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Pretty When You Cry (Selected Scenes From A Death Eater Courtship)

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Hogwart's corridors were dark and quiet, a stark contrast to the clamor of day. There was something eerie about a school void of students, like a broken clock, a tool lost without its function. What, in the light, was some friendly armor or amiable gargoyle became a demon or hobgoblin at night. Dark corners held danger, especially in these trying times, as they called them. The change in mood alone was enough to keep even the less rule-abiding students in their beds.

In short, Macnair found patrolling very boring; there was little thrill to the hunt on grounds with no game. And what he did find, well, making lost little first years cry was only satisfying the first six or seven times.

It made him wish for the giants. They knew how to do things properly.

Now, he reclined against the gilt frame of a painting near the opening to Gryffindor Tower, terrifying the subject with the hunting knife that he used to clean his nails, and hoping against all hope that some rebellious Gryffindor had decided to try his luck the first week back.

He'd nearly decided to move to a new location when his ears picked up a sound—giggling. Stealth apparently wasn't a large consideration for whoever was coming his way. Typical Gryffindors.

“Do you think Trelawney's right, Lavender? That what she said will come true?” one voice whispered.

“Of course, I do! She's amazing but the signs were as clear as day even to me: someone's going to fall deeply, madly in love with you.”

“That's not what she said. She said I would become someone's entire world.”

“Same difference.”

More giggling. Macnair sneered and flipped his knife into its sheath. Teenage girls were little better than mousey first years, but something was better than nothing. He waited; they were coming toward him and would have to pass if they wanted to get to their beds.

The blond came first--bubbly, soft, and pretty enough. She saw him nearly as soon as he saw her, coming to a full, sudden stop. The playful smile she wore fell.

The friend directly behind her just caught herself from crashing into the impromptu blockade. “Lavender,” she started, surprised, “what are you—oh.”

Macnair appraised the second girl, an exotic doe-eyed thing that made his cock twitch. Maybe the night wouldn't be a complete loss afterall.

“'Oh's right, girlie,” he greeted, pushing off from his support to approach his prey. He shook his head and tsked. “Caught out of bed after curfew. The Carrows'll be so pleased.”

The dark one gave him a pretty poison smile and held up a slip of paper. “They'll be disappointed. We have a note from Professor Trelawney, Professor. She lost track of time.”

Swiping the note from her hand, he lazily eyed the looped script of the seer before deliberately crumpling the note in a fist.

“I don't see a note, do you?”

He watched with great delight as the little lioness' mouth slackened for a moment before hardening into a tight line, wondering how tight those lips could be.

“You can't do that,” the blond protested.

Macnair grinned, already planning all the things he could make the two do away from prying eyes. Maybe this assignment to Hogwarts wouldn't be as boring as he'd thought. “Find someone that will stop me.”

Blondie flinched away, looking uncertain but obviously trying to think of someone, anyone that she could appeal to to correct this injustice. Her luscious friend, however, looked behind him, trying to gauge how fast she'd have to sprint to make it to the Fat Lady.

“You can't run fast enough, girlie.”

“I don't need to,” she shot back, impressing him. She was a feisty little thing, this one.

And she had a roar. She'd begun to scream at the top of her lungs, drawing attention of those in the Gryffindor Common Room before Macnair had time to stop her. Heads began to pop out of the portal and attached to them were bodies with wands.

Growling in frustration, Macnair backed off and threw the note back at the pair. Giving them detention wouldn't scratch the itch he felt now; he ceded the the battle.

Besides, the note had already served a purpose--it had given him a name. Parvati Patil.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Since that night, he had watched her.

Everywhere he went, his eye searched for her, an amusement in an otherwise dull place. It was never hard to find her in a crowd, she shined like the sun amongst dim stars.

The Great Hall at mealtimes was the easiest; there she could eat and laugh with her friends while he gazed at her silky thighs as they straddled the bench. Sometimes, he saw her look his way and he imagined that she knew he watched, that she hiked her skirt up just a little more for him. Those times, he stayed at the table long after he finished his meal.

Tonight, he watched her between bites of shepherd's pie, his favorite, and breaks in conversation with Snape.

“How are you finding the Care of Magical Creatures post?” the Headmaster asked.

Macnair snorted and took a swig of his sadly non-alcoholic pumpkin juice before answering. “Dull as expected. Though I suppose I can take solace in fulfilling my duty to the next generation.”

