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Chapter 1: Zebra Angst
The train was different. It was empty.
At least, it was to Narcissa Black. She stood at the entrance, her eyes closed as she remembered the compartments as they were. Only this year, there was no Andromeda. And not just on the train. No, there was no Andromeda in her life.
She shook her head. She had promised herself when Andromeda had been burned off the tapestry that she would try to think of anything and everything else. There was nothing she could do now and there was no point in dawdling over something that could never be changed, forgiven, or forgotten. But she was failing miserably, because that was all she ever seemed to think about these days.
Narcissa boarded the Hogwarts Express after waving farewell to her parents, who stood rigidly on the platform. As she passed compartment by compartment, searching for her best friends, she couldn’t help but reminisce on the days when both of her sisters attended Hogwarts with her. School, and life in general, had become less interesting since they were gone now, one of them for good, but she was thankful to still have her friends.
As if reading her mind, a pair of hands grasped her shoulders from behind, pulling her back sharply. She quickly grabbed onto the compartment door, avoiding a humiliating scenario where she would’ve toppled over with her skirt flying over her face. Humiliation was intolerable for Narcissa. After all, she had a vital reputation to uphold, as she came from a noble and elite family. That was one of the reasons her family had disowned Andromeda at the start of the summer, because of the humiliation she had brought upon them by choosing that boy. Everyone else called him a Mudblood. Narcissa still didn’t know how she felt about that word.
Another thing that was intolerable for Narcissa was lying. Lying, for instance, because her father had lied to her for many months about joining the ranks of the Dark Lord. When she finally did discover him concealing his Dark Mark one early morning, she had grown to harvest a hateful passion for Death Eaters, and for the Dark Lord, for stealing away her father’s commitment to their family. Narcissa did, however, support The Cause, as it was a strong core of her beliefs, but endless days of witnessing the sorrow in her mother’s eyes had convinced her to seek out a better future for herself, one that led away from the path of darkness. She’d told no one outside her family of her father’s loyalties, not even her friends.
She couldn’t even tell anyone how she felt. If she did, she might as well put her life and her family in danger. Andromeda would have been the only person to understand, to sympathize with her, but that was improbable given the circumstances. She had written her a letter about it a month ago, using childish code words they had invented as kids to explain things she didn’t want anyone else reading in case the owl was intercepted. She had received no reply since, and had regretted sending it in the first place.
“Cissy!” a voice yelled out, spinning Narcissa around and snapping her back into focus.
Her eyes widened as she came face to face with one of her best friends, Nixie Keating. Nixie and Narcissa had become instant friends their first year after both being sorted into Slytherin. Narcissa had been rather frightened to make her way over to the table filled with intimidating Slytherins, but Nixie had taken her hand and led her over with full confidence. Not to mention Bellatrix had practically been shouting at her like a psychotic sociopath that she would shave her head if she didn’t stop stumbling around like a clueless Hufflepuff. Yes, she had said those exact words out loud.
“Nixie! You really didn’t have to startle me like that,” Narcissa cried, smacking her friend on the shoulder before embracing her in an affectionate hug.
“You walked right past our compartment,” Nixie justified, rubbing her shoulder where Narcissa had hit her.
“Well I've been doing that for the past 6 years. I would've expected you to get used to it by now," Narcissa teased as she picked up her trunk.
“I see you’re still a skunk,” Nixie rolled her eyes, grabbing her hand and leading her over to the compartment.
Ever since Narcissa had dyed a streak of her long blonde hair black during her fifth year, her friends, particularly Nixie, had begun calling her a skunk. She’d learned to accept it over time, since none of her fussing had made a difference.
“Well if it isn’t Narcissa Black,” came a soothing voice from the corner of the compartment. “It’s been pleasant talking to you all summer,” the voice added sarcastically.
Narcissa turned to see her other close friend, Vesper Hale, stand up after shutting a thick, dusty book.
“Oh Vesper,” Narcissa sighed, throwing her arms around the brunette beauty. “I’m so sorry, I just…I had so much going on with my family ever since, well you know. I didn’t want to drag you all into it too.”
She pulled back and admirably examined the two girls for a few moments. Nixie, like her, had fair blue eyes and silky blonde hair, although Nixie’s hair was a curly wonderland compared to Narcissa’s tame, sleek style. Nixie's features weren't structured as perfectly as Narcissa's, but she was still quite comely. They both had pale complexions and slender figures that wooed more hearts than necessary. They’d been mistaken for sisters countless times. She noticed, however, that Nixie had cut her hair rather short, making her resemble a mischievous pixie. Narcissa’s hair still fell well below her waist in a straight manner, additionally shaping out her already thin figure.
Vesper, on the other hand, did not possess the blonde hair and the blue eyes. She instead had long, dark, wavy hair that extended down to her tailbone, completing her marble white skin. Her green eyes sparkled in the light of the compartment as she flashed her brilliant white smile. That smile had only become more captivating since the day Narcissa and Nixie had come across Vesper in their common room first year. She’d dropped all her books and had made an utter and complete mess.
