A/N: I am proud to unveil the much-awaited (I hope!) sequel to Ultimate Experience Part I : Passion. Even though I should really be concentrating on my other two WIPs, I just couldn't find it within me to stay away from Lucius for long...especially after seeing him in DH part 2. Didn't you just want to hug him?
Well, I shall give him more then a hug over here! *snickers*
Special thanks go to my amazing beta Liongirl11! *smothers her in a hug*
The sizable study, for that's what it was, if the countless books and large mahogany desk were anything to go by, was bathed in a warm light of a cloudless Wiltshire afternoon. The distinguished aroma of leather and fresh parchment that permeated the air gave the room a palpable atmosphere of masculine elegance and richness. Every detail within was meant to exert a sense of awe in guests and to overwhelm business partners and rivals alike. The passive manipulation of wealth at its finest.
However, none of that splendor seemed to bring forth the usual sense of appeasement for the room's sole occupant. In the otherwise hanging silence, the sound of heavy footfalls rang particularly loud as the tall man paced back and forth relentlessly, a glass of amber-coloured liquid clutched tightly within his white-knuckled grasp. Every turn of his body bespoke of tension, his brisk, long-legged strides clearly showcasing the level of his turmoil.
Too wrapped up in his thoughts, he failed to detect the sound of the door being unceremoniously flung open.
'You gonna continue making holes in the six-hundred galleon carpet or say hello?'
Brought back to reality by a familiar, yet very unexpected voice, Lucius Malfoy halted so abruptly that a portion of his drink spilled onto the floor. Oblivious to the rapidly spreading stain on the milky-white fabric, the wizard stared at the newcomer in momentary surprise.
'Draco? What are you doing here?'
Ever since the day he had turned over a new leaf- so to speak –speculation had roamed high and low as to the reason for his abrupt change of allegiance. He knew only too well what was whispered behind his back even now. Filthy opportunist. Traitor. Death Eater scum. That was but a drop in the endless ocean of opinions, the number of which varied as much as there were magical folk in their world. But not once did he issue a public statement in his own defence. There was a time when he would have done all in his power to shut those mouths without so much as batting an eye. Now, he found himself simply uncaring of the obnoxious waggling of tongues.
The truth was, he had not done it for his own life. No thought of self-preservation had crossed his mind when he sought the Order of the Phoenix. It wasn't himself he thought of when he fell to his knees in front of Albus Dumbledore, begging for the first and last time in his life. No. He had done for his family. For his child. For Draco.
The Dark Lord's greatest mistake came the day he trained his wand upon a sixteen-year-old Draco Lucius Malfoy for a session of mindless torture. It was right there and then, as he was forced to listen to the hoarse screams of his child and hysterical sobs of his wife, that he came to a staggering realization.
Their Lord was nothing more than a deranged wizard whose obsession with immortality would eventually land him in the fires of hell itself, dragging all of his followers behind him. And there was no way Lucius was going to let his own flesh and blood follow him there.
In less than three days' time, the Malfoy patriarch answered the Summons, only not just as a Death Eater anymore. That night was his first as a spy. And he never looked back or regretted his decision.
Looking at his son now, casually leaning against the wooden doorway, the older wizard felt an almost over-powering wave of pride wash over him. Gone was the pale, bitter boy who once attended Hogwarts. Before him stood a tall, handsome man whose eyes shone with genuine affection as he stared back at his father.
His trademark smirk, however, had not changed one iota.
'Can't a child visit his parent once in a while? I'm afraid my obligations as a son will not permit me to sleep restlessly and all that,' said Draco in a more or less genuine tone but spoiling it the next second by rolling his eyes.
Lucius was unable to suppress his own smirk. 'Ah. You've managed to pass through Spain, I see.'
'Of course. Can you imagine the consequences if I hadn't? I would have been bombarded by Howlers both in English and Spanish for the rest of the year,' snorted Draco. 'I was also instructed to pass on to you the warmest and most heartfelt Hola I am capable of producing.'
'Alfredo, I presume?'
Draco's grimace of distaste was answer enough. If not for his belief that guffawing was a sign of a low-class upbringing, the eldest Malfoy would have found himself hard-pressed not to succumb to that temptation. It was truly comical to observe the inter-relations between Draco and the man in question. All of Alfredo's heartfelt and heavily accented advice could have simply been attributed to misplaced fatherly affection if not for one decisive factor.
Alfredo Ramirez, Draco's stepfather, was just two years older than him.
Lucius himself had had the pleasure of meeting his ex-wife's new husband only once, and he would gladly live out the rest of his days in peace and quiet if he never encountered the man again. Inexplicably, the Hispanic wizard's own reaction towards Lucius had somewhat...differed. Upon parting from each other, the man had come to an inconceivable belief that he had just found his new best friend. Since then, Lucius had done his utmost best to act deaf and blind to foreign-looking owls and made Spanish Floo calls only in the most pressing situations.
