Much had changed for the Malfoys in the years following the Final Battle—Harry's kindness had keeping them out of Azkaban, but had done little long-term for their reputation. To be sure, Draco's marriage to Astoria had done much for their son's prospects—his career in politics would never be what his fathers had been, but he was doing his part to help repair their war-torn society.
In the seven years since the Battle, the Malfoy fortunes had dwindled significantly. Lucius was able to invest some of their fortunes, but many individuals, both at home and abroad, were less-than-happy to deal with the Malfoys. With Draco and Astoria living closer to London, the Manor was empty and quiet. Gone were the days of lavish balls and decadent dinners; Lucius and Narcissa barely moved beyond their bedrooms, the drawing room, and the kitchen, and spent a great deal of time outside on the lawns. Much of the old home had been closed up to save money. The Malfoys weren't poor—far from it—but they knew that their riches were no longer ensured or everlasting.
Narcissa had been strong through all of the changes that affected them—with the house mostly closed up, most of the house-elves had been sent to other homes, and she took it upon herself to care for the house; it gave her purpose. She no longer spent a fortune on clothes and accessories, but poured her attention into her home and her husband. And their grandson. Both Narcissa and Lucius adored the days they were able to watch Scorpius—he was so much like their own son and served to remind them of happier times.
At the end of the week was Narcissa's fiftieth birthday, and Lucius was desperate to think of a surprise for her. He had always planned to throw her a ball for their fiftieth—in fact, he had gone so far as to commission a tailor years before to recreate their Yule Ball clothing from his seventh year to remind her of that happy night. The clothing had not been purchased, however, as after the War had ended, Malfoy money was no longer good with their tailor. And, without their former social connections or cadre of house-elves, a ball was simply out of the question.
His next idea was to have a small dinner at the Manor for their close friends. He realized that other than his own son, daughter-in-law, and grandson, that list was embarrassingly short and a dinner that small may serve to make Narcissa even more unhappy.
Narcissa had been increasingly unhappy in recent months. While she was used to being pampered and spoiled, she was a pragmatic woman who knew what was important and what was not, and, in her opinion, her former beauty regimen fell decidedly under the category of "not." She stopped purchasing and creating her lotions and potions and stopped going to salons to keep her hair as blonde as the day he met her. She no longer spent hours on manicures and pedicures and had even taken to shaping her own eyebrows.
At first, Lucius encouraged her not to stop—thinking it was the act of being pampered itself that made her happy. When she refused, he began reminding her of how lovely she was—how lovely he always had thought she was.
Her self-doubt had affected their intimate life. While he knew she was doing what she felt in her heart was best for her family, he could tell she felt less beautiful. How could he ever explain to her that seeing her as she actually appeared was the loveliest sight he could ever witness. That the lines around her eyes were a sign of her stress the year she had been witness to Severus' vow; that the grey in her hair a testament to her strength; that the stretch marks on her stomach a reminder of how lovely she had been carrying their son.
She had taken to dimming the lights any time she was nude in his presence, and it hurt him deeply. Through all the years, through all the horrible things he had done during Voldemort's control of his life, he had never stopped loving her. She had been his Cissa for all of his adult life. He had certainly never willingly slept with another woman and he never would.
Furthermore, he had no illusions about his own physical state—his platinum-blond hair had dimmed over the years as strands of grey and white had woven in. He no longer had the athletic life of his younger days, and while he would never allow himself to gain unnecessary weight, he wasn't as strong as he once was. He knew was still another fifty years from being even remotely old, but he knew the years were beginning to show. In public, he was still immaculately groomed, but at home, he had been known in recent years to "dress down."
Their lives were comfortable for the first time in decades. Maybe not as opulent as they once had been, but comfortable. Now, he just had to work on happy.
On the day of her birthday, he forced her out of the house—telling her to go celebrate with Astoria and Draco. She seemed sad that he was not accompanying them, and he tried not to dwell on that. He had much to prepare.
Narcissa came home from a wonderful day out. Draco and Astoria had taken them to a park in Hogsmeade and they had spent the day telling stories and playing with Scorpius. Scorpius lived up to his middle name that day and spastically climbed all over the park and its patrons due to the sheer volumes of sugar he consumed. When it been time to blow out the single candle on her cake, Scorpius climbed into her lap, a silent "please" in his eyes. She smiled and nodded, and he giggled and blew out her candle. She was fairly sure she was still covered in sticky frosting kisses and smiled at how happy her grandson made her.
She called out for her husband as she entered their bedroom, but he did not respond. Sighing, she moved towards their bathroom.
The lights were dimmed and the room was peppered with floating and stationary candles. White roses (she hated daffodils, even if she was named for them) were collected in vases, and petals were strewn about the room.
She gasped as she walked through the entryway. It wasn't like Lucius to do something this personal, and tears welled up in her eyes. She rounded the corner into the main portion of the bathroom and shrieked.
Her husband was in their deep, claw-foot tub smirking at her for all he was worth. His hair was tied back from his face, and its length draped over the edge of the tub, reaching towards the floor. His arms were spread, hands clasping the edges. Sandalwood and vanilla-scented bubbles filled the tub, hiding everything but his upper chest and shoulders. His wedding band sparkled in the candlelight.
As surprising as this all was, the shriek itself was caused by the sudden temperature change. Lucius had charmed the main part of the room to remove all clothing from whoever entered. His wife stood before him, skin positively glowing in the candlelit room. She turned to leave, but Lucius was quicker. Retrieving his wand from a small shelf next to the bathtub, he warded the door shut.
"Now, now, my dear, would you really refuse a gift I so painstakingly devoted myself to? After all, how can you enjoy all this beauty before you if you do not join me?"
She turned and stared into his eyes. "It's hard to enjoy beauty one cannot see, Lucius." She looked down at the bubbles.
"Oh, these?" With another flick of his wand, the bubbles disappeared. She looked down at the water and smiled.
"But, surely, Cissa, you must have known I meant you." And, with yet another flick of his wand, all the walls of the room became mirrors.
"I have longed to see you, my dear. I very much doubt you will be able to hide from me now." He paused. "Or, yourself."
She looked up at her form in the mirrors, taking in every supposed flaw. The scar on her arm from when Bella had bitten her as a child; the silvery marks crossing her lower abdomen; the small amount of cellulite seeping into her thighs. Her hair streaked with silver. Everything that she had covered with the lotions and spells she had spent a small fortune on. Everything that detracted from her beauty. He saw her face begin to crumple in sadness.
"Or from how absolutely stunning you are." His eyes raked over her form, not as subtly as usual, but he would do anything at this point to make her realize how much he still wanted her after all these years.
Her eyes found his and a tear spilled down her face. "Lucius…"
"Cissa, I may be a wizard, and I may have the ability to warm the water in this bathtub as often as necessary but I do wish you would join me before it gets cold." He smiled at her as he retrieved two flutes of champagne from the same shelf. Raising an eyebrow in question, he spread his legs to make room for her.
"I love you, Lucius."
"I would love you more if you would join me, Cissa."
And, emitting what may have been the most adorable squeal he'd ever heard, she practically jumped into the tub with him.
"Happy birthday, my Cissa," he whispered in her ear as she leaned back against his chest. He handed her a flute of the champagne, and they toasted their love well into the evening.
And, because he was in fact a wizard, he reheated the water many times.