However, when it came to being the elite ladies of the pureblood society, not all of them fit that established image. Nixie, in particular, was a more self-governed spirit. In a way, she reminded Narcissa of her dear sister Bellatrix, as they both shared a wild and fierce disposition. Although Bellatrix was almost ferocious compared to Nixie, who simply possessed an adventurous inner being. Lord knew it gave Nixie's parents the hardest time to deal with her unsettling propriety.
Quite the opposite was Vesper, who was the more calm and composed of the three. Always with a book in hand, Vesper flowed with the customary and traditional aspects of the Pureblood society, but even she could be a daredevil when the occasion called for it.
“You two have only become prettier over the summer,” Narcissa said, sitting down across from them.
“Well, Vesper gets it the easy way, doesn’t she?” Nixie whined. “She has a bit of Veela in her. I still consider that cheating.”
It was true. Vesper’s great-grandmother was half-Veela, making her one-sixteenth Veela.
“I can’t help my natural charm,” Vesper sighed as they all dissolved into laughter.
They were interrupted by a loud thud, which startled all three of them at once. The girls turned to see the compartment door thrown open, in its place standing a tall, handsome man with dark wavy hair and eyes the color of honey. He had a gleaming Prefect’s badge pinned to his robe, and had his lips curved into a crooked grin. His broad chest was pushed out in a cocky manner, but anyone who knew Drew Knight knew he was anything but vain.
“Hello ladies,” he said with a voice capable of melting butter. “Has anyone seen a blonde haired minx?”
“Drew!” yelled Nixie, throwing herself onto him as he stumbled back a few steps.
Narcissa and Vesper glanced at each other, laughter playing in their eyes. They stifled their outbursts as the usual snogging between Drew and Nixie began.
During their fifth year, Nixie and Drew had been paired up in potions, and on the first day, Nixie had managed to erupt their cauldron (on accident of course), sending Drew to the hospital wing for weeks. She’d been guilted into paying him daily visits, and before she knew it, she’d found herself by his side every day, caring for him and occasionally doing his homework. She'd even grown a soft spot for Half-bloods. Since then, they’d been inseparable. Literally.
It was quite ironic, considering the fact that Nixie had sworn to never fall in love with anyone other than a Pureblood. Of course, her parents didn't approve of Drew at first, but after meeting him several times, they were reeled in by his witty persona and the genuine warm love he had for their daughter.
“So what about Andromeda, then?” Vesper cleared her throat, indirectly forcing Drew and Nixie apart. She was good at that. “Still no word from her?”
“No,” Narcissa said dryly, staring out the window. “She chose Ted. My parents pretend she doesn’t even exist.” Well, except when my mother is sobbing her brains out in her room when she thinks no one is paying attention. She decided to keep that last part in her head.
“It was so sudden,” Nixie said with wide eyes. “I mean none of us expected it, you know? We all thought she would end up with Rabastan-”
“Yeah well we all thought a lot of things about Andromeda, didn’t we?” Narcissa cut in, still staring outside. “Not even one of those things turned out to be true. She was always in her own little world.”
“I bet Bellatrix wants to kill her,” Drew shook his head, awkwardly flinching when Narcissa shot a cold glare at him.
After a few moments, she let her anger dissolve as she admitted, “Yeah, she does. She will if she has the chance, honestly.”
She didn’t want to tell them that Bellatrix had actually tried to kill Ted and Andromeda. It was too embarrassing, too private. Instead, she turned back to the window as her eyes began to fill with tears.
They all took the hint that she didn’t want to talk about it anymore and tried to change the subject. After a few moments, Drew and Nixie began their routine of whispers and giggles. Vesper rolled her eyes and reopened the book she’d been reading earlier. Narcissa continued to peer out the foggy window as people passed by.
Just as Drew kicked the door shut, it was swung open again. Coveting the space this time was none other than the infamous and arrogant blonde miscreant: Lucius Malfoy. With long blonde hair that reached past his shoulders, and a posture of vanity, he traced the room with his cold grey eyes, resting them for only a moment on Narcissa.
As the Blacks and the Malfoys were both very prestigious families, they had mingled quite a bit at the conventional elite gatherings that Narcissa attended almost every week in the summer. She never had been fond of the man, what with his vast ego that spread hastily across a room upon his entrance. No, she rather found herself avoiding him most of the time.
She had especially grown to hate him this past summer. With all the gossip and rumors floating around about her family and their “blood traitor daughter,” it had been hard enough for her family to attend social outings. If it weren’t for her father insisting that they go to the weekly gatherings, she would have stayed in that depressing excuse of a home and listened to her mother wail and mourn over being a failure as a Mother or that she hadn’t raised Andromeda properly, or even worse, that she had let Andromeda read too many books about adventure and enclaves of resistance.
After finally deciding to attend their first social ball since The Andromeda Episode, the one face she had not been pleased to see aside from everyone was Lucius Malfoy’s.
