For the Love of Ermingard by vidicon
Author’s note: I do not own Harry Potter, Buffy the Vampire Slayer or any but my own creations. Fully beta-ed and approved by EllandrahSylver. This story is canon. The following ways of notation may be found in this story. This is excluding whatever I need to represent chatting, texting and stuff like that. Speech:
“Who’s on first.” Thought:
*What’s on second.
#I-don’t-know’s on third.
# Reviews are much appreciated, they inspire me. (And EllandrahSylver as well) For the love of Ermingard
The Hogwarts Express stood huffing and puffing beside the platform at Hogsmeade Station and Abraxas Malfoy, his education finished and his Hogwarts career behind him, intended to use this last voyage to both enjoy this last phase of his childhood and the first of his adulthood.
That left him in somewhat of a quandary. The foundation of the quandary was named Ermingard, was blonde, occasionally timid, sometimes braver than the most dare-devil Gryffindor, more loyal than the most stout-hearted Hufflepuff and yet could be sneakier than the wiliest Slytherin. And Abraxas wanted to marry her, and have even more carnal knowledge of her than he already had, without the indignity of hiding in cupboards, empty classrooms and alcoves.
Miss Ermingard Abbott came of old, yeoman stock, among the finest gentry of the Wizarding world, even if she was not a Lady. Her family was quite well off and her breeding impeccable.
That was something that both worried and soothed Abraxas. Worried, because Mr. Nigel Abbott was likely to gut him like a hog if he ever found out what Abraxas had done to (and with, for she had been a very enthusiastic participant) his darling daughter. Or since Mr. Abbott was, according to Ermingard, a keen lepidopterist, jab a needle through his thorax and keep him in a box as a showpiece.
And even worse, Mr. Nigel Abbott's father, Ermingard's Grandfather was the redoubtable Big Game Hunter Sir Herbert Abbott, bart. who ruled his branch of the Abbott family with an iron fist and a wand of yew and dragon's heart string. (Nineteen inches, stiff) He'd killed the dragon himself. The term 'big game hunter' was not an idle phrase for 'Thunderwand' Abbott.
Abraxas might be an excellent match after all he'd become Lord Malfoy with the untimely death of his father, but he was three years older than Ermingard and his reputation, and certainly that of his father, wasn't that great.
And no official offer had been made yet. Because that was the nature of the quandary: if Abraxas made his offer there would be questions as to why he wanted to and she wanted to and how they had gotten to know each other, each of which might lead to pinning and/or gutting.
And even worse, once he made the offer any chance of more of the intimacies he so enjoyed, and Ermingard as well, would have been impossible. They would henceforth be kept apart, chaperoned and supervised at their few meetings and Ermingard guarded like she was the greatest treasure in the world. Not that she wasn't, but that which Sir Nigel would seek to guard had already been plundered, and quite thoroughly, by Abraxas. Several times. Ermingard was more plundered than a town on the Spanish Main in the heyday of the pirates. *Note to self, buy pirate costume for me and a number of period dresses for Ermingard,*
Thinking of Lady Ermingard, captive of Captain Malfoy occupied Abraxas' mind for a few more minutes as he made his way along the train, helping people stow luggage, breaking up two fights and six scuffles and disturbing one couple who were less discreet about matters than he tended to be.
The trouble was, they needed to be engaged. Ermingard was old enough that others might show an interest and her family was wealthy and powerful enough that some lord might consider her a good match for an heir, or a younger son if the Lord were powerful enough. And some lords were better prospects than Abraxas, much though he hated to admit that. Older, more experienced, connections of their own instead of just those of his dead father. But at the very least he would have to show his intentions. Anything else wouldn't be fair on Dorea either.
And being engaged would allow Abraxas to meet with her, even if under those ridiculous, heavily chaperoned conditions. Currently Abraxas had no valid reason to visit Hogwarts, now that he was no longer a student, though he might manage to arrange for one. He did have money, and, hah, his father's connections after all.
There was a seat on the Hogwarts Board of Governors coming up for Election, with old Crouch retiring after six decades. And the only reason no Malfoy was on the Board at the moment was due to the death of Octavius. He might be expected to be silent and listen to his betters and take on all the 'dirty jobs', but even that had its own advantages. On the spot inspections were among the dirty jobs.
As visits were actively discouraged if they were by mere family or pupils, inspections would allow him... access.
It was a point to consider. After he'd solved his current conundrums.
First there was the problem of getting engaged or not getting engaged.
