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Peki [userpic]
Fic: Ouroboros (9.1/?), Lucius/Narcissa, NC-17
by Peki (peki)
at January 16th, 2017 (03:00 pm)

Is anyone reading this? If so, I'd love to hear from you :)

Fic: Ouroboros (9.1/?)
Rating: NC-17
Summary: The long, long courtship of Narcissa Black and Lucius Malfoy.
A/N: In which these two finally get somewhere, and I slowly despair of the fact that we're not even halfway through this story... Oh my.


June 1975

The summer promised to be a hot one in more respects than just the weather. Political unrest had been simmering overlong like a cauldron full of poison, ready to boil over, and all factions involved were doing their utmost to fan the flames that would cause the inevitable eruption. The Dark Lord’s followers were always ready for a skirmish, but Bartemius Crouch had only himself to blame, Lucius felt, when the fighting began to spill over into the public sphere and caused collateral damage.

The man had finally pushed his reform of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement through the Wizengamot council, and now the Auror force was issued with a licence to kill. The controversial motion would come back to haunt him sooner rather than later; already, public opinion was turning against Crouch, the very rabble of Muggle lovers and halfbloods he was trying to protect taking to the streets to protest against his autocratic measures. It was all extremely ironic, and of course the dissent within the Ministry only worked in the Death Eaters’ favour, but privately Lucius found himself disdainful of Crouch’s shortsightedness.

Not only had it become exponentially more dangerous now to carry out the Dark Lord’s missions, but destabilisation of the political establishment also made it more difficult to maneuver with any sort of confidence in the desired outcome. A secretary whose pockets the Malfoys had lined for years might suddenly fall into disgrace with Crouch and be sacked, and their contacts throughout the Ministry, fearing for their jobs, became mum on any truly interesting matters. Lucius knew that the days of the Ministry as it was were numbered once the Dark Lord rose to power, but no matter who reigned supreme over wizarding Britain, the bureaucratic apparatus would surely remain, and so he saw his father’s point when Abraxas began to rage once again about Lord Voldemort’s methods and the risk of not having a contingency plan ready just in case the coup failed.

Lucius didn’t particularly want to envision it failing, it was too tiresome to imagine having to butter up the likes of Crouch, but it was true, no one should ever bet all his money on the same Hippogryff. He voiced his concerns to the Dark Lord once, but was met with an icy dismissal; bringing about the shift in power by means other than outright war was becoming an idle dream that Voldemort didn’t even pretend to entertain anymore. He revelled in the violence, Lucius suspected, but even if one found such a thing amusing, it was also wasteful, and Lucius despised waste.

Still, the price of gold was going up as it always did when times were uncertain, and one Narcissa Black had finally bowed to the unusually warm weather and started to wear less clothing, which pleased Lucius just as much as the increase in his revenue. He wasn’t usually one to look on the bright side of life, but he wasn’t in the habit of passing by a good thing if it happened to him either, and getting to snog a witch as beautiful as Narcissa with regularity would put any man in a good mood, even if she was an awful tease.

Narcissa had allowed him more liberties with her person lately, but no matter how he tried to tempt her, she zealously held on to the last shreds of propriety. The vestige of chastity she put on for the sake of appearances was becoming a garment full of holes; Lucius didn’t know how anyone saw the woman smile and didn’t immediately think sinful things, but perhaps she smiled like that only for him. It was a pleasant notion, even though he was fully aware that Narcissa was toying with him as she was with everyone else, albeit in a different way. It was just as well; he could mock her coquettishness even while he enjoyed it, and so it was doubly delightful.

Today, the lady was wearing a pale grey dress which was positively light and airy compared to her usual severe black work outfit, and made of a material so thin – or perhaps so old - that any glow of light rendered it translucent. Lucius held the door for her as they exited the café where they had taken lunch, enjoying the silhouette of her legs that he could make out through her skirt as she walked ahead of him into the bright summer sunshine. Had she forgone her petticoat due to the warmth or to tease him, he wondered, and then Narcissa turned back to him and arched her brows just so, and he thought it was the latter; her cooling charms were impeccable, after all.

