Battle of the Bands

Pairing: Lucissa (Lucius Malfoy x Narcissa Black), plus background Mulcibery (Darian Mulciber x Caleb Avery), Wolfstar (Sirius Black x Remus Lupin), Jily (James Potter x Lily Evans), Tedromeda (Ted Tonks x Andromeda Black)

Universe: Muggle AU

Rating: M for language, sex

Summary: A Tumblr Anon asked for a Lucissa, and this is what came to mind. (A note that all the lyrics to the songs featured in this one shot are written by me, because I'm insane like that.)

The Leaky Cauldron is a shitty dive bar that serves up cheap drinks and sketchy company, but once a year it transforms to something passably not-horrible to host the Battle of the Bands, which is attended by local talent scouts and record label executives. The winner of the Battle of the Bands traditionally goes on to achieve greatness, and the Death Eaters and Marauders are in it to win it—especially when a third rival gets unexpectedly added to the mix.


"Mulciber, for god's sake," Lucius barked sharply, yanking him off Caleb Avery's lap. "Can't this wait until later?"

"No, Malfoy, it can't," Darian retorted, shoving him away to resume bending over Caleb, grinning at him. "We're busy."

"Yeah, Malfoy," Caleb muttered, sliding his tongue over Darian's bottom lip and letting out a rough tremor of laughter as Darian moved to straddle him where he sat. "Can't you get Thor to take care of it?"

"Can I get Rowle, a drummer," Lucius clarified irritably, "to check the bass amp for soundcheck?" He crossed his arms over his chest, growling. "I could, but I don't see what good that would do Darian—do you, Avery?"

"You need to relax, Lucius," Darian said, not looking over his shoulder. "You've been too busy running Tom's errands and it's making you fucking unbearable."

"Yeah, what does Tom need now?" Caleb asked, giving Darian's rear a slap.

"Don't even get me started," Lucius muttered. "Some particular brand of imported bottled water or something—"

"Coconut water?" Darian asked innocently. "I like Caleb's best."

"That is the most disgusting thing I've ever heard," Lucius snapped, "and also, fuck you both."

"Together?" Caleb asked, smirking. "We could make room."

Lucius made a face. "No, god, ugh—"

"Fine, I'll check the fucking amp," Darian sighed, resignedly clambering to his feet. "I'm assuming that will get you off my back?"

"It will," Lucius said, rolling his eyes. "And speaking of Thor—"

"He's busy trying to fuck Bella's little sister," Caleb offered, gesturing across the room to where Thorfinn had his back to them. "Met her yet?"

"Who, Andromeda?" Lucius asked, frowning. "She's around all the time."

"There's a third sister, apparently," Darian informed him, eyeing his fingernails. "A Miss Narcissa Black."

"Well," Lucius muttered, "if she's anything like the other two, she's clearly—"

"Clearly what, Lucius?" Tom asked, throwing an arm around his shoulders. "Careful," he warned, grinning. "Bella might hear you."

Lucius groaned aloud. "I don't understand why you can't choose to fuck someone that's a little more stable," he commented for the hundredth time. "Is her pussy really worth the insanity?"

"She's my muse, Lucius," Tom said, shrugging. "Without her, I imagine our material would be far less—"

"Dark?" Caleb guessed. "Substantially fucked?"

"I was going for 'edgy' or 'emotive'," Tom remarked. "But by all means, demean me, Avery," he said briskly, rolling his eyes. "It only feeds my creativity."

"Well, the more of that, the better," Darian ruled. "You're the odds-on favorite to win." He glanced down, reading an article off his phone. "With his angsty yowl and bedroom eyes, Death Eater frontman Tom Riddle's got more star power in the frayed hem of his impossibly fitted black skinny jeans than most people have in their entire bodies—"

"Why does it always come back to my jeans?" Tom interrupted, scowling. "Never mind my lyrics," he muttered, "or my fucking depth—"

"Or the rest of your band, eh, Riddle?" Thorfinn Rowle cut in, appearing behind them. "I'm really not sure why nobody has anything to say about my expertly clean drumming, or Malfoy's sick guitar riffs—"

"Now you're mocking us," Tom sniffed. "I don't care for it."

"I would never," Thor assured him, grinning. "Mulciber," he called, nodding at Darian. "What's the article say about the Marauders?"

"Ugh, fuck," Tom said instantly, spitting the word out like the mention of the band's name alone had been venomous. "The Marauders are a fucking commercialized blow job," he ruled decisively. "They're nothing but earworm alternative-pop-punk-whatever radio machines."

"Oh my god, Riddle, stop, I'm blushing," a voice drawled behind them, bringing them face to face with the Marauders lead singer, James Potter.

"Just think, Tom," James snarked wryly, "maybe you might actually manage to win one of these things if you ever deigned to write an actual fucking hook, eh?"

"Oh, fuck off, Potter," Lucius snapped, but Tom only smirked at him.

"You sure you're ready for this, Potter?" Tom asked silkily. "Think you're ready to hang with the big boys instead of—" he waved a hand. "Bar mitzvahs, or whatever it is you do?"

"We do weddings, too, thanks," James said airily, tipping an imaginary hat. "I've even been known to play a quinceañera or two."

"By which he means two," Sirius Black contributed lazily, appearing at James' side and slinging an arm over his shoulders. "Exactly two."

"Each one more magnificent than the last," James declared, looking inanely triumphant as Remus Lupin loped in after them.

"Oh, good, the family-friendly gays are here," Caleb commented, smirking at Remus and Sirius. "Marvelous."

"As opposed to what?" Remus asked tartly, arching a sandy brow. "Are you and Mulciber the rotten gays?"

"New band name," Sirius cut in instantly, nudging Remus. "The Rotten Gays. Called it."

"Hey, I thought we just agreed that's us," Darian argued, as Lucius let out an impatient growl.

"Mulciber, I thought I told you to get ready for soundcheck," he snapped. "And you," he said, turning to face Sirius, Remus, and James. "Can you three please get back in your clown car of ineptitude and—"

"Four," Peter Pettigrew interrupted breathlessly, his guitar slung over his shoulder as he jogged over to join them. "Hey, guys, sorry, was just checking out the set list—"

"Ah, we should maybe figure out what we're playing," James remarked, turning to Sirius. "Thoughts?"

"Don't play the song you wrote for Lily," Sirius replied instantly. "It won't work."

"Okay, I hear you," James agreed slowly, "but what if—"

"Don't do it," Remus sighed, cutting him off. "Seriously, Prongs. Don't."

"Yeah, totally, of course," James assured him. "But hypothetically, if I did—"

"Is the band list finalized?" Tom interrupted, turning to Peter. "Do we know who else is playing?"

"Close to finalized, I think," Peter supplied. "The Prewett twins are playing, and I think Dolohov and Karkaroff have some kind of KGB-themed joke of a cover band—"

"Ugh, hate them," Bella interrupted, sliding in and grimacing. As usual, she wore a long black peasant skirt and a black tank top with no bra—which would have been distracting, except they'd all seen Bella's tits more times than they could count. "Hey babe," she said, giving Tom an open-mouthed kiss that made everyone else wince with discomfort. "All set?"

"Close to it," Tom said, slipping an arm around her waist. "Malfoy's taking care of it."

Bella's dark eyes slid to his. "Good," she said coolly. "Then maybe I can get you to work out some of that excess frustration with Andromeda."

"Aw, babe, are you whoring out your sisters?" Tom asked, chuckling. "That's cute."

Bella made a face, resting her head against Tom's shoulder. "She's being so weird lately," she said. "You know what I found in her desk today?"

"Opioids?" Darian asked brightly.

"GET TO SOUNDCHECK," Lucius yelled at him. Darian shrugged, grinning, and ambled slowly away, throwing Lucius a salute over his shoulder.

"Not opioids," Bella said grimly. "Worse." She leaned in conspiratorially. "Kerouac."

"Oh, gross," Tom declared, making a face.

"What's wrong with Kerouac?" Sirius asked. "I love him."

"Yes, because you're shallow and self-indulgent," Remus said fondly, reaching up to pat the top of Sirius' head. "We know."

"I was going to say it's because when I'm drunk I need to be carried around like a suitcase, but fine," Sirius permitted. "Also," he chirped, "he and I share a devotion to universal liberation."

