Exhausted from my day at work, I was grateful to finally be going home for the evening. My work at the Ministry had never managed to tire me. But after the Dark Lord's fall I found myself unemployed, and was sadly only able to obtain a pathetic job at a bookstore in Diagon Alley. I used to think that the owner of Flourish and Blotts had given me the job out of pity, seeing as no one else would hire me, but I was beginning to suspect that my employer enjoyed watching me, a former Death Eater, perform menial task after menial task.
This particular afternoon, such boring chores had caused me to finish work nearly an hour later than usual. I knew Narcissa would understand—she also worked in Diagon Alley, and was often working overtime hemming cloaks at Madam Malkin's Robes for All Occasions. I hated seeing my darling Narcissa work, but it was the only way we could afford to keep the Malfoy Manor. The Manor has been in my family for generations—no matter how desperate monetary matters became, I refused to sell my home.
The flames of the fireplace licked at my body as I stepped into it and announced "The Malfoy Manor" as my destination. I never really liked traveling by Floo Powder. It always made me woozy upon arriving at the other end. I had learned to hide this weakness over the years, but that did not mean I still did not feel slightly ill every time I traveled through the Floo Network.
I blinked a few times, casually resting a hand on the marble mantelpiece of the fireplace at my manor. Taking a deep breath, I closed my eyes to help me regain my senses. When I was tired, traveling by Floo Powder affected me even more than usual. Perhaps it was this extended length of disorientation that made me at first unaware of how atypically quiet the home was for dinnertime.
As I began walking through the large mansion, my footsteps echoing loudly in the halls, I realized that it was otherwise silent. "Hello?" I nearly called for a house-elf to tell me where in the home my family was before I remembered that we no longer had any servants. I noticed that, suspiciously, all my ancestors seemed to have left their portraits. They very rarely all stayed there, but they never all left at the same time. "Narcissa?" My voice resonated through the manor, but I heard no answer. "Narcissa, darling?"
Perhaps my wife and son were not at home. They both had jobs, though a glance at the grandfather clock in the foyer showed that they should be home by now. Did they go out? Narcissa would have informed me. Maybe she did. I quickly made my way around the downstairs, searching for a note. But the likely places to leave a message were bare.
I was amazed at how clean and organized Narcissa was able to keep the manor without the help of servants. She was one amazing woman, and I was an extremely lucky man. Without her support, I never would have been able to make it as far as I did, both in the Dark Lord's ranks and the Ministry. And now, with the Malfoy fortune lost due to the war, she was a resilient force that helped hold our family together. With Narcissa at my side, we could overcome any obstacle in our path.
"Narcissa?" I called again. "Draco?"
My son had also been handling our change in position surprisingly well. He was one of the proudest purebloods I had ever met (including myself), yet he was becoming flexible enough to survive in the post-Dark Lord Wizarding World. I had never been more proud of him.
I peeked into the library. I had been forced to sell some of the books, which saddened me greatly, but the bulk of the collection was still remaining in the library. Narcissa sometimes fell asleep reading in the large armchair by the fireplace in there—but there was no one to be seen. I was becoming more and more certain that my family was not in the house. Someone would have answered by now. But where could my family have gone?
My search now led me upstairs. I made my way to the master bedroom, considering that Narcissa could be having a lie-down. Draco was more likely to be out of the house, after all, running errands or something. On the way to the room Narcissa and I shared, I past the door to Draco's room. Normally I would have past without a second thought. Draco was a rather private young man, and had forbidden both his mother and I to ever enter his room when he was only twelve. We did not listen until he was fourteen, but since then neither of us entered his room without permission.
But the door caught my attention, for it was standing slightly ajar. Being such a private youth, Draco never left his door open. Narcissa could have ventured in to clean, I supposed, as unlikely as that was. Out of curiosity, I pushed the door gently open. I stepped back for a moment, waiting for some odd little trap to spring, but nothing happened.
Draco's room was clearly the room of a proud Slytherin. The walls painted light green and a dark green sheet on the bed, his room was much larger than most children would often have to themselves. But nothing was too good for our only son. It was apparent that Narcissa had not gone in there to clean recently. There was some clothing on the floor, and Draco's old school cloak was hanging over the back of the chair at his desk. An inkbottle on the desk seemed to be cracked, and was leaking slowly onto the desk and floor.
