Characters/Pairings: Apollyon Pringle, Arabella Figg/Gideon Prewett/Fabian Prewett, Bellatrix Lestrange/Lord Voldemort, Dolores Umbridge/Lucius Malfoy (unrequited), Remus Lupin/Sirius Black, Argus Filch
Kinks/Themes Chosen: Padlocks
Other Warnings: Chastity devices, incest between brothers, masturbation, mild BDSM
Word Count: About 2600
Summary/Description: Apollyon gave the address differently, depending on who was asking. He had two different business cards – one bold, loud and innocent, and the other understated in neat, black script – and two different front doors. Upon both, however, were the same simple words: Apollyon Pringle. Locksmith.
Author's Notes: This was written for daily_deviant's theme, 'Padlocks'. Initially, I thought of a number of ways this could go; luckily Apollyon let me have a go at including several of them! Quite a lot of thinkerty-thoughts to go with the erotica, this time.
On his retirement, Apollyon Pringle set up shop at Diagon Alley. Well, it wasn't quite Diagon Alley, to be precise, not in its full-fronted, bright-painted, straightforward glory. No, the first-floor establishment in question was tucked into the back of a building on the corner of Diagon and Knockturn; quiet and shady, it sat on the cusp of two worlds.
Apollyon gave the address differently, depending on who was asking. He had two different business cards – one bold, loud and innocent, and the other understated in neat, black script – and two different front doors. Upon both, however, were the same simple words: Apollyon Pringle. Locksmith.
He kept the interior clean and neutral; customers could find whatever they sought, here, and the backdrop was not to distract from the product. Previous jobs and tools were put away when each caller entered; dust and charms lingering in the air were swept and tidied, leaving nothing to arouse the curiosity.
With each Scourgify, however, came back old memories and a newish grudge.
It didn't take a great deal of magic to be a caretaker, he'd admit, but Apollyon could not help but feel a bit insulted to have been replaced by a Squib. What was the boy going to do when they threw Everglo on the tapestries, or levitated a broom where he couldn't reach? What about the Christmas trees, or the floating pumpkins, or the Quidditch hoops? Filch was going to have to invest in some naffing long ladders, that was for sure.
For most of the job, though, Apollyon allowed, it did seem that magical products were getting better all the time – over half of what he had needed to do with a charm probably came in a box, nowadays. He rolled his yellowing eyes. Consumerist culture marching forth for those little oiks who couldn't be bothered to learn at school and crept around in those ridiculous Muggle trousers with skirts at the bottom and glittery jackets, that's what it was. Thumbscrews and the rack should put them straight, he thought, but then felt the bittersweet stab that it wasn't his job and more.
No matter, he had his new business to concentrate on, now – and going very nicely, it was, too. Apollyon was glad to have gotten out of the caretaker business before the war had really hotted up; a school that doubled as a rouge Auror headquarters would have been no fun place to be the dogsbody. Just imagine all of the broken glass! He'd rather keep himself to himself, and to anyone else – of any persuasion – who'd like to do a good deal. Despite his dual entrances, business didn't come in black and white categories, after all; it was all just business.
In a strange sort of way, Apollyon mused, he, himself, also functioned as a supplier for the less-magical, or the more-lazy witch or wizard; the most classically-trained would never buy a lock when they could cast their own wards and deterrents.
The things did seems to come in handy, though; commissions were tumbling in. Most clients went for the standard invisible lock and key, available in various degrees of security. The simplest were just child-proofing, really – a straightforward Alohomora would unlock them – but the more complex were bound by a web of charms and Muggle mechanics that he would challenge even Dumbledore to crack.
Alright, perhaps not Dumbledore, Apollyon revised – even with all those namby-pamby liberal views, the man probably was the greatest wizard the country had ever seen – but someone pretty good.
Aside from the built-in locks, though, was a product that occupied a particular place of fondness in Apollyon's heart: the padlock and chain. In their shiny, garland-like obviousness, padlocks were sold only for select purposes – either to the poor souls who lacked magic entirely, or to those who wanted one for show.
Thumbing through the order book, Apollyon mused as to the purchasers of these rather special locks – each hand-made to precise specifications, both magical and aesthetic. Discretion was key to his business, and he knew better than to dissuade clients by showing too much interest in the intended purpose of his craft-work.
-But what, exactly, did they want to lock away? Which vessel was going to be adorned so blatantly with a symbol of restricted access – and for whose benefit? Apollyon smiled at his own curiosity. In the refreshing spirit of being his own boss, it now was his, to reason why.
