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Love, Not War by Yoshi_Kitten
Chapter 27 : |Chapter 20| Devastation and Despair
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 10

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A/N: Please note that this chapter has yet to be Beta’d... I did send it off to her a week ago though, she’s just been incredibly busy lately, as have I. I will, however, be making all of the necessary corrections, just as soon as I can, so please bear with Katie and I! :)
Feel free to take some time at the end to leave a review and share your opinions with me. I do always love hearing each of them! I really do hope you all will enjoy this chapter, even if it is a bit sad...

Roxi worked double-time that night in order t get done at a decent enough time. She had heard the Death Eaters talking, and therefore knew that Voldemort was out tonight. With him gone, it would for a perfect time for her to steal away early and to talk to Draco for a bit. She knew she wouldn’t have long, half an hour maybe, and she knew it was slightly risky. But it would be worth it if it meant she could work things out with Draco. She refused to believe that he could possibly stay mad at her forever.

All of her hard work paid off as she found herself getting all her work done an hour before her shift was supposed to end. No one usually came into the kitchen in the morning anyways. They were all normally so tired from their various missions that they all came home and went straight to bed in the mornings. Roxi drew in a deep breath, once again convincing herself that this was the right thing to do. She grabbed a plate of freshly made sandwiches off the counter and slowly made her way down the hall to the entrance of the basement. 

The basement was not as dark as it usually was, since it was slightly daylight out. The sun was just coming up, and could be seen through the single old musty window that sat on the far wall in the prisoner’s room of the basement. It was casting just enough light for Roxi to see her way down the rickety steps.

Draco heard her approach and turned his head toward the staircase. His heart nearly skipped a beat when he saw that it was Roxi, and that she was carrying food… But then he remembered that he was supposed to be mad at her for ignoring him these past two days.

Roxi came in and Draco did not take his eyes off her. “Hi,” she said meekly after she had sat the plate of food down on the stand next to the bed. Bringing that little table down here her first night on duty for the Dark Lord was probably the one of the smartest thing she had ever done while being there so far. “You hungry?”

Draco scoffed at her. “Really? Am I hungry?” he spat. “Well considering you haven’t been down here to feed me in the past two days, yeah… I think it would be safe to assume that I am very damn hungry!”

“I-I thought Percy was feeding you,” she stammered.

“Oh yes, because stale bread one time a day is my perfect idea for a meal,” he shot at her. “What the hell were you thinking, trusting him for? You know how much he hates me.”

“Draco, I know you don’t want to hear it this; but I’m sorry,” Roxi said sadly.

“Yeah, I’ll bet you are.”

“I am, Draco, I really, really am!”

“What’s your excuse then?” he demanded. “Come on, let’s hear it. What else was going on that was so important that you had to just neglect your starving, handicapped boyfriend for a few days.”

“Nothing was going on Draco, I was just - just…” Roxi trailed off, wondering if honesty really was the best policy in her case here.

“Just what?” he demanded from her once more.

“Just scared, alright?” she finally confessed. “Percy told me how angry you were, and I was afraid to come down here and face you because I didn’t know what was going to be said. I know you are mad at me, and you have every right to be, but Draco I already told you I was sorry. I don’t know what else there is to say to you other than that.”

“There is nothing,” he barked. “And I don’t want to hear nothing. It seems like all you ever do is screw things up, and then you come running right back to me, apologizing for the things you do. Is this how it’s always going to be, Roxi? Because if it is, then sooner or later I’m sorry isn’t going to be enough anymore!”

“What else do you want me to do then?” Roxi snapped. “If saying I’m sorry is not enough for you anymore, then what is? What’s the going price to earn the great Draco Malfoy’s forgiveness these days, huh?”

“The what?”

“Well you obviously think you’re some big-shot because your fathers rich and everything,” she sarcastically continued. “Everyone around here has been telling me some pretty interesting things about you, you know. So it’s now apparent that you’re not all kind and innocent, as I thought you were.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said coldly, “or who you’ve been talking to, but it seems to me that you have been misinformed. I was the way that I was because I had to be that way in order to survive this place. I know it may not seem to be all that bad of a place to you right now, but try it for three more years and I guarantee it; you’ll see what I mean.”

