Narcissa sighed as she entered the castle in the early morning hours. She had carefully removed the slippers from her feet, and although she strode proudly toward the main staircase, she did so carefully and silently. A small smile played on her lips as she remembered the night before, the heavenly few moments she had spent in Lucius’s arms. It hardly seemed real to her and, she thought, it was as if she were still dreaming.
And despite her better judgment, she did not wish to awaken from this surreal joy she felt.
“Well,” she heard a masculine voice say as she began to climb the grand staircase, “if it isn’t Narcissa.”
Her green eyes fluttered upward and she saw her future brother-in-law, leaning nonchalantly against the railing down at her. “Lestrange,” she replied simply as she noticed the smirk playing on his lips. “I see you could not draw yourself away from my sister,” she emphasized the final word, her voice trailing off hinting that the very thought of the other witch displeased her. “How is dear Bellatrix?”
His dark eyes narrowed slightly. “Well, but still upset.”
“About last night?” she asked innocently as she continued up the stairs. Upon reaching the top, she glanced over her shoulder at him, raising a single eyebrow in question.
“Naturally,” he answered as he noticed how devastating the young witch looked. Her dress clung to her young and slender form, hiding yet accentuating her small breasts and delicately etched bones. Her hair fell in golden tresses down her back, curling slightly and glowing hauntingly in the morning sun. Although she appeared slightly disheveled, her hair clearly not having been brushed since the night before, she seemed the ideal of feminine beauty and womanly poise and beyond disrepute.
Lestrange shook himself mentally as he forced his eyes not to devour her young form. Although he was an engaged man, and passionately devoted to his future bride, he could not help but admire Narcissa, especially as he had just consumed an entire bottle of brandy. Or two. After the passionate, though albeit frightening, night he had spent with Bellatrix, her tears flowing smoothly down her etched face as she violently loved him, her cold voice whispering hexes directed at him, the haunting light of glee in her eyes as he screamed in pain – he needed some form of distraction. And he was, his hazing mind reasoned, able to appreciate Narcissa Black’s beauty as a man and perhaps use her naivety to his advantage, especially when it came to comforting his fiancée.
“So,” he nearly purred as he turned to face her, his back now against the banister, “what is it that you have stolen that Bella so evidently desires?”
The ends of Narcissa’s lips turned upward in a coy smile. “Perhaps you should ask her yourself,” she merely stated as she thought of slowly torturing her sister with her relationship with Lucius.
“Then, sister, as I trust I may call you,” he began to slowly and languidly move toward her, “you admit to being a thief?”
“That I shall never admit to,” she replied simply as she noticed uncomfortably his advancement. She did not, however, display her discomfort outwardly. Her features remained cool and remote, a mask of ice upon her features. “And one cannot possibly steal what is given willingly by the person who truly possesses it.”
Lestrange was now close enough to her that she could feel his breath against her cheek. As he slowly reached out a hand to tuck an errant strand of hair behind her ear, she stated coolly as she turned away from him, “Please do not touch me, sir.”
“But why not, Narcissa?” he asked seductively, his lips gently caressing her ear.
Merlin this is not happening to me, Narcissa thought as she closed her eyes, trying to forget what was happening to her. Within a twelve hour period, she had been in the loving arms of Lucius and deliriously happy although wary of her new situation. She had also met Alexius, Junia’s brother, whose actions not an hour since mirrored Lestrange’s current ministrations. Although Narcissa liked Alexius, and found him charming and was perhaps able to forget all of her past, somehow she knew that she did not want to forget. She wanted to remember every detail clearly and poignantly, even if such a memory were to give her pain. She could not forget, not now; and her love for Lucius only seemed to increase because of the past.
And now her future brother, one of Lucius’s closest friends, was trying to seduce her. Although she hardly knew the wizard and could claim no connection except for his betrothal to a sister who had disowned her six years earlier, he was now treating her with an intimacy that disquieted her. She closed her eyes to quell her thoughts. He was not even giving her a choice – a single choice – to accept his attentions or not. He had ignored her simple wishes.
