A/N: Ubi Amor, Ibi Dolor is Latin for: Where there is love, there is pain.
Andromeda leaned her forehead against the spotless window, looking out into the darkness, watching for Lucius. He would be coming soon for their date, where they would go out to one of the most expensive and praised wizard restaurants in all of Europe. But that wasn't the reason she was looking forward to the evening most.
She had never thought it possible, but somehow she had fallen in love with Lucius Malfoy. Ludicrous, she knew, without reason, logic or sense, but that was how it went. Besides, did love need a solid reason to exist?
When her parents had first told her of the engagement two years ago, when she was eighteen, she had not been pleased at all. Marrying Lucius Malfoy, the arrogant prick who strutted around as though everyone loved him, seemed like the worst idea she had heard in her entire life. But like the good Black daughter she was, she tried to make it work, for her family's sake. She didn't want to stir trouble with them. After all, she loved them all, even the parents that had frequently neglected her. So she had allowed herself to be courted by the pretentious man, reminding herself it was her duty, her obligation . . .
But then, slowly – very slowly – it had ceased to be an obligation. She began to look forward to when she would see Lucius, began to enjoy the time she spent with him. He had warmed to her as well, and underneath the haughty, indifferent skin he had created, she started to see something else. Something she had then managed to fall in love with.
Knock knock knock!
And there he was. With a last, hasty patting down of her hair and robes, Andromeda rushed down the long staircases in her house, making much more of a clatter than was usually permitted in the mansion. But she was currently the only one home, her parents out 'suitor shopping' for Narcissa, so couldn't have cared less.
She flung open the door. "Good evening, Lucius," she said, careful to not let her tone express any of the joy or excitement that was pulsing wildly through her veins. It was the unspoken rule between all well-bred purebloods: always remain as indifferent as possible.
"Good evening, Andromeda," Lucius replied. "You're looking lovely this evening."
"Thank you." She did a little twirl to show off her flowing robes of the very palest purple, her brown waves lifting lightly in the wind. "You are looking very dapper yourself."
Lucius, decked out in black dress robes with white trimming, smoothed his already-smooth ponytail and smiled at her. "Thank you, darling. I brought something for you, by the way," he added slyly. He reached behind his back with one arm, and when it reappeared he was holding a single white rose in his fist. With his usual confident air, he presented it to her.
"It's gorgeous," she said adoringly.
Lucius offered her his arm. "Shall we be going?"
"Yes, we shall." She placed the rose in a vase on a small countertop near the door. She stepped outside and shut her front door, then proceeded with careful deliberation to ignore his extended arm and walk right past him towards the sidewalk. Once there, she turned back to him. "Aren't you coming?" she called cheerily.
Lucius smiled furtively, strutted down the front steps to join her, and began walking slowly down the sidewalk.
"Aren't we going to Apparate?" Andromeda asked, as she caught up to him.
"I thought having a moonlight stroll to get there would be much more romantic," Lucius explained offhandedly. "Seeing as you silly females seem to love that sort of romantic nonsense."
"I do love that sort of romantic nonsense," Andromeda agreed, "but I also love common sense, and right now my own is telling me we should get to the restaurant by Apparation, seeing as it'd be much quicker."
"What are you in a rush for?"
"It's freezing out here, Lucius. Or had you not noticed?"
He glanced at her sideways, seeming to notice for the first time she was shivering. "That will teach you to wear warmer clothes," he said, smirking at her.
She glared at him in return. "You'll have to forgive me. Let's hope I do better next time. In the mean time I say we Apparate, because it's winter and I'm cold."
He moved closer to her, sliding an arm suavely around her shoulders. "Warmer now?" he murmured silkily in her ear.
Andromeda pressed closer to his side, resting her head on his shoulder contently. "Mmm." Then, coming to her senses, she abruptly lifted her head and shoved him away. "No. Stop that."
He just smirked at her. "Yes, dear? Something wrong?"
