And She Saw @semper.vi
0762

Relevent Inspiration:

Deprived by The Crimson Lord

Disclaimer: I'm not a Brit.

Enjoy.


-I-

The atmosphere within the Chateau could barely have been more different from the atmosphere outside of its weather-worn stone walls. Outside, wind rustled olive trees and tall grass, waves lapped gently over serene shores of sand, and the sun smiled upon southern France. On a baby blue towel, wearing nothing but a provocatively cut white bikini, a stunningly beautiful blonde girl basked in the warmth. Though still a teen, she had a body to rival supermodels, perfect to all eyes. By any measure, she was insanely, blisteringly, attractive. However, inside the cool corridors of the sprawling home, the air was thick with tension. A youth clad in grey slacks, a crisp white turtleneck, and silver reflective sunglasses stood with his hands behind his back and his feet shoulder-width apart.

Two things would have stood out to any observer; his absolute stillness, and his lack of shoes. In fact three people were watching him carefully from chairs. One sat behind a large spruce desk, a leg crossed over the other, and a hand stroking the stubble on his chin. He wore expensive robes over an even more expensive muggle suit. Beside him sat a dark-haired woman so lovely she had to be the mother of the girl tanning outside, yet she appeared to be only in her early thirties. She wore a flowing cream dress and studied the youth before her with a mixture of surprise and intensity. The final man was obviously fond of food, and his own affluent robes billowed over his belly. He had a pair of pince-nez wobbling precariously on a wide nose that in turn seemed to grow an extravagant mustache. His beady eyes were alive with mirth as he watched the other adults' reactions.

"This is who you have recommended, Louis-Gerrard? I would have thought seventeen years of service to our country would have earned me more respect in your eyes." The man behind the chair frowned at the youth, gesturing with his left hand in obvious exasperation. The woman beside him, his wife, continued the thought.

"Minister, you expect me to entrust my daughter's life to a boy of her own age? It looks like you took a child from his orphanage and gave him fine clothes. Mon Dieu his feet are still bare!"The Minister of Magical France shook his head emphatically, his triple chins swinging, and spluttered.

"Non, non, of course not Madame Delacour! I greatly appreciate all your husband has done as Chairman of the Department of Arcane Defenses, and when he reached out for a security service for your daughter I used a few old favors to contact the Akadimía. I even managed to reach le grec himself! He sent this young man, not I." Louis-Gerrard nodded again as he spoke, further emphasizing his innocence. However, Apolline Delacour had frozen at hearing what institution the youth in front of her represented, and she was too busy reevaluating her opinions to see her husband blanch upon hearing 'le grec'. He too reassessed the individual before him.

Despite this revelation, the black haired boy remained stock still. His eyes, dead and emotionless behind silver lenses, locked on the French Chairman. Though hidden, they were so light as to seem clear, and pierced the very soul of Sebastian Delacour. Unused to this feeling that approached fear, Sebastian cleared his throat, and spoke.

"You represent the Akadimía?"

"Yes sir." The boy's French was flawless, the trio noted.

"I wish to hire your services."

"Do you speak as a member of the French government, or as a father?"

"Does it matter?"

"Yes." There was silence for a moment, before Apolline spoke.

"My husband and I are hiring you as concerned parents whose daughter could be a valuable political hostage in the upcoming elections. She could also be a target for various degenerates on behalf of her having recently reached her Veela maturity." Her husband nodded, and continued for her.

"We wish to hire you to ensure our daughters safety during the following school year. She attends Beauxbatons, and will likely take a trip to England for both the Quidditch World Cup and the tri-wizard tournament. What is your price?" The dead-eyed youth looked at the assorted adults, then turned towards the French Minister.

"Sorry sir, but transactions are to be kept strictly between the Akadimía and clients." The bubbly Louis-Gerrard nodded his head to the youth and then his friends.

"Sebastian. Apolline. I wish you two the best." And with that, he departed the room, humming a tune several notes off key. Without turning to watch the energetic man, the boy spoke once more.

"Will she be entering in the tournament?" The response was quick and emphatic.

"Absolutely not. She has been ordered not to." The youth nodded once, quick and curt, then continued.

"The standard price is five million US dollars for bodyguard work, payable in each regions equivalent currency. However, due to the international travel, massive population density of both the Tournament and the Cup, and other extenuating circumstances I must account for, it will be eight million and two unrestricted favors."

Sebastian briefly cocked an eyebrow at the mention of the favors, but nodded his head. Safety always had a price, he knew, and he'd rather pay for it with money than with freedom.

