Title: Jaded Amber 9/9
Word Count: 32,705
Language: British English
Warning(s):Prostitution, OC Character death, hurt/comfort, dubious-con, switching, . Er... there's a six year age difference between Remus and Lucius (courtesy of HP Lexicon)
**See chapter 1 for full Disclaimer and Author Notes**
Summary: Lucius never would have thought that such an impulsive act of rebellion – spurred by Rabastan, of all people – would change his life so profoundly. Remus never would have thought that accepting one unlikely client would have such a profound effect on his outlook.
Jaded Amber 9
"You need to at least tell me something you'd like. Some part of you has to be incorporated into this ceremony." She sounded frustrated and amused at the same time. Her blond hair was swept up in a high ponytail. Lucius found it ridiculous that he envied her, but there it was. He'd pinned his back with a thin sterling silver clip his mother had owned. She'd told him he would be able to cut it off as soon as Abraxas was out of the picture, but somehow, seeing the colour of her hair in the mirror everyday... he couldn't bring himself to sheer it off as much as he wanted to before. Instead, he kept his promise.
However, he still didn't understand why he was there. "I was under the impression that this was the bride's big day. The wedding is in June, why is something like this so important in October?" He'd made it known that his wife-to-be could have the wedding however and wherever she wanted. He knew from his mother's coaching that females tended towards planning their wedding from a very early age. Since he'd not harboured any feelings like that, he'd told her whenever he got married he'd let his fiancée have at it. Sabine had never smiled so wide at him.
"You've caught me out."
He tuned into the one-sided conversation. She was watching him with a small knowing smile on her face. He'd seen her smile like that before when she was tutoring her cousin Evan in Ancient Runes. Evan Rosier had quite the talent for stirring up trouble, but put him in Ancient Runes or Transfiguration and his clever mind disappeared faster than you could say Evanesco. His mother had spoken to her sister Druella, who'd in turn forced Narcissa to help him, those subjects being a specialty of hers. That smile meant she knew of something he didn't, which didn't settle well. "What's that?"
She closed the book she'd brought with her. It was a convenient cover, but simply that, a cover. Her eyes were a crystaline blue as she surveyed him. It made him curious that her sisters had such dark features and yet she'd become the figurative 'black' sheep. Her parents must be happy that they were able to pawn her off on a family like his - what with her odd appearance. Her existence must have caused quite the scandal back in the day. "I actually just wanted to meet with you. We've been betrothed for a month and I've yet to have a conversation with my future husband."
He took a sip of his coffee. He still couldn't shake the habit. He doubted he'd ever get the Frenchman out of him. "Well, it seems we have a full blown marriage already," he said and put it down again.
She smiled at him. "I doubt that's how they work. Is that how your parents' worked?" His sudden, stony glare made her re-evaluate her approach. She'd been at the funeral, she'd seen him there and she'd read the paper last week. That had been a bit below the belt. Not a good start. Contrite, she apologised. "I'm sorry, that was out of line." She sipped at her tea, but he could tell she was working her way up to ask him something. He waited. "Could you tell me about her?" She sounded as if she thought he'd explode on her at any second.
He was still deciding on that. "What do you want to know?" he said eventually.
Narcissa tried not to let the surprised look stay on her face for too long. Still, this was a miracle in the works. She was a bit lost for words at first. "Okay, how about, how did she cope with being the matriarch of such a well known family?" she asked for lack of better words.
Lucius cocked an eyebrow. "Well known?" That was one way of putting it, he supposed. He almost smiled. He could very well grow to like her.
She turned to stare outside, her gaze caught by the Jester dancing outside of Zonko's. The sky was overcast, but it wasn't raining and the clown was balancing a large pumpkin in the air with just the tip of his finger. There were a few people standing around with their heavy cloaks on watching him and laughing at his antics. The biting chill of October had the majority of shoppers staying indoors, so the cafe was pretty full. Large carved pumpkins lined the enclosure of tables and umbrellas. Narcissa was smiling now, at ease with his non-threatening countenance. "Well, I don't want to give you a big head. Not yet." She gave him a knowing grin and turned back to the Jester as the pumpkin landed on his head.
She reminded him of Sabine. "I think you're doing just fine."
She turned to him fully now. "Really?"
How could he put this? "My mother, she... she was unique." He shook his head fondly. "The Malfoy family... I don't think they were ready for her."
She was watching him carefully. "There is a light in your eyes when you speak of her."
