Title: His Youngest Son 2/2

Author: ronspigwidgeon

Warnings: language, possibly? The second half will have mpreg.

Beta: Please feel free, I've been looking for one for months without any takers.

Summary: Prompt #13: Lucius is out to get revenge on Arthur Weasley, and decides to target his youngest son.

A/N: It took a little over a year to post because... well, it took me about 9 months to finish, and then I've spent the last three trying (unsuccessfully) to find a beta for it. Apparently anyone who is interested in betaing is not interested in working with Lucius/Ron. Odd, I would have jumped at the chance had it been anyone else's story. As it is, I've read this and re-read it so many times it's nearly unhealthy. Which is why there are probably still mistakes (never be your own editor if you have any choice in the matter).

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Ron woke on Christmas morning to find himself half sprawled over Lucius, long fingers buried in his hair. After a few minutes of wading in the space between sleep and alertness, he pushed onto his elbows and stared at his bed partner. He was still baffled at Lucius's proposal. They had been together for only four months; was that time enough to know you wanted to spend the rest of your life with someone? Lucius must have been serious, Ron knew, because he had once told Ron that Malfoy marriages were permanent. It was as dishonourable to divorce as it was to marry a muggleborn, and Lucius was nothing if not honourable, even if the Malfoy sense of honour was not exactly what the general populous saw as honour.

Could he agree to that lifestyle? Would Lucius expect him to? He thought it was fairly clear by his continual defence of Abraxas and every other Gryffindor who had ever walked the planet that his relationship with Lucius had not and would not affect his morals or values in any way. And Lucius seemed to respect that, or at least tolerate it, but would he continue to do so if they were married?

Still contemplating the issue, he couldn't stop himself from blurting a question as soon as Lucius showed signs of waking. "Are you going to turn me into a Malfoy if I marry you?"

Lucius smiled and kissed him, long and languidly. "Happy Christmas to you, as well."

Ron blushed and ducked his head momentarily. "Sorry, Happy Christmas."

"To answer your question, I wouldn't disillusion myself enough to believe that I could turn you into a proper Malfoy. You are too stubborn." They shared a smile and another kiss and Ron settled on top of him, chin propped on his hands to keep eye contact.

"So you won't turn me into some odd trophy husband, then? Or try to control me?"

"No, of course not. As I have said, the attempt would be futile; you are too stubborn to be controlled."

Ron went quiet, deep in thought, before coming to a decision. "All right, I'll marry you." Lucius could not stop the grin that swept his face. He had thought it would take at least a few more days of convincing, if not a week, and yet here the boy was agreeing with only the smallest of encouragement. In his pleasure, he pounced on the redhead, pinning him to the bed and ravishing him.

In the end, Ron was three hours late for Christmas with his family and couldn't keep the smile off his face.

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They were married on Ron's birthday in a small, quiet ceremony at the Manor. Ron had never been a fan of large celebrations himself, and Lucius had already had a big wedding once, and so in the end, only Ron's family, Draco's family, and a surly Harry were in attendance. They had a short ceremony involving an exchange of rings (though it wasn't particularly sentimental, Molly shed a few tears, while Arthur looked to be in pain and Harry pretended not to watch), followed by a brunch and afternoon cocktails. Ron officially moved into the Manor the next afternoon, though Harry had done everything in his power to slow the packing process and hadn't spoken to him as he left with the final bags. It was three weeks before he owled his apology.

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An off-hand comment made by Molly three months after the wedding caught Ron by surprise; she thought he had been gaining a bit of weight. Ron had always been rather fond of food, and never turned down a chance to eat, but his weight had never before been an issue. If anything, he had always been on the skinny side, his height taking care of whatever his metabolism could not.

And so the prospect of gaining weight set his mind to suspicion. He examined himself upon exiting the shower that night and noticed that indeed, there was a slight paunch to his stomach. He asked Lucius about it when he crawled into bed, just to make sure he wasn't imagining things. "Do I look like I've gained weight to you?"

Lucius pulled him close and kissed his forehead. "It is only to be expected."

"How? I have a fast metabolism and I've certainly been getting plenty of exercise with you."

"Yes, but in your condition it is natural and necessary to gain weight. I would be worried if you were not."

