Tears coursing down my face, breath hitching in my throat, I tried desperately to calm myself as my world began to crumble around me.
“I love you…” I choked. And it wasn’t because I was scared that I said it. It wasn’t because I thought he’d stay with me if he heard it. I said it because even now, when he was breaking my heart, I needed him to know the truth. Even now, I couldn’t lie to him.
Antonin Dolohov, my Anton, my boyfriend of three years—ex-boyfriend—sighed.
“Cissy, please don’t cry,” he said calmly, running a hand through his dark hair and resting it on the back of his neck. “I’m not trying to hurt you.”
I laughed a little hysterically.
“Well, you are,” I replied honestly, my tears slowing, but still falling down my cheeks. I knew I must look a wreck with my makeup smudged, but there was no one in the Slytherin common room to see me, and Anton wasn't in any position to judge me right now.
Anton sighed again and it was obvious to me that he was trying not to roll his eyes. We had been together since our third year, and now, in our sixth, I knew all of his expressions by heart. I knew him like the back of my hand…how was I supposed to let him go?
“Narcissa, I am sorry,” he said through clenched teeth. He was losing his patience, I could tell. “I am sorry…but this is for the best. We had a good run, but there’s just nothing left for us. I don’t feel the same way about you.”
Every word that left his lips sent another ripple of pain through my heart. I was already crying, but now I felt like I was physically falling apart. Every breath I took ripped through my chest, making me shiver in pain. I squeezed my eyes shut, as if closing them would shut out everything I was feeling too. My pride was coming back though, and I couldn’t let him see me fall apart any further. I took a deep breath and wiped my eyes on the backs of my hands, leaving streaks of black mascara there.
“Well…if you think it’s for the best, fine. It’s over. Thank you for being honest with me,” I pulled my emotions under a perfectly constructed mask. I was a Black, and the women of the Black family do not cry over men.
Anton knew that I was lying. He knew it wasn’t fine with me, but for the first time, he walked away without fixing things. When the portrait hole closed behind him, I collapsed onto one of the black leather couches, my robes bunching underneath me. I pulled a pillow into my stomach and hugged it as tightly as I could, trying desperately to keep myself together. My blonde hair was tangled from how many times I had run my hands through it and I couldn’t even begin to try to fix it.
Without taking off my shoes, I curled up on the couch and closed my eyes. I couldn’t fall asleep, I knew that, but I could at least take some time to calm down. Everyone was at dinner so I wasn’t worried about someone coming in and seeing me in such a state.
For a moment, I wished that Bella hadn’t finished Hogwarts a couple of years earlier. I could use my big sister’s guidance right about now, even if I knew that all she would have to say was that I couldn’t fall to pieces so easily and that I was disgracing the Black family name. Bella could be harsh, but I was used to the way she behaved and it would be some sort of comfort, now that Andromeda had been disowned by our parents. ‘Dromeda and I had always gotten along well until she had fallen in with that riffraff Ted Tonks, the filthy mudblood. I sighed quietly. When did everything get so complicated?
My thoughts were interrupted just then by the sound of the door to the common room opening squeakily. I sat up quickly and attempted to flatten my disheveled hair to no avail. Pulling on my most sophisticated-looking mask, even while I looked a mess, I stood gracefully and turned to face the intruder on my solitude, fully prepared to hex whichever first year thought it would be a good idea to return early from dinner. Instead of a first year, however, I came face-to-face with Lucius Malfoy, the well-bred seventh year boy who the rest of Slytherin House openly idolized.
I swallowed hard. It would have been easy to pretend nothing was wrong in front of anyone but Lucius. We had grown up together. The Malfoys and the Blacks were very close, both families being purebloods of the most ancient and admirable lineage. Instantly, Lucius knew something was wrong and crossed the room to stand in front of me expectantly.
“Narcissa,” he greeted formally, looking me straight in the eye.
