( Be Careful What You Wish For )
Summary: One-shot told by Lucius Malfoy. What might happen if the Death Eaters got what they wished for…
AN: Yes, I know I'm supposed to be working on Two Sides or Twist… but I sat down the other day to work on Two Sides, read some Twist reviews and my head somehow went here and this scene came out. I'll go back to TS now…sigh …
Most of the revisions are in the middle of this work.
There exists a muggle phrase I heard some years ago; I have come to despise it because of the truth it displays. 'Be careful what you wish for - you may get it.' Trite sounding, yes? The warning it carries is quite profound, but sadly, it is something only the old recognize.
I am now a very old man with a painful understanding of the importance of wishing carefully. Had I been told this as a young man, or in my prime, I would have laughed scornfully at the speaker and gone on my prideful way. I was fond of saying 'I am Lucius Malfoy' as if that were some talisman of perfection, that my very name delivered me from mediocrity and placed me above the problems faced by others. I had complete faith in my own infallibility, after all, I was following the dictates I had been taught by my father and grandfather - we all were. We were right; nothing else was imaginable.
Arrogance. We had such arrogance. We thought we knew and understood magic better than anyone else; we were the pure of blood who could trace our ancestry back dozens of generations. Who could possibly understand the mystery of magic better than us?
We understood nothing.
He did. HIM.
We exulted after the death of Dumbledore. The Light had only a teenager to lead them - we had all but won. Then he and his friends, those six, came up with their plan. I, of all people, should have suspected something when he invoked the ancient Rites of Parlay at Stonehenge. He was raised as a muggle, friends with blood traitors and mudbloods, he should not have understood the Rites of Parlay, let alone been able to invoke them. But he did, and in our glee at Dumbledore's death, we believed he did so out of weakness and fear, and we accepted. It took most of a lifetime before I understood his strength and the truth of the bargain we made… the bargain that is destroying us piece by piece, birth by birth. Every generation less than the one before.
Dumbedore would have never made such a bargain, the very idea would have horrified him, but I always said he was weak. The old man would have never sacrificed what that boy did, with such callous disregard for tradition, history and his own ego. He didn't care what the world said. Potter stepped back, gave us what we wanted, and then has watched from afar while time and magic has taken his revenge and won the war without a single Light casualty. He taught us, and the entire magical world, the truth; branded it deep into the collective memory of every magical society on this planet. Never again will anyone ever spout the supposed superiority of blood. Indeed, internationally a gifted muggleborn finds they are highly sought after as a spouse by those families that now consider themselves dangerously 'too pureblood'. They fear their families may follow the examples of ours. The lesson of Britain will never be forgotten.
My father and grandfather must be rolling over in their graves that such a phrase or concept as being 'too pureblooded' even exists. If they were at one time capable of such an act, I believe they would have imploded already at the lengths my son and I have gone to in our desperation to ensure just one more magical generation.
We believed that the magic of muggleborns was a mistake - as if magic would grant her gift in error… what hubris! We were happy, eager even, to agree to the removal of every muggleborn from Britain for as long as we, or our descendents, ruled. We didn't want them and were happy to have them take care of the problem for us. The mudbloods, halfbloods, and that worst of abominations - the squib-born; would be gone and we wouldn't have to lift a finger. They would sweep in yearly and gather them up, with their families. We eagerly agreed and signed, binding ourselves, and our descendents, to that travesty.
The world now knows that muggleborns are magic's gift. They are created to strengthen and diversify the blood and keep magic alive and strong.
That wasn't the only error we made during the parlay, but it was the worst. We were blinded by suddenly getting everything we wanted and the vision of our enemies banished from Britain, for as long as we ruled, and vowing not to interfere with our government. The agreements seemed to be in our favor and the rules of the Parlay Rite did not give us much time to think of repercussions that wouldn't show for years. As our Lord felt himself to be immortal, his rule would continue forever and our children would live in a perfect pureblooded society, never again polluted by mudbloods. Gaaahh… we were such fools!
Can it even be considered banishment if they want to leave? If they believe they are going somewhere better? I can still remember the smug smile on Potter's face as, per the agreement, I oversaw his departure on the last portkey.
