3rd Person Posts for Aftermath
Invitations had been diligently sent out a month in advance. As the MacDougals did not have the space for a ballroom of their own, they reserved a banquet hall a reasonable distance from their manor in the Highlands. Seating was decided in advanced, and the place settings arranged in such a way that the lacey table handkerchiefs would flit into the air and find their assigned Guest upon his or her entry. The handkerchiefs would lead each person to a seat. Meticulous care was taken in seeing that families were seated together, and that known rivals were separated as much as possible. The theme of the party was, of course, Unity, and all Wizarding family names were invited, save a very few. As such, the food served was modest. Care had been taken with the dessert, but the soup, salad and main course were all somewhat bland, making one less than regretful for the fact that they were served in meager proportions.
The chandeliers had been charmed in advance to play soft dinner music, akin to the stylings of Celestina Warwick, while they ate. After the meal, the lights dimmed considerably and a more playful, enticing music beckoned the guests from the banquet hall into the adjacent ballroom. The room was adorned with fairies, and the walls had been given a glamour to appear as though they were in a forest. One could easily step through the ethereal trees to place a hand on the wall behind, however. The illusion was something between a painting and reality, which gave the impression of a dream. The ceiling was done in much the same; rather than being charmed invisible to reveal the night sky as it was, it was given a glamour to display the night sky as it should be on this day – a sort of living painting of indigo swirls, twinkling stars and fairy lights. The band hired was a cover band; Morag’s uncle was the band’s percussionist.
Guests were left to their own devices in the ballroom. They were free to mingle and dance as they wished . . .
((This should be posted by Lucius, as it is his pov, but I forget to get him added to the community. >.<))
Lucius Malfoy had never dreamed things would go quite this
badly. He knew his only son wouldn't like what his father had to say to him. That was a given. But to react this strongly ... he was reminded, not for the first time tonight, of the stories his father used to tell him about his great uncles. Twins, Evander and Aeneus, who had fought bitterly for succession, often physically and magically. Their battles were quite vicious and spectacular, his father had recalled with a certain nostalgia. Lucius had no brothers, only one younger sister.
The conversation had started well enough. He had waited until Narcissa was some several hours gone before approaching the boy, going to his chambers to speak with him. Draco had seemed open enough, and listened attentively as Lucius spoke, much as he had when he was a child. He had that faint half smile that Lucius recognized as his own mother's; a strange, almost fey look that seemed to imply some sort of secret ... and yet the boy had
"I want you to stop bringing up this nonsense about succession, Draco. Of course you're my heir, and one day you will be the head of the Malfoy family. But you're far too young. I didn't inherit until I was well into my thirties. It takes a man of maturity, stability to head our house. One day, that will be you, but you're young, and still too prone to error and rashness."
"Yes, Father." Draco ducked his head slightly, and Lucius thought he detected a touch of sulleness. Well, that was to be expected, the boy hated to be lectured.
"Just because you are my only child, does not give you the right to question me as you have been. I'm tired of it, and I will have it no more. Your priority should be to finding an appropriate pureblooded girl. Once you're married, and have a few children, we will discuss things again."
"And promotion ... how can you expect to head the entire Malfoy family," What little scraps there are left of it
, he thought darkly, "Working as an editor at some book printer's? You should be looking to the future. I'm glad you have some thoughts to what you might be doing ten, twenty years from now, but you must learn patience, boy! It cannot be all instant gratification. It is our greatest strength, patience. Cultivate it as a virtue. We have waited out one generation of wizards, until they have forgotten our more distasteful ties, and we shall do it again. But this will not be so with you lunging for the reins now. Do you understand what I'm telling you?"
Draco looked up, meeting his father's eyes with a pair of identical cool grey. "Yes, I understand, Father."
"Good," Lucius nodded with some relief. He did not want to renew the struggle that he had so recently vanquished with an ancient Dark spell. "I knew you had some sense in you, Draco."
"I understand," the boy continued, rising, "But I do not agree."
Lucius narrowed his eyes. "What do you mean by that?" he said, voice sharp with suspicion.
