I unfortunately don't own the world of Harry Potter. J. K. Rowling does.

Just a quick thanks to Apocolips, xXMizz Alec VolturiXx, TheEscapeFromReality, AngelsWisper, Allen Pitt, Scoutbabe, SocietyKilledMe-WickedDaphne, Pure Yet Dark, PercyPotter36, AnImEfReAk4994, translucent steeds, Invisia, High Reacher, GreekPrincess143, RandomPerson3. 14, PercyPotter36, kitty-earsxx, smokingwinds, Scoutbabe, and Rin-chan Desu.

AnImEfReAk4994: Thank you again for the lovely review. I hear what you're saying, but I'm also glad you're choosing to respect my opinion. Like I've stated, I don't plan for there to be any romance per say between them, but they will become close.

Now on with the story! :)

By the way - Narcissa hasn't yet spoken to Lucius.

Chapter 74:

Confronting the Liable Role-Model

"Well, what do we have here?" the man sneered, taking in her disheveled appearance.

"S – sir. I – I was – was just – " she stuttered, unable to make out a coherent sentence.

"You were just what? I thought I had told you to get all your work done," he said, his voice harsh, his mouth turning up in a sneer as she tried backing up. Quick as lightening, he grabbed her arm, holding tightly to it, watching her as she gasped in pain.

"You – you did, sir, but – but you see, your son came and told me to come to his room. I – you didn't tell me a time frame while he ordered me to come immediately," she explained hurriedly.

"So you were obeying one master by disobeying another? You do know by now that my orders are above anyone else's, am I correct?"

"Ye – yes, sir," she answered dejectedly.

"Then get to it!" he snarled, pushing her roughly to the ground, a purpling handprint forming on her upper right arm. However, as she began to walk away, her bond-mark burned, and she found she couldn't continue.

"Sir, please, I promise I'll complete my chores, just allow me to go to your son," she pleaded. However Lucius simply chuckled darkly.

"You must be joking if you think I'll listen to the likes of you. Besides, you need to learn your lesson," he declared.

"Please, I – ahh!" she cried, as Lucius hit her with his walking staff.

"Sir, Draco ordered me – "

"Draco? What have I said about addressing my son so trivially?" he asked, wrapping his stick against her stomach, making her cry out again.

"Father, what's going on here?" a new voice interrupted as Draco surveyed the scene. He had sensed it the minute Ariella decided to stop coming to him, and immediately knew something was wrong.

"Not now, Draco. Our little pet must be taught obedience. It seems you were wrong," he said haughtily. But Draco took a step forward.

"I know what you've been doing to her. I know about it all. This can't continue. You'll kill her!" stated Draco boldly.

"Then would you like to take over the job of punishing her?" his father replied, secretly surprised at his son's sudden boldness. Draco recoiled, just barely containing his full reaction.

"She's scared of you."

"As it should be. Draco, she is our slave, nothing more. She has had years to learn her place. Perhaps I was too soft on her in the beginning…or not harsh enough with you, if you see her as more?"

"I don't see her that way, but she is a human. Father, I ordered her to come."

"And I ordered her to perform her chores. My orders usurp yours, as I am the head of this family," Lucius replied, taking a menacing step towards his son.

"I am aware of that. But you did not give her a deadline. I told her immediately, therefore my order takes precedence! She was obeying orders, nothing more."

"Enough!" Lucius roared harshly, backhanding his son across the face. Draco stumbled, holding a hand to his face, looking at the man he emulated with shock and disgust as he quickly straightened, determined not to be weak. Lucius just stared at his son, before bringing his cane down once more directly in front of his servant's face and bending down.

"Disobey either of us one more time, and I guarantee it will be your last. You will learn your lesson one way or another and I will not tolerate you ripping apart my family," he hissed, his voice low, before striding proudly out of the room.

"Draco, I – I am so sorry. I never meant for this to happen to you," Ariella said, her voice full of emotion as she sat back on her heals, struggling all the way.

"ME? You're sorry – " he trailed off, taking in a slow breath as his mask fell back in place. Going over what she had told him upstairs, he suddenly realized at least one aspect of why she was always apologizing to him, even when she had gotten hurt worse. She was terrified that he would revert to his "other self," and go back to being cruel to her – and it not be an act.

"Are you okay?" he asked, coming over to where she knelt, offering her a hand.

"I – I'll be fine," she replied, taking his hand and standing up, her grimace and hiss of pain not escaping the now insightful grey eyes of her younger master.

"I'll be fine," she repeated.

"Come; we'll go to my room as planned," he said simply, gently bringing an arm around her so that she wouldn't fall. As he did so, he noticed her mark burning. Shifting his hand slightly so it touched his diamond, he whispered, "You are forgiven for not coming directly to me. No punishment is necessary." What Draco missed directly afterward, however, was the flash of thanks and gratefulness that his servant gave him.

Slowly, the students made their way down the winding hallways and stairwells to his room. Once there, Draco led her over to his bed, gently letting her down before standing to his full height.

Examining his reflection, he numbly brought a hand to touch the reddening mark upon his pale face.

"Do you wish me to heal that for you?" she offered softly.

"You can?"

She nodded. "Either by magic, or just by salve."

"Salve is fine."

"Would you – can you summon it? It's in my room," she asked, suddenly timid again at having to ask another favor. But he simply did as he was told, catching the jar a minute later firmly in his hand.

He sat down next to her upon his bed as she opened the jar, taking out a small amount.

"Can you close your eyes, just in case?" Draco did as he was told. Moments after, he heard her take a deep breath, and felt a cool, callused hand gently touch his cheek. She was moving slowly, making sure to cover all parts of the bruise and then some, for she knew the bruise would swell.

"There; I – I can apply more tomorrow, if you want me to," she offered, letting him know she was finished for the time being.

"Th – thank you," he whispered, shocking both of them as he opened his eyes.

"What did you make this for originally?" he asked, taking the jar from her shaking hands and screwing the lid on tightly.

"My my scars, but I stopped applying it after the second time. Your – your father wouldn't be happy if he knew I was being healed, and I'd probably end up more hurt in the end." She explained.

"Would you like me to apply it to your back? Or your hand at least?" he offered, surprising them both once more. She bowed her head, taking the now closed jar from his hands.

"No, tha – that's all right, but thank you, Dr – sir," the servant amended quickly, the bond beginning to punish her.

"Draco is fine, my father isn't present." He told her quietly. This calmed the bond's punishment, though Draco never even realized what had happened.

"Now, how are you feeling after what just happened?" he asked, moving to touch the handprint bruise, but at the last second, pulling away.

However, she simply shrugged, unnerving him. "I – I'll be fine, it's nothing new," she replied, rising slowly to her feet.

"Thank you," she whispered. When the boy's eyebrows scrunched together, showing confusion, she explained: "for coming after me and for wanting to help me."

Draco's expression softened, and he stood up, coming over to where she stood, placing one hand gently on her shoulder, the other coming under her chin, tilting it upward so that her brown eyes would meet his grey ones.

"You're welcome."

Thanks to all who are reading and enjoying this story. If you have any suggestions, (i.e. would like to see something happen, etc.) questions, or comments, please feel free to private message me. Thanks! ~ Leanora