Pairing/Characters: Gen. Lucius, Sirius
Contents: Humour, canon compliant, smidge of angst, Marauders' Era, adorableness
Notes: Thank you, knitknitread, K.M.M., and those in the Death Eater Express who participated in the thread that inspired this fic. Also, many thanks to the mods for continuing to host this brilliant fest. And to my amazing beta myfirstisthefourth, thank you for our fun, late-night bunnythons. I've lost count how many times my hysterical laughter has left others wondering why I was cackling so hard. If they only knew... ;)
Summary: One summer day, an unexpected guest pays Lucius a visit. (The real reason Lucius recognized Padfoot at King's Cross.)
To See a Malfoy About a Dog
Lucius was miserably bored: he was in between missions for the Dark Lord, in between relationships, and in between positions at the Ministry.
Over a month ago, the Dark Lord had left the countryside for London to establish an alliance with the goblins and still hadn't returned. Three days after the Dark Lord's departure, Lucius's ex-betrothed, the now blood-traitor Varity Nott, had run off to Liechtenstein with some wealthy Muggle. "True love," she'd had the audacity to write in her last ever letter to him.
His lips twitched wanting to twist into a sneer.
And the last source of his boredom was because his former employer Eugenia Jenkins no longer had need of him as her assistant. As the front page of the Daily Prophet had proclaimed, she had not just lost the position of Minister for Magic but, due to the magnitude of her shameful incompetence, had lost any hope of ever working in politics again.
Lucius smirked with satisfaction and continued to gaze at the large, fluffy clouds floating past.
Sighing, Lucius laid his branded forearm over his eyes. Now, however, after weeks of doing nothing but lounging about, his accomplishment of ousting the Minister had already been forgotten. Father was, once more, nagging him about finding a wife, finding a job, finding something, anything, to do besides "letting our family's reputation wither away on the vine."
Lucius huffed out a long breath. He never thought he'd miss Hogwarts. But he did. He missed when his biggest worries had been test results, the threat of Gryffindor mischief, and winning the Quidditch Cup.
Hearing a whine to his left and feeling a paw scratch his chest on the right, Lucius removed his arm from his face to find the soulful brown eyes of his two brindle Scottish Deerhounds regarding him with concern.
"I'm fine," he reassured them, patting their necks. "One worryguts is more than enough on such a beautiful summer day as this."
Amicus left his paw atop Lucius's chest and made a string of low, disagreeing barks, while Juvo nuzzled Lucius's head before licking him on the cheek.
With an amused smile, Lucius chuckled. "Alright, you scamps, I'll cease brooding over my current state of affairs…or lack thereof. I'm sure you're both hungry and thirsty, and as I recall, I promised you venison for dinner."
Both dogs began covering his face with doggy kisses and wagging their tails so excitedly that their entire rumps wiggled.
Lucius laughed while he attempted to obtain his wand, sit up, and thwart their persistent affections, grunting when he managed to stand to his feet.
Knowing better than to jump on Lucius's body, Amicus and Juvo sat and waited, their tails wagging more timidly.
Lucius eyed the pair, tapping his lips with his forefinger, their tails stilling at his scrutiny. His stern face broke into a smile as he chuckled. "Off to the kitchens with you, you silly beasts."
Amicus and Juvo leapt to their feet and sprinted from the glade into the forest towards the Manor, their happy barks quickly muffled by the surrounding trees.
Casting a Mundus Lautus, Lucius moved his wand in dinner-plate-sized spirals about an inch away from his body, removing the wrinkles from his periwinkle linen robes as well as bits of grass and dirt from his hair. After tying his locks into a loose queue, a movement in his peripheral vision caught his attention.
He turned toward the shaded side of the clearing, shielding his eyes from the sun with his left hand. Once his eyes had adjusted, Lucius began advancing towards the perimeter, surveying each boulder, bush, and tree.
"Homenum Revelio," he said under his breath, moving his arm in a natural swinging motion while flicking his wrist. Nothing. But Lucius knew better than to sheathe his wand. With each step, he drew nearer to the tree line, a wall of shadow rising up the length of his body until it was fully engulfed in muted hues. Lowering his hand from his brow, he spotted the source of the movement: a big black dog.
