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A/N: Thank you for reading!

Chapter 7




A clock in the living room gave a heavy long bong, followed by eleven consecutive echoing chimes indicating the midnight hour. The singing of the clock shook the floor in an accompanying rhythm and reached Lilah’s limp form hanging on the floor, sobbing on the license and clutching the wine bottle – the only things she had left to verify that her old life existed; her old life with Sirius. There was one exception to that…Kiden. Everyday Kiden reminded her that there had been a crazy romance that landed her as, what she considered, a widow in the midst of a war.

Slowly she dragged herself to her feet and dumped the wine and the parchment off on the tiny cluttered desk and shuffled into the bathroom where she flipped on the light and leaned into the mirror. Her eyes were puffy and red, both from tears and inebriation. Her long, once beautiful, wheat blonde locks were a shaggy mess. Her pale pink lips were dry and cracked and her cheeks were sunken and tired. She was neglected and worn well past her young twenty something years. After staring at her mocking reflection – a classic Malfoy sneer had worked its way onto her face. She straightened her shoulders and clumsily and haphazardly tugged a brush through her hair. She splashed her face with cool water and gave her reflection another look. She wrinkled her brow at the woman staring back.

“STOP IT!” Lilah smacked the mirror with her fists and then in one swoop pushed everything off the bathroom sink. It all clattered to the floor. Lilah stepped, off balanced, into the shower stall where she stood under the cold water for immeasurable amount of time.

When she climbed out of the water she felt less drained and angrier than she had previously. She felt a cold and numb to the world as she automatically went to her closet and pulled out a set of fine crimson robes. Mindlessly she dressed in the only thing she had left from the Wizarding World. She gently laid out a black velvet cloak.

Gracefully and with a sense of pride Lilah stood in front of the mirror once more and combed her hair and prepared it properly. She powdered her white cheeks giving them life and moistened her lips. With finality she once more examined her reflection. Transformed, she still looked tired, but as one eyebrow rose haughtily a smug smile pulled across her prim face and the exhaustion could easily be overlooked. The clock announced the one o’clock hour.

“You left us, not the other way around.” Lilah said arrogantly to herself. “The Potters were more important and now you’ll have to live with that.”

After collecting several of the documents and a few other random things Lilah swept the cloak over her thin shoulders and slipped into Kiden’s room. She gathered the sleeping child in her arms and extracted a long wooden wand from the front pocket of the satchel she’d prepared. She hissed a few quite words and the two vanished from the room. Kiden gave a little moan and her eyes started to flutter open. Lilah waved the wand over her daughter and little girl’s eyelids fell heavily shut again.

In the far distance a residence could be made out, even through the falling snow. Lilah was standing on a property line she knew well, a welcoming thicket surrounded all other sides. As a child her exploring limit had been his very spot; after all no one could actually apperate onto Malfoy property. She knew they’d have her back.

The selfish side of Lilah rushed heavily into the sensible side and they conflicted for a matter of seconds as she made her way across the lawn toward the mansion that had been her home for so many years. They would ask about Kiden, where she came from…and what would she say…

Sirius’s smiling face came first but she shook it away. They would know he wasn’t really a Death Eater. Regulus Black? She thought on it, but quickly decided that Lucius would never believe that – if he was still the Lucius she remembered from several years before she went into hiding. LeStrange! Yes, Bellatrix’s husband. It was a juicy enough lie with enough mystery in it that they might believe it and he was dead so there was no one to dispute the fabrication. Lilah looked down to the sleeping child – she searched her little face for any hint of Black. Her rosy cheeks in the chilled winter and ivory skin masked by her platinum hair gave no indication of anything other than Malfoy – yes LeStrange would be a perfect victim for this lie.

By the time she had decided on a culprit she was standing at the massive doors to Malfoy Mansion. Mere hours earlier she had known this was a very poor idea but now she did not care. Kiden deserved all that she had had as a child, and Muggle-Ville wasn’t cutting it. Kiden should not suffer for her choices, nor should she suffer for her father’s choices.

Lilah slipped into the abode as quietly as she could. It was warm and there was a soft orange glow from a fireplace being kept in the receiving room off to the left. An aroma of fresh flowers, even in the dead of winter, greeted her and she wondered if her mother was already planning a Christmas banquet. Lilac was the scent her mother insisted on, and the house elves obeyed. She remembered it well and she was washed with old memories and comfort – she had missed this life. She passed the grand hall that arched over her head covered with generations of ancient paintings. She passed quietly into a smaller hall where moving photographs lined the walls.

Every year for several generations there was a large group picture, a conglomerate of Malfoys and Blacks. She passed over them with fond thoughts until she came upon the last one she really remembered…and there in the front, looking quite coy, was Sirius Black – next to a disgruntled Regulus. Her hand brushed the protective glass of the photograph as her mind was swept back nearly ten years.

~*~*~


“Lilah, make sure Tooie pays close attention to the door if I catch him dozing on the front step again so help me I will iron his hands, and for heaven sake get Klopp to warm the brandy.”

