“Romeo, take me somewhere we can be alone. I’ve been waiting; all you have to do is run, You be the prince and I’ll be the princess, It’s a love story, baby, just say ‘yes.’”“Love Story,” Taylor Swift
“I want your permission,” Peverell said quietly, “not to treat you like a lady of society.” Her dress was nearly off by now and she was shivering under the heat of his gaze.
“I—wouldn’t that be like treating me like a muggle or a whore?” she asked in confusion. She was lying down, her head near the pillows, her weight on her elbows.
“Sit up,” he commanded, and surprisingly she did.
Carefully taking her arms out of her dress, she was left in nothing but her corset and her panties. “Aren’t you going to?” she asked, gesturing to him, and he smirked at her.
“But, of course, my dear,” he murmured. He was wearing royal blue robes that day and he shirked them off to reveal a shimmering blue and silver top that he similarly pulled over his head.
He was simply marvelous. All pale skin, ribs, and glorious muscles, Imbolc couldn’t help but reach out and almost touch. When she hesitated, Peverell grabbed her hand and ran it down the length of his chest. “We will be married in quite a short amount of time,” he reminded her. “You may touch what you like.”
“But I—it’s not proper. Aunt Narcissa said I should lie in a shift and let you—well, she was never very specific after that. She said she would tell me the night before my wedding.”
“Well,” he whispered, leaning over and kissing her deeply. “I don’t want you to behave like a pureblood lady.”
“Then why would you marry me?” she questioned. “That’s exactly what I am.”
“Do you love me?” he asked suddenly.
Her violet eyes flashed. “Do you love me? You did, after all, interrupt my wedding.”
“You didn’t want it,” he growled, before pulling her up to him and burying his hands in her hair. “Morgana,” he exclaimed. “Take it out. I don’t think I could figure this out if I had a year.”
She looked at him. “Is there a mirror?”
“I wasn’t expecting you so soon,” he apologized, but he motioned to a door. Looking at him, Imbolc stood up and walked toward it, trying to forget about the state of undress. What she saw startled her that she cried out. Her arm was covered in thick bands of purple and red and so were portions of her upper leg and ankle.
Peverell rushed in and immediately saw the problem. Coming up to her from behind he cradled her form as she cried. “Hush,” he murmured. “I had him executed. His head is in a box I meant to present you with earlier today.”
“It’s horrible,” she sobbed. “I’m so ugly now.”
“Never that,” he promised. “You got away before he could sink his teeth into your neck. Do you know how truly amazing that is?”
“Draco thinks it’s ugly,” she murmured. “He says he doesn’t, but all of his actions say differently.—He’s only kissed me once, and though he says he loves me and wants to marry me, I can’t help but think it’s because I’m the Black heiress and not because I’m his Immy—oh, by the gods,” she wept.
He petted the top of her hair and kissed her brow. “Your myrrh hasn’t arrived yet,” he apologized. “However, just look at your face, sweetheart. Just look there as you undo your glorious hair.”
Without even turning to the mirror, she reached back and began to unbind the three twists that fell to her shoulders, meeting in the middle. She threw the bindings on the counter and felt her hair slowly fall to her midback. “Is it done?” she asked, turning toward him.
Running his hand through her wavy hair, Peverell nodded. “It’s like molten gold.”
“So everyone tells me.—You’re still more dressed than I am.”
He looked down at his trousers and smirked. Unhooking a button, he stepped out of them and smirked at her. “Better, Lady Peverell?”
“That’s not my name yet,” she argued as he led her back to the bedroom.
“Semantics,” he argued as she sat on the bed and pulled herself on it. Following her like a tiger tracking his prey, he pursued her, his eyes red with lust. “Perseus,” he recalled.
“Not ‘til Christmas,” she reminded.
“Well, we’ll need plenty of practice,” he argued, reaching behind her corset and undoing the laces.
“I’m still a lady,” she warned.
“But I want to make love to a woman,” he emphasized, “not a doll who’s been told to do nothing but lie back and think of England.”
“Then perhaps we can settle on a witch?” she suggested as her skin met the bare air. Immediately, his lips were upon her and she threw her head back. “Mal, I—Aunt Narcissa never mentioned—“
“Of course not,” he growled, releasing a breast from his tender mercies. “She’s a doll.” His hand dipped into her panties, which had become surprisingly wet, and found a nub of flesh.
