Lucius Malfoy And The Gift Of Mercy
Lucius Malfoy, thirty three years later.
"No, Draco. You cannot get out of the basement."
His son blinked up at him from beneath the floor, his arms wrapped protectively around his body. His eyes were wide, deceptively innocent. Draco had spent many hours practising this hung-dog look infront of his bedroom mirror, and it seemed to work on just about anyone.
Except Lucius, of course. His father was immovable as stone.
"But there are Veela down here," Draco protested, limply.
"Really?" Lucius raised an eyebrow. "I thought I let them all go after my last party."
"You left a three behind in the ouchie-chairs," Draco said – he didn't know the right word for the leather-locked seats, and quite frankly, he wasn't too keen to find out. "One of them keeps touching Harry," he complained.
"Don't talk to me about anyone touching Harry," Lucius warned. "That's what got you down there in the first place, remember?"
"We were only having a bit of fun," Draco said, looking at his feet.
"You attempted intercourse whilst airborne, over a Muggle village," Lucius snapped. "If I hadn't intervened with the Ministry, I'm sure both of you would be detained in a far nastier prison. Count your blessings, son."
"Draco!" Harry shreiked, from somewhere in the depths of the basement. "She's nibbling my toes again."
Draco sighed. "You didn't have to chain him up, too," he muttered. "And the chastity belt – that wasn't nice."
"I'm only doing it because I love you, Draco," said Lucius, firmly.
"And because you get a sick pleasure out of tormenting Harry," said Draco.
"Well, there is that," Lucius admitted. "He does get a rather sweet little constipated expression on his face when he's upset."
"Yes, he does, doesn't he," Draco mused.
"Reminds me of his father," said Lucius.
"Things I don't need to know about your sex life, number 72," said Draco.
Lucius tossed the newspaper he'd been holding down into the basement. Draco didn't bother to pick it up – he knew exactly who was on the front page. Draco. Harry. Naked. Airborne. Mid-copulation. Harry had been lucky, in a way, Draco thought; Harry's face only appeared in the picture as a motion-blur, but Draco was well and truly caught in the act.
"Things I don't want to read about your sex life, number 3,249," said Lucius.
He shut the basement trapdoor on Draco's upturned face and watched as the enchanted locks refastened themselves of their own accord. Of all the ungrateful sons, Lucius thought, annoyed. It had taken a lot of money and almost all the political favours Lucius could swing to make sure that the unlikely duo hadn't been incarcerated for their illadvised mischeif.
The entire wizarding community was currently in heated debate over the issue, a furor of Witches Weekly journalists had surrounded the manor and were demanding interviews, and Narcissa had spent the week crying in her bedroom – still blaming herself over that Draco-dress episode when their son was six, Lucius guessed.
Not to mention the two thousand militant Muggles who were now camped out on the manor grounds, waving flaming torches.
"And you say I'm being too harsh on them, Serverus," said Lucius, between gritted teeth.
"I honestly didn't realise it was this bad," Serverus murmured. He glanced to the window. "Can't you cast a weather spell and make it rain?"
"I tried it. They started singing hymns," Lucius said. "And ‘We will overcome’. In fact, I've tried just about everything, short of mass murder. I'm a prisoner in my own home."
"You can port out, surely," said Serverus.
"That isn't the point," said Lucius, bitterly.
He turned on his heel and made to leave the room; Serverus following a step or two behind. Regarding the haughty set of Lucius' shoulders, Serverus reflected that some people never changed. He remembered Lucius during their spell at Hogwarts together. The younger Lucius hadn't backed down ever, not in all his years at school, and there wasn't a chance he'd back down now.
Not that Serverus really blamed him. Draco and Harry –were- out of control. Somewhere along the line they'd forgotten that the rules which applied to every other witch and wizard applied to them, too – and begun to believe that the world truly did revolve around their self-absorbed existence. Both of them had led charmed lives, Draco with his father's riches and support to back him, Harry with his fame. Spoilt, to the bone. It was only natural, really, that they'd go off the rails at some point.
The Ministry, Serverus knew, were having a hell of a time trying to cope with the confusion. Every wizard with a memory spell to his credit was out on the streets, trying to blind Muggles into forgetfullness – but once the spell was over, the Muggles would see Draco and Harry's picture again in one of their wide-spread newspapers, and remember what had happened all over again. It was a crisis; and if the pair had been anyone else, Serverus felt, they'd have been hung, drawn and quartered by a livid wizard mob.
But they were Draco and Harry, the Witches' Weekly's favourite couple. Some people, Serverus thought privately, had all the luck.
