Did you check out Severus' background chapter called "Payback" among the Specials? It isn't necessary to understand the main story, but it adds some nice flavour and in my opinion there can never be enough Luc & Sev.
Chapter beta: Dani
Chapter translator: Aivy
"My Lord, Lucius, was just about to inform you of the positive aspects of Narcissa's death for him and for you," proclaimed Severus' deep, oily voice, while he laid his right hand on his chest, as I had done when I began to speak, and bowed his head slightly, causing his chin-length hair to fall into his expressionless face and surround it, before standing up again with his eyes fixed on the Dark Lord.
It happened very rarely that Severus' voice could be heard in these halls. He was silent most of the time, never speaking his mind or what he thought, unless I or the Dark Lord asked for his opinion, but only then! Or else in the private salons, which were public only for us. Yes, we had the privilege of knowing other rooms in these deserted, dreary halls than this cold throne room, but these were taboo for the other members of the circle!
Severus' voice immediately attracted the attention of his lordship, captivating him, and he, the Dark Lord, focused his red, reptilian eyes on Severus.
"Severus, you agree with that?" he asked inquisitively and Severus just nodded. At this point, I skilfully jumped back into the conversation.
"My Lord, exactly, the positive. First, Narcissa's arm was examined and here one of her qualities came into play: her vanity," I said cynically, which the Dark Lord probably regarded similarly, since he nodded slightly. "Well, I am now the poor, grieving, and suffering widower who, thanks to the evil, wicked Death Eaters, has lost his most beloved wife! You see, My Lord, I am fully rehabilitated after the slanderous rumors that have been circulating about me for some time," I explained with a predatory grin.
I must say, I was very happy just now, but not only me, for then the Dark Lord started to laugh out loud in that unnatural voice. It was such an unfamiliar, frightening sound coming out of his mouth when he laid back the bald head, that I had to suppress a wince. But while the three of us managed this very well, the same could not be said of the other four men.
They looked as if they were about to wet their pants, I thought scornfully when I saw their anxiously crouched posture, as the echo of the cold, evil laughter echoed in the grand hall.
"Leave us alone," the Dark Lord now hissed impatiently at the four frightened men in the corner, who at once bowed and retreated in great haste towards the exit. As soon as they had left the room, the Lord measured us with a ponderous look and stood up leisurely. His tall, slender and very androgynous figure stretched upwards, and he now stepped down the steps of his pedestal, slowly and majestically. His floor-length robe played around his feet in soft folds as he made use of the vastness of the hall, pacing silently back and forth.
The three of us stayed in place and waited. He liked to do that, giving himself over to his thoughts and ideas, but he would never show this impulse to move in front of others, I thought. Finally, he turned to us with billowing folds of fabric and his eyes narrowed to suspicious, narrow slits when he regarded us coldly.
"WE know that we have not given such an order to the wicked, evil Death Eaters! Nonetheless, I am quite satisfied with the result of the circumstances, on that we agree. However, I do not know who was the one responsible for Mrs. Malfoy's demise! This is unacceptable! I want her murderer," the Dark Lord announced frostily and I could almost feel Draco tense up beside me. Yet, he denied himself any comment and I saw him squaring his shoulders. Severus was the personification of calmness itself, as always, but my expressionless mask almost slipped when the master so vehemently demanded the murderer!
"But, My Lord! Why?" I dared to ask, which was rather unusual for me and caused the Dark Lord to frown. Too bad. When it came to her, I could hardly control myself. This could not be allowed to continue, because my mask never slipped and certainly not in front of the Dark Lord!
"You dare, Lucius, to ask for my intention?" he asked softly in an ice-cold voice and put his index finger to his lip in a contemplative gesture. "Interesting. Is dear Bella perhaps right and you are not so innocent in the passing of your dear wife? My, my, what abysses are opening up here?”
Damnation! ... I did not mean for it to go down like this. Hermione was one of us and I would do anything to protect her! How everything had changed so quickly, but I would really protect her, especially since she had acted with my permission.
