A/n: Greetings all, welcome to my new fic and new favorite paring Narcissa/Neville. There is a side paring of Dramione which is my OTP. Hopefully the characters are not too OOC other than the romance between them. The Narcissa/Neville paring idea stemmed from a ficlet I wrote for my Dramione-Ficlets & Musings chapters 10 & 11. Please feel free to check those out and also let me know what you think of this story.
The Malfoy family stood before the high counsel of Wizengamot. The Chief Warlock was conferring with the other wizards as to the fate of each of the members of the family before them. Harry Potter and Hermione Granger both testified on behalf of the Malfoy's noting that the lies that Draco and Narcissa told to the Dark Lord had saved the wizarding world as they knew it. Following a great deal deliberation the Chief Warlock addressed the Malfoy family.
"After much consideration from not only your own testimony but that of Mr. Potter and Ms. Granger we here by decree the following. In the case against one Draco Lucius Malfoy for the accusation of terrorism against Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, attempted murder of Head Master Albus Dumbledore, and use of Unforgivable Curses against minor children, it is of the court's opinion that due to your age at the time of the incidents and the threat of imminent death to both yourself and your family, we hereby find you not guilty. However, you will be required to return to Hogwarts in order to make up for the year lost due to the war.
In the case of one Narcissa Malfoy née Black under the accusation of consorting with Death Eaters and use of Unforgivable Curses we hereby sentence you to one year of house arrest. You will be restricted to Malfoy Manor and will receive weekly visits with an Auror from the Department of Magical Enforcement. Visitors during this time will be restricted and all Dark Magic artifacts will be confiscated from the home prior to your sentence.
Lastly, in the case of one Lucius Abraxas Malfoy, it is of the court's opinion that although you defected to the side of the Order. The timing of such defection, we feel, was more for your own benefit versus that of helping in the defeat of the Dark Lord and denouncing the Pure Blood Supremacist ways. A cunning move, however the court feels that your actions prior to your defection outweigh any assistance that your change of heart could merit. It is my grave duty to sentence you to the Dementor's Kiss one week from today. We encourage you to use the time wisely and set your affairs in order." Proclaimed the Chief Warlock.
There was a heavy silence then the shriek of a woman's voice. "No! ... No you can't do this... he's changed. He's changed... No, Lucius do something." Narcissa yelled. Holding on to Lucius as the gravity of his sentence hit the entire courtroom. Narcissa continued with her pleading. Draco stepped up to help support his mother. Lucius placed a hand on the young man's shoulder and said.
"You are much more braver than I have ever given you credit for. Take care of your mother for me." Lucius said to Draco in a calm tone. Never letting the Malfoy mask crack. Draco nodded unable to look at his father in the eye lest he be rocked by emotions.
"No Lucius, what are you saying. You can't give up. You have to fight. No! I will not stand for this. Give them what they want, anything! Pay them all.. I do not care. You can't leave me, my love. You cannot just give up!" Narcissa was in full on hysterics pawing at Lucius' chest her grip wrinkling his sharply pressed robes. Those with any empathy in their hearts could not help but sympathize with the woman before them. Begging to save the love of her life, father of her child. The loyalty of this wife to her husband was admirable.
Lucius was to remain in Azkaban until his sentence was fulfilled. A couple of Aurors tried to pry Narcissa off of Lucius to take him back to the island. This only further upset the witch, the brave facade lay shattered like broken crystal on the floor. Before the two could be torn apart for good, Lucius slipped her the ribbon from his hair. "I love you Cissy, try to find happiness until we meet again." He quickly pecked her on the lips. She then clutched the ribbon to her face inhaling the scent of smoky woods, sharp cedar and the uniqueness that was Lucius. Watching as he was escorted out of the room, she let out another wail, her body wracked by sobs.
Hermione stood by with tears streaming down her face. Not because she felt anything for Lucius but because of her compassion towards losing one's family. The war cost Hermione her own family. Just as she was about to turn to leave she caught the eye of Draco. They stared at each other for a moment, long enough for her to mouth an 'I'm sorry' and for him to acknowledge with a nod.
In the courtroom where many spectators, but one set of green eyes, who had witnessed the entire spectacle, could not hide the look of pity for the witch balling on the ground or the tear that fell from his eyes because of her.
A week after Lucius' funeral Draco and Narcissa received some unexpected visitors. "Potter, what are you doing here?" Draco asked trying to keep his voice humble.
"We've been asked to check on you both." Harry replied trying to sound even toned. Both were nervous, trying not to fall back into the old habit of insulting one another. The war was over now, concessions on both sides were made. There was no use to hold on to grudges.
"Please come in." Draco said stepping aside to allow Harry and company in to the foyer. Taking note of the pretty brown haired witch as she passed by, he gave her a ghost of a smile. Hermione replied with a small smile of her own and a subtle blush on her cheeks. Draco nodded a salutation to the third member of the group.
Potter spun back to address Draco. "How is your mother?" He asked.
"All things considered, she is holding up well." Draco said sadly. "She is in the solarium, follow me."
