Title: Harveste Addams and the Half-Blood Prince
Crossover: Harry Potter and the Addams Family
Summary: Deception, disorder, distraction and devotion. Don't forget the jam, darlings.
Warning: Addams Family Sadism and Cross-dressing, Slash and Het
Draco had gone home to Malfoy Manor just long enough to re-pack his trunk and stock up on antidotes. Lucius had been quite surprised to find him in the cobweb-infested hallways of the Addams home, instructing Lurch to put a summer's worth of luggage into the guest room. Someone's got to protect you, the boy had sighed resignedly.
His son had been right, of course. Not five minutes with the Addams family and a young man called Pugsley had tried to decapitate him. Lucius had been extremely fortunate that he had had to sneeze at that exact moment.
Lucius, still encased in Harveste Addams' teenage body, had been dreading having to inform Morticia and Gomez about the current situation regarding their son. Needless to say, their reaction hadn't been what he was expecting.
Gomez had actually lit up a celebratory cigar. "Our Viper's done well, eh?"
"You were... aware of this particular eventuality?"
"Certainly, Mr. Malfoy." The gaunt, almost too-vampiric woman sitting across from him said, taking a sip from a wineglass. He could only hope that the thin red liquid in it was actually wine. “Harveste asked us if we wanted souvenirs.”
"You agreed to let your son go to jail?"
"But of course!" Gomez exclaimed. "All he had to do was ask! There's no law against wanting to go to prison!"
"I don't think people want to go to prison, Mister Addams." Draco volunteered hesitantly. "They get caught and then they get put in prison unwillingly."
"All for the better! Small-time thieves, road hogs, extortionists, penny fraudsters…we don't want those kinds of people on our streets!"
"Er… indeed." Lucius leaned back and away from Gomez' mad enthusiasm.
"They should let out the serial killers and arsonists instead! It would make life more interesting, don't you agree?"
"And the food! Grey pig swill with the consistency of fresh vomit mixed with rat droppings and yesterday's spit. They don't even wash their hands, you know. The hygiene there is appalling." Lucius looked a little green. "Grandmama tries her best, to be sure, but prison food is truly a class all on its own."
Draco quietly snickered at the disgusted look that briefly crossed his father's face. It looked foreign on that familiar countenance, but it was hilarious to think that Harveste had thus far only ever grimaced at eau de Dementors and kittens.
"Ah, prison." Gomez looked over at his wife and started to kiss her hand languorously. "Can you just imagine it, cara mia? Our beautiful viper in a ten by twelve cell, no sunlight, chained to the wall, surrounded by murderers and rapists and all sorts of homicidal maniacs…"
Morticia smiled. "He will have such fun."
Every Wednesday, certain prisoners were allowed to eat their lunch in the yard. From the lower observation deck, Gawain Robards could see the lone blond quietly eating under a gnarled leafless tree.
There was something strange about Lucius Malfoy, Gawain decided. He just couldn't put his finger on why.
Perhaps it was the way he always looked so pristine. The rest of the prisoners in Azkaban were a motley ragged crew that fit in with the dark, haunted stones of the prison halls. With white-blond hair that was always brushed and tied at the back of his neck, and clean clothes that had been painstakingly mended, Lucius glowed like a star.
Gawain knew that the guards, especially those who had lost family members at the hands of the interred murderers, often gave in to the darker urges. It was an open secret, and though Gawain never did have the stomach for that sort of thing, he didn't begrudge those who wanted retribution. War called to the animal urges in all men, and with former Minister Cornelius Fudge testifying that he'd seen He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named inside the Ministry itself, tensions were palpably high. There were many who resented the quiet Malfoy, what with him being a Death Eater who had remained free until very recently. In the first few weeks after his arrival, it had come as no surprise that Lucius was often taken out of his cell and into the heavily-soundproofed dungeons below for 'interrogation'.
Whatever happened down there, the aristocratic blond remained well-mannered. He never screamed, never resisted and was always polite to them afterwards. Two weeks ago, when Bertram Gumboil had brought him back, Lucius had thanked him for his attentions and said "Same time tomorrow, Bertram?"
That had been the last time he had been taken to the dungeons.
And then there had been Yardley Platt, a long-time resident of Azkaban, who had been found stuffed in a vent with his head nearly hanging off his shoulders. The conclusion had been that he had been trying to escape and had blundered into one of the security wards. That still hadn't explained why his body hadn't had a drop of blood in it. Gawain had been certain to make a note of that in the incident report, but the new Minister hadn't seemed to notice.