“Nng,” she cried out as her senses continued to be assaulted. His mouth was on one breast, his hand on another, and the other hand around the sweet nub. It was too much. Far too much. And then—and then—
Imbolc screamed out, her hands above her head, grabbing hold of the pillows, and Peverell looked up at her in pleasure.
“Don’t you like being a woman, my dear, instead of a simple doll?”
“Why you—?” she breathed out, throwing a pillow at him.
He laughed before he surged up for another searing kiss. Yes, she decided, she liked being a woman, especially when he entered her and let her breathe through the pain before bringing her that pleasure again. He sat them up so that they were nearly face to face, sweat pouring off their backs, and she looked into his snake like face.
When he intoned the words of the ancient rites, she felt at peace, and she pulled him that much closer.
“You kept your word,” she murmured when he had laid her back on the pillows. “I really am Imbolc, Lady Peverell.”
“Did you ever have any doubt?” he whispered in his sibilant and attractive voice. He smoothed a hand down her scars of her arm. “All I’ve wanted is you.”
“Wanted, but not loved,” she surmised.
“To me they are the same thing, my dear.” His hand still moved against her arm.
As she let her eyes close, a hand came to rest upon her cheek.
“Not yet, sweetheart,” Peverell announced. “You can hardly think that we’re finished yet.”
She laughed and opened her eyes. “People do it more than once?”
“Dolls don’t,” he admitted with a smirk, “but women certainly do.”
“Let me get this straight,” Harry said. Imbolc was having tea with him, Sirius, and Selenadora. “Malfoy tried to force a bonding with you, Peverell interrupted, and you ended up bonding with Peverell in the next half hour.”
“Sounds like me and your mum,” Sirius said proudly. “Lady Imbolc Peverell. Has a ring to it.”
“Yes,” she agreed, not correcting him on the name. “He’s taking me to Paris tonight. There’s some sort of political meeting. Insists I wear blue for some reason.”
“Have the Malfoys sent your belongings?” Selenadora asked quietly. “I know they must be angry about…everything…”
“They have, including Elizabeth Woodville. Peverell has his own stable, not as many Abraxans as Uncle Lucius, but enough.”
She sipped her tea. Imbolc felt like she needed to get back to Mal. Perhaps she could pull him away from his work for more pleasant afternoon activities. If not, she could always go riding, or into the town of Little Hangleton where she was quite popular as the “Squire’s wife.” She simply employed a glamour on her scars.
Sirius clapped his hands. “The old dog.”
“Pardon?” Imbolc asked.
“Selenadora,” he asked. “Would you mind terribly leaving? This is a question for married women and gentlemen.”
She looked over at Potter and then sighed. Selenadora put down her cup of tea and left the room.
Sirius turned back to Imbolc. “Please tell me that he’s not treating you like a pureblood maiden in the sack.”
Unfortunately, Imbolc knew exactly what ‘the sack’ was. Ravenclaws could gossip with the best of them.
Potter had gone white.
She looked at her father dead on. “You mean like a doll? Lie back and think of England, and all that nonsense—or what he calls nonsense?”
“So he doesn’t then,” Sirius pressed.
“No,” she answered carefully. “He does not. Apparently he treats me like a ‘woman’.”
Sirius clapped his hands in glee and looked at Potter. “Harry, if you ever find a woman of breeding who is willing to forgo her teachings about how to behave while in bed with her husband, you should snatch her up immediately.”
“Well, I certainly wouldn’t do it for just anyone,” she stated plainly. “That would be preposterous!”
“Would you do it for Malfoy?” Potter asked curiously and she gave him a scathing look.
“Draco and I have been barely speaking since Yule. I’d hardly do anything for him at the moment, if I’m completely honest. I’m just glad to be away from him. If he lies to me and tells me he loves me one more time, I’ll curse him.” She took a sip of her tea. “Now I have a favor.”
Both Sirius and Potter looked up.
“Peverell is going to be out of the country for the Weasley wedding. Normally, I would ask Draco, but given our falling out, I can’t have him escort me. Would one of you two fine gentleman do the honor?”
