Dobby's Cunning Scheme
Warnings: nothing graphic, but still not for children; lots of allusions to BDSM and to socks; unbeta'ed
Disclaimers: the characters belong to JKR, the plot bunnies to lj userastarvingwriter . Both have my most sincere thanks for letting me play with their creations and creatures. All the ensuing perversion and bad grammar are mine and mine alone, though, no one else is to blame.
The solution was so simple.
After Dobby had pointed it out to them, they had all wondered why they had not thought of it before. But, as things go, it was the odd one out, the non-pervert, the only one that did not fit in with the rest of the community, that did find out was would be best for all.
The problem was not a new one when Dobby intervened.
Malfoy Manor had become hell on earth for all its House-Elves since the death of its late Mistress, Narcissa Black, in the last days of Voldemort's reign, right before Harry Potter managed to kill the last part of the evil overlord's soul. Since then, the Master of the House had been in a deep lethargy that the Elves, had they been in possession of an advanced Master's degree in comparative psychology, would have easily identified as depression. Elves are kept away from higher education, however, and even from basic education, so they had to content themselves with applying words they knew to their Master's condition, which gives, I quote, "The Master is sad".
Psychiatrists or not, the consequences of Lucius' sad state were visible to any host or visitor to Malfoy Manor. Before his widowhood, Lucius had been loud, imperative, and had never shied away from ordering an Elf to pinch their ears in the oven or to iron their hands. After the sad event, he merely sat in front of the empty fireplace all day long, winter or summer, and emptied bottle after bottle of liquor until drunkenness made him slump out of his armchair. His son Draco came by on a weekly basis, made sure his father sobered up, shaved and bathed, then left again for his own home, and Lucius remained alone with his bottle. Or should I say his bottles? Lucius was a perfectionist as they come, and he was not one to stop drinking before sweet oblivion was delivered to him. And if forgetfulness was hidden within the third bottle, three bottles had to be drunk.
And the Elves remained unpunished, orphaned of any order to go hurt themselves. Even Draco did not bother ordering them around any more, preoccupied as he was with his own father's wellbeing.
There are two principal things anyone studying House-Elves should know. The first is of common knowledge – they obey their Masters in all things, refuse to be free, and relish in being deprived of any free-will of their own.
The second is only privy to a select few specialists of the subject, and is not often disclosed to the wider public, for fear of shocking society. As a result, almost nobody – and, least of all, no House-Elf owner – knows that the entire species relishes in hard-core sadomasochism.
The term sadomasochism itself is of course not known to the Elves themselves. They do not know how to read, so could not have been acquainted with the name of the divine Marquis, nor with that of the author of the Venus In Furs.
The poor little fellows do not even know what they aren't missing.
On the other hand, the species is no stranger to the exquisite pleasure one can find in receiving the Master's pimp cane on the bottom, nor to the joys of relinquishing all control over their own body, nor to the soft buzz of endorphins that comes after a long session of ironing one's own hands. And why would an entire species remain enslaved were it not for those very special, yet very intense pleasures? Humans seldom realise that House-Elf births always occur nine months after one especially cruel fit of anger from their Master, followed by gruesome orders, resulting in one big orgy within the Elven quarters. Humans even fail to notice the glow in Elven eyes when they are presented with clothespins or with any flogger-shaped domestic utensil. Humans are not the most observing creatures on earth, as any Elf would readily tell you, if only to make you order them to go hit their heads against the kitchen walls.
There was, however, one problem with being in a 7/7, 24/24 Master/Slave relationship. When the Master is in no mood to punish the slave any more, the slaves are not entitled to decide whether they should punish themselves.
Which brings us back to the present problem. The Master was lethargic; the young Master did not live there any more, and was too preoccupied with his father to look after them when he did come to visit. And the Elven population of the Manor, was growing more and more frustrated, angry, and restless for want of the kind of orders they so enjoyed. Being endorphin-deprived is after all not something I would wish on anybody, and I have no doubt, dear reader, that you should agree with me.
They had not found any remedy in the fifteen months this grim situation had lasted, and were no closer to finding one when Dobby visited.
