Gift For: foppet
Summary:Narcissa is desperate to conceive, even if it means participating in a "heathen" ritual.
Rating: hard R
Warnings: violence/disturbing content (animal sacrifice), public sex, and possibly an orgy (depending on how you define orgy).
Author's notes: I took a bit of dramatic license with the Lupercalia, since the ancient authors failed to mention sex-crazed couples. Also, the opinions expressed in this fic are those of the characters, not necessarily the author. I hope you like it!
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The snow outside the large picture windows made the room seem colder than it was. Lucius knew that the dining room was always kept at a comfortable temperature, but he shivered nonetheless. On days like this it was hard to believe that spring was just around the corner. He turned back to Narcissa. Hard to believe they'd been married five years now, with no children. Things were getting rather urgent. He needed an heir. The Malfoy family needed an heir, and his father, in his role as patriarch, had made his orders plain. Either Narcissa conceived before midsummer, or after midsummer she would no longer be a Malfoy.
"Lucius, this is foolish."
"We've tried almost everything else. Even the part about cooling the testicles. Which I most certainly did not enjoy. It's either this, divorce, or a muggle specialist. Pick one."
"But the Lupercalia?"
"It's based in ancient fertility magic."
"It just seems silly."
"And if you take that attitude, it won't work. You have to believe in it."
"It's hard to believe that being whipped by a youth will help me conceive."
"Honestly, is it any sillier than using a torture implement as an object of worship?"
Narcissa looked shocked at the very suggestion.
"If you say something like that again, I will hit you."
"Honestly, Cissa, have a sense of humor."
"No, not about that."
"Anyway, I've talked Regulus into playing the youth."
"Reg? My cousin Reg?"
"Is there another Regulus running around?"
"So, you've talked Reg into whipping me with a strip of hide?"
"I'll have you know there's much more to it then that. Did you even read the book?"
"No. You didn't read the book I asked you to read, so why would I read the book you wanted me to read."
Lucius rolled his eyes.
"Cissa, the Bible is not a book. It's a soporific."
"It is a book. And it's an important book to me."
"I did attempt to read it. I got through all of Genesis and Exodus."
"That's only two parts! There are 39 parts in the Old Testament alone!"
"Which is exactly why I didn't finish. The book I gave you was only 400 pages long, and decently well-written."
"Why, oh why, did I marry a heretic?"
"Dearest, I'm not a heretic. I don't believe in what the C of E teaches, or in Christianity in general. That makes me a unbeliever, not a heretic."
"Lucius, stop mincing words! Your religion is strange and odd, and only your family does it. Mine is a well-established faith with hundreds of thousands of followers, and I find comfort in it."
"I know my religion is odd. The point is that yours is too, that every religion has bits that seem odd to the outsider. But when you agreed to marry me, you agreed to participate in my religious ceremonies, and I agreed to participate in yours. I go to church with you every Sunday, don't I?"
"That's not the point!" Narcissa shouted. She was utterly frustrated with Lucius. He would insist on thinking about everything and arguing it when she was obviously in the right.
"Dearest, calm down. It's just religion."
Without thinking, Narcissa slapped Lucius, hard. He looked at her, completely shocked. She spun around and stormed off. Lucius put his head in his hands. Women were damn complicated creatures, that was certain. Maybe he should seek advice, or at least mull things over with Severus. And if a brandy or two were involved, so much the better.
Lucius and Severus were sitting in two comfortable armchairs, a decanter and two glasses sitting on the table in front of them. Severus picked up one of the glasses and swirled its contents thoughtfully.
"Lucius, I doubt I can be of any help when it comes to Narcissa. After all, I do prefer the company of men almost exclusively."
"Well, I'm beginning to see why. This marriage thing is not all it's cracked up to be. And the pressure to reproduce, honestly, it takes all the fun out of sex."
"And what does Abraxas have to say about all this?"
"You mean other than the incredibly unhelpful 'Divorce the stupid barren bint already and marry someone who can actually produce. You know the Greengrasses have a long history of fertility, and you can hardly notice Anna's squint.' Honestly, he's completely useless."
"He actually said that? I thought he liked Narcissa."
"Severus, he doesn't like anyone. Personally, I never cease to be amazed at the fact that my father and mother managed to stay in the same room long enough to reproduce."
"You and me both."
Lucius quirked an eyebrow.
"You're amazed that my father and mother managed to reproduce?"
"No, I'm amazed that my father and mother managed to reproduce. Your father managing to reproduce is nothing short of a miracle, or possibly a really good love potion."
"Severus, I think I should feel insulted by that remark."
"Well, I apologize then. And volunteer to help with this Lupercalia thing."
"You want to whip my wife?"
"No, I want to help in the orgy afterwards."
"It's not an orgy, it's a religious ceremony.
