If Tomorrow were ne’er Today

chapter 1 / part one

To the reader:

I apologise that 99% in this chapter is flashback style as I had originally intended to write it all (or most of it) in the present.  However, to understand Lucius and Narcissa’s history I believe a great deal of past history is needed and will be within the later chapters when appropriate.  Also, I’m going on vacation next Tuesday and wanted to give you something before I left.  Thus, I hope you will accept my apologies that this is only half a chapter … Enjoy!

The rain had dared to come.  She could hear it upon the walls of the castle, pounding as if each solitary drop were there to call her name in agony.  “Narcissa,” the wind seemed to wail against the clear glass of the chamber in which the young girl resided.  She could never seem to be free.

Her blonde head was slightly bent over a book that she was reading faithfully.  However, her eyes could not see the darkened words upon the effervescent pages, milky in their feigned innocence.  They saw nothing, only the past, which Narcissa always feared to relive … As a child she had prayed dutifully to God, asking him for forgiveness for she had known that she must have done that which had not pleased him.  She had beat her breast in anguish, had cried toward the heavens, but they were always silent.  Still she would remember: she had been so happy on that day and as the door had opened there she had seen what could not have been.  Her sister lay draped upon the plum satin of the love seat where they had often sat and whispered each other their insignificant secrets.  Bellatrix’s skin had shown white upon the almost black beneath her.  Her hair had been undone and had flowed upon the satin with an arrogance Narcissa had not presumed to understand. 

At first she thought her sister was just lying there as one might.  However, as her gaze had lingered upon the elder’s form, she had realized that her sister had been bare-breasted, her dress heaped upon the floor as if it were not important or needed.  All sense of propriety in that room had vanished and the child had gasped in fright.  The eyes of her sister, grey and enflamed with passion, had turned to her, bewildered in their heated pleasure.

And there had been another pair of eyes as well, those that had seemed to stare into her soul, to know her every secret.  They were lighter than her sister’s, almost blue in their subtle highlights.  The face from which they had peered was pale, pointed, and locked upon her clothed form as if they had known everything under them.  And then she had understood … those eyes had turned from their lover to her; they no longer cared for the seductive Bellatrix Black but had wanted her.

She had not understood how she had known all of this in a glance, how she could tell that the grey spheres had undressed her subtly and had yearned for her very being.

And she had been frightened.  As she had looked into those eyes she had seemed to have fallen into their graying darkness.

Then she had seen it, all of it.  In his unfamiliar eyes she had gazed upon a woman, lovely and perfect.  She had been in a room with several four-poster beds, their mahogany finish glowing in the moonlight.  In three of the four beds girls had lain, the white sheets that graced their figures moving rhythmically and hauntingly as they had breathed in the air of another time, of another place.  And there the woman had thrown off the clothes that had clung to her neat figure.  In the silence, she had almost ripped the clothes off of her frame, as if in fear of something, of someone.  The window in the ceiling of green and silver glass had tainted her blonde hair that hung loosely down her back as she had thrown her skirt upon an empty bed.  There was an urgency about this figure, this unknown personage whom Narcissa had seen so clearly.

The woman had then looked at her slender left hand.  There had rested a ring, silver in the moonlight yet Narcissa had known it was more precious than just silver.  It was the purest of dragon platinum that few wizards and no muggles could afford.  It was so rare that even kings were said to have sold their very kingdoms, even their souls to gaze upon a speck of the magic substance.  The metal had blackened in the moonlight, the stone that had adorned it had glistened and then dulled in comparison to the ring itself.

The form had gasped at the very sight of it.  It was precious to her, Narcissa could tell, but as the woman had looked upon this token of some man’s affection, she had shuddered within the stone walls of the room that glowed with the very light of the ring.  Who was the man that had given it to her? Narcissa had wondered.  He had obviously loved her, dearly, to have bought such a precious token.  The child had known that even her father, rich though he was, could never have afforded such a ring.  He had only been able to give his young bride a necklace with a single link made of the legendary substance.  And even then she had been the most admired bride of the season, of the decade, and the Blacks were still revered above other pure blooded families because of this sign of wealth and affection.

