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by: Matthew Cox
May 28th


Birds twittered outside, gleeful in the early summer sun that was filtering through a broken cloud layer. As he had done every morning since He and Cora had discussed breaking their curses, Matt meditated and tried to focus on the complete inner peace, focus, and strength necessary for Occlumency. So far, nothing had happened with the practice except Matt feeling more peaceful and focused.

Today felt different. As he breathed, he felt something open up within himself. There was a cavernous sense of purpose and direction that seemed fraught with potential. He let his consciousness sink into it; a fair whisper echoed in his mind, sounding like Cora, repeating the terms of his curse: do not run away. Do not talk about her or the curse. Do not attack her. Over and over, the clauses repeated themselves.

How about no?

The voices quieted, much to Matt's surprise. As soon as he relented pushing against them, however, they sprang back. He pushed again, applying more and more of his will to the fight. Something snapped like a rubber band in his head. Three things happened: he developed a raging headache, he had an adrenaline surge and a wave of inexplicable fury, and the curse was broken.

He howled in pain and fury, dropping from his perch in the rafters to land in a crouch in the gym.

Get a grip, get a grip!

He crouched there, tense for several long moments until he gained control of the rage spiraling through him. Once successful, he let out a joyful whoop.

"I did it!"
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by: Coraline Larson
Sunshine filled the library from the large wall-sized picture window on the far wall, the light reflecting and glinting beautifully off of the dark mahogany bookshelves and Cora's work table. Several texts on the subject of runes and their uses as well as notebooks in the witch's own hand lay across the tabletop, with said witch bent over and scribbling notes into another notebook. In addition to potions, Cora used runes in her gear and tools often, as the complex formulas and designs she was working on attested to.

Cora put her pen down and stretched with a sigh, arching her back to work out the stiffness from huddling over her work for so long. Taking a break from her scribbling she stood and padded toward the picture window, admiring what a pleasant day it seemed to be. People bustled about in Diagon and Knockturn Alleys, oblivious to the observation above them from the seemingly-rundown and abandoned warehouse. Maybe she and Matt could go for a run later if the weather didn't-

A sudden jolt of magic had Cora gasping in surprise, flinching slightly as if she had been struck by a snapping rubber band, though the sensation was mental and not physical. Before she could call out to Matt and see if he knew what had happened she heard his victorious shout from downstairs. An answering snarl of rage and a wave of agony ripped through Cora's head.


A pitiful moan was all the answer Cora could muster as she stubbornly pushed back against the vicious magic and the rising tide of cold fury that was her darker half...
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by: Matthew Cox
Free! He was free! Matt mustered his elation and darted towards the front door. He had things here he'd have to abandon, but freedom was worth it. The first thing he'd do would be head to Mi5 and confess to being the Devil and explain everything that happened, then seek asylum from the Dark Lady until Cora could break her curse.

His hand touched the doorknob when he heard Cora's heart start to flutter with arrhythmia. He couldn't leave if she had the potential of going into heart failure again. He couldn't let her die.

Matt turned and headed up stairs to check on her and encourage her to keep fighting.

"Cora?! Keep fighting, honey! Break through! You can do this, I believe in you!"
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by: Coraline Larson

Oh god, oh god, no, no, no, no! Cora gasped as a fresh wave of punishment spasmed through her, an agonized scream ripping from her as she fell to her knees. "No... no..." she groaned.


She had to fight! There was no telling what the Dark Lady would do if she got ahold of Matt again. She had to... oh god, Matt was still here!

"...M-matty... you ha-have... run... please..." Cora pleaded with him breathlessly.
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by: Matthew Cox
He ignored her words and headed into the library to stabilize her. The first aid training from the military came back to him as he came to her side and helped her lay on her back.

"Can't. If I leave and you go into cardiac arrest, you're going to die. I can't...can't do that. Can't let that happen, mo tine. Keep fighting and hold on."

