Lucius Malfoy tossed his head back and the tequila hit the back of his throat like fire. He straightened and swallowed, his vision slightly blurry. He had a smirk on his face as his eyes scanned the room.
He was in his den, in his favorite overstuffed black leather chair, one leg draped lazily over the arm rest. He was in shirtsleeves and trousers, his robes lazily tossed on a dark loveseat in the corner of the room.
The wood paneling had always felt comforting to him, and in the dark bliss of intoxication he closed his eyes and breathed in the smell of leather and parchment from the bookcases lining the walls.
Octavius Crabbe, Nathaniel Goyle, Thorfinn Rowle, Uriah Selwyn, and Severus Snape were all present.
As part of their probation and participation in the ‘Reformation Therapy’ the probation board had put in place they were forbidden to have contact with each other, but the Ministry had no trackers on them and as long as they stayed out of sight they would be fine.
The war was over and their side had lost, they had accepted that much. All their compatriots were dead or imprisoned and they had come out of it all smelling like… well, perhaps just smelling, but they had gotten out alive.
They had all lost something. Rowle’s potions shop was burned to the ground one night. Selwyn’s wife had left him. Goyle, who had never had much to begin with, was finding himself unemployable. Snape had physical scars. Crabbe had lost his only child.
Lucius lurched up and out of his chair and back to the table of bottles.
“To freedom!” Rowle had raised his glass, but there was bitterness to his voice. He was an enormous man of short stature who sported a sharp, carefully groomed dark goatee, and a widow’s peak that matched it. Lucius had often wondered in the past if the man had grown the horrid thing in a desperate attempt to gain some sort of evil credibility.
“To freedom!” The others had echoed, a bit slurred. Lucius, who had no drink poured, picked up the bottle of tequila and raised it before taking a swig.
“Could be worse, you know.” Crabbe spat. “End up like Lestrange. Damaged in the war. Tossed in prison. Wife killed--“
Lucius glared at the plain-faced, stocky man. He resisted the urge to grab a handful of his thick, curly brown hair and force him to the floor.
Crabbe seemed to remember himself and grabbed one of the red linen napkins lying on the table to scrub at the carpet. “Sorry, Lucius.”
Things hadn’t been quite the same since the house-elves had been confiscated.
Lucius looked at the gleam from the gold monogram on the napkin in Crabbe’s hand. It belonged to the Malfoy estate. If the Ministry had seized everything would they have seized his grandmother’s napkins as well?
Lucius shuddered at the thought. She would meet him in the afterlife to beat him into whatever level of consciousness comes after that.
“That crazy bitch dying was the best thing that ever happened to him.” Selwyn muttered into his tumbler of whisky. His long black hair covered his face and Lucius couldn’t be sure he was completely conscious.
The others said nothing, knowing he was probably right in spite of his inebriation.
“Well, alright. It saved him from divorce, but still.” Crabbe conceded.
“Almost better to be dead than living like this.” Goyle shook his head, his dark hair sticking up in all directions from his running his fingers through it.
“I beg to differ.” Snape quirked an eyebrow at Goyle, causing the man to flinch.
It had always been intimidating when Snape had done that in the past, but since one of his eyes had gone bone white and blind, an effect from the snake venom he had been poisoned with, he seemed to be using his appearance to make others feel as uncomfortable as possible, as frequently as possible.
“We have our lives, we have some semblance of freedom, some of us made sure we had a plan of escape and a bit of money to get by with,” Snape smiled silkily. That last was a barb at Goyle's lack of work and the freezing of the Black accounts at Gringotts while the investigations into Death Eater money laundering went on. “And some of us even kept our employ.”
“Well, bully for you, Severus.” Lucius waved the bottle of tequila around sloppily. “How nice you didn’t have to sell off your family’s priceless heirlooms in order to make the rent.” He paused and sneered at Severus. “Oh that’s right, you didn’t have any.”
Severus threw his tumbler at Lucius, his face contorted in rage. Lucius had enough presence of mind to duck, or perhaps because of the drinking, Snape’s aim was off, but nevertheless the tumbler hit the wall behind Lucius and shattered.
“What’s all this about?” Narcissa Malfoy was walking into the room with a tray of coffee. “Severus, pick that up at once! Lucius, apologize for whatever it was you just said!”
“But--“ Lucius started as Snape left the room in search of a dustpan.
