Mr and Mrs Black had often wondered how it was possible for them to have three such beautiful daughters that were so different from each other.
The three girls in question were all standing at the large mirror in the upstairs hallway, for the first time over the summer all cooperating quietly, as not to spoil the last few minutes of the holidays.
The eldest, Bellatrix, at fifteen was a Black in every way possible, she had inherited the traditional Black looks; with her pale complexion and raven locks. She was also the wildcat of the family, with a temper that terrified half of Slytherin and she was currently running her fingers through her long black hair, letting it hang long and wavy down her back.
Andromeda, the middle child, not even a full year younger than Bellatrix, could easily pass for her twin. However their personalities were as alike as chalk and cheese, where Bellatrix was loud, Andromeda was shy and withdrawn. Where Bellatrix had inherited her parents pureblood prejudices Andromeda was friends with half bloods and muggle-borns. Andromeda was pulling her shoulder length hair into a neat ponytail, pointedly ignoring her eldest sister, the two girls had never seen eye to eye on anything, and this summer their fighting had been worse than ever.
Narcissa Black was the baby of the family. Although she proudly shared the views of Bellatrix and her parents, that is where any traits of the Black family stopped. Narcissa was the first Black born in sixteen generations who did not have the trademark raven hair, which could be seen in her father, and sisters, Narcissa had golden locks, which framed her face perfectly. It was because of her blonde hair and blue eyes; which stood out from the moment of her birth, that her parents decided to go against the Black family tradition of naming their children after stars, and named her after her grandmother on her mother's side. Narcissa, like Bellatrix, had decided to leave her hair loose that morning. However, unlike Bellatrix, she had combed it until it shone, and not one strand was out of place.
Once at platform 9 ¾ the three girls immediately headed their separate ways. Narcissa sat in a carriage with Bellatrix and the other children of the pure-blooded families. The carriage at the very end of the train had been used by the pure-blooded children for generations, at the moment it was half empty, Narcissa and Bellatrix were sitting in there, alongside Narcissa's particular friend Theodora Nott. Naturally Rodolphus Lestrange was in the carriage, Narcissa noted, however this year his younger brother Rabastan had accompanied him and somehow Augustus Rockwood had managed to fall asleep in the corner near the door.
Bellatrix looked over from her conversation with Rodolphus and Antonin Dolohov, towards her little sister with a sudden feeling of pride. Narcissa, every inch a Slytherin princess was playing exploding snap with Theodora and Rabastan. The youngest and the eldest of the Black girls had always been inexplicably close, a fact that Narcissa used to her advantage, nobody in Slytherin would dare to cross Bellatrix, and therefore nobody in Slytherin had ever attempted to cross Narcissa.
Narcissa, growing bored of the game, got up from where she had been seated on the floor, and perched next to her sister. "Bella?"
"Hmmm?" the older girl answered, not really paying much attention.
"Where is Droma sitting?"
"Carriage three with the mudbloods." Spat Dolohov, who then paled suddenly realising his mistake.
"That is a subject we had decided not to discuss" snapped Bellatrix, her eyes flashing wildly at Dolohov, who cringed.
But before Bellatrix had time to put on a show of her legendary temper the carriage door opened, "What's a subject that we have decided not to discuss?" a silky voice interjected.
"Andromeda's penchant for associating with muggles" answered Dolohov, receiving a dark glare from the youngest Black sister as she flicked her hair over her shoulder and began staring out the window, a bored expression on her face.
"Well I can see why " he replied, casting a glare at the younger boy, causing him to fall silent. Lucius Malfoy and Bellatrix Black had formed a close alliance recently, as the eldest children in two of the most influential families in the wizarding world they were the only Slytherins that each considered their equal.
Dolohov agreed hastily, before muttering under his breath something about finding Crabbe and Goyle and leaving the carriage before Bellatrix changed her mind about hexing him.
"Where have you been then Lucius?" Asked Bellatrix, suddenly changing the subject.
"So you got the badge then? I thought you might." Bella commented uninterestedly, before running her fingers through her sisters hair, Narcissa was still staring out of the window, thinking about her first ever night at Hogwarts.
