Chapter 23 : |Chapter 21| The Stranger
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Having slept all night, Roxi woke up early the very next day. She was so well rested for a change, that she found she could not go back to bed. And since this was the time of day that she usually visited Draco, she needed to find something else to do to occupy her mind instead. It was then that Roxi decided to get out of bed and go take a walk. It had been a long while since she was last outdoors, and she figured that some fresh air might actually do her some good.
She pulled the covers off, climbed out of bed and slipped her shoes back on. Roxi wasn't exactly sure whether she would be permitted to do this or not, so she decided that a little bit of sneaking around was in order. Either way, it was giving her mind something else to think about, besides Draco for a change, which was something she was very thankful for. In this case, the rewards far outweighed the risks, so she figured it was a chance worth taking.
She snuck out of her room and down to the floor below, making as little noise as was possible, and once she had made it safely outdoors, Roxi drew in a deep breath. As she looked around at the land before her, she wondered where she should go next. The land surrounding the Riddle House was actually quite beautiful during the day, considering all the evil that lived inside it.
The manor was nestled on top of a large hill, overlooking a tiny town off in the distance. Roxi assumed that that was the Muggle town she had often heard the Death Eaters talking about. A little ways off away from the hill, down towards the main entrance, there was a small cluster of trees. Roxi remembered her and Draco apparating there the night that he had come here to ask Snape to help him make the antidote for Lucius. Of course, now that night seemed like another lifetime ago…
Roxi decided it would be best to avoid that particular area, so she headed off toward the larger wooded area to the left instead. Getting a good look at the place now, she could definitely tell why the Dark Lord had chosen this spot to hide in. It really was secluded and closed off from the rest of the world. The house itself looked eerie and forbidden, even in broad daylight, which would certainly scare the Muggles away.
She reached the trees she had been headed for and stopped. What she had thought was only going to be a small cluster of trees bordering the property turned out to be a forest of sorts that stretched on almost as far as she could see. The land was on an incline, so she hadn't been able to view the majority of it all until she was right up on top of it. Roxi had a fear of getting lost, and began to wonder if wandering around in the woods outside of Voldemort's lair was really the smartest thing to do right now. But then she remembered Draco saying that she was too good, and Voldemort telling her to try being the opposite for a change.
Well good people aren't usually risk takers on the ordinary, she thought. And a 'good person' would most likely listen to the nagging voice in the back of their head, screaming that this is a bad idea. But if it is a bad idea, then I very much like the sound of that right now.
And then she took another step forward, walking into the eerie wood against all her better judgment. With any luck, maybe I'll just get lost in here and Voldemort will never be able to find me again, she thought wishfully. Yeah right, that'll never happen Roxi. Who're you trying to kid? Roxi paid little attention to where she was going as she wandered aimlessly in the woods with only her thoughts to keep her company. She tried very hard not to think about Draco, but try as she might, she could not stop her mind from mulling over all of the questions she had about him.
I wonder how he's doing? How will he get along without me? Should I ask someone else to take some food down to him when I get back, or should I just suck it up and go down there and do it myself? I wonder what the reasons behind him breaking up with me really were… Did I do something wrong? And why was Draco so mad at me? Could the things that Voldemort said about him actually be true?
All of these questions and more filled her mind as she walked, and walked, and walked... Roxi had gone on for at least an hour before she started to tire. She finally stopped to have a look around her, searching for a decent spot where could sit down and rest for a bit, but there was nothing but tall trees surrounding her now. A small part of her mind began to wonder how she was going to get back from here, but then the larger part pushed the thought away, for it could hardly care less.
After a few moments of searching for a place to sit, and coming up with nothing, she finally gave it up and plopped herself down on the ground beneath her. She leaned back, lifted her head up towards the sky, closed her eyes, and was silent. Roxi drew in several deep breaths as she listened to the sounds of nature all around her. It was very soothing and peaceful for her to be able to sit and just be for a moment. No more worrying about trying to get everything done for everyone, and no more running around trying to please everybody.
Out here, she was free to be herself. Out here, there wasn't anyone around for miles who could pressure her into being something that she was not. Now she was just Roxandrea Zarooni; the motherless, metamorphmagus girl, who had traveled to London from America, at the age of only nineteen years old, to be a highly trained Auror and help their Ministry win the war against Voldemort.
How ironic it was to think that the one person who she had come here to fight against was now the one person she was working for. Lord Voldemort and his evil group of Death Eaters were slowly starting to take over her life, dominating every single decision she made. And the worst part about it all was that she could actually feel herself slowly beginning to get more and more comfortable around them. Like the more time she spent there, conversing with them, the more she became close to some of them. She was slowly starting to pick up on some if their language, and even slip into some of their patterns.
The realization of this frightened her most of all, because above all else, she knew that she did not want to eventually become one of them. Roxi sighed to herself as she slowly started to wonder how it had all come to this, and for the first time since leaving her home, she actually felt alone. True, she was all alone in the woods right now, but she quite liked it that way. And for the moment, she was not scared at all.
But then Roxi sat up quickly, her senses in full alert, as all of a sudden her peaceful silence was rudely interrupted by the sound of… that couldn't possibly be voices, could it? She wondered. No, absolutely not. I mean, that's crazy! There isn't anyone around here for miles… But the more she strained her ears to hear, the more it became clear that there were definitely voices coming from somewhere very near to where she was seated.
Frustration filled her at once as she realized who it was. But they cannot possibly be searching for me already, she exclaimed inwardly. I mean, I haven't been gone that long. She rolled her eyes irritably, annoyed by the fact that her rest was being interrupted, yet again, by the Death Eaters. She suddenly felt as though they were all intentionally trying to ruin her life, and was extremely bothered by the fact that they never seemed to want to leave her alone for five seconds. Well, I suppose I'd better go out and talk to them, she sighed to herself.
Roxi stood up and began to reluctantly brush the debris from the forest floor off of her. She took a step forwards, preparing to turn herself in, and then she froze as the voice sounded again. She could hear it more clearly now, as it was closer this time, and it was definitely not a voice that she recognized. This man's voice was deep, wild, and intimidating. He spoke with an air of command the likeness of which Roxi had never heard before. It was a voice that could almost match, but definitely not surpass, Lord Voldemort even.
Realizing that she was not in the assumed company of the Death Eaters anymore, Roxi quickly ducked out of the clearing and hid behind the nearest tree. As she did so, two figures bounded out of the thicket of trees behind her, and stumbled into the small clearing where she had just been sitting at. The one man appeared to be in pursuit of the other.
"Get back here!" he shouted.