“Lucius,” I replied, not flinching even though I knew his eyes were now darting to my smeared makeup and disheveled appearance.
“Dolohov arrived late to dinner,” he observed, getting directly to the point, as always. Lucius had never been one to sugarcoat things; it was something I liked about him.
“We were having a discussion,” I hedged, still not breaking eye contact. I couldn’t look uncomfortable, I kept repeating to myself, even though I knew it would be no use.
Lucius finally sighed and dropped his haughty air. We had known each other since I was born; we had no use for formalities, though he always tried to be polite to me, as his station required he should.
“He broke up with you, didn’t he, Cissa?” he finally said, putting a hand on my arm and steering me to sit on the couch once more.
I took a shaky breath and nodded once, my eyes threatening to fill with tears again. It meant a lot to me that one of my oldest friends already knew what was on my mind without me asking.
“He’s a fool,” Lucius said seriously, his gray eyes narrowing. He looked angry, though I couldn’t guess why. Perhaps he was just worried about my sanity; I couldn’t remember a time when he had ever seen me lose my composure. I shook my head in response to his accusation.
“It just wasn’t working anymore,” I defended Anton. “He was right to end things if he didn’t love me like he used to.”
Lucius’s glare was still firmly in place.
“The Dolohovs are nowhere near the status that the Blacks are, Narcissa. He could have made an incredibly respectable marriage with you.”
I blinked rapidly; Lucius had never spoken this candidly to me. He seemed to note my surprise and smiled, shaking his head.
“You’ll be okay, Narcissa. You’re strong. I’m not worried about you.” He reached up and stroked my hair once before standing and walking into the boys dormitories.
I sat in shock for a moment. I didn’t know what to make of anything that had happened so far that night. Everything was so mind-boggling.
Three and a half months passed and it was January. I returned from the winter holiday feeling much more refreshed about my sixth year—I was half-way done, after all. When I was home, I had spoken to Bella about my break-up with Anton, and she had helped me sort things out. Lucius had been right: the Dolohovs weren't even close to my station, and I shouldn't have wasted so much time with Anton anyway.
The first thing I did when I returned to the Slytherin common room was snatch up my Charms textbook and head for the comfiest couch in the corner, desiring only to be alone and get ahead on what we would be doing in class the next day. If there was anything I prided myself on, it was my Charms work.
I had barely been leafing through the book for five minutes when someone took the liberty of sitting beside me. I could care less who it was, though; it was their common room too. As long as they didn’t bother me, I wouldn’t bother them.
The person beside me cleared his throat. I ignored him; perhaps he was just coughing. He cleared it again, and I finally turned to look at him, feeling a bit irritated until I realized that it was Lucius. He was smirking to himself and looking quite aristocratic, which is saying something coming from a Black.
“Oh!” I said, surprised, my face breaking into a smile. “How was your holiday, Lucius?” I asked politely, hiding my confusion at his appearance by my side.
The older boy smiled at me, showing straight, dazzlingly white teeth.
“It was quite pleasant. My parents and I travelled abroad and spent New Year’s in Paris. I am sorry that I wasn’t able to attend your parents’ party though. I would have liked to see you.”
I felt myself blush—it was so uncharacteristic for Lucius to flirt so openly.
“Lucius…” I said quietly, looking around the room. No one was paying us any attention. “Is it proper for us to be having this conversation?” I didn’t meet his eyes. I didn’t want him to see how embarrassed I was.
Lucius laughed openly, tossing an arm around my shoulders and making me stiffen instantly.
“Oh, Narcissa,” he said fondly as I finally met his eyes. “The Blacks and Malfoys aren’t here. They can’t say anything about us.”
I nodded slowly. What he was saying was true. My parents wouldn’t approve of me doing anything that might besmirch our family name, but they weren’t here…and even if they were, I highly doubted they could find fault with the heir to the Malfoy fortune.
