Chasing Shadows: NC-17, L/D Title: Chasing Shadows Author:ravenna_c_tan Pairing: Lucius/Draco Rating: NC-17 Warnings: Incest. Self-harm. Word Count: 3300 Summary: Written for International Malfoycest Day 2008, for prompt #15, "Lucius returning from Azkaban." A/N: Thanks to clauclauclaudia for the beta-read.
Chasing Shadows By Ravenna C. Tan
His eyes seem perpetually shadowed, no matter whether he sits in the garden or in the study, whether the banquet table is lit with candles or with brilliant charms.
Draco watches him surreptitiously, his own eyes perpetually averted. Lucius has been home for three months now, and Draco has been a man in wizarding legal terms for three years now, and somehow these two facts grind incongruously against each other in both Draco's mind and the reality of his life.
Lucius spends a fair amount of time in the garden. For the open air, Draco supposes. He himself escaped Azkaban on account of his youth and some well-timed words of support from Harry Potter. Lucius was not so lucky, although what could have been a death sentence was eventually commuted down to a mere ten years, and after serving two years of it, he has been released on good behaviour, to house arrest at the Manor.
Draco tries to imagine good behaviour in the prison. Did his father say please and thank you to mongrels he would have normally scorned? Or did he, perhaps, not speak at all?
He has spoken to Draco perhaps a dozen times since coming home.
Draco watches this man who looks like his father but who acts like a stranger, out of the corner of his eye.
Lucius sits in the garden, the sun on his face, working the magic of nature on his hair. It is more grey than blond, now, ever since the Years In Stone, as he thinks of them. He is not a vain creature, except when he is.
Vanity is a luxury he has not indulged in so long.
He thinks back to the party Narcissa threw after his return. A grand affair, perhaps a bit more thinly attended than some of her parties of the past? Perhaps they are better off without the Macnairs and Notts and other weak scum they were forced to associate with for the sake of politics. Some of them are dead, some of them won't dare set foot here again. Both thoughts warm him to the core.
A grand affair, yes, though his appearance at it was less than grand. A brief appearance only, to acknowledge old friends and supporters. He left the true work of hosting, of working the room and searching for advantage and opportunity for Draco, perhaps, to her.
Since then, she has taken to acting as if his stay in Azkaban was more like a long stay at St. Mungo's. This suits him well. There have been no more parties, only the least challenging of dinner guests, and she has not tried again to coax him into bed. He hears her crying sometimes. He expects she will take a lover soon. Perhaps that will spur him at last into action. Or at least stop the crying.
Azkaban was not what it had been during his first stay. The Dementors had been replaced by an entirely hired crew of guards from wizarding Serbia. Some of them pretended not to even know English, and there was no way to decipher their language from the snippets heard through tiny cell windows cut in stone.
Some of them pretended not to know what rights a citizen of Wizarding Britain was entitled to, either. But Lucius accepted the abuses as part of the price of incarceration.
He is alive. He is home. His mind is intact. He has won.
He stands and walks to the gazebo ringed by his wife's prized carnivorous roses, his light summer robes fluttering behind him. He walks briskly, as if to stay ahead of the nagging voice asking 'is that true?'
He sits on the bench in the shade, unable to escape it completely. Has he won? What, exactly, is it that he has won?
Freedom for Draco. That is what he has won. And the satisfaction of having been one of those who survived, miraculously, without having lost home or family.
But who is to say his mind is intact? And what good is it to be home if he cannot leave it?
And am I truly alive? He pricks a finger on one of the thorny stalks that has crept over the railing. He sees the brightness of the blood, but feels nothing.
Dinner is another strained affair, with his mother making obligatory stabs at small talk, each preposterous attempt poking Draco like a needle. She seems to feel that the more silent Lucius is, the more Draco ought to talk to fill the silence. When she asks for the third time whether Draco has written to the Greengrass girl to thank her for her birthday present--the answer is still no--Draco has to wring his napkin hard in his lap to keep from getting up and walking out.
