Part Six: Revelations
Title: It’s Not The End of the World
Disclaimers: Joss and J.K. own them. I own nothing but a phone and a laptop, and Lareesha and Tink.
Spoilers: Season seven and OotP This is AU, after all.
Summary: Narcissa and Draco Malfoy must face the challenges set before them: even if that includes dealing with Muggle Slayers.
A/N: Have I thanked my lovely reviews for all of the shiny reviews? Cause, I totally love all of you. You seriously made my hellishly long work-day worth it, even the mini-bitchout I had with my friend’s jealous ex when he irritated me, the asshat. But you all made me smile, and eager to get home and get to work. Now on to the fic notes…
Tink has been in my notes (as Tink) for the story pretty much since the conception of it. So was Hannah Abbot as a Slayer, and Giles trying to coerce Narcissa and Draco to the ‘good’ side, and Dawn being snarky. Part Six: Revelations
Giles crouched before Tink and Millicent, who’d gone absolutely pale at the while Draco and Narcissa looked on in confusion. Both girls looked utterly shaken. His eyes met Narcissa’s.
“Come Draco, you’ve some studying to catch up on,” Narcissa prodded her son from the room. “I do believe I will see how Miss Walker is coming along on procuring an extra bed.”
She closed the door with a quiet snick of the catch and wove her arm through Draco’s. Her son narrowed his eyes at her. His mother bent to few wills, and yet she was bending so seemingly easy to this Muggle invader’s beck and call. He grit his teeth as they strode back down the hallway in near silence.
“Tell me, dear, everything you know of Millicent,” Narcissa asked quietly, her eyes ticking back over her shoulder.
“Bulstrode?” Draco’s head snapped back around to his mother.
“I’ll have you forgo that use of her surname in the future, son,” Her own jaw clenched, but Draco couldn’t be sure why. “What do you know of her family? I seem to recall a dainty woman - one would assume that would be her mother, and a hulking brute named Adolphus, who is no doubt her father. She’s of the middle class, no?”
“I suppose,” Draco frowned at his mother.
“Lucius did like to laugh at how Adolphus was always scrapping and bowing, but that his bloodline was too sullied for the Dark Lord’s tastes,” Narcissa murmured to herself. “The wife. Not his bloodline, but her own. A Muggle strain in her family tree somewhere. One wonders if they would have wed at all, had he not -”
“Had he not what, Mother?” Draco questioned when she went quiet.
“Had whom not what, Draco?” Narcissa pursed her lips at her son. “Never mind that silliness, do tell me all you know about Millicent.”
“Not much. She’s in my year, and hangs about with Pansy.”
“The Parkinson girl, yes, her
I recall. You took her to the Yule Ball? Whom did Millicent attend with?”
“No one, she went by herself. I‘m not sure she even danced,” Draco remembered her in ill-fitting dress robes, done in a purple and green. Pansy had often complained of the girl’s sullenness, and all Draco could clearly remember of her was her putting Hermione Granger in a head-lock their second year. He quickly related the facts to his mother.
“But before that, she was a normal girl?”
“I suppose, but most girls aren’t normal,” Draco snorted.
“Draco, I would soon lose that sentiment if I were you,” Narcissa spoke evenly. “You are now in a house that composes nearly entirely of that sex.”
“I’d suspect that’d only confirm it.”
“It will, but it’s always best not to voice it, son. Discretion, and all that,” Narcissa smoothed her skirts as they entered the foyer. “Now, you go work on your holiday assignments. I’m going to check on the state of Millicent’s room.”
“Why?” his brow dipped suspiciously.
“Call it Slytherin solidarity, son.”
“I repeat, why
?” Draco drawled.
“Do stop being insolent and go amuse yourself with your schoolwork,” Narcissa narrowed her gaze on him. “Unless you’d like to go apply a healing potion to the ornamental trees in the garden. It can be rather noxious -”
“I’ll go do my schoolwork,” Draco snapped, turning sharply to the doorway that led to their suite.
Narcissa shook her head. Her poor boy. She cursed Lucius’s spirit to the seven hells for leaving them like this, in such a state. Against her better judgment, she condemned Adolphus and whomever Tink’s guardians had been to that same eternal damnation. She was getting soft, to be so affected by Mr. Giles’s tales of the girls. Before Lucius’s death, she would have tittered on about something else, avoiding the whole ugly mess. But now, here in this house - her
house, there were girls who had lived horrors she’d once tried to ignore.