The looks on their little faces when he'd dropped the hippogriff head in front of them had been particularly rewarding.

Snape inclined his head, bringing that grandiose nose of his to even greater attention. “I'm sure the Dark Lord appreciates your dedication. He was very impressed with your handling of the giants.”

“Mhmm.” Macnair wasn't listening. Parvati had gotten up to leave, demanding his attention with the sway of her hips.

“Are the Gryffindors doing something I should be aware of?”

“Huh?” Macnair grunted as a pack of Slytherin's blocked his view. He turned his attention back to Snape.

His dinner companion gestured toward the house table. “You seem to be studying them quite intently.”

“You can never be too sure,” Macnair covered with a broad-shouldered shrug. “Potter supporters, the lot of 'em.”

“True, though I've never found them to be particularly skilled at subterfuge.” The man gave him a crook-toothed sneer, as close to a smile as he ever achieved. “Their plans tend to be from the heat of the moment. At the dinner table, they only think of food.”

“No fear of a Great Hall rebellion then, eh?” he inquired as he sopped up the last of the gravy on his plate with a roll.

Snape snorted. “Indeed.”

Macnair considered this, popped the last of his dinner in his mouth, and brushed his hands of crumbs. “Then I might as well go do something useful with my life.” Like catch a minx before she reached her tower. He rose from the table with a dismissive wave from Snape.

Once outside the Great Hall, he began up the staircase toward Gryffindor Tower but jeering voices in a side corridor drew his attention.

“Heard your parents fled to Mumbai like the blood traitors they are, Patil. How can you bear the shame?”

“How can you? I heard yours are grovelling at the feet of a murderer, Montague.”

Macnair felt his eyebrows rise. Of course the Gryffindor would be getting into brawls with Slytherins. Turning, he moved closer to the argument, staying near the wall and as out of sight as a man of his size could. He wanted to know if the girl could handle herself.

The pack of Slytherin boys that he'd seen follow Parvati out had cornered her in a seldom used corridor off the Great Hall. No wands had been drawn yet but he could see Parvati's fingers twitch near her pocket.

“My parents don't grovel,” a slight boy shot back.

“Another verb then? How about 'beg', 'cower', or 'kowtow', perhaps?”

Montague snarled, his hand moving to his wand. Except Parvati was faster. In quick succession, she cursed Montague and threw up a Protego against any hexes from his group of friends.

It was an impressive bit of spellwork, nearly Auror-level. Macnair grinned, pleased that his little lioness lived up to the promise he'd seen in her weeks before.

But now the boys were closing in. As good as his girl might be, there was a strength in numbers. She would be overcome.

Macnair stepped out of the shadows. “Patil, what's going on here?”

Everyone turned, surprised at the unexpected intrusion. Some of the boys even began to relax once they saw it was him, convinced that he was there to punish Patil rather than them.

“He pulled his wand, Professor,” Parvati defended herself. Her eyes and the lift of her chin dared him to disagree with her, to lie. “It was self-defense.”

He observed the tormentors, waiting for someone else to speak up. Montague seemed to have lost the ability to speak, possibly from whatever hex Parvati had thrown at him. A clever trick if you knew your opponent couldn't silently cast though Expelliarmus would have been a safer choice and she obviously had the speed for it. But it was solid work. It was admirable.

He crossed his arms, in a way that he knew made the muscles bulge. Looks of ease shifted to confusion and worry. “I agree,” he said with a nod. The herd began to shift away from Parvati, trying belatedly to put a uninvolved distance between them and her. “Twenty points from Slytherin for each of you.”

The punished nodded solemnly, full of fake contrition as they traded relieved looks. As far as punishments went, it could have been worse. It could have been the Carrows. They scattered, leaving he and the girl alone.

She eyed him warily. “Thank you.”

Shrugging, he leaned one shoulder against the stone wall of the narrow hall, his width blocking the entrance and her escape. “Wasn't nothing. It certainly wasn't free.”

“And what do you want?” she asked, full of bravado.

He noted that she still gripped her wand, her knuckles nearly white. He liked that, liked that the girl that just out-drew a Death Eater's son went white-knuckled in his presence. He also liked how small she was, that even on the tips of her toes, she only met his chin. And he really liked that she was going to fight him anyway.

