It had been a grey day.  The clouds had washed over the clear Scottish sky, which although not uncommon had been surprising to the entire household except for the youngest daughter.  She had seemed almost to have expected it, to have divined it at such a young age.  However, her mother had taken no notice to the calm acceptance in her daughter’s dull eyes.  She had been more than acquainted with the girl’s repose and thoughtful yet unapparent attention to detail, to even the slightest whisper on the moors beyond the walls of greying stone that secluded her from those around her.

It had been a week since the latest of her solemn fits of sullenness had begun, which her mother had attributed to the sudden departure of her older daughters to school.  Although her youngest had appeared almost distracted when she had bid her sisters farewell at the train station, she had seemed to her mother’s watchfulness to, even more than usual, gaze upon her next oldest sister.  She had drunk almost recklessly the other girl’s movements, smiles, inclinations of the chin.  She had not even ceased her clearly obsessive observation when her other sister had boarded the train prematurely and had called “See you during the holidays, Narcissa!  And mind you don’t go into my room again.  I put a particularly nasty hex on the door. — Don’t worry, Mum,” she had added hastily, her wavy dark brown hair shining in the limited sun, “it’s nothing a simple counter curse won’t cure,” and then had slipped back onto the steam engine, clearly ignoring her mother’s menacing stare and her sister’s lack of response or even interest in the not-quite good natured threat.

Narcissa Black, which was indeed the young girl’s name, had not even betrayed recognition in her strange green eyes although her mother had been certain that her youngest had heard.  Madame Black, also like both of her daughters still remaining on the platform, had been unperturbed by her eldest’s mention of hexes and counter curses.  In fact, no one about them had seemed to have been in the least perplexed that such strange words had been uttered by a respectable looking girl, nor had they seemed befuddled that several of the children had been in possession of wooden sticks to which they had referred to as wands or that more than a handful of teenagers had held cages with owls in them for the purpose of sending letters to their parents and other contacts.  Indeed, very few people on that platform (numbered nine-and-three-quarters no less) had been actually what the majority of society would have referred to as “normal.”  And those who had been either had had brothers, sisters, or children who weren’t.  Everyone on this unusual platform (or on the train) if not one himself had been a wizard.

“Well,” Madame Black’s remaining daughter other than Narcissa had prompted, as she had been especially careful as she had been for the past week not to meet her younger sister’s thoughtful gaze.  Her dark hair, elegantly tied into an uncharacteristic twist, had glistened in the morning sunlight.  Madame Black had always thought of this particular daughter as the strongest and most troublesome of the three, although her eldest had been showing signs over the past year of not sharing her family’s wizarding views.  However, the young Black standing in front of her, her restless grey eyes like her father’s skimming the crowd of boisterous teenage boys close by, had recently taken an interest in a certain young sixth year.  Madame Black, though she had approved of the handsome wizard who had seemed to have strangely stolen her daughter’s heart (or at least peeked her interest) had not thought that this particular boy had suited her daughter.  He had seemed too intellectually calculating for her daughter’s reckless precision.  And no romance or intrigue at their age could last …

“Well,” the brunette had said again, agitation clearly showing in her eyes that had been set in a pale face.  She had lifted her gaze from the group of wizards and over her sister’s blond head and had immediately smiled.  It had been a smile that almost seemed reckless, unabashed and lacking in innocence.

“Bellatrix,” a voice had drawled casually as its owner had walked toward her.  “How lovely it is to see you again.”  He had been a handsome rogue with a pointed, aristocratic face.  His hair had been naturally blonde like Narcissa’s, though lighter, and his grey eyes had appeared to be cold as they had rested on the one he had addressed.

Bellatrix had not seemed to notice.  Instead she had breathed the name “Lucius” as her pale eyes had gazed upon his form as if familiar with its every contour.  Although this imprudent action had been lost on her mother, who had been greeting the young wizard cordially, Narcissa had noticed.

The young wizard had ignored the intense longing in Bellatrix’s eyes.  Instead, he had turned and had greeted her mother in return and had engaged her in charming tones in a discussion about the rising price of unicorn horns.  This polite necessity had seemed like hours to the over-indulged Bellatrix who had not been in the habit of waiting for anything she had fancied.  The only advantage, the witch had mused, had been that her younger sister had then been observing Lucius Malfoy discreetly instead of her.  How much had she seen and understood?  Narcissa’s uncanny observation had betrayed nothing, which had unnerved Bellatrix though it had simultaneously relieved her fears that their mother could glean any information from her youngest daughter’s behavior.

“Well,” Bellatrix had impatiently prompted for the third time.  “The train will leave in any minute.”

Narcissa had glanced quickly at the station clock and had seen that it was twenty minutes until the engine’s departure.  Malfoy had noticed the sudden yet subtle inclination of her head, the slight yet hardly noticeable look of recognition in her green eyes – how uncanny and mesmerizing they had been, set within the innocent face of a child.  However, the girl had said nothing.  Her lips had not even parted in the common childish way to reveal that there had been a notion that perhaps she had considering speaking aloud.  Instead, she had betrayed nothing, showed nothing at all.

“Shouldn’t we be going, Lucius?” the older girl had prodded once more.  Her eyes had grown even more restless, her cheeks flushing in frustration.

Lucius did not respond although he had turned his head toward the older Black daughter.  “Quite,” a young voice had responded.  Lucius had looked around to Narcissa who had surprisingly just spoken.  “It would not do,” she had continued crisply, her tone indicating an age superior to her own, “to be late nor to be unnecessarily greeted with naught but full carriages.”