“What are you doing?” a groggy voice had asked from one of the four-posters.  She had obviously just awakened, her head of brown locks shifting in the metallic light.

“Nothing,” the woman had lied as she had quickly pulled a simple yet elegant black dress over her undergarments.

The brunette had sighed remorsefully into her silken pillow.  Her pale skin, lighter even than Narcissa’s, had glowed in the light of the metal.  The veins beneath the translucent and smooth epidermis had even seemed to shine independently, giving her the air of a living ghost.  “Liar,” she had said coolly as she had sat up in the darkness.

The blonde had half smiled at the other’s comment in the shadows as she had finished buttoning the dress.  “Since when have I been a liar?” she had replied coolly, fixing her gaze on her companion as if to insinuate a threat.

“You rarely are,” the brunette had replied, though slightly shaken by the woman’s gaze.  “Except,” she had continued, avoiding the blonde’s gaze, “except when it comes to him.”

“Him? Junia, of whom are you speaking?”  The woman, Narcissa could tell, obviously had disliked her companion’s name for her.  The mysterious woman had almost sneered as she had uttered the name, and yet did so elegantly and above reproach, if that were possible for a mere mortal to accomplish.

Junia clearly had overlooked the impudence of the other, although she much preferred being called June.  “Him.  Anne, really, how stupid do you think I am?  I may not be Head Girl –” perhaps they were at Hogwarts, Narcissa had pondered in the millisecond in which she had seen the vision “— but I am not necessarily stupid.”

Anne had not been listening.  As soon as Junia had uttered her name, her eyes had flashed in the light from her ring and had eerily turned a haunting red for an instant.  “Anne?” she had inquired.

“Yes, Anne,” this time Junia had sneered.  “Isn’t that what he calls you?  For some reason he considers you French as it is the French for Hannah or ‘favour.’”  She had flipped her curling dark hair dangerously over her slim and pale shoulder.  “Wait, you haven’t,” she had gasped at the thought.  “Have you?”

“No,” the blonde had answered simply.  “Why would I?”  She had ignored the look of concern on Junia’s face.  “And Lucius has never called me that;” she had paused as she had slipped on a pair of sandals.  “And how would you know what he calls me, June?”  She had appeared curious at the other woman’s reply.

Junia had not answered.  She had looked at her hands, at her fingers that although majestic had seemed almost twisted in the dim light.

“Whatever,” the woman whose name was not Anne had responded as she had made to leave the room.  As an after thought she had taken off the ring, and had gently placed it on the bedside table next to the empty bed.  “And,” she had silkily said as she had stepped across the door, “Mr. Malfoy calls me Anthos and as you are not head girl and clearly have no linguistic skills” – Junia had shuddered at the insult, though imperceptibly in the half light – “it means ‘flower.’  Goodbye.”

And the vision had ended as quickly as it had begun.  Although to Narcissa it had seemed to have lasted for over half an hour, no time had passed.  Her sister’s hair was still falling off of the satin cushions, Lucius’s eyes still locked upon her.  Their greyness had lightened and quickly the child had left, afraid of what she had seen both in the present and in the future.

God had never listened to Narcissa’s dutiful yet silent prayers.  After that day she had become more withdrawn, more calculating, and stronger.  She had spent more of her free hours at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in the silent repose of her head.  She had lived silently within her own mind, imagining the dreams that lay beyond the castle and wishing that she could one day experience them.

