“The world is round and the place which may seem like the end may also be only the beginning.”
Different stories will begin in different manners. No one story will begin the same as another or, if it does, it’s not a very original story, now is it? The beginning of the story is the tool in which an author sets the very stage for the rest of the tale.
Our story, of all things to begin with, will begin with a letter. The letter in question was written on a crisp, white piece of parchment. The edges were straight and clean. The surface was spotless and a gleaming white save for a dark, bottle-green script written directly on the centre of the page. Druella found herself noticing these things as she slowly sipped her morning tea. She found herself noticing them more than an average person would have because the act of receiving a note was simply something worth noticing. It had been placed beside her dish of scones and far enough away from her glass of orange juice to avoid the beading condensation on the sides. Her mother always took such
care with things. As the seconds wore on and the house elf remained standing at the doorway, it occurred to Druella she should send her reply. To clarify, she delicately replaced her teacup upon its saucer and picked the letter up to reread it.
Your mother and I request the pleasure of your company whenever you are prepared to come downstairs. We will be in the first floor drawing room. Please make haste.
A letter delivered and written in this fashion from one’s own parents can be perceived in many ways, which is precisely why Druella had reread it in the first place. She absently picked up her teacup again, if only to have something to do with her hands, and nodded in the direction of the small elf at her door; a gesture signalling her assent. It left to deliver the nonverbal message and Druella readied herself for company. If skilled in nothing else useful for the real world (a world she would never live in anyway), she could at least boast of a skill to sense trouble when it reared its head.
A letter from parents otherwise absent from her life aside from living with her and taking care of affairs she could not take care of herself meant that there was definitely issue to be had.
When she was presentable, Druella made her way to the den on the first floor. She was greeted by the site of her parents and a trio of unannounced guests. She recognized them immediately and it took all her years of practice in poise and other customary courtesies to keep from faltering her step as she entered the room.
“Ah, Druella, you’ve come.”
Druella smiled a counterfeit smile in the direction of her father, a man who, with his silver-blonde hair and icy dignity, was easily her forbearer.
“My dear,” he continued, rising from his seat and ushering her into the room as though she were a princess on display, “you of course are familiar with Pollox and Irma Black and their son Cygnus.”
She directed the mask of pleasantry at their guests as her insides grew cold. “Yes. Of course.” All the finishing in the world could not have prepared her for what she knew was occurring.
Her eyes could not help but fall on him. His hair was dark; she hated men with dark hair. His eyes were sneaky; she respected more sincerity in the gaze of a partner. His fingers fidgeted as he tried to keep them folded in his lap; she loathed his lack of poise.
She hated this Cygnus Black.
Despite what her parent’s told her, she supposed in comfort for the fact they were ruining her life, the ceremony was neither short or sweet. From the time she walked up the aisle, her flowing gown weighing her thin body down, to the very end, as they were ushered into their carriage which was to take them to their new home in Hertfordshire, everything drew on like the waiting period before an significant and much looked-forward- to event. The incident which was to follow the ceremony, the peak of her wedding night, was not sweet either, nor could it have ended quicker. The only comfort was that Cygnus seemed to view it no differently than she did. The fact he seemed as miserable with her as she was with him was small recompense for the ball and chain she had latched to her ankle earlier on in the day. The newly christened Druella Black knew, however, that until she birthed a male heir to carry on her new husband’s legacy and name, her nights would be spent as such.
Prayers for the vain and wicked never tended to be answered, and yet Druella’s had been considered; three weeks into her new life the physician dubbed her pregnant. Druella would recall, later on in her life, that Cygnus never treated her better than when she was pregnant. She would wonder whether or not she much preferred those nine months to the countless others she spent embryo-free simply because of this. In any case, Cygnus provided his wife with her every wish and comfort whilst his offspring grew within her. Once again, however, Druella’s innate sense to foretell trouble began to creep into her consciousness and it must have shown in her mannerisms for her husband grew wary of the baby’s sex as well. Nervous for herself, she tried to placate him with soothing words and encouragements, but they were to no avail. On November 10th, 1957, Druella gave birth not to a strong, promising infant boy but instead to an eerily beautiful baby girl. Cygnus was silently livid; the man scarcely allowed the birth twenty seconds before leaving his wife and infant daughter to the physician’s care. Druella was not bothered; she had care for his company. She was preoccupied by the small bundle in her arms; a newfound purpose. A baby girl. Her
baby girl. This was her daughter. Druella had something to occupy her time with. Bellatrix Elena Black became her mother’s first prodigy.
