elfflame

May 2016

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Fic: Lucius's Lies - Lucius/Regulus, Harry/Draco, R - Part 1

Here's my Lucius Big Bang piece, for those of you who didn't see it before. :)


Title: Lucius's Lies
Author/Artist: [info]elfflame
Beta: [info]nyx_noire, [info]kabal42
Cheerleader: Edenskye
Genre: Drama/Romance/Angst
Rating: R
Warnings: canon character death, MPreg (but if you blink, you can miss it. No gory details, only reference to)
Pairing: Lucius/Regulus, Harry/Draco, Lucius/Narcissa (sort of)
Characters: Lucius, Regulus, Draco, Narcissa, Abraxas, Harry, Greengrass family
Word Count: 15841
Summary: Lucius Malfoy has many secrets, the deepest and most darkest of which is who his son's other parent truly is.
A/N: This is a story I've been considering for a few years, so I'm thrilled to have the chance and push to do this story. One of my first story ideas was a Harry/Draco fic where Lucius fought against the two of them coming together, called What's Done Is Done. It was written and posted just before Half Blood Prince was published, and as such, had many non-canon issues, but it's still one of my favorite stories. The problem was, Lucius and Regulus's story took over so much of the fic, I realized it was really more about them than Harry and Draco. So I thought maybe it was time to redo it and canon-ize it, this time from Lucius's point of view, and see what happens. And here it is. I hope everyone enjoys it.


I.1

Draco and I had been arguing for hours, from the moment I had shown him the marriage contract. I had known this would not go well when I had discovered him in bed with the person I thought him least likely to fixate upon—Harry Potter.

I had known fighting our ancestral inheritance might be difficult, but I had no idea he'd become fixated on anyone, let alone who that fixation might be.

So now, I had to deal with the consequences—with my son. "I won't do it. You can't force me," Draco ranted at me as he paced the room. It was something I was quite used to by now. His face was red, and he seemed so certain I would never understand; sure that I have never known passion; that I am an emotionless bastard. I find it hard to repress my anger at his assumption.

Little does he appreciate the truth of his life. But if I can help it, it is a truth he will never understand. A truth Narcissa and Severus have helped me to keep from him all these years.

I should have known there would be trouble when Potter chose to assist us in our trials at the Ministry. The boys had always had too much feeling for one another. I should have seen it then. Or even before, with my son's almost-decade-long obsession with the half-blood.

I know what Narcissa will say. That I should tell him the truth. That it can't hurt anything now for him to know it. That perhaps it might help him understand the choices I made for my son. For the child of my heart. For my Draco.

But let me introduce myself. I am Lucius Malfoy, son of Abraxas Malfoy, husband of Narcissa Malfoy née Black, and father of one very stubborn Draco Malfoy, recently a student at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. A school which he was lucky enough to be allowed to return to after the trials to finish the schooling that had been so recently interrupted. A school where he recently discovered a passion different from that he'd known before when it came to Harry Potter, the Great Saviour. It is irrelevant whether that passion came about because Potter had helped us, or whether it was because the extra returning students had all been housed in one dorm had allowed the two to spend more time together that allowed them to finally grow close.

What is relevant is that my son's heart was never his to give. He has always been promised to one of Greengrass's daughters once they were of age. I had hoped that time at school with both of them in the same House would help him grow closer to one or the other, but instead, I found myself having to deal with…this.

Draco finally dropped into the chair facing me, his eyes pleading with me to understand, and it was hard for me to simply ignore his hope, even though I know it must be done. For his sake. For mine. "He is my choice, father. Not whoever it is you've chosen for me. So you'll just have to break the contract, won't you?"

Silence stretched out between us. I knew he would hate me for my answer, but there was no other I could give, whatever he might want. "No." The contract might have been forced on me by my father, but to break it now would reveal greater secrets, I am sure. And that, I cannot allow.

Draco's jaw clenched at my words, and I had to look away from the anger radiating off him. I can't help but wonder if he realizes he can do that, or how much it upsets me when he is so angry with me?

"No? No you won't, or no he's not the right choice? Because either way, it is done, father. Nothing can change that now."

Alarmed at his words, I turned to look at him once more. He couldn't have used the Veela blood we have tried so hard to hide for so many years to do something foolish, could he? Had I been mistaken in assuming his anger was nothing more than being thwarted, when in reality there were more at stake? My own anger slipped out of my control at the thought. "What does that mean? What have you done, you stupid boy?"