Trying to blend in with the shadows at the wide base of a walnut tree, the dog lay on its belly, head atop its paws; the creature observing Lucius's every move.
Lucius held out his left hand and approached the dog slowly. "Hello there," he greeted the stray in a calm, coaxing manner.
The dog lifted its head.
"I promise I won't hurt you…"
As Lucius grew closer, the pungent, spicy odour of fallen catkin flowers strengthened, and the lofty trees blocked more of the wind, the stillness emphasizing the scrape of his shoes on the mostly bare soil. The dog's features also became clearer. The animal appeared to be of the same breed as his hounds, but solidly black, colouring unseen in the breed.
"My, aren't you a beauty."
The dog tilted its head to the side, a thoughtful expression on its face.
As Lucius took another step, merely one step away from being within reach, the dog bared its teeth and flattened its ears.
"It's all right," Lucius reassured, squatting and presenting his hand so the dog could study his scent. "You're safe..."
Sensing the truth in Lucius's words, the dog calmed, rising into a sitting position.
"Are you, by any chance, hungry?"
The dog's ears perked up with interest.
"Do you like venison?"
Tail starting to wag cautiously, the dog licked Lucius's fingertips before skittering back.
Lucius carefully rose to his feet and stepped away, hoping the dog would follow. And it did.
As the dog trotted next to Lucius, keeping him in sight, Lucius was able to view the dog's profile.
"It appears I should be calling you Beau instead of Beauty."
The dog scrunched up its snout. If a dog could look aghast and disgusted, this one did.
Snorting a laugh, Lucius amended, "Neither Beauty nor Beau, then."
They entered the forest, following a dirt path bordered with white, lacy clusters of sweet cicely, purple foxgloves, and toadcrowns, a magical variety of bioluminescent mushrooms, glowing a faint, ghostly green.
Studying the dog, dappled with changing patches of sunlight as it pranced from one side of the path to the other, Lucius suggested, "How about Canis after the dog constellation?"
The dog snorted and then sneezed from the pollen coating its nose.
"Right… Not memorable enough."
"Obsidian…no, too long… What do you think of Salazar?"
Looking in Lucius's direction, the dog proceeded to piss on a bush.
Lucius pursed his lips, knowing he couldn't take offence since he was conversing with a dog.
As they continued to stroll, he pondered more names until the image of his favourite childhood soft toy popped into his head. A fond smile bloomed on Lucius's face at the thought of the black three-headed dog, now hidden away in the back of his wardrobe.
Lucius sniggered and said, "Snuggles."
Freezing mid-stride, the dog turned to gaze at him.
"Snuggles?" Lucius repeated, raising his eyebrows.
The dog gave an enthusiastic bark.
Lucius laughed, shaking his head. "Snuggles… You're certain?"
A volley of barks.
"Yes, you're quite right," Lucius agreed, fighting off an amused grin, "a fitting name for a most loyal companion."
Once they reached the end of the forest, the footpath transitioned from dirt to paved stones. Side by side, they passed through a two-story, cast-iron arbour, draped in bluish-purple clematis, and entered a formal garden. White marble statues of alluring winged Veela maidens stood amongst sculpted trees and a vibrant array of rose bushes. An enormous fountain, which could have adorned the grounds of the Palace of Versailles, could be seen in the distance, and beyond the fountain stood Malfoy Manor.
Except for the far off calls of peacocks, the chirps of songbirds, and the rustling of foliage, the garden was absent of activity. Snuggles' excited tail drooped.
Lucius sighed. "I know: beautiful but barren. When the Dark Lord returns with his retinue, there will be more wizards and witches about. For now, only my father and I are in residence, not to mention your future brothers that you've yet to formally meet.
"Regardless of our few numbers, the kitchens are always bursting with food." He petted Snuggles' head. "Come along."
Passing under a covered walkway, which connected the carriage houses to the stables, they rounded the northwest corner of the manor. Flashes of sunlight reflected off tall windows, and the smell of burning wood intensified, mixing with the fresh smells from the nearby vegetable and herb gardens.