Then that incident with McClivert on the seventh floor with the wastebasket and the coins happened. And then Elphick in the kitchens with the onions, the turkey baster and a mouthful of watercress. And then Hindley, who had been strung up though he had been completely naked, and it had taken them a few seconds to realize just what he had been strung up by. And then, of course, there had been Wagstaff. The first three had been found in a bloody mess, but Wagstaff had been the worst. Young Muntz had been an Auror for only five months and had to be taken away for a lie down and some Calming Potion.
It wasn't as if Gawain was feeling sorry for Wagstaff. The man had been a child molester convicted of raping and murdering at least fifteen kids, both Muggle and wizard, the youngest being four-year-old Tana Britland. No, Anisio Wagstaff deserved all the suffering he had probably endured.
Come to think of it, every single one of the recent dead had been child molesters too.
It was this damn feud, that's what it was. The Death Eaters who hadn’t managed to escape last year had been defeated, almost lost, screaming and snarling in the night like a pack of abandoned wolves. But a few days after Malfoy and the rest of the prisoners from the Ministry battle had been admitted, animosity had begun to thicken the air, drawing out the days like thin piano wire. The Death Eaters seemed to be feeding off the panic, and they had certainly been bolstered by the thought that their Master was abroad once more. The other prisoners, sensing that the group had once more gained a cohesive front, were starting to band together against them. Both sides had been quite vocal and there had been one or two skirmishes that had ended in the infirmary, though thankfully not in the morgue as of yet. The seemingly unrelated mutilations did nothing to make the days easier, so every single Auror was almost at the point of paranoia.
A movement caught his eye. Helikon Straffen, one of the biggest non-Death Eater inmates, was sauntering cockily towards Malfoy who, upon noticing the substantial shadow approaching, politely put down his utensils and nodded hello. Gawain was too far away to hear what they were saying, but he was sure it was nothing complimentary judging by the twisted sneer on Straffen's face.
People who had been leaning against the yard wall began straightening up, and the faint rattle of bars signaled that, all around the compound, the other prisoners were coming to watch as well. All eyes were on the two under the tree, and the atmosphere began to remind Gawain of a nature program he had seen on the telly. It had been about a colony of social spiders living in a house-sized communal web. No matter how large the web grew, every spider would know when the sticky strands had trapped their prey.
Malfoy was smiling.
Gawain felt the back of his neck prickle. Something was going to happen, he knew it. He had survived a lot of things because he had trusted his prickles. And then, a fact from a prisoner file slotted into the forefront of his mind with an ice-cold click. His hand tightened momentarily around his wand before turning around to yell at the rest of the Aurors.
Helikon Straffen was a child molester.
The Ministry was a horrible, horrible mess, and with Fudge dishonorably dismissed due to his appalling conduct, Rufus Scrimgeour was the man in the middle of it all.
It was not a pleasant place to be in, this utter chaos that Fudge was Entirely Responsible for, and all because the man had been as blind as a bat and just as skittish, though perhaps no creature on Beira's green earth was quite as stupid.
Scrimgeour's eyebrow twitched as he surveyed the cluttered disorganization that was laughably called the Minister's Office. There were ink pots with dried-up Refilling Charms, balding quills, piles of dusty reference books, half-written letters crumpled and thrown about and - the most unforgivable thing in Scrimgeour's opinion - stacks of unfiled documents and forms. No wonder the man hadn't gotten anything done.
The new Minister rolled his sleeves up, the beginning of what would soon become a permanent scowl settling on his stern face.
A few minutes later, a hesitant knock was heard.
A redhead cautiously looked around the door. "You called for me, sir?"
"Yes, Percy. Come in, don't just stand there like an aimless waiter."
Scrimgeour, with his mane of hair sensibly pulled back and his wire frames firmly perched on his nose, looked as strict as Professor Snape ever did. They even folded their hands the same way, Percy thought nervously as he entered the now-tidy office and came to a stop in front of the desk.
"Well? Are you waiting for an invitation? You've got the morning's reports, haven't you?"
"Ah, err... right, yes..."
The Minister took the thick folder offered to him and flipped it open, his eyebrows drawing lower and lower with every word he read.
After a long moment of silence, Percy cleared his throat. As Junior Assistant, it was his duty to summarize the report, and though the novelty of it had worn off quite quickly these past few months, he had still taken pride in it. But that had been because Minister Fudge had been an absolute wreck and hadn't been able to read any of the reports at all, especially near the end. Minister Scrimgeour, on the other hand, was gripping the folder so hard it was threatening to rip.
