elfflame

May 2016

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Fic: Lucius's Lies - Lucius/Regulus, Harry/Draco, R - Part 2

Title: Lucius's Lies Part 2
Author/Artist: [info]elfflame
Summary: Lucius Malfoy has many secrets, the deepest and most darkest of which is who his son's other parent truly is.
A/N: See part 1 for the info/warnings.


V.1

For the next week, Draco and I avoided one another. I could not ever recall being so angry with the boy before. After one disastrous meal with both of us in attendance, I avoided the dining room and took my meals in my study instead.

Instead, I focused on the contract, trying to clear Narcissa's warnings from my mind. I had no doubt that Draco would do what he wanted, and the Greengrasses would never allow that. It only meant that things would escalate, rather than improve. I knew that I could not allow that to happen. The problem was, the contract was unbreakable from our end. We couldn't be freed from it. Not without giving them our Manor. Which meant the one I had to try to negotiate with was my son.

Eventually I sought him out that weekend, unsurprised to find him in the library. He was pouring over the old family histories, and I couldn't help wondering what he hoped to find there. Before I could make my presence known, I felt someone approach from behind, and turned to see Potter walking towards me. He looked ready to tell me off, but I lifted my chin and met his eyes. I had every right to be here. This was still my home. "Potter. I thought you were away today."

"Is that why you felt it necessary to spy on your son?" he asked. His tone was mild, but I knew that look on his face. I'd seen that glower for the first time when the boy had barely been twelve.

"I was not spying."

"Then what were you doing, father? Because I certainly didn't invite you here," my son's voice came from behind me.

I turned to look at him, and saw he had one of the journals he had been looking at tucked to his chest, the spine covered by his sleeve so that I still could not read it. "I came to speak with you."

"So you could spew more lies at me? So you could try to convince me that your way was the only way?"

The accusations were hardly new, but still difficult to hear. "I came to try to explain."

"I don't need an explanation from you. I know you'd never admit to the truth, so spare me." He glanced at Harry, then back to me. "Obviously you don't want to admit it. Not even to yourself."

Alarmed, words abandoned me for a moment as I stared at my son, Potter's presence nearly forgotten for a moment. "And what does that mean?"

"It means that he knows that your lies have finally caught up with you, Malfoy. I think you had better leave." He moved to my son's side and curled his arm around him, glowering at me again.

Potter's words struck like a physical blow, but I did my best not to flinch, though it was difficult to hide my pain when my son did nothing to contradict his words. "This is my home, Potter. You are the unwelcome guest…"

"He is my guest, father. And far from unwelcome. I think he's right. I think you should leave. I…know where to find you…if I ever change my mind."

I barely restrained a sigh, then met his eyes. If that was what he wished, so be it. "Very well. But if you should have…questions…you are always welcome."

"So long as he agrees with you?" Potter asked, still scowling at me.

Draco shook his head. "It's all right, Harry," he said softly. He nodded once. "Thank you, father." Then he turned toward Potter to hide himself in his arms. I tried not to admit to myself how well they fit together. Taking Potter's glare as a warning, I turned away and headed back to my study.

I stayed there the rest of the evening, lost in the past and pondering the present as I stared into the fire. I did want Draco to be happy, but Potter? Surely he could have chosen better? And yet… I shook off my own father's reaction to Regulus, and how much he had hated what I had wanted. The contract was the contract. Perhaps if he had chosen another boy…one from Slytherin, it might have been easier to agree with him, but with Potter, I simply couldn't accept it. No matter how much it might hurt my son.

When the time came, I didn't even consider going down for supper that night. I knew I would be in no way welcome. Before I could call the elves to order my supper, however, there was a knock at my door. Startled, I called out without thinking, "Come in."

When Draco stepped into the room, the look on his face made me wish I had not. Anger I was used to. Accusations and temper, I could handle. But the way he looked—so lost, so much like the way he had looked when I had first returned from Azkaban. Like the world had crashed down around his ears, and nothing would ever be safe again. I had never wanted to instigate so much pain. Least of all for my son. It caused my heart to twist in my chest.

"Draco?" I did not recognize my own voice, it was so choked. But I had heard it that way once before. It felt as though the life would leave my body. And this time, there would be no saviour in Narcissa. "What is it?"

He moved slowly to my desk, refusing to sit, and I saw him looking at me as though he had never truly seen me before. "Why didn't you ever tell me?"