Of course, when Druella was deemed healthy enough for the act, the taking of her body resumed and she was once again reduced to the vessel for birth Cygnus saw her as. Druella endured three years of this; her nights occupied by her husband’s attentions and her days stealing away with her daughter. She found herself disappointed that Bellatrix had taken on the darkly handsome looks of her husband; it was not a face she wanted to see every time she looked at her daughter. Nevertheless, she tried to ignore this little factor for the sake of appreciating her only escape; an escape that turned into an obsession. Bellatrix ceased to become a daughter to her lost and forlorn mother and instead became a doll.
It wasn’t until the winter of 1960 that Druella found herself pregnant yet again with her second child. Cygnus was visibly more excited than he had been when she’d become pregnant with their first. The renewed pampering of his wife was erratic, bordering on the line of psychotic and people began to whisper that there would be noticeable trouble if Druella did not deliver on her duty of producing an heir. Once again though, the delivery of a healthy, beautiful baby girl commenced and Cygnus was near his breaking point. He wasted no time in waiting for his wife to recuperate from her exertions; within only a few days he retook her nights as his own until Druella was good and pregnant yet again. The lack of time between pregnancies this time was shocking to some and for a while, the Blacks fell in favour amongst the social elite of Britain. Not only because of Cygnus’ almost obsessive need for a male heir was becoming borderline alarming, but because the subconscious’s of more able individuals who had themselves already produced their own sons snubbed the Black’s inability to do so. ‘Broken’ some called them. ‘Incapable.’ This third pregnancy was to be the last opportunity.
“Faith begins where Reason sinks exhausted.”
When Narcissa Elora Black was laid in her mother’s arms for the first time, it was not a look of love she received but neither was it one of loathing. It was of acceptance. It was of relief, even, despite the disappointment that also clouded Druella’s effort-worn features. It was that look of ‘Christ, it is over and done and there need not be more speculation’. There a was a loud bang
of the door slamming as Narcissa’s father exited violently from the room, rage seeping from him in clouds, but she would never remember it. For now, Narcissa was blissfully unaware and naïve to the world she’d just entered. This mad world of anger and death. Of respectable images and the loathing of those who did not uphold them. For now, she was just an infant who could not comprehend the lack of appreciation in her own mother’s gaze. Druella pretended, though. God, she pretended to adore her daughters. She brought them everywhere, like a young train of cherubs; two dark haired little girls, now accompanied by the newborn angel who’s already cornsilk–blonde hair was proving to produce such substantial ‘ooh’s and ‘ah’s from Druella’s social companions that it was clear that, despite the utter lack of emotional connection between the woman and her youngest daughter, the little girl was going to shape up to be the perfect pet.
Almost from birth, it was obvious that Narcissa was to be the observer of the three girls. Bellatrix had been born the achiever; a girl who would stop at nothing to achieve her own ends. Andromeda, the cheeky rebel. Now, along had come the final instalment of this illustrious trio… Narcissa, the quiet and demure thinker. Her eyes were always wide and inquisitive, her small mouth set in a firm expression of impassiveness. It seemed that even though she was but an infant, Narcissa had already formed a very cold and judgemental opinion of the world. This, in part, could be blamed on her aptitude for observation and the realizations such a capacity awarded her; her mother could not be bothered to do more than show her off and her father wanted nothing to do with neither she or her sisters altogether. The man withdrew into his own compartment of solitude, barely acknowledging his wife more than public etiquette deemed mandatory. The formative years of Narcissa’s life were spent in this way, observing and concluding that all she was given to rely on emotionally in this world were her sisters. Bellatrix, she learned very early on, could not be bothered with keeping her sister company. Not that Narcissa went around requesting company, but she could very easily sense that her own was unwanted by her eldest sister. Bellatrix was and independent girl, more so than many girls twice her young age. And though Narcissa aspired to be just as independent, when Andromeda’s mother instincts took over, the blonde little girl could not help but latch onto the interest her more obliging sister showed her. There was nothing Narcissa adored more than the attentions of someone fawning over her.
