Chapter 16 : Dragon Awakening
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I’m still trying to get the hang of this again. Please be patient. This chapter is a lot shorter than any of the others, I thought about making it longer, but it just felt right to end it where I did. I’m pretty sure you are ready to see him after his long absence, I know I was.
Two months earlier….
drip, drip, drip, drip, drip, drip, drip, drip, drip, drip…..
It is impossible for him to keep track of time; it seems as if he is in a time warp. Nothing has changed. Time stands so still that sometimes it seems as if no time has passed at all, but he knows that is just wishful thinking. Too much time has passed. Months, years, lifetimes have slipped through the windows of time since he came here.
His legacy was once one of opulence and advantage, hailing from a long line of majestically proud pure-bloods. But that life is a distant and dim memory. Attempting to recall his previous life is like trying to catch smoke in his hands.
Now his heritage is one of squalor and pestilence. He has dined in grand mansions, eaten off the finest china, and imbibed the most coveted wines. He and his friends, witches and wizards from affluent and wealthy families, had viewed their lifestyle as a right not a privilege.
Now he slurps his meals from a tin bowl whilst sitting on the cold floor with a cup of water as his only beverage. The only companions he has are of the four-legged variety, the ones who valiantly attempt to take his meager portions.
His once strong and lithe body shows the evidence of numerable beatings and lack of proper nourishment, but the scars that hurt the most are not visible to any eye. His piercing eyes, the bits of flint that peer out through the inflamed lids, are all that remain unchanged. The glint in them is the only indication that the man behind the battered flesh is not completely dead. The steely glare has always been enough to keep all the inmates away from him and enough to make nearly all the guards give him a wide berth. Nearly all.
One hundred sixty three. Two more than yesterday. Nine more than last week. Pretty soon the entire ceiling will be covered in cracks. The pungent moisture that seeps through the plaster, the cause of the insufferable dripping that harmonizes with his rampant thoughts, will eventually cause the whole thing to come down on his head. The sooner that happens the better it will be for him. The dim lighting provided by the quickly disappearing candle on the wall is the closest thing to sunlight he has seen in…? Was it a month since he was been put in isolation? Two? Maybe it was longer.
Lying on the tattered rag that passed as a bed, he attempts to remember. It was a Tuesday when he broke the guard’s nose. He knows this because they had been allowed to exercise in the yard and that only happens on Tuesdays, but which Tuesday? The days all bleed together in this place.
That asshole Marcelo had been relentless with his fucking remarks about what should be done to former Death Eaters and their families. Months of his random assaults, months of listening to him laugh as he described the damage he could do if they really left him alone in a room with him.
Marcelo may have been saved a trip to the hospital if only he had not made the mistake of giving a graphic narrative of what he would do if he was locked in a room with this former Death Eater’s mother. The bloody git didn’t know what hit him. Asshole. It was worth the thrashing Marcelo’s mates had given him before tossing him into this tiny, forgotten corner of Azkaban. Each blow he had received from their boots, fists or clubs had brought him closer to the end, and he knows his days are numbered. He feels his body giving up.
He is certain that they cracked a rib or two because any attempt he makes to move causes pain to reverberate through his entire body. Whatever damage they’ve done has caused an infection somewhere because he feels the fever; it’s as if he is on fire. It would be cause for concern if he cared about his own well-being, but the truth is that death would be a welcome relief and an end to his anguish.
On his makeshift bed he fights to keep from sleeping. Sleep brings dreams. Dreams bring her, and she is too good to be in this hell hole, even if it is just in his head. Every night the same struggle, the same results. He sleeps and dreams of her. Her unruly mane spread over satin pillows, her delicate fingers caressing his face, her caramel eyes beseeching him to stay. Vivid dreams that allow him to smell the fragrance of her skin. The dreams are beautifully torturous because he inevitably has to wake up and lose her all over again. Each awakening is more painful than the last. That is why he continues this battle against unconsciousness, but sleep is always the victor and it is not any different today. Before long, the tightening tendons of slumber pull him in tighter than ever before.
The dreams are jumbled, an array of colors and pain. He can’t find her. Her voice seems to be coming from a great distance. He knows that his mind is playing tricks on him because she can’t be here, he has died and gone to hell for his sins, there is no escape from the inferno. Flames are licking at his heels. Heat and pain are his constant companions.
There she is…he can see her through the veils. Why won’t she come to him? Oh Merlin! She’s fading. Where has his voice gone? Why can’t he call to her?
Never has there been a darker night, a darkness that makes his breath catch and his chest hurt. His heart anxiously pounds to a cadence set by the pulsing pain wracking his entire being. What kind of poison is ripping through his body? Who has done this to him? Is she safe? Has she been harmed as well? The more he tries to struggle against the sinews that hold him in this void, the greater the aches he feels to his very core.
Ahhh…that’s it. Something fresh and soothing is cooling him down, and there’s a new scent. Is that his mother’s perfume? Oh how he wishes he could see her once more. Where is he? Heaven? No, not heaven, heaven wouldn’t permit the pain that is still residing in his body. Wherever he is, he wants to stay. That is his last clear thought before drifting away again.
The voices are back. They never make any sense and trying to understand them makes his head hurt enough to allow himself to sink back into the abyss.
There are voices.
“It seems as if he’s stirring again,” someone is saying. “Shall I summon the healer?”
The shuffling of feet sound like a stampede running through his head. Why won’t his eyes open?
“She’s on her way,” whispers another, but before “she” comes, darkness claims him again.
Her laughter resonates in his chest; the sound is like a beautiful melody that conjures up memories of a happier time. He can see her just ahead of him, her hair whipping back as she whizzes ahead of him on her broom, no sign of her fear of flying. His seeker skills are being tested, he should be able to easily catch her but she manages to elude him at the last second. Faster and faster he goes, until she is right there, right at his finger tips. Turning her head, she rewards him with her beautiful smile, eyes filled with confidence that he will catch her, she reaches her arms out to him and lunges from her broom…
“Mr. Malfoy? Draco? Can you hear me?” an annoyingly persistent voice abruptly pulls him from his beautiful vision. A white-hot rage courses through his mangled nervous system. He wants nothing more than to be left alone to return to the dream he was wrenched from, but cool fingers pry his eyelids open. He is prevented from seeing who it is by the blinding light searing his pupils. His attempt at struggling is pathetic at best and not worth the blistering pain that explodes in his head.
“Draco, you need to calm down,” a familiar voice says. “You must let Healer Conroy do her job. Can he hear me?”
“I’m sure he can. See how he’s stopped resisting,” replies the first voice.
This is some kind of crazy dream. Why is he dreaming of her? Maybe he should try opening his eyes again. Using all the strength he possesses, Draco forces his weighty eyelids open. It only takes a moment for the cobwebs to lift, his vision to return. The first thing he notices are the pristine white walls, certainly not in his cell then. His suspicion is cemented when his sense of smell relays the lack of mold and mildew to his brain. With great trepidation he tilts his head to the side, barely suppressing an aggravated growl when he sees her. Her green eyes look concerned, as if she is afraid of what he will do.
His throat feels as if it is being scoured with sand paper as he responds with a hint of his former glibness, “Weaslette.”
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