I sighed. The contract again. I knew it upset him, but I had had my reasons. "I never meant to hurt you. I thought…we had time. I didn't think…"

Draco shook his head. "No. Not that…" He paused, and I could see him attempting to piece his thoughts together before he spoke, meeting my eyes. When he spoke, the words were enough to stop my heart beating. "Did you do it?" he asked softly. "Did you kill him?

V.2

An Excerpt from the Private Journal of Lucius Malfoy

The ceremony for Regulus's marking was quite small. I believe our Lord intends to keep Regulus a secret from all but his family—that is to say, his parents and eldest cousin—in an attempt to gain access to Dumbledore's little group.

After all, everyone knows the elder Black brother's allegiance lies with him, and if Regulus can convince him that he needs asylum, then perhaps we might gain access to what they are planning next.

As such, there were only a small handful of us in attendance. Our Lord, myself, Bellatrix (who abhorred my presence), her husband, and his brother.

Rodolphus seemed annoyed, and Rabastan completely bored, but Bella and I were unable to tear our eyes from the scene. Part of her seemed put out that her cousin was being treated so specially, and part seemed overly proud at the prospect of having another member of her family in our group.

Though Regulus had made the choice to join himself, I still found myself wondering if it were the right one for him. He was not like Bellatrix. Nor like myself. He was still too young to be so certain that this path was right for him. The young man I knew seemed too…gentle for this life. Too caring.

But no matter what, I would stand beside him and guide his steps. I would be there for him when things grew difficult as I knew they would. He might despise his brother's choices, but could he truly kill him if it came to an order from our Lord?

After the Marking was finished, Bellatrix tried to convince Regulus to come home with her for a private celebration, but he immediately turned to me instead. I could see it was taking all his willpower not to simply fall into my arms. Our Lord was heavily amused by the interaction, but I barely noticed that. At the time, I only wanted to remove Regulus from their presence as quickly as I could. I explained that I had promised to return him home myself, and refused to face his mother's wrath if I did not.

Whether or not Bella accepted the explanation, it seemed to work, and soon I had Regulus away from there. The moment we were alone, he sagged in my arms, and I could feel him shiver.

I didn't take him home, but to the London flat father let me buy after I received my Mark. I told the house elf to bring tea and cake, then settled in front of the fire with him, pulling him into my lap and holding him there long after his shivering stopped.

Being Marked always caused a visceral reaction in our Lord's followers. Never the exact same reaction twice, though. For some, it was ecstasy. For others, pain. And then there were the ones like Regulus, for whom the dark light of our Lord seemed to focus on some horrible nightmare; the kind from which you never wake.

I swore to myself that whatever it took, I would shelter him from it all.

V.3

Regulus came to me several months after his Marking, and whatever his reason was, I knew it would not be good. We had been growing apart since he had received it, a side effect of my own guilt at letting it happen, along with Bellatrix's interference, and our Lord's own actions. He constantly had either of us working on things we could not share with the other, and I knew our Lord was watching him closely, so I feared it would put him in greater danger by insisting we be allowed to work together.

So when he appeared in my flat, I wasn't sure what to say. At least not until he fell into my arms, clinging to me and shaking the way he had that night. "Lucius…I can't…I tried, but…I can't. I can't do this. I can't do what he asks…" He looked up at me, and the pain in his eyes burned to my core, to the soul I thought I did not have.

I led him to the drawing room, settling him into a chair and pouring him a drink of firewhiskey before asking. "What is it he wants you to do, Regulus?" It was dangerous to ask. It could mean my own life just uttering those words. Especially if he had been sent to see if I would turn against our Lord. But above all, Regulus was still mine. I had to try to help, if I could. Especially now that he was asking for just that.

From his guarded expression, I knew he was thinking the same, and it tore at my heart. "What do you know of…Horcruxes?" he finally whispered. If the tone of his voice hadn't already sent a chill down my spine, the word would have done, just the same.

"Why do you ask?"
Regulus watched my shifting expression for quite some time before answering. "I…worry. For our Lord. He grows…increasingly…strange."

I had heard similar whispers from others of our fellows, and in fact felt much the same. But I knew our Lord wouldn't take disobedience well. And desertion would likely be dealt with far worse. I could not afford that. So I waited to hear what more Regulus had to say, not willing or able to give my own thoughts on the matter at the moment.

He waited for my response, and when I nodded, he apparently took that as agreement. "I…you…recall his request for a house-elf to help him?"

