Written for the Quidditch League Fanfiction Competition, Season 10, Round 5

Team: Holyhead Harpies

Position: Beater 2

Prompt: Dolohov Family / Humor

Optional Prompts: (word) Ominous, (dialogue) "It literally couldn't be worse. And yet, you're still managing to make it worse. That's a true feat, my friend."

Word Count: 2148

Warnings: Mild swearing, and uh…murder of an inanimate object. Crackfic.

Notes: Honestly, I don't even know what any of this is. I couldn't tell you when this was set — as I told someone, it was like reaching into the depths of my mind and pulling out the most unfiltered, nonsensical stuff I could find.

He has to be hallucinating, because nothing reasonable could explain the scene before him. How could he even begin to describe it?

An apple, sliced cleanly in half. The young Malfoy's face, marred with horror and fury. And the expressions of the mass of people around him, who clearly had been alerted by Draco's scream of terror and also had no idea what they're supposed to be looking at.

The scene would have been comical if it hadn't been tragic.

Draco pins each of them with a murderous glare. "Who did this?" he utters slowly, ominously, his tone brokering no amusement. "Who did this?"

One person is foolish enough to try to answer. "What do you mean, Mr Malfoy?" It's Goyle. Of course it's Goyle. His round face is screwed up with concentration as he tries to process Draco's reaction, and Antonin is ashamed to admit that he is feeling the same way, except he knows how to be discreet about hiding it.

"Someone came into my room while my love was sleeping," says Draco, breathing heavily, "and murdered her in cold blood." Sorrow thickens his voice, though it does not temper his rage. "I found her, just like this…her juices splattered all over my sheets…and the killer must be among us. They have to be." He swings his piercing gaze around the assembled Death Eaters. "When I find out who did this…"

Goyle speaks up again. "Well it can't be me, sir. I was — I was —"

Draco scoffs. "I know it wasn't you, Goyle. I doubt you'd be able to commit a crime this…this calculated."

Antonin had to bite back a sardonic reply — slicing an apple in half isn't exactly a calculated crime — but then Draco turns to him. "I know you aren't guilty either, Dolohov, because I know you're allergic to apples." He huffs. "Still cannot believe you're allergic to my love, but I suppose…"

Antonin contains a sigh. Merlin help them all.

Later, Draco corners him in a secluded part of the manor. Or, more like, barges into his room in the middle of the night and looms over him, an ominously manic look in his eye. "Get up, Dolohov!" he cries, jerking Antonin from the pleasant dream he'd been having of murdering the Potter boy. "I have had a brilliant idea and you must hear it at once."

Antonin briefly entertains the idea of handing in his resignation and starting up his own mafia business — at least he wouldn't have to deal with nonsense like this. Especially not in the middle of the night, when he's starkers and clutching his duvet to his chest.

"Yes, what is it, Draco?"

Draco seems oblivious to his blatant irritation. "You're allergic to apples, right? You must lead the investigation to discover the murderer!"

Wow. Antonin pinches the bridge of his nose with one hand, ensuring that he has a firm grip on the duvet with the other hand. Two murders in twenty-four hours might be a little excessive, and he doesn't want to incite Lucius' wrath. Besides, he doesn't feel like cleaning up all of the blood right now. "Pardon me, what?"

"You are the perfect candidate." Draco beams. "You're allergic, which means you're innocent. You can take over the investigation — that leaves me enough time to properly mourn my sweetheart. I need to plan her funeral. It will be grand. I'm sure my father will not hesitate to agree."

"Your father has other —" Antonin shuts his eyes. Why is he even bothering trying to argue? It's better if he agrees now, before Draco's persistence lands him somewhere even more inappropriate, like the showers. "Fine. As you wish, Mr Malfoy."

Two days later, Antonin had reached the end of his rope. Well, truth be told, he'd reached the end of his rope when Draco had marched into his room and demanded that he participate in this mad scheme. He had almost summoned the Dark Lord himself and turned in his resignation papers, if not for fear that the Dark Lord would have probably killed him. As miserable as he is…he kind of values his life.