“But nothing! I’ve had it up to here with you drunken fools pitying yourselves because you had no sense of strategy or opportunity!”
“Opportunity?” Lucius looked at his wife dumfounded. “We did what we were told when we were told!”
“There’s your problem!” Narcissa said angrily. “You knew he was going insane! You knew he was making bad decisions! You had one of his Horcruxes in our home and you didn’t once think of seizing power for yourself! You may have been well kept, Lucius, but in the end you were still a dog!”
Lucius flinched and she turned on her heel and stalked from the room.
“I could make it look like an accident, you know,” Severus said under his breath as he returned to the room and passed Lucius, holding a dustpan and a small hand broom.
“Wouldn’t be so annoying if she wasn’t bloody right.” Lucius took a long swig from the bottle of tequila.
“Think you would have made a better leader, Lucius?” Rowle chuckled as he wet a finger and ran it around the rim of his glass. A clear note thrummed from the crystal.
“I would have done some things differently.” Lucius said thoughtfully. “Perhaps things would have been different.”
“Sure, like: we’d all be dead instead if just some of us.” Selwyn snorted and tossed his head back revealing ice blue eyes with slitted pupils.
“We could have followed Narcissa.” Snape chuckled as he swept the glass into the pan clumsily. “At least she knows how to give orders.”
“Bossy bitch,” Lucius muttered. Then he grinned to himself.
“Crabbe!” Lucius started fiddling with the buckle of his trousers. “Reach behind you and grab that old ear horn of my grandfathers. It’s on the book case.”
“What are you doing?” Snape, still kneeling, frowned at Lucius as the blond man made his way to the fireplace in a bowlegged walk.
“Watch this!” Lucius started chuckling. He reached into a small silver crock on the mantle and threw some powder into the fireplace. “The kitchens!”
Green flames leapt up in the fireplace and Lucius turned to face the others in the room as he started lowering his trousers.
“What do I do with this?” Crabbe asked, cradling the large brass funnel as he hurried to Lucius.
“You need to get her attention.” Lucius said as he began to squat.
Crabbe chuckled as Lucius lowered his arse into the green flames and Crabbe placed the large end of the funnel into the flames along side him.
“OI!” Crabbe barked into the ancient ear horn right before Lucius broke wind. A moment later they heard a shriek and a crash come from the funnel.
Lucius leapt quickly away from the fire, landing face down, arse up on the large Oriental carpet adorning the floor.
Snape’s mouth dropped open in astonishment. “I cannot believe you just did that.”
Goyle, Rowle, and Selwyn dissolved into laughter. Crabbe carefully laid the horn near Lucius before hurrying across the room to Severus.
Narcissa stalked into the den.
“I think you have had enough.” She said hotly. She took the horn from Lucius and laid it back on the shelf where it belonged, ignoring his still bare arse sticking up in the air. “I think you will all have some coffee, I put a bit of sobering potion in it-- do not give me that look Thorfinn Rowle – and we will call it a night. I want you all getting back home properly and not staggering around the streets because you slurred your words and got stuck God only knows where.”
Severus tipped the dustpan into a waste basket and got to his feet. ”You could have said we were going to be sobered before I swept. I could have used my wand to clean up.”
“Yes,” Narcissa said evilly. “I could have.”
Severus scowled as she smiled at him before turning and leaving the room.
“Well, it’s been fun, Lucius,” Rowle chuckled as he picked up a cup of coffee. “A night to remember, as always.”
Lucius picked himself up and straightened his clothing to the best of his ability. “I do endeavor to please.”
“You know,” Selwyn said with a small quirk to his lips. “I think you may be on to something, Lucius.”
“Making a fool of himself and getting us thrown out?” Snape scoffed.
“I mean, it’s a fairly harmless way of letting off steam, isn’t it?” Selwyn said silkily.
“Don’t goad him on when he’s drunk,” Crabbe chided Selwyn as he looked at Lucius swaying on his feet. “It’s not really fair.”
“Same time next week, Lucius?” Goyle asked as he gulped down the hot cup of coffee.
“As long as there hasn’t been any excitement during the week it should be fine.” Lucius assured him.
Snape snorted. “May you find a bounty of luck hidden up your arse.”
“He always does,” Crabbe muttered.
“You made a list.” Snape’s voice was flat.
