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Lucius didn't have a plan. He was too accustomed to trusting in his authoritative voice – and, where all else failed, his wallet. Besides, what kind of a plan could you have with Magi? She was a different person every ten minutes, with a different litany of demands.

He would just have to think on his feet, that was all. He knew Magi wasn't clever. And he knew that he had to succeed. These certainties would have to take the place of schemes, for the moment.

She was waiting for him in Highgate Cemetery, wearing the coronet under the hood of a fur-trimmed cloak, and blushing as though she was already rehearsing, in her head, all the obscene things she was going to make him do to get hold of it. Malfoy nodded cautiously. "Magi," he said.  

Her shrill delight made him flinch. "Mr. Malfoy! I was 'oping you'd be on time! Burke said I should make you pay an extra ten-thousand Galleons for every minute you made me wait."

Lucius raised his eyebrows. "I thought there was a lot of sulphur-coloured snow around. Is he still here?"

Magi shrugged evasively. That probably meant he was still here, but Lucius knew he wouldn't intervene. Burke was one of life's perennial spectators. It would be dangerous to be anything else, at his age.

"How naïve of him to imagine you only want money from me," he went on.

She giggled. "Oh, I know! 'E's too old to understand that you're a handsome man, and I've got a beating heart, same as any other girl."

"That remains to be seen," said Lucius. "Why don't you spell it out and shock him, Magi? What, exactly, is it that you want?"  

Magi pouted, but she was obviously too excited to draw this out in her usual style. "What does any girl want from a Malfoy?" she asked brightly. "I want to marry you."

Lucius tried to keep all expressions off his face. It had been frozen into immobility by the winter air in any case. "You're saying," he began slowly, "that, in return for giving me the coronet, you want to be the mistress and owner of the coronet?"

"Oh, I know it sounds like a bad deal!" she hastened on. "I'm a business-woman at heart, Mr Malfoy - ,"

Lucius wondered why she kept talking about her heart. Magi was not subtle, despite her ability to take on the form of any person she'd ever seen. Her feelings always spilled out amidst that mindless chatter.

"But I reckons you want it for something more immediate than your vault at Gringotts," she said shrewdly. "Am I right? I know only a Mrs Malfoy can work it, and there aint no Mrs Malfoys anymore, but I reckon it's got other powers you're plannin' to make use of. I aint interested in 'em, for the moment. We'll have years to go into the details, when we're 'usband and wife. But you need the coronet now, for some mysterious reason, and I'm the girl 'oo can give it to you. All you 'ave to do is swear – using an Unbreakable Vow, mind – to marry me later."

Lucius didn't reply immediately. He wondered whether you would expire on the spot if you made an Unbreakable Vow that contradicted an Unbreakable Vow you'd already made a few months ago. Well, it was immaterial anyway, because he wasn't going to marry Magi.

"I'll never get old," she whispered pleadingly, bouncing up and down on the balls of her feet. It made her bosom quake. "I'll never get boring! I can be a different woman for you every night. And all I want in return is your name. Is that so much to ask?"

And then, as though she was bringing out her portfolio, she started to change shape, flowing into each new form like a fountain. First, she was a Hogwarts-teacher, in severe but unbuttoned robes; then a barmaid with blonde pigtails and an over-brimming corset; then a luscious redhead in tight leather. If Malfoy's face hadn't been frozen, he would have smiled at how laughably off the mark she was. Oh, she was remembering the shapes she used to assume for him, in the old days, but she didn't know how much he'd changed since then. She didn't know that every reminder of those days turned his stomach. He was hardly in danger of being bewitched. In fact, if any of these shapely apparitions started to laugh, he would be in danger of vomiting.

Magi paused, in the likeness of Raquel Welch, and said: "You don't even have to do without the boney fiancée, if you don't want to."

That was when she started to reveal her intelligence, but also the pathway towards her own destruction. Lucius felt the ground receding from beneath his feet, because she was suddenly skeletal and magnificent, with skin that shone like steel in the moonlight. She was Narcissa. But not just any Narcissa: she was the Narcissa he had pictured scowling down on visitors at the end of his family's portrait gallery: wearing a silver, shoulderless dress, her chin upturned with icy defiance.

