Two Death Eaters Walk Into a Bar
The carriage ride to the Dark Lord's country villa was a hellish experience. Not only did the rocking of the buggy make Lucius Malfoy physically ill, he also had to listen to Draco whine about how carriages were so last century and why couldn't they just Apparate like normal Wizards and where was Mummy? Apparating to the Dark Lord's secret location was unthinkable; Voldemort would kill them, dispose of their bodies, and still have time to sample the appetizers before the Ministry's Aurors would even appear.
"You will remember to compliment Our Lord on His excellent decor and food, Draco," Lucius commanded.
Since Draco's birth, Lucius had been awaiting the day his son would follow in his footsteps. They had had several drawbacks over the years, such as Draco spending his time obsessing over Potter rather than studying, Draco being afraid of nipple clamps, Draco finding the Dark Mark unseemly. But in the same manner as he had believed his Lord would one day rise again (despite all of that dying business), Lucius found himself knowing with utmost certainty that Draco would make a fine Death Eater.
"Right, food, decor. 'Is this salmon? I love salmon.'"
Or perhaps not. Lucius' smirk slipped. "You will engage my peers in stimulating conversation," he hissed.
"Stimulate your peers, yeh," Draco said, staring down at the platter he was to present to Voldemort on his lap.
Lucius simply looked at him.
"What now?" Draco asked.
Lucius thought for a moment. "Don't hog the chips."
"Yes father," Draco nodded. Lucius scowled at him, but Draco didn't notice. He gingerly lifted the lid to the dish they were to offer. "What is this? It smells good."
"Moose Casserole," Lucius answered, idly studying his fingernails. Draco closed the lid, looking vaguely ill. "I've got Emu Goulash as well, it's in with the driver."
"Nice," Draco gagged.
"My Lord was insistent that I bring the Turtle Piquant. I hate to say it, but Frances Crabbe has a house-elf far superior to mine. Really, if it's a bad Turtle Piquant, it's a bad Turtle Piquant, and Weeble only has experience with French cuisine…" he trailed off.
There was a long silence.
"I think I'll just have the chicken soup," Draco whispered.
Lucius couldn't think of a Death Eater worth anything that ate chicken soup. "You will not," he said sharply. "You will eat your Emu Goulash, and you will be happy about it."
"Yes father," Draco said, although he didn't sound very convinced.
* The Malfoys, of course, arrived fashionably late. The festivities were already in full swing; over in one far end of the hall, next to the vomitorium, was a long table covered in dishes. With a nod at Draco and the house-elves to follow, Lucius crossed the room, chin up, eyeing his fellow Death Eaters. A handful of them swarmed round the Dark Lord, who didn't even look in Lucius' direction.
Lucius caught the back of Draco's dress robes with his cane as he saw his son start to edge towards the chip bowl. He gave Draco a warning look, but before he could begin to lecture him Crabbe Sr. wandered over.
"Lucius," he said cheerfully, his rank breath causing Lucius to wrinkle his nose distastefully, "so nice to see you!"
"Charmed," Lucius said snidely.
"I see you brought little Draco. Isn't it grand that the boys will all be Death Eaters together?"
Lucius glanced over at Crabbe's son, Vincent. The lad was wolfing down cupcakes like he wouldn't be fed again for another month. He had a smudge of pink frosting on his nose.
"Yes, it's fabulous," Lucius said, snorting. He tried turning around to get a look at Draco, but before he could Crabbe yanked on his arm to get his attention.
"Where's Narcissa?" Crabbe asked, eating a chip. "I don't see her."
Lucius glared at him. "She's in France," he snapped.
"Yeah, that's what they always say." He snickered and jovially slapped Lucius' shoulder so hard he nearly fell over.
"Pardon me?" Lucius sputtered, brushing himself off.
"Eh, you know. When the cat's away…" Crabbe grinned.
"No, I don't know," he seethed. "Please explain."
Crabbe blinked, sobering a little. "Um. See, when a wife is not… near her… husband… and the husband… looks like… yo-" He coughed.
"What are you implying?" Lucius demanded icily.
"Oh, look! Crackers!" Crabbe beamed, and stuffed a handful in his mouth. "These are really good, Lucius," he garbled, consequently spraying Lucius with soggy Ritz crackers. "Have some?" Crabbe's fleshy, hairy hand extended a few crushed crackers.
Lucius backed away slowly. "I think I'll pass."
Crabbe nodded, and Lucius took off. He scurried past a few more of his fellow members of Death Eater gentry, trying to locate Draco – who was probably off hoarding mini-soaps and shower caps from the men's lavatory, come to think of it. He passed Voldemort and his crowd, inadvertently catching snippets of conversation.
"If you ask me," Goyle was saying, sipping on a Shirley Temple with five or six cherries bobbing at the top, "he should have died. He would have been The Boy Who Died. That's what should have happened."
"Life is overrated," someone added, and several people nodded their agreement.
Lucius was seriously questioning the wisdom of his chosen social circle when, "Dad?" He spun to see Draco staring after him nervously, the front of his robes bulging.
"Don't talk to me until you put back the hand towels," Lucius warned. "I am in no mood."
Draco sheepishly reached into the front of his robes and pulled out a stack of the towels. He tossed them onto a nearby table. "They've got 'LVR' stitched onto them," he needled. "All we've got are those lousy 'Malfoy' ones, in the forest green. I hate those 'Malfoys'," he added passionately.
Lucius tried not to growl. Growling was obvious. "Do you even know what 'LVR' stands for?" he questioned shrilly.
"'Lord Voldemort Rules'," Lucius hissed, one of his eyes twitching dangerously. "In comparison, 'Malfoy' is a bloody sonnet."