"Done. Do you require anything else? We have a room set up across from our daughter's for your use." The youth cocked his head ever so slightly as he considered.

"That would be acceptable. I need two forms of French identification, a muggle passport and a magical ID. The passport must have stamps for muggle England, Ireland, Italy, Russia, Tunisia, and Madagascar. It must also have the necessary markers for magical England, Ireland, Poland, and South Africa." Sebastian frowned, but nodded. The boy finished, "And the Magical ID must list me as a member of Function-4." Sebastian brain stopped processing anything as he stared at the boy in silver sunglasses.

"How the hell…"

"If it's a question of ability, here are my ICW MAB scores." He pulled a folded piece of paper from a pocket and handed it to the Chair of the Department of Arcane Defense. Numbly, Mr. Delacour took it and unfolded the document. His wife slid to his side to look over his shoulder.

"What are these numbers, Sebastian?" She asked gently. His response was quiet.

"Every year the International Confederation of Wizards offers a series of magical and physical tests, the Military Aptitude Battery, for any wizard or witch that wishes to join the military or police of any country. The average score for a wizard is a two out of seven. Each level represents a certain amount of knowledge or skill in a magical or physical category. And in each of these categories applicants are ranked from feeble to master." Apolline looked back to the steady lines of categories, sixes and sevens filling the page beside them. The beautiful woman frowned.

"And Function-4, what is this?" Her voice was low. Sebastian sighed.

"It is a highly secretive operations team that works in tandem for both magical and muggle sides of the French government. For a wizard to even be considered, they can't have any number below a five." He shook his head. "Though few would know what the designation meant, the security clearance it comes with is significant to say the least." Regarding the young man, the Frenchman sighed. "What name do I put on the documents?"

"John Constantine." A moment of silence passed before a musical laugh trilled through the room. Sebastien Delacour looked at his wife in confusion. She covered her mouth with a hand and bit back her smile.

"It is a reference to a character in Muggle fiction." For the first time, the bodyguard seemed to almost show emotion. A corner of his lips turned ever so slightly up, the utter beginnings of a smirk. But as quickly as it appeared, the flaw on the bland face vanished. He continued.

"Finally, I need your utter faith and trust. In any situation pertaining to your daughter's well being, or the well being of her close friends and family, you must trust and obey my decisions." Apolline frowned at this.

"We are not paying you millions to protect her friends!" She seemed almost insulted by his request, however, the boy who called himself Constantine merely nodded.

"Correct, but insofar as it does not threaten your daughters life, I will endeavor to aid those with her as well. This may not physically protect her, but it will certainly help her mental health and well-being." Sebastien thought this over. Technically it was more service than he had payed for, but only an idiot would complain.

"Is there anything else that you need Mr. Constantine?"

"No. Thank you. With your permission, I wish to oversee the security here." Noticing the spark of pride burning behind the French Chairman's eyes, he continued. "Though the wards here are very strong, and I predict tied in to the physical stones of this Chateau, I still wish to search for any possible weakness. After all, it is my job." Seeing her husband ready to burst, Apolline placed her hand on his shoulder.

"That will be acceptable, do you need an escort?"

"No ma'am." The youth stiffened slightly to attention, than turned on his heel and strode out of the office." Sebastien looked at his wife.

"That boy brought out my pride so easily." He sighed in exasperation. The beauty at his side smiled.

"Stay strong my love. Pride slays even dragons." The Chairman of the French Department for Arcane Defense snapped his head to look at his wife.

"Where did you get that piece of wisdom from?"

"I had the chance to speak with the wife of the Sri Lankan Ambassador during the last gala. She was a very intelligent woman." Sebastien nodded, and looked into his wife's eyes.

"I'm scared for Fleur." He nearly lost the words, but nevertheless got them out. His voice was hoarse with emotion.

"Don't be, love. We have done the best we can for her, and now we have found someone else to that for us when she leaves."

"A boy?"

"No. A member of the Akadimía. He may look young, but any graduate of that program will be far greater than you or I in skill." She rubbed her husband's shoulders. "I trust young John Constantine." Sebastien grumbled.


John walked around the chateau. He had already circled the building twice, this would be his third and final pass. To untrained eyes, he was admiring the various tapestries and paintings, the statuettes and open windows. But to someone who knew his craft, John Constantine was assessing the wards from behind silver glasses. He couldn't see magic itself, he wasn't a seer or a warlock, but he had taught himself to be able to feel the various subtle differences between the threads of magic. He could tell the difference between a ward designed to keep cows in a pasture and one designed to kill acromantulas on contact. There was a reason he had a 7 on the Runes and Wards sections of the MAB. The first two passes he had assessed physical strength and durability of the building as well as attack and defense positions. Now, he scanned the magical defenses.

