A/N - This is another Lucissa one shot. It takes place after the sixth book and it's a plot I'm considering developing into a full length story.
As she got out of bed Narcissa Malfoy couldn't hear a sound in the vast manor where she lived. Not that it was surprising that all was quiet as it was two o'clock in the morning. Even so, Narcissa pulled on her dressing gown and left her bedroom to check on her son, Draco. Draco now had his own wing of the manor so it took Narcissa a few minutes to reach his wing and bedroom.
Quietly, Narcissa entered Draco's room and breathed a sigh of relief when she spotted her son asleep in bed. Obviously the sleeping draught she'd had one of the elves slip into his cup of tea after dinner had worked, and her son would finally be able to get the rest that alluded him since his return from Hogwarts a week ago. Narcissa felt terrible for drugging her son without his knowledge, but she knew that he hadn't slept a full night since he'd come home. And considering the state he was in when he came home, Narcissa doubted he'd had much sleep over the previous year. She was betting that her son was just like her in the fact that he hadn't had a full night's sleep since his father, Lucius, was arrested a year ago.
Even though he was asleep, Draco still didn't look very peaceful, and it pained Narcissa to see him so unhappy. She just wished there was something she could do to help him, but there wasn't. She would give anything to take away the bags under his eyes, and build him back up from the skeletal boy he'd become, but she had no answers. Truth be told she was in just as bad of a shape as her son, and all she could do was pray that everything worked out and that her entire family wouldn't be destroyed.
"All we can do is have hope," Narcissa whispered, more to herself than to her sleeping son, as she gently brushed Draco's blond hair away from his face and pressed a light kiss to his forehead.
Feeling a bit better knowing her son was finally getting the rest he needed, Narcissa headed back to her own bedroom. Knowing that sleep would elude her for another couple of hours at least, Narcissa settled down in the armchair in the corner of the room and gazed into the darkness. As always, she couldn't help but think about her husband, and how he was faring in Azkaban. It broke her heart to think of Lucius in that dreadful place, but there was also another part of her that blamed her husband for everything that was happening to their family. His arrest had led to the worst year of Narcissa's life, and as much as she loved her husband and wished he was by her side, she was also angry at him for putting her and Draco in such a dangerous situation.
A year ago, everything had been fine for the Malfoys. Narcissa would admit that she wasn't overly happy that Voldemort was back. Unlike her sister and husband, she'd never been fanatical about The Dark Lord and his mission, and she'd liked the life she and her family had before he'd returned. Still, she'd never really thought it was a major problem that he was back. Until Lucius was arrested, subsequently sent to Azkaban, and she and Draco found themselves in Voldemort's line of sight as his only way of punishing Lucius.
For the last year Narcissa had been a virtual prisoner in her own home, and poor Draco had been forced to do all kinds of things in Voldemort's name. Narcissa knew that The Dark Lord had intended for Draco to fail in the horrific task he'd set for him, but thankfully Narcissa had been able to plead her son's case to their old friend, Severus Snape, and when the time came, Severus had stepped forward and did all he could to save Draco. Even so, everything he'd been forced to do had traumatised Draco, and Narcissa knew that no matter what happened, her son would be irrevocably damaged by events of the previous year. All she could hope was that in time, Draco was able to move on and get his life back on track.
Although Narcissa wasn't sure if anyone's life would get back on track as things stood. She knew that if Voldemort was victorious, she and Draco would likely survive, but she couldn't say the same for Lucius. The Dark Lord had refused to talk about Lucius for the previous year, and there was no signs that he was thinking of breaking him out of Azkaban. Narcissa suspected there was a good chance that if Voldemort won the war that her husband would spend the rest of his life in Azkaban, while The Dark Lord took over the manor completely and made her life a living hell.
Not that Narcissa knew if things would be any better for her family if the light triumphed and Voldemort was truly vanquished. Lucius was already in Azkaban as a convicted Death Eater, so things probably wouldn't get worse for him. However, Draco now bore the Dark Mark and he'd been forced to do terrible things over the course of the last year. Narcissa could pray that those in charge would see that Draco wasn't a bad person, he'd merely done all he could to protect his family, but it wasn't a certainty. If the light won there was every chance she would lose her son. And of course she herself may end up facing charges of being on the dark side, even though she didn't bear the mark and had never taken part in any battle or altercation.