Smirking, he offered her his arm as they strolled back to Slug and Jigger’s in companionable silence. She wore short, puffy sleeves of a style that wasn’t exactly the latest fashion, but allowed him to feel the warmth of her skin even through the full attire of robes he wore. It was ridiculous how a glimpse of pale, skinny arms could heat his blood, he mused, and unnecessary too in this heat; he would need a very cold bath later, or else the touch of hired hands, but he had found no appeal in other women lately, though he had certainly tried. Narcissa's shawl kept slipping off her shoulder for him to pick up.

“Your collarbones are showing,” he tsked as he draped the length of lace over her for the hundredth time. “Careful, Miss Black, a man might start to think indecent things.”

She shrugged, upsetting the shawl once more. “He might? How disappointing.”

He laughed. She didn’t usually come out and admit that she was fully participating in the game they played, but she was smiling now and he felt his stomach clench oddly and knew that they were almost, almost past pretending. They were both toeing the invisible line between them, testing its boundaries with every touch, every heated look, and soon neither of them would care who crossed it first and admitted defeat. Pride was holding him back yet, and caution perhaps was what stopped her, but they were working themselves and each other up to an inevitable clash, and Lucius found he didn’t much care who ended up on top as long as the culmination of this battle of wills was as triumphant for both parties as he envisioned it would be.

Outside the apothecary’s, he turned to her, their arms still linked. For all that he tried to push the limits of propriety with her when they were alone, he disliked public display of affection, but bowing to her as he took his leave was beginning to feel silly. Narcissa peered up at him through her lashes, and even though he knew she was self-conscious about her conduct when people were around, he thought she might not be averse to a kiss goodbye if he initiated it.

Still, he wanted her to be the one to kiss him first, and so his restraint won out over desire one more time; he counted that a victory. He bent over her hand in a formal farewell, as ever unable to resist the scent of perfume at her wrist, but no one would know it when he turned her hand over at the last moment and kissed her palm instead of her fingers, so it was an inconsequential weakness.

Narcissa shivered. “Thank you for lunch. It was lovely.”

“Was it?” he drawled; apparently, his self-restraint didn’t extend that far after all. “I still don’t find myself quite sated.”

“That’s no fault to be found with the food, but with you.”

He straightened up and saw that her cheeks were pink. He wanted to reach out and touch them, rub his fingers all over that perfect pale skin until she was flushed and marked by his touch. “I wouldn’t call it a fault,” he said. “It’s only natural to want more of a good thing, isn’t it?”

“I suppose so,” Narcissa conceded with a sigh, but she was still smiling. “Do you have plans for the weekend?”

“Perhaps. Do you?”

“Perhaps.”

Enchantress. Lucius watched her lashes flutter, amused. “And will you share them with me?”

“Well.” She toyed with her long braid, suddenly looking far less composed. “My stocks of wild herbs are running low. We could...forage in the woods. Take a picnic and blanket, and...”

He’d begun to smirk, and now she was properly blushing, but she still held his eyes. “Herb picking? I confess I find myself easily bored by country pastimes.” Unable to resist, he drew her close to him after all and felt more than heard Narcissa’s breath hitch. “You will have to make things interesting for me.”

“Oh, I will,” she breathed, and if he hadn’t been half drunk with lust before, her nearness now did him in. There was no shyness in this woman, only the appearance of it, and it made him ache all the more to get her away from the world and find out what she might do when they were alone.

“Meet me by the lake near my father’s house,” she told him. “We might find some muddy bog plants there.”

There was a pun somewhere in there about muddy bogs, but Lucius’s head was swimming with the scent of her perfume, and besides, he didn’t think the venerable Miss Black would appreciate lowbrow wit, even if she was hardly as prim and proper as she pretended when she wriggled out of his hold, rubbing herself against him as if by accident.

“You might get wet,” she informed him, gleeful now to know that she was getting the last word. “Come prepared.” Then, she pressed a quick kiss to his cheek and darted off, disappearing through the door of the apothecary’s before he could get another word in.

Not that he could’ve come up with anything to say that was decent. Lucius looked after her, half ready to follow and drag her off to the nearest private corner so she could stoke the flames she had kindled, but before he could pursue the desires that were so readily playing before his mind’s eye, a slow dull ache began to spread through his arm. He clenched his fist against it, half welcoming the distraction even as the pain made him swear.

