Gosh!! Why did this take so damn long!! It was supposed to only be a few pages, honest! Oh well, I'm really sorry for the long wait and thanks for all the reviews and support. They makes me so happy! Hope you enjoy


Chapter: SIX

The dining table was set impeccably as usual. Antique silverware glinted in the dim light provided by the grand chandelier that hung overhead, napkins likely made of silk or something similarly ridiculously expensive were folded into intricate little origami animals and positioned next to the plates, and of course there was the food. Delectable dishes that would have had Lucius Malfoy's mouth watering if he weren't above such plebian things.

'Perhaps I should have listened to Narcissa and eaten before I left,' he mentally conceded. In his defense, he usually made sure to have an empty stomach before going to a Death Eater meeting, seeing as the Cruciatus Curse was often thrown about all willy nilly and Lucius had no inclination to retch all over his designer, worth-more-then-a-small-country, robes.

It was an entirely too messy affair and degrading to boot.

His darling wife knew this. They'd gone through it during the Dark Lord's first reign, and even several months ago when he did a Severus Snape on the Dark side (as his son so fondly put it) and went spy. And then, out of the blue, Narcissa goes and suggests having lunch with her before he apparate's to the meeting!

When Lucius asked her if she'd gotten a brain tumor that induced sudden amnesia some time that day, Narcissa responded with a chuckle: "Of course not dear, I've just got a feeling about this."

So of course, here Lucius is, sitting at a dinning table with the evilest Dark Lord in a century at the head. Said evil Dark Lord had not in fact been throwing the Cruciatus Curse all willy nilly as Lucius presumed. Instead, he'd been yammering on and on about how he couldn't break through the Potter boy's mental wards…

For two hours straight.

And with all of that delicious food sitting right under their noses, not to be touched until this dratted meeting was over…

Oh the inhumanity of it all! Lucius would've rather taken the courtesy two or three minutes of Crucio.

Lucius blanched, immediately taking the thoughts back and strengthening his Occlumency shields at the same time. He glanced as nonchalantly as Malfoyly possible at the head of the table, but the Dark Lord seemed to be fully focused on his rant and not a key mutinous Death Eater. The last thing Lucius wanted was to be tortured at his own volition.

"…and all I can see are images of catnip and yarn balls!" Lord Voldemort yelled. Dark tendrils of magic seeped off of him, his frustration becoming a tangible force. "Someone is making a fool of your Dark Lord and Master, my faithful Death Eaters, and when I find out whom…" he let the threat go unsaid, blood red eyes roving over each masked figure in a search for the guilty party.

"Severus!" he boomed suddenly. Everyone's attention immediately went to the Death Eater sitting not but one seat away from the Dark Lord…

Lucius' old seat.

"Severus, my precious little spy," Voldemort purred with faux affection, "tell me, did you not say that the Potter boy's Occlumency lessons were discontinued?"

"Yes, my Lord," came Snape's silky voice, neutral and cold no matter what the situation.

Voldemort fingered his wand, caressing it like a loved one with his long spidery fingers. Lucius rather hoped that his old school time chum might get a taste of Cruciatus. Not because he was feeling vindictive or anything, but if only to prove to his wife that the curse was employed and his precaution to not eat lunch was valid.

"Then why is it that every time I try and get into the boy's head I am stopped by these ridiculous blockades, hmm? This tells me a few things Severus, either the boy has had a sudden epiphany towards Occlumency and has started some independent study, or you have continued to train him without my knowledge. My suspicions are telling me to lean towards the latter, what do you have to say in your defense my dear Severus?"

Snape stiffened, but that was all that showed of his fear and or worry. "I assure you that I have not continued Potter's private lessons this year my Lord, though it is possible that Dumbledore may have hired someone else to tutor the boy or is doing so himself."

Voldemort nodded to himself. "Yes, yes that sounds very plausible. This whole ordeal smells of that old coots work." Snape visibly sagged in relief, clearly feeling his interrogation over – "However, you are unsure of this, Severus?"

Snape hesitated. The act in itself proved he didn't know, yet the Potions Master still debated which answer would insure a punishment. "Yes my Lord. Without the extra lessons I see very little of the boy these days, and Dumbledore's trust in me is beginning to waver."

