Prologue: Part I
July 19th, 1998
He’d left after the funeral. Packed up his bags after his mother was laid to rest in the Malfoy family mausoleum. Laid a bouquet of her own white roses at the door and disappeared with the resounding crack of apparition. Unaware that his father watched from the shadows, slumped against the old cherry tree at the edge of the graveyard, empty bottle of firewhiskey leaning haphazardly against his leg. Drunk in his sorrows and invisible to the world. Mourning the woman they’d lost. The woman he hadn’t really ever known.
He had stayed there through the night, and long after the sun had climbed over the horizon. Staring at the doors to the tomb unblinking. As if his wife would suddenly decide to walk back out. He had watched as his son had broken down in tears on the steps, mourning for his mother and clinging desperately to the roses he’d laid before the imposing grey building. Listened while the blond boy apologized to the dead woman laid to rest behind the solid oak doors. His heart broke as he watched his only son then stand up and sever his family ties. Reaching to the very center of his magic to cut the tendrils that bound them together. All he could do was watch while his son shut himself off from the only family he’d ever known. The only family he had left. From him, his father.
Family, afterall, was everything to Lucius Malfoy, and to feel his son mutilate his magic like that, just to get away from him, was devastating. The war had not been kind to the man, and losing a bit of his reputation and prestige had been the very least of it. Those things could be fixed and manipulated with very little effort. But watching Narcissa slowly succumb to the curse Voldemort had managed to hit her with for her betrayal, was pure agony. The fact that it hadn’t appeared until after Wizengamot had declared them innocent of all charges, thanks to a weighted testimony from each member of the golden trio, made it that much more agonizing. With the barest taste of freedom, not even halfway out of the ministry, she’d collapsed in her husband’s arms. Draco had taken it the hardest, after everything he’d done to protect his mother from the brutality of the dark lord, everything the boy had sacrificed while Lucius had resided in Azkaban, and failing to be able to do anything to help her now was too much for him to take. Turning to an assortment of vices did nothing to ease that pain as she quietly slipped further and further away from them.
Lucius had carried on, remaining cold and collected throughout her sickness. Comforting her in the privacy of her rooms and wishing he could be the one to bear it instead. He was the one who’d brought this shame upon their family, the reason for her pain. Regardless of their lack of romance, he had loved her. The years they’d had together were a testament to that, regardless of how their marriage had come about. For over twenty years he’d provided for her, cared for her, supported her… as she’d done for him. Her death was on him. No court could absolve him of that.
When the sun was once again low in the sky, Lucius pulled himself up off the ground. Brushing off the dust and grime, he stood tall as his mask slipped back into place. No one would ever again see between the cracks of his facade. No one would ever again manipulate him into unwavering loyalty. He nodded once in blatant determination and disaperated back to the manor. It was time to rebuild his life.