Author's Notes: Written for the 1H option of Lady Phoenix Fire Rose's One Hour Competition II with the character Lucius Malfoy and the prompt "Anger".

1 000 words. Enjoy!

)O(

Seeing Narcissa lying in the bed beside him, her face all bright and sweet and innocent, but her body marred by bruises and red marks and handprints that Lucius had not left upon it made Lucius ache with anger. She had been out late last night – very late, so late that Lucius, who was all but nocturnal by nature had already been asleep by the time she returned – and Lucius had no doubt whatsoever about who she had been with.

He pulled back the sheets of their bed a little and examined her. Through the fine, sheer fabric of her nightdress, he could see a large purple bruise spreading across her stomach, and there were several welts criss-crossing her back. Her wrists were decorated by raw chafing – surely the result of ropes tied tightly about her hands.

She never let me tie her up…

No, Lucius's own petty jealousies were unimportant right now.

The crux of this problem was not that Narcissa was having an affair with Rodolphus Lestrange – if it were only that, then Lucius would have been able to hold his tongue on the matter. The crux of the problem was that Rodolphus was hurting her.

For all their years of marriage, Lucius still regarded Narcissa as more of a little sister than a wife. She was his to protect – that was his responsibility – and when anyone, especially Rodolphus Lestrange, hurt her, then he, Lucius, took it as a personal challenge.

He swung out of bed, yanking on his robes in a hurry and only pausing for a few minutes to comb his hair, then disapparated to Lestrange manor and banged loudly on the door.

To his relief, it was Rodolphus who answered – if it had been Bellatrix or, god forbid, Rabastan, Lucius would have had a far more difficult time explaining the state he was in. As it was, he was able to draw back and hit Rodolphus across the face without needing explanation.

"Ouch!" Rodolphus grabbed at his nose, glaring at Lucius. "What in the Hell–"

Lucius grabbed Rodolphus roughly by the front of his robes, forcing him against the wall. It took all of Lucius's strength, for Rodolphus was much larger and stronger than he, but his anger lent him power.

"You hurt Narcissa," he hissed. "You beat her."

"Oh, this is about her?" Rodolphus tried to push him away, but Lucius kept his grip on her. "Yes, I've been meaning to mention – your wife is quite the little masochist… apparently you didn't know that…"

"I don't understand you," Lucius hissed. You have Bellatrix. She's the one who every man is supposed to lust after, and you got to marry her – what the Hell do you want with Narcissa?"

"Oh, well…" Rodolphus tilted his head almost innocently. "Bellatrix isn't one for getting tied up, you know… not by me, at any rate… I'm sure the Dark Lord could tie her up…"

"You're disgusting!"

"Jealous?" Rodolphus asked, with that infuriating little smirk that he wore all too often around Lucius. "Don't you have faith in your ability to keep a woman devoted to you?"

"Rich talk coming from you! Last I heard, it wasn't as though Bellatrix was staying in your bed – maybe if you put your effort into pleasing her instead of having my wife…!"

Rodolphus pushed Lucius firmly away from him. "You do know how pathetic this is, don't you? Perhaps if you were with your wife right now instead of running about accusing men of cuckolding you…"

A flush rose in Lucius's face. "Don't you dare try to tell me how to keep my marriage happy!"

"All right." Rodolphus gave a carless little half-shrug, smoothing down his dark hair and straightening his shirt. "I won't bother. You obviously aren't going to take my advice in any case. You do what you think is right."

"What I think is right– I think I ought to give Narcissa a good slap round the head!" Lucius burst out.

Rodolphus's face hardened immediately. His eyes, which had previously been slightly unfocussed and quite uninterested, narrowed into slits and he glared at Lucius with a look that was both angry and half-wary.

"Don't you dare," he hissed. "Don't you dare ever lay a hand on Narcissa. Don't you dare even say that!"

Lucius swallowed hard, a little taken aback by Rodolphus's sudden change in demeanour. "You said yourself to do what I think is right, and I think a slap is what that little slut needs – you can't tell me how to treat my own wife!"

"No wonder she can't stand you," Rodolphus sneered.

"Oh, you think it's because I've given her a few little slaps?" Lucius's lip curled derisively. "Funny you should say that, because she always seems to come back from you with a few bruises… You know, somehow I don't think Bellatrix would be all too pleased if she found out that her husband was slapping around her little sister!"

"Don't you mention it to Bellatrix!" shouted Rodolphus. "Don't you dare say a single word to her!"

"I seem to have touched a nerve…" Lucius had the advantage now – he could twist Rodolphus's anger. "Oh, but of course – it's not abuse, it's only a few well-meaning blows… never mind that sometimes she can hardly walk the next day…"

"Shut your mouth!"

"And naturally, I'm sure Bellatrix would agree–"

Rodolphus wrenched his wand from the holder at his waist and aimed it at Lucius's throat. His hand shook violently. "Don't say that! I never hurt Narcissa! Never!"

"Mmm…" Lucius smirked and pushed the wand out of his face with one lazy hand. "Of course… but next time you're with her and you get the urge to do something – certainly not hurt her, of course, but something that might leave a bruise… just remember… I might have to let Bellatrix know."

Then he turned on his heel and swept out, hoping that he was leaving Rodolphus in a state very close to tears of fury.

)O(

Fin