"You mean universal libations," James corrected him, at which point Lucius let out an audible groan.

"Don't you shits have musical instruments to tune or something?" he prompted unhappily. "Honestly, I feel like I get dumber every time you idiots speak."

"See?" Bella said, gesturing to Lucius. "This is why you'd be good for Andy: no nonsense. No fucks. Well, one fuck, which is to fuck her head right," she instructed definitively. "Remind her why a talented, well-monied cock is always an improvement over a brooding, self-aggrandizing Beat narrative. And anyway," Bella added impassively, "a little pussy would do your temperament some good, Lucius. I'd volunteer, but—"

"Gross," Lucius said, making a face, and then blanched. "No offense, Tom."

"She's not my girlfriend, she's my muse," Tom reminded him. "If I thought I had any choice in the matter, believe me, I'd make a different one."

"Sweet of you, babe," Bella purred, and Tom leaned down, kissing her firmly.

"Okay, well, I'm leaving," Lucius announced, and promptly turned, catching sight of Bella's sister Andromeda sitting at the bar and moving to join her. He wasn't actually going to sleep with her, obviously—not at the moment, anyway—but he was fully certain that he was going to need a drink to get through the day.

"Ted," he called to the bartender. "Two fingers of Makers, would you?"

"Got it, Lucius," Ted said, turning apologetically from his conversation with Andromeda. "One sec, Andy."

"Sure," she agreed brightly, drumming her fingers against a battered composition book. Lucius took a seat beside her, eyeing it.

"What do you have in there?" he asked, pointing to it. "Murder plots?"

Andromeda rolled her eyes. "Those would be in Bella's notebook," she corrected. "Mine has—" she reddened, averting her gaze as she stumbled into a pause. "Nothing, really."

"That's not true," Ted said, returning with Lucius' drink and sliding it across the bar, smiling warmly at Andromeda. "She writes poetry."

"Shitty poetry," Andromeda contributed quickly, her cheeks flushed. "Nothing good."

"Oh, stop it," Ted said, winking at her. "It's great. She's got some songs in there, too," he added, nodding to Lucius. "I've been trying to convince her to do Battle of the Bands tomorrow night."

At that—the utter insanity of the idea—it took everything Lucius possessed not to laugh; he supposed by the horrified look on Andromeda's face, his opposition must have showed.

"I said no," Andromeda assured him, hastily backpedaling. "They're not good. The songs, I mean," she clarified, looking down. "I—I could never, really—"

"I mean, Battle of the Bands is a pretty big deal," Lucius ventured carefully, letting the bourbon soak into his tongue before speaking. "So maybe not that—but something," he said, attempting lightness. "I'm sure something considerably less"—qualified, he thought disdainfully, but bit his tongue—"competitive would be a better place to give it a go."

"Oh," Andromeda said, visibly deflating. "I mean, yeah, that's what I was saying, too," she sighed. "It's nothing good, really, just scribbles—"

"Andy," Lucius heard behind him. "Haven't we already discussed how self-deprecation is so terribly passé?"

He caught the motion of someone sliding in beside him and turned to meet the startling blue eyes of a lithely slender blonde, her hair pulled back in a long ponytail that cascaded down over one strap of her floaty grey-blue sundress. "Narcissa Black," she offered, holding out a hand. "You were in the business of discouraging my sister?"

Lucius swallowed, startled, before accepting her proffered hand, finding her fingers cool and dainty in his. If she hadn't said her name was Black, he would never have guessed it; Narcissa barely had a trace of Bellatrix's dark features—either the older sister's ornately slanted eyes or her wild hair—and almost none of Andromeda's stiff brand of prettiness. Comparatively, Narcissa was coltish, airy, delicate; more forest sprite than urban muse, and entirely out of place against the flimsy facade of the bar's daytime persona, her sundress glowing warmly against her dewy skin.

"Lucius Malfoy," he supplied slowly, "and I wasn't discouraging her." He paused, clearing his throat to process the vacancy of her hand leaving his as she pulled away. "I only meant," he continued, "that the most high profile event of the year is hardly the time to test the waters."

"Andromeda writes songs," Narcissa informed him carelessly, "and she plays piano." She shrugged. "What else would she need?"

Lucius gaped at her for a minute, and then laughed. "Okay, now you're fucking with me, I take it," he commented, shaking his head. "You really think that's all it takes to win this competition?"

"What, did you have to obtain some kind of advanced degree in rocker bullshit to do this?" Narcissa countered. "A license to emote or something?"

"Narcissa," Andromeda warned, tilting her head, but Narcissa only rolled her eyes, waving her away.

"Something like that," Lucius permitted, smirking at her. "Thanks for noticing my credentials."

"Well, I have to assume there's some magic to it that I don't know about," she offered sweetly, her voice a little too high to be authentic. "Tell me, are you the authority on how to be a musician?"

"No," Lucius said, "but I do know that winning this competition is harder than you seem to think." He paused, taking a sip of his drink. "Songwriting by itself, even," he added pointedly. "Just because you throw together some rhymes doesn't necessarily mean you're any good."

Beside him, Andromeda's chin dropped, her gaze falling to her lap; Narcissa's eyes narrowed, catching the motion, before she turned back to Lucius.

"Anyone can write a song," she determined, dropping her coquettish act to glare defiantly at him. "Watch, I'll do one right now—"

"Narcissa," Andromeda sighed, but Narcissa ignored her.

"There's a man sat here drinking whiskey, his shirt's got buttons down the front," Narcissa sang. "He thinks that he's a poet, but he's really just a—"

"CISSY," Andromeda interrupted sharply, and Ted stifled a laugh behind his hand.

For a moment, Lucius was speechless, inflamed by a rush of irritation; but then, at the particularly coy look of smugness that had flitted across Narcissa's pale pink lips, he made a decision, rising sharply to his feet.

Lucius stepped behind her barstool, spinning her to face him and then leaning her back against the bar, his chest dropped down to hers. "You're taunting me," he murmured to her, lowering his chin to speak in her ear. "If you want something from me, princess, just ask."

Her eyes widened. "You think I'm hitting on you?" she asked bluntly, her pale brow furrowing as she stared up at him in challenge. "You couldn't be more wrong, Malfoy."

"Couldn't I?" he asked, and placed his hands on either side of her ribs, resting his palms on the bar to leave a breath's width of space between them. "I don't think so," he murmured. "In fact, what I think," he added carefully, "is that this dress"—he shifted back, tracing his finger over the strap of it before meeting her eye—"would look better on my floor."

There was a pause—an incalculable stiffening of her shoulders—and then Narcissa shifted slowly towards him, an unreadable smile spreading over her painted lips as her breath skated across his skin. Lucius felt himself smirk, satisfaction nudging at the corners of his mouth, and moved to close the distance.

He only realized that she had taken his glass of whiskey in her hand when he suddenly felt its contents splash across his cheek, the motion so quick he nearly missed it. He gasped as the liquid collided with skin, sputtering in shock as he reached up—startled, offended, and unforgivably sticky—to wipe the burn from his jaw.

"Sorry," Narcissa murmured insincerely, making a soft tsk-ing sound. "I just thought your drink would look better on your face."

Then she hopped off the stool and walked away, the floaty grey-blue material clinging to her hips with a whispered softness as she disappeared without looking back.

Lucius stared after her, fists clenched; Ted gingerly held out a cloth for him but he shoved it away, growling furiously under his breath.

"For the record," Andromeda remarked drily, "you did deserve that."

Lucius glared at her. "I have to go to soundcheck," he said bluntly, pivoting and walking away.

Battle of the Bands: Night One

"Alright, Tom, you and the Death Eaters are up first," Horace Slughorn called, speaking into his headpiece. "Followed by the Marauders—"

"We're here," James said, panting as he showed up, the other three half a step at his heels. "Sorry, just—had some issues—"

"With?" Minerva McGonagall asked, arching a brow.

"My hair," Sirius supplied. Minerva grimaced.

"He's lying," James assured her quickly, nudging Tom beside him. "It was my hair," he muttered under his breath, grinning. Tom shoved him away, making a face.

