He can’t remember the last time he was invited into his father’s office at home; a large dark room, on the second floor of the manor where his father spent much of his time. The double doors leading into it were always closed, and always locked. He can’t remember the last time his father had initiated a conversation with him. They had spent the past seventeen years content in their indifference towards each other. Or so, that is what Rabastan would have someone believe; that he was indifferent towards his father and catered no feelings of either love or hate towards the man who was supposed to raise him but instead left it to paid nannies and tutors to make sure Rabastan grew up properly. But that was a lie and his father knew this. Which is why as Rabastan stood in the doorway of this office, his father sat in his chair behind the desk and ordered Rabastan to “Shut the door and have a seat”, and Rabastan did exactly that without hesitation because he didn’t dare disobey his father the way he actively disobeyed his mother. There was of course no love between father and son, and Rabastan did not know his father enough to hate him, but he did know him enough to fear him.
By the time he sits down his father has poured a generous amount of scotch in two glasses and sets one before Rabastan, who ―needing something to do with his hands so as to not fidget and give away that he is nervous―picks it up and takes a sip. He keeps the glass in his hand and finally meets his father’s eyes. He’s not sure if he’s supposed to say something first. Rodolphus would know; Rodolphus was raised by their father, Rodolphus was used to these types of conversations. Rabastan was glad however, that Rodolphus was not here, that he lived in his own home now with his new wife. Rodolphus was yet another source of fear for Rabastan, but Rabastan also hated Rodolphus; a hatred that came from the feeling that he had been abandoned by his older brother, who as a young child Rabastan actually looked up to, and of course envy.
“Where is Miss. Savage this evening?”
Rabastan feels like this is a trap. His father has never shown the slightest bit of interest in Rabastan’s girlfriend, even though it was often the case that if Rabastan was at the manor, Poesy was with him. But his father was obviously noting the obvious and the unusual; that tonight Rabastan had sat in complete silence and ate dinner with both his mother and father. No one mentioned Poesy’s absence but obviously his father found it curious. As would most people. More recently Rabastan and Poesy had become inseparable. He hated thinking about how after this winter break was over, they would only have half a year left at Hogwarts together before Rabastan graduated.
“Her grandmother wanted her home tonight. She’ll be at the Christmas Eve party with me tomorrow night.” He lifts the glass to his lips but then lowers it to add, “If that’s alright.”
“You like this girl?”
Rabastan thinks this conversation is going somewhere much bigger than from where it started. If he were Rodolphus, their father would have just come out and say what he needed to say; but Rabastan is not Rodolphus and his father is trying to make Rabastan comfortable; that’s what the drink is for, that’s what the false curiosity about Rabastan’s girlfriend is for. Rabastan’s father is just as unsure of how to proceed in this situation as Rabastan is.
“She’s very young. And you’re leaving Hogwarts in May.”
Rabastan doesn’t know how to respond and drops his eyes to the glass in his hand. He’s waiting for his father to say more on the matter but when the silence continues he picks his gaze up and shrugs.
“We’ve talked about it. I don’t think it will be a problem.”
“You’re planning to stay together?
Definitely a trap. Rabastan lifts the scotch to his lips and takes a large sip; his father was right in offering him the drink. It was strong, and burned his throat as it went down, but it spread warmth under his skin and relaxed his muscles. He took another sip before setting it down on the coaster and looking up at his father who still had not touched his drink and who still was not responding. His father had not taken his eyes off of him yet and allowed the silence to linger.
“What?” Rabastan finally snapped, impatient with the lingering silence. His father laughed lightly before finally taking a sip of his own drink. Rabastan didn’t find this amusing. He wanted to know why he was being offered drinks from his father; he wanted to know why he was sitting opposite the man who had ignored him for seventeen years to the best of his ability; he wanted to know why his father was suddenly so interested in Poesy Savage, a girl who his father probably had exchanged all of five words with.
“You are a lot like your mother, you know that?”
“Am I to sit here while you insult me, Sir?” His tone is venomous, his eyes never looking away from his father. The reminder that Rabastan resembles his mother, in both demeanor and looks compared to their father always stings, whereas Rodolphus took after their father. He remains seated but wishes to leave; doesn’t dare to though until his father tells him when he may go.
“You are impatient, and you have a temper that you can not be suppressed. Your mother is the same way, which is why I often find it impossible to sit in the same room with the two of you. But you have made antagonizing her into a sport for your own personal entertainment. And you have won. You will always win against those who have no power to control or to stop you.”
