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 threat 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 one knew… ;)
Summary: One summer day, an unexpected guest pays Lucius a visit. (The real reason Lucius recognised 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 he 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 as he 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 were 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. He found the soulful brown eyes of his two brindle Scottish Deerhounds, Juvo and Amicus, regarding him with concern.
"I'm fine." He patted their necks. "One worryguts is more than enough on such a beautiful summer day as this."
Amicus 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. They wagged their tails so excitedly that their entire rumps wiggled.
Lucius laughed while he attempted to sit up and thwart their persistent affections.
Once he was back on his feet, he retrieved his wand from his periwinkle linen robes.
Amicus and Juvo knew better than to jump on Lucius's body. They sat and waited, their tails wagging slower.
Lucius eyed the pair, tapping his lips with his forefinger.
At his scrutiny, Amicus and Juvo's tails stilled.
His stern face broke into a smile as he chuckled. "Off to the kitchens with you, you silly beasts."
The hounds leapt to their feet and then sprinted from the glade into the forest towards the Manor. Their happy barks were soon 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. The spell removed the wrinkles from his attire as well as bits of grass and dirt from his hair.
Once Lucius had finished tying his locks into a loose queue, a movement in his peripheral vision caught his attention.
He turned. Shielding his eyes from the sun with his left hand, Lucius advanced, 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. However, Lucius knew better than to sheathe his wand.
As Lucius drew nearer to the tree line with every step, a wall of shadow rose up the length of his body until it was fully engulfed in muted hues. No longer blinded by the sun, he lowered his hand from his brow. After a few more moments of searching, Lucius finally spotted what must have caught his eye earlier: trying to hide at the broad base of a walnut tree, a big, black dog lay on its belly, its head atop its paws.
Lucius held out his left hand and approached the dog. "Hello there," he greeted the stray in a calm, coaxing manner.
It lifted its head.
"I promise I won't hurt you…"
As he neared the dog, the pungent, spicy odour of fallen catkin flowers grew stronger. The dog's features also became clearer. It appeared to be of the same breed as his hounds but was 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.
When Lucius was merely one step away from being within reach, the dog bared its teeth and flattened its ears.
"It's all right." Lucius squatted and presented his hand so the dog could learn his scent. "I won't hurt you."
Sensing the truth in Lucius's words, the dog calmed and rose into a sitting position.
"Are you, by any chance, hungry?"
The dog's ears perked up with interest.
"Do you like venison?"
Tail wagging hesitantly, the dog licked Lucius's fingertips before skittering back.
Lucius rose to his feet and stepped away, hoping the dog would follow. And it did.
As the dog trotted along, Lucius was able to view its 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.
Lucius snorted a laugh. "Neither Beauty nor Beau, then."
They entered the forest and followed a dirt path bordered with white, lacy clusters of sweet cicely; purple foxgloves; and toadcrowns, a magical variety of bioluminescent mushrooms that glowed a faint, ghostly green.
Studying the dog as it pranced from one side of the path to the other, Lucius asked, "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. He couldn't take offence, however. He was conversing with a dog, after all.
As they continued to stroll, Lucius 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 hidden away in the back of his wardrobe.
Lucius sniggered. "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 rustle 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 kitchen is always bursting with food." He petted Snuggles' head. "Come along."
Passing under a covered walkway that 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 scents 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 aroma 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.
Lucius chuckled. "I'm not letting you into the main residence smelling of and covered in Merlin knows what."
Tail high, Snuggles snorted and swaggered away. He headed towards a water bowl at the base of the far wall. A few seconds later, a large plate of venison appeared next to Snuggles. 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.
Lucius didn't bother greeting the house-elf. "The usual, 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."
"Yes, young master." The house-elf hurried off.
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 Snuggles' 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.
Lucius took a swallow of his drink. "It's a shame you're not a bitch."
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.
After Lucius finished his drink, he wiped his mouth with a napkin. He then stood from the table and headed towards a side hallway. "Follow me."
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 out of the kitchen.
Looking bewildered, Lucius muttered, "So…not a Slytherin."
They walked down the narrow, unadorned hallway, 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 hallway, light shone from a stark, white bathroom. Inside, all along one wall, sat a toilet, a hand basin, and a claw-foot bath.
"In you go," Lucius encouraged, gesturing at the empty bath.
