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Being Right Too Soon Is Socially Unacceptable.
~ Robert A. Heinlein
Tuesday, August 8th ~ Afternoon



Playing with some of her new toys occupied some of Narcissa's time, but she was soon bored and went to find out what her husband was doing. If she had been honest with herself, it would be the fact he was actually there that pulled her to find him.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sitting at the desk in the large study, Lucius was going over the books of the estate for the pass years. Narcissa had done well, almost too well, and he felt a twinge of annoyance. He couldn't put a finger on exactly why, but the thought that his wife was very capable was a little...disconcerting.

Closing the ledger, he leaned back in the fine leather chair, placing the tips of his fingers together, the faintest of furrows between his brow and attributed the unrest to a touch of boredom. Not that he wasn't enjoying spending this time in his own home, reacquainting himself with his wife.
She found him in his study and watched silently from the door before making her presence know.

"What displeases you, Lucius? Have I made an error in the purchase of a property?" she asked while walking across the room to take a seat in his lap.

"Some of the ones in Hogsmeade are a bit dismal yet, but they do have some promise since the town has been rebuilt."
Lucius looked up sharply, annoyed that he'd not heard her step at the door. At one time, he'd been very aware of any change in the room, been more observant. He supposed even his senses had grown laxed in the dismal cell he'd left behind.

He was surprised that she sat down in his lap, something she'd never done without invitation and then only in the privacy of their chambers. Some changes were for the better he decided as he wrapped his arms around her slender waist. "Everything is perfect, my dear," he said silkily, brushing his lips over her cheek. Perhaps too perfect. "I am impressed on how well you've managed in my absence."
"Years of observing you do business severed me well," Narcissa advised him before leaning against his chest and nuzzling his jaw.

"I only had to ask myself what you would do and while it didn't make it easy - it did help to guide me."

Something in his manner, even though he gave her nothing but praise made Narcissa a bit more forthcoming than she would normally have been.

"At first I was determined that nothing would change and that I would hand it all back to you the same way it was when you were taken away from me. Mostly from the fear I would destroy what you had built, but - after things were more or less settled and I saw the opportunities presented by the aftermath of the - discord, I reasoned a few chances were in order."
The Slytherin 'praise' tactic was not lost on him and his mouth quirked. She was indeed worthy of being his mate as he had thought many years ago. "Beauty as well as brain. A man would be a fool to not appreciate such in his witch," he remarked, warring within himself whether he was indeed pleased or not. A very large part of him would have preferred to find her helpless, relieved to turn everything over to him, even if it meant that the estate and their fortune had suffered.

"However, now that I have returned you won't have to worry about such matters, Narcissa," he murmured, stroking her back in a caressing manner.

He was still convinced that, as one of Draco's dearest friends, Potter should be here to share in the misery; yet Severus was alone when the house-elf escorted him into a room to wait for the others.

Narcissa, dear. Lucius. Please let Bellatrix be otherwise detained. Where was I? Narcissa, Lucius - I'm afraid I come bearing bad news. Your son is missing. The Faerie bastards took him off to the Nevernever.

That will go over wonderfully, I'm sure.


"You, whatever your name is. I don't care what time of day it is, get me a scotch."
"Make that two," he instructed the elf as it scurried pass him at the door. A man shouldn't drink alone, especially when Lucius knew he'd probably need a drink at this interruption of his afternoon.

"Severus," he nodded in greeting as he stepped into the room.
Narcissa did not appear to be with him, and Severus hesitated a moment. Should he wait for her, or would it be better to let Lucius know so that he might best prepare her for the unsettling news?

For the first time since the other man's return Severus realized that it was no longer his responsibility to comfort Narcissa and that was both a relief and a regret for him.

Once the elf had pressed a glass into his hand and done the same with Lucius it disappeared. My cue to talk, isn't it?

"I must ask, just to be certain, Draco isn't staying here at the Manor, is he?"
Lucius' brows raised slightly at the question, the drink forgotten. "No. Draco has not been here since dinner of last week," he replied, wariness creeping in on him. "Why do you ask?"
"I was afraid of that."

He held his glass up toward the light and studied the liquid for a moment before downing the contents. Severus wasn't sure if the grimace on his face was from the burn of the alcohol or because of what he was about to say.

"Something happened in the village last night. Certain people - who had accepted gifts from or had intimate contact with the Fae - disappeared. The details are still fuzzy but I know that two staff members from Hogwarts are gone. A witch who had - been with their King was found in the street in a daze, trying to get to the Fae camp in time for something. What, we still don't know."

Severus set his empty glass down and looked at Lucius. Really looked, hiding nothing in his own expression for once. "Draco is also missing. I checked his place of employment, his flat... Sent out word to anyplace he might have been spending the evening. No one has seen him since last night."
Something else could go wrong it appeared. His nostrils flared, his gaze fixed on his wife, thoughts of dragging her out of this room and upstairs, forcing her to tell him everything, away from prying ears and eyes was very tempting, and if it wasn't for the news his son, his gay son was missing he would have done so. The implication that Draco was gay was devastating in itself, not so much that he cared with whom his son chose to get his pleasure with, but the fact if he were so inclined there would be none to carry on the Malfoy name. That was not acceptable and he would deal with Draco when he returned. If he returned. No, that too was not negotiable; his son would be returned to him.

The cane slammed hard on a side table, the smooth wood surface cracking beneath the silver serpent head. "These are the little facts you have kept from me, Narcissa? That our son was dallying with a Fae manwhore and now has been stolen away?" he hissed, a vein throbbing visibly in his forehead, feeling his entire world was out of control.

"When did you become so chummy with the werewolf, wife? Have you started inviting the Mudbloods to tea?"
Bella's outburst of laughter and sudden exit from the room was worrying in itself.

I don't have the time, not now.

Glaring at the man she loved, Narcissa wanted to throttle him with the cane, but physical violence had never been high on her list of options.

"The word little is your turn of phrase, Lucius, not mine and I thought you wanted all of them," Narcissa advised with a tart note in her voice. "I told you they would not sit well. Thankfully that is also the worst of them."

Shrugging she turned to fill her suddenly empty glass.

"Chummy isn't the word I would use to described the relationship I have managed to establish with Professor Lupin. He's a professor at the school and it has been my pleasure to torment him from time to time. Mudbloods have their uses, but no - they have never been invited to tea. Potter has dined here once, but that's another 'fact' I'll have to fill you in on later. It's not important at the moment."
Praise the heavens, this is why I'm not married - above and beyond all the other reasons, that is.

"Lupin is a dark creature, which is insight the rest of us can only guess at, Lucius. He is also well versed on defenses and much lore. In this instance the wolf will be a valuable tool in the race to get your son back."

In other words, can we please get back to the point?
Anger flowed from him with every step he took, pacing like a caged animal. The irony was not lost on him, although he was finally freed he felt helpless at the moment and that was intolerable.

Regaining his composure, Lucius shot Narcissa a look that clearly let her know that he would deal with her later. As much as he loved the witch, things were not going the way he thought they should. Surely it was only his long absence that caused this. Perhaps a firmer hand would be necessary.

Heeding the wisdom of Severus' words, he nodded curtly. "Then if is the w...Lupin that we must talk to, so be it."
Disgusted and not caring if Lucius knew it, Narcissa sank gracefully into a chair and sipped at her wine. Swirling it and looking into its depths she cocked her head and using a light sing-song voice remarked, "Isn't it amazing how the mere register of a voice affects the male ear? Who knew that all I needed all these years was to have my ineffective little Spinto Soprano changed to a nice deep Baritone and all those business dealings would have just fallen into my lap."