'Oooh, bad move Severus old friend.' Lucius mentally winced for the surly fellow.

"I see." The Dark Lord paused for effect, then, quick as lightning, drew his wand and bellowed: "Crucio!"

The force of the curse knocked poor Severus clear out of his chair. The Potions Master writhed on the floor and screamed that strange, high pitched scream of his. None of the Death Eaters sneered at the blatant show of weakness; every one of them had suffered the curse at one time or another and knew that they had faired no better.

Lucius, however, let a smirk curl up from behind his mask and nodded to himself in satisfaction. Now Narcissa wouldn't be able to give him that damned not-so-subtle look of sheer knowing when he returned home.

Moments later the Dark Lord lifted the curse. Ignoring the pained moans and harsh breathing from the sorry figure on the floor, Voldemort straightened up and reigned in an air of just-barely-calm authority. "Now, is there any news from our more useful," he shot Severus, who had pulled himself back on to his seat and was trying desperately not to fall out of it again in a dead faint, an annoyed look, "young Hogwarts spies?"

"My son has reported something of interest, mi Lord."

Lucius was shocked to hear the familiar nasally voice of Thaddeaus Nott, who, the last he'd heard, was on an all expense paid vacation in Azkaban Fortress. Lucius himself managed to get out of that hell whole (it being just as terrible even without Dementors) by bribing, contacting several old friends who were in high positions in the Ministry, and changing his motivations severely. Nott had neither money nor connections, so the only conclusion Lucius could come up with from this particular riddle, was that their benevolent Lord and Master saw fit to give Mr. Nott a helping hand.

It was an insult! A proverbial slap to the face to deign that worthless scarecrow Nott be rescued before him! So what if he had decided to switch sides before he escaped, Lucius had lied, stolen, and maimed countless people beyond recognition, all in the name of this psycho's cause, and this was the thanks he got!? To be left to rot in prison while he spirited away someone who couldn't even spell "Mudblood" properly, let alone torture one!

'Oh that Potter boy had better kill him,' Lucius thought vehemently. And damnit all if he wouldn't be there, when Voldemort was down and out, to give him a taste of Cruciatus and a few kicks in the gut for good measure.

"…into some type of cat creature over the summer holiday. He isn't sure if it's a curse or an inheritance, but if that were the case it would explain why you can't ah…reach him, mi Lord."

Voldemort's already hideous face twisted into a grimace, and for a moment Lucius thought he was going to curse Nott just for the mere reminder of his predicament concerning Potter. Unfortunately he didn't, and instead said: "That is possible," he started slowly, "though unlikely. The Potter's have no magical creature blood in their line, and his mother was a Mudblood, but I wonder…

"Rabastan!" He barked, "After this meeting you will investigate the muggle Evans' family line."

"Yes, my Lord," the Lestrange brother said in his low timbre.

"Is there anything else, Thaddeaus?"

"Yes, Theodore has also said some very interestin' things about Lucius Malfoy's son, as well."

Lucius stiffened in his seat, but did nothing more lest his protests bring the wrath of Voldemort down upon him that much quicker. His mind raced to recount anything his son could have done that the Dark Lord would find fault with. Suddenly he felt all the color drain from his face, as a horrendous thought struck him. Surely, surely his intelligent and cunning little Dragon would have the sense to not broadcast Lucius' precarious allegiance to the Light…

"Oh?" Voldemort's tone and expression gave not more than innocent curiosity, but no one missed the Dark Lord's eyes flash a deeper red, and the fact that those eyes were solely trained on Lucius Malfoy.

Thaddeaus cleared his throat. "It seems that Draco Malfoy has been proclaiming to anyone who'll listen that he's no longer in your service, mi Lord, even goin' so far as to separate himself from those that are faithful to you and the cause."

Scattered mutterings sounded amongst the other Death Eaters…except for Severus, who was still in enough pain that he would be adverse to talking, gossip or otherwise.

Lucius, meanwhile, was cursing his beloved son from here to high heaven. Damn the boy and his arrogance! If Lucius made it out of here alive his son was in for a severe talking to…and grounding for the rest of his natural life…and serving as a temporary House elf. Yes, if Draco hated anything than it was mundane domestic work.

