The Joys of Love (and Lust)

Disclaimer: Harry Potter is not my property, nor do I profit from fanfiction.

A/N: Written as a Christmas gift for Kirixchi.

Cold.

It was bloody freezing. Lucius' arms ached with the subzero temperature and the pressure. Oh, he was going to get Arthur Weasley for this! His fertile mind was already simmering with dozens of possible revenges, though that was getting a bit ahead of himself. His first priority was to get out of this mess.

His face hurt (though it would become numb before long) and he had enormous difficulty breathing. He lay flat on his back, covered in about three feet of heavy snow. His efforts to dig himself out had been fruitless, and his wand was buried where he couldn't reach it in the snow around him. He needed to call for help. He shouldn't lose his dignity in the process, of course, which meant frantic cries of "Help!" were out of the question. Taking as deep a breath as his crushing icy prison would allow him, he settled for calling in a stately manner, "Hello? Is there anyone around?"

No response.

"Hello?" he repeated, more loudly.

Still nothing.

He decided to time his shouts in intervals of two minutes or so, in order to conserve breath. On his fifth such attempt, he heard an answering exclamation.

"Who's there?" A suspicious female voice came from a distant source.

"Lucius M-Malfoy," he responded, teeth chattering with the chill. Though the idea of timing his shouts had certainly saved breath, it had not saved him from growing increasingly cold.

The sound of crunching snow under well-heeled boots reached his ears as the girl approached cautiously.

"Are you – are you buried under the snow?" she asked disbelievingly.

"No, I'm a f-fucking ghost," he snapped. Damn it, his bones hurt with cold! "Get over here and dig me out!"

There was an offended silence. "You know, Malfoy," the girl retorted deliberately, "I could just leave you here and cast Silencio over your glacial grave."

"Glacial grave?" he echoed, fury and incredulity building. "Cute alliteration, but if you don't get me out before I die, my father will curse you six different ways before you can blink!"

"Your father's Lysander Malfoy, isn't he? I think my father's more than a match for him," she said amusedly, but she waved her wand and melted the snow away from the area whence she heard his voice.

"Urgh!" The water seeped into Lucius' robes, chilling him even more, if that was possible. As soon as he felt most of the weight lifted from his chest, Lucius inhaled deeply and forced his way through the blanket of snow that remained.

A blonde girl dressed immaculately in a woolen cloak in a fetching shade of buttery yellow and matching angora gloves smirked at him as he fought his way free of the remaining snow. As he struggled to his feet, he recognized her as a younger Slytherin, and one from a wealthy family, judging from her clothes.

"Thank you," he said grudgingly. Even if she was completely shameless, he would never forget his manners.

"You're welcome," she said, still smiling amusedly.

"What's your name?"

"Narcissa Black."

"Oh," he said, thrown off unexpectedly.

Black! He could not believe that he had been unable to identify her. The Black family was well known—infamous, almost, for its elder two daughters: Bellatrix for her ruthlessness; Andromeda for her scandalous romance with Ted Tonks.

Andromeda was his age, seventeen, and he knew Narcissa was around two years younger than they were. Fifteen, then, and she had not really made a name for herself yet, overshadowed as she was by two colorful older sisters.

Certainly he had seen her before, but the seventh years never paid attention to underclassmen. Also, he had never been particularly close with either Bella or Andromeda, and who would not go out of their way now to avoid contact with the house stained by the disgrace of a soon-to-be Mudblood son-in-law?

Narcissa was very beautiful. Lucius realized that unlike other women, she was not dazzling from a distance, but stunning at close quarters. While the faults of most women were magnified with increasing proximity, the fine lines of Narcissa's bright eyes and the soft curves of her aristocratic cheekbones came into prominence only when one stood near her. Her loveliness was subtle, and made Bellatrix's full pouts and ample bosom seem garish. Narcissa made Andromeda's full head of wavy auburn hair and chiseled nostrils look forced and exaggerated, much as badly applied makeup turns a woman into a clown.

Although he was shaken by her startling radiance, Lucius had learned the art of dissembling, and he drank Narcissa in with long sideways glances as he shook clumps of snow from his hair and robes.

"Could you help me find my wand?" he asked.

"Accio wand!" she said, waving her own. His flew from out of a nearby bank in a small explosion of snowflakes, into his hand.

"Thank you," he said again, and set about drying himself off with a milder version of the spell Narcissa had used to free him.

"How did you get in that mess, anyway?" she inquired, a teasing lilt in her voice.

"Someone hexed me," he muttered, hating to admit his defeat to her.

