Disclaimer: Jo Rowling owns these characters and their world. The lyrics in this story are from the song Lips of an Angel, and are owned by Hinder.
The idea of the Malfoys owning a Muggle-made phone was laughable. And yet, somehow, that was what had happened.
It was not as though Lucius had ever planned to own a phone. He detested the very things with every fiber of his being. Actually, he had never known what a phone was until he'd received it. But he'd known it was made by Muggles, and that was enough reason for him to loath every wire and button that made up the stupid contraption.
It had been Severus' idea, really. Lucius had always figured that his friend was not a pureblood, and Severus' knowledge of the Muggle devices certainly proved these thoughts. Even despite Severus' understanding of the items, Lucius and Narcissa had been hesitant to use them at first. But in the end, their desperateness won over, and they agreed to his plan. They did not like the concept of owning a telephone, to be sure. But Severus' idea certainly had its perks.
So Severus had taken several coins from the vast Malfoy vault at Gringotts, exchanged it for Muggle money, and purchased phones for both Draco and his parents (since Lucius and Narcissa had no earthly notion how to handle the Muggle 'pounds'). As Draco was currently on the run from authorities, Lucius and Narcissa seldom saw him anymore, and were yearning for some method to contact him by. So, Severus came up with 'mobiles'.
"You're sure about this?" said Lucius through tight lips, as Severus put the plastic thing into his hand. Lucius held up the contraption to his eye level, squinting at it suspiciously. "This – this object – it will – work?"
"Yes," said Severus calmly, "the phones will work fine."
"And – the Ministry won't be able to tell that . . . ?"
"The only way the Ministry would be able to find out is if they visited the phone company headquarters and used the Muggle tracking system in place there to find you or Draco. Of course, this is also assuming they know either of your phone numbers, which they would have some trouble securing."
"Muggles have tracking systems?" said Lucius dubiously.
Severus nodded, and Lucius snorted. "Nothing like ours though, of course."
"No," Severus agreed, "nothing. The Ministry would have a very difficult time figuring out to use their systems, so I believe you are very secure using this."
Lucius could see no other real flaws, so he consented, curtly thanked his friend, and slipped the hated thing into his pocket.
And now here he was, his newly escaped-from-Azkaban self sitting in a comfy chair in his manor, twiddling the phone in his hand. It was late at night, and Narcissa was diddling away in the bathroom.
It amazed him how much had changed since he had been locked up, and yet how little had. His house was the same, his wife was the same, his serving the Dark Lord was the same . . . and yet, things were different. It was as though his old life had reappeared, but had been remolded, reshaped; the angle changed and all that had been familiar altered.
He pressed the phone between both his palms, warming the cool metal exterior. He wondered why Draco had not tried to contact him yet. True, Lucius was not fond of the idea of using phones, but it was better than nothing. He had not seen his son in two years, not since Draco had been sixteen and had tried to murder Dumbledore. Lucius had received the phone seven days ago – surely Draco had gotten his already? Severus had indicated he still saw Draco frequently – shouldn't Draco be in possession of the object by now?
Lucius lunged about a foot into the air. What the hell was –
It was the little phone! What did that noise mean? Was it bad? Good? On top of that, the thing was vibrating! What did that signify?
Damn you, Severus. Now what was he supposed to do? He had a phone in his hand, and he didn't know what was wrong with the thing. Maybe it needed new butterpies, or whatever those little things were called that gave it energy.
Maybe if I open it, it will shut up, Lucius thought, staring down at the thing. And supposedly sound comes from inside – if I flip the device open, maybe it will tell me what's happening.
Being a logical sort of man, Lucius decided to follow this plan of action, and flipped open the phone. It stopped making the annoying deedul-deedul-deedul sound, but now there was another noise, softer, that he could not identify. He pressed it to his ear, as Severus had instructed.
"Hello?" came a voice through the phone. The voice was muffled, but he knew who it was instantly.
His throat went dry.
"Hello?" the voice said again. "Is – is anyone there?"
"No one's here to speak to you," said Lucius in a cool voice barely above a whisper.
He heard quick little bursts of air from over the line, as though she was trying to catch her breath. "I – just – wanted to – "
"Just wanted to what," Lucius whispered. "What did you want to do, Andromeda?"
Andromeda didn't know what she wanted to do. That was the problem. She sat at a desk in her home, far away from where Lucius was, winding the phone cord around her finger. She hadn't known why she was calling Lucius as she dialed the numbers, nor did she know why she was calling him as she sat there listening to his light breathing and her own rapid paced one.
"I just – I just wanted to talk," she said lamely.
"You wanted to talk," he echoed. "To me, of all people. I am touched, I'll have you know, but I'm sorry to say I cannot speak to you right now. Terribly sorry for the inconvenience."