As Narcissa tried to move away, she felt Lestrange’s strong arm grab her around the waist and a wand press against her back sharply.
“Careful,” he hissed into her ear as his tongue licked her earlobe. “You know you have stolen something, and I want to know what it is.”
She tried desperately to pull away, but he jabbed his wand further into her back and held onto her firmly. “And,” he continued, “I have something that perhaps you want.”
Narcissa continued to struggle but in vain. His grip deepened until she was out of breath and she was powerless to move.
“Shhhh,” Lestrange whispered. “Don’t make me hex you.”
“I am an engaged woman, sir,” she stated coldly. She was terrified and powerless, but she refused to let him know it. The night before she had left her wand on her bedside table, assuming that she wouldn’t need it as she was only going down to dinner.
Lestrange laughed at her comment. “And I,” he purred, “am an engaged man.” His left arm crawled down her waist so that it embraced her hips. “But who, may I ask, is the lucky man?”
Narcissa tensed as his threat hung in the air between them. She turned her face away from him, wanting to be as far away from where she stood as possible. And then she smelled it, it was faint but unmistakable – the scent of brandy on his breath.
“You’re drunk,” she spat with disgust. “Unhand me before you do something you’ll really regret.”
He merely laughed at her comment. “And what if I am, sister?” he whispered. “Though I doubt I’ll regret this new form of intimacy” – she shuddered audibly – “in our relationship.”
Where was her mother? Narcissa wondered as her sister’s fiancé began to kiss her neck sloppily. A look of disdain crossed her features as she wished that someone else were holding her, that Lucius was there to catch his friend off guard.
“If I tell you,” she stated coldly, her voice tense with unspent fear, “will you cease?”
“Mmm,” he sighed into her neck as he bit it harshly. Merlin, that will leave a mark, Narcissa thought.
“Well,” she began, but he wasn’t listening anymore. The press of the wand against her back had lessened slightly and his left hand was roaming idly toward her breasts. “If you touch me,” she growled but he only laughed.
“You’ll what, sister?” he grinned into her skin.
“I’ll,” she began as she vaguely heard a door open. However, she didn’t care in that moment. Suddenly, her mind froze and her instincts took control. She lifted her bare foot swiftly yet quietly and slammed it down onto his foot while simultaneously elbowing Lestrange in the groin. He gasped in surprise as he dropped his wand in bewilderment. Narcissa, strangely in tune with this fact, whipped around and grabbed the magical piece of wood before Lestrange was able to realize what exactly had happened. Breathing heavily, the witch took a few steps back while pointing the wand menacingly at her future brother-in-law. “Don’t you ever,” she spat, “touch me again.”
“But don’t you want me to, sister?” he grinned as he looked at the wand pointed at his heart. “You know, I’ve always liked strong and dominant witches,” he added, his eyes twinkling maliciously at her.
“Yes,” she sighed. “And Bellatrix is so dominant that she will perform the Cruciatus curse on both of us if she learns of your – attentions to me.” Narcissa was surprised her sister had not performed an Unforgivable curse on her before. Why did she always seem to attract Bellatrix’s lovers? she thought disdainfully to herself. “Thus, brother,” her voice dripped with disdain which thankfully hid the weariness she felt, “I suggest you return to her side where you are WANTED.” When he made no response, she merely stated, “I am not afraid to hex you.”
Instead of obeying her demands, however, he took a shaky step forward. Narcissa immediately stepped backward but held firmly. “I mean it, Lestrange, I will not hesitate to cast an infertility charm on you and possibly much worse if you take a single step forward.”
“You know, m’dear,” he slurred. “You really are positively delightful when you’re angry.”
She made no response, but merely glared at him.
“Like Bella,” he continued as if she had encouraged him, but he did not move forward. “Though her beauty is more vivacious, more –” His thoughts had clearly wandered to some personal memory “—passionate. But you, Narcissa,” – despite her cool façade, Narcissa flinched at the sound of her given name on his lips – “you are colder, a frozen bloom which needs to be – thawed – to reach its full beauty.”
Narcissa’s brow furrowed at his insinuations.
