Tuesday, January 31 ~ Afternoon 'Exercise Hour'
Considering he was still in Azkaban, and therefore all things must be understood to be relative, and far below his accustomed standard of living, Lucius' overall mood had taken a definite upswing since the visit from his wife two weeks ago.
First of all, the ermine cloak she had left him was not to be discounted as an immediate morale booster. He had forgotten what fine-fabric felt like, forgotten the soft warmth against his skin. Of course, this was merely sentimental drivel and he would have never spoken of it aloud--but there could be no denying the improvement of his spirits.
He was permitted a wizarding radio on the evening of his wife's interview, had been visited almost daily by his solicitors, was given an actual goblet with his meals (granted, it was a hideously cheap steel one, but a goblet none the less--he did not have to drink the fine wine his wife brought him straight from the bottle like some savage), was given a chair, writing table, parchment, ink and quills in his cell, and had been given a great deal more food (such as it was) recently than ever before. Moreover, he had been visited by the Mediwizards on staff and provided with restorative potions, so already he had regained nearly a stone of his lost weight. Twice daily exercise was also a new privilege, though the heavily guarded stone court yard was scarcely more pleasant than his cell. It still opened to sky above and carried the scent of cold sea air, and was a place for him to stroll.
(Lucius Malfoy did not pace like a caged animal! He strolled with dignity and grace.)
He was not the only one to receive improved circumstance, of course, but the guards went to great lengths to make certain Lucius remained isolated from the other prisoners, fearing, perhaps, he would attempt to unite them into some sort of uprising.
As if Lucius would ever let himself be associated with that sort of slovenly brawling. No, indeed. His methods were much, much more subtle than that.
On this day, however, either due to oversight or yet another 'change' in his orders for his incarceration, he was permitted out in the courtyard while several other inmates were also milling about for their constitutional. Some were walking briskly as though determined to maintain something of physical fitness by that energy expenditure alone. Others stood leaning lazily against the sea-dampened, cracked walls, staring about them with various expressions of boredom. Others, like Lucius, maintained their distance from the rest, as though to avoid being 'tainted' by association with those of lesser standing.
To his surprise, Lucius immediately recognised one of this last sort. Few, (besides himself, of course), could carry off the appearance of haughty disdain in such surroundings--without looking more than a little foolish. However, good breeding will out, as they say, no matter if the mind within is somewhat... fractured, at least in Lucius' opinion.
The former beauty of this individual also appeared to be rapidly loosing the desperate war against time, but Lucius would never say such a thing. Once again he thanked the Fates which united him with the other Black sister, but he concealed these thoughts behind his warmest version of the 'polite smile' as he approached her.
"My dear sister, this is an exquisite surprise, indeed," he said, offering her a slight, haughty bow of his head. "A fine day for a stroll, is it not?"
His wry smirk belied the sarcastic question. In spite of the warming charms in use, the court yard in the middle of the prison, on a rock, in the middle of the North Sea, at the very end of January, was as far from 'pleasant' as he could possibly be--barring at the end of his Master's Cruciatus Curse.