Characters: Lucius Malfoy
Summary: Whatever confusion Lucius had at these words disappeared quickly enough as the talk turned to betrothal ceremonies and engagement announcements. He was to be married to one of the Black girls.
Author's Notes Inspired by in_the_blue's prompt. Also crossposted over at The House of Malfoy.
Though he was meant to have been asleep an hour ago, Lucius had stayed awake once he had spotted the carriage of Cygnus Black outside. The last time he had visited his father, they’d been joined by Lucius’ great-uncle, Cantakerous Nott, and several others. The men had drunk Firewhisky and discussed the rumors about the Knights of Walpurgis and the new Dark Lord they served.
His father thought them grasping fools but Lucius, for the first time in his young life, disagreed. The Knights were the ones putting into action what others only whispered about behind closed doors. They were doing things Grindlewald wouldn't have dared. They were going to cleanse the world with fire. Lucius only hoped he could make father see reason so they could join the Knights in their battle.
Creeping closer to the half-ajar door of the drawing room, his hopes were dashed when he saw the party was composed of both his parents along with two other couples. Justinia Malfoy took no part in any discussion of current events beyond the latest talk of the society pages.
With half a mind to abandon this adventure and bully Dobby into getting him a second helping of dessert, Lucius idly looked into the drawing room. He recognized the woman speaking as Walburga Black, matriarch of the Black family. To her left sat her husband and to her right, her brother Cygnus and his wife.
“...will surely make a fine addition to the family. Dear Cissy will be betrothed to my Sirius, you see. Once they've both finished their schooling, of course.”
Abraxas tilted his head ever so slightly at this, his dark eyes fixed on the couple seated across from him. “Sirius is young. He won’t start Hogwarts for another several years still. A lot could happen in that time.”
“Why, Abraxas, I never took you for a Seer,” Orion said, with a small chuckle. Abraxas curled his lip into a smile in response.
“Sirius is a Black,” Walburga said softly, no trace of amusement on her pale face. “As is Narcissa. Their first duty is to their family.”
“Of course,” Justinia said, breaking the momentary silence that had fallen on the group. “Duty to our families, to our blood, must come first. We understand that.”
“We wouldn't expect otherwise.” Orion raised a glass. “Welcome to the family!”
Whatever confusion Lucius had at these words disappeared quickly enough as the talk turned to betrothal ceremonies and engagement announcements. He was to be married to one of the Black girls.
Weeks passed without a word about his impending betrothal but Lucius was no fool - he knew what was coming, he just wanted the confirmation.
Bellatrix was the obvious choice. She was older, yes, but only by two years and besides, the Blacks clearly weren't bothered by something as trifling as age. As the eldest she would be the first out in society and the first married. And from the talk he’d heard between his mother and her friends, the sooner Bellatrix was married, the better.
The girl grew more wild and brazen with each passing day. Father blamed the Blacks for indulging her. As Walburga’s favorite, Bellatrix was allowed to sit in while the adults discussed politics and the events of the day. She was even allowed to play on the House Quidditch team - the first girl to do so in centuries.That only lasted until her Fourth Year when she was told she’d have to quit the sport as it was becoming unseemly - she was nearly a woman grown and she needed to act like it.
Not that she seemed inclined to start. It was her fifteenth birthday, the day she was presented to society, and though dressed in pristine white robes she had still managed to find a secluded spot in the gardens where she was surrounded by several boys from her year as she held court. Less had been enough to ruin other girls but Bellatrix didn't care.
“Have you really met him then?” the younger Lestrange brother asked.
“Twice,” was Bellatrix cool reply.
A current ran through the group and everyone but the elder Lestrange brother looked shocked by this. Even Lucius found himself holding his breath, waiting for her next words.
“He is the one. He is going to cleanse our world of all the scum and filth. Don’t listen to what any of the fools and liars tell you - he is the real thing. And I’m going to join his fight.”
A confusion of questions arose at this but they were all cut off by the tinkling of bells that signaled dinner was about to begin. While the others dispersed, Lucius lingered behind, hoping to have a word with Bellatrix.
The elder Lestrange was there first, taking her hand in a way that Lucius thought to be overly-familiar. Bellatrix responded with a smug smile and pulling him towards her for a hungry kiss.
After what seemed an eternity, the pair broke it off with Lestrange whispering something in her ear. Bellatrix’s eyes flew open and she looked right at Lucius with a twisted grin. “Are you lost?”
He felt his face grow hot as their smiles turned to snickering and Lucius walked off without another word.
