Who: Lucius Malfoy, Selena D'Ardennes
Where: Vosges Mountains, France
Summary: Selena and Lucius go in search of someone to aid Lucius' cause.
Lucius raised an eyebrow as he and Selena approached the rather disreputable building before them. Set quite far back even from the edges of the "bad section" of the small town, its windows were grimy with dirt, the clapboard siding dingy and faded from its original color to something dull and old. The roof had been haphazardly patched with no consideration to matching shingles or even materials... and Lucius would have been willing to bet what remained of the Malfoy fortune that it leaked like a sieve in the rain.
Above the scarred wooden door was a faded sign, one whose letters were almost worn away by time and lack of care. Le Loup Chanceux, it read, and the Malfoy's lips twisted. The Lucky Wolf, indeed, he thought sardonically. The lucky wolf is the one who isn't inside that place.
The blond glanced at Selena, walking by his side. "Well, my dear, I suppose the clientele are as... eccentric as the building? If so, I am frightfully overdressed," he drawled, one hand indicating his black jeans and shirt. "Should I stop and roll around in the mud for a moment so that I don't stand out?"
Selena was truly torn between giving a nervous sort of laugh at his comment and snarling at him to be quiet so she could get a firmer grip on her wolf before entering the lycanthrope bar. As it was, she merely shot him a semi-smirk, her eyes flashing with amusement.
"The fact that you remain human every day of the month will cause you to stand out," she responded in an even tone, surprised that she was sounding as calm as she did. She really wasn't overly fond of what they were about to do. "However, as I find it extremely difficult to believe you are willing to change that fact, I would simply suggest remaining as close to me as possible and, unless I specifically tell you otherwise, do not use any magic."
Drawing in a breath, she stopped a few feet from the door, giving the building a quick once-over. Keeping her eyes trained on the establishment in case someone should come outside and start some trouble with them, she added in a softer tone, "This place is known for its hatred of the wizarding world. It is also known for providing a safe haven for those of my kind who have been singled out and persecuted by your kind. While you will most certainly find some allies within, there is also the very strong possibility that the moment they lay eyes on you they will want nothing more than to rip you to shreds. Just ... refrain from provoking them. It is, perhaps, the only chance we have."
She didn't bother to add that at least half of the patrons had suffered quite a bit during the last war -- a war which had been started by Lucius and his comrades. Granted, it raised the stakes a bit, but she also knew it wasn't going to do a damn thing to change their plans of going inside.
She could only hope that the man they were seeking was actually present and hadn't suddenly decided to spend the evening with his family or some other such nonsense.
Lucius was wise enough to be cautious, but he wasn't afraid. Too many years service to the Dark Lord had inured him to the threat of physical pain - and he had no intention of allowing himself to be intimidated. One thing he had learned in his time with Selena and from his observations of the other werewolves he had spoken with, was that if you acted weak, they would assume that you were weak, and would be upon you in a moment. Lucius Malfoy was many things - selfish, evil, determined, arrogant... but he was most assuredly not weak. If one were an Alpha, in the werewolf terminology, one must bear oneself as such. And he would.
But he would also keep his wand at the ready - he was no fool, either.
"I won't provoke, my dear... but neither will I allow myself to be insulted or railroaded," he murmured quietly, leaning close to her ear. "I will follow your lead... but be aware that I am not going to allow them to hurt either of us."
"Now, if you will be so kind," he said, leaning forward to open the door and hold it, indicating that she should precede him inside.
Selena nearly shivered as his breath caressed her ear. Her senses, which she was focusing completely on, were reacting to his proximity and she gave a silent sigh of relief when he opened the door and therefore removed any other option at her disposal besides entering the bar.
Drawing herself up to her full height, she forced her reaction to him away and instead allowed her wolf to surge to the surface. Almost instantly her entire demeanor changed. Gone was the woman capable of being quite tender and caring, a woman who could feel empathy for the lycanthropes she was about to be in the presence of while still being capable of seeing beyond Lucius' past to enjoy the man he was when he was around her. And, in the place of that Selena was a Selena who was most definitely an Alpha, one who was harmonious with her wolf while so many of her own kind merely feared theirs.
She was most definitely a force to be reckoned with in any state, but while like this she was deadly. And she had only one thing she intended to make blatantly obvious as she stepped inside Le Loup Chanceux.
Lucius was with her.
Looking around the establishment, her dark gaze cool and collected, she did a quick assessment of the situation. There were a dozen or so patrons present, as well as the barkeep and, more than likely, at least a few more hanging around the back room out of sight. The air was thick with smoke and it reeked of a mixture of alcohol, sweat, filth, and, of course, blood.