"Where everyone bonks everyone, right?"
"You call it a religious ceremony if it makes you feel better, Lucius," Severus said, patting Lucius's hand condescendingly. Lucius made to bite his hand, and Severus yanked it back and smacked Lucius.
"What is it, hit Lucius day, and no one told me?"
"Yes. We've all been planning it for ages."
"Why do I have such snarky friends?"
"Because you have good booze."
"Now, what is involved in this ceremony, other than getting my hands on Regulus's arse?"
"Nice to know you have your priorities straight."
"What? It's a nice arse."
"Severus, do try to keep in mind the point of all this is to conceive a child, not to sate your lust."
"No, the sating of my lust is a nice bonus."
Lucius smacked himself in the head.
"See, now hit Lucius day is complete!"
"Severus, please. It's been a trying day already, don't make it worse."
"It's not a trying day, Lucius. You don't have trying days. You have vaguely annoying days. I have trying days."
"I take it the job hunt isn't going well?"
"Of course it's not. Who would want to hire a misanthropic half-blood with no connections?"
"You have connections. You have me. I told you I'd help you get a job, give you a good recommendation."
"Everyone thinks we're bonking, so they don't take anything you say about me seriously."
"I have never been unfaithful to my wife!"
"I know that, you know that, and hopefully Narcissa knows that, but the rest of the world refuses to believe it. After all, Lucius, you are an incorrigible flirt, and your conquests before marriage are both widely known and wide-ranging."
"I was never that bad."
"Lucius, you were voted Slytherin most likely to be killed by a jealous spouse. Also, Don Juan of Hogwarts and most likely to join the Mile High Club, if he hasn't already."
"Sex on a broomstick sounds complicated, and far too dangerous."
"That's not what that means, and you know it."
"Well, I'm certainly not getting into a flying Muggle death-trap."
"On what? Your lack of prospects or the Lupercalia?"
"Let's go with the Lupercalia for now. Getting my hands on Regulus will make me feel better about my lack of prospects. Now, what needs to be done?"
"Convincing Narcissa, preparing the site, getting the sacrifices, making the cakes and wine, should I keep going?"
"What kind of sacrifices? Can I sacrifice Regulus's virginity?"
"Severus, get your mind out of the gutter. A dog and two goats. I'm considering transfiguring them out of something. Otherwise, I'll have an even harder time convincing Narcissa."
"Animal sacrifice. You know most of the world considers that barbaric, right?"
"Generally we would be doing something symbolic, not actually killing anything. But desperate times call for desperate measures. And besides which, they'd be transfigured, not real. Not alive."
"I see. So what actually takes place?"
"'Cissy, you’d better appreciate this. Because this is above and beyond. Really. Not every man would wear a toga and agree to have group sex for his cousin."
"Reg, I do. I really do appreciate it."
"Why does Severus Snape have to be here?"
"We needed two men."
"He's 20 and I'm 19."
"According to Lucius, that's fine."
"And why is Bella here?"
"Because, well, I told her, and then she insisted."
"Because he's her husband and wants to have a child."
"So this isn't some perverted plan by Lucius to have sex with everyone he knows?"
"I'm pretty sure not."
"So, I should just ignore Snape staring at my arse, then?"
"That might be for the best."
"What exactly is supposed to happen?"
"Lucius kills a dog and two goats, smears you and Snape with a mixture of their blood and milk, you laugh, you run around the Manor, then you hit us with the skins of the animals which Lucius will be removing while you run, then everyone should be inflamed with lust and have sex."
"That is possibly the craziest thing I've ever heard."
"Reg, just do it. Please. If I don't conceive by midsummer, Lucius will have to divorce me and marry someone else and I'll die alone and unloved and…."
"Cissy, breathe. It's okay. You'll get pregnant."
"Lucius, there you are. I know you believe in this, but do I have to?"
"And the orgy?"
"Trust me, it will happen."
"So, stupid question, but how will you be sure Cissy's child is yours?"
"Because if anyone else goes near her, I'll hurt them."
"Ah. Duly noted. Have you informed Lestrange and Snape of this?"
"Yes. Apparently what generally happens is that people pair off into couples and stick with that. Not really an orgy, more a bunch of people having wild and crazy sex with a partner. "
"And do we really have to kill animals?"
"They aren't real animals. They're transfigured out of some logs. They will feel no pain, and are not truly alive."
"And the blood?"
"Did you miss what I just said? Not really blood."
"Regulus, I have spent the past two weeks trying to put this together. I cannot deal with more than I already am. So stop asking questions and just get ready."
"Regulus, I am NOT kidding."
"I just wanted to say that the toga thing suits you, is all."
"Thank you. Now please take your position over there."
