Chapter 24 : |Chapter 22| Betrayal
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“Alright, that’s it,” Percy Weasley exclaimed. “I am sick and tired of watching you mope around here all night, every night.”
“I am not moping,” Roxi disagreed.
“Roxi, its been a week, and everytime I see you, you’ve always got this sad little look on your face. Not that I feel bad for you or anything like that,” he quickly pointed out. “It’s just that, well, it’s a rather pathetic thing to have to watch, that’s all.”
“Pathetic, huh?” she repeated, clearly offended. “Well if I’m so pathetic, then why are you even bothering me right now? As you can see, I am obviously trying to get my work done here, which you should be doing also.”
Roxi and Percy were the only two who were left in the kitchen. He was sitting down at the table, finishing up the last of his meal, while she was standing at the stove warming Draco up some leftover soup. It had been a week since the night that Voldemort had caught Lucius down in the basement. Roxi had finally gotten him to start eating again, but their relationship had not progressed any.
“Well, not that you’re interested in anything that I have to say,” Percy drawled. “but I for one think it’s high time we got back at Draco.”
“What do you mean, we got back at Draco, when he hasn’t even done anything to us to get back at him for?”
“Oh no, he hasn’t really done anything at all,” Percy snapped sarcastically. “Anything, that is, except rip your heart out and trample it on the ground. But hey, that’s no big deal, I guess.”
“Well, it is a big deal,” she blurted, “to me it is anyways. But I just don’t see why you care all of a sudden.”
“I only care because you clearly seem to want him back. That and,” he added, indicating to the cold plate of food before him, “your pining over him is starting to effect your job performance.”
Roxi too looked at Percy’s plate of cold, half-eaten food and then she turned to look back at the sink that was piled up with dirty dishes. “You’re absolutely right,” she sighed, “and I’m sure you’re not the only one who’s noticed it either. It’s only a matter of time before the Dark Lord comes down on me for not doing my job right. But what am I supposed to do, Percy, when my heart is not longer in this?”
“I understand your predicament entirely,” Percy said as sympathetically as he could manage. “I mean, you originally signed up for this job to help keep Draco safe and, now that he is no longer with you, you don’t see the point in doing this anymore. It is perfectly normal, as well as logical, for you to feel that way. Hell, if I were in your shoes, I would probably be feeling much of the same. Unfortunately though, the Dark Lord will look at it that way, I’m afraid. But luckily for you, I am here to help you out before this gets any further out of hand than it already is.”
“Oh joy,” Roxi said, clearly unenthused. “And how exactly is it that you plan on helping me, Percy? What is it that makes me so lucky to have you on board with all of this?”
“Because I happen to know a thing or two about being a guy, so therefore I can help you understand what Draco might be thinking right now,” he said. But in truth, he only knew what Draco was thinking because he was the one who put all of his current thoughts, suspicious and doubts there to begin with.
Roxi couldn’t help it. She knew that the situation before he was definitely no laughing matter, but Percy’s matter-of-fact answer had her cracking up in an instant. “Oh Percy, you are full of yourself, aren’t you?”
“I have no idea what you mean by that.”
“I mean, come on,” she said, her laughter dying down a bit, “as if you can possibly guess what Draco might be thinking. You don’t even really know the first thing about him. He’s not like most other guys, at least, not any other guys that I’ve ever met. He’s different, and that’s what made him so special to me.”
“Yes, well, despite how different he may be, all guys want that which they cannot have,” Percy replied.
“Yeah, and sometimes so do women,” Roxi casually pointed out. “What’s your point?”
“Oh for Merlin’s sake,” exclaimed Percy, “you are seriously not that daft, are you? I thought I was being clearly obvious, but apparently I was not. Not for you at least. My point, Roxi, is that we need to make Draco believe that you are no longer available.”
“Oh,” she replied shortly. Roxi took a moment to mull the idea over in her head. The thought had processed and now, she was laughing again. “Yes, that’s a lovely idea, Percy, considering the fact that I am sure there are several Death Eaters around here who would just be lining up the chance to be my pretend-boyfriend, in order to make my ex-boyfriend jealous of him. Get real, that’ll never work!”
