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The Price of Freedom by Bobby Dazzler
Chapter 1 : One Shot.
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 2

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Thank you to Arithmancy_Wiz for her help in making sure this story is compliant with site rules regarding sensitive topics, I appreciate it!

"I cannot believe what he's done to you this time!"

The hour was late, so late the chill in the air caused small bumps to appear across the ashen planes of her sickly skin.   The navy blue fabric of her stylish top only enhanced the image of her sickness as it dropped dramatically down her spine to the top of her pleated black skirt.  The darkness of the blue was so different to the paleness of her back, and yet it made it shine with a twisted, ethereal beauty in the moonlight.  The bright light of the moon cast a ghostly glow over everything within the small bedroom, especially over the deep, stinging red welts that freshly adorned the flesh her shirt did not cover.

"Pansy, what in Merlin's name happened?"

The girl called Pansy remained still and silent as she lay on her bed, the right side of her face pressed into the pillows, feeling exhausted.  She felt her partner shift where he sat upon the bed and moved closer, wishing to be noticed and have his words responded to.  Pansy did not feel like talking; she only felt like sleeping for days and days on end and for the pain shooting across her broken flesh to disappear.

Pansy's sapphire eyes remained open as she looked towards the window that let the moonlight shine through, across the white carpet, over the mahogany furniture and catching the edge of the pale azure blanket she lay on top of.  Her eyes never closed, not even for the shortest of blinks.  She just continued to look out the window, watching the night pass her by, another in the long line of many.  The only difference this night was that it was the last one to be spent as a married woman and in the morning she would be free from the shackles of matrimony and the misery found with them.

"Pansy, please talk to me!"

Her skin prickled as a gentle hand was placed upon her back, in between the criss-crossing gashes that marred her sickly skin.  She heard a soft gasp from above as the hand moved slowly from wound to wound, and still Pansy did not make a sound though only pride was keeping the screams at bay.  A faint incantation was uttered to the night and the sloshing sound of water soon was heard, echoing around in a small bowl it appeared in.  Another whispered spell and moments later Pansy felt the warmth of the water gently wiping away the dried blood on her back as a soft sponge was put to good work.

"You should have just let me talk to him about you wanting to get a divorce, rather than allowing him the opportunity to hurt you so badly!  Nothing is worth that, Pansy!"

Pansy remained silent for a few minutes longer as her wounds were being tended to, watching as eight barn owls flew quickly by her window and off into the night.  She could see him shifting from the periphery of her vision to try and get closer to the damage on her back, but Pansy really couldn't have cared.  The more that he did, the longer the situation would haunt them for when all she wanted to do was forget and get on with her new life.

"Not even us?" she whispered, remaining stationary where she lay.  The comforting hand upon her back stilled in its motion as the owner of it contemplated the depth and meaning to her words.

"No, not even us.  Not when he'll treat you in this disgusting manner when you go to him on civil terms.  You're not a house elf he can kick around or torture, you're his wife!"

"Not anymore," she whispered, eyes glistening with tears for the first time in a long time, causing her to finally blink them away.  Whether they were tears of joy at having been freed from his grasp once and for all, or for the suffering she had to endure in order to be released, or at her lover saying that their love wasn't worth the sacrifices she had made for it, Pansy was not sure.

Silence followed her words for only seconds before Pansy found herself lying on her back looking up into the angry eyes of the man who was caring for her, tender and worried, only moments ago.  She let out a warbled cry of pain as the fabric connected with the open sores on her damaged skin, but didn't let the pain overcome her as she bit down upon her bottom lip to prevent from screaming in agony.

"How long?  How long have you both been separated for?"

Pansy swallowed deeply and looked into his dark eyes, cursing herself for letting slip more than what she would normally have said.  She wished he would disappear and she could sleep off the bone-deep exhaustion she felt to avoid his question, but she knew it would not happen.  "Blaise-"

"How long, Pansy?  How long have you been lying to me about it?"

Pansy swallowed deeply and took Blaise's hand into her own, clutching desperately onto his, knowing that her next words would wound him just as much as they would her. "A few weeks, but it's not what you think-"

"No, of course not Pansy, it never is!  After every time you've been with him lately you come to me and I have to pick up the pieces!  He treats you like an animal, and guess what?  I see why now; you enjoy it!  It's all making such perfect bloody sense to me now!  You wouldn't have kept going back to him after separating if you didn't like it, if you didn't still love him!"