"I think you know exactly what I mean, Father. Yes, patience is a virtue, yes, I should find a pureblood girl to breed
with," his voice dripped with distaste. "And yes, it takes a man of maturity to run this little family. But you are not that man. You're old
, Father, or hadn't you noticed? Old and foolish yourself, frittering away our money on your little wagers, on buying your freedom .... wasting it."
Lucius frowned at Draco. "Don't take that tone with me, boy
! How dare you speak to me so! I have given you everything
"And taken it all back," Draco said nastily. "No, I think this family's done with you. Maybe when you
prove yourself, when you became stable enough," his tongue mocked the words he spoke, "Then you will be allowed back." He lifted his chin haughtily, contriving to stare down at his father though Lucius had almost a foot on him.
"You impertinent, bastardly-!" Lucius roared, and was cut short only by the hex flying through the air. His own wand was instantly in his hand as the curse scorched the wall not but an inch to the right of his ear. And then the air was thick with the greasy feel of too much magic as father and son threw spells at each other, one in a towering rage, the other with sneering contempt.
The room was too small to hold them. Painful hits scored on both side forced a retreat into the greater part of the house, where the war began in earnest. Lucius knew every inch of this house like the back of his hand; he had spent his first eleven years here. But then, so had Draco, and Lucius had taught him every secret, every hidden passage.
He'd taught him a full complement of curses, as well. Secret sessions during the summers, hidden in a room sealed against the prying charms of the Ministry. His son had not gone to school knowing as many hexes as Snape was reputed to have, but he'd been well able to take care of himself. And learned more and more with each passing year.
Of course, Lucius would be able to best the boy in any out and out duel. His knowledge had decades on Draco's. His had been tested, too, against other wizards, in formal duels that had been the fashion in his youth, and in more dire circumstances. But this was not two men facing each other and bowing, following a set of guidelines, carefully watched by others. This was something else entirely. And while he was not old
as Draco would like to think, he was also not young. Not 19 years old and brimming with fire and life and carelessness that could make a hex so deadly. Lucius considered each spell, if only for a moment, before throwing it; Draco had no such handicap.
And so they pursued each other throughout the house. Or rather, Lucius pursued Draco; the boy seemed to content to rabbit and hide, finding new nooks to attack his father from. Lucius knew he had scored a few good hits. The boy had been limping when he saw him last, and his shoulder (not the wand arm, damn it all) had been spasming in the aftermath of a velicus
hex, his eyes darting forward and back with the distracting precognition that came with the precipio
But Lucius was not unscathed himself. His left hand and arm were withered, prematurely aged by a curse aimed at his head. His clothes were scorched and burned to ash in some places; Draco did like to throw fire around, as foolish as it was to do in his own house. His skin had not escaped the charms in some places. His chest throbbed with pain, his breathing constricted by an iron hand charm that would not fade ...
"You should hope I'll choose to be merciful and murder you on the spot when I find you! Stupid, traitorous boy ... "
Draco sat in his desk chair, staring at his reflections in the dark window. He idly toyed with a quill, rolling it between his fingers over and over above the blank piece of parchment, leaving little flecks of ink on both the paper and his fingers. He hadn't been able to write in over a month. Longer, even. He supposed it was writer's block. Perhaps he'd wasted all his creativity on those stupid love poems he'd written for Peter. It would be just his luck that his ridiculous phase of infatuation with the other man would drain him of inspiration.
Still, he found it soothing, the act of sitting at his desk, and taking up a quill. As if he were going to write. As if he had ideas just niggling at his fingertips, trying to escape onto the paper. The truth was, he did have a thousand thoughts flying through his head these days, but none would make good poetry.
He'd quite welcomed his return to form. The spell his father had cast to return him to who he truly was had been a relief. The doubts that had plagued him, the vague, troubling feelings of guilt, and the strange sense of shame, the feeling that he wasn't quite right, good enough, all had disappeared. Blown away so easily
, a handful of fragile petals in the storm of Lucius's power. It was so comforting to remember again that he was pure, he was right, and most of all, he was loved
. He had made some mistakes. But his mother still held out hope for him. His father still cared for him. That feeling of certainty, belongingness, was priceless.
