Author: Svelte Rose
Title: Kill Time, Injure Eternity
Characters: Hermione Granger, Tom Riddle, Cygnus Black, Alphard Black, Abraxas Malfoy, Charlus Potter, and more to be added in the future.
Warnings: Time turner meaning clichés all about. Mweheh.
Date: January 1st, 2010
Note: Oh wow. Apparently the last time I updated was around this same time, 2 years ago. D:
She looked across the wide-expanse of a room and locked gazes with a boy, now man, who was once a classmate, now foe. He stood to the left of a turned chair, his beautiful mother at his side. As for her, all she spied was the ornate back of the luxurious padding. There was someone seated in the chair if the thin filigree of smoke rising was any indication.
A type of cold seeped deep into her bones. She shivered without really knowing, and in an attempt to bring some warmth back into her limbs, she picked up her right foot and rubbed it against her other ankle.
How silly she must have looked, standing on one leg in her ratty clothing. She knew she shouldn't have cared, but she really couldn't afford to give anything away, even as uncomfortable as she was.
She knew who was behind that chair. They knew she knew. Lucius Malfoy took his place to the right of the ornate chair, hands folded behind his back. The Malfoy parents seemed uncomfortable, while the son was simply expressionless.
Sounds of pops ricocheted off the walls as shadowy figures revealed themselves in hooded robes and white, ghoulish masks.
"My Lord?" Lucius spoke with the utmost reverence. The chair creaked and turned.
This was to be her judgment day.
Her jurors, the masked demons.
Her judge, the devil himself.
He was nervous and he couldn't help the urge to start tapping his feet in order to shake some of the extra energy off. The large classroom where they held their quiet period was not without the occasional murmurs and a death glare or so from the Prefects that were assigned to watch them. The silence was still stifling.
Cygnus cast a glance at Prefect passing by. Then he reached over to tap the outstretched hand.
The witch looked up, expression somewhat dulled before annoyance crossed their features. Once she recognized who'd distracted her, annoyance quickly faded away to confusion and bemusement.
His lips quirked up in a half-grin as he ducked his head by way of apology.
She smiled and he felt silly that something so small could make him feel relief. "Do you need help with something? I'm very good at -," then as though catching herself, he saw it very visibly, as her features settled into something much more difficult to pick out. She cleared her throat, "I'm very good at proof-reading, if anything."
He arched an eyebrow. It was no secret to the school that the interesting newcomer had been recruited by the Ministry itself.
Most would have considered it an honor. Some would certainly see differently. Considering that being an Auror had never been a choice of profession for him, he was one of the few who saw differently. He wasn't so lacking in common sense that he didn't recognize the compliment for what it really was. She had something that the Ministry, and most definitely, Dumbledore himself, recognized; something that they found valuable and possibly useful against a current and most dangerous threat.
Not to mention, the Dementors were STILL a topic of great conversation.
"Nothing of that sort." He finally found his voice. "I was wondering what you might be doing for the holidays?"
She blinked owlishly before she scrunched her face up in thought. Winter vacation was still more than a month away.
It didn't look natural. It looked practiced.
"I'm not sure. No definite plans have been made." She paused and her shoulders relaxed. Again, it seemed practiced. "What are you doing?" It wasn't a question of curiosity but asked because of formality.
He didn't care and grinned before continuing on, "Alphard and I are spending the holidays with Abraxas. I understand you're originally from Australia? How are the winters like over there?"
"Same as anywhere else south of the equator," she shrugged nonchalantly. She picked up her quill again and began scratching away at her parchment, eager to finish the last paragraph or so.
That was ambiguous. Cygnus frowned slightly before he finally sighed and leaned back, looking very much like a dejected puppy. He knew his attentions were not wanted in the first place but…
Well, he didn't know, not really. He didn't think an attempt would make such a blow at his pride.
Brown eyes watched him and then shuttered guiltily. She leaned in and cleared her throat, pulling his attention back. Once he raised his eyes, she gave a small smile, "My parents travel the world for work so most likely, I will be spending it here." It didn't help that she was heavily behind on her advanced placement curriculum.
