Title: The House-elves’ Dilemma
Author: Persephone Yavanna the Entwife
Pairing/Characters: Lucius, Narcissa and assorted house-elves (contains OEC -- Original Elf Characters)
Rating: G for gen (in other words, completely work-safe!)
Disclaimer: JK Rowling and assorted others have rights to create derivative works within the Potterverse, but I am not one of those licensees, unfortunately. Rather not be sued for playing with the characters, though . . . not making a profit here, just exploring the characters and situations created by the esteemed Ms. Rowling.
Summary: Written for the prompt Dobby has gone, set free by that blasted Potter boy and his loathsome sock. Lucius is devastated beyond words.
Author Notes: I'd planned on writing something along these lines for a while, but had never done so. This fest gave me a reason to tell things from the house-elves' point of view.
Pippa cleared her throat. “We have to do something.”
Ollie wrung his hands while Hob nodded. Minny looked on, her large eyes brimming with tears as she thought of her master’s condition.
“Dobby was a bad elf – ungrateful, disloyal. He broke our poor master’s heart, he did,” Pippa said with some asperity. “Not wanting to come back, after what was clearly a mistake – that Potter boy must have cast a Confundus on him or summat like it.”
“Didn’t know that would work on our kind,” Ollie said, slowly.
Hob nodded in agreement, a few whisps of white hair that surrounded his head like a furry halo bobbing back and forth. “Wizard magic don’t work right on us, Ollie, and that’s a fact.”
“Well,” Pippa said, “how do you explain the ungrateful wretch not only not coming back but attacking our dear master?”
“Now, now, Pip, don’t take it so hard -- Dobby was always an odd elf and you knows it, my dear. Being the master’s favorite and all, and having all those privileges, like going out with Master on errands – it went to his head,” Hob said, trying to calm down the irate younger elf.
“Mistress Cissy gives me privileges too – but I don’t goes after wanting to leave her and home, unlike SOME elves that could be mentioned.” Pippa pounded extra hard on the loaf she was kneading.
“Careful, pet, or that’ll be too chewy a loaf for Master Lulu,” Hob said gently.
“Well, it’s not like he’d be eating it anyway, now is it? Hasn’t had a thing to eat for days, not even when Mistress tried to feed him some broth with her own hand. Just turned away, he did – wouldn’t touch it.” Pippa punched the dough harder. “Just stays in bed. Only goes out of it to use the lav, then back in again. Stares at the wall all day.”
Minny said with a soft squeak, “He was crying on Missy’s lap too – said he must be a horrible man, since Dobby didn’t love him anymore and didn’t want to be his elf.”
A horrified chorus came from the assembled elves.
“Our poor master,” Ollie sniffled.
“He’d take that hard, he would. Yes, indeed he would,” Hob said, shaking his head.
“Dobby was his favorite, like I’m Mistress’ pet and Ollie is young Master’s and Hob was old Master’s. To turn and bite the hand that fed him – such an ungrateful wretch of an elf has never been heard of!” Pippa thumped the loaf in front of her. “I wish he were here now, I’d give him a piece of my mind, I would!”
“We all would, petal, we all would,” Hob said soothingly. “But our concern now is Master Lulu.”
“I can’t bear to see him like this,” Minny said, wiping her eyes with a corner of her embroidered teatowel. “I tried making his favorite cakes and even the marzipan petit-fours with apricot jam he loves so much. Wouldn’t touch them – just closed his eyes and turned on his other side.”
“What can we do?” Ollie sniffled. “I tried telling him how I cut back the clematis by mistake and took off all the old wood that would have blossomed, thinking it was the kind that needed to bloom on new wood, and that I needed to be corrected, but he just closed his eyes and curled up and started to cry.”
A gloomy silence came over the kitchen.
Hob broke the silence with a soft clearing of his throat. The others looked at him expectantly. He opened his mouth . . . and then closed it and looked at the floor.
Pippa punched the dough some more.
“We has to look afters them, we does,” Minny said. “They're our responsibility – keep them happy and well-cared for. Including cheering them when they is sad.”