To his surprise, it is Lucius who stands abruptly, nods to his wife and son, and disappears through the parlour doors.
By the time he looks back at his mother, the only expression on her face is one of annoyance. "You should make more of an effort to make your father feel at home," she snaps, the strain lines around her eyes visible as she narrows her gaze on her only son.
"Why?" Draco snaps back. "You don't honestly think incessant chatter about thank-you notes is what he needs? He's quiet. Maybe he wants us to be quiet, too."
"Don't be ridiculous. It's our responsibility to carry on until he's ready to engage with us." She grits her teeth and breathes out through her nose, and Draco imagines curls of steam. He is the one with the dragonish name, but...
He clicks his tongue. "Oh, and it's worked so well, has it? Maybe trying something else wouldn't be such a bad idea. Companionable silence would at least spare me your..."
She is standing almost before he realises it. "You will not speak to me in that manner."
He holds his ground. "Oh, so you can dictate to me how you would like to be spoken to, but I cannot do the same?"
"You wouldn't dare speak to me like that if your father were here."
Now Draco stands also. "I don't have a father," he hisses, watching the emotions flicker through her eyes. "I have a statue of my father that you insist we speak to like the real thing."
She Disapparates before Draco can make a dramatic exit of his own. He sits back down and waits for a nervous house elf to serve the pudding. By the time he goes up to his room, she has left him a parchment there describing her need for a holiday in the south of France.
Lucius returns to the garden day after day. He has tried the thorn on each of his fingers to no avail, held it clutched in his fist until the blood ran onto his robes.
He sheds his robes on the bench. Narcissa is gone; he knows that much from the words he and his son exchanged the day after she left. And as for the son, Lucius has little idea of what the boy does with his time. He is twenty, yet he seems as much a prisoner in the Manor as Lucius is. He rarely goes anywhere, but the place is certainly large enough for them each to have as much solitude as they would like.
That, ultimately, was the most wearing thing about his second interval in Azkaban. The constant attention, the constant contact with the others. Solitary confinement would have been welcome. Instead, there was a regular rotation of roommates, forced to share space with a new prisoner every few days, never enough time to establish a rapport or alliance.
One or two of them wouldn't have been abhorrent bedmates, either, or so Lucius thought. But everyone knew that the punishment for any form of sexual "expression" was nothing less than a proper arse-coring by as many guards as cared to participate. Witches, too.
He isn't sure he even remembers what it's like to feel lust. His lust for power has been as dimmed as his libido.
Maybe it is time to try to do something about it.
He slips out of his clothing, hefting the pendulous weight of his soft cock in his hand. What good is it to be well-endowed when the flesh will not rise? A bit like having an enormous mansion that one cannot leave.
He plucks a rose from the nearest bush, checks that it is not the toothed variety, and then brushes the silken petals up and down his length. The flesh does not stir. He did not expect it would.
And he does not expect to cry out, but as the thorn pierces the spongy flesh, he hears his own voice echo off the roof of the gazebo.
Draco tosses the book across the room. Nothing has succeeded in holding his attention this afternoon, and so desperate was he for distraction that he finally wrote the bloody Greengrass chit a thank-you note.
He does not like her. He does not like the way she smells, which is too much like potions made to smell like flowers and not enough like actual flowers, and he does not like the way she expected him to be all over her the way she informed him she knew on good authority that he had been all over Pansy Parkinson in sixth year.
Stupid bint, feeling the need to compete with a girl who'd been dead for two years, and whom Draco most certainly had not been making out with up on the Astronomy Tower or anywhere else in Sixth Year.
It made him wonder if despite all his neglect and secrecy and the horrible things he'd said to her in fear of discovery, if Pansy hadn't spread the rumours herself to keep everyone else from wondering where Draco had gone. It would have meant Pansy herself had to disappear frequently. Had she hidden somewhere alone, for the sake of it?