"You're right Thaddeaus, that is very interesting news." Voldemort raised his wand, the move silencing any left over conversation. Lucius braced himself for either Cruciatus or Killing Curse, as one or the other were just as likely to be cast upon him at this point.


Lucius had to physically restrain himself from jumping out of his seat when the screaming started…

Because it wasn't his own.

Nott twitched and writhed and hollered so loud that his lungs were surely due to explode any moment.

"You, ALL of you, would do well to remember the seriousness of this organization!" Voldemort yelled above Thaddeaus, mostly addressing the more intact Death Eaters. "We are here to reshape Wizarding society, not tattle on each other in the hopes of gaining rank!"

Voldemort slashed his wand to the side, cutting off the curse but not Thaddeaus' wailing. Indifferently, as if there wasn't a grown man sobbing in pain and rolling around on the floor, the Dark Lord waved his arms open in a mockery of welcome. "This meeting is adjourned. Enjoy your dinner."

Lucius was somewhat glad that he hadn't bothered to relax just yet, as not a second passed before Voldemort said, or rather ordered: "Lucius, come with me."

The aristocrat followed his "Master" down a long hallway after exiting the dining area. Nott's intent may have been childish, as Voldemort put it, but his claim was serious nonetheless. Voldemort was many things, but naïve fool was definitely not one of them.

"Take a seat, Lucius," Voldemort said once they reached his study.

Lucius, though all instinct screamed for him to stay standing and close to the door, did as told. The furnishings were all velvet and gothic colors, perfectly suited for any Dark Lord who wanted to make an intimidating impression. In Lucius' opinion it was all a bit suffocating, especially with the fireplace as the only source of light and arranged so that it would glint against the spines of his many Dark Arts books.

Perhaps that was the intention though.

The Dark Lord stood ram rod straight against his desk. "You have always been my most faithful Lucius," he started, "that is why, despite the seriousness of these accusations, I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt. Now I'm going to ask you, is what Thaddeaus said true?"

Lucius, always good at thinking on his toes, (which made him a great Death Eater and an even greater bureaucrat) said while looking Voldemort dead in the eye; "Yes, my Lord."

A split second after unmitigated fury started to emanate off the Dark Lord like a bad smell, Lucius forged on; "With Dumbledore and the other blood traitors under the impression that my son has…turned over a new leaf, so to speak, they will be more inclined to speak openly around him."

"You planned this?" Voldemort said tightly, scowling. At the very least he no longer looked like he was going to curse Lucius to hell and back.

"Yes my Lord, my son and I both actually." Lucius forced a smirk, his mind working a mile a minute as he continued to make up a suitable lie. "You know how trusting that old fool is; anyone with a sob story would be welcome into his fold with open arms. Severus is doing a fine job with his spy work, but Draco has access to some of the most prominent figures on the Light side's children, and their tongues are far more lax when it comes to secretive information."

The Dark Lord seemed to be buying Lucius' story. Slowly the scowl melted into a smirk, and Voldemort was regarding him with a sense of admiration as opposed to righteous betrayal. "You are a credit to Slytherin Lucius."

"Thank you my Lord."

"I would have preferred you to have informed me of this plan beforehand."

"Forgive me, Lord. I haven't necessarily had a chance to get a private moment with you, and with pathetic imbeciles like Nott that don't know how to keep crucial knowledge to them selves I couldn't afford to bring it up in a meeting."

He felt something nudge at the edge of his mind. Damn, apparently the Dark Lord wasn't as completely convinced of his performance as Lucius assumed. He pushed his feelings of contempt for Nott and pride in his son to the forefront of his thoughts, hoping that would be enough to quell Voldemort's suspicions.

The alien intrusion retreated after a few moments. It was just as well, because Lucius didn't think he could block Voldemort out of his more damning thoughts any longer then that. He never was the gifted Occlumens Severus was.

"Regardless," Voldemort finally said, "you will tell me before you commence with a plan of this magnitude."

Lucius understood an order when he heard one. "Yes my Lord."

"You may return home then, dinner is likely finished by now."

Only too happy to escape, Lucius gave a respectful bow and retreated from the study and the enclosure entirely until he reached beyond the wards, then apparated to Malfoy Manor.

With the adrenaline rush from almost being tortured and killed for treason quickly dying down, Lucius now felt it safe to think up a proper punishment for his beloved and only heir's blatant stupidity. 'Honestly, I know I raised him better than that! He's getting far too careless these days; clearly all his mother's doing.'