The years before Narcissa was to begin school were filled with higher education; teachings reserved for those whose pedigree demanded such instruction. The girls were taught French and Latin, languages only useful in saying one knew them and nothing more. They were taught etiquette, art history, and music….. All things assigned simply to keep them busy and not for any real use in the real world. Cygnus simply designated this education to keep his three disappointments out of his hair whilst he drank himself into a daily stupor. Narcissa could see quite plainly that her sisters could care less about the information being poured upon them daily by the stuffy, pointy featured governesses that frequented the manor, but she drank it up. The capacity to learn had come from no visible source in her heritage but it definitely had appeared from somewhere. Narcissa was smart and she knew it. Narcissa liked to make sure that everyone else noticed it as well. It was really all she had in a world that did not appreciate her. In the years to come, Bellatrix was sent off to Hogwarts when she came of proper age. Andromeda had several years to go before she would be going and so, with their parents doing all they could to ignore each other and pretend they didn’t have children (unless of course, it benefited them), Narcissa and Andromeda were left with each other. For years, the girls were inseparable: Andromeda talking and bantering about nothing and Narcissa listening and following her intently for what else was there to do. As much as she liked to portray the image of a girl who could sustain herself just as much as Bellatrix could, Narcissa needed to feel needed and that is exactly what Andromeda let her feel like. Andromeda gave Narcissa the feeling of being wanted and loved. Andromeda had taken the place of their absent mother who’d become no more than an avid connoisseur and show-off of the girls’ beauty. Narcissa followed her sister around like a moody and shy little puppy; more of a receptive shadow than a companion. Andromeda had become Narcissa’s best friend.
When Andromeda left to attend Hogwarts herself, Narcissa was left alone. This term of solitude, in which she had no one to occupy her time with was severely detrimental on her personality development. She spent her days playing the piano, wandering the manor grounds, and inquiring her mother when the next time they would be going on an ‘outing’ was. Druella seemed to try and oblige as much as she could; in part because she never could get enough of revelling in the fawning all over her daughter everyone seemed to perform but also because Druella seemed more in need of companionship than Narcissa did. Narcissa needed company because she needed to feel taken care of. Druella needed company because she needed companionship.
At long last, Narcissa was sent off to school at Hogwarts. Gone were the days of Latin and dance tutoring. Gone were the days of being fawned over and worshipped by society. Narcissa was in the common world now. Immediately after setting foot on the train, Narcissa clung to Andromeda’s side. Her eyes conveyed what her mouth never did; she was frightened. She could almost sense the feel of anonymity about these people. There were those she’d seen at cotillions and functions before, of course, but for those she knew nothing about she could just tell they were ‘different’. Her tutors and even her father in the rare moments he gave her any inclination at all had demonstrated quite clearly the infection known as the ‘muggleborn’. They were a nuisance that had been growing more and more problematic and were soon to overrun the wizarding world if something was not soon done about them. And so Narcissa, like her parents and sisters before her, hated them. She could tell just by the foreign clothing they wore who was pure and who was not. She stayed away, of course, and remained in her own group like she was supposed to. The group with the money and with the power and influence. The group that would get her somewhere in life.
Unlike most of her peers, Narcissa was unfazed by the usual fear that gripped first years. She knew what house she was destined for. She knew exactly where she was headed. She was not kind or particularly courageous like that haven of blood traitors known as the Gryffindor house. She would never be found in that dwelling for soft, ‘just’ morons the Hufflepuffs called home. And if Narcissa had more heart to her, she may very well have called the Ravenclaw house her new residence, however she was much too… ‘cunning’. In less elaborate terms, Narcissa was too sneaky, too vain… She was much better suited for the ambitious, illustrious house of Slytherin. There was no surprise in her face, nor was there any sign of relief. To show sign of surprise would be as pointless as turning on the faucet and seeing water run out of it. When her new house was called out, she simply displaced the hat from her head and walked to the Slytherin table, polite and expected applause greeting her as she arrived.