"We're Apparating right now," Andromeda said decisively. And with a loud pop, she reappeared outside the restaurant. Mere seconds later, Lucius appeared next to her.
"What are you upset over?" he asked in his lazy drawl. "You said you were cold, I was trying to help you warm up a bit."
She threw him a warning look. "The behavior you were exhibiting was entirely inappropriate for purebloods in public."
"Yes, ma'am," he sneered.
"If my parents had seen that, they would have been livid. 'Frolicking about in public, have you no shame, girl' – "
"You do the spitting imitation of them," Lucius told her as they strode towards the restaurant.
"I'm enough of a disgrace to them both as it is," Andromeda muttered. "Nothing I do ever pleases them; I don't need another thing on the list. I mean, I share none of their ideals about blood, really don't care if I 'uphold' the family name, I'm a former Hufflepuff, and – "
"Hush," said Lucius. He stopped walking and grabbed her arm, forcing her to halt and face him. He took her chin with one hand, putting his thumb on her lips to silence her. "It's all right. They love you anyhow. As do I." He brushed his thumb across her mouth gently; she melted under his touch, but just as smoothly and suddenly he took his hand away. "Come," he said, tugging her arm to propel her forward, "before they give up my reserved table."
"They would do no such thing," Andromeda giggled, feeling joyous once more as she pattered up the walkway. "You're a Malfoy. They wouldn't dare give up a table booked under your name."
He clicked his tongue, holding open the door for her. "Let's hope you're right."
Andromeda was, of course, right: the waiter promptly ushered them in and to their table, pouring them both generous amounts of wine and leaving them with the gold-rimmed menus. The couple made their selections and called the waiter back to order fairly promptly.
The entire meal passed rather enjoyably for both diners, who made light chatter the entire night. And so it was with a full stomach and an elated heart that Andromeda finally left, Lucius right by her side. She could not speak for him, especially considering his usual cool air was still about him, but he seemed quite content with the evenings happenings as well.
As they stepped outside, Lucius conjured a cloak from mid-air, stepped behind Andromeda, and draped it over her shoulders. "Is this more appropriate and acceptable?" he asked, bringing his arms around her shoulders to fasten the cloak.
"Quite," said Andromeda, turning her head to give him a chaste kiss on the cheek. "Thank you. It's very warm, too."
Knotting his fingers with her own, the pair started to meander down the cobbled streets.
"Where to now?" said Andromeda curiously.
"I was thinking my place."
She shot him a look. "You know what my parents would think of that. I'm supposed to be accompanied by one of them when visiting your home, they don't trust us to be – sensible, when alone in that situation . . ."
He smiled rather risquély at her as he said, "The backyard, then. I have some things I want to discuss with you. Surely they can't object to that in any way?"
"I hope not," she replied, blushing like a school-girl under his sensuous gaze.
Lucius and Andromeda Disapparated, reemerging outside of the Malfoy Manor. They passed through the gate and Lucius led her to the magnificent area behind his house – calling it a backyard seemed a disgrace; it was far too elegant. The area was wide and open, flowers blooming everywhere – on the ground, on the marble walls and statues. A fountain stood in the middle, glistening wet; a smooth stone pathway was set on the ground, lit by tiny lanterns that never extinguished. Walking amid the fancy shrubbery and plants were – she did a bit of a double-take –
"Peacocks, Lucius?" she couldn't help asking, one eyebrow lifting.
"Surely you have seen them here before?"
"No, I've never been in your yard for long periods of time. But why . . .?"
"They're my parents'," he said, "but personally I'm rather fond of them. It's a nice touch, don't you think?"
Andromeda merely giggled in response.
He guided her towards the fountain, then sat down on the edge, beckoning her to do the same. She did, spreading her robes lady-like around her legs. Lucius' gray eyes glinted at her, looking earnest.
"What did you want to discuss?" she asked.
