Chapter 28 : |Chapter 25| The Edge of Right and Wrong
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Voldemort was sitting in his black, high-backed leather chair waiting for her when she walked in. “Ah, Zarooni, you are ten minutes early,” he said in surprise. “I must say, I was expecting you to be late.”
Roxi was, if possible, almost as shocked as he was. She found it difficult to believe that Voldemort had left them alone to bury Draco under an hour ago, because to her it felt like it had been hours ago. “I-I thought I was late too,” she stammered. “Um, I could leave and then come back if you’d like.”
“No, no, that won’t be necessary,” he assured her, gesturing towards the chair beside him. “Please, sit.”
Roxi obediently did as she was told, unsure of what was coming next. “You asked for me to come here, my Lord?” she said uncertainly.
“Yes,” he answered, “and I suppose you are wondering why.” Roxi nodded. “Well, Zarooni, it’s simple really. I am wondering where it is you are planning to go next.”
“W-what do you mean, sir?”
“You’re a smart girl,” he commended her. “Surely you’ve figured out by now that you are free to leave here whenever you wish.” Roxi was still staring at him with a highly confused look on her face. “Meaning that your contract with me is no longer valid, given the current circumstances with Draco and all,” he explained further.
“Oh,” she said as what the Dark Lord was getting at finally clicked with her. “I… I really don’t know where I will go from here, sir,” she answered his question at last. “I mean, I guess I was just hoping that I could stay here for a while and continue the work I have been doing.”
“Well for starters, you could always go back to your job at the Ministry,” he reminded her.
“Yeah right,” Roxi laughed. “I haven’t showed up there in weeks! I’m sure they’ve already fired me by now, and probably replaced me even. I can’t go back there.”
“Why don’t you just go running back to the Order then?” he asked.
“Please,” exclaimed Roxi. “McGonagall would never let me back in there after what I did. I betrayed them when I gave you all that information, remember? Add that on top of the most recent -erm- relations I’ve had with Molly and Arthur’s most hated son, and you’ll see why I cannot possibly go back there.”
“Well why don’t you go back to where you came from then?” the Dark Lord asked of her again.
This time, Roxi hung her head in shame. “And then have to confess to my sick and dying father; whose final wish it is to see me succeeded in my dream of making a difference in the world by becoming a top Auror, that I have failed? I think not. I could not bear to see the look of disappointment on his face if I were to go back there and tell him how badly I’ve messed up the great opportunity that I had been given. Not to mention the fact that I would then have to listen to my Aunt Monica say ‘’I told you so’ over and over again. She would never let me live it down that I messed this up, because she was against my coming here from the start. I cannot go back to my home empty-handed, that’s for sure. I need to accomplish something, anything, before I can go back there again.”
“Well you’ll need to think of somewhere you can go,” he told her, “because you cannot stay here for very much longer.”
“What?” she almost shouted. “You mean you’re kicking me out? But I’ve just told you, I have nowhere else to go! I had hoped that you would just let me stay here and continue the work that I have been doing.”
“Then I regret to inform you that your assistance here is no longer required,” Voldemort said unsympathetically. “In fact, it never really was. I only came up with that job to have a reason for keeping you around. I never had a maid before you, therefore I am certain that my Death Eaters and I can get along just fine again without you.”
“Great, so no one wants me around now,” she cried. “That’s just great!” Roxi had been on the verge of tears for over an hour now, so there was no stopping the stream of them that came flowing out now.
“I never said I didn’t want you around,” he corrected her. “On the contrary, I see much great potential when I look at you Miss Zarooni. I want for nothing more than to keep you around, however, the job that you are requesting to stay here and do is no longer needed.”
“You’re only saying that to make me feel better,” she accused him.
“I am the Dark Lord,” he said proudly, “and Lord Voldemort does not care about how anyone feels.”
“You do have a good point,” she admitted.
“You say you came here to help make a difference, correct?” Roxi nodded. “Well, you work for the ministry, and you’ve been a part of the order, so it must be apparent to you then as to which side is winning this war.”
“They all say that you are,” she answered, “because you always seem to be one step ahead of them.”
“That I am,” he said. “Or at least I used to be when I had Percy positioned within the ministry. Things were much easier back then. But I just wanted you to acknowledge that I am, in fact, winning.”
“I have never denied it, sir.”
“Now that we are on the same page then,” he went on slyly, “I would seem to think that one might want to be on the winning side of a war. You say that you came here to make a difference, Roxi, and I believe that you could make a great difference indeed.”