There were a number of obstacles to an engagement with Ermingard. The first were his current engagement negotiations. That had to be dealt with immediately, even though his mother would be annoyed that he broke off dealings with Sirius, King of Black, for his great niece, Dorea.
Especially if he and Ermingard decided not to get engaged immediately. Hélène really wanted her son settled down and a few heirs on the way. The Malfoy family had always been small, but the closest relative Abraxas had was currently a second cousin.
Abraxas would not marry Dorea only to divorce her a few years later. That wouldn't be fair and would make it far more difficult for Dorea to land a husband, and Abraxas didn't want children with Dorea either. Only with Ermingard.
Cygnus Black, her grandfather, was incapacitated with what the Black Family claimed was crippling jaundice due to Yellow Fever he had caught in the West Indies but that everybody knew was due to overindulgence in drink, especially Firewhiskey. He’d never met her father, and from certain comments by her mother, Casseopeia, he was unlikely to. She and her daughter were firmly counted amongst the Black family.
His mother was the second obstacle. And Abraxas knew her well enough that she would not be fooled a second by any attempt of his to hide the exact nature of his relationship with Ermingard. She would be vastly annoyed that he 'took advantage of such a sweet, innocent girl' and 'debauched with his wicked ways such a pure and young maiden!'
Abraxas winced as he imagined the hour-long lecture that would come his way. Lady Hélène was very protective of the honour of maidens and had no sense of humour in such matters.
Ermingard's youth was going to be a problem. The Wizengamot had passed legislation about the age of majority, also considered the youngest acceptable age for marriage, not long ago, raising it for the fourth time in a century this time to 17.
Mrs. Parkinson, had started campaigning on the platform of adult suffrage and protection and proper training of the young a hundred and fifty years before. The women of Britain had voted her and her party into power, even if by the antiquated rules of the Wizengamot she could not be Minister, as she was not British born. Foreign wizards joked about that. Right until they met Mrs. Parkinson. She was even now, 'in the hour of her death' as she liked to call it, a force to be reckoned with in British politics.
Dragging his errant thoughts back from the tangent they'd run off on, (anything was better than thinking about facing his mother) Abraxas returned to his quandary.
If his intentions became known and his actions so far as well, his mother was going to skin certain very precious parts of him and nail the skin over his bedroom door. As a 'little reminder'.
Though he did not doubt that his mother would eventually agree that Ermingard was a better match for him than Dorea, the fact remained that in spite of Ermingard's lack of worry in the matter, he, Abraxas, had acted without really thinking about it. Still did, really. Whenever he saw Ermingard his blood tended to move south, leaving his brain to fend for itself. It tended to do badly.
Ermingard, reserved and logical little Ermingard was affected in a similar manner. All their attempts to restrain themselves failed miserably. As soon as they were together they had to get closer, and kisses tended to lead to more. This, more than anything made him think that she was far more than a passing fancy, that this was not just infatuation. His father's portrait had told him that one day he might meet his match. Abraxas hadn't quite taken him seriously. Then.
But he still needed to convince his mother. Her son's philandering always had worried Hélène, as had his casual mention of 'bits on the side' while she negotiated with Dorea. Abraxas admitted he'd only been half-joking. Dorea, though pleasant, was older than he and seemed more than a little 'cool' whenever he had initiated any attempt to get to know her or to move beyond insipid hand-holding. Her lack of interest had stung his pride a bit before, but now it seemed a blessing.
So the fact that Abraxas actually wanted to marry Ermingard had to count for something. There might be a penalty for breach of faith, but nothing the Malfoy treasury could not easily bear. The negotiations hadn't advanced very far and Dorea hadn't been very enthusiastic anyway.
So that was two problems, her family, his mother. The third was the fact that someone from school might blab, causing suspicion which might lead someone to check and see if Ermingard was a virgin. Some old Pureblooded customs really ought to be gotten rid off, in Abraxas' opinion. Especially if they could result in his own demise when Sir Herbert decided he would make a fine substitute for a dragon.
This was a considerable worry to Abraxas. Sir Herbert was known to be a bit of a martinet for the old rules and he might just have someone look into the matter of Ermingard’s virginity, then into the matter of how she lost it and then there would be the matter of Abraxas’ highly painful encounter with Sir Herbert. And then there was the prison sentence, since he, a legal adult, had intercourse with an innocent who was very much underage. He really didn't want to go to Azkaban.
