Pairings: Draco/Astoria, Lucius/Narcissa, assorted Greengrasses
Summary: Through hardship to the stars. The months and years post-Aftermath.
“Cissy, please. Do try or it’ll never be believable.”
“I am trying!” Narcissa raised her wand again and, on the second attempt, managed to hit a tree in the distance with a half-hearted curse. Triumphant, she turned to her husband, only to find him rolling his eyes heavenwards. “Well, I am sorry!” she said in a huff. “I quite lost my taste for cursing sometime between the fourth and fifth fight for our lives!”
Lucius looked at the clump of trees from which thin tendrils of smoke were now uncurling. “It’s good enough, I suppose. Now, let’s see--” He and Draco had spent over two years fiddling with the wizard’s staff, and a discreet wandmaker had lent his assistance for a price, but there was no telling what it could really do. Lucius raised the polished length of wood and twirled it once for dramatic effect. Draco actually had some talent for woodworking; a fine pattern of runes covered the entirety of the staff, inlaid with gold. If the bloody thing didn’t work, at least it would make for a nice walking stick.
“I’m sure Merlin himself didn’t look more dashing,” Narcissa said dryly, but then he swung the staff in a great half circle, and the curse exploded through the peaceful evening quiet. The trees went up in flames, and she cried out in shock. “Lucius! Goodness, are you--”
“I’m fine.” He was more than fine. Lucius looked at the staff, feeling the power ebbing and flowing between himself and it, the wood warm under his hands like a living, breathing thing. He gasped for air as if he’d surfaced from cold deep water, the sheer relief of that energy coursing through him flooding every dead part of his being. This was what it was to be a wizard; he’d almost forgotten.
He looked to his wife and saw that her eyes were brimming with tears. She’d faithfully stood by him through every bit of hardship and heartache, but he was all too aware that Narcissa had ever been drawn to strength, to power. Over the last years, with his magic curbed and him imprisoned, he had often feared that what remained of her devotion to him would die, and though he had tried to nurture the flame of her love for him, it wasn’t his way to do so and he’d often felt helpless with it, unable to show her his desire outside of the physical.
Now, though, he felt like a man again, whole and new, and like a man, he swept her up and bent her backwards to kiss her, his blood singing with excitement, with magic. “You silly thing,” he told her, laughing as they broke apart. “What are you crying for?”
“I’m not crying, what are you talking about.” She brushed her fingers over his cheek where her tears had fallen on him. “I’m so happy for you, my love.”
“Well, this’ll amount to nothing more than me being able to tie my shoelaces without bending down,” he said, straightening up to look at the staff between them. “It’s not exactly an instrument of great precision. Still, it’s something.”
“It’s more than something. It’s everything.” Narcissa lightly laid her hands over the staff, barely touching it, but her eyes slipped closed as she focussed inward, and he knew by the rapturous expression that came over her face that she could feel it, the energy that was his magic. “Yes. It feels like you.”
“Draco has outdone himself,” he said not without surprise. Even through all their previous failed attempts to make something of the uncooperative piece of wood, Draco had persisted with a stubborn tenacity that stood in contrast to his usual impatience. He’d inherited that from his mother, Lucius thought, and had to smile.
“Was he really the one that managed it in the end?” Narcissa asked.
“He laid the groundwork, that is for certain. And it was his idea to begin with. Well. I always knew that boy had to be good for something, even though he was trying his best to fool us all.”
They laughed together, and then, of course, the Ministry had to intrude into the pleasant moment. A trio of Aurors apparated on to the lawn without warning, their wands held aloft as if they expected to have to defend themselves on arrival.
The Malfoys turned to receive them, having anticipated this. Enlightening, Lucius thought; the Manor was still being closely monitored then, if any minor activity out of the usual warranted a visit by Shacklebolt’s best and brightest, such as they were.
Lucius knew them all by now from their frequent visits; he probably knew everyone in the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, and yet this knowledge had gotten him nowhere. The new crop of Aurors was remarkably resistant to the gleam of gold; Potter leading by example, no doubt. The man had ascended to the top of the Force with breathtaking speed after he’d left school, not that any of that was surprising, but it made the Malfoys’ life more difficult that Potter was practically keeping his own eye on them.
Then again, Lucius owed Potter the relative comfort of his house arrest, which just added insult to injury.
“What do you want then, Dawes?” he snapped.
“At three twenty-three this afternoon, that is to say two minutes ago, curses were fired here,” Dawes said, strolling forward to look around the garden as if he suspected Voldemort himself to be hiding in the bushes.
“Curses? Oh, honestly!” Narcissa laughed her charming laugh, like silver bells ringing on a bright, clear spring day. She pointed at the woods in the distance. “I felled some trees to make room for a Chinese pagoda.”
