Robert Dowles, Marien Shirley, and Andrew Beckett cringed as the dark figure rose from his seat. "So am I to understand that Malfoy and his brat are still alive?" Trembling, the three lieutenants nodded. A sharp crack echoed through the chamber as the chair their master had been formerly occupying turned to splinters. A low snarl, then he seemed to compose himself. "Very well. You have one last chance."
A splinter from the chair rose and hurled itself through Beckett's throat. He fell to the ground, his face twisted grotesquely in panic and shock. "I trust you won't fail this time." Dowles and Shirley nodded, tearing their eyes away from their dying comrade. They knew the price of failure. "Dismissed." They quickly scurried out of the room, feeling his piercing blue eyes watching their every step.
"Now Malfoy, I believe it's time to get down to business." Arcturus gestured for him to sit down and seated himself behind a broad mahogany desk. Like everything else in the Black's ancestral home, the study was luxurious and positively screamed "money". A family as old and almost as wealthy as the Malfoys, the Blacks were rigid traditionalists and an important ally. Now more than ever, Abraxas needed to retain his hold on that relationship. He sat gracefully and eyed Arcturus, wondering what the Black patriarch had called him here for.
"Brandy?" Arcturus offered politely. Abraxas declined and Arcturus inclined his head, before studying him shrewdly. "I hear tell of several attempts on your life and your son's, besides just the incident with Lady Rosier." Abraxas hesitated, then nodded slowly. "You have heard correct." Arcturus sighed, clasping his hands and leaning back in his seat. "That is what I feared." Abraxas was taken aback by the man's tone. "You don't seem surprised sir."
"That's because I'm not." At Abraxas' questioning look, Arcturus continued. "Being preoccupied with Wizengamot and your son's health, it would seem you haven't been paying proper attention to the news lately." What does he mean? Abraxas had not heard anything out of the ordinary and in the peace following Grindlewald's defeat ten years earlier, he didn't expect to. Seeing his puzzlement (only another observant pureblood would've been able to) Arcturus continued. "In France, Spain, and even Russia, within the past five months, there have been reports of purebloods dying mysteriously. The attempts on your life and Lucius' may simply be coincidence, however…"
Abraxas felt his body go numb. Like Arcturus, he knew the deaths of so many purebloods in such a short amount of time was no coincidence. Grimly he listened to Arcturus recount the incidents. No matter what, he thought fiercely, my son will not be endangered again. With that thought firmly in mind, he began his planning.
Back at Malfoy Manor….
Harry and Lucius finished breakfast without any further mishaps. Moxy, still grateful for "Master Harry" saving his ears had tried to refill the auror's plate at least six times. Full and in a good mood, Harry carried the syrup and chocolate covered child to the nearest bathroom. "I have no clue how you and Teddy manage to get so dirty so quickly." He tickled Lucius and smiled. "Must be a toddler conspiracy."
Turning on the water in the generously sized sink, Harry waited for it to fill and conjured bubbles and bright yellow rubber ducks. With a happy squeal, Lucius reached towards the water eagerly. Harry laughed and undressed the toddler, setting him carefully in the makeshift bathtub. "Moxy?" The elf appeared almost before Harry finished speaking. "Yes Master Harry, sir?"
"Where are the washcloths please?" The elf scurried to a small hamper and lifted out several fluffy looking towels and a neatly folded washcloth. "Here Master Harry is," the elf handed him the items and bowed, "may I help Master Harry with anythings else?" Harry shook his head and thanked the elf, turning back to Lucius who had already splashed a good bit of water onto the floor. Shaking his head in amusement, Harry soaped up the washcloth and ran it over the toddler, scrubbing away all the chocolate. For a moment, he pictured the older Lucius with chocolate and syrup all over his face, sitting in a bathtub with bubbles and rubber duckies, and Harry had to giggle. "This would be great blackmail material you know," he told the toddler with mock seriousness. Lucius just grinned and splashed at the water, getting Harry soaked in the process. In the far corner, Moxy watched with a wide smile. He did so love to see his Masters happy.
Abraxas had just flooed home from Grimmauld Place as a damp looking Potter was carrying Lucius out of the bathroom. Raising an eyebrow, he watched the auror walk towards him. "Chocolate chip pancakes," the auror said simply. Abraxas nodded solemnly. "That explains it." The auror smiled then and Abraxas found himself smiling back before he realized it. "Here." In uncharacteristic generosity he pulled his wand (ignoring Potter's slight twitch) and dried the auror's hair. "Thank you," Potter said, giving another small smile. Abraxas felt his face heat a little and slid his wand back in his sleeve. "You're welcome."
When Malfoy had pulled his wand, Harry had instinctively started to reach for his, only the reassurance of the little body in his arms had kept him from doing so. He was stunned when Malfoy had kindly spelled his hair dry. He watched as the man's pale cheeks reddened slightly at his thanks. It suits him, Harry thought, then flinched. No no no no no! Malfoy is NOT cute when he blushes. Shaking his head, he turned and headed for Lucius' new nursery, conveniently ignoring the urge in the back of his mind to see what else made Malfoy blush.
Yes, I'm still alive lol. I'm sorry for such a long wait. You guys are AWESOME!