Yes, he liked Parvati Patil.

“I think knights in shining armor usually get a kiss.”

Those big dark eyes grew wider, surprise flashed in their depths. His request obviously hadn't been what she been expecting. He wondered what she'd thought he wanted.

"Well?" he prompted when it became apparent that she wasn't going to move.

"I'm sorry," she replied coolly. "I'm waiting to know what you want."

Macnair scowled. "I just told you."

"You said what a knight usually receives for their services, not what you want."

Ballsy, bloody Gryffindor. He growled.

"Macnair, is that you?" a voice asked from behind.

Looking over his shoulder, Macnair saw Snape looking on. Well, that would cut the fun short.

He fully turned to Snape, who's focus was on the girl behind him.

"Who else?" he answered and went toward the Headmaster.

He quickly turned back to Parvati to give her a wink and a grin--just between them. A promise to finish their business at a later point.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Before Christmas, he found her wandering the halls at night again, near the tapestry of the dancing trolls on the seventh floor. She traversed the path toward Gryffindor Tower, retreading steps that he'd watched her take dozens of times with Blondie over the months. Tonight she was alone, making him glad that he'd come this way even though Snape had assigned him to patrol the other side of the castle.

It was time, he could feel it—the lightning in his blood and fire in his belly.

“Little lionesses have no business prowling after dark,” he rumbled from behind.

Parvati whipped around, eyes large but her jaw set and steeled for battle.

“What do you want?”

“That's no way to speak to your betters. Ten points from Gryffindor,” Macnair reprimanded her as he moved slowly closer. He leered. “And you know.”

She refused to give ground, standing firm. “If I see any of my betters, I'll keep that in mind.”

Such a strong-willed creature.

“Well, I was going to let you go, but with lip like that I have no choice but to give you a detention, Miss Patil.” There were only inches between them now; she had to crane her neck to look him in the eye. It really was his favorite way to look at her. “Or you could convince me otherwise.”

He did it before he could think. Arms bringing her to him, lifting her as easily as he could his axe, and pressed his chapped lips to her soft ones. There was no art to it, he just wanted, took, and wanted more.

Then, like a wild thing, her teeth latched onto his lip, biting hard. It was one step too far, she had to learn her limits. He snarled and slammed her back on the wall so hard her head beat staccato against it and cut off her scream with a powerful hand.

“Do that again and I'll kill you,” he threatened, low and fierce, more a vibration in her bones than actual words.

Those wide, dark eyes shimmered with tears over his mammoth hand, watching him, pleading, but Macnair only felt a pang of disappointment at his fiery goddess. She'd been doing so well, had been so strong until now. But that was alright, he had her, he could protect her from now on. She wouldn't have to be strong anymore. She was his.

He was close enough to feel her body heat through his robes. He leaned in, inhaling her scent—jasmine--and pressed against the luscious curves that tempted him every day and the rabbit heart that lay beneath them. He savored the feel of her, how powerless she truly was against him though all her fury could burn a lesser man to ash.

His. Just the thought of the word gave him a delicious shiver.

Sharp pain bloomed in his right hand, shocking him from his reverie. Reflexively, he pulled back, allowing the caged animal Parvati had become an opening. She bolted past him, escaping into the dark before he had a chance to grab her.

He brought his hurting hand to his mouth and tasted salt and iron. She'd bit him again. Macnair grinned. That was more like it.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

After their last meeting, Parvati became maddeningly timid. She traveled with no less than three people at a time and took the most popular routes around the castle. No matter where she went, she was surrounded by people. It became a challenge to be within ten feet of her, let alone touching distance

And Macnair really wanted to touch. He'd had a taste of her, now he wasn't sure he could stop until he ate her all up.

Today, she'd been particularly elusive, not even coming to meals. He thought maybe she was sick and entertained the idea of having the house-elves send her something from him. A fruit basket, perhaps. He'd heard someplace that citrus was good for colds. Personally, he preferred whiskey.

Finally, he caught sight of her exiting the library, and his worry became pleasure. The minx had braided her hair today to throw him off. An elegant solution to a problem like him but not good enough.

He trailed behind her, surprised that her path didn't seem to be aimed for the Gryffindor Tower. Excitement shot through him; this could a be a rare opportunity.

His moment came in the form of an untied shoelace and an empty corridor.

