Jan 262007

Title: Snapshots: Death Eaters Are People, Too
Fandom: Potterverse
Characters: Severus Snape , Rodolphus Lestrange , Lucius Malfoy , Bellatrix Lestrange , Rabastan Lestrange , various minor characters and OCs
Rating: M ( L3 N0 S1 V2 D1 )
Warnings: Pretty sure this one is mostly violence and a fistful of period-appropriate questionable turns of phrase
Notes: [MH] Brief moments, always involving a camera, that describe, in no particular order, the events surrounding the peak of Voldemort's power in the mid to late 1970s.

Chapter 1: October 1973 Hogwarts

A/N: Blah blah, not my characters, blah. Blah blah, Alternate Universe, blah. To the one fan of the snapshots, so far, this one has a little more body than the last one. ;)

October 1973

He just wanted to use the john. That was all. He'd walked into the men's expecting an empty bathroom, and instead he'd found Goyle beating up the little Irish queer. He really just wanted to piss in peace.

He levelled his wand at Goyle's back. "Stupefy," he snapped, irritatedly, and watched the bulky thug slide to the ground.

He turned toward the thin redhead, who had curled into a bloody, wheezing ball in the corner of the room. "Get out," he snarled, pointing at the door.

The redhead pulled his long hair over his face and shook his head, sinking further into the corner.

He nearly kicked the boy, but stopped with his leg cocked. Kicking a terrorized upperclassman while he was down was probably not the brightest idea. Besides, he seemed to recall this one having a larger and far more unpleasant brother. And you've been on the wrong end of Goyle a few times yourself…

Shut up!

He leaned menacingly over the older boy. "Stay right where you are. If I see you even think about moving, I'll do worse to you."

He walked stiffly over to the urinal to relieve the now stabbing pain in his bladder. Sighing with relief, he felt some of the tension and malice leave his system along with the water.

He looked back at the redhead. "You want to be out of here before that wears off. I don't want to trip over your bloodied corpse the next time I stop to take a piss."

The redhead looked up, eyes full of shame and gratitude. "Thank you." He sniffled, and a bubble of blood spread from his nose and burst on his face. "I didn't mean to… to… anything."

He grumbled. This was ridiculous. "It's not your fault, this time. Goyle's just like that." He pointed his wand at Goyle again, with a vengeful sneer. "Furnunculus." He snickered and put his wand away. "If it happens to you because you don't get up and leave before that stunner wears off, then it will really clearly be your fault. Look, if you'll wipe the blood off yourself, I'll help you back to the commons, but then you're on your own."

The redhead nodded and stumbled to his feet. He made his way to the sink and rinsed the blood off, drying his face on his robe. "Thank you so much," he said to the young, black-haired boy as he pulled him into a grateful hug.

"Stop! Don't touch…!" he cried. He stepped back, but not quickly enough, and was captured in the other boy's arms.

The door slammed open and a flash of light filled the room.


"I got the camera, Goyle! Did you… " Crabbe's eyes grew wide as he studied the scene before him. The dark haired boy was pushing the redhead away to grab his wand. Crabbe went for his own, but the other boy was faster.

"Stupefy!" Crabbe crumpled, landing on top of the camera. "Move if you want to keep breathing. That makes two, and if he went to get a camera, I suspect there will be more in a minute." He grabbed the redhead's hand and dragged him out the door.

As he stumbled after the dark haired boy, he realised he had no idea who his hero was. "Um, who are you? I don't mean to be rude, but I don't think I know your name. I'm Roddy."

"Severus," the boy replied, "Now, please shut up."

Chapter 2: December 1975 the Freehold

A/N: Meow meow, characters not mine, meow meow, A/U, meow meow Sev's perspective meow.

December 1975

They were staying at the Freehold over Yule, this winter. It wasn't like his parents minded, and Lucky was going to come over for New Year's Eve. That would be highly entertaining, given Brigid and Roland Lestrange's thoughts on alcohol and teenagers. He wondered what it would be like to spend a holiday with the lodgers, though. They were pleasant enough people, if a little strange, and he didn't think they celebrated the same holidays that other wizards did. The Morgan family seemed to have a taste for declaring holidays on a whim, and the Ó Ruadháins, with their taste for raw meat and thick beer, did not seem to celebrate anything but violent victories against the "English oppressors", as they liked to say.