“Yes mother,” Lilah nodded being careful not to nod so hard that her pale lilies fell from her freshly pinned up curls. Her dazzling white robes danced around her as she hurried into the receiving hall shouting at the house elves. No sooner had she opened her mouth to offer another command and the knocker barked crisply announcing the arrival of one family.

Lilah stopped as she saw a house elf pull the door open.

She forced a smile at the family on the other side. “Mr. Black, Mrs. Black,” she nodded curtly.

“Lovely Lilah,” Mr. Black beamed at the girl dumping his heavy cloak on the tiny elf’s awaiting arms. Mrs. Black snootily swept past Lilah with only a quick bob of her head in greeting. Following closely behind was Regulus who gave Lilah a bold smile and swept her hand up placing a kiss upon the back of it.

“Regulus,” Lilah blushed as his chivalry, as standard etiquette called for.

And sauntering lastly, Sirius loped into the house with his hand jammed in his pocket, “Hey Lilah, where’s the food.”

Both Regulus and Lilah passed in an appalled expression as Tooie, the house elf, closed the door.

“Come with me, and forgive him,” Regulus begged the apology of his brother as he scooped Lilah up around the waist and headed her off in the other direction. Unable to argue Lilah fought the urge to look over her shoulder at Sirius. The need to do so passed as she was jerked back hastily.

“I got it Reg, I can handle her,” he eyed her dangerously. “Now go play with the kids at the children’s table.”

“Sirius!” The sharp crack of Mrs. Black’s voice echoed in vastness of the hall.

“Settle down mom, I was just trying to help the poor girl out – I mean we all know about Regulus’s company.”

Just then Mr. Black’s tall and distinguished, yet seething with anger, form appeared at his wife’s side. Seeing the downfall that was about to come Lilah feigned tears and dashed up the adjacent staircase. She stopped at the top of the stairs just out of view and strained to hear. She heard her mother’s voice enter the conversation and her father along with Mrs. Black and Regulus explaining what had transpired. Finally a shriek from Old Mrs. Black broke the chatter, “You will go to her and apologize or so help me Sirius Black you will wish you were never born!”

“Whatever!” He barked and Lilah heard heavy footsteps stomping her way. She waited.

Within seconds his handsome form appeared at the top of the staircase. She cocked her head off to the side.

“Aw come on Lilah, not you too!” He moaned.

A smile developed on her face and she threw herself into his arms, “I think we pulled a brilliant performance.”

A bit taken off guard it took Sirius a moment to gather her up. “Yep brilliant. So, how long do you think it’ll buy us?”

“At least until dinner.”

“Excellent,” he grinned sweeping her clean off her feet and carrying her away. “Where can we hide?”

“Third door on the right,” she giggled.

When he pushed the door open he heaved a great breath and was pleased to see that there was a bed in there to deposit her on; and with that he dumped her onto it. “You’re heavy.”

“Hey I didn’t ask to be carried but it was nice of you.” She bounced up and threw her arms around his neck again almost knocking him over. “I thought you were going to let Reg take me away.”

“I should have,” he raised his eyebrow as her, which returned a jab in the arm.

“I really didn’t think you’d come.” She caught his wrist and tugged him down on the bed next to her.

After a bout of kisses he answered. “You’re here, course I’d come.”

“So how about that apology.”

“I want to see the tears first.”

She clucked her tongue offensively, “No!”

“Then I don’t apologize.”

She growled and leapt on him, “You’re infuriating!” Somehow in the heat of the moment with her pretty dress and his fancy robes their hands roamed the curved of each other and familiarized themselves with the touch of the other. Lilah’s dress ended up on the floor next to Sirius’s pile of clothes. They shed their innocence with their concern for reality. And in those few moments they shared reality didn’t even exist. When they returned to the festivities as casually as possible Mrs. Black found Lilah tending absentmindedly to plate of dinner rolls.

“Did my son do right by you and apologize?” She questions snootily. “You still look a little shaken my dear.”

Lilah displayed a coy smile, “Yes, yes. He was quite a gentleman about his behavior. Thank you.”

~*~*~


Again Lilah was wrought with confusion. She turned from the photograph and headed through the kitchen and passed several rooms and onto an outdoor landing. The night was prime and the crisp cold winter air would help her think through all of this.

On the wind a familiar song met her ears in her mother’s practiced voice. Lilah’s head jerked to the direction of the greenhouse. On nights that she couldn’t sleep Mrs. Malfoy could be found tending her Light of Lorence singing to herself. The pale green frosted glass was aglow with all the white flowers inside. Lilah’s heart swelled in her chest. It was true, Kiden deserved better than what she (Lilah) had given her thus far – but on the other side of that Sirius would never want her to be poisoned by the Malfoy’s sketchy morals. And with that Lilah snuck as gracefully and quietly as she had into the house back out of the house with a new plan in mind – and that night, what was left of it, she and Kiden rented a room and stayed in the Leaky Cauldron.

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