I

I'll sing you a lullaby of ruby blood dripping from your soul

I

Luna felt her heart beating heavily in her chest as she walked along the cold, wet, and empty hallways. It seemed like all the colours had been drawn from this place and only shades of black and grey remained to be seen around her. She knew the dementors that were floating in the near distance above her observed every single step she took. A couple of years ago, the blonde witch would have thought them to be just another kind of mistreated creature, but the war and the Battle of Hogwarts they had been fighting in some years ago, shattered her belief in ' the good'   quite a bit. She hadn't lost her dreaminess or happiness, but like all young witches, Luna had grown up, and the bad memories that came along with coming in contact with those creatures didn't make it any better.
Nevertheless, the twenty-year-old held on tight to the small yellow bag she had brought and quietly tightened her bright ruby red coat around her to prevent the frequent and unpleasant shivers from running down her back.
' They won't harm you,'   she remembered Hermione's voice and her attempt to give the younger witch a slightly better feeling. " It's a normal occurrence to fear them, but these creatures are the only ones capable of guarding that prison."
With coldness stuck in her bones, Luna tried to hold on to these words, but even she, who used to see everything in a brighter light, had trouble keeping her fears at bay.
After what felt like an eternity, she finally reached her desired destination.
An old – human – guard clad in a black uniform greeted her – well, or at least Luna liked to think that the surprised look in his eyes and the raised eyebrow were meant to be something of the sort.
For a few minutes, he took in her appearance – the colours of her ruby-red coat and yellow bag apparently too hard a contrast for the otherwise dark atmosphere.
The consistent staring, however, made the young witch uncomfortable, which caused her to unconsciously play with the delicate ruby bracelet on her wrist. She had inherited it from her late mother and it always seemed to calm her down a bit.
Finally, the guard spoke; his voice rusty and dry. "Azkaban is not the right place for a girl like yourself."
The blonde tried her best to keep a straight face. She quickly rummaged through her yellow bag and retrieved a file, which she handed him with shaky hands.
The man's dark eyes skimmed over the papers, his expression still steeled and unchanged.
Luna shivered slightly, and even though being at Azkaban made her more uncomfortable than she'd like to admit, she had to pull through with the task that was lying ahead of her – her mother would have wanted her to do it.
Soon, the guard finished reading and his now concerned dark eyes met Luna's fearsome blue ones.
"I sure hope ya know what ya doing, Sunshine," he mumbled in his rusty voice.
Luna swallowed hard but nodded.
"The things listed in the papers are the only ones you carry in that yellow thing of yours?"
She repeated the previous action wordlessly.
"Alright, then, follow me."
The blonde witch did as she was told. With only a little space between them, she walked behind the guard through the maze of Azkaban's passageways until they reached the high security tower.
" Alohomora ," the old guard waved his wand and the thick iron bars that guarded the cell glided aside.
Afterwards, he turned around to face Luna again. This time, his expression had softened.
"Be careful in there, Miss Lovegood. I am not sure what would make a young, sensible, and good-hearted woman like yourself visit one of our most dangerous prisoners, but I hope it's worth it."
Luna gave him a tiny smile and there was even a small twinkling in her eyes.
"If you need anything, if he should only consider hurting you, send up sparks with your wand and I will get you out."
This said, he gestured for her to slowly walk inside the cell. "Very well then, you have one hour, Miss Lovegood. And you," at this point, the guard banged his wand against the iron bars to get the prisoner's attention, "behave yourself, Malfoy, or this will be the last visitor allowed to speak to you."