It took the werewolves merely a split second to notice her and Lucius' presence and, once they had, all talking abruptly ceased as every last one of them turned in their direction. Selena kept her head raised, her fear non-existent as her wolf silently dared anyone to do something to provoke her.
Shooting a quick glare at two rather large men to her left who were silently rising to their feet, her lip raised into a snarl as a low growling began deep in her chest. She watched as they exchanged slightly shocked glances before easing back into their seats. Assured that particular threat was dealt with, Selena once again scanned the bar, this time in search of her target.
He was there, of that much she was certain. She could practically feel his presence. And finally, seated in one of the tables in the far back corner, she spotted him.
Antoine DuGarde, she thought, a slight smirk crossing her face. Now let us hope that you are not in the mood to fight this evening.
Moving confidently across the room, grateful that Lucius seemed to at least be following her, she paused in front of the other werewolf's table. "Antoine," she greeted the man, blatantly ignoring the other people that were giving her curious stares. "It has been a while."
Lucius had observed the proceedings with as close to a neutral expression as possible on his aristocratic face, despite the almost overwhelming desire he felt to smirk at the two men backing down from Selena. He had promised no provocation, and he was going to try to stick to that... for the moment.
When Selena started to speak to the unkempt man at the back table, however, Lucius' eyes glittered sharply in the dim light. This was their target, then. The man who hated Wizards, hated the Ministry... hated them enough to kill. Killers Lucius could deal with... it was usually just a matter of finding out their price. Making certain he stood beside Selena, not behind her, he inclined his head, arms hanging loosely at his side, and waited to see how the man responded.
Antoine knew how to get at the female Alpha, and so he barely glanced at her before turning his regard to the tall blond man who accompanied her. Not a werewolf, Antoine could sense that immediately. He hadn't been a werewolf for as long as some, but he had learned quite quickly to identify his own kind.
Human, then. The werewolf smiled, a nasty smile which showed his stained and crooked teeth. "Well, well, what 'ave we 'ere? You 'ave come to the right side of town, Monsieur, to pick up ze cheap women... but I see you 'ave brought your own with you, n'est ce pas?"
It took every last bit of self control Selena had -- and she had quite a bit -- to keep from attacking Antoine and forcing him to submit to her right there in front of all of his little friends. As it was, she couldn't refrain from growling in warning, her eyes flashing as her muscles stiffened slightly.
"You should know quite a bit about cheap women. Rumor has it you searched through quite a few brothels before you managed to find someone who would actually acknowledge you even existed." She sniffed once, in distaste. "Pity. And I thought that Sophie had better taste than that. I know I certainly did," she stated in a quiet, silky tone. Then she turned her attention to the men that were sitting on either side of the lycanthrope.
"Leave us," she ordered. When they didn't move to immediately obey, she snarled once in warning. "Leave us, or stay and fight. The choice is yours."
Moving as casually as they could while still scrambling to get away, the werewolves stood and moved away from the table. Once they were gone, she returned her attention to Antoine. "This is Lucius Malfoy," she stated, tipping her head toward the still-silent blond that was fortunately standing beside her rather than behind her. "Perhaps you have heard of him and perhaps you have not. Either way, it does not matter. He wishes to speak with you. You, in turn, are going to listen to him."
Slowly, one eyebrow rose in a silent challenge, daring him to object.
Watery blue eyes narrowed in fury as Selena insulted the werewolf's mate, and the man's hand tightened on his glass until the knuckles were white and the liquid within vibrated. A snarl twisted his lips as he turned to glare at the female, and he considered, just for a moment, taking her up on the challenge she offered.
However he didn't do it. She had bested him once in a fight, and the humiliation still burned - and he knew he was drunk enough to slow his reactions further, making it even more difficult to win. No, this time he would ignore the challenge, difficult as it was... but Selena lived alone, and he knew where. Perhaps one dark night she would get a visit, and then he would make her pay for her insolence.
He barely noted the departures of Etienne and Pierre, as he struggled visibly to control his temper. Slamming back the liquid in the glass, he swallowed it in a single gulp, before wiping his mouth with the back of his hand and pointedly ignoring Selena.
"Malfoy? I 'ave 'eard of you," he sneered, eyes narrowing once more. "You are a wizard, yes? Uppity English hybride 'oo wishes us to do 'is dirty work? I despise your kind, you filthy magic piece of merde. Go away, wizard - and consider yourself lucky that I believe you so far below me that killing you is a waste of time." He spat on the floor, before picking up the battle in front of him and drinking straight from it.