It was as though Magi was dragging the story back on-course; there was his Narcissa, just as he'd imagined her in his family portrait gallery; it was the future he had felt connected to, only a few weeks before. It had been ruined by vicious mudbloods and presumptuous half-bloods, but here it was, right in front of him, and all he had to do was stretch out his hands and take it.

She might have had him if she hadn't spoken.

"Come closer and see all the details, Mr. Malfoy. I can do the accent too. You'd never know the difference."

As she spoke, he felt his muscles hasten to obey her. He had to walk closer. His conscious mind had no say in the matter. And Magi hadn't realized it yet. She thought she had assumed just another shape – albeit one with smaller breasts and a greater power to fixate his eyes. But, somehow, Narcissa's shape could make the coronet work, even though she wasn't a Mrs. Malfoy.

And Lucius finally understood something about his family's magic: it was arrogant beyond belief – arrogant beyond the expectations of anyone but a Malfoy. That was why the coronet had never been stolen from his family; its magic could only be understood by a Malfoy. Magi was self-important but she could never fathom a Malfoy's arrogance. You had to have been brought up, from the earliest age, to believe that you were the only person of consequence in the entire world.

Because the coronet thought Narcissa was already a Mrs. Malfoy. The coronet didn't care about wedding-certificates or the words of priests: it only cared that a Malfoy was in love with her. As far as the coronet was concerned, if a Malfoy was in love with you, you were already a part of the family, because what woman would dare refuse a Malfoy? It was a foregone conclusion.

You didn't need a wedding ring to command the power of the coronet; you just needed a Malfoy's heart. Once you had that, of course you'd take the rest – what woman wouldn't?  

"Magi," he said, stepping up to her.

"Is this your favourite one?" she asked, in Narcissa's voice, with Narcissa's defiantly upturned chin. "Mr. Malfoy, you have changed! I'd never've believed it! What is she, a 32A? You know, if that's a problem, I can keep this body, but just enlarge the bosoms a bit. You won't get an offer like that from her."

"No," he said firmly. "That shape – just as it is – will do nicely. Kiss me."

It was not like kissing Narcissa. He knew that wizards took Metamorphmagi as lovers, and made them impersonate ex-girlfriends or fantasy-figures, but they must have been constantly disappointed – either that, or they were desperate to be fooled.

Because looking like somebody just wasn't enough. Those fools didn't realize how much of the attraction was in motion and mannerisms. Narcissa didn't kiss like Magi. She kissed in a prim, restrained way that hinted at the reservoirs of passion underneath. Magi kissed as though there was nothing underneath. She kissed like a woman who was always naked, and so might just as well have been always fully-clothed. There was no mystery.

And, for another thing, Magi smoked, and so kissing her was like kissing a giggling ash-tray.

Still, it was enough to distract her. He curled his fingers into her hair, ostensibly in passion, and felt them brush against the cool silver of the coronet. With his other hand, he brought his wand out of his pocket, and – as though he was whispering sweet nothings against her lips – uttered the single word 'Stupefy'.  

Her eyes shot open, and then immediately fell closed. Lucius kept his hand curled around the coronet as she crumpled to the ground. She resumed her natural, dumpy shape as she did so. A few of her curls clung to the coronet, but Lucius was clasping the thing so tightly that they got wrenched out as she fell.  

And then, before he even had time to steady himself against the waves of nausea, he heard a gasp at his elbow, just on the edge of hearing. He turned, but didn't see anybody.

And then he looked down at the powdery snow and saw the faintest, lightest of footmarks. It had to be his Narcissa. Not even a House Elf had feet that small. In fact, now that he was looking for clues, he could see the moonlight glancing off her figure, in small but enticing ways.    

She had found him. Oh Merlin, she had seen him kissing Magi too – but she had to know it was for her, didn't she? What kind of idiot would willingly kiss Magi? Besides, Magi had been in Narcissa's shape, so maybe that didn't even count as unfaithfulness.

Well, clearly it didn't, because he wasn't dead.  

She didn't seem to have the strength for speech, and Lucius didn't trust himself to open his mouth, in case the nausea of the past few hours – the past few weeks, really – managed to find an outlet.

He lifted the coronet, and gently lowered it onto the place where he thought – from memory, and from the peculiar patterns cast by the moonlight – the top of her head ought to be.