Despite her seemingly timid personality, she had been an instantaneous hit at Hogwarts and had found that everyone had wanted to be her best friend.  Clearly her sister Bellatrix’s reputation had proceeded her and everyone in Slytherin House (there were four houses at Hogwarts, Gryffindor for the Brave, Ravenclaw for the Intelligent, Hufflepuff for the Loyal, and Slytherin for the Calculating) had expected her to be just the same.  However, it soon had become apparent that the silent and strangely blonde Narcissa Black (all other blacks had black or dark brown hair) had been a more useful companion than her sister.  Although her silent repose suggested otherwise, her cunning and her knowledge of the darker arts had recommended her to all.

Even the Head Boy and ruler of Slytherin had been clearly taken with his ex-girlfriend’s little sister.  Although most girls Narcissa’s age would have been flattered by such attention by such an important and influential (let alone handsome) figure in Slytherin, Narcissa had often ignored the older boy.  Although as a second year she had been offered a partnership in a cunning and dangerous new plan that every Slytherin of course knew existed but couldn’t prove and, thus, wanted to be a key player, she had politely refused.

“Malfoy,” one of his friends had remarked after the blonde had left the elite circle, “I think you were just snubbed.”

A smile had played on the head boy’s lips.  “Do you think so, Avery?  Well, some punishment is obviously in store for our devious and intelligent young Miss Black.”

And punishment there had been.  Narcissa still shuddered when she had thought of it.  It had been a clear summer day and she had left her circle of friends to study underneath a tree by the lake on the grounds.  The sun had been shining brightly, and she had hid under the cool foliage in fear that her pale skin would burn or – worse – freckle.  She had been engrossed in her History of Magic notes (old Professor Binns, though Narcissa was sure should be dead by now or at least retired, had been adamant that they study most carefully) when the shadow of the tree under which she had been sitting strangely lengthened.  At first she had not noticed, as she had been trying to memorize names although she already knew them by heart.  However, as she had continued, the shadow had spoken, or, rather, had uttered the strangely human sound “a-hem.”

She had dismissively looked at the source of the grunt only to see her least favourite person in the world – Lucius Malfoy.  “Yes?” she had inquired in a tone that had clearly portrayed her annoyance at his presence.  When he had not spoken she had just sighed and had returned her attention to her notes.

As she had lain her notes aside to pick up her potions notebook, she had felt the cool sensation of a gentle breeze against her rosy cheek.  She had turned instinctively in its direction, clearly forgetting that a few moments before Lucius Malfoy had been standing before her, but had been met by the gaze of the head boy.  He had clearly sat down beside her as she had ignored him and the breeze had been his breath upon the side of her face.  His nearness had disturbed her but she had chosen to ignore it which she had found a useful tactic.

After the incident with Bellatrix and the man sitting beside her, Bellatrix had ignored her whenever she came home during holiday.  Her mother had clearly been astonished by the icy behaviour between her two daughters who had once been so close, but had been unable to conclude anything concerning the cause of their estrangement.  She had merely shaken her brunette head at the dinner parties occasionally when the sisters’ dislike for each other had seemed almost apparent to her guests, but had soon learnt despite what she had tried to rectify the situation that it had been hopeless.

Thus, Narcissa had ignored the head boy as she had continued to examine her Potions notes.

“Narcissa,” her companion had drawled beside her.

She had continued to ignore him but after he had repeated her name she had felt obligated to at least reply.  “Yes?” she had asked as she continued to stare at her notes.

However, he had not answered.  Instead, in a firmer voice, he had merely said “Narcissa.”

The girl had not been able to help but notice the clear tones in which his deep voice had uttered her name.  It had almost seemed like a dark and mysterious chant to that which was heavenly.  She had dismissed this thought from her mind and had turned to the handsome man sitting next to her.  She had noticed his pale grey eyes in which she had seen the woman fleeing from him, she presumed that she had been his fiancé to warrant such a gift as dragon platinum.  She had been rather alarmed when she had arrived at Hogwarts to meet a fellow first year with brown hair whose name was Junia, though she preferred being called June.  However, that had not been the most startling of the revelation that followed.  Although there were blondes in Slytherin house (to which both she and Lucius belonged) she was the only blonde in her year and she had been assigned the exact bed that had been empty in her premonition.

