Chapter 9 : Black Manor, Black Mess
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Narcissa sat quietly among her friends on the Hogwarts Express, resting her head against the misty window. Outside was a land of angels, draped in white silky covers as small pellets of snow floated softly to the ground. Each little ball that fell was a different memory that Narcissa brought forward in her mind. 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, as it had become 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. Still, 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 would never hold down a boyfriend. 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 to anyone. At least, that’s what she thought. Why else would she be sitting out here reclusively while her friends were having romantic affairs?
As if she weren’t miserable enough already, on the last day of Charms before the Christmas break, 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, noting that she’d reacted the same way.
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.
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 could even be 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. Your sisters are very eager to see you. They’re waiting 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 honestly was trying to get past it, but it was difficult.
With a faint pop, they both disapparated from King’s Cross, appearing at the famous and ancient House of Black, home sweet home. Narcissa had barely opened the door when suddenly two figures pounced on her, making her stumble back and eventually fall onto the hard, crystalline floor. She looked up to see her two mischievous sisters, Bellatrix and Andromeda, who were nearly identical with their wild black curls, pale moonlight skin, and dark brown (nearly black) eyes; eyes that could rip through your soul with a single glance. Narcissa was the odd apple among her sisters, resembling them the least. Andromeda pulled her up and hugged her affectionately, Bellatrix smiling from behind.
“How are you, Cissy? Quarrel with any Mudbloods lately?” Bellatrix asked with a nefarious tone, approaching her sister.
“Don’t use that word, Bella!” Andromeda snapped, her frown etching an unwelcome crease on the tips of her eyebrows. “It’s vile.”
“Oh shut up, Andromeda,” Bellatrix ignored her sister, waving her away clumsily.
“Shouldn’t you be spending time with your precious husband?” Andromeda crossed her arms.
“My precious husband is sleeping at the moment, thank you for your concern,” Bella snapped, blowing her hair out of her face.
Those two may have looked alike, but they were two different sides of the same coin. Well, more like two complete different coins. Bellatrix was wild and out of control, whereas Andromeda had more of a mellow disposition.
Bellatrix scoffed as Andromeda walked away, obviously nettled. They entered through a long dark hallway, finally reaching the living room, which was structured quite luxuriously with all the plush sofas and priceless rugs coveting the marble floor. Narcissa plopped down next to the fireplace, closing her eyes as her sisters began arguing heatedly about “Purebloods” and “Mudbloods” and whatnot. Narcissa sided with Bellatrix on the matter, no doubt, but decided it best to keep it to herself in an attempt to avoid further squabble between her sisters.
Throughout the next few hours, Narcissa went on to tell her sisters about the interesting events of the year. She told them about Malfoy, how they had clashed since the first day. She told them 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.
“I never liked that boy, not one bit,” Andromeda scoffed, crossing her arms. “Always reeked of vanity, just like his entire family. Remember with what heir they walk every time we see them at social events?”
“Oh, Cissy, Pissy, saving all the fun for when we leave,” Bellatrix sighed, smacking her sister hard on the shoulder.
“Oi!” Narcissa shouted in a very unladylike manner, smacking her sister back. “I didn’t ask for his to happen, Bella!”
“Well keep taking it out on Malfoy, will you? That’ll give me reason to drive him mad. Pick out those signature blonde strands of his and I’ll give you the ‘Favorite Sister’ award without a thought,” she laughed recklessly, earning a subtle glare from Andromeda.
What was it with the tension between those two? Narcissa shook the thought from her head.
“I have no intention of getting closer than ten feet to that bloody halfwit, so much as touch a single strand of his greasy hair. I’d rather choke on my own vomit,” Narcissa stubbornly crossed her arms, shivering at the thought of touching Malfoy.
Okay so maybe his hair wasn’t greasy, far from it, but the way his personality leaked so smugly through his pores made him absolutely repulsive.
“How were your travels, Andromeda?” Narcissa tried to change the subject, smiling at her sister.