Lucius raised a brow, smirking at the man, before pulling out a chair and sitting down - uninvited - across from him. "How unfortunate," the blonde drawled, examining his impeccable nails for a moment, before raising eyes as cold as an arctic sky to the disreputable werewolf who had just called him a bastard. "Since I have something to offer you which could be to our mutual benefit."
Selena remained on edge even as she placed herself in the seat closest to the wizard, not trusting Antoine, or anyone else in the bar, enough to relax even one iota. She kept her eyes closely trained on the lycanthrope across from her, her face twisting into a near grimace as his spittle came dangerously close to her feet. She bit back a snarl at his comments toward Lucius, instead allowing the blond to handle this on his own.
She would only get involved if she absolutely had to. And, if that did happen, it wasn't going to be pleasant in the slightest. Her wolf was simply itching for a chance to relieve some of the tension that had settled between her shoulder blades.
She wasn't certain why she felt as protective of Lucius as she did. However, she also knew that now was not the time to analyze her feelings. As it was she had come dangerously close to getting into a fight and, while she was certain she would have no trouble winning against someone as inexperienced and hotheaded as Antoine DuGarde, she didn't want to press her luck with the other werewolves present.
So she stayed silent, part of her smirking internally. Antoine was clearly out of his league when it came to someone like Lucius. She was going to thoroughly enjoy watching him be taken down a notch, if only by admitting that he would listen to what the wizard had to say.
"You 'ave nothing to offer me, wizard," Antoine spat. He waved the bottle around, indicating the bar, the other werewolves, the condition of lycanthropy itself, perhaps. "I do not believe that we will see this 'equality' you are trying to sell. Wizards lie, they 'ate, they only wish to kill us, and I think you just wish to 'ave us take the fall for you."
Lucius looked amused. "Wizards lie and hate... and so do werewolves. So much for either of us taking the moral high road on that one." The blond leaned forward, dropping his voice. "There are, however, other enticements to joining up with me. If you don't care for patriotism, there is vengeance... and plain old every day greed."
Antoine's eyes sharpened at that, and his tongue came out to lick his lips. He cast a furtive glance at Selena, before looking back at Lucius. "How much?"
"Enough... for a man of ability," Lucius replied. "When I have proof of your abilities, we can negotiate a price."
The werewolf leaned back, taking another swig from the bottle, before giving a short bark of unamused laughter. "Proof, you want, wizard? Of course, of course. Ask anyone, they all know Antoine DuGarde can do any job. Even Selena has to admit that, much as she 'ates me - did she not bring you to me, after all?"
Lucius smiled slowly, deviously. "That she did," he said. Pushing back his chair, he rose smoothly to his feet. "I will be in touch, then." He put his hand on the table, leaning over it slightly towards the werewolf. "Just make certain you are not drunk when it is time... I will not pay for sloppiness."
Antoine started to snarl as the wizard straightened away from him... but then he noticed when the blond moved his hand that a small stack of francs was left on the table where it had been. Avarice flashed in his eyes, and he licked his lips again. "Of course, Malfoy," he said.
Lucius' eyes narrowed at the man, but he said nothing to him, merely glancing at Selena. "My business here is done."
Selena nodded, rising to her feet easily. She didn't even so much as spare Antoine another glance, merely turned on her heel and made her way to the exit. Glaring at the two men who had backed down from her when she had first entered, she shoved the door open and stepped outside.
Turning toward the better area of the town, she didn't pause until she was well away from the bar and its inhabitants. The stench was still surrounding her, however, having seeped into her clothing in the short amount of time that she'd been there. Stopping in front of a closed shop, she closed her eyes and drew in a deep breath of the fresh air.
Then, re-opening her eyes, she faced Lucius. "You have been introduced to him. I will not -- and cannot -- see him again. Any other business you have with him, or that place, will be on your own," she stated firmly.
"Of course," Lucius replied, nodding. "He is not the sort of person I would wish you to be associating with in any case."
Then he smiled. "Now that we have gone slumming, what do you say that we go back to your house, and engage in far more pleasant forms of communication?" His grey eyes caressed her face, and he leaned ever so slightly closer, dropping his voice to a very low pitch. "I loved seeing you dominate those men. It was very... stimulating."
Selena couldn't help but smile in return as the memory of what they had just done and where they had been all but evaporated from her mind. Her body began to respond to him once more and her wolf, realizing that the danger of a physical fight with one of its own kind had passed, began to focus on the man in front of her.
"Returning to my home sounds like a wonderful idea," she replied. Stepping close so she was just inside his personal space, she leaned forward until her mouth was inches from his ear, her breath tickling the sensitive skin there. "And I will most definitely keep your excitement of my dominance in mind in the future."