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For Rodolphus, on his Graduation...

*A package arrives in June 1974, the final day of school. The label reads 'As promised...'.*



The room is cosy, white appliances marking it out as a Muggle-style kitchen with just the odd detail (cauldron on the oven, flutterby bush on the windowsill) to give away the magical status of the occupants. At the table an undistinctive man sits, an empty Firewhisky bottle at his side, his face a picture of misery. He doesn't seem to notice the scarred women entering through the back door until she shuts it behind her. He jumps at the noise, turning round sharply, his face vaguely annoyed at how sluggishly his feet move.

"You!" He shouts wildly, looking round for his wand which is nowhere to be seen. "You did this! You..." a sob, "you took them away."

Dahlia folds her arms and smiles, showing broken teeth, but says nothing.

"The doctors say there's something wrong with them, that stops the antidote working. What did you do to them?!"

"Curare." The man pales. "They won't be waking, if fact it's probable that by now they're already gone."

"Why? By God, what did they ever do to you? Charlotte wasn't even two! What could she possibly have done? A baby, Yaxley, why?!"

"She was yours. I simply took away what you denied me. And now it's time to take the rest." She steps closer, taking her wand out of her sleeve.

He tries to stand up but his legs fail him, his ankles buckle, leaving him on the floor clutching at the table. His eyes widen in panic and his breathing shallows. "What have you done?"

She comes up right by him and leans down to look in his face directly. "Oh now that would be telling." Before he can reply, she takes out a syringe full of pale blue liquid and stabs it into his upper arm.

"Fuck! What was that?" he demands, the pain temporarily overriding his panic and anger.

"Calming draught, the direct injection will make it more potent and longlasting. I wouldn't want your heart to give out before I'm done, after all." He sighs as the potion takes effect and puts up no resistance as she levitates him up onto the table. The Firewhisky bottle is knocked off and smashes on the hard tiles but she ignores the shards and they crunch under the thick soles of her boots.

She fixes his arms to the table away from his body, not bothering with his legs as the paralysis from the hemlock in the Firewhisky takes hold. She then starts to empty the bag she brought with her, putting the items next to him. A jar of white powder, notepad, quill, a number of differently coloured vials and a very, very sharp knife.

"Whazit?" Dahlia looks annoyed at his interrupion and deals with it wih a quick Silencio. She considers her tools briefly before deciding on the knife, picking it up she turns it in the light for a moment, apparantly admiring the work.

At the first touch of it next his ear, he flinches away. She sighs and grabs his chin, yanking his head back into place. "Move and you'll only make it worse for yourself." She doesn't remove her hand though as she slips the knife under the skin in one smooth movement. Even the force of her hand can't stop his mouth opening in a reflexive gasp although not even the sound of his breath escapes. After a pause, she removes her hand from his face and picks up her wand from the table and fixes his head as she did his arms. Then she goes back to work.

She hums as she cuts a smooth line from ear to chin to ear and over his temples - a great loop outlining his face - and outlines his eyes, notstrils and mouth The tears fall into the cuts and the blood soaks his hair. She takes her time in this, she doesn't seem to need to rush. After completing the cut she stops a second, to prepare for the next task and to let the man recover a little. Once his breathing slows, she continues.

The next task is more delicate and she remains silent. Carefully, she begins to peel away the skin from the flesh with her fingers, gently severing any connecting tissue between the two. His mouth works uselessly, obviously screaming, and his back arches. He'd thrash more but for the arm restraints and the paralysis that has now worked its way up past his knees. The clock on the wall has long past chimed the hour before she's done.

She takes the piece of skin and pours the vials' liquids over them, magically tanning it. The blood on the exposed flash has started to thicken in places, it's taken so long, and the empty screaming has turned to erratic gasping although that is rather shallow as the hemlock poisoning approaches the lungs. "Nearly done," she says conversationally, and his look is of profound relief that the pain will be over soon. It's almost as if he doesn't care how it ends. "Just one last thing now." The relief disappears.

She picks up the jar of white powder and unscrews the lid. "Lye. A fittingly Muggle substance for you. I originally considered using Bunidmun secretion, but thought it a little obvious." His eyes barely register her words but the dread is there nonetheless. "I thought I'd start with your legs and work up, granted by now you won't be able to feel anything down there the anticipation will make it all the better for when you do feel it." She starts to dust on the powder, after a couple of seconds it can be seen eathing through his trouser fabric and the skin underneath. Slowly she moves up and it's not until she reaches his chest that he even reacts. "The hemlock's less effective than I thought it would be, perhaps the alcohol," she says almost casually. At his collar bone she stops. About half the jar has been used up and she brings it up to eye-height to check this. Once again she takes up her wand and holds it ready.

