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Pragmatic by SnitchSnatcher

Format: Novella
Chapters: 2
Word Count: 3,666
Status: WIP

Rating: Mature
Warnings: Strong Language, Scenes of a Sexual Nature, Sensitive Topic/Issue/Theme

Genres: Drama, Humor, Romance
Characters: Percy, Narcissa, Draco, Scorpius, Hugo, OC, OtherCanon
Pairings: Other Pairing

First Published: 12/14/2009
Last Chapter: 07/24/2010
Last Updated: 07/24/2010

Summary:
Stunning banner @ Mrs.Lovett



Stubborn, practical, and extremely judgmental, Lucy Weasley is everything her father could have wanted. So when she is called to Malfoy Manor to assist a dying Narcissa, it is under the pretense that her obnoxious grandson will be nowhere in sight. Naturally, Scorpius returns to the Manor for a surprise visit, bringing with him the very last person she wanted to see: her best friend.


Chapter 1: Crutch
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Prologue
Crutch





The black umbrella hung loosely from her fingertips, the curved handle cradled in the soft indents of her knuckles. The meteorologists had predicted rain, even thunderstorms, yet the sky remained clear save for the occasional cluster of puffy white clouds that drifted lazily past the brightly blazing sun.

In the beginning, she would have been thankful, maybe even grateful, for the bright blue blanket stretched overhead, but that was before her condolences had been muttered so frequently, the words had lost all meaning. It was strange to think that once upon a time, she thought a clear sky was the making of a beautiful day. But now she knew the truth, or at least some semblance of it. The colour of the sky didn’t mean a damn thing - a funeral was a funeral just as a loss was a loss, and the weather conditions had nothing to do with it.

After attending so many funerals in such a short amount of time, she had lost the ability to cry at these black affairs. It wasn’t until she was on her own, away from the eyes of the grieving families, that she allowed herself a moment of bereavement. However, as she was still learning, time and experience did not lessen the sharp, hollow feeling that punched itself through her chest each time she watched someone perish before her. It was unfair, to be youthful and healthy when those around her were constantly dropping dead.

As the wizened wizard delivered his solemn sermon, she kept her head hung low, her eyes to the ground. In short, she was the picture of a mourning guest, downcast and downtrodden. His words resonated through the crowd, enveloping the attendees in an embrace, though the effect was less than warming. The speech do not comfort her, it did nothing more than alienate her from the inconsolable members of the recently deceased’s family.

She did not know this woman like her children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren did. She did not know the intimate details of her life - how she met her husband, how she looked on her wedding day, on her daughter’s wedding day, how she felt when she became a grandmother, then a great-grandmother. She knew nothing of Edna Mulner’s life before she became a terminal case. The only thing she did know, however, was that, in the face of death, Edna kept her composure and faced her fate head on, unafraid and accepting.

Just as the stinging sensation began to build in her chest, the wizard wrapped up his speech by asking for a moment of silence. As most sombre moments, the seconds ticked by slowly, leaving her to her own thoughts. She remembered Edna’s smile and her laugh, rough though it may have been. She recalled the memories which Edna had related to her while they sat in her bedroom, a book closed and abandoned on her lap, and, though she was not an official part of the family nor had she been with the family for very long, perhaps she was wrong.

Before she could contemplate it any further, the moment was gone and the bagpipes began to play. Tightening her grip on the umbrella, she waited and watched quietly as various members of the family neared the grave and tossed their handfuls of dirt onto the coffin below. The grandson, a handsome young man of about twenty, helped his sobbing mother, Edna’s youngest child and only daughter, letting her lean all her weight on his elbow. It was a simple gesture, that much was true, but it spoke volumes about the young man that she herself had only met a handful of times.

When it came time to toss her own handful onto the growing pile, she made a quick affair of it, depositing the dirt and whirling around. She did not march away from the grave nor did she stomp, but her movements were quick, her breathing laboured as she stumbled towards an adequate Apparation point. The tears stung in her eyes, blurring her vision and making it impossible to see the gnarled roots and rabbit holes in the ground. Several times, the heel of her black peep-toed shoes caught in a hole or snagged on a root, but she managed to right herself.

She didn’t get very far before a voice called out her name. “Miss Weasley!” Thankfully, she was free to ignore the voice, which was decidedly masculine, as one of those Muggle airplanes soared overhead, its loud engines droning out any sound.

“Wait! Miss Weasley - Lucy!”

Blinking hard, she stopped in her tracks, her fingers clenching around the handle of her umbrella. Counting the seconds until he approached, she sucked in a short breath and turned.