“So come to Hogsmeade with me next weekend,” Lucius proposed. His arm was still around my shoulders, but I found that I didn’t want him to move it. He was attractive and smart and funny…why wouldn’t I want to spend time with him?
Finally, I nodded again, my face breaking into a shy smile.
“I would love to,” I replied. Lucius grinned broadly.
“Thank you,” he said politely, finally taking his arm off of me and winking. “I’ll see you around, Narcissa.”
I sat stock-still after he left. I was charmed, I had to admit. Lucius was someone that I could definitely see myself dating…and it had been months since I had been on a date. Maybe his comforting after my breakup with Antonin hadn’t been for show…maybe he really did like me. I would have to wait until next weekend to see.
The next week and a half passed sluggishly. My mind was filled with thoughts of Lucius. I couldn’t believe that he had really asked me on a date. What would my parents say? Would they approve? I tried not to worry about things like that, but the thoughts plagued me when I was lying in bed the night before our date. I wanted to be calm and charming and polite. I wanted him to like me, even though I would never admit that to anyone.
The next morning came and I was up and out of bed at six-thirty sharp. I knew that I had hours before Lucius and I would meet in the Entrance Hall, but I wanted to look my best and that required careful planning. It was January and quite cold outside, so I knew that my lighter robes were out of the question, even though I would have liked to look girly and cute for my date. Reluctantly, I pulled out a set of bottle-green robes with silver trim, getting dressed slowly and being careful not to wrinkle my clothes.
I looked at myself in the mirror as I carefully curled my hair with my wand. I knew that I was a pretty girl, but I wanted to look especially nice if Lucius Malfoy wanted to be seen with me. My hair and makeup finished, I turned to leave the room, picking up my fur-lined black cloak and dragon-hide gloves. If there was anything that I hated in the world, it was being cold.
Lucius wasn’t in the common room, so I felt that it was okay to relax a little. There was still an hour before we needed to meet and my heart was pounding furiously in my chest. I scolded myself for being so nervous. I was a Black! I wasn’t afraid of boys or dating. I wasn’t afraid of anything!
Sighing, I headed for the Great Hall, deciding that breakfast wouldn’t be a bad idea since I had the time.
At the Slytherin table, Calista Rosier slid onto the bench beside me, a wicked smile already on her face. I sighed. Calista and I were friends, I suppose, but she knew the gossip about anyone who was anyone, and I already knew why she was here.
“Narcissa,” she said in a singsong voice, grinning from ear-to-ear, “I hear that you haven’t been completely honest with me.”
I squeezed my eyes shut, hoping that she would disappear. When I opened them, I hadn’t had any luck. She was still smirking at me.
“Now, who exactly are you going to Hogsmeade with today?” she asked innocently.
I flinched, but plastered on a smile.
“I don’t see why that would be any of your business, Callie-dear,” I replied sweetly, turning back to my eggs and bacon.
“Oh, everything is my business, Cissy! Please,” she drew out the last word pleadingly, dropping all pretenses and putting on her best puppy-dog face.
I laughed quietly.
“You already know,” I accused. “You’re just trying to get me to admit it.”
“Maybe so,” she replied, dodging the point. “Just say it!”
I rolled my eyes, but caved to her pressure—since my sisters had left Hogwarts, Calista was the closest thing that I had to a best friend.
“Fine, fine,” I said impatiently. “Lucius Malfoy asked me to go with him.”
Calista grinned widely and bounced up and down in her seat, obviously on the verge of squealing, had that not been considered completely inappropriate. I smiled softly and ignored her.
“Time to go,” I said, hearing the chimes signaling nine o’clock. I was meeting Lucius in the Entrance Hall. “See you later, Calista.”
The other girl winked at me.
“Good luck!” she called at my retreating back.
