The Next Mrs. Malfoy
"It shows an appalling lack of judgment - inviting one of those people here."
In the gazebo on the grounds of Black Manor, a young woman crouched down into the shadows, hoping that the couple walking would continue on their way. It had taken hours to find a quiet spot, and she wouldn't surrender it willingly.
The girl, Narcissa Black was not a solitary creature by nature. She was easy in the company of others, and enjoyed the spotlight, but as the long-weekend wedding of her cousin Lyra wore on, she had grown weary of the constant presence of others.
Peering through the slats in the wall, the lithe young blonde could just make out the vast, stately proportions of her family's home, Ravensden Hall. In spite of its size, the manor house could barely contain the various extended families and guests that had descended upon it for the event. Even with enlargement charms, the twenty-two bedrooms were no match for the thirty-two guests who were spending the nights.
Just as things became interesting, however, as the married women began to gossip about their husbands, she was evicted on the grounds of being "too young." Too old to join the youngsters playing on the lawn, she had slipped away to grab a moment of peace.
Now, however, it appeared that peace was about to be shattered.
"I know that you call Miss Wilkins your friend…" Narcissa groaned as the voices stopped just outside the gazebo. "…and no doubt you think that you're being clever, but it really has to end. After we're married…"
"I am capable of choosing my own friends."
Narcissa's ears pricked; that was her sister's voice. She would recognise it anywhere, even if Andromeda's infinitely patient lilt did sound a little strained at present.
Narcissa shifted her position, pressing one shockingly blue eye to a missing knot in a painted wooden slat as she tried to spy exactly what was going on, and to finally, after a weekend of trying, get a good look at her eldest sister's fiancé.
Andromeda Black and Lucius Malfoy had been betrothed since before Narcissa could remember, probably since before she had been born. However, being so much younger than her sister and her intended, Narcissa had rarely been included in their company on the occasions when Lucius had visited Ravensden Hall with his parents.
At school, for the two years when they had both attended, he had simply been another blond-haired boy Narcissa had passed in the corridors, and then after Lucius had left Hogwarts, he was more often out of the country then in it.
"How am I meant to fall in love with a man I never see?" Andromeda frequently bemoaned.
Narcissa was curious to know the answer. Unlike her sisters, Narcissa had escaped the annoyance of having her future husband picked out for her, and she was determined to learn from their misfortune. Lyra's wedding had seemed a perfect opportunity to pick out all the faults in Andromeda and Bellatrix's fiancés that she meant to avoid, except her mother had kept her so busy that she hadn't had a chance.
So, as Lucius railed against Mudbloods, Muggles and blood traitors, Narcissa settled back to catalogue his flaws.
He was too short, topping Andromeda by less than a head (though in fairness he might still be growing), and Narcissa had always preferred dark-haired men. Andromeda's fiancé had hair so blond that it was almost white. She compared him in her mind to her other intended brother-in-law. Her other sister, Bellatrix, was betrothed to Rodolphus Lestrange, a man much more closely matched to Narcissa's idea.
She couldn't help but smile as she thought of the other boy: olive skinned and dark-haired, with deep, brooding chocolate-coloured eyes that Narcissa thought she could have happily stared into for days. She had envied Bellatrix more than once, but she thought she felt a little sorry for her oldest sister. It wasn't that Lucius was unattractive. Objectively, she admitted that he was quite handsome in his way. He had a lean, tightly muscled body, strong features, and an air of healthfulness and strength. He simply looked…
Cold. Narcissa's mind supplied after a moment's deliberation. There was something too flat and hard behind his steel grey eyes. They reminded her of mirrors reflecting a winter sky. His posture was icy as well. In spite of the fact that he was scolding her sister (and who could blame him, really? Andromeda had always been shockingly open-minded about half-bloods, Muggle-lovers and their ilk), his posture was deliberately still. He didn't even raise his voice, choosing instead to lecture in the even, condescendingly patient tone that one might use to discipline a child.
"Surely you can understand that your actions reflect on the entire family. As the next Mrs. Malfoy, you-"
"I don't want to be the next Mrs. Malfoy!" Andromeda whined back.
Narcissa gasped automatically. Then she covered her mouth and sank back into the darkness when Lucius frowned and looked around as if he suspected they were being watched.
"What you want is immaterial." Lucius continued after a long pause. "The matter has already been decided, and we'll simply have to make the best of it."