“I on the other hand believe that it could,” he argued.
“Look, even if I were on the same page with you on this, which I’m not,” she reminded him, “I still don’t know who we would get for the job. The only other person around here, who is even remotely close to my age, is that Lucas kid, and I refuse to pretend-go-out with a brat like him. I mean, that kid is as immature, stuck-up, and as annoying as they come... And come to think of it, I believe he might even be worse than you, and that saying something!”
“Well, fortunately for you, Lucas is not the only younger generation Death Eater around here you know,” Percy smugly responded.
Roxi’s jaw dropped open in shock as she began to realize what Percy’s obvious tone meant. “But surely you don’t mean. . . you?” And when he didn’t deny it, she found herself laughing at him again, shaking her head in amused disagreement. “Oh Percy, you can’t be serious? ME, pretending to go out with YOU? Why, that’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard! You cannot possibly believe that he would buy all that, I mean everyone around here knows that we detest one another, it’s just common knowledge. Draco will never fall for something like that! Sorry, but it just wouldn’t work. He’d probably fall for the whole me-and-Lucas thing before he would me being with you.”
“On the contrary, Roxi, I actually believe that he would buy it,” Percy calmly argued. “He is in a very vulnerable spot right now and I think that together, we could make him believe us. We would just have to be convincing enough, that’s all.”
Roxi narrowed her eyes at him. “And, if I were to go along with all of this, what would be in it for you?”
“Just the pleasure of seeing the look on Draco’s sad little face when he sees the two us together will be enough repayment for me,” he grinned wickedly. “I have wanted to do something to make him severely jealous of me for quite some time now.”
“You are a master-manipulator, you know that?” Roxi commended. “I mean, how on earth do you come up with these things?”
“It’s just something I’m good at,” he answered proudly. “Now, that is his food you’re warming up at the moment, it not?”
“Yes, actually, it is.”
“Well then, why don’t we just put out little plan into action right now?” he asked, standing up. He walked over to the stove and took the soup off for her, putting it into the bowl she already had sitting out for it. “I’ll just take this down to him and -”
“- Percy, I really don’t think you should do that,” she interrupted. “After all, I just got him used to me bringing the food down there again. So what if you take it to him and he gets upset and stops eating again?”
“Well then, he stops eating again,” Percy said with a shrug. “Who really cares? That’s his problem, not ours. You know how the old saying goes; you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink. As long as you’re giving him the food, then you’ve done your share. The rest is up to him, Roxi, not you.”
“I suppose you’re probably right,” she sighed.
“Now, as I was saying,” he carried on as though she had never interrupted him in the first place, “I can take this down to him and, you know, get him warmed up to the idea of us. Give me ten minutes alone down there with him before you come in and then, when you get down there, you can attest to the fact that we are indeed together now. If both of our stories conveniently coincide with one another well enough, then he will have no choice but to believe it. But you will have to be convincing though, and make it look as real as possible, because if he suspects that we have planned any of this beforehand, our cover will be blown.”
That. Is... Brilliant,” Roxi said in awe. “I am actually starting to think this might just work. Once Draco thinks I am in a relationship with you, he will be so jealous! I’ll bet he will be just begging me to have him back. You know, you’re such a genius sometimes, Percy.”
“Yeah, I know,” he answered smugly.
“And still just as arrogant as all get-out, too, I see,” she said, rolling her eyes at him. Roxi pushed the fresh hot bowl of soup that Percy had just poured towards him. “Take this down there then, while it is still hot, and let’s get this thing done and over with.”
“With pleasure,” he said as he carefully picked the bowl up off the counter. “Give me some time alone with him before you come down there, and remember to make it look real. Otherwise he won’t buy it.”
“Alright, alright, I get it,” she exclaimed exasperatedly. “You forget that you’re talking to a master of disguise here. I can make things that are false look perfectly real when I need to.”