“Oh, I understand the environment here alright,” she said. “But it’s not just this place I’ve been hearing things from. Everyone has always said to me; oh my god, you like Draco Malfoy... why? And my answer to them, up until now, was always been the same; why not?..." she trailed off.

You know that night, when you woke up in the hospital after that stabbing, and you and Saleena were arguing back and forth," she went on. "I can still remember her turning and saying to me; Roxi, allow me to introduce you to the real Draco Malfoy. Do you remember that?”

“No, because unlike you, I don’t make it a point to remember every single word, of every single conversation, that I have ever had with someone,” Draco fired back at her.

“It’s not that I remember every little thing,” she defended herself quickly. “It’s just that that conversation really stuck out to me. You were being... difficult that night, and you and Saleena were arguing about weather or not you should go after the guy. 

"I only remember all of this, because that was the first time I had ever seen that angry, vengeful side of you. Before that night you had always seemed so calm and laid back, collected, and sensitive. So I admit, it was weird for me to see you shouting about trying to kill someone... It kind of scared me, because I had heard stories about what kind of person you were, and almost everyone had told me that I should stay away from you, if I could. They said that getting close to you might actually be dangerous for my health.”

At those words, Draco actually cracked a smile at her. “And has it been thus far?”

“What, dangerous for my health? Well, look around at where we are right now, and you tell me,” she chuckled.

There was an awkward moment of silence between them that was not broken until Draco sighed. “Roxi, what are we?” he asked.

“What do you mean?”

“I mean, like, you and I,” he began, “relationship-wise, with where we are at right now... what are we?”

“Well I was under the impression that you and I were dating,” she responded. “I mean, sure, you never actually asked me to go out with you, but that kiss just about summed it all up for me. I don’t know how you consider me to be, but I know that I consider you to be my boyfriend... why?”

Draco shook his head. “Because that changes things,” he whispered, more to himself than to her.

“Well, what do you consider us to be,” she asked. “And please Draco, for the love of all things holey, do not say just friends, because people who are ‘just friends’ do not make out the way we do.”

“No, I wasn’t going to say that,” he assured her. “I definitely consider us to be in some form of a relationship... I just don’t know if I would classify myself as your boyfriend or not.”

“And why the hell not?” Roxi demanded. “You certainly kiss me like one.” At this, Roxi blushed.

“Well... if I am your boyfriend, then I am not a very good one.”

“Draco, what is the matter with you? Why are you saying all of this for?”

“When you’re all alone down here, for days on end by yourself, you tend to have a lot of time to think about things,” he explained. “And over the course of the last two days, I have given the concept of us a great deal of thought...”

After Draco didn’t say anything more for a few moments, Roxi urged him to go on. “And?”

“And I have concluded that I am just not the right guy for you,” he stated tensely.

“Oh yeah,” she challenged, “And why’s that?”

“Because, Roxi, I have nothing to offer you,” he sighed. “Face it, I’m a nobody who is going nowhere with his life. I can’t take you places, I can’t buy you nice things, I can’t even provide for you right now like a real man should.” Draco’s words were being delivered on-edge now, with a strong sense of urgency about them. Even Roxi, though highly opposed to much of what he was saying, dared not interrupt.

“Right now, it’s you taking care of me, and it ought to be the other way around,” he ranted onward. “I have no money. I haven’t got anything!”  

“Christ, Draco, is that what this is all about?” Roxi exclaimed. “If I only wanted to be with you for your money, you would have known it by now because, if that were the case, I would have left you a long time ago. I don’t care about your money, I already have my own damn money back home. I can’t even believe that you would think that, in my mind, I would steep that low!”

“You don’t understand,” he fired back at her. “I just wasn’t raised to be one of those guys who takes advantage of women, or even looks down on them. I was always taught to be respectful them, providing that they were worthy of said respect to begin with. My father, though he is not without his own various faults and flaws, always treated my mother like royalty. He may not love me, but I know very damn well that he at least loved her, because he showed it... Constantly.