The group followed Draco through the west wing of the manor. The side of the house that the Dark Lord and his cronies never ventured to. When her sentence began, Narcissa moved her belongings as well as Draco's to that side of the building. She planned to hire a staff to completely overhaul the manor and all the rooms tainted by the Dark Lord and his Death Eaters.
Narcissa stood in front of the vast windows that looked over the manor gardens and on to the western horizon. During the Summer the solarium walls would be painted in hues of crimson, orange and magenta from the light of the setting sun. She would stand there watching as the glowing orb would disappear then wait for the first star to show itself in the midnight blue sky before retiring to her bed chambers. There in the solitude and darkness she would mourn her husband. The black ribbon that once adorned his hair lay under her pillow.
"Mother, we have guests." Draco called to her from the doorway breaking her reverie.
She slowly turned, the sunlight catching the highlights of her hair seemed to make her sparkle in the light. "Do come in please. May I offer you all some tea, Misty!" She called over as her company awkwardly entered the room. Misty the house elf materialized with a 'pop' at the call from her mistress. "Misty, please be a dear and bring us a course of tea. Also extra cucumber sandwiches, you know Draco's fondness of them." Narcissa said ending in a polite smile at the elf. Misty bowed low then disappeared to fetch the tea.
Narcissa turned her attention to Hermione. "Is that satisfactory Ms. Granger?" She asked, aware of Hermione's opinion of the use of house elves.
Hermione felt her cheeks heat, clearing her throat she kindly replied. "Thank you for your hospitality Ma'am." Turning her head to look anywhere but at the older witch, she noticed Draco's smirk as he held a chair for her. This caused her blush to grow deeper. Narcissa just eyed the exchange between Draco and Hermione, she then turned her head to Harry.
"Mr. Potter, it is good to see you, whom else have you brought with you today?" Narcissa asked.
"You look lovely today by the way. May I present Neville Longbottom." Harry exchanged pleasantries. Neville nodded giving an awkward wave.
"Mr. Longbottom." Narcissa nodded her head in greeting, then repeated. "Longbottom...Longbottom. Oh!" She said coming to the realization as to who was standing before her. She could not mask the emotions that showed on her face. Her sister, Bellatrix, 'crucioed' Neville's parents to the brink of insanity. For years the Longbottoms resided at the Janus Thickey Ward of St. Mungo's. Neville took note of her demeanor, he offered the following statement.
"I'm not here to cause any unpleasantness, merely to observe." He said softly. He has kind eyes Narcissa thought.
Tea time was awkward at best. Harry lead most of the conversations roping his friends in to share tidbits when he'd run out to things to say on a subject. Narcissa noticed again how Draco seemed to lean in ever so slightly to Hermione's side when she spoke. She also observed the stolen glances Hermione sent to Draco and vice versa. She wondered if Harry knew the two seemed to be curious of one another. Neville was mostly silent only speaking when spoken to.
When tea was over and the guests readied to leave Narcissa said. "Thank you Mr. Potter for your company this afternoon. I hope you will give the Order a glowing report." A slight curve on her face.
Harry ducked his head then looking at her over his glasses said. "They thought I should be the one to visit you first. Also, I need to properly thank you for what you did." His cheeks tinged pink with embarrassment.
"I thank you. The madness is over, just the pieces to be picked up." Narcissa replied.
"I had hoped the outcome would have been different." He said hanging his head.
"As do I Mr. Potter, as do I." Narcissa said softly, turning her attention to Neville. "Mr. Longbottom, it was a pleasure."
"Thank you again for your hospitality." Neville said with a slight bow.
"Before you leave Ms. Granger, may I have a word." Narcissa asked.
Hermione shot a look at Harry then Draco, she took a gulp before answering. "Of course."
Narcissa made a shooing motion to the boys as she closed the door to the solarium and placed a wandless silencing charm. Turning to Hermione her face softened. "Please don't be frightened. I just wanted to say I noticed your... interactions with my Draco." Hermione let out an audible 'oh' as Narcissa continued. "I'm not exactly sure what his feelings are but I just ask that you both be careful. The two of you have been through more in your young lives than most adults ever will. Draco is vulnerable and I'm sure you are to some extent as well. I just hope that if you two act on the feelings I have observed that you are careful and patient with one another to avoid any hurt feelings. Am I clear?"
Hermione stood flabbergasted. She didn't think anything was overly obvious between Draco and herself. To be honest she didn't know what it was that was going on but she could admit to liking the way he looked at her now versus when they were growing up. Hermione replied. "Crystal clear, though to be honest I'm not sure of anything between Draco and I..."
"No matter, I will do anything for the sake of his happiness." Narcissa cut in nodding in the affirmative with her lips curled upwards. The young witch nodded in understanding then exited the room to join the boys.
As the group followed Draco to the front entrance of the manor, Harry leaned in close to Hermione. "What was that with Narcissa?"
Hermione, broken from the trance of figuring out the discussion she just had with said witch, simply replied. "She wanted to share her recipe for cucumber sandwiches."
Draco's ears perked up at that.