“Draco. We need to talk.”
The fourteen year old wizard turned at the quiet sound of his mother’s voice, stealing one more wistful glance out at the clear endless blue sky through the window before composing his features into a smooth mask. Leaning his broom against the wall, he met Narcissa Malfoy’s dark brown gaze, and inclined his head slightly.
“Of course, Mother. Shall we?” He replied coolly, gesturing for her to lead on.
She led him into her study – work room – well, both really; she and Severus Snape had more in common than he and Draco’s father ever had, including an intense interest and talent for crafting potions. The only way to the workroom, however, was through her study, though throne room might have been more accurate. Exquisitely and severely decorated in white, silver, and black, it was designed to subtly intimidate and awe all at once.
The woman who calmly took a seat behind the sleekly glossy white desk was the ice queen, the true power behind the obvious figurehead of Lucius Malfoy, Draco mused, as he waited for her to sit before daring to take a seat himself. He felt the privacy and locking wards go up, and raised his brows slightly. Those were the blood wards, targeted to someone of Black descent, not Malfoy, which meant Lucius could not enter if she did not allow it. This was a conversation not meant for his sire’s ears then. Draco’s interest was piqued, but he remained calm and quiet.
“My son.” Narcissa said quietly. “Now that Lucius is in Azkaban, it it time that you and I had a very frank discussion about your heritage and lineage, as well as your future.”
Draco wondered abstractly why she said ‘Lucius’ and not ‘your father’, but waited patiently for her to continue.
She paused, tapping a glob on her desk with her wand. A large square in the center appeared and shimmered away, revealing a silver, ornate Pensieve. “This is the Black family pensieve.” She said quietly. “Passed down from mother to daughter for generations.” She met his gaze, her own dark brown eyes resolute, though they glimmered with something undefinable. “I have placed three memories in here, that you need to see. Before you do, however, I need you to remove your bracelet.”
He frowned, surprised and instinctively finding the silver cuff on his right wrist with his left hand, covering it protectively. “My bracelet? But you told me that I was never to remove it! I’ve worn it since I was a child.”
“Yes, for your protection and safety. Such precautions were necessary, especially after the first defeat of the Dark Lord. But change is in the wind, my son. You will have some extremely difficult decisions to make, and I would rather you did it with a clear head and resolute heart.” She hesitated. “The bracelet has a loyalty rune inscribed on it, spelled to Lucius.”
His eyes widened in surprise, and he pulled up his sleeve to inspect the cuff more closely. Sure enough, there they were, mixed in with the Celtic design so seamlessly that one would never notice if they were not specifically looking. “I don’t understand.” He said, his heart racing. Loyalty runes were a dangerous thing, almost on the level of a love potion. It was a form of mind control, influencing the victim’s thoughts, decisions, and emotions without them being aware of it. “Why would you need to do such a thing to me? I am my father’s son–” he stopped, trembling.
“Take the bracelet off, Draco, and watch the memories.” Narcissa entreated softly. “I will answer all of your questions after, as I may.”
He didn’t move for a long moment.
It was the please that decided him. Slowly, slowly, he pressed both sides of the hidden clasp on the underside of his wrist, feeling a sharp prick as he did so.
“Ouch!” he cried indignantly, tossing the bracelet onto the desktop. “Mother–”
“A blood clasp, so that only you or someone of your blood could remove it.”
He wanted to protest the indignity and injustice of it all – why had she gone to such lengths to ensure his loyalty to his flesh and blood? – but he was distracted by the whirlwind of feelings that assulted him as soon as the bracelet left his skin. It felt as if a hoard of cobwebs were suddenly cleared from his mind. He could feel his magic spreading, responding, stretching…
“What is this?” He said, and nearly jumped in surprise at the sound of his voice. Instead of the cultured, crisp tones he had cultivated and practiced to achieve (like Lucius), his voice had deepened slightly to a medium baritone. The accents and inflections were different too, although he couldn’t quite put his finger on the nagging vague familiarity.
“The memories, Draco.” Narcissa prompted.
“Fine. Let’s get this over with.” He grumbled, touching the silvery surface swirling inside the Pensieve with a finger, as she did the same.
“Lilian Potter! Are you mad? I can’t just – use – your husband, like he’s some kind of stud horse!” Memory Narcissa hissed, glancing around the fancy restaurant in shock and horror.
Draco did a double take at the familiar surname, as the redhead threw her head back and laughed, the sound full and joyful. “Relax. I double layered the Muggle repelling and shielding charms. No one will overhear – or even notice us here.”
That was true, Draco thought, observing his surroundings with interest. The two women were seated outside at a little bistro cafe, on what seemed to be a Muggle university campus. People wandered by, chatting and laughing and completely oblivious to the beautiful redhead and blonde calmly sipping their tea, which made no sense. Though, they did seem to fit in rather well, dressed as they were in stylish Muggle clothing. Well, stylish for the times, he thought with a glimmer of amusement. His mother looked young and vibrant, her face free of the faint shadows and worry lines, her hair up in a high ponytail that accented her sharp cheekbones, her skin nearly translucent in the sunlight, which contrasted with the deep red lipstick that was still her trademark.
Where Narcissa was like a marble statue come to life, almost too perfect and sharp to be real, unapproachable in both demeanor and appearance, Lily Potter was like fire, vibrant and glowing. Her long, deep red hair cascaded past her shoulders, and her green eyes, so much like her son’s, sparkled with humor and life. Together, the women made a stunning pair. They should have had blokes lining up, ten deep to talk to them, but no one approached, or even glanced twice.