She made her way up the staircase to the level Miss Walker had labeled as the teenagers wing. She spotted Lareesha down the hall talking to that Dawn chit, with her hands shoved into an oversized cargo jacket with colorful badges plastered to it. Honestly, someone needed to teach this witch the wonders of designer robes. Not that she was volunteering.
“There you are. Where is Millicent’s room?” Narcissa stopped just before the girl.
“Uh, number 12,” Lareesha answered, biting her lip.
“Show it to me.”
Lareesha nodded numbly and turned away from Dawn. The younger woman’s mouth hung open in confusion or shock. Narcissa couldn’t be sure. The child could be simple.
“Don’t you have a task to complete?” Narcissa said dismissively as she stepped past her.
“I - um, no?”
“Some form of studies or squabbles to solve amongst your charges?”
one of the charges,” Dawn muttered.
“Then surely you have your own room to see to.”
“Right. Lareesha, see ya,” Dawn called, scurrying away from Narcissa.
Lareesha stood in front of the corner room. The corner rooms were slightly larger than the other rooms, having a minute foyer that angled back to the small dining area equipped with Wizarding pantries similar to the muggle ice chests. Each suite was exactly that - a suite containing dining, entertaining and sleeping quarters. Narcissa was pleased to see that Millicent had drawn one of the purple suites.
“How are you at transfiguring?” She asked, her eyes taking in the deep cherry wood wardrobe and poster bed in the bedroom area.
“Like rats into teacups transfiguring?”
“I am not looking for so delicate a hand,” Narcissa rolled her eyes to the younger witch. “These walls need to be darkened to plum, and the trims ought to be a dark olive green.”
“Because those are young Millicent’s favorite colors,” Narcissa fingered the thick cream coverlet. “She will also need a half-dozen caravan shawls in those corresponding accents.”
“Throws designed to not engulf the body entirely, but to merely wrap around it without impeding movement.”
“Oh, lap blankets,” Lareesha grinned at her. “We call ‘em lap blankets.”
“Yes, well that is not the proper term for them. They’ll need to be warm, as the manor does tend to get drafty at night.”
“You imagine Millie’ll be walking around the manor at night…alone?”
“No,” Narcissa crossed her arms. “She’ll be in the company of young Tink.”
The door clicked shut behind the Malfoys with a quiet snick and Millicent felt ready to scream. Tink just kept her head on her shoulder, eyeing Giles.
“She - you saw the bad men hurt me?” Millicent frowned down at the girl.
“Uh-huh. One, he hurt you real bad, made you cry when he broked you.”
“When did you start dreaming about Millicent, Tink?” Giles asked quietly.
“‘Fore Buffy and Lareesha found her. ‘Fore Faithie found me,” Tink shrugged.
“We found you weeks apart, and Willow’s spell -”
“They don’t work on witches like us,” Millicent muttered.
“She - both of us keep gettin’ ‘em,” Millicent looked away guiltily. “I reckon they don’t work on Lareesha or the other Hogwarts witches either.”
“How long has she been coming to you with these nightmares?” Giles demanded, more than a little upset.
“Since the night I was let out of the infirmary, that I know of.”
“I couldn’t turn her away! Much as I wanted to, she’d start up the waterworks and I just couldn’t,” Millicent cried, jostling Tink in her arms. “And you lot might have saved me, but I -”
“Still can’t trust us?”
“I can’t trust anyone, not really,” she looked away from his too-knowing gaze. “Never could.”
“Millie can trust me!” Tink poked her in the shoulder.
“Millicent -” Giles paused. “You and I will discuss the dreams later. I’ll have to gather the other Wizarding slayers and speak to them about it as well. As for this sleeping arrangement, it is only temporary, Tink.”
“Tink, you need to be with girls your own age, and we begin training all of you girls in a few days. You both will be on very different schedules, and that will make it hard on you. It‘s best if we start gradually make the separation.”
“You make it sound like a punishment,” Millicent grit her teeth angrily.
“It’s not -”
“But isn’t it? For me keepin’ her dreams secret?”
“Neither one of you are being punished. Even if it was a foolhardy thing for you to keep -”
“What was I supposed to do? She was scared and no one was around to help her but me! It wasn’t as if I could come runnin’ to you!”
“But that is exactly
what you could have done, Millicent!” Giles sighed. “That is what we are there for, to protect you girls -”
“Doin’ a bang up job at it, ain‘t you?” Millicent huffed, looking away from him again.
“You are just a young girl, Millicent. You have the power of a slayer, but you do not know how to focus it yet. Contrary to your thinking, you cannot take on all the monsters on your own.”