“Of course I did,” Selwyn said. “What else did I have to do all week?”
Lucius chuckled as he poured himself a finger of whisky. “Oh, come now, Severus. If this is the worst mayhem we get up to they should be pleased.”
“I can think of many words before ‘pleased’ comes up,” Snape said sarcastically.
“Are some of them ‘unfettered hilarity?” Rowle asked, a wide smile across his face.
“Have you been hitting the bottle already?” Snape demanded.
“You’ve been a teacher too long,” Crabbe waved a hand at Snape. “Trust us.”
“I’m fairly certain I’ve heard that before,” Snape said with clenched teeth.
Narcissa Malfoy was enjoying her breakfast in the sun room. They may be without the house-elves, but she had been tops in potions and cooking was proving to be much the same. Her eggs were perfect, her bacon crisp, her kippers were approaching notoriety, and her tea was perfect. The only thing she hadn’t gotten down was serving size. There was enough on the little table to feed an army.
Lucius was near her, reading the business section of the newspaper, a pair of gold-rimmed glasses perched on the tip of his nose.
She turned the page of the section she was reading and choked on her tea. She began coughing and Lucius sat up quickly and began rubbing her back.
“Are you all right?” he asked.
She pointed a finger at the tea-soaked newspaper and furrowed her eyebrows, though she kept coughing.
He glanced at the paper before turning back to her, but in a moment he whipped his head back to the paper and grabbed it, forgetting his wife completely.
It started as a normal day for Linda Herrington, wife of Wizengamot Judge Jeffrey Herrington. She had planned their dinner, made plans for the upcoming Peters’ Event, a charity for disadvantaged Muggle-borns, and was in the process of polishing her great-grandmothers’ china when it happened.
“It just came out of nowhere! I heard a noise and looked to the Floo and there it was! I even dropped the platter I was holding and it shattered into a million pieces! Of course I fixed it, can’t even tell, but that’s not the point!”
“That,’ being a bare bottom poked straight through the family’s white marble fireplace.
“It had to be a man,” Mrs. Harrington said firmly. “Only a man could make a noise like that on cue.”
Lucius gasped in spite of himself. They had made the paper?
On cue, the flames in the indoor fire pit flared up and Selwyn strode through, still in his pajamas. “Have you seen this?”
“Are you both mad?” Narcissa spluttered.
Lucius met the other man’s gaze and they both began chuckling.
“This could be seen as a violation of your parole!” Narcissa managed to squeak out as she tried to clear her throat.
“Oh, I doubt it,” Selwyn pooh-poohed her. “There’s no harm done.”
“What about the platter?” Narcissa asked, frowning.
“She fixed that!” Lucius pointed out. “It even says so right here!”
“Well, now we know that that noise was.” Selwyn snickered.
Narcissa rolled her eyes. “If you go back to Azkaban don’t come crying to me.”
“Fine.” Lucius agreed.
Narcissa made an exasperated noise before picking up her teacup and plate and stalking from the room.
“What’s with her?” Selwyn asked.
“She’s always a grouch before her third cup of tea,” Lucius said before turning back to the paper. “Can you believe Hellstone Herrington’s wife called the papers?”
“Oh, I doubt that,” Selwyn chuckled. “She belongs to the same social club as that Edgecomb creature. It’s her name on the article.”
Lucius peered at the paper. “So it is. Hmm.”
“Lucius! Have you seen—“ Rowle came tumbling through the Floo, waving a newspaper wildly. “Oh. I see you have.”
“Completely unexpected, but it doesn’t sound as if they’re trying to hunt down the culprits,” Lucius said, scratching his chin.
“Would have been better if we’d actually gotten the good Judge instead of his silly bint of a wife.” Rowle snorted. “Did you read the part about the platter?”
Lucius snickered. “Well, it is nice to know that she could fix it, and that vandalism isn’t on our list of charges.”
“So far.” Rowle shrugged. “The day is still young.”
They both had a hearty chuckle as the men sat down to join Lucius for breakfast.
“Who next, who next?” Crabbe was practically bouncing with excitement.
“What about Gideon? He gave me all of that trouble over my snapdragons!” Rowle suggested.
“That was your own fault!” Selwyn protested. “You live in a high-Muggle area and there was far too much snap in them! That poor woman’s wig will never be the same!”
“It was a stupid hairdo, anyway.” Crabbe grumbled.
