It had been three days since I had been given the assigment of guarding the elemental witch.
So far, so good as all she had done was slept. I had prepared the Shrieking Shack as best as could into some semblance of a home, and placed safeguards around the perimeter. No one was getting in or out of here unless that someone was me.
She lye before me on a four poster bed. I had removed her dress and heels and she slept in only a black velvet camisole and underwear. Her long auburn hair fell all around her like a heavy curtain. Very gently, I ran my finger along the collar she wore. I felt her tremble involuntary under my hand.
Sitting on the bed I could not help but stare. She had this whole tortured beauty thing going on. She was as bruised and battered outside as I was on the inside.
Pushing the covers off to the floor I lay beside her. She rolled onto her stomach and I delicately traced my fingers along her spine. In this light it was easy to forget that only three days ago I had seen her murder her own father with little more than a thought.
I have no idea how long I had been watching her sleep. Could have been an hour, could have been a week.
But she groaned alive and weakly sat up.
It felt like my whole body was lost in a heavy fog. Like a suppressive jungle I had to fight my way through. I thought for a brief moment that I felt a tender touch that left me all ashiver.
I felt like my eyes were being held shut by some unseen force but finally opened them.
At first it startled me to realize that the bed I was lying on was much softer than my own, and the room was quite a bit bigger.
Slowly, painstakingly the memories came back to me. I had been sold by my own father. He sold me for a few gold galleons and now he was dead. He was dead because I killed him.
Then I remembered the man In the chair. The man that wasn’t quite a man at all.
I looked wildly around the room, only to see a tall being in a cloak and a mask.
“Good Morrow, witch”
A voice spoke coldly. What struck me was how young the voice sounded. Surely this was just a nightmare.
I closed my eyes and opened them again, only to find the figure still there.
I Pinched my upper arm painfully but to no avail.
“Where am I?”
I asked in a trembly voice.
“Your temporary home”
“Who are you?”
“I am no one of consequence”
I knew right away it wasn’t the man in the chair. The voice sounded like that of a young man. It had almost a sweet, musical quality to it.
“Why do you wear that mask? Take it off so I can look into the face of my captor”
I reached up towards the mask and the person jumped
“No!” he screamed. I was sure now it was a he.
“why do you wear that mask?”
“why do you wear that collar?” he retorted and I bowed my head in shame.
“I wear this collar so no one gets hurt”
Tears welled in my eyes. Even though my father was an unimaginable bastard, I knew he didn’t deserve to die like that.
“What do you want with me?” I asked
“I want nothing of you. It is my master who ordered me to keep you. I imagine he wants to twist you and use your power to his advantage.”
“Well, then as long as that’s all”
“sorry, princess, A liar I am not. The truth isn’t always pretty but that’s all you’ll get from me”
“thank you for that”
“for the truth. My whole life feels like a series of secrets and lies”
“join the club” the man muttered bitterly.
Just then my stomach growled loudly.
The man moved towards me. He grabbed my wrists and with a bit of rope tied them to the bedpost.
“what did you do that for?”
“I have to go for a second, to get you food and adequate clothing. Is there anything else you may require?”
I was awed. No one had ever asked me what I needed or wanted. There was only one thing I could think of.
“a book or two would be nice.”
One of my biggest secrets is that I had often snuck into father’s library and taught myself to read. It was the only means of escape I had.
While the man was gone I kept yanking at the ropes on my wrist trying to free them. The rope left angry red burn marks on the tender inner side of my wrist.
Just then, my vision went a little blurry and a tall blonde man shimmered before them.
“Hello again, my love.”
I Smiled my first genuine smile of the day.
I must have dreamt the man up when I was very young, because since I was a child, whenever The going got tough he appeared to me. First as a foppish boy, and as I grew so did he.
Now he was a being of such great beauty you could weep at it. He never spoke. He was just there beside me. Always there every time
I needed him. He moved over to the edge of the bed and I felt the power of his gaze upon me. He had eyes the color of liquid Mercury and the intensity of his stare upon you could practically burn up the world. It was under his comforting spell, his invisible kiss that I finally allowed myself the release I needed, like a balm to my soul.
My head dropped and I cried.
I cried for myself, for my father, for my mother, for the world.
Choleric tears rushed my face. I let go and for the first time let myself feel. After what seemed like several hours but must have really been a few minutes I looked at to see the tall man standing in the doorway. At least he had the grace to pretend he hadn’t just caught me bawling like a baby. He closed the distance between us in three long legged steps. He knelt beside the bed and untied the ropes around my wrists. He looked down at the raw bleeding marks the rough rope had left.
“Really sorry about that” he said
From his pocket he pulled out a little tin and opened it. The smell of spearmint filled the air.