Arabella Figg. Order placed, 21st Jan., 1982. Padlock: 4 1/2 inches; single key: Muggle industrial build; cryptically charmed. 9 Galleons, 11 Sickles.
When Arabella had first been asked to keep Harry Potter's Magical Birth Certificate safe, she had panicked. When it was added that James and Lily's Death Certificates, along with their statements of inheritance and keys to the Potter vault should join the bundle, she had felt like shouting in frustration, “Don't be ridiculous! Why me? In case you've forgotten, I'm the least able person here to defend them; it's the most irrational choice!”
“-And that is precisely why no-one will look for them here,” Albus had returned, and it was settled.
If there was one thing that Squibhood had taught Arabella, though, it was that grumbling didn't do any good. Whatever life threw at you, you had to get on with – because there jolly well wasn't going to be anyone to get on with it for you.
Therefore, she had rolled the problem around for a while, and gone out to find the largest, heaviest filing cabinet she could – the sort that the Ministry of Defence might screw to the floor, or a builder might recondition after an office refit, to store all of his tools. Plenty of space; plenty of room for decoys – that was Arabella's plan.
Then, she had bought a great big padlock from B&Q – stainless steel, and mucky with oil. After testing it for size, she had passed it on for Apollyon to copy; he had done the rest.
When everything had been put in place, and the Potters' effects locked away, Arabella's sigh of relief had felt well-earned: duty done. It was only later that she looked at the thing, and began to mourn.
It resided in her garage, taking up most of the space there – but that didn't matter, because she didn't have a car. In the right sort of light, the huge, grey monolith resembled a tombstone. It conferred something of the graveyard to the space – both in its sober, timeless sadness, and as a measure of form and comfort to the living.
Over time, other things were added to the mortuary drawers: collars of Kneazles she had loved and lost; deeds of the house that had burned down; letters from her dear, late mother.
At the very bottom of the cabinet, Arabella kept the documents she treasured the most. It was hard to look at those photographs after everything that had happened, but at the same time, it hurt not to look; not to relive those glorious days that had been snatched from her; not to think of her two beautiful boys.
Fabian and Gideon were gorgeous, naked. From the smudged frame, they reclined together, tousled hair and lips plumped with kisses, sultry hands beckoning her to watch, or to join them. The three of them had spent that one, searing-hot summer together, swimming in the lake in France, picking blackberries from the hedgerows, and being more sexually experimental than Arabella had thought possible. She could still feel the crackle of their hands on her body, and could still see that dual expression of bliss when she made them climax.
With their brave, jocular, be-freckled beauty, it was no wonder that her lovers were often mistaken for twins. But Arabella knew the differences between them: Gideon didn't like jam on his toast, and adored it when Fabian took him from behind; Fabian, on the other hand, had the most vociferous sweet tooth, and an equally-insatiable appetite for her in his lap, and Gideon in his mouth, and... oh, it was all too much to think about; too sad.
Arabella kissed the photograph and wiped away a tear. She was busy making friends with Lily's odious younger sister. With all her power – which was rather more than people gave a Squib credit for, that was certainty true – Arabella would see to it that Fabian and Gideon had not died in vain.
Bellatrix Lestrange. Order placed, 4th June, 1977. Padlock: 2 inches; single key: pure silver with detailed tracery to surface; uncharmed. 23 Galleons, 4 Sickles, 1 Knut.
Bella gave her reflection a satisfied smile. The cool metal felt seductive about her hips, smooth and unyielding, as it cradled her below. Her nipples were pert with arousal upon the enviable mounds of her breasts, and her stomach rose and fell in short, excited breaths. Deathly pale and comely, with black hair tumbling around her shoulders, she knew herself to be hourglass perfection.
She had told, rather than asked, Rodolphus about her decision. A one-year husband was all very well, but ultimately, Bella had no wish to waste her passion on one so unimportant. No; she would lock herself away for her Lord, the elegant silver girdle reminding her with every step that he held the only key. It was now charmed to require Muggle blood to function.
The padlock danced about her groin, like fine jewellery. Whenever her Lord desired, she would lay back and be taken, celebrating the kill and their supremacy.
It would be glorious.
Dolores Umbridge. Order placed, 11th Nov., 1981. Padlock: 5 1/4 inches; two keys; gold-plate over cast iron with ornate figuration; heavily warded. 12 Galleons, 6 Knuts.
When the Dark Lord fell, Dolores did everything she could to cover her tracks. Her Mudblood segregation leaflets were nearly finished; such a shame she had not yet had the opportunity to use them. It had been close, too – her position as Deputy Senior Undersecretary very nearly gave her the Minister's ear, and all it would have needed was for the climate to change a little, and...