You know, every community has its pariahs. Indeed, it seems unlikely that any society could even exist without someone being excluded from it – otherwise, it wouldn't be a society, it would be a shapeless conglomerate of beings without rules nor security. And excluding those who show eccentric sexual choices is something Elves have in common with humans.
Dobby was such a pariah. He had not committed any crimes, and his fellow-Elves did not reproach him any of his doings – it was something he i was /i . Oh, he was nice enough to his peers, obedient enough towards the Masters, and he did comply when asked to pinch his fingers in the oven door; but he still did not fit in. I do not like to allude to such crude facts, especially while using creatures taken straight out of children's books, but facts are facts, and you are entitled to know: Dobby was no pervert. He was not attracted to sadomasochism. Yes, I am aware that this kind of behaviour may seem slightly disgusting, and so is Dobby, yet there was no changing what he was, and he could not make himself grow aroused at the sight of a paddle, no matter what the other Elves told him, no matter how much encouragement he received to act like a normal kinkster.
And the worst is yet to come: he was not even attracted to other members of his species – on the contrary, he could only come close to sexual arousal in the presence of large numbers of socks.
Do keep in mind that there is no accounting for tastes: all this couldn't be Dobby's own fault. The other Elves tended to blame his mother for all this – what terrible acts could the late Moppy have inflicted upon her poor innocent offspring to disgust him so of normal intercourse with other normal, perverted Elves? So they just made sure he never came into contact with their young, as he might in turn contaminate them given sufficient opportunity, and tried not to retch at the idea of their wayward companion gently caressing a tender, vanilla-scented sock.
Dobby himself had long ago come to the realisation that he was not like his fellow-Elves, that he was bound to remain different. Trying to fit in, despite the vanillaphobic environment that existed in the Manor, was vain – he had therefore escaped to Hogwarts, whose Headmaster seemed to share his somewhat abnormal non-pervert tendencies, and even his secret sock fetish, if fanficcers are to be trusted. He still came to visit his old community every year or so, if only to parade his difference and how well it suited him. It is after all such fun to shock the bourgeois-minded!
This did not mean that he was not predisposed to lend a helping hand to his former companions in their hour of need. The situation as they exposed it to him, for instance, did not appear too complicated to him. The Master's lethargy had begun after his wife's death; he therefore needed another wife. He did not go out any more; his new wife therefore needed to be brought to him here, in Malfoy Manor. He was a bit old to court again; the new wife needed to be young enough for two. No young girl would come willingly to the Manor; she therefore needed to be enticed within the old walls with some sort of stratagem.
This last point raised some questioning, but Dobby once again found the solution – is it not funny that pariahs often come up with far more imagination than well-assimilated members of the community? There might be a causality link here. Too bad I do not possess a degree in sociology, or I would have been delighted to enlighten you on that respect. Unfortunately, my degree is in International Affairs, and you would be bored to death to hear about it (trust me). Ahem. I really shouldn't allow myself digressions like that in the middle of fics, but they sort of grow up on me. Where was I?
Ah, Dobby's cunning scheme, right. His plan was not simple, far from it – it would require patience, and organisation, and dedication, and no small amount of Elven magic – but Dobby was ready to give it all to his fellow-Elves.
Or, more precisely, he was ready to play a good prank on his fellow Elves. His plan would have worked with just any young woman, but he decided to choose one young woman in particular. The young woman least likely to provide his friends with the kind of regular punishment they sought. The young woman he knew who was most intolerant to the specificities of Elves. The only young woman able to turn Lucius into a kind, Elf-loving person, able to prevent him from ordering them about – for ever. The young woman better known to fandom under the name of Hermione Granger.
When leaving the Manor, Dobby was rubbing his hands in insane glee.
Never trust a non-pervert to keep his non-pervertness to himself.
What happened next is difficult for us to describe, as no one in the world bar Dobby himself knows how it came to happen. All things considered, maybe Dobby himself does not understand all the complex magical twists he used in this case – most of our doings owe much to chance, after all, and I doubt it goes any differently for our friend.
