(1941-07-13) Not So Merry Thoughts
Details for Not So Merry Thoughts
Summary: Victor deceives Lucian to get him to meet. Lucian isn't so receptive.
Date: 13 July, 1941
Location: Three Broomsticks Pub, Hogsmeade
Related: -

The midday sun shines through the windows of the Three Broomsticks, illuminating the butterbeer sitting on Lucian's table, casting it into a brilliant amber colour. Lucian idly scratches at the surface of the wooden table with a nail as he waits for his potential new client to arrive. Oliver Merrythought — an elderly gentleman, apparently, who expressed interest in fulfilling a life's dream to become an Animagus. It will remain to be seen, of course, if he has what it takes. But half the job is consultation, anyhow.

The door of the Three Broomsticks swings outward, allowing entry of one Victor Proudmore. The man is dressed in attire befitting his profession, rather than his station as heir to the Proudmore estates, in a pair of comfortable slacks and button down shirt, the sleeves rolled up past his elbows. His blonde hair is styled casually, and his piercing blue eyes sweep across the room of the Three Broomsticks. Alighting on the form of his brother, Lucian, Victor squares himself and then begins his approach, his hands clenching and unclenching involuntarily in a slightly nervous tick. His boot clad feet carry him along until he reaches his brother's table where he stops and says, "Lucian," by way of greeting.

The sound of his name raises the hairs on the back of Lucian's neck. He knows that voice all too well. He looks up at Victor with the same blue eyes, and a crease forms in his brow. "What do you want, Victor? I haven't got time for your posturing. I'm meeting a client."

Victor holds his hands up in a disarming gesture, palms raised as he shakes his head. "No posturing." Lowering his hands, Victor steps over toward the opposite side of the table from Lucian and pulls out a chair before seating himself. He gazes across the space between them, his gaze assessing Lucian, perhaps attempting to gauge his brother's emotions. Despite whatever posturing or arrogant bravado that Victor had been prone to in school, his time abroad and away from the Proudmore lineage seems to have changed that at face value. "How have you been?"

Lucian's emotions have never been difficult to read. He has always worn his heart on his sleeve. He glares across the table at his half-brother, his jaw clenching in aggravation. "Victor. Go. Away. I'm waiting for a client, and I don't need you here mucking things up when he arrives."

Blowing out a calm sigh, Victor's eyes never leave those of his brother as he leans forward and says, "Mr. Merrythought is not coming. I knew that you would ignore my letter if I wrote it true to my name, so why don't we be civilized and talk? I was honest. I am interested in hiring your services. I am skilled enough at Transfiguration, surely you know that." He drums the pads of his fingers atop the wooden table for a moment before saying, "So… again… how have you been, brother?"

Lucian stares in silence for an uncomfortably long time. But the growing anger is palpable; his face tightens slowly, snarl lines forming. "Honest? This is what you call honest? Merlin's arse on a stick…you are unbelievable! You know, I once had a little hope that you had begun to learn how to treat people with respect. But you're just like him." The way his inflects that word leaves no question; when spoken with such vitriol, Lucian always means their father, Actaeon Proudmore. "You'll say whatever it takes to get your way, no matter how untrue or manipulative. How dare you waste my time!" Lucian starts to rise to his feet. His outburst is drawing eyes, and Tessa the bar wench is starting to make her way over. Spotting her approach, he growls out a sigh and sits down again, glaring daggers at Victor.

Victor only shakes his head as he watches the anger roll forward from Lucian before he begins his tirade. He does not rise to the jabs, those blue eyes simply gazing into his brother's across from him, not even going so far as to stand when Lucian begins to. As he sits back down, Victor turns his attention from his brother for the first time since engaging to glance across to Tessa and raise a staying hand, as if motioning her to not interfere. The Proudmore brings his attention back to Lucian in short order and he says, "Just like him? Brother, did you even stop to consider what I said? We have not seen each other since Hogwarts. If I had asked you to meet with me outright, you would not have came. I am not father. I am Victor, your brother. And I am trying to gain some of your time. Hell, I will even pay you, if that is what it takes. A…" he trails for a moment and then says with some emphasis, "professional arrangement."

Tessa arches an eyebrow at Victor's hand, but continues to approach, her concern being for the rest of the patrons, not the source of the disturbance. "Boys," she says, her eyes specifically on Lucian, "You're going to need to keep it down or I'll have to ask you to leave."

