Chapter 1- Meet Draco
It had been seven months since anyone in England had seen the tall blond woman who just stepped off the night bus in Godric's Hollow. Cradled in her arms was an equally blond baby boy. She looked down at him with red eyes and tear-stained cheeks.
The heels of her boots made a steady rhythm as she strode toward the house at the end of the street with purpose. She didn't even know if he would be there, but she had to hope.
She reached the opening in the fence that outlined the small cottage home and stopped. "How quaint," she sneered, but quickly scolded herself for looking down upon the family inside. There were worse things than having a small house. She glanced down at the baby wrapped securely in a dark green blanket and clutched him tighter to her body, taking a deep breath to calm her nerves. She could only pray to the gods that everything would work out.
As she slowly made her way up the stone path to the front door, she had to remind herself that this wasn't nearly half as frightening as her decision to leave her husband. If she could handle defying him, then she could certainly handle this.
When she was a meter from the door she shifted her son slightly so he could be balanced in her left arm and raised her right fist. She hesitated.
What if he isn't there? What if they take one look at me and kill me before I can explain? But what choice do I have? There is nowhere else to go and I'm running out of time. I must protect Draco.
And then she knocked. Her hand was shaking something awful and she brought it to her mouth as if it would stop her inner-protests from leaking out and forcing her to change her mind and leave the way she came. She clenched her eyes shut as she felt tears threaten to spill from them and strained her ears to listen for any sound from behind the door. There was the thud of padded feet across wood floor and the click of the latch as someone looked out at her through the peep hole. She willed her eyes to open, but they defied her, so the only thing she could do was wait with bated breath.
There was another sound of the latch falling back into place and of the door being ripped open. The blond woman could feel the cool air rush towards her from inside. Slowly, her eyes slid open and she stared down the end of a willow wood wand.
"What do you want?" The question was cold and incredibly threatening and it took all of her strength not to run.
"Please—" It was a sob that wracked through her entire body and she couldn't say more. She blinked back the tears and her eyes focused on the woman behind the wand.
Lily's auburn locks were pulled up into a loose bun and her face bore not a stitch of makeup, but her green eyes were fierce and deadly. Her lips were pressed firmly together which indicated that she meant business. Somehow Lily's serious expression calmed Narcissa Malfoy. Perhaps she was just far more used to this particular demeanor.
Lily's gaze finally shifted away and Narcissa only felt a moment of relief before she realized Mrs. Potter's eyes had landed on the bundle in her arms. Narcissa subconsciously pulled Draco closer to her.
Lily blinked in surprise and when her eyes flicked back up to Narcissa, they were less hostile and more curious. "Who—"
"My son," Narcissa answered immediately, barely giving Lily a chance to utter the question.
Lily's hand moved instinctively to her own belly and that's when Narcissa finally noticed the other witch's rather large baby bump. It was her turn to blink in surprise.
"Boy or girl?" The question escaped her lips before she could stop it. "Sorry, I— I shouldn't have—"
The two women faced each other for some time, neither really knowing what to say. Narcissa couldn't find her voice to ask what she came to ask, so she just stood there, embarrassingly mute.
"What are you doing here," Lily inquired again, though far less forcefully. Her wand was still trained resolutely on Narcissa, right over her heart.
Narcissa opened her mouth to answer, faltered, and then tried again. This time she managed to speak. "I need to find Sirius. Is he here?"
"Sirius?" Lily seemed confounded for a moment, but she recovered swiftly. "He stepped out."
"Oh," Narcissa squeaked, a cross between disappointment at her cousin not being in at the moment and elation at the context that he would be back later, warring within her. She didn't want to ask, but the weight in her arms demanded she must. "Could I wait for him… to come back?"
Lily looked to be having an internal argument within herself. Her eyes kept flickering to Draco and eventually one side seemed to win over the other. "Give me your wand and you can wait inside," Lily demanded.
Narcissa hesitated but conceded to her command. She reached into her robes and held out her wand to the red-haired witch. Lily took it and placed it in the holster on her calf where her own wand must usually be kept. "Right then, come in."
Narcissa thanked her softly and stepped into the modest two story cottage home.
They both made their way to the living area and Lily indicated a seat which Narcissa took graciously. They sat awkwardly in silence.