Draco had stirred himself into a frenzy, bursting into Antonin's bedroom at the most inconvenient times and scaring the shit out of him. He hadn't yet intruded upon Antonin's shower times, but Antonin had been placing a bathrobe within reach. He wouldn't put it past the Malfoy heir to abandon all decorum in his urgency to uncover the mystery murderer.

Finally, Antonin had had enough. On the third day, while in the shower and wracking his brain with sheer desperation and exasperation, he'd finally stumbled upon the perfect solution.

The mother of all plans.

"Absolutely not," gasps Draco, outraged. "How dare you insinuate that the love of my life can be replaced?"

Antonin frowns. "I'm not suggesting you replace her," he says, unable to control his frustration from seeping into his voice. It had been three days, damn it. He's about a hair's breadth away from turning himself in to the Ministry. "I'm suggesting you use another apple — er, maybe one of her cousins as bait. Maybe pretend as though she has been revived. Or pretend as though she is your new love — even though she will never be," he adds hastily, as Draco's face darkens.

Draco ponders this, his expression turning thoughtful. "Your idea has merit," he says, but Antonin doesn't dare to breathe just yet. "But this inferior apple — she mustn't look as beautiful as mine was. Nothing will ever replace my sugar pie."

Would it be too much to stick his wand down his throat and see what the hell happens? It couldn't be any more worse than this. Miraculously maintaining a neutral expression, Antonin nods seriously. "Of course."

"Good." Draco dismisses him with a wave. "We shall execute this plan tomorrow." His face is set, his eyes steel. "And we shall finally discover who slaughtered my precious darling."

"I can't wait," Antonin replies, deadpan.

All is silent in the manor the next morning, until the air is split by a deafening shriek.

"Oh, not again," grunts Travers, falling in stride with Antonin. "What do you reckon it is now? He's bald?"

Antonin says nothing.

"—love has returned to me!" Draco is declaring dramatically when he enters the room behind the Carrows. "Our love transcended the powers of Death himself — even he has realized that he is not a match for true love!"

Oh, Draco is good. Maybe a little too good — there are more mystified glances being exchanged, and more than one person murmuring about Lucius' son finally having gone insane, as if he'd fallen off his broom one too many times. "Not going to lie, I thought he fancied the Potter boy," someone whispers.

Draco cradles the green apple close to his chest. "If anyone dares to come near her with malicious intent," he warns, his voice laced with lethal promise, "nothing will stop me from severing your head from your body and mounting it on a pike. I will never rest until your body has been emptied of all air and your heart has stopped."

…Okay, maybe he's overdoing it.

Why is he under Draco's bed again?

Because he'd concocted this ridiculous plan to catch the mystery killer.

But why couldn't he have hidden in the large wardrobe while Draco could hide under the dust-infested bed? Seriously, when had a house-elf last cleaned under here? Lucius needs to train his house-elves better.

This is the last time I agree to help the hellion, Antonin thinks, gritting his teeth, as the door creaks open and booted feet clunk across the floor to Draco's bed, then a muttered curse, and —

"Incarcerous," hisses Antonin, maneuvering in the cramped space, and ropes shoot out of his wand, wrapping around the intruder's ankles. The intruder lets out a yelp and he hears a body hit the floor with a loud thump.

Finally, Antonin thinks grimly, wriggling until his head is free and pushing with his arms until he has slid out of the space. Coughing, he clambers to his feet, directing his wand at the masked interloper. "Stupefy," he croaks. Red light jets out of his wand and the squirming body stills.

Just in time for Draco to emerge from the wardrobe, wand drawn. "Is he Stunned?"

"You heard me cast the spell," Antonin retorts, but Draco doesn't hear, instead kneeling next to the body. His anger is thinly veiled as he reaches for the intruder's hood, pulls it back, and —


There he is. The one whose head Draco had been hunting for, the one who had murdered the love of his life, the one who had sent Draco on this mad crusade — had been — Lucius?