Madame Black had not seen the flicker in the child’s eyes and had inclined her head to show agreement.  “Don’t forget to write, dear,” she had added – and then, turning to Malfoy, “It was a pleasure seeing you once again.”

“The pleasure was mine, Madame.”  Bellatrix had now gotten hold of his arm and had been dragging him away with her luggage.  He had glanced at the young girl standing beside his girlfriend’s mother and had not wanted to leave her.  This strange sensation had been foreign to him, this need to be close to someone (no less a child), and he had not understood it.  He had never been a wizard ruled solely by his emotions, but now for the first time in his young life, he had desperately wanted to embrace them.  As his heart had struggled with this new revelation, memories that he had guarded and kept hidden in his dark mind had seeped through his defenses and he had found himself for a few seconds prey to the past.

The last time he had seen this child – the first, he had hoped, of many meetings – had only been brief.  It had been a few days before, within the early hours of the evening.  He had not known why he had wanted to go except that Bellatrix’s latest letter had enticed him.  He had wanted her since they had started dating, perhaps even before that.

And so he had come in the twilight of a summer day.  As if it had just happened, Lucius could recall how he had apparated near the shadowed grounds upon a hill.  In front of him he had seen a fortress rise out tendrils of gorse and heather where his prize had awaited him.  Silently he had tread to the castle in the shadows, his purpose intent, his eyes as clear as the storming sky.

Then he had heard the singing, effervescent in the cool air of the coming night.  If it had not been a cliche, Lucius would have described it as angelic.  The tones had been clear and pure, those of a child, but an enticing one nevertheless.  If a single drop had not fallen from the heavens to reawaken Lucius from his trance, he did not know what he would have done.  Later he had imagined himself following the haunting song to find … but such an illusion would have been impossible.

He had continued onward past the trellis he had imagined led to a garden.  In the misting rain he had gazed up toward the windows and when his eyes had seen the token they desired he had scaled the wall almost effortlessly.

There he had found Bellatrix.  There had been no need for words, there never were with her …

“Goodbye, Mother, Narcissa.”  The cold voice of Bellatrix had resounded in the station.

“Farewell,” the younger girl had nearly whispered.  “Don’t forget to owl.”  Her voice had trailed off as her sister had dragged the perplexing Lucius Malfoy away.  Their eyes had met, only for an instant.

Lucius had recalled a door opening, a pensive voice calling a name, a besodden figure outlined in flickering light.  Adieu, his eyes had pleaded in that instant to hers.

They had been met with the unsettling blank green eyes of a child – no, not a child, he had thought.  Those were the eyes of a pensive young woman.

Yes, Madame Black had thought, that is when it had begun, and sighing she had thought little more of the matter.  Narcissa would soon come out of it, as she always did.  And children would always be children.  Andromeda, although grown, would always have that questioning look in her eyes when she was forbidden from inviting certain individuals to the castle.  She had never seemed to have understood the subtleties of class, position, and foremost blood; and although charity is virtuous (her mother was always vexed at herself for teaching her eldest this) it does not do to show that one has such a virtue.  And Bellatrix, Madame Black had mused, had always been a warrior at heart.  It pleased Madame Black that she should have named this child so perfectly but often she wondered during one of Bellatrix’s fits of passion if she had cursed the child unnecessarily with some ancient magic by giving her such a name.  She had always fought for the most trifling treasures and had never been satisfied until she had won every childish fight with one of her sisters.  Perhaps that was why, the mother had thought, Narcissa had always been so quiet and attentive to all but words.  Her initial fits of sullenness had gone unnoticed because of her quiet and far too ladylike demeanor.  As a child she had often retreated to an old stairwell where she had sat for hours.  Often she had been found asleep on the cold and eroded stone steps, colored lights shining faintly through a glass window onto her pale tendrils.

The September rain had pelted upon the stained glass of the castle’s windows.  Narcissa had looked out through the depiction of Saint George and the dragon, her childhood haunt, though she had truly seen nothing.  The feeble light from the solitary candle which she had placed upon a stone step had merely reflected off of the colored glass onto her pale face.  There the image of a strong knight, clasping the sword of God, had been etched seamlessly upon her features.  The knight’s cool grey eyes, tinted with a shock of blue, had looked into her own and the young girl had nearly flinched when she had placed a resemblance between this saint whom she had worshiped and a man who frightened her …

She had turned away and for several years had never looked upon that figure.  Soon she had found herself in a garden, the cold rain caressing her delicate form.  Those eyes had unnerved her and she had not been able to find comfort amongst the tapestries she admired nor near the grey stones she worshipped.  She had fled the castle yet even amongst the dying blooms that scented the air peace had evaded her.

Away she had wanted to fly and before her aching mind could think between the dull clanking of her chattering teeth she had found herself climbing a hill.  Her wizarding robes, though drenched and clinging to her legs, instantly had become tangled in the thistles, but she had trudged onward.  Her delicate shoes had slipped in the muddied grass and her tangled blond locks combined with the heavy rain had made it almost impossible to see.

Then suddenly, there had been a light in the distance, faint yet illuminating.  It had pierced through the swirling clouds and the young witch had followed it.  And as she had come closer, she had seen it, shining in the darkness.  A single bloom had been left upon a rock high on a hill, beyond the castle in which she lived.  In the middle of nowhere someone had performed a charm to light it, to guide her way.  “Narkissos,” she had whispered as she had picked it up gingerly – “a Narcissus.”

Published by excentrykemuse

Fanfiction artist and self critic.

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