Simultaneously she releases his restraints and dumps the rest of the lye on the naked flesh of his face. Stepping back to the kitchen counter, she watches cooly the writhing wreck on the table. The powder binds with the half-congealed blood and makes it stick all the more to the remains of his face. His hands, now free, clutched claw-like, tear to impossibly try and get the lye off him and only succeed in spreading it to his as-yet unharmed fingers.

She can tell the moment the calming draught wears off ten minutes later as he gives a monstrous lurch, as the shock kicks in and his heart gives up, and falls still. She regards the body, if it can be called that any more, for a minute or so before packing up her tools. The leather face she folds carefully and places it on the top of her bag.

The last thing Dahlia does before she leaves is send the Dark Mark up over the roof of the house, the hands clutching the wands still red with blood.

Comments

( 25 comments — Leave a comment )
nex_colubra
Feb. 24th, 2007 11:28 pm (UTC)
Rodolphus pulled back from the pensieve, his eyes glowing ecstatically

He sighed contentedly and turned to Dahlia.

'That was beautiful', he told her. 'I don't believe I've ever gotten a lovelier gift'.

'Thank you'.
viridigitus
Feb. 24th, 2007 11:32 pm (UTC)
She gives him a half-smile, relieved he hasn't reacted badly as she thought he might. She recognises that the memory could be seen as disturbing by some.

"What else could I have given you? It was something I said I would do long ago. I'm only glad you liked it."
nex_colubra
Feb. 24th, 2007 11:37 pm (UTC)
*gives her a little bow*

I am honoured that you remembered.

*with almost dreadful eagerness*

Did you keep the skin?
viridigitus
Feb. 24th, 2007 11:55 pm (UTC)
*shrugs*
I always do my best to honour promises to friends.

*nods*
I did. It sits in a box in my workroom. Next time you're there, I'll take it out and show you if you like.
nex_colubra
Feb. 25th, 2007 01:07 am (UTC)
It was very thoughtful of you and I appreciate it.

*inhales sharply*

*fervently*

I would like that very much!
viridigitus
Feb. 25th, 2007 01:10 am (UTC)
*laughs*
I bet you would!

Terribly messy to obtain though and the tanning solutions were a pig to get hold of.
nex_colubra
Feb. 25th, 2007 01:19 am (UTC)
*grins widely*

*offhandedly*

But more than worth the effort I'm sure.

Were they? I've never tanned human skin, just animal.

I wonder how similar they are.
viridigitus
Feb. 25th, 2007 01:22 am (UTC)
*sighs contentedly*

Oh yes. You know how long it was I waited for it too.

Yes, very slightly changed from the normal potions. Fortunately there are some old texts around which are bound in human skin and I was able to analyse the differences.

I've no idea; I've never dealt with animal skin myself.
nex_colubra
Feb. 25th, 2007 01:28 am (UTC)
Your patience is remarkable!

*frowns*

I've read some texts printed on human skin; they were terribly difficult to decipher.

*smiles*

You must come to the estate for dinner some time and see my collection. It's not very extensive yet, but I plan on adding to it.

viridigitus
Feb. 25th, 2007 01:34 am (UTC)
*smiles*
If you say so, but few things are worth such a long wait - this just happened to be one of them.

Really? The one I found just had the cover bound, I can't imagine how long it would have taken to get all the pages. *smirks* Of course, I doubt they had to deal with live donors.

How can I refuse such a generous offer? And don't worry, you've many years yet to extend it.
nex_colubra
Feb. 25th, 2007 01:35 pm (UTC)
*rueful grin*

I haven't much patience at all.

*chuckles*

Not very likely is it? Though I daresay there was more than one live donor. Being flayed alive is a very effective torture.

But human skin doesn't hold ink worth a damn.

*smiles*

You can't of course.

And there are so many to choose from.


viridigitus
Feb. 25th, 2007 04:14 pm (UTC)
No, none of your family are noted for it. Still, we can't all have everything and there are other virtues.

*crooked smile*
Why do you think I chose it? Although I have to blame associates of my mother for the idea; they used to do the strangest things with human skin. I believe one used to make lampshades...
nex_colubra
Feb. 25th, 2007 08:55 pm (UTC)
I'm not as bad as I used to be but I suppose that's not saying much.

Clever girl!

You don't get very many usable pieces though. Not from a living victim. I wouldn't think you'd be able to make a decent lampshade.

