AN: This is a sequel to "Midnight Truths," also called, "I See Only You" on . I own none of the characters, and I make no money from this. The people, places, and things belong to JKR; the plot is mine.
The raggedy man wound his way through the filthy streets, struggling to drag the large stained canvas bag behind him. It made an uncomfortably wet thumping sound when the raggedy man drug it over a break in the pavement; he grunted with effort as he pulled it closer to him.
"Just a minute more, Cissy," wheezed the raggedy man, blinking his gray eyes against the frosty rain. "We're almost there, dearest."
The bag's only response was a squishy thump as it hit another crack in the pavement.
The raggedy man walked for a time, dragging his rain-soaked burden behind him. He closed his cloak against the biting moisture flung from the sky, but after a while even his cloak became sopping wet and heavy. He had been walking for miles, talking to the bag containing his dead wife for miles, feeling her form change from human to pulp as she smacked against obstacles on the road for miles.
He fell to his knees; he was so tired.
"No," Lucius Malfoy muttered, his one-fine hair draping over his face, "we can't stop, Cissy, not now. We're so close!" Madness burned in his eyes. He wrapped the strap from the canvas bag over his head and across his chest. He began crawling, dragging the heavy canvas bag behind him.
Chest burning, knees bleeding, Lucius slowly made his way to his destination. "She will help us, Cissy, she promised." He glanced over at the tattoo on his left forearm. "She swore. You'll see."
The bag's only answer was another meaty thump.
Lucius crawled for what could have been ten minutes or ten years; he wasn't quite sure. When his energy was at last drained, when he could no longer move forward, when his knees were so damaged they could no longer straighten, when the pain of movement approached Cruciatus level, a doorway opened in a nearby building.
Lucius felt himself levitated, and he relaxed when a wash of magic erased his pain. He and his bag were brought into the building, and the door shut behind them with a metallic clank.
Suddenly warm, dry, and healed, Lucius stumbled and landed on a nearby couch. He chanced a look around the room, and his Slytherin blood ran cold.
Skin; everything was covered in skin. The lampshades were skin, the lamps themselves bone, the tapestries were skin with their former owners' tattoos featured prominently, and the furniture was soft leather that had recently been covering someone else. He jerked his hand away from the couch but remained seated.
A shadow from the corner moved forward. Skin moved from the tapestries to drape over the shadow until it took the form of a nude woman. She knelt before Lucius and slowly stroked his thighs.
"Lucius Malfoy, thou hast suffered much to come unto me. Thy need must be very great."
The woman's eyes were completely hollow as was her mouth. The skin covered the shadow, nothing more. Lucius shivered as he gazed into the empty sockets.
"Art thou cold, fair Lucius? I shall warm thee."
The skin of the couch grew warmer, molding itself to his shape. It was then he realized that the skin on the couch was alive.
Lucius lowered his head, struggling to remember the exact words he needed. Failure to do so just might land him a place on her wall. "Shadow Maiden, I have come to barter my wife for your services."
"Clever man to have not stated thy deceased wife was an offering. I would have taken her and then asked for barter." The Shadow Maiden smiled, pulling the skin into a rictus. Her teeth were black. "For what wouldst thou barter thy wife, pretty snake?"
Madness returned to Malfoy's eyes. "I wish for the power of the Dark Lord in order to destroy Severus Snape's life."
"I find thy phrasing…interesting." She leaned forward close enough for Lucius to smell her breath; it carried the scents of cold stone and cemetery dirt. "Why not simply murder thine enemy?"
"No," he growled, "I want him to suffer as I have suffered." His voice broke on the last word. "He murdered my son, and in despair my Cissy took her own life." He looked the Shadow Maiden in her empty sockets. "He owes me a wife and child."
The Shadow Maiden waved her hand, and a chair grew from the skin on the floor. She made herself comfortable. "What thou seeketh costs much more than thy wife's corpse, pretty snake." She steepled her fingers. "The price of what thou seeketh is much higher."
Darkness flowed from the Shadow Maiden's body. It seeped out of every pore and flowed in a river between her legs. Her skin fell and was reabsorbed by the floor. The shadows coalesced into a new form, and Lucius bolted for the door.
A familiar voice, sibilant and terrible, flowed from the shadow. "You shall not leave, Lucius Malfoy. I require your services."
Lucius closed his eyes. Surely not, surely not, surely not…
"Face me, coward!" roared the shadow. "Turn and face your Lord of Death!"
Falling to his knees, Malfoy turned and opened his arms. "Lord Voldemort, I rejoice in your return—"
Voldemort melted into darkness and threw himself at Lucius. The inky blackness seeped into the blond man's every orifice. The Dark Lord cackled with maniacal glee at Malfoy's screams as he forcibly breached the blond man's fundament.
"You always loved the screams of others, Malfoy," Voldemort said with Lucius's voice.
Voldemort/Lucius stepped out of the door and into the alley, giving a kick to the bag containing Narcissa's remains.
"Let's pay our esteemed Headmaster a visit, shall we?"
Poppy Pomfrey's brows knit in confusion as she waved her wand over Hermione's growing belly. "This isn't right. Something's wrong…Sit back, please, Madame Snape, I'm not done yet." The matron switched to a different set of spells.
Heaving a great sigh, Severus uncrossed his legs and sat forward. "Merlin's sake, Poppy, It's not that difficult to cast pregnancy charms."
Madame Pomfrey impatiently clicked her tongue. "It's not hard to cast the charms needed to detect pregnancy, boy," she said, shooting the dark man a hard sideways glance. "It's quite different once the witch has been verified up the duff."
"Eloquent as always, Poppy," he drawled, smothering a smile. He could always count on Pomfrey to put him in his place. Everyone else simpered, "Yes, Headmaster," or, "No, Headmaster," while trying to run from him, but not Pomfrey. She had seen him in his altogethers plenty of times during the war, including the strawberry birthmark on his left ass cheek, so she had no fear of him.
"So, tell us your 'professional' diagnosis," he smirked, making quotation marks in the air with his fingers. When Hermione shot him a dirty look, he merely shrugged as if to say, "What? I didn't do anything."
Ignoring the glowering man behind her, Madame Pomfrey returned her attention to Hermione. "Have you been having any side effects, such as nausea, cravings, tiredness, or mood swings?"
Hermione shook her head. "No, none of that. Matter of fact, I feel great. I have more energy than I've ever had before, and my magic has increased in strength."
Pomfrey made a face and shook her head. "It just doesn't make sense…"
"Oh for Merlin's sake, out with it, woman!"
The Matron snorted. "Alright, here you go. Madame Snape's tests show…"
The younger woman sighed. "For Circe's sake, please call me Hermione."
"…that she has a magical tumor."
All three of them looked at one another. They each began to speak when Filius Flitwick burst into the Hospital Ward.
"Headmaster, you have a visitor."
Severus did a double take. Filius appeared normal, but his eyes were glassy, and his tiny body was more relaxed than he had ever seen. Imperiused!
Before Severus could disarm him, Filius spoke again, sounding slightly dreamy. "Lucius Malfoy is here to see you, sir."