What we do know is that Hermione came back from a merry party with her school friends one night. The party had not been dry, and none of the guests had dared apparate away; they had all disappeared in the chimney. Hermione alone could not do that, as her Muggle flat was not connected to the Floo network. She therefore summoned the Knight Bus and throw a casual "Home" to the driver.
She would in turn cherish and mourn her carelessness in expressing her exact address that night, with good reason, as you shall soon understand.
The Knight Bus did not stop at her Muggle flat. It did not even stop in London, where said flat was located; instead, it headed to Wiltshire, straight to Malfoy Manor, where it stopped. Stan pushed Hermione out without further ado, and the Bus shot right back in the darkness of the night, leaving her alone in front of the imposing porch. Nothing short of strong Elven magic could have altered the Bus' normal pattern in such a drastic way, let me tell you.
What few Muggles know, despite Ms. Rowling's attempt to make the magical world better known to the average citizen, is that one may not call the Bus more than once per day, or, as it comes, per night. So Hermione was indeed stranded in Wiltshire until the next morning.
Miss Granger was many things, but shy was not among them. She rang the bell, without obtaining any answer. Rang it again, louder, wondering why no Elf was there to answer her. She then tentatively tried to turn the knob; strangely, the door was open, so she came right in.
I know what you are thinking. You, right now, are muttering under your breath that the author has left a huge plot hole here – why should the Elves not answer? Why should the Manor's doors be open in the middle of the night? Well, this shows you just how little confidence fanfic readers show to fanfic authors. A most shocking behaviour, if you ask me – especially when I am the author concerned. In the present matter, however, it shall be easy to put your minds to rest: there is an easy explanation. The Elves had of course been told by Dobby himself what conduct they should adopt should a lone young witch present herself at their Master's doorstep, and the aforementioned guidelines did include making her entering the house unnoticed possible. There, I hope you are satisfied. I you are not satisfied, do go back to waiting for book 7, I wish you lots of patience. Just remember that JKR is highly unlikely to mention graphic House-Elve p0rn in her next opus, unlike the present fic. Mmm, just sayin'.
So… Hermione stepped in. Misled by the stale air and smelly settings, you see, she was under the misapprehension that the Manor was not inhabited any more. She therefore intended to explore it, find a bed or comfortable armchair somewhere, and wait there until morning, until the Knight Bus came again to collect her, as she was in no fit state to Apparate away.
Of course, you, dear reader, know what is going to happen. You have after all read what pairing this is all about – oh no, wait, I forgot to insert that in the heading. Well, you still have the rating. You did not think this great big R stood for Elven BDSM alone, did you? Yes, you did? Well, at least I know what opinion you have of me! I would at least include socks in the deal for an R, trust me on that one.
Anyway, spelling it all out would be redundant at the present stage. Hermione began her explorations, soon arrived to the library, stumbled upon Lucius' prone form, strewn where his ethylic coma had brought him, and backed away in disgust – drunkards are no appealing sight, after all.
Miss Granger had not been Head Girl for nothing. In no longer than thirty minutes, she had whipped together the strongest Sobering Potion known to wizardkind – yes, that one, the Snape Special, she had not spent three years playing minion, sorry, Apprentice, to the turncoat for nothing – had administered it to the slobbery excuse for a Malfoy the Elves called Master, and had cast strong cleaning spells in various places of the Manor.
To be entirely honest, the cleaning spells could have been better executed – they were a tad too powerful, and the wallpaper and carpet had disappeared along with the dirt at places – but it is not our place to criticise this minor short-falling, dear reader, as we are Muggles ourselves, and therefore incapable of the simplest wand movement.
Moreover, contemplating the walls and floor after Hermione's handiwork would divert us from a much more interesting spectacle, that of Lucius slowly rising to consciousness, and subsequently taking his new environment in stride.
The stench – gone. The bottles – gone. The dirt – gone. The numb feeling in his throat – gone… a bitter taste had replaced it, a bitter taste that would not go away no matter how often he swallowed. His cherished, self-created solitude – gone… a creature was there with him.
She was hovering above his prone figure, arms akimbo, flicking her wand against her thigh, staring at him with contempt.
