Disclaimer: Not my characters, just my situation, no money made, paid in reviews. Won't get rich but will definitely be a better person for the payoff.
Warning: Character death. Muahahahahaha.
Summary: When defeat is inevitable then there is always the Japanese Alternative for a real lady. Rated PG 13
Author's Note: For my good friend Zarathrusta who beta-ed this when it was just a schemozzle and actually said she liked it, always a blow-out.
Excerpt from Reconstruction of a Death Eater
Narcissa Malfoy contemplated the Auror and the dead snake before she sighed. Her world was over, her husband dead and her son a blood traitor. Her Lord and lover had failed in his bid for power, and she was very sure her privileged existence was about to get very ugly. Rather than face those consequences she was going to do what every good Lady did in times like these. Taking out a vial of silvery liquid, especially brewed by Severus Snape, she gave a toast to absent friends and upended it into her mouth. She had about half an hour before the poison worked, long enough to dispose of some incriminating evidence at home. She Disapparated.
The pop of apparition was explosive in the ringing silence that enveloped Malfoy Manor as it waited in the late afternoon calm. 'Was it only three hours since they had left the marbled glory of the main entry?' Life changing, devastating hours that had seen the end of all she held dear, all she had valued in her life! A strangled scream left her perfectly painted lips as she pushed an escaping tress from her face. Her perfectly coifed hair was a little worse for wear and someone was going to suffer for her loss of perfect grooming. A delicate alabaster vase exploded with a flick of her hands but that was not as satisfying as it would have been to pick it up and hurl it at the wall, or at the stray House-elf that should have popped in to see what the noise was.
House elves! Stupid looking, incompetent creatures! They were often more trouble than they were worth, grovelling, squeaking abominations! She stalked down toward the kitchen levels and flung open the doors that led to the lower wine cellars and the House-elf nests under the main structures of the old manor. Smirking viciously, she cast veneniferum caligo (poisonous fog/mist) and waved her wand carefully, the creeping green mists rolling away down the corridors and passages too small for a human to crawl down. Wretched little monsters, let them get away from that, if they could.
She turned away vaguely conscious of the lack of human servants who should be around the place. The kitchen, usually a bustling hive of activity was strangely abandoned; pots tipped over, the huge spit that could roast a whole ox standing still and empty. They should be preparing the victory feast; ready to celebrate the great victory they had gained over the Wizarding world, ready to feed the triumphant Dark Lord as he returned from vanquishing that little worm that would not be squashed! Obviously news travelled faster than anticipated and Malfoy history often mentioned that the servants died with the master so the servants had made themselves scarce, damn them!
Tossing her head elegantly, Narcissa Malfoy climbed the stairs with an elegant wiggle, entering the family wing. The very first tingling of the silver potion could be felt in her toes and so she took that little extra care when she strolled down the hallway of the family wing. She pushed open the polished mahogany doors and strolled over to the full-length windows to stare out over the grounds. The reflection of her own face mocked her, a smudge of dirt over her elegantly eyebrows, a bruise on her cheekbone. When had it all gone wrong?
Was it when she first heard the name Malfoy?
"Narcissa! Cissa! Where are you? Have you heard? Andy ran off with some damned Muggle! How could she? How dare she? Papa is trying to control the damage but…"
Hair flying, Bella burst in on her youngest sister, her fists clenched so tightly her nails were drawing blood. "I am going to kill her, personally! Damn it all, the Lestranges are already asking if they should continue with the contract and we haven't heard from Malfoy, but that will probably all end in tears."
"Ooh, a change of tune from last week, isn't it? 'Oh Narcy, you poor thing, your intended is more interested in greasy brunets than beautiful blondes,' or was that, 'Lucious Lucius who likes sausage rather than eggs.'" Narcissa retaliated bitterly, holding a crumpled parchment in her hand. "Besides," she added smugly, "Abraxas Malfoy is ill and the date of our nuptials has been bumped up. There isn't time for Malfoy to re-negotiate with another family."
That much was true, and the wedding ceremony went ahead even though Lucius had taken Snape as his best man and the wretched blood traitor had stayed on as Lucius' lover for eleven more years! Damn him to hell!
Narcissa laughed, a hysterical note in her voice, as she turned away and flopped into a black leather sofa. Snape was in Hell now, taken off by the Dark Lord's familiar, Nagini. She had spotted him, all wrapped in snakeskin, as she passed over the devastated fields of Hogwarts; the blood and smoke and spell residue making the ground twitch and jump under her feet. The leather under her fingers sent her thoughts skittering in another direction, Severus Snape, seated across from her, a tea table demarcating the battlefield. If she had handled that confrontation differently, would it have impacted on today's outcome? Her thoughts wanted to scatter wildly due to the silver in her veins but she forced them back on the track by willpower alone.