“Potter?” Rowle suggested in a joking tone. He was rewarded with a slap to the back of his head by Selwyn. “I was just kidding!”
“What—“ Goyle had a fit of giggles. “What about McGonagall?”
“Hogwarts is charmed against malicious entrance by Floo,” Selwyn sighed.
“Well, it’s not really malicious, is it?” Crabbe pointed out. “Severus seems to be able to get here and back.”
“He does it from Hogsmede,” said Rowle. “Sometimes he gets a room there. Doesn’t like going back to the castle drunk.”
Lucius nodded. “Where is he, anyway?”
“Something about detention,” Goyle said with a grin.
Lucius sighed. “His preoccupation with forcing students to work without the use of magic borders on disturbing.”
“It wouldn’t hurt to try,” Crabbe urged, changing the subject back to the problem at hand. “The Floo won’t respond if we can’t do it.”
Lucius shrugged. “Someone else do it this time. I’m not sticking my bum in there.”
“I’ll do it!” Rowle said, a little too enthusiastically.
“Make sure you don’t fall in. Wouldn’t do to show up at Hogwarts with your trousers around your ankles. There’s a list for people like that.”
“You shut it,” Rowle growled as Lucius threw a handful of powder at the Floo. “McGonagall’s office, Hogwarts!”
There was no need to garner attention to the fireplace; the shriek was almost immediate, and far louder than expected. It startled Rowle so much that he pitched forward and landed on the carpet as the flames died down.
The former Death Eaters roared with laughter as Rowle struggled to get his trousers up.
“You must have stuck it straight in her face!” Goyle wheezed.
“Well, that’s enough to make anyone yell.” Crabbe gasped for breath. “Oh, dear God. What have we done?”
“I sincerely hope she doesn’t have a heart attack,” Selwyn admitted. “She’d be just the type to come back as a ghost, just so she could hunt us down.”
After some time, the Death Eaters composed themselves enough to make their way to the kitchens to get something to eat.
As they were starting to dig in, flames erupted in the fireplace.
“What have you done?” Severus barked.
“Us?” Rowle said a little too innocently.
“Well, first of all, if any of the students of Hogwarts get a hold of you, you had better have your things in order.” Severus growled.
“Why?” Goyle made a face of dawning realization. “She’s blaming the students?”
“After they see none of the House fireplaces were used they’ll be free to do as they wish, but for now it’s straight to bed after dinner. No clubs. No library. No Quidditch.”
All of the others winced at this.
“Can you do something to speed up the investigation?” Crabbe asked.
“What are you looking for? Notoriety?” Snape snapped.
“Slytherin was up this year. I have twenty galleons down for them to sweep the season.” Selwyn frowned.
Snape huffed for a moment. “I’ll see what I can do.”
“What happened on your end, anyway?” Lucius asked curiously.
“She was trying to get a fire kindled for a Peppy Potion,” Snape said with a grumble. “Jumped back, knocked her hat into the fire, which, of course, had decided to start after all, upset a tea service, and nearly made the Ravenclaw prefect wet himself.”
The laughing started all over again.
“I don’t suppose you were anywhere nearby?” Selwyn asked hopefully.
“Sadly, no.” Snape said regretfully. “I was working.”
“In the dungeons with some filthy student, no doubt.” Crabbe leered. Snape gave him a dirty look.
“You never fail to disappoint me with your bad decision making,” Snape hissed.
“Well, if she’s checking the common room fireplaces they don’t know where it originated from,” Rowle pointed out.
“It was a bad idea using such a high-profile hearth,” Selwyn admitted.
“We’ll be more careful next time.” Crabbe assured him.
“Are you sure this is a good idea?” Selwyn asked warily.
“She won’t have her wand at the ready, waiting for it,” Lucius said sympathetically, a brandy sifter sloshing in his hand. “You’ll be in and out before she knows what’s happening.”
Crabbe was crouched in front of the fireplace, his trousers around his knees.
“You had better be right about this,” Crabbe grumbled. Rowle threw a handful of Floo powder into the hearth rather flamboyantly. “Longbottom Manor!”
Green flames leapt up and Crabbe poked his bottom through the hearth.
“Hey, you!” Rowle barked through the ear horn.
Suddenly, Crabbe shrieked and leapt forward.
“What happened? What did she do? Are you all right?” The questions were coming from all directions.