Many of those leaving sold their homes and property. Someone should have wondered why some didn't, especially since Potter was one of those who kept his family properties. I suppose we didn't notice because he had never lived in one of the Potter homes and they had been closed for close to twenty years already. The unsold properties were all stripped of important heirlooms then sealed with family blood wards, where no one not of the blood of the sealer can pass. These special wards are only used to seal a property for a long period of disuse. As long as they stand at full strength, they are impenetrable. They will weaken and fall if passed too often, so by custom, they are set and never passed until the family, or descendents, return to take up residence. Offensive, fatal goblin wards were then set outside the blood wards and a warning ward outside those. Not the setup of someone leaving forever.
If we had paid attention, we would have seen that the main families were planning to return one day and take up their ancestral manors. We ignored this sign that they knew our rule would not last as long as we believed. We ignored so many signs…Merlin, I look back and marvel at my arrogance and blindness.
Potter was crafty, almost Slytherin like in how he planned and executed their withdrawal. They used Hogwarts as a staging area and left from there via special portkeys provided either by the destination country or the group we approved. The special group was to only make portkeys to and from Hogwarts grounds; all our monitoring showed they followed this rule scrupulously. It sounded good to us; we wouldn't have to sully ourselves with blood traitors or the families of muggleborn. They would handle things out of our way. The side effect of that, of course, is that it was also out of our sight and we never noticed just how many were leaving. We also never monitored Floo traffic to and from the Castle or Hogsmeade.
Shopkeepers and business people left last, families and young children first. Extended families rotated people in and out of Britain. This allowed everyone to be seen at various times in Diagon Alley or Hogsmeade while the others setup their new homes and cared for the children. We never realized they had been gone because they traveled via Hogwarts. With so many sealing their homes instead of selling them and ensuring they were seen publicly on a regular basis, plus business sales often being handled quietly; we were completely unaware of the magnitude of those classed as 'Order of the Phoenix Light supporters'.
The only proactive steps we took were in regards to the staff at St. Mungos. Recognizing that healing is generally a Light profession, we visited prominent healers and offered bribes and inducements to keep them in England. In hindsight, our blindness was once again obvious. We were only concerned with the prominent, the important people, we ignored everyone else. We never tried to keep the average Medi-witch or wizard, the nurses and orderlies. We lost ¾ of those. Many of the prominent healers who stayed, sent their families with the exiles. They stayed out of a sense of duty, not belief.
Another ploy of Potters was to keep up the appearance of money in the country. Those leaving only took half of their cash at first. The remainder was transferred en masse on the same day the last Light supporter left Britain. It only took a few days before we began to notice the effects of the Light exodus. First, Diagon Alley quickly became a ghost town. Dark supporters, who had purchased booming businesses from a Light counterpart, soon realized they suddenly had a fraction of their previous customer base. Potter had kept people here to shop, produce goods, and 'keep up appearances' so we wouldn't notice just how many were leaving and realize the economic impact until all of his people had safely left. By then, there was nothing we could do -- they were gone and their bank accounts with them. The agreements we'd signed prevented us from going after them or taking any revenge.
We were stuck.
We told ourselves it was just short term, that we were glad all those blood traitors were gone. We were better off without them. Soon our population would grow and our economy would adjust to a smaller, more efficient level.
We became very good at deceiving ourselves.
Hogwarts was next. We quickly noticed the obvious. The library was empty and the house elves were gone. Many of the tapestries, paintings, and other fixtures seemed to be missing. The sensitive among us said the building didn't 'feel' the same -- something intangible was gone.
When we complained to the ICW, we were informed that they had not broken the agreement. The agreement stated they would use Castle Hogwarts as their staging area and would leave the Castle intact, taking only their own belongings and those belonging to their families. We were asked if the Castle building was intact. It was, obviously so. The agreement said nothing about the interior fixtures of any building. They told us we should be thankful they hadn't stripped it bare.
We tried to use the 'Hogwarts is a school and the library is an inherent part of Hogwarts' argument. That's when we received a surprise. There had been rumors that Potter was descended from Gryffindor, but who would have thought that the mudblood was descended from a squib branch of Ravenclaw? And that the Longbottom brat was descended from Hufflepuff? They somehow managed to have the school's magic recognize Potter as a Slytherin descendent, giving them ties to all four of the founders and the right to claim the school their ancestors had founded. Under this magic and logic, they had removed 'their' library and family effects from the building.