As he passed the west parlour, there were sounds of argument from the open door. He stopped to listen, standing on the far side of a tall bookcase from the two people. A man and a… he couldn't tell. One was definitely a man – sounded like that perpetually drunken Morgan, Maitiu. He peeked around the corner to catch a glimpse of the other. That was definitely Ceofine. As with about half of the Morgans, it was impossible to tell at a glance what Ceofine's gender was, and he wasn't quite daft enough to ask.

Maitiu had begun to whine again, but Ceofine cut him off. "Auntie be damned, Maitiu, you were once the scourge of several small English villages! You burned half of Newcastle to the ground on a lark, one fine afternoon! Just thirty years back, you set an English pub on fire in Belfast! Belfast, for Auntie's sake!"

"Sucks to Auntie. And sucks to you, too." Maitiu sounded petulant, an odd cast from a man who was said to be among the best swordsmen of his generation. He looked the part, too, broad shouldered and dressed in slim leather pants and a matching black vest with a blue and silver butterfly embroidered on the back, rapier hung from his hip. Severus wondered idly if this would come to blows.

Ceofine turned a brilliant red as it clenched its fists. "For fucksake, Maitiu, what happened to you?! You used to be worth something in a war!"

Maitiu looked smug. "Unlike you, cousin, I've become civilised. I just can't do without my valium and my body butter any longer. You know how revolting things get on a campaign."

Ceofine howled, and Severus could no longer hold back a snicker.

"Who's back there?" Ceofine demanded, and Severus inched out from behind the bookcase, almost afraid he'd be hexed into next week. "Ah, see that! The little Englishman thinks you're funny, too, Maitiu!" It howled with laughter, this time, and gestured for the boy to join them. He slowly walked over, still intimidated by the short, fragile-looking, entirely too boisterous pair. Ceofine grabbed him around the elbows with one arm and pulled him into what might have been a friendly embrace, thumping him on the chest with the other hand. He towered a good foot over it, but Ceofine was stronger than it looked. As he looked down at the Morgan in startled awe, he noticed Rabastan sitting on a couch at the far end of the room.


"Hey, I think I fixed Lucky's camera! Now, I just have to shoot half a roll of things that would make old Abraxas cry, before I send it back to him." Babs laughed, wickedly, winked at the Morgans, and left the room, grinning.

Severus squeezed his eyes shut and just prayed that it would all be over, soon.

"Don't worry yourself, boyo," Ceofine said, letting him go. "You'll do well for yourself, if you can control that snicker. You'll never skulk properly if you go about it so loudly."

It was odd advice from one of the loudest people he'd ever known, but Ceofine claimed to have been to a war, and the purple and green butterfly on its vest was stained darkly in more than one place. He nodded and fled the room as calmly as he could.

"That one will not have it easy," he heard as he climbed the stairs to his room.

Chapter 3: May 1976 Ballycastle

A/N: This is a collection of scenes used as background in an A/U Potterverse RPG. Our Snape is completely asexual and hates to be touched. Lucius Malfoy is extremely tactful and polite, but feels a driving need to play devil's advocate in any situation. Rodolphus Lestrange and his brother are the sons of a long-established Irish pureblood family, who raise sheep, among other less-common things, in the rural areas outside of Ballycastle. Finer details will become obvious as more scenes are added.

May, 1976

He sat in the corner of the dimly-lit pub, listening to some band with too many bagpipes play songs of revolution. Roddy had picked the pub, tonight. It was in Ballycastle, a few miles from the Lestranges' sheep farm. "The Freehold", Roddy always called the farm, although Sev wasn't wholly certain he wanted to know why. The implications alone were distressing enough.

Lucky was leaned over a table of burly young Irishmen, playing devil's advocate with their politics. One of these days it would get him taken out back and strung up by the ankles, but he'd come in with Roddy, so he couldn't really be an English nationalist. He'd become something of a house pet — a tame Englishman who could be heckled and would provide wise and witty return arguments if one put liquour in the machine.

Bella was over at the bar, getting another round for the table, and 'Cissa was with her to ensure that she didn't murder the bartender in the process. It wouldn't do to hex up Roddy's local.

Roddy had been right up near the band, in the crowd that was drinking whisky like water, howling for a revolt. He really believed that pureblood wizards would save the world, and Sev almost agreed with his logic, sometimes. It would be a perfect plan, except for the part where half the purebloods he knew were wholehearted English nationalists, who wanted to control the Irish like a nation of stupid children. Sev didn't give a jarvey's tail about their politics, really. They seemed willing to pay for his intelligence and skill, and that counted for quite a bit.