She drew in a hissing breath through her teeth. "I – "
He heard her voice break.
"Andy, Andy," he whispered, all pretense and loftiness gone from his tone in a sudden moment of weakness, his weakness for her. "What's the matter? Andy, what are you crying for?"
"Everything. Nothing," she murmured, sniffling gently. "I don't know anymore."
Honey why you calling me so late?
It's kinda hard to talk right now
Honey why are you crying? Is everything okay?
I gotta whisper 'cause I can't be too loud
Lucius cradled the phone closer to his ear, praying Narcissa would be occupied in the bathroom for quite a long time. "Tell me."
Andromeda exhaled, wiping her eyes with her free hand. "I'm worried. About the war, about my family, my daughter, my sisters . . . I just . . . want it to be over. Not that you would be able to sympathize."
"Believe it or not, I can sympathize quite well."
There was a quiet snorting noise amidst the sniffles.
"Oh, but I can, Andromeda. I want the war over just as much as you."
"Yes, so you and the Dark Lord can share all the glory and you can bask in his greatness."
"So I can have my family reunited and live my life once again," he corrected her quietly. "Do you think it's pleasant being on the run? Sitting in this house day after day? The only thing driving me to live the son I cannot even see anymore? Do you think it's enjoyable?"
He listened to her breath through the tiny speaker, before answering for her. "It's not."
There was a silence over the phone line.
"How did you get this phone number?" Lucius asked her. "How did you even know I had a phone number?"
"I have my ways," Andromeda replied mysteriously.
"This is war, Lucius. We do what we can to achieve our purposes, and to win."
"Are you saying you're tracking me down through this damn phone – to capture me and take me back to Azkaban – you little bi – "
"Of course I'm not tracking this. I have no idea where you are right now." He heard a crinkly noise, like the ruffling of a plastic candy wrapper. "Do you really trust me so little, Lucius?" she inquired in a small voice.
"Why would I have any reason to trust you?"
"We spent a lot of time together . . . was I always just something to watch out for? Something you never fully liked or believed in?"
"Andy, don't cry, please."
"I'm not crying, Lucius."
It was true.
"Answer my question, please."
"Of course I trusted you, Andromeda. How could I not? There was a time . . . albeit, a brief time . . . where . . . well, where we . . . "
"You haven't gotten any better at expressing yourself, have you?"
"You haven't gotten any better at holding your tongue, have you?" he retorted.
"It runs in the family, as I'm sure living with my sister has taught you."
He let out a short bark of bitter laughter. "It has."
"Speaking of Narcissa . . . how – how is she?"
Well, my girl's in the next room
Sometimes I wish she was you
I guess we never really moved on
"She's fine." Lucius darted a glance towards the bathroom door as he spoke, which was still (thankfully) shut tight. "Well, no worse off than anyone else in the present time."
"And you're happy together?" She said it so bluntly, as though asking about the weather, as though she had no personal attachment to either of the people she was discussing. Something inside him twinged with pain.
"We're Malfoys," he said dryly. "We're always happy. At least, we appear happy to the greater public."
She chortled briefly. "That is a Black ideal as well. But, I mean, you're . . . content . . . with the arrangement?"
"We get along," was all Lucius offered, his voice closed to divulge more information. Shifting subjects, he questioned, "What about you and your spouse?"
"We're happy," was all Andromeda offered, her voice having the same closed tone as well. "We love each other."
"Does he . . . know you're talking to me?"
Andromeda wound the phone cord tighter around her finger, watching it turn white as the blood flowed out of it. "No."
"Is . . . is that . . . okay? Will it . . . prompt a fight?"
"It shouldn't. And it most definitely will not if I don't tell him." She hesitated. "What about Narcissa?"
Lucius shot a look at the door. "I don't think she knows."
"But there's nothing wrong with a phone call," said Andromeda, seeming to be reassuring both Lucius and herself.
"I have not had many of them myself, to be honest. But I think the intent behind the phone call is how you determine if it is 'wrong'."
Andromeda shifted in her seat, weighing out the truth of his words. She licked her lips, leaning back into the chair as she glanced towards the kitchen, where she knew Ted was. "And – and what is the intent behind this phone call, Lucius?"
"You are the one who called. Why are you asking me?"
"There was once something there, Lucius. You can choose to deny it, but there was once something between us. Something . . . special." She tried not to choke on the words.
"You broke off our relationship, Andromeda," he said in a detached voice. "What there was to it, at least."
"Stop that. There was a lot to 'it', in case you have forgotten."
"Our relationship was arranged from the start, Andromeda, in case you've forgotten. Or do you not remember our parents meeting and determining the idea of us wedding a perfectly good idea, and fixing everything in stone?"