You should never underestimate the Dark Lord. He had a mind as sharp as mine and Severus'. And so I felt compelled to respond.
"Well, My Lord, it is a family matter," I tried to be diplomatic. Meanwhile, I had caught myself completely and called upon myself not to deviate even a little from my normal behaviour, because that would be dangerous for Hermione and ultimately also for me.
"Oh, that may be, but I always want to know how my people are doing, especially those who are as close to me as you are, don't you agree?" he hissed softly and I bowed my head gratefully over so much interest. What an honour! How shitty was that? Well, it had occurred to me earlier that Hermione was versatile with all her gifts and her skills!
Nevertheless, I wanted to approach this with caution and not act rashly, especially considering the special position she held, both in general and in particular. Everything that concerned her as a person had to be approached with extreme sensitivity and great care. Moreover, I wanted to use her for my goals and not let the Lord use her as cannon fodder.
That the Dark Lord, if he knew the exact circumstances, would take revenge on Hermione because of Bella's demand, I considered absolutely unlikely, since he could not care less about Narcissa.. It would be different if I were the one to demand justice, but it was rather the other way around, I vouched for the murderer, as I noted with sarcastic amusement.
"You are too kind, my Lord," I swallowed my anger with difficulty. This made him exhale disparagingly through his non-existent nose.
"Leave that Lucius, that does not suit you," he said contemptuously as he resumed his wanderings.
"My Lord, it is complicated," I raised my cane and cradled it in my hand to underline my words.
"What would be complicated about it, Lucius? I want to know who, and you know it, and you seem to be happy with it! Satisfy my curiosity," he commanded, but spoke with his back to us, taking advantage of the vastness of the hall. Shit, I could not just throw Hermione's name at his feet. It had to be planned carefully!
I had to make sure he saw what he had in her without turning her into something I did not want her to become. She was not to be or become anything like Bella, let alone a common follower! She would never want to be that, nor would she ever be!
She should and always had to have a special position, after all, she was now the Lady of the House of Malfoy and thus stood beside and behind us, the Right and Left Hand of the Dark Lord, and also behind Draco, who in the eyes of the Lord also offered a great deal of potential and would not settle for a lower position than mine one day and would now act as my deputy for the time being.
"Lucius, you increase my curiosity with your silence, but at the same time you are also putting an extraordinary strain on my patience. I hope you are aware of this! How did she die?" he now looked suspiciously at us, one by one. Especially Draco seemed to get examined particularly intensively by his glowing eyes.
"Very slowly, My Lord. It was a venom, highly effective," Severus intervened again.
"Interesting, but why did nothing save her?" he seemed truly irritated, as anyone would be. After all, who would ever guess at scorpion venom?
The minx was really cunning, you had to acknowledge that without envy, I thought to myself. Severus did not answer, he merely raised his shoulders in a shrug. Oh, he did not want to say it. He was right, it would be better if she did that herself - we would need every trump card - or if the Lord himself found out, because then he would appreciate the genius behind it more.
"Can you not tell me or do you not want to tell me, Poisoner?" hissed the Dark Lord threateningly, now standing still and staring down us down. Ah, very good. He insulted Severus knowingly with his vicious allusion. Quite cunningly. Severus usually could not stand that, but again he showed that he had perfect control.
Severus did what he usually did: he kept silent, held back and only slightly lowered his head, which was observed from suspicious eyes. Then this penetrating look was directed to the supposedly weakest link.
"Draco Malfoy, it seems that you too are only marginally affected by grief," he now addressed Draco succinctly. My son behaved perfectly, more than worthy of Malfoy. He bowed respectfully and then dared to answer the question with a firm voice. He showed no fear or dread of the Dark Lord's person.
"My Lord, your compassion honours us, although I admit that I do not grieve my mother. I see it the same as Father: we owe the assassin much," Draco said composedly. The Dark Lord gave him a dissecting look. Admirable how my son held himself under those all-seeing eyes. Other wizards of his age would have collapsed into a trembling heap of misery if they were the focus of that cold, murderous look, but Draco returned it with absolute serenity.