“But I’m the only one who can keep her safe! I‘ve seen
Millicent frowned, tightened her grip on Tink and looked away from him. It was true, she’d had visions of herself standing in defense of Tink. But she hadn’t been alone. The other Hogwarts witches had been there, along with four or five other slayers, and three men she hadn’t recognized. Tink had been whimpering in her arms, and someone had wrapped an arm around her. The dream had only happened once, just before Tink’s nightmares had sent the child running to her.
“No,” Millicent muttered.
“You are not alone anymore, Millicent,” Giles reached out to set his hand on her shoulder, but she flinched away from his touch. “We will not let anything happen to you.”
“You can’t promise that!” she hissed. “Nobody can promise that!”
Before Giles could come up with an answer to that, there was a slight knock on the doors. Dawn poked her head into the room, giving them a nervous smile.
“Hey, um, Giles? Miss Malfoy kind of ordered me to bring the girls up to their room?”
“Yes,” Giles sighed and rubbed at the bridge of his nose. Again. “Come along then.”
Giles stood and extended his hand to Tink, who immediately hopped off of Millicent’s lap and took his hand in a swing. Giles winced a bit at the toddler’s affectionately tight grip and left Millicent to follow with Dawn.
“Everything okay?” Dawn whispered over the loud and happy chattering of Tink.
“Just peachy,” Millicent looked away, her mind replaying the mental image of what the Manor used to look like. “Did Lareesha gut this place?”
“Pretty much. It was way into the dark marbles and brooding blackness. So not the image we’re going for, I guess,” Dawn shrugged. “You have lectured-face.”
“Giles gave you a lecture, didn’t he?”
“A bit, I’m sure he’ll run telling all of you watchers soon enough,” Millicent sighed, her eyes flicking protectively to Tink.
“She’s like a sister to you, isn’t she?”
“Don’t play dumb, we both know you’re not,” Dawn snorted as they made their way up the wide staircase. “You’re an only child, right?”
“I wouldn’t have been living with him
had I any other options.”
“I know. When my mom died, I was really lucky to have Buffy and the Scoobies - not that Hank is abusive or anything, but he just kinda forgot we existed after the first year in Sunnydale.”
“She died my second year,” Millicent said quietly. “She was already buried before I even came home for the Christmas holiday.”
“It was sudden? She hadn’t been sick or anything?”
“She’d been perfectly healthy when I left in September.”
Millicent gave her such a haunted look that it sent shivers down her spine. She may not know what had caused her mother’s death, but Dawn was sure Millicent knew where to lay the blame. Dawn reached for her hand impulsively, and the girl didn’t flinch away. It was good.
“She was getting better, and then she wasn’t better any more,” Dawn sniffed, remembering her own mother. “It’s been nearly four years, and I still expect her to come around the corner and ask me what I want for breakfast, or complain about me and Buffy bickering about who borrowed whose top.”
Dawn squeezed Millicent’s hand and smiled at Tink, who was trying and failing to walk and look back at the teenagers at the same time. Giles paused and scooped the little girl up in his arms. She smiled brightly back at them, her head resting angelically on his shoulder.
“She’s so tiny,” Millicent shook her head. “And she looks up at you with those happy eyes and sometimes you want to just smack her.”
“She’s got the strength of five teenage boys, she’d probably smack you back.”
“She reminds me of her,” Millicent’s voice shook and she wasn’t sure why she was telling the older teen all of this. Dawn stared at her expectantly, but didn’t urge her to explain. “She was so tiny and delicate, nothing like me. He was too big and too rough with her, and she took it - because even though I was bigger and stronger than her, it would have killed her -” If he’d ever done something to me
She left it unsaid, but Dawn knew that’s what she meant. Millicent glanced away from her and tugged her hand free. They were catching up to Giles and Tink, who were now outside the doorway to Millicent’s new room. Lareesha stood outside the door, a smile on her face as Miss Malfoy emerged from the room.
“Lareesha, Dawn, why don’t you two go see how the others are settling down?” Giles prodded, setting Tink to her feet. The second her feet touched the hardwood floors, she took off like a rocket into the room.
“Right-o, G-man,” Dawn gave him a mock salute and linked arms with Lareesha and steered her down the hallway.
“Do kindly forget that horrid nickname,” Giles said loudly.
“Too late, boss,” Lareesha winked over her shoulder. “Xander’s been calling you that for nearly a decade, I think it’s permanent.”
