By the time these letters are found, my body will have long become one with this Earth. It will be hidden, I suspect, among the roses that stand like a bolt of fantasy in the stark reality of my home. I write this not to be remembered- I expect some day the memory of me will fade entirely and I cannot change that. I record the events that became my life with the hope that at least one person can come to understand the reasoning behind the choices I have made. That perhaps, one person, however lowly they may be, can reckognize me not as a trophy wife, not as a mother unable to protect her son, but as a girl who became a woman who became a shadow. As a person who, after being broken more times than she can count, lost her faith in the dreams that she had so desperately clung to. As someone who, like everyone else, laughed, and cried, and loved so deeply that her heart ached with the need of it. As a human being.
How I came to be here, in this room with no windows and no hope, is not a mystery to me. How I became this person is less clear. How does one look back on their life and think, this is when I gave up? This is when I failed, yet again, to protect the ones that I loved? How does one decide when they became nothing more than a name?
I look at myself, the hair that once lay in curls now streaked with grime, the nails, always perfectly manicured, now broken and bleeding from clawing at the door, and I want to laugh, but the laughter is long gone from my lips. Instead I find in the last pocket of the rag I now wore, a journal and a pen. Sew inside the hidden seam of my coat, a hidden pocket. I didn’t dare to keep it somewhere it might be found, lest it bring harm to myself or others. This thought really does make me laugh but it is quickly stifled in the depths of my throat, for it sounds desperate and unnatural. A sob of a laugh.
I kept this journal since I was nine years old. In places, an entry may stand alone and solitary, a recording of a single day among months. I now set myself to filling in the blanks.
My mother and father, as one might expect, were Purebloods of high standing within the community. My world growing up was cold, impersonal, but it was also intoxicating, for the world of wizarding high society is a dazzling one. A whirl of balls and parties flashed before me and I never imagined that I was missing out- for in this social setting, surrounded by families of the same variety, who was there to tell me that my parent’s should love me? And how could anyone say they didn’t love me when I was showered on all sides with pretty things to my hearts desire?
Did I know, then, that I was being used? Shown off to their friends like a prized rose? Perhaps, in some deep corner of my heart, I knew that there should be more to me than my childish beauty, but in the face of such affection I was more than willing to exploit myself. But then comes the time I first remember displeasing my parents.
“Narcissa! What have we told you about associating with that- that filth!”
The tiny girl of about five hung her head shamefacedly, her blonde curls hiding her eyes. A woman with identical locks stood before her, her cold eyes flashing menacingly. Beside the woman a man stood solidly, danger evident only in his silent gaze. As her mother’s fury washed over her in boiling waves, Narcissa closed her eyes in silent defense. Anger invaded her ears, but she blocked the hateful words from her mind, until her father spoke.
“Look at me,” he said in a commanding tone. This ensured instant silence from her mother, who stepped back, watching her husband warily. Narcissa opened her eyes but didn’t look up. Her father’s strong hand gripped her jaw and forced her face to turn upwards towards his own. Her eyes met his and she looked away, but his hand jerked and she met his gaze once more.
“Consorting with Muggle filth will not be tolerated-” he began menacingly.
“I was only playing-“ interrupted the little girl, but a stinging slap to her pale cheekbones brought silence upon her lips.
“Do not contradict me!” her father roared, and Narcissa flinched, wishing desperately to close her eyes once more against his wild fury, but she didn’t dare. “If I catch you speaking to that trash again, you will be punished. Do you understand?” his dark eyes bore into her’s and she nodded meekly. Her father’s rough hand released her and he strode from the room. With a final glance at her daughter, Narcissa’s mother followed suit.
I remember asking myself, the first several times I was forbidden from associating with the people my parent’s deemed “filth”, why they were “filth”. What made that woman or man, that little boy, less worthy than I? What could my parents see in them that told them who to speak to? When it was explained to me that it was their blood that made them dirty, their parentage that forbid me to speak to them, I puzzled over it. How could a person be born trash? How could a tiny baby be filth because of something they had no control over?
I puzzled, yes, but no longer associated with those whom my parent’s forbid. And the issue soon, with practice, faded to the back of my mind.