Rabastan remained silent and tried not to betray the slight joy that came with his father admitting this fact. Rabastan and his mother had been at war with each other since he was twelve.
“She doesn’t want you in this house.”
Impatient, Rabastan was, and his temper rose quickly.
“You are kicking me out?” He blurted out immediately leaning forward in his chair; all joy vanishing because he realized if his mother had his father on her side than in fact, Rabastan was not victorious at all..
“I wouldn’t look at it like that. You are seventeen and after this break you will be at Hogwarts until you graduate in May. Besides continuing a relationship with Miss. Savage have you figured out what you are going to do after school?”
Rabastan looked away from his father, uncomfortable with the question and uncertainty of the future. “No.I suppose I will get a job, isn’t that what I’m supposed to do?”
“Do you know what your brother is doing?”
Rabastan rolled his eyes, he wished his father would cut the excessive questioning and just tell him why he was sitting here. Rabastan ignores the question at first.
“Why the sudden interest in how I spend my time, or how I will spend my time, Sir?.”
His father simply raised an eyebrow and leaned back in his chair before Rabastan shook his head, ran a hand through his unruly hair and answered the original question.
“He works for the Ministry.”
“You think your brother works for the Ministry?”
Rabastan didn’t like how condescending his father was towards him. He wondered if Rodolphus suffered through conversations like this since he was a little boy. It would explain a lot about his brother. Rabastan almost felt sorry for him, almost.
“He is employed at the Ministry of Magic but I have a pretty good idea who he really works for.” Rabastan responded another roll of the eyes before picking up the glass and finishing its contents, when he put it back down again his father made sure to refill it. Despite always having enjoyed drinking, another pour meant that this conversation was not ending soon enough.
“And have you thought about working for the Dark Lord?”
Thinking about something was different than actually talking about it, or doing it. Rabastan had thought about it; every boy he grew up with was forced to think about it while at Hogwarts. For some it was their choice to go on to serve for the Dark Lord, for others it was just expected. His father had spoken of the Dark Lord to him, he had learned Dark Magic that was not taught at Hogwarts from Rodolphus mostly, but. Rabastan never felt compelled to make the choice to join a cause he never showed much enthusiasm for.. Mudbloods and Muggles were no concern of his; he didn’t socialize with them but Rabastan didn’t socialize with a lot of Purebloods either because he found their company just as unpleasant, and sometimes even more so.
He was a Lestrange; he didn’t concern himself with anyone who he didn’t want to.
He took a sip of the new pour. The alcohol was making him grow confident and he decided to speak plainly instead of trying to avoid the topic which Rabastan realized was the real reason he was sitting here. It was not about Poesy, or how he treated his mother, it wasn’t even about Rabastan really, it was about the Dark Lord.
“I’ve never even considered making the decision to work for the Dark Lord. I don’t think it’s something I want to be apart of.”
“But you are my son. You are a Lestrange.”
“Oh, so you’ve noticed?”
“Careful Rabastan, I am the only person who provides you with this privileged life, you so obviously cherish. I can easily take that away from you.”
Rabastan sunk in his chair slightly and said. “You already said you were kicking me out of the house because of my mother.”
“I don’t blame her for wanting you out from under her roof, but you are seventeen and are leaving Hogwarts this coming year. So yes, you will be out of this house but I am giving you the Brownstone in London. And you will get your inheritance…”
Rabastan tried not to let the relief show on his face when his father said those words. But this made him forget the real reason he was sitting his father’s office.
“You will get the Brownstone and you can continue your relationship with Poesy. She seems to be good for you. I’d argue that you are not good for her but she is not any of my concern. Anyways her being at Hogwarts might be a good thing for you in the next three years so you aren’t distracted.”
“Distracted from what, Sir?”
His father smiled. It was a smile of victory, the same sort of smile that formed on Rabastan’s lips when he successfully brought his mother to tears during an argument.
“You will work for the Dark Lord of course.”
“And if I said I didn’t want to?” He asked even though already knowing the answer.
“You would no longer be my son, no longer a Lestrange.”
“Do you think that I care about being a Lestrange or not?”
“Son, I think it’s the only thing you care about.”
Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar
New Holiday Prints up. Persephone, Hades and Eurydice prints, and the set.