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Chapter 1 : Part I
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Time. Time that was nowhere to be found and time that Narcissa desperately lusted for. There was a need that floated and hung in the air like parasites that fed off the lack of time the Malfoy family had. This time, something so precious and so unobtainable, was what Narcissa Malfoy believed would be the difference between saving and never seeing her baby boy ever again.
Narcissa pursed her lips, held her nose up to the ceiling, and made her way down the spiraling staircase to the first floor of the Malfoy Manor. Each step that she took made a deep, moaning sound that rattled through her bones, chilling her heart bit by bit with each step she took.
The manor was empty. Empty as anyone manor could be with a large number of house-elves running to and fro doing the mundane tasks any pureblood family wouldn’t want to do. But the manor was empty, nonetheless, in Narcissa’s eyes. Lucius was, no doubt, off doing dangerous deeds for one Dark Lord, and Draco—bless his heart—was off learning brilliant things with his education. And Narcissa was alone, as Narcissa often was.
There was no rest for Narcissa’s bleeding heart, but she had to stay strong; or as strong as she could be with the weight of the world pounding down onto her mind.
Once Narcissa was down onto the first floor, her footsteps stopped. Sitting in the foyer with her feet up on a bent over house-elf and her arms draped over the arms of a hundred-year-old leather armchair was one Bellatrix Lestrange, her heavy-lidded, black haired sister.
“Cissy!” Bellatrix greeted, drawing out the name to excruciating lengths, her tongue flicked across her lips as she kicked the house-elf, pushing herself up off the chair. “Did you miss me, darling?”
“Bella,” Narcissa replied, her face showing zero emotion at the reunion. “It’s been too long.”
Bellatrix smirked crookedly, her eyes flitting over the various features of the foyer. “Been decorating, Cissy? You sure always did have a great taste in leather...”
Narcissa stayed quiet, watching her sister walk around the room with an unhappy persona plastered onto her features. Narcissa clasped her hands together in front of her, her face stoic.
“How come we never talk anymore, Cissy?” Bellatrix continued, frowning as she walked slow circles around her kid sister. “How come we never exchange letters about our,” she paused, pressing her tongue against the roof of her mouth, “relationship troubles?”
“How is Rodolphus?” Narcissa asked, stirring the conversation away from her family.
Bellatrix noticed this tactic, and smirked inwardly, but answered the question anyway, with a flick of her hand. “Same as always, the lump of a slob...” She paused, watching Narcissa carefully. “And how is my nephew, Cissy? He doing well at,” she scowled, drawing out the word, “Hoooooog-waaartssss...?”
Narcissa took a step back in her mind. Was that jab at Hogwarts, Draco, or her?
“He’s doing well,” she finally replied after a moment.
“Taking after his mum, then?” Bellatrix gave a mocking grin as she took a side-swipe at Lucius. “You’ve always been such a hard worker...”
Narcissa mentally slapped herself across the face. “Do you need something, Bellatrix?”
She frowned, facing away from her sister. She began inspecting the family portrait that hung, lonely, on the bare wall. “There will be a meeting soon.” Narcissa froze, her blood running cold as her sister turned back around. “Now, Cissy...Can I have a drink, or are you going to stand there all afternoon? Really,” she sighed, plopping back down in the armchair, “what would our mother say? You’ve become such a terrible host.”
“All you had to do was ask,” Narcissa scolded, snapping her fingers.
An old house-elf Apparated into the foyer, bowing his head as he waited for instructions. He had large, droopy ears, on beaten, sagging skin that clung desperately to his small frame like icicles on gutters. Narcissa watched him momentarily, but Bellatrix dismissed him altogether.
“Two glasses of Red Currant Rum.”
The house-elf Apparated away and Bellatrix cocked an eyebrow quizzically. “Red Currant Rum, Cissy? Hitting the strong stuff so early in the day?”
Narcissa stared back at her as the house-elf appeared back in the room with their drinks. She took on and handed the other off to Bellatrix, still silent. Bellatrix took a gulp, giving a sneering grin as it burned down her throat.
“I’m not complaining,” she shrugged with a smirk.
Narcissa raised an eyebrow, still silent as she took a sip of the drink herself. A woman’s got to have her vice every now and then.
“When?” Narcissa asked after a moment, shooing the house-elf away.
Bellatrix crossed her legs, leaning back with a hand placed behind her head. “When do we ever know?” She shrugged, taking another gulp of sweet intoxication. “Soon, as I said. Today? Tomorrow? A week from now? Who knows.”
Narcissa hesitated, resisting the urge to run her fingers through her hair like she always did when she was nervous. “Here?”
Bellatrix’s face turned serious as she downed the rest of her drink. “Better start cleaning up.” She stood, handing the empty glass to Narcissa and brushing off her skirt. “I really should be off, though.”
Narcissa nodded, watching Bellatrix Apparate away, leaving her standing alone in the foyer with a fire burning deep in the pit of her stomach that wasn’t from her drink.
Time. It kept ticking each moment as Narcissa watched her world fade from mundane to terrifying and back again. There wasn’t anything she feared more than the group that had all the power in the world to take away her family, although the thought of not having her family anymore was the thought that haunted her dreams at night. Time kept slipping by through her fingers and there was nothing left to do except sit and wait and hope nothing worse happened than what had already happened before.
Narcissa’s quill scratched mercilessly at the piece of parchment for a moment longer before getting dunked into the ink again. She went back to writing, watching her thoughts fly onto the parchment in sentences she knew wouldn’t have been written unless they were to her beloved son Draco. Which they were.
She folded up the letter once she was done, delicately putting it within an envelope which she labeled with Draco’s name. “Here you go, Wolf.” Narcissa said, handing the letter to a large barn owl with white streaks over its eyes that ran down its wings.
The owl gave a small screech in response, nipping at the envelope and waiting for Narcissa to open the window. She did so, and watched the owl fly off into the cool air with its wings spread.
Something about the owl made Narcissa sad. Sitting all day up in this magnificent manor made her uneasy and watching Wolf fly away pulled a heartstring most people didn’t know she had.
“Narcissa!” Lucius called softly, running into the room. She swirled around, her heart pounding at the sudden noise. Lucius’s voice came in little gasps, his heart pounding as well (but for different reasons).
Suddenly, as Narcissa watched the look on Lucius’s face, her need to get out of the manor didn’t seem so pressing of a need. Her stomach started to flip, her face draining of its color. No...
Time. And just like that Narcissa’s world was flipped upside down and shaken violently until she didn’t know which way was up and which was down. All it took was a ten second conversation with her husband and time had betrayed her again, continuing its merciless tick-tick-ticking of the Clock of Time. Each minute passed, each second swam by, quickly turning Narcissa into a Time Watcher; her sights set on figuring out how to beat the turning of the clock.
Time was now her enemy. And Time was catching up to her.
A/N: Thanks for reading, everyone! Please rate/review! :D
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