Monster in Me: Femme Fatale Version

Part the Sixth

Halcyone and Voldemort, 18 August, 1996

Cousin Marvolo leaned up against the doorway as Hallie applied her lipstick, almost ready to go.  She had chosen a yellow sundress, which she thought would be festive enough for the party and yet would be Muggle enough for the pub later that evening.  Her wizard cross lay against her skin, warm and assuring.

“No,” Cousin Marvolo decided as he came up to her and took in the dress.  “Not for the Weasleys, I hate to say it.”  Then, strangely, he went into her closet and rooted around until he took out a dress she had never seen before.  It was in the Muggle style, a sweater dress with no sleeves that went straight from the shoulders to above the knees, with a pattern of black and gray diamonds the size of her hand.  Going up and touching it, she realized it wasn’t a sweater at all but a light wool that was clearly breathable. 

“Enchanted sheep,” he murmured, holding it out to her.  “You put one of those shirts under it, and your gogo boots I know you’re hiding.”

She stilled.  “You knew I was hiding my gogo boots?”

“Your mother had gogo boots,” he responded with a shrug.  “I didn’t forbid her, I see no reason to forbid you.—And I’m not here to forbid you, Halcyone.  I’m here to make your life a better one.”

Nodding, she took the dress and held it up to her in front of the mirror.  It was certainly a very different look.  In the end, she had to leave her shirt unbuttoned near the top of the dress to show off her wizard cross.  She wanted everyone to suspect her politics.  Purebloods and conservative leaning half-bloods wore these crosses (and the occasional Muggleborn who thought himself better than he was).  Hallie was declaring herself.  And didn’t it feel delicious?

Hallie and Cedric were meeting in the village as Cousin Marvolo had confirmed that he did have Death Eaters wandering the house, and she didn’t want Diggory going and telling anyone.  Not only was he an auror, but he seemed to be friends with her half-brother, so she’d rather he not find out.  They had some sort of Quidditch professionalism from what she could tell that dated back from their first match in Third Year when Harry had fallen off a broom because of Dementors but Diggory had caught the Snitch before asking for a rematch.

She’d never had any interest in the sport since she twisted her ankle during the first lesson.  Some of the other girls had laughed at her, but Draco had carried her up to the hospital wing where it was set right, and then promised her she’d never have to get on another broom if she never wanted to.

Diggory was wearing jeans and a pullover, his shirt tails sticking out in a way that might have been adorable if he were younger, and he came up to her and kissed her cheek, causing her ring to twinge.  She grimaced and noticed a similar expression on his face.

“Sorry,” he apologized.  “I never tried—it’s—right.  Won’t happen again.”

Hallie tried to give him a smile, but it unfortunately fell flat.  “Do I look presentable enough for the Muggles?” she finally asked, getting out of her booth where she had been waiting and standing to show him the dress.  “Usually I just wear pureblood black, but I thought I’d wear something a little different since it’s a party.”

“No,” he breathed, staring at her.  “You’re beautiful, Gaunt.”

She nodded and took his arm as he led her out of the pub to a place where it was safe to Apparate. 

The Burrow looked like it was a house that had had several extensions added onto it by magic and they were all somehow sagging off from the main hub of the cottage.  It was rather eccentric even by magical standards, Hallie thought to herself, as they moved forward into the clearly waiting party. 

Hallie looked around for anyone she knew, but she mainly saw Gryffindors and people she had given detention to, and she even caught sight of Mrs. Snape somewhere in the crush.  Keeping close to Diggory, she greeted the bride and told her how radiant she looked—which wasn’t hard to do since she was a quarter Veela—and started chatting to some French witches about the difference between British and Continental bridal gowns.  At least Pansy was good for something.

“So,” Weasley stated as he came into the conversation obnoxiously, “you didn’t bring your boyfriend?”

“I’m here with Diggory,” she explained carefully, pointing him out across the room where he was talking to Krum and they kept on catching glances at her.  It was probably a male thing.  Lord Roman did it, too.  “I also don’t have a boyfriend.”

“Not Malfoy?” he asked harshly, going in for some punch, which was the spiked one from what she could tell.

“Malfoy is going with Parkinson,” she stated carefully.  “You should really keep up on your Slytherin house politics.”  She rolled her eyes.

Weasley, however, wasn’t finished.  “Why you here then?”