"Have you seen Bella?" Tom asked, shifting uncomfortably to speak into Lucius' ear. "She's normally around to take care of the, um—"

"Nerves?" Lucius prompted drily.

"Cock," Darian corrected, his arm slung around Caleb's neck. "We're good on the cock front, if anyone was wondering."

"Nobody was wondering," Lucius muttered back, shifting slightly as Thor slipped through the fray to stand beside him.

"Last minute entry," Thor murmured to him. "Band I've never heard of called 'The House of Black'—"

"What?" Lucius said loudly, prompting Tom to glance curiously at him. "Black? As in—" he turned, glancing at Sirius. "You're not in two bands, are you?"

"Not that I know of," Sirius replied lazily, then paused, tilting his head. "I suppose Reg might be in one."

"Reg?" Tom echoed skeptically. "Don't tell me you have a brother."

"He does," Remus informed them. "Regulus Black, narrow-hipped tornado of pestilence."

"Hear, hear," Sirius said brightly, smacking a kiss against Remus' cheek as Minerva glared warningly at him from down the hall.

"Ah, so nothing to worry about," Tom said, clapping Lucius on the shoulder. "Right?"

"Thirty seconds to intro," Minerva called. "Everyone ready?"

"Yeah," Lucius muttered, turning to Thor. "Don't come in too fast on the count in, okay? You've rushed it the last two times, Rowle, and I fucking swear, if you—"

"Relax," Thor assured him, clipping him in the ribs with his elbow. "We're fine."

"Yeah," Lucius said again, though he couldn't shake his uneasy feeling. "Did you hear Dumbledore's here?"

"Is that the guy who owns that Order label?" Thor asked. "Damn," he remarked with a low whistle. "That'd be ideal."

"I know," Lucius said, fidgeting. "If we could win this, get his contacts, maybe get him to listen to a demo—"

"One thing at a time," Tom said, glancing around again. "Fuck," he said under his breath, scowling. "Where the fuck is Bella?"

"Ready, Death Eaters?" Minerva asked, getting a signal from Horace. "You're on in three—two—one—"

"Let's do this," Tom said, shaking himself once before striding out onto the stage, painting his signature broody smirk across his lips and sauntering to his mic. "Ladies and gentlemen of the Leaky Cauldron," he shouted, pausing to accommodate the sound of screams at his arrival as Lucius picked up his guitar, joining Caleb on Tom's right. "We are the Death Eaters, and this song—"

Lucius struck a thundering chord, smiling at the renewed sound of cheers.

"—is called Tomorrows."

Tom turned, nodding once at Thor, who counted them in at a slightly quickened pace—I told you, you fuck, Lucius thought, growling internally—and then reached for the mic, letting his showman's persona drip over his face as he started to sing, his voice scratchy and low.

Pour me out like a river
And drown me in your sorrows
Let me down and ruin me, baby
I want all of your tomorrows

I split my soul up piece by piece
It's the least that I could do
I kept a sliver for myself
And the rest is all for you

The build into the chorus was heated, instrumental; Lucius bit his lip, feeling the guitar's vibration rattle in his bones.

I'm never gonna die
So you can drown me in your sorrows
I'm never gonna lose my way, babe
I've got all of your tomorrows

By the time they reached the hook, the crowd was singing along, sweat starting to drip down Lucius' spine.

I've got time to burn
I've got time to burn
I've got time to burn, and I want you

Tom's smile was radiantly undeniable as the crowd joined in, singing the words "I want you" in such impeccable unison that even Dumbledore, whom Lucius had spotted at the back of the venue, was visibly impressed.

Lucius let the reverb sink over the crowd, catching his breath as the song slipped back into Tom's solo vocals.

I split my soul up piece by piece
It's the least that I could do
I kept a sliver for myself
And the rest is all for you

The applause was deafening; Lucius couldn't prevent a smile. He turned—glaring once at Thor, who shrugged—before exiting the stage after a final bow from Tom. Lucius paused once at the side of the stage, glancing smugly down his nose at James; good luck, he mouthed obnoxiously, to which James' mouth twitched into a welcoming smirk. Bring it, James returned, nodding at the rest of his band and making his way to the stage.

"What's up, kids," James said into the mic, his impressively unfailing earnestness practically dripping from his grey henley as his faded black Chuck Taylors tapped preemptively against the stage. "We're the Marauders, and we're here to have some fun."

There was a warm round of applause, a couple of shouts; behind James, Sirius dripped half a bottle's worth of water over his head, smiling broadly as a group of twenty-something girls squealed their approval. Emboldened, Sirius tore his shirt over his shoulders, holding his drumsticks triumphantly in the air and basking in the attention.

"Fucker," Tom muttered, shaking his head. Remus, Lucius noted, merely tapped his fingers impatiently against his bass, rolling his eyes at Sirius' antics.

"This song," James started, wiping sweat from his brow and grinning as he looked down at his guitar and then back up, "is called Lily."

"Oh what the fuck, Potter," someone in the crowd groaned. "For the last time, I absolutely will not—"

"Here we go!" James yelled gleefully, making a counting motion over his shoulder to Peter. "One, two, one two three—"

She's a demon
She's a siren
And she's calling from the rocks
She's a monster
She's a trickster
She's a sly too-clever fox

Won't you be mine, baby?
I've been waiting all this time
Won't you be mine, baby?
I've been waiting all the time

Tom had been right about the Marauders' mass appeal; the song was unforgivably catchy, which made Lucius even angrier. It would be stuck in his head for hours.

She's beautiful
She's charming
She's got my heart locked in a cage
She is madness
She is manic
She's a thunderstorm of rage

James smiled broadly, blowing a kiss to the redheaded girl in the crowd.

I want to know what makes you tick
I want to be the one that makes you sick

"These fuckers can write a hook," Darian shouted to Caleb. Lucius glared at them.

Won't you be mine, baby?
I've been waiting all this time
Won't you be mine, baby?
I've been waiting all the time

By the time the song ended, there were about as many hormonal screams for James Potter as there had been for Tom.

"We are the Marauders!" he shouted into the mic, smiling broadly. "Thank you, and Lily, one more thing—" he grabbed the mic, holding on as Remus tried to drag him away—"Lily Evans, I fucking love you!"

"Jesus Christ," a girl next to Lucius remarked as Sirius threw James over his shoulder, carrying him off the stage. "I can't believe I'm saying this, but I want to fuck that guy straight into the floor."

"He's hot, isn't he?" her friend replied. "I just wanna mess him up, you know?"

"Oh, for fuck's sake," Lucius muttered under his breath, turning back to Thor. "Who's next?"

"It's that House of Black group," Thor said, glancing down at his phone screen for the lineup. "You really think it's Black's brother?"

"I mean, I guess it could be—"

Lucius stopped, silenced, as he caught a glimpse of platinum blonde hair come into view.

"That isn't," he said breathlessly, and then gaped. "No way," he gasped. "Thor, tell me I'm hallucinating—"

"What the fuck?" Tom yelled, reaching out to grip Lucius' arm. "Is that Bella?"

The room seemed to collectively gasp as Bellatrix, Andromeda, and Narcissa Black all sauntered onto the stage—followed by a skinny loping man with long black hair that Lucius assumed was Regulus Black—and waved to the crowd, each woman dressed in a set of impeccably fit black jeans and shod in studded stiletto heels. Narcissa, whose blonde hair fell in a sleek wave down her back, tossed the crowd a broad smile as she reached for the microphone, her crimson nails bright against the metal as she curled her fingers around it. She looked cool, calm, confident; she looked hot, and as Andromeda took to the keyboard and Bellatrix picked up a guitar—slinging it over her bra-less shoulders and tossing her hair back to blow Tom a kiss—Narcissa looked like a wet dream brought to life, her scarlet lips curling up in an expectant smile.

She looked like a fucking goddess and it took every ounce of matter Lucius possessed not to fall to his knees and worship her.

"Well, I suppose all those years of 'don't touch my goddamn drums' didn't do Regulus any good," Sirius commented sullenly as the Marauders joined them against the wall.

"Shut up," Lucius attempted inaudibly as Narcissa opened her mouth to speak.

