- Mon Oct 23, 2017 9:05 pm
Trevor had every intention of being on time to this meeting as a show of respect to Teague, yet apparently his habit of arriving early had been his undoing, he realized, as he stood across from Delilah in her little side office at Puxley. She'd pulled him aside the second he'd arrived to, as she put it, set some ground rules. He could appreciate the cautiousness in making sure he was to be trusted given his actions over recent months since his daughters had been abducted from Hogwarts, but what he couldn't appreciate was Delilah's most recent statement. It was more an ultimatum and one he had not expected. It had been so unexpected, in fact, that he had stood there, arms crossed and silent for the past two minutes, though it had felt more of an eternity.
Unsurprisingly, the woman across from him hadn't moved her eyes from him and had studied him the entire time, which made the situation all the more tense, but a shift of her body indicated his time to respond was up. ”Well?” she said, her arms crossed as she inclined her head at him. ”That's the terms, and I can see you don't like them, so why don't you crawl back wherever you were? The door's that way.” She lifted her right hand from her left arm just enough to point.
Trevor snorted lightly and shook his head, his right hand on his hip as he brought his left to his temples and then up to the top of his head, grabbing lightly for a moment then sighing as he let his hand fall back to his side. ”I don't see how you could even dream to ask that of me.”
Delilah rose a brow. ”You don't, Trevor? Honestly? They get snatched again and we have a rogue assassin with potential sensitive information on his hands. Why would we let you keep them?”
”They weren't kidnapped from my care! They were kidnapped from Hogwarts by a rat man who's dead. They're safer in my home than anywhere else.”
”A home that Teague knows the whereabouts of? A home where I know, where Cora knows?” Delilah snorted derisively. ”Cora's defected, you know. She's no longer with us, wants to turn a new leaf with one of the abominations that leads to my future.” Delilah was closer now, her hand motioning angrily at her chest before dropping to her side. Her voice was a little less loud but still intense as she concluded, ”What's to say she doesn't pre-emptively strike when you're not home once she knows you're back in the game?”
Trevor was silent again. She was right, of course. If what she was saying was true, Delilah was right. Cora would be absolutely stupid to believe there would be no repercussions for trying to leave and was familiar enough with the position he had once held with the Dark Lord to realize she might be in danger should rumors of his return reach her. Yet he didn't want to give the girls up, not when he had finally broken free of that underground hell hole they had been taken to and were trying to resume normal life.
”We're giving you a chance to keep them safe. If you want to work for us, this is the cost of admission.” Her tone was terse. She was clearly not feeling patient. ”As I said, you'll get to see them, but you won't know where they're being kept or where you're even meeting until it happens. If you won't, there are others we can train.”
”But none as good as me.”
Delilah rolled her eyes but Trevor almost chanced to think he saw a bit of amusement hidden in those eyes. ”Perhaps not as practiced, but easier to control.”
Control. That was it, wasn't it? The Dark Lord had held promises of Katya's whereabouts and her kidnapper over his head to control him, to bend him to do his bidding at first. After the first demise during his time in rank, it had been a way of life that couldn't easily be walked away from. The Dark Lord had beckoned him and he had returned, no longer naive enough to believe he would ever receive that information but smart enough to know he would do well to simply do as he was bidden to do. He'd given up hope and simply accepted his lot in life when Derrin had called everyone to action, but Morgana's beguiling had been enough to prompt him to run a coup with her. A need for control was part of it and the obvious resources he could acquire should Derrin's plans be successful yet he arrive at the top instead. And now, here he was, needed again, and the girls were being used as pawns.
”You've known love is a weakness for years, Trevor. Have you really forgotten that lesson? It's either you give them over willingly or we take them, and you know that's how it will work. There's nowhere you can run or hide and not ultimately be found.”
Trevor could feel the tension in his shoulders, in his neck, his jaw and the release then shift of it as his shoulders slumped. He should never have reached out, should never have trusted that any semblance of friendship and camaraderie he had found in Teague once upon a time would float him in this situation. He could kill Delilah right here and run, go to his home and take the girls and Julian, and hide, but what sort of life would that be for them? A life on the run, always looking over their shoulders? A life that he had come to accept as normal as he learned the tricks of the trade and how to stay alive but not one they deserved. Yet ultimately, wouldn't that be what he was giving them? Even if after some point the girls grew up and were allowed to join rank or lead lives of their own, wouldn't they always look over their shoulder? They would never trust him again. That much was clear, and that was the cost. The weight of it was heavier than any other he had known. But what other choice did he have? There was no way Delilah didn't have anything pre-emptively ready in case he turned them down and tried to run. The girls wouldn't be there if he tried.
”Fine,” he breathed. What more could he say?
If Delilah found any pleasure in his resignation, Trevor did not detect it in her expression or her eyes nor in her posture. She stood a moment then placed a hand on his shoulder. ”You made the right choice, Trevor.”
She was gone then, past him and toward the meeting room.
Trevor didn't move. He didn't look at the clock until an eternity had seemed to pass. Two past. He took a deep breath and squared his shoulders. Fine. If they wanted to play it this way, he would play his part. For now. But no one would ever truly best him. They'd be fools to believe otherwise.
The walk to the meeting room seemed a long one despite the shortness of it, but expression controlled and shoulders squared, he entered, pretending not to notice or care about any of the reactions he received as he walked forward and took a seat near the front, a ghost of a smile on his face as he leaned forward, his fingers lacing before him only to part as he said, ”Shall we?”