Nothing belongs to me, all J.K. Rowling.
Though this is unusual for me as it contains no Lucius over which we can drool, it is full of Lucius and as such It's main chracters are still Narcissa and Lucius. It is, however, from the perspective of Draco.
Draco stared out of the window, his breath whitening the glass and evaporating into nothingness. He ran a finger through his hair and felt his eyes burn but he battled the feeling back, battled the tears. Noise surrounded him in a gaggle, created by his friends who were oddly enough trying not to make any noise. He was irked by this feeling, this distinct feeling of shame that was building inside him.
The train trundled on, too slowly but not slowly enough to never take him back to London. He rested his head back and rubbed a hand over his eyes, wishing the noise in the cabin would stop. He screwed his eyes to stop against the visions of his Father, chained and derelict. Tears burned behind them but he would not submit to them, to the weakness they accompanied.
Sooner than he wished - for he wished it never to come- the train was slowing and the noise was building in his head. He shook vigorously and made sure that everyone fumbled out of the carriage, trunks in tow with wary glances back at him. He said nothing, he stared ahead into nothingness until the train emptied but he could not bring himself to move. He had too though, he needed to get off the train. The solitude was better though, the lack of sound, the absence of sniggers and comments.
He hauled himself up and pulled his trunk down from the rack overhead. He paused a moment and stared around the carriage, with a futile hope that he'd find a destraction. Alas, there was nothing more for it.
He scanned the still-busy platform for two head of blonde, maybe one in an intricate hair-do, the other covered in a hat. But then he remembered and an anger seeped into his blue blood. There would not be the tall, long arrogant body of his Father. Ready to meet him.
He scanned his blearing eyes again and managed to cast eyes on his Mother, her blonde hair falling over her shoulders as she caught his eye. She smiled slightly though he noticed the light of her mouth never reached her eyes.
He neared her nervously, as if she was untouchable, as if she were not the woman who had raised him. Her eyes glittered with tears not shed and he did not want to speak for fear she may break. But she simply smiled,
"Hello, Draco," she touched his shoulder slightly. Her fingers gripped but not quite, her face strained.
"Mother," he tried but it did not come, "How are you?"
"Fine," she swallowed, "Come along now."
she turned away, her face impassive and resigned. He followed her, bemused by her quietness but then again, his Mother had never been an emotional woman, a woman with her heart on her sleeve. But he had expected a word, a statement that confirmed the situation. The precocious situation that the Malfoy's now found themselves in.
The Manor was no different but the atmosphere was. It was not as busy as it seemed, for their was not his Father to entertain him. They ate dinner and his Mother twittered on, her words not quite penetrating the fog of tiredness clouding his brain. She spoke too much, more than she ever had in his life and he wondered what had brought on this new development, perhaps she had had no one to talk to since his Father had been taken.
After dinner, she made her excuses when the summer sun was merely setting outside the huge windows. She disappeared up the stairs, to where he didn't know. And here he was.
He was home, though home lacked that comfort any more, that servile safety. Instead he suddenly realised that this play was gigantic, that it was too big to house even the three of them. He stood in the Den and turned slowly, looking at the pictures on the dressers. Of him when he was a child, held high in the arms of a younger Lucius at a quidditch match.
"can you see?" His father shouted over the din and the five year old was filled with pride as the Eastbourne Eagles scored with the quaffle. But he couldn't see and this made him want to cry, he wanted up to the sky, he wanted to fly on the broom with the Captain. To feel the wind in his hair and swoosh and dive.
His father hoisted him up onto strong shoulders in the midst of the crowd and his Mother snapped at the camera, it sat on the dresser with the decanter from that day on showing Lucius lifting his son high into the waving crowd. A moment of strength.
Draco ran his hands along the decanter and opened it, pouring a tiny amount into a snifter and forcing it to his lips. He wondered if he looked as sure as his Father, who sat like this always after dinner a book in one hand and a snifter of fire whiskey in the other. Draco did not have the courage to let it slip into his mouth or to burn his tongue, he did not have strength to do that. He banged the still full glass down on the dresser and turned swiftly, to stare at the pictures on the mantle.