Draco's eyes flashed then, triumph in his face. He was sure he'd won. "We're bonded, father. And you can't break that, no matter what you do." Horrified, I was too late to catch him as he surged to his feet, chin raised, and looked down at me. "So…I suppose you shall have to marry the chit yourself." With that, he turned on his heel and stormed from the room before I could stop him.

Alone, I closed my eyes, and tried to suppress the flood of anger and fear and even jealousy that raged inside me.

I.2

An Excerpt from the Private Journal of Lucius Malfoy

Regulus Black is coming to stay with us for the summer. His brother has been disowned, and it seems his mother has decided it best he spend time with someone who will be a good influence on him for a change.

This should be fun.

I first met Regulus Black years ago when he was barely a toddler. But as a boy getting ready to go off to Hogwarts, I had no interest in infants, and certainly no regard for the second son of the Black family. Even if he were Wizarding Royalty, as my father had told me before our meeting that day.

I met him a second time a few years ago when Bellatrix Black and Rodolphus Lestrange became engaged. The party included anyone who was anyone in the wizarding world.

At the time, the boy was just growing out of his awkward stage: thirteen, tall, and more slender than his elder brother. Worse, he seemed glued to his brother's side, and Sirius glowered at all who came near, but especially me.

Rodolphus, Bella and I were all Marked by then, and I think Sirius knew it, somehow. But then, he hadn't grown up in a Slytherin, Pure-blood world without understanding a few things about how we work. Even Gryffindor as he is.

So though I found Regulus far more intriguing that night, I got no more than a few words with him before his brother chased me off.

But now, he will have no chance to come between us. I'm looking forward to finding out if Regulus is more like his brother or his cousin Bellatrix. I've heard a few things from Severus about Regulus, but mostly sneers about how he tries so hard to get his brother's attention at school.

Well, if he needs someone to look up to, I'm sure I can provide just that. And perhaps a bit more, if I'm not reading Severus wrong.

Yes, I think this summer will be one to remember for a very long time.

I.3

Regulus was taller than I remembered when he appeared at the Manor that day. I'd known he was coming. Mother had told me he would be staying for the entirety of the summer. Father had warned me I was not to 'show any of my usual deviant proclivities' around the boy. But I wasn't about to let him put me off my plans for Regulus. Not now that Sirius was no longer in the picture. I was going to have a bit of fun this summer, no matter what father thought of the idea.

When he arrived, I kept away, just out of the boy's sight, and let mother tut at him and brush him off. Only once he seemed presentable and able to string together more than a word or two did I come down the main staircase. Even then, I knew how to make an entrance.

"Regulus. How good to see you again."

When he looked at me, his eyes were wide, shadowed with circles that could only have been caused by lack of sleep. I could just imagine how his brother's betrayal had hurt him. He seemed to gather himself before he managed a nod. "Lucius."

"Would you like to go for a ride? The elves can deal with your things. It's a lovely day, and I am sure the sun and fresh air would do you good."

Regulus glanced at my mother, who gave him a slight nod. "I'll have the elves put everything away for you. Go and relax. See the property. I'm sure Lucius will be good company for you." She shot me an admonishing look before turning away, one I wasn't sure if I was to interpret as 'treat him gently,' or 'don't forget what your father told you,' or something else entirely.

Instead, I ignored it, setting my hand on Regulus's arm. "Come. The horses are already saddled. I figured you'd enjoy a good ride once you got here," I told him as I led him away.

That first day, I watched him relax beside me as we rode, and did little more than listen once he began to spill his worries to me. Some surprised me. He was hurt by his brother's departure, but he did not feel betrayed so much as abandoned. Others did not. He was quite pleased to be away from his mother's ravings about his brother and everything that was wrong with the world.

We only came in when an elf came to tell us it was time to prepare for supper. We parted at the top of the stairs to go to our rooms, but Regulus made sure to thank me before we went our separate ways.

"I wasn't sure what it would be like here. I thought you wouldn't be interested in the problems of someone so much younger."

I squeezed his shoulder. "Nonsense. I know if I were to have a brother do the same to me, the first thing I would need is someone willing to listen. You can tell me anything, Regulus." Then I nodded and turned away, leaving him standing at the top of the stairs, watching me go.

Always leave them wanting more, if you can. That one I had learned very early on. It has helped me many times over the years, but that night, it felt like the ultimate victory, feeling his eyes on me as I walked away.