"Blaise, it's not like that at all!  Stop overreacting and getting stupid ideas in your head and let me explain what's-"

Blaise released Pansy's hand as if burnt, got up from the bed and looked at her with fury in his dark eyes.  "No, I'm through with you.  I will not help you put the pieces back together again if you'll just go back to him and let him do it all over again-"

"Blaise!" Pansy shouted heatedly, her anger getting the better of her as she propped herself up in bed with obvious difficulty, her back resting heavily against the wooden headboard which made her gasp in pain as the surface connected with the wounds marring her back.  Blaise looked concerned for a moment, even contemplating assisting her and letting their fight die just to ensure Pansy didn't injure herself further, before he resumed his current facade of pure rage, pretending like he didn't care.  "If you would shut up for a moment and listen I could tell you what has been going on and why it's all over now!"

Blaise crossed his arms over his broad chest, dark skin gleaming as he stood by the window like a statue carved out of luscious chocolate, made darker in the shadows the moonlight couldn't reach.  Pansy breathed in deeply, taking this as a sign that he would remain calm enough to listen to her for a few moments before he either chose to believe what she had to say or walk out the door without a second look back.  She wasted no time in recounting all details to him, truthfully and wholly.

"I told Draco three months ago from yesterday that I wanted a divorce.  He's been cheating on me for years with younger women he's either paid or hasn't and everyone knows it.  He wouldn't even look at me, wouldn't touch me, he just kept me there by his side so no one else could own me, but you know all this already.  Draco knew we'd always been close and he found out about my twenty-sixth birthday, about us that night and every night since, and knew that if I was going to divorce him I would be leaving him for you.  He was jealous even though he had no right to be; you know how he gets when possessions are on the table.  So when I told him I was leaving him and wanted a divorce he told me he'd only agree if I did one thing for him – I had to sleep with him one last time.

"I nearly laughed when he told me this, after years of doing everything under the sun to make him want me, I never would've thought it would be divorce that would do the trick!  However, by now I didn't love him anymore and could hardly stand to be around him, but I couldn't stay with him any longer either, not when I'd fallen so hard for you.  I didn't want to hurt you Blaise, but every time I sent him the divorce papers he returned them unopened with a reminder of his terms pinned onto them.  I was left with no other choice, Blaise.  I had to do it to be rid of him for good."

Blaise looked as if he didn't believe the story, and Pansy felt a sense of urgency rush through her veins at his lack of conviction.  She needed to make him believe the truth in her words otherwise she would lose him as well and be left with no one but herself and her sorrowful memories for company for a very long time to come.

"I got tired of him having control over our lives like a looming thunderstorm so three weeks ago I decided to play his game.  One quick shag and then freedom to spend the rest of my life with you, even if you'd hate me for it afterwards but I knew you would understand with time why I did what I did...  So I did, I fucked him, but Draco, being who he is, decided to change the rules."

"The rules?" Blaise asked, curiosity etched upon his face.  Pansy nodded solemnly and looked at her toes as tiredness began to creep back into her system; she could feel the blood slowly dripping down her spine and knew that it accounted to the weary sensations as well.

"He wanted more from me than just a quick, meaningless shag.  He blackmailed me into doing whatever he wanted until I begged him to let me go.  He's a manipulative bastard, Blaise.  He made me do the most degrading things before he'd even consider signing the papers and when I finally did beg him this evening to let me go, he signed without a question asked or a raised brow.  He let me go and gave me what I truly wanted; he gave me you.

"It was only on the way out of the Manor that Draco did this to me, a parting gift as he said."  Pansy announced, referring to the blistering welts upon her back with tears creeping back into her eyes at the thought of a person she had been married to for nine long years since the age of eighteen could do something as barbaric as this.  "He did it so you would always know what I had done in order to be with you and so I'd be forever marked as his no matter what happens."

