A/N: Again, I am in no way trying to lay claim to the J.K. Rowling Empire. This is merely my own interpretation of my long-time obsession, Viktor Krum. However, I do not claim to be right on this account.
Also, I had a comment about where Viktor's accent has gone. Well, it's taking a vacation with Carmen SanDiego. But in all seriousness, it'll be there at the times that Krum is actually speaking English, so the language wouldn't be as fluent to him as Bulgarian. Thanks a bundle! (of what...?)
I slowly walked out of the locker room. Surprisingly, Dimitrov was waiting for me. I was under the impression that I had taken long enough to evade the rest of the team. For the second time, Sergey put his hand on my shoulder to stop me. “We’re going for drinks,” he said stiffly. He gave me a slug on the arm. Though friendly, it may have been a little rougher than was necessary.
We met up with the rest of the players at our usual pub. It wasn’t classy, but it was cheap. The same could be said for most of its patrons. “A round o’ da Firewhisky!” slurred Volchov, suggesting he had already had his share. Volchanov shared the same state, though silent. He slammed his fist on the bar between swigs, but the impact seemed to daze him until he was ready for another go. Jordash and Ivanova were nowhere to be seen, presumably in the back with their regulars.
I took a seat between the two present lushes and started in on my own drink, butterbeer, wishing it contained what they had. “Why don’t you have something stronger. Just this once, lad.” I looked up. Sergey was watching me intently, holding out a bottle. Normally I would have declined, but the disappointed misery in his eyes that mirrored my own persuaded me. I downed half of it.
“Now there’s a man,” came an all too familiar voice from the doorway, “My
man, to be exact.” I turned on my stool, tipping slightly, to see Vasilisa posed in the frame. I wasn’t sure if it was the rest of the Firewhiskey or her rather evocative attire, but I was quickly becoming intoxicated.
She sauntered across the pub, turning heads, until she was practically in my lap. “How about another bottle,” she purred, “but in a more private place?” Vasilisa took my hand and led me to the back room.
This alcove was only slightly less dingy than the main parlor. Apparently that was good enough for Levski and Ivanova because they were absorbed in giving elaborate play-by-plays of the match to their entourage of female admirers. Funny, I couldn’t remember them doing half of their bragging maneuvers.
Vasilisa and I took a private, though still visible, seat at a booth. She winked suggestively and took a sip from her bottle. By this point I was too brain dead to take any sort of hint, so I gulped down my drink as well. Several minutes of obviously unwanted silence passed.
“So Viktor,” she said, toying with the charm of her necklace, “who’s signing you?”
“Hm?” Signing me for what?
“Well, the European Cup is in, what, two years? Surely plenty of team’s will want to sign on the magnificent Viktor Krum. Even if you did blow the World Cup…”
I felt myself become increasingly sobered. “I didn’t blow it.”
“Then what do you call losing? You’re just lucky it was a good catch. It could have really hurt your image. Thank goodness-”
“Is that why you’re still talking to me? Still a chance I might rake in a few Galleons for you!?”
“‘S goin’ on?” An incredibly drunk Jordash Levski stumbled over to the scene.
“Viktor has actually accused me of being a gold digger!”
Vasilisa’s face swelled, sprouting the infamously sharp beak. The seams of her clothing threatened to rip as her newly sprouted wings tried to tear through. But, almost as quickly, she was back to her stunning self. Only now there was a vindictive gleam in her eyes.
“I’m only looking for a man to love me,” she said cuddling up to Levski, “A Quidditch player wouldn’t be so bad. Why, even you might just be him, Jordash. Then this wannabe Krum insults me! That’s just awful. Don’t you think so?”
Levski’s intoxicated, now doubly so, mind worked hard to put together all the sentences. Then a collision between his fist and my recently mended nose signified his success. I jerked back against the wall, my eyes watering. Pulling my wand from the pocket of my robes, I took aim at my staggering foe.
“Stupefy!” Levski slumped onto the ground, his expression never changing.
The fan girls shrieked. Ivanova kept tipping back his bottle, clueless. Nobody attempted to awaken Jordash, least of all Vasilisa, who had stormed from the room and out of my life.
Dimitrov walked in to survey the damage, though he didn’t look surprised. The walls of the pub must be thinner than they looked, which wasn’t much to begin with. When his gaze finally came to rest on Levski’s unconscious form he said, “I think it’s about time you went home, Viktor.” (“I think you’re right, Sergey,” came the voice of the bartender.)
I nodded as he led me to yet another room. This one played storage to a series of fireplaces, though none lit at this time. It was the local Floo Network’s safety point. Made for good business too.
“And we make our goodbyes for now,” Dimitrov said abruptly, clasping me yet again on the shoulder. I think a bruise might be forming... “I just hope that when our paths do cross, we will still be on the same team, no?” He let out a barking laugh.
I nodded again, not having an answer. He handed me a bag of Floo Powder and I took a pinch. Stepping into the grate, I turned to keep the man who had looked after me in sight for as long as possible. With a deep breath I threw down the powder.
“Stalwart & Krum Snidget Reservation!”
Sergey called out a final farewell as I began to spin, “Take care of that nose, won’t cha?” And I was gone.
* * *
I stepped out of the fireplace in the foyer of my home. Home
. I inspected my reflection in the mirror across the room. Oh, very presentable
, I thought as I studied my ash-covered form. There was a light smear of blood on my face, under my nose.
