Courting Miss Black Part 4
Narcissa's chess pieces were gloating over the loss of Lucius' rook. She
sat with her feet curled under her in the squishy armchair that he'd pulled
over to the table for her. What the Daily Prophet had dubbed "The Wedding
of the Decade" was less than a week away, and this was the first evening
they'd managed to spend alone since school. Or, almost alone. Lucius'
parents were in another drawing room, somewhere in the manor. That
knowledge seemed to weigh on them, keeping conversation to a minimum. Of
course, Lucius knew better than to say anything truthful in his father's
house anyway. The paintings were all VERY loyal to Malfoy Sr. Just as they
would one day be loyal to him.
Not in the least perturbed by the loss, Lucius considered his knight, his
eyes darting to Narci's face as the firelight flickered. He might have
paused just to look at her, had the light in the room not abruptly shifted
to green. Instead, his eyes snapped toward the fireplace. He raised an
eyebrow in annoyance. Severus Snape's head had appeared in the flames, and
the expression on his face was not one that Lucius had seen there often.
"Narcissa," Snape greeted stiffly before turning to Lucius. "He's in
Knockturn Alley tonight."
Lucius heard Narci's intake of breath. She didn't approve of Knockturn
Alley, he knew, but he'd promised his aid, and Severus would have it. He
stood abruptly and summoned a robe and mask from elsewhere in the house.
While he awaited the items, he kissed his fiancée on top of her head.
Paintings be damned.
Narcissa knew better than to voice her concern. The set of Lucius' jaw was
enough to convince her that this wasn't some childish prank, not that he'd
ever indulged in such things, really. But she was curious what they were up
to. "Who, Lucius?" she asked quietly. Severus had disappeared, and Lucius
was donning his cloak and duplicating his mask so Severus would have one as
"Avery," he answered shortly. She felt anger well up in her chest. Lucius
had told her what Avery had tried to do to Severus' betrothed, and though
the girl hadn't ended up in Slytherin, she still felt protective of her.
She'd known her since she was small, after all. Almost, she offered to
accompany him, but she bit her tongue. The Ruse, as they'd come to call it,
was still a top priority. There could be no show of power on her part, or
the Dark Lord would be demanding her loyalty. Instead, she only nodded
approvingly as Lucius snapped his mask in place. "We won't kill him," he
added, sounding rather disappointed. She smiled then.
"I'll be going back to the manor, then. I need to send a letter to my
sister." Lucius' eyes seemed to narrow behind the mask. When she meant
Bella, she always said Bella. It was only when she was writing to Andromeda
that she ever referred to her as her sister. And she knew quite well that
she'd best not be caught writing to Andromeda after what the blood traitor
had done. Running off with a muggle! It was despicable!
Still, he reigned in his anger. He had learned long since that Narcissa's
discretion was impeccable. She would not be caught. And regardless of her
poor taste, Andromeda was her sister. After a rather heated debate, he'd
determined that he had no right to forbid her to correspond. He nodded once
and disappeared into the fireplace, leaving her with a small smile on her
lips. She was more than pleased that he hadn't questioned her. She was
thrilled. This marriage, and the Ruse they shared, it was going to work.
* * * * * * *
It had been no small feat to create a clearing in the midst of the Arnot
Tower Gardens large enough for every pureblood in Europe to attend the
wedding, but the Malfoy family had accomplished it. They'd had to book it
for the entire month of July, and most of their more talented acquaintances
had been assisting with shrinking Loch Leven to allow for an enlarged tower
and courtyard garden. The house elves simply could not be trusted with
such things, especially since it had to go back to normal when they left.
The Ruse was firmly in place, as Narcissa and Lucius had not seen one
another, nor even corresponded, since their unfinished chess match earlier
in the week. Of all the aspects of the Ruse, that part was Narci's least
favorite. Lucius maintained that if no one thought he cared for her, then
no one would ever use her to blackmail him. Of course it was a sound
theory, but in practice, it was torment at its finest.
Narcissa stared at her reflection in the floor to ceiling mirror her sister
had conjured for her. Bellatrix stood behind her, dressed rather less
spectacularly than Narcissa had expected. Now that the Dark Lord had set
his minions on the first resisting pureblood family, he was unable to
attend such public functions, so there was no one for the dark haired
beauty to impress. Where he'd desired open loyalty only a few years
previous, he now desired secrecy. Lucius, for his part, had been pleased.
