Chapter 20 : Of the Eulogy for a Black and The End of a Rope
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1) Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for the immense enthusiasm you all show to this story. Your reviews and dedication are heartwarming and I thank you for all of the time you spend writing them for me.
2) My website is being revamped and will very soon be housing some goodies for you who have been pestering me about taking graphic requests again. Surprise!!
3) I am a little sad to announce it; but there are only five more chapters left to this story. We will be ending at a nice even twenty five chapters.
4) But there is good news!! The Forsaken Ones will be making its debut when the twenty fifth chapter is posted. What is The Forsaken Ones you say? Well, many of you have been acquainted with it before, but if you have not; you are in for quite a thrill. If I may take a moment to toot my own horn; it’s the best piece of work to ever come from me to you and it has almost two years of life behind it already. If you thought this story was twisted…. Oh just you wait.
Please enjoy my loves.
When Narcissa came to there was a warm trickle running down her forehead. She pushed herself into a sitting position, her hair hanging limply over her face. It took a moment for her to realize she was on the floor of her husband’s study and then a cold dread pummeled through her veins. Her heart seized and her hand flew to her mouth. Her husband was killing children.
A child was dead and her husband was responsible.
Unable to help herself Narcissa gagged. She fought the urge to throw up, choking on her own fluids as she forced them back down. She struggled into an upright position and staggered towards his desk, sending papers flying everywhere.
Lucius had found her. He knew she had been listening at the doors. He knew she was aware of his plan. She knew he had engineered a super virus with the intent of murdering mudbloods. He wanted to be back in the Dark Lord’s graces but it would never happen. Never. He was murdering children!
Narcissa flew towards the study door, wanting nothing more than to escape from this dark room. He had killed her house elves. He had threatened her life. He had tormented their son. He had infected their child with a murderous disease.
Narcissa’s legs gave out beneath her as she ran down the hall and she fell forwards, knocking a large vase to the floor. It met the ground with a loud noise and then skittered about the hallway, porcelain shards surrounding her. She extended her hands in an abrupt reflexive action and pieces dug into her skin. She cried out in pain and rolled onto her back, grasping her hands to her chest. She arched her body in agony as her spine met the ruined vase. She lay there for a moment, hot tears streaming from the corners of her eyes and into her hair.
How had she gotten here?
In one bleak moment of realization Narcissa saw her final path stretch before her. She pushed herself up from the hallway floor while taking a deep breath. With this breath she drew in just enough courage to complete this one last task. There was no satisfaction in living if one learned nothing from the roads one traveled. Narcissa did not wish to die a waste of human flesh. She would accomplish something from her time in this world. Her son could not hide from her, his mother; a woman, how he felt about the girl he lived with. Narcissa grabbed her cloak from the chair next to her bed and stepped towards her fireplace.
Her final moments on this earth would matter. She would not disappear like the mist.
Hermione was lying on the common room couch, her eyes half closed. Something was terribly wrong with her. There was a dull ache that penetrated to the very marrow of her bones. She was aware of every centimeter of her body, for every centimeter was on fire. Draco had left her side only a moment ago to see what was happening outside; in the world of Hogwarts, and she was already shivering from cold. She pulled the blanket closer around her and realized the bandage she wore around her hand was hanging miserably from one side of her palm. The wound was bleeding. It looked as if it had just been inflicted. She sat upright, the blanket falling away, as she grabbed her wrist, holding the bloody wound before her.
With a sense of mild fear she walked slowly to the kitchen, her eyes never leaving the slice in her palm. She turned the faucet in their small kitchen on and allowed warm water to flow over the cut. She hissed. The water felt like thousands of tiny daggers.
There was a sudden loud bang from the common room and Hermione whipped aroud, fear seizing her heart. As she turned bloody water flew from her hand and splattered against the wall and across the tile floor. Her eyes widened in disbelief as a tall, lean, blonde woman stood from the hearth and stepped ueasily into the room. She hugged her cloak tightly about her.
