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Chapter 2 : Explosion
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His mind was going to explode. Despite his collected countenance and the characteristic sneer curling his lips, Lucius’s thoughts were a mess—clashing with one another and causing his temples to throb painfully. The nights events ran through his mind, tripping constantly over the beliefs ingrained into him since birth.
Mudbloods were scum, lower than the dirt beneath his carefully shined dragonskin boots. They polluted the name of all great witches and wizards. They were loathsome, idiotic frauds shamelessly claiming the magical legacy they did not deserve.
Yet, Lily Evans...she did not belong with the scum, did she? Shouldn’t power matter more than heritage? She was a bright witch, brighter than Lucius would ever care to admit. She could provide him with quite an advantage. If only her blood were pure…
Mudblood, Lucius thought fiercely as if to ward his mind from any more poisoned thoughts. Pain surged through his right temple, a low growl rumbling in his throat. Carefully, he ran his fingers across the tender wound, dried blood crumbling beneath his touch.
He should have let her heal that one, too. As if he knew anything about mending wounds. His expertise was causing the pain, not quelling it. He smoothed his hair warily over the gash. It would be utterly unfavorable if anyone were to notice the lesion, especially Narcissa. She'd throw a Class-A fit over the most minuscule bruise. Lucius did not want to imagine her horror at a wound that actually drew blood.
Besides, the fewer questions he had to answer, the better. Evans had been right after all; if anyone got wind that he’d lost a duel to Potter it’d take more threats than he could be bothered to enforce to repair the damage to his reputation.
“And pride,” he muttered, a sour expression contorting his face. Despite her filthy blood, Evans had helped, and he could not forget that.
The dreary Slytherin common room was nearly empty when Lucius stalked through the entrance. With a cursory glance around the room, he made his way toward a handful of students lounging by the fire that danced half-heartedly in its grate.
“Oh! Lucius!” As his eyes were struggling to adjust to the green glow of the lake, a flutter of pale blonde hair flashed before him and a petite figure latched onto his arm. Lucius hissed, throwing her off of himself and clutching his injured arm in one fluid movement, expecting the searing pain to return. Not so much as a hint of discomfort touched his arm or shoulder.
No, he would not forget that.
“Lucius,” Narcissa gasped from where she lay, disregarded on the floor. “What is the matter with you?”
“Nothing,” Lucius replied coldly, helping her up absentmindedly before striding toward an empty armchair by the fireplace.
“Maybe he’s finally cracked, Cissy,” Bellatrix drawled as if it were the most lackluster affair. With an exaggerated yawn, she stretched out in front of the fire, twirling her wand between willowy fingers, bored and uninterested in the sparks that fell haphazardly on her robes.
Ignoring her sister, Narcissa hurried after Lucius to stand behind the armchair he had sunk into. She began to run her fingers through his hair, which was still slightly damp from the towel Lily had used to wash out the blood.
Within seconds, Lucius was gripping the girl's wrist firmly and moving her hand to his shoulder. He casually replaced the hair concealing his wound.
“Not now, love.” A seemingly sympathetic smile broke his grave expression, though it quickly turned somber once more. Narcissa had abandoned her attempts to find out what was bothering him; nevertheless, her crystal blue gaze remained on him until she slid to the floor in front of his armchair, resting her shoulder against his legs.
At present, Lucius couldn’t be bothered to deal with Narcissa or her outwardly apathetic sister. He needed to get some things straight and calm his over-anxious mind.
“Severus,” he snapped suddenly, causing the fifth year Slytherin, who had been happily ignoring the rest of the world's existence in a nearby armchair, to jump. Severus Snape lifted his head slowly from the tattered book in his lap, a greasy black curtain of hair hiding a mixture of curiosity and fear. He parted his hair, his beetle black eyes watching Lucius expectantly.
“I must speak with you. Privately.” Lucius nudged Narcissa gently with his knee, who then jumped up quickly and grabbed her sister's arm obediently.
“I’m not going anywhere,” Bellatrix stated flatly. “If they want privacy for their little snog, they can go find a broom closet.”
“C’mon Bella.” Narcissa met Bellatrix’s heavy stare with an exaggerated pout. “I need you to help me braid my hair, anyway. I’m wretched at it.”
Bellatrix let out a frustrated huff, rolling her dark eyes to the ceiling, before rising from the floor in one smooth movement. She followed her sister toward the girls' dormitories, each step like an effortless dance.
