PB3

Disclaimer – The Potterverse belongs to JKR, I'm making nothing .

Chapter 3

Lucius apparated straight to his study and called for tea – and summoned some brandy to lace it with. He sipped slowly, he needed to think.

He was lucky to have found Potter this way, at the racetrack. Luckily, even during the worst times the Malfoys had had horses. It stemmed from their family coming from the Camargue region in the south of France. The place was well known for its white horses and black bulls. The horses of the Camargue had been there for millennia - long before even the Romans, dating back to times not recorded.

Lucius' ancestors had been there as well, guarding the bulls and riding the horses. Over the centuries the breed had evolved a bit – when the Moors invaded Spain, desert horses had been introduced to many European breeds, but the Camargue horses had maintained their white coats.

The Malfoys had split at one point, invasions and wars had affected even the sorcerers of the marshlands. Some had stayed and learned to ward their areas well and taught themselves more effective defensive magics. Lucius' family had left … taking some of the horses with them … and followed William the Conqueror into Britain. They'd assisted the King in his battles and had taken a large area of Wiltshire as reward.

William's court had whispered about magic and had called his family Malfoy – bad faith, alluding to their sorcery. The family had sneered and kept the name. The founders had already started Hogwarts and the Malfoy children were soon attending. The family had kept their white horses and occasionally sent for more of them, keeping track of their relatives still in the Camargue.

Horse racing - 'the sport of kings' - was always a favorite of the Malfoys, even after being introduced to flying horses. It did mean interacting with muggles, but there was a group of wizards who still loved the thoroughbreds and they worked together to keep track of what needed doing to stay on the good side of the Jockey Clubs.

While the Dark Lord was in power Lucius had put his entire stable in the hands of a couple of muggle breeders and trainers, saying he was going out of the country for an unknown period of time, hoping he could reclaim them in the future. He'd done so the moment the Wizengamot had cleared him.

With angry suspicion in most wizard's eyes, the racetrack had become a bit of a refuge for Lucius. All the muggles saw was a rich owner and treated him with the deference he liked. Soon other owners were including him in their conversations, testing his limited knowledge of the muggle world.

He usually let their conversations flow over him, nodding at intervals. Soon he hadn't been able to resist cashing in on some of the stock tips he heard about. He now had a rather large bank account in the muggle world as well as the wizarding one. Once in a while he would look in a mirror and scold his reflection, using words like 'hypocrite – blood traitor – muggle lover, etc.'

He usually laughed and answered himself – "Sly Slytherin, who intends to have a way out if necessary." It was as good an excuse as any for slumming it with muggles.

He'd picked up a newspaper once, scanning the headlines and staring at the non-moving pictures. An article caught his eye … it talked about overcrowding and the world population. The numbers mentioned were staggering. He'd heard there were a lot of muggles … millions, perhaps. Voldemort had said so, though they'd thought he was pushing it a bit.

The Dark Lord had been wrong – there were billions … with a B. He'd casually asked a nearby owner if the numbers were really correct, his voice croaking a bit as he asked. The muggle had grimaced.

"Afraid so, old boy, though they're likely lowballing it a bit." The owner said with a rueful laugh.

Lucius had been frozen with horror and had apparated home to Narcissa. He'd tossed the paper to her and then banged his head on the table, muttering. "Even if every Death Eater in the world killed non-stop for a century, we wouldn't be rid of them … even if every witch and wizard helped …" He moaned and muttered while Narcissa read. "… a muggle told me about a story he'd read, where a virulent virus got loose … killed almost every human in the world, but we don't want that either, just imagine the stench ... and we do need them around, just not in such numbers …" Lucius whimpered and banged his head some more.

Narcissa had finished the article and sighed, immediately accepting the inevitable ... they would never be rid of muggles and they should just accept it. "Stop that banging, Lucius, it's unseemly. "

"There aren't just millions of them, CIssa … there are billions … with a B" Lucius banged one more time.

"Lucius!" Narcissa said sharply and continued to think about the article.

Lucius stopped and pouted, Voldemort had lied … they could not win, and they needed every drop of magical blood available to not be bred out by the muggles entirely.

That had been two years ago. Narcissa had suffered through his pouting and depression and had been brainwashing Draco to start thinking muggles might be okay – if only as minions. Lucius had seconded her and started taking him to races, slowly introducing him to muggles.

"They seem okay." Draco had said in confusion. Not what he had expected, apparently.