He padded after Lucius. The man was heading to his study – and with a sharp word to one of his house elves, ordered two glasses of wine for himself and his guest. Serverus felt a little uneasy at Lucius' forced hospitality. After the Malfoy's had sided with Voldemort, many years before, Serverus hadn't quite known how to act around Lucius. He wasn't sure if Lucius still considered him a friend. Lucius wasn't the type of person to let bygones be bygones.
Still, he was being civil enough, Serverus thought. Perhaps Draco had put in a good word for him.
"What are you planning to do?" Serverus asked.
"Cancel Draco's Masterwizard-cards, for a start," said Lucius, seating himself on the opposite side of his desk. He gestured to another chair – leather, but less comfortable than his own – and Serverus slumped into it.
The house elf arrived with their glasses, and Serverus sipped his drink, wary of the sudden silence.
"Spoilt," said Lucius, finally. "Both of them."
"Very," said Serverus.
"I intend to make a lot of changes around here," said Lucius.
"A wise idea."
"Ritual castration is looking like a viable option," said Lucius. "If it wasn't for the fact that I demand a heir." He ran his fingers along the outside of his glass, thoughtfully. "I did find quite a delightful match for Draco, though. One of his cousins. Very attractive young girl, very talented. Very – fertile."
"You're going to force him to have a child by his cousin?" Serverus blinked.
"I don't see why not. Keep it in the family. It's one of our little Malfoy mottos. That, and never take off your shoes in public."
"Seven toes," Lucius explained. "Can result in some rather strange looks. But it does serve as an adequate ice-breaker at parties."
Serverus wished, not for the first time, that he could tell when Lucius was joking.
"Why did you call me here, Lucius," he said, at last.
"I need help," said Lucius, simply.
Lucius' silver eyes flashed, a metallic shimmer. "Don't make me repeat myself, Serverus."
"What do you mean, help? Is what I meant to say." Serverus swallowed. "There's nothing the Ministry isn't doing already to try and keep this under control."
"Control? There are two thousand Muggles outside calling me Dracula," said Lucius, curtly. "And they trampled Narcissa's rosebed. I want them out of here so I can think clearly."
Serverus racked his brain. "I'm not much of an ideas person," he murmured. "Short of a herd of rampaging dragons, I don't know what might shift them."
Lucius stared at him.
"What?" said Serverus.
"My dear man," said Lucius, wearing that cool smirk of his which was the closest he ever got to a smile. "I do believe you're onto something."
"You dropped something," said Harry, meekly.
"Yes, Harry. Those were my pants."
Harry laughed – and stopped quickly, as his chest pressed against the metal spikes of the enclosure Lucius had locked him up in. It was a sort of metal coffin, lying in the middle of the dungeon floor, with inward pointing nails lining the upper wall and the sides. Draco was currently attempting to break the lock with his pen knife, without much luck. Lucius had taken away their wands, and Harry was only just realising how much they both counted on magic in their day to day lives.
Draco fumbled on the floor for the fallen pen knife, and went back to work.
"Shouldn't be long now," he muttered.
"Are you sure?"
"No. I'm lying to keep you happy," said Draco, annoyed. "Damn this thing."
He stepped back, eyeing the coffin. Harry's head poked out the top, his feet out the bottom – he looked like something out of a children's conjurer's trick.
"Maybe it would break if we pushed it off something high enough," he thought aloud.
"Nice idea. But if it broke, I'd guess I probably would, too."
"You're already bloody broken," Draco snapped. "Shut up and let me think." He turned to the Veelas, who were chittering to each other, highly amused by the scene. "That goes for you too," he said.
"Sorry," Harry mumbled. The Veelas just gave Draco nasty looks, and went back to their conversation – but at a lower volume. Harry wondered if it was advisable to annoy a Veela, but wisely chose not to mention this to Draco. At least the Veelas were chained down. Lucius hadn't had the heart to tie up Draco, and Harry wasn't in a position to dodge the blows if Draco got over excited.
Over excited. That was a nice way to say – turn into a violent bastard. Harry had learnt how to rephrase terms, since he'd been with Draco. Draco's tantrums had become Draco's ‘constructive venting of aggression’. When Draco sulked, slamming the bedroom door in Harry's face, Draco was ‘feeling indisposed’. And Draco's rudeness was just – well, Draco being Draco.
Harry didn't question anything these days. He simply accepted it, despite the voices in his head which yelled, You're the Boy That Lived! You didn't take this shit from Voldemort! Your parents didn't raise you to become a scratching post for some spoilt rich brat's post-adolescent angst! At least, Harry reflected, those voices had become a lot less common in the past few months. Now, when he heard them, they carried a resigned note. You're the Boy That Lived, they'd say, morosely. Call this a Life?