"What 'condition'? What are you talking about?"

Lucius gave him a cautious look. "You truly do not understand my meaning, do you? I would have thought your mother would have spoken to you by now. But, of course, she has probably never recognized the changes for what they are."

Frustrated, Ron pushed up onto his hands to better stare his lover down. "What are you talking about?"

"You're pregnant, my love, though I am not certain how far along. We shall have to see a medi-witch for that."

Ron bulked at him, pregnancy having never even entered his mind. Lucius smiled and stroked his hair back away from his face. There was a long pause before Ron was able to respond with anything coherent. "I'm pregnant? How is that possible?"

The blond smirked and pulled him down to kiss him softly. "I believe I have demonstrated the mechanics of procreation thoroughly enough to have eradicated any of your misunderstanding."

"But… I thought you needed potions for that. I haven't been taking anything…"

"Actually, you have. The house elves have been including one in your drinks at every meal."

Ron's eyes grew large. "What? Why didn't you tell me?"

"You have said that you would like children, did you not? Prior planning is required for such an event to take place."

"And you didn't think to ask me first?" The redhead responded testily, still fighting to comprehend that he was with child.

"We have discussed this already; I did not know I needed to explain each step of the process to you."

"You don't, but I would have liked a say in when we started."

"Yes, well, though you are young, I am not and I would prefer not to have Hogwarts-aged children when I am one hundred. I had hoped that would be an acceptable plan to you."

Ron looked away with a slight frown, eyes narrowed in thought. "I suppose that makes sense. I still would have liked at least a hint of what was going on."

"Yes, I am sorry I did not keep you informed. I had assumed that you would have no objections. We may always wait a time between our first and our second, yes?"

Ron didn't respond, still uncomfortable that he had been fed potions without his knowledge or permission, and instead turned his back on his husband and stared out the far window. Lucius curled up behind him without saying anything, hand moving to his stomach in a familiar motion that Ron now recognized as protection. He felt a kiss pressed to the nape of his neck and sighed, relaxing into the touch.

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Lucius continued to prod him into speech for the next week with little response. Ron spent time at home, talking to his mother and his sister-in-laws who had children of their own. He avoided his husband most of the time and only returned to the Manor at night, after dinner, and went straight to bed without a word. Lucius was patient for that week, allowing the new circumstances time to sink in before he really forced Ron to speak. At night, he slipped into bed without a word and wrapped the redhead in his arms, pulling him close and rubbing his hands along the slight paunch of his stomach. He knew it would be months before he really felt the baby's presence, but it still awed him to know that the child was there, growing at ever greater speeds. He had been the same way with Narcissa while she was pregnant with Draco, his hand always straying to her stomach, rubbing softly, feeling for the new warmth and magic he felt growing there. Narcissa had glowed with contentment the entire time, smiling a little whimsically every time he brushed her belly. He had doted on her, as he would dote on his husband now, though he knew it would be weeks before Ron would allow him to do so outside of their bed chamber.

Two weeks after their discussion – Lucius refused to call it a fight – Ron was still spending far too much time at his family home and doing his best to avoid his husband. Lucius's patience was running at a minimum and it finally broke one afternoon as he was sitting to lunch and realized that, despite his best efforts, he missed his redhead and very much wanted him back. He barely glanced at the food in front of him before getting up from his chair and making his way to the foyer to apparate to the Burrow.

The Burrow looked as lackadaisical and disastrous as usual, but Lucius was too distracted by his task to sneer at it, or even to notice. He strode right to the front door and rapped several times with his cane. After a minute of no answer, he rapped again, louder, and a moment later the door was opened by a small girl, a niece of some sort, though which he couldn't be sure. She looked 

frightened the moment she recognized him, but he had to give her credit. She held her own and did not cry. Possibly a Delacour, then. "Mr. Uncle Lucius, hello."

