Eighty-one, eighty-two, eighty-three... An elegant woman stared into the mirror with each brush of her hair, her reflection illuminated by a single flickering candle in the corner of the room. The mirror was dusty; the vanity at which she sat at was worn and tired--- things had changed ever since the Dark Lord fell.
Eighty-six, eighty-seven… She had lost everything. Her husband, her child, her home, her sister, her prestige… everything she was familiar with, everyone she loved… was dead. She lived in the rundown Malfoy Manor, alone and shunned by the wizarding world like an old spinster or something horrible like that. BAM!
The woman slammed the hair brush on to the vanity counter. She hated the life she led. She hated the woman who stared back at her through the mirror. She hated the fine wrinkles that lined her face. She hated her silver hair--- it had turned entirely silver when she had received the news of her son’s death. Her hair was supposed to be a beautiful gold, not some poor-man’s silver! Narcissa Black-Malfoy was supposed to be the epitome of perfection, nothing less. But she gave a sudden hopeless sigh. Nothing was “supposed to be” any longer.
A slight pop sounded outside the open window and Narcissa jumped up, startled and afraid. Who would call at such a late hour? Two knocks resounded from the front door. Swiftly, donning her faded robes, Narcissa walked downstairs to the tall oak doors and opened it.
Andromeda Black-Tonks stood at the darkened doorway, with her rich brown hair, peppered with strands of gray, pulled back from her face in a neat bun. Andromeda smiled at the sight of her younger sister and happy crinkles appeared at the corners of her eyes.
“Sit still, Cissy,” Andromeda said patiently.
The little blonde girl fidgeted on a stool in front of a mirror. “I hate being still. Mother tells me to be still all the time, but I don’t like it!”
The older girl clucked her tongue and laughed. She ran a heavy brush through her sister’s hair. “Be quiet for a moment, will you, Cissy? I’m trying to keep count.”
“Oh please, Meda. You don’t need to keep count. Mother will never know! Besides, I hate my hair. It’s so… yellow.” Narcissa wrinkled her nose at her reflection.
“Your hair is so lovely,” Andromeda said with a wistful sigh. “I wish I could have your hair.” She tugged the brush through a knot.
“But no one has yellow hair! I want hair like yours or Trixy’s!” Narcissa exclaimed.
Andromeda laughed, “You’ll love your hair soon enough.” She tied back Narcissa’s curls with a pale blue ribbon. “A ribbon to match your eyes. And there! You’re all done, Cissy.”
The tiny Narcissa inspected her appearance in the mirror and made a face of disgust.
“Do you not like it?” her sister asked her, amused.
“No. The hair is fine. I hate my eyes,” Narcissa said with a pout.
“My, my… aren’t you just full of malice today?” Andromeda raised an eyebrow, holding back a laugh.
“T-they’re so pale! I want them to be black like Trixy’s or hazel like yours!”
Andromeda pulled her protesting sister into her arms and gave her a kiss on the forehead. “Sometimes we can’t have everything we want,” she admonished her.
“I will,” Narcissa vowed in her high voice. “I will have everything I want.” And with that, she pulled out of her older sister’s embraced and scampered off to torment the house-elf.
“M-Meda…” Stunned, Narcissa backed open the door with wide eyes. “I-I never expected you…“
“Neither did I,” said Andromeda with a sad smile. “It’s been ages, hasn’t it?”
Remembering her hostess duties, Narcissa extended a stiff welcoming arm. “Come in.” Andromeda stepped into the Malfoy Manor with a slight hobble, steadying herself on the door, looking around her. Narcissa closed the door behind her sister and lead her to the kitchen. “There’s not much, but I’m sure I can find some tea…”
Never in her life had Narcissa expected her sister, the sister who had run away from home, the sister who had betrayed their family, to visit her. They sometimes saw each other in passing in Diagon Alley, but Narcissa hadn’t spoken to her in person since that night when Andromeda escaped through the window.
Narcissa opened a cabinet and found some dusty tea bags and a cracked tea set. Carefully, she placed them on the counter and stared at them, unsure as to what she should do. The Ministry had confiscated the Malfoy house elves and without them, the Manor had fallen in disarray. She heard Andromeda laugh.
“You’re quite helpless without your house-elves, aren’t you?” Andromeda asked, standing to take the teapot from her sister. “Here…”
Narcissa stood completely still, her back to Andromeda. Tears stung at the back of her ice blue eyes and she slammed a teacup down on the countertop. “Why are you here, Meda?” she demanded her sister, trying to keep her voice from cracking. “Why did you come?”
