dgfiaexchange (dgfiaexchange) wrote in dgficexchange,

Murder at Malfoy Manor, for javastix

Prompt #13
For javastix
Murder at Malfoy Manor
Rating: Hard R
Possible Spoilers/Warnings: Character death (neither Draco nor Ginny).
Author's Notes: I hope this at least captures the tone requested if it doesn’t quite fulfill the prompt (Blaise is missing, for starters). Originally Draco was going to be much more inaccessible to Ginny, but then the Veritaserum entered the picture and the fic ran away with me….I hope you like it anyway!
Summary: An party, a murder, a mystery.

           Lucius was frozen. His heart pounded, but he could not move: his arms were locked against the armrests of his chair, his spine ramrod straight, his head fixed forward. His skin tingled with the force of the magic. For a moment he was certain he was imagining it—the cold steel against his neck—but then the sword sliced through. Skin and sinew and bone parted, and blood spilled, and Lucius could feel the gurgling in his throat, could see the red droplets splash across the ledger on his desk. He gasped, his eyes rolled, and then Lucius could no longer feel or see a thing.


               “No, no, a little higher, and a little to the left. Yes, that’s it. Perfect!”
           Lulu the house elf hopped off her ladder, and scurried across the parlor floor to stand alongside Ginny Weasley—not yet the mistress of Malfoy Manor, but soon to be. The two of them stepped back, taking in the final touches of an afternoon spent festooning the manor with ribbons and flowers and silver beads and floating candelabras, all in preparation for the engagement party scheduled for that evening. Ginny was dressed in jeans and a sweater, her red hair tied back neatly with a spare piece of ribbon. She did not look as though she ought to inherit Madam Narcissa’s place, if Lulu were to be honest, but she certainly gave clearer instructions than Madam Narcissa did.
           As they admired their work, the doorbell rang, a shrill and urgent sound like a whistling teapot. Lulu nearly toppled in her rush towards the door. “That will be the guests, and Miss Ginny is not ready yet, Miss Ginny is not even dressed!” she fretted.
           “That’s all right,” said Ginny easily. “It’s only Tonks, I’m sure. She’s always early.” Ginny rubbed her grimy hands on her jeans and wrinkled her nose. “Will you send her up to my room? I’m going to dress now, and I could use her help. And if anyone else arrives early, just send them in here, please? And bring out the drinks and hors d’oeuvres? I don’t know where Narcissa is—will you look for her when you get a chance? She’ll want to be downstairs when my parents arrive. Oh, and, Lulu?”
            The little house elf was rocking from the balls of her feet back to her heels, impatient for the door. “Yes, Miss Ginny?”
           “Send some crackers up to my room, please? I need something to settle my stomach, I think.” 