"Good afternoon, may I come in?" She opened the door wider and stepped back without a word, starring up at him with big, glassy brown eyes. He sighed and walked passed her, nodding his thanks and looking around in sight of his husband. "Ronald? Where are you?" There was some bustle from the direction of the kitchen and Lucius did not wait for an invitation before heading that way. He came to the doorway to find his mother-in-law, Ronald, and yes, the Delacour woman, all making lunch. Ronald looked radiant under the afternoon sun, streaming in through the kitchen windows and setting his fiery hair to shining. It was all he could do to restrain himself from swooping over and taking the man right there on the counter for all to see. "Ronald." All three of them jumped, but Ronald most of all, and he looked up at Lucius with wide, surprised eyes.

"Lucius, what are you doing here?"

"I'm here for you. It's time you came home, I think," he answered, eyeing the women cautiously, weary of conversing with his husband on such a delicate subject in front of them.

"I'd rather not, thank you," came the short response and Ron turned to finish what he had been doing. Lucius wasn't about to be put off by his curt tone. He moved across the room to stand behind his husband and curled his fingers around his bicep. The women seemed to recognize that the conversation about to take place was private and quietly slipped out. Ron had gone rigid, his hands visibly turning white as they gripped the edge of the counter. "What do you want?" he spit out rather than asked. Lucius was not deterred and instead moved behind him to nuzzle his neck and smooth his hands over his stomach.

"Just as I said before, I want you home. You are angry, I understand that, but it is high time you came to me so that we might work things out."

"There's nothing to work out, I'm not angry. I just need some time to myself to get this all figured out."

"And what precisely are you in need of 'figuring out'? Do you not want this child?"

Ron whipped his head around to glare at him. "Of course I want him. I just… I don't like what you did to get him. You should have asked me if I was ready, or at least told me what you were doing. I'm not your property."

"Of course you aren't, don't be silly. I simply miscalculated your inclinations. It will not occur a second time."

"You admit that you were wrong, then?"

Lucius hesitated. He had never admitted to being wrong in his life and he most certainly did not intend to do so now. However, it appeared as though he would be forced to. His redhead looked wary of him and he suspected that his disinclination to spend any significant amount of time at the Manor would continue if he did not concede the point. "Even if what you're claiming is true, you needn't worry because I will consult you before instructing the elves to medicate you again."

Ron turned around in his arms and looked piercingly at him. "Do you promise?"

"I do." He kept the satisfied smirk off his face as he watched his husband relax and move in to kiss him.

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The child was born on a Thursday evening just before Christmas, a boy with pale blond hair and the bluest eyes anyone in the family had ever seen. They named him Ophiuchus, though Ron fought long and hard against it and insisted the middle name be Edmund so that their son might have a choice when he grew older. The unnatural circumstances of the birth took a toll on Ron, as it did on all men who gave birth, and he was forced to remain in bed for a week after the child was born.

As soon as he was able to, Ron got out of bed, dressed, and went in search of his husband and son. Lucius was sitting in an armchair near the fire in the study when Ron found him, their tiny son cradled in the crook of his arm. Ron smiled at the picture they made and went over to the chair. Lucius looked up at him and then down at the infant as Ron reached down to pick him up and then settled himself into Lucius' lap.

"He's beautiful, isn't he?" Ron asked, staring down at the sleeping child while Lucius pulled him more securely into his embrace. Lucius normally did not allow cuddling outside of the bedroom, but Ron suspected the baby was making him soft and fully intended to take advantage of his temporary relaxation.

"He is the most beautiful thing I've seen since Draco was born."

Ron smiled and gently ran a finger through the fine blonde hair. "I thought for sure he'd have my hair, white blonde's so uncommon."

"Never underestimate a Malfoy's determination to maintain the family resemblance." Lucius pressed his lips against Ron's temple and then laid his cheek against the red hair.

"I'll bet anything someone in your family shagged a veela to get it."

"Absolutely not, we are purebloods of the highest order, don't be ridiculous."

Ron hid a smile and laid his head against Lucius' shoulder. "Have Mum and Dad owled back yet? I'm surprised they didn't just come right over when they got my owl. You don't think it could have been misdirected, do you?"

Lucius didn't respond for a long moment, choosing instead to stroke Ron's hair. "I never sent it. They aren't permitted to see him."

Ron jerked his head up. "What? What do you mean my family can't see him? They're his family, too," Ron asked, anger and disbelief in his voice.

