Author's Note: And here's chapter seven...
For a slight change I've written this chapter from two different perspectives, Lucius Malfoy's and Harry Potter's. Enjoy!
.: Chapter Seven – Blood :.
Saturday, May 4, 2002
Blood. That's what it all came down to. Ever since he was a child his father had pressed the importance of blood purity on him, stressing the difference between what was acceptable and what was not. His first lesson came on the day of his fifth birthday. He was just a child and didn't understand why his mother forbade him to go down to the park, her incessant warnings falling on deaf ears. Her words had never gone unheeded since that day. How was he supposed to know they were muggle children? He had been just a boy, eager to have someone to play with on his birthday.
The second he saw his father's face, he'd known he was in trouble. That had been the first beating. Even though he'd been an ignorant child, it hadn't mattered. His father's word was law and he daren't go against that. He'd grown to hate muggles, loathe the very air they breathed simply because they were the cause of his pain. Day after day, strike after strike; he wished death on every single one of them. His father's cane had been the blade of his nightmares, and it became his fear. The cane was his now, a reminder of what was and what would never be again. Fear was a weakness and he carried his beside him everyday.
Now there was something else to fear. He'd followed his father's instruction and entered into Lord Voldemort's service as a young man. The silent thrill of it all had blinded him, shuttered his eyes to what was really happening. He wasn't blind now. And he certainly wasn't as ignorant. Blood was everything and nothing. It was life and death. His father had always said that purity was everything and he'd believed him. But on the battlefield where all you saw was death, blood became its tangible symbol. Purebloods, half-bloods – even muggleborns; death was blood and all theirs was the same. He'd always expected their blood to look dirty, a sickening brown like the mud they were called. It was just as rich and crimson as his. Blood was blood; there was no separable difference.
The child was a Malfoy, there was no doubt about that. Her features were softer than the norm. But he supposed that had something to do with her mother's genetics being thrown into the mix. Nevertheless, she had the distinctive blonde locks and pointed features that were all recognisable in a Malfoy. She was a half-blood, but his granddaughter nonetheless. And it was that fact and that fact alone, which had him coming to terms with the whole situation. He wasn't entirely pleased with it, but there was nothing he could do to change the past. His son had made a mistake and now they all had to live with the consequences.
"Nothing seems to be out of the ordinary," he heard his wife mutter behind him, her hand wrapped firmly around their son's arm to keep him from doing anything rash.
It had taken some persuasion and a few underhanded tactics, but he'd eventually managed to acquire the right address from the Welcome Witch at the Department of Family Housing. The little cottage looked too quaint for his liking, but he supposed it held a sort of country charm. His wife was right in her assumption; nothing seemed to be out of the ordinary…yet. There was a light on in what looked to be the kitchen, but they were too far away to see anything properly. Unlike his son, Lucius understood the importance of judging a situation correctly. Their family was still considered 'dark', so to react to the situation before them without assessing it in its entirety could very well damage what progress they had made since the war. If there was nothing seriously wrong and they went in there hexes flying, then no good would come of it.
"That we know of," he replied vaguely, extending his cane so Draco couldn't pass. His son was too unpredictable, the fact that he was struggling against his mother's restraining hand was proof enough of that. Malfoys took care of their own. But his son was acting far more protective of a child he'd never met than Lucius had anticipated.
"Could the darnglosphere have malfunctioned?" Narcissa asked, sighing irritably as their son shrugged off her hand, taking a step toward the house.
"Does it really matter, mother?"
"Yes, it does matter. There might be nothing wro –" her voice was cut off, a child's deafening scream echoing through the still night air.
Cursing under his breath, Lucius tried to stop his son from racing into the house, wand drawn. But found that while his reflexes were good for his age, they weren't good enough. Seeing the back of Draco's head as he raced toward the house, blond hair shining eerily in the moonlight, Lucius came to a decision. While their family's reputation was at stake depending on how they reacted, he couldn't very well sit back and do nothing. Draco was his son. And that little girl – Rose – was his granddaughter whether he liked it or not.
Detaching his wand from the head of his cane, he turned around sharply. "Send word to the ministry that there is trouble. I don't care how you do it, but make sure that you do. Our son is too unpredictable at the moment. We may need as many hands as we can get to restrain him if something is seriously wrong," his voice was harsh, but he knew Narcissa understood the severity of the situation.
Without a backwards glance, he rushed toward the house, his feet closing the distance between him and his son. He had been a fool to force his family into such a dark life. The war was over but his misdeeds still stood firm among the public. His father had condemned him to that life. But he hadn't resisted as much as he should have. He was brought up to believe that it was an honour to serve the Dark Lord, that his quest to purge the world of muggles and mudbloods alike was both pure and noble. Voldemort had been nothing but a hypocrite, a man who was pissed off that his filthy muggle father had left both he and his mother to rot.
