Chapter 31 - Coveting Another Man's Wife

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∞ 31 ∞

COVETING ANOTHER MAN'S WIFE


Lucius was in Scotland. It was the inauguration of the rebuilding of Hogwarts school, which had been badly damaged during the last war. More than a thousand years old and more than a place of education for young Witches and Wizards, the castle that the boarding school was housed in, was one of the most important historic buildings in their world and one of only a few dozen centres of cultural congregation for the entire international Magical community. The rebuilding was very much a community effort. Most, if not all of the families in Britain and many abroad had contributed something. However Lucius, along with a small cauldronful of other ultra-rich Magicals –repentant conservatives trying to cleanse themselves of the guilt of old Death Eater ties and new gold types, who had little or no involvement in the war, but were trying to make a good name for themselves– had given the bulk of the funding. Hogwarts Rebuilding Board of which Lucius and most of the other benefactors were members, was putting on a three day extravaganza, packed with conferences and amusements, culminating in a festive gala open to the Magical public – or at least anyone who could pay the hefty entry ticket of 500 galleons.

In a way, the extensive devastation that had befallen Hogwarts was a good thing, because it brought everyone together (not only physically but in their hearts). Rebuilding the school gave each Magical person, whether they were the richest Superial, or the poorest apprentice, a positive focus, a sense of renewed camaraderie and heightened pride in their culture at a time when such sentiments were needed most. Lucius had mixed feelings about being there in a festive atmosphere (which he wasn't sure was appropriate) and might have tried to get out it, except as both board members and guests of honour, the main benefactors were expected to attend.

He actually enjoyed the work of planning the rebuilding. He felt he was doing some good (making amends) but the bittersweet pangs of nostalgia and painful war memories were more virulent than ever with all the bustle in the castle. Pretending he was enjoying himself was tiresome. He did still feel at home in his old school and actually felt more of what felt like genuine goodwill –at least from some– than he was expecting, which aided a good deal toward soothing his heavy heart, but it still felt wrong being there for a festival. He couldn't get the recurrent thoughts out of his head that if he had done more to stop the Psycho that there wouldn't have been a need to have a rebuilding at all.

Hogwarts galas were family affairs. His remorse and sadness were augmented by not having his family by his side. Although his son was thankfully alive and also at the event, it was a son who clearly no longer loved or admired him – obvious from Draco's general manner and persistent absence of physical proximity to his father. Knowing there were so many there who had lost members of their family outright, made it all the worse.

He did have a little to look forward to, because his closest friend Rajanaissance Constantine, who was also on the board, was there along with his wife and children, whom Lucius adored and considered as relatives. The two had been very close and were each members of the other's extended Household by way of formal oaths. Rajanaissance (whose first name was actually Perseus, but more often went by the nickname "Raj" derived from his more commonly used second name) was also from an old gold, Superial family like Lucius's. Neither he nor his immediate family had had any Death Eater involvement, so had nothing to feel guilty for, but Lucius had begged him to take part. Lucius and Raj's close kinship had waned during Lucius's darkest Death Eater years and now they were making up for lost time, which was heart-warming for both Wizards. However, seeing Raj there with a perfect, loving family (even if he did consider them as Blood) while at the same time having Draco scowling at him, gave Lucius the opposite of the happy, family feeling Lucius had hoped for. He missed his wife. Although they hadn't ever had what one could describe as a tender or passionate relationship, their marriage had been a good and solid one. He couldn't help feeling it should have been her standing there alive, instead of him. Narcissa enjoyed these things far more than he at any rate.

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