The Silence of the Clown
July 7, 1995
There was one rasher of bacon left. Draco eyed it, feigning nonchalance. Bella eyed it, not hiding her vicious possessiveness. But it was Lucius Malfoy who snatched the treat from the tray, snapping it between his pristine, straight, white teeth. He'd not even glanced away from his Daily Prophet. "Bloody mudblood tourists…bringing their…disease into our civilized midst."
Narcissa glanced at him from her fashion magazine. "What are you talking about, husband?"
He flashed the newspaper. "Look!" The magical image moved beneath a headline reading "Mexican Wizards Stir a Cauldron of Trouble in Muggle London Airspace." The photo detailed a large vehicle flying into Big Ben. "It says 'Eleven drunken tourists crashed a charmed purple Astrovan into an historic muggle site yesterday.'" Lucius scoffed. "And now we're hosting the stupid mudbloods in St. Mungo's? Quarantined? Bollocks. I'd have them portkeyed back to the…mainland or wherever they're from."
"Of course, dear."
"Of course, dear," Bella mocked her sister. Narcissa scowled at her.
Draco was still rather sullen over the bacon rasher. He lashed out in anger. "Auntie, I'd appreciate it if you'd turn that bloody muggle music box of yours down at night when we're trying to sleep from now on."
Bella was completely taken aback by his vehement attack. "Sleep?" She leaned over the table, cleavage nearly spilling from her black corset and manic curls dipping into the hot cereal. "Is that what boys call shagging their mummies these days?"
His face burned and Narcissa's spreading knife slammed to the table. "Bella!"
Three pairs of eyes – one cautious and two scandalized – looked to Lucius Malfoy. The patriarch peered over a corner of newspaper at his squabbling family. "Bellatrix. Have you heard that muggle tale of the boy who cried wolf?"
Bella settled on her elbow. "Yes," she stated matter of factly. "And the moral of the story is if you keep crying 'wolf,' eventually a wolf will eat your stupid arse. Just like the moral of this story is eventually you will find out your son is fucking your wife."
Lucius opened his mouth to form a scathing reply, but a pop interrupted him. "Post!" The elf announced. It simpered to the table, shaking hands depositing a few rolls of parchment. But it wasn't quick enough, and Lucius managed to get in a weak kick. The creature yelped and landed a few feet away. Lucius chuckled as it apparated out. "Ah, I never tire of that sport."
"Of course not, dear."
"Of course not, dear," Bella mocked her sister again, unrolling a parchment sloppily.
Narcissa growled in response. She flicked a letter toward Draco. "Your school list for this term," she said. "Perhaps we can have a weekend in Diagon Alley to shop."
Draco's eyes couldn't have been bedroomier. "That sounds wonderful, mum."
"Merlin's dewy dick!" The exclamation emanated from Bellatrix. Now, three pairs of eyes fell expectantly on the dark witch. She cast her letter to the table in disgust.
"Bella?" Narcissa spoke softly. "Is everything alright?"
"Yes!" Bella snapped. "Everything is dandy, Cissy! Just your run of the mill death threat!"
Draco was reading the parchment with concern on his features. "It is a death threat," he murmured. "But who knows you're here, Auntie?"
She pushed away from the breakfast table, pacing. "I don't know! You three! The Dark Lord…a few of his followers."
"Can any of our associates want you dead, Bella?" Lucius plucked the missive from Draco's hands.
She snorted. "Oh, only nine out of ten, probably."
Narcissa was reading the note over Lucius' shoulder. "You'll die with a smile on your face… What does that mean, sister?"
Bella paused, staring out a window into the garden. "Gods," she whispered. "A smile." Realization tightened her features. She whirled to face them. "I know who it is."
The Malfoys glanced at each other, then back to Bella. "Who?" They spoke at once.
Bella's lip curled. She looked at her wringing hands. "It's that…that fucking clown."
A pause. Blinking.
"Clown?" Lucius repeated.
Bella sighed. "Yes. A clown." If it was possible for her to look embarrassed, she did. She turned her chair briskly, straddled it and began her explanation. "You see…a few weeks ago, I attacked a muggle family. On orders of our Lord and Master, of course! And there were…some deaths."
Lucius nodded. "Actually, if I recall the minutes of that particular meeting correctly, you killed them all."
"Yes, thank you. You do recall correctly, you prick." She picked at her fingernails, occasionally wiping the detritus on her chair back. "Unfortunately, there was…a tiny oversight."
"Oversight?" Lucius stood nervously. "What oversight?"
Bellatrix pursed her lips. "We didn't know one of the family members wasn't exactly a muggle."
"Not exactly?" Narcissa was suspicious. "You mean…"
Bella nodded. "Apparently, an uncle who lived in the house was magical. A halfblood who chose to live muggle…for some ridiculous reason. He wasn't at the house at the time of the attack."
