Title: The Things We Do For Love
Author: Pipenerd/ Mizstorge (2008)
Word Count: About 1053.
Genres: AU, Romance.
Warnings: Implied slash.
Summary: The Death Eaters are betting Harry won't pass the test...
My Beta: hobtheknife
Disclaimer: J.K. Rowling created and owns Harry Potter. (looks in mirror: Nope, not her.) Rights are held by JKR, Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic. Warner Brothers and goodness knows who else. If the fans had copyright, the series would be much more interesting! Not profiting, just enjoying.
Author's Notes: This was written for the Spring Cookie Fest sponsored by the S.S. Sssssss at Fiction Alley. The prompt was "whipped" from Meitkitsume.
The event which Harry alone referred to as 'The Death Eater Annual Picnic' was held on the first Saturday of July. It was a misnomer, because not all the guests were actually Death Eaters, though they were all friends of the Chosen One and the Dark Lord.
The weather hadn't turned out to be flawless, but the overcast skies refrained from dampening the proceedings. A pavilion had been set up in the back gardens and chairs were scattered in the shade of the trees. Since the children were too young to participate in any activities, lawn games had been set up for the adults. A dulcimer player provided background music from the gazebo while a group at an umbrella-shaded table played a leisurely game of tarrochi for trifling stakes.
"…so she had a jumper knitted for me with a big green G on the chest," Greg Goyle complained as he discarded the four of Wands.
"You're owned, Goyle." Draco smirked as he picked up the four and laid it down with the ace, two and three. "She admired her old boyfriend's so much that she wants you to dress just like him."
"What about you?" Greg retorted. "I can't remember the last time you played Quidditch!"
"We all must make concessions to ensure domestic tranquillity." Lucius glanced at Rodolphus, who nodded in agreement as he drew a card.
"You men act like you have it so bad!" Ginny scoffed. The only woman at the table, she also had accumulated the largest stack of chips. "It's not like us women don't have to give things up! I haven't played Quidditch since last September. We hardly ever go out anymore unless it's with people Luna knows from the Quibbler and they're really boring people." She laid out three aces to the assorted sighs and groans of the other players.
The cards skittered across the table to Rodolphus, who swept a speculative gaze around at the other players as he shuffled. "I have a proposition to suggest and if you're willing, we can make it more interesting by placing small bets. Each of us will send a house elf to our significant others to ask them to come to our table. Whoever has the most obedient partner will win part of the pot."
"I'm in," Blaise said at once and one by one the rest of them agreed with various expressions of confidence.
"I believe that I'll participate in your wager," came a quiet voice and they looked up to see Lord Voldemort.
"Putting Harry to the test, my lord?" Lucius drawled. Everyone had heard rumours of the stubborn arguments between the two wizards and it was a matter of fact that any public engagement would be delayed as the two of them fought to the bitter end over the details of every new law and government programme.
"For the amusement of our friends." Voldemort dropped a pouch on the table and slipped into an empty chair. "I wager fifty galleons."
Even Blaise raised an eyebrow at that, but they all counted out like amounts.
Rabastan Lestrange chuckled from a chair off to the side. "Since I am unencumbered by domestic bonds, I will supervise the proceedings to make certain there are no attempts to unfairly influence things by the use of Imperius curses."
A house elf was summoned and given instructions. Greg, who was sitting to Rabastan's right, went first. Hermione was playing Trouve with Bellatrix and Percy and while she listened politely to the elf's request, she glanced up at Greg with a "not now" shake of her head as her Niffler shot through the wickets.
"Oh, bad luck," Draco said insincerely, but he grimaced when Pansy was too busy supervising the barbecue to heed the elf's message.
When it was Blaise's turn, Justin was in the garage with Harry, Oliver and Ted checking out Harry's motorbike. Narcissa was babysitting her grandson, and Bellatrix was on her way to winning the game of Trouve. To her credit, Luna sent an apology to Ginny and promised to bring her a sketch of a Nargle nest if she found one.
"It's up to you to you, my lord," Rabastan announced. This was greeted with suppressed smiles and significant glances as the players relaxed in the secure knowledge that their gold was safe.
"Ask Harry to come here," Voldemort ordered. He turned his attention to the heated competition at the Trouve wickets, and they all watched as Percy's Niffler surged from behind to win.
A moment later, a figure appeared from the direction of the garage. "I don't believe it!" Draco muttered as Harry strode toward them across the lawn.
"What's going on?" he inquired, squinting as he looked down at Voldemort.
The Dark Lord's smile was beyond smug. "It's nearly twelve o'clock," he replied. "I wondered whether you thought we should have lunch."
Harry shrugged. "Fine with me. What have you been doing?"
Rodolphus stood up with the pouch of gold heavy in his hand. "We've been playing a game," he told Harry, "and he just won."
"Oh. Congratulations." Voldemort's expression was triumphant as Harry squeezed his shoulder.
They walked toward the pavilion together as the group at the table broke up for lunch.
"I could tell from your thoughts that you wanted me for something important," Harry said in a low voice. "What was that all about?"
Voldemort put his arm around Harry's shoulders. "A wager over power and control, Harry. And I won."
Harry grinned. "So, what are you going to buy for me?"
"It's a very good thing indeed that you saved such a comment until the others could not hear it," the Dark Lord commented dryly.
"We're partners. Besides, someone once told me that there is no good or evil, only power."
"I thought you believed in love?" Voldemort's tone was bantering.
Harry thought a moment, and then said, " 'Thy husband is thy lord, thy life, thy keeper, thy head, thy sovereign, one that cares for thee and for thy maintenance; And craves no other tribute at thy hands but love, fair looks, and true obedience.' "
Voldemort looked at him in silence. Then he nodded slowly and handed Harry the pouch of gold. "You win," he said.
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Quote is from 'The Taming of the Shrew'
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