9 July: Catching Up Who: Rodolphus and Rabastan Lestrange What: The brothers finally have a chance to catch up after everything last week with Bellatrix. All is not as it seems. When: 9 July, morning Where: Lestrange Park Warnings: Discussions of general Death Eater business, violence
In early July, the topiary yard of Lestrange Park was actually a lovely place for a quiet convalescence, green and shady and warm and entirely pleasant, as long as you weren't still mildly terrified of the massive topiary beasts. Which Rabbit was (with good reason; he'd seen what his mother's largest creations could do) and Rodolphus, it seemed, wasn't. In any case, the yard made an excellent place for a guaranteed private chat. Whatever the DMLE may have left behind in the rest of the house (and the elves were still going over the place with fine-toothed suspicion) they'd never have managed to secrete anything amidst Priscilla Lestrange's carefully trimmed megafauna. Flora. Whatever.
So Rabbit put on his sunglasses, ignored the greenery, and unfolded a deck chair next to his brother's in the shade of a sphinx rampant. "Good to have you home finally." Home, something like well, out from under the thumb of a DMLE who seemed pretty keen to watch them wriggle as long as they were able to…
“I am glad to be home.” Rodolphus was discharged yesterday afternoon. His mother had escorted him home along with a rather nervous looking hitwizard. Despite gentle suggestions otherwise, he had spent most of the night in his father’s study and pulling books from the family library. Searching. He was at least partially sure that his mother had orchestrated Rabbit’s visit if only for a reason to give him pause.
“While the so-called protective custody at the hospital wasn’t without it’s benefit, I am finding them to be more of a nuisance now.” Rodolphus was remarkably calm about all this. It was all just chess pieces on a board.
Rabbit huffed a little breath, not quite a snort and not quite a laugh. He'd not actually seen evidence of greater DMLE attention being paid to him, but he'd been very carefully and casually doing nothing untoward in the past few days--work, home, visiting his brother in Mungo’s and, incidentally, gossiping with the canteen workers about what had happened the other night--until he had a greater idea of what he should be doing and what he should be hiding from. Speaking of which... "Care to share what the fuck actually happened now? Please tell me this lot wasn't also part of the bloody plan."
“That depends on which part.” Rodolphus glanced over at his brother, weighing his words. He rarely kept things from Rabastan. “Even between us, I cannot speak of Bella’s motives.” The pulsing tattoo on his rest still a promise and reassurance that she was alive. Not that he knew where he was, but it wouldn’t be impossible to find her if he needed. “But I am also under no illusion. We all knew of what she was capable. I had just hoped it would have been a bit more refined.”
"Fuck her motives," Rabbit said succinctly. This wasn't the worst case scenario he'd come up with while thinking about how badly they needed to keep Bellatrix distracted, but it wasn't far from. Obviously he wasn't going to miss Mulciber, but it was a high price: the lot of them under scrutiny, and Bellatrix gone.
He looked sidelong at his brother, behind his sunglasses, and down at his wrist. He didn't know the precise details of their connection--preferred not to know what sort of kinky shit they were getting up to--but he knew it existed. That it mattered. That she mattered. "She didn't really attack you, did she?"
“We had a bit of a row.” There were certainly words, none so kindly shared between them, but she had gone off book. That would never sit well with Rodolphus. “At that point there was really only one way to proceed. She needed to leave and if I had any hope of staying behind, continuing what we started…” He shrugged. It was obvious to him, but it did require a certain level of commitment and perhaps a bit of insanity. For as dapper as he appeared, there was a darkness there.
Rabbit waited a moment, and when nothing further seemed to be forthcoming, his eyebrows twitched up. "What, is that it?" As though Bellatrix were any of their colleagues and not his love and partner and complement in a way that Rabbit knew he'd never find so why bother looking. Not that he expected his brother to dissolve in overwrought emotion--not Rodolphus Lestrange--but... "When we're done, she can come back, is that the plan?"
“That all depends on what happens next. For now, she serves as a contingency.” The wild blade was now their back up plan. These were desperate times. “The plan was always to dispose of Mulciber, that just leaves Avery and maybe Nott.” There was also the question of some of the other older generations. Of those who had lost their way. He hadn’t intentionally made a list, but one was quite easily created.
There were a lot of balls in the air. Not that Rabbit minded juggling, or tight-rope walking, or performing in general. It was just easier when they weren't doing all three at once. "You heard from either of them about all this?" Rabbit asked, genuinely curious. "Surely the old boys'll want to get their ranty pants on."
“Avery has never been particularly verbose, and I wouldn’t put it past Nott to have expected this outcome and is just waiting for the dust to settle.” There was still just enough rope to hang himself, but still plenty of space to maneuver and breathe. “I imagine in the next couple of days there will be contact, but for now I have some cover thanks to my helpful law enforcement officers.” Benefits and drawbacks. “Although, we do have some loose ends of our own to consider...”