“Narcissa Malfoy?” Hermione asked in disbelief.
“Hermione Granger,” Narcissa rushed forward and Hermione scuttled away, placing the table between them. “Where is my son?” Her eyes were watery and her arms were sliced open from her palms to her elbows.
“He’s not here,” Hermione sputtered. “You’re bleeding.”
Narcissa seemed to be entirely unaware of her injuries. Her shoulders suddenly sagged in defeat and her entire demeanor collapsed in on itself. “You must tell him for me,” she sniffed. “You must tell him that I love him and I will always watch over him.”
“Mrs. Malfoy,” Hermione started, entirely unsure of how to address the woman standing before her. “Are you alright?”
Narcissa gave a small whimper, as if she was swallowing her tears and then turned her back from Hermione. “Listen to me,” she said. “Do not ever let anyone tell you who you are.” She quickly strode towards the fireplace and then wheeled around once again as if she wanted to say more, her eyes riveted on Hermione’s.
Hermione found her skin crawling as she gazed back at the woman. There was no way to define the sheer dread in her eyes. The hollowness. They were flat and lifeless, black as night in their despair. “Never let anyone tell you what you must become, Hermione Granger,” the blonde woman said as she reached into her pocket. “People will come in and out of your life like the wind. Hold on to the ones you love. Don’t ever doubt that love. Your heart knows better than your mind, for it is not plagued by what it hears people say should be and should not be. If you love than it is real and it is the truest and most wonderful thing you can ever hold on this earth. Don’t ever be someone you will regret when the day comes for you to breathe your last.” Narcissa threw a handful of powder into the fireplace and it roared to life. “Tell my son I love him,” she said in a shallow whisper. “Tell him not to fear those words. I know they are what he fears even beyond being forced to join the ranks of the death eaters. I blame myself for this. It is the most unknown notion to him, it is hard for him to comprehend and he may get frustrated at times. But, Hermione Granger, tell him its okay to love and to say it.”
“But Narcissa - he will be back any moment just wait-” she tried to say. But Narcissa was gone.
Hermione sat on the couch, her mind frozen.
“Tell my son it is okay to love and to say it.”
She was shivering again and the blood from her hand was trickling unchecked over her knee and down her pant leg. The air in the room was so cold.
“Don’t ever be someone you will regret when the day comes for you to breathe your last.”
Hermione found she was crying and she didn’t know why. Draco came back in the room sometime later to find her still sitting in the same spot, tears streaming down her face. Draco set the plates of food he had gotten from the Great Hall down on the kitchen counter and then was at her side, pulling her into his arms where she continued to sob. He rocked her back and forth, repeatedly asking her what was the matter, if anything hurt, if she was too cold or too warm, if she needed more of the pain relieving draught they had been given from the infirmary. All she could do was grasp his shirt front tightly and hang on as if he was the only thing keeping her from falling over the edge of some great precipice. The bleak resignation in his mother’s eyes haunted her vision; it was all she could see. Her words echoed in the room was all she could hear. She couldn’t bring herself to tell him she had been here. She couldn’t tell him her advice about loving or being yourself. She couldn’t tell him then.
Her was gently stroking her arm when he realized she was bleeding. He jumped to his feet, pulling her with him, practically picking her up, and brought her to the sink. He turned the water on and forced her to rinse the cut out and then he took the hand towel next to the sink and wrapped her hand tightly within it. She was standing there next to the counter when he turned his back and her legs gave out on her. He couldn’t turn cak to catch her in time and she knocked the side of her head on the countertop. In desperation he fell to the floor with her in his arms, completely at a loss as to what to do. After a few moments her breathing began to slow once again and the stream of tears became a steady trickle instead of a waterfall. She hiccupped into his shoulder and he gently rubbed her back, his mind racing to discover the source of her distress.
“Tell me about your mother,” she rasped.
“My mother?” He asked in surprise. “Tell me what’s wrong first. Where does it hurt? Are you alright?”