“And what have I got now, to show it to you? Nothing! All that money at Gringotts is my father’s, and it will not belong to me until the days he dies - which of course, I hope is not for a very long time yet,” he quickly added. “But if Voldemort has his way, then I am certain that won’t be the case. I know it is a horrible, horrible thing to believe, but I do not foresee my father being alive for very much longer, Roxi, I really don’t. He has had one too many close calls here lately and the Dark Lord is growing impatient. It won’t be long before he finds a way around your protection plan with my father, just as he did here with me.

“And that’s another thing; I haven’t even got a family,” Draco continued. “I wish I could at least say that I come from this wonderful, loving, warm, and caring, rich family, but I cannot. What little family of mine that I did know is gone, apart from my father. And do you want to know why? Because they were all a bunch of pure-blood obsessive psychopaths who think that --” Draco broke off and looked away. He could not stand to be under her scrutinizing, yet somewhat understanding gaze any longer.

Why didn’t she seem to be repulsed by any of this? Roxi was supposed to have agreed with everything. She should understand by now all that he was trying to say. She was meant to get all mad, and realize just how much better her life really could be without him… But, if that were the case, then why was she sitting there now with such a relaxed expression upon her face? Why wasn’t she interrupting him, or calling him out on anything in the process? Why was Roxi being so silent today? It just wasn’t like her.

By the looks of things, Draco would have to find another way to make her see…

“Look, what it all boils down to is this,” Draco persisted. “All in all, I am not the kind of guy you would want to take home to meet you dad. I sure as hell know that if I had a little girl who left town for a while, and she brought back home some broke, crippled looser; with no job, no money, a criminal history, and no decent family background, I would go off the rails! So I don’t know what you’re playing at, thinking this thing between us will ever work out, because one day, it is more than likely going to come to an end. You’re not from here, Roxi. Eventually there will come a time when you will have to return to your own home, and I am afraid that I will not be able to go with you. My place is here.”

“Wait a minute, so you’ve actually given thought to going home with me to meet my father?” she asked, completely bewildered by the mere thought.

“Unbelievable,” Draco exclaimed. “After all that I just said to you and that would be the way that you chose to respond to me!”

“Well Draco, what else am I supposed to say?” she asked. “I mean you said so yourself that you have been giving a lot of thought to these things, and now I learn that one of those many things just so happens to be going home to meet my family… Do you have any idea how much that means to me?”

“It’s not supposed to mean anything to you, because what I am telling you is that I can’t. I can’t go home and meet you’re family with you. Not now, not ever.”

“And why not?” Roxi demanded. “Why does the idea of that come across as being so preposterous to you?”

Draco raised his voice at her. “Have you not heard what I’ve been saying? I’m not good for you,” he annunciated. “And I think that you’re father would be very disappointed if you ever brought home someone like me.”

“Whatever, Draco, that’s completely ridiculous,” Roxi snapped. “You don’t even know my father!”

“I don’t have to,” he shot,” because the main principal of the matter is the fact that that you can do way better than me... In fact, you deserve way better, so why don’t you just go build a relationship with someone from your own country? Are there not guys there where you come from too? ” Roxi appeared to have been punched in the stomach as Percy’s words from earlier suddenly came rushing right back to her:

"Has he ever once told you that he loves you? Have you said it to him? I am afraid that you are never going to hear those three little words coming from Draco Malfoy's lips. In fact, I can almost guarantee it. He will never say them to you, because he claims that he will never feel them for you.”

Roxi’s expression was now that of a mixture between anger and pain as she slowly began to cope with the fact that Percy may have actually been telling her the truth. True, she had not doubted him at first, though a secret part of her had hoped that he was lying. She had been wishing all along that the few supposed conversations between Percy and Draco had never actually taken place... But who was she kidding? The evidence of that much was there now, right in front of her face, and she found herself believing and trusting in Percy Weasley all the more because of it.

