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Quite So Pure
"When the stars threw down their spears
And water'd heaven with their tears,
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?"
-- William Blake
Severus has refused.
He says it's to maintain his sanity, as Draco's Professor. Lucius retorts that it would be worse, as Draco's father, for his *own* sanity and that Sev was being a prude. Severus only looked smug, leaned back against the sheets sleek and satisfied, and replied,
"And you keep me closer for it."
and Lucius cannot fault that reasoning, nor the self-realization that he's a possessive bastard, thank you very much, and will not hesitate to burn off the hand that tries to take anything that is his.
This of course complicates things.
McNair and Lestrange have each been visiting more often as of late and have been dropping hints that they would not be adverse to help relieve the situation. Too bad Lucius cannot trust them, what with Lestrange's eyes being a bit too calculating and McNair who couldn't even be bothered to hide his leer. Others Lucius ignores for much the same reasons, and Severus has refused.
All who'd worn the dark mark wears it still, feels it still like runes engraved into their bones, like fortune and destiny and fate. They, who have heirs, eye the children every day following their 10th year and warily eye each other whenever they meet, keeping their family's futures close. Nothing is so darkly powerful as virgin blood, catalyzed by the new released magic from the onset of puberty.
The elves have been reporting that Draco's sheets require extra cleaning and something must be done.
This is why Lucius is now reclining on his side, head propped on his hand watching Draco stare blankly up at the canopy. The curtains move softly and everything's muted and blue tinted and their naked bodies glow.
Lucius is combing Draco's hair from his face, spreading it out on the pillow like feathers and dandelion fluff. He murmurs,
this will all make sense, I promise you, promise you.
And he hates that he lies. Draco finally turns his head and his eyes say that he knows. Lucius feels smug and relieved all at once and he hopes for once that it shows in his eyes because there is no way he would be able to say this aloud. He moves to leave and is stopped. Draco tugs him back and folds himself to Lucius' side.
"Papa," he says into Lucius' skin and Lucius could only fold his arms around him and state,
Lucius Malfoy is good at transfiguration and was quite certain that McGonagall would be horrified. To be a Malfoy is to be good at transfigurations is to be good at survival is to be pale and blond and like a changeling.
Promises and promises and Malfoys accept promises with a hand on the wand and an eye on all exits.
McGonagall was horrified, he was pleased to discover a month into the second year, as she discovers that he could create beyond the lines of the text and. reversing the transformation, they were turning rabbits into clay and Lucius finished early and started pulling apart the clay and flicking at Gryffindors and. changing clay back into rabbit and, really, it wasn't his fault that Gryffindors had such weak stomachs. was it? Severus Snape was analytically peering at a raw and red rabbit chunk; then practiced this week's fire charm
and ate it.
Some Gryffindors dry heaved and Lucius decided then that Severus was his new best friend.
Lucius had loved Narcissa from when he first saw her gold hair and pure skin. He loved that she looked good in green and that she loved thistle blooms and that she could at 30 paces, in English or Latin, filet a person from their backbone.
He loved that she had a mean right hook.
It was obvious that they would be perfect together, strong and beautiful.
The first time Lucius approached Narcissa was with flowers and chocolates, a ring, and a betrothal. He had grabbed her arm and she had broken his nose.
Lucius approached Narcissa a second time, offered nothing and kept Severus beside him to mediate. She said she'd think about it, staring off-handedly past his shoulder.
Lucius later glanced at her profile in Potions then turned back to Severus and noticed the git should really clean under his fingernails more often. There were thin black half moons on the ends of each fingernail again, denatured potions probably, and by Salazar it was irritating so Lucius cleans them himself. He notes that Severus had a slight callus on both palms where he grips the stirring rod and he notes that Narcissa was looking at his handsome self so he smiled flirtatiously towards her and absently resumed cleaning Sev's nails.
He says he remembers this because after class Narcissa pulls him aside with fingers clasped on the edge of his sleeve and says yes.
The wedding years later was as perfect as it should be; Narcissa glinting like ice in her gown saying "I do." straight into his eyes in a tone like a challenge and Lucius was never more proud or in love with her as when he led her home.
She dragged and caught her fingers along the halls and he found her strangely silent as he led her to bed and found her silent, still, a year later. He would find her palming the stone cherubs' faces and tracing their features and was relieved and terrified when their son was born. But it's not what you think.
Narcissa had always loved his family's manor and had visited often. She would squirm away from her tutor's arms and duck into the alcoves and edges of the manor; fingers running down the lines of filigree carving as if it were braille and she newly blind. This was fine by Lucius, Narcissa was good at hiding and he loved being seeker.