When it came down to it, Narcissa didn't know what result would be best for her family. Truthfully, she was already fearful that it was too late and that her family was broken beyond repair. In her darkest moments she feared the Malfoys were over, and she would never get her family back. She'd feared she'd already lost her husband for good, and that her son would soon be beyond her reach as well.
Lifting her hand, Narcissa brushed at the few tears that had fallen as her thoughts had taken a dark turn. Vowing that she wasn't going to spend another night crying for things she couldn't change, Narcissa got to her feet and headed to the adjoining bathroom. In the bathroom, she opened the cabinet above the sink and took out a mild sleeping draught. She hated to take potions in order to sleep, but she doubted she would sleep without help.
Narcissa slowly measured out a small dose of the potion, just enough to help her sleep for the rest of the night. However, before she could take the potion she felt the wards around the house ripple as someone landed on the ground floor. Up until a year ago the only people who could apparate straight into the manor were herself and Lucius, but Voldemort had changed several of the wards since he'd taken up residence in the guest wing with her sister, Bellatrix. Even so, he'd only given such access to himself and Bellatrix, and Narcissa knew they'd both left for the weekend. Not that it meant she could leave, as Voldemort had erected a ward keeping her and Draco on the premises until they returned.
Abandoning her potion, Narcissa hurried back to her bedroom where she grabbed her wand. She may never have taken part in any battles, but she was an accomplished witch and she could hold her own against almost anybody. Creeping quietly from the bedroom, Narcissa made her way to the main staircase, listening out for any noises downstairs. As she reached the top of the staircase she became aware that whoever had entered the house was coming up the stairs. Pressing herself back against the wall of the landing, she stood with her wand at the ready, prepared to face the intruder.
Slowly the feet came up the stairs, and in the dim light Narcissa began to make out a figure reaching the top of the staircase. It was too dark to see who it was, but Narcissa could make out just enough to step forward just as the stranger reached the top of the stairs. With her wand pointed firmly in front of her, she felt it press into the chest of the intruder as he halted.
"Who are you and what do you want?" Narcissa asked. "I'm not afraid to hurt you."
"I'm sure you're not, but I would rather you didn't," the intruder responded.
Narcissa gasped at the familiar voice, and pulling her wand back, she lit it up. The light was rather bright, and Narcissa didn't have to move her wand closer to the intruder to see who it was. Looking thinner than she'd ever seen him, with his long blond hair matted and untidy and in desperate need of a shave, stood her husband.
"Lucius." Dropping her wand to the floor, Narcissa launched herself at her husband, hardly able to believe what she was seeing.
"Damn it Narcissa, I've missed you," Lucius whispered in a harsh voice as he fought back the tears. He wasn't a man to show his emotions, but the last year had been horrific and being reunited with his wife meant the world to him.
"I've missed you too," Narcissa sobbed, unbothered by the fact she'd broken down in tears at the unexpected sight of her husband.
Still crying lightly, Narcissa pulled back to take a closer look at her husband. Close up he looked to have aged several years and he had dark circles under his eyes large enough to rival the ones of their son. Like Draco his grey eyes had lost their spark, and she could see the despair in them. Lovingly stroking her hand down his cheek, she pulled her hand away before striking it back against her husband's face with all the strength she could manage.
"What the hell?" Lucius cried, staggering slightly at the unexpected blow from his usually gentle wife. "What was that for?"
"Everything," Narcissa replied, her emotions warring against each other. "This last year has been hell, Lucius."
"It's hardly been a picnic for me either," Lucius muttered, rubbing at his cheek.
"I know you've suffered too," Narcissa conceded with a sigh. "But you can't blame me for being angry. Not with everything Draco's been through this year."
"I don't blame you for hating me, Cissa," Lucius said quietly.
"I don't hate you," Narcissa replied with a soft smile as she once again ran a loving hand down her husband's face. "I love you, Lucius. I always have, and I always will. But that doesn't change the fact you're partly to blame for what's happened this year."
"I know," Lucius admitted in a low voice. What made his spell in Azkaban harder to bare was the thought of what his mistakes would be costing his family. He didn't know the full details of everything his wife and son had been through, but he knew they'd suffered because of him, and he hated himself for letting them down.
"We should get you cleaned up," Narcissa said. "You are staying, aren't you?"
"I am," Lucius replied with a nod. "The Dark Lord released me and informed me I could come home. I doubt I'll be able to leave again without his permission."