“And you believe you are the one to properly – thaw – this winter frost, brother?” she inquired, in a seemingly sweet voice.
“Naturally,” he drawled self-confidently. “I have for Bella.” He swayed slightly and leaned toward the banister, clearly off balance due to his present intoxication. Narcissa kept his wand faithfully trained on him, though Lestrange did not seem to notice.
“Really?” she questioned. “How – kind – of you. However, if I may be so bold, I had heard otherwise.”
His brow furrowed as his sluggish brain tried to comprehend her clear spoken words. Yes, he thought desperately, it is true. It always has been true. There has always been someone else, someone from her past. He closed his eyes against the realization and his body tensed as he finally understood.
“Who is it?” he whispered. “Which wizard’s heart have you unwittingly stolen? Whom does Bellatrix love?”
But Narcissa was unable to even answer him for Lestrange collapsed unceremoniously to the floor. Hesitantly she inched toward him and kicked him with her bare foot. When he did not move or even groan, she kicked him even harder. Again she received no response.
She sighed as she lowered the wand, though still keeping it trained on his still form, and backed away from the heap that she would soon be forced to call her brother. Bellatrix really has peculiar taste in men, she thought wryly to herself. One is a stalking pedophile, the other a drunkard.
Kicking him one last time to be certain that he was truly unconscious, she broke his wand cleanly against her velvet thigh. She threw the two pieces of mahogany beside him and turned to go to her room where she hoped a long and relaxing bath awaited her. However, she heard an odd shuffling below her and as she turned she saw Lucius Malfoy staring unblinkingly up at her. Next to him was a bewildered Alexius of Everingham, whom Lucius was restraining with a gloved hand.
And he seemed perfect to her as he stood there, exquisitely dressed as he always was. He was wearing a different though similar set of robes than he had the night before and although his eyes gleamed silver protectively, she knew she could easily get lost in them.
She raised one eyebrow in question and asked, “do you follow me EVERYWHERE I choose to go, Mr. Malfoy?”
“Perhaps,” he drawled as he released Alexius’s arm and began to climb the stairs toward Narcissa. “However, Anthos, I could ask you a similar question.”
“Really? And that would be what precisely, sir?” Her eyes glinted as he slowly moved toward her. Out of the corner of her eye she could see Alexius gaping at them.
“Well,” he began as he stopped a few steps below her. “Why do you have such a peculiar habit of stealing the hearts of wizards who, in truth, belong to your dear sister Bellatrix?” His eyes glinted with mirth as he asked this of her. She was stunning in her disheveled state, her hair falling loosely over her shoulders, her feet unclad. Her skin was flushed with the heat of her “argument” with Lestrange, which became her, although Lucius wished that passion for himself had excited such a warmth to her normally pale complexion; however, Lucius noticed that a small red welt was forming on her neck where Lestrange had evidently attacked her.
“It is a peculiar pastime, is it not, sir?” her eyebrow arched in defiance as she turned from him and sneered at Lestrange. “Then again, I could just as easily ask these wizards why they have such a fascination with an underage witch and continually flirt with the idea of getting hexed by her overprotective father.” She pointedly looked at Lucius as if daring him to deny her accusations. However, his face remained impassive. “Now,” she continued as she turned away from him, “if you and Lord Everingham would be so kind as to excuse me …” But Narcissa was unable to finish her thought.
“Narcissa?” the voice of her mother called from in front of her. “Have you finally returned?” Her voice was soft yet held a wariness to it with which Narcissa was far too familiar. The young witch glanced down at her evening robes from the night before and mentally cursed at the fact that her mother would find her in such a state. Although she was not vain, she was sensible to the fact that her current dishevelment would only lead to awkward questions, especially when two single wizards were in her presence and her sister’s husband-to-be lay unmoving on the floor, his wand broken.
Narcissa felt Lucius, who intuitively sensed her unease, moving behind her, and he whispered “allow me” softly in her ear as he transfigured her gown into morning robes. She turned her face slightly toward him as she felt the slippers she was still holding be transfigured as well. She bent down, gracefully placing the now pale blue shoes onto her feet. With another word, Lucius cast a glamour charm on her hair, which Narcissa assumed made it appear combed as it still fell over her shoulders.