My parent’s word was law. Their own rules were rigid, set down by their parent’s parents, and those before them. A Pureblood is always polite. A Pureblood is always well behaved. A Pureblood is never spontaneous, and above all, never asks questions.
I remember longing, many times, to race down the polished staircase of my childhood home, but I knew to do so would be to abandon, if only briefly, my noble heritage. This would be a crime most devious to my parents and I dared not commit it. Looking back on those days, I shock myself in realization of how deep my schooling in the behavior of a Pureblood had rooted itself. At the age of eleven, I was already subject to the ancient laws of my lineage. Now, as I sit in this dark cage of despair, where not even my many charming mannerisms will save me, I wish for the child that had left me before the age of nine. I hardly laughed and played as a normal child would. I thank Merlin that these instincts were harder to suppress in my own son as a child.
Narcissa walked dutifully beside her mother, one tiny hand clasped in the larger, more graceful one, the other in her older sister’s. They sat in comfortable white chairs and Narcissa watched her mother exchange pleasantries with the other women, their delicately white gloved hands resting on the lace tablecloth, their voices warm and quiet like the breeze that swept over the immaculate lawn. Narcissa smiled obediently as the women exclaimed over her and her sister. As her eyes wandered, she spotted a group of children about her age running and frolicking on the grass, playing games. They laughed and smiled. Narcissa’s mother nodded her permission and Narcissa joined the play shyly. Bellatrix remained behind. As soon as a vigorous game of tag ensued, however, Narcissa and several other of the little girls quickly returned to their seats, careful not to soil their pristine clothing. Narcissa stood beside her mother’s seat and glanced back and forth, carefully drawing conclusions in her mind. Her eyes darted between her mother, demure and graceful, beautiful at all times, polite and proper, and the remaining children, all boys, on the grass. Brushing a soft curl behind her ears, Narcissa rejoined her mother.
I admit, I wasn’t – perhaps still am not- a strong person. I feel the accusing glares of others- how could I give such a life to my child? But they do not understand that this is what I have lived. I did not have the strength of my son. I was raised in this way because I was afraid of my own parents; those who should love me best. I was not strong enough to resist. This is who I am- how else could I have raised my child? I did try, at least, to save him from some of the harsher aspects of my own childhood, but what more could I do?
I do not record this to give the impression that I led a horrible life, nor to elicit sympathy among those who may find these writings. I do not say that my life was not blessed, for in many ways it was. I had strict upbringings, yes, far harsher than was necessary. I held pain in my heart. But that was not to say that I was not ever given moments of happiness and beauty, because I was…
The little blonde girl of about 9 hurried down the huge staircase, her bare feet padding softly over the lush carpet. Giggling, she and another little girl, slightly older at about 11 waited by the fireplace. A moment later, her parents descended the staircase and offered her a pot of Floo powder, smiling indulgently. She waited as her mother departed, then quickly stepped into the fire, saying clearly: Black Summer Manor!
Narcissa rushed through the fireplace, feeling dizzy and excited. She stepped out and brushed herself off, careful not to get any soot on the cream colored carpet. She stepped back and waited for Bellatrix, who soon came into view with her dark tresses slightly mussed by the soot. She took her younger sister by the hand and together they ran into the other room. Their mother waved her wand carelessly towards the French doors and the sisters hurried out onto the sand, then into the rolling gray waves. Gasping as the frigid water churned around her, Narcissa stopped when it reached her knees. She stood obediently waiting for adult supervision when she felt the cold trickle over her hair and down her back. Shrieking, she turn to see Bellatrix standing behind her giggling. “Mother said no splashing!” admonished Narcissa, and Bellatrix had the good grace to look ashamed. “I’m sorry Cissy,” she said robotically, but then smiled again and ran back into the waves, her fair sister once again fascinated by the salty water. She bent down carefully to retrieve a shell from the knee-deep water, and examined the sparkling specimen carefully. She smiled delightedly as she turned the shell over to reveal its pink and shimmering interior, then put it to her ear. She listened carefully and patiently, just as happy as her sister, who splashed and played a few feet away.