"Mmm... you can be proud. You did a good job on him! He is more than worthy to join my ranks so early. Your dedicated, thoughtful behaviour and actions during the liberation of Azkaban have been described to me from many sides, Draco. Will you now tell me who liberated your mother from her existence?" he said very spitefully at the end and I saw Draco squirming, trying to avoid a definite answer when the unexpected and therefore unusual occurred again, as Severus stepped in, causing the Dark Lord to cock his head in contemplation.
"I thank you, my Lord, for your praise. We have invested much time in Draco's education-" Severus was interrupted by a very cold voice.
"Severus, is it possible that you are unusually communicative today? I do not know how to tell you, but this shocks me deeply and piques my curiosity to no end. You know I hate nothing more, so start talking," he now hissed angrily and we all felt his power building up dramatically. It showed itself in a smoky, black mist that slightly veiled his form, gaining mass and spreading like a poisonous cloud in the darkly gleaming room.
"I ask you to give us until Draco's ceremony. It shall not be to your disadvantage," I offered him quickly and submissively, so that I could avert the threatening disaster of an upset and furious Dark Lord from us. Eventually, a mad sparkle crept into his eyes that glowed like lava and a smile spread across his snake-like features.
"Oh, you want time! That the three of you have agreed to be silent makes me very suspicious! Rather alarming..." he said thoughtfully and now he bared his teeth, pulling his narrow lips away from them.
"My Lord, forgive me, but I would have to agree with Lucius. It would not be to your detriment to grant us this brief respite. I think I can promise you that it will satisfy you," Severus remarked and the Dark Lord paid attention.
"How extraordinary you behave! But well, your judgment comes first, Severus, and even though Lucius is so sure, do not betray my trust in you! Act deliberately. I would not like to have to hurt you," an insanely devilish grin appeared on his mask and distorted his face to a horrible grimace. We gratefully accepted this, his generous offer, and bowed deeply.
Life now seemed to come back to the long limbs of the Dark Lord and he determinedly set himself in motion, beckoning us to follow him. With a wave of his hand one of the wall doors opened in the otherwise doorless room.
Except for the large double doors, it seemed as if there was no escape from this room, but behind almost every panel was a passageway leading into the widths and depths of the generously laid out mansion. Severus and I immediately set off to follow him.
When I turned briefly to Draco, who had remained standing with an air of uncertainty, and shook my head to let him know that he could not come along, I saw a brief, pleased flash of delight in his eyes.
He turned around in a sweeping gesture and left the hall without a word. While I followed the others, I thought to myself that I would also rather make my way to Hermione than have to do politics now.
End of Lucius’ POV
After the turbulent evening and the short night Draco had spent with me in the cottage after his visit to the Dark Lord, the next morning started very early.
I almost had a laughing fit when we gathered in the kitchen at six o'clock sharp, all freshly showered and groomed after a group run that everyone, even Draco, had taken part in.
As it seemed everyone was getting by slowly but surely with less and less sleep, as the night had been frighteningly short, but everyone seemed quite chipper and in a very good mood, despite yesterday's shocking truths.
Now we all, wide awake thanks to the run, hung over our cups and inhaled the bitter smell of coffee. We all knew that Draco had to leave immediately when the Twins started with a sly grin; it seemed the run had made them even more mischievous.
"So we know that you,” George addressed Draco, “are about to leave, but we have something to tell you. WE - that is Fred and I - are now honoured members of the Order of the Phoenix. On your knees, my dears, and freeze before our splendour," he theatrically pounded his chest, visibly proud of their achievement in sneaking into the Order, and I must say that it was a surprise, a successful one, mind you, and I looked at the two of them with real amazement.
"Seriously, they let you?" Harry asked excitedly.
"Yes, really. Mum didn't want to and vetoed it, but Bill and Charlie are members, too, and we' re of age, so she can wish for whatever she wants," Fred grumbled angrily.
