I'm terribly sorry about the long wait that you've had for this chapter, but I've had the most horrible writers' block for all of my fanifc. I'm still not very happy with this, but I've forced myself to write it and I do hope that you enjoy it. As always reviews are appreciated.
Chapter Seven: Engaged?
Tension hung heavy on the air, floating about, like oil does on water. Dudley could almost feel the weight of it on his back, and it didn't seem like anyone else was faring much better. They were all sprawled across the couches in the living room looking taciturn or despondent, or in George's case, both.
Roxanne was the exception to this rule; she was fidgety and couldn't stop her feet from pacing endlessly around the room. Dudley didn't really have a problem with her pacing, it was understandable, she was worried about her friend. Plus watching the motion of her feet gave him something to do.
In the ten minutes that it took for Orion to clean himself up - which is what they were waiting for – Dudley familiarised himself with Roxanne's small, white shoes, and the sound of her feet as they hit the soft, worn carpet of the Burrow. He felt that he would have been able to draw a detailed sketch of those feet just from memory.
When Orion emerged, Dudley's suspicions of him being almost too good looking were confirmed. He was wearing an apologetic smile, which sat perfectly on his face; it was as though he knew that his presence was upsetting the family dynamic. "Hi," he said shyly.
Roxanne was the only one who deigned to reply to him, "Hey," she sounded anxious though and Dudley frowned, wondering why she was so worried if Orion wasn't really a Death Eater. George still looked as though he wanted to attack Orion, but Harry had wisely decided to keep his wand from him.
It was, of course, Harry who broke the awkward silence that had come over the room. Dudley had felt the tension thicken upon Orion's entrance and he could feel it lifting slightly as Harry spoke, "So, what happened to you, exactly?"
Orion sighed and sank onto the only empty armchair remaining thinking it was good that the Weasley's were such a large family or else everyone wouldn't have fit. How could he explain it all to them?
"Well, Lynx died," that was the first thing he could think of, and he supposed it all started there. "I ran then, I had nothing left to stay for, the only reason I decided to help your side against the Dark Lord was to see if I could keep Lynx out of trouble. There was no way I was going over to the Dark Lord, I would never trust a man who has no human feeling...Anyway, I was followed, by some of his supporters, Durin and Gordon, I think Rodolphus told them to come after me, just before he was caught. They weren't going to let me get away easy, they wanted me to die while it was still in their power to kill me. After all, to them I was responsible for the death of my own mother," here he stopped and his eyes hit the ground. Everyone...dead. Lynx, his mother and his father was bound to be dead fairly soon.
"It got worse, two days ago," Orion said once he had composed himself, he noticed that all of them were watching him with pity in their eyes, except for the other half of the twins, "Before that it had been relatively easy for me to outrun them. Durin and Gordon were never the best with a wand, but when my father joined them...Well of course as soon as I realised it was him, I was running faster than ever...but it wasn't enough. They caught me yesterday," here Roxanne's breath caught and she came over to him and put her arm around his shoulder, "They...used some curses," Dudley winced, he was assuming they'd used the Cruciatus curse and probably many more considering the state of Orion's face.
"They had to run though, the aurors were coming. That's the only reason I'm alive. I had to run too, I had to go, because everyone would think I was Lynx and then I'd be dead at the hands of the aurors. I only came here because I thought that maybe Roxanne would be able to tell you who I was before you put me into Azkaban. That's really about it."
Everyone sat there for a few moments, staring at Orion, who looked back at them steadily, his grey eyes unblinking. He had to make them realise, he was telling the truth, they had to know that he had never been anything like his family, though he had loved his twin.
"I believe you," to everyone's surprise it was George who had spoken. "I'm sorry, about your brother, but I still hate his guts, because he killed my brother."
Orion nodded, "Lynx wasn't the best person, but I loved him, just like how you loved Fred," he looked at the redhead with a lot of sympathy and then turned to Roxanne, she was avoiding his gaze and he knew why. The engagement was not exactly something he wanted to talk about either.
"Ok, so you should probably eat something and get some sleep, then," said Harry who seemed to be trusting George's judgement as well as his own as he passed back the older boy's wand. George nodded appreciatively as he accepted it.
"Wait just one second," Mrs Weasley said as Orion made to get up, he sat back down again and looked at her in confusion, "Look, I wouldn't meddle if I didn't think it was necessary, but there've been a lot of rumours about you flying around."
Orion sighed and looked at Roxanne, running a hand through his dark, shaggy hair he walked over to stand next to her. "Well, the rumour is that...you two are engaged," said Molly indicating to Orion and Roxanne, who was looking to the corner of the room apologetically. Orion followed her gaze, she was looking at the Muggle boy, Dudley, it looked as though they had feelings for each other.
Orion looked at Roxanne for a while, expecting her to speak, when after a while she said nothing he began, "Look, it's not what you think. We're going to get rid of it as soon as we can, it's just that there was no time...It all happened so fast and then the war began so there was no time," he stopped and ran his hand through his hair again, it was a nervous habit of his, "Look we may be engaged now but we won't be for long."
"Wait...what's this 'it'?" Dudley spoke. He was glaring at Orion and the taller man was reminded of the expression 'if looks could kill'.
"What he meant is," said Roxanne who had apparently regained her usual, collected manner, "We didn't enter into an engagement willingly and the nature of our engagement is very...doubtful. It's old, pureblood magic, and our parents did it. It's sort of like an arranged marriage, only we can break the charm, it's just difficult, you have to figure it out. It's weird; I never really understood the pure-blood traditions..."
Dudley felt himself relax at her words. She'd been engaged, but not in the typical sense with a ring and all, but through a spell. It was not of her own free will, there was no love involved and they could get rid of the spell, so really everything was fine.
Orion watched the small crowd in the living room of the Burrow intently, looking for any signs of shock and distaste. He knew that most wizards sneered at arranged marriages these days; it was only the slightly psychotic, pure-blood families that bothered with them anymore. Families like his and Roxanne's. To his surprise it wasn't Dudley Dursley who was looking upset – in fact he was looking vaguely happy – no, it was his mother.
Petunia's lips were pursed and she was staring at both Roxanne and Orion. Her look had an intensity to it that Roxanne had never seen in the woman's eyes before; she was almost scared of Mrs. Dursley when she looked like that. She quailed and felt like turning tail and fleeing, this was exactly why she'd never mentioned the engagement before, she'd been afraid of people's bad reactions.
Petunia couldn't believe it, she was engaged! Poor Dudley, he would be so heart-broken if the engagement couldn't be broken off. It was really a pity that these two young people had been forced into an engagement at such a young age, but there had been no need for Roxanne to lie about it and string her son along. She'd been encouraging an irresponsible affection for a while now. Still angry, Petunia managed to speak, "You better figure this out fast."