School was not as little Narcissa expected it to be. She found that, once the actual procedure of term commenced, Andromeda had in fact grown different than Narcissa saw her at home. Andromeda had pulled away from the group Narcissa affiliated so deeply with. She declined offers of alignment and friendship from those the youngest Black girl knew were the best in acquaintances. She antagonized the very people Narcissa and her sisters had grown up calling ‘good company’. Andromeda had become a rebel; Narcissa, a conformist. Other than feeling a slight disconcert at this change in behaviour Andromeda displayed, Narcissa paid it no heed. Despite always having hung onto the hems of her robes, Narcissa found it easier to break away from being the shadow once she had others willing to shadow her. Many in the wizarding world, Narcissa had come to notice, regarded the Black name with as much respect as the Minister of Magic’s. She’d always known she was born into a life of privilege and power, but to see it demonstrated in a place where her parents weren’t there to garner it for her was a whole other state of affairs. Narcissa
was respected. Narcissa
had power. Narcissa
was the head of the queue. And she did not need her father there to put that into motion for her. The thought alone of having that much control in her hand was enough to bring even the rare smile to her lips.
During their holidays, the girls always reverted back to their old routines: Bellatrix off doing her own thing, while Narcissa and Andromeda kept each other’s company, but now… Now, Narcissa was able to open her mouth and give her two-cents now that she had a two-cents to give. True, she was still a tight lipped spectator who preferred observing to committing, but she had an intellect that could and would be used for her benefit. It was during these holidays though that Narcissa noticed that the bond she’d always had with Andromeda was wearing thin. Not so thin that anyone other than a keen onlooker would take notice, but as Narcissa was just that, notice was quite taken, indeed. When Andromeda would go out with her ‘other’ friends instead of remaining in whilst guests were being entertained, Narcissa took note. When Andromeda began questioning the standards Bellatrix and Narcissa upheld just find, Narcissa took note. But no one else seemed to. No one saw the signs that Andromeda was shaping up to be very different. This scared the hell out of Narcissa. If her sister went the wrong way down the very clearly lined street, what was Narcissa to do? Sure, she had her power and her name just as she always would, but Andromeda was her anchor. Her best friend. Narcissa didn’t know if she could walk that path without her.
Despite what most would conceive of the pure-blooded society, they all went through adolescence just like the rest of humanity and with adolescence comes trials and rewards, no matter how stony-faced you approached them. Narcissa did
make her own acquaintances; some having flowed over from introductions at a younger age, thus making it easier for them to latch onto her as a connection. Narcissa didn’t mind their company too severely, however… There was never such a thing as too many connections and even she, the ice-queen of the Slytherin house, was not humanly above having a thing or two in common with people. Not to mention, as the friendship with her sister waned, Narcissa felt more of a need to be admired and attended to. She was courted and befriended like any other girl aught to have been, though any acquaintances made always passed through the silent inspection of Bellatrix first. Up until the eldest Black girl left Hogwarts, Narcissa’s social occurrences always had to be approved by her sister. Apparently, it was over Bellatrix’s dead body that Narcissa was to end up like their disappointment of a sister, Andromeda. As much as that hurt to hear about someone who was supposed to have always been there for her, Narcissa knew her social standing was going to be more important in the long run and Bellatrix was a pro at that. Talk about having priorities in order. It got to the point where Narcissa was so immersed in her desire for social elevation that she began ‘telling on’ Andromeda. Secretly, of course, but committing the act all the same. Part of this was for her own sake; she never tired of being praised for being the good girl, especially when praise was so rarely given by her parents in the first place. The other part of her ‘tattling’ was because she was growing afraid for Andromeda. That bond had continued to weaken and Narcissa and Andromeda had obtained very different lifestyles. Narcissa had grown into the doppelganger of her mother everyone expected her to be while Andromeda became something no one really knew how to label other then ‘the other Black girl’. Bellatrix would have been labelled herself, but folks really didn’t understand her, either. All people knew was that she was going down a preferable road to the middle child’s and that was good enough for them. It wasn’t until Bellatrix had graduated and left Narcissa to her own decisions that Narcissa found exactly what Bellatrix had taught her to look for. Only, Narcissa really hadn’t been looking for him.