He didn't know why he'd suggested the mile-high club idea to Draco. It started out as a joke, something he'd heard Hermione talk about. Amused by the idea of Muggles straining for balance in aeroplane toilet cubicles, Harry told Draco – and somehow things had got mixed up, because Draco thought it was an excellent idea, and congratulated Harry for thinking of it. Beaming with pride, Harry hadn't stopped to think about the consequences of their action.
It hadn't even been that good, Harry thought, miserably. There was only so much you could do whilst hanging off a broomstick.
Oddly, Draco didn't blame Harry for the whole affair. Perhaps Draco was still in shock – neither of them had anticipated the extent of the riots they'd caused, within and without the wizard community. Nor had Draco anticipated Lucius' reaction. Harry winced at the memory. If Narcissa hadn't been there to stop him, Harry felt that Lucius might have sent his only son on a one way trip to the sun.
"Damn this," Draco swore, banging one fist on the side of Harry's coffin. Harry whimpered as the nails bit into his chest and hands.
"Please – don't – do – that again," he said, tensely.
"How long do you think he'll keep us down here?" Draco said, ignoring Harry's pleas. "A few years, perhaps? Until he gets over his bloody middle-aged wizardpause? My god – he won't be getting a son out of me for this one, let me tell you."
"A week, it's been. A week down here with you in a goddam box. My balls feel like goddam bulgers, Harry. Look – he's made his point. He's entitled to make his point. I understand that. I accept that. But his point," and Draco's voice was threatening to touch on a soprano note, "is going on too bloody long. I need out. Can't – think in here with you and those bloody Veela."
The Veela hissed. Draco swore.
"I'm sure he won't leave us down here for longer than a fortnight," Harry said, sounding a whole lot more convincing than he actually felt. Seeing Lucius' face on the night they'd been apprehended by the Ministry, Harry wouldn't put it past the man to leave them there to rot for the rest of their lives. "Draco – this isn't helping. Maybe if you could file away through the wood of the box –"
Draco hit the box again, and the spines in the lid dug a full centimetre into the flesh of Harry's abdomen. Harry's eyes welled with tears – the pain was phenomenal, like a hundred boring ants biting into his skin. By the time this was over, Harry felt he'd probably look much like sieve. He gasped aloud, but forced himself to bite back the scream which was writhing its way over his tongue. He wasn't going to scream at Draco – he understood Draco was angry, he knew Draco wasn't thinking clearly, he felt that Draco was quite entitled to be very annoyed at his father and –
"Serves you right," said Draco, watching Harry's face contort.
This particular untimely remark made Harry do something he very rarely did.
He lost control.
"You spoilt, vindictive little –"
Draco banged the box, and Harry screamed.
"I told you to shut up. You think I don't mean it?"
Harry swore, blindly. His glasses had been knocked off in the second hit, and the entire world had devolved into a murky blur of shadows and shapes – a landscape of dark phantoms. The loss of sight only made him more frantic, more desperate to get away from his lover/aggressor – he felt the skin of his upper arms tear as he thrust himself upwards against the coffin, straining hapelessly to break through the nails and the wood.
Perhaps it was the sudden smell of blood that threw Draco – or maybe it was just the sight of Harry, so completely helpless, so utterly distraught by Draco's abuse. Harry felt Draco's hands suddenly about his head, the man's slim fingers curling through Harry's hair. Draco's lips pressed against his forehead – Draco could be gentle, when he chose to be.
"Shut up, Harry," said Draco – a warning, but his voice was soothing, almost husky.
"S-sorry," Harry stuttered.
"No more theatrics, okay?"
Satisfied that Harry wasn't going to make anymore wild movements, Draco rose from his crouch to glare at the sniggering Veelas. "If I had my wand –" he challenged them, leaving the threat open.
"Such a man he is," one Veela giggled. "He has naught to offer us, and so he offers to bring us a stick to satisfy.."
"A fickle offering," cooed another. "We can find what sticks we want on our own."
"Call down your father," the last chirped. "We have no time for little boys and their sticks."
Harry made a quick decision, and closed his eyes. From the shreiks and grunts of pain which followed, he was fairly sure he'd made the right choice.
"I'm busy killing Veela. Leave me the hell alone."
Lucius made a small motion with his wand, murmuring something under his breath. A second later Draco was transported to the ground underneath the trapdoor, bloody and exhausted. His grey eyes blinked back sweat as he stared defiantly up at the two men above him.
"Quick question, Draco. Where did you bury that medallion you found? The one from Dragon Rock."
"I'm not telling you anything."
Draco stuck out his lower lip. Lucius looked at Serverus, and Serverus looked back at Lucius.