"Right. You, my most beautiful Hermione, and you, my most cunning friend Draco, now have spies right at the source, right in the middle of the Order. Rejoice!" Fred clapped his hands excitedly and George grinned very devilishly, which Draco returned with an intensity that could give anyone goosebumps.
But I must say, I loved the initiative. It was perfect and that they got so involved was simply not possible to describe in words; that they were willing to be so actively involved in espionage.
"This is brilliant! Fred, George, we are proud," Draco announced and shook their hands, "and also very grateful... This is worth a lot for us. What are they up to right now?" he eagerly asked.
"Dumbledore's away all the time. No idea what he's doing. All we know, or the Order knows, is that it has to do with the Dark Lord's past when he was young and that he's searching for things. Otherwise, everyone's in a frenzy about Harry. They think he's everywhere, imagining the most horrible scenarios. It's hard not to laugh," George summarized the situation for us in a condensed, quick way.
That was interesting. It made me think that I should also look into the Dark Lord's background, now that I would be facing him so closely in the foreseeable future. Too close for my taste, but what can you do? So I would investigate his past and learn about his history.
I knew Dumbledore's past, now it was the Dark Lord's turn. I knew more than Draco, because he, I was sure, did not know the real name of the Dark Lord, which I found out thanks to Harry. Thus, I placed this task high on my list of things to do.
"Hermione... Most beautiful... She's not listening again," I could hear Fred's offended voice as he waved one hand in front of my eyes. Then he let it sink and braced it against his hip instead, whereupon I gave them my attention.
"At last! That one can never follow you in your thoughts! We now have the information you wanted. Sorry that it took so long; we usually deliver faster," George remarked roundabout. Everybody looked at him without understanding, only I knew what he meant. I had just never asked because I was sure that as soon as they learned anything I would know and, well, the Twins never disappointed!
"Dung had been in hiding for a long time. The first meeting, during which we were also initiated, took place a few days after the reading of the will and well, we grabbed him right then and there. Unfortunately, we could not find out where he stayed before. He wasn't in Knockturn Alley, we can tell you that; we sneaked along it too often for that," they made it exciting. But I wouldn't show them my impatience, so I slowly lifted my cup and drank.
"You see, Fred, you are not going to draw her out. ... Well, you were right, beautiful. Your incredible, photographic, unsurpassable brain was right again. He stole the locket from the family tree room at Grimmauld Place and Umbridge, the old toad - may she burn in hell in agony-"
"AMEN," said Fred and folded his hands.
"Um, where was I...? Ah well, also AMEN... Well, she caught Dung in the act of selling stolen goods and blackmailed him. Only let him go after he gave her the locket for free..." He now sat back and looked very happy with himself and Fred.
"Very well done! I knew I could count on you, my Red Devils. And before you all ask, I will show you the locket when, or rather, as soon as Draco returns,” I explained to the curious group and said to Draco: “I want your opinion on this."
"Okay. Does this information help you?" the two Reds asked at the same time.
"Absolutely," I rejoiced, remembering the beautiful medallion with its eerie aura that lay well hidden in my suitcase and suppressed a cold shiver.
"Er, we have something else... Well, this children's book by Dumbledore, this one by Beedle the Bard, well, we've finished that. I'm sure you and Draco are familiar with its contents and the stories. Now, this symbol, Harry and Fred agree they had seen it before on Luna, Luna Lovegood. As jewelry, they believe... So we, Fred and I, thought we'd pop over and ask what the symbol is about. What do you think of it?" George asked seriously and looked at us with interest.
"That sounds good. I think it's important. It's not for nothing that Grindelwald and Dumbledore wear this sign on their capes, it's also on this book and the old woman, this Bagshot, said the sign was everywhere. Yes, do that, visit Lovegood. Do you have any more guesses what this is all about?" I asked the group and saw the girls throwing looks at each other, so I looked at them with a challenge.
"Well Hermione, we found a name scribbled in the back, really mini! Peverell, that's all it said. It's a children's book of the magical world, every child knows it," it came from Daphne and I memorised the name right away. I would look it up too, that much was clear to me.