"Tea," Lily offered.
The incredulity of this situation finally hit Narcissa and she laughed. "Sure, that would be lovely."
It was obvious that the odd situation had also struck Lily who giggled as well. "Alright. Accio tea set."
When both witches were sipping tea contently, the awkwardness settled back in. Narcissa took this time to look around the simple living room. The furnishings were a light wood and the sofa and chairs were a soft baby blue. There was an odd contraption in the corner of the room that Narcissa had never seen before. It was a black box with two strings protruding from it that each disappeared into the wall.
"What is that," Narcissa inquired. "Strange looking thing."
"That's a television." Narcissa could hear the smile in Lily's voice, but she oddly didn't get offended.
"Oh, I had no idea that was what one looked like," the blond witch admitted curiously. She cocked her head as if looking at it from a different angle would make it recognizable. "How does it work?"
Surprised by her own question, she turned back to look at Lily whose own eyes were wide with a mix of astonishment and mirth. "Um… well… do you know what electricity is?"
"Well one wire connects the telly to electricity which means you can turn it on— Accio remote— like this." With the click of a button on the thing Lily had called a remote, the black screen behind her flickered and then there was a man and a women kissing in it's place. The picture moved, like a wizarding photograph, but there was also the sound of soft music playing in the background.
"Fascinating." And it truly was. Muggles were far more interesting than her family had ever given them credit for.
"This is an advert for earrings if you can believe it," Lily explained. "They show things like this during breaks in the actual show or movie that is playing, but I can change the channel, like this—" Another button was pushed and Narcissa watched the screen flash to a new picture which showed a birds eye view of a green field with white lines criss-crossing it. Scattered across the field were little people running back and forth kicking a black and white sphere.
"What is this?"
"Football. It's a muggle sport. It's played kind of like Quiddich I suppose, but on the ground since muggles can't fly obviously. The goal is to get the ball into the opponent's net. Each team has a keeper just like in Quiddich, and he's the only one who can use his hands. Then there are chasers, though that's not what they are called. However there is no seeker or beaters," Lily finished.
"I understand why there's no beaters. It would be rather dangerous for muggles to have to escape a bludger, but if there is no seeker, how do you know the game has ended," Narcissa asked, slightly perplexed by all this new information.
"There's a time limit," Lily answered. "Once the time runs out, the game is over and whichever team has the most points wins."
"They should have that for Quidditch in my opinion," Narcissa muttered. "Sometimes those games go on far too long."
Lily's chuckle finally had Narcissa turning away from the television. Lily sobered quickly and turned off the telly as yet again the disbelief of this situation had crept back in.
Narcissa could tell Lily was trying to figure out why she was here asking for Sirius without actually asking. Her emerald gaze roamed over every inch of Narcissa's body. It was calculating and menacing, but the blond witch let her do as she wished. This was her home and she could do what she pleased.
"He's quiet," Lily whispered indicating the sleeping child cradled in Narcissa's lap.
"Yes, well I believe you caught him at a good time. He was a wailing menace before I left, but I think the night bus actually calmed him," Narcissa confessed with a snicker.
"You took the night bus here? Why?" Lily's tone was beyond surprised.
"I— I try not to use too much magic that isn't wandless. I can call the night bus without my wand but I can't apparate."
"Why don't you use your wand?"
Narcissa couldn't believe she admitted so much already and naturally wanted to keep from saying more, but then thought better of it. What use is keeping this information to herself now anyway?
"I'm afraid Lucius can have it tracked," Narcissa rushed out. This wasn't technically a lie, but it wasn't completely the truth either. That could wait. "He has powerful allies at the ministry, you see, and with the Dark Lord on his side, one can never… be…" The intake of breath had Narcissa's voice fading away. "I'm sorry. I shouldn't have said that."
"No, it's fine," Lily said putting on a brave face. "It's just… been awhile since I've heard anyone call him that. Do not worry."
The uncomfortable feeling set in again and Draco must have sensed it for he awoke with a gurgle. Narcissa leaned down until her face was inches from his and cooed, "Hello my little dragon. Did you sleep well darling?" Narcissa poked his nose and he giggled happily. She smiled widely, but inside she was crying again. It was almost easier to deal with her situation when Draco slept. It felt more like a dream that way.
"What's his name?"
