Chapter 12 - Progress Review Day

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∞ 12 ∞

PROGRESS REVIEW DAY


Lucius and his solicitor Elliott were in the back of Elliott's modern, sap-green coloured Bentley. They were being driven toward the Ministry of Magic in London for Lucius's usual, scheduled Faith Agreement Progress Review, in order to maintain the Conditional Freedom he had been allowed until his final trial.

Elliott had been the Malfoy family solicitor since the early 80's, when Lepus Fawley, their old family solicitor, sold them out for information on the family's Death Eater involvement. Elliott was an American Wizard from New Jersey, 10 or 15 years older than Lucius.

'He did not have a New York City "Joy-zee" accent. This was because, he wasn't from New York City; he was from NEW JERSEY. There was a difference –obviously– or else he would sound like he came from Brooklyn, or Manhattan (or wherever it was that they said "dawg" and "caw" and "cawfee", instead of "dog" and "car" and "coffee") which –clearly– he did not.' Some people (usually English – always Muggles) evidently seemed to think saying "Ohh, you're from Joy-zee," to Elliott once they found out where he was from, was a very witty and terribly original thing to say. Elliott saved his energy being annoyed and simply jinxed them; it was usually a large, septic looking boil on the nose, but depending on how obnoxious they were, he might have also given them a sudden case of stuttering which ordinarily lasted quite a few months.

Although he might not have had the accent some expected him to have, Elliott was stereotypically frank. He could also be abrasive and sardonic in his professional life if the moment called for it and in his personal life when pushed. Lucius had been prejudiced against hiring "a slick talking American" (something Elliott still held against him 18 years later – even though Lucius blamed his comments on the drug potions and youth, downplayed that he ever had any real doubts and apologised for the loathsome behaviour and lack of confidence on many occasions).

Luckily, Narcissa had had better sense and hired Elliott against Lucius's will. He represented Lucius in his trials after the first war, where Lucius technically lied, claiming that he had been forced into remaining a Death Eater by means of the Imperius Curse. It hadn't been easy, but Elliott said he would get Lucius off and he did.

Elliott had represented some of the most powerful and famous Magical people in the world and had a high success rate. Because of this, he was –at least by muggle standards– a very rich man. Elliott ate well, drank well and dressed well. He was unmarried, which was highly unusual for a Wizard of his age. For a Wizard (especially one of good repute) he was considered by some, including Lucius, to be unnaturally self-indulgent in his frequent and highly varied female companionship. He was known for his grumpiness and for being terribly easily offended. He was also incredibly shrewd and never provided any service to anyone without collecting on the favour. However, in his private life he was gallant and generous when it came to those who were vulnerable. He also never lied when it came to personal matters of honour and he was unwaveringly loyal. Conversely, at work he did not mind bending the rules, or the truth; he came prepared and he NEVER shied away from employing dirty tactics, or hitting a Wizard when they were down in order to win a case. Elliott had a simple rule: he never represented anyone he did not truly believe was a decent person (and usually, they had to be innocent of whatever they were being charged for – but not always). All in all, he was an excellent solicitor to have –among the very best there was in the Magical world– and if not a great friend, a true and trustworthy one.

"I'm warning you Lucius, if you don't behave, we're going to have to get you a leash for that thing. I MEAN IT. I'm at my wits end already."

Lucius gave him a wide-eyed look of incredulity: "Ugghh! I don't know what you mean. Is it my fault the poxy committee hates me? And if they did not have to be every poxy fortnight – clearly she'll be under pressure writing up the reports. You think they would give us all a rest and make them a bit more spaced out – save some Galleons."

"I think it would be good if you gave us all a rest. I haven't slept since the war."

"It's only lucky I'm so obliging, or else she'd have nothing to write about," Lucius smirked. "What could possibly change in a fortnight? It's a bloody nightmare getting here. And those pointless writing assignments. I feel like a school child. 'Yes Malfoy and what did you learn Malfoy? What did the Muggles say Malfoy?'" he lampooned in an effeminate voice. "All I can say is you had better get this collar off of me, or it is going to get a lot worse. I feel like I am going insane. My bloody head feels like it is about to pop off."

"Don't, complain Goldilocks you're damned lucky it's not worse – considering. If the Weasel gets them to change the judge, you're on the bridge my friend."

"Puhh! Feck!" Lucius snarled.

"If that were Veesy or Aldermier, they'd've had you in lockdown after that chair incident."

"I know. I know," Lucius said, suddenly getting an impish sparkle in his eyes. "Do you think she has a touch of the mark for me?... She wouldn't be that bad, if she weren't so stony faced." He said, reflecting more seriously on the idea.

"It must be something like that 'cause, you're lucky to still be walking the streets with a mud-blood judge sitting. The dragon's shit she lets y--"

"DO NOT use that word!" Realising his tone, Lucius softened it to sound more a little more respectful. "Will you – I am in enough trouble over that sort of thing."

Elliott flashed him a fatigued look.

The car pulled up to the Ministry visitor's entrance in London. Sander, who had arrived in the car ahead and was already waiting outside when they arrived, tapped on the window with the backs of his knuckles to let Lucius and Elliott know it was time.

Pointing his wand at Lucius in a fatherly way, Elliott warned: "Behave." Then he tapped on the window lightly to signal they were ready inside. The car doors of the shimmering, sap-green Bentley opened. Both Wizards looking solemnly at one another, inhaled deeply and stepped out onto the street.



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