In the Entrance Hall, people were milling around, getting their names checked off a list by the caretaker so that they could head down to Hogsmeade. Lucius was leaning against the banister of the marble staircase, scanning the crowd for me. His blonde hair was tied back with a green ribbon today and he already had his cloak covering his shoulders. I couldn’t help but smile, thinking that if today went well, we would make a very attractive couple. He obviously thought I would be coming up from the dungeons, so I quietly approached from behind him and reached up to cover his eyes.
It was a playful gesture, one that I wasn’t sure if he would be okay with, one that I wasn't sure I was okay with, but I did it anyway. Oh, what my parents would say. Luckily, I heard him laugh quietly.
“Narcissa?” he guessed, turning around before I had the chance to answer. “Good morning. You look beautiful.”
I raised my head higher and smiled at him, my heart beating quickly in my chest. My nerves were back.
“Good morning,” I replied as he smiled down at me. “You look quite nice yourself. Are you ready to go?”
Lucius laughed again and offered me his arm.
The caretaker checked our names off of a long list of students and we headed down to the village arm-in-arm. The entire time, I was praying that he couldn’t feel me shaking. I had known Lucius practically my whole life, but this was different and more than anything, I wanted the day to go well.
“Where to first?” Lucius asked politely, scanning the busy street. The wind whipped our faces and stung my throat when I breathed in.
“I was thinking of buying a new quill at Scrivenshaft’s if you would like to go there,” I said shyly, looking up into Lucius’ gray eyes. He grinned.
“Scrivenshaft’s, it is,” he declared, helping to steer me through the crowd. I noticed that he deftly avoided any of the loathsome Gryffindors and Hufflepuffs and I felt a surge of appreciation for his tact.
In the quill shop, I instantly spotted several quills which I would more than consider buying. Lucius followed closely behind me as I wandered from display to display, debating quietly to myself which would be best. A particularly grand white peacock feather quill with sparkling jewel inlays caught my eye and I danced over to it, a huge smile on my face.
“What do you think of this one?” I asked politely, already in love with the quill. I held it up for Lucius’ scrutiny. He delicately took it from my hands, turning it this way and that and holding it up to the light.
“It’s marvelous,” he finally said, smiling and walking away from me. I wasn’t quite sure where he was going—had he decided to buy the quill for himself? A crowd coming in from the cold separated me from Lucius and I waited impatiently while the other students bustled past me. Finally, the crowd parted and to my surprise, Lucius was standing across from me, a small Scrivenshaft’s bag in one hand. He handed it to me politely and took my arm again. “All paid for,” he grinned.
I flushed scarlet; I wouldn't admit it, but I felt uncomfortable that he would do such a thing for me. I hadn’t brought him in here to buy me presents!
“I could have paid for it myself…” I murmured, letting him steer me back out onto High Street. Lucius laughed happily.
“I’m sure of that, Narcissa,” he replied, “but please, let me be a gentleman.”
I smiled. He was sweet, that was for sure.
As we walked down the street, a light snow began to fall and I pulled on my gloves, huddling closer to Lucius for warmth. He looked down at me and I could see an indiscernible look cross his face, but his gray eyes lit up.
“Would you like to go for a butterbeer?” he asked, gesturing towards The Three Broomsticks.
“That would be quite nice, yes,” I replied, smiling to myself and leaning against his shoulder as we headed towards the pub. Inside, I offered to grab seats while Lucius got our drinks. I found a secluded corner by one of the windows and took off my cloak.
So far, so good, I thought, watching Lucius approach me with two tankards of butterbeer. He smiled as he reached me and placed the drinks on the table with a soft chink. When he sat down, there was a moment of silence while we both sipped from our glasses at the same time. Setting my drink down, I cleared my throat softly and looked back at my date.
“So,” I said happily, “how has Quidditch practice been going this term?”
Lucius grinned widely, obviously excited that I had an interest in his favorite sport.
“It’s going wonderfully!” he exclaimed. “Being captain is a much bigger job than most people would think, but the team is shaping up to win the Cup. In fact, I’ve no doubt Slytherin will bring it home again this year. My parents gave me new Keeper’s gloves for Christmas and they’re the best I’ve ever owned, top of the line, what the pros wear.”