Regulus took his position near the altar. He was not comforted at all by the lustful gaze of Snape, nor by the draft his short toga was introducing around his nethers. And he was afraid for the state of his immortal soul for helping in this heathen ritual. Hopefully God would understand. He looked away when Lucius killed the animals. Even if they were constructs, he didn't want to see it. Lucius said some words, possibly in Latin, and then smeared both his forehead with the mixture of blood and milk. He didn't feel any different, and wondered if he would, and then Lucius prodded him with the hilt of the knife.
"Time to run, Regulus."
And almost without thinking, he started running. Behind him he heard a growl, sounded like Lestrange, but that didn't seem to matter now. Nothing seemed to matter but running. He was vaguely aware of his surroundings, of Snape huffing along besides him, of the chill in the February air as they circled the Manor. In an impossibly short time, or so it seemed, he was back in the small temple, and Lucius was handing him the newly made whip. It seemed natural to start laying about with it, hitting 'Cissy and Lucius and everyone else there. Then someone grabbed him from behind and he was pushed roughly against the altar. He felt the whip hit him and suddenly his blood was on fire. He turned and shoved Snape away, trying to catch his breath, to make sense of what was happening. His vision blurred, and all he could make out were figures grabbing at each other, wildly. Then he was pushed into something hard and everything went black.
Lucius and 'Cissy stood over him, staring down at him. They were both wearing bathrobes, and both looked extremely mussed. There were hickeys visible on Lucius's neck, and 'Cissy was standing oddly.
Cissy leaned down to him.
"Sorry, Reg. If Lucius had told me..."
She straightened back up and punched Lucius in the arm. He winced and rubbed it.
"I was a bit busy, dear, as I'm sure you recall."
"That's no excuse for letting my cousin lie here on the cold stone floor."
"I'm very sorry dear, and will do my best to make it up to your dear cousin."
"Well, Lucius, you can start by helping him up and into the house. He shouldn't be out here in the cold."
Lucius leaned down and pulled him to his feet. Regulus swayed a bit, but didn't fall down. Lucius slipped his arm around Reg's waist to steady him.
"Easy, Reg, careful. You don't need to fall again."
"Did it work? Did the ritual work?"
"We won't know for a month or so. Hopefully."
"It better have, Lucius. If you think I'm going to go through any of that heathen rubbish again, you've got another think coming."
"Now, get Reg inside. Reg, we'll let you know as soon as possible about the outcome."
Lucius and Regulus started towards the Manor. Narcissa dawdled for a moment, staring at the altar.
"Please let this work. Please," she whispered.
Lucius sat in the breakfast room, staring at his wife.
"Well, at least we know it worked?"
"Lucius, I'm showing! We only did the ritual a month ago!"
"Perhaps a trip to St. Mungo's is in order?"
"Cissa, dearest, no need to yell. I know you must be worried."
Narcissa picked up the teapot and threw it at Lucius, who ducked. It shattered on the wall behind him.
"No NEED TO YELL! Your heathen ritual did God-knows what to me, and THERE'S NO NEED TO YELL!"
She picked up her teacup and threw that too. Lucius beat a hasty retreat to his study. He called the family healer from there, loath to risk more of the good china.
The obstetrics ward of St Mungo's was cold and sterile. Narcissa sat on an examining table, and a female healer stood by her side. There was no sign of Lucius.
"Mrs. Malfoy, there is nothing to worry about, I assure you. The fertility magic is simply accelerating the pregnancy. There is no danger to either you or the baby."
"You're sure?" Narcissa looked worried.
The healer patted her hand.
"Mrs. Malfoy, one of the known side effects of using fertility magic to conceive is an acceleration of the pregnancy. The only time this may be at all dangerous is when there is a multiple pregnancy and one baby grows faster than the other. You're only carrying a single child, he is perfectly healthy, and should be ready to emerge in about two months or so. Unfortunately, I can't be precise on the timing. We'll check you weekly, and you'll be fine."
"Did you say he?"
"Yes, it's a boy."
"Lucius will be happy."
"I'm sure Mr. Malfoy would be happy with either a boy or a girl."
"Now, are there any more concerns or questions?"
"No, not now. Thank you."
"I'll see you in a week, then, Mrs. Malfoy. And remember to take it easy."
Narcissa slowly got up and walked out of the room. Lucius was leaning against a wall in the hallway.
"It's a boy."
"Well, that'll make father happy."
"Does that make you happy?"
"We're going to have a baby. A healthy happy baby. I am estatic, dearest."
He wandered over to her and kissed her hand. She smiled at him.
"Reg will be happy to know the ritual worked. I really didn't think it would."
"Sometimes the ancient ways are the best, dearest."
"Maybe they are, sometimes. But our child will be baptized in church, Lucius, he will not be a heathen."
"He can be both, dearest. I'll teach him my ways, you teach him yours."