AUTHOR'S NOTE - MUST READ FIRST! This story is being republished with permission from the author, who wishes to remain anonymous. All original eleven chapters belong to her, with only minor edits from me to tighten up grammar and spelling. After chapter eleven, the rest belong to me. :) Enjoy, and let me know what you think!
Disclaimer: Nope. Not blonde. Not Scottish. Not JK Rowling.
A/N: Something seems to have happened to my other stories, so, I'm going to try a new one. I think I've still got the High Hogwarts story saved, but the one about Lily getting tossed forward in time, I can't find anywhere :-(
Lying was nothing new to Lucius Malfoy – neither was being convincing. Duplicity was part of his family legacy and motto. Of course "Whatever it takes" on the family crest was only visible to someone who was a true Malfoy. To everyone else, the words were much nobler a sentiment... but he didn't bother to learn the public version. He was used to getting what he wanted, and it didn't much matter what it took to achieve it.
And what he wanted was a wife who wasn't screaming at him ninety-percent of his waking life. He figured meals accounted for the other ten-percent, though Narcissa hadn't had much of an appetite lately.
First news of the Dark Lord's fall, and then that deplorable cousin of hers getting sent to Azkaban. It was all Lucius could do to survive in his own house. Narcissa had never been much of a true believer when it came to Death Eater ideals, but one thing she understood was image. It didn't matter that no one could prove anything where they were concerned, having their family whispered about was enough to set her teeth on edge.
He'd wanted a suitable distraction, but the opportunity never presented itself - not until the morning paper arrived a week earlier with the headline "The Boy Who Lived, Then Disappeared".
Lucius had breathed free for the first time in weeks. He thought now the gossip mongers and rag magazines would turn their attention to speculation about the Potter whelp and leave him free to live his life, but that would have made things easier on him, and that, Fate simply wouldn't allow.
"Who dat?" Draco asked from his high chair as the baby boy whose photo adorned the front page made faces at him over breakfast.
"A boy who's gone missing," Lucius answered off-handedly.
"Go find 'im!" the young Malfoy ordered.
The photograph blew a raspberry, so Draco saw fit to fling porridge at him.
"No one knows where to look," Lucius explained, and turned the page. There was only one small mention on the back of page eight, and it didn't even mention Malfoy or his family by name. Just the, comparatively tame, "suspected Death Eaters" that were supposedly hiding out among the population. It seemed the storm had passed.
"Go find 'im!" Draco said, more shrilly this time.
Being misplaced was a new terror of the toddler's. One of the house elves had left him in the pantry chewing on a sugar snap, then gone off to make new curtains or some such. Three hours later, the poor child was still on the floor and howling out a wail that could shame a banshee.
"GO FIND 'IM!" Draco screamed, and the rest of the porridge landed as free form spatter around the room... including on his father's head.
"Find who, Poppet?"
Narcissa glided into the room and plucked Draco from his high chair before handing him off to a much more careful house elf to be bathed.
"Go find 'im, pweeeeze." Draco sniffled as he toddled off after the house elf that was currently taller than him. "Make 'im come pway wifs me."
"What was that all about?" Narcissa asked, more sedate than she had been since they'd gone on high alert due to the chance of public disgrace.
"It seems your son took a liking to a certain golden boy's photograph, and is now terrified that he's locked in a pantry somewhere at the mercy of lackluster house elves."
"So he's my son today?"
"Of course. If he were mine, he'd have better taste in playmates."
"I've seen the paternity tests, Lucius, he's yours. Anyone else would have been born with a smaller ego and I might still have my figure." She grinned at him over her coffee cup.
Thank God, the storm was passing.
"Now what's this about the Potter boy and house elves? Did one of James' elves take the child and hide him?"
"Perhaps. No one's seen him since..." He didn't have to fill in the rest. "I'm not entirely sure Potter had any of his family elves in Godric's Hollow, though. They were trying to keep a low profile, it seems."