"It has become obvious to me that you are poisoning my husband's mind against me!" Narcissa raised her head and looked down her nose at the pale young man sprawled on the chair opposite.
"Really? Do enlighten me," he murmured softly, mockingly.
"It is not for me to enlighten you; it is for you to leave immediately and never come back."
Snape laughed, a soft brush of sound as he leaned forward and poured tea, ignoring her indignation with complete indifference. "Now you listen to me, little girl," he said, raising his eyes and pinning her on a black beam of malice. "You are the intruder in my home. You have been brought in to fulfil two functions and two functions only: to play hostess at social functions, and to produce a Malfoy heir. You have no further use, you cannot cook, clean, provide money, brew potions, create spells or charms, or build assets. All you can do is function as an ornament on Lucius' arm during social occasions where a distraction is necessary, and lie on your back with your legs open preparing to incubate the Malfoy seed into an heir worthy of the Malfoy name and fortune. As a brood mare you will be well looked after and catered to, but fail to produce progeny and you will be discarded and replaced so fast your aristocratic backside will bounce. Now, you can continue to bang your head on the bars of your prison, or you can accept what is and relax; enjoy the prestige that being such a high class broodmare brings. Accept the status quo and make a workable compromise with me, or continue to fret and fight and cause yourself discomfort, because you do not cause me any upset at all."
"I hate you!" she shrieked, scrabbling for her wand but suddenly found herself in a wandless body-bind. She stared up in horror as the black clad youth rose and smiled, a terrifying expression on his saturnine face. Reaching forward, he clipped a single lock of her hair, winding it carefully around his hand and slipping it into a vial he found in his pocket. Her eyes grew wide and terrified as he slipped a long, silver knife from his sleeve and bent carefully to nick her wrist, catching the blood that flowed so freely in another crystal vial. A gesture and the cut healed seamlessly, the young man straightening to smile at her, an even more terrifying look.
"Hate me all you will, but make no waves. If you do, well… I now have enough physical evidence to create a very interesting dilemma for the Aurors. It only takes a single potion and you might do anything my fertile imagination can think of. Do you understand?"
The body-bind relaxed its hold and she scrabbled back, horror and fear rolling from her skin in waves of cold sweat. "You wouldn't dare…" she whispered almost inaudibly.
He did not reply but swept away, a sinister chuckle drifting over his shoulder.
Narcissa shivered, the leather cold behind her knees. What if she had defied Snape's blackmail…? If she had told Lucius about the threat, perhaps… perhaps Snape would have been disposed of earlier, before he could betray them so bitterly. Rising swiftly, Narcissa hurried to the library and keyed a certain panel, tuned to her magic. The contents of the magically enlarged safe were incriminating in the extreme and had to be destroyed. A simple incendio took care of the paperwork and a second, more intense blast cleared out the potions and artefacts.
The safe had been spelled to contain just such a wanton destruction of artefacts, containing their power in the confined space without hurting the surrounding area. All the Malfoys over the ages had realised that sometimes precious items had to be disposed of to preserve the status quo when power changed hands. Ironically, Lucius had told her of a period in history when the Malfoys had supported the Light but the Dark had won and a lot of Light items had to go the way of all dust to preserve the Family and its prestige.
Again, her thoughts wandered, thinking about the Light and of course that brought her around to the betrayals she had seen, both Draco and Snape.
Draco, her baby had deserted the Dark and turned to the Light side. He had stood there beside that blood traitor Weasley boy and defied his father, defied his birthright and allowed a pathetic half-wit to kill his father without lifting a finger! He had even killed her dear sister, Bella, with a rather well done Avada Kedavra, if she said so herself. Lucius had often wondered if their little boy would ever have the gumption to pull off a dark curse but he had, perfectly. Such a pity the little monster had AKed her favourite sister, just like that! Still, what did you expect from a Slytherin and therein lay the problem with their house. A Slytherin always had a back-up plan, didn't they, isn't that what Severus had said?
Snape! He was the long, black thread running through her life, always had been. He had been here before she arrived and stayed very much in evidence until Draco was about to go to Hogwarts when he had finally been exiled from Lucius' bed and consequently the manor. He had even tainted the one perfect thing she had given Lucius, the one perfect gift no one else could give to the Malfoys: her son. Lucius had given his lover an irrevocable right to interfere in her son's life and fate by making Snape his Godfather and thus contaminating the last bastion of her reason de entrée!
