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Danse Macabre
December 29th, 1889 — Dance Floor Fever Ball, Oakshire Hall, Kent
Tig was meandering around the dancers who had now been at it relentlessly for a couple hours, proving her enchantments had been a success and the time spent looking into them had paid off. Obviously she hadn't wanted to be subject to her own spell so she had placed a counter-curse on her shoes rendering her immune to the magic as long as she kept her shoes on. Somewhat reluctantly she had extended the courtesy to her husband. As amusing as it would be to watch him dance frantically all night he'd inevitably be a poor sport about it and she supposed it would put a damper on things if he decided to ban her from hosting parties ever again.

Whatever kindnesses she had afforded Tiberius, they were utterly without his knowing as she'd kept her cards very close to her chest. As she spotted him skulking across the room she decided she was ready to show her hand. Doing her best to silently creep up on him, she suddenly came level with him and hooked her arm around his, shooting him an exceptionally devious smirk. "How do you like my debut?"

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[-] The following 1 user Likes Antigone Lestrange's post:
   Ophelia Devine
Tiberius had never been one for high society, and so throwing parties and hosting events hadn't been at the top of his priority list in considering a potential wife. Given that he'd chosen Antigone when she was only fourteen, there was very little of substance to have considered at all — she was from a good family (albeit foreign), the appropriate age, and tolerably pretty. He had never considered her hosting abilities, even after their marriage. Really, it had never occurred to him that she would have the inclination, and so he had never expected to see the house full of guests after their wedding day.

It was the done thing, though, there was no denying that, and so he could hardly have refused her a chance to host something. And he supposed this wasn't... awful. It wasn't as though he were enjoying himself, but it was no worse than any of the other society events Tiberius attended through obligation. And the guests seemed to be enjoying it particularly, for some unfathomable reason. Tiberius had hardly gotten through half a conversation with anyone worth talking to before they'd been whisked off to the dance floor, never to be seen again. There was quite the crowd there now, but Tiberius was feeling no inclination to join them.

He may have to reconsider that soon, however, as Antigone was approaching. Surely she would want a dance at some point in the evening? He wasn't sure of the proper decorum of these things (having much more important things to devote his attention to during his Hogwarts etiquette lessons) but he was certain the hostess taking to the dance floor was an integral part of this process.

"It seems to be well received," he said coolly, with a slight nod of his head towards the dance floor.
It seemed he didn't suspect she'd done anything to the guests and she couldn't decide whether she was a little put out because it wasn't obvious enough for him to have noticed or smug because it was apparently skillfully subtle. "Oh they don't have a choice in the matter." The enchantment on the dance floor had to wear off at some point in the evening or else there would eventually be trouble, she couldn't exactly dance them all to literal death and expect no one to notice, but for now everyone seemed to be in the thrall of the dancing curse. Consequently she was riding on a bit of a power trip and so it hadn't been too hard to look past Tiberius' obliviousness.

"They won't take so much as a refreshment break until the very end." Tig had been scanning the dancers earlier wondering which ones looked the most likely to suffer first. The more feeble guests might collapse with exhaustion but then any of them could be in danger of pissing themselves. It was regrettably disgusting under her own roof but the humiliation of it was worth it. Not that they ought to remember, not in any great detail.

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Well, that was an interesting revelation. Tiberius couldn't really see a motivation behind it, however. Was it simply spite? She couldn't possibly hate each individual person here enough to curse them. If she disliked them and wanted them all to go do something insufferable, she could have just left the two of them out of it and not bothered to throw this party at all. Surely there were plenty of insufferable balls in the world tonight. And it wasn't as though there was anything to be gained, rationally, from making them all dance without stopping — though Antigone had always been more emotional than rational anyway.