One step after another, Luna moved into the cell. It was even darker than she had imagined. Everything held in black with only a tiny window to offer some light. The air that was hustling through it smelled like the sea water that surrounded the prison and sent even more chills down her back.
By now, her whole body was trembling and when her blue eyes fell upon the silhouette of the old man that was sitting on the cot, her heart stopped for a moment.
Lucius Malfoy was nothing like she had remembered him. His long, white blond hair was filthy, his unshaved face and body so thin that one could see the bones underneath the skin, his clothes were ragged and his blue eyes pale and blood-shot. It seemed like the month he had spent here already drained his life-energy from him.
"Of all the people…" Lucius mumbled in a hoarse voice as he took notice of his visitor. His eyes travelled her body up and down, as if tried to memorize something.
Luna wanted to move, but her body was frozen. He had aged so much and the once so strong and powerful man had transformed into a weak and fragile ghost-like wizard.
"What do you want?" he finally asked, his voice harsh and edgy as he pushed himself in a straighter position.
The blonde witch slightly jumped at his tone and fidgeted with her ruby bracelet even more. On the one hand, she knew what this man had done and what kind of pain he had caused along the way. But the closer she looked, the more she wanted to believe that there was still something good hiding underneath that gruesome mask. That the kind of goodness that her mother had seen all those years ago hadn't vanished completely. At least, she hoped so.
Luna didn't really know how to explain her visit, or how to cope with the chaos of feelings that was raging inside of her at this moment, so she wordlessly opened her yellow bag and retrieved a small, silvery Pensive.
"You knew my mother, didn't you?" the young witch asked and even though he old man didn't say something, she saw an unexpected flicker of recognition in Lucius' blue eyes. However, it vanished as quickly as it occurred, but his face still showed some kind of confusion as he watched the Pensive float forwards him.
"When she died," Luna continued and carefully stepped closer towards the prisoner, "she left me this along with a couple of memories, albeit adding in her will that I was to wait for my twentieth birthday to view them."
Lucius' tried his best to set up a callous and uncaring face.
"What does that have to do with me?" he snapped indifferently and even though his words were harsh and sharp, Luna could see a brief flicker of pain flashing across his face.
Luna studied him for a moment before she retrieved a small, liquid filled vessel with her name neatly and lovingly written on it.
She poured its contents into the Pensive, then looked at the former Death Eater with sad, but kind blue eyes.
"I have already watched them," she explained and this time, she observed that Lucius'
hands were also trembling slightly. "And I think that given your history, you should take a look at them, too."
Luna already expected another wave of angrily snapped, shouted, or yelled words to be fired at her, but this time, Lucius only moved his head and the pain that was written in his blue eyes as they met her own was something the young witch would have never thought of seeing in them.
"You loved her," Luna finally stated casually, and pushed the pensive closer towards him.
The pure-blooded man didn't look at her. "Pandora was the first woman I ever loved," he answered and his voice sounded bitter and honest at the same time, before they were both drawn down the memory lane.