Lucius came to a stop in front of a wide wooden door with five crown-glass panels at the top. When he opened it, the smell of freshly baking bread, roasted meats, and earthy herbs made his and Snuggles' mouths water.
"Let's eat first. Then afterwards, we'll see about getting you groomed."
Snuggles looked affronted causing Lucius to chuckle.
"I'm not letting you into the main residence smelling of and covered in Merlin knows what."
Tail high, Snuggles snorted and swaggered away, heading towards one of two water bowls at the base of the far wall. The wall stored countless pieces of copper cookware and bakeware, all of them looking like beetles vying for space on a stone. A second later, a large plate of venison appeared next to Snuggles, and he yapped at it in surprise. But before long, he was tearing pieces of meat from the succulent steak.
While Snuggles made quick work of his food, Lucius sat down at a table next to a window that overlooked the gardens.
The door to the pantry swung open, and a house-elf, wearing a stained but clean outfit fashioned from tea towels, entered.
"The usual," Lucius declared, not bothering to look at the house-elf, "but I want Firewhisky instead of wine. Also, in the bathroom I use to wash the hounds, lay out all the supplies I'll need to spruce up my newest four-legged friend."
The house-elf hurried off, and soon Lucius was enjoying his own meal of venison as well as a wild rice pilaf and a vegetable medley of carrots, green beans, and asparagus.
When Snuggles came over and laid his chin on the table, Lucius smiled and scratched the dog's head. Snuggles seemed far too focused on the half-drank glass of Firewhisky so Lucius lifted it away—just to be safe.
Snuggles huffed, licking his chops.
"It's a shame you're not a bitch," Lucius remarked, taking a swallow of his drink.
Making growly-grumbling sounds, Snuggles voiced his displeasure.
"Your colouring is unique. Lovely even. Any solid-black pups made with either Amicus or Juvo would have made ideal guard dogs for night patrols."
More growly-grumbling sounds.
Lucius finished his drink, wiped his mouth with his napkin, and then stood from the table.
"Follow me," he commanded, heading towards a side corridor.
Snuggles blinked, remaining put.
"You're going to get pampered by yours truly. That's a very rare thing. I assure you."
Yawning wide, Snuggles looked unimpressed.
"Ahhhh, you want to bargain for something more. A Slytherin after my own—"
As though his tail were on fire, Snuggles bravely dashed into the corridor.
Looking bewildered, Lucius muttered, "So…not a Slytherin."
They walked down the narrow, unadorned corridor, passing small bedrooms, which had, at one time, been used by human servants. Snuggles stayed close beside Lucius, so close he would, on occasion, whip Lucius's leg with his tail. The stinging hits irritated Lucius, but he understood Snuggles was nervous and the hits were simply accidents.
At the end of the corridor, light shown from a stark, white bathroom. Inside, all along one wall, sat a toilet, a sink, and a claw-foot tub.
"In you go," Lucius encouraged, gesturing at the empty tub.
Snuggles thought for a moment before jumping and landing lightly within the large oval enclosure.
Lucius turned on the water and used a sprayer to wet Snuggles' fur. From a silver tray of neatly organized toiletries, he picked a crystal bottle and poured clear oil along Snuggles' back. After rubbing in the oil, he took up a comb and went to work loosening caked on dirt and untangling any knots.
His eyes half-closed in pleasure, Snuggles relaxed more and more as Lucius rinsed him off then poured on a thicker liquid, smelling of citrus and cedar. Using his fingers, Lucius massaged the tingly concoction into Snuggles' fur until a thick layer of suds covered the dog.
Snuggles sneezed, sending small clumps of tiny bubbles into the air.
"Snuggles, don't even think about—"
Before Lucius could grab his wand, Snuggles, with a wide grin on his face, shook his body, drenching Lucius in sudsy water.
Mouth hanging open, his wand now pointed, Lucius stared, and Snuggles, tail wagging, stared right back.