But there was another lingering question that occurred to him, which was slightly more pressing than her motivation. She had called this her debut, but what good would it be as a debut if she left the entirety of society wary of any future invitations? Was that her goal? Merlin, he may have to intervene, little as he might want to. It wouldn't do to have everyone talking about them, at least not in the context of highly questionable hosting practices. "I don't imagine they'll be happy to return," he commented with a frown. "If you wear their shoes out with your little trick."
Her smugness grew as he tried and failed to point out a considerable flaw in her plan. "Don't be so sure about that," she chided gleefully. "They'll go home exhausted and when they wake up the next morning they'll be left with a hazy but pleasing impression of the night before, even if they've got bloody stumps left where their feet once were." Probably no one would be injured quite that dramatically but she was fairly confident that the spell should convince even the most abused guest that they had a great time.

"The best part is I could put them all out of their misery if I wanted." She could also pick and choose if she wanted to protect individuals from the spell, as she had with Tiberius and as she could have with her friends if she weren't an actual bitch. "But I don't."

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Tiberius watched his wife out of the corner of his eye as she spoke — gloated, really — about the enchantment she'd placed on the guests. He wanted to know more about the spell, and specifically it's limitations (would the guests, for instance, remember any details of what was said or done off the dance floor the following day?) but he didn't want to seem too keenly interested in what she'd said, lest it convey a sense of pride or approval of her methods.

(He did, in fact, approve of her methods. They were not anything he would have considered himself, since there was no object to this sort of thing — it was purely spiteful, with no element of research or experimentation — but that was one major difference between the two of them. What he did from a cool, calculating perspective, she was emotionally invested in. Even though he wouldn't have done it himself, though, he could certainly admire her tactics, and be a bit excited by her spiteful enthusiasm for them — he just wouldn't admit that to her).

He turned his attention to the ballroom floor for a moment, considering how to respond. "There's no appeal for you at all in doing what everyone else does for these sorts of things? Throwing parties and trying to actually entertain the guests?"
[-] The following 1 user Likes Tiberius Lestrange's post:
   Antigone Lestrange
Tig let out a snort of derision. "Planning is tedious enough, why would I want to then spend the whole evening boring myself to death making small talk with people I don't even like? Then everyone else is enjoying themselves and I'm not, so what would be the point of it?" Did he not see how brilliant her idea was? Surely he did. "This way I get to entertain myself and I get a reputation for throwing great parties at the same time and really, the only difference between this method and the boring way is how they came to the same conclusion that they enjoyed themselves. Everyone wins." She resumed smirking and awaited some sort of compliment, how could he cast aspersions on this? There were literally no negatives.

"It's still a pain in the neck to organize though, I'll probably only do it once or twice a year and then they'll seem very exclusive and therefore fashionable." How was he not in awe of her scheming yet? Not only had she found a creative outlet for herself, but she had also found a way to make them both look good. If he didn't start acknowledging her genius soon she'd have to start blatantly demanding it and that just wasn't as rewarding.

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   Tiberius Lestrange
Although he wouldn't admit it, her explanation did impress him. If this was a necessary part of society — hosting balls and creating a reputation for having done so — this certainly was an elegant solution to doing so. It was probably no more effort in the end than doing things the traditional way, but it was a different type of effort — research and magic over the social element. It seemed entirely natural to Tiberius to prefer the former over the latter, as he would make the same choice every time.

"It seems you've thought of everything," he said, keeping his voice neutral still although the phrase really was intended as something of a grudging compliment. He glanced at the dance floor again, then asked in a tone of feigned disinterest, "What will you do with the rest of the evening?"
Yes, she had thought of everything, but was that all he was going to say about it? After all the fuss he'd once made about not being a public embarrassment and he wasn't even going to be openly impressed?! It was an outrage! Tig was outraged! "Watch until something interesting happens or I get bored I suppose," she snapped, the terseness in her voice jarring harshly against her choice of words. If that was his way of bringing their interaction to a close maybe she'd disenchant his feet and lure him into the dance.

"What will you do?" Her tone was not quite so brash this time. Not that she cared what he did but if he was going to skulk off and hide in the house somewhere then she might actually care then, if he wasn't going to verbally appreciate her masterpiece then he'd damn well have to endure it like everyone else. Leaving would be disrespectful unless he properly gave her credit for her hard work.