Complicating these three problem was the fact that he now actually had to spend the entire journey not pawing the girl he wanted to marry. That was going to be difficult. Very difficult.
As a matter of fact while contemplating his problems, Abraxas was really looking for some place, undiscovered by the current generation of Hogwarts students, where he could at the very least passionately kiss (or possibly more) his chosen without it being immediately reported to his mother, her parents, the Headmaster, Sirius Black and especially Sir Herbert.
As he was still officially the Head Boy he did have some leeway. He could commandeer a compartment, but if he then allowed Ermingard in there, he was going to be the talk of the train, and then the town. It would take approximately thirty seconds from him alighting from the train before Sir Herbert would have his balls at the end of his wand.
Abraxas scowled darkly and a group of three noisy Firsties, happy to be going home and that next year they would no longer be Firsties, cowered before him and ducked down.
The changing cubicles were out, as were the toilet stalls in the same area. The small kitchenette where Mrs. Galagher, the elderly witch who manned the snacks trolley sat during the journey. Normally she ran a sweetshop in Chipping Sodbury, that catered to an older generation of wizards and witches who craved handmade confectionaries over the mass produced candies by Bertram Botts and his colleagues.
The train itself ran on science and magic. The train driver, a man called Tamworth, used fire spells to stoke the water to a boil and keep the engine from exploding, so that the speed maintained by the Hogwarts Express was far greater than Muggle trains could achieve.
Tamworth was a good sport and had seen many things since the train was first established, but he was hardly going to allow Abraxas to paw and fondle Ermingard (or possibly more) in his sight. Sir Herbert would be informed in minutes.
A slow, steady thrum started in Abraxas' head. He sighed. Hours on a train with Ermingard and probably no chance to go and snog.
“Lord Malfoy,” a breathy voice sounded nearby. Abraxas turned slowly. Kalindra Beauregard was a buxom Sixth Year Hufflepuff. Her dark, lustrous hair framed a perfect, heart shaped face. Her dress showed exactly the amount of cleavage that would be considered acceptable, just enough to titillate, not enough to truly reveal.
“Are you looking for something, Lord Malfoy? Companionship, perhaps?” Kalindra smiled, fluttering her eyelashes.
“I'm Head Boy until this train comes in, Miss Beauregard. I'm patrolling,” Abraxas smiled politely. “If you’ll excuse me?”
Kalindra pouted prettily. “But I'm in this compartment all by myself...”
“Then I suggest you find another one, with some friends,” Abraxas answered briskly, as he hastened away.
He left the carriage, passing through the canvas tube, into the next carriages, hurrying past two compartments after hastily glancing into each. “Oh, Lord Malfoy…”
Abraxas stopped as another feminine voice called out to him. He turned around. Lucretia Crouch was leaning against the door to the first compartment. She was wearing a tight turtleneck sweat under her robes which clearly showed that the blue eyed blonde Gryffindor was blessed by nature, or quite good at enhancement spells. “Lord Malfoy? Perhaps you could lend a hand? I’ve had an accident…” Lucretia said in a whispery voice. *Why do all these girls think I like it when they sound like they’ve run a mile?*
Abraxas wondered wryly. “What sort of accident, Miss Crouch?”
“There seems to be something wrong with my zipper,” Lucretia smiled conspiratorially. “Right here…” she ran a finger down her bum.
Abraxas nodded understandingly. “Ah, of course. Allow me!” He lifted his wand to his lips and whispered. “Headgirl Camberly will be along presently. I suggest you wait in your compartment. Lest somebody stumble upon your accident,” he added dryly, before fleeing the outraged glare of the disgruntled Lioness.
The next carriage was mercifully filled with Second and Third years, all too young to do more than sigh at him. About halfway down the third he heard another voice, this one disturbingly familiar.
“Hello Snake,” Aphrodite Greengrass greeted him in a sultry voice. “Looking for something? A good time perhaps?”
Abraxas sighed. “You sound like a cheap Knockturn Alley whore, Greengrass.”
“Oh, you should know, Malfoy. After all that is where you spend most of your holidays, isn’t it?” Astoria smirked. “I thought I’d warn you. Iris Brown is looking for ‘lurve’. Or at least a rich fiancé.”
Abraxas winced. “Oh, not another one!”
“She’s in the last compartment. You can duck passed it if you’re quick,” Aphrodite smiled.
“Thanks, Greengrass,” Abraxas smiled back.
