The sound came from the dining room at the other end of the hall. Lucius Malfoy was awake at once, his hand grasping for the wand he kept, always, at his side. The room was dark save for the faint lines of moonlight that streaked across the mahogany floor, casting distorted shadows of the window frame and trees beyond. He wondered how long he had been sleeping. The dull ache in his lower back seemed to indicate it had been a while however the odd aches and pains were not uncommon at his age. Wincing slightly, Lucius moved forward in his chair. The house was silent now and every groan that escaped his lips seemed tumultuous in volume.

When did I get so old?

It seemed to take an age before he made it to the doorframe despite the sitting room being a mere box compared to the luxury of his previous home. With a wave of his wand the lanterns that lined the walls of the hallway ignited with a soft woosh. Lucius paused a moment to listen for any responding sounds before making his way, slowly, down the hall. He would not pretend he was not afraid. It was difficult for him to recall a time when he wasn’t afraid. Narcissa slept upstairs, the combination of Firewhisky and sleeping draughts always ensured she had a restful night and he would not wake her now for something so silly.

It was a noise. It could have been anything. Nothing.

Lucius kept his wand raised as he approached the dining room. Everything was still. In the darkness he could distinguish the shapes of their pitiful table and chairs. The cabinet in the far side of the room was a monstrous shape in the gloom. And the windows at the far end…

The window is open!

Heart hammering in his chest, Lucius moved forward cautiously. The thin, pale fingers which grasped his wand shook. Just as he came around the side of the table it happened. The shape flew up at him from the darkness, knocking him off balance and causing him to cry out in fear. His wand flew from his hand and rolled away across the floor and before he could pull himself to his feet his attacker hoooed at him.

“Damn you!” Lucius spat at the grey owl perched on the back of one of the dining chairs. It stared down at him with wide, innocent eyes and watched, unblinking, as he struggled to stand. Glaring, he detached the scroll of parchment and followed the bird to the window, slamming it closed as the owl took off into the night.

“I must have left it open earlier,” he muttered, unsure. His memory was not as it once was and he often found open doors and windows around the home that he could not recall opening.

By the light of the moon, Lucius unravelled his letter and frowned at the words scrawled across it.




He could have laughed if he had not felt so tired. It didn’t seem to matter where they went, the owls always followed. He imagined a group of sniggering teens compiling this letter and sending it off to torment the Old Malfoys some more. Angrily, he began tearing it apart, letting the scraps float to the floor in a pile. In a moment of madness, he grasped for his wand meaning to ignite each peace until they crisped and burned before he realised that he had dropped his wand earlier when the damned bird had flew at him. Cursing the creature, he turned to search the floor and found himself face to face with death.

It was the first thing that came to his mind. The hooded figure with grey mask could be no one else, surely. How else could he sneak up on him so silently? Lucius could only stare in horror as the intruder raised a gloved hand and twirled Lucius’s wand between the fingers.

“Lost something?” the voice teased, unfamiliar and muffled by the mask which allowed only a thin slit for a mouth hole.

Before Lucius could reply the mystery man slid the wand down the sleeve of his cloak and brandished his own wand in the other hand.

“Who are you?” Lucius demanded, his voice shaking, betraying his fear. “How dare you presume to enter my home?”

“Should I have knocked first?” the tone was mocking.

“What do you want here? We have no money, no valuables. We’ve got-“

“Nothing? And yet you have far more than you deserve, it seems to me. A cell in Azkaban would be too good for your likes. Forgive me if I don’t weep for your troubles. I didn’t come here to talk.”

“No,” Lucius could feel the terror climb up into his throat, filling his mouth with the sour taste of it. His stomach heaved and he had to grip the chair on his right to stop from trembling. “Why did you come here?”

“To kill.”

The last thought that went through Lucius Malfoy’s head was of his wife, asleep upstairs.

Sleep Narcissa. You must stay asleep!

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