She looked at him for a long second.  “For the same reason you are.  I’m celebrating Fleur Delacour’s engagement.  To your brother.  Happiness.”  This last bit she filled with full and utter insincerity, just to annoy him.  Making to walk away, she wasn’t at all surprised when he blocked her.

Immediately, Diggory was striding over and pulling him away.  “Do we have a problem here?”

“You brought a spy,” Weasley immediately proclaimed, pointing to her.  “A slimy, Slytherin spy.  I don’t care if her parents were members of the Order.”

At this, she raised a brow.  “I assure you my mother was never—” she declared heatedly, thinking of the little she knew of Maia Gaunt.  Her portrait hung in the living room in family den, her hair the same honey blonde, her eyes a shocking blue like Cousin Marvolo’s.  She rarely said anything, her eyes forever watching.  One time, she asked Hallie what she was reading, and then if she were a Gaunt as she seemed to live in Riddle Manor, but then said nothing after Hallie answered her.

“Your mother is a whore,” Weasley spat into her face.  “She has the slash on her hand to prove it.”

Harry turned up then and actually landed one on Weasley’s nose.

Hallie just took several steps back and sucked in a breath as punch got all over her boots, which Diggory quickly charmed away for her.

“Thank you, Harry,” Hallie murmured and her hazel eyes caught her brother’s bright green ones. Two identical scars were on their foreheads.  She took a sip of her punch and walked around the Weasel, not caring who was speaking about her as she smiled and started talking to someone who turned out to be a Weasley brother, and a rather dull one at that.

All in all, it was a wash.

… … … … …

Lord Marvolo Gaunt didn’t want to prepare for the deep sleep.  Carefully, he took up the pen and wrote the message of where Hallie would be that evening, who she would be with, what she was wearing, the gogo boots, the dress, the cross around her neck.  Hopefully it would be enough.

Looking at the crimson robes that were prepared in the closet one more time, he then stripped to just a simple pair of sleeping robes and closed his eyes, knowing he wouldn’t be the person waking up.

… … … … …

Hallie wasn’t looking forward to going out with the other champions to the pub later that night after dinner, but she allowed herself to be dragged by Diggory whose expression resembled a hurt crup. 

At first, no one noticed that anything had gone wrong, that anything was different.  And then the windows blew in.  The shattering of glass splashed around them and Hallie noticed several cuts on Delacour and Harry’s hands, but strangely the glass seemed to fade against her skin as if it were nothing more than misting water.  Despite her lack of injury, Hallie immediately fell under the table and took out her wand, uncertain why the Death Eaters would hit Ottery-St.-Catchpole.  (She was, though, privately thankful that someone knew she was present—perhaps Cousin Marvolo had told them?—and took precautions to ensure her safety.)

“Stay here,” Diggory told her, his gray eyes looking into hers imploringly, and she took a deep breath. 

Her eyes tracked her half-brother who gave her a cocky grin, the kind he seemed to reserve only for her.  Looking imploringly at him, she hoped he wouldn’t get hurt.  He was always a bit of a target.

However, there was no way she was going to fight.  Diggory didn’t need to worry and she prayed Harry could take care of himself, but she didn’t stay under the table because Diggory told her to.  Hallie listened to no one and nobody, except professors when it came to Hogwarts.  She was her own woman and always had been, ever since she learned that her Muggle family didn’t really care about her except for appearances and her supposed mother—Mrs. Snape—had cast her off.

As she crouched under the table, Hallie’s mind raced.  Cousin Marvolo probably wasn’t out there—but people that had been wandering around the manor might be.  She felt a certain comradeship with them.   It seemed they had been told not to talk to her, apart from a preliminary greeting, but they all believed in the same goals.  The all wanted the Takeover.  If the Dark Lord was really back, they all followed him, and if he wasn’t, they followed in his memory.

Hallie shivered as spells started to be shouted and colors erupted into the pub proper, and she curled up into a ball against the wall.  The unmistakable voice of her brother casting Expeliarmus filtered through her consciousness.  Then she realized it: the table wasn’t attached to the wall.  Carefully, she inserted her fingers up into the gap between the table and the wall and pushed outward.  The table made a scraping sound and a whizz of pale purple magic came close to the gap where she was hiding and she pushed with more vigor.

Popping her head into the space, she saw the window that had shattered and she murmured an “Alohamora!” Thankful for all of her escapades with Draco, Blaise, and Pansy against the “Trio” as they were called, Hallie pulled herself up by her fingers, flipped herself up and rolled out onto the street.

