In a stately home in Norfolk, not far from London, in a well appointed classic British drawing room, Julian sat, hunched with stern intensity over his laptop, his fingers flying over the keys, a familiar scenario and in fact a daily norm; at least, while he was not imprisoned. The amount of work before him remained an ever-growing virtual mountain; his inbox impossible to empty, no matter how many feverish hours he spent - the nine days he had been incarcerated had just made things so much worse. You could see the strain in his eyes and his general demeanour since his release, and things were getting no better, the attention of so much of world focused very squarely upon him. Fortunately, he was able, and preferred, to do most of his work alone, and could hold them at arms length for most of the day - and those days did have a habit of stretching on.
He pulled away from the keyboard and leaned back, stretching arms and legs, cricking his neck back and forth and trying to ease some of the tension from his shoulders and back. Looking across the study to the grandfather clock on the far side of the room, he noted the time, muttering under his breath “bloody hell - almost 3am … ” and decided it might be time for some more coffee. Easing his chair back, Julian rose and turned, and immediately almost jumped out of his skin to see a tall, haughty figure standing just a couple of metres away, watching him intently, a thin, tightlipped smile upon the fellow’s face. A cascade of whiteblonde hair tumbled around his shoulders and over a well tailored coat, and the man sported an elegant cane which he leant on just barely on his left side - something Julian couldn’t help but notice, even as in his tired state he took more than a moment to react and respond to this unexpected and dramatic presence in his fortress of solitude.
A moment to catch himself, Julian’s eyes narrowed as he gasped out and took a step back,
“Who the hell are you, and how on earth did you get in here?”
Julian began to slip a hand into his pants, clearly reaching for his mobile phone - but as soon as the hand was free and his gaze slipped down in that direction, the figure across from him whipped out a … what, a smaller cane, a stick, from the hilt of his cane? … and in a dramatic movement, pointed it directly at Julian’s hand and said in a low and intense tone,
A jet of sparks emerged from the stick and Julian let out a cry of surprise as his phone, impacted by a force he’d never knowingly experienced, leapt from his grasp and across the room, landing with a surprisingly quiet thud on the thick plush carpet.
“What the…?” Julian frowned, mouth agape, and before he could say another word, the tall gentleman raised his hand in a placating manner, and began to speak, in a slightly apologetic, but at the same time commanding tone.
“Sorry about that, Julian - I do not wish for us to be disturbed, and as we’re conveniently miles from anywhere and I’ve dispatched your security with sleeping draughts, I’d say it’s certainly in your best interest to remain calm and listen to what I have to tell you.” The man paused, waiting for this information to settle in. Julian’s eyes widened slightly, and his frame stiffened, and he turned toward his desk. Anticipating his next move, the long haired gentleman raised his stick again, and with a light flick, another stream of sparks leapt from its tip, this time heading directly for Julian’s laptop, the lid slamming shut with a firm jolt.
“Wait just a goddamn minute!” Julian turned furiously back and sputtered agitatedly, “How are you…?” The confusion in his face was clear and his attitude more than a little aggressive, but at the same time wary. The long haired man lowered the stick again, and this time returned it to the hilt of the cane, looking up again with a slightly wry pursed curve to his lips.
“Please, Julian. Let me explain… and apologise.”
The clearly respectful manner of the man took Julian off guard: he had always responded well to politeness and had a hard time reconciling the bizarre … stage tricks of this fellow, and his obvious - well, there was no other word for it - nobility. Julian relaxed slightly, and raised an eyebrow, in query.
The long haired gentleman smiled tightly again, and gestured towards two armchairs. “I think you’d better sit down. That does seem to be preferred by most. Though this is not normally a talk we’d have at such a late age…” Julian, completely baffled by this, saw no other sensible option but to concede, and seated himself, still casting somewhat surreptitious glances to his laptop and inexplicably flung phone.
The long haired gentleman and settled across from him, and leaned slightly forward on the cane, frowned, looked away for a moment, and then back to Julian.
“Julian… I’m here … well, mostly on behalf of the Ministry.”
Julian laughed, nervously. “Which one? The Home Office? International Development? Oooh, … how about … Justice?” he quipped bitingly. “This is a very bloody odd time of day for it though, and why the … “
“Please, Julian, this is quite important, and a difficult subject to broach…” Julian quietened, the fatigue of the late hour making him somewhat less alert than he might otherwise have been and so he paused, and once again, cocked an eyebrow.
“The Ministry I speak of is the Ministry … of Magic.”
Julian’s eyebrow shot up further, and then, he made an odd sound, as if choking back the beginnings of laughter, and then his eyes narrowed once more.
“Oh for goodness’ sake, who the hell has put you up to this? Is this a bloody media stunt?” Julian looked around the room. “Some kind of booby trap, special effects…?” The long haired gentleman shook his head very subtly, his eyes closing momentarily, in a clear expression of denial.
“I’m afraid it’s very much not a stunt, Julian. We at the Ministry only became aware of your existence since you first set foot on British soil - a scant few weeks ago. The Muggle Authorities may not have had any record of when you arrived - but we can sense the presence of any of our kind and when detected, we at the Ministry, as a matter of due course, must do our due diligence - the paperwork does need to be in order, you see. Since the end of the Second War, things have been a little more relaxed, but… in your case… errrr… there were some… anomalies… ” the long haired gentleman frowned, and paused, as if trying to compose his next words in just the right way.
Julian’s ears pricked at the mention of war, but the lack of specificity confused him, as did the odd term “Muggle”. Before he could compose any question himself, the gentleman began to speak again, with a bit of a frustrated sigh prefacing his next words.
“… I’m sorry, Julian - I’ve got no other way to really say this, so I’m just going to say it as simply as possible. My name is Lucius Malfoy, and as I said, I am from the Ministry of Magic - I’m normally with the Department of Magical Law enforcement, but for the purposes of this visit, I represent the Department of International Magical Cooperation, though it would usually be another Minister who would liase in such situations… “
Julian’s lips pressed tight and unsmilingly, at the repeated use of the word “Magic”. Ridiculous. Utterly ridiculous. He opened his mouth to protest, but Lucius once again raised his hand, placatingly.
“But, already, I digress from the main point. This is hard to do at your age. And not my usual role, please understand … but, you see … it’s also been discovered, and only just confirmed about a week ago - that it appears, I am also,” and here he paused much more significantly, ” I am also - your brother.”
Lucius eyed Julian carefully, as these very lifechanging words impressed upon him. Julian sat, eyes widening with disbelief, his mind whirling, the words coming from this man, simply ridiculous, unbelievable. But at the same time - a prickling at the back of his neck and a strange sense of coalescence came over him. A whole lot of things would, actually, make a whole lot of sense, if this untenable story, could actually, unbelievably, be true.
Julian frowned, shook his head, and was about to rise in protest, but Lucius opened his mouth to speak once more, leaning forward, and pinning Julian with his intensified, hawklike gaze.
“Most of what you think you know about your own life, is not, in fact, the truth. Why do you think you’ve been so obsessed with uncovering the truth in all things, Julian? Think about it. We have never seen a muggle so singularly driven. The British government were certainly aware of you - but not, until you came here, of your actual status.
The truth is - you’re a wizard, Julian.
And there are a whole level of hidden secrets you have not even begun to touch upon.”