Draco looked thoughtful. "But," he started quietly, and Lucius could practically *see* the wheels turning, "he does rule."
Lucius was wide-eyed. "Don't talk to me," he wheezed. Draco looked up at him, and Lucius was about to snarl, when he noticed Voldemort watching. "I love you, son," he choked out. "You perfect little Death Eater, you."
"Um," Draco said cleverly.
Pained, Lucius risked a glance at Voldemort, who was sneering with approval. The whole effect was rather spooky, because Voldemort didn't really have lips, per se. Lucius scowled back, inclining the head of his cane, and Voldemort snarled his acknowledgement.
"Dad?" Draco asked. "What the hell are you doing?"
Lucius stopped making cutthroat gestures long enough to answer. "Paying my respects."
"Okay," Draco said sombrely, but Lucius knew he was secretly amused.
"Don't look at me like that," he barked. "Try it out." He looked expectantly at Draco, who shifted under the scrutiny.
"I am not making funny faces at the Dark Lord, all right?"
"Yes you are, and they will be good."
Draco screwed his face up into a grimace and said something that sounded like "grr arg." Voldemort roared in response.
"Wonderful, son. I'm proud of you." Draco looked absolutely stumped, so Lucius changed the subject. "Have you been making the rounds?" he asked.
"Mhm," Draco nodded. He started ticking off names on his fingers, "I told Mrs. Crabbe that her hairstyle was simply divine, Greg came up to talk, and so I insulted his jacket, Helen McNair and I had a lengthy discussion on glasses, and how the majority of people who wear them are seriously fashion-inept…" he grinned broadly, obviously proud of himself.
"That's…" Lucius struggled for a word to express his horror, but Voldemort was still watching. "Nice."
"Great. Can I go charm the Dark Lord now?" Draco flashed another wide smile. "I promise I'll be the most evil Death-Eater-In-Training that he's ever seen."
Lucius considered. "Fine."
Draco pranced -- there was no other word for it -- up to the Dark Lord. Voldemort gazed at Draco with an odd mixture of hate and arrogance as Draco bowed and gave a charming Malfoy smirk.
"My Lord, I am prepared to do whatever it takes to be one of your faithful servants," Draco said, and Lucius thought perhaps this would turn out okay after all. "I can eat death like nobody's business."
The room fell silent. Lucius pondered the best way to first kill Draco, then himself.
Rushing forward, Lucius grabbed Draco's bony shoulder. "I'm terribly sorry, My Liege. Draco is just excited to finally be presented before you."
Voldemort raised an eyebrow. Or would have, if he had had any skin on his face. "I'm sure, Lucius."
"Neither Draco nor myself can wait for him to join the inner circle," he continued.
Voldemort took a pointed sip of his wine. Then, he hissed merrily, "Pity that won't be happening."
Lucius goggled. Draco squeaked. "What do you mean, My Lord?" Lucius asked, trying to sound concerned and confused at the same time. It was quite an effort, because his gaze kept travelling involuntarily to the sharp utensils displayed on a nearby table. "Surely you can find a place for my son in your exceptional ranks?"
"It's not that I can't, Malfoy, it's that I won't."
Lucius swelled like a peacock. "Begging your pardon?"
"Your son," Voldemort began, sizing Draco up, "is a complete idiot."
"Oh, most assuredly not!" Lucius gasped, horrified. "He has top-notch marks in Potions, and Charms, and…" Lucius looked back desperately at Draco for support.
Voldemort's slits narrowed shrewdly, until they almost resembled eyes. "Snape teaches Potions, yes?" Lucius nodded. "Ah, yes, it is no wonder. He always did fancy that type…"
"Excuse me?" Draco bristled. "I am not a type! I'm –" but Voldemort cut him off.
"And any half-wit with a fondness for custom accessories excels in Charms, Lucius."
"I'm third in Transfiguration," Draco said weakly. "That's not lip service."
"You change birds into goblets," Voldemort said bluntly. "Big deal. Crabbe can do that, can't you, Crabbe?"
Crabbe sneered. "Yes, Master. And cups, too."
Voldemort took a deep breath.
"But Crabbe is much more stupid than Draco!" Lucius protested. "And far less attractive!"
"Well," Voldemort snapped sarcastically, "that seals it! Let him in!"
Draco mumbled something under his breath that Lucius couldn't hear. "My Lord," he started, and couldn't think of anything. "My Lord, surely…"
"Lucius," Voldemort growled. "Do not push my good will."
"Yes, My Lord," Lucius mumbled, bowing his head. He grabbed Draco firmly by the arm and started to drag him away.
"That's it?" Draco whined. "We're just going to give up?"
"Yes, unless you have a masochistic fondness for the Cruciatus curse," Lucius hissed, stopping by one of the many tables of food. "In which case, I say go over there straight away, and demand to kill some dirty, rotten muggles!"
Draco looked appallingly thoughtful. "I could always get that Lestrange freak to do it for me," he said slowly. "Lord knows that she likes to be Crucio-ed…" Lucius swelled. Draco deflated. "I'm sorry, dad," he sighed, helping himself to a crab cake.
Lestrange walked by, followed closely by Mulciber and Avery. Lestrange was limping obviously, and Mucliber was muttering something about the Imperius curse.
Draco bit noisily into his crab cake. "These cakes are delicious," he said loudly, and all three Death Eaters turned around to stare at him, "but I'd much rather be eating death."
The three of them sniggered and wandered off.
Lucius fought the urge to strangle his one and only successor. "You are fighting a losing battle, boy."
Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.