Narcissa listened to Andromeda's very unladylike snort. "I don't want to 'make the best of it'," she shot back at her fiancé. Her little sister could almost picture the way that her arms would be flailing in over-animated circles as she argued against the young man.
Andromeda needed… passion and verve. While she lacked Bellatrix's fire, she possessed a certain vivacious energy. Lucius would surely sap the life out of her! He would freeze that very special spark that lit Andromeda from inside, Narcissa worried suddenly.
"Life is not a fairytale, Andromeda."
Narcissa risked another peek as she fought off a shiver at the cruel, frosty tone of Lucius's voice. He had turned away slightly and was looking back towards the house. Andromeda was staring at him hard, looking rather too desperate and imploring for a Black.
She just wants to be loved. Narcissa thought fiercely, with an added pang drawn from sisterly affection. Just a little.
And besides, didn't Andromeda have a right to be loved by her husband? Narcissa wondered, showing her age a little in her naivety. She would be loved, Narcissa determined, and swore there and then that nothing but the very deepest love would induce her into matrimony.
Of course, love didn't buy pretty dresses and nice things. It wouldn't put a roof over her head, nor ensure she moved in the very best circles of society, but, with the certainty of a fifteen year old, Narcissa knew her life would not be complete without that most precious of emotions.
How would Andromeda bear it? Narcissa was certain she couldn't.
It might have been different, if their parents weren't so utterly devoted to one another, but the three Black sisters had grown up witnessing a display of matrimonial bliss from their parents.
It was perhaps a little odd then that Mr and Mrs Black had chosen to arrange the marriages of their first two daughters. However, desperate time called for desperate measures.
Narcissa didn't know any family that could top the Blacks for pedigree. They could prove their pureblood ancestry back to the fourteenth century- but in finances, they were easily outmatched. The Blacks had never followed the upper-class fashion of producing a single heir. In consequence, their fortune was stretching dangerously thin.
Orion, Narcissa's father, ought to have married for money. Most of the family fortune was entailed in Ravensden itself, and what little cash he possessed was required to keep his wife and daughters in passable style. No matter how frayed the sofa in the drawing room might become, it was unthinkable that they should miss an appearance at the Races, or arrive at the elegant parties they attended in anything less than the finest clothes. There would be nothing left over for dowries, and the estate would escheat to their cousin, Sirius, when Orion passed away. Narcissa and her sisters had always been aware that they would need to catch a husband with other charms if they intended to have a home and a life of their own.
The Malfoys, on the other hand, had better bank accounts than bloodlines. Julius Malfoy, Lucius's father, claimed ten generations of undiluted wizarding blood, but society remained unconvinced. There were nasty rumours floating around about his great grandfather and an Irish half-blood that all of their money had been unable to hush.
Regardless of their pretensions to purity, it was undisputed that the Malfoys were nouveau riche. Malfoy Manor, and its sprawling estate in Wiltshire, hadn't been built until the eighteenth century, when the Malfoy's secured a monopoly on the Caribbean floo powder trade.
Narcissa had been to Malfoy manor only once. She remembered it as a glittering palace- full of polished marble and gleaming silver. It lacked the character of Ravensden, of course, but to her mind that was compensated, somewhat, by its many comforts. There seemed to be nothing the Malfoy's lacked, save credibility. Perhaps that was why they were so desperate for Lucius and Andromeda to wed. It was a perfect match on both sides. An alliance with the Blacks would catapult the Malfoy's to the very top of the wizarding elite, and Malfoy money would keep a roof over all their heads for at least another generation more. It wasn't romantic, perhaps, but it was life. Narcissa could understand, even if she didn't want to approve.
A voice was calling across the lawn, Bellatrix's voice to be exact. Her shouts were getting louder as she neared the gazebo.
"Why you allow them to shorten your name to that of a Muggle boy I will never understand." Narcissa heard Lucius sneer beneath his breath. "It will stop, Andromeda."
"I like-" Andromeda began, and it sounded like she was speaking through gritted teeth, only she was interrupted by another shout from Bellatrix.
"Andy! There you are!" The middle Black sounded slightly out of breath. "Ah, and with Mr Malfoy no less."
Narcissa could hear the teasing tone, imagine the sly wink and knowing nudge. She might be the baby of the family, but she really wished that Bellatrix would learn a little restraint and realise that one could not always say exactly what one was thinking. She took, from the sharp tone of Andromeda's reply, that her eldest sister wished so too.
