Title: Cold As Stone
Category: Books » Harry Potter
Language: English, Rating: Rated: M
Published: 08-07-07, Updated: 08-08-07
Chapters: 9, Words: 16,809
Chapter 1: Cold As Stone
It honestly was aggravating, how one little toad could ruin everything. More, it was shaming to know that the best laid plans could be shattered to naught by that same little toad.
He sighed and cast his disgusted glance from his son to his wife. The boy anxiously watched them, feeling the tension rise in the room. Tempers were a nasty thing in their line, though nothing compared to the insanity that ran in his wife’s line. She looked back at him with placid blue eyes, a slight smile curving her full lips. He gave her a tight, joyless smile in return, his eyes promising a world of retribution.
“She punched me square in the nose, father,” the boy whined again.
“Then perhaps you should have punched her back,” he tightly, slowly said, turning his gaze once more on his get. The boy was a teenager now, and almost through those awkward, gangly years that had so plagued him. Handsome, yes—there was little help for it. His breeding was impeccable, though the strength of his parents left him a little weak-willed.
He looked taken aback by the suggestion, though not particularly surprised. Thoughts moiled in his gray eyes, his face slack. Finally, he said, “I couldn’t strike her, father. For all that she’s an impure excuse for a witch, I could never strike a woman.”
“Pity,” he said, fingers idly twirling his wineglass. “I had hoped there was more of my personality in you, my son. And a little less of your mother’s.”
The boy flushed, bright pink on his white cheeks. He had the same white-blond hair as his mother and father. Indeed, the three of them looked so alike they could have all been siblings.
“It did hurt,” he murmured, picking at the food on his plate.
“My poor darling,” his mother sighed, reaching over to pat his pale hand. A coil of her white-blond hair fell over her shoulder, coming to rest on the ripe swell of her breast when she straightened. He gazed meditatively at it while the boy stared off at his plate.
She gave the boy a languid, loving smile, well pleased with herself. She actually thought all of her spoiling was doing the boy some good. After all of these years, he should’ve recognized what her coddling was doing, but he’d been busy with other affairs and his son—though cherished—was not foremost on his mind. He’d thought, after all, that he could count on his wife to raise a child to the pureblood standards. Stupid thought.
‘I should have beaten her more often,’ he reflected, eyes idly tracing the coil of hair from her tempting bosom, up the column of her throat, to the softness of her hollow cheeks. She had the patrician, pureblood beauty that he had demanded in a wife—every feature perfection, with the haughty presence of a queen. ‘There are many things I should have done…’
She sensed his gaze and returned it, staring back until she caught his eyes. Even heavily veiled by her surprisingly black lashes, the glittering blue jewels of her eyes were soft and limpid, betraying none of the madness that had so plagued her family for so long. It belonged to the others of her line—those dark of hair and eye, with wild streaks and wild ways and a hunger for things not their own. But she had mad hungers of her own, his Lady wife. Oh, yes, she did.
“You may go now,” he murmured, and even though he stared at his wife, the boy knew he was being addressed and acted accordingly.
“Mother, father,” he said, standing and bowing a little. He quit the room swiftly, and the echoes of his footsteps reached them as he ran off into the darkness of the manor house.
“What are you about, you sly creature?” he asked, lifting his glass to take a sip of the wine. It filled his mouth with sharp dryness and rich flavor, a welcome distraction from her too-calm eyes.
“Whatever do you mean, darling?” she asked, her voice all innocence. She, too, took a sip of her wine, staining her perfect lips a dark red. Her pink tongue darted out, chasing the film of wine along the curve of her mouth.
“The boy likes this…halfling girl,” he said, nose wrinkling with disgust at the mention of such a thing. “And you do nothing to discourage it. If you wish to provoke me into turning on my own heir, I suggest you think again. I may not be the most loving of fathers, but I treasure the boy above all else.”
“Isn’t it always treasure with you?” she asked, modestly lowering her head as she took another enticing bite of her dinner. “I know you care for our son, darling—you’re not a monster.”
“Aren’t I?” he questioned, tossing back the rest of his wine with one gulp. He plucked his cane up from where it leaned against the massive table and thoughtfully regarded the snake-head tip. The bared fangs and flicking tongue, the intricately wrought scales, the jeweled eyes—beautiful and deadly. Much as his wife would be, should be but let her. Leash-holding, however, was his primary hobby, and the tighter his hold on those around him, the more maliciously happy he was.
He could sense her tense across from him, as she always did when he took such an interest in his seemingly harmless walking stick. He slowly lifted his gaze, a thoughtful frown on his face, and even that could not mar the bred beauty of him. He could see her pulse jumping in her throat, could see her chest rising and falling with her rapid breaths. There was a tell-tale flush to her pale cheeks and a fierce light in her eyes that made him ruefully think he really should have addressed her discipline issues much sooner than this. In moments like these, he recalled how very much he enjoyed the strange bond that they shared—indeed, had shared since they were little better than awkward adolescents making fumbling attempts to explore one another.
“What did you think I would do?” he lowly asked, his voice dangerously soft. He leaned towards her as he said it, lifting the cane. He caught her under the jaw with the silver snake head, lifting her chin so that she tilted her head up. “What did you suppose I would do to you?”
“I supposed nothing,” she said, her voice calm, her eyes cloudy. “You are as unpredictable as ever, my dearest husband.”
“Then this should come as a surprise to you,” he slowly whispered. “Go upstairs.”
“To our chamber?” she inquired, standing gracefully as he pushed her upwards with his cane.
“No,” he said, and the smile that curved his fine mouth was predatory, ravenous. “To the Silent Room.”
He was pleased with the fear in her eyes.
As she moved fluidly away, he poured himself another glass of wine and thought of what he would do to his lovely, half-mad wife.