Lucius waited in silence while Severus continued to watch him carefully. As soon as Bella’s last grumble was heard from the stairwell--sounding awfully like “disgusting love-sick puppy”--, his icy stare flickered toward Severus before resting on the dying flames.
“You are,” Lucius paused, visibly searching for a satisfactory word to serve his purpose, “acquainted with that Evans girl."
Despite the evidently factual tone of the remark, Severus nodded. That was what Lucius wanted from him, anyway--affirmation. That was always what Lucius was after. Knowing that he was invariably correct was like an addiction to him; it gave him a higher sense of power and a permanently wider smirk.
Suspicion grew in Severus's calculating stare, watching as Lucius's eyes glossed over, turning inward, once more oblivious to the scene around him. After a few moments silence, his own gaze dropped to his book, though it no longer moved along the curling yellow pages.
Gears turned frantically behind a blank facade. It was unwise, Lucius understood, to inquire too much about the Mudblood in his current company. Severus and Lily had been close mates long before attending Hogwarts, and it was well-known throughout the castle that little Severus Snape had developed quite a bit of a fancy for the girl. As far as he knew, Lily tended to ignore this fact, but Severus would stop at nothing to protect her.
Yet, Lucius was curious. What could possibly possess a girl who had more than every right to loathe him to not only give a damn but take it upon herself to personally care for him?
But he could deal with that later. Emotions weren't exactly his forte, and he had much more prominent interests to attend to. Or so he desperately tried to convince himself as he pushed thoughts of the Mudblood's unnaturally kind nature out of his mind and turned his attention to the incredible talent Evans seemed to be blessed with.
Her magic was astounding! How had an ordinary 5th year witch gained the knowledge, much more the prowess, to perfect a complicated healing salve? Lucius knew she showed superior talent in Potions. After all, he had seen her briefly at a few of Professor Slughorn's parties and had heard the excessively rotund man's praise of her more than once. But this? Not even his N.E.W.T. Level Potion's class had attempted something so complex.
And it had seemed second-nature to her. Completely effortless.
“You have Potions with Evans, correct?”
“Yes,” Severus replied tersely, barely glancing up from his book.
“She does well.”
“Yes.” Affirmation, always affirmation.
“Better than you.” Lucius's emotionless eyes never left the grate. His lips pressed together in a thin line, hands folded carefully in his lap. Severus couldn't read a damned thing about the man.
“In most cases, we parallel.” Severus cleared his throat with a nervous cough, lifting his gaze completely from the book, long disregarded in his lap. "What is this all about, Malfoy?"
"I am merely interested in her potential.” A thoughtful smile curled on his lips, that fire that had been extinguished in the grate danced in his eyes. “She is a bright witch. Very bright..." His smile faded with the dimming of his stare, forever fixed on the glowing coals.
"She won't help you," Severus stated boldly. "Whatever it is you're planning, she won't fall for it."
"Dear Severus," a devilish grin pulled at the corners of Lucius's lips as he absentmindedly twirled his wand between nimble fingers, "you underestimate the size of your little red-headed friend's heart. It is much larger, and much more accepting than I think you know."
"You don't know anything about her!" Severus's falsley lax demenor vanished in an instant as he jumped from his chair, jaw clenched tightly, fingers twitching toward his robe pockets.
"Calm yourself," Lucius drawled, finally pulling his attention from the grate to examine the young Slytherin who was fixing him with a murderous glare.
"If you hurt her, Malfoy, I swear--" Severus's threat hung heavily in the air. His face was paler than usual, red blotches spotting his cheeks and neck. Though his entire body was shaking, his wand was held steady, pointed directly at Lucius's heart.
"Do not worry, Severus," Lucius chuckled, raising an amused eyebrow at the wand clutched firmly in Severus's fist. "I will take good care of her."
Her mind was going to explode. It was nearing 3 o'clock in the bloody morning and Lily still couldn't sleep. Ever since she'd returned from the Room of Requirement and crawled quietly into bed she hadn't been able to stop thinking about what happened. About him.
He was Lucius Malfoy. What else was there to know? He was a narcissistic, cruel bastard that prided himself in his purest of pure bloods. He spent his time manipulating other students, by way of threats and power, to do whatever he wanted them to do. He cared for no one but himself and nothing mattered but his status as the “King of Slytherin”. As long as he was in power, he was happy. There was nothing more to him than that, and there never would be.
