A/N: Written for The 1000 Faces Competition at the HPFC, a challenge hosted by Louise Foxhall. I received the prompts "quiet as a Sunday morning" and "antipathy" as well as the pairing.
Many thanks to mew-tsubaki for her (just as usual) fabulous betareading.
A Word from Malfoy Manor
The house—no, sorry, the manor was completely quiet, peacefully resting. And yet, it knew things were about to happen, things that would disturb the tranquility and cause the silent summer evening to turn into a night lined with explosions.
It could sense it. It was in the air; there was this rumble deep down that told the manor that someone was plotting something, and that it would lead to hell breaking loose. If not worse.
And yes, there it was! In the room on the third floor—the room at which the manor always looked fondly, the room where most things overall happened (if you ignored that year when there had been lots of masked people in the entirety of the manor, that is)—in that very room its blonde owner fiddled with his collar as though he was either extremely nervous or just overly concerned with his appearance.
The manor guessed on the former because of the rumble again, as well as the fact that even though the blonde man always had cared about his looks, he never looked this troubled seeing his reflection. The content smile the manor had learned to expect when the blonde checked the mirror-him was simply not there.
Suddenly the manor sensed the fireplace in the big hallway outside the room being lit—and, oh yes, a green fire erupted and out stepped a woman. The manor wondered for a second if this was hell breaking loose or if it was just a precursor to it when the woman brushed the ash off her trousers and knocked on the door to the blonde's room.
And that was when the manor recognized her. She was here…not often, but sometimes. And whenever she was, everything in this part of the manor was wrapped in an aura of secrecy and intimacy. She made the manor feel proud, because the manor knew it had helped the two of them, that it had done its best to hide them and that it so far had succeeded very well.
Not that it was a difficult task. The only thing the manor had to do to make sure the two of them were undiscovered—which the manor actually didn't know why it wanted them to be—was to make sure that the stairs up to that floor would creak inconspicuously loud so that the woman had time to disguise herself and the blonde had time to wipe lipstick stains off his face and button his trousers again before being revealed.
It made the manor feel young, helping them.
Now, though, the woman had entered the blonde's room and the manor kindly averted its attention from the two of them, wanting to give them some privacy. It had better things to do than to see the two of them sharing affectionate moments.
However, there wasn't much to do, as the manor was, just as it had noted before, as quiet as a Sunday morning. The man and woman who were parents to the blonde sat in the large living room reading, and that room was breathing easily and dusty, and the manor became bored in little time, probably as it knew what was going on upstairs.
…but wait! That was not how it usually felt when the blonde and the dark-haired woman met. Their room was again filled with that antipathy-edge. The manor felt stupid. It had forgotten about the rumble; it had ignored it after the woman arrived, and now the dislike was there, growing stronger and stronger.
And now the feeling was so strong that the manor was sure it would burst any second now…and yes, there it was!
The tension had outgrown the room's size on that other floor, and now it flooded down the stairs and into the living room as an enormous, raging hurricane.
The manor buzzed; it had no idea what would happen, and it hadn't felt this alive in ages. Well, there had been occasions, as when those aforementioned masked people had been intruding and everything had been glowing in darkness, every far-away-and-forgotten corner had been polluted with horrors and fear, but this…this was another feeling.
It was much brighter, and it was burning in the outer parts, but not with fury or craze—but with braveness and change.
The four people in the living room were now talking to each other, the younger woman gesturing wildly, the elder man's face as red as it had been that day his son had been born, the older woman having retaken her seat five times now, and the younger man not moving an inch, frozen in his posture.
The manor couldn't quite decipher what they were discussing, but it knew it was something that meant a lot to all of them and, yes, hell had broken loose now. Even the house-elf in the kitchen had come to listen and it stood in the doorway, and the manor felt as if there was an earthquake happening.
But it was one of those nice earthquakes, if there was such a thing. The manor wasn't afraid, exactly; it wasn't as if there was an underlying threat that the ground would open up and engulf the house, or that cracks would spread and make everything slowly break. It was instead that earthquake that shook one around a bit and made everything turn upside down for a while so that when the world then turned right again, things would be seen from a different perspective.
And indeed, there was a new perspective. The people now seemed to have been rattled. The older man had sunk back into his upholstered chair while his wife stood and seemed to scold him. Oh, how things had altered in so little time.
Everything calmed down, and the ease that had filled the room earlier returned and hugged its inhabitants closely. The manor felt happy for their sake, and they seemed to be happy, too.
The manor wondered if this was a trait all people, people in other houses, shared, that they so quickly changed their minds, or if it was something special with these people. It remembered so many fights, so many wall-shattering arguments and blood-tainting shouts turning into harmonious peace-offerings and light forgive-me-offers…and sure, maybe this was human, to move on, or maybe it was these particular people's emotions that went up and down in no time at all.
Whatever the reason was, it was with a warm feeling that the manor watched the two women hug and the man in the chair wave dismissively but retreat at his smirking son, on whose finger a ring glinted.
The manor wouldn't change its inhabitants for anything, it thought as the quietness returned and every trace of the explosions and pre-earthquake rumbles seeped back into its foundation. They were way too interesting.