Clearly, Bellatrix was not the one. On the night of her debut, her parents announced her engagement to Rodolphus Lestrange. They would be married the summer after finishing Hogwarts. This left only Andromeda for him.
Though similar to Bellatrix in looks, Andromeda lacked all the fire of her elder sister. She took little interest in Quidditch and even less in politics. When he asked her about the rumors of a Dark Lord, she gave him a blank look and said she had little interest in rumors or gossip. Nor did she have any of the charms of her younger sister. While Narcissa was known for her musical talents and her lilting laugh that seemed to fill the halls, Andromeda rarely smiled and was only keen on her books.
Remembering all the times father chided him for being too impulsive and idealistic, Lucius reckoned the dour Black sister was exactly the sort of wife he would get. Dull and serious, Andromeda would work to keep him in line long after father had passed.
For her part, Andromeda seemed as displeased with this news as he felt. Why, he couldn't imagine. She wasn't especially pretty and, despite what she thought, she wasn’t terribly clever either. She was plain and swotty and if she weren't a Black, Lucius doubted anyone would give her a second look.
Still, mother encouraged him to spend time with her. With winter approaching, bringing Andromeda’s fifteenth birthday with it, they would be announcing the engagement soon. This was happening. Lucius was determined he would prove to his father that he could be serious and buckle down when needed. And if that meant bending over backwards to try to please Andromeda, so be it.
Which was why he had asked her to meet him at the Three Broomsticks during this outing to Hogsmeade. They should at least give the appearance of being on speaking terms once the engagement was announced.
Lucius settled into the booth, ordering a large Butterbeer for himself and a small for Andromeda from the passing waitress. He was about to take his first sip when an older boy approached.
Lucius cocked an eyebrow in response. He recognized the other boy as the Mudblood Tonks, Beater for the Hufflepuff House team.
Undeterred by this, he offered Lucius a note Spelled shut. “Dro -- Andromeda said I should give you this.”
Remaining silent, Lucius made a show of grabbing a napkin to cover his fingers before taking the note. The Mudblood scoffed at this before walking away.
He didn't need to open the note to guess what it might say. Andromeda wasn't one for passing love notes. Still, he opened it, admiring the Spellwork she had used to seal it.
I do apologise but I won’t be able to meet today. I had already promised to help Madam Pomfrey and I couldn’t bear to disappoint her. Sorry for all the trouble.
Lucius resisted the urge to jump at his father’s voice. Keeping his back to Abraxas, he removed his mask and shrugged out of the dark hooded cloak he had worn. He heard his father approach but before he could use a Reduction Charm on the mask, Abraxas grabbed it out of his hands.
Bracing himself for another argument about him “playing the part of attack dog for some dirty-blooded upstart,” Lucius was surprised when his father handed the mask back to him.
“We’ll discuss this later,” was Abraxas’ only comment. “Right now, we have guests.”
Lucius hurried to meet his father’s pace, shoving his cloak and mask in the left pocket of his waistcoat. He had added an Undetectable Extension Charm to many of his clothes for just this purpose.
“Cygnus Black. He brought his daughter with him.”
It couldn't have been Andromeda. Days before her fifteenth birthday, her dalliance with the Mudblood was revealed and she was disowned. Nothing had ever been said to him about their would-be engagement. Nothing was ever said about Andromeda, period. She had left Hogwarts after sitting for her O.W.L.s., eventually taking a job with St. Mungo’s. Some said she had begged her parents to take her back, others that she had eloped with the Mudblood and joined Dumbledore’s lot. No one knew and Lucius wasn’t about to act as if he was curious enough to ask.
If it wasn't her and it obviously wasn't Bellatrix, then that only left... “Cissy?”
Abraxas paused just outside the ajar door of the drawing room. Lucius spotted Narcissa inside, wearing pale blue robes, her golden hair falling in soft curls around her face.
“I will tell you now,” his father began, “you weren't their first choice. But a lot has happened.”
It certainly had. This wasn't just about the Blacks’ tenuous claim to Malfoy Manor. With a war for their world beginning, the Blacks had one daughter in disgrace and their heir about to join her. Their star was falling just as the Malfoys’ star was on the rise.
“I need you to understand what your duty is, both as my son and as a Malfoy,” Abraxas continued.
His father gave him an appraising look. “Good,” he said finally. “We’ll draw up the papers tonight. Your mother wants your engagement announced in this Sunday’s edition of The Prophet.”
With a snap of his fingers, Dobby sprinted forward to open the door for them.
His father went first with Lucius following. With a look over his shoulder, Abraxas whispered dryly, “Time to welcome them to the family.”