           The crackers arrived with Tonks—she tossed them onto the marbled-topped vanity before throwing herself gleefully onto the giant canopied bed. In the mirror, Ginny raised one eyebrow. “Don’t break anything,” she admonished. “I’m not sure I won’t be held responsible for the repair costs. We’re not married yet, you know.”
“Surely that thing has got to count for something?” Tonks waggled her fingers at the ring on Ginny’s left hand—four diamonds flanking an enormous emerald in a platinum gold setting. “A down payment of sorts, for clumsy friends?” As she said the words, Tonks pulled on a dangling black tassel and sent the bed curtains swirling shut, closing off all four sides of the bed with forest green drapes. “Oof! It’s dark in here!”
           “Get out of there and come do something useful. I need help buttoning.”
           When Tonks emerged Ginny had partially slipped into a silver silk dress, the back of which was dotted with tiny black buttons carved in the shape of roses.
           “Merlin’s balls,” Tonks announced grimly. “That is quite the dress.”
           Ginny laughed. “It was Draco’s great-grandmother’s. You’ll see, it looks better when it’s all done up.”
           Tonks dropped to her knees and reached for the bottommost buttons at the small of Ginny’s back. “While I’m down here, is there anything else my lady needs assistance with?” she asked cheekily.
           “Oh, don’t!” Ginny said. She had been laughing before, but now her voice cracked, and Tonks looked up in a hurry. She could see Ginny’s face reflected in the mirror, suddenly twisted with anxiety. “I have to hear my mother admire all of the things again, and my father is going to spend the whole night glowering at me, and Ron is still not speaking to me, and on top of it Lucius and Narcissa will sniff through the whole thing! Don’t you start on me too!”
           “Ginny!” Tonks laughed, startled at her friend’s intensity. “Calm down! I’m sure it will be fine,” she added, standing slowly as she worked her way up the back of the dress. “They know you love each other, and they certainly like each of you, even if they don’t like each other. It won’t be like my parents, I promise—”
           “My father does not like Draco Malfoy,” said Ginny testily. “He tolerates him, certainly. He’s surprised how congenial Draco can be down at the pub or while watching a Quidditch match. But you know he wishes I were marrying Harry. And you know Lucius Malfoy wishes the exact same thing.”
           Tonks had finished. The dress was stunning on her—though Ginny would look beautiful in anything, as long as she smiled. Tonks licked a finger and smoothed into place a stray red hair that had escaped Ginny’s elegant updo.
           “It doesn’t matter what they want,” Tonks said simply, meeting Ginny’s eyes in the mirror. “That’s what this party is all about. Celebrating the two of you doing exactly what you damn well please.”
           Ginny swallowed and nodded slowly. “Hand me my gloves?” she asked.
           Tonks did, but she would not change the subject. “To hell with them. Love conquers all, yeah? I’m proof, aren’t I? And so are Remus and I, for that matter. Cheers to love!” cried Tonks suddenly, raising a fist.
           Ginny cracked a grin, her first real smile since Tonks had entered the room, and Tonks squeezed her shoulders warmly. “That’s my girl,” she said.
           Then the doorbell rang, a second time, and the smile slipped from Ginny’s face as quickly as it had appeared.

           “When was the last time you were in the company of your father, Mr. Malfoy?”
           Draco Malfoy twisted his head from side to side, considering. The Veritaserum had magnified his pupils and his eyes were glassy, an effect of the truth serum that made most of Chief Auror Harry Potter’s suspects seem simple-minded but in Draco’s case lent him an uncanny, almost feral air.  Harry cleared his throat.
           “Answer the question. When was the last time you were with your father?”
           “Well, that’s a challenging question, isn’t it,” Draco began. “I mean, in a sense, he hasn’t been my father in years. Commanding officer is a better title, perhaps. I think the last time we spent time with each other as father and son was the summer before—fourth year? What year was it you helped bring Voldemort back to life, again?”
           He asked it dully, as a matter of course, without the barbed bite Harry remembered from Hogwarts; the chief inspector felt suddenly uncomfortable. The roomful of lower-ranked Aurors stirred uneasily.
           “The Triwizard Tournament was fourth year, correct,” said Harry finally, sighing, leaning back on the desk behind him and hoisting himself up tiredly. “But you’re not answering the question. When was the last time you were in the presence of Lucius Malfoy?”
           “This morning. At breakfast. After breakfast he went to his office.”
           “And how did you occupy yourself after breakfast?”
           Draco shifted in his chair, twisting his wrists in his shackles without his face registering the pain. “I showered. I dressed. I tidied my room. I read a book. In the afternoon I walked in the gardens with my mother. Out past the paddock. Near the lake.”
           “And what did you and your mother talk about?” Narcissa Malfoy had fainted at the sight of her husband’s body, but Harry was still not ruling her out as an accomplice.
           “About the party. About Ginny. About how much I love her. Despite my father’s objections. About the future. About grandchildren—”
           Harry sucked in a deep, hasty breath. “Enough,” he barked. “What did you do before the dinner party? You were reportedly gone for two hours before dinner. You were late for dinner. Where were you?”
           “I didn’t want to go. I hate parties. They remind me of Voldemort.”
           For a moment Harry almost felt sorry for Draco Malfoy. Special occasions reminded him of Voldemort. Family reminded him of war. But then he remembered—
           “You mentioned your father’s objections. What did your father object to?”
           Draco blinked up at him. “Isn’t it obvious? My father objects to Ginny’s family. To her friends. He hates the Weasleys and he particularly dislikes Ginny because of you. Anyone who had been in love with Harry Potter was not worthy of me, he said once.”
           “Malfoy, you’re not answering the question. Where were you before dinner? What were you doing before dinner?”
           Draco shook his head, as though trying to clear some confusion. “I was late tonight—I was late because I was nervous. I was nervous because I know her father feels the same way about me that my father feels about her.”
           Draco paused. “Felt,” he amended, slowly, softly. “The way my father felt.”