He gazed at her for a moment, drinking her in, and there was nothing superior or cocky in his eyes. Then, Lucius extended an arm towards her, wrapping it around her waist and pulling her nearer in a very deft fashion.
Andromeda squirmed uneasily. "Lucius . . ."
"Shh, Andy," he whispered as he buried his face in her hair. "No one is here to see. There are no parents nor 'public' around. Well, there's Dobby," he added with a half-laugh, "but I'm sure he's busy scrubbing the floor or the like."
She hesitated a moment, then gave into temptation, enclosing her own arms around his body and nuzzling her face into his shoulder. "Lucius . . ." she said again, though this time it was on a gentle sigh.
They stayed like that for a few enchanted minutes, before Lucius pulled away. Keeping one arm around her waist, he tenderly lifted her head and turned her face towards his. "I have something to tell you."
"So you've said. Well, spit it out, then," Andromeda said distractedly, twirling strands of his hair between her fingers.
Lucius removed her hand and fixed her with a serious look. She stopped fiddling, and now her eyes were fixed on him steadily without diversions.
"Andromeda," he said, and he couldn't seem to stop a grin from spreading across his face, "the Dark Lord wants to employ me."
She gaped at him soundlessly.
"I went to see him a few days ago," he continued, "and he has agreed to let me in. I'm going to be in service to the Dark Lord." He shut his eyes briefly, as though overcome with emotions, and then reopened them, staring down into her pale blue eyes eagerly. "Well, say something," he urged.
"I . . . Lucius . . ." She fumbled around blindly for words. "Lucius, are you sure this is what you want?"
"Of course," he responded, stunned. "I have wanted this for quite some time, you know that."
Andromeda had known that, but somehow, whenever he brought it up casually, she had thought he was merely repeating the words of his father. She hadn't ever really thought that he would chain himself to that man.
Or maybe she just hadn't wanted to really think that he would.
"But you don't . . . " She swallowed. "Don't you think You-Know-Who's ideas are a little . . . skewered?"
"Skewered?" Lucius repeated. "What do you – " His eyes suddenly darkened with understanding. "Andromeda, I always thought your 'equality' notions would vanish sometime soon. Surely by now you must realize that half-bloods and Muggles are polluting this world, and must be stopped . . ."
"They're not all bad, Lucius," she pleaded. "And it's not as though we can control our own blood, we don't have a choice if we're of pure blood or not – please, reconsider before you – "
"Andromeda, you are the one who needs to reconsider. The Muggles and Muggleborns aren't like us, you have to face the fact that they never will be – "
She jerked away from his grasp. "I've already had this row a thousand times with my family, Lucius, I don't need to have it with you too."
He moved back towards her, trying to put his arm around her again. "Maybe you do need to have it with me, Andy, because you need to come to senses and realize – "
"Get away from me," she snapped angrily, scooting back farther still. "I don't need you around if this is what – aaah!" Andromeda had lost her balance on the edge of the fountain, and had fallen backwards right into the water. Lucius quickly dove forward to pull her upright; the fountain was not deep, but it was deep enough for Andromeda to become soaked to the bone. Coughing and sputtering for breath, she got out. Lucius helped her sit upright on the edge again, before drawing away uncertainly.
She could feel Lucius' intense gaze on her, but made no move to acknowledge it. Andromeda sat shivering for a moment, lost in both her cold clothes and thoughts; then it was with a wail that she threw herself at Lucius, trying to suppress her sobs. She would not cry, she would not cry, she was a Black and was above such behavior, especially in front of her fiancé, so she would not cry . . .
"Oh, Andy," Lucius whispered, and she felt him wrap his strong arms around her in a tight embrace, pulling her closer to him. She snuggled deeper into his chest, pulling the front of his robes to her face and breathing them in deeply, trying to calm herself. "I'm sorry . . . "
She felt Lucius rustle in his pocket for something, then a second later he hissed something under his breath. Instantly she felt herself drying, and was much warmer.