"Then where is the boy?" Narcissa had "that" tone. The one she took when contemplating a new charitable endeavor, and Lucius felt his heart actually stop for a full half beat. This was not going to be pleasant.
"That's precisely the story, my dear, no one seems to know where the child's gone off to."
"But James Potter had no living relatives, and as for his wife... you don't think the boy was taken in by her people, do you?"
"I couldn't begin to imagine," Lucius said, and hoped he sounded bored enough that she'd lose interest.
"But... but they can't! The child could be... I mean to be placed in a home like that, he could... it's too terrible to think about!"
"I'm sure the secrecy is for the boy's safety and that he's been placed in a satisfactory environment. It's none of our concern, Cissy."
That was the absolutely wrong thing to say.
"None of our concern!" She shot to her feet and snatched his paper away. The baby Potter on the front crumpled in half, and was none too happy with the arrangement. "That boy was my cousin's godson! Did you know that?"
"Then maybe he'll be able to visit if they put in a lounge at Azkaban!" And that was just plain stupid. How could he have let that thought leak out of his mouth?
Narcissa turned an odd shade of greyed purple that for one odd minute he thought would look lovely if they could match it for carpet. Of course, he was likely to be struck dead in a few seconds by something a much less appealing shade of green, so no one else would ever know.
"That boy is practically mine by rights and I want him!"
"Be reasonable, Cissy." Lucius backed away from her fury. "If you want him in a suitable family, we can surely locate him and make sure he's all right, but, well, we have Draco and he's such a young child himself..."
"The perfect age for a playmate. He and the Potter boy were practically born the same day. I want him."
"If it's a matter of saving him from Muggles, then there's always your sis-"
"YOU THINK I WOULD LEAVE A CHILD WITH THAT... THAT..."
"Not Bella, Cissy."
"I DON'T HAVE ANOTHER SISTER!"
She'd disowned Andromeda for marrying that Tonks fellow, and apparently they rated below Muggles on the suitable caregiver scale.
"I want him Lucius. Find him... if nothing else, think about how children make for good press."
"Cissy..." He didn't believe that excuse for one minute. This was simply her fixation of the moment, and she wouldn't let it go until he gave in.
"No! You will do this for me. You will do it because I let you go off and play Death Eater and didn't complain. I let you get that foul thing burned on your arm and I still haven't told anyone about it. I'm clean; I could turn you in to the Aurors and Draco and I could live comfortably right here in your house while you rot between my insane sister and my worthless cousin. And you will do this for me because I am your wife, and whether you want to admit it or not, this conversation has made you love me just a little bit more than you did yesterday."
Well, it definitely made him fear her a little bit more than he did yesterday...
"Just think of the advantage of the situation, Lucius. IF you were ever discovered, to have been a capable and caring guardian of The Boy Who Lived would go a long way to providing leverage for your innocence and having seen the error of your ways. And, should things swing back the other way, I'm sure you can see the advantages of having the same boy look to you for guidance."
She was right... he did love her and her devious mind. Narcissa may not have been born a Malfoy, but she certainly took to the role with aplomb.
And so, he found himself standing beside a magnificent black car in a less than magnificent ... what was it called... middle suburban something or other neighborhood, in the appropriately named Little Whinging area. He felt like whinging just waiting there, but wait was all he could do as whatever protections had been set on the house made certain he couldn't get close enough to enter so long as the Dark Mark was on his arm.
Narcissa and Draco had gone ahead, and approached a reluctant lady of the house.
***Meanwhile, on the House's Terrace***
It took Narcissa Malfoy exactly four Floo calls to locate the new home of one Harry James Potter. Using her considerable charity connections, she was put in touch with someone, who was put in touch with someone, who was put in touch with someone who had access to something called a telephone, which led her to Petunia Dursley (née Evans) and Privet Drive.