Now Lucius had Harry Potter and his muggle relatives coming to live … but they had to play this right. It would be their ticket out of the pit the Dark Lord had dug. He needed Draco to understand the muggles' importance in this … the muggles would show the Malfoy's willingness to accept non-purebloods to the rest of wizarding society.

Eventually he went down to dinner and slowly spoke of what – and who - he had found to Narcissa and Draco. Narcissa understood immediately and nodded pleasantly.

"Having my cousin Harry Potter here at the Estate would be … auspicious." She said and took another bite of crème brulee.

Draco looked a bit confused, "Harry Potter is living in … poverty … with muggles?" Sounding a bit like he was saying 'living on … Mars … with lepers?'

They retired to a sitting room and Lucius eyed Draco's slightly stubborn face. Unfortunately, although Lucius had refrained from much 'pureblood supremacy' talk – he'd been leery for some time of being tossed in Azkaban, after all – the Crabbes, Goyles and Notts had not been so tight-lipped. Draco was, of course, confused. His mother had been trying to steer him the way they needed – but his friends had been saying something else.

With reluctance Lucius pulled out a pensieve and slowly dropped a memory into the basin. Narcissa paled and turned away, pouring a glass of wine and looked out the window at the gardens and the field dotted with the white horses beyond it.

Lucius pulled Draco over to the basin and dragged him into the memory. It was a scene of carnage. It was a memory from years ago - MacNair was being initiated. He was just finishing killing a muggle man and then proceeded to rape and strangle the wife. Draco gagged and tried to leave, horrified at seeing his friends parents acting this way.

He panted in horror as the Dark Lord finished laughing in delight and stepped over the bodies to take MacNair's arm and brand him with the Mark. It was then MacNair's turn to scream as his arm smoked and burned. The new Death Eater moaned while collapsing to his knees. When it was done he said "Thank You, my Lord.", in a voice hoarse from his screams.

Draco was sure he would black out when he recognized his father stepping forward next. Lucius could have only just graduated from Hogwarts – his hair was not even grown out yet. Abraxas was behind him whispering sharply at the pale boy.

Draco was hyperventilating by this time, horrified by what his teenage father was about to do.

"If the Dark Lord returns, this is what will be demanded of you to enter his service … and he is unlikely to allow my son to decline the honor." Lucius said flatly, watching his younger self in disgust.

A boy was shoved in front of the young Lucius. He was perhaps a year or so younger and enough like him to have been his brother. The hair was a shade darker and the eyes blue … and he was crying. Lucius had not been happy with this. They were supposed to be doing something constructive to bring the muggles under control and get the Wizarding World behind them … how was this helping?

"Kill him." The wizard with the melted looking features said, and Draco realized that the mad looking monster was the Dark Lord … where was the splendid all-powerful leader he'd been told of? He watched the young Lucius gulp, but it was obvious to even Draco that this was a kill – or be killed moment.

The wand in the young Lucius' hand was raised and there was a whispered Avada Kedavra, followed by a green light - making the boy drop to the ground, dead.

Draco was sobbing by the time Lucius had a fresh Dark Mark smoking on his left arm. Lucius hadn't screamed, but he'd groaned and bitten through his lip, and then stood and thanked the smirking Voldemort while blood dripped down onto his shirt.

Draco was pulled from the memory, to his relief as more muggles were being pulled out of a cage and randomly tortured.

Draco panted, leaning on the desk for a moment and then ran for the washroom to vomit violently. He finally cleaned up and stumbled back into the room to sit across from his father. A house elf brought a tray with some tea and toast on it.

"Tell me what I need to do to help prevent the Dark Lord's return." Draco said after a long drink of tea.

Lucius gave him a proud smile and nodded. Narcissa sat by him and gave him a hug, and then they started to plan.

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Vernon and the two boys were euphoric on the ride back to the motel. They even stopped to get Indian curry take-away. It had been a favorite before money had gotten tight. Dudley and Harry spent the evening packing up. The bottomless bag was pressed into service again. Vernon spent part of the evening calling all his clients to tell them of the move to Salisbury.

He hoped to be able to continue to do their books as well, as he was likely to be at the Salisbury racetrack a great deal. He wasn't sure how much time Mr. Malfoy's affairs would take – they would just have to wait and see.