Hallie didn’t even have time to react.  Immediately, a wand was placed at her chin and she breathed heavily, her hair falling out of its knot into a three pronged ponytail, and she looked into startling red eyes.  She’d never seen eyes like that before and all thoughts she previously had of other wizards—of other eyes—immediately vanished.

Licking her lips and seeing the face that had been splashed all over The Daily Prophet, she rasped, “I am Lady Mabelle Halcyone Gaunt, the trueborn daughter of Lady Maia Gaunt and Auror James Potter, and ward of Lord Marvolo Gaunt.”  When the Dark Lord didn’t move his wand, she continued.  “I’m a Slytherin Prefect, member of The Wicked Stepmother, I have high O.W.L. scores if that matters?”  The last bit she added because she needed something to say.  “I support the Takeover.”  There, that seemed to be the right thing to say and caught his attention.

“Lady Mabelle,” he repeated carefully, his voice high and nasally.  “Your cousin has spoken of you often.”

At this she relaxed.  “I’m only here for a change,” she swore.  “Slytherins talk about the same thing over and over again—and I like parties, though not ones with Weasleys, I’ve discovered.”

“Then we shall take you away, Lady Mabelle,” the Dark Lord decided, his slits for eyes oddly heated in the semi darkness.  “Do not worry for your friends.”

“No,” she agreed, taking a step toward him.  “They have their own protectors—and they have made their choices.  Just—my brother—”  Hallie never begged, but Harry was dear to her even if they sometimes didn’t see things wand to wand.

“Brother?” he asked in high voice, his head cocked to the side.

Suddenly a little afraid for Harry, she shook her head and whispered, “Never mind.”

And with that the Dark Lord came up to her and placed both his thumbs on her eyes and whispered a spell in a language she almost recognized and yet couldn’t quite place.  There was something comforting about his scent.  It was almost as if she remembered it from somewhere, and yet it was spicier than what she recalled from the haze of her memory.

She must have drifted off to sleep because she woke up on a plush bed in a small one-room cottage.  The moon shone through window, illuminating the white sheets and the stain of blood red that was next to her.  Turning to get a better look, Hallie felt her hair swish around her face as if it had completely fallen from its bindings or someone had taken it down.  She hurriedly pushed it off of her face, but a pale white hand came up and grasped her wrist, pulling it from her eyes.

“No, Lady Mabelle,” the Dark Lord demanded harshly, his slits for eyes searching for her hazel ones. 

It was then that she realized the crimson stain in the bed with her was the Dark Lord.  He was lying on his side, his pale bald head against the pillow, his crimson robes flowing around him over the sheets.  She was lying underneath the white sheets in the summer cool, her gogo boots having been slipped off. 

“Where—Where are we, Dark Lord?” she asked.

At this a smirk curved the side of his face, something strangely erotic about it, and he admitted, “The home of Marvolo Gaunt—the first Marvolo Gaunt.  Your Cousin has kept this cottage in readiness since your mother first became a prefect, thinking it would be beautiful and have a sense of history for her to spend her wedding night here.—She had other ideas, clearly.  Perhaps,” he murmured, a curiosity in his voice, “he thinks it is for you now.”

She surreptitiously looked around at the white washed walls, at the stained wood on the floor, and murmured, “We’re in Little Hangleton.”

“Yes,” the Dark Lord hissed.  “I brought you home once the raid was finished.  You have been reported missing and will need to go into the Ministry and weave some tale.—Unless, of course, the Ministry has come to you.”

Sitting up, she shrugged, letting the sheet fall away from her shoulders.  “I was knocked unconscious and woke up back in the safety of my cousin’s estate.  Stranger things, I’m sure, have happened during raids.”

It was then that she realized she wasn’t wearing the dress anymore.  Instead she was in a pale blue silk negligee and robe.  She fingered the fabric in curiosity, wondering exactly what had happened, knowing the ring on her finger would have protected her, and then gazed up at the Dark Lord again.

“You are too beautiful,” he told her by way of answer, reaching out and letting his long pianist fingers run through her falling hair, “even in your Muggle clothes.”  His eyes traveled to the symbol around her neck, which glowed in the darkness.  “I would say that I hope I never see you on one of my raids again, but then I would be lying, Lady Mabelle.”

“Halcyone—” she corrected in a soft voice, but he didn’t seem to have heard her. 