“I sure do hope so,” Percy said. He smiled deviously as he turned to walk away from her, making his way down to the basement at last. It was finally time for phase three of his master plan to be completed, and he could not be more pleased with the way that things were turning out so far.
Percy quietly walked into Draco’s cell and set the bowl of soup down on the bedside table. He kept quiet the whole time, patiently waiting for Draco to look up and notice him.
Draco had gotten used to the way Roxi would always set the food down and leave. Whenever she was down there, he made it a point not to look at her. So when he didn’t hear her making her way towards the stairs this time, he decided to glance up at her. Only it wasn’t Roxi, it was Percy Weasley standing there. “And just what the hell are you doing down here?” he snapped.
“What does it look like I’m doing?” Percy snapped back. “I’ve come to feed you, hence to bowl I was carrying. Not that I feel as if you deserve it,” he added.
“Where is Roxi at?” Draco demanded.
“She needed a break from you,” Percy said simply, “so I came down here instead.”
Draco, who was slightly suprized at how hearing the news that Roxi wanted nothing more to do with him could still left him breathless, felt like he had just forgotten to take a breath before plunging deep underwater. He opened his mouth to speak, closed it again, gulped, and then took a deep breath. “B-but why would she send you, of all people, to fill in for her?”
“Oh I don’t know,” Percy shrugged. “It could be one of several different reasons, I suppose. Either one; because she was really tired, and I was the only one available for the job whom she trusted. Two; because she knows how much you hate me and she wanted to send me down here in order to piss you off. Or three; because we are madly in love with each other, and I noticed how worn out she was, so I offered to give her the night off and she took it.”
“Yes, because that’s likely,” Draco chuckled, rolling his eyes. “Still haven’t given that up I see.”
“Given what up exactly?”
“Trying to win Roxi’s affection,” he answered.
“As a matter of fact, I have,” Percy said with a pleasant smile. “I mean, it is kind of hard to chase after something that is no longer running away from you.”
The smirk on Draco’s face vanished. “What do you mean?” he asked fearfully.
“I think my meaning was pretty clear,” Percy answered. “And, judging by the look on your face right now, I’d be willing to bet that you already know exactly what I meant by it.”
True, Draco had his suspicions, but there was no way in hell that what he was thinking now was true. “Humor me anyways,” he said.
“Draco, Draco, Draco, it pains me to have to break this to you...” Percy said as unsympathetically as ever.
Yeah, I’ll bet it does, Draco thought to himself.
“But Roxi stopped running from me a few days ago,” Percy went on. “I caught up with her and she finally gave in to me. Her and I are together now and, believe it or not, we are actually happy.”
There was a beat of silence in which, for one small moment, Draco actually believed that Percy Weasly was speaking the truth. But then his logic convinced him otherwise, and he began to cackle with insane laughter. Draco was loosing it, this news was just too much for him, on top of everything else he was going through right now. The only way he knew how best to cope with it, was to deny it was true... and so he laughed. Draco laughed at how utterly preposterous the thought of Roxi and Percy being in a committed relationship together sounded.
“I don’t really see what is so funny about that,” Percy spoke overtop of Draco’s laughter.
“You. And Roxi. Together.” It was all Draco could do to form complete sentences now. “That’s got to be the stupidest thing I think I’ve ever heard.”
“Well I don’t know why,” Percy said. “I was being dead honest with you just there. I have a way of always getting what I want you see.”
“Percy, you are bang out of order if you honestly think that I am going to believe all that crap,” Draco laughed. “You and Roxi have always loved to hate each other, and everyone knows that.”
“Yes, well, sometimes things chance,” Percy said arrogantly. “I have found that when you’re the only one there to dry a woman’s tears, she often falls for you. I have been there more for her in the past week than you ever were in the entire time that you knew her. Roxi trust me now. She even loves me now. You can deny it all you want to, Draco, but that will not chance the fact that it is utterly and entirely true.”
Almost as if on cue, the basement door opened up and Roxi proceeded to walk down the steps. She kept her eyes set on Percy’s face, doing her best not to look over at Draco. “Percy, dear, I told you not to worry about coming down here. I could have easily done this tonight, you know.”
