Draco stared into the eyes that he had become so familiar with during his imprisonment with Voldemort. “You’re a smart woman,” he retorted. “I’m sure you’ve already got it all figured out.”
“Yes, but I need to hear it come directly from your lips though,” Kireonna coaxed him calmly.
Draco was not in the mood for her questions, he just wanted to be left alone so that he could sleep. “Alright then, yes,” he snapped. “She knows about your healing powers. There, I said it. Are you happy now?”
Then it was Kireonna’s turn to snap. “Why on earth would you tell her something like that?” she half yelled. “That was not your place, you had no right!”
“No right?” he fired back. “Saleena is more my family than she is yours. She has always been like a sister to me, and I’ve been there for her a hell of a lot more than you ever have. So how could you possibly expect for me to just lie to her about something like that? Besides, she would have just seen it in my memories anyway, so I saw no point in trying to hide it from her. That would have been futile.”
Kireonna furrowed her brow, but otherwise made no further attempts to argue her case with him. He was right after all; he did know her own daughter better than she, and he had been there for her more often than she ever could have. “You’re right,” she admitted quietly. “Forgive me for bothering you with this.”
She got up to leave but Draco stopped her. “Kireonna, wait.” She stopped but did not turn to face him. “Saleena is pretty understanding about things, so whatever your reasons were for not telling her your secret, I’m sure she won’t be too upset with you about it. You need to just come clean to her yourself; make it seem as though you don’t know that she already knows about it. If you’re up front and honest with her, she will respect you for that. Trust me, I know her, and there is nothing she values more in a person than honesty and truthfulness.”
Kireonna couldn’t help but smile. “You do realize that you just told me to tell her the truth, and yet at the same time; you want me to lie to her and act like I don’t know that she already knows about it, right?”
Draco smiled back. “Well, had this conversation never happened, you wouldn’t have known that she already knew of your powers, now would you?” He then proceeded to roll over and face away from her.
“Goodnight Draco,” Kireonna said as she left the room. “And thank you, again, for helping her save me.” He had certainly given her quite a bit to think about and she needed to be alone to contemplate everything.
The next morning, Saleena awoke fully rested. She smiled to herself as the memory of how she had overcome Lord Voldemort came back into her mind. She took a moment to revel in her victory. It had only been a small victory, but it was still a victory nonetheless.
She had learned much from her venture into the Dark Lord’s mind. Too much. She shuddered as memories of the vicious murders he had committed crossed her mind again. That was the biggest downfall to her success; that his savage memories had now become her own as well, and she knew that she would never be able to forget them now, no matter how hard she tried.
There was one bright light in all of it though; one memory that she was overly excited about sharing. She climbed out of bed, dressed, and headed straight for Draco’s room. She knocked first, to make sure that he was awake, and went in when she herd his voice. Draco looked exhausted and she guessed that he hadn’t slept again. He was constantly plagued by nightmares, so it was seldom that he received a good night’s sleep anymore.
Saleena could hardly contain her excitement, she couldn’t wait to share with him what she had learned. “Good morning,” she beamed.
“Is it?” he scowled.
“Of course,” she answered back, blatantly ignoring his negativity. “I overcame Lord Voldemort last night, my mother is safe, and I have seen some very important, very useful memories during my venture into his mind.”
“Saleena, I’m not really in the mood for these subtle guessing games today,” Draco snapped. “Could you please just get to the point?”
“Draco, don’t you see? I now have the memory of the night that he created the curse on your legs.” Saleena smiled at him brightly, but he still just looked annoyed.
“And,” she drawled, “he also created a counter-curse at the same time. Draco, he showed me how to heal you. I can fix this, I can break the curse!”
It took a moment, but she could see as the realization slowly dawned on him. His face suddenly lit up as all traces of the bad mood that he was in vanished. “Saleena, please tell me you’re not joking with me right now,” he said, a tone of pleading in his voice.
She shook her head. “Nope, this is no joke. Honestly, Draco, do you really think I would kid about something like this? You know that I am not that cruel.”
“Well then, what are you waiting for?” he urged. “By all means, please, heal me already!”
“I thought you’d be excited,” she said with a short nod. “Alright then, let’s give this a go, shall we?”
Draco slowly got out from under his coves and Saleena placed one hand on each of his legs. He watched as she closed her eyes, a look of pure concentration crossing her face. She took a deep breath as she called upon her powers. The palms of her hands began to emit a faint glow as Saleena willed the spell to work with all of her might. Once she was ready, she quietly whispered the counter-curse she had learned from Voldemort.