Just as he was settling down and about to order a well deserved cup of tea and some scones (he was still hungry after all) from one of the house elves, his blasted Order of The Phoenix badge vibrated in his pocket. "Damn it all!" Lucius exclaimed, glaring at the red and gold badge as if it were the source of all his problems. Several minutes were wasted as he cursed the Order and Dumbledore's very existence, before he apparated to yet another meeting.

His spirits were lifted fractionally upon arriving at 12 Grimmauld Place, when he caught sight of the condition the portrait of his wife's dear Aunt Walburga was in. Somehow, one of the Order members managed to turn it around so that it was facing the wall, since the permanent sticking charm couldn't be removed. He smirked as he heard the muffled rants Mrs. Black was trying to scream out. At least Lucius wouldn't have to worry about getting a headache today.

Everyone was already there in the meeting room, and everyone was shooting him hostile and or suspicious glares (aside from his wife, Dumbledore, and Severus). Ignoring the useless peons and their pathetic attempt at glaring, Lucius sat in the empty chair next to Narcissa, who half smiled at him in greeting.

A dumpy witch read off the minutes from the last meeting, Hestia something or other, and then Dumbledore finally stood up and spoke:

"Welcome everyone. First I would like to ask if anyone has any news to report before we get to the main point?"

Severus stood up. "Thanks to the complete conspicuity on our part, the Dark Lord is now somewhat aware of Mr. Potter's condition," he said, sneering.

Dumbledore silenced the scattered murmurings at the mention of this with a raise of his hand. "He knows Harry is a Katashean?"

"He knows that Potter isn't completely human anymore, but he's bound to find out about that soon enough. The Dark Lord may be insane, but he can read fine print just like the rest of us."

"Oh Albus! Why didn't you ever think to put a Glamour or Disguise charm on the boy?" Molly Weasley cried with not a little exasperation in her voice. "His heritage should have never left your office the moment you found out about it."

Several other Order members nodded their head in agreement to the Weasley woman's statement. Lucius couldn't help but wonder at the Headmaster's reasoning as well. Was there an ulterior motive, or was senility catching up with the old coot?

Dumbledore sighed. "I did think of just that Molly. But I also remembered that things rarely manage to stay hidden in Hogwarts, and when they are found out the social backlash can be extreme. If you would all recall the Parseltongue incident…"

Mrs. Weasley didn't look satisfied with that answer. "But what if You-Know-Who finds out about what - what he could…gain from Harry now?"

"Then Harry will be in the exact same position as he was before," Dumbledore said, a touch firmly. "And as long as he remains within the walls of Hogwarts he will be safe."

'So you've said for the past five years, but we all know what transpired then. Safe indeed,' Lucius thought. Narcissa glanced at him, mirroring his expression of disbelief.

"Is there anything else you would like to add Severus? Anyone else? Yes Lucius?"

Lucius rose from his seat gracefully. "I thought it would be a good idea to make you all aware of the fact that the Dark Lord believes that my son is pretending to be on the Light side in order to spy for the Dark."

"You mean to say that he isn't?" Author Weasley muttered, purposely loud enough for all to hear.

Lucius had to hold back a smirk when Mrs. Weasley elbowed her skinny husband in the ribs and gave him a glare that promised a lecture when they returned alone.

"Thank you for informing us of this Lucius," Dumbledore said before anyone else could give their opinion on the aristocrat's statement. "At this point we really can't afford any misunderstandings of that nature."

Lucius inclined his head, and then sat back down.

"Is there anything else? No? Wonderful! Then there's some good news I'd like to add. Thanks to Narcissa the Ministry was able to apprehend a large gang of Death Eater's that were attacking in Bangor."

"When was this?" another witch, whose name Lucius couldn't be bothered to remember either, asked.

"Why, just this morning my dear," Dumbledore said, eyes twinkling merrily.

It must have been an isolated plan of attack then, otherwise the Dark Lord would have included those incompetent Death Eaters in his rant today and dished out far more Cruciatus Curses. Lucius and Severus exchanged a knowing glance. Once Voldemort did actually find out about this debacle, there would be hell to pay amongst the other ranking Death Eaters.