"They are, indeed, and I believe they are also the reason that my grandson was sorted into the wrong house and we found ourselves in this situation in the first place. Ophiuchus is our last opportunity to secure an heir; I refuse to jeopardize this chance by tainting his mind with your family's ridiculous Gryffindor idealism. He will remain at home until he is old enough to go to Hogwarts and he will be protected from any possible contamination upon pain of death. Do you understand me?"

Ron stared at him in disbelief, unable to comprehend what was coming out of his husband's mouth. Up until this point he had held on to the belief that though their relationship was at times a bit unbalanced, Lucius still respected him and loved him. But now, suddenly, the veil of innocence was being snatched from his eyes and he saw his husband's true intentions for the first time. He had never loved Ron, he only said he did to placate Ron and convince him to do as he wished. His goal was to secure his heir and take revenge on Ron's family for snatching his first heir from him, and he had used Ron to achieve that goal. The fury that built up inside him at this new 

knowledge, the feeling of betrayal, came forth in a sudden and swift wave of wild magic that shattered every piece of glass in the room.

Before Lucius could speak further, he stood with their son and stormed out of the room, too angry to say anything. Ophiuchus was screaming, his face turning bright red as he squirmed in Ron's arms. Ron took him up to the nursery and locked the door behind him. As soon as the door was closed, he felt calmer and concentrated on settling his child. The baby was pushing his little hands against his chest and squirming, still crying, but as Ron rubbed his back and whispered soothing words in his ear he began to calm down. Soon he had quieted to sniffles and a tear streaks. Ron wiped the tears away and kissed his forehead.

"It's all right, love. Daddy's sorry he scared you, but it's all right now. Daddy's going to fix things, don't worry." As he rocked the infant, he took out his wand and began to spell the infant's things into a bag. When he'd finished, he moved into his and Lucius' bedroom, cautious to assure himself that Lucius was not there first, and began to pack a trunk for himself. Soon, he'd finished and was ready to leave. He took the bags and the baby downstairs, giving Lucius' study a wide berth, and went to the nearest floo fireplace. He reached for the floo powder and was surprised to find the box empty. Confused, he called a house elf.

Leena appeared in front of him, ringing her tea towel in her hands nervously. "What is Master wanting?"

"Where is the floo powder? Ophiuchus and I are leaving."

The little elf's ears lowered to her head and she rung the towel harder. "Master Lucius is saying that Master Ronald is not to leave the Manor, sir,"

"Sod what Master Lucius says, where's the floo powder?"

"Leena is not to tell Master Ronald where the floo powder is being hidden." The elf looked as though she very much wanted to iron her ears for having to say so.

Ron growled and walked out, muttering to himself. "Fine, then we'll just have to go out the front door. If he thinks he can keep us here, he's mad. We will not be caged like animals." He made it to the front door and tried the handle. It was locked. He let out a curse and tried a dozen unlocking spells, with no result.

"What part of my instructions were you unclear about? You and our son will not be leaving this home any time soon."

Ron whipped around and glared at him, jostling their son who promptly began to cry again. Ron sighed and kissed the child's head. "You can sod right off! I will not be locked away like a prisoner! Unlock this door."

Lucius ignored him and made a move to take the child, which Ron viciously resisted. "You're upsetting him, love. You're overreacting and you're going to cause him harm if you aren't careful." He made another attempt and was once more rebuffed.

"I'm not going to hurt him, he's my child. I love him. Unlike his other father who wants to deny him access to his own family. Don't touch us." He snapped as Lucius made one more move towards him and he backed himself into the door, cradling Ophiuchus closer to his chest.

"You're being unreasonable. I love both of you; that's why I'm trying to protect you. The Malfoy name is Ophiuchus' future; I want to protect him so that he is assured that future. Why can't you see that I just want to keep you both safe?"



"Locking us up is not keeping us safe, it's imprisonment. If you really cared, you'd let us go and see my family."

Lucius' smile was dangerous as he moved closer, trapping Ron against the door frame. "I can't do that. Now, why don't you drop the trunk and we can go to the sitting room and relax, play with our son?" Ron tried to move away, but found that he could not, and held the baby closer.

"Please don't do this," he whispered in desperation. Lucius ran his fingers through his hair and kissed his temple. Ron winced.