That made sense, Sabine had been a beacon all on her own. "Everything has changed now she's gone. Even my father... he changed the most, I think." He wanted to say he became meaner, but he was twenty-four and no man of that age complained that their father was mean. Only, he was. He'd said things that no person should say to a man who'd just lost his mother, especially when they'd been so close. Lucius had almost pulled his wand on him a couple of times. He leaned forward to get a sip of his coffee. "Just small things he did. They're not important."
"They're important to you." He looked up at her. Her stare was open and frank. He looked away feeling a fool. No Slytherin worth their salt could give a look like that out in the open, especially somewhere like this. She'd caught him off guard, and he applauded her for it, but he wouldn't fall for it again. She may be his future wife, but short of Occlumency, she wasn't getting inside his head.
"Narcissa, what do you want? Really." He stared at her, completely closed off now and she knew she'd lost him again.
The book that had been on her lap was placed on the table and she sat up, foregoing the comfortable stance she'd used to her advantage. He had to hand it to her, she was good. Just not good enough. "I want to know where I stand in this marriage."
He gestured with his hands for her to continue talking. That was not enough. "And the questions, trying to get me to open up to you. That was..."
"Simple strategy." Guarded, but honest. That was more like it. This, he could work with.
He nodded. The bell rang over the door and his eyes snapped up on reflex. "Why don't you set your terms?" he said to her, making his eyes leave Remus alone. A red haired woman followed behind him, as well as a dark-haired man with piercing blue eyes. He ignored him. Narcissa cocked an eyebrow and Lucius focused on her instead. "You obviously want something out of this, or you wouldn't have put on all these airs. What is it?"
She sighed and he wondered if this was part of a set up too, but the gait of her shoulders told him she was now uncomfortable, which meant she didn't want to divulge this information. "My family may just burn me off the tapestry for this." Lucius wasn't sure how to answer that, since he had no idea what she was talking about. She seemed to be talking to herself, though, so he let her be. While he waited, he couldn't help it, his attention eventually strayed to the counter. He got a red blush in reply and turned away to hide a smile and ignore the blue-eyed man's glare. He'd become adept at that. He tuned into what Narcissa was explaining to him.
His brow furrowed. "I wasn't planning on having an elf raise my child anyway," he said catching the last of her query. "I suppose I was practically raised by one, but no one truly knows how long house elves will last and I don't trust the others to be at all competent at it."
"Oh." He waited. "My Father, he disowned my sister for marrying a muggle. They have a child now, she's five and I've never even met her."
He wasn't sure where this was going. "You wish for me to take in your sister?" he guessed.
She shook her head, her eyes wide. "No. It's just... anything he doesn't see as his way, it's an instant betrayal to the family. Is your father the same?"
Lucius nodded. "He is." Abraxas was still in the hospital trying to beat his sudden viral infection. Until he succumbed, or went to Azkaban, the manor and its holdings were in temporary sustainment and Lucius' hands were tied in legal ropes. He didn't mind the wait, though. He leaned forward, beckoning her closer. "But he won't be for long." He'd made sure of that. Of course, now he was in debt to a young man, around Remus' age, named Severus. He doubted he'd see much of him anyway, the young man struck him as a bit of a recluse. He picked up his cup of coffee. "A toast." His eyes tracked to the door and only relented his gaze when the figures there disappeared up the Alley. "To our future. May it be as long as we can make it."
Narcissa eyed him strangely, though she was very amused by this. She picked up her cup of tea. "To our future."
He walked Narcissa outside, and waited for her to apparate before he turned in the direction he'd seen them disappear. He walked slowly, admiring the lanterns decorating each side of the Alley. All Hallows Eve was fast approaching and Diagon Alley was decked out heavily for the celebration.
"We still need the stationery for all the invites and my dress! What do I do for my dress?" He walked past a woman talking to someone inside the shop and only paused when he heard a very familiar voice.
Remus stepped out of the Magical Instruments shop, frustrated beyond measure. Sirius was not coming with them on their next trip to shop. "Lily, you dragged us along because you wanted our opinion. I'm not entirely sure why I am here, but I can help you calm down. Apparently it's my gift." He glared behind him at Sirius, who shrugged. Sirius turned to Lily and gave a roguish grin. Lucius recognised them now from inside the cafe. Narcissa had pointed out the black-haired man as her disowned cousin, Sirius Black. He'd felt shock, though he got over it quickly. Trust Remus to be an acquaintance of someone who was practically disowned royalty.
Lily rolled her eyes. "No bachelor party, Sirius!"