She and Lucius had planned on approaching the family together, but the instant his arm started burning, they knew that wouldn't be possible. Apparently whoever had hidden the child had the foresight to protect him... sort of.
Narcissa approached the house with Draco on her hip, both dressed in their finest impersonation of wealthy Muggles. (she had a sneaking suspicion that "blue jeans" were going to become a staple at her house, like it or not) She rang the bell and waited a few moments until a somewhat horse faced woman in a pink house dress answered the door.
She and Lily Evans had never been friends, but, even she was familiar enough with Potter's wife to realize only one daughter in the family had gotten any looks out of the gene pool.
"Yes?" Petunia asked sweetly, after accessing the apparent quality of the people on her terrace. "Can I help you?"
"Mrs. Dursley?" Narcissa asked.
"Sister of Lily Potter?"
Petunia tried to slam the door in her face, and only the physical barrier around the house kept Lucius at bay.
"Draco, go back to your father." Narcissa set him down and pointed her finger.
Draco knew that tone. He ran back to his father and hid behind his legs. The horse faced lady didn't know what she was in for.
Narcissa knocked this time, dropping her hand into her pocket to wrap around her wand, and the door opened a crack.
"H-h-he said none of your kind would come near the house," Petunia stuttered. "He s-s-said if we took the boy no one would come!"
"Who?" Narcissa asked, trying to convince herself the woman was only protecting the child. She probably thought the Malfoys were there to harm him... like she'd take her son along if she wanted to murder someone.
"It was all in the letter that Dumb Door left with the boy."
Dumb Door? Dumb... oh...
"Dumbledore brought the boy here?"
The door still didn't open and Narcissa's inner voice had begun to chant: I will not transfigure Muggles in public... I will not transfigure Muggles in public...
"Left him on our doorstep with no warning," Petunia said. "Put us all in terrible danger without even bothering to ask!"
"Mrs. Dursley, that's what I'd like to talk to you about... if I could just come inside."
"Oh no," Petunia said. "You wouldn't want to do that. My husband is very particular about... well... people like you. I had to talk him out of buying a-" she dropped her voice to a whisper, "gun when the boy arrived."
If Narcissa'd had any doubts about taking the child - by force if need be - they'd just vanished. Staying with this lot was liable to turn the boy into a Squib by the time he was due at Hogwarts.
"Mrs. Dursley," she said in her most civil tone. "It's obvious you're overwhelmed by this, especially after losing your sister."
Petunia Dursley's mouth shrunk down like she'd swallowed a pint of pickle juice. So there was no love lost between the Evans girls. Maybe this wouldn't be so difficult after all.
"When Dumbledore left the boy here, I'm sure he thought you were his only family."
"You mean we aren't?" Petunia seemed to brighten.
"Not at all. The boy was the son of my cousin."
Son, godson, whatever. Narcissa was so used to lies of the coal black variety that a small white one tasted like candy on her tongue.
"And since we are a family of means, and have a child the same age, we... my husband and I... were hoping that you might not be adverse to a change of guardianship..."
"You'd raise him yourself?"
"With my family, yes."
"Away from here, where the boy wouldn't be near my Dudders?"
What on earth was that? Did she have some sort of speech impediment and was attempting to pronounce daughters?
"My son Dudley. If you take the boy, Dudley would never see him."
Interesting that she'd yet to call the child by his name.
"Well, if you wanted to arrange a time for the boys to interact, we could arrange..."
"NO!" Petunia almost roared. "If you take him, you keep him. Keep him with your lot, among his own kind. I want to forget he even existed.
"That, Madame is as easily done as said."
Minutes later, the atrociously filthy boy that was Harry Potter had been retrieved from his so-called nursery under the stairs and thrust into Narcissa's arms. She still hadn't been asked into the house.
A quick Oblivate would ensure that Petunia couldn't recall to whom she'd given the child, and an even quicker Scourgify removed the filth from the child. It would take seeing a healer to get rid of his diaper rash, and the boy was tragically under weight.