Then he planted a kiss, like a snowflake, on the tip of her nose – with great care, almost as though she was the precious heirloom – and with only the faintest of misgivings. Once she was wearing the coronet, she could tell him what to do. Part of him knew he was jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire – if you could really apply a metaphor like that to his icy goddess. Part of him knew he was recovering his freedom only to give it up again.

And he didn't completely trust her. How could you trust someone like Narcissa? She had dosed him with Amortentia, and made him swear an Unbreakable Vow to be faithful to her for as long as he lived before she consented to save him from Amortentia-poisoning.

But a woman that devious would make life exciting. A woman that devious ought to be a Malfoy. And perhaps that was the point of love – you never knew what was going to happen, but it wouldn't be love, if you weren't prepared to gamble.

She curled her arms around him while she was still invisible. The pressure of her touch against his skin was so faint, but it got stronger every second, until she was clutching at him in a satisfyingly frantic way. Her body was blossoming into solidity beside him, as though she had slowly and gradually Apparated into his arms. It was the most exciting thing he'd ever felt.

And, as her form got stronger, he began to realize that she was shivering, gasping - perhaps even crying, although she was pressing her face too firmly against his shoulder for him to be sure. He realized it had probably been a long time since she'd touched anything, and so his only job for the moment was to be solid.

He wished he could be warm too, but he'd left his cloak at Malfoy Manor. When he could persuade Narcissa to ease her grip on his shoulders, he Summoned the fur-lined cloak from Magi's recumbent figure, and wrapped it around her, passing a Warming Charm through the fabric as he did so.

He wanted to tell her – in case she hadn't noticed – that she was already the mistress of the coronet – that they were already husband and wife – that they had been wedded by promises and need and the supreme arrogance of the Malfoy clan long ago – and that he was quite annoyed that they hadn't been behaving like a married couple all this time. But words, for once in his life, were not coming easily to him, so he just lifted her chin, looking into a face of tear-streaked powder and smudged mascara, and kissed her.

Severus didn't have a plan. A few minutes ago – as far as time could be measured in this place – he'd been lying in a four-poster bed in the arms of a beautiful woman, and now he was back in the forest of thorns, listening to the 'sweet-tempered ladies' screeching and squabbling over a bone. Although what there was to hunt in this god-forsaken place, he had no idea. Perhaps they had killed and roasted the unicorn.

It wasn't the worst nightmare, though, because his subconscious had managed to provide him with a cigarette.

Severus paced up and down, trying not to bite through the cigarette-butt, and waited for Elsa. She would have fallen asleep. She would have appeared in the Dark Lord's nightmares. And he would have noticed her. He was the most powerful Legilimens in the world – he could practically smell consciousness. Of course he would have noticed her.

But, whether he would work out that Elsa could get him into other nightmares, Severus didn't know. He was almost hoping – disastrous as it would no doubt prove – that the Dark Lord did work it out, just so that Elsa wouldn't be trapped in a nightmare with him alone.

But he didn't feel so kindly disposed towards her when she eventually showed up. She was strutting like James bloody Potter.

"It's OK," she said, grinning. "He didn't see me!"

"You wouldn't necessarily know if he did," Snape replied, peering down the path she'd come from, with his wand at the ready – for all the good a wand would do against Voldemort.

"He didn't!" she insisted. "His nightmare was full of little kids!"

Severus raised his eyebrows and lowered his wand. "Excuse me?"

"It was weird," she went on, rubbing her elbow, as she always did when she was puzzled. "We were in a classroom – I think it must've been Hogwarts. And we were being taught about how he got defeated. And, like, the teacher kept talking about this amazing man who defeated him, and not saying very much about You-Know-Who at all. And he was just standing at the back of the classroom, with his arms folded, looking pale. It was the most boring nightmare I ever seen! I was nearly bored awake! I guess, if you spend all your time killing people, maybe your brain makes up really boring nightmares, just for a change."

Severus stared at her, and then took a long, wary drag on the cigarette. "Did you catch the name of this famous person who defeated the Dark Lord?"

Elsa shrugged.  "Nah, they just kept calling 'im 'The Hero'. The hero was strong and powerful, and learnéd – ," she pronounced the extra syllable with some care and a lot of pride – "in ancient magical arts, and he blew You-Know-Who to smithereens with the most powerful wand there's ever been." She made a face. "I mean, I've heard it. Wouldn't entertain a five-year-old."