"But how did she find out so quickly? And how did she manage to convince the Ministry to help? And when –" that same witch asked again.

"Slow down Emmeline," Dumbledore said, with that good natured chortle of his. "Narcissa informed Regis Anderson months in advance. There were also a few anonymous tips to the Ministry that helped a well."

Lucius snorted mentally. He would bet his entire vault at Gringotts that his wife was yet still the source of the tip. And if that infuriating twinkle in Dumbledore's eye was anything to go by, then Lucius would say that the Headmaster was aware of this too.

"Anal Anddy?" queried Fletcher to no one in particular. "I'd forgotten he was still posted in Wales. Guess there was some use for him after all."

"Why didn't you tell any of us before, if you've known for so long?" that insufferable Emmeline woman said, obviously fishing for accusation.

Narcissa's expression, which had been that of mild boredom at first, now foretold innocent puzzlement. "Well, I heard that a couple of Death Eaters were planning their own raid to please the Dark Lord while I was at little Elliott's third birthday party – you remember Lucius, Margaret and Darius Thatcher's boy? We were having tea in the garden – really Lucius, we must visit the Thatcher Manor again, the grounds are simply breath taking! – and just as the Thatcher's house elf Manny was serving us these delicious cinnamon biscuits, Rebecca let it slip about the raid. Or was it Elizabeth? Yes, it was Elizabeth, because I remember she was complaining about how her husband would be too busy to get her a diamond encrusted Hungarian Horntail broach for their eleventh anniversary –"

"That's all fine and good Narcissa, but why didn't you bring this up at an order meeting?" Fletcher asked through gritted teeth.

Lucius smirked at all of the agitated Order members, knowing that more than half would love nothing more than to shake his wife by the shoulders and scream, "Get to the point woman!" But that was the beauty of Narcissa's little act to throw off the nosy Order members…

It wasn't an act at all.

Narcissa sniffed haughtily and let out a delicate "hmph". "How rude of you Mr. Fletcher, interrupting someone while they clearly have the floor to speak. Didn't your parents teach you any manners at all?

"If it isn't too much trouble I would very much like to continue, Headmaster."

Dumbledore looked as if he could just barely contain himself from pounding his fists on the table and howling with laughter. "Oh, please do continue my Lady."

"Thank you. Now as I was saying, I'd gotten the information, but though I was aware I had to report something of this importance immediately, I also couldn't leave the party. It would just be terribly impolite you see, since I haven't had the chance to chat up with Margaret since Draco was born. Oh and that reminds me Lucius, we have a dinner date with the Thatchers next Saturday at this lovely new restaurant in France. I think it's called…well I don't know what it's called exactly, but I do know that they have the most delectable chocolate éclairs…"

Several Order members cleared their throats as they saw the signs of Narcissa getting off topic again.

"Ah, like I was saying, I couldn't leave the house, so I decided to wait until the party was over. Unfortunately it was rather late when I left, so I figured most of you would be asleep by then. But then I recalled someone mentioning Mr. Anderson was stationed in Wales because he was…getting a bit too eager when it came to capturing Death Eaters. Now, in Wales it was most likely late morning, so I Floo'd him and gave him a head's up about Death Eaters coming his way."

Shaklebolt let out a long sigh and massaged his temples with his fingertips. "Once again Narcissa, why didn't you inform us, the rest of the Order of the Phoenix, of the raid?"

Narcissa paused, as if she were going over that entire day yet again, and then chuckled. "Oh dear me, I believe it slipped my mind entirely."

There was a collective groan of exasperation around the table. Her actions, combined with her tendency to natter, only confirmed the Order's assumption that Narcissa was nothing but an empty headed snob. Of course, none of them would ever understand how her position was more perilous than even Lucius and Severus'.

For whatever reason, a good majority of the Death Eaters seemed to be under the impression that Lucius physically abused his wife and child. He couldn't quite get his mind around how anyone could come up with such a notion. After all, he loved Draco and Narcissa more than anything, even to the point of being in the company of uncultured dunderheads from time to time. There was also the small fact that he couldn't "physically" abuse Narcissa even if he wanted to. Lucius remembered quite clearly the one and only time he had attempted to strike his wife in a blind rage, and had ended up judo-flipped onto the coffee table for his trouble.