The light caught his finger and she looked down to see what seemed to be onyx encasing his finger in an obscured vine.  She reached out to touch it, but then withdrew.

“Perhaps we will see each other at my cousin’s house.  He’s a supporter,” she murmured.

“You wouldn’t be here if he wasn’t,” the Dark Lord told her quite plainly before he was running his hand through her hair, “unless I intended to capture you and corrupt you.”  He leaned forward so that his lips were mere millimeters from hers, a daring half-kiss, before he pulled away from her to look into her eyes.  “Who has your heart, Mabelle Gaunt?”

She shook her head quickly, her hair falling in waves and obscuring her eyes.  “No one.  We were just some kids, out having fun, celebrating an engagement.”

“Well,” he murmured, as he brushed her hair back to the side, away from her forehead where it had once again fallen.  “Stay away from boys such as Diggory.  He’s an Auror—and I doubt your cousin would be much pleased.”  His nostrils flared, barely pinpricks in his skin as he had no nose. 

“He didn’t stop me—”

“He didn’t stop you,” the Dark Lord told her plainly, letting his finger run up her bare arm, “because he doesn’t want to lose you the way he lost Lady Maia.  Think about it.  Think about him and his position.  There are lines in the sand—”

“And I have drawn mine,” she began, but he simply stopped her.

“No, you haven’t,” he told her.  “Telling everyone who your mother is and that you agree with her is not drawing a line in the sand.”  (How had he heard that even though she had been at Flourish and Blotts? She wondered)  “Drawing a line in the sand is standing beside your mother, beside your cousin, and associating only with those who are good for you.  If you’re so terribly bored with Slytherins speaking about my rise to power—which I’m sure can be wearing after a time—” (at this he gave her what could actually pass as a smile and clipped her chin affectionately) “—then go out into the Muggle world and try some Muggle baiting with your friends.  Perhaps torment the relatives of Mrs. Snape you were forced to live with.”  His red eyes flashed in the darkness.  “Think on it.”  At this he tapped her nose and he drew her back down on the bed so that they were looking at each other in the half-light.

After a long moment when he was just stroking her arm, she murmured, “Shouldn’t I go back to Riddle House?”

“They’ll be at the doors looking for you in the morning.  It’s best if you appear in your dress, a bit disheveled with your hair down.  You’ll pose the perfect picture of pureblood elegance, refinement, and confusion.—Your cousin knows you’re in safe hands.”

She snuggled into the pillow then and pulled the sheet over her, aware that the edge of his cloak was draped over her legs.  “Is Cousin Marvolo a Death Eater?  My guess is he’s some sort of political support but not an actual Death Eater—”

“Aren’t you clever?” he mused, stroking the hair at her temple.  “He is highly valued, more so than others you might guess.”  The two looked at each other and he whispered, “Go to sleep.  I don’t want to use magic on you.”

Hesitantly, Hallie let her eyes flutter closed and felt as the covers were fussed over around her.  At first she was hyper aware of every breath the Dark Lord took, but then the evenness of them moved her into slumber and she was only aware that she was floating—

—Until she opened up her eyes and she was alone in the cottage, the room flooded with light from the large windows on either side of the bed. 

She took a deep breath and found her wand, casting a tempus and realizing it was past eight in the morning.  Her dress was draped over a chair next to the bed and she quickly got changed, leaving the negligee under the pillow after she made the bed without magic (some habits from the Dursleys died hard).  

She made certain to miss-button her shirt, to leave a cufflink behind.  With her nail she started a run in her tights to show that she had been in a bit of a struggle and then she left the cottage, closing the door behind her.  Her blonde hair fell over her ears and down her shoulders, and she hadn’t let it flow so freely, even among relatives, since she was eleven years old. 

She was at the base of a hill and she could see Riddle House at the top of the ridge, the gardens around it, and she hurried forward toward it. 

As soon as her foot hit the path up from the village, the door from the upper house flung open and she saw Cousin Marvolo, handsome as ever though a little disheveled in the robes he had worn the day before, come out and call out at the top of his lungs, “Halcyone!”

Waving, she picked up her pace and flung herself in her cousin’s arms when she reached him, crying.  “I’m safe,” she whispered.  “The Dark Lord kept me safe.”

“Thank the Old Gods,” he swore, holding her close. 

He led her into the house, after he held her out at arm’s length and looked over every hurt and cut and scrape, and then introduced her to a tall thin man with a mustache from the Ministry.