"And you're so much more sophisticated than a five-year-old," said Snape.  

Elsa ignored that. "But he can't really know how he's going to die, can 'e?" she went on. "It must be just how he's afraid he's going to die."

It certainly sounded like the kind of story that would appeal to Voldemort's epic, grandiose and uncomplicated imagination. He imagined, if he was ever going to be beaten, it would be in a straight fight against a more powerful opponent. Maybe the last descendent of Godric Gryffindor, who would turn up with a drawn sword in one hand and a wand in the other, and hurl himself head-first into the battle, probably defeating Voldemort with a fatal head-butt. It had to have the trappings of a good legend, because Voldemort was vain, and only ever imagined he could be beaten by the best. Even in his nightmares, it seemed, he was convinced that people would be talking about him for a long time. It was annoying, but Severus had to concede that they probably would.  

"We'll go to Madam Pomfrey by an indirect route," he said at last. "Take us through some other nightmares first." Then, because Elsa was giving him a sly smile, he added: "Not Lily's. Who else have you got?"

They had only been walking for ten minutes when Sally hurried up to them on the sea-front. Usually, they walked from one end of the village to the other, trying to comfort themselves with repetition, talking as little as possible, and gulping down the closest thing to fresh air that Mapledurham could offer. It was surprising their feet hadn't worn grooves into the sea-front by now.

But they had only completed the walk twice when Sally came out of the Shipwreck, wiping her hands on her apron, and trying to hitch a smile onto her habitually blank face. It was an improvement on the stony-faced greeting she had given them that morning, so Poppy felt marginally heartened.

But Sally walked straight past her with that smile, and turned its full blast on Morry. "Would you do me a favour, Mr. Prince?  I need your help bringing up a beer barrel from the cellar. Don't have many strong men to help out anymore." She glared at Poppy as she said it, as though it was somehow all her fault.

"Of course," said Morry, ever the gentleman – or, as Poppy preferred to think of it, ever the flirt.  

"You too, Poppy," said Sally, her voice hardening. "It's a three-person job. I'd ask Mrs. Walker, but you know her arthritis has been playing up recently?" There was a sarcastic lilt to the question, as though she doubted Mrs. Walker would have seen fit to confide in her – and she was, to Poppy's disappointment, absolutely right.

She led them into the pub and down the creaking wooden steps to the cellar. The smell of old potatoes mingled uneasily with the smell of disinfectant down here, and Poppy couldn't help wrinkling her nose, because of the likeness that smell bore to the military hospitals she'd served in on the continent. Dirt, disinfectant and blood – no Dittany in sight – hardly even any bandages, and yet she had wrestled with her fears for so long before she decided to use magic.

Sally stood aside to let them into the cellar first, and then lingered in the doorway, with her arms folded. She was breathing hard through her teeth, and it made a kind of hissing sound.

The cellar was full of barrels and sacks of potatoes. In the dim light, it took them a while to notice the chains.  

"Now just you stay there," said Sally, as their eyes adjusted to the darkness, and they turned quizzical – but not yet horrified – expressions on her. "I wanted to talk to you, in a place where it wouldn't bother the others. They're old ladies, you know," she went on accusingly, as though Poppy and Morry had been shockingly disrespectful. "They shouldn't have to hear what I've got to say, or know what I can't help but know."

"What is it, Sally?" said Poppy, instinctively taking a step back against the wall and hearing the chains clank behind her.

"As if you didn't know," she whispered.

"Is this…" Morry hesitated. "Is this about my regiment?"

"You were never even at the front, you bastard!" she shouted, spit flying from her mouth, but still with eyes like cardboard cut-outs. How could a face be so animated, Poppy wondered, when the eyes were so blank? "You're worse than a traitor, you! You're a coward. You had an invitation to serve your country! They wanted you, and you spurned them! Do you know what we would have given to be in your place?"

"Sally, what is this about?" Poppy interrupted, in her most soothing voice. "It was years ago ,"

"No, it was last week," she snapped. "You let our prisoner go. I don't care what poisonous company you've fallen into – I don't even care that you held the hands of our lads while they lay dying – although, if I didn't know better, I'd say you poisoned them in the infirmary - ,"

"What prisoner?"

