Who: Rabastan Lestrange and Fabian Prewett What: Condolences (or something like it) at the funeral of Corvus Lestrange When: 8th February, 2019 Where: Lestrange Estate, Kent Warnings: Language
The funeral had been planned with extensive assistance from Narcissa Malfoy, so of course even the weather was perfect. (She regularly got Rabbit to behave himself; the prevailing winds of early February were hardly a stretch.) The sky's blue was a little pale, the sun rather thin and watery, but it was just enough to give the impression that perhaps it wasn't ridiculously stupid to be out on the terrace rather than inside the lesser ballroom.
Since Corvus Lestrange was laid out in there in posthumous state, Rabbit needed very little encouragement to be elsewhere. He couldn't avoid the whole thing entirely, even he knew that--not this, and not the actual interring later. (The Lestranges held to the old and paranoid traditions; no one but family knew where your bones were actually laid.) But out here there were fewer stuffy society wankers wanting to hold forth sententiously about his father's sterling fucking qualities while they silently weighed up how disappointed Corvus must have been with his younger son. (As though they could even imagine the half of it.) So Rabbit leaned against the stone balustrade of the terrace with his collar turned up against the still-chill wind, staring down the park like there was something of interest in the winter-bare woods.
There was suddenly a flask in the edges of his vision, and when Rabbit glanced back to see who was offering it, it was Fabian. "Once again," he said, "my condolences." He lowered his voice to barely above a whisper, "and my congratulations, as appropriate." He continued in a more normal tone, in case they were being watched, "How are you holding up? It's been a difficult week or so, I know."
An eyebrow ticked up as Rabbit considered--both the flask and the one offering it--but a corner of his mouth had also curled up, and he didn't consider all that long before he turned around, leaning back against the balustrade instead. "I'm coping. It's not been without its silver linings," he said; the troubled nature of Rabbit's relationship with his late father was hardly a secret, but Fabian knew even more of its intricacies--and certainly its history--than many. Rabbit accepted the flask, lifting it with a brief, "Cheers," before he took a swig.
Fabian's expression couldn't be described as a smile, exactly, but there was a softness about it that couldn't be concealed, certainly not from Rabbit, who had known him forever and had learned his face before Fabian had internalised all the tricks of the Aurors and the Solicitors' Guild in hiding it. "There's a lot less to worry about," Fabian agreed. With his father gone, Rabbit was unlikely to be cut off; he got on with Rodolphus far better than he ever had with his father. "I wanted to offer my condolences privately. I feel as though I should have got hold of you sooner, but under the circumstances, it seemed as though you might have enough on your shoulders just now. So I waited. But I'm here for you, even when I'm not physically present."
"Are you now?" Innocuous enough phrase, but there was just enough smirk on Rabbit's face--and in his voice--to limn the words with innuendo. The smirk widened into a smile, everything always a joke with Rabastan Lestrange, and he took another swig before offering the flask back. "Don't even know what I'm going to do with myself," he said lightly, "if I'm not bothered about what's pissing the old bastard off." Lightly, truthfully, obliquely; so many certainties of life had perished.
"So many changes with the old man gone," Fabian agreed, which could have been any of the old men: Rabbit's father, Dumbledore, or Voldemort himself. "Here's to a better future, then." He raised the toast and drank a sip, offering it back to Rabbit.
"A better future," Rabbit repeated with a lazy smile. "That sounds dangerous." But he accepted the flask, lifted it for another sip. "What's on the horizon for you, then?"
"Me? It's not my life that's going to change that much, Mr-now-heir-to-Lestrange-Estate," Fabian pointed out. He hadn't done any of the wards work on the estate here, but he knew in detail how it was done and how things would have fallen, and be falling, and landing on Rabbit's shoulders. "But if my life is changing, I hope it's the change that brings you back round to the Octave more. I haven't seen enough of you of late."
Rabbit pulled a face at mention of the h-word. Just because it was true didn't mean he had to like it. At least it was only interim. A stop-gap. Dolly and Trixie would breed, and everyone would be free of the hideous possibility that Rabbit would end up in charge of everything.
The rest of it was more interesting. "What," Rabbit asked, far too smirking and sly to be serious, "have you missed me?"
Fabian could be serious when he needed to. Here, he tilted his head, quirked the corner of his mouth, and met Rabbit's gaze. "You only ever get what you try for." A long beat then he added, "A little."
Rabbit laughed, brief but genuine, and nuts to any disapproving watchers. "Sure I do," he said, grinning. He took another long swig, eyes amused but considering on Fabian, before handing the flask back. "That better be the last for me," he noted. "Can't have me telling people what I really think, today of all days."
Fabian took it, had a last sip against the chill of February in Kent, and put the flash away. "No, come round later and tell me instead. I'll just laugh, which is all they deserve anyhow." Leaning back against the balustrade, side by side with Rabbit, there was the old familiarity: the same head tilt, the same sly smirk. They might almost have been nineteen again instead of twenty-nine. Or better yet, eighteen.
They weren't, of course. All those years--and everything they contained--still lay in ambush, however tempting the path may look. (And what if all the things Rabbit had been doing with those years had just evaporated? What if, with the Dark Lord dead, it was all over? What then?)
Unwise to even think too hard about such things, with Fabian this close, and no doubt watching. And not everything had evaporated. "That sounds far more entertaining than the family nonsense I'll probably be doing instead," Rabbit said lightly. Family nonsense he'd have been well inclined to skive off from, had it just been his parents he'd be leaving in the lurch. Supporting Rodolphus was a slightly different question.
Fabian shrugged, still watching with that tilted look, fond and regretful. "You deserve to be happy for a change."
Rabbit's sardonic little smile was nothing but reflex. "And that would be--"
So busy watching Fabian, he didn't register the French doors opening, the black-draped figure stepping out, until he was interrupted.
"Rabastan." Priscilla Lestrange stood in the doorway back into the ballroom, slight and cold and elegant as the skin of ice on a fountain. Her crisp blue eyes--shades of which both her sons had inherited--passed cool and measuring from Rabbit to Fabian. "Apologies, Mr Prewett," she said, little sorrow and less softness in her voice. "I require my son."
Fabian was upright, his expression sombre, before Rabbit's mother had finished his name. "Of course, madam," he said easily. "And again, I'm sorry for your loss." His neck-bow was perfectly deferential, which was undoubtedly even more annoying than if he'd been ill-mannered. Instead, he was as good at accepting her pretense of regret as she was at presenting it. Perhaps better, since he actually regretted Rabbit's departure and she could hardly regret claiming her errant nestling from his dangerous clutches.
"Suck-up," Rabbit muttered, as he pushed off the balustrade. That seemed to be it, in terms of leave-taking. Rabbit shoved his hands in his pockets as he crossed the terrace. Though as once he'd stepped past his mother, back inside, and she was reaching for the door handle again, Rabbit looked back, over his shoulder, at Fabian.
And then he turned back to his duties, or a reasonable facsimile thereof.