For Camp Potter (Paintball: Write about someone saying goodbye during the war) and the Friends Competition (TOW the Boob Job: Write about a member of the Black family)

Word Count 1755


I.

Lucius brings her the news of Bellatrix's arrest. Really, Narcissa isn't surprised. She's always assumed that her sister's blind devotion to her master would get her into trouble.

Not that Narcissa can say this in front of her husband. Lucius may be laying low and protecting his name, but he still served the same master. Whether or not his loyalties are still with the Dark Lord is a mystery, but Narcissa decides it would be wise not to find out.

"If you wish to visit her…"

Narcissa looks up from her tea, a frown on her lips. She wonders what good visiting Bellatrix will do. While they have grown close over the years they hardly have any common interests, and Bellatrix would only sneer at any attempts of an emotional goodbye.

Still, she thinks that it might be best to visit. Appearances are everything. The world needs to see that the Malfoys do not stand behind the Dark Lord or his most devoted followers.

"I'll consider it," she says quietly, absently tapping her spoon against the edge of her cup.

"Well, I have to say I'm surprised," Bellatrix laughs, moving closer and gripping the bars. She peers out at Narcissa, a wild grin on her lips. "Come to weep for me, Cissy?"

Narcissa shudders. Bellatrix wasn't always like this. She can still remember the girl who would let Narcissa share her bed whenever thunderstorms startled her awake at night. Sometimes, Narcissa wonders what happened to finally push her sister over the edge. What could have snapped inside her to warp and twist her into this monster who wears her sister's face?

"I came to say goodbye," Narcissa says, and her voice quivers.

Bellatrix smirks. Hands still gripping the bars, she pushes her body back before lunging forward again. "Goodbye? Aren't you sweet?" she cackles.

"I love you. And I know it will be a long-"

"It won't. Oh, you'll see me again, Cissy. Just wait," Bellatrix says. She throws her head back and laughs. "It'll be out of here before you know it!"

And Narcissa can't tell if it sounds more like a promise or a threat. She shudders.

Bellatrix reaches a hand through the bars. For a moment, Narcissa thinks that she's had a moment of compassion. She's somehow so sure that Bellatrix will grab for, tell her that she loves her, that she's so full of regret. Instead, Bellatrix lowers her fingers quickly in a little wave. "Shoo. Run along Cissy," she says. "Go back to playing house."

II.

Andromeda feels sick to her stomach when she hears about the registration. Her eyes shift to Ted. He doesn't have to say anything. She already knows what he's planning to do.

Neither of them acknowledge it. Ted is such a Hufflepuff through and through. He'll try to spare her the pain of a farewell by slipping off into the night. If she tries to confront him, he might insist on not leaving at all, and she will risk losing him forever.

"More tea, dear?"

Judging by the subtle way that his eyes narrow, she guesses that he's suspicious, that he's noticed how pointedly she's not talking about it. "I'm fine, Andi," Ted says with a bright smile. "Wouldn't mind another plate of eggs."

She wants to drop the front and be open and honest with him. She wants to beg him to find another way, to insist that she'll go into hiding with him. She could protect him.

But Ted has always been as stubborn as he is kind. No amount of pleading could keep him here when his only goal is to protect his family.

She keeps her thoughts to herself as she raises her wand and sends the eggs to the skillet.

"You thought you could just leave," she says, stepping out of the shadows.

Ted turns, visibly shaken by her sudden appearance. "Would you have let me just leave any other way?" he asks with a sigh.

Andromeda almost smiles. It's a serious question, but it seems so silly now somehow. "Fair point," she admits. "But would have been nice to have a chance to say goodbye properly."

His expression softens at that. "I didn't want to break your heart, Andi."

She laughs and steps closer, catching his wrist and pulling him into her. She holds him there for what feels simultaneously like forever and only a split second. "You haven't figured it out yet, Ted?" she laughs. "I wouldn't mind having my heart broken by you."

Ted pulls back, cupping her face in his hands. Andromeda feels the urge to plead with him, but she wills it away. Ted has made up his mind, and all she can do is accept it.

"I love you," he whispers. "So much."

"I love you too."

For several seconds, neither of them speak. No one seems to be willing to say that dreadful word that hangs over them.

"Goodbye, my love," Andromeda says at last.

Ted closes his eyes for a moment. When he opens them again, the pain there is so great that Andromeda is afraid that she might cry. "I'll see you later, dear."

