At six, Abraxas had been dressed in white - all light. Now he looked at his small son in deep viridian and silver, with the warming black over-robe. His hair, eyes, and skin shone contrasting, brighter than Abraxas' had shone in soft 1930s lambswool.
"Things are seldom what they seem," he explained. "Sometimes in the darkness, light shines most brightly, especially in these times."
"We are the light here. We are the light of the world." Lucius mock-recited, carefully stepping around a sizzling puddle of... something that turned the cobblestones into tiny slippery islands. He tucked his elegant clothes closer, away from those of the beggars and the lounging buyers and sellers of contraband.
"Almost. Magic is the light of the world, and we are of the light. In Diagon Alley and the pretty streets with school supplies and little cafes with sparkling ice cream and surprising candy, magic is safe, bought and sold - measured so it is just enough to keep us quiet and never more. Here, where you least expect it, where it looks impossible for it to exist, where it looks like nothing can grow: here is its secret palace."
"Palace?" Lucius looked dubious. Even he knew this was the opposite of a palace.
"What makes a palace?" Abraxas spoke gently, proud, even though Lucius was wrong.
"Fine things! And fine people!"
"Fine people, yes. And fine things. But fine things are magical things, and magic is abundant here. And fine people are great wizards, and those who bring magic into being."
"Yes. But also like those whose work is not well-paid, but secret and brilliant. The Ministry hates magic that they can't control. Here they fear it less because it looks less than it is, because of... all you see. Because the power is not visible or apparent."
Abraxas stopped by a man in Knockturn dirty-grey holding a nondescript cloth by the corners so the belly of it suspended something round. "What is this?"
"What'll you give me for a look-see? The boy'll like it."
Abraxas opened his hand, revealing bright silver and copper.
The shredded finger-holes of the man's gloves brushed Abraxas' perfect palm as he took the money. Then he opened the cloth.
"It's all right." Abraxas touched his son's shoulder encouragingly.
Lucius came up to peer within the cloth's folds. He saw his own face in a mirrored ball, upside down. But then the mirror darkened, and he saw himself riding a white horse over Salisbury plain towards Stonehenge, alight with wisps of ghosts that called laughing for him to play. It was his very own dream from the night before. He looked wonderingly up at his father as the man gathered the corners of his cloth.
"Magic. The light of the world. That was not what you were expecting."
Lucius shook his head.
"Yet it is called Dark Magic because it is free."
The boy followed his father into Borgin & Burkes. Curiosity had replaced revulsion.