Aphrodite chuckled. “Quid pro quo, Malfoy. I’ll cash a favour later.”
Abraxas bowed his head. “Of course.”
He managed to duck Iris Brown and into the next carriage, not having seen Ermingard in any of the other compartments.
He opened the door and got into the tube to the next, saw that there was only a huge male shape in the first compartment of the carriage and was about to check the next when a large, powerful arm grabbed him. “Malfoy.”
Abraxas looked up, rather disturbed. “Flint? Something wrong?”
“Depends,” Marius Flint dragged the smaller boy inexorably into his domain. He was Sixth Year, and was on the lower rungs on the Slytherin Social ladder, but Abraxas had always been rather leery of the bigger boy. He seemed to be rather slow and looming for a Slytherin, traits Abraxas didn’t like. He looked up at the six foot nine of solid muscle. Flint had towered over third years when he was in first year, courtesy of the prodigious size of his Abbott Grandmother.
“What is it, Flint?” Abraxas surreptitiously fingered his wand.
A huge hand grasped Abraxas by the neck and another by the wrist and both squeezed. Abraxas gargled frantically. *Merlin, he’s fast! Much faster than I thought! What the hell is this about? Can’t breathe!*
“People think I’m stupid because I’m big, Malfoy. They tend not to notice me, or discount me,” Flint growled menacingly as he drew Abraxas’ wand hand from his robes and Abraxas' wand dropped out of his powerless fingers. The huge hands then dragged Abraxas close, face to face with Flint, feet dangling off the floor. *Now I know why Ermy complains when I lift her up to kiss her… Oh Merlin, don’t let him want to kiss me!*
Abraxas thought in a panic.
“I want to know what your intentions are towards my little cousin, Malfoy,” Flint whispered, his huge, yellow teeth snapping shut a tenth of an inch from Abraxas’ nose, but the vast sausage fingers let up their relentless pressure on his throat, allowing Abraxas to draw in a breath.
“Little Cousin?” Abraxas croaked. “Who?” *I haven't even spoken to a Flint girl in weeks, who in Merlin's name is he talking about?*
“Ermingard, you sick perverted bastard! She's fourteen! I know what you've been up to!” Flint hissed, “Debauching her in the corridors! Kissing her, fondling her! I've seen you, Malfoy! I know what you are like! Ermy is not going to be your mistress while you bag a Black as a wife!”
Abraxas shook his head vigorously, gargling. *Oh shit. His grandmother is an Abbott! Everybody knows that!*
“Marius! Let him go!” Ermingard suddenly hung from Flint's arm, her slight weight not even mildly discommoding the huge wizard's grip on Abraxas.
“Not until he tells me what he's done to you, Ermy,” Flint was white and shaking with rage. “Not until he's come clean!”
“Let him GO!” Ermy shouted, kicking Marius' shins and glaring up at him.
Marius sighed in defeat.
Abraxas' eyes narrowed. Suddenly he wondered how much of what he'd known and learned about Marius Flint the past seven years was true. He made frantic signals with his hands. Flint threw him bodily across half the compartment and Abraxas landed heavily on the leather seats, gasping for breath.
“That's none of your business, Marius!” Ermingard snapped.
“It is Great Uncle Herbert's business,” Marius stated with barely suppressed rage. “Malfoy is a womaniser. He uses girls and abandons them. I wouldn't be surprised if a girl hadn't thrown herself at him since we departed Hogsmeade. They all want his money, and he promises them that he won't hurt them and that they will never have to worry about anything. I want to know what he did, Ermy. So I know what bits to cut off,” Marius finished with a growl.
Ermingard blushed. Marius took a single vast step towards Abraxas and Abraxas held up his hands. “I'm going to end the negotiations with the Blacks. I want to marry Ermy, Just,” he intentionally used the nickname Flint had gotten in his First Year.
Ermy turned towards him, her face as angry with him as it had been with Flint before. “Don't call him that!”
Momentarily Abraxas was confused and then it came back to him: the origin of that nickname. 'Ignore him, its just Flint', and a hundred permutations thereof. He winced. “Bloody hell. I'm sorry, Flint. I didn't think.”
“Indeed you didn't! Abraxas Malfoy, how long have you been using that horrible name for Marius?” Ermingard demanded to know.
“Almost never. I didn't think we were close enough,” Abraxas admitted. “We didn't seem to have anything in common.”
Ermingard looked at Flint, who nodded. “Flint is what he calls me. Six years in the same House. I'd be amazed if he even knows what my real name is!”
