Sitting in his study situated at the back of Malfoy Manor; Lucius could hear the birds singing in the towering oak tree outside the window. He liked his study, decorated according to his tastes it was his own little haven, away from the noise of his son and the nagging of his wife.
This was the place where he sat and planned his life out, here behind the shining walnut topped desk was where he schemed his next move to get what he wanted and build up the Malfoy empire.
It was here in this large room, with the polished wood floors and panelled walls that he had first come up with the idea for his son, when he had read the letter that effectively ended a part of his life and gave him the urge to bury his head in the sand and hide from the world. But Lucius Malfoy was not the kind of man to hide from anyone, he was the type to stand tall, square his shoulders, meet a problem head on and plot his way out of the situation.
That was exactly what he had done. He'd had a few fire whiskey's to soften the blow, deal with the feeling of betrayal he had experienced; although he knew he had no right to feel betrayed, but he couldn't help it. Then he had come up with the one way he could think of to regain control of his life. Lucius Malfoy like to be in control.
Smirking he trailed a finger along the calendar, yesterday had been the day, he'd had a small drink to celebrate the occasion, to toast his clever ways and sharp brain.
Today was the day he told his son what had taken place sixteen years ago. Today was the day he reminded a dithering old fool of the wheels that had been set in motion all those years ago, of the agreement, the arrangement that had been made, that was to be fulfilled now.
"Come." He commanded when he heard the knock on his door.
"You wanted to see me?" His son Draco entered the room. His hair was cut shorter than his own, but still the same white blonde colouring, his eyes the same grey and his skin like porcelain.
"I did want to see you, Draco." Lucius waved a hand towards the chair in front of his desk. "Take a seat."
"Is there a problem, father?"
"Not exactly, Draco. How are you today? Feeling ok?"
Draco frowned as he lowered himself into the black leather chair. "Yes, I'm fine. Why?"
"Just checking." Lucius replied, "Would you like a drink?"
"Um, no thanks. Is everything alright?" Draco asked, his forehead creasing in a frown again.
Lucius smiled easily, his eyes surveying his sons nervous demeanour silently. Draco was going to be seventeen this year, a fully fledged man in their world. Where part of him was extremely proud of his son, the other part of him was sad that his little boy was no longer little and no longer needed him the way he used to.
"Everything is just fine, Draco. Your looking a little pale though," Lucius commented, his eyes narrowing slightly. He knew his son wasn't one hundred percent well, he knew Draco wasn't sleeping properly, or eating as he should, that the presence of his wife's sister Bellatrix and the occasional appearance of the Dark Lord was a constant source of worry to his son.
There was nothing he could do about that though, the Malfoy's had a duty to the Dark Lord and the Death Eaters, and he was pleased to be a part of it.
Draco sighed softly, "I'm alright, I just haven't been sleeping too well lately that's all." He refrained from mentioning that he was suffering from nightmares, that he had been suffering from them every night since Dumbledore had died and the Death Eaters had entered Hogwarts.
"You feel well enough to take a little trip with me, Draco?"
Draco nodded, "sure, where to?"
Lucius smiled slowly, "I have a little surprise for you, Draco, and a little visit to make to an old acquaintance. A reminder is in order you see."
"What sort of a reminder?" Draco wondered. For the first time in what felt like years, but was actually only months, Draco's interest was roused.
"You'll find out, I'm not in the habit of repeating myself." Lucius stood up and collected his black silk cloak from the cloak stand in the corner, pulling on his black leather gloves and grabbing his stick with the silver serpent head he beckoned to Draco. "Come along, we'll do side-along apperation."
"I can apperate, I passed my test first time." Draco reminded him, a small proud smile tugging at the corners of his lips.
"Yes, I know that, but this will be quicker and easier." He beckoned again and Draco rose to stand beside him taking his elbow in a firm grasp.
A quick spin on the spot, and the feeling of being sucked through a tube consumed Draco before he felt his feet landing firmly on the ground. Opening his eyes Draco blinked in surprise.
"Where the hell are we?"
"Language, Draco." Lucius replied dryly. "We're in Otterly Saint Catchepole."
"Something we need to do that's all. Come along, Draco." Lucius sighed heavily as he reached out to open the small rickety garden gate in front of him and strode purposefully up the path.
Draco glanced around and the odd looking garden he was walking through. Large colourful plants he had never seen before lay open and blossoming under the sun, the grass was vastly overgrown and a bird house in the shape of a castle sat by a large bird bath fountain.
His father knocked the door sharply.