“Yes?” She had answered as she had looked into his grey eyes.  And then she had seen the flicker of want and need behind them.  However, before she could distance herself from the Head Boy beside her, his lips had met hers.  He had leaned closer, enveloping his mouth in his own.  The young girl had gasped in surprise – it had been her first kiss.  Her mouth had opened in startled reaction and soon she had felt what she had never expected to exist.  His arm had reached behind her small, quivering frame as he had deepened the kiss.  In fright she had struggled against this powerful man who had complete control of her but had been unable to fight him.  As she had fought, she had lost balance and had soon found him on top of her small frame. 

And then he had laughed, a cruel and terrible laugh that resounded across the lake as he had pulled away.  She had stared up at his retreating form, terrified of what he might do.  Soon his laughter had been joined by the cruel taunts of his friends and half of the school which had seen.  He had proven himself more superior to her and had punished her without mercy for her rejection of his beneficent friendship.

“Did you enjoy it?” he had drawled as he stood up, all eyes admiring him.  Although the younger girls of Hogwarts had been clearly admiring Narcissa for her luck, the disdain in his voice had quickly robbed her of any dignity that she may have possessed.

The young Black had brushed herself off and picking herself up had returned to her Potions notes, clearly ignoring the man who had been trying to lord over her.

Seeing that his revenge had not been fully completed and encouraged by the laughter of his friends, he had lifted her chin away from her notes.  “Well?”

“Well, what?” Narcissa had asked as she had removed her chin from his gentle grasp, returning to her studying.  A slight smile had played on her lips, by ignoring him she had not acknowledged the power he had over her by the act he had just performed.

When he had not moved for several moments she grudgingly had lifted her gaze to his.  “May I help you?” she had inquired, steadily and coolly and with enough resonance so that all who were watching could clearly hear her.  Their eyes had locked, green of the grass and grey of the sky.  She had refused to yield and after several tense moments he had merely shrugged and had left to return to his party of friends.

The rain had dared to come.  Narcissa, laying her book aside turned her eyes toward the window through which the screaming skies were portrayed.  She was dressed simply in black silk, awaiting the evening call to dinner.  Although it was October, she had special leave from Hogwarts to attend her sister Bellatrix’s wedding to a young Mr. Rodolphus Lestrange.  Narcissa was undecided as to whether she liked him or not.  He had been Head Boy a few years before Andromeda had graduated from Hogwarts and a friend of Lucius Malfoy. 

However, her sister liked him and although the two had not been close since the eventful night, she still respected Bellatrix as well as her judgment.  She also held a secret regard for the wild Bellatrix Black whom she had worshipped since she was a child.  Sometimes, upon meeting in the halls at Hogwarts, they would exchange a knowing glance or in the Slytherin Commons Room would laugh over the stupidity of some Gryffindor or defenseless Hufflepuff.  But it had never been the same.

Rodolphus Lestrange was a tall man of excellent wizarding lineage with black hair and incredibly handsome.  More than that Narcissa did not know.  He conversed well and appeared to be an excellent dancer.  He also had a promising career in politics ahead of him (although he was not in need of it for the income).

Narcissa looked into the mirror.  Her reflection always startled her.  She was a slim young woman with blonde curls that she often chose to wear elegantly in a simple twist.  Her eyes were greener than when she had been a child and her face – her face was the face of the woman she had seen with Junia.  However, she often chose to ignore this.  She knew that she would never marry Lucius Malfoy and would go for weeks without even glancing in a mirror.  She hated to be reminded of that night, of what she had seen, of Lucius in any form.  Thus, to her fellow Slytherins’ disapproval she had covered the mirror in their bedchamber with a piece of black velvet and had begged her father once to replace the stained glass depiction of Saint George.

