She heard him out before silently gesturing for him to step through. After he was done brushing soot off of his clothes, she led him into 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 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. “Before Lucius returns, it is 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.