Draco’s legs suddenly became stiff as boards and in a flash, it was done. Saleena opened her eyes and slowly took her hands off of him. Draco could already tell that it had definitely worked. He sat up and wiggled his toes, and for one brief moment everything was fine again, great even.
“It worked,” he exclaimed. “Oh my god, I can’t believe it actually worked! Saleena, you are amazing. This is just absolutely - ” He had moved too quickly, bending his knees for the first time in months, and that was when it happened.
Pain, unbelievable, excruciating, severe, mind numbing pain erupted from his waist down. A scream tore from his lips as he curled into a ball and grasped at his legs. Draco was writhing in pain, pulling at his hair and pleading for anything to make the throbbing stop. It was the worst pain he had ever felt in his entire life and he didn’t think he would ever be the same again because of it.
Saleena was speechless. She backed away from him in shock, not knowing what to do. Never once did it cross her mind that there could be some logical medical explanation for this sudden outburst, no. She only feared that she had done something terribly wrong and would not be able to reverse it. She hadn’t known what that spell of Voldemort’s would do to him and now she was entirely at fault for his pain.
“I’m so sorry,” she whispered. “I’m so sorry Draco. I didn’t mean to, I’m sorry.”
Kireonna came bursting in through the bedroom door when she head the screaming. She looked from Draco to her daughter in confusion, trying to piece together what had happened. “Saleena, what is going on here?”
“I-I thought I was doing the right spell,” she stammered. “I don’t know, mother. H-he just started screaming.”
“Help me,” Draco bellowed. “Please, somebody, anybody… help me! Make it stop, please.”
Kireonna knew she had to do something. She could not sit idly by and listen to him carry on like this. She approached him and carefully placed her hand on his shoulder, but Draco made no indication that he even knew she was there. Kireonna closed her eyes and took a deep breath, preparing to use her healing powers to take his pain away.
Once the magic was released, she was unable to stop it. His pain became her pain and there was simply too much of it for her to sustain. She felt a sudden drain on her strength and suddenly, without warning, Kireonna hit the floor.
An eerie silence filled the room as time itself seemed to come to a stand still. Saleena looked from her mother, to Draco, and then back to her mother, trying to make sense of it all. Once the initial shock of things wore off, she sprang into action, running first to her mother to check her pulse. Kireonna was, thankfully, alive and breathing. It seemed that she had just blacked out, much like Voldemort had the night before. Next she checked Draco and found that he was in much the same state as her mother.
She conjured an extra pillow and a blanket and did her best to make her mother comfortable without moving her too much. And then there was nothing left for her to do but wait... Wait for one of them to wake up and try to explain to her what was going on.
It took a little over an hour for Kireonna’s strength to return to her. She sat up and immediately locked eyes with her daughter. Saleena was giving her an accusing look, and she knew then that she had much to answer for. “I am sorry,” she croaked. Kireonna cleared her throat and continued. “I know you must have plenty of questions, and I promise you that I will answer each and every one of them as best I can, Saleena.”
“Good,” she snapped. The time she’d spent worrying had clearly gotten the best of her emotions. “The you can start by telling me what the hell just happened.”
“I thought that I could heal him, but - ”
“ - Yes,” Saleena cut in. “You thought that you could heal him with your magical Healing Gift that you never told me, or anybody else about, that’s right.”
“And I am sorry for keeping that from you,” she said with absolute sincerity. “But you must understand. Nothing will ever make my mother, your grandmother, accept me for who I am. She will never apologize for the way that she treated me when I chose true love over Gypsy tradition. Caraleonna is not capable of feeling any remorse for her actions. She cast me out and she sent me away when I told her I that was engaged to your father, and it wasn’t until I had you that I suddenly became of use to her again. But she only sought to take you away from me and raise you in an environment that was completely controlled by her, and her alone.”
“Yes I know,” Saleena said in exasperation. “Mother, you’ve told me all of this before.”
“Imagine for a moment that her tyranny knew no end and you will certainly see my point,” Kireonna continued. “My mother has never truly wanted me around, but there is no doubt in my mind that she would welcome me back into her family with open arms if she were to discover that I had this gift. She would say that she was sorry, of that I am sure. But deep down on the inside, she would not mean a word of it. She would lie and tell me all that I wanted to hear, in an attempt to get on my good side, so that I may be used for her own good. But I for one do not wish to live a lie, and that is why I insist that she mustn’t know of my gift. I would never go out of my way to help a selfish old woman who has done nothing but toss me aside like a filthy rag for all of my life.”