Narcissa stalked back to the car with the boy snuggled down in her arms as half formed Unforgivables threatened to spring from her lips. She was finding it very difficult to convince herself that "Dudders" wouldn't be better served in a state orphanage than being raised by Horse Face. Lucius took one look at his wife's blazing eyes and knew something was wrong. Then he took a peek at the lethargic child in her arms. Draco was only a week older, but Harry was so malnourished it looked like the gap was at least three months.
"Get me out of this horrid place before I burn it to the ground," Narcissa hissed as she climbed into the back of the car. Draco scrambled into the seat beside her and tried to get a good look at Harry.
"What wrong?" he asked. "He sick?"
"Very sick, Draco," his mother answered. "He's very hungry. I don't think they fed him very well."
The little boy reached into his pocket and pulled out a fuzzy all day sucker.
"Gotta sweet," he offered.
"Thank you, Poppet, but sweets wouldn't be very good for him right now." She glanced at the front seat. "St. Mungo's," she told the driver.
"Will he be all right, you suppose?" Lucius asked.
"He'd better," Narcissa snarled. "I'm highly tempted to turn Kreacher loose on that horrible horse of a woman. He learned a few tricks from Bella that would be very poetic justice. She didn't so much as ask for proof that I had no intentions of drowning the boy in the first drainage ditch we pass."
"Muggles," Lucius said derisively under his breath. He hated to admit it, but the little guy was kind of cute, and utterly helpless. It was much more difficult to detest someone after they wrapped their tiny hand around his index finger and held on tight.
Draco, sitting beside his mother, patted the Potter boy on the back like Narcissa did for him when he felt bad. It looked as though the discussion was over and there would be a new permanent resident at the Manor.
As they pulled away from Number Four, there was a horrible scream from inside. Lucius turned a suspicious eye on his grinning wife.
"What?" she asked. "She already had the face. I just gave her the tail to match."
He leaned over and kissed her on the cheek. Heaven help any fool Death Eater who tried to harm little Harry now.
Now the true test began.
Fooling one careless Muggle woman was nothing compared to pulling off a delicate deception that would have to last for years and get past skilled liars who already took it as fact that half of what they could see wasn't as it appeared. And worse than that, they had to find a way to get around medical professionals who were used to seeing the worst and reporting it to officials.
The nurse who showed Lucius and Narcissa to a room at St. Mungo's had hardly taken her eyes off the child in Narcissa's arms long enough to find the door they were supposed to use. And to her credit, Lucius' wife was unflappable under the scrutiny. She was the very image of motherly indignation as Lucius carried a very worried Draco.
"I wasn't aware there was more than one Malfoy child," she said, acridly.
"There won't be until we can get the proper papers signed," Narcissa snarled, then bounced the baby in her arms a bit as her anger made him fuss.
"If he's not yours..."
"He's the bastard son of my bastard of a cousin," she bit out, then made a show of realizing her child was in the room, "whose no good shrew of a woman decided the luster of being a Black's mistress wore off when he was sent to Azkaban. She abandoned him in the middle of the night." The best lies were sort of true... "The boy's half starved and was so filthy when I arrived to claim him, I don't think he'd been bathed since ..." she let the sentence drop off.
"Do you know his birthdate?" the nurse asked, now both placated and worried.
"The same as my son's," she lied.
"July seventeen," Draco supplied, proudly.
"These children are the same age? But he's so small!"
"Yes, and as neither of his parents were afflicted with small stature, you can see why we're concerned," Lucius offered. "And the boy has some ... sores... on his skin from mistreatment as well. I know you'll need to report this, but if we could be at least a bit discrete, it would be appreciated. My wife's had a hard few weeks and I'm afraid this might be more than her constitution can handle if the boy were to be dragged through all manner of official hindrance."