"Smile, Father!" Draco demanded of Lucius, who was reclining on the grass and was refusing to open his eyes. Narcissa laughed at her son and then lay down beside her husband as he pulled her near and placed a kiss on her forehead. Draco took his opportunity, with stealth and definition and snapped the affectation. His father did not like the photograph, which forever captured a Lucius reaching out to his wife and pulling her near. Narcissa insisted on it. And Draco was proud of his work. A moment of passion.
The room was quiet, the only sound was his hard breathing as he stared at the picture, and then the window. Sun was falling behind the trees of the gardens, vanishing into a darkness so tangible that he knew it would penetrate this house one day, or perhaps it already had.
He ran his fingers over another picture, one that had always been of interest to him. For this affectation had not been forced and he had not yet existed. He was a glimmer in the eye of the newly wed Malfoys'.
"Narcissa," Lucius pressed his lips to his new wife's forehead as the photographer took yet another picture, "My beautiful wife."
she smiled slightly and huffed impatiently, for she was tired of the wedding day traditions and wanted to be alone with him, to lie with him. She stared into his eyes as he turned to speak to someone and the photographer snapped again.
She was caught forever, her eyes lingering on his blonde locks as he held tightly to her waist. A moment finality, of realisation, of eternity.
And then there was him, a pink and wrinkled baby who was full of the smell of sweet child hood. And who took centre stage on the mantle. He had been a miracle, he knew because his Mother had been a frail frame of steel. An ambiguity of a woman who could carry the burden of a husband who was damned but who had not managed to carry her first child to term. He was a gift his father had said and in this picture, he held him like one too. He held him, dishevelled and unusually unrefined. His hair was not as neat and had clearly had his lean finger running through it, and his shirt lay open,
"Thank you, Narcissa" he whispered, staring down at his beautiful wife. Who glowed with a sheen of sweat and exhaustion, though she still insisted on taking this picture. She wanted it to last forever, Lucius' excitement.
"You are welcome," she answered as she clicked the camera. She had her little son. He had his beautiful wife and child and he laughed and smiled. A moment of completion.
He made his way to his fathers study, which echoed with his absence and stared into the darkness. There was nothing in here, nothing that could help him. He knew one day he would work from this room, one day he would cover it in pictures of his family. And suddenly he realised, that this was what his father had done as well.
On the desk, the one beside the door that led tot he hall there was a picture that was never forgotten, though somewhat hidden. It was Christmas, and Christmas was the only time when his Mother wore her dressing gown for more time than it took her to eat breakfast and his father dispelled the notion of doing any work for one day. His father smiled out of it as he placed a ring on his wife's finger and Draco was playing with the gift he had just unwrapped, a new camera. It was an accidental shot, thus rather askew but nonetheless it was a moment, where Lucius Malfoy could be caught drowning in the depth of his wife's eyes.
"Thank you," Narcissa whispered as Lucius placed an eternity ring on her finger, for he felt it was time to confirm something they had always know. His son was messing about with the camera they had picked up yesterday in Diagon Alley. This picture, where he place this ring on her finger he would keep for himself. And so he did, he had it developed and put it in his study. A moment of contract, of agreement, of love.
And then above all, the magnum opus of his family. The thing that failed them. The portrait in the hall. The portrait that everyone seen and the thing that did not move like the other photographs. He closed the door on the Den, because it did not matter any more. The thing that presided over this family was that portrait and the people in it.
"Lucius!" his mother sneered angrily and he knew his parents had argued that morning, because something had changed in the middle of the night and now his father was older than Draco could ever have imagined. His father made sure to always cover his left arm and had in his eyes a fear impassable. And quietly, he knew why Mother had made Father sleep in the study and Lucius had got no sleep at all for the Portrait artist coming in the morning. But he touched his wife's shoulder fleetingly that morning at breakfast and Draco had seen the same thing pass in her eyes, that fear for him.