Antonin sucks in a sharp breath. Oh, this couldn't get any better. As Draco rises, disbelief leaching his face of all color and vibrating with barely-leashed fury, Antonin starts to laugh. Heaving, gasping, breathless, he can't get enough. He laughs like a man finally driven over the edge, a man driven to insanity. Like a man possessed.

This couldn't have been set up better if the universe had tried.

Draco stumbles back from his father, pointing his wand first at him, and then at Antonin. "Revive him!" he bellows. "Revive him at once!"

"R-Rennervate," Antonin gasps between chuckles, and Lucius Malfoy sits up, feet still bound, and his face going ashen as he sees his son looking almost feral. Antonin swears he can almost feel lightning crackling, a maelstrom seconds away from being unleashed.

"D-Draco, I can explain."

"Father." Color returns to Draco's face, turning it a blotchy pink. "It was you. You murdered her. Of all people, I thought — I thought —"

"Draco, let me explain. Your love — she was just —"

But Draco is beyond reasoning. He advances on Lucius, and for the first time since Antonin had met him, Lucius Malfoy looks petrified.

This is unbelievable.

"HOW COULD YOU?!" Draco shouts, grief and heartbreak and madness coalescing into something searing, and Lucius flinches. "You knew I loved her! You knew I wanted to marry her! You saw the ring I bought for her! Even if you didn't approve of us consummating our relationship, that gave you no right to — to slaughter her like this!"

Marry? Ring? Consummation? Oh, fuck. Antonin is in stitches. He's on the floor.

"You have no idea what it was like," Draco continues, and…are those tears leaking out of his eyes? "You have no idea what it was like to find her like this — to go to the loo and come back to her like this. All mangled and bloodied and — and —" A sob breaks into his tirade, and, sinking to the floor, Draco Malfoy is overcome by emotion.

"Draco, you must understand," Lucius says, taking this opening. "I had to stop this marriage at all costs. Do you know how much disgrace this would bring upon our family? My — I mean, our reputation would be ruined. The Dark Lord would take everything from us, and we would be laughed out of society."

"I DON'T CARE!" Draco screams, tears now streaming down his face. "YOU — KILLED — HER! DOES MOTHER KNOW? DOES AUNTIE KNOW? WERE YOU ALL BEHIND THIS?"

The door flies open. "Is everything okay?" someone calls out, as the throng pushes into Draco's bedroom — and the footsteps are suddenly halted, as everyone takes in the scene before them.

Draco glares at all of them. "A murderer sits before you!" he cries out, pointing at the cowering man next to him. "He needs to be punished! He is a butcher of love!"

"Draco, do you not hear me?" Lucius pleads. "You were infatuated with an apple! You were going to marry her!"

Antonin doesn't know how he manages to stop, pick himself up, and crawl over to Lucius. Somehow, he'd recognized the ominous, murderous intent in Draco's expression — well, it takes one to know one.

"It literally couldn't be worse," he says quietly to Lucius, wiping his eyes with his sleeve as his amusement ebbs. "And yet, you're still managing to make it worse. That's a true feat, my friend." He feels lightheaded, hungover, like he's woken from a deep sleep. "You should shut the fuck up."

It's a rare flash of kindness, but he's feeling slightly generous. Maybe even sympathetic — and that feeling is immediately curbed by the horror coursing through him. He doesn't do kind, or generous, or sympathetic. He's Antonin Dolohov, for fuck's sake. He's a servant of the Dark Lord. There is no room for any kind of — this kind of weakness.

Oh Merlin, he has gone mad. The longer he stays around these two, the nuttier he's getting. If that's not a clear sign…

He stands up, announcing, "I quit," to the assembled crowd, and pushes through them, making his way to the door.

Maybe it is time to start his own mafia business.