Title: Hello, Goodbye
Fandom: Harry Potter
Disclaimer: I don't own them.
Summary: Narcissa always liked Andromeda best, and years later that hasn't changed.
"She's in the Balkans," was the first thing Narcissa said when she opened the door to the Manor. The blonde knew she didn't need to specify who 'she' was. Between the two of them there was only one 'she' whose distance from them was worth mentioning.
"Is that far enough?" Andromeda asked stepping through the doorway to Malfoy Manor for the first time her in life, her eyes lingering on her baby sister who had grown into a splendidly beautify woman. She already knew of course, she had seen pictures of Narcissa all throughout her adult life in the Daily Prophet and gossip magazines, but seeing the blonde in person again all of the years of separation seemed to sweep through her at once leaving her hand shaking with the desire to reach out and touch.
"With Bellatrix you can never be sure," Narcissa said her eyes darkening as she closed the door with a flick of her wand. "The first time she came here she cast a dozen spells to alert her to any number of insane things," the blonde went on stilling in the foyer once the door was closed her eyes on her sister, taking her in for the first time.
She had appeared to be closest to Bellatrix growing up, mostly because Bellatrix demanded it, best she had always liked Andromeda best. When Andromeda had married Ted Tonks and run away with him, Narcissa had stood around with the rest of the family and watched as Andromeda's family portrait burned and then spat on the ashes. Later that night as she and Bellatrix walked to their rooms her eldest sister had raved about Andromeda being lower than a dog and how she would drain every last drop of her traitorous blood from her if they met again one day. Narcissa had emphatically responded, "You should, Bella, you should!" scared into obedience in the face of her sisters fury. However, when the blonde was safely hidden in her room, sound charms in place, she collapsed against her bedroom door and sobbed for the sister she was no longer supposed to love.
"Cissy!" Andromeda exclaimed in alarm spinning around suddenly to look at the front door as if she expected Bellatrix to come charging through any second.
Narcissa laughed lightly drawing Andromeda's accusing eyes back over to her, her sister's expression softening when she saw the blonde's amused but not mocking smile.
"Lucius removed them," Narcissa said holding out her hand to Andromeda. "Let's hope he got them all, because if she shows up you won't be the only one in danger," she continued as Andromeda accepted her offer and took her hand.
Andromeda looked over at her sister after she finished speaking her gaze intense. She knew Narcissa felt her eyes on her but the blonde kept her eyes forward leading them in the depths of the house so Andromeda simply squeezed the blonde's hand.
Andromeda knew Narcissa had taken a great risk by bringing her to her house, not to mention what she had done before, but she had wondered if her sister knew how big a risk it really was. Now she knew that Narcissa was completely aware of what the consequences of her actions would be and had done it anyway.
"Cissy," Andromeda started softly, somewhat overwhelmed.
"Upstairs," Narcissa responded coolly, though she turned her head a faction of an inch to the side as she addressed Andromeda giving her sister a better view of her face. Narcissa's features were unperturbed, almost serene, but her eyes were troubled though she quickly masked that reaction as well.
As they ascended Andromeda understood how Narcissa had managed to survive, part of and not part of her husband and their sister's world. She was an actress of the finest quality giving an award winning performance as a glacier. As a child Narcissa had been emotional and dramatic, crying at the slightly provocation, raging at the tiniest infraction, captivated by butterflies and then bored by everything in existence. As a child Narcissa had been a lot of things, but cold and controlled had not been among them, but things had changed. Time and experience had seen to that.
Narcissa paused outside of a bedroom door what seemed like ages later and nodded in its direction.
Andromeda breathed in deeply her eyes watering with relief, and finally gave into the desire she had since entering the house. Tears brimming in her eyes she reached out and gathered her sister in her arms, holding her tightly to her body, Narcissa's slim arms wrapping around her a second later.
"Thank you," Andromeda whispered raggedly a few seconds later, placing a trembling hand on Narcissa's cheek once she had pulled back from her body.