"Welcome to my world," Narcissa snorted. "The only time I managed to get out without a chaperone last summer, Bellatrix followed me. Thankfully, she didn't manage to stop me from reaching Severus and begging for his help."
"Help with what?" Lucius asked.
"Draco," Narcissa replied with a sigh. "How much do you know about what he's been doing?"
"Not a lot," Lucius admitted. "I've been kept out of the loop during my incarceration. The Dark Lord did mention Draco was home, but isn't the end of the term not until next week?"
"It is," Narcissa replied. "Draco's been home a week already. I'll tell you everything while you take a bath. I hate to say this Lucius, but you don't smell too good."
"No, I don't," Lucius agreed, sniffing at his clothes. To be honest, everything he was wearing was likely to be burnt as he wanted no reminders of his stay in Azkaban.
Lucius followed Narcissa back to the room, and while his wife headed off to run him a hot bath, Lucius took a moment to look around the bedroom. In his darker moments he feared he would never see his home again, so it was emotional to be back with his family. Although what state his family was in remained to be seen. He hadn't mentioned anything to Narcissa, but she wasn't looking her usual self. She was still beautiful, she would always be beautiful, but she was lacking the spark that had made him fall in love with her all those years ago. She looked to have lost weight, she was paler than usual and he could see from the dark circles under her eyes that she wasn't sleeping.
"Lucius," Narcissa called, breaking into his thoughts.
Heading through to the bathroom, Lucius moaned in appreciation when he saw the large tub filling up with hot water. He hadn't had a proper bath since his incarceration, and he was looking forward to soaking his weary bones.
"Put your clothes in a pile and I'll send for one of the house elves to destroy them," Narcissa ordered.
Lucius smirked slightly at how in sync he and his wife were, even with a year's separation under their belts. Stripping off his clothes, he piled them in the corner of the large bathroom. Completely naked, he padded over to the bath and sunk into the warm water with a long sigh.
"Why don't you join me," he suggested to his wife.
"You've been back ten minutes and you're already feeling frisky?" Narcissa questioned with a teasing smile.
"I wish," Lucius sighed. He would have said after a year away from Narcissa he would be ready for action immediately, but he was so exhausted, physically and emotionally, he didn't think he could perform even if his life depended on it. "I would just like to hold you."
"I'd like that," Narcissa said with a soft smile. Despite her joke, sex was the last thing on her mind, but she wouldn't say no to being wrapped securely in her husband's arms again.
Lucius watched Narcissa as she removed her robe and slipped out of the nightgown she was wearing. His earlier thoughts about Narcissa's weight loss were confirmed as he noted the changes in his wife's body. Narcissa had always been slender, but her hip bones seemed to jut out further and he suspected he would be able to feel her ribs when he put his arms around her. Not that he had room to talk as he knew he'd lost a lot of weight and was little more than skin and bones at the moment.
"What?" Narcissa asked, seeing the way her husband was looking at her.
"You've lost weight," Lucius said gently.
"So have you," Narcissa retorted as she stepped into the hot water. "As has Draco. Wait until you see him, Lucius. He's a shadow of his former self."
Lucius winced at the thought of his son being a shadow of his former self. Like both Lucius and Narcissa, Draco was naturally slim. However, like Lucius had before him, he'd grown considerably once he'd hit puberty and the last time Lucius had seen his son, he was well on his way to becoming a very handsome, very fit, young wizard.
"I guess it's time you filled me in on what I've missed," Lucius said as his wife settled down in front of him.
Lacing his arms around Narcissa's waist, he pulled her backwards so she was pressed right against him. Narcissa was more than happy to settle herself between her husband's legs, and for a moment she was silent as she reacquainted herself with the feeling of being in her husband's arms. Bathing with Lucius was a regular occurrence before his arrest, and while there wasn't the sexual undercurrent there normally was, it was comforting and it felt normal to be lying in the bath with her husband.
"I've missed this," she confessed in a whisper.
"So have I," Lucius replied, running his hands over Narcissa's body as if to prove to himself he was really with his wife again.
Narcissa let the silence build for a couple of minutes, before she took a breath and began to tell Lucius everything he'd missed since his arrest. She didn't hold anything back, and she'd told him every single thing she and Draco had endured. She told him how Voldemort had forced Draco to take the mark, and how he threatened her life if Draco let him down in any way. She explained about the impossible task Draco had been given, and everything he'd done to try and fulfil the job he'd been given. She talked about the threats she'd lived with daily, and her lack of freedom. And finally she told him about how things ended at Hogwarts, and how broken Draco was when he returned home, shaking and crying after Severus had stepped in and killed Dumbledore for him.