12 months ago.
Narcissa was sitting in the Slytherin common room on her very first night at Hogwarts with a group of first and second years, none of which she really knew, meaning that they didn't come from what she considered 'good' wizarding society, but at least they were purebloods. She hadn't been sitting long when Bellatrix sauntered over lazily. "Hey Blondie" Narcissa merely nodded her greeting back. Over the holiday Bella had realised that this nickname really irritated her little sister, and had recently been calling her it incessantly."I really like those shoes. Can I borrow them?"
Narcissa turned around and looked her sister in the eye. "No you most certainly can not!"
"Fine." Bellatrix stomped off into the corner, having decided to sneak into Narcissa's dorm room later and 'borrow' them then.
One of the second years stared at Narcissa for a moment before whispering to her conspiratorially, "Do you know who that was?" she didn't wait for a reply "That's Bellatrix Black. She has a frightful temper, you don't want to get on her bad side, she'll make your life a living hell."
Narcissa stared at them for a moment before shouting across the room. "Oy Bella" the second year looked at Narcissa in shock, only Bellatrix's closest friends were permitted to address her as 'Bella'. Bellatrix looked surprised, she thought that Narcissa was angry with her, but she wandered over to where the younger girl was sat.
Narcissa looked from her new friends, who were on the verge of cowering in her presence, to her sister and coolly spoke. "Bella if you're considering breaking into the first year's dorm to steal the shoes I wouldn't bother if I were you."
Bella rolled her eyes at Narcissa, and went over to rejoin her friends, hearing Narcissa laugh at her retreating back.
"Are you insane?" hissed one of the other first years angrily "you're going to bring down the wrath of Bellatrix Black on us all. You may not know what she's capable of, but I am, and I'm not going to stay here and get caught by any hexes that go astray."
With that, the girls got up and headed towards the dormitories leaving Narcissa sitting alone by the fire. Narcissa shrugged to herself, she didn't really care about the other girls opinions anyway, she got up and wandered over towards her sister uncertainly. At home Bella had never had a problem with Narcissa joining her group, but things might be different here.
"Hey" Narcissa almost whispered to Bella
"Hey Cissa" Bellatrix looked up surprised, "Where's all your little friends?"
Narcissa rolled her eyes "They were scared away by the wrath of Bellatrix Black" she laughed her fingers gesturing sarcastic quote marks. "I don't think that they know who I am yet."
Narcissa looked up at Bellatrix's friends suddenly and Bella started to introduce her, "This is Antonin Dolohov. Rodolphus and Lucius you've obviously met." Of course Narcissa had met the Lestrange and Malfoy heirs at several social occasions, being from the other two prominent pure-blooded families. "This is Goyle and Crabbe" she said gesturing to two heavily built fourth years. "What was the name of the girl who walked off'? The ringleader?" She asked suddenly changing the subject.
"I really can't remember" Narcissa yawned "Something Parkinson, I believe."
"I think that come morning myself and Miss Parkinson will be having a word."
"Bella don't" Said Narcissa firmly.
Bella made a move to argue, but a look from Narcissa silenced her.
Later that night a terrible storm was raging outside, although it was muffled down in the Slytherin dungeons, it was still awfully loud. As a child Narcissa had never been afraid of anything, she had never had Bella's or Droma's wild braveness, she had simply been unafraid. Except when it came to thunderstorms. She lay in bed that night shivering to herself under the blankets hoping that it would be over soon. She did not speak to any of the other girls in her dormitory, they were still terrified of them over the Bella incident of that evening, and besides she was a Black, and Blacks did not show weakness, and fear was the greatest weakness there was.
Suddenly a hissing, then a whisper caught her attention "Narcissa? Are you in here?"
"Bella?" she hissed back. "Is that you?"
Her questions were answered when the oldest Black sister pulled back the curtains of the four poster bed and climbed in beside her.
"You ok Cissa?"
"I was scared" she whimpered quietly
"Why didn't you come up and find me you silly goose?" Bella chastised gently.
