"Malfoy was cleared!" said Fudge, visibly affronted. "A very old family - donations to excellent causes." from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire"
Castlerigg and Freni-Fawr are actual locations in England and Wales.
No Flobberworms were hurt in the writing of this chapter.
"Thank you" to my beta, somigliana!
Why is Mr. Malfoy at St. Mungo's Hospital?
"So glad you could meet with me on such short notice, Mr. Malfoy," Healer Thompson said.
The two wizards were in the Healer's office, a small private room with privacy wards in place. They were sitting in desk chairs in front of the desk, facing each other. Lucius Malfoy had removed his overcoat, but not his gloves, and was toying with his walking stick. The Healer was wearing his hospital uniform, and was fiddling with a teacup.
Lucius nodded. "You said it was something you wanted to talk to me about privately," he said, coming directly to the point.
"Yes, yes, well, did you hear or read about the witch who was found last week, August thirty-first?" The Healer nervously rubbed his bald head, his troubled brown eyes gazing into Lucius's grey ones.
"I'm afraid I didn't get the full story. Mrs. Malfoy and I were in Paris, so it really wasn't front-page news there. Just that a witch was found with no memory, and that there was a reward for any information," Lucius replied coolly.
"Well, so far there hasn't been any credible information, and no, you didn't get the full story. It wasn't released. I'm hoping that I can count on your discretion to not repeat it outside this office."
"Then why tell me at all?"
"Because, I'm asking you for help, as your father and his father before him have been among our most generous donors. This is a special request, as it were, for a special need."
Lucius gazed evenly at the healer. "Go on, then."
The Healer cleared his throat and hesitated. "Then I can count on your discretion."
"Yes, yes of course. You also have my complete attention," the man prompted.
The Healer sighed. "She was found in the early morning hours, in the middle of Castlerigg Stone Circle"
"That, I've read."
"What wasn't reported was that she was found under the Dark Mark."
Lucius gasped. "Was she hurt in some way?"
"She was in labour. She was on the ground, wearing nothing but a brown wool robe, in the late stages of labour. There was not time to move her to St. Mungo's. There was barely enough time to catch the baby as it was. The area had been warded against Muggles, but not us. It's like we were expected."
"She had a baby?"
"A boy. Born under the Dark Mark."
Lucius sat in stunned silence for a moment. "Where is the baby now?"
"With his mother. She refuses to let go of it, except when it's explained to her that it needs testing or cleaning or whatever, and then she wants to be with it."
Lucius stared at the Healer. "How are they now?"
Healer Thompson sighed. "As well as could be expected. The boy is fine; the mother is having some problems."
Lucius slowly stood up and started pacing, holding his walking stick behind him. "Forgive me, Healer. Narcissa and I are planning to start our family sometime soon, and I...," he choked on his words. "I am overwhelmed to think that any child should have such a cold welcome into this world, that any woman would be treated so, so rashly. Leaving them in a stone ring...it's as if they were...some sort of human sacrifice." He shuddered. "How barbaric." He stopped his pacing and faced the Healer. "So let me ask, how can I help this unfortunate pair?"
"Due to the mother's problems, they may be here at the hospital for an indeterminable time. Extra funds would be needed for their care."
"Yes, yes, of course. And is there any sign of a father, wedding ring perhaps?"
"No, and we've had Granny in with her, and all she could find for memories was that the woman had drunk a fertility potion to ensure conception of a boy."
"Granny?" Frowning, Lucius sat back down, his walking stick across his knees.
"A Legilimens. We have a few on staff for help on trauma patients, the stunned, mutes, language differences and so forth. Granny specializes in the most unfortunate cases..."
"Well, I never imagined that the hospital would have staff members trained in that magic, but it definitely makes sense. Tell me, have you told me everything? Don't hold back now. How are the boy and his mother?" he asked earnestly.
"Both are doing fine, considering the circumstances. The hospital has named the baby "Richard"."
"Richard? Why Richard?" Lucius frowned.
"Because he came after "Quentin" on the list."
"Who's Quentin?" he asked.
"A foundling. Turned out his parents weren't of age, and were afraid to tell theirs. He's with his family now, with a new name. The one after Richard will be "Stephen"."
"Odd, sad in a way, planning for foundlings. An alphabetical list?"
"It happens, yes."
"And the mother's name?"
