(WLxx) Prologue

Hold on to this lullaby, Even when the music’s gone.

“Safe&Sound,” Taylor Swift

“This is wrong,” Imbolc breathed, and she turned to look at her cousin Draco Malfoy.  They had snuck out of the Manor and were wearing their best approximation of Muggle clothes.  Draco was wearing his Hogwarts uniform sans robes and Imbolc was in a black Illyria dress that cinched at the waist and flared down to her knees.

Draco came up to her and touched her shoulder.  “What can we do?  We’re playing truant.”

“There must be a Muggle priest here,” she said decidedly.  She was crouching before the grave, her gloved fingers tracing the lines.  “They don’t even have her married name.  She’s Heiress Sirius Black, Lux Black if you want to get Muggle.  Why are they using her maiden name of Kingsley?”

Draco shrugged.  “Who understands Muggles?”

Imbolc breathed in deeply and stood.  “I think I saw a rectory somewhere,” she admitted.  She glanced at the small stone church and then looked until her eyes alighted on a house next to it.  “That would be it.”

“Imbolc, really,” Draco said, as he followed her.  She was walking at a fast clip toward the building.  “There is nothing we can do.  We already illegally Apparated here.  We’re just fifteen.”

She breathed in deeply.  “Draco, we have to try.”

“Then let’s bring it up with Father.  Cousin Lux is his niece after all.”

Leaning in toward him, she whispered, “He finds her marriage shameful.”

“True,” Draco answered, “but he loved her and he adores you.  You know he considers you his eldest daughter.”

She nodded.  “Promise me we’ll see this through.”

“We’ll see this through,” he swore, offering his hand.  They shook on it.  He grabbed her and pulled her into his embrace and she just curled into him.

“How did she ever end up here?” she whispered.

“I don’t know,” Draco said truthfully.  “We’ll find out.  I promise.  She’ll be given a proper burial with the Malfoys because the Blacks can’t give her one.”

She pulled back and looked into his gray eyes.  The Black eyes.  Her own were violet like her mother’s.  However, they both had the Black cheekbones.  “But Father’s out,” she murmured.  “He’s wanted by the Ministry of Magic, but he’s still out and on the run.  Perhaps he’d give her a proper burial.”

“We don’t know where he is, Immy,” Draco reminded her, pushing a non-existent strand of hair in place.  Unlike most purebloods, Imbolc did not favor twists and buns and chignons on the top of her head.  Instead she would twist her hair to her shoulders and then combine it in intricate patterns that were nowhere near her head.  She was simply breathtaking in his opinion.  “You also know Father has forbidden you to send him a letter.”

“I still find that strange,” she admitted.  They were now hand in hand, walking away from the cemetery and through the small village.  “We both know where Uncle Lucius’s loyalties lie, and it would seem that Father’s are inclined a similar way.”

Draco shrugged again.  “Father must have his reasons,” he murmured. 

Imbolc stopped at a shop window and looked at some aging books.  “Draco, do you have any Muggle money?”

“No,” he answered honestly.  “I don’t think I actually own any.”

“Neither do I,” she answered.  “Oh well,” she sighed, allowing Draco to pull her by the hand.

They came to a tree, which was a good few streets away from their Apparition point, and Imbolc looked at Draco in question.

“We’re fifteen,” Draco began.

“Yes,” she answered.  “I’m also still four months older than you are!”

“I’m taller,” he joked before sobering.  “I haven’t gone to Father yet, because I didn’t want you to feel pressured or beholden.”

“Whatever are you talking about?” Her violet eyes flashed, and she startled when his free hand came up and caressed her cheek.  “What are you doing?”

“Loving you,” he answered before his lips descended onto hers.  The kiss lingered for a few moments before she broke away, not looking at him.

“I wasn’t expecting that,” she admitted.

“I know,” he murmured, taking his hand away, but still holding hands with her.  “I just wanted you to know.”

Her eyes moved toward his face.  “We’re related,” she said in wonder.  “Through both your parents.”

“I don’t care,” he stated emphatically, “as long as you don’t care.  If it’s too much, if I’m just a brother or a cousin to you, you have only to say so.”

“And you’ll go off and marry some other blonde,” she half-said to herself.  Imbolc breathed in deeply.  “Just—let me think, Draco.  I hadn’t considered.”

He looked relieved.  “Of course, Imbolc.  Take all the time you need.  Just remember, my heart is yours if you want it.”

She smiled at him.  “You’re quite the romantic if you want to be.”

“My mother’s a Black.  Hearts as black as ours love so deeply it’s as dark as the night.”

“You forget I’m named for light, like my mother before me,” she reminded him.

“Your heart is still black,” he said assuredly.  “Just like your father’s.  How else would he have overcome the godsibling bond and have married your mother?  No, you Blacks transcend boundaries.  Look at your Grandfather Orion and Grandmother Walburga.  They were cousins.”

Second cousins,” she laughed.  “Although I was very young when Grandfather Orion died, I don’t think he thought of Grandmother Walburga with affection.”

“You may be right,” he conceded.  “But there’s your father, your Uncle Regulus with the unknown French witch, my mother who defied everyone who said she was illegitimate to marry Father, my horrible aunt who married the Muggle-born, that must have been love for her to do such a dreadful thing…”

They both shivered.

“I honestly don’t know about Aunt Bellatrix and Uncle Rodolphus.  Then again, they’ve been in Azkaban for most of my life,” Draco admitted.

“I take your point.”

They smiled at each other.

“I do care about you, Draco, so dearly,” Imbolc admitted.  “I just want you to know that, however this turns out, you’re so important to me.”

“That’s a starting point,” he murmured, stroking her cheek.  “I can live with that.”

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