It was Edna’s grandson, Mark. His dark brown hair was a bit rumpled and his bright blue eyes were bloodshot, the lids tainted red. Other than that, he appeared very composed for a person who had just lost his grandmother. Only the drawn line of his lips and the faint bags under his eyes hinted at his weariness. When he spoke, he sounded a bit breathless, as though he had been chasing her since she fled the scene. Which, upon reflection, she realised he probably had.

“Lucy,” he panted, raising a hand to wipe the light sheen of sweat away from his brow. Her name sounded odd as it fell from his mouth, and she wondered if it was because in all her time at the Mulner residence, she had only ever called him Mr. Mulner. “A-are you leaving?”

Trying not to make her surprise known, she lowered her head and gave an almost imperceptible nod; a few curls slipped out of the tight bun at the nape of her neck. “Yes,” she affirmed quietly, her voice thick with emotion.

A furrow appeared between Mark’s brows, as though he was unsatisfied with her answer. “Are you going back to the house with the others?”

She shook her head; another lock escaped.

“What? Why not?” he asked, both sounding and looking confused.

Lucy wrung her hands around the umbrella, her sudden crutch on reality. “I thought you and your family would like a time to grieve…privately.”

Perhaps it was the pull of his brow or the twitch of his lips, but somehow he managed to look conflicted and assured at the same time. It was in his very peculiar expression that she knew what his next words would be - she had seen the look before just as she had heard the words before.

“But my grandmother would have wanted it.”

Lucy tried not to wince as the full force of the quietly muttered words hit her. Wetting her lips with the tip of her tongue, she did not offer an explanation as most would have done in her situation, instead she said the only words she knew how say in times of bereavement.

“I’m very sorry for your loss, Mark.”


Chapter 2: Without a Sound
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A/N: Right, so I feel like I owe everyone who read/reviewed/favourited an explanation for my severe lack of updates. Seriously, the last time I updated was in December; ridiculous, right? Anyway - here it goes: My muse is as fickle as dear Romeo and instead of focussing on Rosalind, he’s run off with every other girl in the village. Bloody prat.

The only reason why this chapter exists is because of Georgia (Jellyman) and her constant pestering of me to update this, so here it is. I hope you all enjoy it!




Chapter One
Without a Sound




“Morning, Luce,” her mother greeted when she stumbled into the kitchen, grabbing onto the door jamb to prevent herself from tripping.

Her hair knotted from another restless night, Lucy let loose a grunt of acknowledgment as she made a beeline towards the pot of freshly brewed coffee on the worktop. She moved to open the cabinet door, but froze at the sight of her yellow mug resting next to the pot. A gentle quiver of the corner of her mouth was the only indication of Lucy’s appreciation of the sentimentality of her mother’s simple gesture. Though her parents were anything but stoic, they were far more reserved in their displays of affection than most of the other members in the ever-growing Weasley family.

“Another sleepless night?” her mother asked as Lucy poured herself a cup of black coffee.

She nodded as she shuffled over to the table, pulling out a seat and dropping into it in a fluid gesture of exhaustion. Fighting back a yawn, Lucy set her steaming mug down to reach for the discarded section of newspaper. Once she pulled it close enough, she saw that it was the political section. Her nose scrunched up, and she pushed it away. Politics was the bane of her existence, if only because her father insisted on keeping her up to speed on the issues in wizarding society when she was growing up.

“Do you want to talk about it?”

Lucy sighed, leaning back in her chair. “No, Mum, I’m fine,” she answered shortly, taking a tentative sip of her hot coffee. As expected, it scalded her tongue, rendering the taste buds there absolutely useless. Grimacing, she pushed a hand through her hair, only to encounter a series of tangles so thick, she doubted the Amazon jungle was quite so complex.

The look Audrey Weasley sent her daughter hinted at her disbelief, but she didn’t voice her disagreement, merely shook the newspaper within her grasp until the gossip column fell out. She tried not to grin at Lucy’s blatantly obvious attempts to hide her excitement at the sight of the blaring headline: ‘WILL THE ROMANCE EVER END?’, which was accompanied by a picture of a tall, blonde man shielding himself and a leggy woman from view with a cloak.

For reasons no one, not even Lucy, could explain, she had been fascinated by the trash writings of Rita Skeeter and her merry band of followers from the moment she could truly comprehend what she was reading. Her father argued that it was her insatiable curiosity to know everything about the world around her that fed her desire to read such rubbish, but Lucy knew better. She wasn’t interested in the world around her, no, she needed a distraction from the near-constant shroud of darkness that hung over her head.

