Chapter 32 - Origami

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∞ 32 ∞

ORIGAMI


Lucius was having an intense moment of sadness on the first night. He stood alone on the Ravenclaw South Balcony, which had luckily evaded destruction, looking out across the grounds into the dark hills and starry horizon beyond. The air was predictably cold for November, but the night was clear and still. He and Raj had been up there for a long while talking about happier times, but Raj had left to go to bed and Lucius was left alone with those happy memories, which turned into the haunting thoughts that were always there, waiting for moments like this.

His eyes were wet; they travelled back and forth, reliving those terrible hours during the final battle where so much that was important was ruined in such a short time: Green flashes of curses and fiery explosions of stone and iron, people dropping where they stood, or else falling out of the sky, giants, bewitched Magical creatures of all kinds and those evil soul-sucking things attacking the valiant. They were just fighting for their liberty. So many of them were just kids! What did they die for? He was there. Why wasn't he strong enough to stop it?!! The Psycho had asked him that night how he could live with himself –they were just over there– and he had answered that 'he didn't know'... How could he live with himself?! Lucius gripped the glass of nettle wine in his hand for support, helpless to shut the flooding memories out. Apart from his stint in Azkaban, physically, he had remained relatively unscathed throughout both wars, now the demons of those memories ripped and prodded at his heart and flesh, with real crushing, burning physical pain.

Justinia suddenly appeared next to him, surprising him. It was a nice surprise. Perhaps she understood something of what he was feeling. She looked at him sympathetically and without speaking, wiped his eyes with a corner of the soft vicuña shawl she wore. The airy-soft shawl smelled lovely and familiar –tea roses– and had the warmth of her body enveloped in it. It felt so comforting against his face. He only realised how cold he had become, because of the shawl and the burst of warmth he suddenly felt in his chest. His fingers were numb with cold. The Bubble Heat Charm he had cast before must have floated off a long while back and he cast another around them. Soon it was warm and pleasant and the haunting thoughts had left him. In the darkness, just the silhouette of the spires of the castle could be made out, so that one could imagine that Hogwarts was whole and nothing bad had ever happened. He could pretend for a little while that they were just there for the Solstice Ball, or some other annual gala at the castle. The perfectly clear, star splashed, midnight blue heavens spread out majestically above them, felt like a private cosmic spectacle. They had never been completely alone like this. Romantic and exhilarating, it was the pinnacle of their non-existent affair.

"I haven't seen you in a long while Lord Malfoy. You have been missed." Justinia said being mischievous in addressing him by title.

"I've been hiding."

"Not from me I hope."

"Never."

Justinia took his glass and took a lingering sip from it, which was enticing, but at the same time unnerving. Lucius was unbound from his unbreakable vow the moment Narcissa died, but he was conscious that Justinia's husband was still alive – not only that, he liked Thaddeus. (Well, he liked him enough, not to muddle around with his wife.) Social constraints had become loser since the war and he doubted Thaddeus would mind too much about them being alone together, but it still wasn't correct for them to be hidden away like that, encapsulated in the cosy bubble, watching the stars and drinking from the same glass. One couldn't hide from an unbreakable vow, so technically it was no different than conversing in public view, providing one didn't have a death wish; it was more the principle of it.

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