She can feel it in her heart that what he says is just false hope. Still, she can't bring herself to point it out.

III

Narcissa has been dreading this moment since Harry and the others escaped Malfoy Manor. Easter holiday is drawing to an end, and she will have to part with her son.

She paces nervously. Lucius watches her from their bed. If he's curious about why she's so anxious, he gives no sign. Narcissa is actually grateful that her husband has so much going on that he hardly notices his wife anymore. It makes it easier to break down without having to worry about appearances.

"Come to bed, Narcissa," he instructs. "I need to hold you."

She's tired, so very tired, but there's no way that she can just lay down and sleep. She's too afraid for her son. The Dark Lord has spared their family, but she's still afraid. At one point, Draco pretended not to know Harry. He showed a moment of doubt, and Narcissa is sure that the Carrows have heard it by now. What's to stop them from being dreadful to her son when she can no longer watch after him?

"Narcissa?"

She puts on what she hopes is a bright smile. "One moment, dear."

"Why do you look so sad, Mother?" Draco asks.

Narcissa closes her eyes for a moment. Whatever wrong choices her son has made, Draco is still so young, so innocent. She wonders if he realizes the dangers that could wait for him at Hogwarts.

"No reason, dear," she says quietly, patting his shoulder with a shaky smile. "I'm just going to miss you."

Draco snorts, rolling his eyes. "Really, mother, I've had to go back to school after holidays loads of times," he says dryly. "You've never looked so miserable before."

She doesn't know if he's trying to be brave for her, or if he truly doesn't realize the gravity of the situation. "Be safe, Draco," she says, dropping her voice so that it's barely over a whisper. "Be careful. I love you."

There are so many other things she wants to say, but she's too afraid. Their time playing host to the Dark Lord has taught Narcissa to be cautious. Someone could always be watching and listening.

"I'll see you this summer, darling," she says, twisting her features into a broad smile, playing her part again. "Enjoy the rest of your year."

Draco kisses her cheek and gives her hand a gentle squeeze. He doesn't say anything, just looks at her for a moment longer before nodding.

IV

"Dora will kill you when she finds out," Andromeda says.

Remus gives her a half smile. "I know. But Teddy needs her."

"He needs you both."

Remus swallows. She can see the pain in his eyes, and she understands. Remus has been active in this war for so long. He's lost so many loved ones. The Potters, Sirius, countless Order members who never even lived long enough to see the brief peace after Voldemort vanished years ago. Asking him not to fight would never work.

"Look after them, Andi."

She takes his hand firmly, offering him a thin smile. "I will."

"Dora, be sensible."

"Sensible?" her daughter echoes with a snort. "I am- was- an Auror. I'm supposed to be in the action, fighting the Dark Arts!"

Andromeda groans. Nymphadora has always been just as stubborn as Ted. She's so afraid that her daughter will meet the same fate now. But she knows that arguing will do no good.

"I can't believe Remus went off without me! I have to go, Mum."

"I know."

It's the most painful admission she's ever had to make. She wishes that Nymphadora was still a child, that she could veto her daughter's decision and keep her safe. But Nymphadora is grown now. She's seen so many things and has fought so much as an Auror. Keeping her away from the battle would be next to impossible, even if Remus wasn't there.

"Look after Teddy for me," Dora says. "He should sleep through the night but… But…"

Dora looks away, wiping her eyes. Andromeda pulls her into a hug. "I'll keep him safe, dear. Go."

Dora hugs her tightly. "I love you, Mum."

"I love you too. Be safe."

V

Narcissa feels out of place at the funeral. She never even knew her niece, and she barely knew Remus. It is not her place to mourn them, and she isn't sure that Andromeda will appreciate her appearance.

She lingers in the back, trying to remain unnoticed. Some look at her, and she can see the judgment in their eyes. She is a Malfoy. Why would she dare show her face here now?

But she is still a Black, just like Andromeda. She hasn't suffered the same losses as her sister, but, now that the war is over, maybe she can do something.

Andromeda finds her sister by the grave after the other mourners have left. She swallows dryly. She can't remember the last time that she's seen Narcissa, let alone spoken to her.

"I'm sorry," Narcissa says quietly. "If you want me to leave-"

Andromeda shifts Teddy so that he rests her on her hip. She wraps her younger sister into a hug, tears clinging to her lashes. "Hello, Narcissa," she whispers. "I've missed you."