"Ladies and Gentlemen, we are the noble and most ancient House of Black," she murmured into the mic, smiling genially at the crowd. "And this song," she continued, looking around the room, "is for a new friend of mine." She looked up from her guitar, scanning the back wall. "Lucius Malfoy, are you in here?"

Lucius' heart stopped as her eyes met his, the smile broadening.

"Lucius, sweetie," Narcissa purred, winking at him. "This one's for you."

"Huh," Tom said, frowning with confusion as he looked at Lucius. "Won her over, did you?"

"Um," Lucius said hesitantly. "Well—"

You think you have the right to call me baby
But you're wrong, honey, you're wrong
You think that no means maybe
But you're wrong, honey, you're wrong

"That's a no," Thor said flatly as Narcissa continued to croon into the mic, making a spectacle of her performance.

Come on over, pretty boy
I've got a thing or two to say
Your pants are on so tight
They might be messing with your brain
Take a look, baby, take stock
But put your hand back on your—

"Oh my god," Remus yelled, cackling madly at Lucius' expense. "What a PR nightmare!"

Come on over, pretty baby
And I'll send you on your way

"Holy hell, what did you do to her, Malfoy?" James asked, barely managing to suppress his laughter. "Christ, every woman in here looks like she wants to throw you in a river."

"Shut up, Potter," Lucius growled, but beside him, Tom's expression stiffened.

"Lucius," he muttered. "This is decidedly not good."

"It's nothing," Lucius said quickly. "It's—it's no big deal, it's just—"

You said I couldn't write a song
But you're wrong, honey, you're wrong
You told me that I don't belong
But you're wrong, honey, you're wrong

"This," Darian said, "is terrible for you, Malfoy."

"They're all fucking singing along!" Caleb said, pointing to the crowd. "Fuck, they love this—"

Walk away, babe, I said no
Walk away, baby, go home
Walk away, babe, I said no
Walk away, baby, go home

By the time Narcissa had reached the bridge, every single person in the bar was singing along, including the Marauders. Lucius reached out, smacking James in the abdomen.

"Could you not?" he demanded brusquely. "I'm right here."

"What?" James asked, coughing at the impact. "It's fucking catchy, okay?"

"This is bullshit," Lucius seethed, shoving through the crowd and disappearing into the street.

Lucius leaned against the wall in the alley, scowling as he brought the freshly lit cigarette to his lips.

"Smoking kills," he heard from behind him and whipped around, feeling a renewed rush of fury at the sound of her voice. "You really shouldn't smoke," Narcissa informed him, tilting her head and smirking at him.

"What do you want?" he muttered, raising the cigarette to his lips. "Haven't you done enough damage for one night?"

"Not quite," she said, reaching out to take the cigarette from his hand and putting it out on the street, crushing it under the ball of her stilettoed foot. "You missed the encore performance, you know."

Lucius shook his head, seething. "You know, I get that this was all a joke to you," he spat furiously. "I get that you wanted to make me look bad, but this is my life," he growled. "This competition is fucking huge for me, so I really don't need you to show up and drag me through the mud just to prove a fucking point—"

"I didn't do it to prove a point," Narcissa informed him, crossing her arms over her chest. "Give me your jacket," she suggested, shivering. "It's freezing out here."

"No," Lucius retorted furiously. "Fucking freeze, then, or go inside—"

"I'm not trying to fuck with you," Narcissa informed him. "But Andromeda wanted to play, even if she wouldn't admit it—and Tom never gives Bella any credit, so—"

"So what?" Lucius demanded. "This is all some kind of revenge act?"

"How utterly fucking patronizing of you," Narcissa commented sharply. "We wanted to perform, so we did." She shrugged. "This happened to be the first song I wrote, and I felt you deserved a dedication. After all, since songwriting is so difficult," she added mockingly, "I figured I should credit my sources."

She shivered a second time and he shook his head, taking off his leather jacket and throwing it at her with a grimace. "You didn't have to do this," he said again, watching her wrap it around her shoulders. "Look, I actually want to be a musician, okay? I need to be taken seriously, and that can't happen if you turn everyone in that bar against me—"

"Fine," she said, the line of her crimson mouth tightening. "I'm sorry, okay? I won't fuck with you again."

Lucius opened his mouth, ready to argue, but wilted at the look of sincerity on her face.

"Be sure that you don't," he said firmly. "And anyway," he added, "I wasn't—I didn't—"

He broke off, and Narcissa waited expectantly. "Yes?"

"If you aren't interested in me, that's fine," Lucius told her stiffly. "Yesterday, I didn't—I wasn't trying to pressure you. I mean, I was," he conceded, cringing, "but I didn't mean it. I was just—" he paused. "I got carried away, and I'm sorry."

Narcissa paused for a moment and then nodded, biting her lip. "Fine," she conceded. "We're even, then."

"Yeah, we are," Lucius sighed, and then smirked at her, unable to prevent himself. "I mean, at least you called me pretty, right?"

She shrugged.

"You're really fucking pretty," she said apathetically. "I'm not a liar."

He felt himself smile and tried to fight it; Narcissa sighed, sliding his jacket from her shoulders and taking a step towards him, holding it out for him.

"Here," she offered. "Thanks."

He reached out, taking it from her. "Yeah," he said, forcing a swallow as their hands met through the fabric. "It's—you know. No problem."

She nodded, turning to reenter the club but pausing after a step, pivoting back to face him as he toyed with what to say.

"Lucius," she said slowly, "I just—"

"The hook was really catchy," he blurted out, unsure what had come over him. "The 'walk away' bridge," he clarified, suddenly fidgeting with his hands. "It was really good. You're—" he paused, clearing his throat. "You're really good at this."

A smile tugged at the corners of her lovely mouth, and he barely registered the fact that her lips were brushing his until he felt her fingers digging into the back of his neck, pulling him closer. He dropped his hands, letting the jacket fall to the ground as he rested them carefully on her hips, scarcely believing he was touching her; and then—just as suddenly—she was gone, the smell of her gardenia perfume lingering in the air between them.

Battle of the Bands: Night Two

"Potter," a redheaded girl was pleading with James backstage. "Do not profess your love to me onstage, okay? I get it," she added. "Super nice of you and all that, it's just—"

"Ugh, is this about Snivellus?" Sirius asked. "Lils," he groaned. "Come on."

"His name is Severus," the girl sighed exasperatedly, "and he really doesn't appreciate it, okay? And Potter, for the hundredth time, it's not going to happen—"

"For your information, Evans, I really think you're warming up to me," James sniffed. "But Remus has already made me promise not to sing anything from my Lily discography, so—"

"Discography?" Peter chimed in, making a face. "Prongs, please."

"Yes, listen to Pete," the girl pleaded. "Okay?"

"Fine," James said, groaning. "But you know I love you, right?"

"Yes," the girl said. "It sounds familiar."

"Don't forget," James said, leaning against the wall and looking down at her. "I respect you, Evans, but I'm also—"

"In love with me," the girl supplied briskly, turning to leave. "Noted," she called over her shoulder, waving.

"I'd die for you, Evans," James yelled after her. "Super casual, though, we can definitely take it slow at first, I can wait—"

"Wow," Lucius said, shaking his head. "You need help, Potter."

"Says you, Mr Pants Too Tight," James retorted, scowling. He pulled at his chambray shirt, tugging impatiently at the collar. "I hate going first," he muttered.

"As you should," Tom said, smirking. "There'll be no coasting off our momentum tonight, Potter."

"Marauders, are you ready?" Minerva called, gesturing to James. "Potter, you need to be out in twenty seconds—"

"Yeah, yeah, I'm coming," James sighed. "Moony, where's my—"

"Here," Remus said, handing him his pitch pipe. "You good, Prongs?"

"He's fine," Sirius said, throwing one arm over each bandmate. "We're good, right?"

"Potter!" Minerva yelled. "Potter, get out there, now—"

"Break a leg," Tom murmured, flicking the back of James' head and smiling as he scowled, running a hand through his hair.

"Leaky Cauldron, my homies," James shouted into the mic, suddenly conjuring his signature manic energy as he came onto the stage. "Do you solemnly swear that you're up to no good?"

"YES," the crowd yelled back as Sirius flung his shirt off, hitting Remus with it.