"Come to the sitting room with me. This is not under negotiation." Ron didn't say anything, but he allowed Lucius to lead him to the sitting room and didn't protest when he directed him to sit on a couch and took the seat next to him. "Now, we are going to continue on as though the last half an hour never happened and you are not to speak of visiting your family again, understood? They will meet him after he is sorted and not a day before." Ron stayed quiet and turned all his concentration on his son, ignoring the fingers Lucius was running through his hair and the finger that gently grazed Ophiuchus' delicate jaw line.

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Four months after Ron's due date his family had gone from frantic to furious as each day went by and no word came from either Ron or Lucius. Arthur had gone to the house on several occasions and been turned away by a rather stern, tall (for an elf) butler each time. The family, worried that something serious had happened to their son or grandson, had finally resorted to requesting a law enforcement wizard to go and investigate, but the officer was quickly rebuffed by an angry Lucius who insisted he never enter the property again without a search warrant signed by the Minister himself. The Minister refused to sign such a warrant, claiming that Lucius and Ron had their right to privacy. Arthur suspected he'd had a visit from Lucius before the officer even returned to the Ministry to make the request.

By the twins' birthday the Weasleys were in mourning for their son and grandson, convinced that something had gone horribly wrong with the birth and Lucius was covering it up. It was in this state of mind that Arthur entered the Ministry lobby one morning in early April and stopped in his tracks at the site of his son-in-law calmly having his wand checked in the entrance line. Arthur wasted no time in storming up to the taller man and grabbing his arm. "You! What are you doing here? Where is my son? What have you done with him?" He was nearly shouting and had attracted the eyes of every person in the lobby.

Lucius looked startled for only a moment before sliding into his familiar mask of indifference as he attempted to shake Arthur's grip from his arm. "I've done nothing with Ronald. He is at home, looking after our son. If you will kindly unhand me, I have a meeting with the Minister to attend."

"You're not going anywhere until you give me a straight answer. If Ron's at home, then why hasn't he owled or flooed? Why haven't we seen our grandson?"

"You have not seen my husband or our child because we have decided it is better that we keep our child at home and away from those that would influence him poorly. He is none of your business and neither Ronald nor I are obligated to communicate with either you or your family."

"Bullocks! Ron would never keep his family from seeing his son. He told us he would owl as soon as the baby was born. You've done something to him, I know it!"

"I have done nothing of the kind. Both Ronald and our son are in perfect health. That you would make such an accusation is slander and we wouldn't want you to be slanderous, now would we? Now, if you would kindly unhand me, I'm about to be late for my meeting. If I am late, I might just 

accidentally tell the Minister about that little shed of yours outside that monstrosity of shack you live in."

"Not until you let me see me son." Arthur didn't think he had ever been as angry as he was at that moment. He was shaking with rage and he knew his face was as red as a beet, but none of that mattered. He wanted to see his child and grandchild; he had a right to do so, and he was not about to allow himself to be pushed aside by Lucius once more.

The cold look in Lucius' eyes turned even icier and he sneered, leaning to whisper in Arthur's ear. "You no longer have rights to my husband. You are not his family; I and my son are. You will not see either of them until I have assured myself that you cannot ruin them as you have my grandson. If you attempt to, I will have you and your entire family stripped of all wealth and respectability your connection with Potter has afforded you and you will soon find yourself on the street, begging for sickles. Understood?"

Comprehension fell over Arthur at these words, and he felt as though a bucket of freezing water had just been poured over his head. Lucius hadn't done anything to Ron or the baby, simply hidden them away as a punishment to Arthur and their family. He suddenly felt numb and unable to move. So lost in his realization was he that he didn't even notice Lucius walking away or disappearing into a lift, and ended up being fifteen minutes late to work.

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Lucius felt pleased with himself for the first time since he'd barred Ronald from leaving the house only to find himself with a cold shoulder and an empty bed. In the four months since, Ronald had not spoken to him once and refused to be in the same room with him for more than a few minutes at a time. He ate in the guest wing that he had chosen to move into and only came out to collect Ophiuchus when he felt Lucius had been permitted sufficient amounts of time with him. At first Lucius hadn't been much bothered by the silent treatment, but as time passed he found that he missed his husband, longed to hold him once more, to make love to him, even to listen to his uninteresting rants about the incompetent coach of the Chuddly Cannons.