Suppressing the urge to let his smirk transform into a grin, Lucius carefully set his half-empty glass down and finally greeted his son properly. Grabbing hold of his shoulder, they shared a hasty but nonetheless tight hug.
'It's a pleasure to see you again, Draco. It has been quite a while since you have had the chance to drop in for a proper English visit,' said Lucius. Clapping his hand on his son's back, the two wizards proceeded towards the couches. Once comfortably seated in front of each other, Lucius passed a critical eye over him.
'Anica appears to be feeding you well. You've finally started to gain some much-needed meat on your bones. In fact, I daresay you're catching up to me in height.'
The Draco of old would have instantly been insulted or thrown a childish tantrum. Now he simply chuckled in response.
'Yes, she's a model of attentiveness,' he agreed, a soft smile practically lighting his face up. 'I seriously don't know what I would have done without her, Father.'
The older wizard scoffed. 'Nonsense. You're a Malfoy. Therefore, you would have been well off, as always. Elves naturally would have kept you nourished to the highest standard without all that home-cooked nonsense. Really, there's no need to dramatise everything so out of proportion.'
Satisfied with the outcome of sharing a portion of his wisdom with his heir, he was just about to take another sip of his Ogden's Finest when he caught that same heir staring at him in sharp rebuke. Sighing inwardly, Lucius momentarily reflected that some things did feel like they had changed for the worse. Children who eventually grew up also appeared to adopt an annoying tendency to stand up to their elders.
Nevertheless, in spite of his conflicting ideas, Lucius gave his affronted son a genuinely apologetic look.
'Do not take my words the wrong way, Draco. I'm happy for you. I truly am. A witch of such fine qualities as hers is very hard to come by and especially hard to keep. In fact, I hope you pass on my warmest regards to your lovely wife as soon as you return home, understood?'
The young wizard soberly contemplated his expression for some time before looking away with a grunt. It seemed like the subject of his father's conduct was to be dropped. For now.
'That message may take some time to be delivered personally, I'm afraid. For now, it looks like it will take at least a week before I can return to Romania,' said Draco instead.
A frown creased Lucius' otherwise smooth features. 'Problems at work?'
'Nothing major but nonetheless a matter of some concern for the Department of Magical Creatures. A small group of dragon youngsters decided to wreak some old-school havoc at the Scotland border. Charlie and I were specially requested to go in as experts if the question of their relocation should come up.'
Absentmindedly nodding in understanding, Lucius was unable to prevent an even bigger frown from marring his forehead. Even after all these years, it still baffled him how his son and only heir- a Malfoy, for Salazar's sake -had ended up not only working as a dragon handler but as a partner to one Charlie Weasley. If that was not bad enough, however, the true realization of the situation had come when that same Weasley stood as best man at Draco's wedding. A Malfoy and a Weasley as best friends. The mere idea was as preposterous as it was sobering.
Another sign that the wizarding world had truly changed most of its colours, if one was needed.
This time around, Lucius' sigh clearly rang around the room.
'Enough about me,' stated Draco, his grey eyes intently observing the man in front of him. 'I would be happier to hear what's been going on in your life lately, Father. Your letters have been suspiciously scarce and short as of late.'
The older wizard was about to bring his glass to his lips when the statement froze his arm in place. Forcing himself to appear as nonchalant as possible, he compelled his shoulders to give a vague motion of a noncommittal shrug.
'Nothing substantial, I assure you. Living and working as an upstanding citizen of the wizarding world, that about covers it. An old man's life cannot compare to that of a youth anymore, I'm afraid,' he added wistfully.
His son didn't even attempt to stifle an incredulous snort. 'And I'm the one being berated for dramatization! Please! You know very well that you're not even close to approaching the middle age of a standard wizard. Rumour has it that you are the wizarding world's Eligible Bachelor Number One and on every female's radar. And you call yourself an old man, eh?' Draco gave a short laugh. 'You can have practically every witch in Europe, and you know it.'
Draco's merriment, however, did not last for long. The young man's smile slowly wilted as he watched the Malfoy patriarch reach for his tumbler once more, snatching a bottle off the low table with his other hand in the same instant. Pouring himself a generous amount of amber-coloured liquid, the wizard quickly consumed everything in four gulps. Only then did he look back up.
'Naturally,' was the somewhat delayed reply.
This answer didn't seem to pacify his son in the slightest. Instead, the young man continued to regard him with a deadly portion of suspicion rising in his narrowed eyes.
'Who is she?'
