My Mother Told Me Life Was Like A Box Of Weevils
By Kissaki and Libertine
The next morning the sun shone down upon the Malfoy manor in a particularly bright and cheery way. It shimmered, it glittered, it sparkled and made the courtyard simply gleam with brightness. It filtered through the cracks in the curtains, squeezed under the doors, and gifted the houseelves' bald heads with little shiny halos. All it all, it was promising to be absolutely beautiful day.
In his bedroom, Remus Lupin woke up feeling shrunken and itchy about the loins, but revived himself with a cup of cold water before tackling the task of writing out a business contract.
In his laboratory, Severus Snape crawled about miserably under his desks and tried to remember the right ingredients for a potion to ward off a hangover.
Sprawled out on the sofa of the living room, Harry Malfoy put a pillow over his head and swore unhappily to himself about nothing much in particular.
In the west wing of the manor, Hermione Granger woke up in bed with Sirius Black, and he woke up in bed with her, and they stared at each other, fuzzy-headed, until Sirius got out of bed and made them both mugs of hot coffee.
And on the balcony of the manor's master bedroom, Narcissa and Lucius Malfoy snorted uncut cocaine off a YMDA collection plate and exchanged conversational pleasantries.
"Lovely morning," said Lucius.
"Lovely drugs," said Narcissa.
"Lovely blow job, too," said Lucius, linking his fingers in hers. "Greatly appreciated."
"My pleasure, darling," said Narcissa.
They walked hand in hand back into the bedroom. Lucius pushed aside the curtains. Narcissa rung for the breakfast things. And, as an after thought, they both put on some clothes. Together, they crunched croissants and watched the small hump in the middle of their bedspread wriggle deeper into the nest of the blankets, still crying quietly to itself.
"I go clinically insane for a week, and look what happens to the place," Narcissa commented, licking butter off her fingers. "I don't know what you'll all do when I hit the menopause."
"I've pre-booked my tickets to Spain," said Lucius.
"Very clever of you, darling." Narcissa inspected her fingernails. "They're all going to leave, you know," she said, after a time. "We'll be critically short staffed. I suggest we recruit a few of those nice French maids we saw in the catalogue last week. There's no sense in doing things later which could very well be done today." She noticed Lucius' eyes shift focus, and followed his gaze. "Oh, you're worried about those," she said, wrinking her nose. "I'll have the house elves clear them up by the evening."
"That would be for the best, I think," said Lucius. "Not to say that I don't appreciate the gesture, love, but severed Muggle heads do have a tendancy to leak into the underlay. Next time..."
"...perhaps aftershave? Far easier to carry, too, and better for the carpet..."
He was cut off before he could finish: Narcissa had leant over, wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him. Her hand trailed through his hair, her lips slid across his, and between them the milk jug rattled against the teapot.
"You aren't a bad father," she whispered, as they parted.
"Maybe," said Lucius.
"Trust me, love," said Narcissa, pressing her lips to the palms of his hands. "Trust me, and love them, and everything else will come in due time."
Narcissa had an appointment at a beauty salon, and so Lucius spent the hours until lunch pottering around his study. A parade of Veelas trouped into the room, attempting to lure him out on some sexual misadventure, but Lucius kindly told them he wasn't interested, and in the end they gave up and went off to stalk the poolboys. Lucius settled back in his chair, flicked through a grimore or two without really reading the pages. He tried to get a good hum going, but it just wasn't happening for him. After a brief conversation with the walls, he sorted through his filing cabinet, extracted the relevant papers, and sat down to wait.
Remus Lupin turned up first, with Severus -- a pained look on his face -- following behind. "Am I interupting anything?" Remus asked politely, with a little bow. His hands were filled with papers of his own.
Lucius looked around him. "No," he said.
"I was wondering," said Remus, "if you couldn't, er, look at something for me." Severus nudged him in the ribs, grunted a few words under his breath. Remus nodded, and then continued, "We, um, were thinking of leaving. If you could just sign a few things for the ministry, it would be a great help..."
He stopped as Lucius lifted up a sheet of paper, and solemnly handed it to him. The two of them, shoulder to shoulder, read it over.