Andromeda took her sister’s shoulders gently and sat her down at the table. She sat down herself and poured both of them tea, as Narcissa’s body, her head bowed, shook with silent tears.
“I came here to see you. To see how you were…” Andromeda began. She fingered the edge of the teacup awkwardly unsure as what to say.
“How the bloody hell do you think I am?” Narcissa raised her head, exposing her raw, tear-streaked face. “I’ve lost everything. I’ve lost Bellatrix. I’ve lost Draco, my dear sweet Draco, and I’ve lost Lucius! I’ve lost my entire life! How the bloody hell do you think I am?”
“NO! Don’t you dare ‘Cissy’ me! You left us!” Narcissa choked on her tears. “You said you were in love with that man, and I suppose you didn’t love us. No, I’m wrong. You just didn’t love us enough,” she spat.
The sisters stared at each other; one’s eyes filled with fierce bitter tears, the other’s brimming with warm mournful tears. Minutes passed and neither sister’s gaze faltered. Suddenly, Andromeda pulled Narcissa into her arms and held her little sister wept into her robes.
“Oh, Cissy… I always loved you and Bellatrix the most.”
“I know,” Narcissa said through her sobs. “I just wish everything could go back to… before…”
Narcissa was bored. Utterly and thoroughly bored. The food was not to her liking. The music strained her ears. The company was dull. Her sisters were seated on the other end of the table. She could see them through the corner of her eye, giggling and flirting with the young men they were sitting with.
And she was stuck on her own, stuck between an old, dribbling wizard with a hearing aid and his gossiping hag of a wife. Narcissa gave a very unladylike sigh, blowing her curled bangs up from her forehead. The evening never seemed to end.
“I apologize for being late,” a curt, but polite voice said. She looked up and saw a handsome young man sit down in the empty seat. His white-blonde hair was pulled back into a neat ponytail and his cool gray eyes caught Narcissa by surprise. “Lucius Malfoy,” he said extending his hand.
“Narcissa Black,” she said stiffly, extending her own hand. He took it up to his lips and planted a firm kiss. Sixteen-year-old Narcissa blushed and pulled her hand back quickly.
He couldn’t have been more than a few years older than her, yet why didn’t she recognize him? Then she remembered. Lucius had been one of Bellatrix’s friends during Hogwarts. Narcissa had been too young for him to know her.
“Would it be too forward of me to presume that the conversation has been very dull without me?” Lucius smiled at Naricissa, nodding at the old wizard who snored in his plate of food. His hearing aid was propped precariously against his bowl of soup.
She laughed lightly. “Not at all.”
“Then my apologies, once again for taking so long to meet your lovely self. Obviously I have missed out.”
The two then engaged in a lively conversation. They talked for what seemed like ages and for once, Narcissa found her equal. The food grew cold; the old man woke up, outraged to find himself dripping with oils and bits of food, and left the table with his wife; the clock struck twelve, yet these two didn’t notice. They sat there at the table entirely engrossed in each other.
Hours later, back in the Black manor, Narcissa hummed to herself as she readied herself for sleep. Lucius Malfoy was… everything she could ever want. She had finally found her equal. Finally…
Bellatrix and Andromeda entered Narcissa’s room. They both unceremoniously plopped themselves onto her bed.
“Luscious Lucius caught your eye, eh?” Bellatrix asked, raising her eyebrow playfully.
Narcissa said nothing and smiled to herself.
“Cissy… you’re glowing.” Bellatrix said with a satisfied smirk.
A flush ran up to her cheeks as she tied back her hair. “Oh, stop it, ‘Trixy!” She reached over, grabbed a pillow and threw it at Bellatrix. Her oldest sister only grabbed it and began laughing.
Andromeda gave a sigh and Narcissa looked over at her sister curiously. “I wish you had never met Lucius Malfoy…”
“Why do you say that?” Narcissa asked.
“You don’t know him the way we do,” she said indicating Bellatrix and herself. Bellatrix stopped laughing to nod. “He’s no good. He’s brutal. He’s cruel. He’s… just bad, Cissy! You cannot trust him---”
“And you two don’t know him the way I do! Lucius Malfoy is a gentleman. He’s kind, intelligent, charming and… perfect!” Narcissa protested.