Lucius had made so many mistakes in his life. He'd forced Draco onto the same path his father had urged him to follow. Narcissa had objected despite her sister's allegiances and begged him to spare Draco from that life. He had been too arrogant at the time to realise his wife was right. The shocking clarity of his mistake came long before the final battle, but he'd been in over his head and had no way out. He'd switched sides in the midst of battle only moments before it was too late, his wife making up her own mind without his knowledge. It wasn't until the very end that he realised what Narcissa had done in order to protect their son, and he loved her all the more for it. They may have had an arranged marriage, but they'd been lucky enough to find love where most only found affection or contempt.
His son hated Daphne and he couldn't very well blame him for it. He and Narcissa had urged him to pick the younger of the two Greengrass', Astoria being a charming girl compared to her sister. But Draco had ignored their pleas, choosing Daphne over their other two selections. Astoria was now engaged to one their client's brothers, and he couldn't help but think his son had sacrificed what could have been a content life with Astoria, for a hated one with her sister. None of that mattered now. Draco had contacted their lawyer, and considering the situation he wasn't unpleased with his son's decision.
Daphne was a thorn in his side, spending as much of the family money as she could on pointless, insignificant little things. They certainly had enough money, but Lucius didn't like the idea of that money dwindling because of a woman's uncontrollable shopping tendencies. While divorce was uncommon in their world, he was glad that his son was taking the initiative to separate himself from her now rather than later.
Seeing that his son was still too far ahead of him, Lucius did the only thing he could think of. "Incarcerous," the spell was quick and effective, its thick ropes wrapping around Draco almost instantaneously. At least this way he could cover some ground before his son did something stupid.
"Diffindo," Draco all but growled, the ropes falling uselessly to the ground as the spell cut through them. "I'm disappointed, father. Couldn't you come up with something more creative?" the young blond snapped, his eyes narrowed in anger.
"I can't very well have you storming in there if –"
"You heard the scream. You know something is wrong," his son spat, turning his back on him and stalking toward the front door without even waiting for a reply.
Lucius scowled, gripping his wand tighter in an effort to calm his rising anger. Instinct took over as he heard a childlike sob emit from behind the wooden door. Draco was gone in a second, the once closed door hanging on its hinges. He knew that if something was wrong – and by the looks of things they certainly were – then there was every chance that his son would do something stupid. Dashing forward, he barely reached the door before a loud crash resounded from within the room.
"Draco," he called out, harsh worry in his voice.
As his eyes fully adjusted to the bright light of the room, they travelled down to the floor, widening slightly as they landed on the unconscious form of Hermione Weasley, nee Granger. Her body was lying at an odd angle, a small halo of blood framing the top of her head. She was unconscious and by the looks of things, losing more blood with each passing second. It didn't take a genius to figure out what had happened, the nearby kitchen table making it blatantly obvious with its bloodied corner. But the question remained; how had she hit her head? Had it been by force? Or was it an accident?
"Mummy!" the childlike plea pulled him from his reverie.
Pivoting to his left, Lucius' eyes landed on the small girl struggling against Ron Weasley's grasp. Draco was a few feet away, gaining momentum with his fist as he pulled it back, aiming for the oblivious redhead's jaw. He felt a touch of disdain at seeing his son's fist connect with its target, the primitive muggle method grating on his last nerve. Despite the disdain, he felt a sort of smug fatherly pride, especially when the Weasley boy crumbled from the sudden impact.
The little girl was free within a second, running toward the unconscious woman on the floor, tears marring her delicate face. "Mummy, wake up," her voice was so small, hands shaking her mother's limp body in an effort to wake her.
It felt strange, looking at the little girl, seeing her in the flesh rather than in a framed picture. She looked so much like his son it was uncanny. But there was her mother in her as well, so no one would think to ask about her parentage. He was by no means happy that she was a half-blood, her mother being who she was only adding to his displeasure. But what was done was done. The spell had been activated and the only way to deactivate it was through death. Mother and child had to die in order for the spell to be unwoven. He'd considered it at first, the horrible knowledge of a half-blood marring the Malfoy bloodline enough to make the idea plausible. But the idea was gone within a second of it being there, his past mistakes grounding him. Narcissa had convinced him that it wasn't as bad as it seemed. New blood would help strengthen the dwindling magic in their family, help restore power. There was that, and the fact that it would help improve their plight against the ministry's lingering accusations.