I walked over to the inner window. My house is shaped something like a square doughnut, with the Snidget reservation in the middle and the actual living space around the outside. I wasn’t able to locate the other members of my family, so I wandered into the sanctuary.
Warm sunlight glowed through the large glass ceiling of the atrium. Several dozen small, feathery torpedoes swarmed me a few steps from the door. I reached out to catch a particularly fluffy one. “Twitter…” I crooned, opening my hand. The Golden Snidget sat comfortably on my palm, its jeweled eyes gleaming up at me.
“They’ve really missed you.” I spun around to come face to face, when I looked down a foot, with my kid sister. She was twelve, getting ready to attend her second year at Durmstrang in a few weeks’ time. “I’ve missed you too,” she said as she threw her arms about my waist.
“Anna how was your first year of school?” I asked, feeling a pang of guilt at having not been there with her as planned.
“Oh, it was amazing! Would you believe that nobody
else’s house has a magical creature reservation?” I laughed as Anastasia launched into a full description of all her friends, teachers, and classes. “And look at this!” she squealed mid-topic, pulling out her wand.
“Isn’t that something. You’d better not use it if you want to go back though.”
“But you can use yours now, right?”
“Yes,” I said darkly, thinking of the scene that had passed not an hour ago.
"Something on your mind, son?” I looked up to see my mother making her way across the sanctuary. Her dark hair fell in waterfall curls about her shoulders. She pulled me into a warm hug, then held me at arm’s length to study me. “Broke your nose again, huh?” she asked with a wink. “You’ll want to clean up before we have lunch with your father.”
Obviously Mom had forgiven the arguments of old. Now it was a matter of dealing with Father.
* * *
One long, hot shower later I was dressed in my most respectable dinnerware, the four members of my family sitting at our table for fifteen in silence. Father sat at the head, ringleader of the muteness. Occasionally he shot me a look down his crooked nose. The same nose that adorned my own face.
“H-how have you been, Father?” I asked casually, or so I tried. A grunt was my reply. “Have you heard the outcome of the World Cup yet? It was a-”
Father slammed down his wine goblet. “Viktor, did you do it?” he roared. I choked on my mouthful of food. How could he possibly presume I’d be so foolhardy? Wait. How’d he know about Vasilisa in the first place…
I must have taken too long to answer because he leaned forward and spoke again. It was in a quieter tone, but that only made him all the more intimidating. “I saw how you looked when you arrived. I’ve heard what happened. You-Know-Who’s supporters went on a raid. Now, did you have anything
to do with this?”
I stared at my father, dumbfounded. Death Eaters at the World Cup? “I was nowhere near the stadium after the match. I swear to you.” He nodded, apparently satisfied. Father was very proud of our pure blood, but he was certainly no Dark Wizard.
“We received the owls from Igor today,” Mom said to relieve the tension. It worked until I realized exactly what she had said.
? Has Professor Karkaroff increased the requirements or something?” I asked suspiciously.
Father sat down his silverware and sighed. I had grown all too familiar with that impatient utterance during our innumerable feuds before I left so many months ago. “Igor has been gracious enough to allow to return to Durmstrang.”
“Isn’t that,” I swallowed, “news.”
“He says you’d be a great asset to the Institute,” Mom said, a pleading look in her eyes.
But my father killed all sense of restraint I had. He berated, “Besides, you really need an education after you lost the World Cup.”
“Because I didn’t just prove my future career all Series long, did I?”
“Don’t smart off to me, boy!” he spat. We both stood, staring each other in the eye. Anna left the room, her face red.
“This is absolutely ridiculous!” shrieked my mother, drawing her wand, “Now both of you get out of my dining hall before I personally ensure neither of you can go anywhere! EVER!”
I bolted, partially out of fury at Father treating me like a child, but mostly because I knew she wasn’t bluffing. I wandered aimlessly, fuming, and found myself outside my sister’s room.
Anna wasn’t inside, but I entered anyway. Not much had changed. Her world was still… fluffy, to say the least. But now a rather large stack of homework signified a new chapter in my sister’s life; one I had missed out on. A small figurine version of myself sat on her dresser. It scowled miserably. “Yeah, you and me both.”
“Talking to someone, big brother?” Anna laughed. Then she plopped onto her plush covered bed, signaling for me to join her. I did so, sitting on her
instead, sending my sister into another fit of giggles.
“Why don’t you want to go back to Durmstrang, Viktor?” she asked after recovering, “I had lots of fun, didn’t you when you were there?”
“It’s not about that,” I said, leaning back to escape her gaze. I immediately regretted this move as I was swallowed by her hoard of pillows.
“I believe you need to reevaluate your position on this matter. Is it truly the prospect of attending Durmstrang that infuriates you so, or is it the sheer audacity of Daddy to even imply you’re still a child after you have tried so very hard to make him proud through the glory of Quidditch?”
I shot back up, staring at my sister. How could she possibly…
Then I saw the shadow in the hallway. “You were right the first time, Anna-Banana,” I said with a smile, “It was just no fun.”
I got up, ruffling my sister’s dark hair, and walked into the hall. Unsurprisingly, the originator of that dark hair was outside her door. When she saw me, Mother quickly put on an act of having just arrived. “Oh! Well, good night, dear.” She stood on her toes to kiss my cheek.
“Good night, Mother,” I said returning the gesture. “And next time you tell Anastasia what to say, remember twelve year olds don’t have that sort of vocabulary.”