"Reasonably Good Behaviour?" Severus snarled, who could read a lot quicker than Remus could. "How long, precisely, have we been eligible for parole? And exactly how long, Malfoy, were you intending to keep this from us?"
"Until you asked," said Lucius.
"You bastard. We'll sue you."
"I own every magical lawyer in this hemisphere," said Lucius calmly. "I think you'll find getting representation a real... ah -- bugger." He slid a little lower in his chair, stared beyond them at the door. "Especially as the evidence I have of you committing -- let me see, how did I phrase it -- acts of criminal fucking up far outweigh anything you could possibly nail me with." Severus opened his mouth; Lucius continued: "We have the black market trading, which I naturally was not aware of until, hm -- this afternoon, let's say -- and there's the use of illegal potions on an unsuspecting idiot -- who just happens to be my adoptive son --"
"You asked for that," Severus growled. "You told me to do that."
"And now I'm telling you... very nicely, that you will not take legal action against me." Lucius looked at his fingers, now. The nails, he noticed, appeared a little on the grimey side. "However, you're still under contract to Malfoy Inc., and you'll continue to work for me, whether you like it or not, no matter where you go. I suggest you arrange an appropriate method of contact with one of my many secretaries, and then get out of my house."
Severus opened his mouth again, but this time Remus interupted. "Is this a trick?" he asked quietly.
"You're letting us walk away?"
"Do you feel alright, Lucius?"
Lucius said nothing.
Severus and Remus exchanged looks, and came to a mutual decision. "Bye then, sir," said Remus, gripping Severus by the elbow and backing for the door. "Uh, we'll write to let you know of our... of whatever we choose to do. Er, wherever we choose to stay. Er..."
They were in the corridor now, and all of a sudden Lucius made a gesture with his hand, and the study door slammed shut infront of their faces. The two of them stood very still. Then Severus very gently reached for Remus' hand... and removed it from his arm, and put it back into Remus' jacket pocket. Remus didn't know whether to be ecstatic or to cry.
"We're leaving, then," he said aloud.
"Indeed," said Severus. He checked his watch. "Preferably within the next few minutes. Lucius Malfoy has finally gone nuts, and I really don't think it would be prudent of us to wait until he comes back to his senses. Have you packed?"
"Then we'll get a portkey to Cape Town, and you can fix me that pot roast you were talking about."
Remus said nothing. Just stared. Severus looked away.
They went down the stairs to the entrance hall side by side.
Mistress H and Sirius turned up next. Sirius kept on touching her bum as Hermione talked, and Hermione really didn't appear to mind it all that much. A long history of work, she told Lucius, a long history of loyal service, but it was time for her to move on and start her own practise. She and Sirius had this plan, she said, to create a special group to reform convicted criminals (evil people! Sirius interjected) by use of domiatrix techniques and ouchie chairs. Sirius would find the crooks; she'd turn them into fully functioning members of society. A dream of hers, she said. A mutual dream, she added. She had the contacts now to make it work for her, for everyone. It was the right thing to do.
Of course that wasn't to say she wouldn't still freelance for the Malfoys whenever her services were required, and that she was very very grateful for all the help that Mr. and Mrs. Malfoy had given her, and the inspiration, and the motivation, and the...
As they were both standing in the middle of the room, Lucius wasn't able to magick the door shut in their faces. So instead he told Hermione that she was free to leave, and then walked out, leaving them both hugging and kissing in a way that made him feel -- quite frankly -- absolutely sick to his stomach.
Draco was still in bed, under the covers. Lucius brought him another glass of water, and then sat by him for a while.
"They're all leaving," he said. "I thought you'd prefer it that way."
Draco curled tighter.
"No," said Lucius. "Not him. But the others."
"I'm very, very sorry," said Lucius. "I don't know what else to say."
Harry crawled up to his own bedroom, fell asleep again there, where the sunlight couldn't get to him. He was awoken only when the sky had begun to darken; Seamus Finnegan was shaking him. "Everyone else is ready," he said. "You've got to get out of bed. I've set out your clothes."
Harry clambered out dizzily, and lumbered into the shower. Seamus hadn't the heart to mention to Harry that he was still wearing his pajamas.