II.1

My son has always known just how to anger me. Usually by using juvenile tactics to show he's upset. Like slamming doors, giving me the silent treatment, or avoiding me entirely. This time, he chose the third. No amount of cajoling by Narcissa could convince him to speak to me again.

To make things worse, only a week after they'd finished their schooling, he'd asked Potter to move into the Manor. Potter, being the uncouth halfblood he is, accepted the invitation, rather than remind my son that perhaps he might not feel comfortable under this roof after what had happened to he and his friends here during the war. It had only been a few weeks so far, but the number of times I'd stumbled upon the two whispering and doing unmentionable things in some alcove of the Manor was beginning to wear on my temper in a whole new way.

Draco thought he had won, but it gave me no joy to know he was wrong. I dreaded explaining to him just why this was all so inadvisable, but I continued to try speaking with him, in hopes that he would calm down soon enough for me to explain things as they truly were. He was never alone, though, and I refused to say anything in front of Potter.

Instead, my hand was forced. Greengrass sent a letter stating that he and his family would be coming to supper the next week so that we could get plans underway for the marriage now that the children had finished their schooling.

In the end, I had to order Draco to come speak with me in my study. That was something I only reserved for those times when I knew Draco would listen no other way. Usually it was when he did something disastrously stupid, and while I was against the match with Potter, I was not against seeing my son happy. But my hands had been tied since Draco had been just an infant; and he needed to understand why.

When he arrived, he stood just inside the door to the room, glowering at me. "Whatever you have to say, it's not going to change anything, father. Harry's staying."

"I think you'll find that it will, Draco. Sit."

Draco's chin rose. "I'm fine where I am, father. Say your piece so I can leave."

I kept as tight a hold on my temper as I could manage, and slid a scroll across the top of my desk. "Read it. Then perhaps you will understand."

"I don't care what you've changed your will to say, father. You'd never disown me." He didn't move from the door, and I couldn't help but wonder if Potter were waiting just on the other side of the door to 'rescue' him if needed. As though I would hurt my only child.

"Read it, Draco. It is not my will." I was tempted to pour a drink, but best to leave that for after he left. After his reaction. After I lost everything left.

Draco stood, watching me for a long time before he finally approached. I wondered just when I had begun to lose him. Had it been upon meeting Potter? My former Lord's return? The year my son had risked all to free me? So many moments. So much I should have protected him from, but had not. "Just read it," I said again, softer now that Draco stood in front of my desk, staring down at it as though he were sure it would bite him.

Lifting the scroll, Draco pulled it open, frowning as he began to read it. I could see the moment when my son got to the relevant portion; watching as shock, horror, and then fury flashed across his face. He dropped the scroll on the desk and glowered at me. "No! I won't! That…both of them are…harpies!"

"Draco…"

"No! I refuse. If you want them joined to this family, you marry them!"

Draco spun on his heel to leave, but I spoke before he could take a step. "If you don't, the Manor is lost, Draco." My words hit him like a blow, and I watched him shudder.

He held himself rigidly, trying to keep any further emotion from showing, though he kept his face turned from mine. "Why…? Why would you do…this?"

"I had no choice, Draco."

"Bullshit!"

"Draco! Language. Surely we've taught you better than that?"

"Then stop lying to me! Why did you agree to…to this…" He grasped for an appropriate word for a moment before snarling out, "Nonsense?"

"Because it was for the best at the time. Because I thought you would still have a choice. And because I had no idea that you would get attached to some…" I had to restrain my disgust, only managing just barely. "…Halfblood."

"Why take the choice from me at all? Surely you knew there had to be a chance I wouldn't get on with her…and at the time, there was only Daphne. What were you thinking?"

"I was thinking that it would be better than your grandfather sending you away, Draco."

The shocked look Draco sent me reminded me all too well of how hard that choice had been.

II.2

An Excerpt from the Private Journal of Lucius Malfoy

Father and I have never seen eye to eye, least of all where my preferences for bed-mates lie. He thinks that at this point I should already be married with an heir, but how could I? Women simply do not interest me. Besides, when the time comes, I know just how to deal with having an heir. But that is for later, not now.

With Regulus here, he seems to be keeping an extra close watch on me. Still, I've found ways around his restrictions, and Regulus does not seem too upset by the attention.

So far we have ridden nearly every day, and I have been teaching him some finer points of strategy when it comes to chess. When it rains, we spend much of our time in the library, where father seems to think I cannot 'corrupt' the boy. Little does he know.