The Dark Lord’s methods were ruthless, even where His followers were concerned, but Lucius supposed that this kept them all sufficiently irritated to carry out His tasks with ease. Not that some of the Death Eaters weren’t plentifully irritable all by themselves. Lucius apparated away to the usual meeting place and was instantly enveloped by clamour.

People were passing on orders, hollering to their comrades, hurriedly transfiguring their everyday clothes into the black ceremonial robes and hoods. Many others had arrived before him even though the Mark had only just begun to burn. Most notable among them, of course, was Bellatrix Lestrange, or perhaps she just didn’t ever leave the Dark Lord’s side. Lucius wasn’t sure, but the woman grated on his nerves. He was willing to invest a good deal of money and energy into Lord Voldemort’s cause, but he didn’t like demands on his time or being made to feel like his efforts went unappreciated simply because that harpy was getting ahead of him through sheer annoyingness.

“We will show them, we will show them!” she sang, spinning in a circle with her wand held aloft and raining sparks. Others were hurrying back and forth through the cavernous basement beneath Borgin and Burke’s as they came and went, but they gave her a wide berth. Not Lucius; he stepped past her and knocked Bellatrix aside quite accidentally.

“Watch it!” she screeched.

“Who will be shown what?” he asked, enjoying the look of disdain that passed over her gleeful face like a cloud as she saw him.

“Bartemius’s Aurors. They will get what is coming to them today,” the Dark Lord hissed. He walked among His followers, the great snake that was his loyal companion slung over his shoulders. Lucius disliked that snake because it was generally treated better than any of Voldemort’s human disciples, but Bellatrix gave it a look of pure hatred, as if it had personally wronged her by assuming a place that was rightfully hers.

“My lord?” Lucius inquired, bowing slightly. If a plan had been made, he was not privy to it, which would be worrisome, and if there was no plan and the Dark Lord was sending them off on a whim, that wasn’t much better.

“They’ve opposed us long enough. They must be taught a lesson,” Bellatrix said in that strange singsong voice of hers that usually preceded violent bursts of temper. “If they will kill on sight now, so will we!”

“Weren’t you already doing that?” Lucius asked dryly.

“You object, my friend?” The Dark Lord’s red eyes seemed to burn Lucius as he fixed his attention upon him.

Lucius fought the urge to squirm and felt stupid for it. Irritated, he said, “No. But Mrs Lestrange’s enthusiasm is unparalleled.”

“True, true,” Voldemort chuckled, reaching out to touch the back of Bellatrix’s neck with long, white fingers. She shivered, turning into the touch like a kitten. The snake hissed quietly.

Lucius wanted to roll his eyes, but refrained. “What are my lord’s orders?”

“We will strike at the very heart of wizarding society, Lucius. Perhaps a thorough bleeding will drain the poison that is eating away at its core.”

Metaphors were another thing Lucius had no patience for. “Where are we to go?”

When Voldemort raised his voice, the room always fell silent as if by magic, and it was no different now. The hustle and bustle around them ceased like the Dark Lord had cast a freezing charm, but it was only anticipation that made the air hum. “You will go to London, my loyal soldiers. Go to Diagon Alley. Mrs Lestrange will take her battalion to the Northern end of the street and you, Lucius, will come up from the South with your comrades. Between you, you should be able to crush the forces that oppose you, I expect. Go now and show the Ministry who we are, what they are up against; make them think twice about opposing us again. Go and bring me news of glorious victory.”

“Glorious victory, eh?” Rosier muttered to Lucius as they rushed off towards the apparition point from which they were to depart. “Taking the battle to Diagon Alley in the middle of the day? It’ll be a bloodbath.”

Lucius was appalled, but there was nothing to be done for it when the orders had been given and Mrs Lestrange was rallying the troops with her maniacal laughter and lewd gestures. Some of them like Fenrir Greyback were howling with excitement, blood lust spurring them into a frenzy, but Lucius saw the concerned faces of his friends around him before they put on their masks and knew they felt the same disdain he did for this mission.

He thought of the one he’d left behind in Diagon Alley not an hour ago, who was the most unlikely fighter but would still be caught in the crossfire if he didn’t warn her. Of course Narcissa had her wits about her and would take herself out of a sticky situation if the need arose, but he’d rather not have her confronted with the realities of this war if he could help it. She’d worry needlessly about him, and she might even object to what must be done, and Lucius didn’t fancy a difficult confrontation when it was so utterly unnecessary.