If he had to tell off Granger, what did it matter? That jumped up mudblood had always held him at arm's length, anyway, hadn't she? Always acted as if she were just a bit better
than he was, as if she were indulging him. Pitying him. He was done with that. Glad to be rid of her. And Peter ... wasn't it the same with him? Always that condescension when he talked to Draco. That smile that said he was humoring the younger man. That he was world's past such a boy
... Draco played every smile, every look, over and over in his head, searching for it. He always found it, but he'd have to start over, afraid he'd missed it elsewhere. Every look in those eyes, so damn hard to read. So unsure of how Peter felt.
... no. He was better off without.
Of course, he never really talked to anyone anymore. He'd burned those bridges some time ago. But he didn't mind being alone. Not really. He'd been raised an only child, hadn't he? He didn't need other people. He only really felt it on the days when he wasn't working, and he found himself with nothing to do. Well, sometimes in the evenings, if no one was about. Or during his lunch hours, when he was sitting at his desk, stuck inside because of the weather. And of course it was the weather, not the lingering fear that he might run into someone he knew.
But his strange dissatisfaction with his family, this was something new entirely. And it was starting to trouble him. It's not that he wasn't grateful to Father, that he didn't love him, it just seemed ... well, Lucius was getting older. Old, almost. Past the time when he should be head of the Malfoy family perhaps. Shouldn't Draco start being groomed to take over? He'd asked Lucius about it several times, but always he was put off.
"Plenty of time for that. We'll see in a few years, perhaps after you've married. Had a son of your own."
A few years? He was expected to wait years
? It was all ridiculous, and the resentment that had festered in him previous to his coming to his senses started anew. Father hadn't the faintest idea how to run things. he'd squandered the resources they had left, sat about doing nothing while their family rotted. The thoughts kept him up at night at times, and it was these dark early mornings that the other
thoughts surfaced. The ones that bothered him even more than his anger towards his father.
He began to think he should go to Mother's room.
At first it was nothing more than a vague, undefined urge, that Draco made nothing of. He was still attracted to men; he was made painfully aware of it by his body whenever he walked past a handsome one, or had to talk to Halifax in printing. Moreso when he was turning over the memories of Peter in his head. He chalked it up to inexperience; after all, he'd never actually had proper sex with a man or
woman. Once he was situated with a nice pureblood girl, he was sure the thoughts would go away. Sometimes, when they were particularly bad, he would consider seeing a prostitute of some stripe, just to get the whole thing out of the way. But a Malfoy could scarcely risk being seen with a woman of ill repute. He put the thought out of his mind.
But when thinking on what sort of woman he should take to wife he could not help but think that none of them would be able to measure up to Narcissa. How was he supposed to find a suitable mate-to-be when he had been raised by the very pinnacle of womanly perfection? Narcissa was everything a man could want - who could possibly compare?
From those thoughts grew the disturbing ones. The ones he knew were sick and wrong, but were so, so tempting. After all, his parents didn't even sleep in the same bed every night. Maybe not even most nights; Narcissa had had her own chambers for as long as he could remember, and he knew she spent at least some of her nights there. They probably weren't evern sleeping together. Would it hurt to go into her just one night, and share his concerns? Perhaps beg of her a motherly kiss on the brow ... explain how well matched they were. Many royal families and wizarding ones had kept their genes jealously from the more common families ... would this be so different? And he was young, he knew he could please her far better than that old man ...
He was starting to lose sleep over it. The inner debate keeping him up and pacing longer and longer each night. Mother would be shocked, horrified to hear such suggestions from her son ... but mightn't she also be secretly pleased? Flattered? He didn't know.
But he wanted very much to find out.
Tracey had been planning this for a very long time. As soon as her hurt had been replaced with anger, she had started plotting revenge. Unfortuneately, the thug hadn't inadvertantly killed the boy. It seemed she had to take things into her own hands. Why she thought someone else would finally come through for her was a mystery. One really did have to do things themselves to have them done right, trite as the phrase was.