“You are unbelievable, you know that,” she shrieked. “I mean, do you really not love me?” 

Roxi cut him off. “Then say it!” 

“If you really love me, then say it,” she demanded of him. 

“Yes, because even your answer makes a whole lot of sense,” she snapped at him sarcastically. 

“Oh, so now you’re telling me that our whole relationship has been nothing but a game to you?” She said, mentally refusing to use the word was. Roxi was not ready to let go just yet. She would not allow herself to believe that this was the end, no matter how bad things were starting to get. 

“Well then what do you mean, Draco, because I’m just a little bit confused right now.”

“I mean that I just need more time yet,” he said, speaking softly now. “The only real problem that I have right now is that I have no way of showing you how much I care about you. How can I, when I’m penned down like this?”

“Draco, you don’t have to do anything to show your love to me. You’ve got nothing to prove when it comes to you and I,” Roxi poured out. “When will you understand that I just love you? There is no method to it, it just is! I don’t care about you because you have done something to earn it. I don’t just do things for you, in hope that I will get something out of it in return. I am not after your money, I do not want to use you to gain any kind of power. Draco, all I want is to be with you, and for us to be happy together, with no strings attached! Is that so much to ask?”

“When it come to me and my life, yeah Roxi, it actually is,” he answered. “Don’t you get it? I’m not destined to be happy. My life is clearly not one that has been marked to end in content. Everywhere I go, everything I do; in all of it, evil always follows me. I cannot get away from the darkness my father has clouded us all in. Until Voldemort is dead, I’m afraid that my life will not have a happy ending. The Dark Lord will personally see to that, I guarantee it!”

“Your life is what you make of it,” she countered. “So if you chose to be unhappy with the cards you have been dealt, then so be it. But Draco, you could be happy, if you chose to be. It’s your own fault that you’ve chosen to have a bad attitude about things.”

“A bad attitude about things?” he repeated in clear offense. “Look at me Roxi,” he shouted. “I can hardly move! You me in the eye right now and tell me that if you spent a day down here in my position you wouldn’t chose to have a bad outlook on things as well... You can’t, can you?”

“Draco, I don’t know how I would look at things if I were in your shoes,” she said. “All I know is that you are clearly making up excuses in order to feed this belief of yours that keeps telling you that you were not meant to be happy... I can see what it is you’re doing here, and it is killing me to watch you suffer daily like this. I don’t know what else there is I can do for you!”

“You can leave me alone for starters,” he snarled at her. “Take all you precious, unwanted joy and move it elsewhere, because I am not in the mood for one of you ‘everything will be okay’ speeches today.”

“Why are you being such a jerk to me? You ass,” she shouted. “I have done nothing to you to deserve being spoken to like that!”

“Nothing except neglect me for two days straight,” he fired back. “Now tell me something Roxi, is that any way to treat somebody you love?”

“I said I was sorry, alright?” she snapped. “You talk about showing your love, rather than speaking about it, well, your unforgivingness on the matter right now is surely not showing your love for me at all! Yet you don’t hear me complaining, now do you? NO! I bend over backwards for you every single day, and never once have I asked for a single thing in return. Just this one time; I ask you to say something to me - something that is so simple, it’s just three little words - and you can’t even do that! Not even for me.

“All you do is lay there and think up as many excuses as you possibly can to avoid the matter instead. Why can’t you just be a man and state how you truly feel for once in your life? You’re acting like your father right now, d’you know that? I mean you, of all people, should already know how it feels when someone in denial refuses to tell you that they love you, Draco. So what is your deal?”

“Roxi, I’m just not in love with you, alright?” he suddenly blurted out. Draco was looking straight at her now, and the intensity of the sorrow within his eyes threatened to consume her. “I don’t think I want to do this anymore, Roxi,” he whispered.

“No,” she spoke softly, shaking her head. Roxi’s eyes were now filling with tears. “No, Draco... why are you saying this?”