“I’ll do it,” Potter said a little too quickly.
“I’ll get one of the Weasleys to take Selenadora, then,” Sirius mused, though no one was paying attention. “Or I’ll just take her. Might be better.”
“Can you dance?” Imbolc asked Potter.
“Father, teach him how to dance. I love to dance. I know I have a ball a few days before in Greece or somewhere, but I would so enjoy to do so at a wedding.”
“Dancing, right. Pureblood I’m assuming?”
“Is there any other kind?” she asked sweetly.
“No,” he agreed sullenly. “Your mother loved to dance, actually. You have that in common.”
Imbolc smiled sadly. “Yes, I suppose we do.”
A vanity had been moved into the room and, frankly, Peverell was insatiable. Imbolc was careful to apply Myrrh every day to all of her scars and didn’t even bother wearing a negligée to bed. Instead, she would leave a robe out and crawl under the covers exactly as the old gods had made her.
Peverell was in bed, reading with glasses.
“May I make an observation?” she questioned, leaning on her side and propping her head up using her elbow.
He looked at her.
“First, you work too much,” she noted, taking the parchment from his hands, “and, at the fear of sounding like a common Muggle-born, you look sexy in your glasses.”
Carefully he put them aside and looked down at her. “Do I now?”
“You wouldn’t think it, especially with your lack of nose.” She reached out and touched it. “But seriously, Dark Lord, I find I don’t mind a husband who wishes to treat me like a woman and not like a doll.” She grinned at him.
He traced the line of her good cheek. “My darling girl.”
“I’m old enough to marry,” she scoffed, but he just continued to caress her face.
“I went to school with your great-grandfather Abraxas,” he reminded her. “He called me by my middle name.”
“Whatever ‘Mal’ is short for?” she guessed, and he nodded. “I don’t suppose you’ll ever tell me.”
“Once that blasted Potter is dead,” he promised her, drawing her into his arms. She was rather startled when all of a sudden she was set onto his lap. His hands reached up across her shoulder blades and she shivered.
“I got close to him today,” she whispered, as she leaned forward and rested her lips just centimeters from him.
“I don’t like my bride being close to the Potter brat,” he muttered dangerously.
“You didn’t mind your spy being close to him,” she objected, leaning back again.
“That was before you were my wife,” he countered, rolling his hips upward. She gasped at the sensation.
“Mal, I’m trying to talk to you,” she whimpered as he rolled his hips again. “I’m the perfect wife. I go to your events and allow myself to be photographed and—oh, yes, right there!”
“There?” he taunted, his lipless mouth coming up to her ear.
She bit her lip and nodded. “Mal, please, let me talk.”
“Afterwards,” he promised, claiming her lips sensuously, and she lost herself to the pleasure of it all.
“Darling,” she whispered when they were quiet once again and he held her in his arms. “You know I’m a good wife. I don’t ask too often about your name, I don’t ask why this place is called ‘Riddle House’ although you’re a Peverell, I’ve allowed you to make love to me outside the bounds of society, I even let you steal me away from Malfoy Manor.”
“You did, didn’t you?” he murmured as his hands played with her hair. “That doesn’t mean I don’t want you near Potter.”
“Think of it like this. He’s my father’s godson. It would look odd if I suddenly drop him. He’s also besotted with me. I can keep him close and he’s the perfect shield. Who would expect the girl the Boy Who Lived fancies as the bride of the Dark Lord?”
“You’ve also had rather a public break from young Malfoy.”
She paused. “About that, Aunt Narcissa has invited me to tea later this week.”
His fingers halted in their perusal of her hair. “I see. Do you intend on going?” His attractive voice had turned distant and she looked up at him only to see that he was looking away.
“I hadn’t thought. I was going to ask you before you told me to speak to you…afterwards.”
“She is your aunt,” he reasoned. “I leave the choice up to you. Just remember who you are now. You are the wife of Lord Voldemort—his Dark Lady.”
“All right,” she murmured. “It would be nice to see Lacy and Io again. They’ve done nothing wrong, and I’m assuming Uncle Lucius has been nothing but apologetic and supportive.”
“Highly,” Peverell agreed. He seemed to hesitate. “Riddle is my father’s name. This is his house.”
