"Narcissa? Cissa, wake up," my husband's smooth voice stirs me awake to start the new day.
"Lucius?" I whisper sleepily. I open my eyes to see him standing at the side of the bed pulling his cloak on. I never get bored of waking up every morning to that smooth voice, cold grey eyes, and pale blond hair flowing past his shoulders. Sometimes it surprises me that after all these years and all the bad that's happened, that we can still be so completely in love with each other. It's been difficult and there were times when I feared we weren't going to make it, yet here we are. I rush to get ready as my house elf makes the bed. Rozella is gone from the room when I'm finished getting ready. She hardly ever interacts with anyone accept Draco. Ever since the war, when we got Remy especially for Draco, he has been so sweet to them both. I follow Lucius down to the dining room for breakfast. Everyone else is already seated at the table with their food in front of them. Remy is in her usual spot, standing next to Draco's chair watching him eat his breakfast.
"Good morning, Mother," my darling son greets me as I sit down.
"Mrs. Malfoy, what happened to the painting that used to be in here?" Blaise asks, gesturing toward the wall behind Lucius.
"It's gone?" Draco examines the empty space. "What happened to it?"
"I sold it," I answer simply.
"What? But I liked that painting, Mother. And you just gave it away?"
"I didn't give it away. I sold it."
"Merlin, it's like the puppy all over again."
"Oh, no. Not the puppy story," Lucius groans.
"You had a puppy?" Pansy questions.
"Only for the longest day and half," Draco answers her before quickly moving on. "How could you just give away my puppy!?"
"Are you really that heartbroken, Draco?" I say in disbelief. "After all, you were completely terrified of that thing."
"His name was Geoffery!" he reminds me. Harry and Ron snicker quietly, but not quietly enough as to go unnoticed by my son, who glares at them. Clearly their amusement put him on the defensive. "I was not terrified! I just respected his space! He was an old soul, Mother, and he quite enjoyed being alone."
"I don't see how this even compares to me selling the painting from this room." I decide to steer the topic of conversation back to the painting, trying to avoid any more tension to build between the two sides of the table.
"The painting is gone?" Lucius looks over his shoulder for confirmation. "Oh!"
"Lucius, I told both of you last week that I was selling it," I remind him.
"Did you?" His perfect, pale brow raises slightly.
"I don't remember that," Draco admits.
"We must not have been listening."
"How unlike us to not pay attention to what other people say. Brilliant the things you can learn when you actually bother to listen."
"Which you usually don't," I tell him.
"Yes, but at least that way my brain doesn't end up full of useless information. Although currently the only information in my brain is fire is hot, dogs are evil, and aces always win."
"It must be very exhausting to be you, son." I decide to put an end to any continuation of this conversation. "So, I hope everyone is ready for their session today. It was nice to simply get to know all of you yesterday, but today we have to actually get to work and start talking about these dreams."
"Yes, I'm sure Draco really needs to go over the trauma of losing his dog," Ron mutters jokingly. Harry and Zane laugh, but Hermione scowls viciously at her friend.
"Honestly, Ron, there's nothing wrong with loving an animal!" Hermione shouts. "I think it's wonderful as a matter of fact. Draco should be allowed to miss his pet. You know how upset I would be without Crookshanks."
"What the hell is a crookshanks?" Zane spats rudely.
"Crookshanks is the name of my cat!" Hermione spits back.
"I didn't know that you had a cat, Ms. Granger," I cut in quickly before the conversation becomes unpleasant. "I don't recall seeing this pet at all last night."
"I left him with my parents. I wasn't sure if I was allowed to bring him."
"Oh! Well, by all means, you should fetch the darling thing!"
"Darling?" Ron repeats. "You definitely haven't seen this thing before."
I ignore the comment and the angry look on Hermione's face and turn to my husband who is still reading his paper. "Lucius, is that alright with you?"
He looks up, looking slightly disoriented by my question. "Sorry?"
I sigh. "Nevermind, dear. Ms. Granger, please feel free to bring him here if you like. We can have anything you may need for him brought here immediately."