Depression was not a word within Lucy’s vocabulary, but death was, almost prominently so. And if anyone knew the path following the death of someone close, it was Lucy, and she knew it was a very rocky, unpleasant one where distractions in any shape or form were most heartily welcomed.

“So,” Audrey began, “do you have any plans for today?”

“Healer Dystraka asked if I could come into the office today,” she responded, giving into her impulse and pulling the gossip column towards her person.

“Really?” her mother mused aloud. “Do you know why?”

Lucy took a few, short sips of her coffee and then shrugged. “I’m assuming it’s because he has a new job lined up for me.” Her dark eyes flicking across the page at a speed too fast to follow, she added, “Or he wants to put me back on rounds.”

“And do you want to go back on rounds?”

Again, Lucy lifted a shoulder. “I wouldn’t mind a break.” Could use one, actually, she added to herself silently, thumbing over to the next page. There were larger blocks of text here, which consumed her attention for several minutes, leading to a pregnant silence in the kitchen. “Is Dad home?”

“No,” Audrey negated with a shake of her head. “He left for his trip to Bali, remember?”

The truth was that she didn’t remember, but Lucy tore her eyes away from the paper long enough to look at her mother and give a brief nod. Audrey wasn’t a fool, ergo she didn’t buy that her daughter remembered. The girl rarely remembered anything not concerning herself. It sounded selfish and perhaps it was in some ways, but Lucy was dedicated to her work to the point of obsession, and tended to forget about everything else when she had a job to do - or rather, just vacated a position.

“I told him the usual, though,” continued Audrey, causing her daughter to look up from the paper once again. Apparently, it was nearly as riveting as it could have been since she was willingly pulling her attention away from the text. Upon the furrow of Lucy’s brow, the older Weasley woman added, “That you loved him and would owl him sometime in the week.”

“Oh,” was all Lucy said before picking up her mug and draining the remains of the rapidly cooling liquid within. Pushing the cup away from her, she rose to her feet, stretching her arms over her head. “Well, I’m going to have a shower,” she informed her mother unnecessarily, though she could see the appreciation in her mother’s eyes. It was strange, the way her mother kept such a close eye on Lucy after she attended the funeral of her recently deceased patient. Almost as though the woman expected her to commit suicide or something.

“Okay, dear,” her mother said with a tight smile. “Just don’t take all of the hot water; you know how Molly gets.”

Snorting softly in derisive amusement, Lucy trudged up the stairs to prepare herself for the new day.

- - -


It was strange, coming back to the hustle and bustle provided by the ever-busy St Mungo’s, but it was a refreshing change. A welcomed one. The noise was much better than the silence she’d endured over the last week.

Pulling her long brown hair back into a loose ponytail, Lucy wended her way through the familiar halls, an unsettling sensation eating away at her stomach much like it always did when she returned from hospice care to the hospital. Unlike the hospice world where the patient (usually) died peacefully in their bed, in a hospital such as St. Mungo’s, death was sudden, swift. Unexpected. Lucy liked being prepared, liked studying the approach of the opponent to see what could be done. Death was inevitable, she knew that, but it was a much better prospect, facing it armed and ready rather than defenceless and unexpecting.

Lucy pulled in a deep breath as she rounded the corner and neared the door of her boss’s office. She got along just fine with her superior, Healer Grayson Dystraka, but she was always cautious the first few days she returned to the hospital until another hospice job cropped up, mainly because she didn’t want him to give it to someone else. She couldn’t stay in the hospital for a prolonged amount of time; it would drive her mad, slowly but surely. She smoothed a hand over her hair before forming a fist, which she used to wrap on the door.

“Come in!”

She opened the door and stepped into the moderately decorated office. There was purpose behind the seemingly bland colour scheme and the contemporary decorating scheme, and Lucy felt oddly at ease as she stood in the doorway, her hand lingering on the doorknob.

“Ah, good morning, Lucy,” her boss greeted warmly in his attention-grabbing voice. He smiled at her, the wrinkles at the corner of his dark brown eyes and around his mouth more pronounced than usual. Though he appeared to be in good spirits, she was more than willing to bet he was exhausted.

Lucy inclined her head, a tight smile on her face. “Good morning, sir.”

“What’s with this ‘sir’ nonsense?” He frowned at her, then shook his head. “Shut the door and take a seat, if you please,” Dystraka instructed, motioning her into the office. “I’ve got something important to discuss with you.”

She did as she was told, pulling the door shut behind her before taking the seat in one of the straight-backed, chrome chairs in front of his desk. A shiver coursed through her body as the cool metal grazed her bare calf; she tried not to grimace in discomfort. The very last thing she wished to do was make her boss think she was uncomfortable in his presence.