I nodded again. I had avoided offering any of our elves for that task, but had found myself given a different chore to deal with instead. One that had somehow lead me to the same conclusion I suspected Regulus had reached. Our Lord had made a Horcrux. Our Lord had entrusted me with a book only a few weeks before, and while I had had my suspicions what it might be, I had merely tucked it away for safekeeping. Something to use against him, if the need should arise. Or to gain further favour, if such was needed.

Though if what Regulus was saying was to be believed, then there was more than a single horcrux, for I knew right where the journal was, and that could not possibly be the reason our Lord had needed a house-elf. Unless the house-elf's soul had been used for the same… "I remember you offered one of yours?" I prompted him.

"Yes," Regulus said softly. "When he came back—"

"He returned?" I asked, frowning.

"Yes. I…ordered him to." He paled. "You should have seen him, Lucius. He was…raving. Half conscious. Nearly mad."

Perhaps it had only been Regulus's order that had saved the elf at all, then. I couldn't imagine our Lord allowing such a loose end to escape his notice. For surely our Lord would have been certain to destroy any creature who might be able to give away the location of such an object? "And?"

Regulus looked down at his hands. "I…I think he may have been hiding a Horcrux, Lucius…" He met my eyes. "If he is doing this…then this will never end, and…his madness will only increase with time. I…" He swallowed. "I cannot follow a madman."

They were words I dreaded to hear. For if he wished to go, I could not follow. Not yet. Not when I was so close to having everything I could possibly want. Even so, my heart constricted at knowing what I would have to do. What I would lose.

I steeled myself, setting my mask in place, then met his eyes. "Tell me what you need."

VI.1

"No." I met my son's eyes. "I did not kill him."

"But…he…you and he…were like Harry and I? Lovers? I'm…his?"

I wanted to deny it, both to protect him, and to deny Regulus could ever be anything like Potter, but I nodded, gritting my teeth. "You are…his son, yes."

Draco pondered this for a long time, his gaze never leaving mine. "You told me once that…he was weak. And that was why… But it was you, wasn't it? You had something to do with his death. I know it. Or he would still be here, I'm sure of it."

I didn't disagree with my son that it was my fault Regulus was gone, but I couldn't let him see that. "What happened to him was…tragic. If I could have saved him, I would have. He was a very important person to me, Draco. Surely you can understand the intricacies of love?"

He flushed, then scowled at me. "You've never let your feelings interfere with what you think needs to be done, father. If you didn't do it, you had someone else make sure he died,. Why? Because he was in your way?"

Pained, I refused to look away from his gaze, despite the sorrow I knew must be reflected in my eyes. "I did not kill him," I repeated. "Regulus wished to leave. Wished to leave with me. I…refused." My voice softened despite myself as I spoke. "It is something I regret to this day. But had I left with him, Draco…neither you nor I would be here now." That was the ultimate truth of it. I had not known at the time, so the fact did not save me, but the truth was, in choosing, I had gained a son, even as I had lost a lover. And I could not regret that. No matter how much my son might hate me for it.

"But you…you could have done…something. To stop him. To convince him he was wrong. That he should stay." Draco's eyes grew more sad with each word. "So that…I could know him too," he finished, his voice dropping to a thin whisper.

"I wish I had, Draco." What had followed had been true hell. As much as the past two years with the Dark Lord had been. "I wish I had known the depth of my feelings for him at the time. By the time I realized, he had been gone for weeks. And…I had decisions to make."

Draco raised his chin. "About me, you mean."

I nodded. "Yes. Father would never have allowed you to survive as my heir unless…" My throat closed tight, and I looked away from him finally, no longer able to face the mistakes I had made with regards to my son's future even before he had been born.

"How did you convince her?" he asked, his voice still quiet, but I could already hear his anger growing once more in the soft tone.

The question confused me at first, given the path my thoughts had been going down, and it took me a few moments to realize he meant Narcissa. I turned to look at him once more. "You think I lied to her, Draco? That I used deception to marry her, then forced her to pretend at pregnancy, knowing she would never have a child of her own because I was not interested?"

"Don't tell me you fell madly in love with her and fell to your knees to beg her to marry you," he said, his tone acid now. "I know very well there is no love between you."

"While I may not be in love with your mother, that does not mean I have not come to love her, Draco."