It didn’t take long for Saleena to see where she was going with this. “You do not wish for her to know because you don’t want to be expected to heal her illness. You wish for this current sickness of hers to result in the ending of her life.”
Kireonna hung her head. “And does this realization make you think less of me, daughter?”
Saleena paused to think for a moment. “Not really, no. I mean, I definitely do understand exactly where it is you’re coming from, Mother.” Kireonna looked hurt by this statement, but Saleena paid it no mind as she continued. “I just don’t get why you wouldn’t want to take the opportunity to boast about this, and hold your gift over her head. You are allowed to say no, after all, therefore you could be the one with the upper-hand for a change. Give her a little taste of her own medicine. It’d be no more than she would deserve after all she’s put you through.”
“Oh believe me,” Kireonna replied with a soft chuckle, “I have indeed thought of doing just that. But Queen Caraleonna is a senile, power hungry old woman who does nothing more than take and take. She would spread it all around the clan that I had the power to save her life, yet refused to act upon it. She would turn them all against me and, in turn, they would all betray you as well. For I am certain that she would have them believe that my refusal was your fault somehow.”
The Caraleonna that Saleena had come to know was apparently very different from the woman her mother knew. “Yes, but do you really think she’d go that far though?” Saleena asked doubtfully.
“Of course I do,” Kireonna answered without hesitation. “She will take whatever means are necessary to maintain her power. But there has got to be an end to her reign sooner or later. She cannot be allowed to endure forever, which is what would happen if she learned that I could cure all of her ailments. Now, I for one believe that you are almost ready to take her place. But if Queen Carla is never allowed to pass on, then you will never get the chance to become who you were destined to be... You are what the clan needs now, Saleena. You are the change that they have all been waiting for, they just don’t know it yet.”
“Well, I’m glad you think so,” Saleena sighed. “I however am not so sure.”
“Saleena, the fact that you do not want this power is exactly the reason why you are so perfect for it,” Kireonna encouragingly stated. She reached out and grasped Saleena’s hands, looking her directly in the eye. “I have faith in you, my daughter. You will make a great Queen when your time comes.”
Saleena pulled away from Kireonna and quickly turned away from her. She could not stand to meet her mother’s gaze any longer, not when she secretly felt as though she was just going to let her down. Everyone had such high hopes for her and yet she still had no idea what she was doing, which is why she was not ready to lead them. The idea of Carla’s illness suddenly being healed so that she may stick around a while longer was, admittedly, somewhat enticing. But she knew that she could never betray her mother’s deepest secret like that.
Saleena looked to Draco and watched him sleep for a moment. She couldn’t help but wonder if he was still in pain. She was so sure that she had done the spell correctly, therefore, it didn’t make sense to her that everything had gone so wrong. “So did you heal him then?” she asked, changing the subject. “Whatever you did to him, did it work?”
Kireonna sighed as she too turned her attention to Draco. “Of that, even I am uncertain,” she answered truthfully. “His pain was so great that it overcame my powers, in their weakened state. You see, I completely misjudged the effect that this thing would have on me.”
Curious as she was, Saleena turned her attention back to her mother just in time to watch as Kireonna slowly drew a long necklace out from her bodice. The chain was thin and dark in color, with an emerald pendant attached to it. To they untrained eye, it looked like nothing more than a mere piece of decorative jewelry, but Saleena knew at once that it was a Gypsy death trap. She didn’t need to touch it, or even be close to it to know that the chain was clearly made of Zirconium.
“Mother, why on earth are you wearing that?” she gasped.
“Believe me, it is not by choice, I can tell you that,” she answered. “The Dark Lord put this on me the night I was captured.”
“But why are you still wearing it?” Saleena shook her head in confusion. “You need to get that thing off of you immediately.”
“If only it were that simple, dear.” Kireonna smiled sadly. “You see, this particular necklace is enchanted so that only the one who put it on is capable of removing it.
“And you didn’t find this worth mentioning to me last night?” Saleena suddenly found herself shouting.
“What good would that have done?” Kireonna argued. “You were already exhausted by the end of your fight, and it’s not as if you could have made him take it off of me. Besides, by the time it crossed my mind, he was already unconscious anyways.”
“Yes, but we could have waited -”
“- For what?” Kireonna inserted. “For him to wake up? Yes, because that would have ended up fantastically for both of us, I am sure.”
Saleena rolled her eyes in exasperation. “You just don’t get it.”