Sally just gave her a scornful look. "We always knew you were an odd sort, Poppy Pomfrey – ever since you went off to that mysterious boarding school. But we never dreamed you'd set a German airman on this village, to murder us in our beds!"

"A what?" Poppy echoed, too bewildered to be angry.

Sally reached into one of the sacks of potatoes, and drew out a large and clunky-looking service-revolver. "My Ralph left me this," she said, looking thoughtfully down the barrel, before pointing it at them. "If the Germans ever invaded, I was going to use it to kill myself. I would have expected him to do the same before he got captured, but they're barbarians, all of them, and don't care about anything except breathing."

"Sally - ," Poppy began, without the faintest idea how she was going to end.

"Now, we were proud of you when we heard you'd gone to France," she went on, and there was some kind of steadiness to her voice now. No more shouting and spitting. She seemed to have convinced herself that this was the right thing to do – that she was going to see it through to the end. "One of us, helping our lads. You don't know what it meant. I expect you couldn't imagine. So, whatever you've done now, we can't take your life." She cocked the revolver, and let its barrel drift over to the place where Morry stood. "But the lives of your loved ones are fair game. Maybe you'll be one of us then. Once you know what it feels like."

Poppy had turned, with a kind of dull, waxen-faced horror, to the place where Morry stood, so she didn't see what happened next. The only thing she caught – and it was the last thing on earth she'd expected to catch – was a flash of red light reflected off the stone walls of the cellar.

Sally's eyes had already been vacant; they couldn't mist over or slide out of focus – but she made another hissing sound with her teeth. That was the only indication, for the longest time, that she'd been Stunned. And then she crumpled to the floor in the doorway, with her fingers still curled around the revolver's trigger.

The widow in fox-furs was standing behind her, smiling slightly, a wand still pointed at the place where Sally's back had so recently been.

"Hello Poppy," she said – and, for a woman who looked so hard, her voice was very soft. "You won't remember me, but we used to have cups of tea together in the Hospital Wing, a long time ago. Shall we have one now? There's a lot you need to understand, and you'll want to be sitting down for most of it."

Poppy managed to unclench her fists. She was shaking. "I… I don't think this is the time, Mrs. Snape," she stammered.

"Of course it is," said the young widow, with bracing and sarcastic cheerfulness. "Tea and sympathy are the cornerstones of healing magic, that's what you taught me. I can't manage the sympathy anymore, but the tea is fairly simple."

She turned and climbed up the stairs, without bothering to see if they were following. She moved with a sinuous grace that made Poppy glance instinctively at Morry, to see if he was leering at her.

He wasn't leering, but he was looking, and that was bad enough.

"And were you planning on just leaving Sally here?" Poppy called after her angrily.

The woman paused at the top of the stairs and laughed. "You are funny, Poppy Pomfrey! She was going to destroy you from the inside out. She can stand half an hour on a cold stone floor!"

Poppy looked again at Morry, who shrugged and whispered. "I don't think she means us any immediate harm, Poppy."

"Oh, wonderful," Poppy replied, striding up the stairs after the woman in the fox furs.

She was busily drawing the curtains in the pub, and making sure the door was locked. "They had a captured German airman in the cellar," she said, turning to the bar and groping underneath it for tea-cups. "They think you let him go."

"Why?" Poppy demanded, folding her arms.

The widow smiled wryly. "Because you're not 'one of them'." She tapped the old kettle with her wand and turned back to Poppy. "In essence, what that means is that you're not prepared to torture a single man for the crimes of his country, or for the fact that their husbands aren't very good at dodging bullets. Take it as a compliment, Poppy. It will save time."

"They were torturing him?"

"Don't be naïve," said the widow. "They were powerless for the most destructive six years the world has ever seen. They were scrubbing the floor while their husbands and sons were dying. And suddenly, one day, they found they had absolute power over somebody. What do you think they did?"

"Who did set this airman free?" Morry interjected, before Poppy could start shouting.

The widow considered her answer. "Have you seen a young boy and girl wandering around the village?"

"I've seen a girl in a red coat?"

She gave a mirthless laugh. "It figures. No-one ever notices the boy. Anyway, they did it, for reasons too complicated to go into right now. I've got a slightly more accessible riddle for the two of you," she added. The cynical smile was starting to be replaced by one of genuine enthusiasm. Her green eyes – which always looked bright against the dark swamp of eye-make-up they wallowed in – were shining.  

