Mosaics Damaged Goods Part 2

They were so strong in their beliefs that there came a time when it hardly mattered what exactly those beliefs were; they all fused into a single stubbornness. -Louise Erdrich

In a small office a heavyset Witch sat at a desk piled high with folders and ledgers. The only sound in the room to be heard was the scratching of quill against parchment in a red ledger. A load pop startled the woman, causing the quill to leaving a large mark across the page. "Lizzie!" the woman said impatiently, blotting the parchment with sand. "How many times have I told you to enter the room through the door?" The woman glared at the House Elf who was dressed in a flowered pillowcase and a tea rag tied around her head. In one ear she wore a large silver hoop.

"Lizzie is sorry but missus must come quickly. Mistress is very upset."

"What is it this time?" the woman said unconcernedly, starting to write in the ledger once more.

"Mistress is crying because baby is dead. Please come Missus. Lizzie is afraid for her Mistress."

The woman scowled at the Elf. Damn insufficient staff. She would have her say to whoever was on duty this morning for not refreshing the charm. "Very well Lizzie."

Climbing the stairs to the fourth floor, the matron pulled her wand from the belt of her robes and unlocked the door. The sound of weeping greeted her as she entered the darkened room, the smell of expensive perfume and mold choking her.

"Shh," the woman said impatiently. "There is no need for such carrying on milady." The last word was said through gritted teeth.

"My...my baby!" cried an older woman dressed in rich velvet robes.

"What is wrong with the baby milady?" The woman asked as she walked over to the ornate crib standing in the corner of the room.

"He's...he's not breathing! Oh how am I ever going to break the news to my husband?" she asked, moaning softly.

The matron picked up the rubber doll that lay in the crib. Glancing over at the sobbing woman sitting before the vanity, the matron waved her wand over the doll. A small cry came from the rubber face. "See milady," she said walking over to the older woman who had looked up quickly. "He is just fine. Perhaps you only thought he wasn't breathing."

"My son!" the woman cried in delight, taking the doll and cuddling it to her breast.

"Everything is just fine with the lad," the matron said in feigned sweetness as she contemptuously studied the older woman. Silver white hair was stylishly fixed in a French twist that framed an aristocratic face. The robes she wore were of midnight blue, with glittering dark sapphires lining the hem and the sleeves. The matron curled her fist, as her eyes greedily assessed the value of the robes. Lizzie stared at her with her great bulging eyes and she noticed the warning there. "Shall I send your servant to get milady a spot of tea before you retire?" the matron asked sweetly.

"Yes, that would be lovely my dear," she said handing her the baby. "The little one tires me so quickly." She smiled at the doll. "Have you ever seen a more beautiful child?"

"Never milady."

The House Elf eyed the matron suspiciously. "Lizzie," said the older woman. "Tea."

"Yes Mistress," Lizzie said reluctantly and disappeared with a pop.

"These robes will be most uncomfortable to sleep in. Here let me help you..."

"No, I will wear them. He likes to see me in them. Do you know when my husband will be home?"

"He will be here shortly milady, but wouldn't a nice dressing gown..."

"Thank you, but I said no." The older woman's chin lifted and she stared down her nose at the matron. Her eyes brightened and she looked around confused. "Why am I here? My son...my son he needs me."

"Mistress your son is safe in his crib..."

The woman looked at the matron. "Are you daft? There is nothing in that bed but a doll. They have taken him."

"Your baby is fine," the matron said sternly fingering the wand in her belt. Bloody nonsense. She would just knock the old woman out, no one would know. No one ever visited or asked about her and it was time for 'milady' to learn her place.

The older woman was moaning, and muttering incoherently about her baby. The matron pulled out her wand. "Time for bed 'milady'," she snarled raising her wand. "Stup..." Instead of the older woman falling to the floor, the matron found herself thrown against the wall. She slumped to the floor, darkness flooding over her but not before she saw an angry Lizzie shaking her finger at her.

"You will not be hurting Missus," Lizzie said sternly.

