Been working on this one for weeks, probably for obvious reasons, but it fit the prompt and I finally finished it. Thanks and ♥ once again to l0stmyrel1g10n for the beta, canon-check, and patient hammering out of canon points with me.
He always looks so damn peaceful like this.
Not a thought in his pretty little head, my Frankie. All those angry lines on his face are gone when he's this way. Sometimes I come up here and transfigure his face back the way it's supposed to be. Spattergroit's pretty ugly. Lasts a while. Robs your voice. It's a nice excuse to give the outside world for a silent husband.
I've never cast an Unforgivable before.
Oh, Frankie. You always did say I was too headstrong for my own good. You were wrong. I was always too headstrong for yours.
I dunno if I cast it right. I don't try to make him talk or do anything. He just sits there. They didn't exactly teach us how to cast these things in school, you know? Wouldn't even show us. We just read about them. Kind of useless, if you ask me. Imperius isn't half as hard as they made it sound, but they say if you do it wrong something inside them breaks.
Maybe Frank's just weak-willed, I dunno.
Peaceful. I'm not stupid; I didn't go off and marry a stranger like some of these stuck up witches with something to prove about having pure blood and old money. Yeah, Frankie's from a good family. It made a lot of sense, even if Ray looked like he coulda spat out a Dementor for somebody like Frank marrying his sister. But I loved him, too, you know?
I thought he loved me. He was pureblood, sure, but that never mattered to him. I had the biggest wedding dress you ever saw and everyone was there, even Ray. Frankie wanted kids and wanted to take care of me and run the business. Anthony was born the first year we were married. Named him for Ray. My little wizard.
I don't know when Frankie started hanging out with those people. Rumors were kicking up out of England about You-Know-Who coming back, and nobody believed it. Politics started to go weird, I don't know, I never paid much attention to politics. I guess I should have. Business started to get better. Frankie started to get worse.
The first time he got angry and called me a Mudblood, I cried my heart out.
I dunno why I did this. I've had weeks to try and figure it out. Months, now. How do you justify turning my little boy's father into a vegetable? Lying to everybody? I don't know what I see in the mirror anymore, when I look. I don't know what he's made me. What I made myself into, just because the man I thought loved me turned out to be so damn shallow that the cheap promise of a little neighborhood power and sadistic superiority turned him on me.
How am I going to justify what I'm about to do next?
I dunno. Maybe I'll never know. But the neighborhood's gone dark, one by one. Disappearances. Accidents. It's not safe anymore.
Won't be long before they bring it to our door.
That peaceful expression hardens and sets.
Lifting that Imperius is like sucking all the warmth out of my arm through my wand. Like white noise I never really noticed 'til it was gone.
If he could move, I know Frankie would kill me for this.
"I know what you did, Frankie."
Even stiff as a board, I crouch beside him in his chair and hold my wand to his neck.
"What you were gonna do. With us. With everything."
I don't know what I'm waiting for. It's not like a response is coming. Maybe I just want the fear to sneak into him. I pull the parchment out of the front of my dress and dump them across his lap. Pretty handwriting. Ugliest words I've ever seen.
"I hate you, Frank. Incendio."
I leave those letters flaming on his lap, shutting the door behind me.
Standing at the bottom of the stairs, my little boy is looking up at me. "Mom?"
"Cover your ears, baby. Shut your eyes. Do that for mommy?"
"Just do it for me, Anthony."
He's a good boy. He shuts his eyes and screws his hands tight over his ears.
I shut mine, too. I tell myself this what I have to do. What I've become. That I'd do anything for my Anthony.
A flick of my wand, a soft Reducto, and the hallway around me explodes. The portraits scream before they're ashes and tatters, and I never liked the old bat anyway, Frankie's mother never thought I was good enough for her boy. It's my last look back. Anthony's fighting to keep his eyes shut, I can see he's scared, and I dunno if I'm running or flying down those stairs anymore. I snatch him up under my arm. Look up.
The Frannie in the mirror is covered in dust.
One Expulso and it cracks in front of me.
Another flick of my wand has every drape on the room going up in flames, and I don't stick around to watch the house burn.
Thank God for Ray.
The smoke is starting to build up, probably more from upstairs than the drapes, but I know what I'm looking for. The number of nights I've opened up that jewelry box on the mantle and stared at it. Number of times I've imagined doing this, but I never knew the smoke would be so thick. Acrid. Choking, already starting to make my sinuses ache.
Anthony's buried his face in my shoulder. I knock the fake panel out of the top of the lid and out falls the ring.
Ruby and gold.
"Hold on tight, baby."
He nods into my shoulder.
It's not even completely hooked on my finger when I feel the pull of the portkey.
Ma drops the spoon she was holding, splattering tomato sauce on the floor.
I don't know what this makes me. That Frankie's back there burning alive and I left him there to do it locked up inside his own body. That I just destroyed everything we ever worked for, that I took my son's father from him. That I'm standing here, staring at my mother, covered in dust and smoke still coming off my hair, and I don't feel a damn thing. I don't know what it makes me, what I'm gonna be, or how long I'm gonna live before I pay for it.
Right now, I don't care.