I have found that Regulus all but devoured the Greek poetry I gave him, and immediately asked for more the next morning. Our discussion was, shall we say, illuminating?

He is lovely when he blushes.

But…Father must have his say, so we will pretend as if there is nothing between us. Though I suppose Regulus does seem completely unaware of my interest. Could he truly be that innocent, and still be a Black and a Slytherin?

So we will be having a ball this weekend. It is my father's way of encouraging me to find an eligible girl to marry, though the only person I am interested in is Regulus. Just reading that makes me almost understand my father's worry. I should not be so attached. I need to try my best not to think about him.

Perhaps a ball is for the best for both of us.

II.3

The Malfoy family has always been known for its grand parties and balls. Our house seemed practically made for them, and mother did so enjoy them. I did not, of course, but I was good at pretense. And this ball was no exception.

Every girl father introduced me to, whether I knew them from school or not, received the same smile, a kiss on the back of their hand, and a dance. But after two hours of pretending I cared, I realized my eyes were straying towards Regulus far more often than to my female companions.

Finally I gave in to the temptation, and approached him. He'd been dancing with one of his cousins. Narcissa, if I remembered the names right. I wondered if they were close. Perhaps close enough that their parents might choose to have them marry? But for now…I could no longer resist the urge to have him to myself, if just for a few minutes.

I picked up a pair of champagne flutes as a tray passed, then moved to his side. "Have you been enjoying yourself?" I asked him.

He'd been watching me approach, then took the glass I offered. "It's been enjoyable enough. I see your father has kept you busy?"

"He does seem intent upon marrying me off tonight, if he can," I answered, looking to see where he was. I wasn't ready to dance with yet another simpering girl who barely knew how to string two words together. "Why don't we take a little break from all this frivolity?"

Regulus nodded. "Yes, please. Before Narcissa follows through on her promise to bring Alice Foster for me to dance with. I mean, honestly, she's three years older. And a Hufflepuff."

I chuckled at his horror, then glanced toward father to make certain he wasn't watching when we left. I led Regulus to a small smoking room off a side-hall that few knew about or used.

"Foster? Is that the mousy one?" I asked, once we were alone.

"Yes. Narcissa…adopted her toward the end of her time at Hogwarts, and she's sure that if I just gave her a chance…" He shuddered, then took a gulp from his glass, revealing just how uncomfortable the thought made him.

"Not your type, then?" I asked softly, watching his face when he answered.

Regulus blinked at me for a moment. "Well…no. I mean…even if I did like her, she'd never survive in our family. She'd fall apart the first time mum even glanced at her sideways. And…as I said, she's far too old."

"So…what is your perfect girl, then?" Morbid curiosity, perhaps, but I couldn't seem to help myself.

Regulus seemed startled by the question. "I…don't know. I've never really thought about it." He stared down into his glass, silent for a time, and I was just about to ask for further details when he spoke again. "I've never really seen any girl I would really consider that way, I guess…"

"No?" I couldn't resist leaning closer, though Regulus didn't seem to notice. "No one you've considered spending your life with?" I asked him softly.

Regulus's eyes were nearly blue when they met mine. "Just one person," he whispered, then flushed and looked away. "I mean…not…not really."

Well, and wasn't that an interesting response? Perhaps I wasn't the only one interested here? "Not really?" I asked him, keeping my voice that same soft tone.

Still flushing, he shook his head. "No one. I mean…no one…eligible."

I couldn't resist teasing him at that. "Oh? Is she a mudblood?"

Regulus scowled at me. "Lucius…that's disgusting!"

"I'm glad to hear that. So…why isn't she eligible, then, hm?"

It really was adorable to watch Regulus squirm, so I probably let the silence stretch out between us longer than it should have. I was just about to admit I had guessed when he finally found his voice. "Not…she," he whispered.

At the tremble in his voice, I softened. The boy was making me weak, and yet, I could not resist the urge to stroke his shoulder. "I understand," I told him, keeping my voice soft.

Regulus looked up at me, and I could see the disbelief written plain across his face. And beneath…hope. "Do you? But you're so…proper. Perfect."

I couldn't help but smirk at that. "Yes. I'm very good at pretending to be what people want." So much so that I often managed even to convince myself. But something about Regulus had changed that for me. "I don't usually let others see what it is I truly want." As I spoke, my fingers skimmed across his cheekbone. "Usually, I just take what I want. Father…frowns on it."