"Your shirt, and that belt with the insignia on it with the snakes eating each other, and the robe that Lucius said would --" he babbled, as Harry got dressed. "--uh, Justin's awake now," he added. "He says to send you his thanks for helping -- er, for the Malfoys working out the Flamer problem. He says he's very grateful. And that he also wants all damages done to the club payed in full, otherwise he's starting another legal case. He doesn't realise that the club isn't his any more. Still a bit, eh, deluded, I'd guess. He's got a lot of drugs in his system right now. Legal ones, mind you. Er..."
"Felch-Fuckerly," Harry grunted. "As if I'd care."
"Right," said Seamus. "Er, Neville said that he wanted --"
"-- to meet me at this stupid Percy party," said Harry, wrinkling his nose. "I know." He fastened his fly. "Head of Magical Gonads and Sex, wasn't it?"
"Games and Sport, I think you'll find, Mr. Malfoy..."
"Too right. Percy wouldn't know a gonad if it bit him on the nose."
"Er, yes, okay, maybe... only that's not what Nev... er..."
Seamus followed Harry down the hallway, helped him into his jacket. Lucius and Narcissa, the latter's outfit consisting of three pieces of cellotape (expensive cellotape, no doubt), were waiting for them in the foyer. Lucius was wearing dark glasses and black robes. Harry observed them both in silence, and then made for the door. The others followed. To Seamus, taking up the rear of the processesion, it felt like a funeral procession.
If it wasn't for Narcissa's cellotape, at least.
"And so, we at the Ministry would like to congratulate Mr. Percival Weasley on his successes and wish him all the best in the future..."
The party was quite a grand event. Everyone who was anyone was there: ministry workers, the movers and shakers of the wizardly world, and all their respective fuck-buddies. A circle of tables surrounded a massive punch bowl in the center of the room, and the hall (the party was being held in the Ministry's function room) was decorated with streamers and big party balloons. At the end of the room, Percival sat next to Cornelius Fudge, and grinned the stupidest smile Harry had ever seen on something that wasn't getting oral sex.
"Thank you," said Percy, rising from his seat. "I'd like to thank, first of all, my mum, my dad, for always being there, to my brothers, to my little sister, hi, Ginny, to my friends, to everyone who's worked with me, to the people I knew at school, to..."
"I'd completely forgotten how bloody boring he is," Harry whispered to Seamus. "Where is Neville, anyway?"
"That's what I wanted to talk to you about," Seamus whispered back. "It's, er, important..."
"...to those people I went to nursery school with, and most especially to James Kline, who beat me up all the time, well, to you I'd just like to say, look where I am now! So there! You may have taken my lunch money every week and kicked me around the playground and flushed my head down the boy's loo, but I'm a stronger person now, and I'm ready..."
Seamus passed Harry a sheet of paper under the table. Harry raised an eyebrow, took it, read it.
Dear Harry! I'm so sorry but I won't be able to make it! You'll simply never guess what happened, do you remember how I was telling you about John? The one who had that um, trouble with the law, well, he's finally out of prison and he says he's got no more homocidal tendancies and certainly doesn't want anything to do with that goat again, so I've decided to try and see if we can make it work. I'm terribly sorry to stand you up, but he has a really nice broom and he was such a hottie in bed, so it was really...
Harry didn't read the rest. He scrunched up the letter, tore it into bits, and then placed it on his plate. Then he pushed his plate away.
"I'm really sorry," said Seamus faintly. "I did... I did try to warn you..."
"Exactly when was that?" Harry hissed. "Before or after you got your pay cheque?"
Seamus was cut off as a round of applause concluded Percy's speech. Percy remained upstanding, however, still wearing that gormless smile of his. His shirt was inside out, Harry noticed, and for some reason that made everything just that much worse.
"Before I finish, I'd like to make a toast," said Percy. "To one of our esteemed guests who is with us tonight. I've heard recently in the papers that Malfoy Inc. has been dealing with Death Eaters... I'm sure everyone's heard those terrible, shameful rumors... but according to the Daily Prophet today..." He lifted a frontpage picture from his seat and held it up for everyone to squint at. "...the Death Eaters have been completely reformed, and are now working to rid the world of anti-Wizard intolerance, as displayed by many rising Muggle gangs. I think it's a great achievement, and one we should recognise..."