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 organised 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. 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, Lucius stared, and Snuggles, wagging his tail, stared right back.
"You…you…" Lucius burst into laughter. "I think your name should have been Loki. You are, indeed, a quintessential trickster."
Tongue lolling out, Snuggles hopped up to lick Lucius on the cheek.
Lucius sighed. "But you are sweet."
After Lucius polished up himself and Snuggles, he left the mess in the bathroom for a house-elf to clean. He then guided Snuggles up the steep servants' stairs to the next floor.
Entering the more lavish part of the manor, they passed hallways lined with portraits, most of whom had fair features. As they progressed past several large unlit rooms, Snuggles' nails on the marble floor sounded like the clicks of a lone timepiece. His ears up and alert, Snuggles never strayed, keeping to Lucius's side.
Lucius smiled in approval at Snuggles' watchful behaviour.
Up ahead, a swath of warm light from a door left ajar beamed onto the opposite hallway wall. Reaching the doorway, Lucius peeked into one of the Manor's many lavish sitting rooms.
He opened the door further and then sighed in relief. "Father's usually here at this hour. He must not have returned from London yet."
Snuggles, seeming to empathise 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 petted 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 Lucius and Snuggles entered the room, Amicus and Juvo lifted their heads and sniffed the air.
"Amicus, Juvo, come here."
They obeyed without question, leaving their large, plush cushions near the unlit fireplace.
As Amicus neared, his hackles rose. Juvo stayed back: supportive but nervous.
Snuggles let loose three loud warning barks. When Amicus didn't stand down, Snuggles lunged at him. He latched onto the nape of Amicus's neck, pinning him to the floor. When Amicus began to whine, Snuggles released him. He showed his teeth until Amicus offered his belly. Once 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 sauntered 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.
Lucius ran his fingers over the variously coloured, leather-bound books: some new, some old favourites. He settled on a new thriller The Lost Menagerie by Conan Blake and 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, then set his chin on Lucius's knee.
Lucius raised his brow and chuckled. "You do have the nerve." He returned his drink to the table—to the far side of the table—and then stroked Snuggles' head. Lucius sighed in contentment before he began to read.
Sometime later, Lucius yawned and rubbed his eyes.
Glancing at his watch, his eyes widened. He bookmarked his progress, then smacked 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, whilst 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 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. A small kitchenette could even be found in one corner. Unlike the rest of the house, the décor was less ostentatious: the walls were covered in dark blue fabric with subtle silver accents, and the furniture was more modern and masculine.
Lucius removed his shoes. He shed his outer robes and set them on an upholstered bench at the foot of his bed. Once he'd unbuttoned the cuffs of his shirt, he opened a French window to a large private garden terrace.
"Do your business, gentleman."
The trio of hounds exited onto the grass-covered area and did as they were told.
Good and knackered after enjoying 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 Lucius didn't see Snuggles.
"No, absolutely not," he 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 and soon fell asleep.
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.
"Ugh!" It wasn't hard for Lucius to get out of bed and head to the bathroom for a shower after that.
After breakfast, they all returned to the glade, Lucius bringing along his unfinished novel.
"Another gorgeous day." Lucius smiled. He untied his hair before lying down on the grassy ground. Closing his eyes, he relaxed and listened to the happy barks of his frolicking hounds. However, his peace was soon disturbed when all three dogs started pawing for his attention.
He opened his eyes. "Let me guess: you want to play."
Amicus, Juvo, and Snuggles all barked in unison.
Sighing, Lucius sat up. He 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.
As they searched, Lucius removed his book from a pocket to read.
Amicus and Snuggles managed to clamp onto the stick at the same time. A tug-of-war match ensued for a few minutes 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. He displayed his belly, wriggling his body around in joy.
Lucius grinned. He rubbed Snuggles' chest and stomach while repeatedly cooing, "Who's a good boy?"
Happily barking, Snuggles flipped back onto his feet. A fraction of 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.
Lucius stared at the spot Black had stood. 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 his book.
Many years later, when that disgusting rat of a wizard Peter Pettigrew had prattled on in an excited, low tone about Black's Animagus form, Lucius could only nod his head in feigned interest and not say 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, after seeing him, the Animagus bolted down the length of the platform.
Lucius smiled. At that moment, he knew precisely what he would name his new pup: Sirius.
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