“Because I can’t, Roxi. I just can't,” he answered her sadly. “I cannot allow you to go on believing that there is something there, when I know full well that there is not. Maybe there was, at one time, but now there is naught. I feel nothing... I do, however, want you to know that there is nothing wrong with you, believe me. You're perfect, almost too perfect. I don't deserve you. So you see, it's me who has the real problem here.”

“You’re not seriously using the ‘it’s not you, it’s me’ line on me, are you?” she cried. “I mean, after everything we’ve been through together, Draco really? Is that the best you can come up with?”

“At least I’m telling you the honest truth,” he noted. “I could have just lied and said something unrealistic and completely far off from the truth. But no Roxi, I have no reason to lie to you. Everything I have told you tonight is how I honestly do feel.”

“Well then,” she said stiffly, rising to her feet. “That changes things a bit.”

“I’m really not trying to hurt you.”

“Yeah, well, it’s a little too late now, Draco,” she snapped. “You should have thought about that one long before you said that you loved me, but you weren’t in love with me.” She closed her eyes and shook her head. “I just cannot believe I ever convinced myself that you were far different from what everyone else had said... And to think; I thought that they were the ones who didn’t know what they were talking about. I guess you just proved me wrong... God, I’m such an idiot when I go and let my heart get in the way of things. I should have just focused on my job. After all, that’s the whole reason why I’m here, isn’t it?”

Roxi could feel her anger staring to grow, the more she spoke, but she could no longer keep it under control. There were just too many unsaid things that she had been dying to get out to him. “It was so stupid of me to ever believe that a Malfoy,” she spat the word out as if it were something dirty, “could ever be trusted, let alone the son of Lucious Malfoy, especially after all that I have heard! I mean, like I already said, people had warned me about you, but I just didn’t listen. No, I said, Draco seems so nice in person. Who am I to judge him before I’ve even gotten to know him? I feel like I really should give him a chance. 

"And they all said the same thing in response, you know; that you would eventually hurt me. That you would one day let me down. I however, refused to believe it…" Roxi was fircely looking Draco in the eyes now. "Always, I have given you the benefit of the doubt, Draco, but no more.”

Draco, however, could only focus on the nasty way in which she had spoken his last name, refering to him as just another Malfoy. “How dare you disrespect my family’s name like that. You have no right to take that tone!” he yelled at her. “I guess it looks like I was the real stupid one here... It was stupid of me to ever even allow you to get so close to me in the first place!" He completely ignored the hurt look in her eyes and went on bashing her.

"It seems my father really was right when he taught me that people cannot be trusted. People will always wind up turning on you one day, he used to always say, and they will leave you in the end. But because I thought that you were different from everybody else around here, I went against my better judgment and I opened up to you. I thought you could be trusted, but I guess I was wrong. I thought I could depend on you, but look at where that got me in the end... absolutely nowhere! 

"You left me here, for two days, and I never would have expected that out of you. You let me down, Roxi. You stranded me here, leaving me helpless and alone in this hellhole, and I don’t know if I can ever forgive you for that,” he finished.

“Draco, my gawd, it was just two days,” she exclaimed. “You need to just get over it. I am sorry, but the center of my universe does not always revolve around you!”

“Well then, I guess that settles it,” he said with finality. “You and I cannot go on... It pains me to have to say this, but it appears that we are through. You’re just too good for me Roxi.”

“Fine!” she yelled in her anger. “I couldn’t see myself ending up with someone as selfish as you anyways.”

“Nor could I foresee me being in a relationship with someone as stuck-up and ignorant as you,” he yelled back at her.

Roxi glared at him as she realized that that was exactly what Percy had said he had called her... All that and then some, she remembered. And now she knew, without a doubt, that Percy had been the one who was right all along... A fact that did no good for her anger situation whatsoever. 

She clenched her fists into a tight ball, squeezed her eyes shut tight, and took a couple of steadying breaths to stop herself from charging at Draco and punching him in the face. Even after all that had been said, she did not want to hurt him... Not physically at least.

In the end, she resorted to yelling, as loud as she could; “I HATE YOU DRACO MALFOY!”