He cursed Bellatrix, who had surely fanned the flames of the Dark Lord’s grand plans, and even directed some unkind thoughts towards Voldemort himself, although he kept those firmly hidden beneath a veneer of general disdain that went well with their mission. One could never be sure who was listening to one’s thoughts, and besides, it did no good to stew in malcontent when nothing could be done about it.

Bellatrix and her ilk were the first to apparate away, with the idea of causing enough of a ruckus in Diagon Alley to herd people down the street from where the rest of the Death Eaters would close in a minute later. The commotion would flush out whatever Aurors were patrolling the streets and bring in reinforcements to engage for a good dressing down. It would be a proper brawl; utterly pointless, Lucius thought, and then he apparated into Diagon Alley and right into chaos.

Within minutes, Bellatrix Lestrange had caused mayhem. People were running and trampling all over each other while black-clad figures fired curses into the crowd. A high, piercing sound carried on the air, many cries merging to one continuous scream. Spells ricocheted off the walls left and right and plaster sprayed everywhere. Glass shattered in the distance, Greyback and his pack breaking the shopwindows for a spot of looting. Lucius swore. There was no concerted effort to be seen, no focus; it was simply Bellatrix causing trouble.

The woman stood out among the other Death Eaters as ever, even masked and cloaked. She was at the centre of the worst of the attack, her wand slicing the air as she duelled people left and right. She was cackling, revelling in the destruction she caused, and the sound of her laughter was almost more terrifying than her curses. Almost.

Lucius looked at the bodies that were piling up in a half circle around her and sharply turned to head in the opposite direction. There were far too many Aurors there already, and more of them kept apparating in. The whole thing was going off the rails before it had even started, Lucius thought as he sent a forceful stunning spell into a group of newly arrived Aurors. The Department of Magical Law Enforcement was notoriously slow to react when trouble was brewing; it was one of the reasons why the Death Eaters worked so efficiently. They attacked with surgical precision, carried out the Dark Lord’s orders of capturing, interrogating or intimidating, and left before the law ever got there. But not today; they must’ve known they were coming, Lucius thought, must’ve been prepared for it; there had to be a leak within Lord Voldemort’s inner circle, a monstrous betrayal that someone surely would pay for.

That was, if they didn’t all suffer the Dark Lord’s ire for this fiasco. Lucius ducked down to dodge a full body bind and fired Reducto at the Auror. The man was sent flying down the street, cobblestones exploding into tiny, sharp pebbles under the force of the spell. Lucius raised his arm to shield his face and was almost too late to parry another blast of a stunner. Crossly, he sent the Auror who had fired it flying after his colleague, then made his way over pieces of rubble and unconscious men down the street.

He hadn’t consciously decided to go to Slug and Jigger’s, but when he stood in front of the apothecary’s, he realised that this was the only place it made sense for him to be. There was little he could do to aid Bellatrix’s efforts, such as they were; they’d soon be outnumbered, and the only thing they could do at this point was put up a bit of a fight and then disapparate. He’d seen many of his comrades slink through the shadows of the alleyways between the buildings and covertly vanish. Further down the street, Greyback was still smashing his way through the shops, howling with glee. He’d soon end up here with his pack, and Lucius wanted to make sure no one was left inside the apothecary’s to encounter the wolf.

Surely Narcissa had been smart enough to leave when the fighting started, but he wanted to be certain. He went up the stairs to the shop and stopped short on the threshold. Bellatrix Lestrange must’ve had the same thought he had and come to check on her sister, or else she’d had more nefarious motives and meant to take the chaos into Narcissa’s domain. The outcome was the same.

An Auror had backed Bellatrix into a corner and she had sought cover behind the trembling body of her sister, whom Bellatrix held by the throat, her wand pointed at Narcissa’s temple. The Auror moved back and forth in a half circle around the pair, unsure how to attack without hurting Bellatrix’s hostage.

Lucius felt rage coiling at the pit of his stomach, waiting to propel him forward, but he held very still, trying to calmly weigh his options in the few seconds he had before the Auror noticed him. He could do away with the man, but in front of Narcissa, he’d rather not. He was tempted to turn on Bellatrix and let the Auror have her, but she’d surely implicate him if she was caught, and if he snatched Narcissa and apparated them both out, he’d implicate her. The only thing he could do was assist Bellatrix bloody Lestrange and hope Narcissa wouldn’t suffer for it.

