June 15th, 1974

"It's been a year," Cygnus gruffed. Narcissa gasped as she looked up and saw her father standing at the entrance to the garden, her hand immediately going for the wand in her sleeve.

"What are you doing here?" Narcissa demanded, standing up in front of the small flower she had been kneeling in front of. "I don't recall you having an appointment."

"I don't need one to see my daughter," Cygnus growled, revealing his wand as well; still coming closer to the youngest Black child. "Especially when she's failed to do her duty and produce an heir. It's been a year."

"You don't think I realize that?" Narcissa spat, her breathing picking up speed as tried to keep hold of her emotions; raising her wand in warning. Her voice increasing in pitch and volume as she continued. "You don't think I would remember that's it's been a year since I lost my son? My child?"

Cygnus quickly disarmed her, the wand flying to the ground as he stormed forward, his free hand going around her throat as he pushed her against the hedge, his footsteps barely missing the flower that she had been kneeling in front of. "I would watch your tone, young lady," he snarled. "You and Lucius broke the rules by consummating your marriage before you graduated. Thankfully, there was little talk about it, and therefore no need to punish you then… however, if you keep neglecting your duties, you may as well kiss your inheritance and your marriage goodbye."

Narcissa struggled against his grasp, her nails digging into his skin as she attempted to push his hand away; he raised his wand though, and her struggles ceased. "Just because you're married, my sweet sweet, Narcissa," he whispered, his hand going down her face, as if it were nothing more than a gentle caress. "Doesn't mean you're beyond my grasp— it just means I'm rather limited in what I can do to you…" A sadistic grin crossed his lips, one she recognized all too easily as she began shaking her head fervently. "Perhaps, I should remind you of what happens when you disobey me?" With a flick of his wand, a black mamba appeared hissing as it slowly slithered toward them.

Her eyes widened in fear the moment she saw the snake; her leg connecting with Cygnus's groin. As he doubled over from the contact, she was able to break out of his grasp, racing toward her fallen wand. As she picked it up, she cried out as a spell struck her from behind; fighting to suppress a scream as she felt the currents of electricity coursing through her body; her muscles twitching as she hit the ground, grunting a bit as she fought the scream, but eventually had to release it. The spell remained a few moments longer, before it was removed.

Narcissa gasped, her breath coming in ragged bursts… and then she felt the tingling sensation in her hand; she looked to see the mamba, as the viper struck her hand again. She knew she had a limited time to receive the antivenom… which meant she would have to comply to his demands. "You want the antivenom, my precious Narcissa," she heard him say darkly, his fingers gently caressing her hair back. "I'll give it to you… and then you will give Lucius an heir in nine months…"

Her mind was a haze, tears wallowing up in her eyes as she struggled to even nod an answer. "That's my good girl… that's my good Cissy—"

Narcissa was quickly losing consciousness now, but she heard a bellow, followed by black boots coming toward her eyes.

Lucius had been reading in the study, trying to grasp this new poison he had heard of and wanted to try to make— maybe test it on Dobby when he got the chance, provided he had the antidote on hand. He didn't want to waste a good elf, when he heard the blood curdling scream. Narcissa's scream.

Promptly, he closed the book and apparated to the gardens with a soft 'pop'. He scowled as he saw his Father-in-law, his face contorting into anger when he saw the man raise his wand to release Narcissa— who was sprawled face-down several feet from Cygnus— from the spell he had casted— Cruciatus by the looks of it, that man was going to pay dearly— and a snake quickly struck her hand. Lucius pulled out his wand as the old man bent over to talk to her; fingers slowly gliding through her two-toned hair.

Lucius first took care of the snake before glaring at his quarry. "CRUCIO!" Lucius bellowed, storming forward. Cygnus fell to the ground, twitching and gasping, giving Lucius time to reach his wife. "'Cissa," he murmured, noticing her hand. If the snake bit her, it probably envenomated her… he didn't have much time. "What snake did you use?"

Cygnus coughed as he got to his feet; Lucius quickly held up his wand in warning. "I won't ask again: what snake?"

"Black Mamba," Cygnus replied, pulling out the vial that obviously held the anti-venom. "She'll be alright—"

Lucius took the vial and punched him in the jaw, kneeling down and opening the vial with his teeth; his hands turning her body towards him and tilting her head back, as he gently opened her jaw to pour the liquid down her throat. He focused on her labored breathing, praying he gave it to her just in time. "You better pray she doesn't die," he said darkly, glaring at the older man. "And if I ever catch you near her again, without me close by, expect visitors in the night. I'm sure Mulciber and the Lestranges will be happy to pay you a visit…"

"You can't—"

Lucius raised his wand. "I will call in a personal favor with the Dark Lord and have him appear on your doorstep…" he growled. "Stay away from my wife."

Narcissa stirred at his feet, and Lucius gently picked her up, apparating her to the Bed Chamber. "Dobby," Lucius called, settling her into the bed, listening to her breathing and feeling her forehead for any signs of a fever.

The elf appeared by his side a moment later. "Y-yes, Master," Dobby squeaked.

"Fetch a healer from St. Mungo's, now," Lucius commanded. "Tell them it's an emergency and they will be well compensated for the inconvenience."

Dobby nodded, vanishing. Meanwhile, Lucius sent a letter to Severus, requesting his assistance at his earliest convenience.

Narcissa gasped as her eyes fluttered open, looking around and trying to assess her surroundings. She jumped when she felt Lucius's hand on her shoulder. "Try not to move around too much," Lucius murmured.

"What happened?" Narcissa whispered, as he kissed her forehead, pulling her closer to him. Her memory was a blur right then.

"Cygnus," Lucius growled, placing his chin on her head. "I took care of him, though. St. Mungo's and Severus came by… I didn't give him the details… I just wanted to pick his brain on how to handle this kind of snake bite."

Tears suddenly came to her eyes, as she remembered the deal she had made with her father… and she buried her face into Lucius's chest. "What's wrong, Flower?" Lucius said softly, pulling her back slightly, his finger going under her chin.

"Father… wants me to… to…" her lip trembled as she her voice quivered, her body trembling as she struggled to finish the sentence.

Lucius shook his head and pulled her close again, as if he knew what her father wanted. "I'm not touching you unless you want me to," he said softly. "Damn him and his pride… I'm not forcing myself on you just to appease them. That's not what I want from this marriage."

Narcissa sobbed, her arms going around him in a tight embrace. "I love you," she mumbled.

Lucius smiled, kissing her head. "I love you too," he murmured, pulling her down to the pillows and enveloping her in his embrace as they settled down, her back toward his chest as his arm went around her waist.