"Only that it was unknown to me and, Hermione, I think to you too," it now came from Harry and I nodded at him. "But you know something? I think the bit with the cloak is odd, don't you? The cloak mentioned in the fairy tale made me think about mine," he asked.
I looked at him uncomprehendingly when he already went on speaking.
"Well, it came from Dumbledore. He said the invisibility cloak belonged to my father and that it was a precious heirloom that had been passed down in my family for centuries, as Sirius confirmed... But in the tale... Oh, I don't know... We just shouldn't forget it," he said with uncertainty and ran a hand through his shaggy, black hair.
Where Harry was right, he was right. I had read the children's stories in it and found it fascinating, had also briefly thought of Harry's invisibility cloak, but never like that before.
"What, centuries?!" Draco checked incredulously.
"Yes, that's what Dumbledore said to me, and I've had it myself for nearly six years now, and the thing is as good as new," explained Harry to Draco, amazingly communicative and remarkably nice.
"WHAT... Okay, I have another question: do any of you know or have invisibility cloaks?" asked Draco in a blasé manner after he had quickly regained his composure.
"Um, yeah, I... Well, one of those cheap ones used to belong to one of my mom's husbands. However, the colour of my skin hides me better at night than that thing," Blaise said dismissively.
"Good. Well, I thought you always knew everything Hermione," Draco chided me playfully and I saw the happy sparkle in his grey eyes and frowned unwillingly.
"Hey, what do you mean? How such a cloak is made? I can tell you," I felt really offended in my honour and now rattled down my knowledge. "...good invisibility cloaks look as if they were woven from water. But these are the hairs of a petite little monkey with a long silvery coat, the Demiguise! This animal can make itself instinctively invisible in case of danger. This ability makes them difficult to detect, of course, and so their fur is very rare and expensive, which is why invisibility cloaks are so rare," I snobbishly shared my knowledge and saw Draco rolling his eyes and all the others with him. Wasn't that rude? I dared to ask myself and crossed my arms in front of my chest with a scoff.
"Have you really seen one, Hermione?" Draco asked me now, raising his brow questioningly.
"Yes, I know Harry's," I said slightly insolently.
"No, that doesn't count. Any other instance?" he asked probingly and I shook my head in annoyance. "Well, we Malfoys naturally possess such valuable cloaks. Rest assured, they will not last centuries. At the most, they have maybe ten years during which they're impeccable. If they last longer, let's say twice as long, they need to be cared for very carefully," Draco explained and Harry and I looked at each other speechlessly. "But even then, at some point, the fabric deteriorates and gradually loses its perfect camouflage..."
"But, but... I don't think the Marauders have been careful with this thing and neither have we, right, Hermione?" he looked at me questioningly.
"No, Harry, you're right. No one has handled the cloak with care," I agreed with him wholeheartedly. "And your cloak works perfectly, despite its age, and its fabric is completely undamaged! That's not normal, is it, Draco?" I investigated.
"No, believe me. In the Manor, we have centuries-old invisibility cloaks scattered throughout the attic and be sure, the cloaks disguise nothing anymore," Draco confirmed, looking at us.
"But then does that mean these hallows are real? Uh..." Blaise voiced his doubts and made a dismissive gesture.
"I don't know and if they are, I don't want to bring back the dead or anything," Harry said and I rolled my eyes.
"Not that, but the wand would be good, or not," Astoria now threw in and I was grateful.
"Now, guys, don't get all worked up! It's just one of many possibilities. Many uncertainties remain. The Twins will visit the Lovegoods and do some research there and you check the Peverells, maybe we'll be smarter by then! Because why would this particular piece have gotten into the hands of the Potters and whathaveyou... There are many unanswered questions. I am also interested in the locket, but I have to go, otherwise Father will become unbearable. Until then," Draco had distributed the tasks, waved into the round, bent over to me, kissed me lovingly on my head and disappeared quickly. I took a deep breath.
Well, that was a departure, I thought sarcastically after he had generously handed out the assignments to all of us.