“Chinese pagoda?” The Aurors squinted at the smoke still rising from the fallen trees.
“Yes, a tea house. We do have to keep busy somehow,” she said coolly.
“And you did this?” Dawes asked doubtfully.
“Yes; why shouldn’t I be able to?” She drew herself up, and though the Auror was taller than she, he seemed to shrink under her gaze. He wasn’t a young man; perhaps he had crossed paths with Mrs Lestrange sometime, had seen the haughty tilt of Narcissa’s chin before, the glint of darkness that lurked at the corners of those blue eyes, or perhaps it was that Narcissa herself looked forbidding in her beauty.
The man inclined his head, though he did not back off. “Begging your pardon, Madam. Show me your wand.”
Narcissa bit her lip on what would have been a sharp remark, but handed it over. Priori Incantatem indeed revealed that a curse had been fired with her wand. The Aurors looked at each other, puzzled.
“Show us,” said Smith, the Auror who had examined her wand. “Cast another curse.”
Frowning, she turned in a swirl of robes and squared her shoulders, positioning herself. Great, flashy curses had always been her weakness; she just didn’t have that sort of destructive energy, preferring to cast sneaky little hexes whose effects would slowly drive her unfortunate victims crazy, but the Aurors wouldn’t know it for her bravado. Lucius almost had to smile with a sudden rush of fondness. He stepped close enough to her that, hidden in the folds of Narcissa’s robes, their hands touched. It was just their small fingers curling around each other, but it was enough: the curse erupted from her wand with enough force that the Aurors jumped backwards, shielding their eyes, and in the distance, another tree fell.
Relieved, Narcissa let out a deep breath. “There. I don’t see what all the fuss is about. Everything is quite in order.”
The Aurors muttered among themselves for a minute. Then Smith pointed at Lucius’s staff, which he was leaning on to as on a crutch. “What have you got there, Malfoy?”
“A walking stick,” Lucius said. “I twisted my knee tripping over a rug.” Knowing the Aurors liked it when misfortune befell him, he grimaced and patted his thigh. “It just hasn’t been the same since.”
“Well, be more careful then!” Dawes snapped at him. He nodded to Narcissa. “You too, Madam. Don’t get yourself in trouble.” And with that customary advice, they departed.
“I feel they’re getting more stupid each time,” Narcissa commented, grasping her husband’s elbow as they started back to the house. “Trip on a rug! You laid it on thick, dearest. You’re the picture of health.” Pleased, she squeezed his bicep.
Going through life without the aid of magic had indeed forced him to get more exercise and left him in fine form, but it would be nice to be able to do menial spells and charms again. He smirked at her. “Well, it worked, didn’t it. And we’ve learned some valuable things. They’re unable to tell who is doing magic here, or with what sort of instrument.”
“Quite. They were slow to react too, don’t you think? Two whole minutes; you might have escaped to gods know where in that time.”
They had reached the patio. Lucius turned to her, encircling her in his arms, and together they looked out over the land that was their home. “Not yet,” he said, low. “Not until Ally is grown and out of the house. I wouldn’t condemn you and her to exile.”
He felt Narcissa sigh softly. “By the time she is grown, perhaps we will have found another way. I admit I would be loath to leave all this.” She looked up at him and smiled. “But you know I would. I will. Come with you.”
“We shall see. For now, I can amuse myself with my staff. That’s good enough.”
Narcissa bit her lip. “That sounds...interesting. Would you care to demonstrate what you can do with your...staff?”
“Whatever my lady desires.” He laughed. “That was a great curse you cast, Cissy. Well done.”
“At least half of that was your doing,” she said, but she soaked up the compliment regardless. “We’ve always done well together, haven’t we. But now you can do magic on your own again. How lovely that will be! Do you think you could be so kind as to apparate us upstairs to our bedroom?”
He affected a look of shock. “At this time of day? Why, Mrs Malfoy!”
She plucked at the front of his shirt, wiggling her fingers underneath between the buttons. “It’s all the cursing. It’s like fire in my blood.”
“You should cast more curses then.”
“No. I don’t like it. It would be so easy to have it overwhelm me, that magic. And then I’d be like Bella.” She frowned slightly, like a cloud passing over the blue of her eyes. “For all that we keenly feel our defeat, it’s been...pleasant to live as we have, hasn’t it. No cause, no politics. Just you and I and the children, living for each other and no one else.”
Lucius sighed. “And will that be enough? Always?”
“For me it will be,” she said fiercely. “I only ever worry about you.”
He looked out over the gardens again, the hedges in the distance that concealed the outer wall, the hills and meadows beyond. “The winds will change again,” he said. “They always do. And when they do, I’ll be ready. But for now, this here shall suffice.”
And with a crack, he apparated them both away.