"Alright—this song is called—fuck, we never named this song—okay, well, here we go—"

The lights go down
The fire starts
Let loose the crown
Rip out the hearts

Their song of choice for the evening had leaned ever so slightly more edgy than usual, and while James' voice had nothing on Tom's growling rasp, he carried the mood almost expertly.

Everything starts, here, now, tonight
Everything starts, me, you, all right

It was a jumper of an anthem, with a considerably well-timed drop.

We are rebels
We are running in the night
We are rising
From the ashes
We are here to start a fight

"Ugh," Tom sniffed. "Juvenile."

Bare your teeth
It's time to go
Claws hit the ground
The demons know

Everything starts, here, now, tonight
Everything starts, me, you, all right

"Of course Black takes a drum solo," Thor complained. "When do I get one?"

"When people evolve any interest in drumming," Darian replied, smirking.

The song ended with a bass rip from Remus and then the Marauders were met with cheers, James' face suddenly back to its smarmy triumphant self.

"Thank you Leaky Cauldron! And Lily Evans, I will fucking love you forever!"

"Holy shit," someone drawled. "He's certainly got it bad, doesn't he?"

Lucius whipped around, catching her voice. "Narcissa," he said breathlessly, turning to face her; she wore a tight black dress with her hair loose down her back, her lips a deep berry-red. "When are you—"

"We're after the Prewett twins," she supplied. "Two bands after you."

"Ah," Lucius acknowledged, clearing his throat just as Tom came over, frowning at Narcissa.

"Where's Bellatrix?" he demanded. "She was supposed to meet me half an hour ago, but she—"

"She had to fix a problem with the equipment," Narcissa supplied coolly. "Our equipment," she added, smirking. "Not yours, for once."

Tom made a face, pulling at his collar. "I can't breathe, Lucius," he said. "My throat's all coated and sticky, and I can't—"

"You're fine," Lucius assured him, gripping his arm. "Seriously. We're about to go on—"

"Death Eaters," Minerva called. "You're on in fifteen."

"See?" Lucius said, gesturing. "Tom, get out there—"

Tom turned, muttering under his breath, and Lucius glanced at Narcissa before following.

"Hey," he said to her, "so—"

"Don't fuck up," she cut in simply and turned, disappearing into the crowd of musicians backstage. It was considerably less than he had hoped for; but, he reminded himself, about what he should have expected.

"Cool," Lucius sighed at her back, striding onto the stage.

"Leaky Cauldron," Tom called into the mic, "we are the Death Eaters, and this song is called Suicide." He turned over his shoulder, gesturing to Thor to count them in.

Here we go, Lucius thought, inhaling deeply before striking the first chord.

The storms that I have weathered
Have turned my soul to black
I left my heart untethered
And you strapped me to the rack

I'm a deity unworshipped
I'm a prodigy untapped
I've loved you and I've suffered
I'm a man, a war, a map

I want you and I hate you
You break me down inside
I hate you and I want you
Loving you is suicide

The crowd, Lucius noted, seemed to have forgiven him slightly; either that or they were too drawn in by Tom's voice to pay much attention to him.

You're the devil on my shoulder
You're the burden on my back
I left my soul bare for the taking
And you ran me off the track

Tom stepped back after the bridge, sweeping an arm out to feature Lucius. The guitar solo was clean, precise, and only slightly ornamental—Lucius, at least, had a habit of keeping his shirt on, unlike Sirius motherfucking pectorals Black—but he hadn't been able to resist when he'd caught the hint of blonde that meant Narcissa was watching backstage. He finished the riff out with a flourish and felt a rush of adrenaline as he garnered cheers from the crowd, finally feeling himself again as they disembarked the stage.

"Not bad, Lucius," Tom rasped hoarsely, clapping him on the back.

Lucius frowned. "You okay?" he asked. "Your voice—"

Tom shrugged. "Early to bed," he prescribed flippantly.

"It's already midnight," Thor reminded him.

"Well then get me some fucking tea, Thorfinn," Tom sniped back.

The Prewett twins played a mostly acoustic set of utter snoozefest; Lucius' eyes nearly glazed over, watching Dumbledore himself nearly fall asleep in the corner.

Then it was time for the House of Black, and Lucius couldn't help but stare.

"Alright, lovers," Narcissa said, all poised and primed and fucking heartbreak in a little black dress. "This one's called Stardust."

"Wonder if it's about you?" Darian asked, leaning over to laugh in Lucius' ear.

"Doubtful," he managed, though he couldn't help holding his breath.

Here's looking at you, kid
Here's to the shots we'll take tonight
Here's to dancing on the table
Here's to knowing it's not right

I came to dance and I'm dancing
I came to make mistakes and lie
I'm young, babe, and I'm foolish
I've got stardust in my eyes

"Well, I have to say, I'd have thought Bella might come up with something slightly more tasteful," Tom croaked, making a face. "What is this, some kind of gossamer-winged manic pixie teen anthem?"

"They love it, though," Thor pointed out, gesturing around the club. "People are singing along."

"Yes, they do, and more importantly—stop talking, Tom," Lucius instructed sharply, tearing his gaze away from Narcissa to frown steadily at him. "You don't sound good."

Tom gave him an irritated glare but shrugged, returning his attention to the band on stage.

I'm gonna take you with me
We're gonna live like kings tonight
I'm gonna kiss you in the moonlight
Don't give a damn what's wrong or right

"Well, it's a little generic, but at least she hasn't emasculated you in any way," James remarked, materializing out of nowhere to give Lucius an exaggerated nudge.

"Not yet," Sirius agreed. "Super catchy, though." He jutted his chin out at their guitarist. "Look at Pete," he crowed with amusement. "He's just been bobbing his head along, pretending not to love it."

I came to dance and I'm dancing
I came to make mistakes and lie
I'm young, babe, and I'm foolish
I've got stardust in my eyes

"What?" Peter asked, catching their eyes on him. "It's a good song, okay?"

"You have no taste," Tom forced out grittily, and Lucius glanced sharply at him.

"Fuck, Riddle, losing your voice?" James taunted. "I guess Sirius' voodoo doll is finally paying off, then."

"Hey," Sirius said sharply. "I only use that thing for good."

"A voodoo doll for good?" Remus echoed, arching a brow. "What are you doing, taking him out on picnics?"

"I'm making sure he gets enough sleep," Sirius replied, rolling his eyes. "Duh."

Tom flipped them both the finger.

On stage, the set wrapped up with Narcissa taking the mic in hand to smile beatifically at the crowd. "Thank you and goodnight!" she called, giving the audience a coquettish curtsy that was both incredibly adorable and strikingly irreverent. Lucius looked up, hoping to catch her eye, but she ignored him, throwing an arm around Andromeda and Regulus and traipsing off the stage with them.

"Good to see your love affair continues to progress swimmingly," Darian commented. "You sure you're not down for taking up with Caleb and me?"

"Fuck off, Mulciber," Lucius growled.

"Could be worse," James said to him, pausing to wave at the redheaded girl in the crowd. "Hey, Evans," he yelled, blowing her a kiss. "You forgive me?"

"Jesus, Potter, go away," she shouted back, promptly turning her back on him.

"Why do you put yourself through this?" Lucius asked him, scowling. "I mean, I don't give a shit whether your heart gets stomped on or not, frankly, but it's embarrassing, Potter." He shifted stiffly. "I'm embarrassed for you."

James shrugged, consummately unfazed. "She's the worst," he said fondly, "and I love her."

Lucius rolled his eyes. "Yes, you've made that unsettlingly clear, but—"

"I love her," James repeated. "And it's not like my pride has ever done me any favors," he added, shrugging, "so why start nursing it now?" He sipped his beer, smiling faintly. "She'll come 'round."

Lucius threw his hands in the air, resigned. "If you say so," he muttered skeptically, but as James turned to speak to Sirius, Lucius caught the redheaded girl's tentative glance over her shoulder, her eyes landing on James with an unsuccessfully suppressed smile before she quickly turned back to the stage.

"Hey," Narcissa said, finding him alone in the back room. "Long night, huh?"

Lucius turned, battling the unsteady motion in his stomach as he watched her approach. "Hey," he offered, hoping the word left his tongue as coolly as he intended. "They almost done in there?"