Lucian grumbles a sigh and nods. "Sorry, Tessa. It won't happen again." When the barmaid smiles and departs (after offering to get Victor a drink, of course), Lucian levels his cold stare at Victor again. "You're absolutely right that I wouldn't have come for you. So you lied to get your way. That is how you're exactly like Actaeon. I have something you want, so you'll say anything to get it. You haven't changed one bit."

Victor smiles to Tessa and declines her offer of a drink with a polite shake of his head. "Brother," he begins with a weary tone. "I am looking to spend time with you. I would like to bridge this gap between us. You are great at Transfiguration, and I have always been proud of the fact that you became an Animagus. I thought this would be an easy way to start. Just give me a damn chance, and if at the end you still hate me, well you have gotten a good chance at my expense to repay me for all of the injustice that you believe I have done you by… well, whatever way it is you think that I have wronged you."

"If you'd just asked to meet with me without some ulterior motive, I might believe you." Lucian shakes his head. "But it's so obvious that all you really want is to learn what I know, and I'm your best chance at learning it. Alright, here's your chance. What I offer is Animagus Consultation. I'm here to help you determine if you've got what it takes to become one. Well, you don't." Lucian spreads his hands in an oh-well gesture. "Finding your inner animal is about connecting with your passion and peeling back all of the insincere, human garbage that gets in the way. You couldn't have a sincere emotion if your life depended on it. You don't have a hope of mastering this transformation. You'd have to feel something for somebody other than yourself first." With that, Lucian rises to his feet, pausing only to dig into his coinpurse to pay for his drink.

At this dismissal, Victor rises as well. His hands press flat to the table and he leans forward, his nose marking the half way point of the chunk of wood separating them. "I would have to feel something for someone other than myself, you self absorbed prat? I am here. Sure, I lied to get you here, but only because I knew that you would not give me the time of day otherwise. And since being here, I have told you that I would even pay you to spend some time with you and attempt to bridge this gap you insist on driving between us. And at the end of it, if I fail, so what? It's my gold. It's about you and me! It's about wanting to get to know my brother! To mend this rift between us!" Where Lucian grew louder in his earlier outburst, Victor draws quieter, his voice lowering with the seriousness of his words, and his eyes blazing with anger and perhaps surprisingly… hurt.

"Half-brother," Lucian says coldly, twisting the knife. "It's a little late for you to start pretending you ever thought of me as an equal. Keep your money. May it bring you all the happiness you deserve." He drops his coins on the table and starts to head out, but balks as he rounds the table and leans in to speak quietly to Victor, though never quite looking at him. "If you really want to mend the rift, mend yourself first. He's turned you into another version of him. As long as you act like he does, there can be nothing between us." Having nothing more to say, Lucian continues toward the door.

Victor glares at Lucian as he twists the knife and then growls quietly, "You don't know what I am anymore." He watches as his brother turns away and then returns. He listens and then about the time Lucian reaches the door, Victor follows. He quick steps across the room and shoves out of the door. "And how would you have me prove myself to you? Come and live on that farm as well?" he asks.

Lucian pauses in the street, whirling on Victor and pointing an accusatory finger. "Father would love that, wouldn't he? Someone to come try to sabotage the farm from within! You stay the hell away from the Fawley Farm. You hear me? If I ever see you there…." He doesn't finish the threat. But the fire in his eyes is all too evident.

Victor's eyes widen in shock and then he glares at that finger as he continues to advance toward his brother. "Are you really that paranoid, Lucian?" he asks with honest concern in his voice. "Why would I want to sabotage that farm? I work for the Ministry of Magic now. R.C.M.C. Beast Division. I work with dragons. Why would I ever want to harm what you have found happiness in?"

"Just stay away," Lucian growls. "You're exactly what he wants. A plant in the Beast Division to come in and ruin everything. He's been trying to take Camilla down ever since she rescued the hippogriffs from him, and I'll be damned if I let you help him."

Victor sighs and shakes his head slowly. "Whatever you say, brother." He takes another step forward and raises his finger to point at the other man, making damn sure he hears his next words. "But I am not our father, and I am not his pawn. Whatever wrongs he has done to you, I am not him. I care about you." With that, Victor turns and walks away."

Lucian watches Victor go, eyes boring into his back. He feels the urge to roar something unkind at Victor as he departs, but swallows it, imagining Morgana's voice counselling him that it will serve no purpose. He turns and walks the opposite direction, widening the gap between brothers.

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