Lucius leaned on his son's chair, facing Bella. He rubbed his face in frustration. "Let me just…reiterate this. For my own clarity." He closed his eyes, called on patience. "You killed the entire family…of a magical person…who is a clown…living in the muggle world…and now intends to kill you?"
Bella made a sucking sound through her teeth. "That sounds correct, yes."
"And the clown knows you're here?"
Lucius bowed his head. His hair formed a curtain around his son's face, and Draco looked up worriedly. "Does the Dark Lord know about this?"
Bella shook her head and Lucius groaned.
Narcissa spoke up, frustration edging her voice. "Exactly what does this mean?"
Lucius pointed a finger at Bellatrix. "You'll tell him," he insisted. "You'll tell the Dark Lord because I won't have you endangering my family with your presence in this house." At this, Narcissa and Draco both looked surprised.
Bella's lips thinned. "Very well," she groused. "I shall tell him tomorrow. As soon as he wakes." She snatched the offending parchment from the table and stalked from the room.
The tension in her wake was heavy. Lucius rubbed the bridge of his nose as he re-seated himself. Narcissa looked at him. "Lucius. Are we in danger? What is happening?"
Draco answered before his father. "I think it's pretty self-explanatory. Some muggle clown is bent on murdering Aunt Bella, so we could all wake up with balloon animals lodged in our unmentionable orifices." He tapped the table. "Is there more bacon?"
July 8, 1995
Next morning's breakfast progressed…differently. Lucius was already at the table (as usual) reading his Prophet (as usual), when Narcissa finally rolled out of her son's bed (as usual) and dressed herself, swatting at Draco's hands the entire time (as usual). She yawned as she padded down the corridor in her slippers, pausing to bow a greeting to the Dark Lord who was sunning himself and his snake in a bay window (as usual).
She plastered a pleasant mask on as she sat across from Lucius (as usual). "Good morning, husband."
"Indeed, wife." He didn't look away from the paper (as usual).
It was such a peaceful moment… And this was highly unusual. Narcissa spread a serviette in her lap. "Have you seen Bella this morning?"
"Blissfully…no," Lucius replied.
She chewed her lip. "That's odd. The Dark Lord hasn't seen her, either. And she usually rubs his feet first thing." She shuddered.
Lucius sipped his tea. "Well. Perhaps she did a selfless thing for the first time in her life and left the manor of her own accord."
"As if you would know about selfless," Cissa muttered.
"I said perhaps she was feeling a bit restless…and went for a walk." She smiled. Lucius smiled back.
They looked up when Draco approached the table. He held a red, rubber nose in one hand, raised it and squeaked it. Lucius' brow quirked and Narcissa's eyes widened. "Wherever she went," Draco drawled, "I doubt she went willingly. And I suspect she went in a tiny car."
Cissa gasped, clapped a hand over her mouth. "Oh, Bella," she murmured.
"Huh," Lucius grunted.
"What shall we do?" Narcissa asked.
"Throw a party?" Lucius took the nose from his son and squeaked it again.
"You bastard!" Narcissa slapped the nose from his fingers. It smacked and squeaked against the stone wall, smacked and squeaked again on the floor.
Draco was a bit more helpful. "What can we do, mum? It's not as if we can report her missing."
Narcissa rose and rushed to her son. "We must do something, Draco!" She took hold of his lapels. "She's my sister! I can't let my sister become a statistic!"
Draco rubbed ineffectually at her shoulders. "But mother…really, that may be the only way Aunt Bella ever becomes in any way legitimate!"
"We must go!" Narcissa approached hysteria.
"Go where?" Draco asked.
"Into the muggle world," his mother hissed. "That's where we'll find her. I know it."
"You've lost your mind," Lucius said. He rose. "I'll simply tell the Dark Lord what has happened. We shall follow his instructions in this matter."
Narcissa fell to weeping against Draco's shoulder. The boy couldn't bear to see his mother cry. "Father," he began uncertainly. "Perhaps we shouldn't tell the Dark Lord just yet."
"And why not?" Lucius demanded.
"Bella is his favorite, isn't she? I imagine he'll be quite upset to hear she's gone missing. He may react…violently. And we hardly need that sort of attention, right now." Draco felt the hope in his mother's tempting form.
Lucius gave his son a measuring glare. Was he being Slytherined? Surely not. He was a Slytherin himself – in fact, he'd practically been the king of his House during his time. There was no way his heir could out-maneuver him in any way…at least not yet. He sniffed decisively. "Very well. You may go and look for your aunt. But I'll only give you one day. Understood?"
"We shall find her," Narcissa whispered and squeezed her smart son.
"No," Lucius said. "Draco shall find her. You shall stay here with your husband. As is proper."
The scathing glare she gave Lucius frightened Draco. "I will go with my son," she hissed. "I know my sister's magic, and I'm as strong a witch as she is. And my son will need help."