She was beautiful.
No one had ever understood Lucius except Narcissa. People had a tendency to assume that he wanted to order them around, and he had to confess that ordering people around did come easily to him, but what he wanted was very different.
He did not want to take decisions. Something about making a choice entailed so many hazards that he really would prefer to abstain from it entirely. Take the Elves, for instance. They disobeyed, they were always disobeying, it must be in their nature to disobey their Master's orders. Yet what was one to do about it? First, there was the choice between asking them to punish themselves, and leaving it to be, which wouldn't change anything in the grand scheme of things and was a lot less tiring. But if you did punish them, what should you tell them to do? Ironing their hands was a sure, traditional, safe punishment, but what if they actually mishandled the iron? Broke it, even? What if they burned themselves too deeply, and subsequently became incapable of serving tea? Telling them to bang their heads in the oven door was no solution, they were all too capable of injuring the door, there had been precedents, and then obtained baked chicken, pies or anything elaborate from the kitchens became close to impossible.
Lucius had a solution to his problem. All he had to do was to find someone able to take all his decisions for him, briskly if possible, so as not to make any time for regrets. Narcissa had been the perfect wife for him – she was commanding, and authoritative, and had a way to make everyone around her, himself included, do her bidding that imposed respect on everyone and everything, even the Elves. Oh, they did not obey all the time – but every time they did not, she had a way of instructing them to go tie up the offender that gave them a sort of glint in the eye, a glint that could mean nothing but awe.
And if he was honest, he did share this very feeling with the Elves. They never breached the bounds of what respectable married couples did together in private, but there was no mistaking her for the passive partner in a couple, and he loved every minute of it.
Hence his despair when she left him.
Hence his wonderment at the presence of the wonderful, masterful, beautiful woman over him.
A slow, creeping smile made its way on his lips.
Lucius Malfoy had just found a new reason for living.
Now, dear reader, we must be cautious. This story could easily derive into the fate of these two humans – how Lucius begged Hermione to stay, how she agreed, reluctantly at first, less reluctantly when she discovered his skills in the bedroom, and when she came to the realisation that he was very cute indeed when tied up to the bedposts. How he became his old self again, and managed to manipulate her into dominating him, in every sense of the word; how she began to take pleasure in watching him squirm and writhe under her ministrations. How they married, had plenty of cute, clever, manipulating babies. How they had the entire west wing redecorated, dungeon-style, and how Hermione devised several new locking spells after a spectacular show of wandless magic on the part of young Abraxas. How five-year-old Jane proudly declared to the elderly Grangers that, when she grew up, she wanted to wear knee-high black stockings with a holster for the whip like Mommy did every Saturday evening.
This, dear readers, would be a fine story indeed, and I almost regret not being the one who tells it. But my aim remains unchanged: the tale of the Malfoy House-Elves it is, and the tales of the Malfoy House-Elves this shall remain.
Dobby's wicked scheme did work without a hitch, to a given point. Hermione was there to stay, Hermione put new life in the Manor, Hermione brought back to them the Lucius they all knew and loved to hate.
But Hermione also forbade the Elves from "hurting" each other, and she remained adamant about it. Flopsy tried to explain that "we Elves does not mind piercing holes in ours ears, Ma'am, we doesn't at all", but all she earned was a stern lecture on victimisation, on how they should never blame themselves for what humans had made them suffer through, and on how they were direly in need of something called "group therapy". Flopsy could swear she heard the Master mutter "bloody Muggle methods" at this point, and thus remained in the expectative, wondering whether this species of humans was more open to bloodsports than wizards.
Unfortunately for the Elves, "group therapy" turned out to be organised by none other than Dobby himself, whom the Mistress had invited to the Manor in person. This was most distressing to the other Elves, who had absolutely no desire to be thus exposed to the contaminating presence of a non-pervert, and, to tell the truth, were not very happy to see the traditional misfit rubbing their nose into the fact that they were not getting any racy action, and were not likely to get any in the immediate future.