“I—” she sighed.  “I escaped through the window and then I must have been knocked out.  I woke up this morning in some—cottage—and I just opened the door and saw Riddle House in the distance.”

Cousin Marvolo immediately spoke: “My grandfather kept a cottage.  It’s made up as a honeymoon suite.  It’s not exactly a secret among my friends and associates, although it’s really never been used since my uncle Morfin Gaunt—that was your great-grandfather, Halcyone—was sentenced to Azkaban.”

“Yes,” the Ministry worker murmured, making a note with his quill.  “Muggle baiting and torture and murder.  I read the Gaunt file.—Young lady, you are lucky that whoever knocked you out took you to safety.  Some of your friends weren’t so lucky.”

Trying to look anxious, Halcyone asked quietly, “Diggory?”

“Ah, yes, your boyfriend.  Safe and sound.  I expect he’ll be around.”  Hallie suspected not since he wasn’t allowed on the property.  Plus, she didn’t want to see him.  She wanted to daydream about blue slits for eyes and a strange nasally voice that penetrated her very senses.

The man’s mustache twitched from side to side.  How peculiar.

“Right,” she stated.  “I better get in the bath then as I’ve been climbing through grimy pub windows—and my hair probably needs attention.”  Looking anxiously at Cousin Marvolo, Hallie walked out of his arms and up the stairs to her private suite where she was going to burn this dress. 

Of course, she didn’t see Diggory.  She knew Cousin Marvolo had a letter, but she was more concerned with the article that came out in The Daily Prophet and announced that she had been kidnapped during a Death Eater raid only to be returned to her guardian.

Harry sent her letter after letter in his horrible scrawl, but she wrote patiently back that she was well and with relatives—she was a bit vague on details—and would see him soon.

She would go to the cottage that was pristinely clean as if she had never been there, and sit on the bed and wonder where the Dark Lord was then at that moment.  Hallie would bring her letters and look over them, not bothering to write back until she was at the Manor. 

Even bringing Draco with her once, she motioned to the bed.  “We just slept there all night.  The Dark Lord was gone when I awoke.”

Draco took her hand and squeezed it.  “Why do you call him that?”

Thinking it an odd question, she admitted: “Well, he looked like all the photographs.  The slits for eyes, the lack of nose, the unearthly pale skin.  His voice was high pitched yet undeniably masculine.”  She looked away in embarrassment, her cheeks flushed.  “—Really.  He also answered to the name ‘Dark Lord.’”

A look in his silver eyes, Draco then nodded in recognition.  “That would be the Dark Lord then.”  It seemed like he wanted to say something else, but he hesitated.

“What is it—?”

“Did he know who you were?”

“Yes,” she answered.  “I told him I was the Lady Mabelle Halcyone Gaunt.  Really, Draco, why are you acting so strangely?”

Sitting down on the edge of the bed, he patted the seat next to him, and she went and sat down.  Taking her hand, he entwined their fingers.  “Our Lord is great and terrifying and powerful but he lives a rather—reclusive life.  He hides himself away.  When he lives his life as an ordinary citizen, he purposefully forgets who he is and what he must do.  He works for the cause—for the Takeover, you understand—”

“What are you saying?” she laughed.  “This makes no sense.”

“The Dark Lord is like the Roman god Janus,” he tried to explain, starting over with a deep breath.

“The two faced god?” she asked.  Janus, for whom the month January was named, looked with one face toward the future, and then another face, growing from the back of his head, facing toward the past.  “He couldn’t go around with that face as another man attached to his own.  I would have seen it.”

“No,” he answered carefully.  “A different face.  The Dark Lord, from what any of us can tell, is a metamorphmagus.”

This idea just boggled her mind and she looked at him in horror.  “Are you saying that the Dark Lord has a completely separate identity as a normal wizard most of the time with a different face?”

Draco just looked at her perceptively, clearly willing her to understand.

“But he’s the same man,” she checked.

Taking both her hands in his, he replied: “No.  He’s not.  He’s two separate men.  And now you’ve met the Dark Lord—who seems to have some kind of romantic designs on you.  I’ve never heard of another wizard sleeping in a maiden’s bed.  Usually fear of the vined ring prevents them, or they choose to wait until the mysteries of marriage.”

Hallie swallowed and looked behind her at the bed. 

She was utterly confused.

2018/12/28 (2019/01/21)

Published by excentrykemuse

Fanfiction artist and self critic.

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