He had pictures of her from that time still, with everyone gathered talking and her blankfaced on her tutor's lap, held still by tight blunt fingers on her thigh.
He thought of that picture as he watched her, curled up and rocking on their marriage bed in the warm blue darkness with the shadows draping her thighs clasped close to her chest and she was rocking so carefully as to almost hide her shudders. Lucius thinks that he could feel every edge of the bunched up sheets under his thighs and every bump raised up and down and up his neck and that his skin pulses outward and pulses outward with every heartbeat.
He does not let himself shiver.
He holds his breath for otherwise it would catch on something and rip and tear and then moved forward, slowly, to lightly meet her forehead with his to push it backwards to raise her eyes. He understands, and would not. He would not touch her with hands.
"You are mine now." Lucius states firmly, holding her eyes. "Betray me with another man and I will kill you. Listen to me; I will kill you. Listen to me Narcissa Malfoy."
And something untenses in her even though she stayed curled and coiled tight and tight. But it was Slytherin coils now, not that something other, and in the pit of his roiling stomach Lucius feels pleased.
He leaves to arrange a suite for her on the other end of the wing, and perhaps later to burn some pictures.
Narcissa took one look at the new babe in his arms and turns away. So it was only ever him that saw Draco to bed with stories.
It goes like
smoke and cinders were her mother's milk, and wood piles in lieu of her mother's arms. Her lullabies were the screams of her parents as they burned, and it was appropriate, she thought, that she sell matchsticks to feed herself now.
They were the remnants of her wand making attempts, maple and a black cat's whisker, so the materials were easy enough to find, but she can never quite get the length right and it was always a bit misshapen. But the wood became right flammable and she might as well sell them to the Muggles.
Christmas times were the hardest because it was time to save money for gifts, for fine kindling, and for large dinners that she could only look at from across a street and a pane of glass.
Sometimes she wishes that a kind muggle family would welcome her in but all they would give her are coins enough for half a bite of last week's bread and a smile.
Smiles won't feed her and her's isn't pretty enough but that doesn't prevent her from selling not only matchsticks, and that makes her both very glad and so very not.
One night she sits across from a favorite house and tries to drink in their food with her eyes. She sees the light and warmth and suddenly it's not enough so she lights a match and. For a minute there she thinks she feels it, like she's sharing in their muggle Christmas but then the match goes out.
Eyes firmly on the window across the street, she picks up another match and lights it.
The next day, they found the little matchstick girl surrounded by her strange matchsticks, used and burnt out, lying there alone and long cold because there never was any warmth in matchsticks or muggles.
He tells fairy tales like these as he marvels at his son, this amazing person that he has made.
He wonders: Did Galatea feel it as pain when Pygmalion peeled away her marble-flesh until she could step away from her pieces, perfect and complete? Did she scream as marble-flesh, rock stubborn and ragged-edged, was chipped away from her bit by bit; did she shudder as her maker rubbed her raw with finer and finer grit until she was polished smooth?
He imagines that Pygmalion must have cut his hands on the marble, took coppery pigment from his own veins to paint her lips red and to bring a glow to her skin.
Draco looks up at him one day and asks,
"Why? That first night? When you came---" he quiets his son by running his finger over Draco's lips.
"I had no choice." He stated.
"Neither did I. Could you not have just told me and left me to it?"
There can be no spoken answer to that nor could there ever be. Lucius runs his fingers through Draco's hair, shoulder length now and growing nicely. He caresses Draco's jaw and is pleased by his son's self control because he is perfectly still.
He wonders if Pygmalion felt as proud and as possessive.
Lucius sometimes walks the portraited halls of the manor to stare at the sculpted angles of ancient Malfoy features. Studies the shades of platinum blond. Wonders, wide-eyed in empty shadowed corridors, if people ever realize of the Malfoys' uni-formed beauty its classic symmetry and sameness, because.
Hair and eye color are easy enough to alter.
So is, for that matter, bone structure.
This is magic, with its most terrifying beauty.
It disgusts him to walk among muggles, who do not wait long enough to listen and who cannot believe that they. Can. Not. Understand. and will not ever be able to. And even yet they will try to own magic, had they known it exists because some idiot told them
nice children share.
Malfoys have ever been neither young nor nice.
But a magical child is precious all the same. It is no accident that Hogwarts and other schools are the most warded magical institutions, and no coincidence that school teachers are always the most powerful wizards and witches of their time.
And Lucius walks among the muggles and cringes. He is the owner and head editor of a large publishing house and gold is gold, even if it needs to be converted. He owns newspapers and magazines, some muggle, and he is well read. He knows what muggles consider entertainment and he knows what news make muggle papers sell.
