[identity profile] notquitefacist.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] bait_backup
*A strange, half-haunted cleanliness has overtaken Crouch Sr.'s suburban dwelling, making it perhaps the least comfortable place to accept a dinner invitation this side of the Ministry's interrogation rooms, unfortunately for Frank and Alice Longbottom. It is only lucky for Crouch Sr. that his invitations are nearly impossibly to decline, because were it not for that he would easily remain the only person to set foot in his house again after Bernadette's passing. What had once been a home for a loving wife and a vibrant son has been steam-cleaned and infused with a sort of beige emptiness that exudes a ghostly modern-Amish feel. No shoes sit out in its entryway, a single umbrella sits in a stand, and when one first enters the house there is very little indication that one might find furniture in the rooms beyond, let alone personal possessions. No homely or welcoming gestures have been made in honour of tonight's guests after they pass inside off the well-lit porch and into this shell of a family home.

Crouch Sr. answers the door himself however, despite his stature and the obvious ownership of a house elf. After the depositary of coats and bags has been made into the otherwise barren front closet, during which he remains perfectly blankfaced and unaffected at the lonely clink of empty hangers, the Longbottoms are invited inward to endure an evening of prime rib roast and unusual hospitality.

He doesn't speak again until he has lead his unwilling pair of star Aurors, and some of the few humans he can tolerate at this point, though to the livingroom, where the chairs seem to have been rearranged fairly recently to most comfortably seat three. It's a subtle but unnerving configuration, with couches and armchairs all equal distance apart and surely intended to reduce everyone's need to turn one's head to talk. In any other place but this, it might be convenient and thoughtful, but in here it simply gives off the air of a conversational trap.

Crouch Sr. takes his spot with graceful, robotic ease, and gestures for his guests to do the same, and with eyes on both of them he begins a terrifying attempt at smalltalk as he asks what's on his mind.*

What happens to the baby?

Date: 2011-10-18 03:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] frankly-bamf.livejournal.com
*Frank, unnerved by the setup on a level that runs just under his skin, instinctively takes a couch because a chair would mean sitting awkwardly far from Alice, which makes him weirdly uncomfortable just now. It's not as though they're under any threat, obviously, but the whole thing - to say nothing of the fact they've been spying on Crouch's operations for months for the Order - has him strung tight.

Still, you can't be a good Auror without being a good liar, and Frank manages to clip on a smile that's just on the safe side of cheeky.*

Grows up, eventually, I suppose.

Date: 2011-10-19 03:33 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] frankly-bamf.livejournal.com
*No sense of humor whatsoever, and that was even a decent joke. Won't this just be a delightful evening.

Resisting the urge to give Alice a 'can you believe this bloke' look, Frank clears his throat and tries not to fidget.*

Ah. Neville stays with my mum, or Alice's dad. Mum's a terror but she loves kids, it works out okay.

*And they can't very well genuinely ask after Crouch's kid, who is, for one, off doing Voldemort's bidding, for another, inexplicably not around, and for another, completely barmy.

Really. Just delightful.*

So, your - home. Lovely, sir.

Date: 2011-10-22 03:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gummymummy.livejournal.com
Please.

*Please.

Alice is already uncomfortable, having chosen not to sit next to Frank. At least she's closest to his side of the couch, but it does not remedy her nerves.

Everything in the situation feels like a decision, rather than a choice. Sitting with Frank would have defied Crouch's order, laughing at Frank's joke could have been perceived as supporting insubordination, not taking his drinks offer might be more than simple rudeness...

And while she's happy Frank is there to support her, Alice is more worried about him in this situation than she is about herself. He is doing his best, but if Crouch disapproves of him than it's possible she could lose her position as spy.*

Date: 2011-11-24 02:53 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] frankly-bamf.livejournal.com
*Frank's as uncomfortable as Alice with the situation, and just as uncomfortable with all this focus on their son. He doesn't even like Neville being conversationally linked to Crouch, doesn't like Crouch thinking about him, however briefly, and he casts Alice a quick grimace behind their boss's boss's back.*

Ah - thank you, sir. And it's Neville.

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