It was almost tender the way he rubbed a soothing balm over the spots. They instantly vanished.
He nodded. “I made it myself. I have had many occasions where I needed to heal small abrasions. I’ve a pretty good hand at potions”
I sat with baited breath as I studied his hands. They were graceful and very white, and soft as if he had never worked a day in his life. His nails were actually manicured! They were the complete opposite of my own which were calloused from scrubbing floors and my nails were ragged stubs bitten to the quick.
We sat in awkward silence for a moment before I found the will to speak.
“Why do you do it?”
“serve that.. That.. Thing”
He stood and shrugged, holding his spine very straight and I knew I had offended him. He was trying really hard to act nonchalant but I knew I had tapped into something that was eating away at him.
“Money, Power, Prestige.. The norm”
I stood up and faced him. Even at my five foot nine he towered over me.
“I think your lying”
“Do you now, Princess? What do you know about me or him or anything else for that matter.”
He shoved me and I fell back into the bed and he tossed a little white bag at me. Whatever was inside of it smelled like heaven.
I opened the bag and inside there was a box with something that looked like a sandwich and some long white things.
“What is this?” I asked
“Lunch. What does it look like?”
“I’ve never seen anything like this before”
At this he laughed. It was dry and sarcastic but strangely enough I was intrigued by the sound of it.
“Your telling me you’ve never had a Burger and chips before?”
“No, never.. At home I grew all our own food and did all the cooking”
“You better brace yourself Princess, your gonna love this”
I hesitantly took a tiny bite of the sandwich. He was right, It was the best thing I had ever tasted. In a matter of seconds I had eaten ever bite, including the crumbs that had fallen into the silver wrapper.
The man was still chortling at me.
“Now You probably want to clean up and change clothes. Not that I’m not enjoying the show” His licentious gaze drifted to my exposed white cleavage. I blushed and pulled the blanket up to cover my chest.
“Yes that would be lovely. Now if you’d point me to the kitchen, I’ll boil a kettle and clean up”
“Boil a kettle?” he looked confused
“for my bath”
“I made sure to fix the plumbing in this dump, so we can have hot and cold running water. Washroom is through there”
He pointed to a door and I got up and headed in that direction. Inside of there was a big claw footed tub. He came in behind me and twisted the funny looking knobs. At once water came out from the spicket and filled the tub. He took his leave of me and I took of my undergarments and sunk into the tub. The hot water relaxed my aching muscles and I sunk into the tub. He had poured some liquid into the water which smelled like peonies and made big white frothy bubbles. I never wanted to leave this spot. It seemed odd that if it weren’t for the fear of the thing in the chair and what he would do to her, being kept prisoner was better than being at home.
I don’t like this one bit. I kept repeating to myself. There was something in that girls voice that stirred things deep within me. Like a memory of a dream that resonated in my soul but I just couldn’t place. I didn’t like it one bit. I was used to feeling discomfited at this point, but this felt different. I don’t know why it got to me so much, but it did.
I stiffened as she came from the washroom. The clothes I had chosen perfectly fit her tall willowy body. It was a black cashmere sweater with a low scooped neckline and black satin slacks with bright green satin ballet flats.
Her waist length hair was wet and fell in heavy unruly curls.
I hated that my breath momentarily caught in my throat at the sight of her. There was no denying the witch was beautiful. But all I needed to break her spell was the memory of her hair and skin glowing deadly crimson as fiery death poured from her palms. I shuddered under the memory and opened an old medical bag at my feet. From it popped a massive old book case. She didn’t tell me what she read so I grabbed a big variety from the Malfoy Manor library. From Faerie tales to how to books to the most dark spell books I could find.
She looked almost like a happy child as she ran her fingers over the spines.
“Thank you” she said a little too sincerely .
“Your welcome, Princess”
Her face grew hot and she looked to the floor
“Please don’t call me that”
“Have it your way, witch”
“My name is Rowena”
“very well, Rowena then”
I could tell she was waiting for me to tell her my name. I couldn’t even if I wanted to. It was better for me to remain detached.
She turned away and selected a book on French cooking and sank into one of the dusty old armchairs. I stared a moment longer before going down the stairs and began preparing dinner. Normally, I would be angry at being forced to do a servants work. But I couldn’t very well bring a servant here when the dark lord had forbade anyone else to know the elemental’s location. Besides, busying my hands made it easier to take my mind off of things. The hell at home, the intriguing and terrifying being upstairs, the state of war. It was all temporarily erased as I chopped peppers and stirred clam sauce. I only wished it was that easy to keep trouble at bay. For as I got lost in the moment, trouble began to brew just outside my sight. I should have known. After all, trouble always seemed to find Draco Malfoy, did it not?
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