"Yeah," she confirmed. "Two more bands and then we're doing a final soundcheck for tomorrow."

"Got it," he said, fidgeting with his thumbs. "Thanks."

She toyed with the silver chain around her neck, biding her time as she stood in the doorway. "What did you think of our song today?"

He glanced up sharply. "Why do you care?"

She shrugged. "Don't know," she admitted, and she looked like she really didn't. "Guess I'm just curious what you think, that's all."

"Oh," he said, and bit his lip. "Well, I mean, it was good," he offered uncertainly, but her blue eyes sparked, catching the hesitation in his voice.

"You're lying," she said flatly, stepping further inside. "You didn't like it?"

Lucius hesitated. "It was a little . . . shallow," he admitted. "Sort of, um. Mainstream?"

Narcissa's gaze hardened. "And that's bad why, exactly?"

"Well, it's just—you just started," Lucius pointed out, "and you're already selling out."

She frowned.

"Okay, hold on," she said quickly, taking another step towards him. "I'm not selling out. I just wanted to write something with, you know," she shrugged, "more mass appeal, I guess."

"Yeah," Lucius agreed drily. "And we in the music industry refer to that very common impulse by its true name," he added, "which is the aforementioned term 'selling out'—"

"This is a competition for record labels, isn't it?" Narcissa countered. "There's an aspect of marketability involved—"

"An aspect, sure," Lucius cut in. "But is this really the kind of music you want to make?" Her expression stiffened warningly and he held up his hands, instantly backtracking as he caught the same look in her eye that had led to whiskey in his face two nights prior. "Look, I'm trying to help you, okay?" he said. "I'm just saying—"

"Do you really think any record label wants to sell the pretentious shit that Tom writes?" Narcissa countered furiously. "It's totally inauthentic. It's whiny and self-aggrandizing—"

"Okay, look, all I'm saying is that maybe if you treated songwriting seriously instead of just throwing snotty rhymes together, I might like your work more," Lucius retorted, feeling a brush of indignation at her criticism. "At least the song you wrote about me was real," he added, aware that he was snarling a little. "This one just made you sound like some unremarkable bimbo, which we both know you aren't—"

"What the fuck do you know, Lucius Malfoy?" she growled back, her white teeth flashing against the dark red of her lips. "Maybe you don't have a clue what I am—"

"Maybe I don't," he agreed, stepping towards her. "Or maybe I do," he taunted, backing her against the wall, "and you fucking hate that, don't you?"

"Gonna tell me my dress belongs on the floor, Malfoy?" she asked, glaring up at him. "Or what," she continued sarcastically, "are you going to tell me your shirt is made of boyfriend material?"

"If you want me to kiss you, just ask, princess," Lucius reminded her, gritting his teeth as his hips met hers; he hoped she didn't notice his hands shaking as he pressed them to the wall on either side of her. "Don't pretend you didn't come back here to find me."

"If you want to kiss me, you should learn to ask," she countered angrily, staring up at him. "Last I checked, I was the one who—"

He cut her off, reaching out to slam the door shut just as he bent his lips to hers, furiously capturing whatever taunt had been about to leave her tongue. He kissed her with a poorly managed desperation—it seemed, despite his best efforts, that he had very little choice in the matter—and eventually he gave in, his tongue flicking hungrily across her lip as he pressed himself against her.

To his surprise, her fingers dropped to the button of his jeans, pulling insistently at them; he stopped, pulling away, and tried to focus on her face.

"Narcissa," he rasped hesitantly, "are—are you sure you want to—"

She answered with a swift tug at the button, dragging the zipper down as she kept her eyes on his. "Lucius," she said simply, stealing a kiss before grabbing his hand, slipping it under the fabric of her dress to drag it up against her thigh. "Don't make me ask twice," she murmured, and he wasted no time in picking her up, slamming her against the wall as he drew her legs over his hips.

"This doesn't mean anything," she told him, her head falling back against the wall as he slipped inside her, stifling a groan. "This," she panted, "this is just—because you're—"

"Pretty?" he supplied, gritting his teeth as he shifted his hands under her, digging into the curve of her arse.

"Yes," she said, taking his jaw in one hand and pressing a merciless kiss to his lips. "You're so fucking pretty," she muttered into his mouth, and he took her breath into his lungs, certain he would lose himself in her.

"Fuck, finally," Thor said, rising to his feet as Lucius strode in, attempting to formulate his hair into something passably presentable. "Where've you been?"

"Nowhere," Lucius said quickly, trying not to watch Narcissa as she rejoined her sisters near the bar. "What's going on?"

"Just wanted to check on the details for tomorrow," Thor said, somewhat anxiously. "I'm worried about the song choice, Lucius," he admitted. "If Tom's voice is anything close to what it is now, we're not going to be able to pull it off—"

"Bella, please," they heard Andromeda say, promptly interrupted. "Can we not do this right now?"

"Do what?" Bella replied sharply, with a considerable lack of innocence that indicated she knew precisely what she was doing. "I'm just saying that Ted here should probably find something else to do other than hanging around with people that are, you know," she said flippantly, "better and more talented—"

"Bellatrix, I didn't mean to bother you," Ted said neutrally. "I was just asking Andy if she might want to—"

"I know what you were asking Andromeda, and the answer is no," Bella sniffed. "Do you really think she has any interest in a fucking bartender? She's a Black, for god's sake, you're just here for the entertainment and free drinks while she looks for someone better—"

"That's not true," Andromeda cut in weakly, but it appeared that the damage had been done; Ted straightened, grimacing.

"Like I said, Bellatrix," he said, clearing his throat. "I didn't mean to bother you." His gaze slipped to Andromeda. "Or you," he offered softly. "Apologies," he murmured. "I hadn't realized I was so mistaken."

"Ted," Andromeda said, her lip trembling. "I—it wasn't—"

"What do we owe you, Ted?" Bella asked, holding up the drink in her hand. "Twenty, I'm guessing? Here," she said carelessly, dropping a handful of bills in his hand. "Keep the change."

It was an obvious dismissal; Ted stared at the money in his palm, forcing a swallow.

"Thanks," he mumbled, and tucked it in his pocket. Narcissa, Lucius noted, watched silently from the side, obviously torn as she glanced between her elder sisters. "I'll, um—just see you some other time," Ted said, and then chewed his lip. "Andromeda," he added with a nod, quietly backing away and heading for the bar without looking over his shoulder.

Andromeda looked devastated, staring blankly into nothing for a moment; Narcissa stepped forward, settling a hand on her shoulder.

"Bella," Narcissa said tentatively, glancing at her eldest sister. "Was that really necessary?"

"Yes, Cissy, it was," Bella said tartly, not looking up. "Are we ready to go, then?"

Narcissa caught Lucius' eye for a moment, looking warily thoughtful before turning back to nod at her sister. "Yes," she said simply, arranging her face as she looked down at Bellatrix. "Let's go."

Lucius marveled for a moment, admiring the sudden determination in her expression; it occurred to him with an unexpectedly thunderous strike of recognition that he could no longer imagine looking at anyone again without seeing her.

He fished around in his pocket, searching for his phone and fumbling to write down the sudden onslaught of thoughts that had entered his mind the moment she had gone.

Battle of the Bands: Night Three

"Tom definitely can't sing," Thor said, panicking as he rushed in from the back room. "He can barely make a sound—and there is no fucking way we can do the song we had planned for today—"

"No, we certainly cannot," Darian agreed. "Lucius' voice is fine, but it's no 'bedroom yowl' or whatever it is Tom's got going for him—"

"We'll do something else, then," Lucius said, trying not to panic. "We'll, uh—we'll do a different song, or, um—"

"We can't do any of Tom's songs," Caleb pointed out. "You can't pull any of them off, Malfoy." He made a face. "Just imagining you singing any of them feels totally ridiculous."

"Fine, we'll do something else," Lucius said anxiously, pressing his fingers to his temple. "Fuck, I should have known this would happen, and I—"

"Ladies and gentlemen, we are the House of Black!" he heard Narcissa announce, and he stopped, pausing to let the sound of her voice flood his system. "We're going to do things a little bit differently tonight—"

"Do you have any material?" Darian asked, poking Lucius sharply in the ribs. "Is there anything we can—"

"Shh," Lucius said, holding up a hand as Narcissa continued.