"...by bending over and letting them all kiss our derrierre's?" Harry overheard Narcissa whisper to her husband.
"This is why I hate associating with the lower classes," Lucius replied.
"So embarrassed," said Narcissa.
"So unamused," said Lucius.
They both waved pleasantly at the people looking their way, and smiled, mouthed words like Thank you, and It was nothing, really, for their public. Harry found himself doing a bit of the old wave and smile too.
"So here's to the Malfoys," said Percy.
Harry raised his glass automatically, drunk along with the rest. He was aware of Seamus nervously watching him -- waiting, no doubt, to see Harry break down into tears, or throw things, or something equally stupid. Of course, Seamus still thought of Harry as a Potter. A Potter would have a tantrum, or at least do a bit of very loud yelling, and maybe go after Neville and ask him exactly what he thought he was doing, stringing him along? But a Malfoy... a Malfoy would do nothing of the sort. A Malfoy would repress his rage, a Malfoy would sit there and smile and sneer and then go home and take it out on the Veelas.
That was how it was done. That was business.
After the toast was over, Narcissa leant over, pinched him on the shoulder. "We're leaving, dear," she said. "Far too much stupidity for our liking. And your father's getting flashbacks of YMDA meetings and isn't really in the mood to..." A worried expression crossed her face. "We'll wait for you outside, hm?"
They got up, made for the exit. Harry watched them pause by Percy's chair -- ostensibly to compliment him on his speech. If he'd been looking at this from a Potteresque point of view, he'd have found their hypocracy repulsive. But he was Malfoy. A fucking Malfoy. And Malfoys never, ever, bit the hand that fed them.
"If you want a shoulder to cry on..." Seamus offered, beside him.
"I really don't think that will be necessary," said Harry.
Seamus dithered with his spoon. "Er, you're being awfully cold about all this, Harry," he said. "I mean, I'm a little worried..."
"Why? Because I might fire you?"
"Good. Because as of now, you're redundant."
Seamus blinked at him. "What?"
"There," said Harry, patting him on the back. "You can worry about that now, instead of my feelings. Is that any better...?"
"You c-can't do that," Seamus stuttered. "Lucius was the one who hired me, anyway... you can't just f-fire me because my friend didn't happen to like you... I'll get the union in to... to..."
"We own the union," Harry said calmly. "Now, if you'll excuse me..."
He rose, and left. He felt quite a bit better, only not much better at all. Feelings were funny things, sometimes. Except Harry couldn't be sure if he'd ever really felt anything at all. For Neville, for Draco. The world was all a bit numb at the edges. Numb, and loose.
Outside, the Malfoys held each other, and Lucius played with Narcissa's cellotape.
"Darling..." Narcissa began.
"My love..." said Lucius.
Then they stood there, and then they kissed each other, and then they said nothing much at all. They were in the courtyard: they could see the bright lights of the function hall inside, and the Ministry members chatting, dancing. They looked very lively, very happy. Narcissa sighed, her arms around her husband's neck, and gazed into his face.
"You should take off those glasses, dear," she said. "They make you look like a prat."
Lucius took off the glasses, and put them into his pocket.
"I know you're unhappy," she said. "But you simply can't blame yourself. I refuse to let you." She rubbed her cellotape against the front of his trousuers. "I did something a little evil," she contined, after a time. "I thought it might make you feel a little better, so I..." She slid one hand into her cleavage, and removed a small, empty vial. "...Severus did leave such a lot of his potions lying around, and so I simply couldn't resist... and there were so many people around the punch bowl, I'm sure none of them noticed..."
"High sex drive potion," Lucius read on the label. "Promises You, our Customer, the most Intense Feelings of Lust Imaginable. Take in moderation: one drop per year."
"I thought it might amuse you," said Narcissa.
Lucius raised an eyebrow. Then he put his hand into his own pocket, and withdrew a similar empty vial. Narcissa leant forward to read the label.
"Sex Mad! Only to be used at Orgies! Do not Take this in a Public Place!"
