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Il Mago
So much for having sex standing up. So much for blackout days on the calendar. So much for Ceara Cauldwell's goddamned book. So much for acidity and viscosity and temperature and what have you. I let Herself deal with those variables, in any case.

None of it bloody worked.

And now... and now... all I remember is the look on her face when she told me. "We're going to have a son, Lucius." That, and the sound of his heart beating. It echoed in the room when the healer cast the spell, just as Draco's did twenty-five years ago.

A boy. A son. Which means so much, but it also means another child after this one. This one, and then another one, until she has a daughter. Two children is not so very untoward, but three? I can't recall a Malfoy having so many children. Not acknowledged ones. Not that these will be acknowledged as Malfoys. Not necessarily.

I shall have to tell Draco. He may be wondering already. I should like to see his expression when he hears he is to have a brother. He was never sanguine about the matter, even when it was just to be the girl. I wonder what I would have said, if my father told me he'd sired another boy.

Merlin, I'm going to have a son. Another son.
Severus,

I see from your latest owl to me that yet another creature of undetermined origin has crawled up your nether regions and died. Just what is it about my bloody hair that causes you to seize upon it at any available opportunity and use it to insult me?

My choice of Chittock as an appropriate curator for the Museum of the Dark Arts had nothing to do with how my tresses are or are not laced, and everything to do with his reputation as an antiquities collector and steward of the LaFarges collection in Oxford. He was a sound choice given the information I had at the time, and if I have learned some rather startling details since then, it is hardly my fault that His Lupine Excellency, Minister Knightley chose to accept the recommendation without checking Mr. Chittock's current references.

Speaking of the Museum, an expert on the use of potions as an adjunct to the development of magical weaponry will be speaking at Theatric Hall in Diagon this coming Saturday. I thought you might attend and report, as there may be much of use in our research with the Blood Axe artefacts. I have a prior engagement, and in any case you know my attitude toward your particular branch of magic. You would glean far more from the presentation than I. There is a reception following the talk, so you would have the opportunity to question Mr. Perrydale at your leisure.

Do let me know if you shall be able to attend, and if your reply can avoid referencing my tonsorial attributes, so much the better.

Lucius
Matriarch,

As it happens, your information is quite correct. Sarah and I plan to visit the healer tomorrow afternoon. Since you indicate that you can easily obtain the results of the examination through "other channels", whatever those may be, then I shall not trouble you with a report myself. In any case, as we followed much of your sage--if distressingly detailed--advice regarding the conception of a girl, I estimate that we have at least a one in two chance that Sarah is bearing a daughter.

Never let it be said that I have no respect for the wisdom you have gathered throughout your long life, Ceara.

Sarah and I plan to arrive at Nead next Sunday afternoon. A pressing family engagement will keep me on this side of the Atlantic until then, but we will spend Samhain as your guests. If Sarah is in less than perfect temper during our visit, then we can blame it upon her ridiculous assertion that a text upon healthy pregnancy is somehow a less desirable gift than a fine fur and cashmere cloak.

I must commend you on the excellence of your tailors, by the way. The cloak fits perfectly and looks stunning, if I say so myself.

Fond regards,
Lucius Malfoy
Draco,

I thought we might have a brief discussion here regarding your latest owl. Miss St. Clare has much to recommend her, not least of which is her apparent disregard for the custom of monogamy. Keep in mind that you do not plan to be monogamous. Or not with her. She is therefore likely to be accepting of your relationship with Severus, as well as unlikely to make a match with prospects who would be your competitors. She is attractive, well-off, and her family has much to offer.

Regarding your demands as to her behavior, it is a bit much to expect that a girl with her nature will agree to abstain from carnal activities for twelve years, until the child is of school age. While I think it not unreasonable to demand that she dress appropriately, and that she conduct her affairs with the utmost discretion, I urge you to consider this an article in her favor rather than the opposite.
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Dear Draco,

While I am sure you have been enjoying the brief respite from our search for your future wife, I believe it would be best for all concerned if we returned to our list and began anew. The failure with Miss Garde was regrettable to say the least, but I am certain you will not allow such a thing to happen a second time.

Upon reflection, I think Miss St. Clare is the most suitable of our remaining candidates, and I have contacted her mother with an invitation to dinner on the weekend following this one. I trust you will make yourself available, but if for some reason that is impossible, let me know as soon as you can.

It need hardly be said that Severus is not invited. I have no wish, however, to cause him undue distress, so if you require any assistance in arranging a suitable distraction I will be pleased to provide it. Perhaps we could induce the wolf to take him out for a drink, or bribe one of his colleagues to offer an impromptu workshop on some poison or other. I shall leave you to decide what is suitable.

Fond regards,
Father
Sarah. I'd like to speak with you.
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Fionn, it's Lucius. Are you there?
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They were pink. They were the most unutterably hideous shade of cerise, peeking over the tops of her boots. There is no excuse I can imagine for wearing hosiery of that colour, not even her callow youth, and yet here I am in my library, unable to stop thinking of them. Of her ankles. Her legs. They were amazingly long and of the most perfect shape conceivable.

Herself has been dreadful today, which was the reason I was in the café in the first place. Even so, had I asked, she would have told me I could. I did not want to ask. I did not want to have to ask. I wanted to simply take the girl and find a room, peel those dreadful things from her legs and make her sweat, make her scream. I wanted to leave my bite marks on her thighs. I wanted to wrap my fingers in her long blonde hair and pull her head back until the line from her throat to her belly was one long, scented velvet plane.

Instead I returned to the villa, to a woman who when she isn't green with nausea is finding novel ways to slide under my skin. She's carrying a child who will be born a scant seven months from now. Just over half a year. My child.

If I close my eyes, I see pale rose at the back of a slender knee, and sharp brown eyes flashing at me over the rim of her cup.

Another drink, I believe, before bed.
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The wolf will be stepping down from the Museum curatorship, and I require a replacement. A, who was the gentleman we dealt with three or four years ago, who appraised the charmed screens and that odd little infant-bone talisman?
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Julian

I think I shall do rather more than sit in on the final interviews for our next curator. Since you offered me so little input on the last man to hold the position, it is only fair to give me the opportunity to choose his replacement. I shall have a candidate ready for your approval within the week.

I shall be striking "werewolf" from the list of requirements for the position. I trust you won't be too disappointed.

Good evening, Minister.

Lucius Malfoy