It took us years before we understood just what else they had been able to take and why the elves left with them. Hogwarts was no longer semi-sentient. The Heart of Hogwarts was thought a myth, a rumor. We learned it had been a reality. Somewhere in that building had been artifacts that gave the school its magic and sentience. The magic of the school had led them to the Heart and each descendent had been able to remove that which had been set by their ancestor. The elves had not been tied to the property, castle or headmaster, but to the Heart. Where the Heart went, so went they.
Again, we followed the Parlay agreement rules and went to the ICW. Again, we were told they had not broken the agreement. Having been set by the founders, the Heart (like the library) belonged in a sense to their descendents. Regardless, the Heart was semi-sentient and categorized itself as a Light supporter. As such, it was within the Heart's rights to leave with the other supporters. We realized the ICW was not on our side, but were forced to admit their interpretation was legally and magically correct, as the parlay agreement was not punishing the exiles.
Indeed, the exiles seemed to be thriving those first years. Potter and several friends purchased an island in the Pacific. They, and the elves, quickly fixed up a compound and installed the Heart. The place has become an oasis, their Sanctuary that Potter rarely left except to play Quidditch. Why would he? He must have about 400 house elves to see to his every whim. He and his friends opened businesses in various countries bordering the Pacific Ocean, namely those joke shops, and business quickly boomed. They were able to employ those exiles who had not managed to arrange anything else and had the foresight to create a holding company to provide start-up capital for new exile businesses. They eventually opened a new shopping Alley in Indonesia that, over the generations, has become extremely popular -- and profitable I'm sure. After the Net went up, they revealed dedicated Floo's connecting the major magical shopping districts around the globe. I've heard one can step into a special Floo in Paris, and come out in Indonesia or Africa and return home just as easily. Simpler and cheaper than a portkey, and without the soot of a normal Floo. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
These were all blows, but we felt nothing was insurmountable - well, we did when we weren't being crucio'd by our Lord. Believing he'd won over Dumbledore and Potter, only to have Potter land on his feet thumbing his nose; seemed to drive our Lord's madness to new levels. He did not adjust to peace very well, but the parlay agreement mandated that we leave the muggle world and its people alone on the pain of losing our magic. It was the only point in the agreement we felt we had given them, that was what we paid for being rid of them and winning the war and, so we thought, humiliating them. It seemed a small enough concession on the surface. After all, we hated muggles. Staying away from them didn't seem too large a price to pay. Oh what fools we were.
Without muggles or Light fools for Voldemort to torture, the only fools available were us.
While we recovered from our masters tortures, the economic hits kept coming. Various goods soon became hard to find locally. The producers had left. Surprisingly, we discovered that few Death Eaters and Dark supporters came from the Artisan and working classes. Our population ended up oddly weighted towards the very top and the very bottom of society. We had lost a large proportion of the hard working middle that produced goods for consumption and export, as well as provided skilled services.
Those of us with large quantities of gold thought nothing of it. We simply instructed our elves to arrange purchases from the continent. It was just a slight inconvenience for us and we never noticed the increase in price. Others did. They had to pay a middleman to bring in goods. Supposedly, it took quite a while for shops to iron out the difficulties in their supply sources.
So many interconnected red flags that we ignored. Imports were up and exports down - way down. Production of internally consumed goods was compromised. Our economy was bleeding and we never noticed. We were too busy jockeying for positions within the new hierarchies of our Ministry and our Lords service -- the same political ambition games we had always played from our childhood in Slytherin House. We also did not adjust well to peace. The Ministry and government had always been our playground, a place to demonstrate what and whom you controlled. We had never paid much attention to the real work of running a country, the little irritating details. Everything had always run on its own somehow. It turned out that was something else minor unimportant Light supporters had taken care of. They were the ones who had kept things running behind the scenes. When they left, nobody was minding the store - so to speak.
One ridiculous example of this was the day the magical lifts stopped running in the Ministry. Not only had the clerk who oversaw the regular maintenance left, but also the technician he normally contracted. No one had taken the clerk's job or reassigned the work. No one had even noticed his work wasn't being done. He had been one of the unimportant invisible beneath our notice. Damn flunkies. It took hours just to determine who had been responsible. More time lost going through mounds of old paperwork searching for work orders and purchase orders related to the lifts, only to discover that the contracted company had closed its doors, the small staff leaving with the exiles. It was three days before the lifts were running again, and we had to contract with the goblins to provide the maintenance as the proper technicians couldn't be found locally.