"Really!? Thank you so much, Mrs. Malfoy!"
"Of course, dear, of course. We should get to my office and start our session, it's nearly seven thirty." I say a quick goodbye to my husband before guiding Hermione out of the dining room and down to my office. She takes a seat on one of the loveseats in the middle of the room. I retrieve the file of notes made for her sessions and sit down on the loveseat across from her. Rozella appears, placing two cups of tea on the coffee table between us before disappearing again. Hermione reaches for a cup and sips from it slowly, trying to ease her nerves. I watch her for a moment before curing the silence. "That was quite kind of you to come to my son's defense just now. I'm sure it must be difficult for you to always get caught up in the rivalry between those boys."
"Oh, well, I suppose I'm used to it. Besides, Draco and I have a bit of a rivalry of our own to get caught up in."
"He can be a bit of a, uh... a handful at times."
"But he has a good heart, I assure you."
She sits silently, sipping at her tea, her eyes darting back and forth rapidly as she struggles to decide if her thought is appropriate to voice. "Has he always been so... frustrating?"
I laugh warmly, not offended by the question as she assumed I would be. "This is nothing. I remember when we first got him out of the crib and into a real bed. It took Lucius and I over an hour to get him to lay down in it. Eventually he would pretend to be asleep until we went to bed. Then we kept waking up the next morning with him asleep in our bed. If we tried to tell him to go back to his own bed, he would throw a fit. He would just start kicking, punching, biting, pulling our hair; it was horrible. If he became exhausted by that he would just cry, so we finally let him sleep in our room."
"How long did that last?"
"He slept in our room with us until he was probably five."
"It was the crying. We couldn't stand to see him cry." I get lost in the memories for a moment, remembering all the nights he spent crying himself to sleep in our room during the days of the war. Hermione stares at a picture of Draco as a little boy that is on the end table. Clearing my throat, I open her folder to review my notes. "So, speaking of Draco, you told me yesterday that you thought your dream might be about him. With the idea of the elements brought in, do you still believe that?"
"I know this is strange because he's your son, but yes. I don't know how to explain it. There's just this strong feeling in my gut telling me that I'm right about this. It has to be Draco."
"From the research I've done on this element connection, his appearance similarities alone are not enough. There has to be a strong emotional attachment."
"But I'm not emotionally attached to Draco. After tens years, I hardly know him."
"Are you sure?"
"Late again, Mr. Zabini?"
"Yes, I hope I'm not pregnant," Blaise jokes, collapsing onto the loveseat. I sigh and review the blank space where my notes on his sessions should be.
"Well, Blaise, so far we have talked about absolutely nothing."
"Say it again!"
"Sorry, Mrs. Malfoy. It's a song... just a song."
"Honey, I really need you to take this seriously. You know that you can tell me. I've known you almost your whole life. Come on, tell me. What happens in your dream?"
He leans forward and buries his face in his hands. For the first time in the eighteen or so years that I've known this boy, he looks vulnerable. He starts speaking, his voice mildly muffled by his hands in front of his face. "Water. Everywhere. Keeps pulling me under."
"You're drowning?" I write down a few notes. He nods slowly. I continue to write down a few thoughts. "Why do you think you're connected to water?"
"Draco," is all he can whisper, his voice cracking slightly as if choking back tears. I raise my eyebrows, surprised that another person believes my son is their connection to their element. I try not to let that concern me as I make a note of it. I motion for him to continue. "Do you remember when Draco and I were nine years old and Draco ended up in St. Mungo's because he almost drowned?"
"Vividly. The healers all said that he wasn't going to make it. They said that they were having too much trouble getting all of the water out of his lungs. Luckily they were wrong and he woke up. He told us that he dragged you down to the river even though we told you two not to go down there. He said he jumped in even though you told him he shouldn't and the current was too strong, so you pulled him out."
"He lied so that I wouldn't get in trouble. It was twelve years ago and I still can't forget what really happened."