“The beginning of knowledge is the discovery of something we do not understand.”
The Malfoys were equal, if not greater
in status, to the Blacks. They were essentially the equivalent of wizarding royalty. They upheld the core values their position obliged them to and they had more money than anyone ever needed, especially given only one lifetime. One had to venture to the most abysmally primitive parts of the wizarding world to find someone who was not familiar with the name ‘Malfoy’. It was only natural that the Blacks be in close contact and affiliation with them. Abraxas Malfoy and his wife Mandae were parents to only one child; a son named Lucius. He was older than Narcissa; Bellatrix’ age, to be exact. To be literal (and quite obvious, honestly), Narcissa had known of the Malfoys almost since birth. Lucius had been at every party with her, ever social function…. He’d even been at school with her for at least three years. Yet it wasn’t until Narcissa’s sixth year she actually took notice of him. Not ‘notice’, per say… But a passing interest, at most. He was, after all, shoved in front of her face, to be honest. It was her Christmas holiday and she and her family were attending the annual Christmas ball at Malfoy manor. It seemed odd that she’d never picked up on this before, but it seemed the Malfoys and the Blacks traded off every year the holding of ‘the social gathering of the holidays’. It was always an elaborate affair… The decorations were always outdid the years previous and the gowns and costumes more and more garish yet aesthetically delectable. Unlike other outings, Narcissa was obligated by unspoken rule to remain with her family. As one grew near the end of their adolescence, these gatherings became less about socializing and more about being shown off. Bellatrix had done it and been married off right after she’d graduated. Her parents had found many potential suitors for Andromeda and she wasn’t even done with her seventh year yet (though Andromeda couldn’t have appeared less interested with any of these ‘arrogant blue bloods’ if she tried). Apparently they were under the impression that there was no such thing as ‘too soon’ with Narcissa. “Narcissa, come and meet so-and-so.” “Narcissa, darling, surely you remember Master Such-and-Such.”
She smiled coldly and allowed them to kiss her hand in greeting. Some at her age may have found it awkward as she saw most of them on a regular basis when at school, but a true woman of breeding would have never let that show and Narcissa never did.
“Ah, Cygnus. Wonderful to see you again, my friend.”
Narcissa turned to see Mr. and Mrs. Malfoy greeting her parents, warm yet superficial smiles upon all four of their faces. Behind them stood their son Lucius, the sole heir to their expensive dynasty. He looked much like his father; tall, white-blonde, and thin though he was without the silvering beard that framed Abraxas’ strong jaw line. Lucius was Bellatrix’ age and had graduated in her year; three years previous. Narcissa could tell by his very manner that she liked him. Not liked, per say…. Narcissa couldn’t bring herself to like anybody, outside her family that is, and even in that circle she liked few. Loved by obligation, perhaps, but her capacity to enjoy their company was very small indeed. Narcissa watched him curiously as Abraxas reintroduced Lucius as he did every year and Cygnus did the same with his three girls. Perceptive as she was, Narcissa could almost physically see the painful effort both her and Lucius’ father were putting towards focusing the attention singularly on them.
“You of course remember our son, Lucius.”
“Yes of course. And my daughter Narcissa?” Cygnus had apparently forgotten he had two other daughters standing beside him. Bellatrix and Andromeda didn’t notice, though. Bellatrix was absorbed in conversation with her husband Rodolphus and Andromeda could not have looked more bored.
“Absolutely. You look radiant this evening, my dear.” Narcissa smiled her frosty half-smirk once more and raised her hand, allowing Abraxas to customarily kiss the gloved surface. As he straightened, he awarded his son a pointed look that could only have meant an order to throw himself into the conversation.
Lucius obliged and it could not have been in a more graceful fashion. She could tell he was annoyed at his father’s persistence but it seemed she was the only one to notice. “It’s a pleasure as always, Miss Black.”