Crabbe turned to try to look at his own backside and failed. Lucius walked around the man to get a better look and he let out a choked sound.
“What is it?” Crabbe wailed. “What’s she done to me?!”
The other former Death Eaters scrambled for a better look and all of them had the same reaction, for upon the arse of Octavius Crabbe was a blazing red brand in the shape of a fireplace poker.
“Most people don’t know there was an incident at Hogwarts, but I’ve known Minerva for years and she tipped me off.” Mrs. Longbottom, who is known for her fiery personality, had been prepared for the perpetrators. “I didn’t know if I’d be nearby if it happened, but Longbottoms are always prepared for a fight!”
A spilled teakettle was the only damage reported.
Lucius waited for the laughing to die down before he scowled. “Are you quite done?”
“No,” Narcissa hiccupped. “Never!”
This only caused him to scowl further.
“How is poor Otto?” Narcissa giggled.
“Severus made him a salve. No harm done.” Lucius shrugged. “Besides, the papers aren’t trying to make it out to be something serious. “No one will be looking for us.”
The men filed out of Lucius’ study, giggling maniacally.
“I see no one is injured,” Narcissa commented. “What did you do this time?”
“Jinks was holding a dinner party for Ministry nobs,” Rowle said, barely able to contain himself. “Trumpets played fanfare whenever someone came through the Floo!”
“For the love of Merlin—“
“Oh, come on, Cissy,” Lucius said cloyingly. He smelled of brandy and spice and he knew his warm breath on her neck was her kryptonite. “It’s just a bit of fun. We don’t even use magic. Technically.”
“They can’t finger us from our wands, that’s for certain.” Selwyn nodded sagely.
Narcissa sighed dramatically. “I don’t know why I bother wasting my breath. You never listen to me.”
Lucius kissed her on the cheek. “I love you, too.”
Another sighting of the Floo Flashers came last night from Ottery St. Catchpole at the home of Ministry official Arthur Weasley.
“I know there have been rumors floating about, but now I can absolutely say no Weasleys are involved,” Mrs. Weasley insisted. “I’d recognize one of mine any day of the week!”
Mrs. Weasley, who fended off the hooligans with a stiff-bristle broom, had already called St. Mungo’s to alert them to anyone matching the culprit’s description before Aurors arrived to take her report.
“Well, the rumor mill chewed that one up and spit it out, didn’t it?” Lucius remarked to Narcissa, who just rolled her eyes at him. “I thought we’d be able to peg it on them for at least a few weeks.”
“They’re going to figure it out sooner or later,” Narcissa said as she sipped at her tea.
“Not if we quit.” Lucius squirmed uncomfortably. Narcissa fixed him with a stare, but he just shrugged as if he didn’t know what he was thinking, even suggesting a thing like that. “It could happen.”
“Yes, when one of you gets hexed so badly you end up at St. Mungo’s!” She gave him an irritated look.
“But, look! They’ve even given us a name!” Lucius pointed it out.
“They gave you a name last time, too. See how well that turned out.” She snorted. “All I can say is that I’m happy Draco is out of the house. Merlin only knows what you’d have him up to.”
Lucius began chuckling, in spite of himself.
“Whoever it is, they knew where I was! They clearly yelled ‘Malfoy’ before it just came out of the fireplace!”
Lucius howled with laughter at his wife’s expression.
“I don’t know what’s wrong with you, but I’m sure it has a very long name.” She put the paper down.
“Well, no one will think it’s coming from here, that’s for sure,” Lucius said firmly. “Our son let out a shriek that could have been heard around the world.”
Narcissa snickered in spite of herself. “Why is he spending so much time at Potter’s, anyway?”
“Something to do with the World Cup.” Lucius shrugged. “But he was a victim. There were witnesses. And Rowle even got his shot at Potter, like he wanted.”
“It’s no wonder he’s so high strung when his own father convinces him he’s being stalked.” Narcissa scowled.
“All right, all right,” Lucius muttered.
“Whoever they are, they’re completely out of control!”
The Minister reported a sighting of the infamous Floo Flashers yesterday evening in the accounting department at the Ministry of Magic. There was one injury due to a fainting spell, but Arthur Weasley reports his third eldest is doing just fine.
“It wasn’t us this time, I swear!” Lucius held both his hands up.
