The Painting

(One-shot)

---

"Who is she, Father?" the young boy asked his father quizzically as he eyed the painting above the mantle. It certainly wasn't his mother who looked down at them in his father's study.

Smiling down at his son, his older grey eyes filled with Nostalgia. "She was the one, my son, long before I married your mother."

Looking from his father to the painting, he began to understand somewhat. His father had loved this woman. "Tell me about her?"

He laughed at this, the father did. "Perhaps when you are older and know more of love." The father ruffled his son's hair with a smile.

"But I already know plenty of love father, I have seen you and mother," the naïve eyes of an eight-year-old challenged him curiously.

Caving in to his son's inquiry, he sat down on the couch, patting his thigh. "Sit and I shall tell you all about her."

The son followed his father's orders, climbing into his lap. "What's her name father?"

"Liliana," the father's voice wavered at the memory, "Her name was Liliana Moore."

---

A pair of ancient green eyes followed him across the room until he sat in his usual spot. Their typical hellos were exchanged and silence fell between them as he began to eat, looking over the paper. She set down her quill, leaning back to marvel at her completed artwork. All from memory, she was quite proud. He passed on words of praise as he examined it himself. "It's no Van Gogh," she said quietly, humility one of her more obvious traits.

"It looks real though," he said, his opinion always carrying more weight in her eyes. She tilted her head sideways, critiquing his facial structure.

She sighed, setting her pen down, "I'd like to paint you, before fall ends perhaps."

The young man before her sipped his tea, "Perhaps." His grey eyes watched her closely, "Pity you cannot paint yourself so skillfully. I would pay good money for such a handsome painting."

The petite woman rolled her eyes dryly, shaking her head. Her black hair fell in waves from the bun she'd tried to hold it back in. "You should know your flattery is wasted on me by now."

"You're blushing," he comment, his eyes still on the paper before him. "That means it wasn't all in vain." The man winked at her with a smile.

Other people began to intrude on their morning tradition, filing in slowly. "If I do a self-portrait, can I paint you?"

His eyes looked up again, locking on the fierce green of her own. "It's a tempting offer," his lips curled into one of his infamous smirks. "I believe we have an accord."

She stood, smiling, "Good. I'll see you in Potions." Her eyes left his form nonchalantly, her drawing pad in hand. Pushing her glasses up discretely, she left the Great Hall with a soft smile.

---

Opening the door to his room, a soft chuckle escaped him. On his bed, there was a piece of canvas, the painting facing down. It had been a full month since he'd first enquired and he'd nearly forgotten. He had never expected her to actually paint it for him. Admiring the brush strokes and the true-to-life green in her eyes, the man gave a satisfied smile. "Beautiful."

He hung it that very day, leaving his dormitory to find the painter herself and praise her. The young man knew exactly where to find her, he always did. They'd known each other since childhood, it would've been inappropriate for him not to know her so well. "I love it," he broke the silence of the library once he found her. "It looks lovely."

She put a finger to her lips, silencing him. "Let me finish the chapter."

"I want you to paint me," he pressed, watching her. "If you can do your own appearance justice, painting me should be simple."

Looking at him from above the frame of her glasses, she frowned softly. "I suppose you won't let me study until I've started, hmm?"

He nodded slowly, "That's right."

She reluctantly closed her book, sighing softly. "Very well." The girl watched him closely, "We'll go to the observatory. It's always empty and the lighting will be perfect." Without another word, she grabbed her bag and headed for the room in question. The young man followed her eagerly.

The sun was setting outside, golden rays shining through the opened windows. His eyes examined the room in wonderment. "I like it."

The young woman seemed to ignore him, walking up to him and loosing his tie. Her face was inches from his as she did so. When she noticed him raise an eyebrow, she smirked. The smirk much resembled his, but it was softer somehow. "I'm the artist; I get to paint as I wish." She licked her lips softly, loosing the tie completely.

He wasn't sure what he'd gotten himself into, but he allowed her to continue. Once she'd removed his tie and shirt, he was very curious. Just how far would she undress him? As she set up the canvas and palette, he watched her closely. Her hair shined beautifully in the light.

---

"Was she really that pretty, father?" the boy interrupted his father's tale, looking up at him dubiously.

A reminiscent smile crossed his lips, "I could not describe it. The portrait hardly does her justice." The father looked up at it again, "Her eyes were more vivacious, her face glowed, and her smile could warm even the hardest heart."

The boy looked up at his father again. "Do you think all those things about Mum too?"

"No, I love your mother, but she was not as fair as Liliana." The father's mind quickly drifted back.

---

For the third afternoon in a row, he sat on a stool, completely nude and watched her paint him. At first it had been uncomfortable, but he'd adjusted, he had nothing to be ashamed of. "How is it coming?"