He drank whisky, as he tended to, as he speculated on the nature of his friends and wizarding politics. Suddenly, he noticed that Roddy wasn't by the stage, any more… Where had that little fairy queen gotten off to this time? He'd never forgive himself if anything happened to the man.

As he set his glass down and started to stand, long, fireplug-red hair slid down over his face, followed by a pair of bright green eyes. "Hey, silly, what are you doing sulking in the corner? It's a fine night, tonight!"

"Worrying about you. Why else would I be stationed with my back nearly to two walls, waiting for the first hex to fly?" He was disgruntled at having his contemplations disrupted. "And how did you get behind me, anyway?"

Roddy giggled and stepped around the front of Sev's chair. "Your 'nearly' met my disillusionment charm." He bent over until he was nose to nose with Sev. "I'm going to have to cheer you up!"

Roddy leaned forward, catching Sev in a sloppily passionate kiss. Sev reflected on it for a moment — the muddy taste of a good single malt whisky combined with the smell of a very happy Roddy was almost enough to make up for the revolting intimate flesh contact. One moment was a moment too long.


Lucky had pulled out the camera.

Sev shoved Roddy away, half-heartedly. "Eww. Get off." He spit and wiped his tongue off on his hand.

Just then, Bella returned with the drinks and pushed Roddy into the wall as she pulled out the chair next to Sev's. "My date, Rodolphus. Get your own."

Chapter 4: March 1977 Hogsmeade

A/N: This is a collection of scenes used as background in an A/U Potterverse RPG. Our Snape is completely asexual and hates to be touched. Lucius Malfoy is extremely tactful and polite, but feels a driving need to play devil's advocate in any situation. Rodolphus Lestrange and his brother are the sons of a long-established Irish pureblood family, who raise sheep, among other less-common things, in the rural areas outside of Ballycastle. Finer details will become obvious as more scenes are added.

March, 1977

He watched as Bella elbowed Lucky to the side and grabbed Sev by the front of his robes. "Of course he's still mine. It's just a little disagreement."

Standing up, he slipped an arm around Bella's waist and leaned over her shoulder. "What do you want with that creature, Bella? I'm much prettier than that greasy git will ever be." He snuck a wink at Sev. No sense in letting the boy think he meant it.

Bella elbowed him hard in the gut, and he staggered back, clutching at the impact point. Tears ran down his face from the force of the blow. He looked up serenely. "I'm pretty when I cry."

The words slid out effortlessly and the scene stood still. Sev looked at him in absolute horror. Bella lifted Lucky's camera from the table and aimed it. "I'll take a picture, then. It lasts longer."


Sev grabbed Bella by the back of the neck and hissed something. She dropped to the floor. As he looked up to tell his friend that he was alright, Sev laid a hand alongside his cheek and looked sternly into his eyes while wiping away the tears. He settled back into his chair as Sev swept out the door, robes still buttoned almost to his chin.

Chapter 5: October 1979 Malfoy Manor 1

A/N: Meow, meow, standard disclaimer, meow. I'd like to thank Bella-mun for contributing this one to the pile. Again, this series of vignettes is being written by at least four people. Thanks for reading! –Sev-mun.

October 11, 1979

The wind blew at the Manor; it was the perfect afternoon. Bellatrix stood tall and proud as she walked down the aisle towards the man of her… daydreams. The man of her dreams stood just to the right. She smiled at them both. My boys. She thought.

She held the bouquet tight as if the wind would smack it out of her hands, glad her hair stood perfectly in place, while the leaves hung barely on the trees. Not one would fall at her wedding; it would be perfect.

She reached Roddy, and smiled over at her sister. Cissa mouthed a 'Good luck.' at her sister. She handed Cissa her bouquet and took Roddys hands. Severus cleared his throat. "Your vows Bellatrix." Severus said, his wand pointed at the two pair of hands.

"I Bellatrix Irma Black, vow to love you Rodolphus Siofrí Lestrange, for now and forever." she said, looking into his eyes as Severus's wand shot a pink thread around their hands. "I vow to care for you, till death do us part," she said, almost in tears.

Roddy smiled at her and flashed a grin over at Severus. "Your vows Rodolphus." he said smiling back. "I Rodolphus Siofrí Lestrange, vow to cherish you and adore you for today and every day afterwards." He said, a second pink string shooting out of the wand. "I as well, vow to care for you, 'til death do us part." He said.