"She's family," Narcissa replied her eyes blinking rapidly before drifting away from Andromeda briefly. "She's yours," Narcissa continued a moment later, her lips twitching in a half smile as she met Andromeda's eyes again. "I couldn't …" she went on blinking against the tears in her eyes before her back straightened and her eyes burned into Andromeda's. "You never stopped being my sister," Narcissa said firmly almost defiantly though Andromeda was not likely to protest to the statement. "And I couldn't ignore this," the blonde added a second later, her shoulders slumping slightly as she spoke. "Go to her."
Andromeda nodded her hand lingering on Narcissa's cheek for a moment before she slowly backed away from the blonde and opened the door to the bedroom.
Andromeda's hand flew to her mouth at the sound of her daughter's voice and she raced over to the side of Nymphadora's bed, immediately wrapping the girl up in her arms, tears flowing freely as they embraced.
Narcissa closed the door to the bedroom silently and made her way back down the stairs towards the sitting room.
Narcissa glanced up from her book and tea in the large leather arm chair she was curled up in as Andromeda entered the room.
"Tea?" Narcissa inquired as her sister made her way towards her, collapsing into the chair next to her own.
"Please," Andromeda replied her voice raspy and raw.
Narcissa reached beside her and lazily rung a little bell before focusing her attention on her sister once more.
"Draco won't be back from his … training for a few days," she began warily, her eyes dropping down into her lap to stare in the rapidly cooling dark liquid of her tea cup. "And Bellatrix isn't due back until the end of the week. They're likely still looking for her," she went on glancing towards the doorway, "and you don't want to get caught out there at night. No one will think to look for you here, you should stay the night and then," Narcissa finished waving her hand airily.
Andromeda nodded. She didn't feel up to traveling anyway and Nymphadora was still quite weak.
"How did you do it?" Andromeda asked after her tea had arrived unable to contain her curiosity any longer.
"Everyone underestimates me," Narcissa replied glancing up at Andromeda, her lips curving in a wry little smile. "I can barely take care of myself, you know? If Bellatrix hadn't come back just in time to protect me, who knows what would have happened," Narcissa continued holding Andromeda's eyes. "I'm a burden you see."
"Why would they think that?" Andromeda asked her brows knitting together. "Your O.W.L.'s were higher than Bella's," she continued smiling a little meanly. Bellatrix had not been pleased up on learning what Narcissa's results had been. "You were many things as a child but of all of those things a bad witch was never one of them."
Narcissa smiled a smile that reached her eyes.
"You're right of course, I'm quite good," Narcissa responded basking in her own excellence for a moment, "but it served no purpose for others to think so. Being a damsel has been far more advantageous for me than being a heroine ever could have been. I'm here aren't I? Free, relatively sane and unblemished," she went on showing Andromeda her ivory, unmarked forearm, "unlike my husband and our sister."
Andromeda blinked. It was true. Narcissa was married to a Death Eater, related by blood and marriage to quite a few others, traveled in social circles occupied by the Dark Lord and now had a son that seemed to be following in his father's footsteps, and not once had the suspicion of being a Death Eater fallen upon her.
Andromeda had followed the reports, had listened to the gossip in the grocery store and hair salon, and never had she ever heard someone suspect Narcissa had gotten away with being a Death Eater. It was always, 'pathetic, I heard she had no idea what was going on' or 'she's beautiful and married well, why should she care what was going on around her' or 'she was probably too busy looking in the mirror to wonder what her husband was up to' or 'the dark mark wouldn't have gone with all those fine dresses' or some variation of those lines of thought.
"Merlin," Andromeda gasped laughing awkwardly looking over at Narcissa as if she were really seeing her for the first time. "So, how did you do it?" she asked a moment later still shaking her head.