"The Tau division of the Unspeakables have been dispatched to West Country to investigate what the Muggle papers are calling a freak hurricane. They say there are definite signs of giant activity there. Herbert Chorley isn't progressing as well as the Healers would like, but at least he's stopped trying to lay eggs. We have received family requests that the bodies of Amelia Bones and Emmeline Vance be prepared for the proper funeral rites before the summer solstice begins. The Spell-Weavers are now starting phase three of the protective measure for Hogwarts, hardly any Acromantula bites this week. No Howlers yet, sir, I'm happy to report." Percy added, privately thinking that, though people were already up in arms about You-Know-Who, no one was mad enough yet to send Howlers to the former Head of the Auror Office. The man had a frown that would have a Dementor backing off.
Speaking of Dementors...
"Ah, and the last report we have is from... from Auror Robards."
"He was posted in Azkaban when the Dementors abandoned it, wasn't he?" Scrimgeour raised a thin eyebrow and turned to the back of the folder. "An altercation in the recreational wing?"
"Yes, sir. Apparently there was some sort of disagreement between a few of the inmates, sir."
"'Altercation', 'disagreement'- that sort of soft language was what got us into trouble with the public in the first place. There's a body count here, Percy. I think that entitles us to call it what it bloody well was, a Gods-damned Riot."
"Yes, sir. My apologies, sir. There are also photographs provided, if you would care to look, though they're only Muggle ones. Apparently the wizarding photographer, when he saw... what is shown there, he... well, he fainted."
"Soft." Rufus snorted again, shaking his head in despair. "This nation's going to rack and ruin because people don't have the stomach for blood anymore. I don't suppose you looked, Percy?"
Percy kept his eyes locked on the filing cabinet behind the Minister's chair. "No, sir. I apologize, sir."
"Why? It's not your generation's fault."
Scrimgeour began to scan the pictures, each one more disturbing than the last, his stoic face betraying no emotion until he saw the last one.
"Stabbed through the ear canal, puncturing the ear drum, straight into the brain. Made with a fan constructed out of toothbrush handles, it says here. A masterful stroke, very clean. Do we know who did this?"
"No, sir. Auror Robards says that by the time they had gotten downstairs to the alter- riot," Percy hastily corrected himself when the Minister's eyebrow began to rise again. "By the time they had gotten there, the last man was just falling to the ground. Picture number three, sir."
There was a rustle as Scrimgeour riffled through the photographs again. "I see. Inventive use of peas."
"That, and the construction of the fan, makes Auror Robards feel that we should think about shutting down the arts and crafts program for the inmates, sir. At least for the time being. The civil unrest is somehow making them more unstable, especially the Death Eaters. The prisoners seem to have separated into two major factions: Known Death Eaters and You-Know-Who supporters against... well, everyone else. I suppose they believe that if You-Know-Who hears about their faithfulness, He'll be more inclined to... to break them out."
"I daresay that's what they think." Scrimgeour's frown deepened. "What would Robards have them do without the programs? I will not have incarcerated criminals just sitting around twiddling their thumbs while other people work to make a living. That is not a punishment; that is a vacation!"
"As you say, sir."
"In any case, write down to the Auror Office. The Epsilon and Xi division are to be added to Azkaban's guard, and the rotation is to be upped to four-man teams. Theta division is to patrol Diagon Alley, Kappa division to be dispatched to Hogsmeade and Hogwarts and as for the former Harry Potter, I think Digamma division would do well."
Percy blinked, his quill pausing in the middle of his frenzied note-taking. "Digamma, sir? But... Professor Dumbledore-"
"I am aware of his spies within my Ministry, Percy." Scrimgeour said wryly. "I am not as blind as my predecessor. I do believe the Order of the Phoenix will be thankful that their airfare will not be coming out of their own pockets. Book the entire division for a flight to America as soon as possible. Coach, if you please. And alert the Muggle Prime Minister that I would like a word with him in half an hour."
"At once, sir."
The lanky redhead had been just about to take his leave when the mild smile on the previously pinched features of the Minister gave him pause. "Yes, sir?"
"Tell Robards that the rehabilitation programs are to continue. Society might have given up on these wretches, but there is good in everyone, I say, and I shall find it in them. Even if I have to dig it out with red-hot pokers."
Blaise pinched the bridge of his nose as he felt lust spike through him yet again. Even in the middle of his meditation studies, the lascivious desire would wash over him like thick spiced chocolate. It was getting to the point where he didn't think he would be able to control it, and he would end up...
He would end up...
"Godsdammit." He sighed, picking himself up from the floor of his room. Maybe he could ask Draco for a solution, though the potions-crazy blond would probably take that as a liberty to crow to the rooftops about his superior skills and other such nonsense.
Perhaps he would just try to eat himself out of his malaise. That way, even if he did go out and do something he would surely regret, at least he would be doing it on a full stomach.
"You're having breakfast early, sweetheart."
"Good morning, Mother." Blaise said politely, looking around the stack of maple-soaked pancakes that Runi had brought for him. "Would you like some pancakes?"
