Why I Love

Narcissa Malfoy raises her head as her husband enters the room. She is reclining on their luxuriantly clothed bed, an open magazine lying on the sheets beside her.

"Where have you been?"

Lucius is silent.

"With him, I take it?"

He ignores her and begins to undress.

"Admit it."

"Where I choose to spend my evenings is of no concern to you," he replies icily. The very event of them having a conversation suggests some form of cold regard. She scoffs and mars her pretty features with a grimace of vague disgust.

"I knew it." Upon noting his lack of response she persists, "I hope you had the decency to bathe afterwards. I'll remind you I must nonetheless share your bed."

"You 'must' do nothing of the sort. There is an abundance of spare bedchambers throughout the manor which I am sure you are well aware of by now. You may take your pick"

She sniffs haughtily. "Now you propose to cast me from your bed?"

He sighs, "If you insist on interrogating me, yes I do."

"Hmph." She rises and tosses the long forgotten magazine onto the bedside table.

"Do not grunt at me."

She sulks momentarily but finds a vow of silence too much of an effort.

"I merely dislike the notion of you seeing that man. It makes me feel less feminine," she remarks as she begins to undress, revealing a slender, convincingly feminine figure. She delays the action for his benefit. He ignores her and continues dressing for bed.

"I do not seek his company because he reminds me of you, nor yours because you remind me of him. Why, then, do you protest? I did not take you as my wife because you seemed as another man does to me. If that were the case why would I desire him as a lover?"

"Because I failed even to be manly enough for you, as well as lacking as a woman," she replies, slipping into a sky blue silk negligee.

"Narcissa, your insecurity and ignorance astound me. You clearly have no comprehension of my sexual needs."

"It may help if you communicated them to me."

"No, no, there is no need, your lying motionless like an unfeeling corpse while we copulate is quite adequate."

They each climb into their respective sides of the bed.

"Hmph."

"I told you to cease doing that."

"Hmph."

"This is why I go to him! He does not behave like a spoilt child-"

She makes another noise of indignation.

"-nor a pregnant sow."

"Pregnant sow?"

"Yes, I believe that is the noise they make when they bear piglets. And that is another thing, you are getting fat."

"Oh, you insensitive, ill-mannered faggot!"

"Hag."

"Bastard."

Silence ensues.

"What is it you see in him anyway? He is dreadfully ugly."

"I would have you kindly refrain from criticising my choice of partners, I do not evaluate yours."

"I am merely curious as to why you are attracted to such a thin, sallow, hard-featured man."

"Thinner than you, you mean."

"He is positively skeletal."

"Oh, do not over exaggerate. And he is not 'sallow and hard-featured'. He has Italian blood," Lucius' voice drops to a murmur, "he is exotically beautiful in his own way."

"Beautiful?" she cries, half laughing, "That slimy, repulsive-"

"You will not speak of him in such a spiteful manner!"

"I will speak of him how I please! Do not attempt to order me around Lucius Malfoy, I am not one of your Ministry lapdogs nor one of your Death Eater minions. I am your wife-"

"My wife and whore-" she slaps him. He returns the favour and is met with a resentful glare. It is not usual for her to lose her temper so easily.

"Why do you see him as such a threat?"

She smiles coldly at this, "You are in love with him."

"I am not."

"Oh, but you are. You go running to him whenever he calls or whenever you have a spare minute, you think of him every waking moment and dream of him the rest of the time, you speak his name in your sleep and when you fuck me you imagine it's him.

"I do not care that your affections lie elsewhere, Lucius. I care that they may mean you leaving us without money or a home or a husband and father to support us. And I worry that you might grow careless in hiding your peculiar inclinations; that wouldn't do. When I think of the shame it would bring on us if your-" she grimaces, "perversion were to be exposed…."

She refers to herself and Draco but in truth she means herself. Whatever becomes of their relationship, Narcissa knows Lucius will not abandon his son and heir for all the shrivelfigs in Abyssinia.

"I shall not abandon you, silly wench, but if you continue to speak foully of him I shall certainly consider it." An empty threat but hopefully it will have the desired effect.

"I shall speak foully of him no more if you answer my question, what is it you see in him? How can you find him so irresistible? What drives you to place his happiness above the security and reputation of this family?"

Lucius pauses. "Why do you wish to know?"

There is something in her eyes for a moment, but it is gone before he can discern it.

"To understand."

He considers this for a moment before saying, "He understands. And that is why. He understands me and my desires and my needs. And he makes me feel things, experience emotions that I thought were long dead in me. That is why."

She watches his face for a moment, then nods satisfied and lies down, facing away from her husband. He remains sitting upright long after she has fallen asleep and at some unearthly hour whispers,

"That is why I love Severus Snape."