Lucius shrank back a little. He risked a look up at her, and found her turned away from him, dark in front of the fire - safe enough. He watched, steeling himself to face her; what he couldn't see, he could hear. He knew she was near tears. He couldn't blame her - or wouldn't have, under any other circumstances. But tonight, the usual urge to reach out and keep her close was lost in the rest of his confusion.
"Do you think I've forgotten?" he asked quietly, his voice flat and a little too sharp. He stood up and wrapped his sleeve carefully down around the cloth she'd given him for his arm. "What else is there to think about, when I - we're laid up by one of these stupid tantrums? I know it." And it made him regret things that should by all rights have been too far in the past even to remember. "And I don't have the first clue what I'm going to do about it. What would you like me to say?"
It felt good to say things he didn't mean - quite the same way it felt to have his frustrations out on some meaningless killing - a frantic sort of release that gave nothing but false courage. "If I had been free to do so, I'd have done anything to stop it. But I wasn't, and he isn't a boy any longer." He doubted he would ever believe that. He stepped over to where she stood beside the hearth, resting his arm gingerly on the mantle. "It's too late to change that."