“Right,” said Hob, reaching for some flour and spreading it on the table for Pippa. “Trouble is, little Master Lulu is feeling mighty unloved right now.”
“But we loves him!” Ollie squeaked indignantly.
“But after the wringer what Dobby put him through, he don’t believe it, that’s the thing,” Hob said. He handed Pippa a rolling pin and said, “Here dearie, use this – it’ll make you feel better. And it won’t hurt your poor handses.”
Pippa stared at Hob for a second, then hugged him, exclaiming, “Hob, you’re a genius! That’s it!”
The other elves stared at Pippa as she started bouncing all around the room, singing, “Master Lulu’s going to be haaaaaaappy! Master Lulu’s going to be haaaaaappy!”
A bewildered and befloured Hob asked, “What on earth do you mean child?” as he brushed himself off.
When she told them, they all let out a cheer and bounced her around the room on their shoulders before setting to work.
Narcissa ushered the elves into the drawing room, which she’d finally managed to get her despondent husband to go to, after giving him a nice bath and putting him into his favorite silk pajamas and dressing gown. When she slid open the door, she noticed the paper, still folded, on the table by the window, while Lucius stared out at the gardens.
He didn’t look at her as she came in, and she bit at her lip.
“Dearest, Lucius . . . pet?” she said hesitantly. Still no response. “Pumpkin?”
She walked up to him and laid a hand on his shoulder. He turned his face to her and buried himself in her bosom while she soothed him and stroked his hair, murmuring soft words.
She retrieved a hanky from her robe pocket and held it to his nose. “Blow,” she commanded. “Again.” She retrieved another handkerchief as she held out the other and Minny took it. “Once more.”
“There now – all better,” Narcissa cooed as she held out her hand and Hob pressed a fresh hanky into it as he retrieved the other one. “I have a surprise for you . . .”
“What?” Lucius sniffled, red-eyed.
“Our elves have a little present they made, just for you.”
“For me? Why would they want to give such a horrid, awful beast like me a present?” he wailed, hiding once more in the comfort of her breast.
“Because we LOVES you, Master Lulu!” came the high-pitched chorus from behind her.
Lucius bawled louder.
Pippa handed her mistress a stack of freshly-pressed handkerchiefs.
Hob was quite glad he’d had the forethought to bring along a pillowcase for the used hankies.
“Now, now my sweet, don’t you want to see what they have for you?” Narcissa crooned.
Lucius nodded, hiccupping.
Pippa motioned Ollie forward. In his hands was a stick, carved all over with smiley faces and little figures of house elves hopping around, rubbing their bottoms.
“What is this?” Lucius asked, clearly puzzled.
“We made a spanking stick for you, Master Lulu – so when we is naughty little elveses you can correct our bad behavior properly,” Pippa chirped.
“This . . . this is bizarre, demented, absolutely ridiculous. And look at this . . . all these little smiley faces all over it . . .” Lucius sputtered. “Narcissa, have you ever seen anything so absurd in all your life?”
Narcissa gave a small smile and shrugged. “They’re house-elves, dear. What did you expect?”
“We wanted you to know we knows you loves us, even when we is naughty little elveses, and we loves it that you pay attention to us and you care enough to correct us when we is naughty,” said Ollie, “instead of just ignoring us and acting like we didn’t exist. You does it so we don’t hurt ourselveses, like we would if left to our own devices. And we made this to let you know that we loves you, just the way you is. We wouldn’t have you any other way.”
Lucius looked at all the elves, nodding in agreement with Ollie’s words, and the teeniest, tiniest smile appeared on his face. “You realize this stick is the silliest possible thing in the world, you know.”
“But it’s making you smile, Master Lulu!” Pippa cried happily, bouncing up and down.
“Why yes, yes it is. Thank you so very, very much for your present.” Lucius’ smile grew as he examined the item, watching how the grinning little elves carved on it capered about. “So then – who wants a spanking?”
“WE DO!!!!” the elves all cried.
Narcissa quietly let herself out the door, blessing their demented little house-elf hearts as she went, the naughty little darlings.