I am sitting at our dining table with Lucius and Draco, and many more guests. But this is not one of those dinner parties which we usually hold at Malfoy Manor. No, it isn't.
Because, when the Malfoy dinners are held, we dress in our finest; we stand and sit straight with our chin held high, we smile and exchange pleasantries with those fortunate enough to have been invited; we speak, we listen, we command the show.
At this moment, however, I am silent and meek. My hair is uncombed and my mind has more or less tuned out the conversation flowing around me. My husband jerks and twists involuntarily, and Draco cannot take his eyes away from the revolving woman who is on display. We cannot utter a word – we are not allowed to. I certainly do not want to.
Yes, this is no Malfoy dinner party.
The guest has overtaken the hostess's right to her castle.
Snatched. Defeated. Stolen.
Lucius' voice interrupts me. The Dark Lord seems to have demanded something from him. I try to bring my focus back to the outer present. He wants Lucius' wand, and Lucius glances at me, as though seeking my opinion.
I am no longer the mistress of Malfoy Manor. This is no longer our kingdom.
My hands have moved over to Lucius', as if to let him know the position has shifted, but I know I am only warning him against the Dark Lord's wrath – nothing else. I, too, am scared of him in spite of my silent challenges.
Once the danger has passed, I return to tuning out the words and concentrating on…I am trying to adjust myself to the Manor. I am trying to feel normal here. You see, it takes great strength to see your home turn into something else – a torture house, a head-quarter, a prison – to see it do so without having the courage, even the right to raise an objection.
You feel great pain when you see your home being razed to the ground by fire, by an earthquake, by a powerful flood. What is worse is when the house is still standing there – deceptively looking as welcoming as ever, while its only intention is to make you feel like a stranger because it has sworn its allegiance to someone else. And you want so much to scream "Get out!" to this usurper, but you cannot.
And ten minutes later, when a woman's lifeless body falls on the table where you used to eat, when a monstrosity slithers over the familiar polished wood to satisfy its gluttony, I know something between me and this house has broken.
I know that instead of the feeling of security it always reserved for me, I will now be greeted by the dank miasma of fear.
That is no home.
Another one written for an assignment.
DISCLAIMER: I am not J.. Although everything you can recognize belongs to her.