Pardon My French

By Violet Beck

Arc I :: Quelle Chance!

Chapter Three :: Exodus, or Something Slightly Similar

At half past six, I was pissed off, groggy, and in the foyer with my trunk hanging crookedly in the air beside me. My hands were cold, so my wand was haphazardly directing the hovering trunk from my pocket. My feet were chilled and clammy in my boots. I had goose pimples on my forearms.

My Lord and most of the others were already assembled. The Goyles and the Crabbes were yet missing, but I spotted Pansy and the Parkinsons quite easily. To my great horror, Pansy was toting the Demon Child in her arms. She looked like holy hell.

I walked over to her, nearly beheading one of our servants with my trunk as I did. Let the bastard duck, I thought, grumbling.

"You look like you were raped by a troll," I said to Pansy when I'd reached her.

"Same to you," she said with a muzzy glare.

I inspected her burbling little brother in the curious fashion one might use to inspect the decaying carcass of a small animal. He reached for my nose, and I quickly backed a step away. I wasn't falling for that again.

"He likes you," Pansy whined, offering him. "Come on, hold him, just for a bit?"

"He might like me," I said, "but he's a sadistic little bastard."

"Bagrruuuff!" Leif Parkinson Jr. said in agreement.

"Isn't he sweet?" Pansy said, reminding me of an infomercial witch from the WWN. "You know you want to."

"No, actually, I don't."

My hat meowed, and almost simultaneously, Pansy sneezed.

"Argm!" Leif Junior complained.

Eyeing my rather inconspicuous black headwear, Pansy shook her head. "I can't believe you're taking it," she groaned.

My hat shifted slightly as its occupant resettled himself.

"I can't believe you're taking it," I said, motioning to Junior. "So there."

"He's not my fault!" Pansy began to protest, but she never finished, for my Lord clapped his hands for attention at that moment.

"Having a good morning, everyone?" he said, smirking and sardonic. The question was left unanswered, and this only served to make him more pleased with himself. The Dark Lord clapped his hands twice, bringing forth two house elves the Manderbives lent us, staggering under the weight of a bronze hoop--your traditional Portkey. "Hurry, hurry!" he snapped at them, and the shuddered at the sound of his voice. "Come around, everyone, it opens at six thirty-seven."

There was immediately a shuffle to crowd around the four-foot-in-diameter ring. I set down my trunk with a pile of other luggage to be transported by Apparition after we'd left, and joined the crush.

I was sandwiched between Hiboshi Tatsama and Terry Boot, a recently-graduated Ravenclaw whose parents were with the organization. He looked tired and boring.

Now, all there was to do was wait.

I glanced around the circle. There, Terry's parents, Lilac and Lillith Boot, and beside them, Leif Sr. and his wife, Serene. Delilah Crumley stood slightly separate from the two couples, looking cool and professional. The Crabbes and the Goyles, I supposed, would be arriving in Hawaii directly from the adjacent London brownstones where their families had coexisted for generations. Severus stood at my Lord's right; Lucius was at Voldemort's left. My mother stood with him, pale and sleep-deprived. Every hair was in place, and her cheeks were already rouged for the day, but there was still a rather zombie-like air about her. Pansy and Junior stood near her with Marian Lestrange, whose blood-red nails caught my eye where they clung to the bronze.

"Thirty seconds," my Lord said dully, gaze on my father's watch.

Hawaii. My aimless stare caught Severus's, and we shared a few seconds together, simply contemplating life as one. I could see the hardness of his eyes. He'd been up for many hours, plotting, I was sure. Trying to save himself from a fate he'd known from the beginning was inevitable. Gods, he couldn't...he just couldn't.

"Fifteen seconds," my Lord said.

There had to be something I could do...but no, I mustn't involve myself. It was his choice.

When I looked at my father, he was staring elsewhere, thoughts in a thousand different important places. He hadn't yelled at me for last night yet. I was sure I had it coming. My mother did not lean on him for support, even in her early-morning stupor. She stood stiff and erect, looking at Marian.

Marian? Why Marian? The seer did not return her gaze.

This was my final thought, before the Portkey warped reality for us all.

<<<>>>

Spending two minutes in a Portkey warp is about the same as spending two minutes in a toilet. It feels like eternity, and rightfully so. Everything swirls around you, and your mind seems to swirl in your head. Should you try to speak, the words are torn right from your lips by the sheer speed at which you are traveling.

You can imagine how disoriented I was when I came out of the warp. I was about to puke all over my boots. Now imagine the added confusion of not only having been stuck in a figurative toilet, but suddenly appearing in a tropical nightscape after being in a Scottish morning minutes before.

Yeah, exactly.

The brass ring hit the ground with a loud clank as everyone simultaneously let go, and stumbled back a few steps. I stared around, dazed, trying to figure out who had pulled the black gauze over my eyes and plunged us into sweet-smelling nine o'clock darkness.

Only my Lord and Severus were unfazed. I supposed it was from the frequent travel. My eyes adjusting to the dark dirt road we stood on, I sought out the glimmering lights of some establishment not far down the way.

"My Lord!" someone called from the darkness, focusing my puzzlement, and Gregory Goyle III strode into our little group, Vincent Crabbe IV not far behind him. The pair bowed, and my Lord nodded to them in response.