The boy was quick and agile, as opposed to the man who was running after him. He leapt over the bushes and darted nimbly through the thicket of trees, heading straight towards Roxi's hiding spot. Before she even had time to think, he was already on top of her, having lost his balance and tumbled to the ground. In an instant, he was on his feet again, glaring down at her.
Meanwhile, the man chasing after this one had paused in the clearing. He was pacing back and forth now, desperately trying to figure out which way to go. It had to have been Roxi's panicking imagination, because she could have sworn just then that that man was sniffing at the air. She looked away from him and back at her current attacker. It was then that she noticed he had a knife pointing at her. She froze in fear.
"Who are you and what are you doing here?" he demanded of her quietly.
"That is the same question I might be asking you," she hissed back.
The boy, for that was what he so obviously was, narrowed his eyes at her. "No matter. You are still going to be my means of escape."
"What exactly are you running away from?" she asked curiously. At the moment she couldn't decide which was worse; the man in the clearing with the deep, scary voice, or the ninja-like teenager with the knife aimed at her throat.
"I'm not running away," he spat. "My master wants just wants me to do something that I do not agree with. I am merely trying to show him that it is not a foolproof plan like he thinks it is."
"And what might that plan be?"
"Not that it matters to you," he sneered, "but he wants me to switch sides in order to spy on our enemies from the inside. I however, have no desire to join them and I think that it is a bad idea altogether."
"GET THE HELL OUT HERE LUCAS!" The boys master bellowed. "NOW!"
"You'd better do what he says," Roxi gulped. "He sounds like he's getting pretty upset."
"Let him," Lucas said. "Because this is where you come in… You are going to go out there into that clearing and distract him while I run the opposite way instead."
"How the hell am I supposed to distract him? I don't even know him," she replied, her voice getting high.
"You don't have to know him," Lucas grinned. "Just do as I said. I am the one with the knife here, so you have to listen to me."
"Now you listen here, child," she scoffed. "I do not have to take --"
"-- I am not a child. I am a man now," Lucas interrupted harshly. "For your information, I became of age last week, thank you."
"Oh, so you're seventeen now, big deal," Roxi shot. "I still don't have to listen to you."
"I can hear you Lucas!" The other man called. He did sound like he was getting much closer now.
"Get out there now," Lucas ordered. He thrust the knife at her and Roxi jumped to her feet in response. She had not intended to obey him, however her quick reaction to his sudden movement left her with no other choice, for just then the other man spotted her.
"You there," he called out to her. "Who are you and what are you doing in my woods?" Roxi looked back to see that Lucas was now crouched down very low, awaiting just the right moment to run again. She took a deep breath and slowly turned around to face the other stranger, just as he commanded; "Show yourself!"
"What do you mean, your woods?" she asked, stepping bravely out into the clearing.
"Well, you can't possibly expect that the Dark Lord owns all of this, now can you?"
"Actually, I did," she said honestly.
"Well he doesn't, and all of his kind are not permitted beyond my borders without prior arrangement between him and I. Are you one of his?" he demanded. This guy was being awfully pushy, in Roxi's opinion.
"If you mean am I a Death Eater, then no," she said. "Nor do I want to be one for that matter."
"Well you and I should be getting along just fine then," he said, taking a few steps closer to her. She was disappointed to see that, even at such a close distance, she could not make out any of his face yet. The traveling cloak he wore almost completely concealed him.
"So you don't work for Voldemort then either?" she asked nervously.
"Oho, a brave one, speaking his name I see," he exclaimed. Then he paused to look at her. "You mind me asking what your name is?"
Roxi narrowed her eyes at him. "Only if I may ask you yours," she said.
"Alas, we must agree to disagree then," he said ruefully. He decided to change subjects then. "You never did answer my question about what you were doing out here, all alone, in my woods for," he pointed out.
"I just came out here to get some fresh air," she said. Technically she wasn't lying.
"You look like you're pretty upset," he noted, taking another step closer to her. Roxi wished she could take a step back, but knew somewhere inside of her that it would probably be best not to.
"That's because I am," she admitted.
"Mind me asking why?"
"Boys," she answered simply.
"Ah, so you're having problems with your boyfriend, I see."
"He's not my boyfriend," she corrected. "At least, not anymore."
"Oh, so you're available then," he deduced.
"No!" exclaimed Roxi. She really was starting to feel uncomfortable now. "I am absolutely not available right now; I've just had my heart broken. Not to mention that fact that I don't even know you, you creep!"
"Calm down, miss, I meant no offence. How am I to know what you've just been through?" He looked at her sideways for a moment, trying to decide what to say to her next. She provided the answer for him.
"You're probably right," she sighed. "It's just that I am so sick of people, men especially, trying to tell me who I should be, or what I should do. I just want a chance to be myself for a change and, you know, make my own decisions. And if I make some mistakes along the way, then so be it. At least they were my own to make. But if it's not Voldemort telling me what to do, it's Lucius. But when it's not him, it's Percy. And the only person who I could ever truly be myself around wants nothing to do with me now."
"Well, I couldn't agree with you more," he said. "That is to say, that I know what you mean, and you certainly do not need people like that in your life, trust me. The Dark Lord and I, we used to be on the same side of things, back when this war began. But then he started treating my men like dogs, and thinking that he could just order them around whenever he wanted. But I didn't agree with that you see, so I pulled all of 'em out of there and we've been living out here in these woods ever since."
"Doesn't that bother you though?" Roxi asked, unable to believe that this man had been living off the land for so long. Sure, he looked wild and all, but he didn't look that wild.
"What, living out here?" He shook his head. "Nah, we're used to it. We actually prefer it this way, to tell you the truth. We have a shelter not too far from here, so we're all safe."
"How many of you are there exactly?" Roxi asked, a tad bit frightened at what the answer might be. Though she was rather happy to be talking about him now, rather than herself, for she wasn't very comfortable telling all these random vulnerable facts about herself to this stranger.
"That is neither here nor there," he said dismissively. "The important thing though, is that we've always got room for one more," he added with a wink. He was looking at her now in such a way that it sent chills down her spine.
"Um, if that is your way of asking me to come and stay with you, I think I'll have to pass." She was trying her best not to sound offensive, but it was difficult to maintain her composure when her insides were cringing so badly. "Besides," she added in an attempt to make herself sound better, "I couldn't go with you even if I wanted to. The Dark Lord has me trapped you see. I made an unbreakable vow with him, swearing that I would stay and work for him so long as he kept the one that I love alive and unharmed. He has kept to his end of the agreement thus far, surprisingly, so I cannot leave him unless something were to happen to Draco. But of course, I would never want that, and so I must stay exactly where I am."
"So you're kind of like a prisoner there then," the man concluded.
"I guess you could say that," she agreed. "Only I'm not being locked up and tortured every single day. I actually have a room, and I am free to walk about the place whenever I want to."