Something was in the room, however, that should not have been. The wall on the far side of the bed had a strange burn mark on it. At first, I thought that maybe my son had been experimenting with a spell and had accidentally made the mark. But when I looked at the scorches again, my heart stopped.
It was the Dark Mark.
A little lopsided, probably done in haste, the skull with the snake protruding from its mouth stared at me. The burn looked recent—why would my son be making such a mark on his wall? Surely he was not harboring a secret desire for the Dark Lord to return again. If so…no, he wasn't. He couldn't.
My gaze fell to the floor. A dark liquid seemed to be flowing across the floor from under the mark, but I could not see its source due to the bed. Another broken bottle of ink, perhaps? Again, curiosity pushed me forward as I stepped into the room I had not entered for years. I felt suddenly sick as I saw where the liquid was coming from.
A pool of blood was covering the floor beneath the Dark Mark, a body lying in the center, his eyes open and empty, his face white, and his body adorned with cuts and bruises. I closed my eyes and prayed that I was imagining what I saw. But the grotesque sight was still there as I opened my eyes and fell onto my knees in the pool of blood.
My son. It was my son. "Draco…" I did not even try to wake him; his lifelessness was so apparent. "What happened?" I asked the dead body, tears coming to my eyes. Who had done this? Why? I raised my eyes to the Dark Mark scorched onto the wall.
Them. They had come. Not all the Death Eaters and supporters of the Dark Lord had been captured, despite what the Daily Prophet said. The Daily Prophet always printed rubbish when it came to Slytherins and Death Eaters anyway. But why…?
Narcissa had saved Harry Potter from certain death, and our family had changed sides shortly before the end of the final battle in which the Dark Lord finally died. I knew that there were those out there who despised the Malfoy family for that. But to do this…horror struck a chord deep in my heart.
"Narcissa!" I gasped, getting quickly to my feet, my son's blood dripping from the hem of my robes as I raced from the room. Blood thundered in my brain as I rushed to our room, praying that whoever had murdered Draco had not gotten to her. "Please don't say they got to her, please…" I muttered.
Bursting into the room, I could see nothing. It was so dark. Narcissa always closed the curtains when she took a nap. I felt my way in the dark to the window, not thinking to use my wand, and opened the curtains. When I spun back around in a whirl of my cloak, I felt my heart screaming as it was torn into shreds.
Narcissa, my darling, beautiful Narcissa, was lying on the bed, still in a slightly curled-up sleeping position. But blood stained the silk sheets around her, cuts visible on her neck and a knife piercing her through the heart. "Oh my God…" I sat on the bed, feeling as though I would faint. It could not be real. She could not be gone. "Narcissa?" I managed to say, my voice hoarse. "Narcissa, my love?"
I put a hand on her shoulder to shake her, but I knew she, too, was gone. My family, slaughtered mercilessly. Tears fell down my cheeks and onto the bed as I stroked Narcissa's hair, moving it from her pale face. Her body was still warm, and blood still flowed from her wounds. This had happened very recently.
I saw movement out of the corner of my eye. I did not need to turn my head to see that who it was. The cloaked figure, a Death Eater, approached slowly. "Did you actually believe that you would get away with betraying us?" a familiar voice asked harshly. I did not respond, blinking tears from my eyes as I stared the deceased body of my wife. "You deserve it, you know. After…"
The man kept talking, but I stopped hearing him. My position, wealth, and reputation had been lost as a result of the war. Now my family was gone. Narcissa, Draco--they were gone. The Malfoy Manor was all that there was left of our family, of our life. I had no one. I had nothing.
"…And so, you will die," the harsh voice finished.
I did not move. Even as I saw the dark figure raise a wand I did not reach for mine.
I continued to weep for the loss of my family—my wife, my son—but I did not scream in pain as fire seemed to flood my veins and knives seemed to pierce my body all over. The physical pain was nothing compared to the agony I was already facing--nothing compared to the hell I was already in.
My lack of screaming for mercy seemed to greatly annoy the cloaked man as he repeated the spell. When I still refused to allow a scream to pass my lips he finally lifted the curse. "You are going to die, Lucius Malfoy. Do you realize that?"
I did not answer out loud; but yes, I did realize that. I already accepted it. Why should I give a damn about my life? The man raised his wand again, and I did nothing to deter him from his ultimate goal. My life was already fading away into nothing as the man prepared to commit ultimate sin once again. My family had lost everything after the war, and now I had lost them. What did I have left to live for?