Roxi couldn’t help but be curious. “How?”
‘Think about it,” he urged her. “You are a Ministry trained Auror who just so happens to be a Metamorphmagus as well. I am certain that if you were to go back there right now and explain to them that you were captured by me they would immediately give you your job back, Miss Zarooni, because you are a priceless rarity. You have the capability to turn the tide on either side in this war, Roxi, but the decision as to whose side that is, ultimately lies with you.”
“Why are you telling me all of this?”
“Well, you said that you came here to make a difference, and that you did not want to return to your homeland empty handed,” he answered. “You said that you needed to do something, anything, to gain recognition before you could go back there - your words, not mine.”
“I know that,” she spat. “But what’s that got to do with anything?”
“I just wanted you to know that I think you could be great, Roxi,” he answered illusively. “Like I said; it would not be difficult to convince the Minister to give you your job back. If you were to go and get your Auror position back, you could always stay here with me and have Percy’s old position as spy.”
Roxi shook her head. “I-I don’t know. I don’t really think I could stay here, it's too painful.”
“You were just asking me if you could though. Why change your mind now that I have offered to give you what you want?”
“Because it’s my fault he’s dead,” she suddenly blurted. “I made Draco want to commit suicide. It was me! I did it, and I know you’re upset that he took his own life; it’s not that hard to tell. I just don’t understand why you would still have me working for you when I am the one responsible for his death.”
Voldemort was silent for a moment to give Roxi a chance to compose herself a little. “You are not the one responsible,” he finally said. “I have done a fair bit of research on the more recent events involving you, Draco, and Percy, and I know what has really been going on around here.”
“What do you mean?” she asked again.
“Take, for example, the fact that Draco only broke up with you because Percy convinced him that he was not good enough for you. Where else do you suppose Draco got that idea from?” Voldemort had risen from his chair and was now pacing back and forth in front of her. “Did you know that Percy went down there the next night, after convincing you not to do so, and then told Draco that you did not want to see nor speak to him ever again?”
“But that’s not true!” Roxi exclaimed. “I did want to go down there and see him. I wanted to try and work things out, but Percy told me that I should give him a day or two to cool off, so --”
“-- And so that was what you did,” Voldemort finished her sentence for her. “I already know this. But Roxi, I am telling you that Percy Weasley has been behind all of this every single step of the way. He played both of you and you and Draco both so easily fell into his cunning traps. He brags, constantly, to me about how simple it was to tear the two of you apart because you were both so incredibly gullible and oblivious to everything that was going on around you.”
“No,” Roxi was shaking her head in disbelief. “I was the one who kissed Percy, that was my idea.”
“True,” Voldemort agreed. “He did tell me that he wasn’t quite expecting you to do all that. However, he was trying to push you to do something dramatic, which you inevitably did.”
“So you mean to say that the real reason Draco broke up with me was all because of Percy’s lies?”
“That is exactly what I am saying,” he agreed, glad that his talk with her was going according to plan. “I would also like to add that since he pushed you into the kiss, I believe that Draco’s death is on Percy hands and not yours.”
The sorrow and grief that Roxi had been feeling for days now was quickly starting to fade into anger and malice. And as the full meaning of what the Dark Lord was saying slowly started to sink in, Roxi found herself wanting nothing more than to find Percy Weasley and to strangle him.
“If it were me personally,” Voldemort continued speaking, “I would want to get revenge on him.”
“You think I don’t want exactly that?” she snapped. “I just don’t know how best to go about it right now.”
“Oh, I can think of several ways that you could easily get back at Percy Weasley,” he smirked.
“And why on earth would you be wiling to help me seek revenge on your most precious Death Eater?”
The Dark lord shrugged. “I like you Zarooni, and as I have said, I see great potential within you. Percy needs to be put in his place, for I believe that it will help with his quickly growing ego. The boy is beginning to become too full of himself and I cannot risk him getting the impression that he is any better than I am. A bit of humility would do him some good, I think.”
Roxi raised an eyebrow skeptically at him. “What did you have in mind?”
Voldemort studied her for a moment. “Forget it,” he said suddenly. “You wouldn’t have it in you.”
“I have just learned that Percy is the one responsible for taking everything I have cared about away from me,” she argued. “So I think that I could do just about anything it would take to make him suffer right now, no matter what the cost.”
“And I never suggested that you wouldn’t,” he replied smoothly. “It’s just that, well, I don’t think you’re quite evil and conniving enough to work with me on this one.”
