Disclaimeris copyritus: All hail to J.K. Rowling.

4

Empty

June 5th, 1980

"Please…"

It was not often that a Malfoy—or any respectable Pureblood—begged, let alone to nameless Gods. But it was not often that times were this desperate.

"Narcissa! Elves, you useless creatures!" Lucius limped into the mansion, leaning on an improvised cane, his left knee refusing to bend properly. It had been an ambush—not just for a Death Eater, or just for Lucius Malfoy, but for Lucius Malfoy the Death Eater, he was certain of it. They knew. The Order of the Phoenix knew.

And here was the Malfoy Mansion, every room still lit, but seemingly abandoned. Lucius had sensed that the anti-apparition wards were gone as soon as he had apparated right outside the front door. But there were other defensive spells in place, and those hadn't been triggered. Had his enemies managed to bypass them somehow?

"Narcissa!"

Clack, clack, clack.

The impact of his cane on the floor echoed through empty halls. He was moving too slowly. Someone should be here. An elf, at least—what were the creatures good for, if not that? As fast as he could, Lucius made a straight line towards Narcissa's rooms.

He wished now that the two of them hadn't fought so much during the past months, ever since he had learned of Narcissa's… rash decision. Foolish woman. Lucius thought of the period when their marriage had been steadily improving with increasing fondness—but a child? In the middle of war? Half his acquaintances appeared to be having babies, but admittedly half his acquaintances were quite mad.

Her door was ajar. It was never ajar—women's rooms should be closed off, for propriety's sake, that's what Narcissa always said, even as she ignored Lucius bursting in whenever he pleased.

He would have broken out in a run if he had been able to, then, but when he reached the door and saw the room, it was too soon. It was a mess. Clothes lay strewn about as if someone had searched the closet. Narcissa's nightstand lay knocked over. They had been here. Taken Narcissa.

Lucius fell to his knees and let himself believe that it was because his injured knee gave out. He could not be certain of anything, of course, but what else could have happened here? The house-elves wouldn't—couldn't—have abandoned the mansion of their own accord.

"Narcissa… What am I supposed to do without you?" It came out as a whisper, and he had no answer. Lucius knew he had no time to waste, but still he sat there for he didn't know how long.

"Lucius?" a weak voice spoke behind him.

He was on his feet in an instant, wobbling until he grabbed hold of the bed to steady himself, and for a few long seconds, he could not comprehend what he saw. Finally he said, "Narcissa?"

She stood there like a pale vision, surrounded by every single one of the family house-elves, which seemed to be falling over each other in their attempts to be the ones supporting his wife.

"Are you all right?"

It was her asking him.

Lucius shook his head to clear it. "Fine. I'm fine. You… What…"

"It started very suddenly," she started, almost hesitantly. "The house-elves… well, I think they panicked, with the state I was in—there was blood. They tore down the anti-apparition wards to take me to St. Mungo's…"

She went on, but Lucius felt momentarily overwhelmed with relief. He had seen his life without Narcissa, those long minutes or hours. All his power and influence had never before felt… empty.

Then he blinked and wondered how he could not have seen the tiny bundle Narcissa was holding tightly against her chest. He stepped forward and pulled aside a corner of the blanket it was wrapped in.

Narcissa paused in the middle of her explanations, and the rare smile was audible in her voice when she said, "Lucius, meet your heir."

That was when Lucius decided to kiss his wife. It lasted, and the passion was only contained by the tiny, sleeping form in between their bodies. After, they looked at each other, then at the child, then at each other again.

"But Lucius, what happened to you?" Narcissa said, finally. "You've been injured!"

"Never mind all that now, Narcissa," said Lucius. "Welcome back home. And welcome to Malfoy Manor, young Draco Malfoy."

fin


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