Lily tipped her head back to the sun, eyes closed in bliss as the warmth hit her face. “And why can’t you use James? It was his idea, Narcissa!”
“Because!” The blonde sputtered. “Really, Lillian – it’s just not done. I will find another solution. Don’t concern yourself over it. I never should have told you in the first place!”
Lily opened her eyes to glare at her friend, green eyes flashing.
“Don’t be a bitch, Selina. And you know as well as I do that there is no other solution. Lucius is a Death Eather – Severus confirmed it at the last Order meeting. He took the Mark before you were married. TO do so is to pledge alligence to death and despair and hatred. There is no more room for anything symbolizing light and love and hope, which the creation of a child signifies by act, thought, and deed. Lucius – all the Death Eaters – are rendered sterile by the Dark Lord’s touch and Mark. You will not have Lucius’s child. The Malfoy line ends with him.”
“That doesn’t mean I want to have Potter’s child either!” Narcissa cried. “There must be someone–”
“No one we trust, who meets the blood requirements of your marriage contract.” Lily said fiercely. “Even Severus cannot, because he is a Death Eater. Sirius is too closely related. You don’t trust or like Fabian and Gideon, the Weasley twins –” Narcissa shuddered, as did Draco. “–so James is the only one left. He is willing, as I said.”
“And you?” Narcissa snapped. “Will you so easily condone your husband’s infidelity?”
Lily shook her head. “I do not like it. I wish there were another way. But this is your life at stake, Selina. If you don’t produce an heir, pureblood and magical, then you will lose your magic–and your life.” She smiled thinly. “And this way, I can ensure that my son has a sibling, and family to turn to, should something happen to me or James. We will be sisters by magic, Selina, and that gives me comfort as well.”
The scene abruptly shimmered and changed, to a private room at St. Mungo’s. Narcissa lay on a hospital bed, covered with a white sheet. Lily was there, standing next to the bed in green robes signifying her Healer status. Beside her was another man, who was the spitting image of Harry Potter, down to the wiry, lean build and messy clump of black hair on his head.
“I didn’t know witches could get pregnant this way.” He said wryly, ice blue eyes sparkling with amusement. “I always assumed that the more…traditional method was the only way.”
“Not all witches prefer wizards, or can tolerate the ‘traditional method’, for various reasons.” Lily replied, also amused. “Yet they may still want children of their own, without a man to get in the way.” She smirked. “This is one area in which we are light years ahead of muggle technology. Witches are naturally more attuned to the rhythms of their bodies and magical cores, so we can go in and ‘manipulate’ things a bit, as it were. Not that there’s an absolute guarantee that it will happen, but we can at least influence certain inheritable major traits; gender, eye color, hair color…” She pointedly eyed James’ disheveled mop. “Things like that. More delicate traits, like eye sight, or whether that hair is curly or straight, is still left up to Mother Nature.”
“In my case, that will be more than enough though.” Narcissa added quietly. “A boy, with my hair and your eyes, and Lucius will never know that this child is not his flesh and blood.”
“Promise me that you will tell him, though.” James said abruptly. “And that you will teach him to look out for his younger brother, as he may – no matter what sides or Houses they’re in.”
“War is coming, Selina.” He said softly. “It creeps over us, like a shadow on the land. Voldemort rises in power. I know that you may have to make choices in the future that will put us in direct opposition. Like Sirius and Regulus eventually had to. But they’re still brothers and blood, and that will show true when it counts. Please.”
Narcissa met his gaze for a long moment, before slowly inclining her head. “I promise I will protect our sons as best as I can, James. And when it counts, they will protect each other. This I swear, by blood, magic, and intent.” A gold quill streamed out of her wand, inking the words she had vowed onto her arm in glittery script, before sinking into her skin and disappearing.
“So mote it be.” Lily said quietly. “Shall we proceed then with creating our fierce little protective dragon?”
Draco gasped as he was thrown out of the memory and back into his own head. He met the level gaze of his mother, still reeling with the implications of what he had seen and learned. “You – I – I’m the son of a Potter?!?!”
“You are a Black.” She corrected firmly. “You are the last living male directly connected to the Black line, by both your father and your mother, and that makes you the heir, even more so than Harry. But yes. The man who sired you was James Potter, not Lucius Malfoy. His line ended with him.”
Draco’s mind was whirling. It was too much. “All-those-years!” he spat. “The lectures and lessons and punishments when I didn’t quite act the way a Malfoy was supposed to conduct himself! And the whole time–”
“It was safer for you if you had no knowledge of anything else but Lucius.” She said quietly. “Safer if you were taught to be a true Slytherin and pureblood, despite being the son of a Gryffindor.” A wan smile flitted about her lips. “Your impulsiveness and temper are very much your father’s – James’s – influences.” She raised a finely arched pale brow. “Something I believe, that young Harry has inherited also?”
That distracted him sufficiently. “Harry Potter…is my half-brother.” He said slowly, the words foreign and thick on his tongue. “But I hate him!”
The world shimmered and wavered in front of him, and he swayed. The last thing he heard was his mother saying distantly, “Rest, Draco. It is much to take in. We will speak more tomorrow,” before he was enveloped in darkness.