The scene began forming around them and soon, a wide, green garden was seen along with a young man and woman. They were lying next to each other in the soft grass.
Luna slightly glanced at the man next to her. His face was pain-stricken as he watched the couple in the memory.
.
" I wish we could come here more often," Pandora said and snuggled closer to the muscular, blond man next to her.
" Me, too," the young version of Lucius Malfoy replied and brushed his fingers through the woman's dirty-blonde waves as he pulled her closer.
For some time, neither of the two said a word. Then, Pandora turned in Lucius' arms and glanced at him with twinkling silver eyes. "Do you believe in fate, Lucius?"
" Why?"
She smiled at him lovingly. "Because if I hadn't forgotten my bag at the Three Broomsticks, you would have never come after me."
Lucius returned the smile. "You know, I considered throwing it away. But when I opened it I got curious as to why a lovely blonde witch would carry dozens of thorns around."
Pandora giggled and kissed him. "Well, I did show you that the thorns are the most important ingredient for the potion I'm currently working on, didn't I?"
The blond man laughed. "You did. Though I still remember how it felt to retrieve the thorns out of my skin after that cauldron of yours exploded."
The witch blushed. "Well, it was an experiment, after all. And you insisted on seeing it!"
Lucius only shook his head, smiling. Then he reached into the pocket of his robe and retrieved a small black velvet box, which he handed to the blonde witch.
She took in a deep breath when her eyes fell upon the small, delicate ruby bracelet.
" Lucius, it's beautiful."
He carefully put in on her wrist. "Not as beautiful as you are."
.
The scene changed again before Luna could comment on the elder man's painful expression upon seeing her mother again after all those years.
.
Soon, they found themselves in a small room with white walls, lovely blue curtains in front of the window and a big queen-sized bed in the middle of the room.
The sun was shining through the window, illuminating the room and showing the two people that were sleeping peacefully in the bed.
Pandora, the ruby bracelet around her wrist and with her wavy blonde hair spread all over the pillow, and the covers revealing part of her bare back, was snuggled against the equally naked body of the blond man next to her, who was holding her in his arms.
.
Again, the surroundings started to dissolve. The bedroom was gone and instead there was a gigantic   manor made of white marble to be seen. The beauty of flowers in the enormous rose garden was slightly overshadowed by the rain that was pouring down from the skies above.
Seconds later, Pandora came in sight. Her robe soaked, her dirty blonde hair wet and hanging down, her face pale and big round tears running down her face.
The younger version of Lucius, dressed in his finest black robes, was chasing after her.
" Pandora, wait!"
The witch didn't listen, but he man was faster and soon caught up with her. He reached out, took her by the hand, and turned her around.
" Pandora, please, listen to me – "
" You're married," she whispered; her voice so thick with emotion that it sent shivers down Luna's spine. Sure, she had seen this before, but it hurt her a lot to see her own mother in so much pain.
" Pandora, please, let me explain."
" You don't have to say anything, Lucius," Pandora sobbed, but swallowed and tried to wipe away her tears. Thick raindrops kept falling down, but neither of them seemed to care.
" You have one fight with your wife and you take the next best woman you meet as some sort of consolation prize?"
Lucius shook his head. "A consolation prize? Pandora, you don't – "
She tightened her coat around her, put her arms over her stomach and embraced herself.
" I loved you, Lucius," Pandora cried softly; pain, anger and sorrow written in her silver eyes. "It feels like blood is dripping from my soul. Like a thorn piercing right into it."
Young Lucius was desperately brushing his fingers through his wet hair. "Pandora, you don't understand," he tried to explain himself and took a step closer to her. "I am married, but I never loved Narcissa. Hell, I didn't even know what love was before I met you!"
He reached out to take her hands once more, but she quickly tore it away and shook her head, tears spilling from her silver eyes again. "Don't touch me."
" Pandora – "
" You have a son, Lucius."
" I do. But you are – "
The witch shivered and tightened her arms around her stomach. "Don't tell me I am more important! Nothing can be more important than a child," she whispered and after a deep breath, she swallowed and braced herself. "I know you, and for his sake you will never leave your wife."
" That doesn't mean that we cannot be together, Pandora. I will do – "
" I am not that kind of woman, Lucius," she snapped, angry and heart-broken at the same time. "I will not be your second choice, the woman you sleep with behind your wife's back. I will no longer let you treat me as a consolation prize."
This said, she turned around, ignored Lucius' calling her name as well as the heavy rain and ran through the rose gardens without looking back or caring about the thorns that were piercing her ivory skin.
.
Out of the corners of her eyes, Luna saw that tiny tears were now flowing down the elderly man's face. By now, she even felt sorry for the former Death Eater, but Luna knew that her mother had wanted him to see this one last memory that was about to come next. It was the one that had caused the young witch to go to Azkaban in the first place. On the one hand, it was a rather weak attempt to distract herself from the chaos of emotions that was raging inside of her. On the other hand, she had this nagging feeling inside her heart that Lucius deserved to know the secret that Pandora had taken with her to the grave.
.
Pandora, clad in crimson robes, was sobbing against Xenophilius Lovegood's chest, his arms around her.   Luna heard old Lucius' sharp intake of breath upon seeing the other man, and saw how his blue eyes darkened.
" It's going to be alright, Pandora, don't worry," Xenophilius said and stroked the sobbing witch's back. "My philosophy is that worrying means you suffer twice. Besides, there are so many nargles inside your head… you should really do something about that."
A soft and sad giggle escaped the witch, and Xeno smiled at his achievement.
" Are you absolutely sure you want to do this, Xeno?" she asked, still sobbing a little but with a tiny flicker of hope shimmering in her eyes.
" Pan, I'm your best friend, I would do anything for you."
Silver eyes looked up at him. "Even though you know I can never love you the way I loved him?"
Xeno nodded and kissed her forehead. "I care for you, Pan, so yes, I'm fine with being second place. And you know," he added with a soft smile, "there's no one better in singing a lullaby than I am."
...
The memories were over and Luna and Lucius were thrown out of the Pensive again. With a weird feeling inside her heart, the young witch checked her watch and sighed. She packed everything back into the little yellow bag and walked towards the entrance of the cell.
She turned around once more and watched the elderly man. He looked heartbroken, and not at all like the dangerous and powerful Death Eater she had once feared so much.
"Why did you show me these memories?" he finally asked, his voice hoarse and loaded with emotion. "Did you want to punish me for the crimes I committed? I don't have to see this again to be reminded of the mistakes I made."
He snapped the last part of the sentence, which caused Luna to jump a bit.
"I am paying for what I did. I will never get out of this place alive," Lucius thundered, albeit his hopelessness and desperation were swinging along in his angry voice. "You don't have to torment me with memories of how I lost the woman I love. Or how she married that – that - "
His whole body was shaking now, and he slammed his hand so hard against the wall that fresh drops of ruby-red blood was spilling from the wound.
Luna winced a bit, but when she saw the guard approaching, she knew that her time was almost up. She looked at him for only a second; blue eyes meeting blue.
Taking a deep breath, she shoved back the sleeve of her robe and revealed the ruby bracelet.
Lucius' eyes widened and his expression softened a bit.
"Pandora's ruby bracelet," he muttered sadly.
"My mother gave it to me the day I was born," Luna smiled softly. "When I was little, she said that my father once gave it to her… Now I know what her words really meant. I thought you should, too."
With one last look back, Luna hurried out; leaving behind a shell-shocked wizard in his cell.
........... the end .......
(Disclaimer: all characters belong to JKR; only the plot is mine)