If that happened, Bellatrix wouldn’t leave the shop alive.

Lucius stepped forward into the light. When she noticed him, Bellatrix giggled darkly, but Narcissa took one look at him, hooded, masked and cloaked, and burst into tears in an extremely convincing display of terror. Lucius wondered if she knew it was her sister holding her, but he didn’t have time to think, for the Auror had sensed the presence behind him and half turned, his wand still pointed towards Bellatrix but his attention on Lucius. That was all it took; the green flash of the curse burst forth from Mrs Lestrange’s wand, and the Auror dropped dead where he stood.

Narcissa cried out. She shook off her sister’s hold, stepping down hard on Bellatrix’s foot, and the other witch yelped. “What are you doing, Bella?” Narcissa cried, clutching at her throat. “How could you!”

It was one thing for her to recognise her sister, but Lucius was surprised when she inched backwards towards him, still facing Bellatrix. She knew him, he was certain of it, though he couldn’t see how.

“Ow, Cissy!” Bellatrix complained. She waved her wand and her mask disappeared, a reckless show of overconfidence. “It’s all right; that Auror was never going to hurt you. They can’t very well go cursing civilians.”

“But you thought it was acceptable to take the risk?” Lucius snapped. That shifted the witch’s attention to him. Bellatrix looked surprised that he would raise his voice to her, but Narcissa didn’t even turn to look at him. She moved closer, away from her sister.

“Stay out of this, Malfoy, it doesn’t concern you.”

“You’ve made a mess of things and you’ve attacked your own sister. How am I supposed to not be concerned?”

“This is none of your business. It’s between Narcissa and me. We’ll just kiss and make up, won’t we, Cissy? Don’t make a fuss now.” She pinned Narcissa with her dark, hooded glare, but for once, Narcissa didn’t cast her eyes down and defer to her.

“Leave me alone, Bella.” She shoved Bellatrix back when her sister reached for her. “Do you know what a fright you gave me? I’m not your plaything!”

Bellatrix laughed. “Oh, Cissy. You should be glad you could help your sister out.”

“I’m not part of this...mess, leave me out of it!” Narcissa glanced towards the dead Auror, but quickly looked away again. “This here is my livelihood, my life, how dare you bring your quarrels to my doorstep!”

Bellatrix had looked utterly astonished that her sister would oppose her, like an indulgent mother looking upon a baby’s first wobbly steps, but now she began to scowl. “Quarrels!” she hissed, “You’d call our great and glorious cause a quarrel, you silly goose! Who cares about your stupid shop! Have you never aspired to anything greater?”

What Narcissa did next might have been ill advised, but close to her as he was, Lucius could see her trembling with fury; it was overdue. She drew her wand and pointed it at Bellatrix. “Go now. Leave.”

But it wasn’t in Bellatrix’s nature to back away from a fight. No, she sought it, Lucius thought, wondering whether Mrs Lestrange had wanted this all along, had looked for a reason to have a go at her sister. Bellatrix moved up, backing Narcissa further towards Lucius. She was maintaining a certain distance, but he saw her fingers flex around her wand and knew that she would strike the second she was done playing.

Narcissa turned her head a fraction of an inch without ever taking her eyes off Bellatrix. It was a silent plea for reassurance, and he wondered if he should just grab her now and remove her from this situation, but she could have left if she wanted to. She hadn’t, so he held his wand at the ready but didn’t move.

Bellatrix seemed to have forgotten him. She only looked at her sister, who now squared her shoulders and faced her down. “Bella. I’m not telling you again. Go.”

Bellatrix began to laugh. “Make me!” she squealed shrilly, and then, with the speed of lightning striking, she threw a hex that struck Narcissa hard across the face. Narcissa staggered backwards into a display table of vials, which toppled over with an almighty crash. Shards of glass went flying everywhere. Something wet sprinkled over Lucius’s chest; he couldn’t see the blood on his black robes, but suddenly Narcissa’s face was awash with it, very white under a deep angry gash that cut across her cheek and temple and had narrowly missed her eye, and he started forward, but couldn’t get to her in time. Narcissa cried out, one hand going to her cheek even as she raised her wand with the other to deflect Bellatrix’s next spell. It rebounded with force, and Bellatrix had to dive out of the way, yelping.