Thankfully his wife found little satisfaction in gloating, so it was never mentioned unless Lucius did something monumentally stupid.

Despite Narcissa being some kind of martial arts master (Bellatrix wasn't the only capable fighter of the Black sisters), she was still seen as a fragile china doll that was being pummeled by her sadistic husband, and therefore more susceptible to running over to the Light side for safety.

The Order moved on to discuss how they were going to insure that the vampires stay neutral, as they, along with the giants, didn't want anything to do with a human's war but were privately rooting for the Dark side.

"Headmaster, I hate to interrupt, but I was wondering if you were going to bring up what you and Mr. Potter discussed this morning," said McGonagall.

An oddly blank expression crossed over Dumbledore's normally jovial façade. "What Mr. Potter and I spoke of is inconsequential; I see no reason to share our conversation here."

"Inconse –" McGonagall sputtered. She then spoke as if she couldn't believe what the Headmaster had previously said: "Honestly Albus, I'm certain that Harry's idea has more than a few holes in it, but I think something of this magnitude is worth brain storming over."

"If the Headmaster said it's not something to mention, then it's not something to mention Minerva," said Tonks.

McGonagall pursed her lips and glared at the young Auror. "Oh really Ms. Tonks? Then if I said that Mr. Potter believed he'd found a way to defeat Voldemort, would you still think it's nothing to mention?"

This got the room buzzing with excited chatter. Lucius scoffed and rolled his eyes. The Transfiguration Professor may as well have said that Honeyducks was giving out a lifetime supply of chocolate for free, from the way these supposed adults were acting.

"Like I said before, this is not a matter I wish to –"

"Come now Albus, it can't be that bad…"

"Perhaps if we all talked about it we could work the kinks out…"

"Imagine, we may finally win this war yet…"

"The boy owes it to us anyway, 'bout time he came up with something on his own…"

"Harry is NOT just a tool to be used and thrown away!!" Dumbledore exploded.

Everyone immediately fell silent. The unmitigated fury radiating off the old wizard both fascinated and put the fear of God into Lucius. Dumbledore's fists were clenched and blue wisps of magic swirled around his form like a translucent shield. It was times like these that Lucius was reminded that Albus Dumbledore was as powerful, if not more so, as the Dark Lord, and there was very good reason to be wary of him.

Dumbledore straightened up and reigned in an air of just-barely-calm authority. Then he said in an even tone but with a dangerous edge: "What Harry suggested he sacrifice himself to, is a fate I would not even wish upon Voldemort."

There were a few startled gasps, and some looked to their neighbors with wide eyes, but there weren't any sounds otherwise.

Dumbledore, periwinkle eyes blazing in rage, looked at each member without bothering to hide his disgust and disappointment. Even Lucius felt somewhat chastised, and he hadn't said anything about the entire matter! "From the reactions I've heard in this room, I feel that I'm right to keep Harry's idea to myself.

"I understand that war can make us desperate, and do things we would never dream of doing under other circumstances, but we must remember our morals, and our values, lest we become no better than our enemies.

"Harry is a kind and selfless child, and because of the combined effects of his upbringing and all the Boy-Who-Lived propaganda, he does not believe his life is worth as much as anyone else's." Dumbledore leaned a bit forward, most likely aware that the swirls of magic made him into a very intimidating figure. "So, if I find that any of you have approached Harry about this or encouraged him to go through with it, there will be dire consequences. Am I understood?"

A subdued chorus of "Yes sir's" sounded.

Dumbledore paused, probably probing a few choice people with Legilimency to insure their honesty. "Good," he finally said. "You are all dismissed."

As they were the only ones who hadn't eagerly demanded Potter be gift wrapped and shipped to Voldemort as soon as humanly possible, Lucius and Narcissa left with their heads held high and guilt free.

"Shall we adjourn to the dinning room, beloved?" Narcissa queried politely. "It's already past dinner time and I'm sure you're just starving now."

Lucius was about to tell her that he was right, that the Dark Lord used the Cruciatus Curse and that it had been foolish for her to suggest eating lunch.

But it was too late. She'd already given him that look of sheer knowing, knowing that only Nott and Severus had been cursed today.

Logically, he knew that wasn't exactly true, as Narcissa was neither a Legilimens nor Telepath. He wouldn't be surprised though, if she had some other underhanded ability to tell if he was lying.