"Do you see that beam up there?" she pointed up to the beam above the bar, on which the word 'Resurgam' had been carved for as long as Poppy could remember.

"Of course."

"What does it say?"

Poppy bristled. "I assume you already know what it says. What are you really asking me?"

"Have you ever talked to the muggles about it?"

"What? No – why should I?"

"How long has it been there?"

"It's always been there!" Poppy protested. She wasn't used to people who talked so fast, or asked so many questions. "Since before I was born! Since before I went to Hogwarts and learned Latin and found out what 'Resurgam' meant!"

"The muggles can't see it," said the widow.  


"They can't see the word carved into the wood. If you ask them about it, they look at you like you're insane. They don't even know what Resurgam means." She was pouring the tea now, but spilling a little into the saucer, because her hands seemed to be shaking with excitement. "But it isn't just here. You know the elder tree on the clifftop? 'Resurgam' is carved into the bark up there too. And that's not the only bizarre thing. The laws of physics aren't right in this place. Since it's a dream, of course, you wouldn't expect them to be, but they're not right in such a specialized way that I'm convinced somebody is trying to tell us something. Have you ever spilled your drink in this pub?"

"What kind of a question is that?" Poppy asked, still bewildered.

Mrs. Snape took the kettle out from behind the bar – enthusiasm was overriding all that sinuous grace now – and proceeded to pour a trickle of tea over the floorboards. Poppy – out of instinct – rushed forward to mop it up, but the widow caught her arm. "Watch," she whispered.

The spilled tea was gathering. At first, it had splashed wide all over the floorboards, but now it was collecting itself into a shape. It massed together and then spread outwards, flowing into wings and tail-feathers.

"A phoenix," said Mrs. Snape, with an almost childlike smile curling the corners of her mouth. "The muggles don't see that either."

Poppy remembered the blood soaking through Mrs. Reynolds' bandages and shivered.

"It's a spell of some kind," said Mrs. Snape. "I don't know what kind. I'm not that good. But a very powerful witch or wizard has been here before us, and is trying to tell us something."


"I don't know yet. But I'm going to find out. This dream is a riddle and a test of endurance. We know we can get through the test of endurance, my dear Poppy, because we're Gryffindors, but the riddle part is going to challenge us to the marrow of our bones." Her eyes were jewel-bright under the pub's gloomy rafters. Poppy wasn't sure that she liked this woman very much. What an odd, ghoulish enthusiasm she could summon up when she was roused!

Actually, none of this was bothering her as much as the fact that her villagers – the people she had bandaged and nursed and soothed for the better part of her life – had been torturing a captured German airman in the cellar of The Shipwreck!

"Who was he?" she asked. "The German man?"

"What?" said Mrs. Snape, running a distracted hand through her hair. "God knows. He'll be back, though. I know that look. Torture is a bonding process. It's a form of intense intimacy, just like sex. He hates Sally so much that it reaches all the way around the world and comes back the other way as a kind of love. He'll be back for her, if only to torment her as much as she tormented him."

Poppy was watching the widow with a nauseated look. "You really know a lot about this, don't you?" she murmured. "And you just stood by and watched while he was being tortured?"

"I didn't join in, if that's what you mean."

"I mean you should have helped him!" Poppy spluttered. "You're a witch! You could have got him out of that cellar before the rest of them knew what was happening!"  

Mrs. Snape raised her eyebrows. "Ah. What you are suffering from here, Poppy, is a lack of empathy. Very dangerous in Healers. You assume that, just because a certain course of action is what you would have done, it must therefore be the only logical thing to do. But you need to take into account two things. The first is that I am not a very nice woman, and have done far worse things than stand watching while an innocent muggle is being tortured. And the second is that I have a plan, and you don't know what it is. Try to fix those details in your mind whenever you're talking to me. It will help us get along better."
Continuing from The 'No Contest' Contest [link]

And dedicated to ~FlameoftheWest7 who has been so patient with me while I dithered and delayed over the Lucius/Narcissa storyline! :hug:

For a look at how Malfoy imagines Narcissa in his family portrait gallery, see ~Achen089's amazing commission for me. It was in my head the whole time while I was writing this chapter! :heart:

Thanks for reading! :hug: :)
Add a Comment:
Melorik Featured By Owner Feb 5, 2011
Nice that you're wrapping this arc up with Pomfrey, although I hope it won't be the last arc ;).