"We're hoping someone will tell us what it is. But we did pick a name off the founding list for her for the current paperwork. "Lilith". After "Karen" and before "Matilda"."
"Lilith..." Lucius gave a slight frown. "Interesting... Not to change the subject, but how were these lists made?"
Healer Thomson sighed and put the teacup on the desk. "Every one hundred or so years, new lists are made up. The current ones were made decades ago by a supposed soothsayer. Trelawney, Cassandra Trelawney, as I recall."
"You don't believe in divination?" Lucius gave a small smile.
"If it really worked, I'd be out of a job. Everyone would be safe obeying the strictures of their prophecies, and if the prophecy says 'Die', then why should there be Healers?"
Lucius looked at Healer Thompson. "So for the time being, this, this Richard, is a, a Merlin? A boy without a known father?"
"So it would seem," the Healer said.
Lucius was silent, his face clouded. "Look, I'll help with finances," he said slowly, "but on certain conditions."
"Name them," the Healer said.
"First, complete anonymity, and I mean complete. I've had enough of unworthy causes begging at me, sending me owls every hour of the day and night. And for Narcissa; I don't want her upset by undue public attention or unworthy gossip. The media can and will twist any good deed just to sell papers."
Healer Thompson nodded. "I can certainly agree with that."
"However, there is one more thing that I hope that can be done, and still meet the conditions I've set forth. Please have me named as the baby's benefactor, until such time as the family can be found and that they can take care of him and the mother. I would like to be able to see the baby as often as I wish, when I wish--within reason of course--to make sure that all is well and that the funds are being used for them, no offence meant."
"None taken. And I agree wholeheartedly with the conditions you've asked for. When would you like to see the baby?"
"Now, if possible." He hesitated, then added, "But it would be best to see him without his mother. I trust that the hospital is doing all it can for her, as well as the baby, but again, if the media gets wind of me of so-called "seeing" another woman, even to simply enquire of her health, well, you can imagine..." He gave a wry smile. "But the baby, now there shouldn't be any harm if I'm seen with a baby."
Fortunately, both mother and baby were asleep. The infant was brought in to the office. Lucius examined it as it lay in the Healer's arms. He was silent as he stared at it, then, quietly he asked, "May I hold him? Practice for fatherhood, as it were?" he said, giving Healer Thompson a small smile.
He sat down and held out his gloved hands. The baby was given to him, and he held the boy awkwardly. For once, he was at a loss for words. After a few moments of gazing at the tiny infant, he silently handed him back to the Healer. The Dark Lord would be pleased.
Very seriously, he said, "I'm going to be completely selfish. I want to be the child's sole beneficiary. Have any others been contacted?"
"You were the first on the list."
"Then let me also be the last." He smiled.
Lucius Malfoy had a schedule. On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, he was at the financial offices of his investments, keeping on track of how the businesses were going. Tuesdays, he checked the rental properties. He had his social obligations with and without Narcissa, and, like a dutiful husband, assisted her in her committee works and events. All events were scheduled to allow that every Thursday morning he could attend to "business" at St. Mungo's Hospital. After Narcissa became pregnant, he escorted his wife to her pre-natal appointments at St. Mungo's and encouraged her to visits with her sisters in Diagon Alley while he stayed at the hospital.
He didn't see the baby Richard's mother, but he always saw the baby, and rocked the baby, fed the baby, read to the baby and played with the baby in the hospital's play nursery under the beaming smiles of the nursery attendants.
"Mrs. Malfoy is so lucky to have you for the father of her child," they told him as he handed the baby back to them for his nappy change at the end of his two-hour visits.
Narcissa and the baby, Draco, were asleep. They would be spending at least a week at St. Mungo's while Narcissa recovered from childbirth; it was far more convenient for her female relatives and friends to visit, and she could have short outings in Diagon Alley. As Mr. Malfoy was such a generous benefactor, nothing was too good for him and his family.
He carefully tucked the blanket around the infant, gave Narcissa a kiss on her cheek and quietly left the flower-filled room.
A few minutes later, he was in the hospital's play nursery, conjuring mazes and tunnels for Richard to crawl through and levitating toys to make him laugh.
"We're so glad you could make it on such short notice, Mr. Malfoy," the nursery attendant cheerfully welcomed him.
"You said he did his first magic today. So he's still doing it?" he eagerly asked.
"Yes! We were surprised and thought you would be too."
"So you're not going to tell me? Naughty, naughty." His smile became thin and tight.