           Cocktail hour was going to be a success, Ginny decided. There were more and more people flooding the parlor, and their chatter nearly drowned out the chamber quartet. House elves weaved between guests proffering trays of food and drink, and even Pansy Parkinson seemed to be in a pleasant mood. She had well-wished Ginny upon arrival, crushing Ginny’s hands in hers emphatically. “You look bloody gorgeous! Good for Draco! Where is that sod anyway? He used to like to pump fists at the door!”
           Ginny knew that her fiancé was nervous about the party. He had been certain there would be a brawl, or, worse, that nobody would come at all. And then there was the argument over Harry—Ginny pressed her lips together, remembering. There had been tears; Harry was a member of her family, and Ginny had felt obligated to ask him. Draco had been furious, had thrown a vase. But Harry had done them the favor of declining, so where was Draco? Could he be that anxious?
           “You look beautiful, Ginny,” said Molly Weasley for the fifth time since she had arrived ten minutes prior. “What a moment for your old mum! To see her only little girl engaged to be married! And to have the means to throw a party like this! I can’t say much for your in-laws, but the money, well!—”
           Ginny winced. “For the last time, Mum, I’m not marrying Draco for his money,” she said, in the tone of someone who knows she will be ignored this time, too. “And I hate to leave you, but Narcissa is nowhere to be seen yet, and she’ll want me to—”
           “No, no, run along,” said Molly, but her face had clouded.
           Ginny left the parlor without looking back.

           Draco saw her hurrying along the second floor. What was she doing upstairs? Surely she would be with the guests? “Ginny!” he whispered, poking his head out of the swampy second-floor greenhouse where he had sought refuge. “In here!”
           “Draco!” She came to a halt. “Where have you been?”
           “I saw you passing through the glass. Were you looking for me?”
           “No, your mother. Is she with you?”
           Draco shook his head. His mother was not on his mind. He pulled Ginny into his arms, relishing the way she felt against him, the shiny silk underneath his bare hands.  In return she shuffled her feet, pulling away and twisting her hands awkwardly behind her, trying to loose herself from his grip. “Don’t you try to escape!” he chided her. With a foot he reached out and kicked the door shut. “What are you doing here? Why aren’t you at the party?”
           “I could ask you the same question, Mr. Malfoy!” Ginny laughed. Draco smiled. “What are you doing up here?”
           “Well, look down—” Draco grinned. Ginny was still learning the ins and outs of the manor; she had forgotten the greenhouse was located above the dining room. With a flick of his fingers Draco made the stone floor invisible, and now, below them, they could see the house elves laying plates and lighting candles. They were standing on air, the stone floor invisible cobbles beneath their feet, the greenery hot and humid around them.
           “Oh, Draco.”
           Draco loved the way she smiled. Inspired, he grabbed her waist, and then pulled her hand up in his, to dance. “I was hiding up here to check on them, but mostly because of nerves,” he said. “I like the light up here. It’s calming. It reminds me of you.” The sun was setting, and a warm orange glow had filled the space. Below them the chamber quartet had finished moving in from the parlor; the violinist struck up his bow and a clear, honeyed note filled the space. “The light on your hair—” Draco pulled lightly on the pin holding up Ginny’s hair, letting it tumble to her shoulders.
           “Draco…that was such a complicated charm…” Ginny murmured, but she wasn’t scolding; she hummed as he tugged her closer and swept her into a waltz. They were swiveling around the greenhouse, dancing atop the floating candelabras. The tiny house elves, far below, never looked up.
           “I could eat you alive in this dress,” Draco whispered in Ginny’s ear. “Or fuck you senseless.”
           “Your great-grandmother wore this dress! You wouldn’t dare!”
           Draco pulled back slightly and raised an eyebrow. “Surely somebody fucked my great-grandmother senseless. Or there wouldn’t be me.”
           Ginny rolled her eyes, laughing as they danced. “Come downstairs, dinner starts in ten minutes! You can’t skip the entire cocktail hour. People will start to think I’m marrying a figment of my imagination.”


