Title: Eyes Wide Open
Pairing: Dominique Weasley/Igor Karkaroff
Word Count: 1727
Summary: It’s a phase. That’s all it is.
"It’s a phase,” her father says. Her mother frowns, unconvinced. “She’ll grow out of it soon enough.”
Her sister is hiding behind the greenhouses when she finds her on her free period, bundled up against the winter chill and trying (and failing) to light a cigarette. A lump wriggles in the pocket of her overcoat and Victoire swears as she fumbles with the lighter, cupping her hand around the sputtering flame. She jumps a little in surprise when Dominique seemingly appears from nowhere, lighting the cigarette with the tip of her wand.
“Thanks,” she says with a laugh, “Wasn’t expecting that.”
Dominique shrugs in response, then asks for one of her own. Victoire obliges, digging into her rucksack for her crumpled pack of Camels and tossing them to her sister. Dominique shakes dried flakes of tobacco from her gloves as she lights up, inhales deeply, watching her sister through the haze of smoke between them.
Everyone expects the best of them: Weasley daughters, children of war heroes. Pretty, polite Dominique is a prefect, on the fast track to Head Girl, a promising post-Hogwarts career in design. She’s a bright girl, precocious; of all her siblings she’s inherited the most of her mother’s Veela charm, able to turn boys into gibbering messes with one well-placed flip of her long copper hair. Victoire is the rebellious one, the angry one, her entire body made heavy with the weight of her name, her duty. Victoire prefers to stay on the sidelines with her crumbling cigarettes and feigned indifference, Muggle records locked up in her trunk and her warty toad peeking out of her pocket; it isn’t her sister’s fault, Dominique supposes, that she can’t live up to her namesake.
“Do Mum and Dad know what you’re up to?”
“Why? Do you plan on telling them?”
Victoire looks at her steadily, strangely, for what feels like a long time before finally telling her, “…No.” Her voice is soft. She flicks her cigarette to the ground. “No.”
Their interest is purely academic: Ravenclaws and Gryffindors and a few Hufflepuffs, no scheming, sneaking Slytherins here. They meet Thursday afternoons in the library to study, sequestering themselves at a round table in the farthest part of the stacks, poring over anthologies and journals, old Prophet articles from the height of the First War. Their history is dying all around them, pieces at a time, and this is their way of understanding.
Dark Knights Rising: A History of the Death Eaters. The book is thick as her shin, with a mottled green cover and dozens of footnotes from her Aunt Hermione’s extensive research. She makes it through the attacks both Averys made without batting an eye, the entire reign the twisted Carrow siblings held over Hogwarts without her stomach twisting up in knots. She inks out notes on Crabbe and Dolohov, Gibbon and Goyle and Jugson, turning the blank parchment black with her neat, spidery handwriting. Karkaroff is her next subject: his father was the Transylvanian attaché to the Ministry, before Voldemort he was an assistant professor of the Dark Arts at Durmstrang. He turned on his fellow Death Eaters in the First War and died in the middle of the Second, alone in a cabin in the cold, far north.
She inks her quill. She turns the page.
The accompanying picture is so still it might as well be Muggle; Karkaroff barely blinks, he hardly breathes as he stares out at her from the book’s glossy insert pages. He is handsome in a way she can’t quite define: his face is angular in a distinctly Slavic way, with a long nose and curling goatee that does little to hide a weak chin, but his eyes – his eyes – are sharp and searching, the bluest she thinks she’s ever seen. It’s like he’s looking beyond her, into her, and it makes her feel dirty, like he knows, he knows –
She closes the book. She can’t look at him anymore.
He’s not her boyfriend, but there’s no denying that he makes for a nice distraction.
Malcolm hitches her leg over his hip as he presses her against the hard stone wall, which makes the young woman in tapestry next to them sniff and mutter, “I never.” She can feel how hard he is for her, how much he wants her right here, right now, and damn the fact that anyone could see them. He ruts against her, kissing her neck, and inwardly she groans, already tired of the sweaty fumbling, the absolute inexperience.
She’s tired of boys. She wants a man.
Christmas comes and like all her cousins, Dominique dons her ugly orange robes and earns her pocket money working behind the counter at Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes. It’s here, counting out the till and watching for shoplifters, that an idea strikes.
