thirty-two

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THE TWENTY-EIGHT OF DECEMBER is an odd day. Christmas has officially passed, and New Years is yet to come.

Though, for Celestia, those were low on her list of oddities. For her, it was the fact she had been held captive for the past ten days; it was the fact that she'd have to return to school soon; it was the fact that Voldemort was delaying his departure from the Malfoy Manor for one last meeting, and the fact they didn't know about it till an hour before.

She rolled the dice, smiling at the dots that accumulated to three. She moved her token three steps forward, landing on the blue chest. She picked up the Community Chest card and smiled larger.

"It is your birthday. Collect £10 from every player," she read. "Pay up, fuckers."

"You're such a cheat," accused Draco, begrudgingly handing her over a yellow ten pound note.

"How?" she demanded. "Name one time."

"Candy Land, 1986, you rigged the deck so that I could only draw Lord Licorice," he said instantly.

"I was six!"

"Cluedo, 1992."

"I was eleven, that's not much different."

"Trivial Pursuit, 1995."

"I'm just smart."

"The Game of Life, Halloween, this year."

She paused. "I'll allow it."

"I told you!"

They were interrupted from their sibling-like row by Blaise entering the room juggling a tray of desserts. He placed them on the floor beside the board game, crossing his feet below him.

"Cissy said for me to tell you three that the evil dude is having a meeting tonight," he said, stuffing a brownie into his mouth.

"Why, pray tell, were you talking to my mother?" Draco asked.

A cocky, alluring smile came over Blaise's face. "You know why."

"If you call my mum hot one more time, I swear to Merlin," he threatened.

"Sorry, but Mrs. Malfoy is—what do the muggles say these days? A MILF?"

"What does that mean—?" asked Pansy.

"I don't want to know," interjected Celestia. "Back to the topic on hand? You-Know-Who wants a meeting? When was the last one?"

The atmosphere shifted. Blaise and Pansy usually only ever knew the bare details. They knew that Theo, Draco, and Celestia were Death Eaters, and that they each had a task. They, thankfully, never asked about it much.

But she knew that there was no way that they hadn't been apart of the conversation about her kidnapping; most likely having the boys relay any information they figured out during any meetings. Celestia wanted to know what exactly had occurred on their end while she'd been missing, so that she wasn't walking into this next meeting blind.

"After we figured out that, y'know, someone had taken you, we returned to the manor. We told Narcissa and Bellatrix who were concerned and worried. Bellatrix said to sleep on it just in case you'd happened to run away," explained Theo, "but, obviously, by the next day you weren't back. It was later that day that when You-Know-Who caught wind and called a meeting."

Draco spoke before Theo could continue. "He basically just wanted to know the gist of what happened, and what everyone was going to do about it. It was Bellatrix who suggested finding you, and he agreed. She said she'd figure out where you were, bring a team, and bring you back."

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