           “Please be seated,” Ginny told her guests. “Draco will be here in just a minute, and he wouldn’t want to keep you all standing.” Entering behind her was Narcissa, smiling tightly. She hated breaches of etiquette and it was improper to sit before the lady of the house had taken her seat, or before the head of the table arrived.
           It didn’t matter, anyway; Draco strolled in right after them, and smiled at everyone. “Just checking on the food,” he said lightly. “Sorry to keep you waiting!” He slipped into his place at the head, just as Lulu came scurrying into the dining room, her eyes bright with panic. She ran to Ginny, of all people—she ought to have gone to Narcissa, Draco thought idly—and whispered in her ear frantically. Ginny gasped and went suddenly white.
           “What is it?” Narcissa snapped. Everyone at the table, who had been busy arranging skirts and napkins, looked up.
           Ginny’s hand went to her mouth. “Narcissa—” she began, and faltered.
           “Master Lucius is dead, Madam,” Lulu squeaked.
           For a moment, Draco only saw white, and then his vision cleared. Narcissa had screamed, he thought; his guests were visibly stricken, and Ginny was still sitting as she had been before, freckled hand over her lips, trembling, staring straight ahead.
           “Master Draco—” Lulu turned to him in supplication “—we must call the Aurors. Master Lucius is dead.”


           “He’s dead all right,” said Harry grimly, watching as the Healers prodded at Lucius one more time with their wands, chanting “One, two, three! Ennervate!” Beside him his second-in-command Ernie MacMillan nodded solemnly.
           “Want a drink?” asked Harry, striding toward the bottles behind Lucius’s desk.
           “But the fingerprints, Chief!” said MacMillan in surprise.
           “I’m at work on the weekend, summoned to investigate the murder of Draco’s Malfoy’s father at his engagement party to my ex-girlfriend. I need a drink,” Harry insisted, undoing the cap on the Firewhiskey.
           “Fair,” said MacMillan, shrugging. He held out his hand for a glass of his own.
           The two drank in silence, considering Lucius’s office. There was a gap on the wall where the heavy silver-hilted sword had hung, and a bloodstain across the desk. The Healers were shaking their heads, and Harry gave them the signal to take the body to the morgue—there was no use in leaving it in here any longer. It had already had upset his widow, and as much as Harry had personally hated Lucius there was little need to stare at his gruesome corpse.
           “Chief? Chief?” inquired a tremulous voice. It was Colin Creevey, their evidence photographer. He had been in the cellars. “Chief?
           Harry sighed and tossed back the rest of his drink. “I know, Colin, I know. I’ll erase our prints in a minute.”
           “No, it’s not that!” Colin’s voice cracked.
           Harry looked over sharply. “What, Colin?”
           “I’ve just been in the apothecary stores, sir, and all of the Veritaserum has been smashed. This was a premeditated murder, sir. By someone who knew where the truth serum was kept.” Colin’s eyes were wide, as though he expected his words to be followed by a drumroll.
           But Harry didn’t gasp. He felt a dull sense of understanding, of knowing. No surprise that Draco Malfoy had murdered his father, and of course he had done it the night of his engagement to Ginny, of course he was that sort of a monster.
           “We will need to question everyone,” said Harry, straightening abruptly and wiping his mouth with the back of his hand. “Beginning with the guests, and then, once we have a full picture of where Narcissa and Draco were all evening, those two. Have more Veritaserum sent here at once, MacMillan.” And then, to Colin, again, “They have already been sequestered, yes?”
           “Oh yes,” squeaked Colin. “An hour ago, as soon as we arrived.”
           “Start by talking to the Weasleys. Then let them take poor Molly home.” Harry set the glass down on the bloody desk and turned purposefully toward the door.
           “But Harry,” Ernie broke in, jogging after him and puffing a bit as Harry hurried down the hall and began to clatter down the steps. “We can’t let anyone go. Everyone is a suspect at this point!”
           Harry threw a dark glance back over his shoulder. “The Weasleys? Watch your tongue, MacMillan. You’re talking about my family.”