She clapped her hand to her mouth in mock horror. "Heavens! I can't imagine who would want to curse Lucius Malfoy! Why, the dread your name—or your father—ought to keep all would-be hexers at bay!"

Lucius merely grunted. His unusual tongue-tied state stemmed from his inability to swear at a girl or a rescuer, and his burning embarrassment. To cover up, he busied himself with sweeping the remainder of snow from his cloak.

"Here." He was surprised when a gloved hand pushed his aside gently and brushed snow off a place on his shoulder he was unable to reach.

"Thank you."

"You seem to be saying that a lot," Narcissa grinned.

"It's the polite thing to do."

"Hmm…" Narcissa stepped back and surveyed his now dry figure. Appearing to come to a conclusion, she bent down, scooped up a pile of snow, and formed a snowball which she hurled at Lucius' front. Icy sensations spread all over his chest again.

"What was that for?" he demanded lividly, flushing unpleasantly. His fists balled up at his sides. Narcissa was laughing merrily, hunched over in mirth. He uncurled his fists and brushed the snow off violently.

"You—you," Naricssa struggled vainly through peals of laughter. She calmed herself in a few seconds and continued, "You look too delicious for someone who's just been buried bodily under layers of snow. It's unnatural!"

Realizing the compliment, some of Lucius' pique faded.

"You are the most ridiculous, childish girl I've ever met!"

She kept laughing. It really was a very delightful sound. Lucius finished cleaning himself off for the second time and forgave her against his will. She was simply too charming.

"I'm going inside to warm myself by the fire. Will you accompany me?"

Her laughter ceased but her face lit up at his offer and his resilient good nature. "Sure."

"So, are you going anywhere over the hols?" he asked as they began trudging back to the castle.

"No, I'm staying at Hogwarts," Narcissa said, frowning for the first time.

"How come?"

"It's rude to pry, Mr. Malfoy," she said primly, and too late he remembered the ugly family situation which must exist at home.

"I'm sorry," he said hastily, and genuinely.

"That's all right," she answered, smiling to show that she had taken no real offense. "Where are you going?"

He loved the way her blue eyes flashed when she smiled. "Er—nowhere really. Come to think of it," he said, feeling bold, "I might just stay over the break, too."

Narcissa knitted her brows in surprise. "Not to keep me company, is it?" She kept her voice light, very well done, but Lucius could hear the hitch that spoke of bated breath. Her heart lifted in the wild hope that he might say yes as she looked at him, and Lucius could also read that in her expressive eyes.

"Why not?" he shrugged, feeling confident (and yet also giddy) that she would accept him.

"That would be wonderful," she sighed, looking extremely touched at his offer. "All my friends are going home. Oh, no, you can't be serious?" She was wavering. "I can't ask you to stay just because I am. You'll be bored to death."

"I couldn't possibly be bored in the presence of a lady as delightful as you are. Besides, I have a duty to the one who saved my life," Lucius said, bowing playfully. Secretly, he smiled smugly. To the best of his knowledge, he was the only person in Hogwarts who had mastered the skill of bowing while walking. It was a Malfoy thing.

"You don't know me very well," she challenged, just as coyly. "Suppose I turn out to be hideously dull?"

"Let me find out before I commit myself, then," he answered smoothly. "Let's go to Hogsmeade for lunch some time before the break."

The smile on her face could have parted the Red Sea. Lucius reached down and pelted her hard with a snowball.

"What was that for?" she cried.

"Your radiance dazzled me," he protested mischievously.

"Then perhaps you shouldn't have made that offer," she responded, patting herself off, pretending to sulk.

"I'll go one better," he replied. "Come with me to Hogsmeade tomorrow! I'll meet you in the Great Hall at one-thirty."

"All right," she accepted happily, dropping all pretense of sulking. She smiled widely again.

"There you go again, blinding me." He crouched for another snowball, but she ducked and aimed a massive one at his head.

Laughing, they darted around the courtyard aiming snowballs at each other, and when they were exhausted, they lay on the ground and made snow angels and talked.

The next day, Lucius met Narcissa in the Great Hall at the appointed time. Again, she looked ravishing. This time she wore rich burgundy robes too deep in color to ever be mistaken for Gryffindor red, accompanied by a tasteful gold brooch. He complimented her sincerely on her appearance, a courtesy which was returned. A gray cashmere scarf draped over his black winter cloak set off his eyes nicely; he had rather suspected Narcissa was one of those girls who couldn't resist men in scarves.

Lucius amused her as they started off by recounting his revenge on Arthur Weasley.

"You're horrid, Lucius!" Narcissa squealed gleefully. "What happened next?"