Lucius drew himself up. "Then I shall go," he said.
"No." Narcissa was not in a compromising mood. "You shall stay here and entertain your Lord and Master, as is proper. Keep him distracted."
"And how do you presume to find her, then, witch? You've never stepped a foot in the muggle world."
"I have," Draco stressed. "I will protect my mother."
"Protect her?" Lucius scoffed. "Boy, you need protecting, yourself."
Draco's chin drew high. His hand wrapped round his mother's waist. "We'll see about that, father," he nearly spat. "All I need are apparation instructions to the house she attacked. And if I can't get them from you, Yaxley will spill for a few galleons."
Lucius shook his head, nearly impressed. "Damn you, boy. Fine. It's Knapford. On Sodor Island. South of Waterton. Look for the water tower and the shipping yard. Three kilometers from the crane due north is a brick house – split-level. 61 James Lane. You'll see the scorch marks. And do be careful of the bloody trains." He spun away from them, but paused in the archway. "If you're not back in 24 hours, I'll send help." And he was off to the Dark Lord.
Narcissa turned to her son. "Oh, Draco," she cooed. He took her abandoned kiss as further thanks, and groped her unashamedly.
"Mum," he mumbled into her neck. "We'd better go. We've not much time."
One last resounding wet kiss and she pulled away. "Right. How does one prepare for entering the muggle world?"
Draco smirked. "Well, Bella just plunges headfirst into the shallow end. But…" He took in her long embellished frock. "You could stand to look a bit more muggle just in case. Let's have a look in your wardrobe."
They apparated into the shadow of a giant water tower. After a quick glance about, Draco took hold of his mother's hand and tugged her. "This way," he said. "James Lane."
Muggles traversing to work in their cars sparsely populated the street. Draco herded his slightly overwhelmed mother onto the sidewalk. She nearly tripped, and he caught her bought the waist. "Come on, mum." He pointed. "That one down there. With the yellow ribbon all about."
"What's the ribbon for?" She took in the house curiously as they approached it.
"Mudbloods use it whenever something bad happens to keep other mudbloods from poking their mudblood noses into other mudbloods' business."
"Does it work?" She fingered the tape reading 'CAUTION' as they checked for onlookers.
Draco ducked underneath the tape, tugging her with him. "Nope."
61 James Lane looked to have been a quiet, peaceful muggle home once. But now it possessed all the marks of being visited by Bellatrix Lestrange. Windows were broken out, blast marks adorned the walls, dried blood flaked from…well, from everywhere. They climbed into the darkened brick split-level through a broken window on back of the house, mindful of the jagged glass. Narcissa's mouth gaped when she stepped through a series of fading taped human outlines on the floor. "Oh my good goddess," she murmured.
"Yeah." Draco shrugged. "Bella does good work." He looked down a hallway. "We'll start down here. Bedrooms. Obviously, no one is living here now. And it looks as though it's been abandoned since the attack."
Several doors were ajar or blown off their hinges down the paneled hallway. In the first room the couple entered, another taped outline greeted them from a seated position against the wall. "Hello," Draco chimed.
The room was empty. A colorful poster advertised a physician by the name of 'Who,' and Narcissa wondered at the legitimacy of a healer who worked out of a muggle telephone kiosk, but she kept any commentary to herself.
Draco's lip curled. "There's nothing here," he groused. "Come on." In the hallway, he decided they would split up. "I'll take this room if you take that one there. We'll meet in the one at the end of the hall?" She nodded, looking only slightly worried, and clicked down the tiled floor. He watched her hips until they disappeared in a doorway.
"Ugh." Draco winced. He'd unknowingly chosen a lavatory. The walls were garishly decorated with flowers and stripes. Above the toilet was a framed picture. The wizard cocked his head at the image: a creature devised entirely of wrinkles and velvety grey skin wearing a pink tutu. Beneath the strange character was written 'shar pei ballet.' He scoffed. "Fucking weird mudbloods…"
The mirrored cabinet above the porcelain sink was hanging from a rusted hinge. He peeked inside it. On the shelves were muggle potions and pills. Draco poked a few with his wand, jumping back when a package clattered into the sink. Suspiciously, he regarded it.
There was a muggle man smiling widely on the packaging, his body obscured by a label. A label. Draco picked up the box.
108 Waterton Way
It was mostly gibberish to Draco, but he knew it was another lead, one more place Bella just might be found. The box top read in large, capital letters: VIAGRA. Sounded almost magical. Draco turned the box over, reading the information printed there.
VIAGRA is prescribed to treat erectile dysfunction (ED).
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION BELOW.