There’s another section to the joke shop, tucked off to the side, near the back office. The entryway is beaded curtains that rattle and shriek if the entrant is underage, charmed to simultaneously alert the staff and embarrass the sneak in the process. Only employees are spared the lights and sirens, a fact Dominique counts on as she ducks in on her break, hiding her face from the security sensors hanging in the corner.
The walls are filled to bursting with love potions and luminous lingerie, interlocking handcuffs and color-changing body paint and more toys and gadgets than you could shake a wand at. It’s the Daydream Charms she’s interested in – Auror fantasies, deserted islands, a dozen different getaways, waiting to be opened, shared. The ones in the back room are all a bit more than the usual fare, kept separate from the genial, trouble-free daydreams Uncle George keeps stocked in the Wheeze’s front window. The ones she’s rifling through as surreptitiously as she can aren’t necessarily better than those innocent charms, but they’re stronger, different. She needs different.
As soon as her fingers close around the last box she knows she’s found the right one. Dominique tucks it into the back of her shirt, hoping that the folds of her robes will hide it until she can make it out of the main shop. Her victory is short-lived; not even ten minutes later, as she’s changing out the drawer so Fred can take over, she feels the box levitate out of the waistband of her jeans and then beneath her robes, into her uncle’s waiting palm.
“This is a good one,” he says, and her cheeks burn. “Took me ages to get the details right.”
Dominique fidgets under his laughing gaze, mind racing as she tries to think of something, anything, she could use as an excuse. She opens her mouth to speak and her uncle only grins, tells her, “Let me know if there’s any problems with it, yeah? Don’t get a lot of people eager to try this one.”
“You mean you – you won’t tell my mum?”
Uncle George winks conspiratorially, pressing the box into her hands. “What kind of uncle would I be if I didn’t let my favorite niece sample the merchandise every once in a while?”
Slowly, Dominique smiles back.
“What’re they talking about, Dom?”
Their parents are arguing in the kitchen and nine-year-old Louis looks up at her with wide eyes, crouched on the stair below his sisters as the three of them eavesdrop. Dominique doesn’t answer and Victoire is quiet for once, leaning forward on the steps with her arms folded on her knees. She tilts her head against the wall and doesn’t look at her sister.
“She ees too young! She 'as no right –”
“And when should she learn it, then? When is the ‘right time,’ Fleur?”
Something heavy hits the table, a chair scrapes against the floor, and their mother, angrier than they’ve ever heard her, says something so quiet and fast in French that Dominique can’t make out what it might be. This is the moment where Victoire gives up: she stretches once she stands, then grasps the little brother by the shoulder and tugs his shirt collar until he rises. Louis gives her a reproachful look as she takes him by the hand and leads him upstairs, leads him away.
“This isn’t for either of us,” she says. “C’mon, let’s go look at the Martin Miggs books Teddy sent me.”
You’re never alone, not if you’re a Weasley, but it doesn’t bother her. Dominique is nothing if not patient.
The alley is dark and she stumbles in her hurry, tripping over something big and furry that yowls angrily in her wake. Her Auror’s robes billow out behind her as she skids to a stop, ducking in a sharp left toward the sound of fighting. Diagon is ablaze and her wand is at the ready, curses and hexes flying past her in a blur of clashing colors. She moves to join the fray and is yanked back so quickly her breath flies out of her lungs, pulled back into the shadows at the mouth of the alley.
He grips her hard, wand to her throat, and the light from his muttered “lumos” casts strange shadows over his face. She gasps and he laughs, a low rumble in his throat that vibrates through her like an electric shock. His eyes are blue, bright and clear. She tries to break free and her head cracks against the brick wall as he shoves her back. He looms over her, a dark, frightening shape, and for a moment she forgets that she is alone in the girls’ dormitory, closed off in her scarlet-curtained bed. His breath is warm on her neck as he leans in, pushes the hair from her eyes with the tip of his wand. He trails it lower, over her cheek, and he feels as real as anything.
“You vanted this,” he says, voice low, and he presses her into the wall. She can feel him, all of him, and she remembers what she read so very long ago in the school library: he was ruthless, a pureblood, dedicated to the Dark Lord’s cause so long as it suited him. He was a fiend amongst monsters, the lesser between evils. He was. He was.
“Do you regret?” he asks, and she unfastens her robes in reply.
He’s a dead man, a Death Eater.
She really doesn’t care.