl. Why? But Voldemort did not ponder this for too long. He left Roxi and came back to where Draco was laying. “Well then, as Draco has put it, we are here to punish him. So, do I have any volunteers for the job?”

Even though the question was rhetorical, Percy, who was eager to prove himself, piped up; “I could do it, my Lord! I would be happy to torture the Malfoy brat for you.”

“Whereas Lord Voldemort appreciates your enthusiasm, Weasley, you are not the man I had in mind for the job.”

And then Voldemort slowly turned to face Snape. “Severus, I believe I have found a way for you to redeem yourself for your betrayal of me last night. If you were to torture Lucius Malfoys’ son, it would put you back up in Lord Voldemort’s favor. I will, of course, be returning your wand to you for the task. I should think that something like this would be a rather small feat for the man who once killed Albus Dumbledore.”

Severus glanced past Voldemort’s shoulder, and looked down at Draco. Their eyes met briefly and Draco, who knew that Snape would have to do as he was asked, gave a slight nod, indicating that he should go ahead and do what needed to be done. Snape was fighting very hard now to prevent his emotions from creeping onto his face. How can Draco possibly be ok with this? How can he just lay there and be so calm about it? Try as he might, Snape could not hide the weakness in his eyes from Lord Voldemort for long.

The Dark Lord smiled at Snape’s hesitance. “Perhaps you need more convincing that this is the right thing to do,” he said.

“No my Lord,” Snape said softly, speaking up at last. “It shall not be a difficult feat for me at all. After all, this boy is just as much our enemy now as Harry Potter is,” he said coldly. “It would be my honor to punish him for you.”

“That’s more like it, Severus.” Voldemort drew Snape’s wand out of a pocket of his own and handed it back over to him. “I am trusting you enough to give this back to you, Severus,” he said. “Do not make me regret this decision.”

Snape took his wand and bowed. “Thank you, my Lord. You are most merciful, and you shall not regret it.”

“Then prove it,” Voldemort commanded. “Prove to me that I will not regret the decision to trust you. Torture him, Severus, and do not stop until I say you may do so.”

“NO, DON’T,” Roxi screamed. “I thought you were better than this, Snape! I thought you actually cared about Draco! Please, don’t do this!”

“You foolish girl,” Voldemort spat, “My Death Eaters care for no one. Now be quiet! Do it Severus, now.”

Snape aimed his wand at Draco and softly spoke, “Crucio.” He remained deeply focused and tried his best not to think about what he was doing. After all, Voldemort was right about one thing, this was nothing compared to murdering the man who had helped him through so much. Even if it was planned, even it that is what Albus had wanted, it had still been difficult to do. And wasn’t the whole point of him being the one to kill supposed to be to protect the young Draco Malfoy’s soul? If Dumbledore had cared so much for Draco’s well-being, then what would he say if he saw what Severus was doing right now? Snape’s nerve began to waver, so he pushed all of his thoughts away. He could not afford to think at the moment.

After a few minutes, Voldemort instructed Severus to stop. “Now Draco, I have a question for you,” he stated. “That night I made your father poison you, and I left you here for dead, how did you get out?”

“I don’t remember,” Draco said, which, to an extent, was no lie. He truly could not remember much of anything from that night. What he did know, he had gathered from other sources.

“Which is how I expected you would answer,” he slithered. “True, you were pretty out of it, so I’ll give you that. This is more of a question I should be asking Lucius anyways. What I need to know from you is; how did you get in here to talk with Severus the other night? And I know that you and Lucius have talked, what all has he told you? You must answer me Draco, this is your last chance to save yourself. Tell me what I want to know and I may just forgive you.”

But Draco knew that those were just empty words. There was simply no way that Voldemort would be able to just forgive and let live, and Draco was not about to give away any information that might condemn Severus or his father. He wondered if he could get away with the same lie twice. He placed a hand dramatically on his head. “I… I cannot seem to remember anything before the events of last night,” he lied again. “After all, I did hit my head pretty hard when I fell down those steps. You have Percy to blame for that one.”

At this, Voldemort glared at Percy, “He’s right you know. What the hell were you thinking?”

“I uh…” Percy was shocked. He never expected that things would turn on him. “Umm, well I wasn’t thinking, my Lord, and for that I do apologize. My only concern at the time was the same as yours; to capture the boy at any cost.”

“Well said,” Voldemort acknowledged. “I shall deal with you later, Weasley.” Percy gulped as Voldemort turned his attention back on to Draco. “No matter, there are other ways of getting your memories back. We will just have to force them out of you. Now, if you would, continue Severus.”