Pansy sniffed and drew her knees up to her chest, not caring that she was wearing a skirt that hardly kept her modest as she buried her head into the crook of her folded arms, her shoulders shuddering as everything finally dawned on her.  The pain she'd been trying so hard to ignore seemed to grow tenfold as the realisation of Draco's actions sank into her mind along with an image of his evil, smirking lips that would be taking so much enjoyment from the suffering he had caused.

"I could kill him," Blaise finally said, his words echoing her inner feelings exactly as she curled tighter against herself, shuddering as the movement pulled tightly at the wounds that accidentally reopened a few of them and warm blood began to trickle once more.  "What a sick, sadistic bastard!  This is just so disgusting!  How dare he hurt you like this and mark you like an animal just to fuel his own sick needs!" Blaise ranted, moving away from the window towards the tall mahogany wardrobe near the end of their room.  Pansy kept her head bent lower but could just imagine Blaise reaching for his travelling cloak, ready to go pay her ex-husband a nasty visit that would only end in bloodshed and an arrest no matter which way the tables turned which made Pansy's stomach churn uncomfortably.

"Blaise, it won't do any good.  I don't want you getting hurt or locked up; I just want to forget this ever happened and-"

"Pansy, you can't just forget it!  The man abused you and has scarred you for life – you don't even realise how bad those wounds actually are upon your back!  It will take months for them to heal, magic or not; he's ripped the skin right off your bones in places!  How can you just let it go when he's done so much wrong by you?"

Pansy shuddered at the thought of having chunks of flesh missing from her body deep enough to be showing bones and all the blood she would have lost because of it but tried not to think on it as she raised her head and answered him in earnest.  "I don't want you going off to kill him, Blaise, even if I wouldn't mind doing that myself right about now.  I can see it's what you clearly want to do and I can't stand the thought of you going to Azkaban, or getting hurt, because of Draco.  He's done too much damage already; we don't need to go looking for it as well.  Let's just wait until morning and inform the Magical Law Enforcement and they can deal with him and you'll still be here and we can try and forget he even existed."

"Pansy, he deserves what's coming to him," Blaise reasoned, his left hand clenching tightly about his wand, almost tight enough to snap the wood in two as his anger grew.

She nodded sadly, touched deeply that he would engage in a wizards duel (if it even got to that stage, which, given Blaise's sheer anger, she seriously doubted) on her behalf, but mostly she wanted it all to end and for Blaise to return to her with love and affection she so desperately needed in her current state.  "I know he does, he deserves it and so much more but I don't want you stooping to his level, not on my behalf.  He's not worth it Blaise," Pansy said tiredly, sank lower upon the covers and rolled over onto her stomach, her face turned to the right against the pillows again and her gaze cast out into the darkness beyond the window once more.  "If you want to go and kill Draco I won't stop you, but all of this, all of what he did to me and what I went through for us, would have been for nothing if you do."

Pansy closed her eyes and breathed in deeply, feeling ready to fall into a nice long sleep, undisturbed by throbbing pain or the dramas plaguing her relationship whilst she was awake.  After what felt like an eternity, and she knew that for Blaise it would have been with all the thoughts racing throughout his mind at incomprehensible speeds as he worked out what he should do, the bed sank lower by her side once more and the gentle sponging resumed upon her damaged flesh.  Pansy heard Blaise sigh wearily from above as he began to dress her wounds with tense fingers that were longing to snap the neck of her former spouse, but were careful not to slip and cause her even more pain.

"I can't believe what that sick bastard did to you, and that you didn't say no and find another route to go down instead of this.  Sure, it was probably a lot quicker in the end at successfully getting him to sign the papers, but at what cost?  I still don't think we're worth all you went through, just so we can be together," Blaise said softly as the tension seemed to slowly flow out of his system.  He focused upon caring on the battered witch who'd sacrificed so much in order to keep the man she loved by her side, knowing without a doubt in his mind that she would never have gone through with it all if she didn't love him and he couldn't help but deeply admire her and return the feelings she had for him as well.

Pansy smiled slightly as the heavy feeling of tiredness overcame her senses once more.  Darkness was already taking over her mind and blocking out irrelevant interfering thoughts as she uttered a short sentence before succumbing to a dreamless sleep, successfully bringing an end to their argument.

"I think you're wrong."

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