Ch. 4 Interlude- Guys and Dolls
Chapter 4: Interlude: Guys and Dolls Malfoy Manor
It was just another Tuesday night at Malfoy Manor Draco reflected as he sat out in the rose garden. The house elves were busy preparing the nightly feast, his mother was socializing with the other wives of the social elite and his dear father was deep in a meeting with the Dark Lord and his most devoted followers. The image of his father bending down and kissing that old fool’s robes made him scoff.
“Careful there, Draco,” a voice said from behind him. “You of all people know that the walls in this house have ears.”
Draco smirked and turned to face his friend, fixing his steely grey eyes on the only other Slytherin he truly respected. “These walls have no ears, old friend. My dear father helped see to that. All of those privacy spells he taught me… and all of the others I’ve found since then.”
“Ahh… so this is your own private sanctuary?”
“As private as I could get it. But then you showed up…” Draco gestured to the stone bench across from him and his friend sat down, leaning back against the stone column the seat was attached to.
“I was surprised that you weren’t groveling with the rest of the minions, Malfoy.”
“And I’m surprised that you still aren’t groveling, Nott.”
“I myself have had my fill of groveling tonight.”
“Well, luckily for us, we mere children didn’t have to take part in the meeting. Our time will come this Christmas break.”
His friend sat there, his gaze calculating for a moment. “Do you ever think its odd, Draco?”
Draco’s face screwed up in concentration. “What’s odd?”
“That we, as Wizards, celebrate Christmas?” Nott replied, looking thoughtful. “We’re not Christian. We don’t go to church. The most religious we get is on Merlin’s birthday and that is only because he was a great Wizard.”
“You know Theodore… you’re getting quite pensive in your old age. What were they talking about down there, anyways?”
“Same old, same old,” Nott replied. “Status of the Dark Lord’s new recruits, what Dumbledore’s been up to, how to kill Saint Potter…”
“You know, I would find a dagger to the back would be most effective. But not the Dark Lord.” Draco shook his head in annoyance. “No, he has to make a statement, has to get inventive. Bloody useless.”
Nott raised an eyebrow. “Are you questioning the Dark Lord, Draco?”
Draco raised an eyebrow of his own. “Of course not, Theodore. Merely stating a fact.” Draco paused, running a hand through his now shoulder-length hair, causing the platinum strands to fall back around his face. “So, who are the lucky new recruits?”
“The usual suspects. A couple of pure-blooded families who were on the fence joined tonight and preparations were made for the Christmas holidays where Parkinson, Crabb, Goyle, Zabini, you and myself are to take our oath.”
Draco looked at his friend closely. “What aren’t you telling me, Nott?”
“What do you mean, Draco?” Nott asked innocently.
“Cut the crap, Ted,” Draco retorted sharply. “We’ve known each other since we were four. We’ve pitted our wits against one another since we were six…”
“Yes, but with you that was hardly a challenge…”
“And my father has taught me the basics of Legilimency, so I know you’re hiding something. What’s going on, Ted?”
Nott sighed heavily and then rose. He walked over to the railing that looked over the immense lands that Malfoy Manor. “How good are these wards of yours?”
Draco rose as well. “Nothing you say will leave this garden. I give you my word as a Malfoy.”
Nott looked directly into Draco’s grey eyes, looking for any hint of deception. To his surprise, he didn’t find any. He smiled.
“I don’t plan on joining.”
Draco was silent for a moment, digesting that piece of information. Finally, he spoke. “Really? And how do you plan to manage that
small feat? One doesn’t turn down the Dark Lord without suffering the consequences.”
“It’s quite simple, Dragon. We are to be inducted into the Death Eater ranks during Christmas holiday, right here at Malfoy Manor. And I fully intend on missing that party.”
“By staying at Hogwarts, of course. And requesting asylum from Dumbledore.”
Draco’s jaw dropped. “You’re going to join with that old fool?”
“Of course not,” Nott scoffed. “I don’t intend on fighting for the side of light. But seriously Dragon, think about what the Dark Lord’s doing. Mass genocide on a global scale is what his ultimate goal is. And while I agree that Mudbloods have no place in our society, I believe that there must be better ways to go about it than killing three quarter’s of the world population.”