Perhaps he is romanticising his dead ex-girlfriend, though. If so, so what? It doesn't hurt her, it feels good to him, and who cares about the Greengrass cunt, anyway? He'll be married to her and forced to do his conjugal duty soon enough. Make her wait for it.
These thoughts are interrupted by the house elf wringing her hands in front of him.
"Master Lucius is hurt," she squeaked, wringing her ears now. "Master Lucius is in pain."
Draco frowned. "He's injured? What happened; did he fall?"
"B-b-but Master Lucius has told Tippy he is not to be disturbed when he walks in the garden... Tippy is a bad elf... But Tippy worries when he--when he--"
Draco stands in a huff, pulling his wand from his sleeve. He has no patience for house elf drama. "Iron your bloody ears if you think you must," he growls and hurries toward the door to the gardens. Is Lucius out there trying to commit suicide or something? The elf is hard to understand, but it certainly sounds like this is not the first time she's witnessed this.
He gets partway down the tended path when he stops. Lucius is there, walking toward him, something like a smile on his face.
He doesn't look hurt... Draco thinks, slipping his wand into his sleeve.
Lucius puts a hand on his shoulder. "How are you, Draco? Been keeping busy?"
Draco is so shocked by the question, by the fact that there are words at all, much less a kind of warm light in his father's eyes, that he stammers out an actual answer. "I... I wrote to Astoria Greengrass today."
"Did you?" Lucius cocks his head, as if he is trying to remember where he has heard the name before. "Good for you. Would you like her to join us for dinner sometime?"
Draco feels trapped by the question, like he doesn't know how to answer it. Because the last time they spoke, really spoke, he had been all of fifteen, the intervening years eaten away by Azkaban, the year of silence and pretending when Voldemort had been in residence, Azkaban again... He does not know how to speak to his father man to man.
He opts for the truth. "Not really. She fancies me far more than I fancy her. And I... I rather enjoy our quiet dinners together."
Lucius' expression is surprised, but pleased. "I shall see you at the dinner hour, then."
Draco stands there for long minutes after Lucius has gone inside, wondering at his father's smile.
Lucius dresses for dinner, a house elf helping him to gather his hair into a velvet ribbon before he heads down to the parlour.
Draco is there already, and Lucius is pleased to see his son smile up at him. For months now he has felt like he is living not with Draco, but with some kind of Inferi who merely looks like him. Perhaps, he thinks, Draco could benefit from learning the lessons Lucius has? So many things have driven the boy into a shell. That much is clear.
A lump rises in Lucius' throat as he recalls the tortures Draco was put through at the hands of the Dark Lord. Administering Cruciatus deadens one's own ability to feel and eats away at the soul. He had vowed he would never think of such things again, for if he ever truly admitted his own culpability in the near destruction of all things Malfoy, he would surely go mad.
"I'm glad your mother finally realised she needed some time away," Lucius says as he starts on his soup. "Forgive me for disturbing the quiet, but it is nonetheless true. She never relaxed for a single moment while I was in Azkaban, did she?"
Draco shakes his head.
"As I thought. Your mother has been devoted beyond my wildest imaginings. But everyone needs a rest some time." The soup is good, something with creamed tomato and crisp fronds of fennel. "She waited for me; I shall wait for her. Meanwhile, it is not a hardship to spend time with you, though I apologise for not being better about catching up."
"That's... that's okay," the boy says. "And I don't mind talking."
"Good." Perhaps paradoxically, Lucius falls silent at that, but he is weighing his next words before speaking them. They begin eating the main course before he is ready to speak again.
"We've all suffered one way or another," Lucius pronounces at last. "From things that lesser wizards and witches might never recover from. It's only to be expected that it might take time, years even."
Draco's eyes are wary, but there is an openness--almost an eagerness--in his posture Lucius has not seen in a long, long time.
"The war... was not kind to anyone."