Lucius listened to everything his wife had to say with a heavy heart. He knew he was to blame for everything his wife and son had been through, and it killed him to know they'd been suffering and he hadn't been there for them. The longer Narcissa talked, the more upset Lucius got and by the time his wife finished talking, tears were running down his face.
"I'm sorry," he whispered, burying his head in Narcissa's long hair. He knew apologies weren't going to change things, or make it better, but right at this moment it was all he had to offer.
Sensing her husband's distress, Narcissa turned around in the large tub. Face to face with Lucius, her heart broke to see the distress on his face. To most people Lucius was inscrutable, but she'd always been able to tell what he was thinking and feeling. However, she'd never seen him as broken as he was in that moment.
"There's no point dwelling on what can't be changed," she said softly, briefly pressing her lips against her husbands. "All we can do now is focus on the here and now, and concentrate on surviving."
"Do you think we can survive?" Lucius asked.
"I don't know," Narcissa replied honestly. "But I do know I'm more confident than I was an hour ago. An hour ago I was all alone, now I've got you back at my side. Whatever happens, I now know we'll face it together."
"We will," Lucius confirmed. "We're in this together, Narcissa, and I won't let anyone or anything come between us again. No-one is breaking up my family."
Narcissa smiled as she finally saw some of her husband's old spark in his eyes. Giving Lucius another brief kiss, she reached across the tub and grabbed the washcloth and some body wash before she proceeded to give her husband a good wash. She then washed his long hair and shaved him until finally he was starting to look like her Lucius again. He still needed to gain some weight and get some colour back into his complexion, but at least he looked neater.
By the time the pair stepped out of the bath the water was starting to turn chilly. Letting the water out of the tub, Narcissa wrapped herself in a large towel and followed her husband into the bedroom. In companionable silence the pair dried themselves, brushed their hairs and got ready for bed. Normally the couple slept naked, or nearly naked, but for now they changed into their sleepwear. Narcissa pulled on a nightdress very similar to the one she'd taken off in the bathroom, while Lucius settled on a pair of dark grey pyjama bottoms and a matching grey pyjama top.
"I bet it'll be good to be in your own bed again," Narcissa remarked as she pulled back the covers on their king size bed.
"I can't wait," Lucius said, climbing into the soft bed. It was a world away from the hard bunk he'd had in Azkaban, and to be honest he wasn't sure how easy he would find it to get used to sleeping back in the comfort of his own plush bed. "I've dreamt of this every night for a year."
"Me too," Narcissa said, sliding into bed next to her husband. "It's not being the same without you."
"I wish I could change what happened, Cissa," Lucius whispered, pulling his wife into his arms as she doused the lights and they settled down in their martial bed for the first time in several months.
"Don't dwell on the past, Lucius, it isn't healthy," Narcissa said, entwining her fingers with her husbands as they lay in the dark. "Let's focus on there here and now, and getting through the next few months, or even years."
"How do you think this will end up?" Lucius asked. Given his recent experiences the last thing he wanted to do was serve Voldemort, but he knew he was trapped as were his wife and son.
"I honestly don't know," Narcissa replied with a soft sigh. "But all I'm concerned about is our family staying together. As long as I've got you and Draco, I can cope with whatever comes our way."
"We can cope," Lucius corrected, pressing a light kiss to his wife's head.
Narcissa smiled lightly as she snuggled down in her husband's embrace, hoping to finally fall asleep without the problems that had plagued her for the last year. She wasn't foolish enough to think all her worries were behind her now Lucius was home, but at least she had her husband at her side. Together they would face the future, and for the first time in a long time, Narcissa felt a glimmer of hope in her heart that everything would work out for the Malfoys. They might still have a tough road in front of them, but they were once again united, and that was what really mattered. They may be battered and bruised, but they were survivors and now they were all back together Narcissa was confident they would pull through their troubles. With a bit of luck they would survive the rest of the war and come out the other end stronger than ever. The Malfoys weren't quite finished yet, and Narcissa thought it would be a foolish person who discounted the family from rising again and once again being a force in the wizarding world. But that was all in the future, right now, she was just happy to have her husband back and for her family to be together once again.