I was smiling softly while he rambled. Quidditch was interesting enough, but it had always been Bella in our family that was the Quidditch-star. The entire Slytherin House was sad to see her go when she graduated; they had never had a better Beater on the team. The memory made me smile wider and I realized that Lucius was still talking, spouting statistics at me of the Slytherin team’s chances at the Cup.
Finally, Lucius took a deep breath and grinned sheepishly.
“I think I got on a bit of a tangent there, I’m sorry,” he said ruefully, still smiling. I could tell he was proud of his accomplishments and I was impressed by them as well. “Does Bellatrix play anymore?”
I was surprised that Lucius had mentioned the very thought I’d been having and shook my head.
“She’s too wrapped up in Rodolphus Lestrange,” I said, rolling my eyes and then abruptly covering my mouth as if to trap the words that had already escaped. “I didn’t mean to say that!” I said quickly. “Please, forget that.”
Lucius didn’t look like he was judging me for my comments on my family though, he just laughed.
“I know Roddy and Rabastan,” he replied, waving off my concern. “If there’s anyone that’s as twisted as Bellatrix, it’s Rodolphus.”
I winced slightly, but smiled. He was right about that. My parents adored the boy.
Slowly, our conversation drifted back onto safer topics and we discussed Lucius’ upcoming NEWTs and what he wanted to do after Hogwarts. I knew that most purebloods didn’t actually take up professions; they had enough money to live comfortably without working. That seemed to be Lucius’ idea.
As we talked, the sun began to set outside. I glanced down at the table and realized that at some point, our hands had joined in the center of the wood surface, his long fingers twisted delicately around mine. We had been talking for hours.
I smiled to myself. I didn’t realize just how easy Lucius was to talk to until we were sitting together with no one to interrupt us. Finally, though, our day had to end. Carefully taking his hand out of mine, Lucius stood.
“It appears everyone is heading back to the castle,” he observed, glancing out the window and squinting in the twilight at the receding forms of students heading back to Hogwarts. “We should go.”
He came around the table and pulled my chair out for me, taking my hand to pull me up and kissing the back of it before he let it drop. I smiled for what felt like the hundredth time that day: if there was one thing I loved about my pureblood society, it was the emphasis on manners.
Draping my cloak around my shoulders, I tentatively took Lucius’ hand and let him lead the way out of the pub. We walked in silence towards Hogwarts, occasionally glancing at each other and smiling before looking away. We didn’t need to talk to enjoy one another’s company. I was happy about that. Too much talking had always bothered me. I expect because my family was so quiet…
As we reached the castle, Lucius pulled me into the shadows near the door, out of sight of anyone else on the grounds.
“Narcissa,” he said quietly, “today has been absolutely wonderful. Thank you for agreeing to come with me.”
I smiled, my heart beating faster.
“I had an amazing time, Lucius,” I replied, looking up at him and gauging his response. From what I could tell, he was happy that I had a good day. Not breaking eye-contact and very slowly, Lucius reached up to run a hand through my hair, letting it rest on the back of my neck. I tried desperately not to breathe too fast as he smiled down at me.
“May I kiss you?” he whispered.
I nodded my head, knowing my voice would break if I tried to use it. Lucius bent down carefully and pressed his lips to mine in a sweet, non-demanding kiss.
I smiled against his lips and kissed him back, not knowing that this would be the first kiss of many to come.
Author's Note: Well, this is the first chapter of a total of three in this story! It's for Buckbeak4Life's "Impossible Challenge" on the forums. I had to write an AU, Lucius/Narissa short-story in the "Other Era" category.
So, please let me know what you thought of things! It really only takes a moment and I would love to hear your opinions. I've never written for either of these characters, so I'm not sure how I've done. Let me know! I love you all.