Draco almost laughed aloud at the old man who answered the door. He had white hair and a white beard, and bright blue eyes that were slightly crossed. The smile of welcome that had been on his face died a death immediately he registered who was stood on his door step.
"Surely you haven't forgotten me, Xenophilius?" Lucius wondered pleasantly.
"What in the name of Merlin are you doing here? Your not welcome." The old man added fiercely.
Lucius clicked his tongue disapprovingly. "That's not very polite is it? Aren't you going to invite us in?"
"Invite you in?" Xenophilius exclaimed incredulously. "You've got a nerve, Malfoy. You always did have."
"Are you going to invite me in like a civilised human being or am I going to have to just walk in?" Lucius snapped impatiently. "I'm sure you know why we're here, Lovegood."
Lovegood? Draco frowned, the only Lovegood family he knew was the editor of The Quibbler and Loony Luna from school, could they be at her house? Why?
Xenophilius looked confused for a few minutes, "No, I have no idea why you're here. What do you want?"
Lucius looked annoyed. "I am not in the habit of discussing my family affairs on doorsteps, Lovegood. Now move." Irritably he pushed past the old wizard and into the small front room of the Rook shaped house with Draco right behind him.
Draco scanned the room quickly, nothing matched at all, not one stick of furniture seemed to be part of a set, but at the same time nothing looked out of place either. Bright colours were abundant in this house, he could see that clearly. Draco wondered vaguely if he might acquire a head ache by the time he left this place.
Lucius crossed the room and deposited himself neatly in one of the over stuffed armchairs, white with big, bright read flowers on it. "Sit." He indicted to his son, and Draco sat. "Your daughter here?"
"Of course she's here, where else would she be?"
"Call her." Lucius spoke quietly, but his tone had an air of command to it.
Xenophilius frowned again and stuck his hands on his hips in an act of annoyance. "That's a bad habit to fall into, giving people orders all the time. Did it ever occur to you to ask?"
"Don't waste time, Lovegood."
Shuffling towards the stairs he called up to the second floor, "Luna, Luna my love, come down here for a few minutes."
"Just coming daddy."
A scampering of feet was heard and suddenly, what Draco would describe as a complete mess, appeared on the stairs. Luna wore a long flowing yellowing skirt and a pale blue top, her long blonde hair hung wild and free down her back and she was covered in smatterings of different coloured paints.
Draco glanced at his father, Lucius wore an odd expression on his face, Draco had never seen him looking like this before and was unable to pinpoint the emotion. Almost as quickly as it had appeared it disappeared anyway, so Draco shrugged it off and returned to gaze insolently at Luna.
"Oh, hello, Draco." She smiled warmly at him, as if it was no shock to find him and his father sitting in her front room and she often came down the stairs to find them there.
He sneered in response but inclined his head slightly in acknowledgment.
"Manners, Draco." Lucius corrected him sharply.
Surprised by the forceful tone Draco cleared his throat before speaking, "Hello, Loveg… er, Luna."
"Won't you take a seat, Miss Lovegood?" Luicus enquired gently.
Luna smiled, "Thank you, yes I will." She sat opposite them with her father taking a seat beside her, all the while surveying Lucius with a distrustful expression.
"Why are you here, Malfoy?" He asked again.
Lucius shook his head, "fine, if that's the way you want to play it. It won't alter matters in the slightest," Peeling his cloak aside Lucius produced a document from the inner pockets of his robes. "Recognise this?"
"No," Xenophilius shook his head, "should I?"
"I'd say so, you signed it sixteen years ago to the day. It was your birthday yesterday was it not?"
Luna nodded, "Yes, I'm sixteen now."
"Belated happy returns. I trust you had an enjoyable day?"
"Yes I did thank you, Mr Malfoy."
Xenophilius held out his hand, "I do not know what your talking about, may I see the document?"
"Of course," Lucius smiled stiffly as he handed the document over. "Did you receive a special gift?" He turned his attention back to Luna.
Draco just sat and stared stupidly at his father. He couldn't for the life of him work out what was going on. Why his father was being so nice to Luna Lovegood, it didn't make any sense.
"Just what is this nonsense?" Xenophilius demanded glaring angrily at Lucius.
"It's not nonsense, your signature is on the document, as is mine and our respective wives, with the relevant witnesses. It's a legal and binding agreement, signed, sealed and delivered." Lucius waved his hand towards the scroll of parchment.
"I did not sign this!"
"Yes you did. Your signature is right there, Lovegood, with witnesses! What more do you want?" Lucius rolled his eyes and heaved a deep sigh of annoyance.