This pointed out to some of us just how easy it is to relocate a magical business. Indeed, we discovered that only the most obvious well-known businesses had been sold, everything else was simply packed up and moved -- without notice to anyone.
We knew there were gaps like this, but mused that this simply provided opportunity for the unwashed masses to improve themselves. It never crossed our minds that few had both the skill and the funds to do so. I'm sure there were those who wanted to move into a gap and leave a life of thieving, but they were thieves because they had few other skills. Leaving off the problem of capital to start a business, they lacked the knowledge and it didn't occur to any of us in power that we should train them.
Oh yes, Capital. The goblins had made it known that we would have to open our family vaults if we wanted further business loans made. Those vaults of the type that made their funds available for loans -- in exchange for interest payments -- had been the most affected by the exodus. It seemed that the bulk of the money deposited in Gringotts London was now in our family vaults, which had caps on the amounts available for loans.
At first, we answered with our standard superiority. Of course we weren't going to hand over any of our family money to the masses! The very idea was absurd! It took several years of watching the economy slide further and further before we came to our senses. I still wonder if we weren't too late. Would things be better now if we had acted faster then? It's hard to say. So many of us who stayed were from the same level of society, our ambition was for power and political intrigue, not creating and marketing products or providing skilled services. To our dismay, we found ruling over the British magical world wasn't as much fun as we had anticipated. Those we had planned to 'lord' over, left. Rather takes the fun out of it.
A few families then tried to invest in the muggle world's financial markets, a few others tried to open businesses in the muggle world in an attempt to move cash from their world to ours. To everyone's everlasting horror, we discovered that the bargain we'd made to stay out of the muggle world seemed to include financially as well. All those involved lost their magic. Everyone. No matter how slight their involvement in the schemes.
With every setback, our Lord became more and more out of control and everyone knew it. With the Light gone and our Lord in charge of the Ministry, he no longer felt any need to hide away. He took to moving about in public, to the horror of all those who had not seen him since his rebirth. In the Light of day, he looked even less human than he had before. It was a disaster for those of us trying to hold things together. You see, we'd never mentioned his tendency to break out in random crucios as the urge hit. Guess that secret is out. One day he moved through Hogsmeade and the Alley crucioing everyone he saw wearing glasses. Seemed they reminded him of Dumbledore and Potter and he thought the people were mocking him. People began running away the moment they saw him or heard he was out and about.
Many regretted their choice and tried to leave, but we had learned our lesson and passed laws and compulsions on the Dark Mark to make that almost impossible. We couldn't afford to lose any more of our population, but had no idea of what we were sentencing them to. That knowledge came much later. Our arrogance ensured it was very much too late.
Through all of this, our children married and procreated as we had. We had raised them with disdain for families like the Weasleys, those with many children. Most of my peer's children had their heir and stopped there, as I had with Draco. My son's wife had difficulty getting pregnant and carrying a male. One of the few remaining medi-witches thought she was reacting adversely to the male selection spells our family used to ensure a proper heir. Without them, she eventually carried a child to term and delivered a female. It was the last live child Pansy would deliver; we didn't realize then how lucky we were that the babe was at least a witch. This was the beginning of Draco and my efforts to continue our family name and magic. I found a poor Dark pureblood family with a pretty, young daughter they were willing to part with in return for financing their business. The girl came to Malfoy Manor and on her sixteenth birthday, she became my son's concubine. At twenty, she finally delivered a live son and the next generation was secured, although I despaired at what we had been reduced to including in our bloodline. Oh how I wish the next generations had been as easy. I didn't know the meaning of despair or shame then.
Time moved on. Our children grew, the exiles came every year and gathered up the mudbloods and others per the agreement, and we remained mostly oblivious to the real problem slowly gathering momentum. I was so involved in political issues that I never listened when my son mused about the small numbers of children in his Potions class at Hogwarts. Draco saw there were fewer first years as time went on, but he thought it was simply due natural cycles within our low population since the exiles left. He couldn't have been more wrong.