Abraxas looked guiltily at Ermingard. “Oh come on, Ermy, how much do you have to do with the younger years in your House?”
“I help with the First to Third year study groups, I tutor several in Charms and Transmutation and I'm the In-House Prefect for my year,” Ermingard ticked off on her fingers. 'We're not all as insular or as politically minded as the Slytherins, Abrax!”
“Sorry Ermy,” Abraxas looked at Flint. “I should have put a stop to that name, Flint. I'm sorry.”
Flint waved a huge hand. “There's worse things I could be called, Malfoy. Ermy takes it worse than I do.” Then suddenly started to chuckle. “Merlin's hairy shirt! You're in love with her!”
Ermy opened her mouth but Abraxas spoke first. “I intend to marry her. But I need to do the right thing By Dorea. And....errr....”
“Manage it in such a way Grand Uncle Herbert doesn't cut off your balls with a pair of blunt garden shears?” Flint glanced between the two of them. “You've slept together, I know that. Great Aunt Ambrosia is not gonna be pleased if she finds out...”
“Are you going to tell her?” Ermingard asked anxiously.
Flint snorted. “When have I ever told tales, Ermy?”
“Never. B-but you might consider this different,” Ermy pointed out.
“Malfoy is known for gleefully ignoring any suggestions by any and all of the ladies who thought they'd landed him. You've scolded him, and corrected him and he's accepted it. It might take a while, but I'm sure the two of you will get married,” Flint shrugged. “Time enough to emasculate him if he hurts you.”
“Oh Marius, I love you!” Ermingard threw her arms around the big boy and he hugged her gently.
“Love you too, little coz,” he smiled, then glared at Abraxas. “You do the right thing by her, Malfoy!”
“I will. You have my word on my Name and my Blood, that I, Abraxas Octavius Malfoy, will marry Ermingard Abbott and no one else. I couldn't exist without her,” Abraxas assured him.
Flint's huge shaggy head tilted and then his thin-lipped mouth opened in a wide smile. “That's a good oath to hear,” He looked around. “I s'pose the two of you want to say proper goodbye? I can make myself scarce and say I was with you the whole time. No one will notice.”
Abraxas gaped. “W-what?”
Ermingard giggled. “Oh Marius! For that you don't just get an invitation to the wedding, but a seat at the head table!”
Marius looked injured. “I thought I was going to get that anyway?”
“I promised that when I was five, so yes. But now you won't have to sit next to Mrs. Miggins,” Ermingard declared haughtily.
“Mrs. Miggins?” Abraxas asked confused.
“Her favourite dolly. She still has it,” Marius supplied helpfully. “Did you know that Ermy has well over thirty dolls and stuffed animals? And she still rescues all the ones from all the cousins who discard theirs…”
“Marius!” Ermingard hissed in mortification.
Abraxas chuckled. “Really? What sort of stuffed toy does she like? Does she own any snakes?”
Marius sniggered. “She does now, the biggest snake of them all, to snuggle up to and cuddle.”
Ermingard blushed furiously. “MARIUS!!!” she wailed. Abraxas had very pink ears
Marius smiled at her. “Sorry, little coz. There’s always a price to pay for a Slytherin rendering a favour. Mine is going to be teasing.”
He winked and stepped outside the compartment, growled ‘Colloportus’ and walked away with almost soundless steps.
Abraxas fingered his neck, where he still seemed to feel the pressure of Flint’s vast hand. Ermingard smiled up at him shyly.
Abraxas sat down and patted the seat next to him. “Let's talk, Ermy.”
Ermingard sat, biting her lip.
Abraxas took one of her small, pale, slender fingered hands. “You know I've been negotiating for the hand of Dorea Black. I intend to end those negotiations, but in such a way that it becomes clear it is not because of her. Then I'll offer for your hand with your father and grandfather. That should make my intentions clear.”
Ermingard licked her lips. “But... what about...” she gestured between them.
Abraxas sighed. “We'll find a way or we'll do without. I don't want to lie about this, about us, Ermy. I want the whole world to know that I love you. If loving you means that I cannot go beyond a chaste kiss and a hand held during a Quidditch match? So be it.”
Ermingard nodded seriously. “Thank you,” then she smirked. “Marius is going to be very disappointed with us.”
Abraxas lifted an eyebrow and his free hand slipped under her skirt. “Ah, my dear... I do not intend us to be chaste until after
I've spoken with your family....”