Chapter 58 - Lucius

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January was over and Harry was just about beginning to relax after the oath ceremony. So far there had been no more fallout than Harry spending an afternoon using mostly words of one syllable and staring off into space for no apparent reason. Everyone's oath had been registered except Pansy's and Voldemort had not even remotely made a move.

It was a crisp February evening and Harry had enjoyed his day of teaching, even if half the pupils in the great hall looked like they just wanted the week to be over. A familiar owl soared over to their table. Since Draco and his mother corresponded a lot, it was not unusual to see the Malfoy family owl making deliveries other than first thing in the morning.

Harry fed the beautiful eagle owl some meat from his plate while Draco untied the letter from his mother. The excited chatter of the evening meal surrounded him with familiar comfort and he grinned as Ron vehemently defended the Chudley Canons to Goyle.

As soon as the letter was free, the owl leapt back into the air and was gone. Harry was paying much more attention to Ron, since he liked to give Draco the illusion of privacy, when he felt the dagger of shock from his soulmate.

[What's wrong?] he asked without hesitating.

Draco did not reply and for a while simply stared at the letter. On the outside he looked as composed and focused as usual, but Harry could feel the turmoil going on beneath Draco's aristocratic exterior.

[Draco, you're worrying me.] Harry did not like the silence.

They were surrounded by their colleagues on the lower head table and he was doing his best not to make a scene, but when Draco went quiet, Harry always worried. He could still feel the underlying shock in his soulmate.

He gave a tight smile to Hermione who sent him a questioning look from across the table, and shook his head very slightly so she didn't say anything.

Then, finally, Draco moved, passing him the letter as if it was nothing. It was a good act, Harry might have believed it if he hadn't been inside Draco's head as well. Needing to know what had caused his soulmate to react in such a way he began to read.

"My dearest Draco," the letter began, "I have waited as long as I dare before putting quill to parchment, but now I feel it is time to tell you. Yesterday morning, Lucius awoke from his coma."

Harry stopped reading and glanced at Draco. His soulmate was talking to Pansy quietly as if everything was normal and Harry did his very best not to simply stare.

"I am more than aware this will not be good news for you, but there are several facts I believe you should know. The Dark Mark your father has had since he was your age is gone completely. According to the healers it finally disappeared the day before Lucius woke up. Although he is still very weak, Lucius is very much lucid. I have spoken to him at length yesterday and today. He claims to have no memory of recent events nor indeed anything he has ever done in service to the Dark Lord. In fact he does not appear to know who The Dark Lord is. I am sceptical, but I have asked the healers to perform tests. So far they can find nothing to refute Lucius' claims. The tests will continue.

"I will not burden you with details, my darling boy, for you have more than enough to worry about. Suffice to say, security has been increased and the Ministry have been informed. If anything significant comes to light I will send word. Until then, know that I love you, Mum."

[He woke up,] Harry said silently, because he needed to affirm what he had just read even if he couldn't say it out loud.

[Yes,] Draco replied.

[Do you believe this amnesia thing?]

[No.]

[Do you want to talk about it?]

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