Dressed in their finery, with only a few terse words they took their positions. Each in turn placing on their faces the look of arrogance that had become synonymous with the name of Malfoy.
And so was composed this peace of art that was fearful. A picture to make them forget who they truly were as they escaped the boundaries of safety that existed only within the grounds of Malfoy Manor. It was a reminder, this portrait. It reminded Lucius of who he was, Narcissa of what she was and Draco of the product of these two people - himself. He was a product of ambiguity, of a border between reality of appearance and thus, his lines had been blurred from the moment he was born.
He stared at the picture as it loomed over him and how the character on the stage that was the canvas did hardly move at all. He wanted to slash it with a knife, to burn it till it was a mere ember of nothingness. But it wouldn't allow it, for arrogance was ingrained in him it dripped like a poison in his blue blood until it ran prematurely cold.
He made his way up the stairs, down the long and winding corridors of what would one day be his own home. As if it had never been. But he paused at the bedroom door of his parents, a door always locked. But it was lying open and from inside a strange noise, not the noise of his parents voices but louder yet so much more quieter and frightening in its own undignified way. His mother lay curled on their bed - a huge cavernous thing which only looked right if it contained its two usual inhabitants- shaking gently. He wasn't sure what to do and he froze on the threshold as he stared at her. She looked pitifully small and now he understood, she was in this moment, in this chamber of safety a character from the photographs and not a figure from the portrait. She missed her husband and from the pain on her face, the thought traversed his mind that she was perhaps dying inside.
She noticed him then and reached out a hand, long and elegant and banded with a fine eternity ring of emeralds and diamonds. It glinted in the light from the fire. He walked towards his mother and her outstretched hand and laid down beside her, while she sobbed.
"I am sorry," she whispered, her voice husky with pain and she cuddled her son, "I feel my defences are rather weak at the moment."
he had no words but he lay their any way, fighting back his own tears. The bed was too large and even he felt the weight of the pain that haunted his mother. His Mother had ceased crying but still, he knew she was staring at his back.
"You should go to bed, Darling," she whispered, petting the hair at the back of his neck.
"I'll stay here if you want," he offered gallantly, because he imagined this is what his father might have done, "I'll sleep on the couch."
"Oh no," she answered, "No. You sleep in your room, I'll be quite OK."
Something in her made that lie roll of her tongue quite easily and she did not struggle to sound convincing. An art she had learned from her husband, a talent they had passed onto their son.
"Goodnight," he stood up and bent to kiss her cheek, "Mother."
On his way out, he turned the handle and made thoroughly sure that the door was firmly shut.
In his own room, though it was always slightly alien on his return their was just one photograph and it embodied what he would become. It resided in his drawer.
His father slouched in a chair, clad in leather trousers and a silk shirt rolled up so his mark was startlingly visible. His wife lay across his lap, dressed all in red, her lips crimson and open as she stared up into her husbands face. He toyed with her dripping blonde hair and bent to kiss her lips every now and then. Her neck was covered in bites and in her hand she held a glass of wine, from which Lucius would sometimes take and drink from.
There wasn't a story for this, for Draco had not been there and he had never had the confidence to ask how this photograph had come about. All he knew was that it had been long before his time and that imbibed in it was a sinister darkness that he feared would consume him one day. It was not just the lust in the photograph that created within him that perverted curiosity but the arrogant pride on both his parents face, the idea that they were untouchable.
He imagined someone who was now dead had taken this photograph, or perhaps a fellow inmate of his Father's in Azkaban.
He stowed it away in the drawer with a disdainful last look, for it frightened him. It illustrated to him the darkness in his parents past that still haunted them.
Like ghosts, irrefutable, unhinging spirits it haunted them. In the portraits, in the silence of the Manor. In the times when he was sure he could hear the clinking of the chains that ensconced them all, all the way from the prison in the North Sea.