"Is something wrong, Bella? It can't already be time for dinner?"
"There's a letter for you up at the house," Bellatrix answered simply.
"Back at the house?" Lucius interjected softly. "Why, after going to all the trouble of finding your sister, didn't you bring the letter with you Miss Bellatrix?" he enquired lazily.
Narcissa couldn't see his face, but she rather thought he was smirking - a dangerous game to play with Bellatrix, who was positively renowned for her quick temper. She and Lucius had been in the same year at Hogwarts, and as Narcissa understood it, they had shared many of the same friends and spent much of their time together. She assumed he knew what he was doing. It was a pity that they weren't betrothed; Bellatrix might have had more success in thawing the icy Malfoy heir.
"Why, because the bloody-"
"Bella!" Andromeda scolded, askance.
"-owl that delivered it tried to bite my hand off that's why!" Bellatrix finished heatedly. "It seems it won't deliver its message to anyone but you, Andy."
Something like panic flickered across Andromeda's face, but she composed herself quickly and turned to Lucius, "If you would excuse me then, Mr. Malfoy?" She said quickly. Then, without waiting for a response, she darted back toward the house. Bellatrix lingered. Narcissa watched with a raised brow as her sister stepped closer to Malfoy and whispered onto his ear.
Narcissa couldn't make out his expression, or hear his low reply, but her pulse jumped as they ducked toward the entry to the gazebo.
"…tonight." Bellatrix's rich, staccato voice drifted toward Narcissa's ears. "I spoke with father. He is going to be here."
"Yes, he- Narcissa?" Narcissa stiffened as she heard her sister's voice. She stood quickly, dropping the book she had been pretending to read. She winced at the graceless gesture, but quickly recovered, lifting her chin to meet her sister's narrowed gaze. She didn't quite understand the look. Bellatrix appeared unusually rattled, but she was also skilled at hiding her emotions. Almost as soon as Narcissa registered the expression, it was gone. "What are you doing hiding out here?" She demanded.
"I wasn't hiding," Narcissa answered defiantly. "I was merely enjoying the solitude- until I was interrupted." She added pointedly.
Bellatrix looked only half convinced, but she had no way to dispute the charge. Instead of continuing the argument, she turned toward their guest. "I don't believe you've met Mr. Malfoy, Cissy…"
"NARcissa." She snapped, but Bellatrix ignored her and continued speaking.
"This is Lucius Malfoy. Mr. Malfoy- my baby sister."
Narcissa's cheeked burned at the introduction. Baby sister indeed! She was only four and a half years younger than Bella! Still, she refused to be rankled. As coolly as she could manage, she held out her hand to shake. "Mr. Malfoy." She murmured.
Lucius Malfoy let his eyes wander over the youngest of the Black sisters as he took her extended hand. Her touch was warm and her fingers already graceful Lucius noticed as he raised her hand to his mouth, brushing his lips briefly against her soft skin before releasing her.
"Miss Narcissa," he said, nodding his head politely.
His eyebrows quirked momentarily when he saw the way her eyes had widened very slightly in surprise, the way her hand was still hovering in mid-air. The latter was quickly corrected, but she made a little display of brushing the imaginary wrinkles out of her dress, belying her apparent unease.
Lucius found himself smiling very slightly despite the very trying circumstances that had led to this unusual introduction. He wondered how much fun he could have with this little slip of a girl? He rather thought, from her now indifferent stance, that she thought herself a match for him, and this assumption intrigued him greatly.
Having been an only child Lucius had missed out on the pleasure of having a younger sibling to torment, but in Narcissa Black he might find a delightful pseudo-sister. He had already decided to provide the youngest Miss Black with a dowry once Andromeda and he were wed. It was the least he could do for the girl really, still, he never gave something for nothing.
Not that he was considering a romantic dalliance or anything even remotely along those lines! That would be terribly crude, and anyway, although Narcissa would most certainly be a beautiful woman when she matured, she was only girlishly prettily at present and Lucius's taste didn't run to adolescents. No, all he wanted was some occasion entertainment at the tedious family get-togethers he could envisage Andromeda forcing him to attend.
"Well," Bellatrix sighed, breaking Lucius's curious train of thought, there was an irritated edge to her voice that she didn't bother to hide. "I suppose we had better make our way back to the house."