"Apparently so, since I have found you wandering about all alone in the woods," he said.
"Actually, I have no idea if I'm allowed outside or not," she confessed. "I got up out of bed this morning and sort of just went for it, you see. I was in desperate need of some fresh air, and so, here I am. I should probably be getting back soon though, however." And it wasn't until just then that Roxi realized she had no idea which direction the Riddle House even was from there.
"Do you think you can find your way back from here alone?" he asked, watching her more closely now. Roxi felt like he was looking at her as though she were something to eat.
The man was right up on her now, but Roxi found that she still could not get a good look at him. Not at his face anyway, because it was still hidden beneath his long brown traveling cloak. His smell, however, was just as rugged as his appearance, and then some. Roxi crinkled her nose as another slight breeze drifted through the air and wafted the stench of wet dog through her nostrils.
Now that she knew she was not alone in these woods anymore, Roxi had a burning desire to return to the safety of her own room, back at the Riddle House. A part of her knew , however, that it was most likely not the wisest decision in the world to admit to this stranger that she indeed had no idea where she was going. But since he seemed to be from around here, he very well might be her only chance at ever getting back, so she decided to go for it.
"Well, I don't suppose you would happen to know how to get back there from here, would you?" she asked, chuckling nervously.
"If you are lost, then yes. I suppose I could show you the way back," he offered.
Roxi looked at him skeptically. "Would you really do that?"
"Would you really trust me to do that?" he asked, returning her the skepticism.
Roxi considered the man for a moment and finally decided that a lie would be best. "Yes. Yes I would."
The man barked a laugh. "But didn't your parents ever teach you not to trust strangers?"
"They did," she admitted proudly. "However, I am not being the good little girl who listens to everything she was always told at the moment. I have recently decided to take a few risks and, you know, live a little."
He was eying her with great interest now… The truth of the matter was that he had had his eye on her for some time now. This may have been the first time he had ever actually spoken to her, but it was certainly not the first time he had ever laid eyes on her before.
"Suit yourself," he said, extending an arm to her. "Come with me." He smiled down at her in satisfaction as she took him by the hand. He turned on the spot and a few moments later, Roxi found herself standing at the edge of the forest again, the Riddle House looming off in the distance. He hadn't kidnapped her at all; he had been telling her the truth.
She turned to the stranger and thanked him for being so honest with her. "I mean, you could have easily just taken advantage of me back there, but you didn't," she finished. "So thank you."
"I'm really not that kind of guy, ma'am. Just do me a favor and do not mention this to the Dark Lord," he said, speaking in a much more serious tone now. "He must never find out that I helped you today."
"Don't worry, he won't," she assured him. "To be honest, I don't think I was ever even allowed to wander around in these woods anyways. I just kind of threw all caution to the wind thismorning and did it anyways. Like I told you, I'm becoming more of a risk taker these days."
"That you are," he agreed. "And I think I actually like that about you." There was a moment of awkward silence between the two, broken by the strange man who finally said; "Well I suppose you had better get going before he realizes you're gone."
"I suppose you're right," she nodded. "See you later then." Roxi waved goodbye to the stranger, and as she walked away she wondered if she would ever see him again.
He secretly felt a pang in his chest as Roxi turned to go, for he thought that she was the most beautiful, most fascinating, most opinionated female that he had ever encountered before. And as he watched her slowly fade from his sight, he knew that he would have to devise a plan to make this girl his own, no matter what the cost.
Lucius had overslept that night. He had been so exhausted from doing all of Roxi's work, on top of his own, the night before that he just slept in an extra hour on accident. Upon realizing that he was late, he jumped up out of bed, threw some robes on, and ran to find Severus. If anyone would fill him in on what he had missed, without giving him a lecture beforehand, he knew that Severus would be the one go to.
Lucius knew that Severus had been guarding the front door for the past two nights in a row now, so he figured that that would be the best place to start looking for him. He hurried down the corridor that lead to the main staircase and crept slowly to the first floor. Surely enough, Severus Snape was standing there, watching the main entrance to the Riddle House, just as he had expected. Lucius breathed a sigh of relief as he approached his only friend.
"Lucius!" Severus exclaimed in a harsh whisper when he saw him coming towards him. "Where the hell were you tonight?"
"I overslept," he explained shortly. "So, what's the damage? What did the Dark Lord say? How mad is he?"
"One question at a time please," Severus said, raising a hand to silence Lucius from talking. "But to answer them all at once, he really didn't seem to notice you weren't there."
"Yeah, it was strange," Severus said. "Probably one of the strangest things I've seen in some time now."
"I'll say," Lucius agreed. "Well, what did he do when he was handing out assignments for the night?"
"He didn't," Snape answered. "The meeting was unusually short. All he said was that he had a very important meeting tonight and that he wanted us all continue on with the tasks he assigned us to do last night.
"And he said nothing about my not being there?"
"Nothing at all," Severus informed him. "But I wasn't the only one who noticed your weren't there Lucius, so I know that he had to have noticed it too. The Dark Lord is no fool you know."
"I am very much aware of that, thanks," Lucius snapped. "So he really just wants us to do whatever it is was we were doing last night for tonight then?"
"Well then I guess that leaves me off the hook for tonight," he exclaimed. "I filled in for Roxi last night, you see. But since she is back tonight, I guess that leaves me with nothing to do now. And I suppose, if I haven't gotten any assignments for the night, then I may as well . . ." Lucius trailed off momentarily.
"Lucius don't," Severus said forcefully, breaking Lucius' train of thought. "Look, I already know what it is you're thinking, and I am warning you now; don't do it. It is not a good idea for you to go down there."
"But it would be foolish of me to pass up on an opportunity like this one Sev'," he argued. "I mean, chances like this don't come along very often."
"Lucius Malfoy, I implore you to see reason!" Snape exclaimed. "This is a bad idea, very bad. What if you get caught?"
"Well, what if go and I don't get caught, Severus, huh? What then?" Lucius countered. "Look, this is something that I really feel like I have to do. Tonight. While the Dark Lord is in his meeting... I mean, the timing is perfect!"
Severus shook his head back and forth as he sighed. "It's almost too perfect if you ask my opinion, but I suppose you've got to do what you feel you have to do. But please Lucius, for Merlin's sake, do be careful," he cautioned. "I do not believe the Dark Lord just conveniently skipped over your absence earlier. He may come looking for you later on."
"I promise I will be extra cautious," Lucius said. "And I will make it as quick as possible. I just want to talk to him about what went wrong, and see to it that he is alright."
"I don't blame you there; he is your son after all," Severus said, finally taking Lucius' side.
"Exactly," Lucius agreed. "So you'll keep an eye out for me then, won't you?"