Because his name is so like Hitler's, I've avoided having Rodolphus make any references to the Nazis. Just a quirk of mine. I'm terrified of offending anyone.
viridigitus
Feb. 25th, 2007 09:23 pm (UTC)
*pauses to think a moment*
No, I'd say you've much improved over the years.

Yes, that's understandable. If I'd not fastened his head down it would have been far harder. *shrugs* I'm going on heresay, the woman who supposedly owned it was imprisoned before I was born. I did see photos of Maher's metamorphmagus cloak though. Now that was impressive.

That's fair enough and understandable. Dahlia's parents were in Grindelwald's circle during that war though, so I'm figuring she'd have been told tales of the 'old days' when she was growing up. Just hope people realise that her beliefs are in no way my own. :/
nex_colubra
Feb. 26th, 2007 03:23 am (UTC)
Really Dahlia! You're making me blush!

I don't think I ever did. Did your parents have one?

I'm sure she was. Such lovely bedtime stories for her!
I'm sure they do. *pets*
viridigitus
Feb. 26th, 2007 07:50 am (UTC)
*smiles*
Crdit where it's due, Rodolphus.

*laughs and shakes her head*
No, they were terribly dull when it came to that sort of thing. Photos were all they ever kept, unfortunately. They might still be in the old house somewhere, in fact, I should ask Alexander.
nex_colubra
Feb. 26th, 2007 06:36 pm (UTC)
*beams, pleased*

If there are photos, I should like to see one.

And any information you might have on preserving skins would, of course, be very welcome.

viridigitus
Feb. 27th, 2007 10:00 am (UTC)
*shrugs*
As I said, I'll ask my brother to see if he kept them. Knowing him though, it's more likely he burned them 'just in case'.

I'd wait to see if the preservation holds first, a couple of years is nothing really, come back to me in twenty and I'll tell you if I've anything worthwhile to add.
nex_colubra
Feb. 27th, 2007 04:08 pm (UTC)
*disappointed*

Not an unreasonable precaution, but it's a shame that such things are destroyed. Think of all the history that will never be known.

*blinks in surprise*

Twenty years? Well, I suppose you know your methods best; but it seems like a long time to wait for results.
viridigitus
Feb. 27th, 2007 08:21 pm (UTC)
*gives him an annoyed look*
Of course it's unreasonable! He's ashamed of our family's part in that history and is terrified someone may find it 'unsavoury'. Doesn't want his children to grow up with the idea that their family ever did anything important. *mutters* Bloody Hufflepuff attitude.

*tips her head in thought*
I could tell you now, of course, I just couldn't guarantee the usefulness of the information.
nex_colubra
Feb. 27th, 2007 11:32 pm (UTC)
*listens to her patiently, but his expression is grim*

I'm sorry. I had no idea your brother felt that way. *quietly* I sincerely hope he'll see reason some day before it's too late.

It would work now wouldn't it? To preserve skins? I just wouldn't be able to tell how effective it is for twenty years, yes?

Well, maybe you could jot it down for me. I don't have any immediate use for it, but you never can tell when something like that might come in handy.
viridigitus
Feb. 27th, 2007 11:53 pm (UTC)
*sighs*
I doubt it, he was like it even as a child. You're lucky you near enough missed him at school - the prat's actually mellowed with age. Luckily his wife's kept him from getting rid of any of the truly valuable memorabilia.

*nods*
That's right. I just don't like giving anything unproven out; call it a quirk.

*pauses a second before scrawling the information down anyway in her notebook before tearing out the page and handing it him*
Just don't blame me if it fails.
nex_colubra
Feb. 28th, 2007 04:08 pm (UTC)
*gravely*

Sounds like he's lucky to have missed me as well.

*smiles*

So there is some hope for the family through your sister-in-law.

Surely not unreasonable when dealing with such potentially volatile things as you do.

*takes the paper*

Thank you and I won't. It should work fine for any animal skins I want to preserve and it can't help but be better as far as human skin preservation.

*smiles*

But time will tell.
viridigitus
Feb. 28th, 2007 08:04 pm (UTC)
*looks at him through the corner of her eye*
Oh I wouldn't underestimate him, he is my brother after all. *smiles* Yes, although you'd never guess by looking at her.

*shrugs*
Excatly right.
nex_colubra
Feb. 28th, 2007 08:49 pm (UTC)
I try not to underestimate anybody. It makes far more sense to overestimate and over-prepare.

And I try not to pre-judge people either.

*shrugs as well*

Then we'll just have to wait and see.

( 25 comments — Leave a comment )

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