Oh, they'd had some good times, all three of them. When Lucius was away on business, Severus was her constant companion. He had taken her dancing and taught her how to play a wizard's version of Monopoly and Scrabble; all three of them enjoying the games whenever they had a chance. She remembered being eight months pregnant and watching Lucius and Severus playing Royal tennis, both of them letting their long hair fly free in the sunshine as they played in their shirt sleeves. Even she had to admit they were both beautiful men in those sunshine filled halcyon days when their biggest concern was whether or not to have iced tea or Devonshire tea on a slow, summer's afternoon.
When Draco was born all three of them played with the small boy; loving him, coddling him, letting him learn about life under their watchful eyes. Lucius had been relaxed enough to crawl around the floor with Severus, setting up train sets; letting the little boy ride on his toy broom while both men ran after him whooping and laughing at his antics. Oh yes, golden days of youth when they could all cast aside responsibilities and enjoy being young and wealthy; before Severus began to steal away her husband and her son in his sly underhanded fashion. The jolt of adrenalin drove away the silver tingles for the moment and made her growl deep in her throat. If she was going out, she was going out in style!
Narcissa ground her teeth as she stormed through the family rooms to her own apartments and flung herself down before her dressing table. Her feet were numb now and she felt the tingling in her muscles, a very slight hitch in her breath as she sat contemplating her reflection, peering into the mirror with a hint of horror in her usually impassive face. She was a mess! There was a dark bruise on her cheekbone, her perfect Black cheekbones, high, sculpted and aristocratic. At least Draco had taken after her family in looks and demeanour. He was not square faced like Lucius but had a defined chin and cheekbones, a high forehead and a good pointed hairline like her father.
Ringing her bell, Narcissa waited for her maid then clicked her tongue in a fury as her scattered thoughts refocussed despite the distraction of silver. All the human servants had deserted the Manor, of course, fled like the cowards they were. The house-elves would not respond to her call any more, she had poisoned them and bad luck to them too. Sneaking little creatures; nesting deep in the bowels of Malfoy while various members of the nest stole out and gave their services to surrounding families. How they would regret that behaviour, passing information ever so slyly, giving away Malfoy secrets here, there and everywhere! Let's see how many secrets they managed to spill from dead lips! An inane giggle escaped her lips until she ruled herself with a rod of iron will. Now was not the time to lose the plot!
Surveying her dressing table, Narcissa took a visual inventory of the bottles, tubes, jars and containers lined up ready for use. Her parents had sent her to a very exclusive Swiss Finishing School that catered to pure blood daughters from around the world. There, they had encountered Madame Renault, a French almost-Squib with perfect grooming and an iron hand when imparting her wisdom to her young charges. She taught Muggle Make-up as well as charms and glamours. Doggerel ruled the girls' lives and they learned all the Muggle tricks after the first day when Madame had banished all their glamours and left them looking like they had just crawled out of their beds.
"Finite Incantatem is a girl's worst enemy. One malicious cancellation and you could be completely embarrassed before the whole world and her critique. 'A little dab of powder, a little splash of paint, makes a girl's complexion look just what it ain't.' Muggle cosmetics are not affected by magical cancellation and will always stay exactly as you place them."
Shaking her distraction away, Narcissa picked up a cover-stick and carefully stroked it over the bruise high on her cheek. Bloody Aurors and their blasting hexes! Still, the wretched man wouldn't be using his wand again, or his arm, come to think on it! Her skilled fingers smoothed the thick, greenish paste over the bruise as her thoughts skittered about, lighting briefly on Lucius' long fingered hand poking and prodding the bottles to another hand, equally long fingered and aristocratic, poking at her things with equal curiosity.
"They are beauty products, my Lord," she had informed him, when he sought her out. Lucius had not been home to receive their Lord and he had come seeking her husband, only to find her at her dressing table. He lingered, watching her as she smoothed foundation over her face and neck. There was an odd hint of wonder and vulnerability in the Dark Lord's eyes as he watched her finish her make-up, and she had not thought about propriety as she stood up to slip off her dressing robe. She hadn't meant to be provocative or enticing but her Lord had been provoked into kissing her, touching and tasting, their first encounter but not their last. Narcissa never knew how far Lord Voldemort would have gone on that occasion but Draco had come toddling into the room on his shaky legs, calling loudly for her and laughing hysterically as he escaped his nursemaid.
There were other, more passionate encounters; Narcissa rejoicing as she 'stole Tom away from Snape', or so she gloated to herself as she planned her moves and allowed herself to be seduced. Those first heady weeks had been incredible and who knew where they would have lead to if it had not been for that bloody Potter brat!