"You…you…" Lucius burst into laughter. "I think your name should have been Loki. You're definitely a trickster."
Tongue lolling out, Snuggles hopped up to lick Lucius on the cheek.
Lucius sighed. "But you are very sweet."
Proceeding to rinse Snuggles then dry and polish up the appearances of both Snuggles and himself, Lucius left the rest of the mess in the bathroom for a house-elf to clean.
Forgoing the main stairway, Lucius guided Snuggles up the steep servants' stairs to the next floor. Entering the more lavish part of the manor, they passed corridors lined with portraits, most of whom had fair features. They progressed past several large unlit rooms, Snuggles' nails on the white and green marble floor sounding like the clicks of a lone timepiece. His ears up and alert, Snuggles never strayed, keeping to Lucius's side.
As they walked, Lucius smiled in approval at Snuggles' watchful behaviour.
Up ahead, a swath of warm light from a door left ajar beamed onto the opposite corridor wall. Reaching the doorway, glimpses of fine furniture and a wall of lavishly curtained windows could be seen.
Opening the door further and peeking in, Lucius sighed in relief. "Father's usually here at this hour. He must not have returned from London yet."
Snuggles, seeming to empathize and understand, nudged his head against Lucius's hand.
"My father is a great man as was his father before him, and so on, going back generations," Lucius said, petting the silky fur of Snuggles' neck. "Father is the right hand of the Dark Lord and is in charge while the Dark Lord is busy. I know it's expected of me to take up that responsibility one day, and I'd be lying if I said I didn't feel the weight of it."
When they entered the sitting room, Amicus and Juvo lifted their heads, their noses sniffing.
"Amicus, Juvo, come here," Lucius ordered.
They obeyed without question, leaving their large, plush cushions near the unlit fireplace.
As Amicus neared, his hackles rose and growling erupted. Juvo stayed back: supportive but nervous.
Snuggles let loose three loud warning barks. When Amicus didn't stand down, Snuggles lunged at him, latching onto the nape of Amicus's neck, pinning him to the floor. Once Amicus began to whine, Snuggles released him, showing his teeth until the other dog offered his belly. As soon as Amicus showed his submission, Juvo followed suit. At the first opportunity, the two cowed dogs skulked back to their cushions.
"My, my, Snuggles, you are a surprise," Lucius commented, sauntering to the bookshelf behind a rococo mahogany writing desk. "Even though you can't be a purebred, perhaps I should still find you a proper bitch. What's your preference? Blue…brindle…fawn…grey…yellow… No? Well, that only leaves red. Not a type I'd want for myself, but I understand the allure."
Snuggles laid down on the ground and covered his nose with his paws.
"I understand… Bachelorhood is a difficult thing to part with."
Shaking his head, Snuggles huffed out a breath through his nostrils then rested his head on his paws.
Lucius ran his fingers over the variously-coloured, leather-bound books, some new, some old favourites, contemplating which one he should pick. Settling on a new thriller, The Lost Menagerie by Conan Blake, he sat down in a nearby cushioned chair. As he lifted the cover, appreciating the stiffness only a new book had, a glass of Firewhisky appeared on the side table next to him. He scooped up the drink, swirled it, sniffed it, and then took a sip.
Snuggles padded over, setting his chin on Lucius's knee.
Lucius raised his brow and chuckled. "You do have the nerve."
Returning his drink to the table—to the back side of the table—Lucius stroked Snuggles' head, using his other hand to flip to the first chapter.
Rubbing his eyes sometime later, Lucius sighed and then yawned.
Glancing at his watch, his eyes widened. "Where has the time gone," he exclaimed, bookmarking his progress then smacking the novel shut. "It's past all our bedtimes. Amicus, Juvo…Snuggles," he called out, not yet used to the new addition.
Amicus and Juvo galloped from their cushions, whereas Snuggles rose at a snail's pace, having fallen asleep at Lucius's feet.
Together they left the sitting room and made their way to the main corridor, journeying to the opposite wing of the manor. Rounding a corner, they arrived at a pair of doors, carved with detailed dragons and serpents and bordered with inlaid gold and snakewood.