Do not take VIAGRA if you take nitrates, often prescribed for chest pain, as this may cause a sudden, unsafe drop in blood your general health status with your doctor to ensure that you are healthy enough to engage in sexual activity. If you experience chest pain, nausea, or any other discomforts during sex, seek immediate medical help. In the rare event of an erection lasting more than 4 hours, seek immediate medical help to avoid long-term you are older than age 65, or have serious liver or kidney problems, your doctor may start you at the lowest dose (25 mg) of VIAGRA. If you are taking protease inhibitors, such as for the treatment of HIV, your doctor may recommend a 25 mg dose and may limit you to a maximum single dose of 25 mg of VIAGRA in a 48-hour rare instances, men taking PDE5 inhibitors (oral erectile dysfunction medicines, including VIAGRA) reported a sudden decrease or loss of vision. It is not possible to determine whether these events are related directly to these medicines or to other factors. If you experience sudden decrease or loss of vision, stop taking PDE5 inhibitors, including VIAGRA, and call a doctor right away. Sudden decrease or loss of hearing has been rarely reported in people taking PDE5 inhibitors, including VIAGRA. It is not possible to determine whether these events are related directly to the PDE5 inhibitors or to other factors. If you experience sudden decrease or loss of hearing, stop taking VIAGRA and contact a doctor right away. If you have prostate problems or high blood pressure for which you take medicines called alpha blockers, your doctor may start you on a lower dose of should not be used with other treatments that cause erections. VIAGRA should not be used with REVATIO as REVATIO contains sildenafil, the same medicine found in does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV. VIAGRA is not a treatment for any form of sexual impotence, but may assist in sexual performance for men suffering from certain symptoms of sexual impotence. The most common side effects of VIAGRA are headache, facial flushing, and upset stomach. Less commonly, bluish vision, blurred vision, or sensitivity to light may briefly occur.
"What?" He murmured. His mind was slightly blown. "Erectile dysfunction…sexual impotence…Holy hell." A glance into the hallway. He heard his mother clicking up the hall to their designated meeting point. "More than four hours… is that even possible?" Curiosity just might murder him. "Why not?"
The cellophane rattled. The foil backing popped. Draco flicked a little blue pill into his mouth, swallowing easily. He pocketed the rest of the package and started down the hall.
He found her in the back bedroom. She was frozen, it seemed, fingers to her lips, staring at a taped outline on the neatly made bed. He brushed a hand over her shoulder comfortingly. "Alright, mum?"
"I think so." She answered and tried to smile at him. "Unfortunately, I haven't found anything useful."
"I might have." He could smell the faintest hint of her sweat. A trickle of a tickle formed in his groin. Hm. Perhaps that little pill was a mistake. Should have waited.
"Oh?" She approached him excitedly. "What is it?"
"An address." A light sheen of sweat glistened on her chest, visible beneath the 'v' of her blouse. "Um…one of the muggles who lived here had another residence. On the beach. I imagine we can find it easily." Suddenly, he had a full-fledged erection. He went a bit dizzy.
"And you suppose Bella is there?" Moist tendrils of white-blonde curled at her ears and the nape of her neck, teasing his fingers to tug them.
What? "Uh…yes. Perhaps."
She reached up to his face, humid fingers brushing his forehead. "Are you all right, son?"
He swatted her hand away. "I think so…" His cock ached. She was so close, so soft and firm and pliable. There's no time! We must find Bella. But he feared if he didn't fuck something – and quickly – his manhood would rape his navel.
"Nonsense." Her forehead was creased by concern and she reached again for his face. "You look terribly flushed."
She gasped when he gripped her wrist, pulling her hand from his face. Oh, her mouth looked amazingly pretty like that… His bollocks throbbed, merciless. "Mother." His voice – like his control – was strained.
Her vulnerability was precious and sexy. He felt his jaw clench, tasted her already – her hot bitterness on the back of his tongue. "I need to fuck you, Narcissa," he growled.
Her eyes widened. She was unknowingly endangering herself. "Draco. This is hardly the time or the –"
"Bugger time." She gave a small yelp of surprise when he took hold of her other wrist and backed her toward the bed. "I'm afraid this is a matter of life or death."
"Life or…" She spluttered helplessly as he tore at the buttons on her blouse. He was sweating, too, and shaking. "Draco!"
"Naked!" He was reduced to nearly monosyllabic communication. "Now! Mean it!" He groaned and abandoned her attire to tackle his own trousers with a suffering groan. "Faster," he snapped at her. Her breath hitched at his demanding tone and she sat on the edge of the bed to remove her chunky heels.
His trousers dropped. "Fuck the shoes." He took hold of her knees, planting her on her back. The maneuver knocked the wind out of her, stilling her protests over his rough treatment of garters and knickers.
He climbed onto the bed between her legs, shoving her further up toward the pillows. "Are you wet?" he asked desperately. Her arms were raised as if they could hold him at bay. Foolish witch…
"Draco, I'm barely even –"
"Right." He shoved the stiff mugglish skirt up to her hips and shoved his mouth to her core, moaning at the flavor of her and the feel of her fingers plunging into his hair. A quick gush of wetness greeted his tongue. He lapped at her greedily, applying the swirls and flat-strokes she loved.