You know, it's probably the law school in me talking now, but I'm wondering... does DD consider the ramifications of what's going on at his school?!?.. and do these kids realize the ramificaitons of what they're doing.

If in a court of law then:

1. Narcissa can be charged with Extortion, Attempted Aggravated Assault (wiping Snape's mind), Attempted Murder (Lily), and Conspiracy to Commit Murder.

2. Severus can be charged with Attempted Murder (Narcissa), Aggravated Assault (strangling Narcissa) and Kidnapping.

3. Lucius and Regulus can be charged with a combination of the above!

Hogwarts is producing little killers at an early age. Do Snape and Narcissa understand what it was that they were willing to do? Snape actually attempted to kill Narcissa which makes me wonder how the two are going to be able to even have a cordial relationship after all this. I mean, no matter what happens... they will always know that at one point, they tried to have each other killed.

I know this isn't our world after all, but just what kind of school does DD think he's running. It was portrayed in the books that when the ministry tried to interfere with DD, it was portrayed as being 'wrong'. But any self respecting regulatory body must be aware (the ministry) would be totally justified in shutting it down. DD keeps kids next to books that teach them spells that can torture and maim (his restricted section doesn't seem too well guarded), beside a forest full of deadly creatures, in a castle where actual dangerous monsters and artifacts are housed!

The guy should be ashamed of himself and the ship he's been running.




PS. Sorry for the lateness of this review
ls269 Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2011
Hi Sam, it's good to hear from you! No worries about late reviews - I like late reviews, because, if you get all your comments at once, they're over too quickly! ;) You pose an interesting question too. (Although I can't answer it like a lawyer, I'm afraid - I did my degree in English literature, which has little to do with morality or the law! :giggle:)

I guess, in J.K. Rowling's books, Dumbledore was already content to let dangerous things go on, if they fitted in with his plans. I mean, in The Half-Blood Prince, he allowed Draco Malfoy to go around poisoning, distributing cursed necklaces, etc., knowing full well he was behind it. In The Philosopher's Stone, he lets Harry - an eleven-year-old with no magical training - face Quirrell/Voldemort just because he thinks it would be right to let Harry have a go! I mean, Dumbledore is woefully irresponsible!

But, more than that - as you point out - this isn't our world. In Narcissa's world (and this is all my own invention but doesn't seem a million miles away from the facts of canon) family-members can be killed for running off with muggles or muggle-borns, and her female ancestors have carried on a grand tradition of poisoning their husbands if they got in the way. I think Narcissa understands - maybe even respects ;) - Severus's attempts to kill her. Of course, she wasn't thrilled about it, because it's insufferable presumption for a half-blood to raise his wand against a pure-blood, as far as she's concerned, but their relationship was never that cordial to begin with, and I think Slytherins understand that other Slytherins will do pretty much anything to get what they want. As for Regulus and Lucius, I feel as though the poor little mites have suffered enough for any hand they had in this business. (Lucius was suffering in this story before he'd even really done anything to deserve it - although, knowing his role in J.K. Rowling's stories, I was quite comfortable with the idea of pre-emptive punishment!)

So, I guess the main answer to your question is that this is a world of killers, in which nobody is particularly very nice! ;)
FlameoftheWest7 Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2011
Oh my goodness, I adored it! This is the side of Lucius that is so rarely seen, and so romantic:

He lifted the coronet, and gently lowered it onto the place where he thought – from memory, and from the peculiar patterns cast by the moonlight – the top of her head ought to be.
Then he planted a kiss, like a snowflake, on the tip of her nose – with great care, almost as though she was the precious heirloom – and with only the faintest of misgivings. Once she was wearing the coronet, she could tell him what to do.