"I may be the singer in the band, but my sister is the real talent in the family," Narcissa continued. "She wrote this one, and I think it's beautiful—so we're going to take things down a notch tonight."

"Where's Bella?" Caleb asked, frowning as he watched. "And Regulus?"

"Looks like they're doing an acoustic set," Thor commented. "No way they'll win with that, right?"

"Doubtful," Darian said skeptically.

"I don't think that's the point," Lucius murmured, watching Narcissa pick up her guitar and take a seat opposite Andromeda at the keyboard.

"So anyway," Narcissa went on, turning to glance reassuringly at her sister before looking out into the crowd. "Ted, if you're listening—" she struck a chord on her guitar, smiling. "Andy wants to say she's sorry."

Narcissa strummed a soft chord, letting Andromeda begin a delicate melody as she opened her mouth to sing.

Today I told myself that I'd sit down and write a song
I have a lot of words I want to say to you
But they're all jumbled up and sitting in a paper cup
So let's agree that we agree that I'm a mess for you

Narcissa's voice was sweeter than Lucius had heard it; better, in a way, and wholly irresistible.

I want you to know
That if you stay or if you go
I'd still have felt it so
So unnatural
But I thank you for the time
And it was fun, and you're divine
And if this is all I get, then it'll be enough

"This might be the best they've sounded," James commented, once again appearing out of nowhere to rest his chin on Lucius' shoulder. "Don't you think?"

"Go away, Potter," Lucius mumbled, unable to take his eyes from Narcissa's bent head.

I'm not a girl with riches and I'm not a girl who wishes
I'm just a girl who coaxes chaos into rhymes
You're a blessing, you're a curse
You are wonderment dispersed
And I have never been the type to pine

Narcissa looked up, meeting his eye backstage for a moment, and smiled briefly.

"Well," James remarked contentedly. "Look at that, Malfoy."

"Potter, I'll kill you," Lucius warned, not looking at him.

"I know," James sighed brightly.

But I want you to know
That if you stay or if you go
I'd still have felt it so
So unnatural
And I thank you for the time
And it was fun, and you're divine
And if this is all I get, then it'll be enough

Narcissa finished on a slow strum and then the room promptly broke out in applause, erupting in fervent cheers. Andromeda rose slowly to her feet, bowing her head slightly as Narcissa gestured to her, silently lauding her sister. In the audience, Lucius caught a glimpse of Bellatrix standing off to the side with Tom, a small smile on her face as she watched.

"Well, this will be fun to follow," Remus remarked. "Ready, Prongs?"

"Ready, Moony. Ready, Pads?"

"Ready, Prongs. Rea- "

"MARAUDERS," Minerva yelled. "GET ON STAGE—"

"For the record, I'm ready too," Peter informed nervously.

"Don't fuck up, Potter," Lucius called after them, watching James shake out his jitters. James turned over his shoulder, grinning back.

"I always do, Malfoy," he said spiritedly, and then jogged quickly on stage.

"Leaky Cauldron, we are the Marauders!" he yelled, and was met with a boisterous shout of cheers. "Whoever cleverly slipped the underwear in my pocket—you should know I'm very flattered," James said, once again tipping his imaginary hat, "but unfortunately, my attentions are unwavering. Lily Evans, you horrible brute, this one is for you."

"Oh, Potter," the girl sighed from the audience.

James lowered his head, smiling to himself. "Ready?" he called over his shoulder. "One, two, one two three four—"

Ain't got wisdom or wit
But I've got courage and more
Ain't cunning or quick, babe
But you're making me roar

My soul is a wolf
My body's a lion
You say it's just pride, babe
I say it's defiance
Tell me you're in, girl
Say you're down for the hunt
Don't tell me to stop, girl
You've already won

"He's really got charisma, doesn't he?" Tom rasped, barely audible as he joined Lucius backstage. "That fucker."

"Hey, Tom," Lucius sighed. "Any ideas?"

Tom shrugged. "I don't know," he whispered hoarsely. "Sincerity seems to be the theme of the evening, though," he noted impassively.

Lucius made a face. "Seems that way," he agreed, watching the crowd join in with James.

If you're kissing the wrong guy
Make it me tonight
If you're kissing on me, babe
I'll make your bad ideas right

"For fuck's sake," Darian said. "Why is all their shit so unbelievably catchy?"

"We don't have time to worry about that, seeing as we're up next," Thor reminded him, gripping Lucius by the shoulders. "Malfoy, do we have a plan here?"

Lucius took a deep breath, exhaling with an impossible slowness as Tom shrugged, gesturing in an evasive 'go ahead' motion.

"Yeah," Lucius sighed, pulling out his phone. "How quickly can you learn this?"

Darian leaned over, squinting at it. "Consider it learnt," he declared, pulling Caleb into a headlock. "Got it, Avery?"

"Got it," Caleb confirmed, wrestling himself free. "We're doing this?"

"Yeah," Lucius said nervously. "Just, um—it's pretty repetitive, so—"

"You open," Thor instructed. "Start alone, and then Caleb can come in, and then—"

"It's that easy?" Lucius asked. "You're sure?"

"Yep," Darian confirmed. "We're good. After all," he added, throwing an arm gleefully around Tom's shoulders, "contrary to popular opinion, we're a band, not a solo act." He shrugged. "We've played together a million times. This'll just be another fun jam sesh."

"Well," Lucius said, trying to force himself free of his unyielding nerves. "I guess we're doing this, then."

Lucius reached for the mic, smiling tentatively.

"So, as you can see, I'm not Tom Riddle," he said, and there was a spattering of laughter. "But we are the Death Eaters, and due to the tragic loss of our lead singer's yowl, we'll be performing a new song tonight." He looked down, trying not to fiddle with the pick in his fingers. "This song is called Star Signs," he said slowly, and looked up, catching Narcissa's eye where she stood at the back wall. "And I wrote it for you."

He cleared his throat, counting them off—in time, for once—and opened his mouth, preparing himself for the uncomfortable vulnerability of truth.

I'm sick, darling, I'm lovesick
I'm ill, sweetheart, ill-timed
I'm poor, love, poor intentioned
But we're stars, baby, star signs

Narcissa's eyes widened; beside her, Andromeda was smiling, reaching down to squeeze her fingers. Lucius forced himself not to look away, despite the dryness that leapt into his throat as Caleb started to play.

Sixteen bars of perfection
That hair, that voice, those eyes
Tell me you felt the collision
Tell me you saw the sun rise

Darian's instrumental entry was smooth, unencumbered; Lucius let out a breath, settling into the song.

I'm sick, darling, I'm lovesick
I'm ill, sweetheart, ill-timed
I'm poor, love, poor intentioned
But we're stars, baby, star signs

I couldn't dream you any better
I couldn't write you in a song
I want to feel you like the weather
I want to hear you say I'm not wrong

At the key change, Lucius held his breath; he watched the smile pull at Narcissa's lips before turning over his shoulder, directing the tempo adjustment for the bridge.

It's written in the sky
I was meant to love you at first sight

He looked up again, but by then she was gone; behind him, the background instrumentals faded to nothing, leaving Lucius' voice stripped bare again on the darkened stage.

I'm sick, darling, I'm lovesick
I'm ill, sweetheart, ill-timed
I'm poor, love, poor intentioned
But we're stars, baby, star signs

He finished the song with a breath that escaped into silence; and then, all at once, there was a rush of applause.

"Thank you," he said shakily, reaching for the mic. "Thank you—we're the Death Eaters, and—"

His voice died as Andromeda shrugged apologetically, gesturing to the vacancy beside her.

"Thank you," Lucius said a final time, and then he turned stiffly, walking off stage without stopping.


She was standing backstage, a smile on her face.

"Hey, pretty boy," she said. "You write that song all by yourself?"

Lucius faltered, stumbling to a halt. "Hey," he said breathlessly, looking around in confusion. "I thought you'd—"

"Left?" she supplied, and shrugged. "Nah."

"Oh," he said, his heart thudding recklessly in his chest. "Did you, um—" he swallowed. "Did you like it?"

"Depends," she said slowly, taking a step towards him. "Was it authentic?"