The older woman smiled as she saw the matron's head loll to the side. She walked over and picked up the wand that had rolled to the edge of the bed. "Hello," she said as she caressed the dark wood lovingly. "It's been awhile hasn't it?"

Lizzie was watching her mistress warily. Mistress was not supposed to have a wand. Master had warned Lizzie never to allow Mistress to have one or he would cut Lizzie's nose off and feed it to Lizzie.

"Missy will be giving Lizzie the wand now," the Elf said apprehensively.

"Give you the wand?" The old woman's light gray eyes stared at the elf as if she had never seen her before. "Since when are House Elves allowed to handle wands?"

"Master wants Lizzie to have the wand," the Elf whined, pulling nervously on the hem of her pillowcase.

A look of understanding crossed the lady's face followed by one of intense hatred. "So my husband wants to take away my wand does he? Just as he did my son!" She lifted the wand and Lizzie flew through the air bouncing off the dresser before landing in a crumpled heap at the woman's feet. "You are bound to serve me Elf, not my husband," she hissed at the sobbing Lizzie, "me, not him!" She spat. "Get up you worthless piece of baggage and bring me my cloak."

Lizzie gulped back another sob as she got to her feet. She knew it was no use telling Missy that she didn't have a cloak. Snapping her fingers she Apparated downstairs and took the matron's cloak from a hook on the wall.

****

"Severus." Narcissa Malfoy greeted him warmly, kissing his cheek and grasping his hands. "I am so glad you came." Severus stepped into the large foyer, the flickering light from the candelabra cast shadows across the porcelain face of Narcissa.

"My apologies for not coming sooner. Duties at Hogwarts."

"No apologies are necessary. You are here now." Her voice sounded strained.

Severus frowned as he noticed an angry red welt staining the flawless pale skin on her cheek. He touched it gently.

"Lucius," she explained with a nervous laugh. "I wasn't quick enough when he decided to throw a book at me."

"And he still lives?" Severus knew her well enough to know she wouldn't stand for any abuse.

"Considering everything that has happened I forgave him, this time," she said defensively.

"He is recovering?"

Narcissa sighed. "He is well physically. His pelvis was crushed and though it was mended, the healers told him he would need to take it easy and use a cane. They assure me is no pain from the burns..." her voice quavered. "He is very lucky to be alive." Her chin lifted and fire flashed in her blue eyes. "Vain. The man is so vain. He has locked himself in the library, in the dark, and vows no one will ever see him."

"Have you?" Severus asked quietly.

"I did. In St. Mungos. He doesn't know. He keeps telling me I wouldn't want him, that he is too damaged," she said angrily. "Damn stubborn bastard. How dare he think me so shallow!"

Severus' mouth twitched. He wondered if Lucius realized how fortunate he was in his choice of mates.

"I must admit that I have asked you here for purely selfish reasons," she said as they climbed the staircase. "You and Lucius are so close..."

"I will do what I can," Severus assured her. They stopped outside the double doors that opened to Lucius extensive library.

"Do not try to cast any kind of light charm," she warned. "He will kill you."

Severus raised an eyebrow wondering if she had tried. She gave him a small smile and rapped sharply on the mahogany door. "Lucius, Severus is here to see you." Narcissa stepped away from the door motioning Severus back. He heard the sound of chains and bolts being released and the door creak opened an inch.

"Good luck," she hissed softly, her eyes pleading with him.

He stepped into the dark room. The moment he was across the threshold, the door slammed behind him locking itself firmly. A strong odor of stale alcohol and sweat filled his nostrils. Severus waited for his eyes to adjust, trying to see any shape or light in the room, but there was none.

"Severus, old friend. To what do I owe this honor?" came the drawling voice of Lucius Malfoy somewhere straight ahead of him.

"Do I need a reason to visit, Lucius?"

A soft laugh came from the darkness. "Not at all 'friend'. Do sit down."

"Perhaps you can see in the dark but I cannot," said Severus sarcastically, edging forward slowly. He had been in this room enough times to know there was a sofa directly ahead and to the right. More laughter filled the darkness.