She giggled. "There was a family here earlier today. They'd just had their first little girl. Six brothers, what a lucky family. The boys were in the play room for a while, and when the family was leaving, they counted SEVEN little boys, and had to figure out which one had to stay."
"What do you mean, he's still here, isn't he?" Lucius was alarmed.
"Oh, yes, but wait till you see what caused the confusion!"
"Tell me or show me," he ordered through smiling lips and gritted teeth.
"Right this way," she giggled again as she opened the door to the playroom.
Standing right in the middle of the scattered toys was Richard. Richard with bright red hair. Lucius had to sit on a chair, he was so stunned. What would the Dark Lord say?
"All the little boys were red-headed, and Richard, well, that's his first magic!" she cried.
He stared at her, then at the child, who grinned and toddled to him, his arms out, his hair turning back into dark golden curls.
The Healer carried the sleepy toddler in her arms and stood him up on the floor of the Wizengamot Courtroom, then pulled out her sheaf of parchments and started intoning Lucius Malfoy's contributions to St. Mungo's Hospital. "Following the pattern set by his father and grandfather, Mr. Malfoy has been a most generous donor to St. Mungo's..."
The toddler clung to her robes, hiding his face for a few moments, then looked around for someplace to rest.
"…Mr. Malfoy, as an anonymous donor, contributed to the care and housing… "
The toddler was tired, but curious. His nose needed wiping.
"More importantly, since becoming the Merlin Richard's benefactor, Mr. Malfoy has been at St. Mungo's every Thursday morning for no less than two hours in a visit, rocking him, reading to him, caring for him..."
The room was huge, and there were people sitting up on the walls, a few were standing by a chair. Richard saw a familiar man sitting in the chair.
"On Halloween morning, the day of the Potter's deaths, Mr. Malfoy was at the paediatric wing's party, dressed as Captain Hook, entertaining the children…"
With his finger in his mouth, Richard stumbled over and leaned against the man's leg, rubbing his nose on his robes, and tugged on them.
Lucius looked down, a bit surprised, then picked the waiting toddler up and seated him on his lap. Richard clung to his robes for a moment longer, rubbed his nose again, then sighed and fell asleep in the crook of his arm, his finger still in his mouth.
People were milling around when he woke up. "He's so sweet!", "You're a natural father, Lucius.", "I had my doubts, but when I saw you with that baby…", "Hey, can you come baby-sit my lot?", "Whew, someone needs a nappy change.", "Glad you're innocent.", "Isn't he the cutest little character witness?"
Mr. Malfoy demurred, smiling, his arms protectively around the toddler, gently rocking him. Richard sat and blinked, his finger in his mouth, then buried his face in the man's robes to hide, his hair bright against the black wool.
Narcissa was more than shocked when Lucius's "business" with St. Mungo's was made public; she was furious. She was also very annoyed at Lucius's insisting that it was on the Dark Lord's orders he had kept it a secret from everyone, including her. She was relieved to learn that the hospital was keeping the boy with his spell-damaged mother. The two resided at the living quarters St. Mungo's had for the families of administrators and staff. As a few of the families also had small children the boy's age, the little community had basically "adopted" them. The mother was fine physically, and had recovered memories of old Welsh folk songs, but nothing else. She was able to care for her own child. There seemed to be no threat that he would end up on the Malfoy doorstep.
Publicity of his kindness to the child seemed to wipe out the taint in the public's memory of Lucius's associations with convicted Death Eaters, and protected the Malfoy reputation when her sister and brother-in-law were sent to prison. For these two reasons alone, she tolerated his continued visits to the boy.
"He's doing what?"
"Helping out in the apothecary," Healer Matthews casually answered. Lucius had come for his visit, but Richard was not there to meet him at the door, so now the wizard and his escort were going to the child.
"But he's too young to be working. He's barely three years old. What are you doing, making him a slave?"
"He's 'working' with my son, Matt." The Healer's voice was suddenly icy.
The two adults reached the room where three-year-old Richard and his same-age friend Matt were sorting a small tub of Flobberworms. Or sort of sorting. Richard had a Flobberworm in his now light brown hair, and Matt wore two on his shoulders.
"Actually, I wouldn't call it 'help'," said the Healer, warmth and amusement now in his voice. "And it sure doesn't look like 'work'," he added as the two threw the slimy things at each other. "And if there's a 'slave' in the picture, I'd said it was Smyth," he said, referring to the hospital's Potions master. "Those boys have her wrapped around their little fingers."