If anyone had listened to the clerk we put in charge of the Hogwarts book, we may have known early enough to make a difference. But we didn't listen. We were too busy alternately playing our games or trying to encourage the immigration into Britain of a magical working class, someone to lord over. Not an easy task. Nobody wanted to move to a country controlled by an insane Dark Lord who had a tendency to crucio random people he saw passing on the street and had introduced draconian laws to control almost every facet of our lives. The muggle term 'control-freak' does not begin to describe the Dark Lord. The taking of the Dark Mark had become a legal requirement at coming of age, giving him more control over the entire population. Our Lord is now an expert at random punishments through the Mark; he finds it quite entertaining. We soon stopped flinching at the sight of someone falling to the ground, screaming and clutching their arm, whether it was on the street, in a shop, during a business meeting… we no longer even noticed such a common occurrence, but a few photographs in the international papers were enough to halt any interest in moving to Britain.
But back to our dwindling magical births, that thing we missed for so long, what is killing us now. Whenever the poor fool with the book tried to bring the problem to our Lord, he was crucioed almost to the point of insanity. He soon stopped trying. He met yearly with the exiles and oversaw the exodus of those who could save us, and he was unable to do a thing to stop it. Eventually, he snuck his grandson in, pretending the lad was an orphaned squib-born. I wonder if they saw through his pretense, but allowed it anyway. He had always been a mild, personable type who never harassed anyone during his time at Hogwarts nor at the yearly gathering. I can't blame him. I've heard the boy grew up, married a sweet witch and now heads a brood of magically strong grandchildren. Even though he was killed by our Lord, that lowly clerk managed to ensure the magical continuance of his line. Something the rest of us struggle with to this day.
Of course, by now everyone has spent years pouring over the book and our birth records going back generations prior to the exodus. The problem began with low birth rates. My Hogwarts class had well over 50 students, Draco's less than 40. Much of this was by choice - we had been taught for generations that large families belonged to the lower classes. Those who tried for more children, found difficulties similar to Pansy's. A family with more than two children became extremely rare.
Of course, the exiles seemed to be having the opposite experience. They showed their enjoyment of their safety and freedom by having many children. It's rumored Potter himself had a dozen. Their island oasis overflows with Potters, Weasleys, Longbottoms, Bones, Lupins and others.
Next, you can see in our records the birth of squibs increased slowly at first before the flood. The Clerk saw that children born did not show up on the Hogwarts List. We weren't in the habit of checking the book then, so it wasn't until several prominent children didn't receive their letters that anyone else noticed. Our culture taught us squibs were a shame on the family, so those families so cursed kept it quiet if they could. Some claimed they were home-schooling their child and kept the situation hidden into adulthood. There was also a sudden upsurge in fatal magical accidents in home-schooled children. All told, this delayed official recognition of the problem for over a generation. The other issues weren't seen until the magical children we had progressed in their education, but it was perhaps more chilling. Magical strength and intelligence were decreasing in our children. Crabbe and Goyle from Draco's year were only the beginning. Nowadays, the children aren't capable of the old Hogwarts Seventh year. They don't have the magical strength for the spells and only a small number are capable of learning the other material. We now use that year to increase their spell repertoire and give them more time to absorb the non-wand courses into the old Sixth year level. Just one more thing we hide from our Lord.
A few more years later and it could not be denied at any level -- we were dying out.
At the close of the war, we were already fairly inbred. The Dark wealthy families had tended to intermarry for generations. It was something we never thought could have negative repercussions. After all, 'purer is better', right? We hadn't noticed that the degeneration had already begun and that we were only a generation or two away from disaster. But Potter and that insufferable mudblood bookworm did. Statistical analysis she'd called it in an interview I read a few years ago in one of the international papers. A muggle science. Bitch.
During all this, my grandson wed and his wife bore a son. Years passed and I discovered that my great-grandson was a squib. He was not in the book, he failed to get his Hogwarts letter. My grandson and his wife tried for years but were unable to have a magical child that appeared in the Book after his birth. Draco and I searched as I had done for him, but we were unable to find a suitable British concubine. Too many had been using the same spells we did to ensure a male heir. The few unattached young females we found were too closely related, squibs or so magically weak, they may as well have been. We could not count on any of these breeding a magical offspring. During our search, we found a few others in the same situation. We met as a group and decided to work together. Dolohov had recently tried to purchase a young Russian, as I had done for Draco, but the girl's family backed out of the deal at the last minute when someone in their village passed along information on the conditions in Britain. Evidently, they did have some small amount of feeling about the chit's future life and that of their potential grandchildren. Word seemed to spread before us and soon no one was willing to sell a concubine to anyone British.