The two pink strings rose up and formed a heart. "You may now kiss the bride." Snape said. As their lips touched, the two strings in a heart above their head, a light flashed.


The two loves' lips parted, Roddy latching his arm in Bella's, walking her down the aisle.

Chapter 6: October 1979 Malfoy Manor 2

A/N: Meow meow, not mine, meow meow, A/U, meow meow Sev's perspective meow. ((I'll be looking to get permission to add Bella's perspective to this, and when it's written, Roddy's will definitely be added.))

October 11, 1979

He stood bitterly under some ghastly topiary confections before which his best friend was about to marry his defective ex-girlfriend. If you can even call her that. She walked all over you for a year and you put up with it for Lucky's health.

His bones ached from the horrors of the previous night. He and Lucky had found Roddy almost dead in the woods, covered in unspeakable things. The poor man could hardly form words. He'd finally been forced to use Legilimency to see the things he wished, most sincerely, he'd never seen. He tried to force the thought back down. It would be bad form to vomit when he wasn't even the one getting married.

He smiled weakly at Roddy. The man giggled inanely and bounced on his toes in gleeful excitement. Good. He doesn't remember a thing. I hope the block holds until after this is all over… He'd had to do some fairly violent and destructive things inside Roddy's head to bring him back online for the wedding. And he'd be working constantly for the next week in order to pay for the silence of the Healers he'd borrowed from St. Mungo's.

Bella strutted proudly up the aisle, looking like she owned all she surveyed. He squinted, pretending to have gotten the sun in his eyes, as he held back the frustration he felt at this event. He'd walked to hell and back with Roddy, and the fool wanted to repay the favour so badly he was marrying the Wizarding World's most uncontrollable weapon of mass destruction. Roddy could keep her in check, most of the time, but it was that last tiny percentage that worried him… like the time she'd pinned her husband-to-be to his chair with a dart in the pants. That had been a disaster. But Roddy still stayed with her, and he was afraid he knew why.

The couple joined hands, and he laid his wand atop them. "Your vows, Bellatrix." His voice was ragged, and he hoped the wind covered the discrepancy. As she finished, a streamer of pink light wound around their hands.

He smiled sadly at Roddy, who was grinning foolishly at him. "Your vows, Rodolphus." He felt sick to his stomach as the words poured out of his friend. A second streamer joined the first, floating upward to hover in a heart above the newlyweds as they kissed.


Lucky had captured the classic image of the newlywed couple. Severus smiled a few moments longer as the couple proceeded back down the aisle between the rows of their guests. As the reception began, he fled deeper into the garden with a bottle of Old Ogden's.

Chapter 7: October 1979 Malfoy Manor 3

A/N: Meow, meow, standard disclaimer, meow. I'd like to thank Lucky-mun for contributing this one to the pile. Again, this series of vignettes is being written by at least four people. Thanks for reading! –Sev-mun.

October 11th, 1979

He stood with Cissa at his side, waiting at the edge of the area they'd set up for the wedding. It was truly a miracle, that they'd managed to get Roddy in shape to even stand up, much less be married. After the previous night, he was going to ensure nothing went wrong, especially on his own land. The guests had been trickling in, and he'd been polite to them all. He was well dressed, as befit his position as host, but truth be told, he was acting as much as a bouncer as he was his part as host. Bella knew nothing, and he intended it stay that way.

Having greeted the Goyles, and seen that they found their way where they were seated, he returned to watching the arrivals. Suddenly, his posture stiffened a bit, at the sight of the latest arrivals. Cissa looked over at him questioningly, and he shook his head. She'd tried to convince him to wear the dress boots he'd had comissioned for the occasion, but under his dress robes, he had on his knee-height steel-toed favorites. It should have been a festive occasion, but… he sighed. It was, it was them. The pure unmitigated gall. As the three men approached the gates, he stood in front of them, glaring at them inpassively.

Rookwood, Avery, and MacNair. The three swaggered up to the gates, invitations in hand. As he refused to move, they tried to present him with those invitations. "I'm afraid your invitations have been revoked. That you dare show up, after last night," he said in a cold voice, his rage tightly coiled within. His eyes had an icy glint to them.

Rookwood spoke smoothly, "We're here as guests of the bride, Malfoy. Step aside."