He just had to figure out what it is.

They ate in the Crystal Dining Room (appropriately dubbed as everything but the walls and rug were made of diamonds or glass), since the table was smaller and they would have an easier time talking to each other.

As Narcissa went on and on about the frivolous details of her day, Lucius took this time to admire her beauty, tuning in to the one sided conversation every now and then in case she mentioned something of importance. When he finally managed to get a word in edge wise, Lucius told her of the events during the Death Eater meeting. Before he could rant about how her son had almost gotten him murdered, Narcissa interrupted:

"Oh, that reminds me; I received some mail from little Draconus a few days ago!"

"Yes, and Draco is exactly who I wanted to talk about –"

"It's just awful dear! Draco's friend Blaise Zabini was being picked on because he let slip of his allegiance, and when Draco went to defend him they started picking on him too! My sweet little angel is so brave! But now that horrible Theodore Nott boy has practically all of Slytherin House tormenting Draco and his friends. I do hope this hasn't reached the Dark Lord yet, I know it would be terrible for you."

Lucius, his righteous anger towards his son slowly deflating, told her of Thaddeaus Nott calling him out and his private conversation with Voldemort.

"Well, you understand now that it wasn't his fault, right?" Narcissa said when he finished.

Lucius grunted noncommittally. "I hardly approve of Draco jumping to the aid of his friend just because they were being taunted. Discretion is of the utmost importance at this point and that comes before his friend's feelings, especially when there are other people's lives at stake!"

Narcissa put a calming hand on top of his. "He knows that dear," she said quietly. "That's why he sent the letter in the first place, he was really worried about us, scared to death that the Dark Lord had lopped off our heads and put them on pikes to make an example of us."

Lucius was actually startled into laughter. "That boy has an active imagination."

"And it's not just school boy taunts either. They're Cursing him Lucius! Poor Blaise would have had his arms and legs broken if Draco hadn't intervened…"

Lucius sighed heavily and took a sip of his wine. "All right, all right. I won't scold him…this time. But the next time I'm accused of treason because of him I'm caning his bottom right in front of the entire student body of Hogwarts."

Narcissa smiled a very self satisfied smile. Damn insufferable woman.

"There's something else Lucius," she said after polishing off the rest of her salad.

"I'm almost afraid to find out," Lucius deadpanned. "What is it?"

"It seems Draco has become rather infatuated with someone." She sniffed emotionally. "My little angel baby is growing up."

"Really now? Oh God, tell me it's not that Parkinson girl. I'd have to hear her simpering voice every holiday, and during family reunions…I'll be struck deaf by the age of fifty!"

"Oh no, it's not Pansy," she said hurriedly.

Lucius sighed in relief and took another sip of his wine. Who could possibly be worse than Parkinson?

"I believe it's Harry Potter –"

Lucius regretted taking that sip of wine now as it only wound up spat up all over the table. He coughed and sputtered, desperately searching for a napkin and his dignity. "Wh –what!?!" he managed to choke out.

"Don't you think they'd look lovely together?" Narcissa carried on as if Lucius hadn't just sprayed wine everywhere like a toddler. "Harry is such a beautiful boy, perfect for my Draco. And can you imagine their children? Green eyes with blond hair, they'll be stunning! Oh, but they'll have to get married first! I'm planning the entire thing of course, though I'm sure Draco will put up a fuss about it. Silly boy, doesn't he know it's a mother's duty to plan their child's wedding –"

"WAIT!!" Lucius cut his wife off before she could start going on about teaching Potter the best way to knit booties. "Draco said this, that he…had an interest in Potter?"

Narcissa glared at him mutinously for halting her rambling. "Well, he didn't say it exactly," she said a bit hesitantly. "But you know…I've just got a feeling about this."

Lucius was a proud man, but he could safely admit that he made mistakes from time to time and was quite willing to learn from them. So, when his wife said she had a feeling about something then well…

"But of course, dear." He lifted his glass and silently toasted to his son and Harry Potter, whishing them an eventual happy marriage, then drank the rest of his wine in one gulp.


A/N: Well I really hope I characterized Lucuius and Narcissa okay. Not evil but not exactly a cream puff of happiness either. I'd be happy to hear what you guys think!