Chapter 9 : Black Manor, Black Mess
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Narcissa sat quietly amongst her friends on the Hogwarts Express, resting her head against the misty window. Outside, the world was draped in white silk as small pellets of snow floated softly to the ground. Each pellet that fell was a different memory that Narcissa brought to consciousness. In an attempt to pass the time until the train arrived at the station, Narcissa reflected on the past few weeks.
She thought back to the Qudditch match, smiling as the memory lit her face. Headmaster Dumbledore had cancelled the match since it had turned into a plain joke as opposed to the serious competition it was meant to have been, and had postponed it till after the Christmas holidays.
From that moment on, Narcissa had been on guard day and night, waiting for Malfoy to strike back, but strangely enough, he hadn’t. In fact, all he’d done was glower at her every chance he got. He hadn’t even spoken a single word to her. Regardless of his withdrawn behavior, she didn’t trust him one bit. She would bet anything that he was using her technique against her. He was waiting till she least expected it. But as the weeks had gone on, he’d continued to ignore her, smirking in her direction every now and then.
A few days after the Quidditch match, Lucius’s black hair had receded, diminishing back to its natural golden color. He also, she’d noticed at the Quidditch practices, had managed to rid his uniform of the ghastly message Vesper had jinxed onto it. Now that the fun of ridiculing Malfoy was over, Narcissa had turned rather sulky.
All in all, the thrill of life had died down a little for Narcissa. Even Vesper had something interesting going on. After weeks of resisting him, Vesper had finally agreed to go on a date with Dmitri to Hogsmeade. While Drew and Nixie had gone off to Zonko’s Joke Shop, and Dmitri and Vesper had stopped for a Butterbeer at The Three Broomsticks, Narcissa had wandered off to the Shrieking Shack, standing a bit closer than most people would. That’s when she had realized it: she was going to end up alone. Nixie was sprightly and spontaneous, Vesper was intelligent and charming…and her? Well, Narcissa was cold and dry and possessed no qualities that were attractive. Why else would she be sitting out here reclusively while her friends were out on dates enjoying themselves?
As if she weren’t miserable enough already, the week before Christmas break, in Charms class, Professor Septima had assigned partners to everyone for an important project they would be starting after the holidays. Narcissa was partnered with Lucius Malfoy. She’d seen him go rigid from across the room.
She shook her head and snapped her thoughts back into the present. Pressing her nose against the window, she thanked the holidays for giving her time until she had to be reunited with Malfoy.
The most interesting turn of events, however, had occurred two days ago. Narcissa had finally received a reply from Andromeda. She had excused herself from the Great Hall, telling everyone she had to use the lavatory, knowing that if she read the letter in front of anyone she would burst into tears. She hadn’t told anyone about it, not even her friends. She couldn’t risk it. She’d read it at least ten times over the last two days, and looking at it on her lap now in the train, she read it again.
I can’t even begin to explain how happy I am to hear from you. I’m so sorry it’s taken me so long to reply. You probably think I’m a horrible sister and that I’ve forgotten about you. I suppose I deserve it, but not a single day has passed where I haven’t thought of you. The truth is that we’re being watched. We’ve had to take extra caution over the last few months. I can’t say much in case this owl is intercepted, but I’m going to answer all your questions very soon, I promise. Be careful and wait for me.
Wait for her? Did that mean she was going to pay Narcissa a surprise visit or something? It frustrated Narcissa not knowing what was going to happen next. She wished that Andromeda had given her some sort of time frame at least. Now she had to wake up each morning wondering if that day would be the day or would it be the next…it was driving her crazy. She decided not to think about it and folded the letter into a small square, stuffing it in her pocket. She had to make sure nobody got ahold of it, especially not anyone in her family, especially not Bella.
Slowly, the Hogwarts Express came to a halt as Vesper, Nixie, and Drew pulled down their trunks. Vesper, like Narcissa, was going home for the holidays, while Nixie was spending the next few weeks with Drew and his family.
She kissed her friends good-bye before embracing her mother, whom she had missed terribly. Druella Black was a long, slim woman who had the same fair skin, the same luminescent blonde hair, and the same twinkling blue eyes of her daughter. Druella and Narcissa were considered past/future versions of one other, given they resembled each other quite dramatically, except for the small creases that time had etched on Druella’s stony face.
“Where’s Father?” Narcissa asked after pulling away from her mother’s embrace.
“He had to work late at the Ministry, darling, but he’ll be back later tonight. Bella is very eager to see you. She’s waiting for you at the manor.”
“Oh I’ve missed you all so much,” Narcissa confessed, taking her mother’s hand.