"Do not try my patience old man. Surely my wife has warned you of the death that awaits you if you attempt to bring light in here."

"Narcissa is worried about you."

"She is a good actress," came the cynical voice. "If she saw me..."

Severus snorted. "She has already seen the ugliness of your soul and still she stays. You do her a disservice. She will not abandon you."

"My wife," Severus could tell Lucius was speaking through gritted teeth, "is a beautiful woman who fancies things that reflect her beauty. You would appeal to her more than I do now."

"What of the Dark Lord?" Severus asked calmly, ignoring Lucius' slight towards him. His knee brushed against the sofa and he sat carefully down. "Am I to tell him you are too proud to leave your hidey hole because you are not a pretty boy anymore due to a few burns."

There was a loud crash. "A few burns? How dare you mock me? My 'few' burns have left me less human than the Dark Lord!"

"Then no one will be able to tell the difference."

There was a moment of silence then Lucius' laughter filled the room once more, dry and mirthless. "My dear brother. Will you always seek to wound me with your thoughtless words?"

"I live for nothing else."

Your question is valid Severus. I will answer our Master's call but I will of course be behind the mask."

"You cannot hide behind a mask, any mask forever."

"Can't I? Speaking of hiding, I know what you did that night," said Lucius smugly.

Severus gripped his wand, a knot forming in his stomach as he waited. Pitwick had cast the Oblivate charm on Lucius when he had regained consciousness but had been unable to question him. "You got her, didn't you? Severus said nothing. "I knew you would come for her. I had a little surprise planned for you but you must have been clever enough to avoid it. Pity. I had hoped to have a night of pleasure together. It has been a while since we have shared our conquests."

"I don't like sharing what is mine," said Severus softly.

Lucius chuckled. "You haven't had her yet, have you? Severus could almost see Malfoy shaking his head in mock dismay. "Fuck her and get it over with. Then perhaps you will get Mudbloods out of your system once and for all." Lucius' voice became sultry. "Speaking of that entertainment, you wouldn't want a bit of play, would you old man? I am growing quite bored of my own company."

"Lucius," Severus said quietly, "you have a wife waiting for you..."

"One who could not bear to be with me, with this hideous creature," he snarled.

"Spare me you melodramatics."

"Being melodramatic, am I?" A scratching noise filled the room and a candle flared into life. Severus narrowed his eyes against the small intrusion of light.

"You came to see the freak! Look your fill!" Lucius growled moving the candle to illuminate his face.

Years of hiding his reactions and emotions were the only thing that saved Severus from the cringe that ran down his spine from reflecting plainly on his face.

The right side of Lucius' face was gone. The flesh had been seared away, leaving red puckered tissue that ran in a jagged diagonal line from his hairline to the base of his neck and Severus assumed, down the rest of his body. His lips on that right side were also gone, and his teeth were bare and exposed to the candlelight. His right eyelid was also gone and the bugling grey-blue eye bored into Severus'.

Severus walked slowly around the desk to stand by Lucius. Cautiously, he stretched his hand out and gently ran his fingers over the scarred flesh. He could feel Lucius' eyes searching his face for any sign of disgust.

"You are still Lucius Malfoy. Nothing will ever change that, "Severus said softly, pressing his lips against the scarred forehead. Straightening, he met Lucius' gaze. "I will see you at the next calling." With a swirl of black robes, he left the library.

Leaning back in the chair, Lucius stared at the door. Fingering his wand, he spoke firmly. "Accio mask." The Death Eater mask flew from a cabinet on the far side of the room and landed on the desk. Picking it up, Lucius fingered the white fabric. He withdrew a letter opener from a drawer and placing it in the center of the mask, sliced the fabric in half. Pressing the torn mask to the right side of face, he held up the letter opener and looked at the distorted vision. His lips lifted in a smile and he laughed.

****

AN/Thanks to Ozratbag2 and mmrosalez for betaing and LorenaSnape for her input.