Disclaimer: I do not own these characters, settings, or spells. I am only borrowing them to entertain myself and a few others. Don't make me stop this car, do you hear me?
Chapter Seven - June Rennie
By Ivy Blossom
When Lucius woke, he was looking up at a familiar ceiling. His mind felt remarkably clear, which was a foreign sensation. He heard no strange voices, no thoughts that weren't his own invaded his head. He did not feel disembodied, torn to shreds, confined, controlled, occupied, conquered or ravaged. He recognized that he was in Malfoy Manor, in his own bed. He could feel cool, clean sheets against his feet. His eyes were gummy, his limbs tired and sore, and he felt resolutely sure that he was not insane. He breathed a sigh of relief.
Draco? He felt his presence in an odd way, as if he could smell Draco's skin, but not see his face, as if he could almost hear his voice lingering in a room he had recently vacated, as if he had been recently touched, and the warmth of his son's fingers remained on his arm. He has been here, he has been with me. He rescued me. I knew he would find a way. Lucius felt proud, relieved. All is not lost.
He heard movement beyond his range of vision, but his body was far too weak for him to turn his head. "Draco?" His voice was barely more than a whisper. He heard crisp feet moving toward him, and saw Narcissa's face looking into his.
"Lucius. Welcome home." She caressed his cheek. The sensation was almost overwhelming. He eyes fluttered shut, and he felt his brain mercifully shutting down. "We have a great deal of work to do "
June Rennie saw the Daily Prophet when she came into work. She often came in on the weekends, it gave her a chance to catch up on the research she didn't want to do in front of the others. She had her ambitions, after all. She wasn't sure how she felt about seeing Draco's picture splayed out in the paper, positively snarling up at her. It wasn't the most flattering picture. He looked very young and very angry; a stock photo, no doubt. Everyone knew about his past, of course. It was well-known that he was a former Death Eater; truth be told, this was one of the most valuable things about him to his team. He knew things that made even the bravest of them quake to hear. Of course, given his recent history, the fact that he was one of the remaining three with a key to Voldemort's prison, he was also a subject of their various spells and counter spells of protection. That protection, of course, was for him and from him. Even in the department, few people really trusted him. June herself had at one point been responsible for finding spells to prevent Draco from using his power to conjure his father.
She had also had a crush on him from the moment he had first wandered into their department offices.
No one could blame her, of course. He was a beautiful man. Certainly, he could be an absolute jerk, he could be endlessly brutal. But it was that trace of sadness in his eyes, underscored by a hint of defiance, that appealed to her. She had been at Hogwarts, too, of course. She had been a Slytherin, she had seen him sitting angrily in the common room, fingers steepled in front of him. He had always seemed so small, so delicate, so hard and sharp at the same time. She had laughed at his jokes, when he was in the mood to be amusing. She had graduated two years before he did, though. He was young and, while noting his beauty, his graceful motion, his sheer moneyed presence, she had never thought of him the way she did now.
She had seen him once in a muggle bar, more than a year ago now, drinking like the sun might not rise in the morning. His fine hair was mussed, his silvery eyes (such strange, intense, dramatic eyes) had been unfocused. She had pulled up a stool next to him, put her hand on his knee. She did have her ambitions, after all. He had looked up at her sharply then, almost confused, but not quite. He wasn't stupid, this one. Oh no. Even if he hadn't been the top of his class (She had done her homework, and school records were the easiest to pilfer for an Unspeakable), he paid attention, he listened, he watched. He had looked at her, her hand sliding up his thigh, with a kind of incredulity, a kind of question. Almost scoffing, but not quite. He didn't look at her hand, but focused those unfocused eyes on hers, unblinking. She leaned in and kissed him. He didn't resist. Eventually he responded, slowly, as though his lips were recovering a long, cold winter.