She clearly remembered Severus stumbling out of the floo and passing over bottles of liquid Imperius. Narcissa had not wanted to betray her lover but Lucius had made her, forced the fluid down her throat and given her commands until she had no choice but to obey. Snape again, revenge for her seduction of his lover? Who knew, but…
Ripping her dirty and torn robes from her flesh she cast them onto the floor and cast incendio at them, the smoke dissipating almost instantly. That was an innovation Lucius had had installed when she had nearly set the house on fire in a temper tantrum one day. She giggled slightly; remembering his shock when she burned up half her clothes then insisted it was all his fault. Lucius didn't have tantrums like that, his were subtler and less spectacular, or they were!
Gods above! She could still see Lucius facing Draco across a gulf of hate. She heard Lucius begin to disown her son but could not disagree with her husband's action. Draco had indeed disgraced the family by defying his father and his Head of Family to follow the old fool Dumbledore and turn his back on the superiority of his blood. Even as the fateful Unforgivable began to form on Lucius' lips, it was washed away in a gush of bright blood, pure blood, Malfoy blood. Her husband died in the most ignominious way she could ever imagine, on a blade wielded by that brain-damaged half-wit of a Crabbe! How sad, what a poor showing for the Lord's so called right hand man! She paused, her stillness broken by the trembling of her hands, hadn't she just thought of that, a few moments ago? No matter.
Still, her Lord had come in a whirlwind of his own making, riding the storm and wielding the elements. He had faced the Brat-Who-Was-A-Horcrux and faced him down, brought him to his knees and reached out to reclaim that which was rightfully belonged to the Lord…
And then it all went wrong!
The very elements had turned their backs on the Dark Lord's cause, siding with what was no more than an animated corpse, twisting the life giving power of the Horcrux and using it as a Vampire spell to steal away the Lord's greatness, making him less than a puling boy-child, grovelling in the dirt. The Evil-Little-Soul-Sucker-Who-Just-Wouldn't-Give-It-A-Miss had turned her Lord's own wand against him, turned the elements against him and had caused the demise of an era, destroyed the only hope of a future the Wizarding World had left.
Heart-broken and furious Narcissa had looked around her and seen the utter destruction of family, hope and future in the bodies strewn around the battlefield. It all came down to Snape and his final solution, a particularly seductively coloured, silver solution to all her problems. What had Lucius said all those years ago; the first time their Lord suffered a setback? Oh yes, Malfoys do not go to Azkaban!
The blonde woman stamped her foot in a temper as she slid an ice white satin confection of a gown over her head and used her wand to fasten the intricate buttons and hooks that held it in place. Without a maid it could have been difficult, but she was quite well trained in dressing herself. Still, the tremors in her limbs were a serious hindrance now and she knew she didn't have too much more time to prepare herself for her last great entrance, or was that an exit. She giggled! Flipping through her jewel box, she selected a diamond encrusted icicle style necklace and earrings to complement her dress before draping herself in an arctic fox stole. Diamond encrusted sandals finished the outfit and she smiled at her reflection in the 360o mirror. No, Malfoys did not go to Azkaban; they went out with grace and style!
The Grand Staircase had seen many people descend its beautiful sweep: debutants, Ministers, powerful Lords and treasured guests. Narcissa made the descent as gracefully as ever, only a very faint tremble betraying the growing numbness in her flesh and limbs. Arriving on the marbled floor of the graciously proportioned entry hall, Narcissa made her way over to the Dowager throne just inside the doorway to the ballroom. It had been installed to accommodate Lucius' Grandmother, an imperious old witch who lived to be nearly one hundred and seventy years old, that she might preside over the balls and revels held in the Malfoy name despite being confined to a wheeled chair. It was said she died during a grand ball given for the Doge of Italy and no one realised she had departed as she never lost her perfectly upright posture even in death.
Seating herself on the throne, Narcissa made sure her dress fell in graceful folds; that her cloak draped in such a way that it framed her face, the heavy collar supporting her head upright no matter how death left her. Folding her hands on her lap, she crossed her ankles neatly as she had been taught, tilting her knees to the left and aligning her thighs in a straight line from her hips. She smiled, and then gently touched her face with her fingertips to make sure the smile was in place. Her cheeks were numb and her arms not much better. The end was close, she knew, her vision becoming tunnelled and darkened at the edges. Soon, soon she would be reunited with everything and everyone she loved, forever.
For a second, a malicious smile curved her lips as she remembered the utter shock on Scrimgeour's face as he died under her curse then she remembered her vow and set her company smile back in place. She was a Malfoy and a Black and everyone would stare in envy at the grace with which she portrayed death. Death of a Lady, she thought cheerfully, that was what her portrait would be called, Death of a La…