Narcissa regarded him suspiciously for a moment. “Then who is it?”
“I have no idea, but you know where I was last night.” He gave her a randy grin.
Narcissa rolled her eyes at her husband.
“You know, if you keep doing that you’ll end up stuck that way,” he remarked.
“How do you know it wasn’t the others?” She demanded.
“Rowle and Selwyn went to a show, Severus had detention, Crabbe was stuck at his mother-in-law’s, and Goyle… I don’t know what he was doing, but I doubt he could have pulled it off by himself.” Lucius sighed. “I don’t know what to tell you.”
Narcissa shook her head. “It was only a matter of time before it caught on. Remember the Seventies?”
Lucius choked on his tea. “The Quidditch World Cup in Italy?”
“I had no idea you could run that fast.” She giggled.
“They’d have caught me if Lestrange hadn’t had that invisibility cloak at the ready.” Lucius snorted.
Narcissa sighed. “I had no idea it would go on for this long.”
“There were quite a few years in between!” Lucius protested. “And there was no rubber monkey mask this time.”
Narcissa gave him an exasperated look.
“Or Ministry officials in pursuit,” Lucius chuckled.
“Well, they’re in pursuit of someone.” Narcissa raised her eyebrows.
“Just as long as it isn’t me this time.” Lucius smiled as he sipped at his cup.
“I’ll cop to the incident at Gringotts, but none of the others were me! I swear it!”
After years of living in hiding, Ludovic Bagman was finally detained by Ministry officials following a Floo incident at the popular Wizarding Bank.
“He’s still alive?” Narcissa asked blankly.
“Apparently he’d been living as a Muggle in Dublin until this all started.” Lucius gave the paper an amused look. “Couldn’t resist.”
Narcissa began to snicker. “Well, it serves him right!”
“The goblins are already petitioning the Ministry to release him into their custody.” Lucius turned the page. “I doubt Shacklebolt will agree.”
“Thank heaven for that,” Narcissa said as she buttered a piece of toast. “The Bagmans have always been a respectable family. It wouldn’t do for one of them to pull them all down.”
Lucius pondered this over for a moment before his forehead wrinkled.
“Lucius, as much as I think your little adventures are misguided, Bagman was wanted for embezzling and fraud. No one is going to hand you over to the goblins.” Narsissa snickered in spite of herself.
Lucius visably relaxed. “I suppose so.”
The Floo Flashers were gathered in Lucius’ den. Selwyn had transfigured the desk into a snooker table and was trying to take a trick shot. He failed and the ball popped off the table and rolled across the floor.
“So, who’s next?” Lucius asked.
“How about your wife’s bridge club upstairs,” Crabbe snickered.
“I don’t want to get hexed, thank you very much,” Lucius said primly.
“They’d all catch on if they heard us laughing down here and a silencing spell would make them suspicious.” Snape added. “I don’t relish the idea of being beaten to death with a bridge table.”
“Hell of an obituary, though,” Goyle said with a grin. There was an explosion of laughter from above, as if the women had heard him. “See, even they agree.”
“What about Shacklebolt?” Rowle asked. The others looked as if he were daft. He only shrugged. “He’d think it was funny.”
“He probably would,” Selwyn said with a sneer. “Not even worth the effort.”
“What about Carrington?” Crabbe suggested.
“What? That bloke that wrote the laws on Muggle baiting?” Goyle asked. “Isn’t he in a home?”
“He’s probably so blind at this point he’d never notice,” scoffed Lucius.
The men turned to the fireplace to see a bare arse pointed at them. A fetching arse. A ladylike arse. An arse that made a very unladylike noise before it disappeared.
There was an uncontrollable roar of laughter from upstairs and what sounded like hands slapping together.
Lucius burst out laughing while the others stared at the fireplace in shock.
“Should we report it?” Crabbe asked nervously.
“Probably not. They’ll figure out that we know it’s the girls rather quickly, I think. It would make us even more suspicious when the women of the Halloway Lane Bridge Club start bragging about it.” Lucius sighed. “We know them. Why report it unless we were trying to cover something up?”
“They would do that, wouldn’t they?” Selwyn asked with an unfamiliar look of amusement on his face.
“Doesn’t count if it’s an inside job.” Goyle said firmly.
“So we have rules now?” Crabbe asked.
“Yes.” Lucius said firmly. “We do.”