"Not on my land, you aren't. You've given Bella all the gift I'll allow, Rookwood. And that goes for your two friends as well. Get off of my land, and don't ever come back," he said, his voice sharp enough to cut.

Narcissa looked at him. "But Lucius, if my sister invited them?"

He cut her off quickly, in a far colder tone than he usually took with her. "No, Narcissa. They are no longer welcome. I don't care if Bella invited them or not. They will not be attending a wedding here today," he said, his tone flat and even colder than before.

Cissa looked hurt and confused, but she stopped arguing.

He noticed that a group was approaching the gate, behind the three unwelcome individuals. "I suggest you three leave, now. I'm trying to be polite, and not start anything at the wedding. However, I know other people who will happily remove you for me," he said, a truly vicious smile creeping across his features.

Avery began to argue. "Lucius, I don't know what you're talking about, but I won't have dear Bella distressed by our absences. She did invite us, personally, and we've come to pay our respects.

"Avery, if I thought you were capable of the slightest quantity of respect, I'd have changed my mind after last night. Get off of my land, and take you friends with you." His tone changed from bitter to welcoming, as he spoke to the new arrivals. "I wasn't sure you all were going to make it. Welcome," he said, smiling at the members of the Morgan family who lived at the Freehold with the Lestranges.

"These wastes of flesh seem unable to understand that their invitation has been revoked. I give them 5 minutes to be off of my land, before I declare my hospitatlity fully revoked. They're guilty of things that would violate even your family's codes of honor."

Maitiu raised an eyebrow at him "Really, Englishman? Our codes, even."

"I give them to you and your siblings, for sport, if they don't leave of their own free will," he said coldly, his grin getting wider.

Macnair opened his mouth to speak "We're not afraid of a bunch of pretty queers," he said, taking note of their wardrobes, and the way a couple of them seemed to twine about each other.

Rookwood looked over at the new arrivals, and blanched. While he couldn't say precisely what the new arrivals were, once thing was certain, they weren't wizards. "Yes, yes we are. Shut your face, Macnair. We're leaving," he said definitively, although not before giving Lucius a dirty look. "Don't think I'll forget this, Malfoy. Can't even stand up for yourself. You have to get other people to do your dirty work."

"No more than I'll forget what you've done, you and your little groupies. And I'd gladly dirty my hands with the likes of you. But I'm not going to spoil the wedding. Get out, before I misplace my manners further."

With one hand on the shoulders of both Macnair and Avery, Rookwood turned and stalked off. A couple of the Morgan family followed them a ways, before returning to speak with Lucius.

"They gone?" he asked quietly.

"Apparated off in a right hurry, lad," one of them said, a man that Lucius had never met. "What did they do to have you so incensed with them, if you don't mind my asking?" he said, and several of the others looked over with interest.

"We've got a history, that much I'll admit. Let's just say that their latest insult was more than I'm willing to take. They've never been very fond of Roddy, and I won't have them spoiling his wedding, especially not now." He paused a moment, clearly composing himself, before speaking again. "Well, I ought not stand between you all, and the celebrations. Welcome, and to you I offer my hospitality," he said in a formal and friendly fashion, stepping away from the gate. "You'll find the Lestranges sitting on the left," he said with a smile.

Ceofine gave him a penetrating look as it walked past, but said nothing. A few of the others stopped to hug him, or give him a kiss on the cheek on their way through, and introduced him, briefly to the ones he'd not met. He introduced Cissa around, since she'd only been to the Freehold a couple of times, and had only met a few of the Morgan family. The chatter of friends took the tension from his shoulders, and though he still wanted to kill the men he'd just told to leave, at least now there would be more than he and Sev to deal with them if they were foolish enough to return.

He turned to Cissa. "Sorry, love, but those three are never welcome here again. Not for any reason short of the Dark Lord's orders." His eyes held a new heaviness, aging him by a number of years, if one looked closely.

"Ok, Lucky," she said, still looking puzzled. "Bella will likely just think they snubbed her anyways," she said quietly. "And thank you, for handling it in a civilised fashion. I could tell you wanted to break some heads, but it would hardly have been politic at my sister's wedding. Not to mention that if she noticed, she would likely have felt the need to get involved. And the last thing we need on my sister's wedding day is a display of her temper."

He nodded. "I know. And it's for Roddy, and Bella, that I let them leave." He took a deep breath, running his hand across his face, before turning and offering his arm to her. With his other hand, he pulled the flask from his robes, and took a deep drink. Flash The photographer they'd hired took their picture then, and he steeled himself to ignore the man.