Poison had come into her head ages ago, but how to do it was the challenge. She had chosen cyanide, hoping St. Mungo's wouldn't have a spell to counteract it. Muggle poison could be suspicious, but Neville knew more than one muggleborn. It wouldn't be traced back to her. Gift food was the best way to do it. That would eliminate the need to sneak into the house entirely. Cookies: Oatmeal with currant and milk chocolate, Fudge with white chocolate chip, Snickerdoodles, and Plain sugar cookies with ornate icing. She had the housekeeper make them, and slyly slipped the cyanide into each batch as she wasn't looking.
The tin she got from a bakery in Hogsmeade so it would look official, but the card was the real challenge. Nobody in their right minds would eat annonymous cookies even if the tin was still magically sealed. It took some looking into family trees to find the name of a relative. In the end, she signed the card with the name of an elderly aunt with carefully altered handwriting and sent the package away with an anonymous post owl.
With any luck, the Prophet would be reporting the unfortunate death of Neville Longbottom by morning. Tracey was pleased. For the first time since her brother was sent to boarding school, she possessed an inner peace.
Sadly lacking the shed-sized pumpkins of Hagrid's day, the Great Hall was still very elaborately decorated for the Hallowe'en feast. Nearly a thousand carved Jack o' Lanterns with flickering candles, the usual live bats, orange and black streamers flowing and fluttering in an elaborate dance across the ceiling which had, as always, been charmed to show a most wicked storm. Every now and again a shriek of lightning would tear across the thick black clouds in the sky above the hall. Pumpkin pies, pumpkin bread, pumpkin ice, and other assorted seasonal delicacies were served liberally on golden plates.
All students and staff should be present and accounted for save a few very notable exceptions. Miss Gladspell had, of course, been missing since the start of term. The added disappearances of Miss Nickelston and Mr Wetzel had not yet been noted, though were sure to be unsettling at best, once they were. There was one sixth year and one fourth year student in the infirmary after an unfortunate incident with tentacula venom and a quidditch mishap, respectively. Professor Trelawney rarely attended feasts of this magnitude, and Professor Firenze would not deign to attend them. Professor Lupin, however, was
in attendance, despite having been out of class and off his patrol the last few nights due to an illness. He was looking pale and weary, as many who suffer from sickness and insomnia tend to. As such, he could not be too faulted for not noticing the absent Gryffindors straightaway.
The Headmistress had announced that the ban on Hogsmeade visits would continue throughout the year, and had given the students another warning about wandering off the school's grounds. After her admonitions, she quickly summoned the food and sat down. It was at these times she most missed Albus, for he had always been able to maintain a better flare for light-hearted frivolity than she, and it was undebatable that such an atmosphere would benefit morale. The ghosts were scheduled to put on some sort of entertainment for the students' benefit after the feast. Perhaps that would help.
Hermione had spent every night since she discovered that body in the same seat of the library. Despite the disturbing circumstances that brought her here, she couldn't help but feel like life was getting a tiny mit more normal with each hour spent inhaling the smell of old books. She had neglected the library as of late, and blamed part of her recent depression on it. She was by no means happy, but this was much better for her than sitting at home with her pets. She caught her mind wandering and forced it back onto task with a few sips of alertness draught before opening yet another book and looking for Andris Kráslavas. There had to be information on him somewhere.
Padma knew that Ron worked with his brothers, and it wasn't exactly the most difficult task in the world to find their shop (it was the only orange and yellow building with lime green trim on the street, after all). She tries peering into the windows, first, but Halloween displays and semi-tinted glass thwart her. Instead of giving up, however, she keeps moving on to the entrance, pulls open the door and walks inside. There are several other people visible in the shop, at least two of which are costumers. Padma scans the area, and calmly approaches the first head of red hair she can find.
Roaming the deserted halls of the school, Kyan kicks himself for not taking the week to become better reacquainted with the lay out. He is certain that he will get himself lost within an hour's time. Uncertain as to whether or not it is a blessing that he has yet to come across the other Professors, he continues dutifully.