"Oh, Draco!" She gasped and pitched and plead and treated him to the filthy appeals he adored, making his misery all the more palpable and harrowing.
When her juices hit his chin, he pulled away and lunged up her body. "Drac-OH!"
He plunged inside her quickly, far from their usual slow and anticipatory build. "Sorry, mum." He groaned. He was not sorry in the least. She felt like sordid perfection and he wanted nothing more than to sully her further with his spendings.
But it seemed the more he fucked her – and the harder he fucked her, the more he wanted to fuck her – and the harder he wanted to fuck her. All the while, the release seemed dangling just out of his reach… He growled and snarled at the frustration of it, the beleaguering tease and drowning pleasure. It was the damnedest and most incredible feeling he'd ever known. Cursed muggle magic pill…
Fortunately, the witch underneath him was not complaining – not in the least. Her grunts and heaving breaths were products of both a shared pleasure, and the salacious voyeuristic possibilities inherent in the undressed windows by the bed.
"Ohhhh, hell, Narcissa." He devoured her neck, melting. "I think I'm dying…but I don't think I mind."
Her fingers were shedding his shirt, exposing him to cooling air. Without ceasing his thrusts, he deftly helped her wriggle from her own damp and sticky blouse. "If you die," she managed, "take me with you! Just like this!" Her legs wrapped higher round his hips, deepened his penetration, tightened her cunt's clutch on his cock. "A little death…never hurts…" She whined in his ear.
"Fuck…" Draco's pained keen answered hers. "Agreed!" He plundered her mouth as she quaked and came apart around him, walls shattered. Ruthless in his quest for that ultimate gratification, Draco flipped her without warning, and continued his not-so-tender assault over her astonished clamor.
His eyes lolled, jaw slacked, and he slapped the wriggle of her fleshy arse just for the satisfaction of his bare hand's piercing onomatopoeia and her abandoned squeal. Her fingers clawed in the gaudy muggle duvet. "That's right, witch," the dragon growled. "Hold on tight. You've a long, hard ride ahead, methinks."
And with that, he abandoned his own senses….
Narcissa lay still and glassy-eyed, shaped perfectly to the taped outline in which she came to rest, one arm flung disjointed over her head, and a leg splayed oddly and wide. Her son sat on the edge of the dampened bed, head rolling on limp shoulders. They looked… miserable. Raped. Used up.
He glanced over his shoulder at his debilitated companion. "Mum?" He was so hoarse she barely heard him.
She spared him not the turn of her head. "Hm?"
"All right?" He asked.
"Mm." She grunted.
"I suppose we should go."
He sighed. She was now practically useless. My own fault, I guess. He staggered to his discarded jacket and found his wand within it. He cast cleansing and cooling charms on them both, the magic threatening to deplete his faltering energy entirely. He dressed in a veritable stupor.
The witch didn't move.
"Shall I reenervate you?"
He pulled her limp hand from the outline, tugging her up. She groaned her displeasure at the handling.
"How about a nice coffee, mum?"
"Water," she whispered pitifully.
He couldn't withhold a chuckle. "Very well then. Dress, witch. And we'll find water. And a coffee."
They certainly got some looks as they navigated the sidewalk of the quaint muggle town. Draco looked back, giving his best Lucius Malfoy impression. The scowl tended to send the oglers scurrying away. They walked briskly toward the sounds of business, of cars and lorries, voices and footfalls. The scent of coffee and baked goods sent them to a cluster of shops with brightly colored signs and hanging flags.
On the corner, outside of the shop named 'Starbucks,' a muggle held a tiny black device to the side of his head, chattering into it genially. Narcissa regarded him as though he was softheaded and Draco smirked. Ushering her inside the coffee shop, he explained. "He was on the phone, mum."
"That was a muggle phone?" She whispered.
"Yes. They have portable ones, so they can contact each other from anywhere."
She shook her head as they stepped into the queue. "How dreadful."
In booths and at quaint tables, muggles chatted and tapped away on strange devices that flipped up lighted screens in their faces. Draco watched in wonder as one muggle woman, rocking a pram with her foot, scribbled furiously onto a paper napkin. She looked up at him as if sensing his stare, and winked almost knowingly.
Unsettled, his eyes snapped away from the odd blonde. His mother nudged him. It was nearly their turn to order. "Draco."
"Do we have any muggle currency?"
He groaned. "Shite." He hadn't thought they would need money. He glanced about. Fortunately, muggles seemed terribly self-absorbed and thoroughly distracted. Good. "Don't worry, mum." He shook his wand down his sleeve till the tip nestled securely in his cupped palm. "I'll handle this."
She looked worried.