"After you … left home, mother became fire enthusiast and set out to burn everything related to you," Narcissa began lifting her tea cup to her lips before placing it down on the side table remembering that it was now cold. "I managed to save a box of your old things however. Honestly, I don't know why I bothered, it must have been in a moment of rebellion or something because lord knows I didn't have any need for your old school books and knitting needles," she continued her nose turning up a little though she knew exactly why she saved the box and that rebellion had very little to do with it. "However, once saved fondness kept me from getting rid of the box. When I heard about Nymphadora," she went on smirking a little though she tried to hide the expression, she could understand why the girl went by Tonks, "I remembered that there was a comb in with your things that I knew didn't belong to you.
"After retrieving the comb a few simple spells revealed that the hair in it was male. I made an assumption that the comb belonged to Theodore and from there made a port key that would be triggered when it came into contact with someone from the same bloodline as the hair," Narcissa continued as if she was reading her shopping list to her house elves. Andromeda was almost insulted but Narcissa's eyes hadn't left hers as she spoke and despite her tone she could tell that her sister wasn't taking the conversation lightly. Bored, slightly affected indifference seemed to simply be how Narcissa spoke.
"Port key, hair … how did any of this help you get Nymphadora?" Andromeda asked watching as Narcissa's brows furrowed before her eyes widened slightly.
"Ah, that's right, you don't know why they called me," Narcissa said before looking down at her tea cup once more, her eyes narrowing as she reached for the bell and rang it irritably a few times.
"Lucius had a knife in his possession, an ugly and particularly nasty little thing. Crabbe was given the job of getting information from Nymphora and as an ugly particularly a nasty little thing himself he thought the knife might be fun to use."
Andromeda shivered her head turning to the side to look out into the hallway towards the staircase wanting nothing more than to run up there and take Nymphadora back into her arms.
"I turned the knife into a port key that would activate when it came into contact with a member of the Tonks bloodline and gave it to whoever it was Crabbe sent over here. An hour later when he tried to use it on Nymphadora she ended up in the room you just visited her in," Narcissa finished glaring at the house elf that brought her a fresh pot of tea before pointedly indicating the empty biscuit plate as well.
"Won't that point back to you?" Andromeda asked. "Won't they come here looking for her?"
"If they suspected me you wouldn't be here and I would be in a rather unpleasant state at the moment," Narcissa replied. "Besides, I was informed of her 'escape' shortly after it happened and the theory at the time was someone from the Order infiltrated the location and managed to slip her a port key when no was looking. A brilliant deduction I assured them," she went on smirking a little. "When you arrived they were no doubt still going around touching every chair, chain and rock in the room to see if it would transport them somewhere," Narcissa continued her mirth causing Andromeda to smile as well though she knew the situation wasn't really funny. "They won't link the knife to the port key, because it's no longer a port key, and if they don't link the knife there's no reason to even consider that I had anything to do with it."
"That's why you chose Ted's hair instead of mine," Andromeda said nodding. "Pure as it is, our blood is linked to too many Death Eaters when you consider the Rosier's. Someone might have accidentally set it off."
Narcissa nodded her lips parting to speak, but before she could Andromeda was in front of her and then in her lap as she drew Narcissa into a fierce hug. Unlike the tentative embrace they had shared in the upstairs hallway, this time their bodies were mashed together so tightly Narcissa would feel the outline of Andromeda's breasts. She could feel her sister's breath on her cheek where Andromeda pressed her face into her own, and she could feel the vice like hold of her sister's arms around her body as if Andromeda intended to keep her prisoner in the circle of her arms forever.
The last time Narcissa had been hugged like that had been when Andromeda stopped by her bedroom the night before she ran off with Ted Tonks. Andromeda had woken her up and spoke in a jumbled, rushed whisper about things that Narcissa couldn't make out in her sleepy state and then she had crushed her in her arms. Narcissa had been sleepy and grumpy that night, she had wanted to get back to sleep and had struggled in Andromeda's embrace before muttering something about insanity running in the family and crawling back into her bed as Andromeda reluctantly exited her room.