“Oh it was lovely. You should have seen Paris, and oh Rome…it was beautiful. I’d give anything to go back,” she went on explaining, her eyes reminiscent. “
“We must go together sometime, promise?” Narcissa’s eyes lit up.
“Of course. But living on my own has been a nice experience as well.”
“Oh yes, how exciting is the life of a Healer?”
“Boring,” snorted Bellatrix. “Besides, it’s totally inappropriate of her living on her own when she has a home here. Mother is still uneasy about it.”
“It’s none of your business, Bella,” Andromeda snapped at her this time.
“Honestly, you two never give up, do you?” Narcissa sighed in exasperation.
“Is that the voice of my little princess?” came a deep voice from the doorway.
The three sisters turned to see none other than their 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. “Ahem…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, dear.”
“I swear,” Bellatrix started, swaying drunkenly as she moved back toward the sofa, “if Sirius goes on about his love for Mudbloods and that annoying Potter, I might just jinx him into the floor and let him rot there along with all his love.”
“Leave him alone, Bella,” Andromeda started again, rolling her eyes at Bella’s dramatics.
“Are you,” Bella started, face to face with Andromeda within seconds, “actually supporting him?”
“And if I am?” Andromeda stood stall, eyeing her sister without fear.
“YOU WOULD DEFEND MUDBLOODS OVER YOUR OWN FAMILY?!” Bellatrix screeched at the top of her lungs.
“Don’t yell at me Bella!” Andromeda shouted back, but not nearly as ferociously as her sister.
“What if I do?” Bella whispered, slowly etching her nail down Andromeda’s cheek. Andromeda slapped her hand away.
“Now girls!” Druella stepped in, deciding it was time her daughters began acting like ladies once again. “Enough. Cygnus, I’ve just owled Rosier and his wife. They should be along soon as well with their son.”
“Of course,” Andromeda sighed, sitting down on the sofa next to Narcissa, who hadn’t spoken a word. “Mum always has to invite her dear brother and their family every time Dad invites his side.”
“Well, Dromeda, Aunt Walburga can be a little…abrupt,” Narcissa struggled to find the right word to describe her outspoken aunt.
“Was that my wife I heard shouting from five rooms away?” came Rodolphus Lestrange’s voice from the archway.
“You better have recognized my screaming,” Bellatrix snapped at him in a teasing voice, planting a kiss on his cheek as he walked over to her.
“Andromeda,” he nodded his head at her stiffly, barely making eye contact. He still hadn’t gotten over Andromeda rejecting his brother, Rabastan, at the start of summer.
“Rodolphus,” she replied awkwardly.
“How good to see you, Narcissa. I trust all is well at Hogwarts?”
“Hogwarts is Hogwarts,” she smiled faintly, sensing the tension in the room.
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 hasn’t given 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.
“Cissy,” 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 into the world of the somber and dingy.
“Erm, fine, thank you,” Narcissa responded, trying to keep her face straight.
After everyone was welcome and settled in, Narcissa plopped back down onto the sofa next to Sirius, who had taken her spot.
“How are you, Andromeda?” Sirius asked his cousin, seeming completely normal.
For as long as Narcissa could remember, Andromeda and Sirius had always had an understanding between each other that allowed them to bond mentally. They shared the same ideas, the same interests, and actually enjoyed making conversation with one another. Sirius wasn’t open like this with any other member of his family.
“Oh, same old routine,” Andromeda sighed, twisting her fingers together anxiously. “Although Bella has been getting more and more out of control these days.”
“Oh my dear, dear cousin,” Sirius smirked, watching Bellatrix as she earnestly made conversation with his father. “Always the life and death of the party.”
Narcissa held back a laugh. Sirius’ wit did amuse her sometimes, especially when he let things slip so casually.
“Hogwarts isn’t the same since you left,” he smiled sadly.
“Yes it is strange being gone. And how are you, Sirius?” Andromeda asked, directing her full attention toward him.
“Oh, same old routine,” he repeated what Andromeda had said, stretching his arms out. “Messing around, getting yelled at by Mother and Father, and of course my favorite, constantly being compared to my wonderful sweet perfect Pureblood brother.”