And once again, Draco’s screams echoed off the basement walls. This time, they did not stop for a very long time. Even though he was suffering through immeasurable amounts of pain at the moment, he could not deny that there was a part of him that longed for this. 

Draco wanted to be able to forget, for there was not very much in his life that seemed to be worth remembering. The only good thing in his life was gone now; she had sacrificed herself for him months ago. And there was nothing Draco would not give to be able to forget about that scene in particular. His mother’s death had haunted his dreams, and plagued his every waking moment, from the second it had occured. And no matter what he said, or how he acted outwardly; on the inside, he still blamed himself for it. 

He was secretly anxious to be relieved of the pressing guilt he had been feeling for so long now, and therefore embraced the torment of the Cruciatus Curse. Draco found that, in knowing it would soon all be forgotten, he was somehow more equiped to handle it...

But Roxi on the other hand, could not take it anymore. Several long minutes had gone by, and she was still screaming in protest, begging them to stop. But the Dark Lord was ignoring her, even though she was now throwing herself against the door of her cell, desperately trying to break out to help Draco. She kept stretching her hands through the bars, reaching out towards them as far as she could, pleading that they would leave him alone. But all of it was in vain.

Roxi finally gave up the fight and dropped to her knees. She hopelessly curled up on the floor, in the fetal position, clenching her fists over her ears to do all that she could to block out the noise of Draco’s screaming. But nothing she did could drown away a sound so terrible. She had almost all but given up hope and was now lost within the confines of her own mind.

He’s not going to stop. He really will keep this up until there is nothing left of Draco. How can anyone be so cruel? How can he seriously stand there and be laughing about this? This is not funny, it is dreadful, and nothing I do will ever be enough to stop him! 

Roxi was struggling to make sense of her emotions. But why, why do I even care so much? Why should it matter to me whether or not Draco remembers who I am, or even knows who he himself is after tonight? I mean, would it bother me this much to watch if it were anybody else laying there on the floor right now, completely at Voldemort’s mercy? 

She knew deep down that the answer to that was a no. As convinced as she was that Voldemort was doing was evil, there was a part of her that was very much curious to see just how long it would take for someone to lose their mind under the influence of the Cruciatus Curse. When it came to the Dark Arts, there were many things about them that did fascinate her, but she knew better to indulge in fascinations such as those. She was very well-aware of her weakness when it came to having power, and therefore never tempted herself beyond what she knew she could handle; so why then, huh? Why do I care this much? I should be watching this right now, eager to see exactly how it is done, but here I find that I cannot bear to even look for one second! Why is that?

As Roxi lay on the floor, deep in thought, her desperate please for them to stop began to dissipate, right along with Draco’s cries. He had screamed himself hoarse, and was now growing weaker and weaker by the minute. He hasn’t got much time left now, she concluded as tears began to form in her eyes. And why the hell am I crying now? I don’t understand why this is effecting me so much!

And then, in the darkness of the Riddle House basement, a thought that she had never acknowledged before began to dawn on her. A thought so glorious and so true, that it filled her with hope once more. It was the difference between begging hopelessly in vain, and begging with an actual purpose, which made all the difference in the world to her. At the thought of this, she knew instantly that she must do whatever it would take to save Draco Malfoy, or else die trying. Once she realized her thoughts, she knew that she would never give up on him again.

But it’s so obvious though, isn’t it? I should have realized this before now! After all, I’ve known it all along, haven't I? Yes, I have known it ever since the first time he spoke to me in the Weasley’s kitchen... It is the very reason I have this yearning desire to be close to him at every chance that I can get, the very reason why I have such a strong need to protect him, and to help him, and to always be there for him whenever he needs me. It is why his pain is causing me so much distress right now, and why I cannot bear the thought of him never remembering me, or ever being able to speak my name again...

It is because I love him!

Roxi sat up straight and looked directly at Voldemort, her face full of renewed determination. Now that she knew what her true feelings were, she was ready and willing to do whatever it would take. There was only one thing that she knew Voldemort wanted, one thing she was sure that she could give him in exchange for Draco's freedom, and that was information. It wasn’t much, but it was all she had to go on at the moment, and she had to at least try. Even if it meant betraying the Order and the trust of everyone that she knew, she would do whatever needed to be done. 