"Authentic?" he asked, frowning, and she smirked at him.

"Yeah," she replied, shrugging. "I mean, if you just wanted to write a commercially viable love song, I'm told that's what the industry calls 'selling out.'"

"What?" he said, aghast. "You think that—"

"No, don't worry," she assured him, taking a final step to bring her chest to his. "I just want to hear you say you mean it," she whispered, tilting her chin up to meet his eye.

"I do mean it," Lucius assured her. "I really, really mean it."

"Good," she murmured, brushing her lips against his. "Anything else you need to say?" she asked, the words ghosting across his skin.

He smiled, reaching up to tangle his fingers in her hair.

"If you want me to kiss you, princess," he said, sliding his nose along hers, "just ask."

"And the winner of the Battle of the Bands is—" Horace paused. "Drumroll please!"

"Great," Lucius muttered. "Draw it out."

Narcissa gave him a little shove. "Hush," she murmured, leaning in as he kissed her cheek.

"The winner is, to no great surprise . . . the Marauders!"

"Oh, for fuck's sake," Tom croaked soundlessly, shaking his head. "Those cocksuckers?"

"Wait, for real?" James asked, blinking vacantly as Remus' mouth dropped open, his eyes wide. "But—but we—but they—"

"Potter," Lucius said, giving him a shove. "Get up there, would you?"

"OH MY GOD," Sirius declared at the top of his lungs. "MOONY, QUICK, MAKE OUT WITH ME—"

"Okay," Remus agreed without hesitation, wrapping one arm around Sirius' neck and kissing him firmly. Caleb and Darian applauded quietly behind them as James stumbled forward, accepting the microphone from Horace.

"Holy shit, um," James mumbled into the mic, "I—uh, this is an honor, and—"

"Mr Potter," Dumbledore said, stepping forward on the stage. "In addition to being named the victor of the Battle of the Bands, I would like to formally invite the Marauders to join my record label."

"Wait, you want us to join The Order?" James echoed vacantly, looking considerably like he was about to faint. "Oh, okay, well—"

"Potter," Lucius snapped. "Get it together!"

"Right," James said, accepting Dumbledore's hand and then Horace's, turning back to the crowd. "Well, um, thank you to everyone for listening, for supporting us, and for, uh—" he paused, grinning. "And Lily Evans, if you're still here, I still fucking love you!" he yelled into the mic, running back to knock Sirius and Remus apart with a loud rip of suction, gathering his idiot friends into a loud, huddled embrace.

"He's hopeless," Lucius sighed, and then turned to Narcissa, processing his thoughts. "So, are you upset?"

"Upset?" she asked, blinking up at him before shaking her head. "About not winning? Hardly. This was only my first one," she reminded him, smirking slightly. "I'm going to beat the shit out of you next time."

"Next time?" Lucius asked wryly. "You think you're going to beat me next year?"

"Well, if I don't get a record deal before then, obviously," she said, giving him a wink. "Race you to immortal fame?"

Lucius laughed, wrapping her in his arms. "Sure," he agreed. "Race you there."


or, Unnecessary End Scene
or, Everyone Lives Happily Ever After

"Long night," Narcissa yawned, turning to look up at him. "Take me home?"

"Of course," Lucius said, sliding his arm around her shoulders. "Andromeda," he said, gesturing for her attention. "Need a ride?"

"No, I'm good," she replied. She looked up, catching Ted's eye behind the bar; he waved at her, smiling. "I'm going to wait for Ted," she explained, returning his smile. "He's just cleaning up."

"Fine by me," Lucius said, looking around. "Where's everyone else?"

"Caleb and Darian are fucking somewhere in a broom closet, I'm sure," Thor called, saluting him from afar. "I'll go make sure there's no property damage."

"Ah, the Rotten Gays," Sirius sighed dreamily, wandering in with his arm slung around Remus' waist. "Hard not to admire their style."

"Is it, though?" Lucius countered drily, making a face before looking around. "Where's Tom?"

"With Bella, I expect," Andromeda supplied. "She paused their love affair for a moment to tell me she was proud of me before disappearing," she added, shrugging. "Apparently she and Tom are writing songs for his next endeavor or something."

"Or something," James agreed, chuckling. "Well, this was the best night ever," he commented, glancing around the empty bar. "I mean, really, only one thing would have made it any bet- "

"Potter!" someone yelled. Lucius turned, catching sight of the redheaded girl bursting suddenly through the doors. "Potter, I—"

She paused, registering the crowd of people around the room. "Oh, cool," she remarked uncertainly, flustered. "I see you're still here, then."

"As are all of my many friends and rivals," James commented unnecessarily, offering her a curt bow. "You needed something, Evans?"

"Well," she began uncomfortably. "Sort of."

Narcissa let out a brief snort of laughter, pulling Lucius back down in his chair and falling with him. "This should be good," she murmured in his ear, and he shook his head in somewhat affectionate resignation, letting her settle herself in his lap.

"I broke up with Severus," the girl—Lily Evans, as it were—explained carefully, parsing out her words. "It just—um. It wasn't working out."

There was a pause as the Marauders all paused to process this information.

"Moony," Sirius whispered, poking Remus. "Moony, is this really happening?"

"Shush," Remus hissed, clapping a hand over his mouth.

James, for his part, merely arched a brow; suspiciously coolly, Lucius thought, all things considered. "Oh really, Evans?" James drawled slowly. "So now that I'm an award winning musician, I'm suddenly not the worst person on earth anymore?"

"Oh—you won?" she asked, confused; she looked around the room, her gaze settling on Lucius. "I thought for sure that guy was going to—well, whatever," she said, shrugging as she turned back to James. "The thing is, Potter—"

"Yes, Evans?" he asked innocently. "What is it?"

She hesitated, chewing her lip.

"You really are the worst person I've ever met," she admitted slowly. "But also, I want to kiss you so badly that I think I might die."

A smile twitched across James' overearnest mouth.

"Well, we wouldn't want that, Evans," he said, taking a step towards her. "Granted," he conceded loudly, "I would write you a brilliant eulogy, obviously—"

"Obviously," Sirius agreed, his mouth muffled behind Remus' hand. "With poetry?"

"So much poetry," Remus supplied, nodding. "That fucker can rhyme."

"I can rhyme," James agreed, grinning again at Lily. "I have to assume that's what's drawn you in, eh, Evans?"

"God, I might hate you," Lily groaned. "I really might." She sighed loudly, deflating. "This is a very confusing feeling."

"We understand," Remus told her kindly. "We feel the same way about him."

"So, if I'm hearing this right, you might hate me," James remarked, stepping forward to take one of her hands in his. "But there's also a chance you might not?"

"Hey Andy," Ted said, jogging over to her. "Horace just cut me loose, so are you ready to—"

"Ted, I'm totally in love with you, but I'm watching something," Andromeda said, holding a finger to his lips.

"Mmm," he acknowledged as he placed his hands on her hips, smiling down at the top of her head.

Lily, meanwhile, shifted uncomfortably from foot to foot, still looking expectantly at James.

"So, um," she said, cringing slightly before sighing again. "Potter," she burst out, taking hold of his shoulders, "would you just fucking kiss me, please?"

"See, she knows how to ask," Lucius whispered, brushing his lips against Narcissa's neck and promptly growling as she elbowed him.

"Well, hold on," James said thoughtfully. "I need to compose an ode to the moment first—"

"Potter!" Lily half-shouted. "For fuck's sake—"

But whatever else she had planned to shout was silenced by James' kiss; he took her in his arms with a certain ballroom grandness, sweeping her off her feet and then falling with her to the floor, promptly letting her roll him onto his back as she straddled him on the ground.

"This got gross really fast," Sirius remarked, staring at them. "Talk about an escalation."

"Pizza?" Narcissa chimed in. "I can have Regulus run and get some."

"Ah, that narrow-hipped plague," Remus sighed fondly. "What happened to him?"

"Honestly, he might be with Caleb and Darian," Narcissa said, frowning. "I hope not? Or I hope so. I can't decide," she sighed, shaking her head. "Let's just agree not to ask questions."

"We really need to leave before this gets any worse," Lucius muttered.

. . . and they all lived happily ever after.

a/n: Drunk History up next! Thanks for reading!