We were Death Eaters, that wasn't going to stop us. Those of my generation with raiding experience from the war trained our sons and grandsons. We selected areas of Europe outside of the control of a strong magical government but with mid-sized magical enclaves. Then the kidnappings began. We made sure no one took more than one female from each place and never one older than 25. Magically strong purebloods from poor families were preferred, but we took what we could find as long as they had power. They were spelled so nobody would be able to locate them and brought back to Britain. We thought nobody would notice a few missing witches from poor families in backwater areas.
We hadn't yet accepted the cause of the problem you see -- we were still arrogant and somewhat blind. We were unable to see beyond our pureblood training, we should have been taking mudbloods only. We also paid little attention to the world outside Britain. We still told ourselves that our pureblood society was better than theirs, polluted with mudbloods as they were.
Our tunnel vision was soon to backfire. The world around us had changed, but in our isolation, we hadn't noticed. You see, the rest of the world had been watching. They saw more than our economic troubles. They saw our problem before we did and had been gossiping for years. Evidently, the exiles did listen to that clerk and paid a great deal of attention to the book at the yearly gathering when it was used to locate the Muggleborns. When girls began disappearing -- young, magically strong girls -- all fingers pointed towards us. While in Romania scouting girls, Draco and Theo saw articles in local papers, heard gossip on the streets and quickly called off their operation and notified the others.
A week later the Net went up around Britain.
We were no longer able to apparate, Floo, or portkey on, or off, the island without being automatically routed to special ICW customs stations. They must have been planning for quite a while. Unlike Fudges government, the ICW was showing a backbone. The stations were designed to prevent those passing through from doing any magic. You were automatically shunted into a small room where the only way out was to put on magic inhibitors. The search of my person, clothing, and packages was disturbingly thorough, but the worst was being questioned with veritaserum to determine if I were planning to, or had, broken any laws while outside Britain. Overall, a truly horrible experience -- especially being unable to feel or access ones magic. After one trip, I vowed never to leave Britain again. And I haven't.
Those who put out feelers to find agents willing to accept bribes, returned with unsettling news. Agents were regularly questioned under veritaserum and scanned for obliviations, imperious and other magical controls. Most damning was the sight of former aurers among the exiles working as ICW agents. On my own trip, I recognized that tall black man who had been a member of Dumbledore's Order.
It was becoming clear that the ICW seemed to consider us some sort of disease that needed to be contained before it infected the rest of the world. We had little true international support. Yes, there were those who seemed to enjoy verbally displaying their support and agreement with our beliefs, but were oddly quiet when it came down to actually acting on that support. They hemmed and hawed when we encouraged them to move to Britain and join us. They never replied when we asked for their assistance in smuggling magical youths to our group.
Our operation was finished. Eight girls, ranging in age from 25 to 13, became our hopes for a future. We didn't know then that they were the sole hope of our entire country, we simply saw them as the future of our few families. Then, our concern for Britain extended only to the point of encouraging each other's grandchildren to have a male and female from their assigned concubine.
Internationally, there was quite a fuss demanding the return of the girls. Of course, we claimed we didn't have them. There was no proof, just supposition, and our insane Lord reacted just as we'd anticipated, as the group included a couple mudbloods. He did not allow searchers or foreign aurors into Britain. He couldn't conceive anyone wanting such bad blood and crucioed the ambassadors for having the temerity to suggest his followers would mix their blood with a mudblood. Publicly, our society was still denying there was a problem. Everyone was afraid of bringing their squibs to the attention of our Lord; it would look bad for their family and their political future. It was the elephant in the room that no one spoke of. The kidnappings were the first time that any group of families came together and admitted their problem to each other. We all were very careful to keep everything quiet and the girls out of the public view.