Lucius watched as she shot her sister an annoyed glance, surely giving the other girl the impression that she had interrupted something. Lucius wanted to groan aloud at Bellatrix's lack of discretion, because he was absolutely certain that he wasn't imagining the suspicious narrowing of Narcissa Black's eyes.
"I think it hard on us ladies though," Bellatrix added with a conspiratorial wink at her sister.
Circe, he would never get used to her erratic mood swings! Lucius thought wearily. Even Narcissa looked taken by surprise by this sudden change, and she was the woman's sister.
"There being two of us and only one gentleman," Bellatrix continued. "So tell us, Lucius, which of us are you going to escort back to the house?"
He knew what she was hinting. He ought to choose Bellatrix. It was likely the only way that he would hear the end of her news- and the hints had been truly astounding, but he was vexed at Bellatrix and feeling vaguely perverse.
"Ah Bellatrix, aren't you always telling me that you don't need looking after?" He revelled in her blatant shock. "Surely you can find your own way back? After all, you've already survived your harrowing ordeal with the owl and struggled across the lawns on your own once this afternoon."
"Who was the letter from?"
Lucius's grey eyes shifted to the blonde as she interjected. She realized, a second too late, that she shouldn't have spoken.
"You little sneak!" Bellatrix seethed. "You were spying on us!"
He expected the younger girl to cow. There were grown men who shirked from the face of Bellatrix's rages, but Narcissa held her ground. She lifted her chin, ever so slightly and replied in a haughty, unaffected tone. "I have been in the gazebo since lunch. If some people speak with all the lilting softness of a bullhorn than it's hardly..."
"Oh, shut it- little brat!" Bellatrix snapped, her skin was flushed nearly as red as her dress. "What did you hear?"
"That Andromeda got a letter." Narcissa replied, admitting no more knowledge that she had already, accidentally admitted.
"And?" She arched a brow, as if inviting Bellatrix to continue.
The older Miss Black balled her fists. Her fingers twitched, as if they were itching for her wand, but she didn't grasp it. She merely released her breath in an angry shriek. Then she spun away, her skirts fanning out around her as she stalked toward the lake. "I'm going to find Rodolphus." She announced with annoyance.
"I'll see you later?" Lucius allowed only the faintest note of emphasis to hide the hidden question in his words.
Bellatrix continued scowling, but nodded her head and responded far less subtly. "There will be people who want to meet you after dinner." Then she flounced around again and stalked away.
She was more graceful than her sister. Lucius caught himself studying the girl again with approval. Unlike some women of his acquaintance- and perfectly the opposite of Andromeda with her insufferable and unending babbling about relationships and romance and "emotional intimacy"- she did not feel the need to fill the time with chatter. She merely walked beside him, moving with a grace which exceeded her years, and casting her bright blue eyes thoughtfully around the grounds. For a while, he enjoyed the solitude. Then, when he caught himself devoting rather too much attention to sorting out the individual notes in her perfume, he felt the need to speak himself.
"These are lovely grounds, Miss Narcissa. Do you enjoy the out of doors."
"Somewhat," she replied, "but I like it better at night. I don't like to stand out in the sun."
"Of course." He replied, annoyed that the topic of conversation had fizzled so quickly. Luckily, Narcissa launched on a new topic of her own.
"So," She said as they entered the rose garden immediately adjacent to the house, "You are going to marry my sister."
"Yes," he drawled slowly, carefully, in response.
He watched her nod thoughtfully. It was hardly news, and he hardly needed to answer, but Lucius supposed it was a natural enough subject for Narcissa to want to raise to fill the silence. What else did they have in common after all?
"Do you think you should?" she enquired, those discerningly blue eyes of hers looking up at him curiously.
Lucius's next step faltered, only just noticeably, but he bristled at the little slip in his composure. To further his annoyance, he couldn't tell if she was serious or teasing. So he stared down at Narcissa silently, hoping to impress upon her the impropriety of her question.
And not to escape giving an answer, Lucius amended silently.
Andromeda would make him a perfect wife. Her bloodline was at least six centuries old, her temperament was agreeable, most of the time, and she was considered one of the most beautiful witches of the age. What else mattered?
Nothing, was Lucius resolute answer, but he seemed unable to convince Andromeda of that, and doubted he would have any more success with her little sister. Young girls, he had learnt to his irritation, all seemed to harbour ridiculous notions about love and romance.