And also: He once scanned a biography of the Boy Who Lives, photos on pages 17 thru 25, and read of his supposed home life. He wonders how much of it is true of the muggles and even so, feels slightly smug even as his fingers wrinkle the paper when his hands tighten as he thinks of the child he left among them.
There has never been a Malfoy who was a squib.
Sometimes though, the blood runs too close; and Narcissa was a cousin from both sides. His father had explained it long ago, warning him in that hallway of portraits as his predecessors looked away. And in the end, it was really quite easy.
Because Malfoys excel at transfiguration and what other families think is inbreeding sometimes isn't
and bone and muscle and skin and eyes and hair and mind and instinct
are easily altered. He thinks
I have saved a child
as he reads the muggle news and pointedly does not remember that he'd condemned one, too.
He remembers being tried as a murderer.
it is in the middle of the last act
"Yes, the Imperious curse, your honor."
"No, but random"
"random images, merlin, merlin, I hope random. I-"
rubs eyes wearily with left hand
"Search it? Yes yes, I can't even"
"even anything the manor it's not even mine anymore, all changed, twisted, I can't even."
lifts both pale clean arms, hands spread, in frustration; places them forward, like evidence
tilts head forward, baring his neck
glance through ragged hair and pale eyelashes, blink slowly
"Sev--Snape? Yes, from Hogwarts."
run hand through hair, absently
"...people will always talk."
eyes to the side; color now, lightly, high in the cheeks
"Yes, of course."
glance up, look down
"Thank you, your honor."
Bow and exit stage left, remember to stumble.
Cue applause as they sing out around him,
"Not guilty." "Not guilty." "Not guilty."
He walks away and it was only later that he could ask,
"Why did you not tell me?" He ground out and he ground down and Severus groaned deep in his throat.
"Lucius," potions-rough hands try to fix themselves onto his hips but he caught and twined the hands in his and pressed them to the pillows above Severus' head. Lifted and ground down again. Someone gasped, possibly him, and it was good because he's doing the catching, him, and you're not guilty if you're not caught.
"Lucius, it-" he bit savagely at that mouth because he knew that the answer would kill them both and it wasn't needed.
He lets his hair fall around them, lets himself wrap around someone he really wished he knew, around, over and somehow maybe containing this non-nameable entity whom he presses down bastard. My bastard, he gasped maybe, traitor, My traitor, and savior, and bastard. Non-lover my-lover, he thought and clenching tight and he clenched around him arms and legs and ass and lips and ground down and hopes that someone breaks. Gathers both of their screams, in the space of their throats, and hopes that it chokes them.
He remembers sometimes Christmases away from Severus and Hogwarts and:
His father knows he hates this.
"I would love your hair short." dares his father as he mouths a kiss into the nape of Lucius' neck. Lucius knows he lies; knows that his father's breath grows short and shamed and guilty when he lets his hair loose
and that his father isn't the only one.
He lets his hair grow long.
He remembers later and cannot forget. He teaches Draco so that he'll remember this lesson too.
Draco Malfoy is good at transfiguration and makes quite certain that McGonagall does not know how good. It is a matter of survival and to be (and he knows well, how; in his bones and skin and soul
like a changeling.
And he is.
The concept of Lucius as a living chameleon has been frittering in my mind for ages, but I got some of the ideas for the court scene from Libertine's Gorge. Oddly enough, I *still* haven't finished reading it; but then again it took me *four* tries to get through Atrophy (help! who's author? link?)...
The myth of Galatea and Pygmalion can be found here [MythNET]; in short, Pygmalion carves the perfect woman out of marble, and in particular:
"He was bent on forming the perfect woman, one that no man had seen before.
He worked on it daily and it grew ever beautiful as his skillful fingers caressed it. When nothing could be added to make the statue perfect, a strange fate befitted its creator, Pygmalion had fallen in love with it.
He kissed those enticing lips - they were unresponsive; he took her in his arms - she remained a cold and passive. For a time he tried to pretend, as children do with their toys. He would dress her in rich robes and imagine her affectionate responses and he would tuck her into bed as children do their dolls."
Marble is often replaced with ivory, but I like the idea of marble better.
The bedtime story is an old favorite of mine, called
The except at the beginning is from Willaim Blakes' "Tyger! Tyger!", the full poem is below. It speaks of the devil, literally in my interpretation; or rather the angel, fallen:
"Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?
In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand dare sieze thy fire?
And what shoulder, and what art,
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And why thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? and what dread feet?
What the hammer? what the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors grasp?
When the stars threw down their spears
And water'd heaven with their tears,
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?
Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?"
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