"Draco," Narcissa choked out trying to hold back the tears again. She tried to hide her watery eyes as best she could, but Lily must have noticed.
"Are you alright?"
Narcissa wiped at her eyes uselessly. "Fine dear, thank you. Would you like to hold him? For practice?"
"Are you sure," Lily asked apprehensively.
"Of course. Here." Narcissa stood and walked around the coffee table until she stood in front of Lily. She lowered Draco into her arms so that he rested above Lily's baby bump.
Lily flicked her wand and suddenly there was a kerchief in Narcissa's empty hand. The blonde smiled gratefully and sat down next to the redhead while she dabbed at her eyes. She watched Lily's face as the woman stared down at the blond boy in her arms.
"Hi Draco," she whispered before giving a huff of laughter. "Draco, huh? That's a lovely name, but no doubt you'll hate it. Sirius always hated his, unless he used it to make a pun, but I always found being named after a constellation to be quite beautiful. See in my family we are all named after flowers. I've always hated that. People always assumed my favorite flower was a lily. Ugh, could you imagine? So many lilies given to me by suitors and such. Couldn't stand it. Well, then I agreed to finally go to Hogsmeade with a certain persistent prat named James Potter. I walked up to him that afternoon and he had a hand behind his back and I was dreading being given more lilies. But when he presented me with the bouquet, they weren't lilies. They were tulips. Before I could shake off the surprise, he said, 'I know these are your favorite, but I couldn't decide on a color so I gave you the rainbow. Is that ok?' I still don't know how he knew. Well I married him and now we're also having a baby who I hope will be just as cute as you."
Narcissa snorted. "Please, he'll probably have you're green eyes and Potter's dark hair. Girls will be eating out of the palm of his hand."
Lily laughed heartily and looked up at Narcissa, those piercing green orbs full of wonder and mirth. "Narcissa, I honestly think that is the nicest thing I've ever heard you say."
Narcissa flushed, embarrassed by her words. "Yes, well, I should have said them sooner." Narcissa stared down at her beautiful child and ran a finger along his pale cheek. A question came to mind and she suddenly needed to know the answer. "What are you naming him?"
Lily brushed her fingers through the soft wisps of white-blond hair on Draco's head. "James wants him to be named after his father but… Fleamont?"
Narcissa grunted in agreement. "Awful."
"Exactly. So I refused him and he only argued a little. It was adorable, really, that he thought he would get his way. I mean, it took him seven years to convince me to date him." Lily shook her head and rolled her eyes.
"Lucius wanted our son to be named after his father as well. Abraxas. Like I was going to look down at my son and go, 'Hi there Abraxas, it's me, Mum.'"
Lily guffawed. "Men are crazy. I think Draco is lovely. Does Lucius like it?"
Both witches stopped smiling at that question. "I wouldn't know," Narcissa answered refusing to meet Lily's eyes. "I didn't even tell him I was pregnant, let alone what I wanted to name him."
There was another silence, but it wasn't quite as uncomfortable. The two women seemed to have reached an odd understanding.
"I was thinking… Harry," Lily whispered.
Narcissa's lips quirked as she considered the name. "Harry Potter." It flowed and Narcissa could picture him. "Yes. It's perfect."
The sound of a motorcycle pulling up to the street outside startled Narcissa. She clutched Lily's hand desperately in a death grip. "Please, just tell me one thing. Draco and Harry… do you think they'll be friends?"
Lily stared into Narcissa's eyes, so deep it was like she was staring into her soul. She must have looked desperate, for Lily replied with a simple, "Sure. Of course."
Narcissa slumped into the light blue cushion in relief and then geared herself up for the next person to walk through the door to shove a wand in her face.
Sirius Black did not disappoint.
Sirius leveled his wand at his cousin's head and demanded, "What are you doing here?"
Narcissa's eyes were closed and her mouth was pulled into a tight smirk. "Oh Sirius," she muttered and her eyes shot open to reveal the brilliant blue of her irises. "Don't you know to never tickle a sleeping dragon?"
"Wha—" he started to say, but was quickly lost to the memories of his forgotten past.