“Not my face!” Narcissa screamed.

Lucius almost laughed. He felt proud of her for holding her own against her far more ruthless, far more experienced sister, but in an instant, Bellatrix was up again, having landed on all fours like a cat. She advanced to stand over her sister, who was trying to find her footing in the rubble and sobbing hysterically now. “Oh, stop crying, you silly little girl! What did you expect, that I would stand here and allow you to raise your voice against me? Think again.”

She threw another hex, which Narcissa barely deflected. Lucius gripped his wand hard, hanging back only to give her a chance of defending herself. He’d pushed her towards this, he thought, looking at her crumpled on the floor. He’d told her to stand up to her sister, and it would be his fault if she got hurt. He raised his wand, ready to stun Bellatrix or kill her, which he wasn’t sure, but then Narcissa looked at him through her tears and shook her head.

“No. Bella is right, this is family business,” she told him in a shaky voice.

Bellatrix stopped short, surprised. “You won’t call on your knight in shining armour? Perhaps because you know that he couldn’t stand against me, either. No one can!”

But Narcissa wiped the blood off her cheek and climbed to her feet, and he could see that her tears were falling on the flames of her anger but did nothing to quench them. “Is this what you’ve become?” she asked Bellatrix, her voice poisoned with contempt. “Picking fights with your own family just so you could feel strong! You are pathetic, Bella. I am ashamed to be your sister!”

Mrs Lestrange flushed crimson with rage. “How dare you!” She fired a hex, but this time, Narcissa was faster; she threw it right back into Bellatrix’s face, then followed it up with a forceful blast that sent Bellatrix flying across the room. She crashed into a display cabinet, which shattered with the impact, raining down shards of glass. Bloodied and cursing, she emerged again, and screamed, “Crucio!

There was no defending oneself when Bellatrix Lestrange cast the torture curse; Lucius had seen her use it often enough, to terrifying effect. The strength of it threw Narcissa against the wall and pinned her there, and then she began to scream.

Lucius felt a red haze of rage descend over him that burned through every other feeling like kindling, consuming him wholly until there was nothing left inside him but a deadly calm. He didn’t even have to think; he reacted purely on instinct. His stunning spell sent Mrs Lestrange toppling backwards so hard that, for a moment, he thought he had broken her neck, but no; she stirred on the floor. Lucius pinned her there to writhe and spit insults, and told Narcissa in a cold voice, “I’ll kill her if you wish it. We can blame the Aurors; no one would ever know.”

“You’d like that, Malfoy, wouldn’t you?” Bellatrix coughed. Blood stained her teeth red, but her smile was as maniacal as ever. “Yes, Cissy, tell him to try and kill me; we’ll see who ends up dead.”

“Leave her,” Narcissa gasped. “I want to go, Lucius. Please. Come with me.” Pain was making her voice crack, and he glanced at her over his shoulder just to make sure she wasn’t about to faint, which was a mistake. Bellatrix wasn’t done yet: she shrugged off the spell that held her and fired back at him. The green flash of the killing curse went past Lucius by an inch and almost hit Narcissa, who staggered back, crying out. Whether Bellatrix had meant to miss him or she was too weakened to take aim, he didn’t know, but Lucius would not make the mistake of sparing her again. He raised his wand and cast the curse almost lazily, pushing past Mrs Lestrange’s attempt to deflect it and hitting her with full force.

The Cruciatus came so easily when he was angry, and he’d never been angry like this. Bellatrix screamed and convulsed on the floor at her sister’s feet, reaching out her hands towards Narcissa even through the bursts of pain, but Narcissa stood very still. She made no move to stop him or to help Bellatrix, and Lucius found this to be justification enough to keep going until he felt himself beginning to get lightheaded with the force he was exerting. He broke the curse, panting, and Bellatrix collapsed on to the floor.

“If you even think about laying a finger on your sister again, I will help her kill you,” he told the witch. “I will relish every minute of it, and believe me, it will be a lengthy pleasure. Now get out.” He lifted her up with the help of a levitating charm and threw her out into the street, where she collapsed in a heap.

“You’ll pay for this,” she hissed, throwing a hateful look back at them over her shoulder, and then she disapparated.