“Listen to me,” her mother spoke softly. “I would take this freedom I have now over the position I was in twenty-four hours ago any day. This is my burden now, Saleena, and I shall just have to bear it until the day that that Dark Lord meets his end. Once he has been defeated, I am confident that it shall be able to be removed. So fret not, for this chain is not permanent, and you are not to blame for it.”
Saleena frowned, not wanting to accept that her mother was right. She couldn’t help but to still feel as though she should have done more, but it wasn’t as if the necklace was making her totally helpless. She still had use of her powers, it was just a more limited use. “Well I suppose the situation could always be a lot worse,” she finally admitted.
Kireonna smiled, glad that she had gotten through to her daughter. “You have done me a great service, freeing me from that dreaded place. I owe you one, Saleena.”
“Yes, so it would seem that you do,” Saleena said, returning the smile. An awkward silence passed between the two, causing Saleena to turn her attention back onto Draco. “I wonder what’s wrong with him,” she wondered.
“Well, no matter the case, I am certain that it is not your fault,” Kireonna said encouragingly. “There has got to be a logical, medical explanation for what happened here. And whatever it is, I’m sure you’ll find it.”
Saleena, however, was not so sure. “Well, thanks for the vote of confidence,” she muttered.
Kireonna smiled and embraced her daughter. She pulled away and held her at arms length, making direct eye contact. “You should have more confidence in your abilities, my daughter. I’m sure there must be some logical, medical explanation for whatever it is that you think went wrong here. Perhaps you should try looking at it from another angle,” she suggested.
Saleena continued to meet her mothers gaze as a short moment of silence passed between them. Finally, she closed her eyes and drew in a deep breath. “You’re probably right,” she stated. “I need to approach the situation with a clear mind, and think about things logically if I want to get to the bottom of this.”
“So think of the facts then,” her mother encouraged. “What do you know for certain of his condition?”
She took a moment to listen to her mother and consider the facts for a change. She knew that Draco had been paralyzed for about a month and a half, and that he hadn’t really been moved around much in all that time. Then suddenly, it hit her. The reason for his pain became so obvious that she almost laughed aloud at herself for reacting to it the way that she had. A small gasp escaped her lips as the answer became clear. “Wow,” she smiled. “I really did act like a fool. The answer has been right in front of me the entire time.”
Kireonna smiled too. “I’m just happy I could help,” she said.
“Thank you, mother,” Saleena said earnestly, “for getting me back on track. I needed that.”
Kireonna shrugged it off as if it were nothing. “If there’s ever anything you need, dear, please do not hesitate to ask.” She paused and bit her lower lip, thinking carefully about what she was about to say next. “I know I have a lot to make up for from the past thirty years. But I want you to know that I have no intent on leaving you ever again. I will always be here to help you Saleena, from this day forward. You have my word.”
Once again, Saleena turned away and squeezed her eyes shut. It took all of her self restraint not to let her mother see her cry, but her pride would not allow her to show just how affected she was by those words. She swallowed past the lump in her throat and forced herself to speak. “I appreciate your honesty,” she croaked.
“I mean it,” Kireonna continued. “If there is anything you need, please do not hesitate to ask me for it. If it is within my power to do so, I will be more than glad to help you.”
Saleena turned back to face Kireonna again. “I may just have to take you up on that offer,” she said with a grin as she nodded towards Draco. “Keep an eye on him for me, would you? I have to run to the hospital real quick to gather some supplies. If my theory is correct, I’ll need to make sure that I have enough of the proper pain-reducing potions that he’s sure to need when he wakes up. I won’t be gone long though, I promise.”
“By all means, take your time,” Kireonna agreed with a nod. “I really don’t mind sitting here with him.”
“Thank you, Mother.” Saleena leaned in and kissed her mother softly on the cheek. “I won’t be gone long, I promise.” In one swift motion, she threw on her traveling cloak and hurried out the door.
Kireonna settled in to the chair Saleena usually occupied and tried to relax. She knew it was pointless, however, for there was entirely too much on her mind. So she sat in a silent, trance-like state and waited for her daughter to return.
AN:And there you have it, the last chapter of 2012! This is only 1 of the 2 chapters that I wrote last month during NaNo though, so I will be back with more in 2013! If you have stuck with me through all of this so far, then I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I cannot tell you how much your continued support means to me... PLEASE, if you have a second, please take time leave a quick review and share your thoughts with me. I would love to hear from you! Happy Holidays everyone, see ya again in 2013!! =)
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