They were so distressed that they send another envoy to the Mistress – it had by then become sufficiently clear to them that the Master was not to be asked anything any more. Mopsy was thus dispatched, and went as far as to complain that "they is not getting any means to venting they's stress, Ma'am, they is getting very tense and frustrated, they is needing some leather and ropes", but his timing was wrong. Hermione, at the time of this despaired embassy, was getting prepared for the night's scene with Lucius, and wondering which crop would make her lover's backside turn redder. This was no simple activity – all fifteen crops had to be examined, transfigured to please, and re-transfigured so as to complement all the fourteen other crops, with no room for error permitted – so you must, dear reader, excuse the Mistress of the Manor for her poor response. She merely shrugged, patted Mopsy on the head, and answered that no, there was no way they could work without pay, and one Galleon per week and per Elf it would be from now on.
Desperate times call for desperate measures, and Cottontail, the eldest of all the Malfoy Elves, condescended to addressing Mrs. Granger directly, even though old age had made him forgo the pleasures of submission a long time ago. He planned his speech beforehand, ready to lay all the relevant arguments before Hermione with logic, rationality, and the detachment only great experience and old age can give to someone when they try to speak of sexual matters with a member of another species. But, woe begone! She did not even listen to his first words. Instead, she went off on a rant about how inhuman the elder Malfoys had been, giving such ridiculous names to their Elves, and proceeded to give permission to poor old Cottontail to change his name to something less potter-ish. It pains me to say so, dear reader, but Hermione is not that much of a feminist – she openly prefers Harry to Beatrix, and does not tolerate allusions to the latter…
Elves could deal with insults; they welcomed rough treatment. They even tolerated their Master neglecting them for long periods of time, when, for instance, he was mourning his wife.
But too much was too much.
Being told to shut up for pay, to use clothespins and wooden spoons for strictly domestic purposes only, and to sleep alone and unsatisfied night after night, when you know for a fact – who cleans up the west-wing-reorganised-as-a-dungeon, after all? – that the Master and Mistress are providing each other with endorphin highs on a regular, nay, on a i daily /i basis? Suffering through endless sessions of "group therapy", which could be renamed "Dobby-is-gloating-over-having-tricked-us-and-tries-to-talk-us-into-humping-socks" sessions by the main participants? You must agree with me, dear reader, that there is a limit to what may be suffered until armed revolt looms large.
It is indeed a fact widely ignored by history books worldwide that the great Elven uprisings – or liberation, as the Elves themselves care to call it – began on the night when Hermione fastened a supple leather collar embedded with steel loops around her new husband's neck for the first time.
It had been a steamy evening inside the makeshift dungeon, and a frosty night outside the door, where the Elves had gathered, close enough to listen to what was happening inside, close enough to catch a glimpse of what they were missing, close enough to get a taste of what they would never have as long as the present Master and Mistress lived.
"That is being bound to last a long time" Flopsy commented gloomily. "The Mistress, she is not old enough to die soon."
A loud female exclamation from behind the door punctuated this affirmation, and added to the general gloom.
"We has the possibility to help the Mistress die sooner" said Mopsy, almost without thinking, and most certainly unaware that he might be changing the course of both wizarding and Elven history in saying so.
"What is you saying? We does not have the possibility to disobey the Mistress!" Flopsy replied.
Silence and morosity met this evidence.
"Has the Mistress ever been ordering never to put soap on the main staircase?" wise old Cottontail chimned in.
A flicker of hope arose among the gathered Elves.
"Has she been saying never to add arsenic in their morning tea?" Cottontail added for good measure.
Hope was turning into rejoicing in the assembly.
Let me take this opportunity to recommend to my younger readers always to listen to their elders – they have experience, they have long meditated on right and wrong, and they usually have the good of the community at heart. Cottontail was of course no exception.
After the first stone had been planted, the rest of the edifice of House-Elf emancipation was not long to be erected on the fertile soil year-long discontent had created.
It should be mentioned here that the author has just vowed to abstain from hazardous metaphors in the foreseeable future, for the sake of her readership.