"He does seem to frown at you a lot," Regulus said, though his eyes never left mine. "Is that why?"

For a moment, only, I debated with myself. But then I leaned in and brushed my lips over Regulus's. "That's why," I told him, meeting his eyes.

If Regulus had been flustered before, it was nothing to what he was now. "Lucius?"

I am not the sort to do things halfway. Usually I take with no regrets, regardless of what the other person might want, but there was something about Regulus that kept me from reacting in my usual way. "Is that not what you meant?"

"Yes. But…"

I wasn't about to let him second-guess this any further. "Then enjoy. No one but us has to know."

He was still hesitating when I put an arm around his waist and pulled him closer, but when my lips pressed against his, he melted against me, his fingers tangling in my robe. I'd felt others' submission before, but this was different. Heady in a whole new way.

He tasted of chocolate and of the champagne we'd drunk moments before. His sighs as I kissed him were richer than both, making my head spin with the need for more.

I would have taken it, too, but for the gasp from the doorway. Regulus jerked away at the sound, but I kept my arm around him even as I turned to see who had stumbled upon us here. I'd Obliviate whoever it was if need be, but hopefully there would be less dangerous options.

When I saw Narcissa Black in the doorway, I wasn't certain if that was a good thing or a bad one. And when she spoke, I wasn't much reassured.

"Regulus…what are you doing? I told you…"

The expression on his face was a familiar obstinacy so common in his family, but I had never seen it in the boy I'd come to know since he had arrived here. "You told me not to trust him. But…I do, Cissa. He's not like you say."

She glowered at me as though I'd forced Regulus to say the words. Or possibly because my arm was still around his waist.

"He uses people, Regulus. He'll say anything—"

"I assure you, Narcissa, I have told him nothing but the truth. You may find that hard to believe, but he and I…"

This time, she focused on me fully, her grey eyes glittering. "When his mother finds out, how do you think she will respond, Lucius? Especially coming so soon after…" She stopped, paling, and looked at Regulus, obviously realizing mentioning his brother would only make him more stubborn. "Please…come dance with Alice, Regulus."

I could see her worry, and couldn't fault her. After all, she knew me well enough from my time at Hogwarts. Even I couldn't understand what made Regulus so different.

"No." Both of us looked at Regulus, startled at the firmness in his voice. "I'm staying here. With Lucius. If you want to marry Foster into the family, maybe you should go introduce her to Sirius."

Her cheeks coloured. "That's not funny, Regulus…"

"It wasn't meant to be. I'm…I'm sick of doing what everyone else tells me I should. Of being the good one who follows all the rules. I…I'm not going anywhere. Even if mother comes and tries to drag me away herself."

I couldn't help but wonder if Narcissa would arrange just that, but the look on her face said she was terrified of what would happen if Walburga saw us together. I couldn't help but wonder if she would be horrified or approve, simply due to my own allegiances.

"Fine. But when he hurts you, and I assure you he will, Regulus—I've known him far too long not to know that—well…you know where to find me." She shot another venomous look at me, and for a moment I thought she would chastise me as well, but then she turned on her heel, striding from the room, and the door shut behind her with a hard click.

We were alone once more.

III.1

The Greengrass family had been invited to dinner the Saturday after Draco and I had our last fight in my office. Draco, however, had been avoiding me, so by the night before, I had yet to tell him. Finally, I insisted that Narcissa do it, in hopes that he might actually behave himself for at least one evening. Morgana knew what would happen if he upset them.

Our guests arrived precisely at the appointed time—the girls first, followed by their mother, then their father.

Lawrence was a tall, thin man who had kept as neutral as possible both during the Dark Lord's first rise and his second. He always had a bit of a sneer on his face, particularly when he looked at me. There might have been a time when the two of us could have been friends, but he had always been one to keep his own counsel, and had looked upon me poorly after learning of my preferences in bed partners. But as I had no need of his friendship, his disregard had never bothered me. At least not until I had learned he was one of three options for the father of the girl who would become Draco's bride.
There had been many times since when I had wished that he had not been the one chosen.

His wife, Althea, was a docile thing, and I had hoped that one or the other of their daughters might be as biddable, but as they settled next to each other on the sofa, I could see my hopes were for nothing. Daphne, the elder of the two looked around the room appraisingly. Not one detail missed her sharp eyes. The younger, Astoria, looked soft enough until her eyes met mine, and what I saw there made me look away. She might pretend it, but her innocence was no less a mask than any of mine.