"Thank you," she murmured into his robes. "And I apologize for . . . getting so furious . . ."
"It's all right. I apologize for my temper as well." He moved one hand gently up and down her back; she relaxed into him, soothed for the present.
Carefully she released his robes and pulled away, staring up into his face. She opened her mouth to speak, but Lucius shook his head. "I know what you're going to talk about, Andy, but I really don't want to hear about it. Let's just end this evening on a pleasant note, all right?"
She debated with herself for a moment, then nodded her agreement. Lucius disentangled his arms from her form and rose to his feet. He gave her a courteous smile and extended his hand to help her up. Her old spark returning, Andromeda ignored his outstretched palm and stood up without help, striding away with no assistance whatsoever. Lucius caught up with her several seconds later, and the couple walked in silence for a bit before Apparating to the Blacks' mansion.
"Well," said Lucius crisply, as they reached her front door. She looked at him. "Have a pleasant evening. Should I pick you up again on next Monday ni – "
He was interrupted by the front door swinging open.
"Andy!" Narcissa squealed. "How did everythi – oh," she broke off, blushing. "Hello, Lucius."
"Hello, Narcissa," he returned politely.
"I thought . . . er . . . I'll leave you two," Narcissa bumbled, and the door closed just as quickly as it had opened.
Andromeda, flustered and a bit embarrassed, looked at her fiancé askance. "Sorry."
"No trouble," said Lucius loftily, his eyes glittering. "So . . . how's Monday night for you?"
"Perfect," she said quietly.
He drew her towards him and kissed her softly on the forehead. "Monday it is, then." He bid her farewell, and Apparated away. Andromeda stared out at the space he had just occupied for a moment, before entering her house.
Narcissa nearly bowled her over as she stepped inside. "I'm really sorry Andy, I thought he had left already – "
"It's fine, Cissy."
"How did it go?" Narcissa asked, as Andromeda unfastened the cloak he'd given her and folded it over her arm.
"Fine," Andromeda sighed.
Narcissa was eighteen, two years younger than Andromeda, and the ladies' parents were currently trying to find her an appropriate husband. Narcissa liked hearing about Lucius from Andromeda; so hopeful for her own love someday, she found great enjoyment in hearing about the couple and fantasizing about her own future beau. Bellatrix, Andromeda's elder sister by two years and Narcissa's by four, had never been any good to have these romantic discussions with. She had wed Rodolphus a year ago, but had never really seemed to love him, and would scoff at Narcissa when asked if she did; saying marriage wasn't based on love, it was based on blood. So Narcissa had turned to Andromeda for her own romantic tales.
"Where did you go? What did you do?" Narcissa fired off questions rabidly as they ascended the staircase. "Did he give you that cloak? What about the flower downstairs, he gave you that too? And did – "
"Cissy, it's late," said Andromeda wearily. "I'm really tired – can we talk tomorrow?"
Narcissa looked wounded for a moment; Andromeda usually gave her at least a brief run-down of her dates with Lucius, but then the injured expression faded. "Of course, Andy. Good-night."
"Good-night." Feeling a little bad that she had hurt her sister, Andromeda entered her bedroom and collapsed on the bed. She was tired, she had not been lying to Narcissa . . . and yet, sleep was the farthest thing from her mind. She twirled over the evening's events in her head, mainly dwelling on her and Lucius' chat by the fountain.
So he wanted to join Voldemort. She shouldn't have been surprised; she'd known the day was near when they would have this discussion seriously. Still . . . a part of her had never really believed him. A part of her had really thought he would forget or reconsider about wanting to serve You-Know-Who, and he would get a perfectly normal job instead.
She had grown up around the attitude that purebloods were worth more than others, but had never really thought it to be true, had never understood why that could be so. Somehow she had thought Lucius agreed with her, despite his outward proud and pretentious attitude on the subject.
Andromeda pulled off her dress robes and changed into a nightgown, then clamored into bed, praying that she and Lucius could work out their differences.