“What would I have to do to make Percy Weasley suffer?” she asked again, slowly annunciating each and every word. “You know him a hell of a lot better than I do. You know what makes him tic, and I trust your judgment well enough to know that you would know how best to get underneath of his skin, my Lord.”
“Well the solution is simple, really,” Voldemort said. “The best way to get back at Percy would be to do to him what he did to you; take away the one thing that he loves more than any other.”
“And what could a heartless, soulless bastard like him possibly be capable of loving?” Roxi snapped.
“Power,” the Dark Lord answered simply. “Percy Weasley is obsessed with it. He will do anything to gain more power, because with it comes authority and control.”
“But how am I supposed to take something like that away from him?”
“By simply becoming better than he is at his very own job,” he answered. “You would have to beat him at everything, steal my favor away from him, and even become more manipulative than he is in order to beat him at his own game.”
At hearing this, Roxi grew incredibly still and silent. She was positive that she would be able to beat Percy at his own game; there was no doubt about it. There had been a time, not too long ago, that she had been just as evil, spiteful, deceiving, controlling, manipulative and uncaring as many of the Death Eaters were. She had been a bully of sorts all throughout school, and people back home had known for a very long time now not to cross her. There was a darkness within her of which she was fully aware of, and no doubt that Lord Voldemort was now fully aware of it too. Perhaps that was what he meant when he said that he saw great potential within her.
But Roxi had chosen to shut that part of her out a few years ago, when her father had become ill. She had seen the error of her ways and realized that fighting and violence was not always the answer. It was a lesson that she had had to learn rather quickly in order to help both herself and her family get by. However, no matter how hard she tried to push it aside, it was impossible to just change overnight and bits of darkness were always closing in on her. She even found that some of the twisted and evil things the Death Eaters were doing to be occasionally funny, and she was naturally curious about the torture curse every time she witnessed it being performed, even when it was being done on her.
Yes, Roxi could not deny that she had been longing for some time now to lash out at the world for being so harsh to her whilst she was making an effort to change her ways. To her, life was not fair. It was hard, depressing and unjust; for the world was a cruel place indeed. Thoughts such as these were constantly consuming her, especially as of late.
She had never known her mother because she’d died giving birth to her, and now her father was sick with a cancer that was not curable, so it was only a matter of time before he died too. She had come here to get away from everything and to start a new life for herself. That was when she met Draco. And even though she told herself that it was a bad idea, she allowed herself to get close to him, and even fall in love with him. With Draco she had begun to think that perhaps the universe wasn’t such a bad place after all. With him, her outlook on life had become different. Draco had been her second chance, and he was gone now. The cruel and evil fates of this world had taken him away from her, and it was all she could do to stop herself screaming and lashing out.
“I know I have already asked you this several times before,” Lord Voldemort’s voice spoke up again. Roxi shook her head to clear it and blinked a few times. She had been so lost in her own thoughts that it took her a moment to recall what was going on around her. “But Roxi, I cannot help asking you this again. I think that you would make a fine Death Eater, one that would even make Percy jealous and have him fearing for his title. Percy has felt threatened by your presence here ever since I first took an interest in you and that is because he knows, as well as I do, what a beneficial addition to our team you would make.”
And there it was; the offer he had been waiting to make to her this entire time now. But Roxi was not thrown off by it at all, for she had been expecting him to ask her this right from the very start. And the time had now come for her to make a final decision. Would she choose to join him or not?
“I-I don’t know,” she said unsurely. “I don’t know what the right thing to do is anymore.”
“Join me,” the Dark Lord said temptingly. “Join me, Roxi Zaroo, and together we can win this war. Join me and you will instantly be able to make Percy Weasley jealous. Imagine the look on his face when I announce that you will be becoming one of my Death Eaters. I think it would be priceless, don’t you agree?”
Roxi couldn’t help but smirk as she imagined this. “Yeah, it would be,” she agreed.
“And that right there shows that there is some good that can already come of it,” he went on bribing her. “Just join me, and I promise you that you will be making a difference. You said so yourself that this is the only place you have left to stay, but the only way I could possibly allow you to live here is if you will agree to take on the Dark Mark and officially become one of us.”
“I want to say yes, I really do,” she said. Roxi was not lying, for that was what she really wanted at the time. She wanted to just say to hell with everything and just give up her life. It would be so much easier than having to deal with everything else that was going on right now.