"I remember it quite well. But after it was arranged, we . . . developed a relationship." She paused, waiting for him to speak, but he didn't. "Don't you remember?"
"How could I not?"
She sighed into the phone, pressing it hard to her ear, causing her head pain. But she didn't care; all she knew in that moment was that she wanted to be as close to Lucius as possible, and if that had to be over the phone, then so be it.
"But then you fell in love with that Tonks," said Lucius flatly, ruining her brief, blissful moment of drowning in the past.
She shook her head, realizing as she did so that Lucius could not see her. "No, Lucius. I didn't."
"Then what – "
"I never told you the truth, but I – I didn't fall in love with Ted. That's not what changed our relationship. I fell out of love, not in love. I didn't love you anymore . . . or, couldn't, at least."
"What – "
"I wasn't going to be wed to a husband who shackled himself for a dictator who didn't give a shit about him, and who hated those of 'impure' blood just because he could. I couldn't love you if that was how it was going to be, Lucius. I had never held the same standards as my family, the standards of 'class' and 'blood' and 'maintaining the respected family name'. And I had thought maybe you were different from them, despite your haughty and cool exterior. But when I realized I was wrong . . . I had to break things off between us."
"And so you married someone you did not love."
"Could you not say the same of my sister? Of the arrangement that was fixed for both of you?" she shot back sharply, and then her tone softened. "I did care for Ted, and still do. But . . . something's not . . . there's never been a spark in our relationship. I . . . I married him because he was nice and shared my standards and ideas . . . because he was safe for me. But it was never the same. It was never . . . it's never been . . . like it was with you."
His had was trembling as it grasped the phone. He pressed it tighter to his ear to stop the shaking.
"And if you think any of that was easy for me to spit out, you're completely wrong," said Andromeda, seeming determined to get everything she had ever wanted to say out in the open. "No matter what my sisters and parents say, I'm still a Black, and we Blacks have a very difficult time with confessions."
He tried to form his mouth into words, but it wasn't cooperating.
"Say something," she whispered.
"I . . . " he managed to choke. "I . . . "
Andromeda had wrapped the cord so tightly around her finger she could not feel it anymore. But she continued to clutch it, as though it were all she had left to cling to in the world.
"Lucius . . . "
It's really good to hear your voice saying my name
It sounds so sweet
Coming from the lips of an angel
Hearing those words it makes me weak
He shut his eyes; his name on her lips, so soft and caring, was almost too much for him to bear.
"Say something," she pleaded softly.
He cleared his throat, floundering wildly for words. "Sometimes," he began huskily, "sometimes I wish . . . that Narcissa was you." He did not think he could manage to utter much more from his closed throat.
Andromeda sighed gently into the phone. "I sometimes wish I was too."
"I guess we never really moved on, despite . . . everything," Lucius said ruggedly, smiling at her and wishing she was there to see it.
And I never wanna say good-bye
But girl you make it hard to be faithful
With the lips of an angel
It sounded as though Andromeda was near crying again when she said, "I – I have to go."
"Don't go. Please. I don't – want you to go," he said quietly, voice delicate, intimate.
"It never worked for us when we were younger," Andromeda choked, "and . . . and it certainly would not work now."
"I . . . I'm sorry. About everything."
"Me too, Lucius. Me too." She drew in a hitching breath. "Good-night."
There was a quiet wheezing noise over the phone line, then a click. It took Lucius a moment to realize that she was not on the other end anymore. Slowly, as if in a daze, he lowered the phone from his ear and flipped it closed.
Andromeda sat in her chair still, her hand quaking horribly as she grasped the phone. She had hung up, yet could not bring herself to release her grip. She could not let go of what had just happened that easily.
Forcibly, she jerked her hand away, and pushed herself roughly from the seat, moving towards the kitchen, where Ted was snacking.
"Hi honey," he said absentmindedly, and then he noticed her face. He stood up abruptly and rushed towards her. "Andy? What's wrong? Are you all right?"
He wrapped his strong arms around her, and she leaned into him. "I'm fine," she murmured, pretending that it was Lucius she was entwined with. "I'm fine."
Lucius was tucking the little phone into his pocket just as Narcissa emerged from the bathroom and flounced over to him. "You look tense," she commented, sliding her delicate hands onto his shoulders. "Is everything all right, Lucius?"
"Yes," he said distractedly, patting her hands in what he hoped was a reassuring manner. "Everything is fine."
"You must just be tired, then. Come to bed soon."
"Yes. I will. I just . . . have to finish a few things."
With a wary look, Narcissa left. He drew the phone back from his pocket, twirling it over and over in his hand, picturing Andy, his Andy, in his mind.
Honey why you calling me so late?