“I know, sweetheart, we’ve all missed you as well. Especially your father.”
Narcissa turned away at that, not sure what she should say. She still hadn’t coped with the fact that her father was now a Death Eater. She really was trying to get past it, but it was more difficult than she thought.
With a faint pop, they both Disapparated from King’s Cross, appearing only a second later at the ancient and most noble House of Black. Narcissa had barely opened the door when suddenly a figure pounced on her, making her stumble back and eventually fall onto the hard, crystalline floor. She looked up to see her oldest sister, Bellatrix, with her wild black curls, pale moonlight skin, and dark brown (nearly black) eyes: eyes that could rip through your soul with a single glance.
“I haven’t seen you in ages!” Bellatrix screamed excitedly, holding Narcissa out in front of her. She frowned before adding, “You look different. You’re older. Why are you older?”
“It’s been a few months, Bella, I’m supposed to be older,” Narcissa laughed, taking her sister’s hand as they walked over to the sofa in the living room. A House-Elf came by shortly to take Narcissa’s belongings up to her room.
“Well tell me, how’s school? Has anyone been treating you different?”
“No,” Narcissa shook her head, then bit her lip. “Although…I did sort of start a war with…Lucius Malfoy.”
“A war? With Lucius?” she squealed. “Tell me, tell me all about this, from the beginning.”
She went on to tell Bella about Malfoy, how they had clashed since the first day. She told her about stunning him on the train, and how he had retaliated, and finally, what she and her friends had done to finish him and his pride off once and for all.
“Saved all the fun for when I left, did you?” Bellatrix sighed, slumping back against the couch. “Well I taught you well. Better than that good for nothing blood traitor…”
She stopped herself, but Narcissa knew where she had been going.
“I’ll show Malfoy a real psycho next time I see him,” Bellatrix suddenly said, standing up. “I’m honestly jealous of all the fun you’re having.”
“Thanks Bella but I really would have rather had a year with no drama.”
“That didn’t work out very well, did it?” she snorted at Narcissa, making her point. “Well keep taking it out on Malfoy. I’d like to have a reason to gloat at him next time I see him.”
“I have no intention of getting closer than ten feet to that bloody halfwit. Besides, he’s probably aiming to make my life miserable now that I humiliated him in front of the entire school. I mean, his hair was black for three days. He wants to kill me,” Narcissa stubbornly crossed her arms, shivering at the thought of what would happen when she returned to Hogwarts.
“Is that the voice of my little princess?” came a deep voice from the doorway.
Narcissa turned to see her father, Cygnus Black, standing with open arms. With a tall, wide frame and dark features, her father seemed older since Narcissa had last seen him. Dark circles deepened his black hollow eyes, and stubble coveted the pale drained skin that had failed to see a shave in weeks. His long stout nose curved at the tip, giving a handsome structure to his face.
“Hello, Father,” Narcissa forced a smile, standing up and straightening out her crinkled dress. She strode over to him as he pulled her into his arms. She allowed him to hug her, returning his affection, although it was quite awkward for her, given they had never discussed their previous qualm.
“Well, I know this isn’t perfect timing and I may admit you all to a terrible rush…” he stopped as all the Black women continued to stare at him with curious, batting eyes. “My dear, dear sister has invited herself over for dinner.”
“Walburga?” Druella asked, placing her hands on her hips. “On such short notice?”
“You know how she is, dear,” Cygnus gave her a guilty smile.
“Well I’ll just have to inform the House-Elves that more roasted chicken is in order. Are Orion and the boys coming along as well?”
“I do expect them to.”
“I might as well owl the rest of the family then,” Druella sighed.
“You might as well owl all of bloody England!” Bellatrix snapped, irritated by this sudden turn of events.
“Why is it that I can always hear you shouting from five rooms away?” came Rodolphus Lestrange’s voice from the archway.
“We’d have a serious problem if you couldn’t hear me from that far,” Bellatrix snarled at him in a teasing voice, planting a kiss on his cheek as he walked over to her.
“It’s good to see you, Narcissa. I trust all is well at Hogwarts?”
“Hogwarts is Hogwarts,” she smiled faintly, sensing the tension in the room. He still hadn’t gotten over the fact that Andromeda had chosen a Muggle-born over his own brother.
A sharp knock on the door made the girls jump up. Straightening out her dress for what felt like the tenth time today, Narcissa took her time walking to the door.
“Aunt Walburga,” she smiled, opening the door to welcome her family in. “How good to see you.”
“Hello, dear,” her aunt said as she made her way in, her feather hat brushing against Narcissa’s face. “I see Hogwarts’ feasts haven’t any meat to your thin figure. What are they feeding you there? Peanuts?”
