Author's note: To those of you waiting on the next chapter of Behind Closed Doors, it is in the works, but this idea presented itself to me and demanded I attend to it until it was all on the page. I will be getting back to BCD shortly. I hope that you enjoy this one-shot. Please review!

Warnings: none

Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter.

Family Ties

"It is easier to forgive an enemy than to forgive a friend." – William Blake

July 1964

The hippogriff figurine shattered on the marble floor.

"Stop it!"

"Aw, you don't think the broken glass adds a nice edge to the décor?"

The unicorn went next. The only part which remained intact was its horn.


"Hush, Cissy, don't be a crybaby."

Narcissa stomped her foot in frustration. It made no sound due to the silencing spell, and Bellatrix merely smiled, raising her wand again; but before she could destroy another of Narcissa's favourite trinkets, the door opened and Andromeda came in.

"Stop tormenting her."

Bellatrix tilted her head to one side and gave a toothy grin. "I'm not tormenting her," she objected.

"You came into her room—uninvited, I'm sure—and started smashing her possessions," Andromeda said, eyeing the glass carnage on the floor with a raised eyebrow.

"I'm merely demonstrating what I learned at Hogwarts this year."

"You're tormenting her…"

"It's not my fault if she doesn't seem interested."

"…and it's hardly fair, given that you just finished fourth year and she hasn't even started her first. Finite."

"I hate you," Narcissa muttered.

"Poor Andromeda"—Bellatrix stuck out her bottom lip in a pout—"don't you realize you don't get a say in what's fair and what's not? You're not Mother, you can't pretend to have her authority. In fact, I'm the eldest, so if anyone has authority between the three of us, it's me."

"I am going to tell Mother that you snuck into the Muggle Studies classroom during first term."

"There was no class going on, it was empty."

"There was no class going on because you were out after curfew."

"I only did so because Camille Parkinson dared me to!"

"And then you'll be in trouble for rising to the bait and doing something that could've gotten you in trouble, instead of dealing with it in a subtle and Slytherin way."

Bellatrix scowled and grit her teeth.

"Run along, Bella." Andromeda copied the mocking tone that her sister had used a few moments before. "Go take your sadism out on the garden gnomes."

August 1969

"Look at her."

Bellatrix Black was now Bellatrix Lestrange. Her sisters sat off to the side, watching her flirt with her newly-wed husband's friends at her own wedding reception. Rodolphus stood beside her, impassive aside from a slight frown.

"I suspect she just enjoys trying to get under his skin."

"It doesn't appear to be working, though."

"I believe 'trying' is the operative word here."

"He's a bore."

"He is rich and Pureblooded." Disdain slightly coloured Andromeda's voice.

"Don't say that as if it's a bad thing," Narcissa scolded.

"I'm just pointing out that he meets a certain set of criteria," said Andromeda evenly. "Mother and Father are very proud of her."

Narcissa wasn't quite sure what to say. Andy had been acting awfully strange lately. She'd stopped participating in mocking cousin Sirius, and distastefulness had once even crossed her face when she'd heard the word "Mudblood" uttered. Yes, it was very odd indeed, and Narcissa was mystified. She hoped that her usually-sensible sister would soon forget whatever outlandish ideas she'd gotten into her head.

September 1971

Narcissa was on the train to Hogwarts, about to start her sixth year, and she was glad of it. Since Andy—Andromeda, she corrected herself, as Andy had been her sister—had married that Mudblood Tonks boy and gotten burned off the family tapestry, the atmosphere at home had been tense. And that was putting it mildly. Her mother and father had been hyper-vigilant, looking for the slightest hint of their youngest daughter turning traitor, too.

She was furious at Andromeda for doing this and leaving her alone. They had always been close, closer than she and Bellatrix ever were, and they'd seldom argued; and in ancient Pureblood circles, friends weren't so much trustworthy confidantes as they were useful associates. As strange as Andromeda had been acting, the thought that her sister would really betray such a fundamental value had never crossed her mind. She'd thought it was just a passing rebellious phase. Andromeda's desertion left her feeling lonely, hurt, and shocked.

So, she was relieved to return to Hogwarts and throw herself into classes and revision, absorbing as much information as she could in the bridge year between OWLs and NEWTs. She had every intention to forget about the debacle of the past summer. And she was going to squash that disgustingly-sentimental little voice in her head that whined about still missing Andy.

October 1971

Andromeda had had the nerve to send her a letter. When Nyx had dropped it into her lap, Narcissa felt her stomach drop at the sight of the familiar handwriting which adorned the envelope.

It turned out that Andy was not apologetic, but wished to defend her decision with the hope that some understanding would make Narcissa hate her less. It didn't. Narcissa crumped up and burned the note, and wished she'd done that before she read it.

Curse her and her filthy, Mudblood husband, she thought as she tossed the parchment into the flames, then threw in the envelope as well for good measure.

April 1973

A year and a half had passed since Andromeda's betrayal, and, although she still harboured a hefty amount of resentment, Narcissa was over it. She had managed to stop feeling anything more charitable than contempt after the first three months.

It was her final year of Hogwarts. She'd been courting Lucius Malfoy since January, after they had returned from the Christmas holiday. Things were progressing quite nicely, and Narcissa let herself hope he would propose after graduation. She loved the blonde-haired boy, who easily slotted himself into the void that Andromeda had left behind.

Andromeda's disownment had become widely known in Pureblood circles and gossiped about in hushed, scandalized tones. For an excruciatingly-long stretch of time after the event, many of Narcissa's peers had treated her as though the Black family had a particularly virulent strain of dragon pox. Lucius, on the other hand, had been sympathetic, not only regarding Andromeda, but also regarding her cousin Sirius: Sirius had arrived at Hogwarts that year and was promptly sorted into Gryffindor. Just to add more fuel to the flames, he'd become fast friends with the son of a prominent blood-traitor family. Narcissa suspected that he was pretty close to being burned off the family tapestry himself.

The only good thing, aside from her relationship with Lucius, was that her relationship with Bellatrix had improved. The eldest and youngest Black girls had been united through their disgust. In fact, Narcissa would say she was closer to Bella than she was to anyone else in her family. If her sister needed anything, Narcissa would do it, and she knew the favour would—however reluctantly—be reciprocated.

May 1980

Narcissa Malfoy—née Black—had found a good life for herself, she thought. Lucius had taken her out to dinner alone the night of their Hogwarts graduation and proposed. She'd immediately accepted. To her surprise, she was easily welcomed into the Malfoy family, even by Abraxas, who was haughty and judgemental and wanted only the very best of everything for his only son. She was not like her traitorous sister, Lucius reassured her, and his father knew it.

She hadn't had anything to do with Andromeda Tonks in years, although she knew Andromeda had had a daughter shortly after Narcissa became engaged to Lucius. They'd passed by the Tonkses in Diagon Alley several times. The families had ignored each other; duelling in the streets was becoming of no witch or wizard.

Narcissa was expecting her own child now. Her baby was due the next month, and she prayed to Merlin every day for the birth to be complication-free. It had taken her years to get pregnant, and for the longest time she'd feared herself or her husband infertile. She wanted this child desperately. It seemed to her that the best way to put the drama of her youth behind her was to have a family of her own.

She never told anyone about the letter.