           “Malfoy, you’re not answering the question. Where were you before dinner? What were you doing before dinner?”
           Draco’s long blond fringe fell in front of his eyes as he shook his head slowly, sadly. A marionette with its strings snipped. “I was late tonight—I was late because I was nervous. I was nervous because I know her father feels the same way about me that my father feels about her. Felt. The way my father felt.”
           This time it wasn’t Harry shouting. Ginny, with two red spots high on her cheeks, had stormed to the front of the room, her high heels clacking loudly on the wooden floor. An Auror reached for her and she wrenched her arm from his grip.
           “Miss Weasley, it is illegal to interrupt—”
           “Ginny, what do you think you’re doing?”
           “Just ask him, Harry! Just get it over with!”
           “I am asking him, Ginny! Don’t tell me how to do my job! Do not lecture me on how best to question your stinking Slytherin fiancé regarding the possibility that he murdered his father!”
           Ginny flinched. “For fuck’s sake, Harry—you’re such a fucking child—” She wheeled around to face Draco. “Did you do it, Draco? Did you kill your father? Lucius, I mean. Did you kill Lucius Malfoy?”
           Draco looked up at her with those empty Veritaserum eyes. “No.”
           “I’m sorry, could you repeat that—I’m not sure these imbeciles will have heard--are you, Draco Malfoy, responsible for tonight’s murder of your father, Lucius Malfoy?”
           “No. I didn’t kill my father. Of course not. Of course not.”
           “And where were you before dinner?”
           “In the greenhouse. On the second floor. With you.”

           “I could eat you alive in this dress,” Draco whispered in Ginny’s ear. “Or fuck you senseless.”
           “Your great-grandmother wore this dress! You wouldn’t dare!”
           Draco pulled back slightly and raised an eyebrow. “Surely somebody fucked my great-grandmother senseless. Or there wouldn’t be a me.”
           Ginny rolled her eyes, laughing as they danced. “Come downstairs, dinner starts in forty minutes! You can’t skip the entire cocktail hour. People will start to think I’m marrying a figment of my imagination.”
           “Oh, I assure you that I’m not.” Draco’s kisses slipped lower, lower, to her shoulders, her collarbone, the tops of her breasts.
           “Let them wait. We have time. Let them wait.” He murmured the words as his lips skidded across her skin. Ginny felt like she was on fire.
           “Not that much time—”
           He pushed her up against a corner table, shrouded by greenery, and then hoisted her onto it by the waist.
           “Plenty of time for this,” he said, hiking her skirt up, leaving kisses along the insides of her thighs. “I can smell you,” he whispered.
           “Fuck. Draco—”
           “I want to taste you.”
           She whined.
           He pried her damp underwear aside with two fingers, and pressed his lips between her legs; the heat of his mouth was as much an assault as the pressure of his tongue. She moaned and kicked—one high heel clattered to the floor. Draco chuckled.
           “Don’t be impatient.”
           But she was impatient. He was back to kissing her inner thighs, running his fingers up and down her legs, and she wanted more, now.
           “You’re such a tease!”
           “You love it when I make you wait.”
           Then he had his mouth on her cunt again, and she had no more words. The wide green leaves provided a pillow as she threw her head back and gripped his hair; she heard him sucking and licking and, below them, the clatter of silverware and the hiss of flame, but all she could think about was the way she felt. In love, yes, but something more, something almost feral, wild, dangerous. She felt alive.
           She was never quick to come but he kept at it, teasing and taunting and then diving back in assiduously, bringing her to the brink and then pulling back, and then, finally, relief—she felt her body tense and her legs shake and then she saw white and was coming, her legs trembling around his face, and she heard rather than saw him unzip and drop his trousers and he was suddenly inside her. They were fucking, the table rocking, the plants shedding leaves all around them.

           Afterwards they tucked each other’s hair and shirts and pins back into place, laughing. Nobody below had seen them. Draco swung open the glass door.
            “After you, Miss Weasley—or should I say, Lady Malfoy to be?”
           “Why thank you!”
           Once in the hall, they turned immediately in opposite directions.
           “I need to find your mother.”
           “I’m going to check on the kitchens.”
           “See you downstairs,” Ginny said, as Draco lifted her hand to his lips. At the touch of his mouth on her skin, again, she shivered.