This was my childhood, the good and the bad, the happiness and the unaskable questions. This life was all I knew for the first few years of my life. But when I entered Hogwarts, I found an entirely new world- freed, for the first time, from my oppressive parents, I reveled in the experiences that I encountered. But I was still a Pureblood, and I delighted in my own superiority, after I had watched it in my parents. The questions that had once haunted my mind had all but vanished and though somewhere inside of me, they still spoke against this, I rose to my teachings and lorded over my peers- along with others of my kind. We were stars, we were growing and learning entirely new lessons- how to love, how to play, how to flirt. Even as I stepped into the Great Hall, I became aware of myself judging others. And, secretly, fearing myself- what if I was not good enough? What if I failed to live up to the standards of my upbringing?
Narcissa walked carefully in line with the other first years. She spotted Bellatrix smiling at her from the Slytherin table, and distantly, her cousin Sirius, whom she had met before but hadn’t seen for quite a while. He sat at the Gryffindor table, and looked resolutely at the frayed and patched hat that the line approached. Narcissa hid her nerves with a haughty look, and then a disgusted one as she took in the hat. It broke into a song which she ignored for the most part, though she was rather surprised when it began. Then the Professor who had led them here, an older man with graying hair, began to read off of the parchment.
Narcissa grew steadily more nervous. She was very near the beginning of the alphabet. What if she wasn’t in Slytherin? She remembered all too well what had happened to her cousin when he had failed the family tradition. As her name was called, however, she stepped forward gracefully and shuddered slightly when the hat touched her perfect golden locks.
“So you want Slytherin, eh?” asked the hat in her ear, startling her slightly. She tried to express her affirmation through her mind.
“Well, I won’t argue with that. You’ll do well there. SLYTHERIN!” it screamed, and she removed the hat and set it down on the stool, hiding her relief with a smile as she joined her sister at the Slytherin table. She watched the other first years be sorted, clapping along as other new Slytherins joined her. As the golden plates filled up with food, she conversed with her classmates. She remembered her cousin and turned to ask her sister about him, when she saw that Bellatrix was in conversation with several other third years. One of them, a handsome blonde boy, looked past Bellatrix’s face and saw her pretty sister. He gave her a wink and she quickly blushed and looked down into her napkin, folded neatly in her lap.
“Bella, is that your sister?” asked the blonde boy.
“Oh yes, this is my little Cissy. Narcissa, meet Lucius Malfoy.”
I was soon captivated by my sister’s friend. He came from a well standing Pureblood family and was a good friend of my sister’s. He was very handsome and cunning, and needless to say I was enthralled by the dashing older boy. He looked every bit the high status Pureblood that he was. We began courting when I was in my third year.
“Narcissa…” called a soft voice up the stairs, and she opened her eyes hesitantly. It had been a nice dream…
She quickly got up and tiptoed down the stairs, graceful as ever. Lucius’s blonde hair shone up at her in the moonlight and she smiled at the sight. His grey eyes, often times unfathomable, twinkled at her as he took her hand and turned her to face him.
“Couldn’t you sleep?” she asked softly.
“No, I wasn’t tired. Would you like to dance?” he asked her, smirking wickedly.
She searched his face as she nodded, and saw, not for the first time, how very regal and strong he looked. He took her hand in his own and put one on her waist, then spun her softly into the shadows and back again. Just like a true Pureblood, he was strong and graceful. She laughed softly as he dipped her toward the floor. He set her back up again and she let go of his hand. She looked into his silvery eyes, seeking truth there. She needed to know what her wanted with her, or she would go straight up to her bed, like the proper young lady she was. As he gazed into her own deep blue eyes, he found her just as fascinating, She was graceful, lovely, and smart. He smiled, a rare occurrence for the boy, and she found the honesty that she was seeking there. She was much smaller than him, and she stood on her toes as he bent his lips to hers, in a brief but gentle kiss. Not needing any more reassurance, she whispered, “Goodnight,” to him and ascended back up to her bed.
Righto, So this will be a short story, probably 3-5 chapters. Hopefully you enjoyed it, and please review!