"Are the rest present?" he asked, and in reply, the rest of the two families walked into the circle. Crabbe the fifth and Goyle the fourth (scary thoughts both, I agree) waved oafishly at me. I grinned. Somewhere behind me, Pansy gave a derisive snort.

"Very good," Voldemort said shrewdly, taking us all in. "Well then...to our quarters."

Our quarters. Okay.

I stumbled down the road, and hoped that the noises coming from my hat didn't mean Asmodeus was going to be sick all over my hair. Crabbe and Goyle caught up with me quickly, and one of them--both of them?--thumped me heartily on the back. My hat growled, but neither noticed.

"You look like shit," Crabbe offered helpfully.

"You always look like shit," I snapped.

Goyle snickered, and Crabbe reached behind me to punch him in the arm.

I stared ahead of us, trying to make out our vacation abode in the darkness. It was three stories--maybe four? Lights burned brightly in every window, and the lobby was made mostly of glass. Candles and Everglow Torches reflected marvelously through huge, shining windows.

I hated it already.

We walked up the stairs and were greeted by a pair of somber and half-way terrified hotel employees.

"Welcome, my Lord," a thin man said with an American accent, and bowed before the Dark Lord.

Voldemort regarded him with a sneer. "Get up," he snarled. "Check us in quickly. We mustn't dawdle in plain sight."

I supposed special advance reservations had been made for our party. "Is the hotel empty?" I inquired of my cronies.

"Dad said yes, mostly," Crabbe supplied in a growly tone I suppose was intended as a whisper.

Inside, the lobby was just as spacious and bright as I'd originally feared. Squinting and swearing, I strode off into a semi-protected enclave sans the Invincible Team I'd been so recently reunited with. They didn't try and keep me from leaving; we have a sort of mutual understanding on such matters. Maybe I'd talk with them when it wasn't so early in the morning. Uh...late at night. Dammit.

I rounded a corner, and found sanctuary. A row of soft upholstered chairs in comparatively low light.

One problem. They already had an occupant.

I inspected her warily for a moment, and then deeming her safe, sat down beside her. She gave me a thin smile, and I nodded my head to acknowledge her presence.

"Hi," I said quietly. She was about my age, and wore rather extravagant dark blue robes.

"Hi," she said, and smiled again. "Jetlagged?" Her voice had a distinctive American twang.

"Huh?" I said, still trying to get myself out of my stupor.

"Thought so." She still had that smile on her face, and it was quickly growing patronizing. She sighed, and lay back in her chair.

"You liking Hawaii?" I asked, trying not to seem like the comatose idiot I was.

"Oh, god, no," she said, and I instantly liked her much more. "My parents just dragged me here. I escaped them just this morning." She waved her hand around. "I'm trying to rent a room here, because it's nice and remote, but the front desk said I couldn't until that big group around the corner is all checked in."

"I'm with them," I confessed.

She smiled (again) and flipped her mesmerizing blond hair over her shoulder. "Not your fault," she said. "Your seem like someone dragged you here, too, Mr. Sunshine."

Mr....Sunshine...? What did I do to deserve that? "Yeah, they did," I said.

"Where from?"

"What?"

"Where did they drag you from?"

"Britain."

"Oh!" she raised her eyebrows. "Long flight! I'm from Texas."

I inspected her more thoroughly now. A real live American girl. She was wearing a bit too much make-up, but that was okay. She was really quite attractive, and her eye color matched her robes in an eerie way. There was a curious pendant hanging from around her neck--a star in a circle. I was sure I'd seen it in ancient rune translations--what had Father called it? A pentagram?

"What's your necklace for?" I asked her, motioning to it.

"I'm Wiccan," she said, sounding superior. "I got it at the same store I got my robes from. Isn't it nice?"

"What's wickan?" I asked, rather embarrassed that there was a sect I didn't know about.

"It's a type of witch," she explained. Again, that infuriating I-know-everything look was on her face. She reminded me of Granger. A really hot Granger. I couldn't decide if I hated her, or if I wanted to have a lot of very dirty, violent sex with her.

"I knew that," I said, rather snappishly.

"So what's your name?" she asked, completely unperturbed.

"Malfoy. Draco Malfoy," was my reply.

She giggled. "Wow, that's a really cool name! Are you a witch, too?"

I blushed bright scarlet. "I most certainly am not!" I exclaimed. Oh gods, did I look that feminine? This was mortifying. "I'm a wizard!"

"Witch, wizard, whatever," she said dismissively.

Oookay.

"So, uh, what's your name?" I asked.

"Mary-Sue Jones." Another death-defying grin. Her teeth were whiter than Lord Voldemort's ass.

Maybe the school she attended was the cause of her eccentricities. "Do you go to Salem?" I asked, "or Luna?"

"Where?" she inquired, looking confused, and I suddenly realized something I really wished I hadn't.

"Wait... " I said, very slowly, "No, can't be.... You aren't...a Muggle?" The blood draining from my cheeks the second I saw the look on her face. I already knew the answer.

"Huh?" An expression of polite perplexity, followed by that dazzling smile.

My hat took this opportunity to go completely insane.

Chapter Two | Chapter Four


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