"I always do," Snape said. "But if he approaches too fast, I may not be able to warn you..."
"Don't worry about it," he said. "Just knowing that you will be watching out for me is comforting enough, even if you find that you can't send a warning out soon enough. You are a great friend Severus." With that, Lucius clapped Severus on the back and then left him standing alone at the door. He headed straight for the basement, where he knew that his son would be.
Draco was doing the same as he always did these days; laying on his cot and staring up at the ceiling, when he heard the basement door open at the top of the steps for the third time that day. The first time this had happened, it had been early. The door had only opened halfway, and then it quickly closed again. He had some idea as to who that might have been, but he pushed those such thoughts away. He simply could not allow himself to think of her in that light anymore. He would not allow himself to cling to this false hope that she still cared about him. She had declared that she hated him after all.
The second time the door had opened that day, it had been some new kid coming down to feed him again. Draco did not know his name, nor did he care to, but the kid had been bringing him food for the last few days now, and he ever wanted to do talk. He talked a lot, and Draco found him to be quite annoying, which was why he consistently ignored him whenever he came down there.
He figured that it was probably the new kid again, so he didn't even bother to look towards the door when it opened this time. That is, not until he heard the person stumble on the last step and lose his balance. It was then that he heard a deep, familiar voice curse aloud.
His head jerked towards the visitor at once, and there his sight confirmed what his sense of hearing could only have guessed at. His father, Lucius Malfoy, was standing at the foot of the steps looking as careworn and anxious as ever. Their eyes met for one brief second, and then Draco turned away again.
It was wrong; wrong for him to be here, wrong for him to for him to look at him so judgmentally like that. "You shouldn't have come," Draco hissed through clenched teeth.
"I had to come," he hissed back, taking a few steps closer. "When I heard what you did, I --"
"What I did?" he repeated venomously, interrupting his father in mid-sentence. "What the hell do you mean what I did? I have done nothing!"
"I know that it was you who ended things with Roxi." Draco winced when he heard her name. "I have heard her side of the story, and now I only wish to gather yours. You are my son. You're side of things is far more important to me than anyone else's. I want to know that you are ok with your decision, Draco, because I honestly do care for your well-being."
"Well I'm fine," he lied, "with everything. So you see father, you've wasted you're time in coming here."
"Do you honestly expect me to believe that?" Lucius asked. "How can you possibly be fine after all you've been through in the past few days son? You're strong, but I know you are not quite that strong."
"I appreciate what faith you have in me, father, I really do," Draco said sarcastically. "But it is really none of your business how I am doing. It was, after all, my decision to make, and I am perfectly fine with it." Draco's voice cracked at the end of his sentence, giving his lie away instantly.
Lucius shook his head. "Draco, I know you loved her," he said softly. "You meant a great deal to her as well, believe me, and you have no idea how truly affected by all of this she really is."
"It can't have upset her too bad, dad," Draco argued. "She said she hated me and, by the sound of her tone, I think it would be safe to say that she was glad to be rid of me."
"I disagree," Lucius argued right back. "You did not see her like I did this last night. She was heartbroken, Draco. She kept going on and on about how you said that she was too good for you."
"What of it?" Draco snapped.
"Well son, it is of my opinion that Roxi is seriously considering to join the Dark Lord's cause right now."
"So let her then," Draco exclaimed. "Why should I care?"
"Because she would only be doing it to prove to you that she is not too good for you," his father explained.
"Oh no," Draco said shaking his head and pointing a finger at Lucius, "you are not about to pin all of her ill decisions on me. I will not take responsibility for her actions, should she decide to join them."
"Why did you do it?" Lucius demanded, changing the subject all of a sudden. "Why did you end it with her?"
This time, Draco shook his head. "You wouldn't understand."
"Then help me to."
"I have got nothing to explain to you, father. This matter is none of your business, it's private. Not that you even know what that means," he added in an undertone.
"Well excuse me for trying to help you," Lucius snapped. "I know what it's like now, to lose someone that close to you, and I just thought that maybe you might want someone to talk to about everything. Sorry if I'm bothering you, I know you must be very busy and all."
"Look, can we just talk about something else besides her for a change?" Draco asked insistently.
"That would be fine with me," Lucius answered calmly. "What would you like to talk about, son?"
"I don't know," Draco said, searching for a subject as far away from Roxi as possible. His eyes then fell upon the stand next to his bead, littered with plates of food he hadn't bothered to touch yet. "Who's the new annoying kid that Voldemort has checking up on me now?" he blurted.
"Oh, that would be Lucas," Lucius chuckled. "He's the Dark Lord's latest puppet. Lucas is another one of those who just came of age not too long ago. He's young, naïve, and foolish; and he has no idea yet of what he has gotten himself into."
"Yeah, I know the feeling," Draco snorted.
"Oh no, you were a lot more knowledgeable about what all was going on than this kid," Lucius explained. "This one hasn't even been here a whole moth yet and the Dark Lord already has his mind completely brainwashed. Mark my words, he'll be the next Percy Weasley in the making, you just watch."
"He certainly is annoying like Percy, that's for sure," Draco added with a short laugh.
"Definitely," Lucius agreed. "I'm suprised the Dark Lord put him down here with you right away to begin with. I mean, you'd think that he would consider you to be more of a higher priority than that. That is to say, I do not think Lucas is necessarily responsible enough for a task like this, nor for any task at that matter."
They both shared a quick laugh at Lucas' expense, and then silence fell between them. Lucius was all the way inside of Draco's cell now, standing right next to his cot. For the first time since coming down there, he took the time to study his son very carefully. As Draco heaved a heavy sigh, Lucius noticed for the first time how completely careworn and hopeless he looked. He had never before seen his child appear to be so fragile. He was extremely thin and pale, more so than was usual, and his eyes; which had dark circles around each of them, were sunken in and eerie looking.
After a moment, Lucius asked softly, "How're you holding up son?"
"I'm not," Draco answered simply.
"Look, I know it seems impossible right now," Lucius said, "but you just have to hang in there. Things will work out in the end, they always do."
"How can you say that when you are no longer within the Dark Lord's favor, and my mother is dead?" he demanded. "How can you possibly say that things always work out in the end? Take a look around you father; nothing has worked out for us. Not now, now ever! So don't you dare try to instill some false sense of hope inside of me, for I will not buy into any of it. Hope hath long abandoned me a very long time ago."
"I wasn't trying to give you a false-hope, Draco," Lucius said softly. "I was only trying to make you feel better."
"There is nothing that will ever make me feel any better, father," Draco spat. "I have already come to terms with the fact that I am going to die down here, and nothing you say will ever change that. My fate has already been sealed. It was so the day that Voldemort took away my legs and made me unable to fend for myself down here. I have accepted it, and it is time that you do the same."