"And what exactly happened?"
"I was the one who wanted to go play on the bridge by the river. We were playing some stupid game or whatever. It had been raining and the bridge was wet. I slipped and fell in. The current was too strong and it kept pulling me under." He finally lifts his head to reveal tears streaking his chocolate skin. "Draco jumped in after me. He was guiding me to the rocks on the edge of the river when he got pulled under. I tried to get to him but I couldn't. If there hadn't been that man walking by to hear us and run over to help, he wouldn't have been pulled out in time. He almost died because of me, then takes the blame so I wouldn't get in trouble with my mother."
I quickly finish writing down his story, then move to sit next to him. "Don't blame yourself, Blaise. It wasn't your fault. It was just an accident."
"I shouldn't have brought him down there."
"No, Blaise, no. You can't think that way. He's here and he's safe. That's all that matters."
"Good morning, Mr. Potter. Please, make yourself comfortable."
"Good morning, Mrs. Malfoy," Harry says politely, sitting down. "How are you?"
I sigh. "Long morning, but lots of progress is being made. Hopefully that progress will continue. Do you feel like talking about your dream today?"
"Um, not really... but I suppose there's no way around it." He takes a deep breath before explaining. "Technically my dream is simple. I'm running through a forest, constantly looking over my shoulder, but there is never anything or anyone behind me. Even though I can't see anything chasing me, I can't stop running and the forest never ends."
"Is there anything about the forest that is significant to you?"
He ponders my question for a long moment, searching through his memories for a significance. "No. Not the forest itself at least."
"Then what about it is significant to you?"
"The running. The feeling that I always have to be looking over my shoulder. I know the war is over, but sometimes I still feel like I'm on the run, even though no one is chasing me." He looks vulnerable, but keeps eye contact with me confidently.
"There is a lot bottled up inside of you that I can see burning just beneath the surface. Start from the very beginning, wherever you feel this all started for you, and we'll see how far we get today, then continue next session."
"Alright, well, it all started when..."
"Come on in, Ms. Weasley. Are you ready to get started?"
"Let's do it," Ginny says confidently. She lowers herself down onto the loveseat across from me gracefully and crosses her legs. "Quill ready?"
I nod, smiling at her confidence and fire-like personality. "Start when you're ready."
"Tornadoes," she proclaims.
"I'm caught in a tornado! The tornado spins around me instead of me spinning around inside of it." She is leaning forward toward me in excitement.
"Do you identify with this somehow?"
"Well, I have six brothers-" she pauses, excitement and colour all draining from her face, "-five brothers... and I'm dating Harry Potter, so I'm used to life spinning out of control around me."
"But you don't allow yourself to spin out of control along with everything else?"
"Of course not. I have to stay focused on what I'm doing and where I'm going. Life gets out of control, if I slow down for even a second everything will fall apart."
I finish my session with Ginny and go to the dining room for lunch. Draco and Cat are already at the table. I walk over and give my son a kiss on the top of his head, curing all the emotional exhaustion lingering from my morning sessions. My heart bursts with joy as my beautiful little boy looks up at me with a smile spread across his face. Since no one else is here for lunch, I take my husband's usual seat.
"How were your morning sessions, Mrs. Malfoy?" Cat asks me cheerfully, taking small bites of the pasta in front of her.
"Productive, but exhausting," I answer truthfully. "I'm starting to get the feeling that these dreams and elements are not a threat as we had originally thought. We were worried that something big, something bad, was going to happen. Now that I'm listening, I don't think they are meant as a warning."
"So, you don't think anything is going to happen?" Draco searches for confirmation, hopeful that he can remain safe in a quiet and simple life.
"These dreams are not about the future. They are not warning us of what will happen. They are showing us what's already happening inside of you," I assure him. "Blaise's dream isn't telling him that he's going to drown. His dream is showing him the guilt he feels about what really happened that day on the bridge."
"So, you're saying that the elements are speaking to us through our dreams to communicate the emotions we are hiding or maybe even ignorant to," Cat says in a tone of realization as she spins the pasta on her fork.