"I didn't know where the third year dormitories were."
"Never mind, I'm here now" she comforted as she took hold of Narcissa's hand and the two girls snuggled down and went to sleep.
Narcissa remembered fondly how Bella had vanished by the time she, and the other girls in her dormitory had woken up. It had taken Violet Parkinson another week to finally discover that Narcissa was the youngest in the Black family. Since then the only feeling that passed between the two girls was one of complete loathing. As the pretty daughter of a prominent pureblooded family, Violet had always considered herself to be in prime place to become the top girl in Slytherin for that year; however Narcissa's social standing and relationship with Bella had soon put a stop to that. It wasn't that Narcissa wanted to be the alpha female for that year, it was just that as a Black it was expected of her, and Narcissa believed strongly in family duty.
The first two terms at school that year seemed to fly by in almost an instant, life continued, much as it always did. They had only been back at Hogwarts a week since the Easter holidays which Andromeda, to their mother's distress, had insisted spending at school. Meaning, in Narcissa's mind it had been a rather pleasant holiday, not having to referee her two eldest sisters. She was wandering through the corridor, planning to make an early start on the transfiguration homework that McGonagall had just set, when she heard a strangled scream coming from the common room. She hurried into the room and was met with an ugly sight. Andromeda and Bellatrix were fighting again, except this was worse than anything Narcissa had seen between them before. Andromeda's eyes were red from crying and Bellatrix had her hands in her sister's hair and was shaking her violently, while Andromeda cried out.
"Bella stop, stop it Bella" she begged, her voice little more than a sob.
But Bellatrix was deaf to her sister's pleas and blind to the spectators in the common room, who were watching the scene with great interest. "Why should I? You're a filthy blood-traitor and I won't have it, you're not to see that mudblood boy again Droma, I mean it."
Narcissa, looking at everyone watching, had no choice, she ran over to her sisters and pulled them apart, Andromeda falling to the floor as she pushed Bella up against the wall and pinning her there for a minute, whispering into her ear "Not now Bella, we'll deal with this later. In Private" she emphasised, they didn't need to air their dirty laundry in the middle of the Slytherin common room. For a moment she thought that Bella was going to hex her, but then she relaxed under Narcissa's grip, before storming off to her dormitory.
Narcissa then turned to her other sister, who was still on the floor of the common room.
"Thank you" said Andromeda quietly, but her gratitude fell on deaf ears.
"Get up." Narcissa spat coldly, and waited for Andromeda to brush of her clothes before speaking in a voice so low it was almost a whisper, "Is it true?" she demanded, Andromeda only nodded in reply "And his name?"
"Thomas McKinnon" she replied her voice low as her sister ushered her into a deserted corner of the common room.
"End it." Narcissa's voice was as cold as her icy blue eyes. "You're a Black, and you know that the Blacks do not tolerate blood-traitors. I don't want to have to tell mother, but I will if I have to"
Andromeda nodded and walked away. Narcissa had no doubt that she would end it with the boy, if Bellatrix's fierce reaction hadn't seen to that her threat certainly would have. Unlike Andromeda, and half of Slytherin, she knew it was Bella's way of showing that she cared. If mother and father found out about the muggle-born, there would be hell to pay. She found Bellatrix, predictably, surrounded by debris, she noticed the remains of Andromeda's broom, not that Andromeda would dare tell. Narcissa sat on Bellatrix's bed and waited for the elder girl to speak.
"What did she have to say for herself?" she demanded angrily.
"Very little" Narcissa replied coolly, not wanting to anger Bellatrix further.
"I can't believe she would stoop to that level, if mother and father knew that she even spoke to mudbloods let alone dated one…" the repercussions for Andromeda would be awful.
"Language Bella" Narcissa reprimanded gently, "I think she'll break it off with him, I told her that I would tell mother if she didn't." Bella nodded, and Narcissa swept out of the room, she had her transfiguration coursework to start.
The next day a red-eyed Andromeda told her that she had broken things off with that boy, Narcissa smiled to herself, it was all for the best.