She shook her head. “Tell me about your mother,” she said again.
“Mother,” he started. “I don’t think she wanted me to know about her past, but I found her diaries in the lower keep of the castle when I was young. I-I . . .after I read them I wasn’t ever able to look at my father the same way again,” he admitted. “Her story was not what I had expected, nor was she the person I had thought. It forced me to reevaluate my entire family. I suspect hearing the story in her own words is why I became so attached to the idea of protecting her. I almost saw her as a vulnerable girl-child.” Draco cleared his throat and from where Hermione’s head rest on his chest she could feel his heart thudding. The last thing Draco wanted in the entire world was to tell her this story, but the look in her eyes and the lilt of her voice was something he could not refuse. If this was what she said she wanted, he would do it.
“Mother met my father at Hogwarts. They were in their fifth year when he finally noticed that she was alive, and he took her to the end of the year ball. My father was a different man then; he wasn’t a deatheater.” He took a deep breath. “She wanted to be a healer, but gave it up once she married my father. The diary said she no longer saw any point in it, her life was the opposite from the one a healer lived. It was against the principles, and besides, my father would not allow her to hold any job or commit to any studying.
“From what pictures I have seen she was beautiful. They had friends who were loyal to them and led almost normal lives. Except, my father’s family was so deeply immersed in the dark arts that he really knew nothing else. His father left him no choice in who he was to become. The Dar-…Voldemort-was not very powerful back then, but my grandfather believed wholeheartedly in his ideas and it cost him his life. I was told Voldemort killed him himself, but I doubt any Malfoy has ever been that important to him. He pushed my father to also pledge his allegiance to the Dark Lord. My father had his own opinions on what made a proper wizard - none of which entirely respectful, but certainly not on my grandfather's par - but they were very soon beaten out of him. The man Mother had fallen in love with began to dwindle away before her eyes until there was hardly a man left to love at all. He gave into his father and vowed his allegiance to Voldemort.
Draco looked down at her, to see how she was taking this information and then continued. “Every deatheater is given an initiation task before he receives the deathmark and is allowed in Voldemort’s inner circle; my father’s was to kill my mother.”
Hermione groaned as if in great pain. “I don’t understand,” she whispered. “Your mother is alive. Your father is a death eater.”
“Emotional ties make you useless to Voldemort,” he said in a soft voice, his eyes towards the fireplace on the other side of the room.
“What did your father do?” Hermione pressed.
“He told her to meet him in a secret place, where his plan was to kill her.” He met her eyes.
“He was going to do it?” she asked, appalled. “Didn’t he love her?”
“She loved him. She loved him with every ounce of being in her body. But he no longer knew what love was. He was driven by desire - to please The Dark Lord -to please his dead father - but never for himself. Never for my mother. She met him in the place he asked her to, the place where they had met, where he had first kissed her. Right here in the gardens of Hogwarts and he cursed her.”
The words seemed to flow out of his mouth as if he was just facing what had happened, like he had been told the story, but then put it in the back of his mind and pretended he never knew. She could see the pain in his face.
“The curse backfired and at first he believed that he had in fact killed her because she lay immobile on the ground. Her diaries say that she still isn’t sure what happened next, suddenly her mind was simply filled with a black void; everything was dark. She couldn’t see around her and she cried out his name: yelling for him to come and pull her out of the pain and the dark but he didn’t answer. I don’t know what he did, whether he stood over her, wondering what curse to use next, or if he walked away and felt guilty and returned. I believe that it was the former, but either way, when my mother finally could crawl from the darkness, she was lying on her back and felt as if she had just woke up from a deep sleep. He was standing over her, an unidentifiable expression on his face. She began to cry. ‘Do you love me at all, Lucius?!’ She said that he couldn’t meet her eyes, and all she could do was believe that some part of him wasn’t dead. Some part of the man she loved was not dead. But I don’t believe my father was ever a kind man. I don’t believe he ever loved anyone but himself.” He took a deep breath again.