"Oh really?" His eyes brightened and she narrowed hers in suspicion. "Interesting." He rubbed his chin, eyes looking far into the distance as though a grand idea had struck and needed great pondering.
She clamped her jaw tightly. It wouldn't do to jump to conclusions. Whatever the Slytherin had planned, it was probably harmless. That much, she was sure of.
Abraxas was straightening his blue tie when the Slytherin half of the Black pair bounded into his dormitory, a grin spread across his face, looking for all the world eager and expectant.
"No." He immediately said at Cygnus' reflection. He had no idea what he would ask, just had an imperceptible sense that he would not like it.
"You haven't even heard it!" He whinged.
Abraxas turned around and shoved a hand into the sleeve of an impeccably tailored robe. "I know that look and I know I don't like it. Whatever it is, count me out."
"But you're essential." Cygnus' face scrounged up in thought. "Well, not really you, per say. I just need your guardian's approval. Your disapproval is of no consequence."
The blond wizard shot him a dirty look before he snappishly bit back, "My great uncle is and will be forever indisposed -," so fond of the drink, that man was, "- so it is my approval you need." Curiosity reigned supreme. "What is it?"
The harshness with which Malfoy asked did not perturbed the young Black one bit. Instead, he threw himself across the pristine sheets and grinned up at the wizard, waggling his eyebrows for maximum effect.
Hermione stood in the corner, happy with being able to see out the windows and yet, still retain her peripheral vision of the party on-goings. Another Slughorn get together with some prolific wizards and wizards for which she would have taken full advantage of in her own lifetime. Meeting them now would serve her no purpose whatsoever.
Something fizzy was shoved under her nose from behind and she instinctively drew back, only to hit a broad chest. She pulled into herself and looked up at the wizard that seemingly toward above her. His 5'11" height was no comparison for her 5'4". He stepped to the side, silvery-blond hair glinting in the candlelight flickers, chosen in lieu of lights for the 'atmosphere' it provided, Slughorn had explained.
"I thought you might like a drink," he simply commented before taking a sip of his own.
It was light and fruity with a bit of something extra she surmised was probably Firewhisky, the curly haired witch reached out and took it.
"Thank you," she had heard herself say before she too, took a sip.
He smiled satisfied before he leaned on the windowsill, glancing at all the other partygoers, hand-selected by Slughorn himself. "Enjoying yourself?"
She turned away from the window to look at him; his expression was as lacking in interest as much as his tone expressed but nevertheless she considered her words carefully. With anyone else, it would have been a straightforward answer. She'd learned that for a Malfoy, any bit of information they received was a tool for dissecting their victims - their oppositions. One should avoid at all costs, especially when it was packaged so innocuously.
"I'm thinking." She finally responded before turning back to the window and taking another sip of her drink. She could see him shift towards her, hand in pocket while the other hand motioned at the crowd with the drink in hand.
He was hiding something.
"Shilling for your thoughts?"
She shrugged, hoping it looked as natural as she'd practiced it to be. "There was a written exam in transfiguration today. I'm trying to recall whether or not I wrote down the right amount of flicks for the Switching Spell."
"Ah, yes," his tone succinct, "Transfiguration…difficult subject, dangerous, very complex." His words were poignant but his tone belied his true feelings.
He didn't believe her.
She could feel his eyes on her before she sighed and looked at him. "Are you going to ask me about it or not?" 'It' was not defined - did not have to be defined. They both knew what she was talking about.
Now it was his turn to contemplate his words. He licked his lips and looked down at his drink before glancing up at her once more. "I would just like to know what you're about."
She knew he'd seen her and Alphard. She also knew about Cygnus' unfortunate crush. She was also very much aware of the fact that it had been Abraxas who stood guard outside in the hall so as to keep anybody else from entering the classroom and seeing the two in such a position.
A hug in this decade apparently meant much more than a simple gesture of comfort.
"You're attracted to Alphard."
She was taken back. "What are you -,"
Abraxas didn't let her finish. "That much is obvious. But what of Cygnus?"
Hermione forced herself to back down even if she didn't like it. He was free to think however he wanted. Not to mention, people of Malfoy's ilk would only take deniability as a roundabout sign of legitimacy. "I've done nothing to lead him on," she ignored the question of Alphard altogether.