Roxi took a deep breath and hauled back, screaming at the top of her lungs, “STOP IT!!” Her scream reverberated off the walls and the basement grew deadly silent. She even shocked herself with how loud she had had been, but now that she had everyone’s full attention, she took a deep breath and pressed on. “Please, stop hurting him, I-I cannot watch this anymore! I know the things you want to know, I KNOW,” she screamed again. “And if you’ll just let him be, I will tell you everything you want to know.”

Snape had now stopped torturing Draco, and he too turned to face Roxi. But Voldemort said nothing, his eyes were narrowed and transfixed upon Roxi’s tearstained face. “I never thought that the girl might have information,” he said impassively, speaking softly to himself. “What kind of things can you possibly know?” he demanded of her.

“I know everything,” she sobbed. “I know how Draco got away the first time; after you poisoned him, and I know how we got in here to talk to Severus the other night, I know why your power doesn’t hold over Draco anymore, and I can even tell you how I escaped from here the last time you caught me. Just please, leave Draco alone, that’s all I ask! You can have me instead if you want, I’ll do anything!” 

Draco’s body was still twitching on the floor. His eyes were blank and no sound was coming from him now. Voldemort knew that he was in unimaginable pain, and that, for the moment, was good enough for him. He was intently silent as he carefully considered Roxi’s offer. He studied the determination on her face and then, he forced a harsh laugh. “Do you all see this?” he asked turning back to Lucius, Snape and Percy. Percy barked out a forced laugh as well, but cut it short when an angry glare from the Dark Lord indicated that he had heard enough. 

“This foolish little girl is willing to lay down her life to save Draco’s.” The Dark Lord’s eyes now traveled around the room, from face to face, stopping lastly on Draco himself. “I will never understand why people are so willing to throw away everything for the sake of this thing that they call love,” at this Roxi blushed slightly, but she did not take her eyes off of Lord Voldemort. 

"That silly four-lettered-word has always caused such weakness in humans,” he went on, "and I shall never fully understand the point in setting so much at stake for something like love. The world would be much better off if such a weak emotion did not exist, for it only succeeds in holding people back. Things like love have no purpose in my world.”

Voldemort raised his wand and aimed it at Roxi, glad for an excuse to finally use it. He performed the Cruciatus Curse on her, but only briefly, for he wanted to cause her just enough pain to show how serious his wrath truly was. He also knew enough by now to know that doing this to her would cause Draco pain as he watched, and he desperately wanted to be able to hurt Draco, in one way or another.

Lord Voldemort quickly lifted the curse and arranged his facial features to a look of pure calm again. “Now then, I command you to speak, girl,” he said. “Lord Voldemort does not take kindly to those who waste his time.” 

"I told you, she said once again, with the same forced determination. She could not deny that the use of the Cruciatus Curse, for no matter how brief a period of time, had caused her courage to waver slightly. “Let Draco go and I will tell you everything you want to know. But not until.”

Voldemort tossed his head back and roared with his cold, high-pitched laughter. “If you do not do as I say, then you shall be the one who is tortured to the brink of your insanity. One way or another, you shall speak, and you will falter before me.”

Roxi grit her teeth and glared up at the Dark Lord, a look of pure hatred and disgust etched upon her face. “Like hell I will,” she spat, speaking very clearly now. “Because that will be the day that when hell freezes over!”

If Voldemort was outraged, he did not show it. His face remained perfectly calm and collected. But on the inside, a fire was raging within him. Even though he did somewhat admired her bravery, how dare she speak to him like that! Where were her manners? Perhaps he would have to teach her some.

He raised his wand, threatening to strike her again, and he looked deep into her eyes. He was furiously trying to push through her mind and take all of the that answers he wanted by force, but Roxi had been ready for that. She had closed her mind off to him long before now; therefore Voldemort could only get in so far. He did not gain much from his trip inside of her head, but one thing he was absolutely sure of now, was that this girl was deadly serious about enduring all the pain of the Cruciatus Curse on Draco’s behalf. Lord Voldemort sighed and lowered his wand. Roxi’s eyes flickered to his wand hand in shock; she could not believe what he had just done. Surely she had not won him over that easy!?

“You may leave Draco alone now, Severus,” Voldemort spoke quietly. “It seems there has been a change in plans, and I now have other matters to attend to tonight.” Severus, who had already lowered his wand, unbeknownst to the Dark Lord, stepped away from Draco, relieved that it appeared to finally be over.

“Now girl, I have released Draco from his torture. Tell me what I need to know,” he ordered.