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Tiberius raised an eyebrow at her tone, surprised that she was so invested in this conversation. She couldn't possibly have expected him to have much of an opinion on a party, even if she'd done a bit of interesting magic when arranging it. At the very least, she couldn't expect him to voice an opinion. It wasn't as though he'd given her any precedent to assume he would. They didn't sit around at home making idle talk about garden soirees, dances, or anything of the sort.

He considered her question a moment before answering. It seemed as though she wanted a particular answer, but he couldn't tell what it might be. Tiberius glanced back at the dance floor. "Depends," he said carefully as he turned his attention back to her. "Does your memory charm extend to everything that happens tonight, or just the ill effects of the spell they're under?"
His response piqued her curiosity enough for her to forget her annoyance, for now. "Their memory of tonight should be a haze, like a blur with maybe the occasional more specific detail like encountering a good friend or aspects of the decor they particularly liked." It wasn't quite as safe as blanking the night out in their minds but it was easier and less suspicious. That's what the other spell was for, they were supposed to feel contentment and not linger too long on the memory.

Tig was going to leave it at that but then couldn't quite stop herself from adding, "What are you thinking of?"

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Tiberius smirked mischievously. Antigone was still standing close enough that he could reach her. He put a hand on the waist of her corset and pulled her in closer, until he could lean in to murmur directly in her ear, "I was wondering if I could get away with fucking you right here in the middle of your party."

Too bad the magic she'd described didn't seem as though it would suit that particular purpose. If one or two things from the night might stand out above the haze of the spell, he couldn't exactly cause a scene and think that wouldn't be one of them. Pity. He could nearly picture it — throwing the skirt of that ridiculous dress over her head and grabbing her hips from behind. The shock and horror on the faces of those around them. The hush that would fall over the entire room as news rippled out and people learned what was happening. The harder and longer it went, the better — he could only imagine how the noises she would make might echo in this large room.

Slipping his hand off her waist, he took a small step away to put them back at a respectable distance. "But it doesn't seem as though that's the case. So now — I'm not sure what I'll do with my time. Pretend to be interested in some boring conversation with someone or other, I suppose."
Tig was embarrassed to note the heat that rose to her face at what he'd said. She probably should have been more embarrassed by the fact that she felt disappointment rather than relief. "That would be unseemly," she replied as if discussing some reasonably nice looking wallpaper. To do something so outrageous in front of so many people knowing they'd never remember it was far more tantalizing than it should have been.

She bit the inside of her cheek hard in thought. Obviously what he'd said was impossible but now she had the taste for something reckless and socially objectionable and she doubted she'd shake it for the rest of the evening. "Boring conversation would be even more unseemly after all the effort I've made to remove the need for it." Tig looked anywhere but at him as she tried to seem oblivious to any insinuations she might be making. "Disrespectful really."

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Tiberius watched her as she cast her gaze away — pretending disinterest, he wondered, or purposefully looking away so as not to betray some hint of emotion? Perhaps some of both. He didn't think she could have listened to his whispered words with no reaction, and it seemed perfectly in character for her to want to hide whatever her reaction had been, positive or negative.

"Indeed," he agreed dryly. His voice carried very little hint of emotion but his facial expression was bordering on amused by this point. "What, then, do you recommend?"
What did she recommend? She scoped the room for inspiration. "Who do you hate the most in this room?" Tig assumed there must be people he hated, she hated lots of people.

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Tiberius raised an eyebrow, wondering what she had in mind. He turned his attention to the dance floor, but rather than just using it as something to look at when he didn't want to make eye contact with Antigone, he actually looked at the people this time around. Did he hate anyone here? Hate was a rather strong term for someone who had never fully grasped what normal human emotions were. There were people he found it unpleasant to carry on a conversation with, certainly, but if the bar was that low, most of the people in this room would clear it.

A man waltzing by caught his attention and Tiberius spoke without taking the time to reflect on his choice. "I'm not particularly fond of Theseus Greengrass. But," he allowed, "He is... family. By marriage." The last was an important classifier, because Tiberius didn't consider him to be real family — but he wouldn't want the man publicly humiliated, all the same. He might not be sleeping with Valeria any more, but he didn't want any branch of the Lestrange family to become laughable.

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