Narcissa awarded him a slightly more genuine smile than she had all other acquaintances that evening, impressed by his calibre. “Charmed,” was all she said in reply.
The rest of the evening went on as it annually did, though with quite an alteration in atmosphere. At dinner, Narcissa and Lucius were sat next to each other in the dining hall. When the dancing commenced, Druella immediately suggested that Lucius and Narcissa dance the first song. Despite a lifetime’s practise in poise and composure, even the ram-rod proper pair were still young adults and the feelings of such bare individuals can only take so much pressure. Narcissa felt the creeping sensation of awkwardness filling the pit of her stomach. She would have gone so far as to feel ashamed of such blatant and out-of-her-hands displaying, as though she were a thoroughbred horse trotted out to the ring for a new buyer to see, had she not taken notice of the fact that Lucius was holding himself together almost perfectly. She sensed he was just as embarrassed as she, though he didn’t show it. Again, her being impressed by him rose in degree. She’d never before met anyone who equalled her in equanimity. The youngest Black girl had met her match and she was slightly baffled by it.
The night waned and various groups of guests were sitting down to socialize. The song ended and Narcissa broke away from Lucius’ grasp on the dance floor. She curtsied and made to return to her parent’s when he lightly caught her elbow. Surprised, she looked up, ready to insist that she should rejoin her parents’ company; she really did not feel like dancing in awkward silence anymore, no matter how stunned by him she was. But he did not want to dance again… he merely tilted his head ever so slightly in the direction of the nearest balcony in a request for her to follow him outside. How very odd… There was so sign of mischief in his eyes… No sign of anything out of the ordinary, other than a friendly smirk toying at the corner of his mouth. What on Earth could he want?
Curious, Narcissa followed him and was shocked to find that he only wanted to talk… and simultaneously escape the stares boring into both their backs. How weirdly gentleman of him… This young man who Narcissa had always known to be as selfish and grasping as the rest of them (not to say he wasn’t) seemed to be more than just two dimensional.
She found the conversation rather one sided at first; she was a tad more than uncomfortable chatting with someone she was being arranged to marry and therefore didn’t chat much at all… But then, when did she ever? She found herself spending most of the conversation listening intently and watching every so often the expression in his eyes; trying to find some explanation as to why he had requested her company when he was not obligated to. Eventually she found herself cracking the smallest of smiles whenever he made some sarcastic remark; a gesture she would not have committed had she not recognized the intelligence behind his humour. Apparently Lucius Malfoy was not
a idiot. They spent the remainder of the evening outside, simply talking. It was an occurrence Narcissa had never experienced before out of anything more than coercion. She supposed that, had she really wanted to, she would have just gone back inside if she’d gotten bored. But she hadn’t… Apparently, she enjoyed his company as well… It was the most peculiar thing she’d ever endured. When they looked out over the guardrail and noticed that people were beginning to depart, he escorted her back in and they once more regained their perfectly vacant dignity and professionalism. The Blacks and the Malfoys could barely contain their enthusiasm but they did their best. Once again, Narcissa found herself embarrassed, an emotion she still did not fully understand.
When Narcissa returned to school, she had only to wait a week before a letter arrived for her. It was not a letter from her parents. It wasn’t even from Bellatrix, whose seldom correspondence even would have been more expected than the person who’d truly penned the letter. To Narcissa’s shock and disbelief, feelings she conveyed only by the slow arching of her eyebrow, she found the letter was in fact from Lucius Malfoy.
