Time Challenge

Lucius Malfoy paced in front of a long bookshelf located in his study. The smell of old leather and worn parchment had always seemed to soothe him in the past. Today was an extraordinary exception.

His normally immaculate person was uncharacteristically rumpled. A few strands of hair had fallen around his face. His face looked slightly dingy from not being shaved. His dark red silk house jacket needed pressing and looked as if it had been slept in. Fitting, seeing as it had. He was wearing worn carpet slippers instead of the usual hand-tooled leather shoes he wore from day to day. He looked weary as he fidgeted for a time piece in his pocket.

“Blast,” Lucius swore softly. The fact that he was so unsettled irritated him. He reached for a bottle of brandy and stopped halfway. He stuffed his hands into the silk pockets of his jacket. It wouldn’t do to be inebriated. Completely inappropriate.

The midwife had arrived hours ago. How on earth long did it take a child to arrive into the world, anyway? Weren’t there potions and spells for that type of thing?

The pocket watch clicked gently shut as Lucius returned it to his pocket and continued pacing. He couldn’t forever, he knew, but no one was stopping him and he was anything but sleepy.

This morning he had watched the dawn filter through the thin white curtains in his study. The last time he had watched the sun come up in his study was when he was just a lackey at the Ministry, stuck under a pile of paperwork and praying for a few more hours to finish processing and filing petitions to different departments. He thought he was under stress then. How naïve he had been.

The midwife had suggested he take a nap. He perhaps was a bit emotional when he asked her how exactly he was supposed to do that when his wife was in such a state. She had patronizingly explained he wasn’t needed and there was no reason for him to be exhausted when the child arrived. Narcissa was sure to be. Then she had shooed him from his own bedchambers and closed the large wooden double doors firmly.

Narcissa, the radiant beauty his father suggested he court. Lucius had obediently complied and a year later his dedication had paid off as the Malfoy family was bound to the Black family. It was a smart social move with benefits to both sides.

He found her stubborn and beautiful. His first glimpse of her had been out of the window of her fathers’ library. The Black sisters had been playing croquet. The scene had been charming until Andromeda decided to cheat. Lucius watched his chosen partner break the toe of her sister with her own mallet and berate her in no less than 3 dead languages, only stopping to cast a quick healing charm, removing all evidence of mischief. He felt shivers course down his spine.

Lucius found himself growing fond of the strong willed partner fate had chosen for him. He had gotten her with child quickly. They joked when they were alone that the child may have been conceived on the first night they were together, the first they shared as husband and wife.

Their wedding had been an epic affair, of which they had little say in whatsoever. Narcissa had been presented to him, much resembling a meringue with her head atop it like comical garnish. He had to bite his cheeks to prevent himself from laughing during the ceremony. At least until he realized she was doing much the same and looking at his white leather, low heeled, gold buckled, pointed toed, dress shoes.

He had tried to treat her gently that night, but he found her most impatient. She had mumbled something about waiting long enough before she had seized him. He found himself incapable of language for a good time following.

Indeed, it had been worth waiting for. Lucius would never regret a second of it.

The only seconds of his life he regretted at all was when he agreed to a home birth instead of going to St. Mungo’s like a sensible couple. This was madness. How did that fool, Weasley, manage to do it? He had nearly a half dozen now, wasn’t it?

His head snapped around at the sound of the door opening, but it was just an elf balancing a covered tea tray.

“Just put it on the desk,” Lucius snapped. He hadn’t asked for anything, blasted elves.

The small elf scurried quickly to the desk and set the tray down. When the tray left the servant’s hands the small creature all but fled the room. The door clicked shut and Lucius was again left alone in the study. With the smell of sausage. Perhaps he was hungry, after all.

Lucius sighed as he plodded to the desk and sat down heavily in the large leather chair located behind it. He lifted the top of the tea tray and breathed in the steam that wafted out. His stomach reminded him that he normally would have eaten by now.

He watched more sausage appear on his plate as he finished the last of it. So, they expected him to be in here for awhile, did they? Lucius frowned and quickly wolfed down his fill, ignoring the reappearing food on the plate. He quickly gulped down his cup of tea, clapped his hands together, and rose from his chair.

Midwife or no midwife, no one was keeping Lucius away from Narcissa when she needed him. Lord knows, she was probably already making a list of hexes to hurl at him for getting her in this state to begin with.

His feet thudded heavily across the floor as he attempted to stomp across the thick carpeting with soft soles. He reached for the door, and was nearly knocked out by it as it swung open suddenly.

“Master!” a squeaky voice shrieked.

Lucius stared at the little figure near his feet. The elf seemed startled to find himself so near to his master and leaped quickly back. Just out of kicking range, Lucius noted. This was a smart one. Might want to think about the breeding program for this one, it had potential.

“The heir is here, Master!” the elf squeaked out.

It leapt out of the way once again as Lucius hurled himself down the long hallway leading to his chambers. He very nearly kicked the doors in when he realized Narcissa may not like the birth of her firstborn marked with splintering wood and impromptu home repairs.

Lucius took a deep breath and reached for the door. It seemed to blow open as the midwife flung it open.

“Well, it’s about time you got here,” she said, annoyed.

Lucius blew past her and approached the bed, practically in a run. The canopy curtains were drawn, but for one side facing the window. He slowed down and tentatively peered around the corner.

Narcissa was holding a small bundle to her breast and smiled down upon it gently. She looked exhausted. Lucius reached a hand up to steady himself on one of the bed posts. Narcissa looked up at the rustle of silk.

“Say hello to your son,” Narcissa said softly, her eyes fixed upon him with an unsettling gaze. The gold light of the morning glinted off her fair hair, almost giving her an ethereal look.

Lucius hoped his expression didn’t give away the awe he felt. His wife had created life in his image. The moment was profound.

He composed himself and moved to his wife’s side. A small bald head was latched to her, feeding hungrily.

“Hello, little one,” Lucius said softly. He reached out a hand and brushed a gentle finger across his son’s brow. The boy paused in his feeding momentarily to shake his head in annoyance.

“We did choose a name, you know,” Narcissa said wearily.

“Draco,” Lucius said. The name sounded so different now that there was a person to go with it.

“Draco,” Narcissa echoed fondly as her finger traced one tiny ear. Draco let out a tiny sigh and detached himself.

Lucius kissed Narcissa on the cheek.

“Well done, my dear,” Lucius said, looking down at his sleeping son. Gads, that was fast.

Well, the small lad had been on quite a journey. A meal and sleep was good for a fellow after a harrowing excursion.

The midwife came back and took the child away to his nursery. Lucius cradled Narcissa gently until she fell asleep. He was sure the potion the midwife had given her helped quite a bit.

His son was healthy.

His wife hadn’t hexed him after all.

The war was going on schedule.

For the first time in ages, Lucius felt his shoulders relax. A feeling of contentment washed over him.

Even the burn growing on his right forearm didn’t shatter the moment, it enhanced it.

His lord was summoning him, no doubt to congratulate him. The Dark Lord had ways of finding things out quickly.

Lucius disentangled himself from his wife and padded quietly to his wardrobe.

The door swung soundlessly open at the wave of his hand. He pressed his hand to a dark mahogany panel inside and a black robe spilled out. A white mask hung on a hook inside.

Lucius dressed quickly and tucked his wand up one sleeve. He silently retrieved his mask and stepped lightly to the bed. He bent over and kissed Narcissa’s brow.

Everything was perfect, indeed.

Lucius straightened up and hooded himself. He slipped the mask over his face.

A single finger touched the mark on his arm and he was gone.