I Don't Remember

Standing By


I was lounging in my drawing room.

I'm perfectly aware I'm thinking this narration, but I refuse to use 'sit'. I do not 'sit'. I 'lounge', and it's quite acceptable to me.

The fingers on my hands were curled, one into a rest for my chin as I leaned on the cushioned armchair, and the other around the handle of my beautifully restored cane. Slowly I twirled the carved rod in my hand, the point at the end making a soft scratching on the stone. The fire in the hearth cracked, pouring new warmth across my skin. I ignored it.

A servant with glazed eyes slunk across the room to tend to the fire. She looked exhausted. "Girl." She faced me, keeping a bent frame. "Bring my dinner here tonight." She kept standing. I raised my head slightly. "Now."

She hurried off, and I leaned back over to resume spinning the silver handle of my wand and cane. Suddenly wishing to vent some, I stood and kicked the near-by table. A delicate glass sculpture fell from it and shattered. I stood over it, breathing heavily, before composing myself with a shake of my head and magically putting it back together.

The figurine lay on the carpet in a manner that brought memories back the surface of my thoughts. I bent and picked it up from the floor, trying to take in the moment. A small glass dancer. My wife enjoyed them, a long-lost joy from her childhood where she saw shows where real dancers wove a different sorcery. I ran a finger over the blank features of the glass woman's face absently, breathing deep with a closed mouth. I placed it back on the table, returning my eyes to the floor.

She had been here... I looked at the carpet. She had lain here, and been tortured. Then the chandelier had fallen. I looked up at the ceiling. It had long been repaired, and put back, almost as though nothing had happened. It had all been here... But then, so had the meetings... and the murder...

I slowly let my eyes fall around the long room, dark but warm. Soft waves of heat fell about, sliding on invisible ghosts left over from the shadows in my mind. The beauty of silver and crystal seemed like it was laughing, but never at me. Instead it saved it's resentment for those I hated, those I loathed, those I knew I was better than.

For the past twenty years or so, that had meant Hermione Granger. The simple truth of Death Eaters, Pure Bloods, wizarding blood over mudblood, was not to be questioned. I'd seen it a million times in the Ministry, and in my personal time. It was a creed I lived my life on, and not once had it ever deviated. Then Severus had thrown me out.

I stopped here, fuming silently. I barely noticed as my other servants rolled in tables and plates, lifting to show steaming food and roasts and bowls of fruit and breads. They bowed when they were done, then slipped soundlessly out.

I watched them go, their presence the smallest mark on my thoughts as I picked up an apple and bit into it.

I strolled lazily around the perimeter, looking at the carpet. How could he have thrown me, me, out? I didn't call her cattle. She is, but I didn't say it. I should be commended for that. Then realization hit me in the face all over again, He... he wants to...

I felt myself getting sick, and put a hand to my throat. I looked furiously at the fruit in my hand, then threw it to the floor. Willing myself to calm down, I took deep steadying breathes until I was again mulling things over.

Teaching... Potions... I needed this job. The whole of the wizarding world had questions about me. Some of the younger set who didn't care about anything but my still good looks were willing to overlook my 'checkered past' and fawn over me, but I knew better than to bank my future investments on fickle beauty. This job would be the key to ensuring my reputation stayed in order. If I was superb, and I'm always superb, then I could perhaps rise to be new Head of Slytherin house. The crafting of young minds was something I would easily take to, Mudblood or normal. I can handle that, and even do it without prejudice. The matter with Severus, however.

Of course, this could all be easily solved by informing the proper authorities, I reminded myself. One whisper to the right person, and Severus would be fired, leaving me to take control of the class early. It wouldn't even need alerting the staff; a word to the girl herself would be enough to end this unsavory match. Oh, wait... I remembered, and sighed aloud, It's really my word against Severus's, and trusting, useful contacts are short supply. As to speaking with the girl I could hardly stand to be in the same room as the little wanton, let alone have a conversation with her. Assuming she even believed me...

There was little choice in the matter. It seemed as though I could do nothing but stand by something I hated.

Ironically, I chose this moment to sit at my table. The sweet smell of buttered skin and herbs wafting to my nose brought a smile to my face, and another, sweeter thought. Mayhap, in all this standing by, if I see a weakness I can pounce on... I will.

I looked at the roasted meat in front of me, and quickly, symbolically, stabbed it.

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