Narcissa wrapped her arms around Andromeda just as tightly, trying to make up for the night the other woman had tried to say goodbye to her and for all of the years they had not been able to hug since. Narcissa turned her head into Andromeda, her lips pressing against her sister's cheek and inhaled deeply taking in her scent, a scent she still recognized after all of those years, and relaxed for the first time in felt like years.
"I cried for you, you know," Narcissa said softly, shifting slightly to snuggle more comfortably into Andromeda's arms. "For almost a year after you left I would sneak into your room some nights and sleep on the bare mattress of your bed. I cast a spell to preserve your scent but eventually it faded away."
Andromeda kissed the top of Narcissa's head as she used to when they were younger and Narcissa came to her for some warmth and comfort. She got the distinct impression that her scent wasn't the only thing that had faded from Narcissa when she had left.
"You were the only thing I regretted leaving behind," Andromeda breathed out softly. When she left she knew that she was leaving everything, though if she could have found someway to hold onto Narcissa even just a little she would have. "I've followed you."
"Followed me?" Narcissa asked questioningly angling her head slightly to look back at Andromeda.
"The golden couple," Andromeda said fingering Narcissa's hair tenderly "has gotten their fair share of press. Wedding pictures, social events, landscaping awards," Andromeda continued her lips quirking at the last one as she rattled off some of the occasions where Narcissa had been photographed.
"Mm," Narcissa murmured. "The pond is quite lovely."
"It's not the only thing," Andromeda murmured softly before she even realized the words were coming out of her mouth as she bent to kiss the top of Narcissa's head again.
Narcissa stilled in her arms for a moment after she spoke and as Narcissa pulled back from her enough to see her whole face, Andromeda realized what she had just said.
They sat frozen like that, staring at each other for long moments, the firelight dancing over their skin, illuminating feature that were both familiar and not.
And then Narcissa swayed breaking the still that had descended upon them and she kept on swaying, her body tilting forward closing the small distance that lay between her and sister until finally her lips pressed against Andromeda's.
Andromeda gasped at the contact, her eyes fluttering closed, squeezing tightly as her lips parted and her hand lifted to Narcissa's face to cup her cheek as the blonde's tongue entered her mouth and her body pressed against Andromeda's pushing her back against the seat.
"This is still wrong," Andromeda breathed out against Narcissa's lips when they separated briefly for air, her actions betraying her words as she pressed her lips against Narcissa's again after she finished speaking.
"I know," Narcissa replied leaning in to kiss Andromeda again, her tongue licking at her sister's lips before kissing her soundly. "And I still don't care," she continued reaching for Andromeda's hand, guiding it to her breast.
"My daughter's down the hall," Andromeda mumbled as she ran her finger up and down Narcissa's bare stomach, the blonde's breathing still slightly accelerated as she came down from her orgasm.
"And our parents were always just down the hall before," Narcissa said lightly capturing Andromeda's hand and dragging it up to her face, placing a kiss on the palm of her hand before turning onto her side so that she could lean over and kiss her sister's lips.
"This is just going to make it harder to go back to being strangers," Andromeda sighed looking longingly at Narcissa knowing that in a few hours she would leave with Nymphadora and likely not see her sister again, until one of them or Bellatrix was dead.
"It was already hard," Narcissa replied quietly her eyes clouding over. "And we'll never be strangers," she continued as the backs of her fingers trailed down Andromeda's cheek.
"Lucius is in Azkaban, and Bellatrix indisposed," Andromeda said a few minutes later, her hand grasping Narcissa's arm. "You could leave, you could …"
"What?" Narcissa asked her voice clear and sharp though not cruel. "Leave my son behind? Hide in your cellar playing cards with Theodore and knitting?" she asked. "We knew it would always end like this," Narcissa continued her voice gentling somewhat. She did understand Andromeda's desire to hope, but she had learned to function without it years ago. "In your arms, your lips against mine, your fingers inside of me, I knew love," Narcissa went on her hand drifting back up to Andromeda's face. "I knew gentleness and comfort. And I hope I gave you the same."