“I always wear my hair up,” she commented dryly as she smoothed the nonexistent creases from her now pale blue robes that felt like a delicate brocade.
“Really?” he commented, although he did not cast another spell to arrange it atop of her head. Instead, she felt a cool tingle of a charm against her neck where Lestrange had bitten her earlier. She turned fully toward him and looked into his grey eyes, slightly blushing with embarrassment. He returned her gaze and put his wand hastily away as he heard Madame Black approaching.
“Narcissa?” her mother asked as she came into view. Her youngest daughter turned toward her smoothly and placed a smile on her face.
“Mother,” she responded. “How are you?”
The older witch rushed at her daughter and embraced her, to Narcissa’s surprise. Lucius, slightly amused at his future mother-in-law’s actions, backed away slowly from his startled fiancée and her mother.
“Where have you been, dear?” Madame Black inquired as she pulled away. However, then she noticed how her youngest was dressed. She had uncharacteristically worn her hair down and was wearing a dress of pale blue and gold brocade, which the older woman had never seen before. Although this would not have surprised Madame Black if she had seen a new set of robes on her daughter Bellatrix, Narcissa was far from vain and preferred robes that drew less attention to her beauty unlike her current garb. The blue of the gown accented her pale skin while highlighting her haunting green eyes. And the gold brocade – well, it complimented her falling tresses of hair perfectly. Although the robes were simple, they accentuated her slender build and showed it off to its greatest possible advantage.
She is even more beautiful than her sisters, Madame Black suddenly realized forgetting to omit her eldest Andromeda from the list of her offspring. Although she had always believed her youngest daughter to be pretty, she had never before noticed what a beauty she was. And yet she was more than that. Her skin glowed with a healthy radiance and her eyes sparkled in the midmorning sun. And Narcissa was more than simply beautiful. Instead she held a quiet grace and had a pleasing demeanor which would be attractive to any man no matter what her age. Narcissa would be just as stunning at fifty as she was now at the tender age of sixteen, if not more beautiful. She was timeless in every sense of the word.
Madame Black glanced at the robes once again as she admired her daughter. It was as if the garments had been made for Narcissa, especially designed for the young and beautiful witch standing now before her after her abrupt disappearance. “Did you go shopping after you left, Narcissa?” her mother asked incredulously, although she knew her youngest only purchased new items of clothing if forced. However, this was the only explanation of which she could think that would describe the sudden appearance of the robes. And where were her daughter’s things from the night before?
“Pardon?” Narcissa asked, her eyes only hinting at her confusion. “Shopping?”
“Your robes, dear,” her mother explained. “They’re simply marvelous. I never realized how stunning –” However, at the slight blush on her daughter’s cheeks, Madame Black asked, “Wherever did you find them?”
“Hogsmeade,” Narcissa lied simply. She was almost certain she had heard June speak of a particular boutique there once.
Madame Black looked incredulously again at her daughter, although pleased with the apparent change in her daughter’s shopping habits. “Well, then, my dear,” she said, “you should obviously go to Hogsmeade more often. I’ll speak with your father directly on raising your allowance as I doubt your new fondness for robes has not curtailed your ravenous desire for books.” Smiling at her daughter, she then turned to Lucius. “And Mr. Malfoy,” she said holding her hand out to the wizard. “What a pleasure to see you again after so short a time.”
He took her hand gracefully and brushed his lips against it before releasing her. “A pleasure as always, Madame Black,” he stated. He silently wondered when the older witch would notice Lestrange lying in a heap behind him. Thankfully, the gown he had “created” for Narcissa had kept her occupied for the several moments already. He smiled to himself as he looked at his future bride; Madame Black was correct, the robes certainly did become Narcissa.
“And to what do we owe this honour?” she purred. She had always liked Lucius, although she had thought him the wrong choice for her daughter Bellatrix. He seemed more suited to Narcissa’s temperament, but at that time there had been no possibility of any association between them. However, now – she thought briefly of her youngest daughter. Now Narcissa was old enough to accept suitors and perhaps Lucius Malfoy was just the man to compliment her silent and pondering nature.