Lucius' mouth gaped open in shock. He could not believe the words that were coming out of his son's mouth. "Draco, how can you say that? Tell me you don't honestly believe that, do you?"
"Yes, dad, I do," he answered. "And rightly so, because it is true, every word of it. You wanted to know why I ended things with Roxi, well, that right there is a big part of it… I won't be around long enough to make her happy. She was going to end up losing me in the end, so I just figured why not go ahead and get it over with now? At least this way she will some have time to get over me and move on before I die. That should make it a bit easier on her in the long run, for she will not be attached to my memory or anything like that. This way she can be completely free of me before anything bad happens."
"Enough!" Lucius half-shouted, though he was careful not to get too loud, for fear that the Dark Lord might overhear him. "I am done listening to you talk about death in such a casual way like that, alright? You are not going to die down here, d'you hear me? I simply will not allow it!"
"You are in denial father," Draco argued. "Don't you get it? I know that I am right because I have no will to live anymore. I lost it all the instant I lost--" Draco stopped himself before he could say the word her.
But Lucius was no fool, he knew what Draco was going to say, even though he had not finished his sentence. "You never lost her, son. There is time yet to fix things. She loves you still, I know she does."
"But I don't want her to," Draco said, shaking his head. "She deserves someone far better in her life than me. I cannot take care of her, I cannot supply for her. All I can do is weigh her down and hold her back from accomplishing all that it is she came here for."
"Honestly Draco, do you really believe that?" his father asked again.
"Yes, dad, I honestly do," he answered. "And there is nothing you can say that will ever change that. I am done with this!"
"Done with what exactly?"
"Everything!" Draco exclaimed. "Just life in general. I'm so over living like this, day in and day out, always having to rely on other people to take care of me. I am tired of being a prisoner, I never wanted to be here in the first place! It is only because of that idiotic girl, whom you are apparently so adamant for me to be with, that I am even locked up down her to begin with."
"It's not that I am adamant," Lucius corrected. "It's just that I so happen to believe that she is good for you."
"How can you possibly think that father?" he shouted. "I mean, just look at me! She is the reason that I am stuck like this. If it had not been for her, Voldemort would have just killed me a long time ago and I wouldn't even have had to live like this."
Lucius was stunned. He really never had heard his son talking like this before. "So you're saying then that you would rather be dead right now, is that right?"
"Yeah, I guess I am," Draco snapped. "Because if I were dead right now, at least then I would be free. I hate being locked up, and you father, of all people, should know that."
"Believe me Draco," the Dark Lord's voice suddenly came rang from out of nowhere, "if it were within my power to do so, I would have been happy to have you killed a long time ago." Lucius stood still facing Draco, his back to Voldemort. On his face was a look of pure terror as every muscle in his lean body tensed up at once.
"Well, well, well Lucius," the Dark Lord said menacingly, as he stepped out into their view. "What have we here?"
"My- my Lord," Lucius stammered, turning around to face him. "This, this is n-not what it l-looks like. I -I --"
"-- Save it Lucius," Voldemort cut him off sharply. "I already know everything I need to know, so you need not get yourself into more trouble by lying to me. I had you followed tonight, you see."
"B-but that's not possible," he said, clearly stunned. "I-I mean I thought I covered my tracks well and everything..." he trailed off for a moment, thinking. "How?"
"Last night, after I nearly caught you in the middle of a confession of your plans to come down here and talk to your son, I instantly became suspicious" the Dark Lord explained. "So, when you did not show up for assignments this evening, I pretended to overlook your absence in order to give you a bit of freedom tonight, you know, just to see what you would do with it. Then I had you followed in order to confirm whether or not my suspicions were true, and sure enough; they were."
"But no one was behind me when I came down here, I made sure of it," Lucius said bewilderedly.
"And that is where you are the slightest bit correct, for it is true that there was no person behind you when you entered the basement this evening. There was a rat however," the Dark Lord revealed, and Lucius immediately realized the obvious flaw in his plan.
"Peter," Lucius mouthed.
"Yes," Voldemort confirmed. "I used Wormtail's convenient Animagus form to spy on you in order to gain proof that you were disobeying me. And now that I have it, there is no way you can lie yourself out of punishment this time."
At that moment, Roxi appeared at the top of the steps. She carefully made her way down them and stood as far away from where they were gathered as she could get away with. "You sent for me master," she said with a curt bow. She hated that he had called her down there, especially since she knew Draco would be awake.
"Yes, as a matter-of-fact, I did," he answered, "because I wanted you to witness first-hand that your protection over Lucius Malfoy is no longer valid. According to the terms of our agreement, I was not allowed to touch him so long as he was never allowed to enter this basement to see his son again. And as you can see, Lucius has clearly gone against my wishes and come down here anyways. So now, it is finally time for him to be punished."
Before she could say or do anything, Roxi saw Voldemort raising his wand, and then her gaze wondered around the room for what seemed like a lifetime after that. She was desperately trying to look anywhere but at Lucius. Once she heard the Dark Lord begin to utter the word Crucio, that was enough for her. She couldn't stand watching him torture someone, no matter who the unfortunate victim might be. Even if it were Percy Weasley himself on the receiving end of that curse, Roxi doubted whether she would be able to watch it with pleasure or not. Because, in her opinion, the means in which the Dark Lord would go to in order to torment and humiliate people was totally barbaric, especially now that she personally knew from experience what the Cruciatus Curse felt like.
And every time she was subjected to watch this sort of thing, it always brought her mind back to Draco, no matter what. Draco was, after all, the very first person she had ever watched being tortured before, and it was in that moment that she ultimately realized her love for him. Now she found that she hated being reminded of that day. How stupid was she to have ever loved that ungrateful, inconsiderate little bastard.
Upon thinking of Draco, her eyes unwillingly traveled to over to him. She had been trying to avoid looking in that direction too, but in this dark, damp little basement that Voldemort had turned into a prison, there wasn't very much else to look to.
Draco's eyes were squeezed shut, his hands clamped over his ears. And it wasn't until then, when she had began to wonder why he had covered his ears, that she noticed the screaming. Lucius was screeching on the floor in agony and she knew that there was nothing now that she could do about it. She had warned him not to come. He hadn't listened. Roxi wondered if his punishment was now even worth it. Had Lucius even gotten anywhere with Draco? Had he managed to procure any answers out of him at all before the Dark Lord had come down here and interrupted them?
Looking at Draco now, Roxi highly doubted it. She knew him, and he would never share his true feelings with anyone, especially not his father, whom he was constantly trying to prove something to. And if Lucius had gotten nowhere with his son, then that meant that now he was being punished for nothing.