They looked into the function hall again.
"My stars," said Narcissa, following a long silence. "I wouldn't have guessed Cornelius had it in him."
"Had what in him?"
"Had Percival Weasley in him," said Narcissa.
"We are very evil, aren't we," said Lucius.
"Great minds think alike," Narcissa agreed, stowing Lucius' vial away in her cleavage, also. "I should say we won't have any trouble from the Ministry for, oh... the next few years, I'd say. Not that we ever happened to have any in the first place. With your very wonderful efforts with Mr. Fudge..."
"...and your brilliant talent for mediation..." Lucius agreed.
"What the fuck is going on in there?"
Narcissa and Lucius turned as one to regard their adopted son, who was staring at the window in complete disgust.
"A lot of sex?" Narcissa suggested.
"Stress relief, my love," Lucius corrected her. "The Ministry are simply... unwinding a little. I believe that's the politically correct term for it."
"That's... it's repulsive! What did you do them? My god, Mrs. Weasley is on... oh. I don't want to look." Harry covered his face with both hands, shuddered. "That was entirely too much flesh," he said weakly. "I think my head... my head definately hurts. I'm going to have nightmares about..."
"Indeed," said Lucius. "You didn't happen to drink the punch, by any chance, Harry?"
Harry stood very still. The Malfoys watched him expectantly. Harry let out a strangled noise, and started to rub himself against Narcissa's leg.
"I think that's the cue for us to leave," said Lucius. "Shall we?"
By the time they'd arrived home, Hermione and Sirius had cleared out Hermione's flat; they made their stilted goodbyes at the gate. Narcissa looked a little reluctant to let Hermione go, but was powerless to prevent her. Given that Harry was still attached to her leg, and making small whimpering noises. Once Hermione and Sirius left, the three Malfoys limped their way up to the house. Lucius found the appropriate potion to put Harry out of his sexual misery, sent to boy -- groin grasping -- to his bedroom, and then returned to his wife in their room.
"Lovely night," he said.
"I wish you wouldn't say things you don't mean," said Narcissa. "You can say them to everyone else, but not to me."
"I really did enjoy the blow job this morning," said Lucius, sliding into bed. Between them, Draco yawned, and then wrapped his arms around his mother's waist, sniffled into her cellotape.
"That's not what I meant," said Narcissa.
There was a probing look in her eyes that made Lucius realise more was expected of him. A lot more.
"I over stepped the line," he said finally. "I don't think I was... and you were... and... it was difficult. He asked me for it. I made him promise never to leave, and then I let him. To be honest I imagined it was for the best." Lightly, he touched Draco's hair. "I made a mistake. My first, I think. It's very frustrating... and it makes me feel... how would you say it...?"
"Small?" Narcissa suggested.
"Yes," said Lucius.
Narcissa pressed her lips to his, reached for the light switch. In the dark Lucius gently removed her cellotape, and then -- realising he couldn't do much else given Draco position -- lay back on the bed and stared at the dim relief of the ceiling. Narcissa was humming under her breath.
"At least things will be a little more normal, now, darling," she said finally. "All the loose ends tied up. We won't have to worry about the business, with..." for Draco's sake, she didn't say the name, "...The Other Son capable of running the company. I can get back to my gardening, and you can work on writing your advanced Karma Sutra guide, and we can look after the boys. No dominatrixs, no dragons, no fanatics for the justice of good, no annoying potions masters, no idiotic boyfriends-of-unnamable people. No wars against Voldemort, no un-reformed Death Eaters, no red-haired pool boys, no accountant werewolves... just you, and just me, and just them. Everything's over. We can start again. In fact," she continued dreamily, "I think we've finally managed to get things in order... and just in time for my birthday, too..."
The light switch overhead suddenly flicked on. The Malfoys started up from their bed, eyes fixed on the figure standing in the doorway.
A blonde girl, heavily pregnant, wearing a white nightgown.
A blonde girl who looked quite like Draco, in the right light.
A blonde girl with far too many toes.
"Kaylena...?" said Narcissa.
"I hate to disturb you, ma'am," Draco's cousin groaned, leaning her back against the wall, "but I think my water just broke."
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