Narcissa was quick to greet each of them, and I thanked whatever dark god might be watching over me that she had agreed to be my bride, despite everything. Without her, I knew that Draco and I would have been in a far worse place. She offered drinks, assuring them that Draco would be down soon. At her mention of our son, I had to restrain myself to keep from glaring at the door.

Lawrence must have noticed my scowl, despite my attempt to hide my displeasure. "I hear your son and Potter have gotten close, Lucius. Is it true?"

It was hard not to grind my teeth at the man's familiarity. "Draco and Potter are friends. Why, Greengrass? Does it bother you?"

He smiled a bland smile at me. "Of course not. After all, we both know what happens if you fail to follow through on our contract…"

As though I needed the reminder that either way, this house would be theirs. Either when I was gone, or sooner, if Draco refused to go along with the wedding. "I wouldn't say that in front of my son," I said instead. "His temper has been short, of late." I knew why, but I hardly wanted to acknowledge the fact even to myself.

Lawrence's smirk seemed to grow at the words, obviously assuming that the contract was what had my son so riled. "Well…it makes no difference to me. Either way…"

Before I could turn on him, Narcissa was there offering us each a glass of wine, then pulled me away, pretending she needed to ask something, her voice low as she led me to the far side of the room. "Remember why we're doing this, Lucius. Draco will make things difficult enough. He hardly needs you to make things worse."

I took a calming breath. She was right. I'd just have to avoid the man until Draco arrived. Surely it wouldn't be too much longer?

But it was. We'd been waiting for nearly an hour before Narcissa went to see what was keeping him, and when she returned, not only Draco, but Potter accompanied her.

I moved to greet them at the door. "What is he doing here?"

"Either I go with him, or he stays, father," Draco told me, glowering.

Potter wasn't looking at me at all. He was watching the girls, and his arm kept twitching toward my son.

"If he causes a problem, Draco…"

"He won't. Now…let me deal with this." He walked to where the girls were sitting. "Daphne. Astoria. I thought perhaps each of us could take a walk? One before dinner, one after?"

I narrowed my eyes. What was the boy planning?

Daphne met his gaze. "Together, I think, Draco. After all, it's not like the two of us won't discuss what you've talked with us about. Best to just get it all out in the open, don't you think?"

My son bristled, then glanced over his shoulder at Potter, a movement which I know Lawrence caught. I saw his eyes narrow, though he held his tongue, but I knew I would hear about it as soon as my son was out of hearing range.

After a moment, he turned back to Daphne. "Very well." He moved a step closer, holding out his arm to her, and I wondered how her sister would react. She seemed to put on her most biddable expression and stood, moving around him to take the other arm.

We watched as the three of them made their way to the patio doors together, Potter moving to open them, then following them out and closing the doors behind them. I sent a fleeting thought to whatever ancestors might be watching over us that Draco would watch his tongue and not mention his current attachment to Potter, though I had little hope I would be so lucky. Then I turned my attention to the Greengrasses in hope of distracting us all from what might be going on between our children.

III.2

An Excerpt from the Private Journal of Lucius Malfoy

Regulus and I returned to the party after Narcissa's chastisement, but every so often, we would sneak off to be alone. I simply couldn't resist the urge to kiss him, now that I knew he would let me.

No, we weren't caught again. Not even by Narcissa. But father was quite irate when I told him at the end of the evening that none of the ladies I'd danced with that evening would do. His anger was stifled, though. He knew I had someone on my side who would make life very difficult for him if he angered me.

Still, the last week has been quite chilly here at the Manor; particularly at supper. Regulus has taken to avoiding any room with my father in it. Not that I can truly blame him.

That doesn't stop me from spending time with him, of course. Out of father's sight, though. We spend time in the gardens, or riding through the countryside on horseback, or even heading to town to find time alone there.

Unfortunately, the summer will come to an end all too soon. I hate the thought of not being able to see him as constantly as I have this summer. But I can hardly hold him here. Should I do so, father would learn of my preference for him, and that would never do.

We will be parting the week before his return to Hogwarts, and I find myself making and discarding plans for how to keep him here, or have my way with him, or even to find ways to run off with him before he has to leave. But I know that I will not follow through on any of them.

It is not father's displeasure that worries me, but my Lord's. He has dealt with others who abandoned his side quite harshly in the past, and I am not willing to become another example.