"Mother…" Draco seemed stunned that I had used the word. "But…she is not, is she? I mean…not really."

"You care for her, and she loves you as any mother would, Draco. It makes her your mother as much as if she had carried you herself. I would hardly deny that."

Draco looked ashamed for all of a moment, then glowered at me. "If you care so much for all of us, then why is it that you can't see that I'm happier with Harry? Why are you forcing all this on me? Especially when you know that I have already bonded with him, that the bond will make it difficult to even try to live without him?"

I sighed, but realized that perhaps it was time. I might not like Potter, but I truly did want to see Draco happy. "If he makes you happy…then I will…see what I can manage so that we do not lose the manor."

"You will? Just like that? But…"

"You are my son, Draco. No matter my reasons for signing it, I should always have tried to find a way to give you what you wanted."

"What will you do?" He asked, still looking stunned.

"Leave that to me. Go. Rest. And calm your mate before he comes in here thinking I've done something horrible to you." I managed a smile, though I had little doubt it was a thin one. Having Potter for a son in law was not something I was looking forward to.

After a moment, he nodded and stood, but made no move to go.

I watched him for a moment, waiting for him to speak, but finally prodded him when he did not. "Was there something else, Draco?"

He nodded reluctantly. "Thank you," he said, and I could see something in his eyes that made me think that just maybe I had received his forgiveness.

"You are my son," I told him. "I love you."

He smiled then. "I love you, too, father."

Then he turned and left me alone with my thoughts and a problem. The problem of how to get Greengrass and his brats to back off without losing Malfoy Manor.

VI.2

An Excerpt from the Private Journal of Lucius Malfoy

Regulus is gone.

I promised to help him. That I would give him all the information I knew, and I did. All but one thing—how dangerous going against our Lord is. But I am certain he knows this. My telling him would not have saved him.

Oh, Regulus, forgive me. I know, once you attempt this, there will be no chance of survival. How I wish things could have gone another way.

I didn't let him leave easily, though. There was a price for the information I gave him. If I am to never see him again, at least now I know him better than any other. I know everything. Every line and mark and blemish on his body. He gave it willingly. And I will never forget his cries as I entered him, nor the feel of him inside me. Being with him was a rare feeling I know I will treasure forever, if for no other reason than to never lose the sharpness of our time together. But then, I could never forget the taste of his lips, the softness of his skin, or how tears make his eyes impossibly warmer.

This is my punishment for what I have done, I am sure. To know. To know everything, but never to have him again. To know that I sent him to his death, knowing that if I had stopped him that he could still be here in my arms.

It is unfair that the first person I could truly feel close to has been taken away from me by our Lord's plotting. If I could have found a way out for us I might have gone with him, but I know our Lord would never allow us to escape his grasp now that he has us. Of all the pureblood families the Blacks and Malfoys are his greatest prize. Even should one of us escape, he would never allow us both our freedom. He would have chased us to the ends of the world and destroyed us for abandoning him.

So Regulus is gone. Perhaps not quite to his death, but if not yet, then soon.

I only hope that I am not called to witness that death. For to do so might break me. If my Lord should ask his death of me, not one, but two will die that night. One in body, and one in spirit.

VI.3

Regulus was missing for a month before I realized. Almost too late to keep my father from learning what had happened, I turned to the only person I thought I could trust. The only person I knew Regulus had trusted with our relationship—Narcissa Black.

At first she refused to see me, but the magic of Regulus' name did wonders.

Her eyes were stormy when she finally entered the study she'd had an elf guide me to. "Here to gloat about killing him now, are you?" she asked me. I could have caught a chill from the ice in her glare.

"I would never have…"

"Don't lie to me!" Her voice was shrill, and my stomach roiled at the truth of her statement. Perhaps I had not killed Regulus myself, but I had sent him to his death, and knowingly so.

"If I could have saved him, I would have, Narcissa. You must believe me."

"Like I would believe a word out of your deceitful mouth! He trusted you! He believed in you…" And then she turned away, and I saw her shoulders shake.

"You were right," I told her. "He shouldn't have. If I could go back and change things so that he was still here, I would. But I can't. And…for his sake…I need your help, Narcissa. Please." I never used the word, and everyone knew it.

She turned to me, and I could see her eyes were red. "How dare you use him to get my sympathy. How dare you?"

"It's not for me, Narcissa, but for his son, that I ask."