Narcissa laughed, expecting nothing else from her aunt, who strove to comment on every aspect of her imperfection. She claimed it was out of love for her “grand and precious niece” but Narcissa didn’t appreciate the unwanted criticism.
“Uncle Orion, Regulus, Sirius,” Narcissa nodded them all in.
“Narcissa,” Sirius muttered under his breath, his polite way of informing her that he had no desire whatsoever of being here. In fact, Narcissa doubted he had any desire to be anywhere but Hogwarts. She couldn’t help but feel a little sorry for her younger cousin.
Within moments, the Rosiers arrived as well, Rosier himself very serious and grim faced. His wife, Adeline, offered Narcissa a warm smile and embrace. Her brown hair had been delicately pinned up. Sometimes Narcissa wondered how a woman as gentle as Adeline had married such a grave man as Rosier.
“Hello, Evan,” Narcissa smiled at her cousin as he followed after his parents.
“Hello, Narcissa. Good day?” the eleven year old asked formally. Well, his father was certainly enlightening him to the world of the somber and dingy.
“Um, fine, thank you,” Narcissa responded, trying to keep her face straight.
After everyone was welcomed and settled in, Narcissa plopped back down onto the sofa next to Sirius, who had taken her spot.
“You were right,” Narcissa said quietly enough for only Sirius to hear.
“About what?” he asked, before his eyes widened in understanding. “She wrote back.”
Narcissa nodded, “That’s not all though. She told me to wait for her. I think she’s coming here, Sirius.”
Sirius shook his head, “There’s no way she would risk that.” He paused, staring off into space for a moment. “Or actually, that would be the least obvious thing to do since nobody would expect it of her.”
“She just didn’t say when and it’s driving me crazy.”
“Don’t be obvious about it. The last thing we need is Bella finding out.”
“Do you really think Bella would, I mean, you know…try to kill her again?” Narcissa asked hesitantly. “Maybe she’ll have a change of heart-”
“No,” Sirius cut her off, shaking his head again vigorously. “She would try to butcher her and you know it. Don’t tell Bella don’t you dare-”
“Narcissa I’m not joking around, don’t tell anyone,” he warned. “You can’t trust anyone with this not even your own family.”
Narcissa stayed quiet, taking a deep breath before replying, “I won’t tell anyone.” After Sirius continued staring at her skeptically, she rolled her eyes and said, “I swear, okay, I swear I won’t say a word.”
“What are you two whispering about?” Bellatrix snapped as she approached them, crossing her arms.
“We were just wondering when the baby was due,” Sirius said almost instantly as if he had been rehearsing that line in his head.
Narcissa’s mouth fell open as Bellatrix narrowed her eyes at him.
“Don’t push your luck, Sirius, you’re already on my bad side,” she threatened him, her jaw tightening.
“Am I? I had no idea,” he played innocent, his tone childish.
“As far as I’m concerned, you and that blood traitor are the same person to me. I’m just waiting for you to prove it.”
“Do calm down, Bella. Anger isn’t good for the baby,” Sirius smirked at her. He seemed to have noticed that the baby jokes were getting to Bellatrix. Of course he would keep them going.
“If I do ever have children, I’ll make sure they don’t turn out to be anything like-”
“If you do ever have children, they’ll probably turn out to be psychos just like you but times ten,” Sirius cut her off, obviously trying to keep his laughter down. If there’s one thing Sirius Black loved to do, it was to provoke Bellatrix until they were sprawled out over the floor fighting till one of them had to be yanked off the other.
“I think it’s time to eat,” Narcissa jumped up before Bellatrix could say anything back. Her anger was already getting the best of her, and Narcissa knew where this was headed. “Come on,” she pulled on Bellatrix’s arm, leading her over to the dining room.
“I want to strangle him,” Bellatrix muttered as they sat down.
“Just ignore him, Bella, he’s a kid.”
“He’s not a kid, he just wants everyone to think he is. That’s how he gets away with everything. No wonder Aunt Walburga is as temperamental as she is.”
They all sat down, Sirius joining the table last across Narcissa. She noted the smug look on his face and tried to get his attention by kicking him under the table, but she couldn’t reach his feet. She knew what he was about to do, she could feel it, and there was no stopping him.
“Attention everyone,” Sirius said, rising with his glass. “I’m proud to announce that there will soon be a new addition to our family. Precisely in nine months.” He pointed his glass to Bellatrix as gasps erupted all around the table.
“Is it true?” Druella asked, holding her napkin up against her mouth.
“You’re pregnant?” Rolodphus choked on his food, pushing his chair back.