“I merely escorted your enchanting daughter home, Madame,” he said bowing. “And Lord Everingham was kind enough to accompany us.”
A smile graced Madame Black’s lip at the first part of Lucius’ statement. Perhaps an association between their two families was not completely impossible. And did she just imagine the glimmer in Lucius’ eyes as he looked at her youngest daughter? And was Narcissa’s sudden penchant for robes and attractive hair styles the direct result of her re-acquaintance with the wizard before them? She smiled to herself at the thought.
Madame Black was quickly drawn from her thoughts as she turned and looked down the stairs at a still bewildered Alexius. “Lord Everingham,” she greeted the nobleman merrily as she glided down the marble staircase. “It is a pleasure to finally meet you.”
He bowed graciously as he took her extended hand. “And you,” he replied, his eyes training accusingly on his cousin as the blond wizard moved toward a seemingly unaware Narcissa.
“Will you not stay for breakfast, my Lord?” she asked charmingly. “And you, too, Mr. Malfoy?” she turned and smiled as she noticed the shift in the wizard’s position. “I trust both of you can spare half an hour to entertain Narcissa and myself over morning coffee and brioche?”
“Alas,” Lucius smiled smoothly, “neither Miss Black nor I can join you as we have wedding details to discuss.” His eyes glinted as he glanced at Narcissa. Her haunting green eyes caught his gaze and silently questioned him. As he returned his gaze to Madame Black and Alexius at the bottom of the stairs, he noticed the young wizard glaring at him. He smirked at his cousin’s reaction and knew what the other wizard automatically assumed. Madame Black, however, did not catch the hidden insinuation behind Lucius’ words. “We seem to be at an impasse when it comes to what exactly Bellatrix will allow for Lestrange’s bachelor party.”
Madame Black smiled. “I hope you are not corrupting Narcissa, Mr. Malfoy, with your plans for that evening.”
“I wouldn’t dream of it, madame,” he purred as he offered Narcissa his arm. “If you would be kind enough to excuse us,” he bowed to his future mother-in-law, though she was unaware of his current relationship with Narcissa. “Everingham,” he stated as he turned with his beloved on his arm. He looked disdainfully down at Lestrange, whom Madame Black had yet to notice, and allowed Narcissa to guide him down an unknown corridor.
As soon as they were out of sight, he felt Narcissa loosen her light grasp on his arm. He turned toward her, but she was staring straight ahead of them, her eyes almost unseeing. Her face was impassive and he placed his right hand lightly against hers, afraid that she would break the contact between them. At the feel of cold leather against her skin, Narcissa’s arm stiffened and she tried to pull away. He looked at her again, only to see her green eyes staring at him.
“Where are you taking me?” he asked calmly.
She turned her face away from him as she freed her arm. “To get my wand.”
Lucius bowed his head in acknowledgement as he removed his leather gloves from his hands. “Has he ever –” he began, but Narcissa did not let him finish.
“I doubt she’ll mind anything you’re planning,” she remarked suddenly, a flurry of emotions running across her face. “She is Bellatrix, after all.” She stopped in front of a door and opened it. “Wait one moment,” she stated as she disappeared behind it. Looking after her, Lucius saw a spacious room decorated simply. A single mirror hung upon the wall, but he noticed that it was covered with a piece of green velvet to make it completely useless.
Narcissa soon reappeared with a conjured basket in her hand. “I hope you don’t mind muffins,” she stated instead of inquiring. “I haven’t eaten since last night’s dreadful excuse for dinner.”
He nodded his head in acquiescence and then in one swift movement, pulled her carefully toward him. He settled his forehead against her smooth one and sighed in happiness. Oddly, he could not remember the last time he had sighed or when he had ever, in his life, been truly happy.
He tucked a curl lovingly behind her ear, as he whispered “is there somewhere we can go?”