So far, no one had gotten a look at the boy's face, and they'd certainly not seen his scar, but Narcissa realized with a sudden shock that it wouldn't be long before someone would notice. They wouldn't be able to keep up the ruse.
"I'll send a Healer down immediately Mr. Malfoy," the nurse said. "And for now, initials will do for names on the forms. What is the boy's name?"
"Henry Black," Narcissa said without a pause. "I don't care what that cow put on his birth certificate. He's not taking her worthless name!"
Taking that as her cue to leave an awkward situation, the nurse slipped out. Narcissa took Harry off her shoulder and laid him on the examination couch.
"We have to glamour the scar," she said quickly, and touched her wand to his forehead.
"Cissy, no!" Lucius said too late. "They'll know you've done something. These rooms alert the doctors to such magic."
It was common for abusive parents to try and glamour their children's bruises.
"I'm not a fool, Lucius," Narcissa snapped. "Draco, come here."
His father set him down and the little boy scampered over.
"What do you think about Harry's hair?" she asked, then turned it dark brown, instead of black. "Brown or black?"
"No," he shook his head. "Icky!"
"Well, we don't want him bald..."
"No, like me," Draco said, and pulled at his own hair.
"You think he should be blond?"
Draco nodded enthusiastically. This time Harry opened his eyes a bit when Narcissa touched the wand to his head, but didn't seem to be bothered in the least as his hair zoomed from one end of the spectrum to the other while Draco decided on the perfect shade.
Lucius smiled; Narcissa knew exactly what she was doing. The alarms were going crazy, signaling multiple changes to the child's appearance, and when the frantic Healer burst through the door to try and catch an abuser in the act of concealing his crimes, he was pleasantly surprised to find Mrs. Malfoy simply toying with the boy's hair color and length.
"A longer fringe, I think," she said, and Harry's hair grew almost to his eyes.
"Like mine, Mummy!" Draco insisted. Harry's hair was still too dark for his taste, so Narcissa obliged, making him a platinum blond.
Draco giggled and clapped. He looked up at the wizened old Healer and smiled.
"He's gonna be my bro'ter," he beamed.
"So it would seem," the Healer breathed out a relieved sigh, "But you and your Mummy gave us quite the fright with your exacting standards."
"That's my fault, Healer," Narcissa said. "I'm sorry. I should have thought about the alarms, but Draco was getting so worried about little Henry, I wanted to distract him."
"It's quite all right, Mrs. Malfoy," the Healer said. "We get so few happy surprises in here, I'm certainly not going to scold a child for trying to make his new brother look like part of the family. And it certainly looks like young Draco had good reason to worry."
He unwrapped Harry carefully, hissing at the sight of the toddler's abused skin and the painful blisters on his little backside.
"You say his own family did this?"
Prodding the child's stomach, he could count and see his ribs, but mercifully, nothing was broken. Beyond the obvious signs of willful neglect, it appeared as though the child had several small bruises on his arms and legs as though he'd been repeated pinched with excessive force. Likely a Muggle healer wouldn't have been able to prevent permanent skin damage, even if he'd been able to treat him at all.
"That... woman..." Narcissa seethed. "... had relegated the boy to a boot cupboard. I don't know how long he'd been in there, but he was sitting in his own filth when I took possession of him. The poor thing couldn't even open his eyes all the way."
Perfectly orchestrated tears, most of which were real, fell on Narcissa's pale cheeks and Lucius put a well-timed supportive hand on her shoulder. Draco patted her knee and looked very concerned.
"Don't you worry," the Healer said with an encouraging smile. "We'll have Henry fixed up good as new in no time and before you know it, he'll be tearing around the house endangering family heirlooms with his brother."
He winked at Draco, who beamed and tossed out. "I'm kinda older."
"Well good," the doctor said. "Then as his big brother, you'll have to make sure nothing hurts Henry here."
Draco glanced at the still sleeping baby and his face got very hard and very serious.