Floo Flasher Charter
Don’t talk about the Flashers.
No unapproved Flashings.
It doesn’t count if it’s an inside job.
Don’t get cocky.
“They’re probably never going to fully recover, you know.”
Narcissa just kept giggling. “At least we never made the paper.”
“Well, we didn’t when we got you, either,” Lucius said grumpily.
“You look disappointed there’s nothing in the Prophet today.” Narcissa pouted.
“Not even a copycat.” Lucius sighed. “We’re losing our touch.”
Narcissa sighed right back at him.
“Oh, stop it! You know this is the only entertainment we get!”
“I saw a perfectly good snooker game going on and everyone managed to keep their pants on.” Narcissa pointed out.
“If you say it was good, you weren’t paying attention,” Lucius said as he sipped at his tea.
“No yelling, everyone clothed. My standards have sunk pretty low these days.”
As amusing as people seem to think it is, we’re looking at the perpetrators the same as we would sexual predators. It’s obvious this is just the first step to something far more sinister.
“This is outrageous!” Lucius bellowed.
“Seems like a stretch to me,” Narcissa said as she sipped at her cup. “Who’s behind it?”
“There isn’t a name attatched to the quote.” Lucius grumbled.
Green flames leapt up in the fireplace and a figure stepped through. A figure wearing a fluffy-pink robe, fuzzy yellow slippers, and an inordinate amount of curlers.
“Did you see this?!”
Lucius stared at the figure and blinked furiously.
Narcissa choked back a laugh. “We just saw it, Emma.”
Emma Goyle stood there looking helpless for a moment. “Well, what do we do?”
“We don’t even know who or what happened,” Narcissa pointed out. “I know no one in this room went poking their arses through the Floo in the last few days.”
“They weren’t like this last week,” Lucius pointed out. “They can’t be talking about any of us.”
Emma opened and closed her mouth for a moment before looking guilty.
“What do you know?” Narcissa demanded.
“Well…” Emma had a pained look on her face. “There may have been an incident yesterday afternoon…”
Lucius tried not to snicker in spite of himself. Narcissa whacked him on the shoulder. “It’s not funny!”
“We went on for weeks! You birds lasted less than four days!” Lucius laughed.
Emma blushed and looked uncomfortable.
“What happened?” Narcissa asked calmly.
“Well… you know how uptight Ingrid Scrimgeour is…” Emma faltered.
“What were you thinking!” Narcissa squeaked. “She’s head of the Coalition for Decency!”
Lucius laughed harder as Narcissa threw him a look.
“Did you really think it was a good idea to poke your arse through her Floo?” Narcissa demanded.
“Well… that’s not what happened… exactly…” Emma squirmed.
“What did you stick through the Floo?” Lucius asked.
“Well, we still had some favors left over from Kelly Zabini’s bridal shower…” she faltered.
Narcissa went pale. “Did you do what I think you did?”
“Well, we had an extra… thingy—“
Lucius burst out laughing.
“You stuck a thingy through the Floo of the head of the Coalition of Decency?!” Narcissa squeaked. “Are you insane?”
“Well… not so much ‘stuck it through,’ per se…” Emma winced. “More like ‘threw and accidentally hit her upside the head with it.’”
Lucius began gasping for air, sounding a lot like a seal with a flipper caught in a door. Narcissa groaned.
“Then the dog got a hold of it…”
Narcissa buried her head in her hands as Lucius tried his best not to fall out of his chair.
“What were you thinking?” Narcissa squeaked.
“I don’t remember. That was alotoffirewhisky ago.” Emma mumbled.
“Well, don’t do anything else!” Lucius choked out. “Let one of the copycats get caught.”
Narcissa nodded. “I think it’s probably for the best.”
“It was all Lucius Malfoy’s fault! It never would have come to this if it wasn’t for him!”
Lucius choked on his tea and Narcissa had to pound him on the back.
“For the love of Merlin, if they were going to arrest you they’d have been here before it hit the papers!”
Lucius managed to gain his composure and continued reading the newspaper.
Mr. Goyle confessed all of his crimes without incident, but claimed the assault on Mrs. Scrimgeour was a copycat crime.
“Well, at least we’re not going to go to Azkaban for sexual assault.” Lucius let out a breath. “Should I go turn myself in?”
Narcissa shrugged. “It might be a good idea. It could even repair part of the family’s reputation.”
