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Chapter 1: Safe and Sound
Dying of a broken heart- it’s incredibly melodramatic. It belongs in a Shakespearean romance, or a Jacobean tragedy, or lurking between the pages of a Gothic thriller, where the helpless heroine was madly in love with several dashing young men, but will inevitably choose the wrong one.
The truth is actually far less romantic. These poor women will go for long, solitary walks in the countryside, where they reflect upon how no-one understands them, and then it’ll pour with rain and they’ll catch pneumonia, and that will be that.
Or the unhappy, love-struck victims will turn their face to the wall and refuse to eat. They’ll become so thin and weak that a common cold finished them off- but it sounds so much better to say that they died of a broken heart rather than coughing up phlegm. No-one looks attractive and vulnerable doing that.
But a broken heart won’t kill you. And I speak from personal experience. It hurts so much that you actually think you are breaking, your heart wrenching into two pieces and you are so sure that you won’t actually wake up in the morning after you cry yourself to sleep-
but you always do. There is always something tethering you to life, a flimsy string attached to a balloon that is straining in the wind to get away.
My string was the man who broke my heart. He didn’t leave me. He didn’t hurt me intentionally. He did everything in his power to keep us safe. He just chose the wrong side.
Love comes before politics. Family comes before politics. Safety comes before politics. But politics has a nasty habit of forcing its way into your personal life, breaking down your barriers and overwhelming your obstacles until the Dark Lord sits in my husband’s chair at the head of our dining room table and there is nothing in the world that Lucius and I can do to stop it.
I remember our wedding as if it was yesterday. We had lilies, white ones, as if it were a funeral. They were Lucius’ favourite flower, and I was so surprised that he had a favourite flower I let him decorate with them, intertwined with the delicate wild narcissi that grow in the grounds of Malfoy Manor. We got married in late summer, in the creamy-coloured pavilion at the back of the house, the sun in the evening dipping low behind the house, and then the fairy lights settled on the white daffodils, looking like the stars had come to dance with us.
Everyone remarked on how in love we were- indeed, I thought my heart would overflow. I never loved anyone as much as I loved Lucius.
And later that night, when all the guests had finally left, Lucius charmed the abandoned instruments to play once more, and we danced under the moon, the melancholy notes hanging in the air and raising goose bumps on my bare arms. Our shoes, my veil and jewel-studded headdress were left on a table with Lucius’ jacket and bowtie, not caring that the goblin-made tiara was perched in a gravy boat or that the silken cloth was staining as it lay across the strawberries. We slowly twirled in each other’s arms, my head on his shoulder.
“I’m sorry,” he whispered to me, his voice like velvet; soft and warm, and the first crack appeared in my heart.
His shirt sleeves were rolled to his elbows, and I lightly caressed the blank, smooth skin of his forearm with the tips of my fingers. I knew it wouldn’t be that way for long.
Just for today, I had wanted to forget that we lived in a world teetering on the brink, seconds away from hurtling into the shadowy abyss of dark magic. The only thing we could do was slow our fall- not stop it. While we had knelt in front of the minister, safe and happy inside the flimsy walls of the pavilion, I had managed to block the shadows from my mind, but in the night air, the worries came flooding back. We had promised to keep each other safe, to love each other always and to honour and obey.
They were easy enough to promise in the light of day, but as night had fallen, a chill had settled over my heart.
“I love you,” I whispered back. I couldn’t forgive him. I could never forgive him- but I loved him, and that was what mattered. We were in this together, and there was nowhere I wanted to be if he wasn’t there.
He was crying. I brushed his tears away with the back of my hand as the soft music dwindled into silence.
An owl hooted from the copse, and he took my hand, pressing my palm against his cheek. “I love you more than anything,” he said softly. “I’m only trying to keep you safe.”
Tears welled up in my own eyes, but I didn’t let one escape. I had cried tears of happiness as Lucius had slipped a thin band of white gold onto my finger while a thousand guests watched in hushed silence, and I would not ruin that memory by crying now.
Instead, I whispered that I knew, and his arms tightened around me. “Don’t ever leave me,” he said, his voice catching in his throat.
We had long stopped dancing, and stood entwined in each other’s arms, a fragile, pale pillar in the absolute blackness of the night.
“I’ll never let you go,” I choked out, my own voice thick with tears.
His tears soaked into my elegantly styled hair, and I pressed my face into his cream silk shirt, inherently happy just to be with Lucius, to finally be man and wife, after all the heartache and pain- and at the same time I was desperately sad. Our troubles had barely begun and were far from over. My only consolation was that we would face the coming storm together, and I had no doubt that the two of us could ride out the tempest together.
But tonight was so perfect, so I managed to push my gloomy thoughts to the back of my mind, and smiled up at my new husband.
Sensing my mood, he took my hand, and we walked barefoot across the garden, where they would find us in the morning, asleep underneath the walnut trees, still holding hands.
Soon we would be parted, and he would shatter my heart with his choices, but tonight we were safe.
I remember tears falling down your face when I said “I'll never let you go”.
When all those shadows almost killed your light.
-Taylor Swift, ‘Safe and Sound’
A/N: written for EverMalfoy's Taylor Swift Quote Challenge, I hope you liked it. My quote was the one above.
Reviews are always appreciated :)