“I agree,” Draco said, startling Nott somewhat. “I don’t know if you ever noticed, but I’m something of a coward. Never much cared for the sight of blood.”
“So you agree that there are other methods available to us. Things like diplomacy…”
“Diplomacy that won’t work as long as the Dark Lord is in charge,” Draco countered.
“We could make
it work!” Nott pressed on. “Think about it - two of the cleverest minds ever to come out of Slytherin, working towards the same goal peacefully…”
“Forget it, Nott. My place is here.”
? What’s keeping you locked under the thumb of that…that madman?” Nott spluttered. Draco gave a sad smile in return.
“Unlike you, I have nothing else to look forward to at the end of the day.”
Nott immediately stiffened. “I don’t know what-“
“I know about Abbott, Ted,” Draco said earnestly, before giving his friend a small smirk. “But seriously, a Slytherin dating a Hufflepuff? What were you thinking?”
“That I loved her,” Nott replied at once. His voice was very quiet and he refused to look at him.
“Was that what you were thinking when you bedded her?”
“No, that’s what I was thinking when I asked her to marry me.”
There was a moment of stunned silence before Draco finally managed to sputter out a response. “You what?!
Nott smirked. “You heard me. We’ll be married as soon as we graduate next year.”
“If she survives. Nott, her and her family is a prime target for You-Know-Who! You of all people should know that!”
“How do you think we got together in the first place?”
“Yes,” Nott nodded with a grin. “It’s amazing how much a woman’s voice can change a person’s line of reasoning, isn’t it?”
Draco saw that Nott was looking at someone through the window to the dining room and turning to follow his stare he saw his mother chatting up Mrs. Parkinson. Draco gave a small nod in agreement and Nott looked at him slyly.
“Maybe we should find you a woman of your own?” he suggested. Draco just chuckled and turned back to his only true friend.
“Really, what kind of woman could put up with me for more than five minutes?” Watcher’s Council Medical Wing
Dawn stared at the door to the medical wing, just as she had stared at the door for the past eight hours. Though she knew she had to give Vi the good news - that she would soon walk again – and yet Dawn could not bring herself to enter. Her thoughts kept flashing back to that fateful day three months ago at the door to the vaults… FLASHBACK
“So, how’s my favorite Slayer doing?” Dawn asked sarcastically. Vi was dumbfounded. “Dawn, what...how…. what’s going on?” Dawn chuckled darkly. “Always were a bit slow, weren’t you, Vi?”
“Dawn, what’s going on her…” Vi started, but was cut off as Dawn raised her hand and muttered “Crucio.” Vi screamed in agony as the pain of the curse ripped through her body. She inadvertently slammed back against the wall behind her, falling to the ground twitching and screaming. Dawn smiled evilly.
“That’s right, Slayer-o-mine,” she said. “Scream for me.” Dawn held the torture curse on the fallen Slayer for a few minutes before suddenly lifting it. Dawn watched as Vi struggle to get to her feet.
“D..Dawn…why…?.” she struggled to get out. Dawn openly laughed.
“You still don’t get it, do you, Slayer. My lord will rule this world. And there will be no place in his new world for weak fools like you.” And with that, Dawn brought her boot down on the middle of the Slayer’s back as Vi tried to get up. She could hear the crunch as the vertebras in her back broke. Vi cried out weakly and then the pain was to much and she mercifully passed out. Dawn smirked as she gazed upon the broken form before her.
“My charge, I’m so…disappointed.” END FLASHBACK
“Penny for your thoughts?”
Dawn was shaken from her memories by Kirk’s voice from across the hall. She opened her eyes to see the young captain leaning against the door to the infirmary. When did he get here…
“Just thinking about…”
“How you put Vi in there in the first place?” Dawn winced, yet Kirk pressed on. “What you fail to realize, Bird, is that it wasn’t you that put her in there. It was Riddle …or your father... or Calista, take your pick. You were just a pawn. And you’re only hurting Vi more by ignoring her.”
“I am not
ignoring her!” Dawn protested. “I’ve just been to busy to come see her,” she added weakly.