Narcissa sighed as everyone continued bombarding Bellatrix with questions, who was too busy glaring at Sirius and ignoring everyone else. After shouting that she wasn’t pregnant, she pointed her wand at Sirius and blasted him against the wall. Aunt Walburga screamed as her son flew backwards. Rodolphus was still choking on his food, his fist slamming repeatedly on the table as he tried to clear his throat. Druella ran over to Sirius, checking to see if he was okay before yelling at Bellatrix for blowing this entire thing out of proportion.
And Narcissa quietly sat there, eating a few pieces of chicken before excusing herself to her bedroom, not that anyone noticed. She was used to the constant bicker between Bellatrix and Sirius, not to mention a war breaking out whenever they got within ten feet of each other. Without changing her clothes, she lay on her bed and listened till the squabble downstairs died away. By the time that had happened, she was already drifting off into a deep sleep.
Over the next few days, Narcissa went about her daily routine at the manor. She helped her mother with some knitting, gossiped mercilessly with Bella, played wizards chess with her father, and much to her delight, caught up on a bit of light reading. Everything was back to normal. Yes, everything in the House of Black was perfectly normal until the fourth evening of Narcissa’s return.
She had just come back from a walk with Bellatrix when she suddenly heard a door slam, making her jump. Bellatrix had also stiffened up, closing the door quietly behind them.
“What on earth,” Narcissa breathed out slowly, pulling out her wand and moving towards the noise.
“Put your wand away,” her mother ordered sharply, coming up behind her. “Go up to your room, now.”
Narcissa angrily stormed up the stairs, followed by Bella, who seemed unnaturally calm.
“What the hell is going on?” Narcissa demanded when her door was shut. “Bella?”
She didn’t answer. Narcissa groaned before rushing out the door and down the stairs, deliberately disobeying her mother’s orders. She ran into the living room when her mother firmly grabbed her arm, spinning her around.
“Narcissa Black! How dare you disregard what I just told you?!”
Narcissa stared blankly at her mother’s outraged face, confused as to what could cause such a commotion in the first place.
“What’s going on, Mother? Why are you acting so strange and scared?”
“Not until you tell me what’s going on. I’m going to find out one way or another so…oh no,” Narcissa froze, slapped with realization. “He’s brought them here, hasn’t he?”
Her mother looked down, distress in her eyes.
“He’s brought Death Eaters into our home, hasn’t he?” Narcissa repeated. “And I’m betting it’s not the first time he’s done it either.”
“Has he brought him here too? Has he?”
Tears brimmed her eyes when her mother remained silent.
Without waiting for her mother’s reply, she ran back upstairs to her room, slamming the door shut. Bellatrix jumped at her sudden outburst.
“How many times has he done it?” Narcissa asked, fury burning in her eyes. “How many times has he brought them here? How many times has he compromised our safety by bringing them here?”
Bellatrix stood up and moved over to her.
“Often, since you left for Hogwarts,” Bellatrix marveled, her eyes glistening with wonder. “He’s doing the right thing.”
“Bella! You haven’t…you haven’t joined…” she couldn’t finish. Instead, she sank to the floor, Sirius’s words coming back to her. Has she joined the ranks yet? You know how she is about The Cause.
“What we’re doing is for the greater good of all witches and wizards, getting rid of this filth. I don’t expect you to understand, but you will,” Bellatrix said indifferently before leaving Narcissa alone in the room.
Narcissa sank to the floor, her mind still spinning over the fact that her sister was now a Death Eater. She had probably left the room to go down to the meeting. She couldn’t understand why this was happening. She understood that her family was meant to support The Cause because of their elite status, but why did that have to include becoming Death Eaters?
“She joined in the middle of her seventh year,” a voice came from the corner of the room.
Narcissa spun around, gaping when her eyes met Andromeda’s. She couldn’t believe it. Andromeda had actually come. They stood staring at each other in silence, neither of them saying a word. Andromeda managed a weak smile, Narcissa’s mouth still hanging open.
Andromeda had changed. She looked…happier. Her voice had been soft and gentle when she’d spoken, reminding Narcissa of how much she’d missed her. Her hair was longer since Narcissa had last seen her, and she’d definitely grown thinner as well. She was more beautiful than Narcissa remembered, her brown eyes glistening in the light as tears filled them.
Andromeda took a few hesitant steps towards Narcissa before rushing over and embracing her as she began to cry. Before they knew it, they were both crying.
“She’s a Death Eater,” Narcissa cried, still in shock that everything was happening all at once.
“I know,” Andromeda comforted her, gently brushing her hand against Narcissa’s hair.