Walking forward hesitantly, he knelt down beside the girl, watching as she continued to shake her mother. "And what's your name?" he knew her name, but he had to try and distract her, at least enough to get her to calm down.
Rose sniffed, looking up at him with wide eyes. "I'm not sup-posed to talk to strangers," she said, voice meek.
"But I'm not a stranger," he smiled warily at her, taking in her attire and realising that she must have been in bed before any of this happened. "I'm a…old friend of your mother's," a white lie wouldn't hurt, not when she was obviously distraught.
"Really?" her eyes brightened slightly, bottom lip a quivering remnant of her tears.
"Really," he nodded, glancing back discreetly where his son and the red-haired idiot had been moments before, their obvious tussle moving outdoors. Good.
He felt a tug on his sleeve. "I'm Rose. Whads your name?" her innocent hazel-brown eyes stared up at him, completely trusting. He didn't know whether to be flattered that she seemed to trust him so easily, or annoyed that her mother hadn't taught her to be more suspicious of strangers.
"I'm Lucius," she nodded sadly, not really hearing him.
"Why won't she wakes up?" Rose asked, voice cracking as a sob wracked through her tiny body. "Was it somethings I did?"
He felt his heart clench painfully at the pitiful, pleading look on her face. She was so vulnerable and so young. Rose didn't understand what was going on and she was looking up to him for the answers, a complete stranger. Well, he wasn't necessarily a stranger, he was her grandfather. But she didn't know that, in fact, she barely knew anything. She was only a child. How could any of them expect her to understand?
"No, Rose. You didn't do anything wrong," he reassured her, looking down at the unconscious woman in front of him, the pallor of her skin paling dramatically. "Can you tell me what happened to your mother?" he asked gently, cringing as he lifted up said woman's head to inspect the damage.
"They was yelling," she said simply, clamming up as her eyes landed on the blood surrounding her mother's head.
There was no point in pushing the girl; it was obvious she was traumatised by the whole ordeal. What bothered him was the initial scene he and Draco had walked in on. Why had Ron Weasley, the man she knew as her father, been trying to drag her out of the room? Why had she struggled so hard? And why in the name of Merlin, hadn't the idiot done something when it was obvious his wife's life was in danger? Something just wasn't adding up.
"Sweet Merlin!" Lucius turned around to look at his wife, her gasped exclamation loud enough to draw his attention. She stood stock still, hand clasped over her mouth in shock.
"Don't just stand there woman, do something!" his voice was harsh but urgent. While he was a fairly skilled wizard, there were certain aspects of magic he was far less apt at. Narcissa had a knack for healing spells and charms, whereas he did not. If the unconscious woman stood a chance it was because of his wife – that is to say, if she managed to snap out of her stupor quick enough to make a difference.
"I…" her eyes widened as she rushed forward, kneeling down opposite him, hands moving to cup the woman's head. "What happened?"
"Mummy hit-ed her head and now she won't wakes up," Rose hiccuped, answering before he himself had a chance to do so.
Narcissa's eyes widened further, landing on the little girl beside him in awe. Her mouth opened and closed, no sound passing her lips as she continued to stare at Rose, tears building in her grey eyes. "Oh, Lucius. She's beautiful," her voice was barely above a whisper, but it was loud enough for him to hear.
"Cissa," she turned to look at him, and with an inclination of his head, she knew he was agreeing. "There are, however, more pressing matters to deal with," he indicated subtly at the unconscious woman between them, trying to be as discreet as possible, not wanting to upset the child further.
"There's not much I can do," she admitted quietly, glancing at Rose before continuing. "I can clean the wound and apply enough pressure to hopefully control the bleeding. But other than that…She's lost too much blood and I'm certain that once we get her to St Mungos they'll want to actually look at the wound to determine if there will be any permanent damage. I –"
"Is my mummy going to wake up? I promise I'll eat my veget-tables and – and I'lls brush my teeth before bed and –" Rose was crying now, her tiny voice causing him to frown.
"She'll wake up, Rose," he cut in.
"Lucius –" Narcissa began to protest, obvious worry in her voice.
"She will wake up. I promise," Lucius knew he shouldn't have said that. But she was just a child and she needed to be reassured. His wife was obviously thinking the same thing, her worried frown making that blatantly obvious.
Rose nodded sadly, a small smile gracing her lips at his words. "They was yelling about me. Daddy was scary and m-mummy saids he was hurting her," the little girl admitted, sniffing loudly as another batch of tears came pouring out. "I was scared,"
"You poor thing," Narcissa said, leaning over the body to caress the little girl's light coloured locks. "Of course you were scared," then she frowned, eyes travelling down Rose's arm. "Lucius, her wrists," there was a cold edge in his wife's voice, one he hadn't heard since the war.