Then she stormed away, without turning around to look back. She wanted him to believe that she was unaffected by any of this, that she had not been hurt by a single word he had spoken tonight. Maybe then he would think twice before he ever called her any names again.

She ran straight to her room and threw herself down onto the bed. She buried her head in the pillows and starting sobbing into them. Roxi laid there for what seemed to her like hours, crying her eyes out, before the tiredness finally started to sink in. Before long, it inevitably consumed her and she willingly succumbed to it, allowing her dreams to officially begin....

Devastation. Despair. Sorrow. Loss. Pain. Guilt. Misery. Dread. Depression. Sadness.

These were just a few of the words that best described how Roxi felt the next day when she awoke. At first she had wanted to believe that it had all just been a bad dream, that there was now way Draco would ever push her away like that.

But then the memories from that morning all came rushing back to her at once. They overwhelmed her, and she quickly rolled back over and started weeping again. She wished then that she could just lay there in bed and never have to come out again. She felt strangely empty, and knew right then that she would never be whole again.

Draco had been her soul purpose to get out of bed and work through this every single night. He had been the driving force behind everything that she done... And now he was gone. Roxi had lost her will to live, and she secretly began wanting her life to come to an end.

Then suddenly, impossibly, there came a knock at her bedroom door. For one temporary moment, she had completely forgotten that she was not alone in the world, that there were other people all around her. It seemed odd to think that she was not the only one there, for that was how she certainly did feel.

Of course, she knew who it was at once, for there was only one person it could possibly be. “Go away, Percy! I really don’t want to talk to you tonight... And you can go and tell Voldemort that I quit,” she cried.

The door knob turned anyways with a click, and the door to her room carefully creaked open. But the man behind the door was not whom she had anticipated, but rather the last person she ever would have expected. And he certainly was the very last person she wanted to see right now.

Lucius Malfoy cautiously walked into the room, gently closing the door behind him. He took one look at her tearstained face, and was filled with dread and concern in an instant. “Roxi, are you alright?” he asked.

“Do I look alright to you?” she snapped.

“Sorry,” he apologized. “That was a stupid question... What’s happened to you?”

Roxi looked at him and was silent for all of about three seconds before she started bawling again. “Why do you even care?” she cried. “I don’t want to talk to you, Lucius, so please, just go away!”

But Lucius knew, without a doubt, that Draco had to have had something to do with this. He knew Roxi well enough by now to know that nothing else could make her act this way. And if his son were involved in this somehow, he was going to get to the bottom of it. “It’s Draco isn’t it?” he asked suddenly. That shut her up. “What has he done now, did he hurt you? Did somebody hurt him?”

“I probly did,” she admitted. “But, if I did then it would serve him right. After all, he hurt me first!”

“Roxi, I want you to tell me everything,” Lucius said encouragingly. “What did Draco say to you? How did he hurt you?

“Why on earth does it matter to you for?” she shot. “None of this even concerns you.”

“It matter to me because you matter,” he said honestly. “You, Roxi, are the best thing that could have ever happened to my son. I could not be more happy that he has finally found someone decent. You and he are perfect together, you complete one another, and I am not the only one who has seen it. So, if he has done something to hurt you, and possibly mess everything else up, then I want to know about it so that I can try and correct the situation.”

“Lucius, that’s very nice of you,” she said sadly, “and I do appreciate all that you just said... But none of it really even matters now, b-because,” she started to stutter as the tears began to pick back up. “Because D-Draco and I are-are ov...o-over!” she sobbed. “H-he broke up-up with m-me!”

Lucius was stunned. “He did what? Why?” He gasped. “I mean, what did he say to you?”

“He told me that I was too good for him,” she told him.

“What?” Lucius was shocked even more by this new revelation. “That doesn’t even make any sense, Roxi. Do you know what he meant by it? What else did he tell you?”

“A whole lot of nothing about how he wasn’t the right guy for me,” she started. “And how he didn’t feel worthy enough for me. And something about him not having any money or nice things to give me, like any of that even matters.”