Her sisters shook their heads. Andromeda’s hazel eyes darkened. “I just don’t want you to get hurt…”
An hour of tears later, in Narcissa’s bed chambers, the two sisters reminisced over the silver photos that stood on her vanity. Andromeda held the Malfoys’ wedding portrait in her hands. In the photo, Lucius and Narcissa laughed happily as he spun her around, his coat tails and her white gown twirling.
“We were so happy…” Narcissa whispered, her voice, worn from crying, threatened to break.
“And you two deserved to be happy,” Andromeda said quietly. “I was wrong about Lucius, Cissy. And I’m so, so sorry...”
Narcissa shook her head. “It’s no matter. It’s all in the past.”
Andromeda stared at a picture of that stood in the corner behind the mirror. The happy faces of three teenage sisters stared up at her. Bellatrix’s flashing black eyes smirked with delight, her own hazel eyes beamed, and Narcissa’s icy blue eyes glowed happily.
“I-It’s us…” Andromeda said picking up the frame.
“B-Bellatrix almost killed you and your husband…” Narcissa said with an empty voice. “But she couldn’t.”
Andromeda nodded and closed her eyes trying not to remember that night almost a year ago. She had been so ready to die that night. Her dearly beloved husband had laid on the kitchen floor left to die and her sister, her big sister, was going to kill her…
“She came here that n-night… after she left you two,” Narcissa’s voice shook. “She told me that… after all those years in Azkaban, she thought she was incapable of love. But ‘Trixy said she was wrong. And that she still loved y-you and s-she still loved me.”
Andromeda’s eyes burned with hot tears and turned the picture frame over. Then she reached over and picked up a picture of a little scowling boy with a shock of white-blonde hair and cool gray eyes. “This is my nephew, Draco, I presume---”
“---was Draco…” Narcissa said bitterly, refusing to look at the photo. “He was my Draco, my dragon, my little b-boy…” Her voice cracked again.
An uncomfortable silence grew, with only the sound of the ticking clock filling the room. Finally, Narcissa felt her tears fade and she looked up. “You’ve seen him once before…”
The door opened with a ding and a young mother walked into Flourish and Blott’s leading her toddler by his tiny curled fist. The little boy’s blonde hair was combed back neatly and he wore a navy blue jacket, matching shorts, and patent shoes. He sucked his thumb noisily.
“Draco, darling…” his mother sighed, noticing his thumb-sucking. “You mustn’t suck your thumb.” Her carefully manicured fingers gently pulled it out from his mouth. “Mummy is going to find a book. Come with Mummy…”
Suddenly, a ten-year-old girl with a brilliantly bright pink hair clumsily bumped into the little Draco Malfoy, spilling the books she was carrying onto the ground. Draco promptly opened his mouth to wail, and Narcissa Malfoy scooped him up into her arms, shushing him and stroking his hair.
The girl’s mother came up behind her daughter and scolded her. “Why are you so clumsy, Nymphadora?”
“It’s all Dad’s fault,” Nymphadora chirped.
Narcissa wrinkled her nose at the girl’s ridiculous name. Obviously these were people with no class. She turned around, still shushing the whimpering Draco.
Nymphadora’s mother laughed. “Go and apologize to the lady, Nymphadora. You must have knocked the poor baby senseless.”
“Sorry, ma’am,” the girl said to Narcissa.
Narcissa didn’t respond. Hearing the mother’s voice made her freeze. The voice… It was so familiar. She hadn’t heard it in over eleven years, but she could recognize it anywhere…
The two sisters tearfully hugged each other goodbye at the front doors of the Malfoy Manor.
“I wish you would come with me, Cissy,” Andromeda said wistfully. “This place is too big and empty for you to live by yourself. So much space and just you to look after it all…”
Narcissa gave a small smile and shook her head. “No, I wouldn’t belong in your world, Meda. You have your own family. You have…” she hesitated, “…Ted. And your daughter, Nymphadora. What kind of name is that anyways?”
Andromeda sputtered. “It’s perfectly respectable name! Nymphadora Tonks… has a nice ring to it!”
Narcissa laughed for the first time that night. “If you think so, Meda…”
Rolling her eyes and giving Narcissa a final wave, Andromeda started down the drive, getting ready to apparate.
“Wait, Meda!” Naricssa called, running up to her and giving her a final hug like the little girl so long ago. “Thank you, thank you for coming…”