Lucius twirls his wineglass in his fingers, leaning to one side, feeling more relaxed than he has in a while. Perhaps finally achieving orgasm today has something to do with that. "So there is no shame in... wrestling with demons long dead." His voice has dropped, and Draco leans toward him, hanging on every word. "You must tell me, Draco. If you ever feel... in a fog. As if you can barely feel anything. It seems a blessing at first, I know, to be free of the acute pains of the past. But..."
"I do," Draco says, an urgent light in his eyes.
"Ah." Lucius nods. He finishes his wine.
"You've discovered a cure?" Draco asks.
Lucius clucks his tongue. "A treatment, perhaps. I shan't pronounce it a cure for a while yet." He examines his son with probing eyes. His need to save his son, to finally have the chance to rescue him from the horrors that were Lucius' own doing, seems to burn inside him. "Do you trust me, Draco?"
His son's face looks younger and more innocent than it has of late. A soft word falls from his lips. "Yes."
"Meet me in the garden tomorrow," Lucius says with finality. He says no more about it.
Draco makes his way to the gazebo, fiddling with his wand as he goes. Gardening? Are they going to work in the garden like mental patients in an institution? He recalls Tippy's upset over Lucius hurting himself. Handling the spade wrong? Accidentally cutting himself on the pruning shears?
He has no idea what to expect.
His father is waiting there, standing in the gazebo with a plucked rose in his hand. Draco stands at the edge, as if waiting to be invited in.
Lucius beckons him to sit on the bench at his side, shrugging his outer robe from his shoulders as he sits himself. "The rose is like life," he says. "We appreciate its beauty, its scent, all its pleasing qualities, but we must embrace all of it."
Draco has never heard this kind of philosophising from his father before. He listens intently to this symbolic lecture, but puzzledly. "You mean the thorns, too?"
"Yes." Lucius' smile is broad, as if what Draco has said pleases him greatly. Draco feels the warmth of approval like a spell; he hadn't really hoped to ever feel it again. "The thorns."
Then he is transfixed watching as Lucius scratches his own palm lightly with the stem, the thorns leaving white-red trails there. "Hold out your hand."
Draco feels a slight surprise at this, but he holds out his hand, and Lucius repeats the motion, this time drawing the lines on Draco's palm. He shivers at the unfamiliar sensation, but it does not hurt, not really. It sends a quiver down his back.
"Good," Lucius says, approving of his reaction. "Remove your shirt."
Draco's fingers pluck nervously at his buttons, but he does as he is asked. His father's eyes are benevolent, and he feels as if he is basking in the attention, the approval radiating from Lucius like sunlight.
Gentle hands urge him to stand in front of his father, to turn and face the other way. Now a caress that feels like silk--it must be the flower, brushing down his bare neck, down one side of his spine and then the other.
And then the thorns, just a delicious scritch, his breathing going ragged in anticipation of... something. Pain? Surprise?
"You are alive," comes Lucius' voice from behind him. "So alive."
Draco finds himself whimpering slightly.
"Yes, yes, that's it," his father says. "Face me now."
Again the petals and then the thorns, pricking at his nipples until they are pebbled and a surge of blood seems to run directly from them to his crotch. His cheeks colour as he realizes he is erect in front of his own father, but Lucius does not seem to be at all perturbed by it. Draco's eyes fall closed and he concentrates on his father's voice.
"So alive," Lucius says. "Yes, my son. I was half-dead, unfeeling, until I discovered this garden."
Draco's breathing is audible, ragged and rough. Only moreso when he hears Lucius' next words.
"Don't be afraid."
He feels his father's hands opening his trousers, and then he doesn't dare open his eyes as he feels his prick bared to the air.
A heavy, warm hand takes hold of him, stroking slowly. "You have felt the flowers and the thorns... and it seems you are alive. Come for me, my son, and prove yourself."
Draco comes with a cry, his hands clutching at Lucius' shoulders as he comes hard, biting the inside of his mouth, thoroughly surprised. No hand other than his own has ever made him come, so perhaps the surprise is warranted.