"Master Zabini will be kind enough to eat all of what Runi has brought him." The house elf said firmly as, with a flick of his fingers, a seat was pulled out on the other end of the table. "The Mistress has instructed us as to the changes Master Zabini requires now."
Blaise looked doubtfully at his overflowing plate. Aside from the pancakes, there was a generous dollop of scrambled eggs, thick slices of bacon, and what looked like to be an entire side of ham. "Is this entirely necessary?"
"Of course it is, my darling." Syrena sedately folded herself into her chair. "You've done well, Runi."
The only sign of the house elf's pleasure was a slight twitch of his ear. He placed his Mistress's customary bowl of porridge in front of her and disappeared in silence.
"Do I really have to eat all of this, Mother? Madam Malkin will have to have me outfitted for an entirely new wardrobe by the time I get back to school."
"Nonsense, Blaise. Your body needs this much to burn while you insist in denying it what it truly needs."
For the first time since he was a child, Blaise heard the gently chastising tone in his mother's voice. "Let's not get into this again, Mother. The meditation-"
"Is not working." Syrena said firmly. "I know the urges better than you, darling. If you would just give in to it, even for one day out of the week, you would feel so much better. There's nothing quite like it. And I hear there are youngsters who... well, it's not like your behavior will be noticeable at Hogwarts."
Blaise sighed. "Regardless of what the media may portray, people my age don't routinely do this sort of thing, Mother. As Hermione insists on saying, school is for schoolwork."
Syrena watched her precious son pick at his food. Being able to give birth to him had been the greatest gift the gods had ever bestowed on her, and she had no qualms about killing for him. She doubted any woman would do less for the safety and happiness of their children.
She had been so proud when he had agreed to come to Greece last winter, and he had blossomed in front of her very eyes. She had assumed that he would continue in the same vein during the rest of the school year, but it seemed that he had been neglecting that in favor of helping the other children with their LAID classes - and she definitely had to thank Miss Granger for that particular acronym, and for CONDOM as well. She hadn't laughed so hard in years.
She had thought that once he had gotten home from Hogwarts, he would do the right thing and give in to his impulses, but he hadn't, and the toll of it was showing in the carriage of his body. His hair now lay flat against his head, deflated from its usual lively tousle, his skin seemed duller, and there was a pinch between his eyebrows that spoke of his stubborn control. It hurt Syrena to see him like this.
"All I say is for your own good, you know that, don't you, darling?"
Blaise looked up at the wistful sigh. "Of course, Mother."
"Then you know this is not the way to your god's good graces. Your life must mirror his desires, you knew that when you did your Low Call. What holds you back, my sweet?"
"It's not that I'm..." Blaise squirmed, suddenly hesitant. It was not a pleasant sensation. "I'm just not sure... that I would be able to... not care. That sort of thing... It's not me."
A gentle smile bloomed on Syrena's face. A Black Widow's son, of all things, cursed with a conscience.
"But you would do it for your friends, would you not? To strengthen your power, to stabilize your magic, to be able to protect them should you need to?" At Blaise's nod, she continued. "Then you should do it for yourself as well too, my darling. Though our gods are vastly different in the ways they deign to be worshiped, there is one thing all fertility gods desire above all, and more than one way to get it."
With no small amount of glee, she went into minute detail. Blaise made a face as it gradually descended into more graphic territory.
"Must we talk about this at the table?" He muttered, his squirming getting more pronounced and a blush beginning to show on his dusky cheeks.
Syrena laughed. He was too precious.
Cemetery Lane was a generally pleasant place to live, regardless of its morbid name. There was an almost military spacing between each quaint Victorian house, bordered by whitewashed fences and perfectly trimmed bushes that were in perpetual bloom. Each family seemed to have exactly two children, two cars and two dogs, one of which was almost always a purse-sized breed.
Like rats, Wednesday had sneered disparagingly as one of the tiny dogs was walked past the blight of Cemetery Lane, the Addams mansion. Rats without personality.
Tonight though, all the dogs in Cemetery Lane seemed to have discovered their inner wolf. Their ululating howls filled the air, punctuated by their owners' yells, vying with the unexpected lightning storm that lashed at the sullen sky.
Morticia Addams had been in labor for more than two days.
Lucius stood aside as a wizened old crone crab-sidled past him hurriedly, her arms full of blood-soaked sheets and towels. That had been happening on and off for the past seven hours. Lucius didn't know how a person could bleed that much and still be alive.
The rest of the Addams clan didn't seem to be worried. Neither did Morticia, Hermione reported wonderingly, as regal and unperturbed as ever even as the witch doctors busied themselves around the foot of the bed.
