Narcissa’s footsteps slowed as she quietly approached her room. Although she knew no one, apart from Lucius, was in the Manor, she could not help but feel as if someone was observing her, heightening her sense of undress. A draught from one of the windows played with the hair at the nape of her neck and cooled the sweat that ran down her naked spine.
What had just happened?
She replayed the incident over and over again in her mind. The look in his eyes, her taunting words. She had wanted to push him over the edge. She understood that now. Why couldn’t she just have let herself be happy? If she hadn’t been so traitorous to her own emotions, she could have been sitting happily in a restaurant, the adoring eyes of her fiancé upon her. She could have been the talk of wizarding society the next morning, with her engagement on display, the jealous glares of her sister only adding to her enjoyment and sense of fulfillment after all of these years of despair. Why did she have to be so reckless?
She stared at the oak door before her and slowly pushed it open to reveal her room. The world now seemed so dull, so mundane. She saw her shopping bags thrown in one corner, the swaths of velvet that covered the mirrors only heightening her drear mood. This room had always felt like a prison to her, a gilded cage, ever since she had first seen Lucius. The only way she could escape it was by running into the arms of a man – into another cage that perhaps would be more beautiful although more deadly to her soul.
Her soul ached and she stumbled into the chair at her vanity. So much had changed since she had last sat in this chair just twenty-four hours earlier. Before she had thought that she might never see Lucius again. He was only a nightmare of her past, a memory that would haunt her though he could not hurt her anymore.
The clock struck the hour. One, two, three … Narcissa sighed. Hesitating at first, Narcissa pulled the velvet from the mirror and stared at her own reflection. She hadn’t realized she had been crying.
Five, six, seven. Seven o’clock. An entire hour had already passed and still she was as alone as before.
Narcissa had never before noticed how dark her eyes were as she stared at the woman before her in the glass. The reflection was a stranger, a girl without a past, perhaps without a future. She existed with a single moment of time, forced to stare back at Narcissa with the same sorrowful expression.
The clock once again began to chime. Seven, eight. The blood on Narcissa’s lips had dried, staining them an unearthly red. Her sister would be home soon. Narcissa couldn’t bear to still be in the house to hear her boisterous laughter.
If only she could give Lucius back to the woman, perhaps this nightmare would finally end.
However, it was too late. She knew that. She belonged to Lucius. She was his property, his possession. He had claimed her and taken her that night, casually, with no hint of love in his expression. She was just some small, insignificant insect to him that he was determined to control and manipulate.
And she would marry him. She had no other option. He had taken what little pride she had been able to muster over the past few years. She was nothing now – nothing but a shell of her former self who still traitorously wanted him.
Narcissa continued to stare at her reflection as the door behind her opened. She knew it was Lucius, probably come to take again what was rightfully his. She could not care. Let him do with her as he wished, take her in whatever way he pleased. She didn’t care if he raped her again and again in the night, what injustices he put her soul through. She could feel nothing but the aching pain of what she had lost.
“You haven’t dressed for dinner,” he drawled softly as he looked down upon her.
She couldn’t answer. Instead, she just looked into her own dark eyes and wondered at the hell she had created for herself.
He sighed. “Why must you be so stubborn?”
Narcissa looked away into the fire. She listened to the sounds of the logs burning magically.
The seconds stretched between them, and Narcissa was startled to feel herself suddenly pulled from the chair and looking directly into Lucius’ eyes. They were cold and harsh, lacking any passion or tender emotion toward her. “Look at me,” he demanded when she lowered her swollen eyes to the floor. “Look at me, dammit.”
He pressed her tightly to his chest and she could feel him shaking. Was he crying or merely angry? she thought to herself. She inhaled deeply and smelled brandy.
Lucius buried his hand in Narcissa’s hair as he slowly began to kiss her neck. Despite herself, Narcissa closed her eyes, willing herself to be anywhere but in Lucius’ arms. She didn’t bother to fight against him, to tell him to stop. Although she could feel her skin tingle in the cold, she could barely feel her body. She felt separate from everything, almost as if she were hovering above Lucius and the girl he was embracing, silently watching as he tried to make love to her.
Silently she watched as he slowly undressed her, tossing her Muggle clothes into the fire. This is what dying must feel like, she thought to herself as her lover carried her to the bed. With a silent prayer, she hoped that she would never wake to these memories the following morning.