The youth paused for a moment beside what appeared to be a painting of Lancelot battling Gawain. He assessed it, feeling the different pulls of magic on his core from the enchanted canvas. He nodded and walked on, mentally adding to a tally. Passing a solid oaken door, he stopped again, and walked back to it, and opened it. Behind was a solid wall. John frowned. Cocking his head, he stared venomously at the stone blocks. It took thirty seconds before he blinked, and an audible chuckle escaped his mouth.

"That's brilliant." He spoke in a lilting English, an accented dialect he had adopted at the Acedemi. Turing 180 degrees, he faced the bland wall opposite of the door. He stepped towards the dark stone, then reached out to touch it. When his hand got close to the wall, he reached out with his magic and brushed the stones. In that split second, foot long spikes shot out from the stone and stopped at his hand. Had he flinched, the cursed trap would have spilled deadly venom into his blood stream, guaranteeing even a scratch as fatal. "The house of a Defense Minister indeed." John muttered, before walking on until his feet carried him outside to the flagstone walkway that led to the arrival point for anyone who apparated to the beach-front Chateau. The point was acceptably distant, though had John been designing it, there would have been fewer decorations that could serve as cover for attackers. Gentle trees formed delicate woods that lathered the property with foliage. The sea brushed up against a beautiful beach where waves lapped at the shore. He had seen his charge sunning herself on a towel, and had turned and walked away. He didn't need those kinds of thoughts to distract him. He had a job, and he would do it, the best way he knew how. A slight smirk crossed his lips. No kind of training could get rid of those kinds of thoughts from a man's mind. As if acknowledging his own training, his mind betrayed him, flinging his thoughts back in time.

"Get your fucking ass to the finish line oh-seven-six-two! I've seen eighty-year olds fuck faster!" The screaming commander had his face inches from the emaciated boy's gaunt cheeks. "If you don't finish in the next four minutes and twenty-six seconds, your pathetic fuckery will be rerunning the course instead of eating dinner!" A miserable mewl escaped the boy, and was met with a swung boot. The kick slammed into the child's ribs, bruising and cracking them as the force sent the kid spinning across the muddy grass. The advancing commander cocked his leg back. "Introduce yourself in French!" It took a fraction of a second for the boy to process the unexpected command, a fraction too long as he was kicked again. It took the sound of another rib breaking to realize the commander was serious. Quickly as he could, the youth gathered what little air his lungs could muster and replied, wheezing through the pain before another kick could come.

"Je m'appelle zero-sept-six-deux!" The cocked boot moved back to the ground. No kick came. Silent validation. It didn't last.

"Get the FUCK up you waste of oxygen, what are you waiting for? You have four minutes and fourteen seconds you rotting piece of shit! Go!" Recruit 0762 scrabbled to his feet and began a hideous scamper up a rocky incline, his ankle sprained, but the fear of the instructors a more pressing pain. As he pulled himself over a low boulder, he saw 0748 getting up from tripping to stand at attention before an instructor. Her blonde hair was matted with mud and leaves.

"Address me in Farsi!" He barked out. The girl frowned before stammering out an answer. The instructor slammed his fist into her gut, doubling her over, before grabbing her head and slamming his knee into her face. An audible crunch betrayed her broken nose.

"Am I fucking 'dear'? Do I fucking look like someone you'd call 'dear'? Get your ass to the finish line and have the right words when you get there! Go, bitch, GO!" The girl dug her fingers into the ground and pulled herself up to her knees. She didn't acknowledge 0762 when he caught up with her and they continued side-by-side. He didn't acknowledge her. They just hobbled, two children surviving.

John snapped back to the present when he felt magic twisting around a point due north of himself. Spinning around, the boy took off sprinting for the front door of the chateau. He slid to a stop, feet slick on grass. He stood in front of the door, feet shoulder width apart, and hands clasped in front of him. His eyes locked onto the apparition point from behind silver sunglasses, and he watched as a man materialized into existence. The newcomer had light, sandy brown hair, and wore an intricate, hand-woven, white unicorn-hair vest over a gold button-up shirt. He wore a matching pair of gold slacks, and white leather riding boots that sported white lace cord fastenings. The man in white didn't stumble, and his apparition was nearly silent. He immediately stalked down the stone path with an inimitable swagger. When he drew closer to John, it was clear that the man was huge. Standing at 6'7'', he was built like a Viking, muscles bulging from the confines of his fitted suit. His eyes were a stark contrast to his clothes, pits of rich chocolate. He didn't stop moving as he called to John from nearly forty feet away.