"You did," Andromeda breathed out tilting her head into Narcissa's hand. "You kept me sane. You were my light, the only thing of beauty in the entirety of that place."
Narcissa smiled softly. "A temperamental beauty."
"Yes," Andromeda replied smiling as well. Sometimes she used to think that for every kiss she and Narcissa shared her sister also cuffed her on the arm, and for every moment of peace they had lying together, Narcissa threw something of hers against a wall, Narcissa's moods repelling and attracting her at any given time, sometimes both at the same time, though attraction always seemed to win out. "But I liked it. Most of the time anyway," she added when Narcissa looked at her dubiously. The blonde had been called a brat and worse enough times to know that her moods didn't always charm Andromeda. "You had spirit. They hadn't broken you."
Narcissa's smile faded at that and she laid her head back on the pillow. They didn't break her as completely as they thought they did, but she had been broken. Things had gotten very dark at home after Andromeda left, it had became a very lonely place with no safe arms to climb into or secret smiles to share. Bellatrix had gotten increasingly fanatical and intense after Andromeda left as if something snapped in her at their middle sisters perceived betrayal that she was never able to repair.
She would have married Lucius anyway, but after Andromeda left she did it as quickly as possible to escape that house only to enter a life with just as many pitfalls and compromises as the one she had run away from.
When Andromeda had run she had become someone else. She had run she had become her mother.
"They didn't get you," Andromeda said thinking of all she had seen and heard from Narcissa since entering the house.
"You're sweet," Narcissa said meaning it. It was always one of the things she loved most about Andromeda. Sweet was something rare and to be coveted in her childhood. "They did."
"Not completely," Andromeda amended knowing that her sister had made some allowances, but her presence at that moment and Nymphadora's down the hall showed that Narcissa was in some way still her own woman.
"Do you think that one day …" Andromeda continued trailing off.
"I don't know," Narcissa replied propping herself on her elbow so that she could look at Andromeda. "It scares me to think about the future and what it will bring," she went on her tone light though somehow Andromeda knew that she was very serious. "We're here now. We have that," Narcissa continued leaning down to press her lips against Andromeda's. "Let's make the most of that."
Andromeda smirked. "Aren't you tired?"
Narcissa shook her head before smiling herself. "I do a lot of cardio."
Andromeda looked between them her eyes trailing up Narcissa's body.
"Good," Andromeda smiled. "Then you can do all the work this time."
Narcissa glared down at her sister, the expression slowly dissolving into a smile before she leaned down and captured Andromeda's lips.
Andromeda stared at Nymphadora as she leaned against a wall near the entrance of the house, her ankles crossed and her arms folded over her chest her head angled away from her mother and aunt.
Narcissa Malfoy might have saved her life, but as far as Tonks was concerned if it wasn't for people like her husband and her sister she never would have been in danger in the first place and she refused to thank the woman, she refused to even contemplate it and she was aggravated that her mother wanted her to.
Andromeda sighed. Lines were being drawn in the sand again and they hadn't even been reunited for a full day.
"Cissy," Andromeda breathed out taking a step towards her sister. "Thank you."
"Well, she's such a delightful girl," Narcissa responded smiling at Nymphadora knowing that it would bother her. "You should remind next time that it's a good idea to run i away /i from the people trying to kill her, however."
Tonks looked up sharply at that, her eyes boring into her aunt's though she remained silent out of respect for her mother.
"This is good bye then," Andromeda said closing the last of the distance between herself and Narcissa, stepping into the blonde's arms when she opened them up to her. "Sister," she whispered softly as Narcissa's arms wrapped around her.
"Always," Narcissa murmured back quietly, holding onto Andromeda for a moment longer before stepping back.
"Goodbye," Narcissa said as Andromeda made her way back over to Tonks turning and heading back into the house the moment the words were her past her lips, disappearing from sight before her sister and niece had opened the front door.