The twosome looked up and gave Lucius a couple of gleeful grins.
Lucius had been a Quiddich player, playing Bludger for Slytherin, and later for a European team, but nothing had prepared him to be chased, out-manoeuvred and caught by two little boys. Laughing and crowing, they mercilessly wiped their Flobberworm-slimed selves on his robes. Lucius then cheerfully punished them with sundaes at the ice cream shop.
Lucius took Draco and Richard to the children's matinee of "A Midsummer's Night Dream." Narcissa had begged off attending, due to a headache, so he gave her ticket to Matt and was able to get Matt's dad tickets a couple of seats over.
Draco fell asleep immediately. Matt sat and kicked the chair in front of him until his father leaned over the people between them and threatened the four year old with taking him straight home with no stop for ice cream, after which, Matt sulked until he feel asleep. But Richard knelt on his chair seat and could not keep his eyes off the stage. Lucius could not keep his amused eyes off the child. The child oohed at the magical drops that fell from the flowers, he laughed at the man with the head of a donkey, he danced his head to the fairies' songs and puzzled over the people while they talked and chased each other around the stage. The Lovers, the Moon, the Wall and the Lion were real to him, and he laughed and clapped at the end, and as the actors took their bows, he jumped up on his seat.
"I'm Richard Goodfellow!" he crowed, arms out, head back.
Lucius was not pleased. Goodfellow, the name of a servant, a foolish name. What wizard ever had the name "Goodfellow"? What would the Dark Lord say?
"And you're," the boy shoved his finger into the man's shoulder, "King Oberon!"
"You're absolutely right, Master Goodfellow!" he smirked. The actor had been unusually handsome. And besides, who would tell the Dark Lord?
Richard giggled and shrieked with laughter. People leaving the rows of seats turned and smiled at joyous noise.
At that moment, in the Rooms of Records in St. Mungo's Hospital, the Ministry of Magic, and at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, pages turned themselves to the name "Richard" and magical quills wrote "Goodfellow" for the surname.
"I wish you were my dad," Richard commented one ordinary day as the threesome was eating lunch in the hospital cafeteria. He was five years old.
"Why, so you could have a pony?" Lucius asked, remembering his argument with Draco and Narcissa that morning.
"No, so you could live here at St. Mungo's with me and Mum."
Matt scowled. "I'd rather have the pony." His mum was going to have a baby.
Narcissa was spending the day at her mother's and had reluctantly agreed to Lucius having a few associates over while she was gone. That one of the associates was from St. Mungo's and would be bringing Richard was not mentioned. He had sent the disgusting house-elf, Dobby, on a fool's errand, with instructions not to come back before the social ended.
He left the two boys in the playroom while he went to fetch tea, hoping that they would get to know each other a bit. One the way back, he stopped outside the door to peek in and listen to their conversation. Draco was five years old, Richard, six.
"If you're a Merlin, then your father's an abicass, an incubu, an incabus..." Draco struggled with the unfamiliar word, Richard watching, puzzled.
"He's a demon," Draco finally spat out.
"A demon? Like a devil? Cool!" Richard replied.
"It's right here in this book."
"Can I see it?"
"Well, if my dad's a demon, does that mean I have more magic than you?"
"I don't think so. I'll have to look at the book."
"Here, let me look."
"No! Let go!"
There was a noise of a tussle, and it took Lucius a few moments to put down the tea set to dash to through the door into the room.
He stopped to see Richard calmly sitting on Draco, carefully turning the pages of the book, while Draco lay on his stomach, howling, and trying to lift himself up.
What would the Dark Lord say? What would Narcissa say!
Richard and Draco were both six years old when Healer Thompson arranged for a camp out in Wales at Freni-Fawr. The Perseids meteor shower was an annual event for him, and he was excited about having the children and their parents out for it. Richard's mum, though, didn't want to leave the hospital, so the Malfoys were invited to be his surrogate family instead, an offer which Lucius and Draco gladly accepted, Narcissa, reluctantly. She knew that Dr. Mathias, Matt's mum, and other witches were going to be there. One couldn't turn down every single invitation and still have a respectable reputation. Lucius later saw the bill from the tailor; she had spent as much on a "casual" outfit for the evening as she did on her dress robes for the Ministry Ball.