Extended family members had been pouring into the large house ever since Gomez had giddily sent out the message vultures. Apparently, the newest Addams addition would be the thirteenth baby born to the younger generation, and that was cause for celebration, regardless of the possibility that the American matriarch would expire trying to vacate the little blighter from her womb.
Both Draco and Narcissa had been invited to stay for 'the joyous event', as had Mistress Zabini and her son, and the Muggle Grangers. Only Miss Granger had arrived, her parents having gone to Australia to visit some relatives. She had taken up residence in the Addams Library with all the familiarity of a long-time visitor, dragging Draco and Blaise with her.
Narcissa, who had become extremely wary of the Addams family ever since the start of Draco's fourth year, had not approved of the Plan when Lucius had presented it to her. It was completely unprecedented, Lucius had to admit, but he couldn't ignore the very advice he had bidden his own son to follow all those years ago. A relationship with an Addams, no matter how unconventional, was still preferable to none at all. Draco was safe, Harveste Addams had kept his word, so Lucius was honor-bound to keep his.
Now, having discussed things at length with Mistress Zabini, and mostly because of Draco's insistence that she accept his friends, Narcissa was not as uncomfortable as she had been before. Margaret Addams, the wife of one tall mound of animate hair, was currently teaching her a game known as Mah Jongg in the drawing room.
As for Lucius...
"Hello, Mister Malfoy." A darkly amused feminine voice said behind him. "We've got a new game. Would you like to play?"
Lucius would have started running if an alarmingly gruesome scream hadn't rent the air.
Miss Granger materialized beside him suddenly. "That was Mrs. Addams!"
The hairs on the back of Lucius' neck stood as he felt Draco and Blaise appear as well. He had absently noticed his son's footsteps getting lighter throughout the years, until he could barely hear the boy approaching even on the marble floors of their Manor, but he hadn't expected the young Zabini, now at six feet five inches, to be just as silent.
"The baby's coming." The temperature dropped, making the lit torches flicker madly. Lucius swallowed convulsively at the blood-thirsty and gleeful look that crossed Wednesday's face. "It's coming right now."
Wednesday's enthusiasm had waned quickly when she realized the baby was a girl. She had been hoping for another boy, she had informed Lurch crossly, because she had wanted a complete set of male skulls to round out her goblet collection.
The ballroom was full of the tortured efforts of an amateur band. Blaise, standing apart from the milling groups of rejoicing relatives, had to concede that the violin player, though not in Morticia or Harveste's league, was doing quite well, even if she did have three hands.
Draco was standing to one side of him, conscientiously picking out hairs from his plateful of pickled tentacles. Syrena Zabini and Hermione were wondering out loud what sort of name the new baby would be given.
"I heard Gomez was very keen on either Petechia, Eschar or Utera." Syrena said thoughtfully. "And Granny Frump has told me that she hopes they will hold up the custom of having an Agony in every generation, or at least a Quiemada."
"I'm sure there's a little Agony in everyone here." Hermione said with a little smile. "But Eschar's a nice name."
"It's Greek, Hermione." Draco made a face and put down his fork. "It means 'scab'."
"Well, it's a damn sight better than Excrementia, which is what Pugsley wants."
"That would be murder to put on a tombstone." Wednesday said, looming over Draco's shoulder all of a sudden.
The blond squeaked and would have dropped his plate if Blaise hadn't steadied it just in time. "What is with this family and coming up behind me like that?"
Wednesday just smiled in a predatory way. She had been doing that a lot around Draco. It seemed she blamed him for not having a chance at killing her brother over the summer. Blaise sighed and stepped between them.
Fifteen minutes ago, an uncooperative Pubert had been winkled out of his cradle like the world's most unusual mollusk, and now Lurch slowly wheeled the Addams cradle into the middle of the marbled floor. It looked like it hadn't been dusted in a century and was as moth-eaten as ever, with a lethal-looking mobile hanging over it courtesy of Cousin What.
Even as Blaise watched, a tiny snow-white hand reached out from the shadowed depths of the bassinet, coming perilously close to being cut open by the sharpened knife tips that were a very large part of Cousin What's present.
"Do you think she knows what those are?" He asked his mother, who was looking at the cradle while smiling nostalgically.
"Of course she does, darling. Oh, this takes me back to when you were born, my dear heart. You were so adorable and your father loved you so. He used to sing you to sleep every night with your favorite lullaby."
"The Little Man Who Wasn't There." Blaise rolled his eyes. Until he was six, he had thought the lullaby was about an invisible friend and not a murderous stalker ghost. "I remember, Mother. And then you killed him."
"Oh, my darling." Syrena blew her nose and sighed. "Such wonderful memories. Ah, here comes Tish now."