"'Ello." The bearded young muggle behind the counter greeted them with a nod. "What can I get for you?"
"Two coffees," Draco said confidently. "And two waters, as well."
"Right-o." The muggle poked clumsily at buttons on the machine before him. "That'll be –"
"Actually," Draco interrupted him smoothly and with a barely whispered word and a graceful wave of his hand. "You would like to…give us those beverages. Complimentary."
The muggle's eyes glazed. His hands fell away from the machine. "Actually," he repeated monotonously, "I would like to give you those beverages. Complimentary."
Draco sighed in relief. His mother's brows quirked in admiration. "That's very kind of you," he said.
"That's very kind of me," the muggle repeated.
"Yes, yes." Draco reached into his pocket. "Also, you want to tell me how to reach this address." He flashed the scrip label to the imperiused clerk.
"I would like to tell you how to reach that address," the muggle droned. Then he turned sharply, pointing. "Follow the long, shady road east. About 16 miles. That's Waterton Way. Goes to the beach."
"16 miles?" Narcissa hissed.
But Draco was unfazed. "You'd like to drive us there," he said. "In your muggle…car."
"I'd like to drive you there," the man repeated. "In my muggle car."
Draco grinned, chuffed laughter. "Well, I say! You really are too kind, my good man." The muggle was walking around the counter to them, holding a cardboard drinks carrier. Narcissa took the proffered coffees and water, and the muggle pulled a jingling ring of keys from his pocket.
"Hey! Selwyn!" The departing trio looked back to see a heavyset muggle in an apron shouting from behind the counter. "Where are you goin', mate? Yer shift just started!"
But Selwyn made no reply – simply kept walking – and Draco shrugged helplessly at the obviously confused co-worker. At the door, he caught sight of that peculiar muggle woman with the pram one last time. She smirked at him, then returned to her mad napkin scribblings.
The muggle's car – something called a Fiat – was miniscule. Draco clambered into the backseat with great difficulty, feeling that allowing his mother the relative space of the front seat was the chivalrous thing to do. Selwyn drove automatically, but cautiously. The effects of Draco's imperius curse were strong and apparently prolonged. Maybe it's the Viagra. Draco thought. Impotence, indeed.
He leaned forward. "Mother?"
Today is gonna be the day
That they're gonna throw it back to you
By now you should've somehow
Realized what you gotta do
"Yes?" She'd made very short work of her water and was sipping her coffee.
Draco grimaced. He hated bearing bad news. "If Bella isn't here, we should return home. And let the Dark Lord decide what to do."
"If Bella isn't here," Selwyn began repeating.
"Oh, stuff it!" Draco snapped. "Just drive!"
I don't believe that anybody
Feels the way I do about you now
"I shall stuff it and drive," Selwyn said.
Narcissa nodded, eyes downcast sadly. "I know," she agreed. "I understand." Her son rubbed her shoulder and she tried to smile at him. "Thank you for trying, Draco."
He made no reply. Just sipped his coffee, and listened to Selwyn's softly playing muggle music.
Backbeat the word is on the street
That the fire in your heart is out
I'm sure you've heard it all before
But you never really had a doubt
I don't believe that anybody feels
The way I do about you now
The sun shone in through the window of the muggle car, catching and gleaming in his mother's loosened white-blonde hair. Draco leaned back, arranged his knees, and somewhat smiled. It was a beautiful day, really – odd, but beautiful nonetheless.
And all the roads we have to walk are winding
And all the lights that lead the way are blinding
There are many things that I
Would like to say to you
But I don't know how
And his mother was beautiful, too – really fucking lovely. She must have felt his eyes on her, for her head turned and she blinked self-consciously, smiled at him, touched her pinkening cheeks. He loved her mannerisms.
He paused – but only briefly. "I love you."
I said maybe
You're gonna be the one that saves me
And after all
You're my wonderwall
"Oh, Draco." She flitted like a butterfly. "I love you, too."
They drove on in silence and sparkling sunlight.
Today was gonna be the day
But they'll never bring it back to you
By now you should've somehow
Realized what you gotta do
I don't believe that anybody
Feels the way I do
About you now
When Draco caught sight of the Waterton Way sign, he told Selwyn to slow down. The muggle slowed to a crawl. "Look on your side, mum. Look for 108." They drove on. Ocean to their right, caravans to their left.
"There!" Narcissa suddenly jolted upright in her seat, pointing out the window. "108. There."
"Stop, Selwyn." Draco was nearly whiplashed when the muggle stopped. "Let us out here." His mother struggled with the seat to lean it forward and Draco scrambled out of the cramped car. On the sidewalk, he held his mother by the arm and spoke seriously to Selwyn. "Look here, mate. You're going to go back to your job, now. And tell them you had a bloody emergency. And then you're going to go home and look into attending uni someplace…nice. Getting yourself some muggle ed – some education. Something… practical and…useful. Get into banking, maybe. Stock and bond trading, perhaps. Or…architecture. Do something good for your life, you know?" He tapped the car's seat. "And get yourself a bigger car. And a nice…girl. Settle down with like…a dog and cat and…an owl. Or no owl! No. No owls." He sighed. His mother tugged at his arm. "Just take care of yourself, mate. Really." He closed the door on Selwyn's blank nod.