...Ah well. For next time, she'd be ready. A clever woman knows to move with politics, thought Dolores – to lie in wait. Stomping around in black was all very well, but you were likely to end up in Azkaban for it – and you're not full of power and influence from there, now are you? Far better to be subtle; pretty; insidious.
“State secrets,” she would tell anyone who might care to listen. “Very important, you know. If you go behind that lock, you'll have to be killed.” The device was draped across a pink lacquer cabinet, glistening ostentatiously on its chain. All of her drafts and designs and action plans were in there, poised for the next change of regime. And there would be one; this was a long game, she could feel it.
Meanwhile, though – and given that she now had a lockable cache – why not put other secrets in there, too? It only seemed logical. The pictures of Lucius, for instance. The diaries of her ill-fated attempts to lose weight and an enormous box of sweets. The vibrating leather snarglepuff.
Sometimes, Dolores would bring all of those things out at once, late a night, when she was convinced that the office was deserted. She would gaze at her plans and his chiselled features, gorging herself and feeling guilty for it, and then slam the pleasure-maker home with the combined power of years of passion and hopelessness.
Legs askew on the pouffe beneath hems of rosy tweed and no knickers, the room filled with breathy cries and the keening sound of frustration. Ahhh... if only... eeeee... why not now? Why not me? Aaagh...
Afterwards, she would put everything back into neat little piles, and stow the key away in her handbag. Clawing at resolution once more, Dolores made her mind firm. She would tell the world, and Lucius, that she could wait.
Remus Lupin. Order placed, 15th April, 1980. Padlock: 2 inches; multiple keys; regular appearance; charmed with minimal security. 2 Galleons.
”Padfoot, are you sure you want to do this?”
Sirius stretched his wrists out above his head, the long lines of his body flexing as he did so. “Of course.” He gave a winning smile. “Come one, Moony, you know it'll be fun.”
Remus glanced down at the manacles in his hand. It was difficult for him to associate chains and locks with... pleasure. For years, the clink of key and metal had meant pain, fear and ostracisation.
Kli-krink. Sorry, son, I have to. For your own good. Chhhii-thunnnk. See you in the morning. Try not to hurt yourself in there, eh?
“Moony! You're spoiling the mood.” Sirius writhed a little on the mattress.
Hell, he was gorgeous. Remus' eyes were met by Quidditch players' muscles all over and a generous spattering of black hair that defined everything even more clearly – along with a proud erection that he couldn't wait to feel against his skin. He returned the smile, and attached the cuffs around Sirius' wrists, securing them to the bed-frame with a padlock and triple-checking that the keys were close at hand - they had invested in a pile of spares, knowing how easily they both mislaid such things.
“Come on then, come and get me,” taunted Sirius. Remus didn't need to be asked twice.
Apollyon was broken from his reverie by a knock at the Knockturn door. He slammed the book shut – perhaps a little too hastily – and cleared his throat to bark, “Come in.”
A man who looked more haggered than his true years shuffled through the entrance. He removed his cap, and fiddled with it, looking to and fro. Apollyon tallied-up the memorable features: lank hair greying at the temples and slightly bent, wiry figure... sunken, furtive eyes... an unmistakably put-upon countenance... - it could be none other than the lad, Filch.
“What on earth is the school sending you here, for?” Apollyon felt somewhat disgruntled. He'd thought he was rid of the place; this better not be some sort of favour-asking trip. Didn't they have teachers who could charm their own bloody locks?
“Umm, it's not,” replied Filch, “This is... sort of a private call, to be honest.”
“Mmmph.” Apollyon took that on board, resolutely not feeling miffed that they didn't still want him, after all. But then, a certain irregularity made itself known in his head: “On Hogwarts hours? You taking the piss? I very clearly remember being on duty at this time of day, and-”
“-Professor Dumbledore gave me a half-holiday!” Filch managed to combine being strident with being apologetic; it was quite a skill.
Apollyon rolled his eyes. Soft. “Right, whatever.” He waved his hands, hoping the whole conversation would go away. “So, what can I do for you?”
“Well...” Filch shifted his feet and looked at the ground. Apollyon felt suddenly concerned about the marks that the boy was probably leaving on his nice, clean floor. “I'm after a padlock, you see. It's a bit tricky...” An enormous huff, and Filch wrung his fingers, “...But I need it because-”
“-No! Don't tell me.” Apollyon leveled his gaze at the cowering young man, a smile curving his lips. “I'd rather imagine.”