So instead, I will promise to come visit during Hogsmeade weekends, and that we will see each other during the winter break. It won't be enough, but we will manage, and hopefully the time will pass quicker than I think. I have to hope so, at least.

III.3

As lovely as my summer had been, so dark was my autumn . The Dark Lord had new orders for all of us. There were not enough of us, he said, and we should all find new Purebloods to join the cause.

I was singled out specifically. He waved me closer as the rest of my fellows disbanded and returned to their homes. Bellatrix shot me a dark glare that promised a less than friendly greeting next time we met. I couldn't help but be glad that she and Lestrange had not been available to attend the party my parents had thrown this summer. Had she found me with Regulus, things might have been much more dire.

My relief soon turned to concern when I learned why my Master wished me to remain.

"I have heard that you have grown close to the young Black this summer, Lucius. Is this true?"

My response took a few seconds too long to come. "It is, Master." He couldn't want Regulus, surely? He was still too young. Besides, he already had Bellatrix. Surely a male Black could wait until Regulus was of age?

The Dark Lord smirked at my hesitation, and internally I winced. He knew how I felt about Regulus, I could see that already. But then, none of us had ever been able to hide anything from him. "Good," he purred. "Continue the friendship. Draw him closer. Woo him to our cause. Surely, as a Black he will already be predisposed to stand beside us? And with his cousin already one of us…"

I bowed my head, my stomach churning. "As you wish, my Lord."

I did not wish to do it. Regulus was not like his cousin. I had already come to treasure the innocence in him. The openness. To make him one of us; I knew that would kill something inside him.

If the Dark Lord read my thoughts, he gave no sign. "Good. Come to me when you think him ready."

The words gave me an opening, and I promised myself I would do everything in my power to convince him to wait. "As you wish, Master." I bowed low.

Whether it were that bow, so much more obeisance than I usually gave, or that he had read my thoughts, the Dark Lord stopped me with his next words. "And Lucius…I mean to have him within the year. Do not think to delay it longer."

I closed my eyes, my head still bowed, and did what I could to gather myself. My voice was hoarse when I spoke once more. "As you wish, Master."

IV.1

The supper was ruined, of course.

When the children returned, Astoria's cheeks were red spots, and her sister's face ruddy with anger. She'd given her father no reasons, but had insisted they leave. After some argument, the four left, and I turned on my son.

"What have you done, Draco?"

Draco was practically leaning against Potter, which in and of itself would have set my teeth on edge, but now, it was enough to have me considering hexing the boy, the Ministry be damned.

"I only told them the truth, father," Draco said, chin raised, eyes defiant. "That if I were to marry a woman, it would be nothing more than a marriage of convenience. I already have my mate, and none will be placed above him."

"Are you mad?" My words echoed loudly through the room, but it was Narcissa's hand on my arm that stopped me from continuing my tirade.

"Lucius…"

I shook her hand off my arm. "He has to learn, Narcissa…"

"The way you did?" she asked. Her eyes were sad when I looked at her. I turned away from her, not wanting to answer, not wanting to remember, and met my son's eyes. His eyes were wide, his hand clutching Potter's, and there was a crease between his brows, as though he was trying to understand what our words could possibly mean.

He opened his mouth to ask, but I snarled and stormed from the room before he could. I couldn't discuss this rationally. Once I'd cooled a bit, perhaps, but not now.

Narcissa refused to let me brood, though. Within the hour, she was at my study door, knocking only once before entering with a tray of the supper the elves were meant to serve our guests.

"Go away, Narcissa. I am not in the mood."

She set the tray on my desk, expression unreadable, then proceeded to chastise me. Another woman might have put their hands on their hips, but Narcissa had no need to project her annoyance with me. If anyone had seen her, they might suspect she was merely telling me the weather outside—until they heard her words. "If you do not wish to speak, then don't. But you will listen, Lucius. If you do not stop this, you will lose your son. The son you have fought so hard to keep and protect all these years. Is that really what you want? Because nothing will separate them now."

I glared at her, but kept silent.

"He deserves to know, Lucius. And if you do not tell him, I will."

"You wouldn't dare, Narcissa. It is not your secret to tell." I stood up, my body shaking slightly from holding back, but she met my gaze unflinchingly.

"I stood back and watched once, Lucius. And look what good that did. You made me a part of this family. So you will listen. Or I will make certain your son does not make the same mistake."

"If you so much as suggest…"

"He is my son too, Lucius. Or have you forgotten that?" Her eyes were cold now.