The next instant, a man in a black cloak and mask burst forth from an alleyway across the road, his wand at the ready. His robes were bloodied and torn. He came running into the shop, looking wildly back and forth between Narcissa and Lucius and then braced his hands on his hips in a huff. “What the devil is going on, Cissy? I saw Bella flying out of here and feared the worst!”

“Evan?” Narcissa gasped. “Gods, is everyone out there? What are you all even doing?”

“Yes, what is Bellatrix doing?” Lucius asked, irritated. “What does she think she accomplished today?” He gestured at the street outside, which looked like a horde of trolls had swept through.

“It was the Aurors.” Rosier gasped in hectic breaths. “They must’ve known we were coming, someone must’ve talked. Might be Imperius wearing off in some of the Dark Lord’s...assets in the Ministry?”

Lucius swore. If this was what Bellatrix did when she was forced to improvise, they were in for a lot of murder and mayhem. Perhaps that’s what the Dark Lord wanted – destabilisation – but Lucius had investments all over Diagon Alley; he didn’t want the street plundered regularly by the likes of Fenrir Greyback. Besides, it was troubling that Bellatrix felt she could run rampant like this. It spoke of a sense of confidence in her position of favour, and an overconfident Bellatrix was not a good thing, as had become abundantly clear today.

“We have to go,” Rosier said, almost hyperventilating now behind his mask. “Now, Malfoy! They’ll send reinforcements down the street any minute, and Greyback is coming--”

“Go,” Lucius told him. “Report back. I’m taking Narcissa away.”

“You can’t be seen together--”

“I know that, Rosier, sod off already!” He wanted to be alone with Narcissa, to assess the damage her sister had done and then take her someplace where no one could touch her. Even her cousin seemed like an unwelcome intruder into their togetherness. Lucius glared at Rosier through the mask until the man bowed his head and moved towards the door.

“I will go inform the Dark Lord what has happened. But for goodness’ sake, take Cissy home!” With a crack, he disapparated.

“I can take care of myself--” Narcissa started, and Lucius turned to find her leaning against the counter, bracing herself with a white-knuckled grip. Her face was very pale under all the blood that was still seeping from the wound Bellatrix had inflicted. It trickled down her neck and stained the dove grey fabric of her summer dress a dull brown.

“Don’t be silly--”

“I’m not! I did it, didn’t I.” She tilted her chin haughtily, but she looked very tired. “Not that it did me much good to challenge Bella. But enough is enough.”

Lucius was inclined to agree. “Your sister is a nasty piece of work.”

“Yes; and I suppose that’s saying something, coming from you.” She looked at him with those blue eyes that always made him feel like he could see into the depths of the ocean, and he wondered what he would find now if he looked closely.

He straightened up. “Are you all right? The curse--”

“I’ll be fine. I think.” Narcissa gestured at the Auror, not quite looking at him. “Is he...?”

“I don’t know,” Lucius lied. “Leave him. You need to go home. Now.”

“I’m not leaving without you.” Her tone brooked no argument. She came over to him and linked her arm with his, whether to steady him or herself, she didn’t even seem to know. They made for a sorry picture, Lucius thought, battered and bruised as they were; he had to smile.

He waved his wand and the bone-white mask dissolved. They had to leave; he couldn’t stay here with his face exposed, but he didn’t want the mask between them when he looked at her. “You put up a good fight, Cissy. Well done.”

She snorted softly. “I don’t know what came over me.”

“Anger,” he guessed. “And it was about time, too. But next time she tries anything, tell me. I mean it.”

“And what will you do then? Curse her again?”

It seemed drastic when she looked at him like that, her eyes swimming with unshed tears. “I’m sorry you had to see that, but it was well deserved.”

“You’re sorry? I’m not.”

“No?”

“No. Did you think I didn’t know what you can do? I was the first person who ever practised with you.” She was shaking, but her voice was clear. “I’ve felt what it is for you to curse someone, I know your power. Why would I want it to go to waste? Why should I object to you employing your considerable talent to protect me?”

“I,” he began, too surprised to articulate what he’d thought.

“Can we go to your house? I don’t want to be alone.”

Comments

Posted by: Roni (roni_2010)
Posted at: January 17th, 2017 06:01 am (UTC)

like the 1st chapter!! onward to the next one...

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