In the End

Disclaimer: No matter how much I wish that I were both the owner of Harry Potter and hideously rich, the fact remains that I'm neither.  Alas, those distinctions belong to goddess J.K. Rowling.

The first time she sees him, Narcissa Black is cut to the quick by his beauty.  She reels and never quite catches her breath.  For months afterward, she can't bear to look into mirrors and tries to forget that she is the most beautiful girl in the Black family. 

Lucius' gaze rests casually on the first years waiting to be Sorted, like a knife laid haphazardly on someone's sleeping neck.

Narcissa wants to throw herself against the blade of his sharp gray eyes and bleed and bleed.

His eyes turn to her.

She trembles and bites her lip till it runs red.

He is a god.

***

In her second year, he crosses the common room to Narcissa's side.

"Have you seen Goyle?"  His tone is that of utter boredom and his eyes are lazy.

"He's – with Professor Dumbledore."  It pleases Narcissa that her voice does not waver too much.

"Oh, I remember now.  That idiot's always in detention."  Briefly, he scowls.  Then a smile illuminates his face.  "Thank you."

Lucius leaves before she can say "you're welcome" but a breeze caresses her cheek as his robes billow when he turns.  Narcissa clutches at this zephyr and that night she falls asleep with her heart swelling like the pregnant sails of a ship, as if that breath of air had been a gust to shatter clouds.

He is a hurricane bound in calm gold and silver.

***

When she's fourteen, he takes her out for lunch at Hogsmeade before Christmas break.  They stroll around leisurely after that for quite a while.  Lucius buys her a few trinkets that happen to catch her eye, one of which is a tiger's eye comb that he fixes in her golden hair himself.  It is nearly impossible for Narcissa to prevent herself from arching towards him, so tantalizing are his deft fingers, but it's a sign of her self-control that she manages to stay perfectly still.  Snow starts to fall, and they make their way back to Hogwarts.

"I'll walk you to the girls' dorms," he says.

"That would be very kind of you," she responds.

Right in front of the door, he stops and kisses her.  All thought is erased in favor of a great and terrible ecstasy that lifts her above the stars.  Now she can't help herself and she presses back wantonly.

"This afternoon was one of the most pleasant it has been my fortune to experience," he says smoothly.  How is he so controlled?  His restraint baffles Narcissa.  "Thank you."

"You're welcome."

Now he inclines his head in lieu of a bow.  The gesture is graceful and stately.  A smile lurks in the corners of his lips and eyes.

Alone in her dorm, Narcissa hopes that she wasn't too childish or eager; that Lucius has seen nothing that will give him a poor impression of her.  Her hand goes to the tiger's eye comb, which he said became her extremely.  Vainly, Narcissa runs her hands over her face in an attempt to force down the glow.  She's sure that her face reads Lucius Lucius and she's afraid that her roommates will be able to see him shining out of her countenance.

He is a king among men.

***

On Narcissa's nineteenth birthday, Lucius slides a white-gold ring on her finger and says, "There are no words to express my feelings."

"I love you," she whispers, and she's startled to feel tears slipping off her eyelashes.

Amusedly: "That does come close."

They laugh together.

He is her husband.

***

One evening Lucius picks up his white mask and tells her, "Don't wait for me.  Good night, darling."

"Give my regards to Bella."

A kiss.  "Of course."

Hours later, he comes to bed surrounded by the faint crackle of power emanated when one uses an Unforgivable.  Narcissa can practically smell Avada Kedavra on his person.

She understands obligation.  And pleasure.  Lucius loves to combine both.

When he sleepily nestles his head in the crook of her shoulder and neck, Narcissa seeks his wand hand (killing hand) with hers and, unafraid, grasps his fingers.

He is death.

***

December first, five-thirty in the evening: Narcissa is lying on a king's ransom of silk sheets and entering labor.

"I will not have my son born in the same room as some mudblood or halfbreed," said Lucius when Narcissa asked why he was not sending her to St. Mungo's.  Nor will I have my wife giving birth next to one, Narcissa read in his features.  Private Healers were summoned to attend her in their bedroom.

As soon as the Healers arrived, Lucius left, and now Narcissa is twisting wretchedly, her breath coming in little gasps and hitches.

"Lucius," she moans.

Not knowing what to say, the midwife in charge croons, "Push, dear, that's a girl."

Another Healer wipes her brow.

Several hours and countless screams later, Draco is brought into the world.

"Mr. Malfoy, you have a beautiful baby boy!" announces the midwife as Lucius hastens into the room.  She proudly gives Draco into his arms, as if she had ripped this child from her own womb.

"Draco."  Thus Lucius greets his heir, dropping a kiss on his fine, soft forehead.  A fond smile crosses his face, and then he returns Draco to the midwife.

"Narcissa?"  For the first time she can remember, Lucius' voice wavers.

"Sir - your wife had unusual trouble with this one.  I'm afraid she may never be able to have children again."

He brushes the midwife off and kneels at Narcissa's side.

"How are you feeling?"  Lucius sweeps a lock of hair off her forehead.

She sees how pale he is and wonders if his hue is wanner than hers.  That is when she realizes that even Lucius knows the feeling of fear.  If possible, her love for him grows even greater at that moment.

He is a father.

***

Years pass and Narcissa could not be happier with Draco and Lucius.  Her life is complete.  Alas, the fiasco in the Department of Mysteries concludes with Lucius in Azkaban and Narcissa broken and staggering.  She wears black day after day as if she is mourning Lucius' death.  She sees no company, and Draco is the only one who manages to get a few confused sentences from her at a time.  He puts it down to his striking resemblance to Lucius, and begins to feel resentful that his mother should be this weak, that she should value Lucius so highly.  Why, he's quite jealous.

A couple of months pass before Narcissa is articulate again.  Draco does not believe she will stop dressing in black until Lucius is in her arms once more.

When she thinks of Lucius, a slow stifling fire builds up in Narcissa's chest and she finds it hard to breathe.

He is a prisoner.

***

After another month or so (it feels like a lifetime), Narcissa dons a white mask and Apparates to a dark clearing in an unfamiliar wood.  In the darkness, she perceives many other masks like her own, turned gray by the frail starlight.  The thin face that approaches her, however, is a livid white, and the features are unmistakable.

"My Lord."  She sinks down and kisses the hem of his robes.

"My newest acolyte," he says amusedly.  The high pitch of his voice grates on Narcissa's nerves.  "Welcome.  Rise, Narcissa."

As she stands, she removes her mask and arranges her expression into one of docile servility.  This too grates on her.

A long-fingered hand slips under her chin and lifts her head.  "So very pretty.  It was most unfair of Lucius to hide you away for so long."

Narcissa smiles with just the right amount of coyness.

"I think, however, that you can understand my reasoning, Master."  His voice comes from the shadows.  For a second, Narcissa dreads that her knees will give way; she's trembling.  Voldemort's fingers dig in and finally let go, and she is steady once more.  His red-eyed smile is eerily knowing.

"Dear Narcissa, allow me to present your husband."  With a flourish, he indicates Lucius.  Were circumstances different, Narcissa would laugh at Voldemort's puerile love for dramatic flair.

Lucius is thinner than before, but still smiling and immaculately attired. 

"Hello, love," he says evenly, reaching for her hand.  And now, Narcissa sees Lucius very clearly.

In the end, he is simply the man who loves her.

A/N: The classic evil couple that's really in love – ah, Narcissa and Lucius is forever. 

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