For a moment, still caught up in the occluding violence of what Bellatrix had done, Rabbit wasn't sure what Rodolphus meant, and none of the options that sprang to mind seemed like. (All things considered, the extremely quiet and considered plans he'd been making with Clarissa seemed less loose and more tied off neatly and tucked away out of sight.) But eventually he sifted down through enough priorities to find-- "Oh. The rat?" Rabbit frowned a little; it had been a while since he'd considered Pettigrew. "I was vaguely wanting to get hold of him, get a grip on any lingering ill feeling over rough handling, but I was a bit distracted and then--" He waved a hand; and then they both got a lot distracted.
“I have agreed to keep him around on the hope he might be useful. I am now beyond hoping. He either needs to be useful and leads us to the horcruxes, or he will be killed.” His tone gave no room for argument. This whole exchange was rather clinical. “Are you able to carry this out?” Anyone else he might have given an order, but he earnestly asked Rabastan. This was his brother. There were actually times when blood was stronger.
Rabbit drummed his fingers against his thigh, shrugged a careless shoulder, considering his brother sidelong even as he considered the question. He could, he even would were it necessary--Pettigrew knew far too much about too many things, about him, to be allowed to flap about loose if he wasn't going to be tied down. He still thought there were ways they could use him, but he couldn't deny that Pettigrew was making the cost higher than was really practical. "Probably. Depends on if the DMLE keeps breathing down my neck." The close attention didn't make it impossible, just trickier. Of course, the more challenge, the more fun.
“Auror Travers does seem rather interested in what happens on the night shift.” She too was becoming far too bothersome than he cared. Rodolphus put up with her out of necessity. He still intended to live among society, that meant he needed to play by a certain set of rules. However, that was only so that he could be able to create and change the rules. “Perhaps we ought to ask her dear brother or sister a favor. Let her have some family troubles for once.”
Rabbit smiled, wide but not particularly pleasant. "There's a lovely thought. Almost poetic. Yeah, sure. With a bit of a reprieve there, I can handle the rat problem, one way or another." He settled more comfortably into his chair, casting an absently nervous glance up as a gentle breeze made the giant topiary sphinx shift. "What else is on your mind?" he asked.
Rodolphus considered the question. There were a great many things on his mind these days. However, they did seem to have a single unifying thread. “I am now most concerned in the path forward. How do we protect what we have and ensure future generations do not lose their traditions or connections to the past.” That was the fear of muggleborns and muggle lovers -- that they would destroy and degrade their community and culture. “And for as much as the Dark Lord was a big picture man, his execution left something to be desired.”
Rabbit, who was often all in favour of a bit of destruction and degradation, nodded thoughtfully. "That what you've been rummaging in Dad's books for?"
“Well, we have a horcrux, don’t you want to know what comes next?” And there were still others, but having one was a place to start. “How do you transfer that soul shard back into a body?” It was slightly more than a curiosity or academic pursuit.
Rabbit opened his mouth to say something along the lines of, you'd think the old blokes'd have a plan or instructions for that. And then his mind, always sifting and suggesting in any case, tossed up one sifted suggestion that went beyond the distracting into the downright horrifying. He just sat for a moment, mouth open, until he coughed and went with, "Interesting point. Found anything?"
“Not yet, but it’s only a matter of time.” And suddenly he was blessed with an abundance of time. His wife had fled to places unknown. He would be taking a sabbatical from work. Really Rodolphus just had his hobbies to fill his time now.
Rabbit turned to look at his brother, then shrugged a shoulder and said, "Can I help? Behaving myself is boring."
“Are you actually volunteering for research? Or actually saying that you’re up to start poking around exactly what Nott might know and isn’t telling us?” Rodolphus assumed the latter. “That is assuming you can behave just a little. It would be quite a tragedy if Nott met the same fate as Mulciber.”
A safe assumption on Rodolphus's part; finding things out from books had never been Rabbit's style, even back at school. "Well, I can certainly behave myself better than Trixie," was all Rabbit said, in a tone that suggested it wasn't precisely hard. "I can poke. Anywhere you particularly want me to start?"
“Nott has kept things close. He most certainly knows more than he is sharing.” Edward Nott was the head curse breaker at Gringott’s. “You could always take him out for dinner or drinks and try to woo him.” Rodolphus grinned, his tone far more brotherly, teasing. “As I’m not sure Avery is quite your type.”
The shift in tone was both a relief--there was his brother, after all--and unexpected. Rabbit's laugh was more like a cough. "Bloody hell," he muttered, suitably horrified, though he rallied and followed up with, "I do like fogging up glasses." A salacious lift of his eyebrows above the rim of his sunglasses, a sidelong grin.
Rodolphus shook his head. “Would that count as a standard or preference?”
"Kink," Rabbit corrected, grin falling naturally into lazy and wicked as he stretched in the sun creeping around the topiary. "Everything is a kink if you do it right."
It was easy, and it was comfortable, and he could almost forget his unease, his uncertainty, at earlier parts of the conversation. At how his brother was acting.