Luna tilted her head and looked at her fathers angry face with interest. "What is it daddy?"
"I'd like to know that as well." Draco looked to his own father for confirmation.
Lucius smiled easily. "It is a contract, an agreement that was drawn up sixteen years ago, the day after Luna was born. It was suggested to me by Esperansa, that is the late Mrs Lovegood." He explained for Draco's benefit.
"Your lying!" Xenophilius shouted, his fist tightening on the parchment.
"No I'm not. It's all there, Lovegood, its right in front of your eyes, it's all registered at the Ministry as well."
"What? What exactly is this agreement?" Draco snapped, his frustration getting the better of him.
"It was agreed by the four parents after Luna was born that the son of the Malfoy's, that's you, Draco." Lucius glanced at his son. "And the daughter of the Lovegood's, that is you, Luna. Were, after Luna turns sixteen, to be married immediately."
"Are you insane?" The words left Draco's mouth before he could stop them. Him marry Loony Lovegood! The idea was ludicrous!
"No." Lucius snapped, his eyes narrowing to slits, a sure sign he was angry. "This agreement was made, signed and registered as legally binding, it was done in the best interests of the children. Marry you shall, Draco."
"Over my dead body!" Xenophilious roared suddenly. "My daughter with your son? Forget it, Malfoy. I will not allow it!"
"You don't have a choice, Lovegood. You've already signed and agreed to it."
"No I haven't! I don't remember signing this at all!" He exclaimed, a slight hint of frustration and confusion slipping through to mingle with the anger in his voice.
Luna took the parchment from her father and examined it quietly. Her fingers touched lightly to the signature of her mother. She missed her mother every day, and a lump had formed in her throat at the sight of her name scribbled on this piece of parchment that had suddenly materialised to blow her life to bits.
Her mother had agreed to this, had wanted her to be with Draco, to become a Malfoy. Why Luna wasn't sure, she didn't know if she would ever find the answer to that question, but it was clearly what her mother had thought was best for her.
Raising her eyes from the signature she looked directly at Lucius. "You say my mother wanted this?"
"She did. It was her idea."
"Why are you lying? What do you stand to gain? Stop all this nonsense immediately, I must insist!" Her father was yelling now, almost bordering on hysteria.
"Daddy, you did sign it, your name is right here." Luna told him calmly.
"Let me see that." Draco snatched the parchment from her and scanned it quickly. No doubt about it, this was official, four witnesses, one for each signature, Severus Snape, Bellatrix Black, Regulus Black and Dolores Umbridge; it bore the Ministry seal as well. Draco sighed heavily, "Looks genuine to me," he commented un-necessarily.
Lucius surveyed Xenophilius Lovegood calmly, his mind calculating the avenues open to him. Presently he said, "are you honestly sitting there and telling me that you have no recollection of signing this?"
"I most certainly am."
He sighed softly, raising his wand he murmured "Perfidious totalus."
Luna jumped up and knelt at her fathers side as he lay motionless, as stiff as a board on the floor. "Why did you bind him?"
Lucius smiled kindly at her, moving from his seat he patted her shoulder lightly. "I think it's for the best, Luna, just until we get him to Saint Mungos."
Draco snorted, he had a nice long list of reasons to give to that question, but he hastily rearranged his features into a more sombre expression at the warning look his father gave him.
"Well, I think he should be checked over, his signature is right here, with witnesses and the Ministry seal, but he claims to honestly not remembering signing this. Surely you agree it's best if he has a check up on his mind, just to ensure he's not suffering any form of memory loss, especially at his age as well." Lucius spoke gently, calmingly, rubbing her shoulder as he explained his actions, his usually cold eyes were full of pity and understanding, his expression showing that he wanted to do what was for the best.
"I suppose a check up won't hurt." Luna agreed slowly.
"Good girl." Lucius smiled approvingly. "Your happy with the arrangement?" He questioned, looking from Draco to Luna and back again.
Draco knew his father well, he knew there was no point in arguing about it. If his father had gone to the trouble of a signed agreement there was a reason, and a very good one why he should marry Luna Lovegood. Draco couldn't for the life of him see what that reason was, but he was also astute enough to realise that he might actually never be told the reasoning, but he would be expected to go along with it.
"Yeah, sure, it's fine." He forced himself to sound a lot calmer and more in control than he actually felt.
Luna smiled softly, "Yes, I'm willing to marry Draco."
Lucius stilled the urge to smirk as a wave of triumph coursed through him. Everything was going his way, all he needed to do now was sort out the problem of Xenophilius Lovegood.