Author's Notes: Written for Inkfire's "Politics" challenge on xoxLewrahxox's Bellatrix Lestrange forum.
The challenge theme for the next two weeks is to be: Politics! I thus want you to write a 100-word, 500-word or 1000-word fic featuring a character being involved in politics, judging them, discussing them – anything you'd like, as long as politics is an important theme in your story. I am mostly thinking of wizarding politics and the Ministry of Magic, but if you want to mention Muggle or foreign politics instead, that's fine as well.
This serves as a "missing scene" (for lack of a better term) from Les Étrangers, but stands alone as well. Joseph is Rodolphus and Rabastan's father.
There was always a certain way in which parties progressed. The women would float off upstairs for giggling and gossip, the children – though it was difficult to think of them as such when they were all nearly marriageable – conversed briefly then dispersed to wreak havoc, and the men would make their way to a corner and discuss politics.
"I do worry, at times," Joseph said, glancing after Rodolphus and Rabastan as they made their way out of the ballroom, "that there will be a war, and our children will be caught up in it. As we once were by the Muggles' war…" His hand moved absently to his cheek, touching the scar there.
"Nonsense," said Abraxas quite confidently. "There will not be a war. The Muggles have learned their lesson, I am quite sure, and there has never been a war amongst us so serious as to put children in harm's way."
"Grindelwald–" Cygnus began, but Abraxas cut him off.
"One madman. He scarcely caused a war – a disturbance, yes, but not a war. Certainly not one that harmed us in any way, and that is what is important, is it not?"
"It is not Grindelwald I worry about," Joseph said. "There are other men more than capable of causing far more destruction than Grindelwald could have dreamed of."
"Such paranoia…" Abraxas laughed, taking a sip of his drink. "Who could you possibly consider so terrible that he could cause a war when Grindelwald could not?"
"I do not know that terrible is the correct word," Joseph said shortly. "One can hardly be called 'terrible' when one has all the right ideas…" He took a swig of his own drink, ignoring Abraxas and Cygnus's inquisitive stares.
"Very well, Joseph," Cygnus said at last, sounding tired. "Who do you believe has all the right ideas but is dangerous enough to start a war…"
"Or whatever it is that you are so worried about," put in Abraxas.
"Do you not pay attention?" Joseph asked, staring at them with disdain. "You do not read the newspapers? Or do you simply not understand what is happening outside… this." He waved his hand at the ballroom, indicating Black Manor. When he received no answer, he continued, "The man who is calling himself the Dark Lord. Surely you have heard…"
"Bellatrix speaks of him on occasion," Cygnus put in, clearly eager to seem better-informed than Abraxas. "But I fail to see–"
"Yes," Joseph said, his voice dripping bitterness. "You fail to see. You fail to see the power he has and the danger we would all be in if he chose to put us in it. You fail to see past his façade of pretty promises. You fail to see that if even your daughter speaks of him, he has more power than any man ever should."
The group fell silent, then Abraxas broke it with an awkward laugh. "It's all just politics. All theoretical," he said lightly. "It won't ever come to anything."