As Roxi continued to study the boy she once thought she had been in love with, she noticed that his body was also trembling. Whether it was from the cold, his nerves, or a little bit of both, she couldn't be sure of. But of one thing she was certain as she studied Draco now; he did not look healthy at all. His skin had gone, if possible, even more pale now. It almost looked white in the obscure darkness of the Riddle House basement. And as her eyes looked him up and down, she also noticed that he was more thin-looking now.
She felt instantly guilty for not coming down here to feed him now. It was, after all, supposed to be her job to do that, even though they weren't getting along anymore. She knew that of he didn't eat soon he was going to get sick, but she wasn't so sure how she felt about that. A part of her felt sorry for him, given his condition; while the other part of her laughed inwardly at his emaciated form.
Suddenly, Draco leaned over the side of his cot and violently threw up. The evil little voice inside Roxi's head stopped laughing almost at once. How could she have possibly found anything about Draco's situation to be the slightest bit funny at all, especially knowing that she was the one who had caused it? And now, she too felt sick, though part of that sick-feeling was most likely coming from the smell in the air. She was ashamed of herself for neglecting Draco for so long. It was no wonder he had gotten so mad at her.
It was this action that finally got Voldemort to let up off of Lucius for a moment. He lowered his wand and turned to look at Draco, who by then was lying back on his pillows with one hand placed delicately on his stomach, the other to his forehead. Roxi was almost certain that Voldemort had quickly glanced at her out of the corner of his eye before moving on to assess the situation.
He took one look at Draco, then looked over at the table that was littered with a week's worth of food sitting next to him. Roxi noticed it just then too. So there had been someone besides her coming down here to feed him after all. Now she found that she did not feel quite so bad, but her mind instantly began to wonder who the other someone was, and whether or not the Dark Lord had sent them down here or not.
Upon hearing all the noise below, a small group of Death Eaters; including Severus, Percy Weasley and Peter Pettigrew, had gathered at the top of the basement steps to hear what was going on down there. They had all been silently listening as the Dark Lord was torturing Lucius Malfoy. Roxi was looking at them all now, and there was only one of them who met her gaze as she did so. Only one of them, she knew, was feeling what she felt now: sorrow, angst, misery, anger, and rage. She and Severus Snape were the only ones who truly realized the injustice of it all. The other Death Eaters just continued to peer down the staircase with smug looks on their faces, not a single care for their fallen partner at all.
Meanwhile, a smile was playing at the Dark Lord's lips while he continued to look at Draco. "Well, well, well, Draco, it looks to me like you haven't been eating again," he said. "I guess that serves you right then, doesn't it?" he laughed, and then his eyes were on Lucius again like nothing unusual had ever even happened.
"I have had it in my mind for quite some time now, Lucius, what I was going to do to you should this day ever come," he carried on. "You see, I was one-hundred percent certain that this day indeed would come, because I knew that you could never stay away from that traitor you call a son of yours for far too long."
"Of course you have, because tormenting me until I am near certifiably insane is never enough punishment to begin with," Lucius spat from his position on the floor. "So why don't you just do it, whatever it is, and let's be done with it!" It was clear to Roxi that he was just eager to have this whole ordeal be over with. In her opinion though, he was in no position to be mocking the Dark Lord.
"Oh, believe me, I will," Voldemort hissed. "You have disobeyed me for the last time now, Lucius Malfoy. I have told you time and time again not to see him, and you have countered me every single time!" His voice was beginning to grow louder now. "I simply will not allow you to keep coming down here to consort with our enemy like this any longer. I hope you have enjoyed your little visit because this time, it will certainly be your last."
Lord Voldemort thrust his wand hand down at Lucius, who involuntarily flinched at the sudden action. "I gave you one order; never to come down here and see your son again," he raged. "You deliberately disobeyed that order, and so now I will see to it that you never see anything ever again."
Everything happened so fast after that. Draco coughed and for one split second, Roxi thought he was going to be sick again. This, in turn, caused a worried Lucius to shift his gaze from the wand that was aiming right at his face, to look over at his son, which caused an angry Voldemort to go into even more of a rage that he was in before.
"STOP. LOOKING. AT. HIM." The Dark Lord boomed his command. He raised his wand hand over his head and brought it down towards Lucius with such force that Roxi half-expected to hear a loud bang, or see a bright flash of light, or to have something dramatic to that effect happen. However, there was nothing. Nothing but silence filled the air now. . .
And then, all of a sudden, Lucius was screaming again. Only this time it was not screams of pain, but of fear. "No," he begged. "Please not this, anything but this."
"You asked for it," Lord Voldemort sneered. "So take your punishment like a man, Lucius, and stop whining like an infant." The Dark Lord, though he was still incredibly angry, appeared to look rather pleased with himself as he turned back to Roxi then. "Zarooni," he called.
Roxi jumped at the unexpected mentioning of her name. She had been staring at Lucius, trying to figure out exactly what had just happened. He did not appear to be physically injured at all, as far as she could tell. The last thing she had been expecting was for Voldemort to call on her all of a sudden. "Y-yes my Lord?" she stuttered, turning to face him again at once.
"It appears to me that you have been neglecting your duties," he said with an unusual air of calmness. "Draco doesn't seem to be eating right and, last time I checked, it was still your job to feed him, was it not?" Roxi gulped as she nodded her head.
"Well then," he went on, "since you knowingly neglected your duties, his current state of health falls on your shoulders and not mine. Therefore, you cannot state that I am not keeping him healthy, meaning that my end of the bargain has not been broken. So don't you even think of trying to get smart with me on that little issue my dear, because I can guarantee you, you will lose."
"I wasn't going to, sir," she responded with a bow quickly. "I take full responsibility for Draco's current state of health, and I will see to it that the situation is rectified as soon as possible, sir."
"Good," he said, smiling at her. "You can start by cleaning this mess up; the smell is horrid down here." He then noticed, the group of Death Eater who had gathered to watch at the top of the stairs. They all froze with fear when he turned to look at them, expecting the worst to happen. But instead of getting angry and going off on them, the Dark Lord simply gave them a command. "None of you are to help Lucius Malfoy out without my permission, got it?"
As they all hastily nodded, Roxi somehow knew that there was really only one person in that group whom that message was really meant for. "Well then," Voldemort spoke, his tone becoming more firm automatically, "what the hell are you all doing standing around for? There's work to be done," he yelled at them and they all scattered at once. The Dark Lord appeared to be pleased with himself once more.
"I have a very important meeting to get to, Zarooni, with a very important guest who should have arrived by now," he addressed her once they were alone in the basement once more. "So after you have cleaned up this mess, I need you to bring the finest bottle of firewhiskey you can find, along with two glasses, up to my room at once. And do be quick about it, Roxi, that is not a request."