"Yes," I confirm. "We were wrong before. My job isn't to figure out what's going to happen and help you prepare for some unknown danger. My job is to figure out what's already happened and help you work through it."
"Sounds like your job title needs a change," Draco mumbles through a mouthful. Rozella sets a plate of food on the table in front of me.
"Oh," I exclaim through my first mouthful. After swallowing, I turn to my son, "Draco, I was hoping that you could sit in on a few of my sessions. There are some things you are better to help with than I am."
"Oh, um, h-how many sessions?"
"I'm not sure at the moment, but I know that Blaise is really going to need you if he's going to get through this."
"Right, well, um, sure. O-of course. Of course I'll be there."
"Thank you so much."
Cat and I walk to my office together for her session. She skips across the room to sit on the loveseat. Sitting down across from her, I prepare myself to take notes. She twirls her hair around her index finger as she waits for me to get situated.
"So, Cat," I begin, "I would love to hear about your dream."
"Well," she shifts in her seat uncomfortably, continuing to play with her hair, "in my dreams I am with my parents. We're just talking about what's going on in my life."
"Tell me a little bit about your parents."
"I don't really know anything about them. They passed quite some time ago."
"Oh!" I exclaim in surprise. "I'm so sorry. I didn't know. How did they die?"
"They died during the first wizarding war when I was only a few weeks old. But my aunt has been so great to me. She always kept our house full of love and books and music."
"I don't doubt that your aunt has taken care of you over these twenty years, but that cannot simply erase the desire for your parents. I believe your element is spirit, correct?"
"Your dream represents your desire for your parents to be a part of your life and to share everything with them. Perhaps you should consider befriending Mr. Potter. He can definitely relate to your situation."
"I wouldn't want to be a bother to him."
"Well, I'll ask him if he would be willing to speak with you?"
"I would like that very much."
"What's up, Mrs. M," Zane bellows, strutting into my office and sprawling out lazily across the loveseat.
"Good afternoon, Mr. Grey," I sigh, surpressing my annoyance. Of all of Draco's friends, this young man is the most intolerable one. His attitude is constantly dripping with disrespect and apathy. "Shall we get to it then?"
I resist the urge to roll my eyes and speak through gritted teeth, "Tell me about your dream then."
"No big deal. It's just me flying."
"Flying on a broom?"
"No. No broom. No machines. No magic. Just me."
"Are you afraid of heights by any chance?"
"W-what? N-no! Of course not! I'm not afraid of anything!"
I raise a skeptical brow at him and, with a slight triumphant smirk, I write down a note. "I see."
"This is bullshit! I don't need to take this! There's nothing wrong with me! These sessions are just a waste of my time! I'm going home!" He stands up and storms out of the room. I sigh, however, I'm not entirely disappointed to see him go. If he doesn't want my help, then there is nothing I can do for him.
"Good afternoon, Mrs. Malfoy," Pansy greets me politely, walking in and giving me a quick hug.
"Good afternoon, Ms. Parkinson," I reply warmly. Pansy has always been so sweet to my Draco. Despite their breakup, she still treats him with the highest possible respect. She sits down next to me instead of across from me on the other loveseat like everyone else had previously done. "So, tell me about your dream, sweetheart."
"Well, it's actually quite disturbing. I'm laying down on the floor in Draco's bedroom and I'm completely covered in blood."
"It's my own blood, but there aren't any wounds on my body that I can see."
"Perhaps the wound is not meant to be on the outside of your body."
"What do you mean?"
"You said before that you were in Draco's bedroom. Are you sure that's where you were?"
"One hundred percent sure."
"Pansy, sweetheart, are you still struggling with the breakup, perhaps?"
"Is it really that obvious?"
"Honestly? Yes, dear, it is quite obvious."
"I can't help it. I'm still in love with him. We're meant to be together, Narcissa, I just know it!" She stares at the photographs of Draco that I have around the room. I sit silently, watching her. I don't have the heart to tell her that I don't believe she has a future with my son. How do I break this poor young girl's heart like that?
