Characters: Abraxas Malfoy, Horace Slughorn
Word Count: 500
Prompt: Horace Slughorn, Draught of the Living Death
Horace was not like other boys in Slytherin, with money and honeyed aristocratic accents. But there was no doubt he belonged there. He valued greatness more than they did - more than anything. He knew what they did not. He knew what it was like to be normal. This spurred him to strive to live in their world, to learn their ways, tastes, and graces, and to somehow adopt a certain indulgence with himself.
Horace loved food. There had been no House Elves at home, and no hired cooks either. But his mother had taught him to cook even while she taught him to talk. Cakes, trifles and pies; omelets, roasts and exquisite soups. She taught her baby which spices tasted delicious, which marinades produced tenderness and infused with a tang or a melting carmelising sweetness.
He used both types of knowledge to become more surely Slytherin - more surely a real and true member of his House. He tried to bribe them with delicacies - not only oral delicacies but those to favour all their senses. He always seemed to know where to place a satiny pillow to make one more comfortable, how to tip a little potion into a warm glass dish to make a room's aroma exciting with spice, exotic with cinnamon and outre fruit, or homely with smells of sugar cookies and chocolate. He also had the knack of finding the softest silkiest pyjamas, the most gleaming wand polish, the thickest, creamiest parchment.
All was offered to others with such transparent guile it was almost endearing. Horace found belonging, not through greatness but through desire, and through his association with greatness. He was so round, pleasant, young and innocent that his generosity of admiration was flattering. He was so pleased by the slightest glance or affection that he was adopted on his pleasure alone. For holidays he was always invited to the home of a fellow despite his modest, if pureblood, background.
The first class of sixth year something happened so wonderful it inscribed the arc of his life before him. He watched Abraxas Malfoy sideways, appreciating the grace and smooth shining hair. It was not love, but pure aesthetic. And Abraxas' Draught of the Living Death was perfect, silver as his eyes, the steam curling from it as lithe and simple as his movements.
Horace, surprised, felt something unexpected course through him as he looked at the other boy's potion. Perfect. Even I can create perfection! He realised he truly could. His long happy contemplations in that childhood kitchen and his keen awareness of wealthy beauty charged him with inspiration and instinctive knowledge. He cut. He swirled. He pressed the oil from the seeds. He knew exactly how to concoct, with vision and an eye that opened in his head like a dream. Silver. The silver of a true Slytherin. He reached for it, and it formed before him, swirling silver, perfect. Like Abraxas.
Emulation as inspiration; immersion as instinct. Potions became the epitome of his magical aspirations.
first posted to my dreamwidth account.