Roxi gulped. She was not very comfortable with what she knew she was about to do, but she knew that it was going to be the only way to ensure their safety. “I will tell you everything you want to know, but in return, I need to know that Draco will remain safe after I have told you.” 

“Well I’m not going to let him go, if that’s what you’d like,” he spat. 

Roxi shook her head. “No. I never said that, nor was I going to. I believe I know a lost cause when I see one. All I want is to be ensured that no further harm will befall him while we are staying here.” 

“We?” Voldemort took no time in pointing out her wording. “So you mean to say that you do not wish for your own freedom in exchange for this?” 

“No,” she said again. “I will not leave him here alone, not now.”

Voldemort carefully considered her for a moment, his face still devoid of all emotion. “Well then, I suppose I might agree to that, so long as you agree to stay here without any plans of escaping.”

“Like I have said, if Draco remains unharmed, then there will be no need for me to bother with escaping. And I do not expect him to mysteriously come up missing overnight either,” she added. “For if that happens, then our deal shall be broken, and I will get up and walk right out of here.”

“I can assure you,” Voldemort began, “that so long as you do what you are told, Draco shall not disappear.”

Roxi looked taken aback. This seemed to be going in the wrong direction suddenly. “Mr. Voldemort, sir, I-I have no desire to become one of your Death Eaters, I hope you know that,” she stated nervously.

Voldemort dismissed her usage of his name, for the moment, and laughed at her again. “You? Who said anything about you becoming one of my Death Eaters? Like I would ever allow you to hold such an honor! Someone like you does not deserve a title like that, girl. You have not earned it yet!”

He paused for a moment to allow is laughter to subside and then his face went back to being hard and expressionless again. “No, you shall not work as one of my Death Eaters,” he continued. “But I do expect you to pull your weight around here. The place is looking a bit shabby and I could do with someone to help keep it up. So I shall call on you to help with things like that, whenever it is best convenient to me. However, if that is not something you can handle...”

“I can handle it!” she exclaimed, “and I’ll do whatever you want, whenever you want it done. But you need to leave Draco alone, and you have to let Lucius off the hook."

WHAT?” Voldemort roared. “Draco is one thing, but Lucius? Why the hell should I let him off the hook? He deserves to be punished!”

“Because,” Roxi replied calmly, “if anything were to happen to Lucius, it would hurt Draco, maybe not physically, but it definitely would emotionally, and that would go against the terms of our agreement.” Roxi was surprised at how incredibly easy it was to remain calm now. Here she was, striking a deal with the devil, and she was totally relaxed about it, as if she had known that this is what needed to be done all along.

“How bad do you want to know exactly what it is that I know, Lord Voldemort?” she taunted. 

Voldemort’s eyes narrowed again, but he did not disagree with her latest added term. “Very well then,” he said after due consideration, “I shall not punish Lucius Malfoy, at the moment. I daresay the Ministry has already done a sufficient enough job at that! However, Lucius will not be permitted to just come down here and see his son whenever he wants. Like it or not, he is one of my Death Eaters, and he still works for me! Draco has chosen to go against me, and has opted to side with the order. Therefore, he has become one of my enemies, and any enemy of mine is an automatic enemy of every single one of my Death Eaters. I will not have Lucius down here socializing with the two of you and telling you things that you ought not to hear. So if he disobeys my orders, and is caught coming down here without my permission, I can assure you he will be punished for it.” 

Roxi bit her lower lip nervously. That was not exactly the response she was hoping for, but she figured that that was as good as it was going to get. “Alright, that’s fine,” she said. “Agreed.” 

“Now you will answer all my questions, and you will tell me everything I want to know, and you will not lie to me,” drawled the Dark Lord. “For I shall know if you are lying to me at any time. Lord Voldemort always knows.” 

“I won’t lie,” Roxi promised. “I have no reason to.” 

“Then swear to it,” Voldemort coaxed. “Make un unbreakable to tell me everything I need to know.” 

Roxi pursed her lips together. She could see hundreds of ways in which this could go horribly, horribly wrong, but she now had no choice but to agree to his terms. “I will,” she stated, “so long as you vow to meet all the terms of the agreement that we have just made.” 

Voldemort smiled, satisfied with himself for roping her in like he had. All he had to do was leave Draco Malfoy alone; something that would not be difficult to do, considering that he could not touch the boy anyways. And he had to just wait it out and not punish Lucius this time, for he was sure that Lucius would mess up again eventually. And when he did, Lord Voldemort would be ready to punish him to the most extreme. 