A moment of silence passed in which Dystraka leaned back in his chair, a studious expression settling into his sharp, but kind features. Lucy didn’t flinch under his piercing gaze, having been studied by him post-hospice job more times than she could count; she didn’t have enough fingers and toes to count upon. Instead, she returned his stare, though hers was less intrusive.

Finally, Dystraka broke the silence, but he maintained eye contact. “How was the Mulner funeral?”

She struggled to swallow her surprise. Out of all the possible questions he could have asked, Lucy had not expected that one. “It was just like any other funeral, Grayson,” she replied, keeping her tone as even as possible.

“Right.” He nodded, though his expression told her that he was not at all convinced by her display. “And how long was Edna Mulner in your care?”

Lucy hesitated, her nails biting into her skin as she clenched her fists in her lap. “Just shy of six months.”

“Six months is a long time.”

“It is,” she agreed.

Dystraka swivelled his chair from side to side, still observing her keenly from across his desk. “So long that a holiday wouldn’t be too far out of the question.”

At this, Lucy’s gaze sharpened. Was her boss suggesting that she was incapable of handling another job so soon after Mrs Mulner’s death? She tightened her jaw, indignant. And yet despite her indignation, she kept her calm. Mostly. “I don’t need a holiday,” she said a little too forcefully.

“Are you sure?” Dystraka asked, a flicker of amusement appearing in his eyes. “You look a little tense.”

I’m fine,” Lucy insisted through gritted teeth.

Chuckling, Dystraka held up his hands. “All right, all right, it was only a suggestion,” he said mildly, a slightly patronising smile on his face. If she wasn’t so used to expression, she would have been offended by it, but for as tough as Dystraka pretended to be, he had a surprising amount of concern for all of his employees, especially Lucy. “There’s no need to get upset over it, Lucy. I wasn’t casting doubt upon your abilities.”

She snorted derisively and, quite petulantly, folded her arms over her chest.

“No, really,” continued Dystraka in earnest. “Out of all of those in my employ, you’re the most capable, the most durable.”

This took Lucy aback, but only for a few moments. She was nothing if not composed. “Oh,” she said, her smile small as she tried to ignore the heat of the blush staining her cheeks. “Thank you, Grayson.”

“I only speak the truth,” he stated, spreading his hands out in front of him as if daring her to contradict him. Though she highly doubted she was his most capable employee, Lucy was not one to turn down a compliment, especially one as nice as that. “That being said,” Dystraka carried on, “I think it’s time I stop beating round the bush and tell you why I called you into the hospital so soon after your last case, don’t you think?”

Lucy sat up a little straighter in her seat, not at all bothered by the cold brush of metal this time round. “Yes,” she said with a firm nod. “It would be nice to know why I was dragged out of the comforts of my own bed on a Saturday.”

Flashing her a warm smile, Dystraka pulled open the topmost drawer of his desk and removed a wide, off-white envelope with bold red letters across the top. Though she couldn’t read what the letters proclaimed, Lucy knew what an off-white envelope meant.

Another case.

He set the envelope on the desk and pushed it towards her.

“Already?” Lucy questioned, accepting the envelope.

“Unless you don’t want it.”

She shook her head. “No, I want it. I need something to distract me from…” she trailed off, gesturing at nothing in particular.

“Don’t accept so hastily,” warned Dystraka. “I want you to read over the file first before you make your final decision. This job is -” he paused to lick his lips and pass a hand over his salt-and-pepper hair “-well, it’s a big job.”

Lucy raised an eyebrow. “Big as in big pay out or big client?”

“Both.”

“And you’re warning me against accepting this because?” She chuckled, absently tracing the edge of the envelope as she regarded him. “Sounds like a dream gig to me.”

Dystraka waved away her question. “Please, Lucy, just read over the file. And carefully, too. This is a high profile case and I want you to make sure this is what you want.”

There was something about the seriousness of his gaze and the sternness of his tone that made Lucy start. Though she was used to his concern in his employees, she didn’t expect him to be so upfront with it; she didn’t expect it to leak through his voice, to show in his face.

She swallowed the lump in her throat. “I will, Grayson,” she said. “You know I will.”

“Good.” He breathed a sigh of relief, his hand drifting to pull at the knot of his tie, a habit of his Lucy had noticed after mere hours in his presence. “Now get out of my office, I’ve got work to do and you’ve got a file to read.”

Smiling another tight smile, Lucy stood and again did as she was told, drifting out of the door just as she had entered - without a sound.



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