Thwarting Arthur Weasley made him feel a satisfaction that almost made the uncomfortable missing part of him acceptable. There had been a purpose to causing his husband's silence, and seeing the look on Arthur's face when he realized his son had been stolen from him made the situation worth it.

Lucius spent the majority of his hour appointment with the Minister considering what he would do upon arriving home. Having successfully avenged himself on the Weasleys, he thought it time he began the careful work of winning back his husband. He left the meeting with a safeguard against Granger's house elf rights proposal and an assurance that he would be making love to his husband by nightfall.

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Ron was pacing the nursery, giving Ophiucus his noon bottle and trying to settle the infant down from a crying fit that had lasted nearly an hour. He was distracted enough by the baby to not hear Lucius enter and was nearly startled out of his wits when he felt arms slip around his waist. As soon as he realized who it was, he stiffened and turned a glare on his husband. Being touched by that man made his skin crawl and he tried to move away without jostling the baby, but Lucius was determined to hold him.

"Do you intend to ignore me for the rest of our lives?"

"Let me see my family."



He felt lips press against his skin and a hand caress his belly under his t-shirt, causing him to shiver. It was not a good shiver. "I think not. I ran into your father this morning and our child does not need to be around anger such as he showed me. It is safest if you both stay at home."

Ron turned his head sharply to look at Lucius. "He wouldn't be angry if you hadn't locked us in, you know. He's just worried, probably. They probably think you've killed us and are hiding the bodies."

"He does, indeed. I, fortunately, informed him of the reality of the situation."

Ron sighed and turned back to their son, who was nearly finished with the bottle and looking ready to burp. Ron pushed the bottle behind him into Lucius' face in indication that he ought to hold it before lifting Ophiuchus onto his shoulder and beginning to rub his back soothingly to unsettle the gas. Lucius took a step back and Ron turned to look at him fully. "Why do you have to do this? He's just a baby. You can't just surround him with only Slytherin friends when he starts to get older and it actually matters? He doesn't have any cousins near his age to influence him, what's the harm in letting him see his family?"

"I would prefer the assurance of isolation," he answered calmly.

"Of course you would; you can leave whenever you like. I haven't stepped foot off the grounds since before Christmas. I feel like I'm in Azkaban without the Dementers." He was distracted from his anger by Ophiuchus burping rather loudly and spitting a bit of his milk up. Ron wiped the spit off and cooed at him for a minute before taking the bottle back and continuing the feeding. "I don't understand why you can't at least let me write to them. There's no harm in letters."

Lucius considered him carefully. "I suppose there would be no harm in it, as long as I was permitted to monitor what was being written."

"Why would you need to do that?"

"To assure myself that you are not planning a rendezvous with that family of yours. I would not put it past your father to attempt to kidnap you or our son."

Ron looked away, down at their son who had just finished the bottle, and went about cleaning him up before putting him in his pram and turning on the musical mobile with a flick of his wand. He darted a look at Lucius before leaving the room, the pram floating behind him as he headed downstairs. Lucius decided to give his husband time to himself and went to his study to attend to the morning post.

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An hour later, Ron walked into the study and dropped a thick stack of parchments onto his desk, his lips thin and pale with anger. He stared Lucius down, almost daring him to say something about the length of the letter, but Lucius only took up the parchments and began to read. The letter explained the long silence to his family and detailed the last four months, concentrating on Ophiuchus' progress rather than what had gone on between Lucius and Ron. "I notice you have omitted our relationship entirely. A very wise decision; was it an attempt to appease me?"

"I knew you'd just scratch it out. Besides, they're already worried enough. Telling them you're keeping me prisoner and we don't share a bed would only make matters worse, and it isn't as though they could do anything about it."

"Regardless, it was very tactful of you to choose to do so."

Ron ignored the comment. "Can I send it, then?"