You see, House-Elf were bound to obey their Masters. Yet this obedience, or this bond to obedience, if you prefer, stems solely from the fact that they believe they should obey their Masters in all circumstances – an author with a degree in advanced economics would here insists on the different characteristics of self-fulfilling prophecies, so you should be glad that this author does not possess such a degree.
This is to say that, should they come to the realisation that they are indeed able of independent thought and action, they would not be bound to obedience any more – their freedom lies solely in their perception of themselves.
Now, an attentive reader could not have failed to notice that Mopsy just mentioned, a few paragraphs ago (yes, you may go back to re-read that passage if you feel you missed something… better late than never… come back here once you've finished… all done now? Good) Mopsy mentioned, I was saying before you interrupted, that they had the possibility to shorten their Mistress' life. In doing so, he had alluded to the fact that the Elves could do something they had not been ordered to do. And there is but a short step, dear reader, between realising that one has a will of one's own, and that one can do something one has not been ordered to, and realising that even a direct order can be transgressed with little to no consequences.
For instance, they i could /i kill their Mistress, as they had not been ordered not to. On the other hand, they i could /i also go and hurt themselves, despite having been ordered not to.
Freedom was theirs to grasp.
And grasp it they did.
I would be sorry to contradict your understandable need for the dramatic, but they did not put their newly found freedom to use to end the life of Hermione. No, House-Elves are peaceful creatures, and do not wish harm to anyone as long as they are not contradicted themselves. Hermione did contradict them, but they had just found out that her orders were… mostly indicative, and could go un-obeyed.
So the very first thing the newly emancipated House-Elves did was to get thoroughly, delightfully, and wonderfully laid. Rumour says that the clamours from the Elven quarters in Malfoy Manor were to be heard for miles around. We shall not put too much credit to rumour, especially to Elven rumour, but the facts remain, dear reader, and there is no denying that that night remains bright and shiny in more than one Elven memory –five births, occurring close to one another, nine months later, bear living testimony of it all.
After that, all ensuing events look like mere trivia. The Malfoy Elves spread the word among the rest of their species, and all British Elves soon realised that, though they did not i have to /i work, wages still came in handy to purchase special clothespins and larger wooden spoons. The Weasley twins scented a good business opportunity, and thus launched a new design, the WHEW (Weasley's House-Elf Wheezes). These somewhat adult toys devised solely for kinky Elves were by no means cheap, which led to great House-Elf mobilisation, unionisation, and strikes for higher wages, which they soon obtained.
Hermione was to lose her just combat against Elven pornography and for higher morals in the Elven population (Wizengamot ruling #998765598, Granger-Malfoy vs. Weasley and Weasley, also nicknamed "the paddle verdict"), and therefore had to give in and pay her Elves a lot more than she would have liked to. Ill-meaning gossip states that Granger would never have decided to run for Minister of Magic had the Malfoy finances not been to a record low that year – but we shall of course abstain from pondering on such infamous slander, and merely remind our readers that Minister Granger is to this day the best Minister the wizarding world has known – her brisk, incisive, authoritarian style being much appreciated to those who work with her. An impression that is only corroborated by the fact that those who did not appreciate it do not work for her any more.
And thus, dear reader, did Dobby achieve what he wanted – freedom for his kind. And this is why, dear reader, Elves do not cast any one of their own aside: they have learned through experience that even non-perverts have a use in this world – their cunning plans, regardless of the spirit in which they are devised, being most useful to the community on the long term: had it not been for Dobby, Hermione would never have entered the Malfoy household; had she never ordered the Elves so harshly, they would never have rebelled; and, had they not rebelled, they would not presently enjoy the divine pleasures of WHEW toys.
It even said in some wizarding circles that acceptance of the non-perverts is the secret of Elven happiness; and we should be well-inspired ourselves to imitate the Elves in their tolerance of each and every individual, regardless of what they are and whom or what they tend to have intercourse with.
Muggles, on the other hand, do not reach the same conclusions – they think it makes for sappy, morality-oriented, politically-correct endings, and beg the author to either stop writing or to write something else. Well, dear reader, Muggles do form the overwhelming majority of my readership, and thus I feel compelled to put an end to this tale of a cunning plan.