At last everything but a change of clothing was packed and they went to bed. Vernon was awake for a time after the boys were sleeping peacefully. His heart was beating rather hard. He did the calming exercises and it eventually his heart was soothed. The exercises had really been shown to Petunia, but Vernon had been making use of them as well.

It seemed too good to be true, and he dreaded finding out that the 'house' was a shack, or that the wage 'was for the first month and then we re-negotiate, or that some other catch was in place. He finally fell asleep, juggling number in his head.

They traveled back to Salisbury the next morning and turned down a very quiet side road, heading toward New Forest National Park. The area seemed surprisingly empty of people, though they saw some farms through the thick hedge, and a few large houses. Harry had felt a prickle of energy pass over him when they had turned onto the road. It troubled him … it felt a bit like magic.

They turned down the first road on the right as they had been directed to, and it wound through a very tall decorative hedge on either side of the narrow road, and finally came out into fields with white horses and gardens in the distance. A huge Manor house could be seen, and Vernon gaped as he drove the elderly car up to the circular drive in front of the impressive house. He wouldn't have dared park it there, but Mr. Malfoy had told him to.

They had barely exited the car when Lucius appeared at the top of the stairs to wave them up with a welcoming smile. He showed them into a sitting room with a large bay window overlooking the formal gardens … the aggravated white peacocks were even out, shrieking at the playful horses.

Narcissa had ordered up a lavish afternoon tea and then told the elves to not show themselves to the visitors under threat of clothing. She stood and offered her hand to Vernon with a smile – he seemed nice enough, and the strapping young lad next to him was obviously his son … and then there was Harry Potter, lightning bolt scar right where the stories had said.

He was smiling happily around and gave a pleasant, "Pleased to meet you, madame." right on cue.

Tea and a selection of watercress, ham and smoked salmon sandwiches were offered, along with scones and clotted cream. Lunch had been hours ago, so the boys were glad to see it. Narcissa asked after their journey and made a bit of small talk. The closest stores and shops were spoken of – she'd had to do some quick research the evening before to find out about them.

Finally, as they expected, Vernon asked after the closest school, "…I want to get them enrolled for the coming year right away."

Narcissa and Draco's eyes cut to Lucius and he sat forward. Time to go for broke. He cleared his throat and looked over to Vernon, and asked quietly. "Will Harry not be going to Hogwarts, then?"

The three froze like spotlighted deer. Vernon looked at Lucius closely, mulling over the implications of that question. "Are you a … a wizard, then?" He asked hesitantly, if he wasn't then Vernon would sound extremely daft.

In answer Lucius took out his wand and accioed a book –'Hogwarts, A History' and offered it to Harry. Harry took with a smile. "We have this one … but I think this is a newer copy … has it been updated?"

Lucius lifted an eyebrow in surprise – so they weren't totally unaware of the wizarding world. "No, not recently. I'm glad you are aware of our world … but again, are you going to Hogwarts?"

Vernon sighed and answered, "I'm quite glad we have met you … perhaps you can answer that, actually. Harry's Aunt insisted that his schooling has already been paid for by some Great-Uncle or other. If this is true, I do hope that Harry's monthly check from the government will cover any other expenses."

Lucius nodded, relieved that Vernon wasn't against a magical education … though it would have been amusing to hear Dumbledore rage if Vernon had said no. "I am a school governor … I can find out for you, but I assure you that expenses will be no problem – there is scholarship money if Harry's vault is empty."

"Vault?" Vernon answered blankly.

Lucius nodded to Narcissa, who raised an eyebrow – so Dumbledore had told them nothing.

"Yes – the wizard bank – Gringotts is where the Potter family vault should be. Harry's grandfather was the youngest of four but his father was an only child so he would have got everything his parents left. I honestly don't know the state of their finances, but there was a house in Godric's Hollow …" Everyone knew that, Lucius mused. "… and the vault should have something in it, though apprenticeships to the Auror academy are expensive, and James Potter had just finished with it when he died – but there should be something there."

"Well, excellent – I'm glad Harry will have that to get started in the Wizarding world with. " Vernon beamed at Harry. He'd been right worried that Harry would not be able to enter his parents world, and that would have been a shame … he was going to be a splendid wizard … Petunia had said so.

Lucius was pleased at Vernon's response and Narcissa nodded in approval as well. Vernon had made no noises about getting his hands on Harry's money. An honorable man, then.