“Yes, yes, I know that my sweet,” Percy replied sincerely, “but I told you it was no big deal. I know how much you needed a break from him, and I said I would do it. Case closed.”
“Ooh, I like it when you get all demanding like that,” she laughed.
“Oh please, Roxi,” Draco exclaimed. “You can’t be serious, are you?”
Roxi looked around her nonchalantly. “Did you hear anything?” she said to Percy.
Percy smiled at her. “No, nothing at all dear,” he replied, smiling brightly at her. “But even if I did, it’s not like we’ve got anything to hide you know.”
“What do you mean Percy?” she asked innocently.
“I mean that there is no denying the fact that we are both madly in love with each other,” he stated.
“Percy, shhh, he can hear you,” Roxi whispered.
“Its ok hun,” he reassured her, “I’ve already told him all about the two of us.”
“You told him?” Roxi gasped dramatically. “Oh my goodness, what did he say to you”
“Um, Roxi, dear, he can still hear us, remember?” he reminded her.
“Yeah,” Draco shot, “so why don’t you just turn around and ask him yourself.”
Roxi then finally turned to look at Draco. “Um, I’m sorry,” she snapped, “but this conversation is being spoken about you, not to you. So why don’t you just butt out of it?”
“Because I am finding it rather difficult to believe that you actually like this baboon,” he said with a skeptical smirk. “I mean, what can you possibly see in Percy Weasley, Roxi? I know you , and you have a much better taste in guys than that.”
“I have got nothing to prove to you, Draco,” she said.
“And I never said that you did,” he responded. “All I’m saying is that it is very hard to believe that you are in love with him, when I know that you actually hate him.”
“But that is where you are wrong,” she corrected. “We used to hate one another, true, but now we are totally in love. ”
“Uh-hu,” Draco nodded slowly. “And do you honestly expect me to believe all that?”
“Look, as I have said, I have got nothing to prove to you,” she snapped. “So say what you want, but it will not change how I feel about this man right now, because I do love him!”
When Draco’s face still appeared to be skeptical, Percy came over and muttered into Roxi’s ear. “May have a word with you in private for a moment?”
“Certainly, dear,” she said, throwing one more glare in Draco’s direction before turning to face Percy.
Percy waved his wand in the air and muttered a spell in order to ensure that they could not be overheard. “What the hell are you doing?” He demanded, once they were clear to speak openly.
“Acting,” she answered simply.
“Well you sure are doing a ruddy job of it,” he sneered.
“I’ll have you know that I happen to be a professional actress,” she snapped.
“Oh yeah?” he said skeptically. “Then prove it. You’re going to have to be a hell of a lot more convincing than that, if you actually expect him to buy our little fib. Because as of right now, he is totally seeing right through all of this.”
“You want me to be more convincing?” she growled. ‘Fine then! I’ll give you convincing alright, you just watch.” She turned away from Percy then and faced Draco once more.
Draco cocked an eyebrow at her. “Funny,” he said, “for two people who are supposedly so madly in love with one another, it sure did look like you were having an argument just there.”
“Listen,” Roxi hissed. “Even thought I have already said it twice now, I will say it again; I haven’t got a thing to prove to you. You broke up with me, remember, so I can date whoever the hell I want now. And if that whoever just so happens to be Percy Weasley, then so be it. The point, Draco, is that there is nothing you can do about it, so why don’t you just lay off!”
“Roxi,” Percy said, calmly placing a hand on her shoulder, “just leave it dear. He isn’t worth wasting your breath over. Why don’t you just go back upstairs, and let me deal with this looser? I promise you, I won’t be much longer.”
Roxi turned back to him. “You promise?” she said sweetly.
“Cross my heart,” he said, making an ‘X’ over his heart with his index finger.
“Oh Percy,” she sighed. “Where would I be without you? You are the sweetest, most thoughtful man I have ever met. I don’t know what I would have done, had you not saved me when you did.”