“It’s worse now than ever since I was sorted into Gryffindor last year," he continued silently. "Mind you, I’m bloody thankful it wasn’t Slytherin with all those stinking gits, no offense, but Mother and Father have been giving me an earful all summer. Say I’m humiliating the family by staying in Gryffindor and a year was enough. They even owled Dumbledore, requesting that I be transferred to the correct house! Ha!”
He ruffled his rugged hair, a habit he had acquired from his friend James Potter, who was also a Gryffindor second year.
“And?” Andromeda egged him on. “What did he say?”
“Obviously, no,” he smiled. “Of course, now they think Dumbledore is some old fool who needs to be replaced by someone who values the status of ancient families and their proper houses and blah blah blah.”
“What’s wrong with Slytherin?” Bellatrix snapped, moving over to where they were sitting.
“Well I’d be stuck with you lot, that’s what,” he replied casually, sneering at her.
“Think you’re better than us lot, do you?”
“Oh not at all,” he laughed, kicking his legs out. “But I’d be a hell of a lot better at picking out a spouse. Rodolphus, was it?” She glared her eyes at him. “Yeah, how is Rolphy old boy? Doing your fetching and all?”
“He won’t have to once I transfigure you into my dog,” she jabbed at his chest.
“Believe me, love, I don’t need transfiguration to turn into a dog,” he winked at her secretively, resting his hands comfortably behind his head.
“One of these days, Sirius, you’re going to get burned off the family tree, and when that day comes, I’ll come after you,” she threatened, her eyes wide with bloodlust.
“I’ll be waiting,” he grinned at her dark figure, which turned and made its way back over to Aunt Walburga. “She’s going to be the death of me,” he chuckled.
“What is on with her?” Andromeda asked after a few moments of silence.
“I think she’s just started menopause early.”
“Sirius!” Andromeda nudged his shoulder, a smile playing at her lips. “That’s rude.”
“She’s already a raving lunatic. Imagine poor Rolphy old boy is going to have to survive those heat waves that’ll get her on about everything.”
“How do you know so much about menopause in the first place?” Andromeda inquired, crossing her arms.
“Have you not met my mother?” Sirius raised his brow.
They all burst out laughing while they stared at Bella, who making an awkward face as her aunt spoke to her.
“I still can’t believe you rejected Rabastan’s proposal,” Narcissa said quietly enough for the three of them.
“Rabastan was fighting a lost battle. He knew I wasn’t going to say yes,” Andromeda said, eyeing Sirius as he stiffened. “Besides…”
“I think it’s crazy how our parents think they can make our decisions of marriage for us,” Sirius interrupted Andromeda, who fell quiet. “Mother has been going on about it, talking about how I’m going to need myself a virgin Pureblood bride sometime in the future. I’ll damn straight burn myself off of that bloody tapestry if it means avoiding that loony plan of hers.”
At this, Andromeda burst out laughing, and Narcissa couldn’t help but realize that both Andy and Sirius found blood status to be a complete joke. If Bellatrix were in her place, she would never let this go, not even on her life. But Narcissa kept it to herself, knowing what would happen if word came out. Not that she agreed with them. Of course she didn’t.
Narcissa jerked her head up, caught off guard by Evan, who was standing as tall as he could in front of them.
“Dinner is served,” he said in that formal tone once again, his hands behind his back.
“Erm, thanks, Ev,” Narcissa smiled as he walked away.
Sirius roared in laughter, earning himself a few dismaying glances from the Rosiers as they made their way into the dining room.
He sighed, catching his breath before saying, “Somebody needs to give that kid a pair of serious and heavy-”
“Sirius!” Andromeda shouted again, but this time it was Narcissa who burst out into fits of laughter. “Cissy!”
After a few minutes of getting themselves back together, the trio headed off into the dining room and joined the rest of the family for dinner. Sirius and Andromeda lingered behind for a few moments and when Narcissa glimpsed back at them, she swore she heard them bickering. She shook it off and sat down at the table. What with all the aristocratic talk and bantering and critiquing that came at the table, Narcissa decided that it was going to be a very long night. After a few moments of simply watching everyone, she finally decided that everything was back to normal…or so she thought.