"Well, I have another surprise as well." Lucius sat up straight again and swirled his tea, the first part had gone well and Draco looked pleased that Harry was definitely going with him to Hogwarts. "I mentioned your grandmother …" Lucius looked at Harry. "… her maiden name was Black. Narcissa's maiden name is also Black …" Lucius waited while Harry's face lit up at this news.

Harry looked over at the pretty Mrs. Malfoy who was smiling a bit fondly. "Are we related, then?" Harry asked breathlessly.

Narcissa smiled - after all this boy was going to keep Draco out of the Dark Lord's clutches – she didn't care who his parents were - and nodded, "I gave up figuring out how many times removed we are, so I thought we could just call each other cousin."

"I would very much like that, ma'am." Harry smiled at Narcissa and a grinning Draco.

"Why don't you take them to see the horses, Draco." Lucius waved toward the fields.

Draco nodded eagerly. "Yes, they are from the Camargue in France, where the Malfoy family came from originally. They are great for riding, even if they are a bit small – rarely reaching 15 hands …" Draco's dissertation continued on out the door as he led them to see the curious horses.

Lucius looked over the now nervous Vernon – he likely wondered if they only wanted Harry. "You may not be a blood relative, Mr. Dursley, but you are Harry's uncle, so you are a part of the family as well. The wizarding world is rather clear on that, so we welcome you as well."

Vernon looked relieved and they finalized a few details on the 'accountant job', to Vernon's relief.

Lucius then stood to take Vernon over to the house they had prepared, the boys caught up with them when Draco saw where they were headed. It was a dower house – rather large and splendid as well. It was hopefully not so large that Vernon would reject it out of hand. It had only five bedrooms so they shouldn't be crowded and could have guests over. Still, Vernon gulped and paled at the sight of it.

"I included some furniture, of course and the place heats and cools on its own – just announce if a room is too hot or cold, it will adjust. And you have a cook, of course." Lucius explained as best he could about house-elves and then just called one. They all yelped, and Vernon paled, but the boys thought it was brilliant – no more house-cleaning or cooking.

"I want you to consider this your home, now", Lucius said earnestly – and in particular to Harry. "You are family, and this house is now yours, Harry." A spark shot from Lucius to Harry, sealing the deal, Lucius explained. "I understand that Harry is protected by blood wards ..." Dumbledore always harped on that if anyone mentioned Harry. "... If you like, we can raise the blood wards tomorrow – then the place will be yours as well, Dudley, as you are the one with his mother's blood. As Dudley's father and Harry's guardian you are considered the Head of this particular House, Vernon, so it is yours, too."

The three nodded, a bit overwhelmed at suddenly being home-owners of a magical house, and Lucius left them to get settled.

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The three fell into a routine with little problem. Vernon soon learned the routines of checking on racehorses at various tracks. And seeing to the horses at the home Estate and the expenses for each. He was already familiar with most of those aspects from the other owners and trainers he had done bookkeeping for.

He sometimes worked in a small study in the manor house, or at Salisbury Racetrack, as there was always a few Malfoy horses there at any given time.

The boys explored the Estate together, and Dudley and Harry learned to ride on the patient Camargue horses. To Harry's delight Rusty and Snooty were there in the stables (the bay and the grey).

Lucius found Harry stroking the bay's face one day and talking to the bright eyed racehorse. "You seem rather fond of him, Harry."

"Oh, he's my favorite." Harry smiled. "I found him on our first trip to the racetrack … he was looking eager and when I touched him he told me he would win – and he did." Harry grinned at Lucius. "He was at 70-1 odds, so we cleaned up that day with our bet on him." Harry sighed in remembrance. "Aunt Petunia really enjoyed those trips – especially when we got to see Rusty – he was our favorite horse to watch run, even when he didn't win." Harry laughed. "One time he said that Snooty – the grey - was going to beat him and then complained about his insolence."

Lucius had caught his breath a bit, hearing about all that. Being able to speak to animals in any fashion was the mark of a very powerful wizard. Of course he'd already known that, but it was good to have it confirmed.

"I'm glad he brought some enjoyment to your Aunt." He answered, thinking swiftly. He wondered what other things Harry could do. He needed to consult with Severus – but carefully. He simply didn't know exactly where the man's loyalties were … he never had, in spite of the Dark Lord's confidence in the man.

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A/N - yes, the lexicon says that Charlus and Dorea weren't Harry's grandparents … there are in my very AU story, here.