She ignored him, her deep green eyes flickering from his form to her canvas. He hadn't expected her to answer; she never did when she was painting. Finally, after the sun had shifted too much for her to continue, the young woman looked up at him. "Okay," that was his permission to redress as she began to close up her paints.

He approached her instead this time, as she had her back turned to organize the colours. Brushing her raven hair away from her pulse, he kissed it softly. "We're done then?"

She swallowed audibly. "Y-Yes, you can redress." The girl did not turn around, but he could feel her body heat up and her pulse soar. His hand came around her waist and pulled her to him.

Running his free hand down her side, he kissed down her throat to the collar of her shirt. "Not quite yet," he whispered in her ear.

---

"Why didn't you redress, Father?" the son's innocent eyes watched him.

Smiling softly, the father laughed at him. "That's something you'll discover as you get older, my son." Hugging him softly, the father ran through the next two hours in his own mind silently.

The boy grew bored, "Where is she now father?"

He sighed quietly, looking up at the painting again. "She passed on, I'm afraid." The father refused to mention how, but the memory could not escape him

---

"No son of mine is going to marry a girl from a family like that!" He watched his father storm across the room. "You'll marry the one you've been betrothed to!"

His grey eyes glared defiantly, "But I love this woman!"

Without a word, he father slapped him hard across the cheek. "She is not from a proper family! It isn't you she cares for, my son, it's your money!"

"That's not true!" he countered adamantly. "I know it isn't!"

Storming from the room, his father bellowed down the hall, "You will not marry her and that is final!"

As he felt tears well in his eyes he slammed his door violently, slipping out the window and running off the manor grounds. Once he could apparate, a soft crack split the silent night air and he was gone. As always, he knew where to find her. Knocking quietly on the door, he received no answer. He knocked louder, worry filling his heart. "Liliana!" he hollered, "Liliana, are you there?"

Finally, the young man stormed through the door, pain overcoming him almost immediately. Her bloody, sweat-soaked form lay crippled on the floor. Her green eyes were wide with terror and void of all spirit. Her arms were bent at unusual angles and her mouth parted slightly. Blood dripped from her palms, her nails had cut them open. Tears had drawn a path through the sweat and dust that coated her skin, falling from her face to the ground and drying up, as her spirit had. The crucio curse was one he'd seen used many times, but never had its affects had such an impact on him. His heart ached as he pulled her limp body into his arms. "Liliana," he whispered, cradling her weakly. Her clothes had been ripped from her body and he didn't want to think what other tortures she'd been subjected to.

As he wept with her in his arms, he sat up. His father hadn't known about one thing. He ran through the small flat and into the bedchambers. Inside, a simple silence charm had protected the single most important thing in his life, the innocent child gurgling in his crib. Picking him up into his arms, he cradled him soothingly. He had his father's grey eyes and pale skin. His little bald head had not yet yielded hair. Crying softly as he held his son against him, the man walked out of the flat, leaving the love of his life behind him. He had to find his betrothed, for the sake of his son.

---

"Father, it is dinner time," he broke his father's thoughts. "Mum's calling, Father..." He hadn't even noticed his son climb out of his lap and cross the room. The father stood, nodding. He took his son's hand and went out to have dinner.

When he found his wife, he kissed her softly, running a hand through her pale blonde hair.

---

He watched in desperation as she nodded slowly. "I will say he is my own," she smiled. "I would do anything for you."

She took the child, holding him gently. "Your father will rush the wedding since there's already a child, are you okay with that?"

Dark grey eyes filled with pain as they locked on hers. "I have no choice. Anything for him."

The young blonde nodded, "Have you named him yet?"

He nodded slowly, "His name is Draco. Draco Malfoy."

Narcissa smiled, "It's a lovely name." She kissed the child's forehead, "Welcome, Draco Malfoy."

---

Lucius finished sipping his cognac, setting the glass on a side table in his study. His eyes were locked on the portrait again, mesmerized.

Narcissa walked into the room in her night robe, "Are you ever coming to bed?" Her blue eyes shifted from the painting to her husband. She understood that he'd loved her, but she was his wife now. Didn't that mean anything?

"Soon enough," he sighed. She already understood that he would not touch her tonight, his mind was elsewhere. As Lucius poured himself another glass, he thankfully kissed his son good night and returned to the painting. "He's growing up well, Liliana." Those dark grey eyes refused to cry even as water welled within them. It hadn't been meant to be. The Dark Lord wouldn't have approved, nor did his family. Things were easier this way, and he had a son to remember her by. He sincerely hoped he'd grow up to honour his mother's memory. Downing the entire glass, Lucius rose, heading for his bedchambers.

-Finite-