Narcissa pulled away. “All this time…and you knew? You knew and you never bothered to tell me?”
“I didn’t want to hurt you…” she trailed off.
“Hurt me? I’m not as naïve as you think, Andromeda. You don’t need to protect me, especially not from the truth,” she said angrily, sighing. “And how long did you know about Father? He probably joined way before Bella didn’t he?”
“Yes,” Andromeda replied silently.
“The summer before Bella’s seventh year.”
Narcissa exhaled slowly and stood up, crossing her arms as she walked over to the window.
“Narcissa,” Andromeda started, waiting a few seconds before continuing, I don’t know when I’ll see you again.”
Andromeda bit her lip as Narcissa turned to face her. She frowned, letting her arms drop down beside her.
“Is it because you’re in hiding?”
“Yes,” Andromeda nodded, standing up. “They’re coming after us. Not just us, but others. They’re hunting people, families, and killing them off.”
“Bella will kill me if she gets the chance,” Andromeda moved over to her, taking her hand. “She already tried once.”
Narcissa pulled her hand away, turning her back to her sister. “You left us for him. You’re a-”
“A what?” Andromeda asked, stepping forward. “What am I, Narcissa?”
Narcissa paused, taking into account what she was about to say. “A blood traitor.”
“It’s not true. None of it is true. Everything they’re teaching you is a lie. They’re manipulating you into thinking you’re better and it’s not true, Narcissa, it isn’t.”
“You abandoned us!” Narcissa spun around, shouting at her. “And me! You don’t even know what I’ve had to deal with because of what you did!”
“What you’ve had to deal with?” Andromeda asked incredulously. Now she was getting angry. “Do you have any idea what I’ve had to deal with over the past few months? And all I could think about was you and how I was going to explain everything to you once I got the chance. I even told Sirius-”
“Of course you told Sirius. You let your cousin visit you over the summer but not your own sister.”
“You’ve always been closer with Sirius, just admit it,” Narcissa crossed her arms, jealousy taking the best of her.
“Sirius risked a lot by coming, I told him that but he came anyway. It was easier getting in touch with him through James. I tried contacting you, I did. I send out test owls and they were all intercepted, every single one.”
“Knowing him he probably encouraged you to elope with Ted,” Narcissa rolled her eyes, all of her bottled up emotions spilling out. “Do you have any idea what you’ve put Mum through? She cries every night, not to mention Bella is more determined to find you so she can get rid you of the filth she thinks you are, now that she’s a Death Eater.”
“I know, Narcissa,” Andromeda said through gritted teeth. “Do you honestly think I haven’t thought it over a hundred times in my head?”
“Thinking is exactly what you didn’t do,” she scoffed, throwing her hands in the air. “I’m the only sane one here. One side of the family joins the Death Eaters, and the other puts herself in their way. You’ve torn this family apart just as badly as Father and Bella have.”
“I want to go back to Hogwarts,” she cried, searching for her trunk.
“No, Andromeda. I’ve made up my mind. I’m leaving. And don’t try to contact me again.”
And without a second thought, without a good-bye to anyone, Narcissa left. She sent the school an owl, requesting to return as soon as possible. She had received a response within the hour, being notified that she could travel back by floo powder.
Before she knew it, she was gone, unpacking her things in her dormitory. She couldn’t help the sobs that were escaping her. She was foolish for thinking everything had gone back to how it used to be. After all, her family was falling apart and there was nothing she could do about it. She had accepted that her father was now a Death Eater, but bringing the Dark Lord himself into their home? That was the last of it. So many things could go wrong. Her family could get hurt, her mother…she started to cry again as she thought of her mother. And Bella…poor Bella…
She cried the hardest when she thought of Andromeda. Her dear, dear sister. She was going to get herself killed because of that Muggle-born. When had the most reasonable member of her family become so stupid?
As more tears rolled down her face, she stood up to go to the library, deciding to drown out her sorrows in a bit of studying. She left the Common Room, hoping she wouldn’t run into anyone with her drained, red eyes.
However, knowing her luck, you could only imagine what happened. In an alternate reality, perhaps she would have made it to the library without any interruptions, but unfortunately for her, she wasn’t living in one.
Instead, she came face to face with her favorite person in the entire world: Lucius Malfoy.
A/N: Hey guys so I actually recently edited this chapter. I changed it up a bit since I decided to write a trilogoy on the sisters. I definitely added in Narcissa's family and relatives, not to mention another Sirius addition that honestly makes me laugh really hard. He's one of my favorite characters to write because you can do so much with him. Leave me a review and tell me what you think. A lot can happen between Lucius and Narcissa in this big, big castle all alone ;))
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