Imbolc looked up at him again and reached out until she was holding his cheek. “I fear there is a story there.”
“One you would not like,” he told her viciously. “It’s worse than your mother being shot by muggles.”
“I’m here,” she told him firmly, “if you ever want to tell me.”
He nodded and then smirked at her. “Right now,” he said, pushing her down into the pillows, “I find I have a much different use for you.”
“Really?” she teased. “Whatever can it be, Dark Lord?”
He kissed her softly and then drew back the covers until he left her completely bare.
“Mal!” she cried, but he didn’t listen to her. Instead, he pushed his way down her stomach, kissing it, until he reached between her legs. She was quite startled, when Peverell spread her legs apart and placed his mouth on her soft flesh. “Mal, you can’t—by the old gods!” she declared, burying her head in the pillow.
She wasn’t even aware she was crying out her release until he was kissing her and she could taste something salty on her tongue. It must be her, her mind supplied, but she didn’t care. She pulled him closer, hooking one leg around his thigh, begging him nearer.
“More?” he asked as he pulled away and she nodded her head.
He entered swiftly and smoothly, and her head leaned back into the sensation, but he kissed up the column of her neck.
“Je t’adore,” she whispered into the air, not certain if he could hear her or not, but knowing that the words were true.
That night, as she was falling asleep in his arms, his hand moving through her hair, she could swear she heard the words, “Je t’adore, aussi,” whispered into the darkness. They made her smile. That was all she needed to know.
“You made the International Press again,” Uncle Lucius said, showing her the paper. This time they had been in Bavaria and she was wearing a dress of pure silver made from the Vampire Silks. “It was reprinted today in The Prophet,” he informed her.
This time it was Narcissa who took out the paper and flipped to the society section. Imbolc had taken to sleeping in late since she was up half the night with Peverell so hadn’t had time to read the paper.
She scanned the article. Leader in British Politics…Wife a Leader in Fashion and the Belle of the Ball…Charming…a Human Face to her Husband…”Oh good,” she said, picking up on something. “They got my name right.”
“Are you quite sure?” Narcissa asked, picking up the paper. “Here they call you ‘Imbolc, Lady Peverell’.”
“Yes,” she agreed. “I asked Peverell about that, and he claims it’s an ancient lordship. I couldn’t say one way or the other, but it wouldn’t surprise me. And, let’s be serious,” she looked at her two youngest cousins and leaned in, “we’re talking about the Dark Lord. He has a title. Why shouldn’t he want that for his wife?”
The drawing room door opened and Draco appeared. “Lady Mother, I really think this is too much. It’s been less than a month and I don’t want to immediately start courting again.” He looked up and his eyes met Imbolc’s. “Lady Peverell,” he greeted, bowing to her.
She nodded in response. “A courtship?” she asked in curiosity, looking at Uncle Lucius, who shifted nervously in his seat.
“We thought with the Greengrasses,” he suggested, his ice blue eyes on hers, as if asking her for permission.
Imbolc turned back to Draco. “Not Daphne, surely? We always used to make fun of her and her pretentious ways.”
“That’s the argument,” Narcissa admitted. “We say Daphne, he refuses.”
“Well, Peverell will be less than pleased,” she stated firmly. “Daphne Greengrass is vain and dyes her hair blonde.”
Draco looked up, shocked.
“You didn’t know?” she asked in genuine curiosity. “It was all over Ravenclaw. Her little sister must have let it slip—she’s two years below us,” she added for her aunt and uncle.
“She’s not a blonde,” Draco repeated.
“I refuse her on that basis,” Draco said determinedly. “I will not have my children not be blond.”
“Really,” Lacerta put in. “You’ll make Imbolc think that you only chose her for her hair.”
“I know he didn’t,” Imbolc told her kindly, not looking at Draco. “It was a match several years in the making.”
“Then what went wrong?”
At a loss of what to say, it was Aunt Narcissa who fortunately saved her. “Lacy, darling, they had that rather public argument, don’t you remember? Around Yule? Then Imbolc decided to marry her other suitor.”
“He took her off like a Viking raider,” Draco protested. “I wouldn’t be surprised if he didn’t force a bonding.”
Imbolc’s wand was immediately out and pressed to his throat. “I can easily revoke that boon I asked on your behalf,” she reminded him. “Do not test me, cousin.”