What was love anyway? He had asked Andromeda once, loosing patience with her. If she could quantify it for him then he would give it some credence. Of course, Lucius thought smugly, she hadn't been able to.
His cold stare seemed to be having the desired effect on Narcissa. The young girl hadn't uttered another word as they walked through the garden, until:
"It's just- you don't seem very well suited."
"And how have you come to that conclusion?" Lucius drawled, frowning angrily.
"Andy's my sister!" Narcissa exclaimed, colouring. "I know everything about her. I know-"
"But what, Miss Narcissa," he sneered cruelly, as they finished passing through the rose garden and finally reached the house, "do you know about me?"
Lucius thought he would enjoy watching her squirm, but Narcissa was spared by the sudden intrusion of her mother's voice.
"Narcissa? Narcissa! There you are!" Mrs. Black paused just inside the door that the two teenagers were about to enter and gestured for her daughter to come inside. "Where have you been? I've been looking for you all afternoon. The other children-"
"Mama!" The girl protested her inclusion in the group of 'children', but the faint whine in her voice gave credit to the charge.
Mrs. Black ignored her. "Mr. Malfoy!" She said brightly, an indulgent smile on her face as she stepped forward to take his arm. "I hope little Cissa hasn't been bothering you?"
A wicked part of him wanted to answer "yes"- or at least to let 'little Cissa' squirm a moment, but he thought better of it. He wanted to toy with the girl- not to mould her into an enemy. She would, after all, be family soon.
"Not at all, Mrs. Black." He said in a silky tone, "All of your daughters are charming."
Regardless of Narcissa's reaction to this remark, in her mother it met its desired response. "I'm glad to hear it." The older woman smiled in approval and offered her son-in-law her arm, Narcissa forgotten as she led him back to the house. "I thought you were with Andromeda earlier?" She said, her voice thick with insinuation.
"Yes." Lucius answered neutrally.
"And I trust she was charming as well?"
"Always." Lucius lied.
"Excellent." He thought he could make out a flicker of relief. "It's so splendid to see young people getting on so well- your wedding is next!"
Lucius nodded his head, focusing more energy on observing Mrs. Black and his surroundings than listening to what she actually said. He noticed that they were taking a circuitous route through the house- sticking to the hallways and rooms of the Manor that had been polished and stuffed with the best furniture to promote the illusion of grandeur. "Where are we going?" He asked when she hovered at the top of the flight of stairs. He had never been this way before, and thought they led to a dungeon.
"My husband wanted to speak with you." She said in a hushed whisper. "It's about...a friend of his that you wanted to meet."
"I see." Lucius's grey eyes intensified, flashing with a keen enthusiasm that had been somewhat lacking during the rest of the day.
Mrs Black offered him a small conspiratorial smile and then began to descent the steps. As Lucius had correctly guessed, they did indeed lead down to the dungeons beneath Ravensden Hall. It was dry and not overly dusty in the lit corridor under the house, there was an air of use about the place.
"My husband has a study upstairs – no doubt you've seen it?" Lucius nodded in the affirmative as Mrs Black glanced over her shoulder at him. "But he likes to keep a room down here too, to use to conduct his more… private business from."
Lucius nodded again. "A sensible decision, no doubt." He stopped behind his future mother-in-law when they came to a dead end. Mrs Black took out her wand and began tapping the stones. Lucius couldn't quite follow the exact combination. "Do your daughters know about this er… private study, Mrs Black?" he found himself asking.
"Bellatrix does, naturally. Andromeda, well you know what Andy's like," she said, flashing him an almost apologetic smile. "As for Narcissa, she's far too young," Mrs Black finished with a dismissive, but not unkindly, wave of her hand, taking a step back as the bricks began to rearrange themselves to form an ornate arch. "Well, Mr Malfoy," she said, waving him forward. "My husband is waiting for you. Do go straight on through."
Lucius nodded, dipped his head respectfully and then walked into Mr Black's dungeon study. It was darker in the room, and before Lucius's eyes had adjusted to the lack of light a voice welcomed him warmly.
"Ah, Lucius, excellent. Have a seat, a drink? No doubt you're eager to hear why I've summoned you here."