Turning his attention on the little girl, he barely registered the sound of ripping material and a muttered spell, his eyes darkening as they reached her wrists. There were large red finger marks, outlining a hand that had been clasped around her wrist. It was obvious the struggle between her and the Weasley boy had been harsher than he'd originally imagined. Those marks would become bruises by morning. And Ron Weasley would pay.
A series of loud pops brought his train of thought to a screaming halt. Within seconds there was a wand pressed painfully against his neck. Of course they would think that it was his fault. He was the infamous Lucius Malfoy, hater of all things muggle and a pureblood elitist. They were just waiting for a reason to arrest him, teetering with false patience for a reason to throw him into Azkaban where they believed he belonged. He could hear Rose crying, screaming at the top of her lungs while Narcissa tried to calm her down. It wouldn't be long before she too felt the harsh stab of a wand pressed against her neck. They were the Malfoys. Of course the ministry would arrest them rather than believe one of their famous war hero's was at fault.
Something was wrong. It was either that or he was paranoid. Luna had convinced him to write the letter, convinced him to give Hermione the support she would undoubtedly have given him if he were in the same situation. He didn't know what it was exactly, but something was bothering him. There was just something about the way Hermione had constructed her words earlier that day, that concerned him. It was like she was preparing herself for a storm, a deadly and unforgivable battle where she would come out bloodied and bruised. When he'd relayed the meeting to his wife, Luna had said that it sounded as if she'd been working up the courage to tell him the truth. He'd beaten her to the post, accusing her before she could tell him in her own deliberate words. Maybe if he hadn't rushed her, she would have been able to explain things better. So, he was waiting for a reply to a letter he'd sent over two hours ago. Hermione always replied. Something had to be wrong.
"I don't think she's going to reply tonight, Harry," his wife's voice called from the stairs. "Hermione is far too considerate to send an owl this late,"
Harry sighed. Luna was right. "I've just got this feeling that something is wrong," he said, not looking up from his hands.
"Perhaps she meant to tell Ronald the truth tonight," Luna mused from behind him, her gentle hands beginning to message the tension out of his shoulders.
"Do you really think so?" he asked, frowning in thought. Hermione had seemed desperate for his support. If she had planned on telling Ron tonight, then her earlier pleas seemed to make more sense.
"Well, it is Grimmhook season," she said confidently, her hands stilling.
Harry had to suppress a laugh. While Luna had matured a great deal from her Hogwarts years, she still had her moments. The war had changed everyone, including his wife. Ever since the death of her father, she had become more subdued. By all means she was still the eccentric, dreamy blonde she had always been – just less so. Her comments were endearing, or at least he thought they were. If there was one thing he knew, it was that their marriage would never be boring.
"Grimmhook season?" he asked carefully, standing up from his seat at the kitchen table, turning around to look at her.
Luna nodded, smiling up at him. "They're quite useful, you know. A lot of people don't believe they exist – I wonder why that is?" she asked more to herself than him, a small frown on her face. "Grimmhooks have the ability to sense a lie, you know? They tend to make a person more open to honesty, which isn't really a bad thing,"
"Of course not," Harry agreed, smiling despite himself. She really was cute when she frowned, deep in thought.
"I think Hermione may have told Ronald, Harry," she said, startling him with the solemn look in her large, silver-grey eyes.
"Why do you say that?" he asked, wondering what could make his wife so serious.
"The news would be heartbreaking for him," she said, ignoring his previous question.
"Perhaps I should have said something earlier," her hair was shining eerily in the moonlight as she paced back and forth, her eyes telling him she was somewhere else.
"What do –"
"Rose was always a happy child, wasn't she? A little stubborn, not to mention exceptionally gifted when it came to getting her own way. Maybe I should have said something when she was born. Hermione didn't know then. I could have told her," she continued to ramble, not really paying attention to where she was walking.
Walk. Stop. Turn. Walk. Stop. Turn. He was getting dizzy from just watching her. "Luna!" he interjected loudly, stepping in her path. She looked up at him, surprised to see him standing there. "What are you talking about, love?"
"I should have told Hermione about Rose," Luna said quietly. "I knew when she was born, you see. She didn't look like Ronald, but I thought that it might have been the Inkipuffs messing with my judgement. They like to do that, you know, mess with people's minds. Horrible little creatures,"
Harry gulped. "You knew that Rose wasn't Ron's daughter?" he asked, hoping to Merlin she said no.
"Well…yes," she replied carefully, eyes searching his.
"Why didn't you say anything?" he couldn't be angry with her, not when she was looking at him like that. This was Luna, his wife. She had her own reasoning.
"It wasn't my place,"