"Regulus never married, Lucius. A fact of which you are well aware. Never mind that he was too young." She sniffled and looked away. "Go spew your lies somewhere else."

Despite everything, I felt my face heat. I blamed it on the increase of hormones that were currently flooding my system. "I assure you, Narcissa, he was not too young for the act required to make a child."

Whirling around, she glowered at me. "And how is sleeping with you going to get him a child?"

I felt the heat in my face rise more, but did my best to ignore it. "By getting me pregnant." Before she could deny that even as a possibility, I shook my head. "I hadn't thought it possible either, though I had known…" I sighed, hating to reveal this to her when it was such a closely guarded secret. "My mother's line has Veela blood. But I was under the impression that it could not happen without Mating." I closed my eyes, trying to avoid the thought of what that meant, gathering myself for a moment before looking to see her reaction.

Watching her stunned reaction, I could see the moment when surprise became calculation. "Veela…?"

I nodded, but added nothing more. She knew me well enough to understand how vulnerable such information made me to her.

Her eyes dropped to my stomach, then rose once more. "How long?"

"No more than a month," I said. Of course, I knew to the day, but that was best kept to myself. Narcissa hardly needed to know the day her cousin died.

Despite her restraint, her eyes grew sad, knowing what I had not said. When our eyes met, hers were cold again. "And what would you have me do, Lucius? How can I help my cousin's murderer?"

I allowed her the barb. I knew I deserved far worse. "He needs a mother. If he is to survive, to carry part of Regulus with him…I need a wife."

If I had slapped her, I am sure she would look no less horrified or astonished. "Wife?" She said the word as though it were the worst epithet I might have thrown at her, but I did my best to remain collected. I had known, in coming here, that this would not be simple.

"Please, Narcissa. I…I can't lose what little I have left of him. If father learns…" He would never let me keep the child. Not unless I had a way to keep others from knowing. And without a wife, that would be impossible.

Her nostrils flared, and she looked away. I could see her weigh my fate against that of my unborn child's, but I did not know her well enough to predict where her loyalty would fall. "And if I agree, Lucius? How often will I hear of you with…others? How often will you pretend others are him, that he is not gone, and you are leading your happy life as before?"

I am not sure if she was quite aware of how much I would do, but I suspected she knew it was more than I would do for anyone else. "Name your terms," I told her. "And I will agree to them."

It would not be the life I had dreamed of, but it would keep my son safe.

VII.1

In the end, it all came down to choosing my son over the path my father had forced on us both when he had learned I was pregnant with Draco. I knew there could be no other choice than to stand by my son now. How could I have forgotten how much I had hated signing the contract in the first place? I may have my father's ruthlessness, but my son's happiness matters more than mine. It always has from the beginning.

I knew that contract better than my own marriage contract. I had spent so much time on it in order to give myself room to protect my son and my own interests later when the time came for the contract to be fulfilled. But I also had to find ways to keep my father and Greengrass unaware of the loopholes and escape clauses I had created at the time. It had been a tricky business, but I had not wanted to gamble with my son's future, no matter how I had been forced into agreeing to my father's terms. I was foolish to have ignored them now, simply because I had not approved of Draco's choice.

I owled Greengrass a few days after speaking with Draco and asked him to come to a private meeting between the three of us. The fool brought his eldest I knew he might—Daphne has always been a strong-willed girl—and I found that I did not mind. Let her understand—she and her sister would never have a place in this family, however much they might want it.

Draco wasn't happy to see her there, nor was she pleased to see Potter, who had insisted upon joining us as well. It had increased my approval of him as my son's mate a great deal in the last few days to see how carefully he protected my son, even if that protection had largely come in the form of keeping him from me, or glowering at me when we were all in the same room together.

"What is he doing here?" she asked, glaring at her rival, then shot a look at Draco as well. "I had thought that this would be an apology… But I see little has changed."

Greengrass seemed as annoyed as his daughter. "Perhaps you forget the contract we signed, Malfoy?" he asked, his voice acid.

"Not at all." I was pleased to see that my light tone made his expression darken further.

He stood, and held out his hand to his daughter, who followed him, glaring at the two boys. "Then I see we have nothing to discuss. I assume you and your family will be out by the end of the summer, Malfoy. Consider the extra time a wedding present for your son and his…" He glanced at Potter, then my son, then back to me. "…Mate."

"And why would we leave, Greengrass? This is our home." It was hard to keep the slightly confused expression on my face and not let it melt into a smirk, knowing he was falling directly into the trap I had set for him.

