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Gone by adluvshp
Chapter 1 : Gone
Rating: 15+Chapter Reviews: 36

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Chapter Image by MyMyMiss (also known as my best buddy Karni) @ TDA!

 “Madam Malfoy!”

Narcissa looked up from examining the book she held in her hands at the squeaky little voice. Her personal house-elf bowed low before her.

“What is it Trixy?” The Lady of the Manor, once an intimidating and powerful woman, now barely looked down at the elf tiredly, her words sounding soft and strained. Gone was the magnificent gleam in her eyes, or the regal authority in the tone of her voice. What remained today was only the shell of a woman she had once been. 

“Trixy apologizes for the disturbance Madam, but a young master comes to the Manor uncalled. He says he is from the Ministry of Magic and claims he is having urgent business. Trixy told him to come inside because it rains heavily. He sits in the living room,” the elf sounded slightly fearful, afraid that she might be reprimanded for allowing a stranger in without the Madam’s permission. However, Narcissa didn’t look angry or displeased, only slightly intrigued.

“Please inform him I’ll be down shortly, and offer him tea, coffee or whatever he would like,” Trixy nodded before scurrying away from the room, leaving Narcissa to her own devices once again.

The blonde woman sighed as she looked at the album lying on her lap. She had been flipping through the photos, lost in old memories, when the elf had appeared.

The album was their wedding album – her and Lucius’s. Her eyes lingered briefly on a photo on the left page.

She was dancing with Lucius with her head on his chest. They moved together gracefully and slowly; fitting together perfectly. Lucius then, ever so slightly, kissed her hair.

Narcissa watched the same occurence again and again for a few seconds before snapping the album shut.

It was a reminder of the past – those happy, carefree times that seemed to have taken place a million years ago. Not once had she thought, when she had attained the title of Mrs. Lucius Malfoy, that a day would come when her husband would be locked up in prison, and she would be all alone in this huge Manor. What a fool she had been in her youth to think that her blissful days would last forever, and oh, what a fool she had been to not foresee the consequences of supporting The Dark Lord. 

Sighing, she got up and put on her robes. As she did so, her eyes unwillingly fell upon her own reflection in the full-length mirror. A tired and worn forty-five year old woman stared back at her. Her face was lined, there were heavy dark bags under her eyes, and the air of beauty and splendour that she had once possessed no longer surrounded her. Who would say today that she was Narcissa Malfoy nee Black, the proud and charismatic woman descending from the Noble and most Ancient House of Blacks? Dragging her eyes away from the mirror, she walked out of her room – the room she had once shared with Lucius – and stepped down the lavish staircase.

It had been five years since the Second Wizarding War had ended; since she had lied to the Dark Lord and played a small but significant part in Harry Potter’s victory over him; since the trial in which Potter himself had saved her and her son from going to Azkaban, yet had had Lucius carted off to the Prison; since Draco had requested to ‘get away from everything’ for a while and left for Paris; and since she had been all alone here.

Loneliness, something that she had hated since her terribly pampered childhood, was now the only thing that she had left and was surrounded by. 

Closing her eyes briefly and ignoring the prickling at the back of her eyes, Narcissa entered the sitting room, pushing back the wave of memories that threatened to engulf her. She had to deal with her guest first, her grief could wait.

“Good evening sir. How may I help you?” She asked politely as she sat down opposite the man who looked to be about Draco’s age. His brown eyes, black hair, and light brown skin seemed very familiar, but she couldn't quite place him.

He appeared slightly nervous and kept throwing furtive looks around him. She cleared her throat and he seemed to pull himself together as he spoke, “Good evening. I’m Dean Thomas, member of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement – currently a trainee actually,” he admitted.

Dean Thomas. The name stirred something in her memory and flashes of a boy held captive in the very Manor they currently sat in pased before her eyes. Pushing the onslaught of memories to the back of her mind, she proceeded.

“I see. Would you like to have something, Mr. Thomas?” she enquired as she saw that Trixy hadn’t served him anything.

“Oh no, nothing, thank you. Your elf already offered me but I’m in a bit of a hurry.”

She nodded. “So let’s get to the point then. What makes you come here then?”

He appeared to be taking a deep breath before he responded. “Mrs. Malfoy, when was the last time you visited Mr. Lucius Malfoy?”

Narcissa looked away for a moment to compose her face. This man seemed to be bent on bringing her past experiences on the surface. 

“I believe a few months previously, in February,” she responded.

She remembered the day quite well. It had been Lucius’ birthday.

