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on the wings of change

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Lucius Malfoy paced in the waiting room in the children's ward of St. Mungo's. It was not an especially large room, so it only took him a few strides before he reached the wall and turned back in the other direction. Narcissa watched from a chair, as she had the last twenty minutes, but this time when he neared her seat, she shot out a hand and grabbed his wrist. "Dearest," she said, "sit."

He didn't want to sit; he felt like he might vibrate out of his skin if he sat still. But Narcissa's grip was firm, and he took a deep breath, trying to remind himself of decorum. Malfoys did not pace. Malfoys did not allow themselves to be consumed with anxiety. But this was Draco, and he had never cared about decorum less.

Narcissa's grip didn't waver, and Lucius sighed, settling into the seat next to her. If he was worried, his wife carried his worry tenfold.

At first, they had been excited, and oh-so-proud. Draco's first accidental magic, and it was magnificent! A feat of self-Transfiguration that masters would have been hard-pressed to repeat, and Draco had done it at four. It spoke volumes about his magical talent. He might be a Transfiguration prodigy, even! Of course, the problem with self-Transfiguration was that it was tricky to undo, and when Draco's new additions showed no signs of disappearing after several hours, Narcissa began to worry. Lucius had told her that it would be okay, that accidental magic was unpredictable, that this really only made it more impressive. She had said that that was all well and good, but that they should discreetly consult an accidental magic specialist, just in case. He had capitulated, but in truth he was thinking of how best to brag about this the next time he saw Cassius Parkinson.

Then the specialist hadn't been able to undo it. And neither had the next specialist, and as the days went on and it didn't go away, Lucius felt fear creep up into his throat. How could this happen to his brilliant, his precious son? And that had led them here, to St. Mungo's. It was a last resort: they'd done everything they could to prevent anyone from knowing there was something wrong with the Malfoy heir, but the last specialist they'd consulted had said she had heard of similar cases of strange accidental magic at St. Mungo's.

Narcissa's thumb rubbed his wrist comfortingly. He took a deep breath and let it out slowly. It didn't matter if people knew something was wrong with Draco, as long as they could help him. That was all he cared about now.

"Mr. and Mrs. Malfoy? Healer Wood can see you now."

Lucius and Narcissa stepped into Healer Aubrey Wood's office, hand in hand. Immediately, Lucius' gaze went to Draco, who sat in the corner, playing with Quidditch figurines. The wings were still there, feathers the color of vanilla sprouting from his innocent son’s back. Wood was clearly as useless as all the specialists before her. He rounded on her, ready to unleash invective, but Narcissa squeezed his hand, hard. He scowled. It was tempting to ignore his wife’s silent command, but she had a tighter grasp of reason than he did right now. He slowly exhaled, then took his seat without a word.

"Thank you for seeing us, Healer Wood," Narcissa said. "Elaine Fawley highly recommended you. She said you had encountered similar cases?"

"You're the fifth this year," Wood said. "And I suspect there are more that are going undiscovered or unreported."

"Then you know what it is," Lucius said. "You know what happened?"

"I do. Have you heard of the Quirk phenomenon?"

He glanced at Narcissa, confused. She frowned and shook her head.

"It's not something discussed in our society outside of academic circles. At least, not yet. I suspect that will change in the next few years."

"Well, what is it?" Lucius asked, annoyed.

Wood straightened some papers on her desk. "A few years ago, we started seeing odd reports from the Muggle world. A rash of Muggle children appearing to exhibit apparently magical powers at a young age, four or younger. Of course, we assumed they were Muggleborns, simply manifesting their accidental magic. However, on further inspection, most of these children are not wizards at all. They're not even doing magic. Whatever... abilities they're manifesting, as far as we can tell, they don't come from magic. They're something else.

"More and more of these children are being born. The Muggles have noticed — and they're being born all over the world, not just in Britain. The Muggles have started calling these abilities 'Quirks.' It's as good a name as any, and it helps us differentiate Quirks from magic."

Narcissa gripped Lucius' hand tight. "Surely you're not saying..."

Wood looked her in the eye. "The accidental magic and Transfiguration specialists you consulted were unable to reverse Draco's wings because they are not the result of magic. Draco has a Quirk."

"You said," Lucius said, low and deadly, "that this was a Muggle phenomenon."

"I said that most of these children are Muggles. But wizarding children are becoming Quirked as well. You're not the first set of parents I've seen this year, and I rather suspect I'm going to see more, based on the current growth rate."

"So what do we do?" Narcissa breathed.

Wood shook her head. "There's nothing to do. I'm afraid this change is permanent, and attempting to remove the wings would be akin to removing a limb. However, Draco appears to be a perfectly healthy child. His Quirk will take some adjusting to, I'm sure, but I see no reason why this should have a negative impact on him. He certainly does not appear to be bothered by it."

Lucius looked at Draco, who was still playing with the Quidditch figurines. His cream-colored wings stretched and gestured as he ‘flew’ the figurine through the air, chattering about the Snitch. He looked comfortable. He looked happy.

Lucius turned back to Narcissa. She looked back at him, iron in her gaze. “The other children won’t understand,” she murmured.

He grimaced. Draco was accustomed to socializing with his peers, as was proper. They’d already had to reschedule a playdate with the Notts — no great loss, the Nott child was rambunctious and when put in a room with Draco they were hellions together — and the Parkinsons expected them next week. But what could they do? They couldn’t hide Draco away forever. That would only send the message that something was wrong with him, and that they were ashamed of it.

No. Malfoys were leaders. If society threatened to make Draco an outcast, society would have to change. He turned to stare down Wood once more. “You said there were several other families with… Quirked children,” he said. “Who are they?”

Wood frowned. “That information falls under Healer-Patient confidentiality,” she said.

Narcissa smiled. “My husband forgets sometimes that his leaps of logic aren’t always clear to the rest of us. But I agree; a parent support group would go a long way towards helping us support our gifted children, don’t you think? I don’t want anyone else to go through the same fear we did, before we came to you.”

She relaxed slightly. “That’s quite thoughtful of you, Mrs. Malfoy.”

“And don’t you think it would be best if our children were able to befriend others like them?” Narcissa persisted.

Lucius carefully did not smirk. Wood didn’t stand a chance against his wife.

By the time they left, they had names and contact details for five families: two halfblood nobodies, the Longbottoms, the Weasleys, and the Zabinis. The last name was a surprise, as the Zabini heir was outwardly unchanged, but Wood had also given them the current research on Quirks, and apparently not all Quirks were as visible as Draco’s. No matter. Lucius and Narcissa could not change Draco’s reality, but they could shape their society, even if that meant joining forces with halfbloods and, gods forbid, Weasleys.

“Whatever it takes,” he told Narcissa that night.

She cupped his cheek in one hand and drew him into a kiss. When they pulled apart, she stroked his cheek fondly. “Whatever it takes,” she agreed. Her voice was soft, but her eyes were steel, and he knew that she would let nothing stand in their way.

He would be right beside her.