“Then just say it and it shall be done,” Voldemort urged her. “Think about it… with me, you will never have to hide any part of yourself ever again. With me you can unleash your anger out upon the world at any time. You will never have to hold your feelings in ever again, for I would want you to let that vengeance inside of you come pouring out. It’s time you show the world who you really are, Roxi.”
Roxi could not deny that what he was offering her did sound pretty tempting. Her heart had been hardened upon learning that if it were not for Percy, Draco would still be alive. His death could have been prevented, had Percy Weasley kept his nose out of her business.
Voldemort could tell that he was slowly starting to win her over now. “Join me and you will never have to worry about anything ever again,” he continued. “Together we can win this war, and then together we can start anew. Join me, Roxi, and you will never have to feel alone again. You will be a part of a team, the winning team at that.” He then stretched out a hand to her. “Join me,” he said again.
Her breath had caught as the Dark lord was speaking. She had always heard stories about the pictures he could paint in one’s mind with his words, but she had never actually believed that someone could possibly be so convincing. Now however, she was thoroughly convinced that what Lord Voldemort was saying would literally be her reality, should she say yes to him.
“It’s not like I have anywhere else to go, or anyone else to turn to,” she said miserably. “And it would be worth it if I could stick around here and make Percy pay for what he’s done.”
“Yes,” the Dark Lord agreed eagerly.
Roxi was teetering on the edge of right and wrong, but her mind was finally made up. She would no longer hide in the shadows and pretend to be something she was not. There was a reason she was so keen to know more and more about the Dark Arts, and that was because she was fascinated by them.
“Alright then, fine. I‘ll do it,” she said after careful consideration. “I will join you.”
The Dark Lord studied her for a moment. “Are you sure that this is what you want?” he asked.
“Are you serious?” she exclaimed. “You spent all this time talking me into it, and once I finally give in you ask me if I am sure?”
“Well I don’t want you getting cold feet half way through this, like the Malfoys did, and then decide that your heart’s just not in it anymore,” he explained.
“Look, I want this, alright,” she said as reassuringly as she could, extending her arm out to him. “You’ve already talked me into it, so just shake my hand before I change my mind again.”
Voldemort took her hand and shook it. “Alright then Zarooni, I guess we have ourselves a deal.”
When he just shook her hand and then let go of it, she looked up at him in confusion. “Wait, that’s it?”
“You were expecting something more?” he replied.
“Well I thought I’d be getting the Dark Mark or something at least,” she said.
“Oh you will,” he assured her. “But adding a new member has always been somewhat of a ritual around here. Not only that, but I thought we’d make an even bigger deal out of initiating you in order to make Percy all the more jealous.’
Roxi smiled deviously at him. “Lord Voldemort, I’m starting to find that I like the way your mind works the more and more I talk with you,” she said.
“Don’t you ever call me that again,” he snapped at her. “Just because your title has changed now, does not mean that the rules have changed as well. It’s still master or sir as far as you are concerned.”
“Alright, alright, I’m sorry. Sir,” she added. “It won’t happen again.”
“See to it that it doesn’t,” he ordered. “Your initiation shall take place next week, on the night of the fool moon. Make sure that when that time comes you are still one-hundred percent sure that being a Death Eater is what you want to do for the rest of your life, because there is no turning back once it’s done,” he warned.
“I will do that sir,” she promised. “But what should I do until then?”
“In the meantime,” he answered, “I want you to just continue about your business as usual. Keep up with the cleaning and make sure that everyone is well fed; you should know the drill by now. After you officially have become one of my Death Eaters, I will give you your proper wand back and that is when the real work shall begin.”
Roxi bowed before him. “Thank you, sir,” she said. “May I be excused now?”
“Yes,” he answered. “Go and get some rest. I know you’ve had a hard day, but don’t expect that I will go easy on you just because your feelings are hurt. Lord Voldemort does not pity the weak.”
“Understood, sir,” she said unwillingly.
Roxi knew that by saying that, the Dark Lord was basically telling her that, like Lucius, she would not be given any time to grieve over Draco. But she did her best not to let it bother her as she headed back to her bed, for she knew that she was going to have to get used to orders like this if she was ever going to make it here. She had no one else to turn to, nowhere else to go, and nothing left to lose. This was her life now and, some way or another, she would have to convince herself that it would all turn out okay in the end. She would just have to force herself to believe that she was making the right decision.
Roxi knew that she could never go back to being happy again, not after so much bad had happened as a result of her own actions. She had made her bed, and now it was time for her to lie in it...
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