"But you've done nothing to dissuade him of the fact either," he pointed out.
She fingered the edge of her now-empty glass and tilted her head. "Cygnus is a bit of a ladies man, isn't he?"
Not that she didn't already know the answer.
All Blacks, it seemed, were born with the characteristic, aristocratic, good looks and charisma in tons. "Isn't it his nature to chase a bit of skirt, now and then?"
"He's always serious."
A cynical look entered her eyes and she knew she was treading on dangerous waters. "Come now, being with a bird for one - at most two weeks - is not serious."
He lifted a finger to rub his lip; he was considering his words. It was a characteristic of his she'd picked up. "That's heartbreaking."
She hadn't expected those words. "What is?" Her curiosity pushed her to question.
"That you've already judged him based on what you've picked up from a few rumors here and there," he shrugged, "I thought you were a little better than that."
He was baiting her and she wanted to bite.
"What would you have me think?" Her voice was lilting; a ruse she'd learned from her two very socially advanced roommates who knew how to play a conversation like a fiddler with his strings. "You blame me for being a tease in not answering his attractions, attractions he has yet to act on. When I speak truth, you blame me for being shallow. Tell me, Mr. Malfoy, what other aspersions do you wish to cast upon my character?"
"You lie. Or else, you play ignorant very badly," he said quietly, "He has acted upon those feelings and I know you're very much aware of the fact that he holds affections for you, no matter how indifferent you may act towards him."
"Then wouldn't that be dissuading him?" She wondered afterwards if her voice came on a bit too strong there.
"Not when his brother is a tool in your machinations."
There was a stretch of silence and for a long while, all they could hear were the quiet conversations of the others surrounding them and the clinks of glass as drinks were poured and dishes filled with little treats.
She turned away from his probing stare to glance at the crowd. Most of them were faceless. She could place a few here and there but as for the rest, she'd never bothered remembering their names or who they were.
So much for staying aware.
"In two weeks time," his still quiet voice broke her reverie, "both Cygnus and Alphard will ask you to the Yule Fair Masque Ball."
Her head turned towards him and she knew she wore a look of surprise.
"Alphard suspects Cygnus will want to do so. Out of fairness -,"
She bristled. What fairness? This was ridiculously archaic. She didn't belong to anyone, much less a Black who apparently 'sighted' her first. Though Malfoy didn't say it, she knew that that was in fact, certainty.
" - he will wait and see if he follows through. Cygnus, for all his bravado, is a shy boy and it will take him a bit to gather the courage needed to ask a formidable woman like yourself." The end of his lip quirked up. "I wager he will take a little bit too long which will then prompt Alphard to ask you."
She rolled her eyes. "You've put too much thought into this." Her hands tightened around the glass, belying her temper when her actions did not.
"You'll say no -," he sounded very much assured.
"That's presumptuous." Her lip was now, a thin, white line.
Of course she'd say no. She hated going to those worthless things.
"- because you'll be going with me."
Her eyebrows shot to her hairline. Now she was utterly confused.
He must've sensed it because he faced her and then deftly plucked the glass out from between her hands. "I would rather they share a common enemy in me, than each other. I'm much easier to forgive anyway, charming as I am." He winked at this point, but there was no playfulness beyond the grey orbs.
"No." She refused after the initial shock wore off.
Abraxas hardly batted an eye as he pushed himself away from the window. "Wear something green. It's my favorite color."
She watched him retreat into the crowd, her hand gripping the windowsill, knuckles white.
From across the room, a pair of green eyes watched with avid curiosity.
As always, many thanks to Nicole, my wonderful beta. :D I absolutely adore you!
I have been getting a lot of notes about the confusion with eyes. After not updating this story for so long, I sort of forgot the colors myself so I had to comb through the chapters just to make sure I wasn't mucking anything up. [In fact, I had to do several read-through of KTIE just to make sure everything coincided with one another. D:] Anyway, here they are for future references:
Cygnus Black- cerulean blue
Alphard Black- just blue
Abraxas Malfoy- grey
Caspar Crouch- amber
Tom Riddle- green
Charlus Potter- green