"You may, yes. There is nothing objectionable in this." Ron moved to take the parchments, but Lucius was faster and summoned a house elf to send the parchments off for him. "You don't really think I would let you send it yourself, do you?" A smile lighted his eyes and he tsked in the half mocking way that drove Ron up the wall. "You think I don't know you've written a second letter you were intending to slip in with this if I let you near an owl?" His smile turned feral as he stood and prowled around the desk towards his wary husband. Before he reached the redhead though, Ronald slipped out of his reach and went to the door. "May I send letters to Harry and my brothers, too?"

"Come back here and I'll consider it."

Ronald wrinkled his nose. "Rather not, thanks. I'll just write them and you can decide later." He left the room without a backwards glance and Lucius waited exactly one minute and forty-five seconds before smashing his favourite crystal decanter against the wall. An elf appeared to clean the mess of shattered glass and Lucius used the time it took the elf to clear the debris to calm himself. This was a setback, Ronald's new resistance to his advances, but Lucius prided himself in always getting what he wanted, so he didn't dwell on it.

Instead, he went up to the nursery to collect his son and took him out to the garden for a bit of fresh air and a think. Ophiuchus gargled at him and sucked on his collar until Lucius conjured a soft, plush serpent for him and spelled away the drool. They sat on a bench under the lavender lattice and Lucius began to lecture the baby on the family tree, a mindless activity that always allowed him to think.

/

Ron found Lucius and their son in the lavender garden after he finished his letters and was surprised to find Lucius in lecture mode while Ophiuchus slept against his chest. The scene was almost endearing, if one ignored the fact that Lucius was an evil bastard. If he was permitted to send the owls, Ron thought he might be able to do that. "I've finished," he said in order to get his husband's attention.

Lucius looked up, almost startled at his voice. "Am I to assume you spared them every moment of our son's short life?" he asked as he reached for them.

Ron traded him for the baby and gently swayed from foot to foot as he waited. Half-way through Harry's letter, he summoned quill and ink and scratched out a few lines. "He needn't know where you sleep."

"I thought he would like that; he hates you so much."

"Indeed, he does, but our sleeping arrangements are still none of his business." Ron decided not to argue further. Within a few moments, Lucius was nodding and pocketing the letters. "They are acceptable, but I will still have to decide whether I will send them or not."

Ron glared. "Do you even love me?"

Lucius paused, surprised by the question. "I married you, did I not?"

"That isn't an answer. Do you love me?"

"Come here." It wasn't a request, but Ron still took a few minutes to comply. As soon as he came nearer, Lucius pulled him into his lap and held him close. "If you wouldn't distance yourself from me, you wouldn't need to ask."



"Then why are you doing this to me? To us? You know how important my family is to me."

"You have your family. You have me and our beautiful son. Why do you need anything else?" He pressed his lips to Ronald's temple and Ron let him. There was a long quiet and then he could feel Ronald's body shake and looked down to see tear tracks down his cheeks.

Ron pressed his face to his husband's chest, suddenly exhausted and unable to hold himself back. He was sobbing, all the pain and loneliness building into this final outpouring of despair. "Why do you have to do this? You make me hate you and I can't stand it!" Lucius, not accustomed to comforting tears, rubbed his husband's back awkwardly and signalled a house elf to come and take Ophiuchus.

Once they were alone, he gathered Ronald up and whispered in his ear. "My intention was never to make you miserable. I only want to protect our son from hurtful influences." Ron looked up as though to argue, but Lucius admonished him with a look. "To you, your family does not seem hurtful, but I have seen what they did to my grandson. You only saw what the affect was on Michael, but Abraxas was... devastated. He dishonoured the family, disappointed a thousand generations of his ancestors."

"That's a bit much to put on an eleven-year-old boy!"

"Indeed, it is, but that is the reality of being a Malfoy. I do not wish our own child to have to undergo the same devastation because I was as incautious as my son. Do you understand?"

Ronald did not respond immediately. Instead, he stared at the lavender vines and absently picked at the clasp on his robes. After a long silence, he turned his attention back to Lucius and nodded. "I guess I can understand that. I'm still not happy about it, though."

"I would be concerned if you were." Ron gave a weak smile and Lucius leaned down to kiss it. For the first time in four months, Ron responded, leaning closer and kissing back. That night Ron moved back to the master bedroom.