Lucius made another motion with his wand, and Draco found himself shrieking as his undergarments shrunk four sizes. As he struggled to peel them from his legs – Serverus pretended to find his nails very interesting – Lucius tapped his wand against the heel of his palm.
"Next time, I'll do the same to Harry," said Lucius, firmly. "In his current position, I don't think the boy will be able to get them off in time – do you?"
"B-bastard." Draco kicked off his doll-sized pants with a flick of his toe.
"Fine. In the corner, near the shed. The grass there died – it's not hard to spot."
"Thank you, Draco."
Lucius made as if to go, then stopped. His fingers went to his robe, and after a moment's fiddling he withdrew a small golden key. He tossed it down to Draco – it tinkled against the rocky basement floor.
"There. You can let Harry go, at least."
Draco fell to his knees, scrabbling for the object before it winked out of sight in the gloom. Lucius waited until his son had located the key, then let the trapdoor shut.
"Merciful of you," commented Serverus.
"I want to punish him. Not to kill him. My son has the libido of a Veela in heat." Lucius sighed. "Sumelfandez."
In a few moments a house elf skittered into the room, veering to an abrupt halt some yards from Lucius. It began to bob and scrape, nearly banging it's own forehead off the floorboards, until Lucius silenced it's grovelling with a sharp hiss.
"Do you know of a patch of earth in the west gardens, which grows no grass?" he asked.
The elf nodded rapidly.
"There's a disk down there – around the size of my palm. Dig it up and fetch it here."
The elf turned and dashed off again, bobbing and weaving – negotiating obstacles which weren't there. Serverus watched it go. There was something haunting about the way Lucius managed to keep his cool, the way he commanded others to do his bidding. Serverus wasn't surprised Voldemort wanted Lucius on his side, during the first rise of the Death Eaters. Lucius had presence; he could have made a centaur to bow down with one flash of his silver eyes.
"I won't let Narcissa keep garden gnomes, and I certainly won't let my home be over run by Muggles," said Lucius. "I hope you understand that desperate times call for desperate measures."
"I do think," Serverus dared to say, "that you're going a little far, Lucius."
"I have tried to reason with those creatures," Lucius said, calmly. "They don't appear to be very logical. Let he who cast the first stone at a wizard expect a lot of dragons in his bed."
He moved to the window, and stared out. The Muggles were chanting on the lawn, waving their torches resolutely at the manor. As the manor itself was protected by magic, they hadn't managed to break in yet. The guards, as far as Lucius knew, were hiding in the lower quarters of the house. Ten trained wizards they might be, but they were no match for two thousand Muggles with pitchforks.
"This reminds me of something that happened to an ancestor of mine," he remarked, speaking his thoughts aloud. "Josephius Malfoy. He was once barricaded into this very same manor by a crowd of howling villagers, baying for his blood. Apparently they'd seen him riding his griffin through the streets. Rather eccentric, Josephius was."
"What happened?" Serverus asked.
"He killed them all," said Lucius. "I can't quite remember how, but I'm sure it was fairly messy. Josephius liked the sounds of screaming. I believe in his later life, after he went mad, he worked as a Muggle bank teller."
Serverus coughed into his hand.
"Something in your throat?" Lucius inquired, without looking back.
"Er, no. Probably the air." Serverus struggled to regain his composure. "Lucius – are you honestly considering doing what I think you're considering? I mean, the Ministry are already up in arms about Draco and Harry. But two thousand dead Muggles – surely there's a better way."
"You're not an ideas person. You said so yourself. Let me do the thinking for you, hm?"
"Strange," said Serverus, drawing his cloak tighter about him. "I recall you-know-who saying something very similar, a long time ago."
If he'd expected a reaction from Lucius at this, he was sorely disappointed. Lucius didn't even stiffen, or turn his head from the window.
"I'm not Voldemort," Lucius murmured. "I would be hurt to think you'd still feel so sorely about me, Serverus. After all I've done for you."
"What do you mean, all you've done for me?"
"I'll tell you later, Serverus. Once my garden is a Muggle-free zone again."
Serverus bit his tongue. He wondered if Lucius was enjoying this – playing him along. He was beginning to feel as if Lucius had alterior motives for inviting him here. But what could Lucius possibly want with an ex-supporter of Voldemort, someone whom he'd barely come into contact with since leaving the services of the dark wizard? They'd been to school together, certainly, and Draco had been Serverus' favourite pupil.. Serverus' brow furrowed, as he tried to work it out.
"Ah," said Lucius, after a few minutes of silence. "That little elf of mine seems to have found the medallion. We shouldn't have long to wait, now."
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