She always felt haunted by him, by Lucius.  Whenever she looked at her sister she would see him laughing at her that day on the grounds.  He had seemed so superior to her but she could never let anyone have power over her.  She had promised herself that desperately when God had not answered her prayers.  No one would control her, no man would ever have her even as a wife.

 How wrong she had been …

The bell rang to announce the beginning of dinner.  To Narcissa it sounded dull, hollow, like her life.  It resounded throughout the empty castle, resonating against the cold stone.  Those stones, etched with the pain and sorrows of others, mirrored the young woman who was clinging desperately to a form of reality of which she could think without abhorrence.  However, it was not to be.  Narcissa knew that she could never fully escape the memories that followed her like a shadow, ever-persistent and present even though not always visible. 

“Yet how could that be?” she whispered desperately as the fading clanking pounded in her head.  “How can a shadow have a shadow?”

Reluctantly she rose.  Her majestic form ached with the weight of her memories, thoughts which she could not remember.  Junia …

As Narcissa had descended from the Hogwarts Express at the beginning of her first year she had spied a brunette head in the crowd of first-years that crowded around a thin woman.  It had caught her eye for although it was unmistakably female, the hair of the child had been cut short in the popular muggle fashion.  The young and timid blonde knew that a handful of muggleborns attended this renowned school of Witchcraft and Wizardry; however, she had never considered that any non-pureblood would so blatantly prove their lack of lineage.  (The Blacks, like pureblooded families, prided themselves highly on their lineage and often condemned those who did not.)

The suspicious brunette, though, had almost seemed to swagger in her walk, which Narcissa had known was a pureblood characteristic.  When she had silently watched Lucius Malfoy walk down the halls on the train, she had seen the same characteristic gate.  Her father, as well, had often used it.  However, Narcissa had known that this did not necessarily prove the purity of her blood; muggles, as well as wizards, often put on airs although her family had often assured her that it was through lack of knowledge of their inferiority which caused such a gross misguidance of conduct.

Her sister Bellatrix had run somewhere vaguely in front of her but Narcissa had pointedly ignored her.  Her elegant black hair had whipped through the air mischievously as she had tried to catch Lucius’s eye, although she had failed.

Narcissa had been vaguely aware of a boat ride across a dark lake, of the moon shining over her head.  Her cat had lain sleepily in her lap, the waves rocking the creature to sleep.  A stout boy beside her had inquired as to her familiar’s name but she had not heard him.  Instead, she had gazed toward the large castle that was to be her home for the next seven years.  It had glowed in the faint moon, full of promises for the future.

The future.  Narcissa had shuddered and the young boy next to her with a loppy grin and rather large ears, had asked, “Are you cold?”

“No,” she had lied and had continued to ignore the boy although he clearly had wanted to know her name.  He had continued to pester her, however, and she had eventually succumbed to the indignity of speaking to him although vaguely.  His name had been “Charles” (an odd name, Narcissa had thought) and had clearly mistaken her for a muggleborn like himself.

However, when she had entered the Great Hall of the castle with the other first years she had clearly not been mistaken by the mirage of faces that had met her.  Although she had not resembled her older sisters in coloring, she was unmistakenly a Black.  The carriage of her head had even suggested if not blatantly stated that she was of noble birth, that she was of the highest of pureblooded families.

As her gaze had flown over the room she had found one face pointedly staring at her: Bellatrix’s.  Her face, although supposedly blank, had a hint of eagerness about its edges.  Narcissa had smiled; she would not disappoint her relations even if she had wanted to have revenge on Bellatrix.  However, she had known that it would be more subtle, less noticeable to the wizarding world.  And if it were apparent, she had mused as she had gazed at a professor placing a stool and a rugged hat upon it at the front of the room, no one would whisper.  She had known that she would be the victor in every aspect of her revenge and that the world would know that the youngest Black had been the greatest of the three sisters.

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