Permission to use the hill had been given by the local magical folk. The hillside had been warded from Muggles, but not sheep. It seemed like the sheep would leave the people alone, but once they got used to them, the beasts were everywhere. Some of the wizards managed to ward off the animals at a respectable distance, but then came the task of Scourgifying the ground. Still, the heath smelled of sheep dung, which affected everyone's appetite. The dusk deepened, the stars came out, and the meteors started streaming across the sky. Draco knew how to count to one hundred, and had counted twenty "streamers" and lost count on the ones that simply fell by the time his mother felt she could graciously leave. She was not a little annoyed that Lucius wanted to stay, but when Draco begged, she relented on the condition that they were home inside of two hours.
Lucius was lying on a blanket, with Richard and Draco on either side, using his stomach as a pillow. Draco had counted thirty-four streamers. Other families were nearby in the summer darkness, quietly making family noises, some talking, some laughing, some whining.
"I hear music," Richard commented.
"What kind of music?" Draco asked.
"It's the song my mum sings. I don't know the words, but it sounds like it."
Lucius stared up at the stars, and tried to hear it, but couldn't.
"Do you hear voices? If you hear voices, you're daft," Draco said confidently. "Thirty-five."
"I hear the words. They sound like my mum's. I don't know what it means, though."
"I think it means it's time you learned Welsh," said Lucius thoughtfully. That might have pleased the Dark Lord. Richard's mother would be pleased. Narcissa definitely would not be pleased. Two out of three. Oh, well.
"Can I learn Bulgarian?" Draco asked excitedly. "Then we could go to Durmstrang and everywhere you played at."
"Matt's dad can speak Bulgarian. He went to school at Durmstrang," Richard said.
"Thirty-six, thirty-seven and eight," said Draco.
Richard fell asleep at about sixty-two streamers, Draco at eighty-one. Lucius carefully moved the boys away from him, then stood and looked down on them in the starlight. He needed more light.
"Lumos," he quietly ordered his wand. In its dim light, he gazed at the sleeping boys for a while, studying their differences and their similarities."Nox." The light vanished.
He carefully carried Richard to Matt's family, then picked up his and Narcissa's son, and cradled him in his arms. He looked up again at the night sky, counted nineteen more streamers, then one more, then Apparated back to their house.
Next: Why is Mr. Malfoy at the Ministry of Magic? Perhaps the Death Eaters have a point...
Notes: Lucius Malfoy's Favorite Charity was originally posted as three separate "books" at another archive: Lucius/Charity was originally the first three chapters, The Merlin was "Of House and Hunt", "Pranks and Tricks", and "Summer and a Stupid Fortune". The last book was The Merlin and Quirenius Quirrell. In a check of HP Lexicon, it seems that Quirinius can be spell either way; Sychophant Hex preferred it with an "e". Quirrell certainly wasn't a very popular character, and once he was disposed of in the first book, no one mourned his passing, and even Dumbledore, in Snape's memories in the Deathly Hallows, didn't seem to think he was worth more than a casual mention. Looking back over the whole, it looks like Snape's relationship to him was to have someone to bully. Which Snape and the rest of the staff sort of did in my story, The Joys of Apparation. And there was very little to go on - I had him go to school at Beauxbaton, as when he told Harry about his father and Snape loathing each other, Quirrell mentioned Hogwarts as if it was some other place. And unless JKR re-edits "inferni" for "zombie", it would be rather odd for a Hogwarts-taught adult to refer to use the term "zombie". I picked Brittany as his childhood place, as I supposed that, with its historical connections to England and Wales, that it would have been easier for him to shed any French accent he might have had, or that the aunt who raised him might have been more inclined to use English. I also wanted some distinct, magical landscape to be part of Quirrell's memories, and the lined-up stones certainly fit the description. At the end of the books, the only additional bit of information JKR gave us was that he had been the Muggle Studies teacher, so maybe he was Muggle born to begin with.
Thank you to all of you who have reviewed so far. I wish my responses could have been posted, as I answered out to duj that 1) that chapter 3 & 4 overlap, as they were from two different books, and 2) Richard and Matt were not the most logical of wizards, and were simply a couple of naturally dense eleven year old boys, who did not recognize the girls at the Muggle summer street faire as being witches, because they never said that they were, and they weren't wearing Beauxbaton tee-shirts or waving their "batons" around.