Tea Without Sympathy
April 27, 2005 11:39 AM
Pevensie smoothed down the dress she was wearing. Draco had bought it for her. She sort of liked it, though. It was black with a little white lace collar. He'd refused to let her wear her boots. Instead she was in some little black ballet style flats. He'd also threatened her with having to learn to walk in heels in the not-too-distant future.
He let himself in and informed the house elf there to tell his parents he was here. Pevensie looked around. This place was awesome. It was so big. You could fit half the houses she'd grown up in just in the front room here.
"You grew up here?"
"I did," Draco replied, cringing as he caught sight of the family portrait in the entryway.
He hated that thing. It had been done right before he started Hogwarts. It was a simpler time for him, but he was deeply stupid back then. Deeply.
Narcissa was pleasantly surprised when she was informed Draco and his slayer were at the Manor. She calmly made her way to the grand staircase and with one hand placed lightly on the banister, she descended down the marble steps.
"Darling, how wonderful of you to visit. Miss Karlsen, it is a pleasure to see you again as well."
"Hi, Mom," she said brightly.
Draco grinned at her before he met his mother at the bottom of the stairs and hugged her, kissing her cheek as he pulled away.
"Is Father here?"
She smiled lightly as she smoothed his shirt. "He is in his study, but I shan't send for him if you do not want to speak with him." Privately, she hoped they would at least take a step towards civility, but with her two men, it was highly unlikely.
Pevensie poked him in the back and whispered loudly, "I want to at least meet your dad. Be nice."
Draco sighed and rolled his eyes. She would not be so eager to see him again after she met him.
"I suppose you can tell him I am here, and if he feels like visiting, he can."
Narcissa smiled brightly and kissed his cheek. "Thank you." She turned to a waiting house elf. "Tell Lucius that when he has a free moment, we will be taking our tea in the garden."
Before the house elf could disappear, she stopped it. "No, wait. We'll be in the parlor."
It nodded and popped away and Narcissa started to lead them to the main parlor. "I don't want to run the risk of the both of you hexing each other and my flowers falling victim. At least the furniture has anti-fire charms on them now."
"Do you think there will be hexes?" Pevensie asked with surprise.
Draco had said he and his dad didn't really get along, but hexes?
"I will behave if he does," Draco replied.
Narcissa took an arm chair and sat down. "That's not very comforting, darling."
A tea service appeared and a house elf began preparing the tea. "How do you take yours, Miss Karlsen? Oh, and have some desserts delivered for our guest, Tibby."
"Like Draco takes his - lemon and two sugars."
Draco grinned. She was the epitome of the bratty little sister who copied her big brother.
The house elf brought a large array of tea cakes and scones. Draco grinned when she took the chocolate scone. Then he took one right after her. She was conforming to his eating habits without even having to be told.
She let them settle in. "Anything more to report about your times at the Council? I hope this is purely a social visit and that something hasn't happened."
"We're busy, but nothing too alarming is going on. What about you? How's the evil tea circle?"
Pevensie coughed into her tea cup, splashing the hot liquid up her nose.
Narcissa glared lightly at her son. "I do wish you wouldn't call them that, regardless on your personal feelings for them, so I will ignore the comment and sarcasm and reply that they are all well, and we are scheduled for another tea tomorrow, not that I expect you to attend or show interest at all."
"Maybe I will. Maybe I'll bring Tori. Won't that be fun?"
"You know very well if you do that, Queenie will insist you two be engaged on the spot and married tomorrow. I know how you disliked us pushing you together, so why must you encourage her? Calanthe finally convinced Queenie that Blaise wasn't a good fit for Daphne so she's singled you out."
"Well, maybe we'll bring Marcus Flint too and they can shag on the table. That's who Astoria is seeing now, by the way. Marcus ruddy Flint."
Pevensie frowned and glared at Draco. She did not like being reminded of the fact that Marcus was seeing someone.
"And you can wipe that scowl right off of your face, young lady. He is not for you. Ever." Draco looked at his mother. "Pevensie fancies Marcus."
Narcissa sighed and rubbed her forehead. "Can't we have a nice tea without insults and scathing remarks?"
"I do so hope you aren't upsetting your mother, Draco."
Pevensie blinked. That had to be Draco's dad. His face was all sharp lines, and there was a regal manner to him. His long blond hair was pulled back into a ponytail. He was wearing fancy black robes and carry and silver handled cane. For an older guy, he was not half bad.
"Is that what you're gonna look like when you're older?" Pevensie said to Draco. "Because if so, I fail to see why you have no girlfriend."
"I was expressing my distaste for young Pevensie's preferences in men," Draco said with a tight smile. "Pevensie Karlsen, Lucius Malfoy. Father, this is my charge Pevensie. Please keep in mind she can break every bone in your body before you insult her. She's a vampire slayer."
Lucius gave Draco a slight icy grin. "I know all about Miss Karlsen, and I have no intent of insulting her, although I am appalled you think so little of me."
He rested his weight lightly on his cane as he stood next to Narcissa's chair. She was worried this would escalate, but Draco and Lucius had been far apart for quite some time. Hopefully that had ebbed the harsher emotions.
Pevensie poked Draco in the ribs before getting up and offering his father the hand that would correspond with the one not resting on the cane.
"I'm pleased to meet you, sir."
Lucius quickly brought the hand up to his lips and kissed the back of it. "Likewise."