"The whole class was laughing at him now, and of course that fat Prewett girl he's dating shrieked that she wouldn't talk to him again. She will eventually—they just deserve each other—but the look on his face was wonderful, and to top it all off, Flitwick gave him detention with Filch for two weeks," Lucius finished happily.

"Ooh," Narcissa shivered. "You're horrible."

"I try," he returned, smirking. "Are you done with your Christmas shopping yet?" he inquired as they approached the village.

"Nearly," she admitted. "I need to make a stop at Honeydukes."

"I was there a few weeks ago," he said. "They had all sorts of announcements about new products they were going to sell for the holiday season."

"Really?"

"Oh yes," he said. "Candy canes with rotating stripes and flavors that practically massage your tongue, blocks of chocolate the size of your head, and aphrodisiacal lollipops."

"W-what?" Narcissa sputtered.

"It's perfectly true," he assured her.

"I don't believe you," she said.

"Well, here we are," he said smoothly, "so why don't you see for yourself?" He opened the door for her, and he swept in behind the smiling Narcissa.

They spent a while in there, and Narcissa purchased large boxes of truffles for friends and Lucius bought her a large candy cane that struck her fancy.

After that, they wandered around contentedly, poking into Gladrags (where Lucius bought her both the pearl choker she liked and the faux-emerald necklace he preferred) and The Three Broomsticks.

At last, they were meandering on the edge of a snow-covered meadow bordering the outskirts of the village. Well, Lucius was meandering. It would be more accurate to say that Narcissa was teetering.

"Lucius," she gasped, eyes sparkling, "give me a hand." She wavered precariously atop the turnstile she had chosen to attempt to walk upon.

"You idiot," he said fondly, reaching his hand out to her.

"Your hand is so cold!"

"Just take it!"

There was an "oh!" and a whumpf, and a grunt as Lucius caught her.

She let loose a peal of cinnamon-smelling laughter, white teeth flashing. Lucius forced a look of dismay on his face. "Really, you are so childish! Walking on that in those boots!" He nodded at her stylish suede footwear.

In response, she leaned forward and pushed him down to the ground heavily.

"What the h-?" he stopped himself just in time, wincing a little at the pain in his back.

"You're too adorable when you're angry," she giggled. "One snowball wouldn't be sufficient."

"In that case," he rejoined, "you may join me. Accio silly—beautiful—child!"

She fell just as ungracefully atop him.

"Silly child?" she panted.

"Definitely," he replied, pulling her down for a kiss. Her lips were still tart from the candy cane she had been sucking; the spicy aftertaste seared the linings of his mouth and added kick to their kiss. She pushed against him eagerly, and when they finally broke apart, both were red in the face.

"Think this is love?" she asked teasingly.

"Certainly isn't lust, because I felt nothing while you were trying to pull a dementor and suck out my soul."

"Oh, no, this isn't love!" she instantly shot back with exaggerated sarcasm. "No one could possibly love such an insufferable git! I think we had better try lust again."

They kissed again, hands tangling in blond hair, and the snow fell serenely about them.

"Mmm," Lucius said, his pale face now completely flushed.

"What a shamefully lustful relationship!" Narcissa declared.

"Oh, I'm not quite sure that it is," Lucius protested facetiously.

"Hm?"

"Well, you're beautiful and I'm intelligent. But it's difficult to lust after someone defunct in the mental area."

Narcissa furrowed her brow as the insult sunk in.

"What are you saying?" she demanded.

"Your intelligence, ah, hmm…" Lucius muttered, pretending to be thinking very hard. He lit up and said, "Well, you have some skill at uttering repartees—but it's obviously limited."

"Lucius Malfoy!" Narcissa screwed her face up and pointed her wand at him. He didn't quite catch her intonation, but when she was done, he realized that he saw a shocking pink color at the periphery of his vision.

She had turned his hair bright pink!

"Narcissa," he growled, unable to resist a smile. "Turn it back!"

"Come off it," she smirked. "It looks more natural this way."

"You little—," he was cut off abruptly as she leaned in to kiss him a third time.

This time they were both left gasping for air.

"You know, I could get used to having pink hair for that."

"Couldn't you though?" Narcissa's smile was supremely self-assured. They both got to their feet and she linked her arm through his. Leaning against each other, they started the walk back to Hogwarts.

"Not lust or love, eh?"

"I think we both knew I was lying to myself." Lucius hid a smile.

"Let's hope you start being honest, then, shall we?"

"Tell you what," he whispered, voice full of promise, "I'll make that my Christmas present to us both."

"I'd like that very much," Narcissa sighed, and as they walked towards the castle, her slim gloved fingers intertwined lovingly with his fine white ones.