Cendi's writing femmeslash again. Joy of fricking joys.

The title is from Poe's The Haunted Palace, and the beta's by ExMeaSententia and HerRoyalCheesyness.

#insert 'stddisclaimer.h'


-o0o-


to a discordant melody

by Incendiarist


-o0o-


vast forms, that move fantastically

to a discordant melody,

while like a ghastly rapid river,

through the pale door

a hideous throng rush out forever

and laugh - but smile no more


-o0o-


Pale fingers that look like they've never once seen the light of day ghost over the keys of the piano, so close to the same colour. They travel almost the whole length, slowly, and with a sadness that one would not normally consider fingers able to show. All the while, matted and tangled hair, thanks to a mixture of stress and unfortunate genetics, is grey, black eyes are unreadable and colourless lips are set in a stern line as if trying to hold back all emotion.

If it isn't for the blood all but dripping off of her, the woman could be a study in monochrome.

Her robes are clearly a uniform, though they lack any defining symbol, plain and simply cut, and the arms to which the expressive hands are connected are clothed in the torn sleeves of the grey material. The right sleeve is soaked in blood, as though it has been lying in a puddle of the liquid, which, admittedly, isn't all that far off.

She blinks away tears as the piano remains silent despite her efforts, non-corporeal fingers sliding through the instrument. A strangled sob mutates into quiet laughter. It has an hysterical tinge.

"I- I can't play," she mutters a few minutes later, halfway under her breath and barely loud enough to be heard, but that doesn't matter, because she's only talking to herself, and no-one's around to hear her even if she wasn't. Minerva won't be back for at least an hour, more if the body is found quickly, and it probably will be, because the Death Eaters are trying to make a statement. They always are.

She wishes they'd just left well enough alone.


-o0o-


Screams; she jumps at the sound.


-o0o-


They're laughing together in the library, and Miss Pince glares at them and tells them to be quiet. Their compliance has a Ravenclaw girl at another table all but cooing. Pince looks murderous, but then, there isn't any rule against snogging in the library.


-o0o-


The first curse she sees is green, and she knows then that she's going to die. She isn't as scared of the prospect as she'd imagined.


-o0o-


"A Mudblood," she whispers to her partner, "in Slytherin!"

Minerva rolls her eyes and chops her Billiwig stings a bit more forcefully than strictly necessary. "Muggleborn, Lucretia. Not Mudblood; Muggleborn."

She blinks. "But a Mudblood! In Slytherin!"

Minerva sighs irritably. "I can't believe I'm friends with a stuck-up Slytherin blood purist," she mutters.

Lucretia smirks and says, "You know you love me," and Minerva knows that's true, even truer than Lucretia thinks.


-o0o-


She wonders for a second how they got into the Department of Mysteries, but decides she doesn't want to know. The war is for the people who have lives ahead of them, and she doesn't. She was never a fighter like Minerva; she was a Healer. She worked in theory rather than the practical, even if, admittedly, that was mostly because no-one would trust someone with her surname. She doesn't stand a chance.


-o0o-


He's not a Muggleborn, but he's still a Mudblood to her, still tainted with Muggle filth, and she'd never follow him, and doesn't know why her cousin is; if anything, Walburga is more obsessive about purity than she.

'So what if he's the Heir of Slytherin?' she'd said to Minerva once. 'That's still no reason to follow a little orphan. And a Mudblood at that.' Minerva has long since stopped arguing against her pureblood ideology; it isn't worth the time wasted, instead of being used for more - explicit - purposes. Broom closets are a godsend, she swears.


-o0o-


Somehow, she ends up fighting only one of them, if you could even call it fighting to begin with. She's ducking behind shelves covered in Merlin-only-knows what to escape the curses, and hopes that they hit something dangerous.


-o0o-


Sixth year brings the Chamber of Secrets incident. She's still not impressed - what's Riddle going to do? Commit a mass murder/suicide? - but everyone else in the House is. Some of the first-years are looking at him like a god to be worshipped by them, the mere mortals.

It's sickening to see the scions of proud and ancient Houses reduced to this, she thinks.


-o0o-


She doesn't know the name of the room they're in right now. It's filled with Dark artefacts, though, and she finds them more useful than her own magic; an Episkey is more useful on a battlefield than in a duel.


-o0o-


When he kills Myrtle, she has to acknowledge a bit of grudging respect for Riddle, and tells him such. It was a good job, for a Mudblood. She thinks herself invulnerable still, discounting the look of fury and utter loathing on his face.


-o0o-


It's a slow and painful death, from a curse she doesn't recognise, a blast of purple light.


-o0o-


When Minerva becomes the Transfiguration professor, she puts a piano in her rooms so Lucretia can play there. She's always been obsessed with the instrument, and hated that there wasn't one at Hogwarts during their school years.


-o0o-


She finds herself wondering, as she bleeds out both internally and externally, how much of Riddle's transformation to Dark Lord she inspired, and it's probably the self-hatred attached to that thought which binds her to the mortal coil. Or maybe it was love for Minerva. She doesn't know the mechanics of the whole thing, and doesn't think anyone really does.

But either way, it's unimportant, because, in the end, she's created her own hell.