"The terms of the contract clearly state…"

"That should my heir refuse to marry one of your daughters, the Manor is yours. Those terms have not been broken."

"Whether it is you or he refusing matters little, Malfoy," Greengrass said, his eyes narrowed now. "Either way, your Manor is forfeit."

"Who said I was refusing, Greengrass? I merely meant that my son no longer fills the terms of the contract, because he is no longer my heir." I smirked at his shock, trying to ignore the gasp from my son, not wanting to show any vulnerability here in front of Greengrass and his daughter.

I could see Greengrass trying to make sense of my words and the maze I had laid out for him. Little did he know that the only winning move was to retreat. But then, I knew the man well enough now to know that he would never consider that.

After a moment, he met my eyes. "That changes nothing, Malfoy. Without an heir to marry to my daughter, your Manor is still forfeit according to our contract."

"Correct. If I had no heir. But you see, I do have an heir. He is…not here yet, but he will be. In about eight months. So…if either of your daughters is willing to wait eighteen years…do let us know?"

The look on Greengrass's face was a particular treat to see. I might have laughed, had the situation not been so serious.

"And what does that mean, Malfoy? You actually managed to get that ice queen of a wife to open her legs again?"

I could hear the scuffle of the boys beside me as Potter restrained Draco, but kept my focus on Greengrass. "No. Narcissa and I will have a grandson. The one my son is carrying."

Greengrass looked disgusted. "Your…son? Malfoy, that is impossible. Only those of…" Suddenly he glanced at Potter, then met my gaze, and his eyes narrowed.

"Non-pureblood parentage would even have the chance, I believe you were going to say? Let's just say that the Malfoy family has a few secrets. Secrets which you are bound to keep as a small fraction of your part of our contract, as you will recall…" That had been one clause father and I had both agreed on. Should the Greengrass family learn our secret, it had to be kept at all costs.

He glanced at Draco then at Potter once more, then back to me. "Potter is powerful, but I never knew…"

"Not Potter, Greengrass. My son. He and I share Veela blood. And I assure you, if I hear of anyone speaking or even whispering such outside this home, your manor will be the one forfeit."

Greengrass's face grew redder and redder, but before he could begin a tirade against us, his daughter restrained him. "They aren't worth it, father." She glowered at Draco. "Never were." She met my eyes. "Very well. You've won. We won't push our end of the contract, and you won't hear a thing about your secrets. But don't think we won't remember, Malfoy. This isn't over."

She turned to her father. "We're leaving. There are certainly better families to join, father. Ones that won't drag us down near as much." She glanced once more at my son and his mate. "Enjoy it while it lasts, Potter. You may think you have him now, but Draco is fickle. He was never interested in anyone for long while we were at school. Don't think you're going to be special in this regard, child or not."

Before Potter could answer, she and her father swept from the room, and finally I turned to look at my son and his…and Potter. "They likely will try to find ways to undermine you," I warned them.

"We'll manage," Potter said.

Draco nodded, and I saw him squeeze Potter's hand. "After the baby is born, we should tell everyone. Have an interview with a reporter we know we can trust. So we can control the story, and the details. Before they try to find a way to use it against us."

Though I could understand the reasoning, it was difficult to agree. For so long, it had been my most close-guarded secret. Even our Lord had never suspected. "Are you certain you are willing to live with the likely outcome?" I asked, biting back the refusal building in my chest.

"What other choice do we have, father? Live in fear for another generation, and hope the Greengrass family doesn't decide that taking us down is more important than keeping their home? Besides…we have Harry. No one is going to turn on him. Not after everything that has happened. They need him too much."

I supposed that would be one good side-effect of having Potter for a son-in-law, and nodded. "Very well. If that is your choice, I will stand by it." I smiled at my son's surprise.

"That's all? You're not going to try to convince me to find another way?"

"Would it do any good to try?" I asked, smiling ruefully as I remembered the past weeks of warfare between us.

"No, but…"

"You are my son, Draco. All I have ever wanted for you was for you to be happy. I…forgot that for a time. But now…"

Draco sobered. "Now I'm no longer your heir, so it doesn't matter…?"

The words were almost a physical blow. "Of course not, Draco. You will always be my son. You may not be my direct heir any longer, but this is still your home. I've prepared your grandmother's suite. I thought that would be appropriate?" Given that he and I had both inherited her Veela blood, the move only made sense.