It said nothing particularly outrageous or awe-worthy, but the fact he’d written her at all was enough to feel more than slightly out of the ordinary. Narcissa ignored the hissing gossip around her as she read it. It simply was nothing more than an inquiry of her day and how well it was progressing… He’d also included follow-ups of their conversations from the Christmas gala and, towards the end, a small off-hand apology on behalf of his parents for any unease she may have felt because of their actions. It was this that caught her off guard more than anything… The fact he’d taken the time to write at all was one thing, but to apologize…? Did Lucius Malfoy ever
The rest was history; Narcissa wrote back, responding to his inquisitions and providing her own in turn. They began corresponding weekly and when her sixth year was over, spent a good deal of time together during the summer. The two were not a couple; they did not remove themselves from social elegance so far as to be caught hand-holding or embracing. Narcissa was not sure how she even felt about him. Sure, he was handsome, but that was not so extraordinary as to force her attention; most young men of breeding were quite good-looking. And of course, he was charming and debonair; a trait she’d seen too far stretched over the plane of her male peers; charm was a mandatory trait and not something worth taking notice of. Narcissa began to understand that it was their similarities that made them able to stand each other for more than a few minutes. He was picky company; so was she. She had the highest of standards; so did she. Lucius’ expected the best for himself; Narcissa settled for nothing besides. The two had also come to a silent understanding that the other could reciprocate their own disdain for the excess showing of sentiment. Narcissa didn’t have to worry about putting on a false smile with Lucius; he earned genuine ones and seemed to understand why she didn’t give them frequently. By the time term was about to begin for her seventh and final year at Hogwarts, she’d found she was actually quite fond of him. It was not something that needed to be said; for she was sure it was a mutual feeling. On their last congregation before she was to leave, he even awarded her a lingering kiss on the cheek before she departed; an action that left her smirking smugly for the next several minutes.
Narcissa received a letter several weeks subsequent, this time from her parents, informing her that she would be wedding Lucius Malfoy on July 22nd; two months after she was to graduate. It wasn’t a surprise; she had of course expected this information to come for some time, ever since that Christmas party in which she and Lucius had been all but shoved at each other. She didn’t know what it was really, although she was sure it wasn’t unpleasant. When one goes through life knowing they someday will have to enter into a union with someone by no will of their own, the very least they can hope for is not to despise their partner-to-be. Narcissa, at this point, was far from despising Lucius. She actually took the time to feel grateful for her situation.
It wasn’t long before rumours of the engagement spread throughout Slytherin house. Her companions, of course, asked about it almost relentlessly but Narcissa merely shook her head and gave them the smuggest of smiles: Knowledge was power, no matter how trivial the knowledge was. Meanwhile, Narcissa had been receiving letters from Andromeda. They always stated that she was away, travelling in some foreign place somewhere in Europe. The more Narcissa read, the more closed off and bitter she became on the matter. It was as if she was reading a eulogy to the life Andromeda used to have. She knew without having to ask that her parents were furious. Andromeda had gone off, tarnishing her image and snubbing her duty to get married. Narcissa had to admit that she was angry, too. What gave Andromeda the right to go off and forsake her obligations? Bellatrix had fulfilled hers and married… Narcissa was engaged and was about to fulfil hers… Why did Andromeda think she was better than everyone else? The hypocrisy in this never seemed to occur to Narcissa. There were, of course, requests within the letters to leave certain bits quiet from their parents, but she never did. She would tell herself she was doing it because she was spiteful towards her sister being so reckless, but in reality, it was simply because she wanted her sister back. The old rule of lying to one’s self had turned on its head.
The formal announcement for the engagement wasn’t delivered to the public until the winter holiday, when the annual Christmas ball had been rescheduled for an engagement celebration. In an urgent request, Narcissa wrote to Andromeda ahead of time, requesting that she be there; stating, completely out of character, that she actually wanted her to attend. Andromeda obliged, though grudgingly. It was easy to see why once she arrived at the function: stares and judging whispers followed the middle Black girl wherever she went and it was beginning to get on Narcissa’s nerves. This was her
night… Everyone seemed to get over the scandal eventually though, and attention was returned to Narcissa and Lucius. After the event, Narcissa and Andromeda were allotted a few minutes alone as everyone said their goodbyes. It was a quick congregation; simply awkward questions about each other’s health followed by Narcissa’s curiosity and anger getting the best of her. She grew cold towards her sister, all of her frustrations coming out at once. Andromeda listened before giving Narcissa a swift hug and departing, not even bothering to defend herself. Narcissa only grew more and more furious at the situation. She never fathomed, though, that things would end up the way they did.