But this was something I couldn't give in on. Draco had to understand that things couldn't be how he wanted. "If you tell him, Narcissa, I will see to it…"

"What? You'll divorce me? God forbid others think you might not be in love with a woman. You'll send me away? Where could you send me that I could never speak to Draco? This will happen, Lucius. Whether you want it or not. You can either stand with me, or lose what little we have retained. Is that truly what you want?"

I turned away, and could feel my teeth grind together.

When I didn't answer, she spoke again. "Think on it, Lucius. If you refuse still within a week…well…you will have to face the consequences, I suppose." I heard her move toward the door, but she stopped before opening it. "He is no longer a child, Lucius. And he deserves to know. From you. He deserves to know him." Her voice was soft and sad, stirring up my own thoughts, and even had I wanted to answer, I knew my voice would be too shaky to respond. I heard the door open. "Very well, then. We can talk in the morning."

The door closed, and she was gone.

I didn't eat at all that night. Nor did I sleep. I knew if I tried, he would be there to haunt me.

IV.2

An Excerpt from the Private Journal of Lucius Malfoy

Knowing my Lord's plans for my young lover, I have been doing my best to distance myself from him once more. Not physically, of course, as my Lord expects me to bring Regulus to him. But emotionally.

It has proven harder than I had expected. Every time Regulus touched me when we met in Hogsmeade, or smiled at me upon seeing me waiting for him, I could feel my rebuilt walls crumble a bit more.

Each time we saw one another, I ached when I returned home from trying to hold myself back. Each time, I struggled to rebuild my walls once more.

To distract myself from thoughts of him, I also allowed father to suggest possible brides. I knew I would have to marry eventually. Perhaps it would provide the distraction I needed to separate myself from Regulus. The girls he chose to introduce me to were invariably insipid and banal. Worse, rarely did I manage an evening with one where I did not feel I had ground my teeth to nubs before I returned home for the evening.

Only once did I reject a suggested bride. Bellatrix was already off the market, and her younger sister Andromeda had been disowned, which left only one Black sister—Narcissa. When I refused outright, father demanded to know why. That had been a difficult conversation, but I managed to convince him that I was worried that Narcissa would follow in her elder sister's footsteps.

Bellatrix had never been the most sane of our circle of acquaintances near my age, but after taking the Mark, she had become increasingly unhinged with each passing year. She and Rodolphus had yet to have children, and most in our circle knew why, or at least speculated—she used magic to cleanse her body to keep it 'pure' for our Master. The likelihood was that in doing so, she also kept herself from becoming pregnant, a state she seemed to have little inclination towards. Hardly a fitting quality in a wife.

After that explanation, my father had little choice but to agree that Narcissa might not be the best choice of bride, and so that crisis, at least, was averted.

It was no comfort when I had to visit Regulus again, but at least I did not have to explain why I was dating his cousin. Nor did I have to face her accusing stare had I tried.

IV.3

When Regulus visited during the Yule holidays, it was not I who brought up the possibility of him becoming a Death Eater, but he.

"Do you enjoy being a part of the group?" he asked, his voice soft as we wandered the winter garden. It had not snowed, but I knew that it would come soon. The air stung my face, and I could smell the snow on the air, familiar and almost comforting. His question made me long for it to begin so that I could have the excuse to return to the Manor in hopes of changing the subject.

"Why do you ask?" I did my best to keep my voice calm, something I was usually quite good at, but which seemed to be escaping me more and more as our relationship progressed.

"Mother keeps talking of how much pride she has in Bellatrix…"

I scowled. Though we had never directly spoken of his cousin, or her part in the Dark Lord's ranks, I was certain he knew my feelings for her.

"I know. She's…" He made a face, but did not complete the thought. "But…surely not all of you are as fanatical? After all, it is a good cause, is it not? To protect our world from the Muggles?"

It was a cause I very much believed in, and one that I would have been thrilled to have him ask to join when he had first come to visit us. But now, all I could think was how much it would change him. "It is…a good cause," I finally agreed. "But are you sure you are ready?" I winced internally at the words, knowing he would react just as I might at the same.

"Of course I am. I'm old enough to make my own choices now." His chin rose as he answered, then dropped as he glanced at the ground. "Besides…we'll be together, then. Right?"

I took his hand and squeezed it. "I will be with you every step of the way, Regulus. That I swear." But even as I spoke, my heart sank. Something in me said that this would not end well.

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