“Why thank you Roxi,” he said, blushing slightly.
Convincing, Roxi reminded herself. You have to make it look real. “I mean it, Percy, I really do,” she said, taking a few steps closer to him.
“And I understand that dear,” he replied. “Believe me, it means a lot to me to hear you say that.” Percy was just beginning to wonder now how far Roxi was willing to take this thing when the unthinkable happened. She reached out a hand and stroked his cheek, tracing it across his cheekbone, and then tucking his hair back behind his right ear.
Roxi took a deep breath. “I love you Percy Weasley,” she said softly, and then she leaned in and kissed him full on the mouth.
At first, Percy was too shocked and suprized to react, but then he began to kiss her back. When he did so, a part of Roxi cringed on the inside, but she did not falter for a second. Roxi knew that this would sell the lie more than anything, so she purposely let it drag on.
Draco’s jaw had dropped open and his eyes looked as though they were about to bulge out of his head. To him, their kiss appeared to be both intense and passionate, and it seemed to go on forever. He sat there and watched, completely against his own will. He wanted so desperately to look away, but his eyes were now glued to the sight of Roxi’s lips locked with the selfish traitor Percy Weasley.
Anger boiled up inside of him as he watched Percy’s hands move upward and entwine themselves within her hair. He wanted to lash out and yell at them, to demand that they stop this atrocious act. But as it was, he was left completely speechless. His brain was no longer functioning well enough to form words properly.
Roxi was rubbing her hands up and down his back when Draco suddenly realized that that was what she used to do to him everytime they kissed. That was our kiss, his mind yelled. Jealousy filled him at once with this new realization. It wasn’t enough for her to just be kissing their enemy right in front of him, no, she had to go one step farther and share their special kiss with him as well. He could not believe what he was seeing.
Draco was in such a trance-like state now that he barley noticed them finally breaking apart. Had he been paying more attention, he probably would have noticed Roxi’s obvious disgust as she quickly wiped her lips off on her sleeve before turning to go back upstairs without another word.
“And to think, you didn’t believe me,” Percy said triumphantly. “I told you Draco, I always get what I want. I wanted to make you suffer, and I believe that I have done so perfectly. I wanted your girlfriend, and now that I have her there is nothing you can do about it. So I think it’s officially safe to say that my plans have worked out splendidly!”
Draco could not swallow past the lump in his throat to make a comeback to this. His brain was still numb from watching them kiss, it could not hope to process this new information at a time like now.
“Still speechless I see,” Percy chuckled. “I guess I’ll just go and leave you to your thoughts then. Besides, Roxi is expecting me to be in her room anytime now, and it's rude to keep a lady waiting. We’re sharing a bed together tonight, if you know what I mean,” he said with a sickening wink.
“Why are you doing this?” Draco asked, finally able to speak coherently again. “Why are you taking her away from me?”
“Well you know what they say Draco,” Percy answered apathetically. “All is fair in love and war, right?”
“It is not fair,” Draco yelled. “Nothing about this is fair! Some bastard like you ends up with the girl, and I end up stuck down here alone to die with nothing. That's the end of it, and you call that fair?”
“Yes, as a matter-of-fact I do,” Percy said as he walked out of the cell and closed the door to it behind him. “Now do try and get a good night’s rest Draco,” he said before leaving. “I know that I sure will.”
After Percy disappeared behind the door at the top of the steps, there was about 5 seconds of complete and total silence before Draco lost it again. A gut-wrenching cry of agony escaped him and, for once in his life, he was crying without even bothering to care who might overhear him. He fell back and buried his face deep in his pillow, allowing the pain of all of his pent-up emotions to consume him. He felt numb all over; like he had been stabbed several times with a knife, punched below the belt and beaten in the head with a baseball bat all at the same time. In his mind, there was nothing that could surpass the pain he was in now.
Roxi was still waiting for Percy, pacing back and forth at the top of the steps, when he came out of the basement. He smiled at her as he closed the door behind him. “Well done, Roxi. Very well done indeed,” he said with a goofy-looking grin on his face. “I think it’s safe to say he bought it. That was all too easy.”