           They stood at the door solemnly, watching the Aurors go. Last out the door was Harry, pulling his cloak tightly against the winter wind.
           “Goodnight Harry,” said Ginny tightly. Behind her she felt Draco sway. The Veritaserum had nearly worn off but she could sense how unwell he was.
           “Ginny, may I have a word?” Harry asked, his eyes bright and fierce.
           There was never saying no to Harry Potter. Ginny gave Draco’s hand a squeeze and then crossed the threshold with Harry and walked him down to the gate.
           “Yes?” she asked, crossing her arms and squinting into the wind.
           “He’s not safe, Ginny. He did it, I know he did it,” Harry spat, “and I don’t feel comfortable leaving you here with him.”
           “He’s my fiancé. What’s more, he’s innocent. He was under Veritaserum!”
           “He’s a master manipulator.”
           “He would never lie to me. And you can’t lie under Veritaserum, Harry—you know that! The case is closed!”
           “Well, we still don’t know who did it.”
           “You know what I mean. The case against Draco.” Ginny bit her bottom lip. “I’m sorry you don’t trust him, Harry, but you trust me, don’t you?”
           Harry hesitated.
           “I did once,” he said finally.
           Ginny’s eyes softened. “Oh, Harry. Even if it hadn’t been Draco, you and I—”
           “I know. I know that by now.”
           “So then trust me. I trust him. He would never, Harry. He just wouldn’t.”
           Harry bowed his head. “All right,” he said. They had reached the gate. “Thank you for listening,” he added. “At least I’ve done my duty. By warning you.”
           She shut the gate slowly, nodding at him through the wrought-iron bars. “Yes. Thank you for always looking out for me, Harry. Thank you for trusting me.”


           The heavy manor doors closed behind her with a sigh. From the top of the stairs Draco felt himself wobble.
           “Are you coming to bed?” he asked. Of all things to ask, but he didn’t know what else to say, and the aftermath of the Veritaserum seemed to have left him stating the obvious. “I’ve just checked on my mother. She’s still asleep,” he added.
           “I’ll be up in a minute,” Ginny said. “You go lie down. I just want to make sure everything is—settled.”
           The house elves were still taking down the decorations, even though they had begun alongside the Aurors when they, too, packed up for the night. House elves were small, after all, and the ribbons and candles had been extensive whereas the Aurors had had to deal mainly with Lucius’s study. The door was covered with yellow emergency tape, and as Ginny passed her shoulder blades twitched and her spine tingled. Would she ever be able to go into that room again?
           She hurried past. She was almost at her destination. The greenhouse was just ahead. Carefully, looking both ways before she opened the door, Ginny slipped inside.
           There, on the floor, was the spot where the Aurors had found her underwear. When she and Draco had left before dinner the shadows of sunset had obscured them in their crumpled ball on the ground, but by the time everyone had reached the scene later the moon had been high and the white lace had shone brightly on the stone.
           Her gloves would have caught the light, too, she realized now, if they had not been brown with dried blood. She stooped to retrieve them from behind a plant on the floor, behind the door, which Draco had kicked shut but the Aurors had left wide open, the plant hidden in its shadow. She held them up under the moon—in fact, they were more wine-colored, and still sticky in spots.
           No matter. They would burn easily. Ginny shut the door behind her carefully as she exited the greenhouse, and reached for the closest floating candelabra. This would only take a second, and then the rest of her life would begin.


Briefly describe what you'd like to receive in your fic:
The tone/mood of the fic: Stuggles, Smut, Mystery, Romance, Drama. Draco sort of has a mask that most people can't crack besides Blaise Zabini (Male), but Ginny wants to try and get through it. To the /real/ Draco Malfoy.
An element/line of dialogue/object you would specifically like in your fic: Anything where Harry thinks he is better for Ginny than Draco is. A argument of sorts.
Preferred rating of the fic you want: Mature
Canon or AU? Canon.
Deal Breakers (anything you don't want?): No Dramione. Hermione can be a bitch and show interest in Draco, but Draco must show /no/ feelings back.
Art prompt: Yes
What kind of art would you like to receive? Anything to do with Draco and Ginny, and trio pissed off about it


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