"Boy, inform Monsieur Delacour that I need to speak with him at once." John didn't move. "Are you deaf? I said…"

"If you wish to meet Lord Delacour, you must give me your name so I may see if you are permitted entrance." The words served to stop the approaching man.

"Child, when your betters speak, you should obey!"

"I only obey those who pay me." The two-meter-tall giant of a man seemed about to lose his temper and raised a hand in anger, when he was interrupted by the unmistakable voice of Sebastien Delacour.

"Thank you Monsieur Constantine, I'm sure Lord Delaguède would be happy to speak to me outside." While the now named Lord Delaguède turned to see Sebastien approaching from the side of the house, John surveyed the gold clothed stranger. Now he knew the guest. Names had that sort of power. Lord Maximilien Delaguède had been nicknamed the Hammer, Le Marteau, for his brutality in the war against Grindlewald. His ability to overcharge his spells with so much raw magic was feared, and often simple stunners would blaze with enough power to level a small house. Once, during the war, he had found the man who had killed his wife fighting for Grindlewald. The blasting curse he had launched had not only blown his hated opponent into red mist and splinters of bone, but had also carved a furrow in the earth the size of a professional quidditch pitch.

"Lord Chairman Delacour, I'm pleased to have found you." Maximilien's voice had morphed into an emotionless, clipped tone. "It is in our best interests to insure that Beauxbaton's students are safe in their travels to England and Scotland for the moronic Tournament that is being reinstated. To that end, there will be a gathering of Chairmen from the various boards and branches in four days to finalize security plans, protocols, and whatever other shit and red tape the politicians want to discuss."

"And you came to tell me this in person?" Sebastien cocked his head. Maximilien sighed.

"I don't like you Lord Delacour, I don't. But this meeting was insisted on by Lord Mance Cherveaux. I'm sure you can put the pieces together." The blond giant looked down impetuously at the shorter Frenchman. Sebastien took a breath through clenched teeth.

"Four days?"

"Yes."

"Thank you Lord Delaguède, I will see you again then." With a nod, Maximilien turned heel, and strode off to the apparation point and spun, disappearing with only a slight snap of a disturbance. Sebastien exhaled slowly, releasing his newfound stress. Still staring off at where his visitor had left, he addressed the mercenary boy beside him.

"Mr. Constantine, Lord Mance Cherveaux is one of the few lords remaining alive that fought with Grindelwald in the War. After his side had lost, he claimed he had been fighting only because of compulsion spells. The Courts ruled that excuse illogical and sentenced him to a trial. Mance chose a trial by combat over jury. He was scheduled to fight against the previous Chairman of Arcane Defenses. Though my predecessor was skilled, Lord Cherveaux is a former champion of the Dueling Circuit, and emerged victorious after a rather vicious Spanish spell ripped his opponent's heart out. More importantly, Mance has an unrivaled bigotry against anyone even slightly inhuman." John looked at his employer passively.

''He plans to attack your family when you are away at the conference?" Sebastien blinked at the intuitive answer.

"It is unlikely he himself will attack, but he will almost certainly send a team to kidnap my wife and daughters. The elections are next year and Mance has desired my position ever since killing its former possessor." John nodded.

"Do you know who will lead them?" Sebastien rubbed the stubble on his chin, thinking. Then his eyes hardened.

"Non, it is not a question. He will choose his favorite killer, the Butcher of Bordeaux, Count Flavius Malfoy."


Author's Note:

Like my profile, Imma keep this simple...

This is my first published story. If you like, or even don't like this, leave a review. I'll read it.

If you have questions, PM me or ask them in a review, and I will leave a response in the bottom of the next chapter or PM you back (depending on the nature of the question).

Semper,

Vi

Anonymous reviews have been disabled. Login to review. 1. 0762 3089 0 0 2. Silence 1999 0 0 3. The Murder of Innocence 8349 0 0 4. The Gravity of the Situation 6582 0 0 5. Lights in the Night 8036 0 0 6. Where Horrors Hide 6873 0 0 7. Revelations 7838 0 0 8. The First Steps 8141 0 0 9. They Who Suffer the Ambitious 12956 0 0 10. By Wand and Will 7219 0 0 11. A Rivalry, A Test, and A Queen's Gambit 7888 0 0 12. The Masquerade 10859 0 0 13. Evil Slips, and the Odds Lie 9909 0 0 14. Temperance 11471 0 0