'I have absolutely no idea what you're talking about,' drawled Lucius, suddenly finding the contents of his glass rather fascinating.
'It's her, isn't it?'
'How many times do I have to repeat myself? I have no interest in your obscene speculations either.'
'Ah. Then perhaps I should rouse your attention with the fact that my memory does not fail me yet. However, perhaps yours already does, Father, for you must have already forgotten that I fought by your side during the Battle of Hogwarts. I was also present in the aftermath and tending to the wounded. And I was with you at that moment when when we came upon her. What I saw–'
'That's quite enough, Draco!' growled Lucius, setting his glass unnecessarily hard upon the table.
But the young man failed to cower under the anger of his father. If the glint in his pale eyes was anything to go by, his determination had actually just strengthened in intent.
'You really fascinate me at times,' he said at last. 'For all of your conflicting morals, you were always known to be a person who goes for what he wants. But now, it looks to me like you have come to an impasse...and all because of one little, but very tempting package.'
Suddenly, Lucius jumped up from his couch so fast that it nearly toppled the table in front of him. The wizard's face, however, was so completely devoid of emotion that it could have been chiseled out of marble itself.
'Do excuse me, Draco. I'm afraid I have an appointment that I've quite forgotten about until now. I'm sure we'll see each other before you leave the country. Have a good day,' he announced tonelessly, already heading briskly towards the doorway.
'You need to realise what you really want, Father! She's not like other witches you're used to! Especially Granger!' shouted Draco after him.
The older wizard momentarily whirled around, staring daggers at his own son. 'You know nothing! And I do not want anything to do with that chit, you hear me? Stay out of my affairs, I warn you!'
'Are you trying to convince me with that statement or yourself?' fired back the younger man, but the only response he got was the sound of the door banging shut hard enough to shake the walls of the study.
A hushed silence instantly fell over the room, surrounding Draco, who continued to stare at the closed door with a heady mix of exasperation and a sneer contorting his pale face. For someone trained to the marrow of his bones to keep his emotions in check no matter what, his father had most certainly showed a staggering amount of emotion in a matter of minutes. In fact, if the situation wasn't so serious, the younger Malfoy would have surely been laughing his head off right about now. However, the fact that Lucius still refused to acknowledge the possibility of finding his own happiness brought a palpable sting of worry to his son's heart. If there was a way to finally show the elder Malfoy what his stubbornness could lose him, Draco would have jumped at it without a single thought of caution.
Emitting a soft huff of annoyance, he was just about to exit the study through the door leading to the sunny gardens beyond when a crumpled ball of parchment beside the mahogany desk caught his eye. It looked like someone's excess emotions had prevented them from Incendioing a missive after reading it.
Cautiously approaching the object of his curiosity- he of all people knew quite well just what Lucius Malfoy did to those who dared to invade his privacy -Draco kept one ear open for any possible footsteps outside the room. Quickly snatching up the letter, he kept repeating to himself that he was simply picking up unwanted rubbish and thereby preventing any possible spread of germs for the benefit of his ancestral home.
In the meantime, he managed to carefully flatten the parchment in question, and his shining eyes began to scan the neat, tidy scrawl upon it.
You shall find accompanying this letter the very same "exceptionally expensive piece of jewellery" you oh-so-graciously presented to me.
As to the answer to your question, I'm afraid my schedule is filled up months in advance and I shall have to decline your invitation for any further continuation of our alliance.
In case a need arises for you to seek out an Auror, I would highly recommend that you find someone else to assist you.
In hopes of never seeing your aristocratic arse again,
Hermione Jane Granger
Order of Merlin, First Class
The silence of the study was broken quite unexpectedly by a loud snort, closely followed by another one.
From personal experience, Draco knew that one provoked Granger's anger at his own peril and risk. He very much doubted that the memory of that impressive slap during their third year would ever fully fade from his mind. And it now appeared that the years since their schooling hadn't cooled the Muggleborn's fire in the slightest.
Unconsciously rubbing his long ago offended cheek, the young man ran through the letter once more, rapidly cataloguing every sentence and word. Even though the picture was incomplete, he already had a strong inkling as to what had happened to anger the little Gryffindor to such an extent. Both parties were obviously to blame, and the two of them were too set in their own ways to get rid of their stubbornness by themselves.
It looked like they needed some help.
Slowly but surely, a smile started to appear upon Draco Malfoy's face as his cunning mind began to formulate a plan.
His father had given him a chance for a better life.
And now the time had come for Draco to repay him.
And let the game of wits, jealousy and pride begin! *muahaha* I just realised that this was my first attempt at writing Draco (well, I have once but it was rather short and he ended up being killed anyway). I would be delighted to read any positive feedback you could give me! *hint hint*
Thank you for reading!
Ms Velvela XD