The older girls were quickly parsed out and bred, and within a year, I had a great-grandson whose name showed up in the Hogwarts Book. His mother may have been a half-blood short-term concubine, but I try to ignore that fact. Several portraits had to be moved, as they were unable to do the same. Their ire was distressing the concubine, who was carrying a second child for my grandson, Leonidas. Draco and I were relieved, one more generation secured with a spare on the way. We quietly hoped that the new blood would make a third generation concubine unnecessary. We quickly arranged the first boy's future marriage with the daughter of one of the pureblood concubines.
In a meeting with the cabal, we discussed how the Net would make future expeditions impossible for our descendents. We decided a more diverse pool would be helpful for future generations. I look back now and see that is the point everything changed, although I refused to see it then. My grandson did, and he didn't like what he was seeing.
Draco and I discussed Leonidas having children with more of the concubines, but the lad was uncomfortable with the idea and refused. We argued. He claimed we were treating him like a breeding stallion with brood mares. I look back now on that argument and wonder if he didn't show a bit of the Sight, for that is what we have been reduced to doing. Stud books and all. Of course, we don't call them that, they are the Family Genealogy books. We do like our delusions, but it's hard to ignore how we didn't even let this last generation have the illusion of marriage. We've simply been moving them from bed to bed trying to get the most magical children possible.
At the time, I wondered how he could have developed such ideas and not be willing to do all for the Malfoy line. I blamed it on his own mother being a concubine who had lived a rather shadowed existence in the east wing of the manor until she left to go live with other concubines like herself, too old for breeding or unwanted for pleasure. As I've gotten older, I realize Leonidas simply has morals that Draco and I lack. I don't know whether she taught them to him, or if he somehow gained them from the blood. He is a strong, intelligent wizard and a good father so I overlook his odd sentimentality. I pretend not to notice when he visits his blood mother. He and Pansy never bonded and I found myself loath to deprive him of a genuine maternal experience.
Draco exercised the rights of one who retrieved several of the girls and did his family duty where his son would not. He bred five more children for the family name. I bred two before I became too old. All seven showed on the Hogwarts book, which gave the Malfoy's nine for that generation -- plus the squibs. We planned to marry the females into some of the lesser families, extending their magic. Either that or sell them as concubines, whatever would better serve the family, but none of the Cabal offspring ended up as concubines. Even the children of the mudbloods were married advantageously. Our coffers were full.
We found that if we mated the mudblood offspring to the squibs of the high families that we could often get magical children. I believed that to be an accidental finding, but now I can see that my grandson and great-grandson understood the true problem before Draco and I. Leonidas had demanded that his first-born son, the squib, be allowed to marry one of the daughters of a mudblood concubine. To appease him, we agreed that if they produced a magical child, we would allow the marriage. They did, and so they were married and the Cabal began cautiously approaching families of home-schooled adults who were little seen in public. They were willing to pay anything, and did.
Some of those shut-in spouses had a tendency to die while their children were young. It never seemed to take long for the widowed Cabal raised to find another spouse while the 'grieving' grandparents raised their magical grandchildren and deposited a large sum into their vault. We would smile at the marriage to another shut-in and made sure that the new family understood they owed us a favor, even though their payments had gone to the previous family. Draco was surprised at this situation; I was only surprised it didn't occur in every instance. Leonidas made sure I understood it would never happen in our family. It wasn't hard to agree, we hadn't needed to empty our coffers to supply his son with a bride and magical children. It made sense to me that many would need to recoup that loss in order to provide for those children.
Time went on and events continued in their predictable manner. The Malfoy children grew up, attended Hogwarts, and were later married to socially appropriate spouses based upon their mother's blood. Draco and I breathed a sigh of relief when their children and grandchildren showed signs of accidental magic. We were among the lucky ones. Outside of the Cabal, things became much worse.
The international press waxes long on the assumed fates of the kidnapped girls. Those stories couldn't be further from the truth and make little logical sense. They were well treated, pampered even; never beaten, never abused in any way. We needed them healthy and unstressed for healthy children. Anything they wanted was theirs, except they could not leave and were forced to breed with whomever was chosen for them. The eldest three had the hardest time adjusting, the youngest the easiest. But they all did eventually. We pulled them out of poverty and into grandeur. Bearing children isn't overly taxing, they weren't sex slaves like the international tabloids keep proclaiming. As if we would waste someone with magic in such a way. We gave them two years between each pregnancy to optimize their health and magic, plus we used fertility potions to ensure quick conceptions. It makes no sense to spend months attempting conception when a potion can ensure it's handled within a couple of encounters. We did have a schedule to maintain after all.