She had taken him to her flat. She wasn't even sure where his was, and he didn't offer up any information. It had been strange, cold, but fluid, matter-of-fact. There were no secrets in his motion, he was no fumbling, confused, heart-broken drunk. He was certainly no virign, but she hadn't expected him to be, certainly, though he was still very young. He had given her what she wanted from him, he was attentive, quite skillful, in fact. She had come without calling out his name, and he without saying anything at all. He had buried his head in her shoulder, breathing softly, and she knew then, with a bit of a shock, that he was profoundly sad. Already then she had known, though she had not admitted it until some time later, that her place in his thoughts had been fleeting; even then she had the distinct sense that his hot breath against her neck, even that, belonged to someone else. When she lied to herself, which was often, she agreed that she was not hurt by this. It was, after all, only a crush. He was beautiful, indeed, but he was so distant, so cold, so coldly charming, it wasn't as if she thought she might be able to love him, if she had wanted to, if she had tried. Certainly not. She held him with the same distance and he held her, that night, in each other arms. After a short time, he rose. He sighed, and said nothing, dressed, she rolled over to face him, her hair spilling over the pillow. He nodded rather blankly, and said something trite ("That was nice, I'll see you in the morning, maybe we can have coffee.") which she barely registered, and he left. She remembered hearing the door latch, his footsteps on the wooden steps outside. And she curled herself into a ball, trying to replace the heat she had shared with that cold figure.
And now he stood accused. June had known it was coming. It had been two weeks, two weeks since word broke that the charm had been taken. Faces darkened. Draco was an expert on the charm, of course, they all were. So few people knew anything at all about it. Most wizards wouldn't know this kind of charm if it were swinging in front of their noses; it was a goblin charm, after all. Everyone in the department had had to become fluent in their strange language in order to read the sources on the charm. Draco's pronunciation was careful and quite good. He knew just how to call the charm, how to open it, how to give You-Know-Who corporeal form again. He was the only one in the department, however, who could actually do it. June shivered. Had he done it? Was there much doubt? Harry Potter certainly hadn't. Even on the basis of his reputation alone June knew this was true. Dumbledore, well, there was no question there. Draco seemed the only candidate for such a betrayal. And they knew, they knew, there was no way around that bloodprint key. They had tried everything. Hackers of magical objects, they had many brilliant minds among the Unspeakables who could do things that would make your hair curl. But this, this had been an surmountable challenge. Bloodprints were powerful keys, so simple, and yet impossible to surpass.
But why? June shook her head. This summer, when Draco had been doing research in Ukraine, his mother visited. June had been working, she had been the only person in the office that day. It had been one of those glorious summer days, the kind that artists paint pictures of, as if it were typical. The bluest sky, blue and high and deep. June had been reading old scrolls when she entered. Narcissa Malfoy. She looked older than the pictures June had seen, but very much like her son. June felt a twinge and rubbed her belly absently.
"Hello," Narcissa Malfoy had said politely. Her voice was soft and gentle, and each syllable seemed like an effort, a polite, generous offer. "I'm looking for Draco Malfoy."
Narcissa Malfoy was an enigma. She had married one the top Death Eaters; doubtless she had attended, and hosted, enough dinner parties with You-Know-Who himself as guest of honour that she could likely recite his preferences in salad dressings and cuts of meat. June imagined that she was the sort of woman who had a special set of china for the times when the Dark Lord came to dine at her Manor. Looking at her now, she clearly had a series of outfits for those occaisions. That day, she had donned a smart blue sweater set and an elegant pair of grey slacks, pearls around her neck, diamonds in her ears. Her hair was impeccable.
June had looked up just her scrolls and smiled cryptically. "Mr. Malfoy is abroad for work, I'm afraid. We are expecting him back in the next few days, however." June had never, in fact, used Draco's given name, other than in her head. She had had endless conversations with him in her head, in which she dropped the name constantly. Oh, Draco, she would say. You're so droll, Draco dear. Ds abounded in her imagination.
Narcissa had furrowed her brow. "Oh dear, I'm sorry to hear that." She said sadly, wringing her hands and looking pleadingly at June. "I'm only in London for a short time. I'm his mother, you know. I wondered, if it would be alright if " she looked pained. June worked her memory quickly, What kind of relationship does Draco have with his mother? Was Narcissa under investigation? June wasn't certain. Investigations weren't her department. She vaguely remembered something, a search, disovering that she was a beautiful, but rather dumb blonde with a penchant for difficult men. She had never been to a meeting, a gathering, a hit, or anything else the Death Eaters had ever planned, as far as Ministry was aware. Oh yes, June remembered it now. Narcissa, the engima. How can you get that close to evil, sit next to it on the chaise lounge, serve it wine and hors d'oeuvres, and not get ensnared? What does it make you?