She received her final letter from Andromeda at eight-thirty in the morning on a Saturday. She sensed there was something more than Andromeda’s usual post-card-worthy greetings about this particular epistle and so removed herself from the company of her house. She was grateful, once she finished reading, that she was alone in her dorm room. Andromeda had finally gotten married. To a muggleborn. She would no longer be speaking to their parents anymore and she wished Narcissa the best and… she loved her.
Narcissa hated her. She hated Andromeda with every fibre of her being. How dare
she? How DARE she?! Once her composure had been regained and her hands had stopped shaking enough to grant her the ability to write, Narcissa withdrew a quill from her nightstand and wrote a very simple reply.
You are nothing to me. This will be the last you ever hear from me. Do not try and further contact me.
For the remainder of the year, Narcissa ignored the rumours circulating about her disowned sister; the embarrassment of the Black family. When some were even brave enough to confront her about it, she simply fixed them with the most deadly of vacant stares and replied, “What sister?” She would not allow Andromeda’s selfishness to tarnish her own wellbeing. Narcissa’s reputation would not go down with hers, so help her.
“Remember me and smile, for it's better to forget than remember me and cry.”
The wedding of Narcissa Black and Lucius Malfoy was a splendid affair: it was the grandest of events with the most top-notch of attendees. It was held at Malfoy Manor, the châteaux in Wiltshire that would become Narcissa’s new home post-ceremony. When the goodbyes were finished among guests and the servants assembled and Lucius and Narcissa were left alone, it seemed there was a mutual recognition of the significance of what everything meant now. They were married. They were the lord and lady of their own home. They did not take long in their silent contemplation on the deeper meanings of their new life; that could wait till later. For the time being, there were things to attend to in their bedchamber and, unlike her parents before her, Narcissa wasn’t altogether unwilling to go.
In the following days, Narcissa was informed of a startling revelation that she should have seen coming: Lucius was, of course, a Death Eater. She supposed the surprise in the matter wasn’t so much the information itself, but the fact that she was now forced to consider it more deeply than she would have had she not cared. But this was her husband; a husband she was rather fond of, and the idea of him being so close to harm was, well, rather unsettling. She stomached it though and remained the supportive, silent wife. At least if he was going to be in harm’s way, it was for a cause she supported. This, of course, was not Lucius’ only position in life; he didn’t make a living answering to the Dark Lord, after all, willing as he may have been to do so. He had a professional image to maintain as a governor of Hogwarts, a title that allowed them power and influence they didn’t have to recycle from their parents. It was influence that was all their own.
A not ten months following their marriage, Lucius and Narcissa welcomed a son. For the first time ever, Narcissa felt herself experiencing true love. The moment she first looked upon the face of her child, she was shown the real meaning of the word. Total and utter selfless love. For the first time, Narcissa was in the company of someone she cared about more than herself. One could easily say that it was the birth of their son that showed the couple what true unity was and that it was Draco’s presence in their life that completed the act of their falling in love. Without Draco there to have shown the self-absorbed Narcissa what love really was, it was evident that she never would have truly felt it for her husband. The past year found Narcissa adjusting to these self-revelations and to the life of a respected housewife. She now understood why her mother had taken to showing her and her sisters off; maybe it wasn’t out of arrogance for the beauty she’d created… Perhaps it was out of love
for it and demonstrating it to the world was the only way she knew how to show it to her daughters. People say that you never truly appreciate your own mother till you become one yourself, and perhaps that is true… And perhaps Narcissa even realized this… But she would never bring herself to admit this to the woman. Her pride had not yet fallen so far.
The timeline of her life progressed to find chaos in it’s schedule. James and Lily Potter, the parents of her dirt-cousin’s godchild had been killed and seemingly taken the Dark Lord down with them. Following this shock and awe occurrence, Sirius Black disappeared and with him the Potters’ infant son. If Narcissa found herself in an honest mood, she would find herself admitting that nothing about this troubled her so much as the worry of what this meant for her family. She would find herself sitting up late, Draco asleep and oblivious in her arms as she waited for Lucius to return home… Wondering if he would. The opposing side may have been frightened for their own kin, but Narcissa was terrified for hers. Really, how would she survive with no one there to take care of her?