The family honor could be restored, if only he could keep the press from
learning of his nocturnal activities. Bellatrix, on the other hand, was
Narcissa nodded at her elder sister's words, cringing each time Bella began
talking belligerently about muggles and mudbloods. Andromeda, covered in
the invisibility cloak which Lucius had owled to her, sat fuming on the
floor nearby. When Bellatrix began spouting off about her marriage to Mr.
Tonks as if it was some kind of abomination, Andromeda couldn't resist
casting a quick charm to make her choke on her words. After all, she may
have fallen in love with a muggle, but she was still a Black. Narci's
attention snapped to Bella as she coughed violently, and she suppressed a
grin, knowing what must have happened. She quickly conjured a glass of
water and handed it to her scowling sister.
"Bellatrix Lestrange, you should know better than to speak that way of your
own blood," she scolded in her most superior tone of voice. "Nothing good
ever comes of it. And don't get that on my robes!" she exclaimed, as Bella
continued to sputter in agitation. Narcissa smoothed her robes again,
admiring the deep gold fabric. After consulting her mother about several
issues at the beginning of her sixth year, she had known better than to
expect to be allowed to wear white as Bella had last year. (Not that she
thought for a moment that Bella had deserved the white robes either.)
The Prophet would have a field day with that, she knew. Lucius' self-
satisfied smirk would be all over the paper by the end of the day and
everyone would know that she hadn't made him wait. But it suited the Ruse
just fine. She smiled conspiratorially in the direction of her eldest
sister, or where she thought her to be. Everyone might know, but no one
would DARE look down on her for it. After all, in half an hour, she would
be a Malfoy.
Lucius felt like a fourteen year old again as he stood beside Crouch with
an artfully disinterested expression on his face. The girls were not yet
ready. He idly wondered what Crouch would do if he ever found out he was
presiding over a terrace filled with death eaters. Active ones, at that.
His eyes clouded as he remembered the most recent exploit. Avery had
deserved every hex, welt, and cut they'd given him. He was bound to be in
St. Mungos for quite some time. Particularly satisfying had been the
single punch Severus had thrown. For fourteen, he'd certainly held his
own, barely letting Lucius cast anything at all. He was going to do quite
well in the group, once his father was out of the way.
Lucius unconsciously rubbed his thumb and forefinger together, his closed
expression firmly in place as he watched Mr. Deesia and his daughter,
Muriel, walking up the south stair. The girl had been more trouble than
she was worth in the last year, and there wasn't a damn thing he could do
about it. Severus was growing steadily more proficient in the dark arts,
even as his betrothed moved away from them. Not that she wasn't turning
out to be a formidable witch in her own right, he acknowledged grudgingly,
remembering her summoning spell. Besides, he owed her something, and, as
distasteful as it was to admit it, that 'something' might very well be a
Unbidden, the thought came to him that he owed her even more than that. She
had seen the mark and saved him anyway. One of three people in all the
world who knew him and didn't think him a monster. He tore his thoughts
away as they passed him and headed toward their chairs. Realizing that
he'd begun to scowl, he carefully neutralized his expression. Disinterest
rather than outright defiance was the Ruse of the day, and he would
Music had begun playing from somewhere. Classical something or other –
probably Mozart. There were so few classical wizard composers, and at the
Wedding of the Decade, muggle music would have been an inexcusable faux
pas. He smirked, suddenly, wondering how Narci and Bella were getting
along, and if Andromeda had yet joined them. He hoped Narcissa knew what
she was doing, requesting that he give the woman that cloak. If she were
caught here, she'd be dead in instants, and the Prophet wouldn't say a
thing about it. The Black family was taking her betrayal quite hard.
With a few terse words to Crouch, Lucius strode from the terrace back into
the scented courtyard, and they took their places before the seated guests.
Behind them a huge magnolia tree, in full blossom, provided a backdrop.
Where it had come from, Lucius could only guess, but he supposed perhaps
old Mr. Knott had provided it. For an evil, vindictive old wizard, he did
have a soft spot for herbology. Smirking again to hide a sudden and
uncharacteristic bout of nervousness, he glanced over the crowd. Severus
was sitting with the Deesias, away from his parents, and both sets of
people looked happier for it. He'd have to speak with the boy. It
wouldn't do for everyone to know he disliked his father. How would they
get away with killing him if everyone already expected them to?
He was reminded a moment later how difficult it is to pretend to care for a
complete and utter bastard when his own father approached him. Lucius
withstood the false joviality, as well as the lowly spoken reminder that
the family honor must be upheld at all costs. Oh yes, Lucius would uphold
the family honor. Just as soon as his father was safely stowed away in the
graveyard behind the manor. In the meantime, he affected boredom and
awaited his bride.
