Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter.

Eye of the Beholder
By Silver Sailor Ganymede

Narcissa Malfoy had always known that, contrary to the popular saying, beauty was not something seen only in the eye of the beholder. Because of this, appearance was all that mattered to her from a very young age: she was born a Black after all, Blacks had to be beautiful and dignified, they'd be no better than mudbloods if they weren't, and Narcissa was certainly no mudblood.

This philosophy had paid off when, at the age of sixteen, she found herself married to Lucius Malfoy, who was perhaps the only man who would complement her looks rather than fade when placed beside her. The Malfoys were as noble as the Blacks after all, their blood just as pure if not more so, though Narcissa would never admit the latter of these two facts.

On the outside things had seemed perfect, but Narcissa knew better. Nothing was perfect, especially not for one of her background. They detested each other and detested the fact that they had been forced to marry, but what did that matter so long as they looked beautiful and happy when shown off to the outside world? Her true feelings did not matter as long as things looked perfect – in fact what should emotions matter at all to her, a pureblood Slytherin.

The outer image was all that mattered – this was something all Slytherins realised at a young age, were taught about from birth. They had always to be on their guard, but still smiling the bitterest yet sweetest of smiles in order to appear content and powerful to those around them. In a world where outer beauty was all that mattered, lies and deceit thrived, their vines endlessly ensnaring the unsuspecting and naïve. Nothing was as it seemed, nothing could be taken at face value, and woe betide those that dared to forget this.

Outer beauty was all that mattered, and Narcissa Malfoy knew that fact better, perhaps, than any other. But did not Narcissus drown in his own reflection? The beauty seen in the eye of the beholder was no more than just another distorted reflection shining off the sea of lies they had created for themselves, and no one ever bothered to recognise that fact for fear of their façade slipping.

But what did anything else matter so long as one appeared perfect? Outer beauty was all that mattered, all that would ever matter, and Narcissa knew that drowning in her own relfection was far better a fate than losing face, no matter what anyone else would argue.

Narcissa didn't know that she had already drowned.