***Seven months earlier***
Another crucio from the lips of his cousin had Sirius Black crippling in pain. To be caught by death eaters was one thing, but to suffer at the hands of his cousin, a girl he grew up with and looked up to and fondly called Bella, was quite another. The cruciatus curse didn't cut quite as deeply when it came from Dolohov or the Lestrange brothers. Family had never failed to hurt Sirius. They had continued to wound him over and over again and seemed to make it their goal to never let the injuries they inflicted, physical or emotional, heal.
Through the haze of the unforgivable, Sirius could hear Bellatrix laughing maniacally. She was enjoying the pain and Sirius wanted to wretch at the thought. Had she always been like this? Cruel to the point of madness? Depraved and empty and rotten? Evil?
The thoughts whirled around in his head making him even dizzier and his body shuddered with relief as the curse finally ended.
"Sister," Bella greeted. "How lovely of you to join our little family reunion." Her voice was vicious and cut Sirius to the bone. It grated on his nerves and he convulsed instinctively, curling in on himself to appear small and weak.
People tended to underestimate how quickly Sirius could come back after a crucio was thrown his way. It was a gift that the hit wizard learned about swiftly on his first mission. His fellow hit wizards would twitch uncontrollably for hours or sometimes days after being hit with the curse, but not Sirius. He bounced back easily with barely an ache or pain. It was a skill proven quite useful throughout his career.
"Bella," came Narcissa's cool, calm voice. "Leave us."
Sirius blinked in surprise and apparently he wasn't the only one who was bemused by Mrs. Malfoy's odd request. Bellatrix exclaimed, "Why should I? I'm in charge of the prisoners Cissy—"
"And this is my home and I am telling you to leave," Narcissa interrupted icily. "I have a few words for the prisoner and wish to speak with him alone. I believe you understand the rules of the house and that I have primacy here, so you may wait upstairs until I have said what I came to say in the privacy I have a right to."
Sirius waited, breath caught in his throat as the silence stretched. He had been in the cellar of the Malfoy mansion for three days and his youngest cousin hadn't come to visit once. He was oddly curious to find out what she had to say. Sirius had a hard time believing he would make it out of this situation alive and he figured anything was better than being tortured until he died. He would listen to Mrs. Malfoy, if only because he wanted a reprieve from everyone else who had come to visit him so far.
"If you wanted to torture him yourself, why didn't you just say so Cissy," Bella asked, breaking the silence. "I can never understand why you don't just say what you want so I don't have to sort through your thoughts. It's quite annoying."
Sirius furrowed his eyebrows in confusion. Did Bella just use Legilimency on Narcissa? And if that's the case, did that mean Cissy actually came down here to torture me? That doesn't really seem like her.
"Just leave," Narcissa demanded with a distinct hint of annoyance. "Why you constantly feel the need to search my mind is beyond me, sister. Your lack of trust is distasteful."
Sirius could practically hear the glares the sisters were shooting at each other. A cold bout of laughter was the only sound that filled the nearly empty cellar before the bang of a door that indicated Bellatrix's exit.
"Sirius," Narcissa gushed before he felt the presence of his cousin at his side, her robes brushing across his body. "Are you alright?"
To say that he was surprised would be an understatement. He was beyond baffled by the inquiry and his eyes shot open and stared into the wide, concerned blue eyes of Narcissa Malfoy. "What?" His voice was hoarse from the lack of water he had received, but neither cousin seemed to notice. He was still too stunned and she just looked more distressed by the second.
"We need to get out of here."
"What," Sirius stupidly asked again.
"Oh Sirius," she whimpered, crumpling to the hard ground until they were eye to eye.
She's getting herself all dirty, Sirius mused, and perhaps it was a fair assessment that he had in fact lost his mind as that was a very strange thought in the midst of all the much more important things going on.
"Sirius, I— I'm sorry I didn't come sooner. I had to be sure that I had mastered occlumency or Bella would never have left me alone with you, but that's no excuse. I shouldn't have been on that side of the door to begin with, but I suppose it's a little late for that…"
"I… don't understand," Sirius muttered in bewilderment. "What's going on here, Narcissa?"
Rather than answer, his beautiful cousin started sobbing and reached for his hand. Sirius tried his best not to flinch and snatch it away, but failed which only made Narcissa cry harder. "Sirius, please…"
It was the crack in her voice at the plea that broke Sirius. Something was wrong and he steeled himself to be the brave Gryffindor he had proven himself to be time and time again. He brought his hand back down slowly and rested his palm over hers. "What is it, Cissy?"