Without pause, Lucius turned the knob and strode into the room. Inside, a massive bed stood against one wall, various sitting areas were arranged throughout, and even a small kitchenette could be found in one corner.
Unlike the rest of the house, the décor was less ostentatious: the walls covered in dark blue fabric with subtle silver accents and the furniture more modern and masculine.
Lucius removed his shoes and shed his outer robes, setting them on an upholstered bench at the foot of his bed. Once he unbuttoned the cuffs of his shirt, he opened a French door to a large private garden terrace, allowing fresh jasmine-scented air to rush in.
"Do your business, gentleman."
The trio of hounds exited onto the grass-covered area and did as they were told, Snuggles leading the way.
Good and knackered after having enjoyed a long, relaxing shower, Lucius headed straight for his bed from his bathroom. On his way, he quickly located Amicus and Juvo, resting in their usual places on their own custom-made beds, but he didn't see Snuggles.
"No, absolutely not," Lucius said, discovering Snuggles on his bed.
More pathetic whimpering.
Lucius growled in frustration. "Fine. But only this one time. I'm tired and I don't want to hear you crying all night." Crawling underneath the covers, he cast a spell to turn off all the gas sconces then placed his wand on the nearby bedside table.
"Goodnight," he said in a low, drowsy voice. Lying his head upon his pillow, he could feel the comforting heat from Snuggles' body against his left arm.
As sunlight glared harshly through his bedroom windows, Lucius groaned. Another day. He swore he could already feel the weight of it. Opening his eyes, he found Snuggles' heavy bulk draped over half his chest.
"You're a menace," Lucius chided, chuckling.
Snuggles licked a layer of dog breath onto Lucius's mouth and nose, prompting Lucius to get out of bed and head for the loo.
After breakfast, they all returned to the glade, Lucius bringing along his unfinished novel.
"Another perfect day," Lucius smiled, untying his hair and lying down on the grassy ground. He closed his eyes and relaxed, listening to the happy barks of his frolicking hounds.
Soon his peace was disturbed when all three dogs started pawing for his attention.
Opening his eyes, he looked at them. "Let me guess: you want to play."
Amicus, Juvo, and Snuggles all barked in unison.
Sighing, he sat up. Lucius Summoned a stick and then tossed it straight up into the air. Using his wand, he sent the airborne stick to the farthest side of the Quidditch-sized field.
The hounds bounded after it, Snuggles in the lead. The stick landed before any of them had arrived, and each dog scrambled to find it first.
As they searched, Lucius removed his shrunken book from a pocket, enlarged it, and began to read.
Amicus and Snuggles managed to clamp onto the stick at the same time, and a tug-of-war match ensued with Snuggles coming out the victor.
Racing back with his head held high and a triumphant gleam in his eye, Snuggles dropped the stick next to Lucius's knee, and then displaying his belly, wriggled his body around in joy.
Lucius grinned, rubbing Snuggles' chest and stomach while repeatedly cooing, "Who's a good boy?"
Happily barking, Snuggles flipped back onto his feet, and a second later, Lucius heard, "I am."
Lucius froze. Peering up, he was stunned to see Sirius Black grinning down at him.
"Thanks for the food, Malfoy…and the bath."
Before Lucius could recover from his shock, Black Apparated away.
If his father—or worse, the Dark Lord—were to ever find out he had unwittingly allowed a potential spy into the Manor, his standing would plummet, and that would mean disaster.
Lucius knew exactly what he had to do: he tossed the stick once more for Amicus and Juvo then returned to reading his book.
Many years later, when that disgusting rat of a wizard Peter Pettigrew had spoken of Black's Animagus form, prattling in an excited low tone as if he were telling the biggest of secrets, Lucius nodded his head in feigned interest, not saying a word.
Lucius's only consolation for having to suffer through Pettigrew's unwarranted smugness—not to mention years of worry over his past mistake ever being discovered—was Black's reaction to his wink at King's Cross. He couldn't help but chuckle when the Animagus bolted down the length of the platform and quickly disappeared.
Thanks for reading! Comments are always welcome. :)