Today, for the naming ceremony, the Addams matriarch was back in her normal lace-swathed elegance. She looked every inch the Black Widow, except for the fact that her husband was alive and passionately lost in kissing her arm.
"Mon cher," She said indulgently, tapping Gomez on the head. "Later."
"I shall hold you to that, cara mia." He gave her shoulder one last long smooch and stepped back, all mad grins. "Or strap you down, whichever is more agonizingly titillating."
Blaise hid a smile as Draco's ears began to burn red.
Pubert had not taken kindly to being evicted from his cradle. The last time he had been allowed in the nursery, Hermione had been the first to realize that the act of tucking Blankie around the baby had not been out of brotherly concern.
"She certainly doesn't look like an Addams." Draco thought out loud as he looked inside the cradle. "Hallo, little Lavinia Kelley."
The baby gurgled happily up at him from her nest of blankets, which Hermione had personally checked for non-homicidal tendencies. She was a chubby little thing, as pale as the rest of her family, but with a fuzz of strawberry blond hair and jewel-bright eyes that shifted from milky-blue to melted silver under the light.
"It's disgusting how much she likes you." Wednesday sniffed from her perch on the window sill. "She must take after Harry."
Lavinia squealed with glee when Draco, plucking up his courage, finally gave in and picked her up. "Just because she screams when you're within five feet of her..."
"Just shows that she knows when screaming is appropriate."
Blaise, brow-beaten by Hermione into finishing his summer schoolwork before they went to Norway, looked up from his History of Magic text. "I still don't get the name. Lavinia sounds so plain. Old-fashioned, but plain."
"Mrs. Addams says she's named after two of America's most overlooked female serial killers." Hermione piped up, looking for all the world like she was enjoying writing a six-foot essay on Gamp's Law of Elemental Transfiguration. "Honora Kelley, also known as Jane Toppan, was an angel of death who used poison cocktails to murder her patients. Lavinia Fisher was the first female serial killer in America who chose suicide over dying at the law's hands. It’s actually quite the name to live up to."
"It's disturbing how much you know about this sort of thing, Herm." Blaise muttered.
"All knowledge is important. Even History of Magic. You've been on the same page for fifteen minutes, don't think I haven't seen that. What's the matter?"
Blaise blinked. He hadn't thought anyone would notice his distraction, but then again, Hermione noticed everything. Ever since his talk with his mother... "It's nothing. I'm just thinking."
"Don't hurt yourself."
"Shut up, Draco."
Hermione and Draco were talking in the foyer, Blaise having gone to rescue Anaideia from Pubert's hunger. Lavinia, wearing a large pair of sunglasses, was in Draco's arms. It seemed she had taken quite a liking to the blond.
The floor beneath rumbled. Lurch, the top of his head still sizzling from Wednesday's latest 'game', ponderously walked to the front door just as the Addams' doorbell rang. In the wake of the banshee-like screeches, the butler grasped the knob and opened it before whoever was on the other side could knock.
"You. Rang. ?."
"How does he always know?" Hermione asked.
Draco shrugged and began to fish a now-fussing Lavinia's bottle from his pocket. It was tomato juice mixed with a healthy splash of vodka and some secret spices. Gomez had mixed it up himself, an old Addams family recipe for the perfect hangover cure. Addams babies, it turned out, had a bad habit of over-imbibing during parties held in their honor.
Thumping footsteps reverberated through the marble again and Lurch walked through the doorway, followed by a similarly-built man. There was something about his grey and dusty face that looked vaguely familiar.
"Tropeço, old man, so glad you could make it! Lucius, I must introduce you!"
Draco snickered at his father's expense for the millionth time this summer, watching as an exuberant Gomez hurled himself down the corridor, dragging a resigned Lucius all the way.
"Hang on." Hermione said suddenly. "Tropeço, Lurch's cousin from Brazil? Then that means-"
A scowling, stocky, pink-clad woman stomped her way across the marble, gesticulating furiously as she screeched her displeasure. "This house is absolutely filthy! Look at this - muddy footprints, dust and cobwebs everywhere... it's disgusting! Disgusting, I say!"
"How kind of you." Morticia descended the sweeping marble staircase and paused with a nod towards the speaker. "Lurch did it especially for Lavinia’s party."
"He did, did he?" There was a second in which Hermione and Draco didn't know what the woman would do, but then to their surprise, the disapproving scowl disappeared in the wake of a clear, happy laugh. "And it's ever so wonderful, Tish, just like always. This place hasn't changed a bit."
"Mold is timeless, dearest Madeleine."
The woman beamed. She was a Dolores Umbridge about seven pounds lighter, which made the pink fuzzy cardigan look less like a second skin and more like an article of clothing. Her shoulder-length hair was tied neatly at the back with a black bow. There were more laugh lines around her eyes and a kind smile that somehow didn't look out of place.