She was so weak already...worry infused his system as he watched her heart rate jump and drop like a banked fish. There wasn't much he could do except brace her legs up to help with blood flow. Matt massaged her calves to try and keep circulation going.
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by: Coraline Larson
Her vision began to waver and blur as he laid her out on the floor. Cora shivered and tried to push him away, make him leave, but it felt like her arms were made of lead and she just didn't have the strength to move them.

"...p-please... mo d-diabhal..." It took the last of her strength to beg him to leave again, her vision narrowing to a pinpoint as her blood pressure dropped drastically and unconsciousness loomed.Cora tried again to push him away. Why wouldn't he go? Didn't he realize the danger he was in? Desperation fueled her movements as she faded into unconsciousness.
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by: Matthew Cox
What was he supposed to do, leave her to die? He might as well just kill her himself if he did that. Matt gave a small head shake in denial at her pushing. When she begged, he snapped at her, revealing his own nervous fear in the situation.

"I CAN'T leave you! I can't turn my back on you and let you die! Fight, dammit, FIGHT!"

Her temperature dropped along with her blood pressure. As soon as she was unconscious, Matt began patting her face in an effort to revive her, listening all the while to her floundering heart. The second it went into the dysrhythmia of a heart attack, he began administering CPR.
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by: Coraline Larson
{You will learn to obey your master! Now he will suffer for your insolence, my pet...}

Cora whimpered as her mind was overwhelmed at last by the icy tide of the Dark Lady, too weak to fight any more...

The Dark Lady's hard grey-green eyes snapped open and she gasped for breath. Her vision was still slightly blurry and her head was spinning, but her hand relentlessly tightened around her wand and she struggled to sit up, dizziness threatening to send her back into unconsciousness.

The foolish man... He still sat at her side, looking down at his little lover with such concern. Pathetic. The stupid fool should've run when he had the chance. The assassin couldn't risk recasting the imperius curse until she was fully recovered, she reasoned, but there was something else she could do...

"Sec... sectumsempra..." she pronounced, slashing her wand weakly. The bloom of blood across his chest was the last thing that registered in her vision before the blackness of oblivion claimed her again, her body falling limply back to the floor.
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by: Matthew Cox
A burning brand of energy lashed out at him and sank into his chest, flaying him open with a bright suddenness. Matt gasped and groaned, nose full of the scent of blood. He fell heavily and clutched as the gushing wound on his chest.

Too much! Too much blood...

His healing factor kicked in, but Matt was stuck like the time he'd tried to kill himself. Only, this time, he wasn't healing.

"Oh fuck you, bitch..."

Matt began to drag himself out of the library, leaving a trail of blood. Foot by foot he crawled, senses swimming as the magical cut kept seeping. He made it to the hallway and slumped against the wall, panting in pain and exertion. As he rested, he faded out, passing out from the blood loss.
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by: Coraline Larson
(Two hours later)

The Dark Lady's eyes snapped open and she bit back a groan at the deep ache in her chest. She had been through far worse pain than this; she would endure. Taking several deep, stabilizing breaths the assassin slowly sat up and reached for her wand. She knew the curse she had hit the Devil with would have rendered him unable to escape and the congealing trail of blood leading out of the library confirmed he couldn't have gotten far.

{...heal yourself, my pet... you are no use to me this weakened...}

"Yes, master," the hit-witch answered respectfully, raising her wand.

Clearing her mind of distraction the Dark Lady cast a complex daisy-chain of healing spells on herself to counter the extensive damage to her system from the cardiac episode. After another ten or so minutes she took a deep, painless breath and got easily to her feet, tracking her prey to where he still slumped unconscious in the hallway.

"Should have listened to your weak little girlfriend and run when you had the chance. My Lord would never have let me die. And now you pay the price for your weakness, fool." Her voice was as cold and unfeeling as ice as she raised her wand again and cast, "Imperio."

The assassin put almost a full hold on the unconscious Devil, leaving him only enough free will to speak but not move without her permission. She then cast the counter-curse to stop the cut on his chest from continuing to bleed, then repeated it twice more to knit the wounds and remove the lingering effects. He would be groggy and weak from losing so much blood, but that was just fine; he needed to learn his lesson.