She remembered the moment perfectly, word for word.
“Don’t think about it, don’t think about it, don’t think about it,” she had been muttering under her breath, running her silky light pink gown through her gloved fingers as she slowly stepped around in circles. She had been looking for Nixie and Vesper, but had been unable to spot them in the crowd.
“Don’t think about what?” the cold, unpleasant voice had come from behind her. She had turned to find Lucius Malfoy standing tall in a notorious aristocratic pose, his ridiculous serpent cane in one hand.
“None of your business,” she had practically growled at him, turning away and crossing her arms.
“Don’t think about that blood traitor sister of yours?”
She had spun around, her eyes shooting daggers at him. He had hit a nerve, and he knew it. A smirk had flashed across his face as she took small, slow steps towards him.
“You don’t know anything, you bastard,” she lowered her voice at that last word, wanting the insult to sink deep but remain between only them.
“At least my niece or nephew won’t have a Mudblood as a father,” he raised his brow at her as her frown etched deeper.
“You won’t have any nieces or nephews you unloved cockroach,” she spit out at him. She hated him so much she wanted to take her heel off and bash his face inwards with it. “After your parents realized what a tragedy you were, they didn’t want to waste any more time creating monsters like you.”
She jabbed him on his chest with her finger, not getting a single response out of his cold grey eyes. It’s as if he were programmed to be this apathetic and stoic thing. Yes, a thing. Andromeda might have been a blood traitor, and she had in fact humiliated them all, but she was her sister and only she could throw insults at her. Malfoy didn’t know the first thing about her.
“Or maybe after noticing that one of the Black’s daughters was a psycho and the other a blood traitor they decided that one was enough,” he shot right back at her, not having moved an inch while Narcissa hadn’t stopped moving.
“I should jinx you right now,” she motioned at her wand, staring straight into his lifeless eyes. “I should jinx you right here in front of everyone so that-”
“So that you can prove that there’s yet another psycho in the Black family?” he chuckled. “By all means, do.”
Her grip on her wand had tightened, but he was right. By attacking him in public, she would only add to the turmoil and scandal involving her family. If anything, she couldn’t do this to her parents after what Andromeda had done. She let go of her wand and plastered a fake and overly enthusiastic smile on her face.
“I promise you, Lucius Malfoy, that before the school year starts, I will jinx you. I will jinx you and you will never forget it. Ever.”
Now staring up at him from her seat in the compartment, she remembered how much more she hated him. He had probably forgotten, given that he had the brain capacity and memory of a troll.
“There’s no room for you in this compartment, Malfoy. You and your cronies can go stimulate your erections somewhere else,” Drew muttered through gritted teeth, sitting up straight.
The girls giggled as Lucius remained unphased, keeping eye contact with Drew.
“Is it just me, or is that the stench of a Half-blood?” Lucius smirked, addressing Drew.
Before Drew could retaliate, Narcissa quickly stood up, giving Drew an amicable nod. He stayed seated. Thank the heavens for that.
“Get out, Malfoy,” Narcissa stated boldly, sneering her icy eyes at him.
“Get out? May I remind you that you and your possies have stolen our compartment.”
Lucius’s friends (if that’s what you would call them) shifted behind him uncomfortably. Narcissa spotted Dmitri Amador and Bryce Carson, who were actually rather agreeable fellows. Pity they hung around Lucius, the pathetic prat.
“I don’t see your name on it,” Narcissa remarked, tilting her head sarcastically.
“Funny,” Lucius said, a smile playing on his lips as he eyed Narcissa’s hair. “I don’t remember the train allowing zebras.”
Before he could continue his ridiculous insult of calling her a zebra, Narcissa had her wand at the ready, pointing it at his chest, her memory of the summer fresh in her mind.
“Mind yourself, Malfoy,” Narcissa warned. “I’m not one of those Muggle-borns you can dish around as you please.”
“Not unlike your brother-in-law of course.”
“You would know, since you did lose a few matches to him last year during Quidditch. He may not have your blood, but his abilities make up for it don’t they?”
She had stricken a nerve. Ten points for Narcissa, none for the witless barbarian.
Lucius took a step toward Narcissa, now inches away from her. No one said a word as he lifted her chin up, his lips meandering in a devilishly amused manner.
“You noticed his…abilities, did you? Maybe your blood traitor sister’s knickers aren’t the only ones he’s been in then.”
Narcissa saw the taunt in his eyes, saw the pleasure he derived from his mocking insults. To accuse her of sleeping with that Muggle-born…she couldn’t believe he had taken it so far. She wouldn’t crumble beneath a man as wretched as Lucius Malfoy.
“Stupefy!” she yelled.
A/N: Hey everyone! So if you're reading this story then you'll notice it's the sequel to Defiant Blood, Defiant Love, which I started after this story, weirdly. Anyway, I am going through this story and adding/deleting things and also just making the writing more developed overall. Leave me a lovely review and tell me what you think of our dear Mr. Malfoy and Ms. Black :))