“There’s something here that just doesn’t seem to add up right,” Lucius said, slowly shaking his head. “I mean, none of what you’ve just even sounds like Draco at all.”

“And you don’t even know the half of it, Lucius,” Roxi moaned. “He called me all kinds of nasty names too, and said that he wasn’t in love with me... He even used the it’s not you, its me line! And now I know that everything Percy had said was true!”

“Percy?” Lucius frowned. “Did he have something to do with all this?”

“Well, yeah, but not in a bad way,” she explained. “I mean, he tried to warn me that Draco was in a bad mood, he told me not to go down there just yet, but I didn’t listen… And as it turns out, Percy was right. I hate to admit it, but for once I believe he was telling me the truth.”

“You know that you can believe nothing that that boy says, right?” Lucius asked of her.

“Yes, I know, and I thought that too,” she agreed. “But Lucius, everything that he said to me matched up with what all of what Draco had said perfectly. His attitude, and even his actions, were right on cue with what Percy had already told me. They matched exactly, so how can I not believe him?”

“I don’t know Roxi, but I just wouldn’t trust him any farther than I could throw him,” he answered. “And trust me, that is not very far.”

“And I understand all that, believe me I do,” Roxi said. “It’s just that Percy warned me of what Draco would do, he told me in advance that he knew we were through. But, just like you, I didn’t believe him. I had to go down there and find things out for myself...  and sure enough, you son told me the same thing that Percy had already; that he and I were through.”

“Well, that settles it then,” Lucius exclaimed. “I’m going down there to talk some sense into him.”

“Lucius, no, you can’t do that! If he catches you, do you know how much trouble you’ll be in? Please, just let it all go. For me,” she begged.

“I’ll only be in trouble if I get caught,” he smirked. “And I have no intention whatsoever of getting caught.”

“Neither did Draco, Severus and I that night we made you the antidote,” she pointed out. “And look at where we all ended up.”

“That was different,” he countered. “And it doesn’t matter to me. I am Draco’s parent first. And besides, this time it will be different. This time, I won’t let Voldemort -”There came a slight tap at the door, right before it suddenly opened up. And standing there in the threshold was the Dark Lord himself. “This time you won’t let Voldemort what, Lucius?” he slithered.

“I-I. . . I um,” Lucius looked mortified as he stood there, rooted to the spot, staring into the all-knowing eyes of the Dark Lord. “I won’t let you... make Miss Roxi here work tonight,” he made up off the top of his head. “She is far too unstable to do so in her current condition.”

“And I couldn’t agree with you more,” Voldemort stated, leaving Lucius completely bewildered. “Which is why I have just decided that you will be doing her chores for her until she is on her feet once more.”

“What?” both Lucius and Roxi blurted out at the same time.

“You heard me,” he said. “Clearly, Roxi is hurt. Look at her! She is no good to me in her condition. And you yourself just said that she couldn’t do work like this. So it would only make sense therefore that you should be the one to do all her work for her.”

“But I...”

“It’s not like you have other plans for tonight, is it?” he asked knowingly.

Lucius knew that that was a sign for him to quit while he was ahead. “No sir, I have none,” he lied. “I would be glad to help her out and give her a few nights off, if that is what you wish me to do.”

“It is, now go and get to it,” he ordered. Lucius quickly bowed his head and left the room as Voldemort shut the door behind him, leaving him and Roxi alone in the room. He turned to her; “and now that we are alone,” he said. “Why don’t you tell me what is really bothering you?” 

Roxi looked right at him. “I have a feeling that you already know the answer to that, don’t you?” she asked.

“I do,” he confessed. “But I was hoping to hear it directly from you. Least ways, I was giving you the chance to speak freely...” with that, the Dark Lord began reading her mind, getting out of her everything that he needed to know.

When he was done, he smiled, almost kindly, at her. “So it is true then, Draco really did break up with you,” he insensitively announced as Roxi stifled a cry. “Oh, by all means, please do not hold back on my account,” he said, giving her permission to cry in front of him “If you feel like you need to let it go, then just do so and get it over with already.”