“Easy for you to say,” she snapped. “You weren’t the one having to --” Roxi was cut off in mid-sentence as Draco’s agonizing cry from below broke the air. She stopped, dead in her tracks, to listen as doubt began to fill every crevice of her being. “This was a bad idea, Percy,” she said suddenly.
“Bad?” he questioned. “How on earth did you arrive at that conclusion? I mean, did you not hear him just now? That, Roxi, was the sound if success. Our little plan worked perfectly, and I’ll be suprized if he’s not begging for you to have him back by this time tomorrow night.”
“I’m not so sure he will, Percy,” Roxi doubted. “He sounds miserable right now. I have to go down there and make this right.”
“Roxi, Roxi, Roxi,” Percy chimed, “will you just listen to yourself. I mean, who cares if he’s miserable or not right now. Remember how miserable you were when he broke you heart a week ago? I thought you wanted to get back at him, I thought you meant to make him pay for hurting you.”
“Well yeah, I did,” she agreed, “and I still do, don’t get me wrong. It’s just that now I’m not so sure if that’s the way we should have gone about it. He probably feels cheated on right now, and I know what that’s like. I’ve been cheated on before, and trust me, it’s not a feeling that I would lightly wish on anyone.”
“Well first of all, its not cheating when he is no longer dating you,” Percy corrected. “And secondly, I’m not the one who told you to throw yourself all over me. You did that one all on your own, so if you’re feeling guilty about it now, then that’s not my problem. It does, however, become my problem when you go back down there and start telling him that all of it was a lie. As I have said to you in the past, I have a reputation to maintain, and Percy Weasley is not a liar.”
“Right,” Roxi snorted as she suppressed a laugh, “and I’m not an American either. Albeit, I will admit that I do stand corrected by you. I still just don’t believe that it is right to make him suffer like this though.”
“What about this then,” Percy began a new offer, “how ‘bout you leave it for a day. One day, that’s it. That’s all I ask for. You can go back down there in twenty-four hours, and if our plan didn’t work out how it was supposed to, if he isn’t willing to make amends with you by this time tomorrow night, then you can tell him whatever you like. Just please, let this sit a while before you go rushing into a decision right away. I mean, after all, you surely don’t want to end up having kissed me for nothing, do you?”
A shiver ran down Roxi’s back as she was suddenly forced to recall that dreadful, nauseating event. “No, I certainly do not,” she agreed, “for that is one experience that I really could have gone the rest of my life without. It would be pointless to have endured it for nothing, so I suppose you’re right.”
“Good to know that our little kiss down there was as dreadful an experience for you as it was me,” Percy lied. Truth be told, he had quite enjoyed himself throughout the experience.
“Alright fine,” Roxi sighed. “You win. I’ll give it a day, but that’s it,” she added as another one of Draco’s cries reached their ears again. “I am going down there at the end of my shift tomorrow night, weather you like it or not Percy.” With that, she stormed away, leaving Percy as happy as ever.
But the same could not be said for Draco, who was anything but happy at the moment. His mind was tormenting with all different possibilities as he slowly came to realize one thing; Percy Weasley was nothing but a big fat, obnoxious, manipulative liar. He has set up this while entire thing. He had single-handedly saw to it that Draco felt bad enough about himself to want to end it with Roxi, and then, unbelievably, he had somehow managed to make Roxi fall for him.
But Roxi was not the only party to be at blame in this situation, not when it was Percy who seemed to be the criminal mastermind behind it all. Percy had told him that he planned to make advances on Roxi, and that there was nothing he could do about it. But Draco had never expected that one to be a battle he would actually win. He thought he knew Roxi better than that. He thought that her hatred for the stuck-up Weasley prat was the same as his, but apparently he had been wrong about that too.