"Isn't it a bit early, Lucky?" she asked him

"Not today," he said flatly, before replacing the flask, and taking Cissa over to their seats. "Not today."

Chapter 8: October 1979 Malfoy Manor 4

A/N: Meow, meow, standard disclaimer, meow. I'd like to thank Narcissa-mun for contributing this one to the pile. Again, this series of vignettes is being written by at least four people. Thanks for reading! –Sev-mun.

October 11, 1979

She thought of earlier in the day when he had refused Rookwood and friends, "But Lucius, if my sister invited them?" and he had answered her in a cold sort of voice that hurt her. But something horrid must have happened for him to be like that so she stop fighting and looked to the other guest that were arriving.

With all the introductions and chatter she noticed him calm down, but something was bothering him to no end. They talked, quietly and briefly before going to their places.

Narcissa stood at the alter watching the scene unfold before her eyes. The men looking stiff and worried, none telling her anything. She was asked to keep Bella happy, distracted. Which in itself was a horrid task. She sighed and smiled as she saw Bella near her.

The woman looked so happy. Once she got near enough she mouthed a quick good luck before the vows, knowing it would be needed. She studied the lot of them. Severus looked like he was about to be sick. Roddy was happy and giggling like mad, and Lucius, her Lucky, looked worried. Eventually, she thought. She hoped they would tell her.

Chapter 9: December 1986 the Freehold

A/N: Meow, meow, standard disclaimer, meow. I'd like to thank Lucky-mun for contributing this one to the pile. Again, this series of vignettes is being written by at least four people. Thanks for reading! –Sev-mun.

December 20th, 1986

Lucius knocked on the door to the Freehold. When no one answered, he walked through the door. It had only been a couple of months since Bella and Roddy had been thrown into prison, and he'd been rather busy trying to ensure that he didn't follow them. Still, one way and another, the Lestranges were family. And he'd certainly been invited over here often enough. Walking through the house, there was no real indication that anyone was home. When he reached the kitchen, though, there was a lamp lit at the table. He pulled a sheet of parchment from the shelf, and started to write.

Dear Mr. and Mrs Lestrange,

I was just stopping by to see how you have been doing, in these trying times. The situation being what it is, things aren't easy for any of us. Cissa and I are still trying to track down Orion, but, as of yet, no luck. Anyways, I just stopped by to invite you to come spend the holiday with me and mine, as you have so graciously invited me so many times over the years. No matter what things have happened, you can always consider yourself to have a welcome from this Englishman. I'm sorry to have missed you, and please do feel free to write or drop by at any time.

With love,

Lucius Malfoy

As he set down the quill, there was a hand on his shoulder. He turned around to find one of the lodgers standing there. It was a man he'd only met a handful of times. "Sorry to intrude," he said. "I was just leaving this for the Lestranges, since they don't seem to be in."

"Oho," the man said. "That's right, you're the one who married young Roddy's wife's sister, aren't ye? Come to pay your respects, then? And did you really think that me and mine wouldn't see that they weren't alone for their holiday?" he asked.

Lucius looked up at him, a bit cautious. "Just inviting them to come for a visit, sir. I figured that now, more than ever, they needed family. I have to admit, I wasn't sure what your family would be doing, but it's not that I think you all don't care. Let them know, would you, and see that they get this letter? If you've got things in hand here, I'd best be back to my wife and son, before someone else wonders where I've gone," he said, thinking of how rare it was, these days, that he had a chance to slip off unobserved.

The man leaned over and grabbed hold of Lucius, kissing him soundly, before letting him go. "I think you needed that. Just a bit of love to warm your way home, in return for what you were showing coming all the way out here this cold winter's night. You won't be seeing them this holiday season, but don't fret, we've taken them in hand. And I'll take your letter, to remind them that not all Englishmen are arseholes," he picked up the letter, and walked Lucius to the door, closing it as soon as he'd seen him on the other side of it.

Lucius shook his head. They were odd, that family was, but it was true that in that one kiss, he felt better. It was nice, now and again, to see just the littlest bit of love untempered by fear and sorrow. He set off down the road to Ballycastle, where he could borrow the floo in the pub to get home. At least, he could if the locals still recognized the wild-hearted brawling young man he'd been, in the sombre, responsible man he was being forced to become.

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