"Mold and those lovely damp spots on the ceiling. And there's our little Lavinia and - what's this?" The woman exclaimed as she looked Draco up and down. "You've gotten an au pair already, Morticia? Surely she's too young to be teething."
He looked at Hermione who, after a second's thought, stepped forward hesitantly.
"Err, you must be Aunt Madeleine. My name is Hermione, and this is Draco- We're Harveste's friends from school. How do you do, ma'am?"
"So polite! Harveste has told me all about you, of course. Dear boy, writes to me every other month and always includes a very well preserved skin sample. He did mention that you had Dolly as one of your Professors this year.” A corner of Madeleine’s mouth curled up, but they couldn’t tell how sincere it was. “Never thoughtSo, how is my sister?"
Hermione bit her lip and she cast Draco a doubtful look. "She... err, she..."
"Did Harveste not tell you, Madeleine?" Morticia said, her black dress slithering across the floor soundlessly. "It must have slipped his mind, what with preparing to go to prison. These children killed her last month."
Draco closed his eyes and waited for the explosion. They flew open again when he felt a sturdy hand shaking his own.
"Excellent! Good on you!" Madeleine grinned, shaking a stunned Hermione's hand as well. "I must admit, I am a little jealous. I was planning to be the one to do the grouchy old bag in!"
Lucius had been initially wary of having tea with Syrena Zabini, and he couldn't deny he felt marginally safe with Narcissa at his side. Nevertheless, he took it upon himself to serve the ladies. Syrena had an innocent enough smile, but he would bet anything that it had been the last thing all her husbands had seen before they keeled over.
They were on the north tower, Lucius fighting the feeling that the spindly construct would choose this very moment to finally give in to the demands of gravity, when Syrena chuckled behind her gloved hand.
Lucius turned around and looked far below where they sat, across the swamp and the dungheap where Granny Frump kept her extensive collection of foreign excrement, to where the family graves were. A laughing Lumeno, looking no worse for the wear after the incident at the Ministry, was playing Dig-and-Bite with Gomez and the younger Addams cousins.
They watched as the children darted around, curiously silent during the game, not shrieking and laughing like normal children at play. Every single one of them moved like tigers in the grass, deliberate in their movements, keeping their eyes on their prey - even Cousin It's youngest, a two year old hairball named Whyme by Margaret's obstetrician.
A rustle was all the warning Lumeno had before three toddlers sprang on him. Two of them were sent flying and the third, clinging furiously to his leg, was grabbed by the neck, shaken loose, and thrown into the net Gomez had waiting. There were already eight little bodies in there, all wriggling and fussing and trying to bite through the thin steel wire.
Though they were far away, the three of them could hear Gomez' gleeful exclamation as he hauled his catch off into the kitchens. "We can eat well tonight!"
Narcissa's cup rattled as she put it back in the saucer. "He's not serious, is he?"
"No. Well, I don't think so." Syrena said with an unconcerned shrug.
Lucius was still watching Lumeno, who had scooped a shrilling little Whyme from where he had fallen into some swamp water. Deftly avoiding the lashing golden tresses, the werewolf conjured a towel and started to dry the young one off.
"He's taking the loss of his mate well."
"He's an Addams." Syrena smiled. "I don't suppose they think of it as a loss. More like... a challenge."
"That's a swamp, isn't it? That's a bloody swamp!"
Alastor Moody tipped his hat upwards to survey his new partner. He didn't know who was in charge of Digamma's rotation, but it seemed they were getting a laugh out of pairing him with the irreverently cheeky, yet appallingly inexperienced ones.
First the Jones whelp and now this...
"Keep yer mouth closed, girl, before you catch a buzzard in it." He said gruffly. "We're here to work, not to gawp."
"I've never seen one up close before- Gods, that's an alligator, isn't it? An actual alli- Whoa!"
Moody rolled his eyes, one doing a three-hundred-and-sixty rotation in the eye socket before it settled around to glare at the young woman now half-in and half-out of the murky water.
"You. Yelped. ?."
The young woman, just picking herself up off the ground, simultaneously tried to spin around and jump up in the air. It resulted with her landing right on top of the approaching alligator.
Moody sighed as he looked up at the towering zombie-butler. "You really need to get this place looked at, my man."
Lurch stared silently at him as, in the swamp, a still inexplicably excited Nymphadora Tonks was dragged unceremoniously underwater.
"That was bloody amazing! I've never touched an alligator before!"
"Yer lucky Mister Addams din't expect you to pay for blowing its damn tail off."
"Yeah, well... It's nice of him to invite us to dinner, isn't it?"