“Happy birthday, Lucius,” she had told him quietly, standing beside him in the Meeting Chamber.

“Cissa… how nice of you to come. Thank you my lovely,” he had murmured with a strange look in his eyes.

She had taken his hand then and tried to smile; only the next moment he had pushed her away so forcefully that her back had collided painfully against the chamber’s wall.

“You wish me happy birthday Cissa?! Happy birthday?!” he had bellowed, sounding incredulous. “Why don’t you rather figure out a way to get me out of this hell hole?!”

Tears had welled up in her eyes but before she had had a chance to say anything, the guards had arrived upon hearing the commotion and had advised her to leave.

That day she had realized that the Lucius she had loved, the Lucius that had loved her, was long gone, and in place of him was a man beaten by war and misery. She had always known that dignity, position, and pride made Lucius, and if he ever lost that, he'd lose himself. She had tried her best to hold on to him though, for as long as she could, be it before, during, or after both the wars. However, she had failed.

Since had had been sent behind bars, there was nothing she was able to do anymore. She tried, she tried every day that she came to meet him, but slowly and gradually, he had slipped away. She knew he hated this place, and yet there was nothing she could do to get him out. And so, bit by bit, she had watched helplessly as her Lucius faded away, and yet she never gave up on him.

She continued to bear his relentless anger and malice each time, even though it was wrongly directed at her, but that day was the last straw. After he had so ruthlessly shoved her away from him, she realized that she could take not bear the insult of her love and devotion to him any longer, and so she stopped visiting him in his cell from that day on.

She still loved him though, she always had, and she'd probably always will, which is why she wrote to him weekly, even if he never replied. She knew that the guards forwarded his letters to him because she had gone to the Ministry and inquired the matter herself, and they had told her that he had indeed read her letters though never decided to respond. Her heart constricted at the memory and she willed herself to stay strong and return to the present.

“So that means you haven’t been to see your husband in the past ten months, not even once?” Mr. Thomas was saying.

“Yes that’s correct,” she answered stiffly.

“What about your son? Mr. Draco Malfoy?”

“Draco is in Paris. He hasn’t come to England for the past five years. Though he writes to me regularly, he has maintained no contact with Lucius.”

“I see. What about you? Have you maintained contact with your husband?”

Narcissa refrained from glaring at the official. What kind of a person was he? He seemed to possess no tact at all.

“I have been writing to him, and before you ask, no, Lucius hasn’t replied to any of my letters in the past ten months,” she told him, a little coldly than she intended.

“I-…I am sorry Mrs. Malfoy,” he stuttered, apparently having realized his mistake.

“Did you come here with the purpose to know whether I’ve talked to my husband all these months or not?” Narcissa asked pointedly and the younger man looked embarrassed.

“No, er, unfortunately my purpose was quite…grave,” he mumbled and Narcissa’s heart stopped. What had happened?

“Will you please tell me what is wrong, Mr. Thomas?” she half-whispered, struggling to hold on to her control.

“Mrs. Malfoy, I am afraid your… your husband is dying. He’s extremely ill, and no potion, no spell is able to cure him. He seems to have lost all will to live and refuses to be treated. However, he asks for you...and er… your forgiveness. I think it will be best if you see him personally,” Dean looked slightly uncomfortable, and then added, “Unfortunately, he doesn’t seem to have much time left. You should come with me to Azkaban immediately.”

The words echoed in her mind for a few seconds before she understood them. Her brain stopped functioning and her throat closed. Her husband was dying? The man that had always proclaimed himself invincible was on his death bed? How could that be? Fate had always been cruel to her, but this was beyond all spite. Did she really deserve this? 

Suddenly, every little touch, every caring stare, every loving kiss, every precious moment they had shared, every memory of him that she held dear, all of it danced in front of her eyes. Everything shifted out of focus, nothing was right, and nothing would ever be right again.

Narcissa gasped and all thoughts of control forgotten, tears rapidly started streaming down her cheeks. She sagged on her sofa and shook violently. “L-Lucius is d-dying?” She stuttered. Her face paled as she looked at the man's troubled nod. It couldn't be, it just couldn't be. She refused to believe it.

She swallowed, getting up and wiping her tears with her hand rapidly.

“I’m sorry Mrs. Malfoy.”

“Let’s leave at once,” she muttered, barely holding back another set of tears.

She walked to the gates, Dean Thomas following behind and once she was outside the boundaries of the Manor, she apparated to the location from where she knew she would get a boat to Azkaban.