"Grandmother's…" Draco was stunned, and I couldn't help but smile. It was a suite of rooms I knew he had always been fond of.

Potter was frowning, though. "He's kicking you out of your room?"

Draco grinned at him. "Into a suite of rooms that are…well, you'll have to see for yourself, but…Trust me, this is not a bad thing." He kissed Potter's cheek, and I glanced away. I might be growing accustomed to Potter being here, but I still wasn't entirely pleased at my son's choice of mate. Certainly not enough to see them so cozy together. I glanced back when Draco began making plans with him.

"I have arranged for your own vault, as well, Draco." I held out a key. "Your portion of the estate will be doled out in monthly payments from the main vault. But if there is anything you need…"

Draco took the key, smiling and nodding. "Of course, father. And the nursery?"

"You are welcome to do as you wish. The heirlooms I used for you are in the current nursery. You may use that room, or another in your wing, and there is a selection of furnishings upstairs if you wish. Or you may purchase all new furniture, if you prefer. So long as my grandson is comfortable."

Potter still looked confused. "But if he's no longer your heir…"

"Harry, he just did that so that I no longer met the terms of the contract. This way…I'm free. And they have no claim on me or our estate. It doesn't mean he has disowned me…"

I bit my tongue to keep from showing my contempt at Potter's presumption. Deep down, I knew he was only trying to protect my son.

He looked at me, and our eyes met. ""Is that what you meant, sir?" he asked.

"Of course. Draco is the best thing I have done with my life. I would hardly abandon him to the mercies of the world simply because he chose the wrong mate…"

I could see the barb hit its mark, then Potter nodded. "I'm glad. I'd hate him to lose his family because we love each other," he said. Any other time, his collected attitude might have annoyed me, but now, it was a good sign. Maybe someday, we might even come to accept one another.

"I assure you, that will never happen, Potter."

"Harry. We're going to be family, after all." His arm curled protectively around Draco.

"Harry," I agreed. I could see he was waiting for more, but I wasn't about to give him permission to refer to me so informally. Not yet, at least.

VII.2

An Excerpt from the Private Journal of Lucius Malfoy

Father has agreed to the match between myself and Narcissa Black. Apparently the standing of her family is enough to help him forget my attachment to Regulus. If only it were as easy for me to do so.

He will learn soon enough. Already I feel the changes in my body, and it will not be long before they will be visual.

At least he has been willing to arrange the marriage quickly without explanation. But perhaps he knows after all. If he does, he seems to be willing to allow me to keep my son, now that I have arranged camouflage.

Narcissa seems to have come to terms with the life we will have to live. Every day, I receive new owls from her with new conditions. I think she still does not quite understand that I will allow her anything to protect my son.

Mother is thrilled, of course, and seems completely unaware of the undercurrents of all these owls and plans, though she is not pleased at the rush. She will understand soon enough.

Narcissa and I have not yet started the echo and mirror spells, but we will have to do so soon enough. Every day, I wait for the proof of my feelings for Regulus to materialize. I had been so blind. Regulus's pain was likely over quickly. Mine will go on for the rest of my life. Every time I see my son. Our son.

I keep waiting for father to confront me, but I will not let him hurt my son. I will do everything I can to give him the life Regulus never got. Long and with a proper love. One who will always be there for him, the way I could not be for Regulus.

I only hope he never comes to hate me for it all when he learns what I have done.

VII.3

The last year had been a whirlwind. I looked down at the infant sleeping nestled in my arms. I'd seen enough pictures of Regulus at the same age to see the resemblance. I only hoped that Narcissa's family would assume it was just a familial resemblance. Dealing with father's knowledge of who my son's true second parent was had been bad enough. I hardly wanted to deal with Dame Black trying to take my son from me.

The mage waved his hand over the boy's brow. "And have you chosen a name for him?"

I nodded. There had been a quite heated debate between myself and my father when he'd learned I wanted to name him for my lost lover, and in the end, he and Narcissa had won. He looked enough like Regulus that I comforted myself with that instead. "Draco Lucius Malfoy," I told him.

The man grimaced, but only for a moment. I allowed him the illusion that I had done it out of pride and ego. Better that than for people to realize the names had been forced upon me.