"Who," Puglsey breathed, his wide fascinated eyes focused on the two new visitors as the squelched past the library door. "Who is that gloriously slime-covered creature?"
Hermione raised an eyebrow at Draco, who shrugged. "Maybe it's another cousin. They're just all coming out of the woodwork today, yeah?"
"You've met Cousin Grubb already? He doesn't usually take to strangers." Pugsley said absently, watching as Lurch walked by with an armful of dusty, moth-eaten towels. "I've never seen anyone like her at any of the reunions."
"I'm sure she looks completely different under all that algae."
"Her name is Nymphadora Tonks.” A voice behind Draco said suddenly. “She's a cousin of yours, isn't she, Draco?"
The blond, startled yet again, whirled around and found himself face-to-face with a pair of chiseled pectorals that were straining against a button-down shirt.
"Do you mind?" He growled out crossly.
Blaise grinned down at him, utterly unrepentant. "Not at all."
"I know that name." Hermione said, wisely getting in between Draco and Blaise. "She's part of the Order of the Phoenix, I'm sure of it. And that person with her was Professor Moody, so that means there are two people from the Order here. Do you suppose they're here to check on Harry?"
"I don't doubt it. They'll be staying for dinner."
"Oh no." Draco groaned. "They can't see us here. They think Harveste put my father in Azkaban."
"Then it would be an excellent way to show them you aren't aligned with Tom." Hermione said firmly.
"Yeah. And then you could introduce me." Pugsley rubbed his hands together, his mad eyes suddenly gleaming. "Granny's doing one of her specialties tonight. Do you think she'd like vulture pie?"
Draco groaned again, feeling his headache return with a vengeance. This was one meal he definitely wasn't looking forward to.
Nymphadora Tonks did quite like vulture pie, it turned out, but not as much as roasted alligator tail.
"This reminds me of the food in New Orleans." She said happily, deftly slicing open the charred scales to get at the firm white flesh beneath. "I spent some time there last year on Auror business. You've heard of the Fusillade Fiend?"
"It was in the papers! Never caught him though, did you?" Gomez said, heartily slapping a beaming Pugsley on the back.
"No, we-" Tonks caught Moody's stern eye and swallowed guiltily. "Anyway, that's official business that we're not allowed to talk about at all."
Draco sat quietly at the other end of the table, lost in thought. Lady Malfoy had been understandably apprehensive about dining tonight, and not just because she would be eating with the daughter of her estranged sister. He had heard something about 'children' and 'stew' before Morticia had put her fears to rest. Unlike the Darkest of Dark families, who got a kick out of torturing and killing young children, the very idea was unthinkable to the Addams. Youth and innocence were precious things, and Draco, who had mentioned that it was curious that a family who glorified in death could cherish such things, had received an answer that now sat in the forefront of his mind like an ugly toad.
Before Harveste had become an Addams, he had been beaten. Viciously so and at the slightest provocation, Morticia had said, her dark eyes like hollows in her pale face. And there had been no doubt in her mind that, if he hadn't killed them, Harveste's family would have continued doing so, and might have even gone so far as to do more unseemly things. Harveste had been beautiful even as a child.
It turned his stomach just thinking about it.
A soft touch made him look up. Hermione gestured towards Tonks, who was now inquisitively looking at the other dishes on the table. Morticia was only too happy to feed her fascination, gesturing for the plates farther along the table to be brought forward for their guest's perusal.
One such plate passed before Draco, who turned away hurriedly. Granny Frump took the name Stinky Tofu as a challenge.
"This is seaweed stew with petroleum jelly, Squirrel Surprise, and a delicious candied eel with a sweat and sour sauce."
"Sweat?" Blaise raised an eyebrow.
"Don't ask." Draco muttered. "I had to cool down the boars. Boars, Blaise."
"And here we have Maman's foies frits moufette et pétrifié les œufs de tortues de mer sur un lit de boue caramélisées."
"Tish, that's French! A profusion of it, a plethora, a beautiful barrage, cara mia..."
Gomez started to slavishly apply himself to his wife's arm with every word. Hermione covered her mouth with her napkin to hide her grin as Draco's cheeks grew red.
"It sounds wonderful." An irrepressible Tonks said, taking a little bit of everything before looking at the last platter, where paper-thin slices of a white rubbery meat had been arranged artfully. "And what that? Carpaccio?"
Granny Frump looked at it for a moment before replying, "Testicles."
And that would have been the end of it, if Morticia hadn't glanced at Hermione, who had just taken a portion and was now looking down at her plate in horror.
"They're goats'." She said kindly, ignoring the man now rapturously nuzzling her fingers.
"Oh." Hermione peered at her fork and then, much to Draco's surprise, took a bite. "That's alright then."
End of Chapter