"Wake up, fool," she spat.
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by: Matthew Cox
If the cruciatus curse was a quick blast if never ending agony, then sectumsempra was a slow turning of the screws. Matt regained and lost consciousness no less than four times over the two hour interval of the Dark Lady's recovery. During a brief moment of weak wakefulness, Matt heard the assassin talking to herself. Or was it her lord? Either way, it wasn't directed at him. He faded once again, only to be ordered into wakefulness. The whip crack of her command drug him painfully awake. His body screamed in dehydrated, exsanguinated agony, but he only had the strength to moan pitifully.

Cora loomed over him, as furious and imposing as a hunting falcon. Except it wasn't Cora. It was the Dark Lady, and she was...she was going to make him pay for breaking the curse. He tried to scrabble away from her, but he was not in control of his body.

Shit. Trapped again...

He sighed, resigning himself to the pain about to come. He knew this was a likely outcome. The existential depression that nipped at him in earlier weeks took a hold of him firmly once more, worrying his mind like a puppy on a favorite toy.

There was nothing to say to the Dark Lady. She asked no question, so it would be foolish to mouth off. Instead, Matt waited quietly and patiently for the Dark Lady to start.
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by: Coraline Larson
A maniacal grin found its way into the assassin's grim face as she loomed over Matt. She saw the fear in his eyes, the desire to flee, and she reveled in it. Her chilling laughter echoed through the silent warehouse.

"What? Giving up so easily, Cox? No cocky snark? No mouthing off? Tsk tsk... I'm so disappointed," the Dark Lady mocked him. She padded over to him and crouched down so her face was level with his, all mocking and sarcasm evaporating into a hard steel of a tone.

"You expect pain, don't you? You're expecting punishment... to pay for your insolence," the assassin paused and a truly terrifying grin spread across her face. "Well, I have something better than pain to punish you, Cox. I have what you fear most.... Nothingness."

The Dark Lady paused to see if he understood her threat, wanting to savor the fear in her prey before following through.
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by: Matthew Cox
Goosebumps rippled up his skin as terror swamped the nihilism that had eclipsed his normal mood. Of all the things he could endure, that was the last in his list. So, Matt did the last thing she'd expect. The worst thing about it, really, was that he wasn't acting. The fear that quavered his voice and made his skin pale was as real as the words he was about to speak.

"Please...please don't....my lady, please..."

Oh how low he had sunk. Begging the Dark Lady for mercy she didn't have...Cora would be so disappointed in him, but...he'd do anything to keep from being a nonentity again.
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by: Coraline Larson
The Dark Lady shuddered with pleasure as she took in the sheer terror in his eyes and on his face. It was delicious... his begging was divine.

{Yessss... my obedient pet... yess...}

The assassin reached out and took Matt's chin in a gentle grip, mimicking Cora's tender caress with her uncharacteristic gentleness. She hummed in seeming sympathy in answer to his pleas.


Her grip turned to iron in an instant, her face mere inches from his as she impaled him with her icy disdainful demand.

"Beg me again."
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by: Matthew Cox
If his body had been his, he would have shivered in miserable fear. As it was, he whined slightly, a slow eking sound of desperation. He complied, begging in a hoarse whisper.

"Please...don't send me into the Nothing..."

So much for fighting and defying...she had him broken and obedient with just the threat of the curse's full potential.

God, his friends would be ashamed if they could hear him begging right now...weak, pathetic, mewling, broken subservient piece of filth...

...be better...I can be better...

There was a low hum of a whisper in his mind. It didn't make sense. What did that mean, 'be better'? Surely, anything was better Han he debasement of begging to avoid the blank void of the mindless and emotionless curse, but the whisper seemed to mean something concrete and specific.

Matt's head started to hurt again. Maybe it was the blood loss, maybe it was the curse...maybe it was something else entirely.


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