“Mother says that it was the curse that aged her so very much more than she really is. She says it’s the curse that attaches her to my father; to the life she leads. She can’t escape, Hermione. She couldn’t then, she didn’t have the strength to leave him, and she can‘t now. Instead she went with him and received her own deathmark, believing somewhere in her heart that he still loved her and there is absolutely no escape for her.”
“You’re mother is a deatheater too?” Hermione whispered.
“Only because she believed she loved my father. She still loves him, you know.” He gritted his teeth. “Even though he did all those things to her, all those things to me. . .” His eyes clouded over as he recalled the memories. Hermione reached for his cheek, his mother‘s words ringing in her head. “For awhile, I loved him too. Any child is born loving their parents, but he constantly pushed me. Nothing was good enough. Nothing. I couldn’t have friends. I had to be the perfect son and I had to embrace the dark arts. It was so much easier to simply pretend I had no opinion; that I wanted exactly what he was telling me I wanted, then to fight. I guess I just broke inside and couldn’t fight. I became like him while trying to fight to not be like him. Just as he became like my grandfather while trying not to.” He laughed wryly. “He cursed me too . . .when he cursed mother. He bound me to him as effectively as he did her.”
“You aren’t bound to anyone you do not wish to be bound to,” Hermione said softly into his neck as his arms wrapped tightly around her. “No one can tell you what you are to be.”
“You’re too innocent to understand,” he said into her hair. “I have fought him for some time now and I know that I am not winning. One day he will get the better of me and I won’t know where it came from.” He pulled her as tightly against him as was physically possible and his eyes closed. “Oh Merlin, Hermione, I don’t want to walk the same path he did.”
Narcissa fell across the hearth of her own bedroom with a startled sob. The room was vacant. Despite the fact that this was her sanctuary, she knew she was not safe. He would come home soon and then he would come for her. It was time.
Her heart ached. She wished she had less regrets than she did. She wished she did not love him as she did. Narcissa mechanically walked to her bed and began to strip the sheets off of it. If she had been allowed to possess a wand this would take only a matter of seconds, but Lucius had stripped her of this privilege years ago.
Once the bed was naked she took the sheet and twisted it into a long chord, which she then tied unto it’s self so that it was tightly secured to the wooden beam above the bed and one end hung limply down towards the floor.
Narcissa sat on the edge of the mattress and tried to stop her hands from shaking so violently. This feeling; this rush that was running through her veins, was euphoric. For the first time in over thirty years she was going to do something that was all her own. She was going to create a masterpiece; a piece of art that was entirely hers. Narcissa walked to her dresser and selected a jet black ribbon, which she then used to tie her hair behind her head. She powdered her face, removing all signs of distress. Once her inner ugliness was not reflected in the mirror she took a steadying breath and put her chin in the air. She was the daughter of the great family Black. She was part of something much larger than this.
There was a commotion in the hallway which signaled that the moment had arrived. Someone had stumbled across the broken vase and the trail of blood leading away from it.
She returned to the bed as Lucius’s voice echoed outside of her door. He was coming. She grabbed the end of the sheet and smiled at it. She closed her eyes, wrapping it tightly around her neck before climbing atop the mattress and extending her arms slowly out and to the sides. She stood there for a moment. Lucius was demanding that the house elf before him move and open the door to her room.
“Oh, my Lucius,” she sighed. “I won’t live in your senseless hate any longer.” There was a loud squeal and the door knob rattled. Narcissa closed her eyes and took a step forward, then all was Black.
Lucius blasted the door down with his wand and strode into the room, thunder riding in behind him. Gustave stood at the door, unavoidable shock on his large unpleasant face.
“Narcissa,” Lucius snarled as his eyes fell on the body of his wife. She was beautiful in a way no one had ever noticed as she created her own peaceful rhythm. But Narcissa did not hear him; she had escaped.
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