Narcissa was staring at him. Salty sea breezes were whipping her hair about her face. "What?" he asked.
"Nothing." She gestured down the street to 108. "Shall we?"
"Hold on." He rubbed his face, thinking. "We can't just barge in there like…a couple of Death Eaters."
Narcissa drew up. "And why not? Someone barged into my home and took my sister."
"Oh." Draco shrugged. "Well, you do have a point." He sighed. "Okay. Look. We knock. And if this bloke answers…" He bit his lip, thinking.
"I'll stupefy him."
"Mum! You can't just fire spells off in the muggle world like that!"
"I'll stupefy him quietly." She smiled as if she'd just suggested the most practical course of action known to man. "And then we shall search the house."
"No!" Draco took her shoulders in his hands, touched his forehead to hers. "Listen. Just…follow my lead. We're going to say we're muggles on vacation. And we've obviously been given this address by mistake. And I'm going to ask if we may borrow his telephone to contact our… Well, the person who gave us the address. Alright?"
Narcissa scowled, obviously not taken with this plan. "Fine."
They began the slow approach to 108. It was a cabin; quaint, with wooden siding and a tin roof. A deck back of the house offered a striking view of the beach, though the surf was quite a ways off. It was one of a cluster of older homes facing off against the very new, very shiny muggle caravans surrounding, and its weathered, battered exterior spoke of its fortitude. In fact, its thick, solid foundation appeared untouched by the ocean's long-term toll.
"Now, remember," Draco was saying. "Just follow my lead. Don't draw your wand, and don't act suspicious. Even if you feel suspicious. This is a wizard. He'll be suspicious, himself. So just let me handle it." Narcissa nodded.
Outside the caravan across the way, two women shouted at each other. "Nie musisz kochać mnie już!" The brunette spat. Narcissa was mounting the steps of 108 when the blonde retorted: "Zawsze o miłości!"* Draco was preparing to knock when the brunette burst into tears. Her wailing could be heard even through the slammed door of their caravan. The blonde was stomping away angrily, cigarette dangling from her lips as she passed them by.
He was so distracted by the antics of the muggle women, he barely felt or heard his knuckles make contact with the door's surface. But the sound of the door opening brought his attention hurtling back to –
Draco couldn't contain a gasp of surprise. In the doorframe – in full-blown regalia including bright red wig, polkadot pants, suspenders and giant shoes – stood a damned clown. And despite the makeup on its face, it was not at all smiling. "Um…" Draco stuttered.
Draco winced. The clown stiffened and fell backwards. Narcissa stepped over it briskly. "Help me move him, son."
"Draco! Help me move him and close the door! Quickly now!"
He snapped into action, taking up the clown's ankles and following his mother into the house. He kicked the door closed behind him.
They stopped in a spacious foyer and dropped the clown. "Merlin, mum! I told you –"
"Your plan was bollocks, Draco." She was already taking in their surroundings. "We already had the element of surprise on our side. It was in our best interests to use it. Besides, you told me not to stupefy him and I didn't. " She held up a hand. "Listen. D'you hear that?"
He did hear something. Music? Muffled music. They followed the sound through a sparsely furnished living area to a closed door. The windows were covered by heavy, dark drapes, muting excess light. They stood on either side of the mysterious door, wands drawn, and with a nod between them, Draco turned the nob.
Some spectral wailing echoed down a long corridor. Draco's skin goosepimpled. He caught sight of his mother's determined face as she brushed past him. Muggle posters decorated the walls – singers singing, a kitten hanging from a tree limb, and – most damningly – image after image of that hideous wrinkled dog call a shar pei. Draco knew they were in the right place.
You told me, I see the rise
But, it always falls
I see them come, I see them go
He said, "All things pass into the night"
The corridor opened into a strange circular room. The source of the too loud music was against a wall – a large muggle music box. It was vibrating with the sounds emanating from speakers as tall as Narcissa. The walls were a garish red in color, and occasionally, a mirror showed opposite wall or the witch and wizard darting about cautiously.
And I said, "Oh no sir I must say you're wrong
I must disagree, oh no sir, I must say you're wrong"
Won't you listen to me
Mother and son met eyes knowingly. They converged deliberately on one point in the room – the center. There, in the floor, was what appeared to be a well. Its stone lip protruded approximately three feet from the ground, the opening covered by a flimsy slab of whitewashed wood.