"Yes, Mr. Weasley, please come in," I instruct Ron kindly.
He hesitates in the doorway uncomfortably before slowly making his way to the seat across from me and sitting down. He stares down at his knees, kicking lightly at the floor. "Um, thanks."
"Please, tell me about your dream."
He shifts in his seat. "I'm being followed by shadows."
"That's all? And who or what do these shadows represent to you?"
"You? Explain that to me. Why do the shadows represent you?"
"I- well, it sounds stupid. I suppose I feel like I'm always trapped in someone elses shadow in every area of my life."
"How do you mean?"
"Harry is the hero and he's got all of the fame and the glory. I always end up fading into the background to everyone around when Harry's in the room. Ginny is the favourite to my parents because they really wanted a daughter. Hermione is the smartest person I've ever met. There's no way I can compete with her. And as much as I love her, she's not interested in me. She's only interested in Malf- sorry, Draco, just like every other girl in the bloody world!"
"Mr. Weasley, I must tell you that this competition is all in your head. You need to spend less time comparing yourself to those around you and more time doing what you're good at and what makes you happy."
"Good evening, Draco," I pull my son into a hug, kissing the top of his head. I guide him to the seat. "Have you made anyone cry today?"
"No, but I suppose I still have enough time left in the day for that," Draco responds. I sigh.
"You're so charming." I sit down and wait as he gets settled. He lays down on the loveseat with his head on my lap and his legs hanging over the arm of the seat. "Are you alright, darling?"
"I've been having one of those days where on too many occassions I've been forced to realize that I'm not very graceful." He pauses for a moment. "It hasn't been fun."
"Awh, I'm sorry, dear." I stroke his hair gentley. "So, I heard that you have a little thing going with Cat these days?"
"How did you know about that?"
"I hear things."
"My, my... what big ears you have there, Grandma."
"Better to keep updated on your personal life, my dear." I smile down into his face. He rolls his eyes and looks away, trying to hide the half smile creeping upon his features.
"So, you already know all about my dream. Why do we have to do this?"
"Now, not this again. You are going to continue coming to these sessions until you can truly accept the fact that Vincent Crabbe's death was not your fault!"
"How did your sessions go today, dear?" Lucius asks, climbing into bed next to me and sliding under the sheets. I move over into his arms and rest my head on his chest.
"Nine sessions and not one was very productive," I admit. "Zane just left all together and went home. Pansy is still pathetically in love with Draco and I have no idea how to handle that. Harry is the only person who might be productive in any way. I'm thinking that Hermione might have feelings for Draco, but she's in denial about it. Do you think I should say anything to him?"
"Of course not. Narcissa, you've got to let him breathe a little bit."
"You think I'm being too clingy?"
"I think you're having a hard time letting go."
"I am not! I'm just trying to make sure my only son is safe... and-and happy... and... and... I miss my baby."
"I know, honey, but Draco is not a baby anymore. He's twenty one."
"No! Don't say that! He's only five and his favourite hobby is reading books with me in front of the fireplace!"
"I know that with everything that's happened to us over the past few years, you and Draco have grown very close-"
"We've always been very close!" I bite out defensively, sitting up to look at him. He strokes my arm to calm me down and pushes me back down onto his chest.
"I know that. But with the war and all, you two have barely been apart for more than a few minutes at a time. This has to be really difficult for you. No one would blame you. I just think you need to be careful. He's trying to forget about what happened. If you hang on to him too hard it might just remind him of it all even more."
"I don't want to lose him."
"You're not going to lose him. I won't let that happen."
***From Author- I just wanted to let you guys know that 1) This chapter is written and structured slightly differently than I normally write my chapters, and 2) I don't plan on writing many more if any more chapters from Narcissa's point of view. The story should solidly be alternating chapter points of view between Draco and Hermione. However, I felt this was necessary just to add to the foundation of information. xo Catazar***