Narcissa scowled after Lucius Malfoy and her mother as they disappeared down the hall. She supposed she ought to be grateful that she had been given an excuse not to answer Mr Malfoy's question- after all, what did she know about him?- but she found this small consolation. She had found their conversation surprisingly enjoyable. Even if Lucius Malfoy was an obnoxious, arrogant git, he was the first person who had spoken to her like an adult all weekend!
"Cissy! Come and play!"
"I want to see the ponies Cissy!"
Narcissa entered the kitchens, then immediately turned as a cadre of her tiny cousins began bouncing out of the chairs where they had been sat to drink their juice. It wasn't fair that she had been assigned to eat with the babies rather than the adults! She supposed that she could join her cousin Sirius, and his friends in the hideout they had constructed in the gardener's hut. He and his wretched friend, James Potter, had raided the kitchen and stolen enough food to last a week. They had invited her to partake of their spoils, but her pride would not allow it. Narcissa Black did not eat. She dined- on a proper table with proper china and proper silver...and if that table happened to be two feet off the ground and sat with as many dolls as children, well- she renewed her conviction- she'd go to bed hungry instead.
Five hours later, lying awake in her bed, Narcissa had come to regret her decision. It was hard enough to share a mattress with two squirming five year olds (especially ones who "rarely" had accidents!), but impossible with the added distraction of her rumbling stomach. Narcissa tried to ignore it for as long as she could, but it was no use. As the clock downstairs in the front hall struck one o'clock, she threw her legs over the side of the bed, grabbed her dressing gown, and set off in search of food.
Most of the house was fast asleep. The lamps in the hallway had been snuffed, so that the only light was the broad patches of moonlight that drifted through the tall windows of the house. Soft, sleepy sounds occasionally broke the silence, but otherwise she heard nothing until she reached the top of the stairs.
"Is this everything?"
Narcissa stopped abruptly as she heard an unfamiliar voice. Her foot hovered in mid-air above the top-most step as she craned her ears, starting when she recognized her oldest sister's voice.
And with that Andromeda rounded the corner, followed very closely by a young wizard, levitating a trunk. She stopped dead on seeing her baby sister standing at the top of the staircase.
"What are you doing here?" Andromeda wailed, after a moment of painful silent in which the two sisters simply stared, agog, at one another.
"What am I doing here?" Narcissa repeated in disbelief, watching Andromeda's skin pale in the moonlight as she herself tried to recover from the shock of stumbling upon her sister sneaking around the house with a strange man! "What are you doing here? What is he doing here?" she said pointing a finger at the unfamiliar young man in question. "Who is he?" Narcissa demanded, rather impolitely she had to admit, but she thought her rudeness was excusable given the circumstances.
"Please keep your voice down," Andromeda begged, glancing around nervously. "This is Ted Tonks. He's a… a friend of mine."
Narcissa regarded this Ted suspiciously through the darkness; he had stayed oddly silent so far. "And what is he doing here? And with your travelling trunk!" she hissed.
"Cissa, please calm down, it's not what it looks like, you don't understand," Andromeda said her voice a fast whisper as she hurried to get her words out. "I-I did something stupid- I made a mistake, but Ted's helping me take care of it."
Narcissa raised a doubtful eyebrow. "What kind of mistake?" she asked, eyeing the trunk. Had Andromeda got herself involved in something illegal; it seemed so very unlike her? "Can't you go to Daddy, or Mr Malfoy? Wouldn't they be able to help you?"
"They can't know!" Andromeda squeaked. "Please, Cissa promise me, I'd-I'd be in so much trouble if they knew." Her gaze dropped the to floor, avoiding Narcissa's eyes. "I'll be sorted out by tomorrow morning."
"You promise, you'll be back by then?" Narcissa asked keenly, taking a step closer to her eldest sister.
"It'll all be sorted out," Andromeda nodded, clutching Narcissa's hands.
"Promise me, Cissa," she pleaded, throwing her arms around her baby sister's neck and holding her close. "Keep my secret, just for tonight? Tomorrow it won't matter."
"Because you'll be back?"
Andromeda hugged her tightly, squeezing the air from her lungs. "I promise it will all be okay in the end," she whispered fervently.
"But Andy-" Narcissa gasped, catching her breathed when Andromeda finally released her from her embrace, but her sister was already waving Ted down the stairs, following a second later.
She turned and flashed a weak smile back in Narcissa's direction, and then she was gone, and Narcissa was still standing in the darkness, her hunger forgotten, wondering what on earth she had just let happen.
TO BE CONTINUED…