You told me, I've seen it all before
I been there, I've seen my hopes and dreams
Lying on the ground
Draco watched his mother's eyes close in a moment of silent communion. He knew she was asking the goddess for her sister's life. When she looked at him again, they reached for the covering together.
I've seen the sky just begin to fall
He said, "All things pass into the night"
And I say, "Oh no sir, I must say you're wrong
I must disagree, oh no sir, I must say you're wrong"
Won't you listen to me
The cheap wood slid away noisily and thudded to the floor. Narcissa's heels sunk into its mildewed surface when she stepped on it and peered over the rim of the well. Draco looked in as well, but it was dark and he saw nothing beyond the few feet of light available.
Good-bye horses, I'm flying over you
He raised his wand. "Lumos solem."
Good-bye horses, I'm flying over you
Light flooded the well, and they heard a familiar angry voice: "If you send that basket of lotion down here one more time you gutless son of a mudblood whore's offal, I swear I shall shite in it again!"
Good-bye horses, I'm flying over you
Narcissa clutched the edge of the well, leaning in excitedly. "Bella!" Draco hurried to the muggle music box and began punching buttons until it silenced abruptly.
"Bella!" Narcissa shouted again.
Draco leaned over the rim, too. "Auntie?"
A pause. "Cissy?"
"Yes, Bella! It's me!" They could barely make out the dark witch at the well's bottom, but it surely was their Bellatrix.
"Gods damn, Cissy! This is the second time I've been this happy to see you!" Bella shouted. "Get me the fuck out of here! I've a clown to eviscerate!"
A levitation charm later, and Bella was on shaky legs before them. She embraced her sister and delivered a rather…un-sisterly kiss that made Draco quite nervous. She embraced Draco and delivered a rather…un-auntiely kiss that made him even more nervous. Then, she slapped him. "You rotten incestuous tosser! What took you so long to get here?"
"Ow!" Draco blushed furiously and held his cheek. "Fuck you, Bella! We came, didn't we?"
"Sister, are you injured?" Narcissa was investigating Bella closely.
"I'm fine, Cissy." Bella shrugged her off. "Just pissed as hell. That cocksucking clown disarmed me in my sleep! Where the fuck is he?"
"Calm down," Cissa urged gently. "He's…"
"Body bound," Draco cut in. "Mum's beast with petrificus."
Bella looked impressed at her blushing sister. "Huh. Yeah, she always was good at that one. Well, shall we? I think we'll take the clown back to the manor. Make him…an honored guest in your cellars for a bit." She chuckled as they walked the hallway together. "And I've wanted a new toy for a while now."
July 9, 1995
The next morning's breakfast at the manor seemed back to what could be construed as normal. Narcissa and Draco smiled accomplished smiles at each other. Bellatrix hummed a tune to the marmalade, and the Dark Lord babbled incoherently at the Daily Prophet.
Lucius arrived late for the meal, and when he sat in a swish of stiff velvet robes, he immediately addressed Bella. "Sister-in-law."
"Yes, brother-in-law?" Her hooded gaze suggested many things, but few in any way brotherly.
"I take it you enjoyed your brief foray into the muggle world?" He had no intentions of ever letting her forget she'd been kidnapped by a clown.
But she smiled gamely at him, licking her spreading knife. "More fun than a barrel full of half dead monkeys."
He nodded. "Good, good. You're none the worse for wear, I see."
"Not at all," she replied, blinking. "Want to wear me later?"
Narcissa coughed. Lucius colored and scowled. "A question," he said, ignoring her invitation.
He leaned on an elbow, regarded her balefully. "Why is there a clown bleeding out all over my clean cellar floor?"
Bella shrugged. "I've no idea, really. Oh, look!" She pointed to the dining room archway. Three blonde heads turned sharply and she popped a tiny blue pill into Lucius teacup. The blonde heads turned back to her slowly.
"What is it?" Lucius' was easily set into paranoia. "What did you see?"
Bella waved him off. "I guess I thought I saw something. But it's gone now."
"Hm." Lucius sipped his tea, took up the portion of the Prophet the Dark Lord had discarded on a hefty belch.
Bellatrix sighed, cast loving glances at her sister and nephew, and grinned in anticipation of things to come.
AN: In case you hadn't wondered at my sanity by now, I should point out this was a challenge fic handed to me by the prat-in-the-hat, Narcissa's Dragon. The challenge was required to contain the following: 1)The use of Viagra 2)A clown with a chip on his shoulder 3)One piece of cooked bacon 4)A shar pei in a ballerina costume 5)Two angry Polish women 6)A letter of unknown origin stating that one member of my pairing must die. And I got extra points for including the Astrovan full of wizards on vacation. So. Challenge met. Game on. And in case you're wondering, here is the translation of the Polish argument: "You don't love me anymore!"/"It's always about love with you." The song Wonderwall belongs to Oasis, and the song Good-bye Horses belongs to Q Lazzarus.