Mr. Thomas appeared beside her moments later and quickly arranged for the boat.

Narcissa barely paid attention to the ocean surrounding her or the boat in which sat rocking back and forth as they made their journey to the Prison. Her thoughts were centred on her husband whose presence had been the reason of her living since years, and now he was dying. She wished he had responded to her letters, she wished that he had informed her of his deteriorating condition, she wished she had held on a little longer and not given up on seeing him. Maybe then, she would have been able to save him. 

“We’re here, Mrs. Malfoy,” she heard the man’s voice, as if coming from a faraway distance, and nodded mutely. He helped her out of the boat and then led the way. She barely noticed what went on around her as they went through various procedures before they actually reached the Meeting Chamber. A short conversation took place between Dean and the official before the former gently came to Narcissa who was sitting on the bench, staring at the wall blankly.

“Mrs. Malfoy, your husband is in a very…delicate condition. He can’t move out of his cell. You can visit him there. We’ve got permission,” the older woman looked up at him, as if in a trance, before getting up and walking towards where she knew his cell was.

Each step seemed to weigh down upon her as she slowly walked to the cell. Pain beyond measure was seeping through her veins and it took all she had to not collapse on the floor right then. A darkness had settled in and around her, and how much ever she tried, she couldn't shove it away. Her hands were shaking as she walked inside in his cell. 

Her Lucius, who had once been so powerful and tough, now lay feebly on the small bed at the corner of the cell. He was pale, his eyes were half closed and his face had a gaunt, haunted look.

“Lucius,” her voice came out in a pathetic whisper as she kneeled down beside the weak body of her husband. It felt like a hundred knives were piercing her heart and soul, causing pain and despair to flood through her as she saw his state. Tears flowed endlessly from her eyes as her shaking hands grasped her husband’s dying ones. She wanted to die with him then, right in his arms.

He groaned slightly, blinking rapidly and turning his face sideways to focus on his wife.

“Cissa… you came… I-I am sorry. I… forgive me Cissa,” he rasped out, squeezing his wife’s hand.

“Oh Lucius, don’t… don’t be sorry. It’s my fault. I-I should have visited… I… please don’t leave me,” she choked.

Lucius coughed before answering, “No Cissa. It was never your fault. I left you long ago. I just… Don’t… don’t blame yourself. I want you to be happy.”

“How can I ever be happy without you? You’re everything to me Lucius… everything,” she shook her head, her voice still coming out in a faint whisper.

“I was… I was your ‘everything’ once. But that Lucius is long gone,” he sighed and coughed again. “I lost myself a long while ago. You could have done nothing to save me then, and you can do nothing to save me now. I have never been human enough for you, and I never deserved your love. Nothing can be done now my dear wife. My time has come… forgive me. Forgive me for everything, and tell Draco… I loved him, and that I regret my actions. Strange, how one only realizes the mistakes he has done and the sins he has committed when on his death bed.”

Narcissa was sobbing now as she held on to her husband.

“Draco, he doesn’t even know! Oh Lucius… don’t do this.”

“Tell me you forgive me Cissa.”

“I have already forgiven you Lucius. In fact, there was nothing to ever forgive. I was never angry at you, how could I, when I knew that the way you changed, it was never your fault. You may say I am blinded by my love, but it is true Lucius - I know why you changed and I wish I could have done something, anything, to stop you from becoming the man you became.” Her entire body shook now. He closed his eyes momentarily. He needed to say something, say something that was very important, and say it before his time was over.

“Cissa…” he gasped and her eyes widened as she heard the urgency in his tone. The time was drawing nearer; he was going to go away from her forever to a place where she would never be able to reach him. He silenced her with a shake of his head as she opened her lips to speak. “Cissa...I- I love you.”

His grey eyes bore into her blue ones intensely for a mere few seconds before the light in them died and they stared unseeing.

Narcissa sat in shock, as with those three words, Lucius Malfoy had departed the world.

Her hands still clutched her husband’s dead ones. He was no more.

And yet, he had left with saying those three words that she hadn’t heard from him in the past ten years or so. She cried harder. Her Lucius was gone; and now in the real sense. 

With more tears streaming down her cheeks and her body still shaking, she gathered her strength and closed her husband’s half-open lids, planting a last and empty kiss on his frozen lips.

Gazing at his lifeless form for a few more seconds, she murmured, “I love you too, Lucius. Always have, always will.” 

A/N: I hope this made a fine read. Please leave your views in the little box below. I love feedback. {Edited - 7 Feb 2013}

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