"I wondered if I might just have a look at his office. It's been quite some time." June considered this. Had Draco not even owled his mother? Visited her, checked to see how she was? His father disappears into a small goblin charm and he leaves her to her devices. Men. They didn't give much thought to the feelings of the women in their lives, June knew it. She smiled.
"Certainly, you can have a glance. There's nothing sensitive in there." She lead her back toward Draco's office, which was behind a thick red wood door. It unlocked with a quiet snick sound, and she stood in the doorway, letting Narcissa have a look inside. She trembled slightly. June smiled more warmly, seeing the emotions playing out on Narcissa's face. Pride, sadness, hope, desperation.
"I see he keeps his Quidditch trophies here. I'm glad. He was always so proud of them." Narcissa sniffled, opening her handbag and reaching for a hankerchief. She pulled out a delicate, lacy cloth and dabbed at the corners of her eyes, and, in the confusion of her emotions, dropped her handbag into Draco's office.
"Oh dear, oh dear," she said, collapsing quickly to her knees and picking up the items that had dropped. Small squares of paper, a wallet, some photos of a young Draco sitting on her lap. She picked up a photo, smiled weakly, and passed it to June. "You see him? Wasn't he beautiful?" She began to tell June about the day the photo was taken, how pleased she had been, because she had had such a hard time getting pregnant, she rambled, how the photographer had told her that no one photorgraphed quite as well as her son, how much he looked like his mother, and June felt sorry for her. She had lost so much. She stared at the picture, watching the defiant, unhappy-looking child sneering at her. She nodded and smiled at Narcissa.
Narcissa, still talking, removed a small silver sphere from her purse. "Do you see how sharp his eyes look?" She said, watching June's eyes trained on the image. She rolled the small sphere noiselessly under Draco's desk, and continued gathering the rest of her belongings. "From the day he was born he had the most remarkable eyes. I think they come from my great-grandfather, that's what my mother told me." She wiiped her eyes and stood.
"Goodness, so many stories thank you, my dear, for letting me see his office. I don't mean to be such a bother " June smiled, told Narcissa that it was no bother at all, and that she should enjoy her stay in London, had she been in to Diagon Alley yet, they had some lovely new items on the Leaky Cauldron menu, chatting easily and aimlessly as lead Narcissa back out to the front entrance.
"Thank you June, dear." Narcissa had said, her weak voice matching her lukewarm but genuine smile. "You are a lovely girl." June smiled, waved, and shut the door behind the slender woman. It was an hour later, after June had re-immersed herself in the scroll, that she realized that she had never told Narcissa her name.
But that had been some time ago. June wondered at it; she had had a hint then at how cold Draco was. When he had returned from Ukraine, he had shrugged indifferently at her story about Narcissa's visit. She had been tempted to ask him to contact her, but realized, that not only was it none of her business, but he would probably tell her so in no uncertain terms. Draco was profoundly private, an unknown quantity. Their one, strange night together did not make their working together awkward in the least, as it seemed to have vanished from Draco's mind altogether.
She looked down now at the memo beside her copy of the Daily Prophet. It was from their supervisor, written with his regular terse scrawl. June, please owl Mr. Malfoy. Under the circumstances, it would be best if he stay away from the department, until this blows over. Don't be accusatory until we have firmer evidence. And June, Be prepared an emergency meeting Monday morning.So. As June expected, the back up plan was put in place. Keep Draco out of the office. Finally. The last couple of weeks they had been tiptoeing around, keeping the latest discoveries from him, feeding him a handful of lies. They were tests, and June at least knew that Draco knew it. She breathed a sigh of relief, and bit her lip with concern at the same time. She dipped her quill in ink, and wrote the letter. He would not be pleased, she surmised.
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