"Then by Merlin and Morgana, the Lord and the Lady, I formally name this boy Draco Lucius Malfoy." He sprinkled something from a vial over the boy's head, and my son made a face, waving his fists in protest as he screwed up his face to let out a howl. I bounced him slightly through the end of the ceremony, then handed him to Narcissa, though I hated to do so. It would look odd for me to be the one to comfort him, after all. Father would never approve. Especially in front of all of our friends and family.

She shushed Draco, settling him on her shoulder as the Mage presented us as a family to the crowd. I offered her my arm, and we made our way through the chapel, leading the way back up to the main house where the elves had set out a large luncheon for our guests.

It would be a long afternoon, with everyone cooing over my son, asking about our marriage, having a new baby, not to mention my father's glares following me everywhere. I would endure it, but already I wished it was over.

To top it all off, Walburga had come as well. Alone. Her husband had died soon after Regulus had disappeared. Everyone said it was a heart attack, but I wondered if our Lord had some suspicions as to why Regulus had disappeared. At least he hadn't felt the need to ask me. It was the one bright spot in my year, not being interrogated by the Dark Lord.

But that didn't make it easier to see Walburga anywhere near my son. If she caught so much as a hint that my son was Regulus'…the very thought made me shudder. I knew Regulus had loved his mother, but that had not left him blind to her harsher qualities. We'd talked for hours about how difficult she could be to live with, to deal with every day. I would never allow her to treat my son the way she had hers. Even if it meant Draco would never know his other grandmother.

I watched as the Black family crowded around Narcissa the moment they entered, grinding my teeth. A large part of me wanted to snatch my son away and hide him from all of them. But most especially Walburga and Bellatrix, who was already looking at him with calculation. If she so much as whispered about my son joining the Dark Lord, I would find a way to make her pay for it.

Draco would live a life free of our Lord. Whatever it took. I would see to that.

Epilogue

"A girl…?"

Draco's smirk made me want to roll my eyes as I looked down at the newborn. It was incredibly uncommon for two men to have a child at all. For them to have a girl was almost unheard of.

"But…the odds…"

"Aren't as bad as you think, father." Draco adjusted himself on the bed, still looking tired even after a day's rest. He shifted his daughter into his lap, where she lay swaddled and sleeping, and looked up at me. "Well?" I knew he was worried how I would react, but all I could think was that here was another thing Potter had somehow managed to ruin for our family.

"She is…tiny." The last infant I had seen had been Draco. And that was nearly twenty years ago now.

Draco chuckled. "And thank god for small favours. I assure you, she didn't feel so tiny for about the last two months, father. Perhaps you've forgotten how…painful pregnancy can get?"

I heard Potter snort behind me. "As though we couldn't tell from all your complaining…"

I glanced at the young man, who was gazing down at my son with such feeling in his eyes… I still wasn't comfortable with my son being so attached to him, but I had seen his love for Draco so many times in the past year that I could no longer deny it existed. Even if I still couldn't think of him as 'Harry.'

"So…what will you name her?" I asked, trying to deflect their conversation before they started kissing again.

"Well, we were talking flower names. Because of mother, and Harry's mother… But neither of us can agree on one we like."

I hummed noncommittally. Obviously they couldn't name her Regulus. "I'm sure you will come up with something soon enough. You have time." I smoothed a hand over her fine hair, wondering if it would stay this light, or darken like Potter's, and whether her eyes would be grey or green when they finished changing.

"Yes, I'm sure we will," Draco said, watching him with a soft smile. "Unless you had any suggestions?"

I shook my head. I'd managed the argument once, and badly. I'd save my opinions for when they had a son. "None," I said. "I'm sure what you come up with will be fine."

I moved to the door. Time to give the new family some time together. "Let me know what you decide, so that I can add her formally to the family documents," I told Draco. "And we will need to arrange the Christening as well. You might want to give thought to a godparent or two."

Potter blinked up at me, shocked at the idea, then looked down at Draco, and I couldn't deny myself a bit of a smirk at the thought of the negotiation that was likely to follow my departure. "Don't keep my son up too long, Potter. He still needs his sleep." I opened the door, then turned back. "Oh, and I wouldn't mind one or two more of these, Draco…after all, the family still needs an heir. He squeaked at the thought, eyes wide, but didn't manage anything beyond that before I closed the door and headed down the hall.

Life might not be perfect, but Regulus and I would continue. Our love, our family—our blood. It was more than I had hoped when I had sent him off over twenty years before. And someday, when I faced him again, I would have a world of stories to tell him about our family.