Over the next few days, Narcissa went about her daily routine at the manor. She helped her mother with some knitting, gossiped mercilessly with her sisters, 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 her sisters when she suddenly heard a door slam.
"What on earth,” she 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 rooms, all three of you.”
Narcissa angrily stormed up the stairs, followed by her sisters, who seemed unnaturally calm.
“What the bloody hell is going on?” Narcissa demanded when their door was shut. “Bella? Andromeda?”
Neither of them answered. Narcissa groaned before rushing out the door and down the stairs, deliberately disobeying her mother’s orders. She headed into the living room when her mother firmly grabbed her arm, spinning her around.
“Narcissa Black! How dare you contravene me?!”
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, Mum? Why are you acting so strange and scared? What’s going on behind those doors?”
“Not until you tell me what’s going on. I’m going to find out one way or another so-oh my god,” Narcissa froze, a sudden realization coming to her. “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 came to her eyes when her mother stayed silent.
Without waiting for her mother’s reply, she ran upstairs to her room, slamming the door shut. Bellatrix and Andromeda 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. It’s fantastic, isn’t it?” Bellatrix marveled, her eyes glistening with wonder.
“Bella! You haven’t…you haven’t joined…” she couldn’t finish. Instead, she sank to the floor, Andromeda rushing over to her.
“She joined in the middle of her seventh year,” Andromeda said quietly as Bellatrix left the room.
Narcissa gaped at her sister. “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 naive 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, I have to tell you something.”
“What more could there possibly be?”
Andromeda bit her lip as Narcissa turned to face her. She frowned, letting her arms drop down beside her.
“What is it, Andromeda?” she snapped irritably.
“You have to swear you won’t say a word to anyone, Cissy, anyone.”
“I won’t,” Narcissa said, sitting down next to her.
Andromeda just stared at her.
“I swear!” Narcissa exclaimed, anxiety taking hold of her.
“I…I married Ted.”
“Shhh! Please you have to keep quiet,” Andromeda took her hands in her own. “No one knows yet and-”
“You married a mudblood?!”
“Don’t call him that, Narcissa! He’s a good man, better than any of the precious Pureblood men we know!” Andromeda defended him, standing up.
Ignoring her, Narcissa went on, “He’s the same one who caused a huge fuss in our family last year, isn’t he?”
“He didn’t cause anything.”
“Is that why you rejected Rabastan’s proposal? Is that why you went to Europe? It was your honeymoon?” Narcissa stood up as well, knocking a few pillows off the bed with her sudden movement. “And you’ve been living with him this entire time!”
“Yes. I wanted to tell you but I couldn’t risk telling anyone…except Sirius.”
“Of course you told Sirius. Knowing him he probably encouraged you,” Narcissa rolled her eyes. “Do you have any idea how furious Mother and Father will be? Not to mention Bella will probably kill you when she finds out, now that she's a bloody Death Eater. Have you figured out what you’re going to say to them exactly?”
“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 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 had 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 Mudblood. When did 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. That would be embarrassing.
However, knowing her luck, you could only imagine what happened. In an alternate reality, perhaps she could 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: I HAVE FINALLY UPDATED! It took forever, I am desperately sorry, but I'm sure some of you know how uni is *SIGHHH*...anyway! This chapter was originally a lot shorter than this, but I suddenly had this urge to just add more. I wanted to spice it up a bit with Narcissa's side of the family. I was especially excited about bringing Sirius into the chapter. His wit never leaved anyone in a bad mood. So please READ and REVIEW, and as always, honesty and discretion is much appreciated. Thank you. Oh and please point out any spelling errors I might have missed!
What will Lucius's reaction be about running into Narcissa?
What will Narcissa's reaction be about running into Lucius?
Why is Lucius at school during the holidays?
...WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN WHILE THEY ARE ALL ALONE IN THAT CASTLE?...jk no but seriously, what is going to happen?
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