August 20, 1998, near midnight.
“That child has become unmanageable…”
Lucius’ words echoed through Narcissa’s mind that night as she lay in their four-poster bed, trying to force sleep. By that time, she knew every intricate detail in the canopy of the bed, having memorised them long ago as she lay awake at night, worrying about various circumstances that she could not change.
My family is falling apart.
She had tried to prevent the thought numerous times in the four months since the end of the war. The quarrel between her son and husband that she had interrupted that afternoon had only reinforced the idea, however. Technically, she knew that there was nothing that could truly break her family apart. Lucius and Draco loved each other just as much as they loved her. That love did not prevent the tension that had permeated the Manor for months – years even – from spilling out into heated arguments that resulted in one or the other storming from the room.
She, Lucius and Draco had been through so much over the past few years – much more than she had expected to have to survive – and had come through the other side relatively intact. Their family unit as a whole was strong; it always had been. Why the nagging little voice in the back of her mind insisted on telling her that this could not last, she could not tell.
Lucius is falling apart.
This thought was much more difficult for Narcissa to reason away. She had witnessed the changes in her husband on a daily basis since Harry Potter had testified for him at his trial. Lucius had slowly been withdrawing more into himself since the fall of The Dark Lord, and neglecting things that used to command a large portion of his attention. Where a tall, proud and handsome man once stood, there was now a cowed and bitter man who was becoming increasingly more reclusive by the day. The two years house arrest that he had been slapped with on top of the loss of half of his fortune and a great amount of the estates that the Malfoy family had overseen for centuries now as reparation had not helped Lucius’ situation any.
Not that not being placed under house arrest would have made any difference to Lucius’ sociability these past few months, Narcissa considered. Almost every single one of Lucius’ business associates, partners, and friends were either dead, in Azkaban, or had either fled the country or had been exiled for their parts in the war. Even if Lucius had been completely innocent, he would have lost all of his contacts and friends when The Dark Lord fell. Every one of them except Severus, it seemed. She shook her head as a small smile crossed her face at the idea. Severus had been a good friend to the two of them over the years, and a wonderful mentor to Draco, even if things had disintegrated between them the past few years.
Draco has no future.
This, too, was a difficult thought to push away. The quarrel Draco had been having with his father that afternoon was something that the two of them continued to hash up. Narcissa knew that Draco was correct in thinking that Lucius’ associations with The Dark Lord had damaged Draco’s own chances at a normal life. He would forever be marred by the Dark Mark that had been burned onto his forearm when he had been but sixteen years of age; there was no denying that fact.
Narcissa actually agreed somewhat with Draco’s reasoning that going back to school to properly finish his education would improve his options; not that she would ever inform Lucius. For generations, the firstborn men of both the Malfoy and Black families had spent their entire lives living off their family money and managing their family estates. Draco did not have this option any longer because of the choices Lucius had made before Draco was even alive. She still held onto the hope that, one day, he would find his place in the world.
It will all be alright in the end.
Rolling onto her side so she could curl around Lucius’ back, Narcissa closed her eyes tight. Her family had always been strong; always stood together against everything thrown at them. There was no reason that they could not push through these latest troubles.