A small smile graced her lips through the stream of tears. She picked up his hand and brought it to her stomach. "Meet Draco," she managed to say.
Despite everything, despite the war, the grief and loss, the anger for his family, the fear for his friends, the fact that he was currently locked in a cellar, dehydrated and starving, Sirius smiled and laughed giddily. "Draco, huh? Don't you think this stupid family tradition has gone on long enough, Cissy?"
Narcissa giggled but it was laced with sadness and fear. "His name will be the least of his worries."
"What do you mean?"
"Nothing, I will tell you later. Please, we must leave, Sirius. Are you—"
"What about your Lord," Sirius couldn't help himself ask vehemently. "I'm just supposed to believe that you would betray your husband and Volde—"
The soft thuds against his hand as it rested on his cousin's slightly swollen belly halted his words and for that brief moment he felt like the world had stopped. He glanced down at the offending hand in awe. He had felt her son kick and nothing else seemed to matter. This was a magic that would never cease to amaze Sirius.
A small gasp escaped Narcissa's mouth and she grabbed Sirius's face gently so that he would look at her. "I'll only give my respect and devotion to one Lord, and that is to the Lord of the ancient and noble house of Black," she whispered. Gently stroking his face, she stared deeply into his eyes, light blue to gray, as she uttered the next sentence. "And that's you Sirius."
Sirius blinked and the world seemed to start again. Determination coursed through him. Despite the years of abuse in his own household, despite being disowned and labeled a blood traitor, despite sorting into Gryffindor and creating a new family with Prongs, Moony, and Wormtail, Sirius would always be a Black. And if his cousin needed him to be Lord Black, then he damn well would be.
"What's your plan of escape," he asked.
There was a glimpse of a smile before Narcissa reverted back to her usual mask of haughty indifference and she replied, "Are you well enough to portkey?" She reached into her robes and pulled out an item wrapped in a silk handkerchief.
Sirius shot her the cocky smile that was his own mask and jumped to a standing position. "You know us Gryffindors, Cissy. We're fighters." And then he held out his hand. She seemed to hesitate only for a second, but Sirius guessed it was just out of habit. She placed her hand in his and he helped her to her feet. They stood toe to toe, with Draco in the middle.
"I stole this from Lucius," Narcissa admitted as she began to peel back the piece of silk with her fingers. "It's the only thing that will work inside the wards of the Manor. I overheard him explaining this to Dolohov and it was supposed to be used for the Dark L— uh, you-know-who."
"Do you know where it leads?" Sirius's eyes were wide with sudden apprehension.
Narcissa looked down with a grimace. "No," she confessed. Sirius winced and she must have noticed because she looked back up defiantly. "But, anywhere is better than here. And hopefully we can apparate away as soon as we touch down."
"Won't that be bad for Draco?"
Narcissa gave a little huff followed by a sniffle. "I'm touched by your concern, but he should be fine if I apparate side-along. After we portkey, hug me close with Draco in between us before you disapparate away. You can apparate without the use of your wand, correct?"
"Yes, of course."
"Right, take us somewhere safe. Do you have a place in mind?"
Sirius immediately considered his options. He should go straight to the ministry and report in after his escape, but that would mean a load of questioning by ministry officials that Sirius would rather ask his cousin himself. What they needed was a safe house and the most obvious location sprang to mind immediately. Sirius groaned audibly.
"Yes, I know where to go," Sirius finally sighed. He laughed aloud, because the incredulity of this situation had finally caught up with him. The matron of the house where he was being held hostage was helping him in his escape and he just agreed to take her to his least favorite place in the world. However, Grimmauld Place was the only real option. His parents and brother were no longer alive to enter and as the only one who knew the address after their deaths, he became the soul secret keeper. No one would be able to find the place let alone enter.
"Thank you," Narcissa said unwrapping the silver hair brush and holding it in her palm between them. "You were always my favorite."
"Ha! Are you serious?"
Narcissa snorted inelegantly and smirked up at him. "No, you are."
Sirius, slightly taken aback, smiles. "Bloody right I am, Cissy. On three…" Sirius held a hand over the brush and Narcissa's fingers grazed his own as she joined him. She nodded.