In truth, Kyan is a bit eager to informally meet the potions professor. In school, he heard stories about the man and, of course, the Gryffindors that tormented him. The new professor was then, and still is, interested in hearing the other side of the story. He hates those who can only see things one-sidedly.
Of course, the errant thoughts are not making his job any easier, and he very nearly misses a pair of fifth years snogging in a dark alcove.
"That will be ten points from each of your houses and two weeks detention," he informs them before shooing them away.
"Do these children not realize the very real danger they are in?" he mutters without noticing that he has spoken outloud.
Vinnie slouched on the unkempt bed, listening to the erratic sound of the shower in the bathroom. Greg was in there now, and Vinnie had the faint hope that he wouldn't use up all the hot water. He expected he would, though, Greg always took a long time in shower. Doing what, he had no idea. Vinnie himself tended to be in and out in just as long as it took to get soap on and off everything.
He still had the taste of bile stinging in the back of his throat. He hated throwing up. It was horrible to feel like your insides were rushing to escape your mouth, and the complete inability to do anything else when puking but puke. He hadn't done it in front of Pettigrew, at least. The shame of that would have had him silent for days. Not that he was much of a talker now. Still.
He couldn't even remember the man's name. Something Russian. At least it had sounded like it. Foreign, something with an -ov or a -ski. Pettigrew had told them: the man was a traitor. He done about the worst thing Vinnie could imagine. He'd sold out the Death Eaters to the Ministry, bit by bit, to keep himself alive, out of prison. Betrayal. Vinnie couldn't even imagine doing something like that. They'd asked him a million questions when he was arrested him, threatened him with longer jail time if he didn't answer, and gotten creative with curses. He'd never said a thing. He felt some pride in that, that he hadn't slipped, hadn't given away even a little bit. Of course, he never knew that much to begin with, but if he had, he would have been even more determined to keep his mouth shut. That was what you did
. Contemplating the nameless Russian's acts, the Malfoys ... Vinnie could barely conceive of it, let alone imagine why someone might turn against their friends and cause.
Holding the guy down was easy. He had thought it would be difficult, the guy was pretty tall. But his struggles were weak, and he seemed terrified of Pettigrew. Vinnie suppose he'd be scared, too, if he'd done what the Russian had. And Pettigrew looked pretty crazy by now. Filthy, matted hair, barely visible bathwater eyes, layers of shredded and patched robe. And he smelled ... weird. Vinnie expected him to smell a little like the vags he walked by on his way to work: sour sweat and liquor and shit and piss. Human. But Pettigrew always smelled like an odd mix of wet dog and rubbish. Really strong, wet rubbish, the kind you got in dumpsters that had been left for weeks. Rotten. Decaying flowers left too long in the vase.
He had questioned the Russian for what seemed like ages, pausing every now and then to administer a curse. Vinnie had expected Crucio. That was one even he could do, and it always worked pretty good. But he had never heard the words that came out of Pettigrew's mouth before. The curses seemed long and involved, and the guy had jerked this way and that under their influence. It made him hard to hold onto, but with Greg on the other side, they'd managed. Sometimes Vinnie could smell blood, but he never really saw any, except a thin trickle that came from the man's ears at one point.
Finally Pettigrew had body bound the Russian, and told them to trash the house. That was the part he liked. It was always kind of cool to get to walk around someone else's place, especially a posh one, and bust up whatever you liked. Greg liked to take a length of wood, a table chair or something, and just lash out at things that caught his eye. Vinnie, on the other hand, preferred to methodically break every item in a small area. China cabinets were favorite. When they finally came back from their circuit of the house, Pettigrew was done, and the Russian was dead.
They had to help him hang the body up, dangling in front of the door, with a bit of cord from the line outside for the laundry. Vinnie tried not to look at the guy's face, and concentrated on getting his arms wrapped tight, so he wouldn't fall down after a day or two of sitting there. He did it, too, and then they'd been free to go, Pettigrew promising another meeting soon. That's when he'd puked, right in the flowerbeds up the front. He didn't know why then, and not earlier, but Greg had clapped him on the back sympathetically, and then they'd come home.
He wished he could remember the man's name.