"Nuffin' hurts 'im," he said, standing very tall, even though he was feeling about as tired as he could remember being. It was exciting getting a brother, but he really wanted a nap.
Lucius picked him up and Draco's head dropped to his father's shoulder.
"Nuffin' hurts 'em," he mumbled again, and Lucius couldn't help but hear an echo of the same words - if better enunciated - in his own voice.
"I'm going to assume that keeping the boy at home would be preferable to a public facility such as this one?" the Healer asked.
"You assume correctly," Lucius said, coolly.
"In that case, I'll have a list of potions for you give the boy and someone will be checking him by Floo every twelve hours for the next two days. Unless there is an emergency, in which case, you are to return him here immediately."
"Of course, Healer," Narcissa said.
"And, if you don't mind, we would like a copy of the boy's records in case there's any resistance to a guardianship claim," Lucius added. He didn't expect the horrible Muggles to make a sound, but knew Dumbledore well enough to know the old man wouldn't let Harry go without a fight if he found out where he was.
"I already had the nurse ready a parchment. She's having it authenticated by seal as we speak," the Healer said. "Just be thankful the boy's young enough that these memories should fade in time."
"Let us hope so," Lucius said as Narcissa scooped Harry up and they headed back home.
The doctor watched as they walked down the hall, and shook his head. And to think, no fewer than three patients and as many staff members had told him they were certain Malfoy was a Death Eater who got out under the radar. It was laughable - no servant of You Know Who would be so devoted to his family, even the strays his wife picked up along the way.
Henry Black was a very lucky little boy.
When the Malfoys (plus one) arrived back at their home in the early hours of the morning, Draco was sound asleep, Harry had yet to wake, and Narcissa was still fuming.
"Dobby!" Lucius bellowed as they entered the house.
A tiny bat eared creature popped in out of nowhere and waited to find out why he'd been summoned. Huge tennis ball eyes blinked at the sight of both his master and mistress carrying sleeping blond bundles.
"Dobby, it looks as though we are adding a second young man to the household," Lucius said and Dobby's ears wiggled with excitement. "The boy's been ill and is very fragile, so he'll need extra looking after."
"Yes, Master Malfoy, sir, Dobby is watching him well, sir."
"Find someone to set up a second nursery in the room across the hall from Draco's and send someone to the attic to dig out the clothes my son wore three or four months ago... you haven't given them away yet, have you?"
"Somes, Master Malfoy, sir, but there are many boxes left."
"Good. Henry, the boy, is small for his age, and until he catches up with his weight, he'll have to wear the smaller things."
The house elf nodded quickly.
"I doubt Cissy will put him down at all until tomorrow, so don't worry about the room needing to be ready tonight. Just get it done."
"Yes, Master Malfoy, sir," Dobby said, and popped out again to find the rest of the elves.
Lucius and Narcissa carried the boys upstairs, but as soon as Lucius tried to put Draco down, he held on tight.
"Let go, son," he said. "It's past time for bed."
"Wanna stay wifs 'im," Draco protested, and Lucius was too tired to argue after another attempt proved fruitless. He carried the boy to his own room where Narcissa had settled Harry into bed beside her and was humming some kind of tune as she stroked a hand through his hair. Lucius laid Draco beside him and sat down on his side of the bed.
Anyone who didn't know better would have sworn the boys were brothers by blood, one a bit scrawny perhaps, but the Healer's potions should fix that soon enough. Narcissa had duplicated Draco's coloring down to the last inch of skin, completely obliterating every ugly purple or green bruise.
Lucius barely managed to toe his shoes off, he was so tired, and he fell asleep in an over-full bed, trying to remember what color eyes James and Lily had. If they were blue, it would be perfect...
Well, that's all for now folks. Even though it isn't mine, I would still love to hear your thoughts. Is there anything you would have me change, etc.? I'm always open to new suggestions!