At the Dark Lords command, the doors to Roxi’s cell flew open and she stepped out. Percy Weasley came over and bonded Roxi and Voldemort’s clasped hands with the tip of his own wand. They each spoke their own demands all over again, and each agreed to the others conditions once more. The fiery ropes of their vows entwined their linked fists, and then went out. 

Voldemort stood up at once, dragging Roxi along with him. He shoved her into to Percy and commanded him to hold on to her. Then he turned to Snape and ordered that he tend to Draco’s injuries and then lock him back up again. 

“And make sure he’s comfortable,” Roxi added. Voldemort shot her a look that suggested she was really pushing it this time. “What?” she snapped. “If he’s going to be staying here for forever now, then he might as well be comfortable. I mean, after all, if he lays on the dirty floor for too long, he could catch a cold, or grow deathly ill, and then he might die... and if he dies, out little deal is broken and I am free to leave.” 

“Fine,” he said through clenched teeth. He was beginning to lose his patience with this girl. “Then see to it that Draco has a bed, or something to lay down on then, Severus,” Voldemort added to Snape’s list of things to do. “There, are you happy now little girl?” he growled at Roxi. Whatever information she had for him, it had better be worth it after all of this. 

Roxi smiled, “Yes, very,” she stated. “Thank you, Lord Voldemort. Oh, and by the way, I am not a little girl. I do have a name you know. It’s Roxi. ” 

This was where Voldemort lost the fake niceness he had been putting on for her all night. She had made the vow, she had no choice but to tell him everything she knew now, and therefore he would not let her get away with using his name again. “It is about time you learned her proper place here,” he hissed, raising his wand. “Crucio!” And Roxi was wreathing on the floor for the third time now, in less than 24 hours. Just as it had done the last time, the pain went away almost as quickly as it had come on. She looked up at him, shock and fear on her face. 

The Dark Lord fought off the urge to laugh at her again, for this was no laughing matter. He was being dead serious. “What? I only said that I would not harm Draco anymore,” he sneered. “Our little agreement said nothing about what I could, or could not do to you! And, for the record, I shall call you whatever I wish to call you. Whereas you shall now either address me as my Lord, or Master, from this point on. Have I made myself clear, or do I need to show you again just how serious I am?”

“N-no my Lord,” she trembled. “You have made yourself perfectly clear, and I shall not speak to you in that way again. However, I will not apologize,” she proudly added, “for then I would be lying to you, my Lord. And Lord Voldemort always knows when he is being lied to. You see, I am not in the least bit sorry for what I said before, therefore to apologize would be to lie.”

Voldemort raised his wand to strike again, but then Roxi flinched and turned her head away. “Just admit it,” he spat. “you are scared of me. No matter how brave you try to act, I can see right through you Roxi!” Even though she didn’t like being called a little girl, hearing him speak her name for the first time freaked her out even more. Now that he had said it, she wished he would go back to just calling her girl again.

“Weasley,” Voldemort snapped, causing Percy to jump. “Grab the girl and follow me. It appears her and I have much to discuss tonight, and I would rather do that in a more private setting. Bring her up to my room, and there is no need in trying to be nice about it either.”

Percy smiled as he caught on to the last bit of the Dark Lords command. “You heard the Dark Lord,” he jeered, grabbing a hold of Roxi by the hair on her head. “Now get up!” Roxi quickly got to her feet, wincing as Percy pulled on her hair. She made it grow longer as a means to get him to let go.

It worked. Percy, who did not yet know what Roxi was, dropped her hair in alarm. Roxi couldn’t help herself; the look on his face was priceless. She chuckled, but all this succeeded in doing was angering Percy all the more. “Very cute,” he spat, whipping his wand out and aiming it at her. “Now do I need to show you who is who at the moment?” 

Roxi’s eyes grew wide with fear. If she had learned one thing in all of this, it was that she did not like the feeling of the Cruciatus Curse, and therefore would do all that she could to avoid going through that kind of torment ever again. Therefore, she decided that enough was enough and finally submitted herself into Percy’s control. 

“That is what I thought,” he said as he pocketed his wand again and grabbed her by the wrist. He squeezed it tightly, cutting off her circulation, then he dragged her behind him, following eagerly after Voldemort...

The End… GAH! A cliffhanger again! I know, I’m so darn evil, aren’t I? Muwaha! ;) But I hope you all seriously enjoyed reading this chapter as much as have I enjoyed writing it, lol! I look forwards to hearing your thoughts in light of the most recent turn of events, so please review!! :)

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