And that was all the incentive Roxi needed to start bawling her eyes out again. A small part of her was slightly embarrassed to have Voldemort standing there, watching over her like a hawk. But then there was an even larger part of her that could hardly care less. She was in pain now, more pain than she had ever been in her life before. She knew she desperately needed to scream and cry and just get it all out, like Voldemort had suggested.

So that was what she did...

For several minutes, Voldemort just stood there, staring down at her, waiting for her to finish her tantrum. He was biding his time, waiting patiently for just the right moment with which he could strike... Then finally, her wailing began to die down as her tears slowly subsided.

“Feel better now?” he asked her. Roxi merely shrugged her shoulders at him in response. “Well then,” he went on, “why don’t you tell me what really bothers you the most about all this. I mean, apart from the obvious reason of him dumping you, of course.”

“It’s just something he said to me,” she admitted. “But it was nothing, really.”

“And I already know exactly what that something is, of course. But I really believe it might help if you would tell me exactly what it was that Draco said to you.”

Roxi drew in a deep breath, letting it out slowly. “He said that I was too good for him, and that I was stuck-up, self-centered, and ignorant, and claimed that he would never forgive me for not going down there to feed him the last two days. He was so angry and vengeful, I had never seen him act like that before, and I admit; I was kind of terrified. He hasn’t quite been himself since we got here.”

“Actually, my dear, he has,” Voldemort slithered. “It was at the Weasley’s place where he was not being himself anymore, trust me. I have known Draco Malfoy all of his life, and this; the way he is behaving right now, is his true self. He has always been this selfish, rash and impetuous boy who is quick to anger and very slow to listen, which is why he is down there and you are up here.”

Voldemort smiled softly at her once again, a gesture that Roxi thought was not right upon seeing it a second time. Am attempt at a warm smile was just not very befitting of the darkest, most powerful, evil wizard of all time. What is his deal tonight? she wondered to herself.

“I think I am slowly starting to believe all that,” she admitted, ignoring the warning vioce in the back of her head. “I mean, you are not the first person to tell me all of this, you know. It just really upsets me to have to witness it being confirmed first-hand by him. What bothers me even more though, is that he had the nerve to say all that right to my face tonight.”

“I’ve just had a thought,” Voldemort said suddenly. “Draco said you were too good for him, correct?”

“Rub it in why don’t you.”

“No, no, I didn’t mean it to come out like that,” he lied. “It’s just that, if he thinks you are being too good, then maybe you should try doing the opposite for a change. If you want to try and win him back that is.”

“You mean, try being the opposite of good?” She asked slowly. Roxi shook her head, “I don’t know. I don’t even think that would really work. I mean, Draco may be an ass sometimes, but he is certainly not a dumbass. He knows me too well by now, and he would see right through that act.”

This was the moment he had been waiting for. “Who said anything about putting on an act?” he whispered. "You could do it for real you know...”

Roxi was looking straight at Voldemort now, giving him her full sttention. “How?”

“You could join me, of course,” he answered, and Roxi suddenly got the impression that this was the true moment he had been building up for. “Join my Death Eaters and fight for me. That would surely make Draco rue the day he ever thought to double-cross you.”

“Um, I don’t know about that sir,” she said. “As much as I do appreciate the offer, and your attempt at trying to make me feel better about everything and all, I just don’t think I’m cut out to be a Death Eater quite yet... So I would kind of just like to stay where I’m at, if that’s alright with you.”

Voldemort frowned disappointedly at her. Though he was frustrated that she hadn’t agreed to join him this time, he was still somewhat satisfied that her answer had not been an entire no. Not like it normally was anyhow, so all was not at a complete loss yet. 

“Very well,” he sighed. “But I am still giving you the night off tonight. Get some rest so that you will be ready get back to work tomorrow night.”

Roxi bowed her head. “Thank you sir.”

Voldemort left the room then, returning Roxi to her lonely, miserable solitude. She laid back on her pillows and silently cried herself to sleep again, for the second time that day....

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