If that were truly the case, then why in the world was she still thinking about him when she should have been happily enjoying peaceful, Malfoy-free dreams in her four-poster bed?
"The hell if I know," Lily grumbled to herself, turning over once more in a vain attempt to find comfort among the scarlet sheets.
There was something interesting about him--something more than he let on. She could see it sometimes - just for a few seconds - when his carefully painted facade would fall and something...different would flash behind his cold eyes. She'd never noticed it before, she supposed, because she tried her hardest to pay him as little attention as possible.
But when she was caring for him, cautiously looking over his wounds, checking for signs of possible infection, nerve damage, scars, he was just like anyone else. He was weak and vulnerable and he needed her. That was why she did it, why she didn't leave him alone and helpless in the corridor: he needed her.
"Mummy, Mummy, there's a snake!"
Lily tugged desperately at her mother's pant leg, pulling as hard she could; though a little six-year-old trying to move her mother was like a man trying to move a mountain. Lily's mother patted her absentmindedly on top of the head, laughing heartily at a story another woman had just finished telling.
Little Lily, of course, had no time for men or their impossible mountains. "MUMMY! A SNAKE!"
"What is it, love?" Mrs. Evans stepped away from the shaded porch, giving the woman she'd been chatting with an apologetic smile.
"A snake! Tuney found it. By the swings." Lily clutched her mother's outstretched hand and led her through the yard, purpose in every step. "I think it's dead," she added in an excited whisper.
Petunia looked up from the brush as her mother and little sister neared her. With both hands, she was threateningly aiming a large pointed stick at the nearby hedges.
"Put that down, Petunia," her mother said nonchalantly as she let go of Lily's hand and kneeled down on the grass. "It's not safe. Now, where is this snake?"
Doing as she was told, Petunia dropped the stick but moved a few more steps back from the bushes, grabbing Lily by the shoulder and pulling her little sister to her side. "Right there, Mum. It's stuck in the thorns."
Working quietly, Mrs. Evans carefully moved the thorny leaves aside until a tiny green garden snake was clearly visible amongst them. The little thing was struggling for its life against a bit of plastic that seemed to have knotted itself around the snake's tail and had gotten caught around one of the leaves. As she reached her hand into the hedge, Lily began to cry.
"Don't do that, Mummy! It'll bite you, and then you're gonna die!" Big wet tears poured down her cheeks as she struggled against her sister's grip to try to save her mother's life. "Let got of me, Tuney! She's gonna die! Tuney--"
"Shh, Lily." Mrs. Evans slowly removed her hand from the bushes, holding the freed snake with fingers placed gently around its wriggly body. "He's harmless, see?"
The tears stopped as soon as they'd begun, Lily staring in awe at the tiny snake in her mother's hand. "But he coulda hurt you." She took a step toward her mother and kneeled on the grass beside her, watching as the little green snake lifted it head and swayed back and forth in her mother's hand. "Why did you help him?"
"Because, my love," Mrs. Evans smiled at her bewildered daughters, hand resting open on the ground as the snake slithered into the grass, "you should always help those in need. No matter how dangerous they may seem. Everyone deserves a chance to live, do you understand?"
Lily nodded, golden red locks bouncing in the afternoon sun. She understood.
That's all that mattered, right? Lily had done her duty. She'd helped him because he was in need, nothing more. But it wasn't why she had helped him that was bothering her. She'd had to help him because otherwise she'd be going against everything she believed in. That was simple enough.
It was the reason anyone else wouldn't have given a damn that kept her mind reeling. He was dangerous. If Lily hadn't hexed him to the bed, he probably wouldn't have given a second thought to doing whatever he needed to do to her in order to leave. He didn't care about anyone but himself, and Lily was far from what might even be considered an exception. She was the very thing that gave his life meaning: a Mudblood.
Then why hadn't he hurt her when he had the chance? Why hadn't he cursed her when she had given him his wand back? Why hadn't he left the second he was free?
Lily thought she knew everything there was to know about Lucius Malfoy, but she was wrong. There was something more to him, and she was going to find out exactly what that was no matter how dangerous it may be.
[Author's Note: Thank you guys so much for giving this story a chance. 120 reads for just the first chapter. I'm amazed, really. Once again, I must thank my amazing beta, CherryBear and all you guys at the forums for reviewing.
I hope you enjoyed the second chapter of Someday, You Will. You've read, now review! ^^ ]
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