You have such an apt understanding of Malfoy family magic. I love your logic regarding the cornet and how it works. Very few authors possess such an intuitive perception of these elegant and complex characters. Beautiful chapter and story! Well worth the wait, anytime. I know that Severus is your first love, so I am just excited with whatever I get! (and it is ALWAYS first rate :)
ls269 Featured By Owner Feb 4, 2011
Hooray! :w00t: :dance: :hug: I'm so happy you liked it! It was more romance than I'm used to, but I wanted to show Narcissa being vulnerable and Lucius being brave (simply because it's always the other way around in this story and poor Lucius has often suffered for it... ;))

Severus is my first love, I guess, but Lucius and Narcissa have been steadily catching up. As you say, there's something so elegant about them, which makes them so much fun to write! :heart:
WeAreSevenStudios Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2011  Professional Artisan Crafter
You never cease to entertain me with the ingenious ways you understand/create/use magic in the HP world.

Lucius didn't trust himself to open his mouth, in case the nausea of the past few hours – the past few weeks, really – managed to find an outlet.
I loved this entire scene, but that line might be my favorite. :XD:

Voldemort's epic, grandiose and uncomplicated imagination.
That's a pretty good summary of Voldie's imagination. :D
It's a great contrast between Severus and Voldemort, too. Severus really understands the finer points of, well, everything. I'm reminded of Harry's first day of class, when Snape basically says "no big explosions or lights or noises. Appreciation of subtlety and complexities=good potion brewing."

On a less-related note, have you happened to pick up a Sandman volume? I've been devouring them (so long, Christmas money), and I'm enjoying the comparison between Neil Gaiman's dream worlds and yours. :)
ls269 Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2011
Oooh, yes! :heart: Well, I've never managed to finish one, I'm afraid, but I started both the first and second volumes and loved them (The Doll's House was my favourite, because it started with the story of his poor true love. Was her name Naida? Can't remember. I remember he behaved very insensitively to her anyway, but I suppose he is a god, and can't really relate to mortals...)

I can't remember why I stopped reading them now. I think it was because they looked a bit violent, and I get traumatized really easily! :blushes: (Honestly, it's ridiculous, I saw about three seconds of that film '300' the other day, and I still can't get the images of decapitation out of my head! Am such a wuss! ;)) I know I would love them, because I adore mythology and folklore, but sometimes I fear I'm too squeamish for the best art!
WeAreSevenStudios Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2011  Professional Artisan Crafter
The opening of The Doll's House is my favorite of what I've read so far! :dance: It's just such a beautiful, sad story. Mythological and tragic... who could ask for more? And yeah, he (somehow) condemned her to hell for not being his queen. :( Not something a good lover would do, but you're right now that I think of it; he is a god, after all.

Up until I started reading Y: The Last Man a few years ago, the only comics I'd read were from, like, the seventies, and were pretty tame. I was shocked by how violent -in literary imagery and the actual drawings- they can be nowadays. I love good horror and 'tasteful' graphic bloody violence (if such a thing exists), though, so it doesn't bother me that much. But you're not a wuss! The *only* other person I know who isn't completely turned off by the graphic things I watch is my dad. And he's probably where I get it from. :XD:
shyfoxling Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2011
He wondered whether you would expire on the spot if you made an Unbreakable Vow that contradicted an Unbreakable Vow you'd already made a few months ago.

Hmm, that is an interesting question.

like kissing a giggling ash-tray.

Blech! (twice over!)

He wanted to tell her – in case she hadn't noticed – that she was already the mistress of the coronet – that they were already husband and wife – that they had been wedded by promises and need and the supreme arrogance of the Malfoy clan long ago

Aww, this is really rather sweet, the way Lucius is so smitten that this all works.

I love how Voldemort has nightmares about being defeated, and not just that, but becoming nothing more than a footnote to this Hero in the process.

Maybe the last descendent of Godric Gryffindor, who would turn up with a drawn sword in one hand and a wand in the other, and hurl himself head-first into the battle, probably defeating Voldemort with a fatal head-butt.

:lmao: Not too terribly far from what happened, though, is it?
ls269 Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2011
He wondered whether you would expire on the spot if you made an Unbreakable Vow that contradicted an Unbreakable Vow you'd already made a few months ago.

I had some image of the two unbreakable vows literally tearing him apart on the spot! Yikky. Lucky he found a way out of it! ;)

Oh, I would soooo have loved it if Harry had defeated Voldemort with a fatal head-butt. Or even some lesser villain like Bellatrix or Fenrir Greyback - it would have looked great in the film! :giggle: But then, they would probably change it to make it all tragic and occurring in a crystal house... ;)

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