Lucius looked into her eyes and noticed an odd battle taking place within them, which he could not fully comprehend. “It’s alright,” he coaxed as he slid his bare hand down her pale cheek. “I’ll give you everything you’ve ever dreamed of, and much more than that,” he whispered seductively as his sensual lips brushed against her temple. “Even revenge.” This was what she wants, he thought desperately to himself. She wanted revenge upon her sister, undeniable power that she could secretly manipulate in the privacy of her home – THEIR home. And he wanted to give it all to her, even revenge upon himself if that was what her heart truly desired.
He wanted to love her as he knew no other, even Alexius, could ever love her. He wanted her to feel safe in his embrace, to whisper his name in her dreams as she slept peacefully beside him. He wanted to place the engagement ring on her finger, to see it gleam seductively on her skin. But he knew that although to the world it would appear that he had claimed her, that she was his and his alone, that he would be her servant, perhaps even her slave. He would belong to her and his heart would be in her hands to do with as she wished. The ring did not signify his possession of her, but her complete control over his life. With a single smile she could make him weep for joy and with a harsh look he knew he would kill himself if her eyes belied that she desired it.
He loved her as he had never loved anyone or anything.
And it frightened him.
But in that moment, when he held her in his arms, he knew that only she and her happiness mattered.
“I love you,” he confessed into her soft hair. “My life is yours. It always has been.”
She pulled away slightly from him and looked imploringly into his eyes. However, at the sound of movement down the hall, she shifted her gaze away from him. Out of another room, Narcissa saw her sister languidly walking. Her hair was wild with her passions of the night before, and her eyes regally shone as she tied a dark red robe about her still slightly visible naked form. But Bellatrix neither saw her sister nor the man who held her closely to him.
Narcissa looked once again at Lucius and saw that his eyes were still fixed on her form. Perhaps he truly does love me, she thought to herself briefly.
Narcissa hastily pressed a finger to his lips, wordlessly telling him to remain silent. In an instant she had turned once again toward the door she had come out of and entered it quickly, pulling him into the room after her. She closed the door silently and, after drawing her wand from an inside pocket in her robes, muttered a silencing spell and locked the door.
“I did not wish to face Bellatrix’s wrath,” she explained quickly although he had not asked.
As she set down the basket with the forgotten muffins inside, she turned toward him. They stared at each other, neither moving nor saying a word. His declaration hung in the tense air between them, the words pulsing within each of their minds.
“Lucius?” Narcissa whispered hesitantly.
“Yes, Anthos,” his name for her rolled off of his tongue hauntingly.
“Will you swear to forget this? All of this?”
He bowed his head in agreement and shut his eyes. Of course she wished him to forget everything that had passed between them in the past twelve hours. She wanted him to forget that he had proposed to her on the Hogwarts grounds, that she had accepted, that she had whispered that she loved him. She wanted him to forget how beautiful and peaceful she looked when sleeping, her golden hair pouring over her shoulders as he silently watched her. She wanted him to forget the ring he had designed for her, her reacceptance of his proposal, how she had whispered “Madame Lucius Malfoy” happily in her sleep.
She wanted him to forget every word and look that had passed between them.
And he knew that he could not and never would; but she wished it. And so he would pretend. He would never look at her again, would remove himself from England even so the memory of her in his arms would not haunt him.
And perhaps with time the memory of her would slowly fade and he would find himself whimsically wondering if any witch could have possessed so much passion in a single glance as he thought his Anthos once had.
He bowed his head lower at the thought. He was no better than Lestrange, that monster, who had attacked her and blemished her perfect skin. Lestrange, his FRIEND, who had held her unwilling body against his own with the threat of violence and a wand jabbed against her back. But she had freed herself. And now she was freeing herself from Lucius’ unwanted hold on her. He himself was no better than Lestrange, Lucius knew, although his actions were because he loved her.
And he knew he always would. “I swear,” he whispered, though he knew his heart would bleed with the very effort of speaking.
With a rustle of cloth her lips pressed suddenly and passionately against his own, and Lucius opened his eyes in amazement as he was once again lost in her embrace.
“Help me forget,” she pleaded softly against his mouth. “MAKE me forget it all as only you can.”