We also never blocked them from seeing their children, but we did discourage it if the father's wife adopted the child as hers. It was much simpler for the child that way until they were adults and needed to recognize their blood status and half-siblings. It was less confusing. Really, I think the fuss is quite overrated. We've given them lives much better than they could have had in their backwater villages. Those past the age of child-bearing live together in a lovely manor with house elves and extensive grounds. They are well supported by all the families. We could do nothing less, they are the mothers of the heirs and are visited often by their children and grandchildren.
Of course, our Lord has no idea they exist and he never will. I think they have given us a few more generations in the selected families, but even their blood isn't enough to save us as a society and country. The numbers tell the story. We were down to 4 magical births recorded in the book before the concubines. Compare that to the 27 muggleborns born in Britain for the same time period. Nowadays, it is rare to find a magical birth in our sector of Britain that cannot be traced back to the eight.
Through all this time, we have been searching for solutions to both problems, economics and magic. The Parlay agreement has been examined carefully and we have made several attempts to circumvent its strictures, to no avail. A few plans even resulted in the loss of magic for those involved. After several failed assassination attempts on our Lord, we have come to the realization that Potter may be the only one who can kill him. Draco believes that to be the subject of the prophecy so much fuss was made over so long ago.
We search for ways to neutralize the Dark Lord. We cannot lock him up. His control over the Dark Mark we all bear would mean our deaths, after extreme torture.
I am now close to death myself and my son is an old man. Potter must be old as well, although he hasn't been seen publicly in years. We dare not delay too long else he may die and take our last chance with him to the grave. My son and others will be here soon at my Cornish retreat. I have an idea you see. If they agree, then we will carry out my plan. The Dark Lord cannot be killed, it's been tried, but perhaps we can neutralize him, contain him, and find a way to transport him to Potter for execution.
Leonidas, my grandson, has no faith in this plan. He believes that Potter will not agree even if we succeed. He believes that all this is Potters plan. Once there are no magicals left to be his followers, Leonidas says that, in his madness, Voldemort will attack a muggle and lose his magic. In that state, he will likely be picked up by the muggle authorities as a madman or freak of nature. Then, and only then, does Leonidas say, will Potter and the others return. Leonidas also says that there is the possibility that, without magic, the Dark Lord's current body may simply dissolve. He believes that no exile will step foot on this island as long as one Dark magical lives.
I can only pray that he is wrong.
Even if Potter refuses, if we succeed in neutralizing the Dark Lord, we can repeal all those laws that have made it difficult to attract immigrants. Perhaps even some of the exiles can be convinced to return. Obviously the agreement does not prevent it, because they were planning to come back once we died out. The concubines and the careful breeding of the successive generations have ensured that this will be much later than they had initially anticipated. Some may not want to wait that long.
We can only hope. If something doesn't change, the next fifty years will see the end of magic in our family, to be followed by our friends and our society. Malfoy participation in the breeding program will end with Draco's death. He says nothing, but I can see it in my grandson's eyes. He despises the program and will not continue it when he becomes The Malfoy. I cannot prove it, but I believe he is involved with those who send young squibs to muggle orphanages with new names so that if they have magical descendents, they will appear as muggleborns and will not carry on their true family name and history. I do not see how he could do so and not lose his magic. His continued magical strength seems to prove my suspicions false.
I think Leonidas sees little in this society worth saving and that is my true shame and greatest cause of despair.
We who got us into this situation by following that madman must find a way to fix it. My family has only the time remaining in my son's life. The Malfoy's will not end.
I see a light on the beach. They have arrived. It's time to see if we can find a way out of the destruction we have passed on to our children.
A/N: yes, Lucius was meant to sound horrible when talking about those kidnapped girls and the 'spare' offspring. In this one-shot, he wasn't redeemable. He has some regrets, but still has a deep bigotry and cares little for people as people, even his own descendents beyond Draco and Leonidas.
Revision loaded September 03, 2008
I want to thank those who helped me with this revision. It would have been a much poorer piece of work without the input of Banner, Hahukum konn, noylj, and angyellsglaive.