He was caught entirely unprepared when she arrived. Thankfully everyone's
eyes were on her. Only she noticed the look on his face. Narcissa pressed
her lips together in annoyance. Lucius Malfoy had bragged of being the
most accomplished actor of the century. Why then was he grinning like a
schoolboy when they were supposed to be performing the Ruse? A rather rude
cough from the left caught his attention, and his eyes flicked to Severus,
who was raising an eyebrow at him in warning. Instantly his face resumed
its customary sneer. In the same instant, Narcissa felt a great weight
lift from her chest, and a huge swell of gratitude to the Snape boy. Once
again he'd covered for them.
The wedding proceeded with all the pomp and circumstance that the main
participants could have hoped. The society section of the paper would
speak of nothing else for nearly a month.
When they were finally and officially Mr. and Mrs. Lucius Malfoy, Lucius
kissed her dispassionately and led her back down the aisle. Narcissa
looked decidedly unhappy, until flashes began to go off. Then her face lit
up, and her posture improved greatly. As planned, Lucius made a snide
comment about her vanity, and she became remarkably cold as they led the
way to the terrace for dancing and dinner.
It was a long evening, and Lucius spent most of it dancing with his
relatives and sending Severus to whisper things to Narci each time he found
himself with a moment of peace. Narcissa danced with the younger boy
several times as he relayed her new husband's messages. She listened with
a look of forced distaste on her pale face as he told her that Lucius
thought her beautiful, and as he stumbled over the innuendoes that he'd
been asked to repeat. They would share a hearty laugh later over the boy's
discomfort, though she knew that his willingness to do such a thing meant a
great deal to Lucius.
As the evening wore on, Lucius found himself growing more and more
impatient. There didn't seem to be any end of the festivities in sight,
and the Ruse was getting old. He excused himself smoothly as yet another
busty guest he didn't recognize attempted to lure him onto the dance floor.
He made his way to Narcissa, who was now dancing with a somewhat tipsy Mr.
Ollivander. "Come, Mrs. Malfoy, it is time we departed," he began
Narcissa lifted her chin defiantly, but excused herself politely and
followed Lucius as he went to stand near the door. She stood deferentially
behind him as he cast a sonorous charm on himself and bid everyone
goodnight in elegant words, spoken haughtily. He did not thank them for
attending. He expressed no pleasure. It was truly a masterful
performance. When they reached the apparation point, he took a sly look
around. Seeing no one, he swept her into his arms in one smooth motion,
and they disappeared, neither one noticing the very confused girl who'd
been sitting in a window of the ruined tower, watching through tear-blurred
Muriel shook her head, her tears forgotten. Did she dare to believe what
she'd just seen? To all accounts, the Malfoys had been nothing but cold
and distant with one another all night. But for just a moment they had
looked so happy. She wiped furiously at her tears when she heard footfalls
on the decrepit stairway.
"Those stairs are in no shape for climbing, Sev. You'd best levitate
yourself up here," she warned, steadying her voice carefully.
Severus floated into the open-ceilinged room a moment later and looked
shrewdly at his best friend. "What're you doing up here?" Of course, it
was quite obvious what she was doing, and he knew it was probably his
fault. But then, he'd TOLD her he hated to dance, so she shouldn't have
expected to be asked. Not that he wouldn't have asked her, of course, if
Lucius hadn't kept him so busy.
She hadn't moved from the window, her arms still wrapped tightly around her
knees, in spite of the creases it made in her robes. "The fountains are
lit," she responded quietly.
"Well, Papa says it's time to go."
With a sad smile, she hopped down from the window ledge and apparated to
the ground, startling her father, who was waiting for them. Severus
followed a moment later. It had been a good night. He'd managed to avoid
his father the entire time. They apparated home, not waiting for the rest
of Severus' family, and he shook hands with Mr. Deesia and said goodnight
to Mur before trotting across the lawn to sequester himself in his room.
"Everything alright?" Mr. Deesia looked down at his daughter as her eyes
followed her friend home. For a moment, he thought perhaps she hadn't
"Perfect, Papa," she replied sweetly, smiling bravely up at him before
leading the way into the house. 'For someone,' she added dryly as she
tucked herself into bed, remembering the fleeting vision of joy on the
usually sneering face of Lucius Malfoy.
A/N: This is the last of the one-shots about Lucius and Narcissa, however,
they will be mentioned again later in my works. (Story 12, chapters 25 and
26.) I really appreciate all the feedback I've gotten on these ones –
they've been particularly tricky. Rowling revealed so little about them
that it was difficult to get their personalities right, but I hope you
found this to be entirely canon, as that was my goal. Thanks so much for