“I suppose it couldn’t hurt. They could question us on our intentions and we could get the fraternizing charges dropped. That’s the worse they could charge us with. General mischief isn’t a violation of our parole, just malicious. There was nothing malicious in what we did.”
Narcissa sighed. “Good luck, dear. Do owl me if they detain you.”
Lucius managed to control himself as a roar of laughter filled the room.
“We’re going to have to charge you a deliquency fine. I’m sorry, Lucius.”
Lucius stiffened at the use of his first name. How familiar was Potter with Draco, anyway?
His eyes flittered to Potter's hands and the paperwork outlining his offenses. “A fine?” Lucius’ brain finally caught up. He sighed in relief. “I hope it’s nothing unreasonable.”
“Two hundred galleons.” Potter said regretfully. “It was the lowest we could go.”
Lucius winced. “Can I just be charged for the ones where my arse was involved?”
“Sorry,” Potter said sympathetically. “At least we got the fraternization charges dropped. Besides, you should see what McGonagall did to Snape. You got off easy.”
“And that would be?” Lucius asked, his curiosity overruling his dislike for Potter.
“Something about a tricky little charm that transfigures inanimate objects into small rodents when the charmed person touches them. Apparently breakfast at Hogwarts was quite the Place to Be this morning.” Potter smirked.
Lucius chuckled in spite of himself. “Had to eat with his hands? That little trick of hers was legend when I was at Hogwarts.”
“When his teacup transfigured both he and the rat were drenched. The rat was so mad it bit him.” Potter snickered.
“I understand her need to irritate him, but that’s cruel!” Lucius frowned.
“It was her favorite hat,” Potter pointed out.
“Will you take a bank note or do I have to go to Gringotts?”
“A note will be fine,” Potter nodded. “We know you’re good for it.” Lucius began patting his robes down. “By the way…”
Lucius looked at the other man suspiciously. There was always a catch.
“You should hear our new piece for the Wizarding Wireless.” Potter brought out a small Muggle micro-recorder. “It’s really something else.”
He clicked a button and the machine whirred into motion. An announcers voice boomed out of it.
“Coming to you next summer: The Quidditch World Cup: Destination Barbados!”
A short jingle played before Potter’s voice came out of the recorder.
“We’re working very hard to make sure security is on top of things this year. Last year went without incident before everyone got carried away and started a wave of shooting stars.”
Lucius heard Draco chuckle.
“Of course we’re pleased that the only incident was in good nature, but the fallout was a risk to Wizarding Security.”
“We’re not against celebration, but it would be preferred they are done in Muggle-safe ways. Check your local joke shops for approved items.” Potter reminded the listener.
“With your help, we’ll make this the best and most comfortable gathering to date.” Draco sounded quite proud of himself.
“We’re all excited, but it’s in all of our best interests to manage your excitement. What do you think, Draco?”
Draco let out a shriek that made Lucius make a choking sound.
The jingle played again and the piece was over.
“It goes live tomorrow morning,” Potter said with an altogether too cheerful expression.
Lucius closed his eyes and shook his head. “I think I’ll keep that to myself. Make it a nice surprise for his mother.”
“I may go on holiday for a few days.” Potter snickered.
“Not a bad idea.” Lucius mulled it over. “Better she hears it when I’m not around.”
“Don’t forget to check in with your parole officer.” Potter reminded him. “Just a formality.”
“Do you foresee a problem?” Lucius asked Potter.
“They can’t do anything if we say so.” Potter snorted. “Keep your nose clean.”
When he left the office and closed the door behind him, he took a deep breath and let it out, trying to calm his anxiety.
Best to make himself scarce for the next few days. If not over the Floo Flashers, then because of the reason he was let off so easily.
Lucius hadn’t commented and Potter had said nothing. Perhaps he had even forgot he was wearing it, but it was something Lucius had not been able to overlook: the green flash of emerald chips set into a gold ring. His grandfather’s ring.
No wonder the pair had been spending so much time together.
Lucius got over his shock quickly as he realized this might entitle him to a superior box at the World Cup.
An excuse for a holiday and a luxury box at the Cup? For two hundred galleons? Perhaps it wasn’t such a bad day after all.
Thanks again to the women of TPP Chat for silly conversations and the order: ‘YOU write it!’ when I said a cracked-out conversation should be made into a fic.