“Yeah, well you didn’t look to busy sitting here for the past eight hours. Look…” Kirk walked over to Dawn, gently pulling her up and grasping her shoulders. “I could give you that old speech about duty, honor, friendship and sacrifice…but then you might think I was a nice guy.” With a thought, Kirk opened the door. “And, as I keep trying to remind everybody, I’m an asshole. So get your butt in there and talk to your friend.” And with a not-so-gentle push, Kirk shoved Dawn into the infirmary and shut the door. With a smile, he walked away.
Dawn stood frozen inside the infirmary, neither willing to go any further in or bolt back out the door. Making a split-second decision, she turned to leave when a voice stopped her.
“I was wondering when you’d come visit me, Watcher-mine.”
Dawn closed her eyes and let out a breath she didn’t even know she was holding and then turned back and walked over to Vi’s bed.
“Sorry,” Dawn mumbled as she sat down on the edge of the bed. “They’ve been keeping me busy, you know… training with my new powers, working on translations…”
“And you were beating yourself up about putting me in here?”
“Vi…” Dawn choked out, but before she could continue the Slayer put a silencing hand on her arm.
“No, listen to me Dawn. Buffy filled me in on what happened. I know what your father and that…witch…did to you. I know that someone else was controlling you…”
“I put you in here, Vi!” Dawn cried, a tear slipping off her eyelashes and trickling down her cheek.
“NO!” Vi replied forcefully, strengthening her grip on Dawn’s arm. “This-Voldemort,” she spat the name out, “did this. He put me in this bed.” Then Vi looked directly into Dawn’s eyes. “The only thing you’ve done to hurt me, Dawn, is to ignore me for the last three weeks.”
“I couldn’t – I - I just couldn’t… it was all my fault…” Dawn whispered. Before she knew it, she was breaking down, sobbing helplessly on the girl whose condition she blamed only herself for. Vi shook her head, her gaze softening as tears of her own started to flow down her cheeks.
“I never blamed you, Dawn. You’ve always been more than a Watcher to me. You’ve been a friend. You, Buffy, Willow - you’re all family to me. You all are the only family I have left. And you hurt me more by not seeing me than when you thought you paralyzed me. Can’t you see that?”
“I know, Dawn. And I’m sorry that I couldn’t stop that bastard from hurting you. I’m sorry that I won’t get the chance to kill him, either.”
Dawn gave a small smile. “Actually, you might still get that chance.”
“Wha…” Vi gasped, a look of utter disbelief on her face.
“This guy contacted us yesterday and he made us a deal. He’ll train me and Miriam, the girl who has been training me in our powers, and in return the Council will be going up against Voldemort. Apparently, he’s amassing a demon army to take over this guy’s world. And the best part is this - both you and Xander are being transferred to their hospital and they’re going to heal you both.”
“That’s right, Vi. You’re going to walk again.”
There were tears in Vi’s eyes again - this time tears of joy. And as Dawn rearranged herself on the bed and grasped her Slayers’ hand, she found that she could, for the first time, believe that everything would be okay. TBC A/N:
Sorry about this, but I realized as I sat down to write the next chapter (with the Malfoy confrontation) that I had cut a very important scene out of Chapter 2. That scene would be the hospital scene between Dawn and Vi. One of the things I never really did in ‘Dawn of the Phoenix’, but had really wanted to do, was show the deep friendship between Dawn and Vi. I wanted to show their relationship to be akin to Buffy and Giles- where the Watcher truly cares for their charge, and doesn’t just use them as a weapon. This scene was meant to show how deep of a friendship Dawn and Vi had formed before Dawn injured the Slayer, and also showed that Vi was mature enough to recognize that Dawn truly wasn’t at fault. Again, I meant to put this in chapter two, but it was already long enough when I posted it.
Secondly, the scene between Draco and Nott was directly inspired by comments on JK Rowlings own website. In her ‘Extra Stuff’ section, she lists a bunch of things that she had cut out of her previous HP books, and one of those things was a conversation between Draco and Nott in the garden at Malfoy Manor. I really liked the idea and decided to adapt it for this story (and originally had Blaise in it as well, before it was confirmed he was a boy and that idea was shot to hell) and I had been looking for a place to put it. With the need to put in the Dawn scene, this seemed like a perfect place to start the foreshadowing on their relationship.