He counted and on three they both touched the portkey. Sirius felt himself being pulled through the wards of the manor and whisked across the country. He could tell he was getting close to the stopping point and readied himself to land as best he could when he didn't know the destination.
The whirl of the world around him slowed and he could make out specific colors and patterns. And then he felt the air around him and his feet made contact with soft grass. He landed graciously and managed to keep himself upright as he slowed to a halt on a grassy hillside overlooking a sea cliff. He turned immediately and caught his cousin as she emerged behind him.
"Whoa, I got ya," Sirius said whisking her small frame up before she careened to the hard ground.
Narcissa's eyes were closed but when she opened them she blinked owlishly up at Sirius. "Where are we?"
"No idea," Sirius remarked taking a quick look around before glancing back down at the witch in his arms. "Not really what I expected when you said that portkey was made for old Voldy, but I'm not sticking around to investigate further. You decent enough to try apparating?"
Narcissa looked a little green in the face, but she nodded and Sirius didn't bother arguing with her. "Alright," he said raising her up a bit and hugging her close to his chest. "Hold tight. I'll try not to splinch us."
Before he gave her a chance to argue, he swept them both away and they reappeared in the front yard of 12 Grimmauld Place.
"I think something went wrong," Narcissa uttered. "My eyesight. Everything around us looks hazy."
"That's because I haven't told you the address. It's under a fidelius charm," Sirius explained.
"Don't tell me it," Narcissa demanded with a gasp and she pulled out her wand and pointed it at Sirius's head.
To say that Sirius was surprised would be an understatement. His cousin had left him confounded quite a lot in the past hour. "Narcissa?"
"Petrificus Totalus," Narcissa enchanted. Frozen solid in the front garden of Grimmauld Place, Sirius listened carefully to what his cousin had to say for herself. "I'm sorry Sirius, but it would be safer for you if you didn't know about any of this. I hope you can forgive me. Perhaps one day I can explain things, but you'll probably never see me again." Her words were rushed and Sirius could hardly keep up. He watched her pull another silk-wrapped item from the pocket of her robes, readying herself to portkey away again. "Have a good life Sirius," she demanded of him and pointed her wand at Sirius's head. "Obliviate."
Sirius shook his head to clear away the cobwebs and glanced at his surroundings in utter bewilderment. The last he remembered, he was laying on the stone floor of the Malfoy dungeon being tortured by his eldest cousin. Now he stood alone in front of his childhood home. He could feel the faint magical residue of someone portkeying away, but couldn't follow it without his wand, which he seemed to be without.
How did I escape? Why would I go here? He ran a hand through his hair in frustration. He needed to find Prongs. Perhaps James could fill him in or at least provide a theory.
His eyes cleared and focused on the blonde in front of him. He lowered his wand and stared at her openmouthed. Sirius shook his head in disbelief which managed to dislodge the breath caught in his throat. "Wow," Sirius exhaled. "That wasn't even close to the ideas James and I came up with."
Narcissa looked up through her pale lashes and grinned sheepishly. "Yes, well… I—"
"How did you do that," Sirius interrupted excitedly. "I've never heard of anyone being able to return a person's obliviated memory before!"
"Oh well, I've always been good at memory charms, but I felt terrible anytime I used them," Narcissa admitted timidly. "So, I invented a failsafe in their mind that I would just hide the memory behind until I voiced a code word or phrase that would bring it back. Mother let me use her for practice."
"Incredible," Sirius declared. As the high from his memories returning faded away he recalled his original question, and he turned suspicious eyes on his cousin. "Why are you here Cissy?"
Narcissa couldn't seem to find the words. Her eyes bored into Sirius's and the silence stretched.
"Perhaps you should both take a seat," Lily commented.
Sirius flicked his gaze to the redhead and noticed for the first time the child laying in her arms. "Who—"
"My son," Narcissa interjected. "Perhaps we should sit. Sirius?"
The wizard nodded dumbly as he settled himself into the love seat between the two arm chairs, Lily in the one to his right and Narcissa in the one to his left. However, he couldn't take his eyes off the small boy in his friend's arms. "Is this Draco?"
"Yes," Narcissa answered, swallowing audibly before continuing. "Meet Draco Sirius Black."