Lies, lies, all if it was lies, nothing but lies, his mind repeated. And I believed every goddamned one of them! I was a fool, a fool, a complete and total fool! This had to have been Percy’s plan all along; to get me out of the way so that he could have a shot at her. And I fell for it, I fell right into his trap. I’m such an idiot! And then Draco suddenly screamed the last four words of his thought aloud, the sound of which was slightly muffled by the pillow his face was still buried in.
“No you’re not,” a small voice disagreed with him from some place far, far away. Draco was no longer in his right state of mind anymore. He could barely make sense of the world that was now spinning around him. “You are not an idiot, Draco Malfoy,” the voice rang out again, more clearly this time. “On the contrary, you are far from it, in my opinion.”
“Shut it,” he commanded, barley registering the fact that it was Kireonna who was now speaking to him.
“You have finally seen what I have been wishing I could tell you all along,” she went on, ignoring his demand. “I was awake that night that Percy came down here and gave you the bread and water. Now I know you’re not going to believe me, because you will not remember the whole incident, but Percy drugged you that night. Draco, I witnessed the while thing. He told you of his plans, just so that he could laugh at your sorrowful reaction, and then he made you to forget that your conversation that night ever took place.”
Although Draco was stunned, a small part of him still believed her, or wanted to at least. “What conversation are you talking about?” he croaked.
“The one where Percy admitted that he was planning to separate you and Roxi. He practically confessed that he was purposefully working to drive a wedge between you two. He said that he had been talking her out of coming down here to see you regularly like she used to, because he knew how much it would bother you to be ignored. Then he lied and told you that it was her choice not to come down here.”
Draco’s sorrow quickly turned to anger at once. “So you’ve known about it this entire time?” he yelled. “Why the hell are you waiting until just now to tell me about all of this, Kireonna? I mean, what is the point in speaking up now, when it is already too late to change anything?”
“I wanted to tell you what I knew so badly,” she insisted, “you’ve got to believe me. But when you woke up the next day, unable to remember a thing from the night before, I was far too weak to speak by that time. I had already used up the last of my energy to warn Roxi. She came down here to see you while you were unconscious by the drugs that Percy had put you on. I told her what I had overheard, I tried to ward her that Percy Weasley was a liar, but she would not hear a negative word against him. She thought that I had been instructed by you to tell her all of that, and then she accused me of being the one who was lying. All I wanted in return for the information I had to share with her was food, but she stormed out of here before we could even get to that. She was so sure that she was the one who was right, and that I was the one who was wrong.”
“Yeah, well, that’s Roxi for you,” Draco sighed. “But you know something, I think you’re right. Now that you mention it, I do sort of remember waking up feeling like there was something that was just... just not right that day. It was weird because I couldn’t remember falling asleep at all the night before, but I just shrugged it off an ignored it though. I figured that it was most likely caused by the fact that all of my days were sort of beginning to run together down here at that point.”
“Which is an incredibly easy mistake to make,” Kireonna said, “and probly one that Percy had been counting on from the start. Like I said, I desperately wanted to tell you. It broke my heard to have to watch you end things with her, knowing all along that it was Percy’s lies that had caused you to feel like you had no other choice. I, however, was not in any position to do any kind of speaking.”
“Which reminds me,” Draco cut in. “If you couldn’t speak then, then why is it that you seem to be having no trouble talking to me right now? If you were so weak a week ago, then what has changed between now and then? How is it that you suddenly have all of this energy all of a sudden?”
Kireonna hung her head. “I’m sorry, but I am afraid I cannot answer that at this current time,” she said.
“What the hell is that supposed to mean?” Draco demanded. “For once, can’t you just stop speaking in riddles and tell me exactly what is going on here?”
“No,” she forcefully said. “No I cannot, because that could potentially jeopardize the entire plan.”
“Plan? What plan?”
“I have already told you way too much,” she said shamefully.
“Kireonna, you had better tell me what the hell is going in here,” he ordered. “After everything I have been through, I believe I have a right to know. So tell me what it is you know.”
“There is a plan, Draco,” she began. “A plan to get you out of here. It has already been put into effect, and that is why I have been forbidden to speak about any of it to you.”
“Why are you suddenly well now when we both know that you were sick before?” he asked.
