Disclaimer: JK Rowling's characters.
Malfoy Manor, Wiltshire, June 1997 (5) …4:58 a.m.
Years later, after his sleek, pale hair turned brittle and gray, and the left side of his face sagged like melted putty, Lucius Malfoy thought often about the night of the final battle at Hogwarts.
When the giants charged out of the forest, he had known the battle was at an end. And when Adrian Pucey appeared, announcing that he was there to bring him back to Lord Voldemort, he had known that his time within the Dark Lord's inner circle was at an end.
After killing Pucey, Lucius Disapparated to Malfoy Manor. He didn't stay long, assuming that once the battle ended the Department of Magical Law Enforcement would search known Death Eater haunts, but he had to collect himself, had to consider where to go after leaving Wiltshire. He quickly decided against leaving the country—which might have been the more rational choice, but he knew that once he assembled what was left of the Dark Lord's followers, location would prove important.
Looking out the window of what used to be his bedroom (before Lord Voldemort claimed it as his own last summer), he took in the estate's rolling lawns. The waning moonlight illuminated their ragged, neglected state.
While hardly a sentimental man, Lucius found himself picturing the grounds as they had been in his youth, filled with partygoers for secret gatherings marking the Dark Lord's rise. Gliding among the guests, as if holding court, his father, Abraxas. Dressed all in white, the elder Malfoy resembled the peacocks he'd shipped in from India, brashly defying the ban that the International Trading Standards Body had imposed on importing non-native creatures.
Similar parties heralded Lucius and Narcissa's engagement, then Draco's birth. Lucius's lips tightened at the thought of how much his life had changed.
A year ago, he possessed a pristine home, a dutiful wife, and son, and a purpose: helping the Dark Lord conquer the wizarding world. Now he had nothing. Now, he had to abandon his family's lands, his wife was dead, and his son had inexplicably, and stupidly, tied himself to Severus Snape and Harry Potter—Harry Potter, who in having destroyed the Dark Lord, likely believed he had also destroyed the last hope of restoring the wizarding world to its former Pure-bloods-only glory.
But Potter and his ilk were in for a shock. Having already lost so much, Lucius refused to squander the chance for a wizarding world free of witches and wizards like Potter and Hermione Granger. Half-bloods and Mudbloods running riot, muddying the magical blood pool? No.
But to ensure this Pure-bloods-only Utopia, he would need help. While he was certain that he had not been the only one to flee the battle upon realizing it was lost, he needed to find out how many of his comrades had done the same. He also needed a way to contact them without being detected. Without the Dark Lord, the Dark Marks were useless, but Lucius had an idea of how to communicate with those on the run and even those that had been jailed. First, he had to speak with an old connection.
In the meantime, he'd decided on a meeting place: Little Hangleton. While it was certainly on the radar as a former Death Eater site, Lucius thought it unlikely to draw much attention, especially if his contact at the Ministry could effectively divert the DMLE's gaze. He'd have to work quickly, though. He wanted a crew in place before Hogwarts shuttered for the summer. He also wanted eyes on the school long before that. After some thought, he knew who to recruit for that job, assuming the boy was still alive.
Because there would be so few of them in the beginning, to increase their numbers, he resigned himself to the fact that he would have to look outside Britain, most likely Eastern Europe.
Isolated clusters of dark witches and wizards in that part of the world had rarely involved themselves in matters beyond their own borders, primarily because they viewed the Dark Lord's obsession with a boy wizard as folly. They also believed that he had no real desire for a Pure-bloods-only wizarding world. In their opinion, he simply wanted to elevate himself by standing on the backs of others. They believed that were he to vanquish Potter, he would then turn on Pure-bloods, treating them no better than he had Mudbloods and Half-bloods, because once the undesirables were eliminated, who was left?
Some say his true motives came to light during his time in Albania where rumors regarding his pursuit of eternal life took root. After a time, whispers began circulating about how he had succeeded at squirreling away bits of his soul to resurrect him should he ever come close to death again.
Those same whispers spread west to Britain but were largely ignored by the Ministry along with those that had more than a middling knowledge of the Dark Arts. The Dark Lord's closest associates dismissed the talk as well. No one, it seemed, wanted to believe that he would resort to the level of depravity required for such a deed.
Lucius had had no problem entertaining the thought of the Dark Lord splitting his soul to gain immortality because he had never believed it. He still didn't. Then, as now, he thought it a bit of worthless, distracting gossip cooked up by the Dark Lord's enemies. Then, as now, he had neither the time nor the inclination to consider it: the Dark Lord was dead and he was not coming back, and once word of his demise reached the Eastern Europeans, Lucius aimed to point out the power Potter possessed and how dangerous it would be for all wizardkind if the boy were not brought to heel.
After filling a trunk with clothes and other necessities, Lucius shrunk it and tucked it into his robes' pocket. He then left the house to make his way across the grounds to the owlery. His eagle owl, Lincoln, flew to him when he called. Lucius attached a tiny roll of parchment to the owl's foot, then said, "Barnabas."
After Lincoln took flight, Lucius watched the sky until tinges of pinks, golds, and blues feathered along its eastern edge.
Time to go.
When he Disapparated, he did something he hadn't done since his bloodless old governor, Percival Graves, had begun teaching him to Apparate: he closed his eyes—avoiding a last glimpse of his childhood home as he spun on his heel.