“You were supposed to be my wife,” he reminded her.
“No, I wasn’t,” she argued and then sighed. “All I want is my husband and my Draco back. Remember how it was before we were courting? How we would walk hand in hand down to the pond and you would swing me for hours or we would laugh with each other between classes?”
He looked at her sadly. “I remember, Immy.”
“I remember, too,” she told him, withdrawing her wand.
She left soon after that, breaking down into tears as soon as she exited the floo. Peverell found her ten minutes later and carried her up to their room. “Rest,” he murmured, holding out a potion.
Looking at him, she took it and recognized the taste as Dreamless Sleep. She didn’t awaken until the next morning, her hair still in its twists but she was dressed in her negligée and sleeping against the Dark Lord’s chest.
She was wearing robes that had large swaths of white and dark purple in vertical lines, with a matching purple hat. When she exited the floo, it was to see the entire Black household waiting for her. Selenadora looked unhappy at being escorted by her uncle and not Harry Potter, but Imbolc couldn’t really help that. She also had her hair loose and was wearing the habitual garland. Imbolc looked at her and transfigured it into a small hat.
“You don’t want to insult the bride,” she told her cousin. “She may be wearing a garland if she’s not wearing a veil.”
“But my hair!”
“Is still loose,” she placated. “I just gave you a hat in the English style.”
Potter hadn’t turned out too badly. He was dressed in black with a black tie and it rather suited him, possibly because of his hair. “Ready to dance?” she asked.
He smiled at her tremulously but offered his arm.
The ceremony was in one large tent and Potter found them seats near the front. “Was your wedding like this?” he asked.
“Hardly. I was married under the ancient rites.”
He looked at her blankly.
“It’s rather rare. You make love and certain words have to be spoken. It can be dangerous because you could be despoiled. You have to trust the wizard’s word that he will honor you.”
“And you trusted Peverell’s.”
“That’s my name for him,” she confided. “He’s Lord Peverell. I am one of the preeminent ladies in society. I don’t think he’ll let me work after Hogwarts, come to think of it.” She looked at the assembled wizards. “I never asked. What do you want to do?”
“I,” he blushed. “I want to be an auror.”
“Really?” she paused. “I thought you would have had enough of dark wizards and death. I certainly have and I don’t quite have your experience.”
“Why did you never say Voldemort was actually there at the Ministry? You saw him with your own eyes.” Potter looked at her hard and she stared right back.
“It wasn’t my place,” she finally admitted. “I do not confirm or deny what wizards have not seen themselves. Now they have that picture of the Dark Lord, they cannot deny it any longer. My words would only have discredited me personally at the very best.”
“You mean how I was treated during fifth year.”
She inclined her head. “If you like.”
The ceremony started. Fleur was beautiful, of course, though she was part Veela. She wore her hair down in the French style and was wearing a garland. Thank the old gods Imbolc had thought to transfigure Selenadora’s.
It turned out that her father hadn’t taught Potter half badly when it came to dancing. He was a bit hesitant with the pureblood steps, but he kept up with her to the music. “You should ask Selenadora to Hogsmeade,” she broached when she saw an older Weasley trying to dance with her. “You have no other commitments, is that correct?”
“She’s not you,” he answered simply.
“No,” she agreed. “But you haven’t found anyone else in your own house, have you? And that fling with Cho Chang was just that—a fling. I’m half convinced it was to make me jealous.”
He paused. “How could you possibly?”
“I see that I am right,” she murmured, clapping her hands to the right and then to the left.
Then the patronus appeared. “Go,” she commanded and pushed him toward his friends Granger and Weasley.
He grabbed her hand, but she shook him off.
“I will be safe,” she promised. “Go, before they find you.” Imbolc wasn’t certain why she warned him but in a blink of an eye he was gone.
Then she appeared before her. “Lady Peverell,” Bellatrix said, curtseying low. “You should not be here.”
“Perhaps not,” she agreed. “There are apparition wards, however, and I cannot…” She paused when she realized where she could go. “Cousin, perhaps I’ll see you at Malfoy Manor.”
“My lady,” Bellatrix intoned, curtseying again.
Imbolc spun on her heel and then she was gone.