Sirius, at once, looked crestfallen. "Lily, come on! Even Remus thinks it's a good idea."
Remus turned with his mouth open, offended. "What is that supposed to mean?" Sirius just shrugged and smiled at him.
Lily thought him adorable and her expression said so. "Oh, seriously, Moony? You know you're a good guy like me!" Lily said grabbing hold of him and giving him a hug. Remus stared at Sirius, daring him to say something right then and there, until he noticed someone standing behind him. Sirius curiously turned, and then wished he hadn't.
He turned around immediately. "Until recently, anyway," he mumbled under his breath, but Remus still heard him and glared. He gestured to Lily, who was now staring at a pair of 'never empty' crystal glasses. Sirius shook his head, but Remus gestured again, this time with more urgency as he backed away.
Lucius glanced at the man backing away from the pair, Lily and Sirius, and headed towards a side alley nearby. He could see Remus moving closer to Sirius and saying something in his ear while Lily had turned away. Sirius frowned at him and then looked around, his eyes falling on Lucius. He seemed disappointed and said something that made Remus' spine straighten. Remus sniped back and began walking away, stopping only when Sirius put his hand on his arm. Remus turned back and Lucius made out the words that Sirius said to him, clearly.
Just, be careful.
"What exactly does he think I'll do to you?" he asked Remus once the teenager made it into his hiding spot.
Remus cocked his head to the side as he leaned on the brick wall opposite him. "Nothing you haven't already done to me, I'm sure." His eyes traversed Lucius' face before going lower and the blond could tell when those amber eyes noticed the family ring on his finger. It spoke of his betrothal to Narcissa now that the papers had been signed. He'd finally received it from his vault earlier in the month. Despite all the legal tape surrounding his access, Abraxas had made sure he would get it, come hell or high water. "When do you marry her?" Remus asked, feigning a casual tone.
He didn't even pretend to be surprised when Remus' eyes snapped back to his. "Next year, in June."
Remus adjusted his frame and crossed his arms over his chest. "Haven't seen you in a while, what did you want?" He turned his head to watch his two friends. "I can't bunk off right now, Lily is in distress about her wedding. James isn't helping at all and Sirius is being an arse." His face became annoyed as he stared at the pair in the Alley.
Lucius really didn't care. "Not now. Tonight."
Remus seemed surprised. "You're not seeing your fiancée tonight?" He'd thought their earlier rendezvous was just a taste of what he'd be subjected to from now on.
Lucius shook his head. "I'm the acting head of my family while my father is ill and incarcerated. If I had my way-" He paused, feigning shock "–and look at that, I do." Remus tried to hide his amusement. "I won't see her at all. She's fine with that, we have an agreement. Her family is taking care of everything. All I have to do is turn up." He waited.
Remus' gaze drifted back outside towards his friends on the main Alley. Sirius was speaking to Lily, probably trying to explain where he was without letting on where he was. "Are you paying me?" he finally said with a small sly smile on his face.
Lucius gave him an obvious look. "Do I really need to?"
Remus shrugged. "A guy's got to eat."
Lucius clucked his tongue as he surveyed the cocky little shit. "We can negotiate a price tonight." he said, knowing the only thing they'd be negotiating on would be position.
Remus' eyes reflected what Lucius knew had to be gleaming from his. Still, he relaxed only when Remus nodded. "Same place?" A small slip of parchment appeared between Lucius' fingers as he shook his head. Remus looked down at it, as if he was surprised, but he took it out of his hand and pocketed it. He looked up, those amber eyes shining at him, bright, even in the dim light of the side-alleyway. "I'll see you." Lucius nodded and Remus walked away, taking that relaxed feeling he radiated with him.
From his vantage point, he could see the group notice Remus walking back. Only Narcissa's cousin looked in his direction while the redhead asked Remus where he'd been. A sudden sharp pain burned on his arm. He looked down and pulled back his sleeve to see the serpent twisting angrily and he narrowed his eyes at it. His eyes rose to the Alley once more as he took out his wand, watching Remus and his friends walk up towards to the other shops. He was glad, now, that he'd asked to meet with him later. He had a feeling he would need it. That calm presence Remus always had about him, he would long for it while in the Dark Lord's presence. He apparated from his spot, once Remus had disappeared into Twilfit and Tattings. He knew he'd stop going after him one day, he would have to. But not today.
A/N: Thank you to TechNomaNcer28 for all your kind words. I may not have answered all of your reviews, but I did appreciate getting the feedback.