The hour is late, and the moon high in the sky is obscured by a cover of light clouds. Still despite the cloud cover moonlight still trickles down below. Inside a rather lavish chateau, a rather pale, sharp-faced fifteen-year-old with a widow's peak is pacing back and forth in a hallway that is lit by countless of silver and gold candelabrums. There is a sheen of cold sweat on his forehead as he glanced at the time on a nearby grandfather clock. It was just past eleven at night, but nothing had come into being as of yet.
A loud pop causes Evan Avery to come to a halt in front of his wife's bed chambers. His mouth is dry despite having already drunk too entire pots of tea. On an elegant table stand in the hall is a tray filled with an empty teapot and teacup that is empty for the second time and needs to be refilled again. The sounds of a tray being replaced on the table are heard as another pop is heard as a house elf left with the old empty tray.
Tilting his side to the side, Evan sees the familiar figure of his childhood nanny house elf, Solia, that had been sent to serve his wife by his mother since his wife's fifth month of pregnancy. The older female house elf, but not too old with a pug like nose, bat-like ears, and honey-colored almond eyes, says, "Young Master, Solia serves tea. Solia knows Young Master is worried and has not eaten. Solia brings a plate of tiny little sandwiches. Young Master, please eat!"
"I am not hungry, Solia," Evan drily croaked.
"Solia knows," Solia wisely remarked. "Young Master's father, the Master was much the same way when the young master was to be born. Master too did not eat and grew so weak that he fainted upon seeing the young master. The young master does not wish to have such an embarrassing story to tell, yes?" Solia gave the wizarding child that she raised a knowing, but rather pointed look.
With a somewhat complicated gaze, Evan takes a seat on the plush chair next to the hall table. He takes the offered cup of hot tea and a thin sandwich from Solia. With a brisk nod of her head, Solia briskly says, "Solia will be back soon to check on the young master to ensure, the young master, finishes at least three sandwiches." And with that unspoken order left behind, she disappears right away.
Sipping at his black tea, Evans tries to chew and swallow a bit of his sandwich. But the food in his mouth tastes like nothing and goes down like a wad of glue. Still he dutifully chews his food as instructed by his nanny. He'd heard the story of his father fainting at his birth often enough that he most certainly did not wish to repeat the same act nor make it a family tradition.
Evan turns his head towards his wife's bedroom chambers but he cannot hear a single peep from inside. Had something gone wrong? Surely childbirth did not take this long could it? He suddenly desperately wished that his father and mother were here at his side to answer his questions, but they were all the way in England, while he still resided in France with his wife.
Evan's mind turns back the clock until near a year ago. After having returned to Avery Manor, his father and mother though disappointed greatly at his actions made the correct arrangements for him. They would send him to Beauxbatons to study, and he would stay the Avery branch there his great uncle and his wife, (but not his cousins for they were all grown and had long ago all married). And in the meantime, his parents would ensure that he had the best private education via tutors until he commenced at Beauxbatons.
After the Quidditch World Cup, Evan was packed off straight to his uncle with a stern warning and instruction to find a suitable pureblood bride for himself. After some tentative prodding from his mother, she had angrily, but dismayed found that one of the well-to-do pureblood families would marry their daughters to them including the lesser branches. In other words, they would be forced to marry their only son to a half-blood or one with a similar percentage.
As such, Evan had no choice but to find himself a pureblood wife at Beauxbatons. Despite being quite young himself, he knew exactly what was at stake, his entire family's lineage. And he would do his duty properly, no matter his personal feelings of dismay at finding himself a bride at the tender age of fourteen.
Upon his arrival at Beauxbatons, Evan can clearly remember the wonder and thrill in his eyes. Unlike Hogwarts, Beauxbatons was more like a tasteful palace of the renaissance era. There were fountains, fabulous gardens, with a magnificent landscape of mountains surrounding the hidden valley that hid the wizarding world's pearl. In fact, he suddenly found himself pitying the Slytherins of Hogwarts, who would never experience such a gorgeous sight much less such attend such a glorious establishment.