Macnair had her in one quick motion. He clamped her to his chest, hand over her mouth--no room to slip this time.

"Thought you could avoid me, Miss Patil?" he chuckled into her ear. It was odd, she usually jingled all over the castle with bangles and dangling earrings but today she wore none. Another attempt at misdirection, possibly? "You'll have to try better than this."

Stiff and shaking, she didn't move an inch. Shock must have taken her. He took advantage of her stillness--he was sure it'd be short-lived--and let the hand that pinned her wander over cotton covered curves. She felt just like he remembered: soft, and warm, and his.

His hand was raising her skirt inch by slow inch when he felt the muffled sob against his hand. Macnair's brow furrowed, Parvati was usually more lively than this. Maybe she really was sick?

He spun her around, holding her by the shoulders. "What's wrong, poppet?"

She continued to cry. "P-please, don't hurt me."

Macnair was confused. Something was wrong here, he just couldn't quite put his finger on it. His lioness didn't beg.

Then he caught sight of the tie, blue and bronze, and realization dawned. The twin, it was the Ravenclaw twin, and not Parvati at all. He'd followed the wrong damn girl.

Macnair sneered at the quivering mass in his arms, a pale imitation of her sister, then pushed her away.

"Get back to you nest, Miss Patil."

Looking confused and terrified--something Macnair appreciated in a person under normal circumstances--the other Patil girl stumbled away, sobbing.

Rolling his eyes, Macnair about-faced and strolled in the opposite direction, annoyance at being thwarted again rolling off him in waves.

Parvati would be his eventually.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Two months. It had been two months since he'd even seen Parvati and it was driving him mad. Parvati Patil, like most of the seventh year Gryffindors, had become a ghost at Hogwarts. They hid in the walls of the castle, not coming to class or meals, just wreaking what petty havoc they could manage at night.

Macnair hadn't anticipated the effects he would suffer from lack of Parvati. He needed to see her again. The way her eyes flashed at him and the feel of her struggle. He'd been intoxicated by her, addicted, and now that he was denied even the sight of her, well, he wasn't handling it well.

Snape had belatedly informed him that dissecting Nifflers wasn't a proper lesson for a fourth year class.

Sometimes, when he was drunk, he thought she was challenging him. Taunting him. If he couldn't find her, how could he possibly deserve her? Other times, when he was truly shit-faced, he tried to find her.

Though surprise didn't begin to cover what he felt when he pulled back a tapestry one spring evening to find her with her tongue down the throat of some twig-dick brat.

Those dark eyes--whore's eyes--mocked him as they fluttered open, hazy with lust and confusion. Not even her look of horrified recognition soothed him. It struck him like a fist to the gut--she hadn't been thinking of him at all. He was sure that this was what a broken heart felt like.

The only possible cure for the ache was to break her.

He ripped the boy away and tossed him behind like a rag doll, taking satisfaction in the sickening crack he heard on the little bastard's impact. Focusing his attention on Parvati, he grabbed her by the arms and pushed her back into the alcove.

 

"Long time no see, girlie."

 

She bucked and snarled, trying to kick and bite her way free but Macnair's hold was too sure--his grip like iron from years of wielding the Ministry's ax. No little girl was going to escape him twice.

"Let me go," she demanded, her breath coming in pants. "Or I'll scream."

"Scream all you like," Macnair snarled, pressing roughly against her but carefully avoiding teeth. "The muffliato spell your boyfriend cast is still working just fine."

And so she did, alternating calling for help and calling him names. He simply flipped her around--to make her less of a bite risk--and kicked apart her legs.

He was savage with lust for her, there was no stopping now that she was at his mercy. It was intoxicating. His little lioness, his goddess. His. She'd done this, driven him to this. This is what she wanted, what she had begged for with those eyes.

Shifting his grip, he pushed up her skirt.

"Is this for him?" His voice was rough and feral as his fingers buried into the wetness beneath her knickers. "Or is it the thought that I might be around the corner?"

Parvati screamed and sobbed against the rough stone of the wall. "Get off me, get off me, get off me!" Her mantra, over and over. She writhed against him, trying to loosen his grip, but all it did was create a pleasant friction.

"Oh, I'll be getting off soon enough," Macnair chuckled. His hand began a slow rhythm beneath her skirts, aiming for the sweet spot he knew existed. "But you first."