Even as she bowed to him in obedience to his order he was already hurrying towards the stairs. "Oh, and one last thing," he said on his way out, "that last order I gave to the others about not helping Lucius out applies to you as well, starting right now." Then he continued on his way up the steps and out of the basement.
Naturally, his last order not to help Lucius at all got her curiosity going once again. She turned to look at him and found that he was now sitting on his knees, rocking back and forth, with his face buried in his hands. She walked over and slowly knelt down in front of him. She placed a hand on Lucius' knee and gently spoke his name. Lucius jumped and recoiled at her touch, his hands finally moving away from his face.
Roxi gasped and moved back slightly herself at the sight of him. Lucius' once cold, grey eyes were now nothing but a cloudy white, giving him an unnatural, almost inhuman-looking appearance. They reminded her of the ghostly shadow creatures that were pictures in the old fairytale books her dad used to read to her when she was a little girl. It was frightening, to say the least, and she immediately wondered if Lucius was ok.
"How bad is it?" she dimly head him whispering to her.
Roxi blinked a few times and forced herself to look away from his face. "H-how bad is what?" she asked nervously.
"My face," Lucius answered. "What's wrong with me? What has he done to me?"
"N-nothing Lucius," she lied. "You look f-fine."
"I can tell you're lying to me, Roxi," he accused. "You never really were all that good at it, you know."
"I'm sorry Luc', I just..." Roxi trailed off for a moment and took a deep breath. "Your face looks fine, it's just your eyes that look a little different, that's all."
Lucius nodded his head slowly. "Well I figured that much," he said gravely. And then Lucius confirmed the fear that Roxi had been expecting to hear since she had first saw him. "I can't see anything, Roxi... I'm blind. The Dark Lord has made me blind."
"That's why I told you," a weak voice called out to their left, "you shouldn't have come." For a moment, Roxi had almost forgotten all about Draco being there.
"And I told you I had to come," Lucius responded firmly. "I will not argue with you on this subject anymore."
"Even I told you not to Lucius," Roxi unwillingly agreed with Draco. "We all knew it would be dangerous, and now look what you have to go through because of it."
"I really don't care," he said defiantly. "At least it was worth it, because I got to see my son again."
"And speaking of your son, I do have a job to take care of him now," she said getting back up on her feet. She walked over to Draco's bedside and used the cleaning wand to vanish the sick away from the bed and the floor. She then did the same thing to the plates of uneaten, no good food on the table beside him.
The entire time she was working beside him, Draco kept his arms folded across his chest and his eyes on the ceiling. He refused to make any kind of eye-contact with her. He hated the fact that she was still helping him, willingly or not, after everything he had put her through. He wished now more than ever that she would just leave and never come back down there again.
After Roxi had finished cleaning she took a step back and placed her hands on her hips. "What am I going to do with you?" she sighed.
Draco raised one eyebrow. "I know you're not talking to or about me right now," he said without taking his eyes off the ceiling to look at her.
"Actually, I am," she said challengingly. "What are you going to do about it, hmm?" Draco didn't respond. It was clear that he was now trying to ignore her instead. "Oh you're so mature," Roxi sarcastically spat at him. Then she decided to move on and try changing the subject again. "So," she began nervously, "at least it looks like somebody's been coming down here to feed you."
"Yeah, somebody," he agreed. "Somebody that has, thankfully, not been you."
"It also looks like you intentionally haven't been eating," she went on, calmly ignoring his rude comment.
"I haven't really been in the mood," he growled.
"But aren't you the slightest bit hungry at all?" she asked. "I mean, look at you! You look like you're wasting away down here." Roxi could no longer hide the concern in her voice, no matter how hard she tried.
"Nope. Not at all," he lied defiantly.
'Well, hungry or not, the Dark Lord has given me an order to feed you," she said. "He is insistent that you stay healthy, Draco." This did not get a rise out of him, as she had expected it to, so she went on to say in a voice that was barely above a whisper; "I am only trying to help you, you know."
That did it. "Well I don't want any help," Draco finally fired back loudly. "Not from Lucas, not from my father, and especially not from the likes of you!"
"I rightly don't give a damn what you want, really," Roxi shot. "Like I said, the Dark Lord has given me a job to do and, with or without your cooperation, I am going to do it, and I am going to get it done right! He has asked me to keep you healthy, and that is exactly what I intend to do. Even though I may hate your guts right now, that still doesn't mean I would like to walk down here and find you dead one of these days you know."
"Well has it ever occurred to you, to either one of you," he added, shooting a look over at his father, "that maybe, just maybe, I don't want to be here anymore? I am so sick of the two of you always telling me what to do and when to do it. Be careful Draco, stay calm Draco, just be patient Draco, things will all work out in the end Draco," he said, mocking them. "Well take a look around you guys, things are not working out. Everything is far from being ok right now."
"What are you saying then?" she challenged him. "That you want me to just not feed you, allowing you to waste away to nothing, until you eventually die down here?"
"Maybe that is exactly what I want you to do," he spat. "What of it, if it is?"
Roxi was too stunned for words. She could not believe that Draco was purposefully trying to starve himself to death. The Draco that she knew would never do something like that, no matter how bad thing got. "What's happening to you?" she asked as her eyes started filling to the brim with tears.
Draco tried to sit up to answer her, but he must have moved too quickly for his own good, for the sudden exertion caused him to double over and start dry heaving again. Without even thinking twice about it, Roxi was at his side in an instant, gently patting him on the back until the spell had completely passed.
Once Draco was able to catch his breath again, he shrugged Roxi's hand away. "Keep your filthy hands off of me," he spat at her. "I told you, I do not need your help. I don't want your charity, and I certainly do not need your pity. Just do me a favor and leave me alone. I don't ever want you to come back here again."
Silence filled the room again then, but not just any silence. It was the kind of silence that usually came just before a lightning storm, the kind that was so thick you could cut it with a knife. No one in the room dared to move, or even breathe for that matter.
Lucius, though he was blind, did not need to see what was going on in order to predict what might come next. He knew he needed to act soon before Draco and Roxi completely went off on one another and ended up at each other's throats again. He had already talked to his son about this very same thing before, so he knew already that there was no talking on sense into the boy. Draco may have been a lost cause at the moment, but Lucius was sure that there was still some time left to help Roxi from plummeting into total darkness.
He slowly got to his feet, put his hands in front of himself, and slowly started heading off in the direction he thought was the stairs. Roxi noticed him doing this and was called back to her senses at once. She looked back down at Draco and whispered so only he would hear; "I hate you, Draco Malfoy. I hate you so much for all of the hell you are putting me through."