With the aid of his third cousins, the children of his great uncle, EvansAvery easily navigated the political currents of Beauxbatons. However, when inquiring about a potential future marriage partner, he found a rather stark problem. Most of the girls were either already engaged or were in the process of being courted by multiple suitors for their hands. With such a problem, he had no choice but to settle for a maiden, who was at least a pureblood, Marceline Bisset.
The sixth-year girl, two years older than him was sitting in a small courtyard privately studying by herself. The musical trickling of the fountain filled the air as the fair-haired young maiden with seafoam colored eyes studied Astronomy. Marceline Bisset had a well-known passion for the hidden wonders found within the starry consolations of the night sky.
Clearing his throat rather loudly, Evan in a rather accented French says, "Excuse me, mademoiselle, but you are Marceline Bisset, oui?"
"Oui, Monsieur," Marceline replied in her native tongue with obvious resignation and closed her book shut. Narrowing her eyes at the fourth-year youth, she says, "You are the transfer student from England, are you not?"
"Oui, I am Evan Avery," Evan quickly replied.
"And what does a young man like yourself need of a sixth year like me?" Marceline pointedly asked. "We are not in the same house nor are we in the same year."
"I know," Evan said as he pointed at the empty bench seat next to her. "May I sit down, so that I might better explain my thoughts?"
"I suppose," Marceline gestured after a pause as she removed her bookbag to the other side of her.
"Thank you," Evan gratefully said, before sitting down. His hand clenched his knees before he pulled them away to hide in his pockets. Taking a deep breath, he quietly says, "I have a proposal to make to you, Mademoiselle Bisset."
"Oh?" Marceline said with disbelief. "What could that possibly be that I would have any interest in hearing anything further?"
"Simple, I know that your father holds many outstanding debts and you are even about to lose the Bisset ancestral home," Evan matter-of-factly stated.
Marceline's face color with anger and then goes pale with resignation. "Oui, that is true. But why try to bring it up, Monsieur Avery unless you are trying to force me into something?!" Marceline sharply inquired.
"Nothing of the sort," Evan hastily protested. "What I mean to say is, I am in need of a wife, and I believe that you will fulfill those requirements quite nicely."
Marceline looks faintly intrigued for a moment, before further asking, "Suppose that is the case, Monsieur Avery. Will you willingly pay such a large bride price to my father to more than cover his debts and still leave money behind? I find that almost impossible to believe that there is no catch."
"However, like you said there is a catch," Evan slowly said. "I need to have a son within a years' time, but in exchange, after the first child is born, whether male or female, I will cover any cost for the education in the field of Astronomy as you so much desire."
Marceline's eyes suddenly begin to glow at the mere thought of being able to study at the prestigious, Academy of Constellations found within Greece. But soon the delight quickly fades away as she recalls that there is a price tag to her desires. Narrowing her eyes at the youth, she says, "Suppose that is true. But we are both young, and what if I do not wish to be tied to you all of my life?"
Evan hands momentarily clench in his inner robe pockets before relaxing. With a tired sigh, he firmly replies, "A divorce is out of the question, but I will allow for you to have a lover as long it is kept quiet. I understand that we are both young and nor do we have feelings for each other. However, we will both stand more to gain than to lose by marrying each other."
"I see," Marceline finally said after a moment, before rising to her feet having made up her mind. She was willing to pay the cost for her freedom, her future, and to save her family.
Evan's face pales thinking that she was refusing him, but to his surprise he suddenly finds her grabbing him by the hand and pulling him afterward. "Wait, where are we going?!" Evans protested in confusion.
"Naturally, to get started on a baby of course," Marceline flashed the much younger man a grin.
Evan turns lobster red as he faintly croaks, "But I'm not experienced in that way!"
"Don't worry," Marceline confidently said. "You'll pick it up quickly enough what to do," and proceeded to find an empty classroom, before locking the door. Needless to say, Evan was not a v.i.r.g.i.n, when they emerged sometime later from the classroom with his clothes in a disarray. (And no, French girls are not really like that, but any pureblood girl worth her salt knows when to sacrifice her ideals for the hope of a better future.)