“This is why,” she answered, holding up her hands. “The metal that is around my wrists and ankles right now is normal iron. There are no traces of Zirconium in this. The only thing that I am wearing right now that still limits my abilities is this necklace.”
“How did you get the metals switched?”
“The one who came up with the plan was down here early this morning. He switched out my braces while you were still sleeping and he told me what I must do,” she answered.
“Oh yeah,” he snapped, “and what might that be?”
“To rest,” she replied, “and to recover as much of my strength as I possibly can before tonight.”
“Why, what’s tonight?” Draco further demanded. “And who exactly is it that you are working for?”
“I cannot tell you any of that just yet,” she repeated. “Already, I have said too much. If the dark Lord were to come down here and grace us with his presence right now, all he would have to do is take one look into your mind and all would be ruined. I will not risk all that he has worked for in the last few weeks just to satisfy your curiosity for the next 12 hours. You can wait. Patience truly is a virtue you know.”
“You’re starting to sound like a broken record, you know that?” Draco snorted. “I mean who knows how many times I’ve heard that one before.”
“I am sorry,” she said, and he could tell that she really did mean it. Kireonna closed her eyes and breathed in a deep breath from her nostrils. “Goodness that soup smells good,” she whispered. “If you don’t mind me asking, are you going to eat that?”
Draco shot her a look that suggested she was crazy. “What, that soup? Of course not! I seemed to have lost my appetite after watching all that, so no. I think I’ll have to pass this time. I don’t see how anyone in their right mind would even want to eat after witnessing a monstrosity like that.”
“Well then,” she said cautiously, “would you mind if I ate it then?”
“Oh no, not at all,” he sarcastically snapped. “Give me a second and I’ll just get right up and walk it over to you. How in the world do you suppose you are going to be able to... reach... it...” Draco’s words trailed off and were lost as he gazed in awe at the bowl of soup. It had risen off the stand all on its own and had begun to float in the air, slowly making its way towards Kireonna.
“You just did magic,” Draco gasped as it stopped in front of her and she reached out through the bars of her cell to take hold of it.
“Shhh!” she commanded harshly. “Do you want the Dark Lord to hear you?”
“Well I’m sorry for acting so suprized,” he snapped. “It’s just that it’s not everyday someone who is supposed to be sick and helpless can suddenly send things floating across the room you know. How in the hell did you do that? And if you can do magic, then why in Merlin’s name are you still here, why don’t you just leave now and save yourself?”
“I can do some magic because, as I have already shown you, my braces have bee switched. However, my powers are still limited due to this necklace,” she answered. “Only the Dark Lord can remove it, and it is for that reason that I have chosen to stay here. For if I were to leave, I would never truly be free so long as this dreadful thing is still limiting my abilities.”
“So does this have something to do with the plan then?” Draco asked.
“Yes,” she told him, “but I will not discuss anything more on this matter with you. Please Draco, I am begging you, just let it go. All of the answers you are searching for will come to you in time.”
Draco slowly turned over to take up his usual position of laying flat on the cot, looking up at the ceiling. He decided to adhere to her request and speak of the plan no more. But even though he said nothing else to her, there were still so many questions running through his head. His mind was working so fast right now, it was a wonder he was even able to think straight.
But above all the other thoughts running through his mind right now, there was one that stood out among the rest; Kireonna’s earlier statement. There is a plan, Draco, a plan to get you out of here, and it has already been initiated... By the sound of things, rescue was coming at last. Within the next twelve hours even, if what Kireonna had just said was accurate. Draco closed his eyes and took a deep breath, forcing the image of Percy’s hands all over Roxi to evacuate his mind. He concentrated instead on this mysterious plan and began to come up with as many different possibilities as he could think of.
Thoughts of Roxi turning into a Death Eater and visions of the Order breaking in to save him filled his head as his eyelids began to grow heavy. The last thought that ran through his head was Kireonna and what she could possibly have to do with all of this. And then he finally closed his eyes and allowed sleep to overtake him at last...
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