She then shot one last dirty look at him before turning around and rushing over to Lucius. "Here, Lucius," she said talking hold of his hand, "let me help you."
"No, Roxi, you mustn't," he said defiantly, pulling his hand away from hers. But on the inside, Lucius was smiling for this was exactly what he had been hoping for. "You heard the Dark Lord. I cannot ask you to help me."
"You're not asking me, I am offering," she said kindly. She was doing her best to keep her voice steady because she did not want Lucius to worry. "At least allow me to help you safely get to the top of the steps. I'm going that way anyways, so it would be selfish of me to just leave you here and not help you. After that, we can both go our separate ways and Voldemort never even has to know about it. Lucius, please," she pleaded. "Let me do this. Let me help you just a little bit."
"Alright fine," he said with a nod. "You may help me get to the top of the steps, but then that is it. I do not wish to see you be punished on my behalf."
"I understand," Roxi said taking Lucius by the hand again. She then led him up the basement stairs and they parted ways there, as was planned. Lucius slowly made his way to his room, feeling his way on the walls of the hallway, while Roxi took off towards the kitchen in the opposite direction.
She did not know how much time had passed since Voldemort had left her downstairs, but she knew that she needed to move fast. Once she was in the kitchen, she hurried over to the cabinet and grabbed out a bottle of firewhisky. She didn't know if it was the best one or not, but it would have to do. After also fetching the two glasses he had asked for, she hurried off the Lord Voldemort's room.
Upon approaching the door, she could already hear raised voices coming from within. The door was standing wide open, so she just let herself in. Roxi paused before announcing her presence, allowing her curiosity to get the best of her again. She could see the Dark Lords face from where she was standing at, but he seemed not to have noticed her walking in. his eyes were fixed on the stranger sitting across from him.
"You're too late, my friend," he was saying to his guest. "He's already got the Dark Mark on him."
"Well it rightly doesn't matter to me if you've already put your little stamp on him or not," the stranger yelled back at him. For some reason, his voice sounded slightly familiar to Roxi, but she could not place where she had heard this man before. "He is still loyal to me."
"I'd check your sources again, if I were you," Voldemort fired back smoothly. "Because the last time I checked, he was pledging his allegiance to me. I have searched his mind, Fenrir, I alone know where his true loyalties lie."
Fenrir, Roxi repeated the name to herself. Why does his name sound so familiar to me too? She wondered.
"But I know Lucas," the man named Fenrir exclaimed, "and he would never betray me like that!"
Lord Voldemort chuckled deep in his throat. "You go right on and keep believing in that," he said. "In the meantime, I have other business to attend to. If this meeting is over -"
"You know very damn well that it's not even close to being over," Fenrir growled. "I'm not through with you. You can't just go marking one of my very own, and then expect me to simply stand aside and let you have your way with him. There are boundaries, Voldemort, not that that is anything you're familiar with. Now, allow me to enlighten you on how this works, shall I?"
Roxi raised her eyebrows in shock. Whoever this Fenrir guy was, she was impressed. It took a lot of nerve to talk to Voldemort the way that he just had, she of all people should know. But what gave her even more of a shock was the Dark Lord's reaction to this. He remained in his chair, as passive as ever, and simply folded his hands together, staring at the other man intently.
It was a rather difficult thing to watch because, between the two of them, Roxi wasn't exactly sure which one she wanted to see win. She had no idea exactly what they were arguing over, but anyone who stood up to Lord Voldemort was considered a saint in her book. However, watching the Dark Lord argue like this was not something she ever wanted to have to see again. His relaxed calm was, if at all possible, even more frightening than his rage.
Just as Fenrir was opening his mouth to speak again, Roxi was spotted. Voldemort raised a hand to silence his guest. "Excuse me Fenrir, but it might interest you to know that we are no longer alone my friend. I had my servant girl bring us up a refreshment of sorts." He then motioned for Roxi to come forward and she did so without hesitation. She walked over to Voldemort and sat the tray down on a table next to the chair he was perched in.
"Allow me to introduce you to Miss. Roxandrea Zarooni," Voldemort's voice drawled as he introduced her to the stranger. Roxi did not look at him right away though, for she was too busy opening the firewhisky and pouring it into their glasses. "Roxi, this is my, might I say, partner and long time friend; Greyback. Fenrir Greyback."
Roxi nearly spilled the firewhiskey everywhere in shock as the other man's name was revealed to her. The reason it had sounded so familiar to her before was because she had heard the name Fenrir Greyback mentioned many times before. The name was infamous, even where she came from, because he was the most vicious werewolf the world had ever known.
She gulped and slowly turned around to take Fenrir his drink, being careful not to spill the contents of the glass she was carrying. But once she was facing him, she received another shock yet again. The stranger in Voldemort's room now was also the same stranger she had met earlier that very same day.
For a moment, they just stared at each other. Then Greyback, still fully aware that Voldemort was still watching them like a hawk, finally greeted her. "It is lovely to meet you my sweet, given that I have never seen you before." He hoped he got the point across to her without being too obvious about it.
Fortunately for the two of them, Voldemort's own mind was otherwise too distracted to be bothered with reading one if theirs. "Yes," Roxi said shakily continuing on her way towards him, "I have heard a lot about you, Greyback. It is good to finally be able to put a face with the name." She handed him his glass of firewhiskey and then quickly backed away from him. Voldemort seemed to be amused by watching her react to him, for he chuckled as she did this.
"That is all I require of you for now Zarooni," he said. "You may go." Roxi did not need to be told twice. She could not wait to get out of there and finally have some time alone. The night's events had already given her much to think about as it was, and she now had a lot of things to process. She was silently going over the most recent things she had learned in her mind as she made her way back to her room.
So it was true; the man whom Roxi had spoken to in the woods earlier that day had turned out to be none other than Fenrir Greyback; the dangerous and horrifically infamous werewolf himself. A shiver ran down her spine as she realized just how close she had come to yet another possible near-death experience that day.
And if that man really was the same one she had run into earlier, then that could only mean that the person they were currently arguing over was the boy who had cornered her in the woods with a knife. As Roxi slowly put two-and-two together, she came to the realization that this could only mean one thing; that Lucas was both a Death Eater and a werewolf. So Voldemort and Greyback, therefore, must be arguing over who would have more control over him now.
This made sense to her, but at the same time, it didn't. Why would someone like Voldemort be interested in some punk kid like Lucas? And what was that Lucas kid talking to her about in the woods earlier, when he had told her that his master wanted him to do something that he did not agree with? Which master was he talking about; Voldemort or Greyback?
Once again, Roxi found that her mind was now filled with many, many unanswered questions. Questions that she would probably never have the answers to. . .
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