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There's a storm moving in
He's headin' back from somewhere
That he never should have been
And the thunder rolls
And the thunder rolls

Saturday, May 19 ~ Afternoon

Lucius materialized in the library, very glad to be back at the manor. The business he'd conducted had went very well, putting a spark back into him that had been missing for far too long. Being crafty and a bit devious in the business arena was as satisfying, if not more so, than terrorizing the help.

An elf appeared, looking fearfully at him, and Lucius smirked. "Tell your Mistress that I have returned and bring me a brandy," he told the cowering creature, anxious to see Narcissa. He had missed her during the past weeks and wanted to make sure she was faring all right in her condition.

The elf wadded up the edge of its pillowcase, its ears flattening against his head. "Mistress Malfoy is not here, sir," the elf said in a high pitched voice.

Lucius' brow raised. "Very well. Inform me the moment she returns," he told the creature, assuming Narcissa had went shopping or to dine with Draco. The elf shrunk back and shook its head. "Mistress Malfoy will not be returning, sir." It swallowed hard. "She has left the Manor, sir."

His eyes narrowed dangerously. "Have you been in the butterbeer?" he asked viciously, kicking the elf. The elf yelped, a rib cracking. "No, sir, I has not. Mistress Malfoy and Mistress Black have both left. They has packed and left, sir."

Lucius stared hard at the pathetic creature. "Nonsense," he snapped, kicking the elf again as he strode past and headed up the stairs to the master suite. His eyes were flints of steel as he went to the wardrobe, jerking open the door to see it empty. Drawers were flung open, her drawers, and they too were empty.

Narcissa had left, but why?

A coldness seeped into his stomach. There were only two reasons he could think of; a man or Draco had told her about the potion. The latter seemed to be the more likely of the two.

With a snarl, Lucius tossed the drawer in his hand across the room, the wood splintering on the tiled floor. He stormed out of the room and down the stairs, grabbing his cloak from a terrified elf. Wherever Narcissa was, he would find her and bring her back.

No one left a Malfoy.
Having left one of the Black elves at the manor, Narcissa wasn't surprised when it appeared and informed her of the events that transpired when Lucius returned. She still didn't know how she was going to deal with him, but it never hurt to stay informed. Instructing the elf to return to the manor to keep her apprised of anything else that occurred, Narcissa sat down at her desk. She wasn't looking forward to a meeting, but she could control the setting. Glancing around the room, she took a deep breath and pulled a monogrammed piece of parchment toward her. It contained her new address in Hogsmeade, and since Draco and Severus had taken the pains to ward it as well as they could - it was the only place she was willing to meet with Lucius.


Since your business trip has concluded, and I do hope it went well for you, I'm sure you have a few questions for me. I'm extending an invitation for tea at three.


Sending the owl off, Narcissa rose and went in search of her sister.

"Bella dear? We're going to have a visitor."
Bellatrix' head rose from the manual she was perusing.

"Are we, sister dear? Will my presence be required, or may I remove myself to the warehouse?"

If it were Severus or the Goyle boy — frankly, Bellatrix had better things to do than stay and sneer at either of them. Not when there were nerve-dissolving curses to perfect, down in one of the more secluded Black-owned properties.
Loathing having to ask her older sister to baby-sit, Narcissa managed to smile.

"I've asked Lucius to tea. He's returned and from what Neufer tells me - he's not in a good humor. I would appreciate your staying."
The book closed slowly. Perhaps there could be some experimentation right here.

Yes, she'd promised her sister not to harm Lucius, but that promise could become quite flexible if needs be.

"Say no more." Of course she would stay.

Bellatrix regarded her younger sister with pride.

"I would not miss the chance for Lucius to see how well you are doing in his absence."
The Owl caught up with him outside the Phoenix where he'd been ready to storm into the establishment and pity any fool that got in his way. Already he'd knocked over a display in front of Honeyduke's as he'd thundered through Hogsmeade.

Reading the missive, his eyes narrowed. Apparently one of the elves was an informant. He would deal with the staff later.

She was inviting him to tea, like a guest. At least she was willing to see him. Lucius checked his pocket watch, a quarter to two. It would serve him little to arrive in the irate state he was in. Honey was much more effective than threats, much to his dismay. However the last months reacquainting himself into her life had taught him that.

Needing to 'work' off the blood rage, Lucius Apparated back to the manor. He would deal with the staff now.
The nerves dancing around in Narcissa's stomach were ones that she hadn't felt for years. Not since Lucius had first been placed in Azkaban and she'd realized she had to deal with everything he'd always handled. After changing clothes three times to minimize the look of the small stomach she'd acquired, Narcissa moved to the main room of the penthouse to await Lucius' arrival.

I wonder if he'll be punctual - or even if he'll come at all?

Fingering the papers her solicitors had drawn up, Narcissa chose to sit behind the desk she'd moved from her study at the manor and instructed one of the elves to alert her the moment he arrived.

"Bella? It's almost time."
Bellatrix rose from her chair and came around to lay a hand on her sister's shoulder.

"You are a formidable woman, Narcissa. You will not need my assistance."

The contact was brief; Bellatrix was not demonstrative when it came to the less destructive emotions. She glided back to the other side of the room to observe the foot traffic far below in the street.

"But I will be here, and we will be ready for your soon-to-be-former husband."
Lucius raised his cane, rapping sharply on the door. His lips curled at the sight of the elf behind it, tempted to complete his tirade and kick the creature across the foyer.


He knew he would need to be on his best behaviour at this tea. Threats and tantrums could come later. "Inform your Mistress her husband has arrived," he told the elf.
Whether it was because he'd tricked her or because she was still somewhat - in shock over his deception - Narcissa found she could face Lucius without a riot of emotions running through her.

"Lucius. Thank you for being so prompt. Bella will be joining us shortly I'm sure. She was quite - interested - to hear who was coming to tea."

Moving toward the elegant furniture she'd replaced the glass and chrome monstrosities with, Narcissa chose a chair not unlike one she normally sat in at the manor to pour their tea.

"Please, have a seat. How did your business trip go?"
She was too polite, treating him with a formality she would any person she was entertaining in a genteel setting.

Lucius took a seat across from her, silent, his eyes sweeping over her. She looked well, too well. Not that he wished her any physical ailments yet where was the distress that caused her to take such drastic measures of moving out.

"Narcissa," he said finally as he accepted the tea cup, his gray eyes turning the colour of flint, not wishing to have Bellatrix intrude upon whatever needed said. "The trip went well, however it would see my homecoming presented me with an unpleasant surprise. Surely we can drop the niceties and get to the point. Why have you moved out of the manor?"
Suddenly very glad that there were numerous wards around them, Narcissa placed her own cup of tea down before she steeped her fingers and finally allowed some of her anger to show.

"One normally leaves the residence of the person they've decided to divorce, especially if said residence has been a family holding for generations and it is stipulated in the pre-nuptial agreement it will remain so. There will be no stumbling blocks or delays in obtaining a divorce as far as property. Everything that belongs to the Malfoy estate is at the manor or in one of the vaults."