A/N: This was written for the May Quote Challenge at the forum The Reviews Lounge. The challenge was to include the line "You are beautiful, but you are empty. No one would die for you." in a oneshot. The line is from St. Exupéry's 'Le Petit Prince'. Thank you for reading, and please enjoy!

Translations: Le Jarden Noir means "The Black Garden" in French; "Vous êtes belles, mais vois êtes vides... On ne peut pas mourir pour vous" roughly translates into: "You are beautiful, but you are empty. No one would die for you."

THE BRIDE
1/1

They met on their wedding day. It was beautiful; winter in her family's infamous, enchanted flower garden, Le Jadrin Noir, the perfect setting for such a cold, strange wedding. Both the groom and the bride were of noble families, both pureblood by wizarding standards. Both heirs to large fortunes once their families died. It was the perfect wedding.

Narcissa Black, who would today become Narcissa Malfoy, sat on a bench waiting her moment to walk down the aisle. Her almost-white hair was done up in a beautiful, elegant chignon pinned with enchanted flowers and fairies that sparkled. Her dress was of the finest make; the most beautiful white, silvery silk in the land that draped over her shoulders like sparkling wine. Tiny flowers nestled all over the gown and when she walked, she shimmered.

"You are beautiful, Narcissa," her father greeted her coldly as he walked towards her, preparing to accompany her down the aisle. Narcissa and her father had never been affectionate; her father detested intimacy, unless it was with his wife, and only if he ever initiated it. He had approved of her sister, Bellatrix, though, for her potential and steadfastness to holding true to the Black name. But around his other daughters, Narcissa and Andromeda, he was cold as the snow drifting from the heavens onto her guests.

Narcissa stood up, curtsying to her father. "Good afternoon, Father," she said stiffly as she stood up. "I am pleased you have come."

"As you should be," he answered coldly. "Sit down Narcissa," he commanded. Narcissa hastened to obey. He sat down next to her, and put her hands in his.

Narcissa stiffened- it was the first time he had willingly touched her affectionately in years. Today she was to be married, to leave the family forever, not as a child, but as a woman, and he chose now to treat her as a human being and not a human punching bag?

"Narcissa..." he began softly, smiling icily at her. "Your mother would be very proud to see you today, marrying one of the most noble and wealthy of the available pureblood suitors. He will be a great asset to the Black name. Of course, you will do justice by him, won't you, Narcissa?" He reached out and ran a single finger down her cheek. Narcissa jerked, and then attempted to relax, but instead just started trembling- but only slightly.

"Yes, Sir," she replied softly.

"Then you will bear him a heir? It is the duty of wives, you see, to bear their husbands heirs. Those who fail to do so are...less than honorable," he continued, staring out into the falling snow.

Narcissa's voice caught. Why was he doing this to her? Didn't he understand that she had no interest in marrying this Lucius Malfoy? She had heard of him many times, and had seen him in passing at parties and balls, but she had never met him, and today she was to marry him. Her father's words jolted her back to reality. This would be her life from now on.

"Oh, Narcissa," her father crooned. "You are so beautiful..." His eyes took on a silver glint. He muttered, under his breath, appearing slightly flustered, but true. "Vous êtes belles, mais vois êtes vides... On ne peut pas mourir pour vous."

You are beautiful, but you are empty...No one would die for you.

Narcissa tried not to show him her tears. All of her life she had spent trying to win her father's affections, and today, on her last chance- giving up her life for him and the Black legacy, he had told her the unspoken truth. That she was beautiful. But that she was also unworthy.

A maid appeared in the eaves, snowflakes in her soft brown hair. For a moment Narcissa could not help but envy her; her freedom to marry whomever she liked, her freedom to wed for love and not for money and nobility. But then she remembered herself. She was Narcissa Black, but not Narcissa Black. She was the bride, the daughter of the Black line. She was the chain that would ensure their happiness and comfort.

It was a trade. Her happiness for her family's livelihood.

"Master Black?" the maid called. "It is time, Sir." She disappeared, the tails of her skirt flying after her. Narcissa would remember her, how innocent and lucky she was, ignorant of Narcissa's woe on her wedding day.

Her father stood up and straightened his robes. Black, to represent his line and to pay honor to the fact that his daughter was leaving home. But Narcissa knew deep down he was glad to see the back of her. Empty, indeed.

"Narcissa?" he asked, standing her up, and placing her hand in the crook of his arm. Narcissa felt like an imposter, a fraud, trying to pretend that she was good and happy and wanted to marry, but knowing she didn't wish this- wouldn't wish this- on anyone, especially herself.

His words echoed in her mind as he accompanied her down the aisle of their beautiful wedding; snow in her hair and eyelashes as she struggled not to cry...

Vous êtes belles, mais vois êtes vides... On ne peut pas mourir pour vous.

You are beautiful, but you are empty...No one would die for you.

She took a deep breath and faced her new husband, and her new life, and vowed to prove her father wrong; that she was worth more than the mother of a heir, than the link in a chain, than the tool to trade for.

chipped