The pale light of a half moon shone through the ornately paneled windows bordering the room's western wall. Its rays slanted across the floor to rest on a palatial bed, where Lucius Malfoy lay awake and restless. Rarely did anything resembling stress keep him from sleep, but tonight the accumulated discomfitures of several weeks were making an unwelcome reappearance. He despised the feeling, because it signified above all else a loss of control. It was a foreign sensation, since there were only two people in the world he couldn't manipulate into obedience by a threat or a bribe. At the present moment, the less appealing of the two was the source of his disquiet.
Lucius tried to relax, focusing instead on his wife who was sleeping next to him. Narcissa lay with her head on his chest and one of her legs wound through his. For some time now, he had been absent-mindedly stroking her hair, but now he bent down to breathe in its scent. Narcissa owned dozens of rare perfumes, thoug