Narcissa realized what the two of them were doing. They were trying bait each other and using Pevensie as a means to do it. If he'd met Pevensie at any other time, slayer or no, Lucius' scathing wit would come out. It was a great restraint on his part, something she noticed by the tight grip on his cane. It was incredible what lengths the two men would go to irritate each other. "Are you staying long, Lucius?"
"Hardly. I'm on my way to a meeting, but came to see Draco, since he's not shown himself for such a long time."
"I wonder why," Draco said dryly. "Is it an evil meeting? Fess up about the marks and promise never to do it again."
Pevensie looked at him in horror. "Dude!"
"Draco!" Narcissa snapped. "You will
behave while you are in this home and especially to your father."
Lucius lightly touched Narcissa on the shoulder, but she didn't want him to take the lead on the argument. She wasn't joking when she said she didn't want hexes flying. "He has not done anything to incur your resentment at this moment."
Asking her son to apologize would be too embarrassing for him and he would not have been sincere, which would have angered Lucius. She'd been a Malfoy long enough to know how to diffuse the situation.
"I'm sorry I upset you, Mother."
Draco just glared at Lucius, saying nothing. Pevensie was tense. She knew Draco had issues with his father, but this was really bad. She knew him well enough to know he was beyond angry. It scared her a little and made her wonder what all had happened to make her watcher like this in regards to the other man.
Narcissa decided to diffuse the situation. "Well," she said lightly, aware of the glares Lucius and Draco were throwing at each other. "I won't keep you from your meeting. Will you be home for dinner?"
She upturned her face and he kissed her cheek, before nodding to Draco and Pevensie and finally exiting the room. The air was instantly lighter and less tense, but she quickly righted that.
"Why must you antagonize him, Draco?" she snapped. "Half of the arguments you both get into could be abated if you'd control your temper!"
"I have better control of my temper now than I used to." Draco rubbed his forehead. "I really am sorry I upset you, but I see him, and I'm sixteen again and my arm is on fire. I can't seem to get past that."
Narcissa sighed and knew that for all her want of a close family, she had to accept the reasoning behind Draco's argument. "I understand, but perhaps now that your temper is under better control, we can work on thinly veiled contempt wrapped in icy civility."
"I have to agree with Mom here," Pevensie said. "It sounds bad, and I don't know the whole story, but did he ever lay a hand on you?"
He knew what she was getting at. "You don't have to talk about that."
"I'm just saying it could have been worse. He seems like maybe he still cares about you, you know? You gave him the choice, and he came to say hi."
There she went again, calling her her mother. It was a bit disconcerting, but she ignored it, as usual, instead picking up on her conversation.
Narcissa barely contained her snicker. The poor girl really thought Lucius was trying to make amends. "My dear, I hate to say the only reason Lucius was polite was because he wished for you to like him in order to irritate Draco. I do not wish for you to have any ill-conceived notions about my husband."
Pevensie looked at her. "Oh don't misunderstand me. If it came down to a choice between siding with him and Draco, he'd lose. Draco's the only person who cares about me. Well, maybe Blaise."
Sometimes Draco wondered how exactly he could inspire such loyalty. She wasn't dumb as a bag of rocks like Crabbe and Goyle. Pevensie knew her own mind, and she still followed him.
Narcissa took a sip of her almost-forgotten tea to cover her grin. After she put the cup down, she looked over at Draco with narrowed eyes. "Speaking of Blaise, I heard something interesting about your latest encounter together. Care to give your side of the story?"
"He's so ridiculous, and I need your help. He cares about this woman, and he's scared. You know Blaise. He has some strange ideas about seeing one woman and caring deeply for her. I might have punched him."
Narcissa didn't say anything, just continued to glare at him. Of course she knew Blaise, and knew he inherited his flighty ways and skewered outlook on the other sex from his mother. She was convinced if he could settle down, he'd stabilize and perhaps Draco would follow suit.
Draco looked at Pevensie. "Cover your ears."
He used his wand and made her temporarily deaf. Pevensie lunged at him, so Draco pulled her into sort of a hug, sure she would not permanently damage him. They struggled halfheartedly as he spoke with his mother.
"He had sex with her and did not run away the next morning. He was worried about her. He carried her when she got hurt. And I see how he is with her, how she is with him. He could use someone around who loves him no matter what he does, someone loyal."
Narcissa looked at him exasperatedly as Draco tussled with Pevensie. "Was that honestly necessary?" she asked, referring to him putting a spell on Pevensie.
"Very well," Narcissa sighed. "I see how this is strange behavior for him, but what do you expect me to do?"
"I don't know. You're clever in the ways of love. You landed Father when he was engaged to another."
Draco gave Pevensie her hearing back once the sex talk was over.
A smirk ghosted over her features. "If you want to hear how I landed your father, you'd best putting that charm back on."
"I didn't ask for details," Draco replied. "I just said you're more proficient at gaining romance than I am. In fact, I am dreadful."
Narcissa rolled her eyes. "If you weren't, I'd have my grandchildren by now. And surely you aren't suggesting I seduce your friend or try to give him a talk on love. Your plans have always been renownedly terrible, but this is a bit too far."
"That's why I am enlisting you, and gods no, don't seduce Blaise. Calanthe will think you did it because of... other reasons. And besides that, you love Father. You could not do that to him. You love him no matter what he does. Blaise has that possibility, and one of us ought to be happy."
She frowned. "I do not like you speaking that way. If anyone deserves happiness, it is you."
"Well, until I find a woman who'll overlook certain oddities with me, you will have to settle for my being content."
"I think I can live with that... for now." Feeling she must do her part, Narcissa nodded. "Very well. Tell me your plan."