Millicent stood at the doorway, leery of entering her new rooms. Giles started to step toward her but Narcissa beat her to the punch, stepping smoothly between them. Smoothly taking the girl’s arm in her own, Narcissa gave her a small, barely noticeable smile.
It threw her off balance for a moment. Giles nodded encouragingly to her. The walkway into the room was a paler violet, the trims all done in dark cherry. It was larger than she’d imagined. There was were two doorways on the left and the right. The right one led to the bathroom she’d share with another slayer. The left one led to a bedroom done up in a darker plum color. The walkway continued into a small sitting/dining area, with a mini-refrigerator and sink. Dark cherry wood cabinets lined the wall above the dining portion of the room. A bookcase and dark olive green sofa lined the other two walls of the room.
Tink was pushing the door to the bedroom open, revealing the big four-poster cherry wood bed, pale violet and dark plum colored throw pillows propped up against the dark olive green comforter. A plum colored caravan shawl lay folded against the foot of the bed, and the bed curtains were made in the style of gypsy-work, bright swatches of olive green, plum, sea foam green, and pale violet. A desk was pushed against one wall, a deep closet on the other. A small silver and green pillow rested in the middle of the pile of throw pillows, the crest of Slytherin house embroidered into it.
Millicent felt her throat constrict. Ms. Malfoy had done this for her. Nobody Millicent Bulstrode. She’d given her a room of her own, with some of her own personality stamped into it. No, Mr. Giles and
Ms. Malfoy had done it. Giles had given her the room, but Ms. Malfoy had made it hers
“Thank you,” Millicent whispered to no one in particular.
“Home now,” Tink whispered, her arms circling around Millicent’s leg, her little dark-haired head leaning against the borrowed jeans.
Giles stayed out in the hall, watching as Millicent reverently touched the things Narcissa had transfigured for her. Narcissa cleared her throat, catching their attention.
“Miss Walker is procuring a comfortable trundle bed for Tink. It should arrive tomorrow, so tonight you’ll have to share.”
“Yay!” Tink bounced over to Narcissa, wrapping her arms around her skirt.
Narcissa rocked back a bit at the impact. It had been so long since a little one had clung to her. She smiled at the memory of a very young and timid Draco doing the same when he’d been given a pony for his fourth birthday.
“Thank you, Ms. Malfoy,” Millicent’s eyes shone as she took in the sight of the woman and child. “We really appreciate it.”
“Nonsense. All of the slayers are getting similar treatment,” Narcissa huffed. “You two are no different from them.”
“We’ll leave you two to settle in. Dinner will be ready in about two hours, if Andrew and Dorry have everything ready,” Giles smiled at them. “Dawn or Lareesha will come and fetch you.”
Narcissa extracted herself from the little girl, who quickly raced back to the bed and propelled herself up on it. Narcissa fought the grin forming on her lips as the child started bouncing like mad on it. Giles cleared his own throat and motioned to the exit. She quietly followed him out.
“Thank you, for doing up the room for her,” Giles said quietly. “How did you know what colors to choose for her?”
“My son. I asked him what he knew of the girl, and I remembered a bit from the few social situations I’d seen her family at,” Narcissa looked at him. “Where is her mother?”
“Dead, from what Millicent was willing to tell us,” Giles sighed.
“Not a shock, really. Adolphus Bulstrode has not been caught for nearly killing his own child?” Narcissa demanded. Part of her warned herself that she was getting far too familiar with them.
“Apparated out when Faith and Lareesha found her.” Giles studied her for a moment. “I take it your ‘vague recollections’ of the family have cleared up?”
“Yes. It was quite the to-do at the time. Bulstrode was crumbling financially, Mab Rowan’s family was exceedingly well-to-do. She was the descendant of a muggle-born, and wanted nothing to do with him. Until he accosted her Hogsmeade during her sixth year. He’d been out of Hogwarts for nearly two,” Narcissa spat.
“Yes. When she found herself pregnant…” Narcissa sighed. “It never did him any good. She never gave him a son, and the drop of Muggle blood got him nowhere socially. I wouldn’t have put it past him to be the one who hurried her on to her grave.”
“No, nor would I. Muggle blood, I wonder,” Giles mused, his eyes locking on where Lareesha stood at the end of the hall with a girl wearing a Gryffindor scarf around her neck. “Thank you for everything, Ms. Malfoy. If you will excuse me?”
“I -” Narcissa stopped speaking once she realized he was half-way down the hall. Sighing, she swished away down the steps to her private quarters. She’d already overstepped her set boundaries enough for one day.