"He put you in detention for that?"
Narcissa looked up from her Potions paper as she heard his voice. Her eyes followed the tall blond across the common room, her own blonde hair partially hiding her face from him as she gazed at him. His prefect badge gleamed in the green light that bathed the Slytherin common room, and his melodious and mysterious voice drifted over to her, saying something rather insignificant to his group of friends, yet Narcissa hung onto every word.
As though sensing her eyes watching him, the young man suddenly turned toward her. Narcissa quickly diverted her eyes down to her moonstones paper, pretending to proofread as her cheeks darkened. She desperately hoped that Lucius had not seen her gazing at him. She refused to look up again, even when her older sister, Andromeda, sat on the black leather couch next to her.
"Are you all right, Cissy?" she asked. "You look a bit flushed."
This comment caused Narcissa to blush even more furiously. "I'm fine, Meda."
"I suppose the firelight could be playing tricks on me," Andromeda said doubtfully.
Narcissa shrugged, scratching out the last few words she had written only to rewrite them. Her sister's long black hair came into Narcissa's vision as Andromeda leaned closer to her. "Are you sure you're all right?"
Narcissa glanced up cautiously. Thankfully, the young man and his friends had left. "Yeah, I'm fine. Sorry, Meda, I'm just a bit busy, that's all," she lied. Narcissa noticed a scroll clutched in her sister's hand. "Headed to the Owlery?" she asked, determined to turn the conversation in a different direction.
Andromeda glanced at the parchment. "Yes--want to come along? You've been cooped up in here all day. The fresh air would do you good."
Narcissa looked down at her halfway-completed Potions paper and the large stack of books on the floor next to her. "I'd love to, sis, really, but I have so much work to do."
Andromeda rolled her eyes. "It's the holidays, Cissy! You're allowed to take a break," she said with an amused grin.
"Not during O.W.L. year," Narcissa muttered under her breath, flipping through a few pages of her Potions book. "I have yet to figure out how you survived."
Andromeda laughed. "You do realize that I'm now in my N.E.W.T. year, right?" Narcissa found herself blushing again in embarrassment. "There's more to life than tests and homework, Cissy, much more important things." Narcissa continued to blush as her mind wandered back to the handsome Lucius Malfoy. Andromeda held up the scroll in her hand. "Love, for example."
Narcissa giggled. "I suppose that's for your secret lover," she teased. It was Andromeda's turn to blush. Narcissa made a grab for the scroll, but Andromeda held it out of her reach, falling off of the couch in the process, making Narcissa laugh harder. She reached for the paper again, but her sister hid it in the darkness under her cloak. "I don't see why you won't tell me," Narcissa said, pouting.
"It's private!" Andromeda said as she got to her feet and brushed herself off. "I'm guessing you wouldn't want to tell me about the boy you were thinking about when I came over here."
Narcissa tried not to react, but failed miserably as her cheeks grew hot. "I wasn't thinking about a boy!" she exclaimed a bit to loudly. Fortunately, the common room was almost empty since most of the students had gone home for Christmas.
"Sure," Andromeda said with a grin. "Come on, let's head to the Owlery. It's beautiful out."
Narcissa protested, but Andromeda dragged her from the common room. The two briefly ran into Professor Slughorn, who inquired about the progress of Narcissa's moonstone paper. "Almost finished, Professor," Narcissa lied.
The teacher hardly seemed to hear her answer. "Good, good," he said quickly, rushing over to a young girl with dark red hair and a boy with shoulder-length black hair who were walking by together. Narcissa was slightly taken aback when she realized that the girl was wearing Gryffindor robes, while the boy was wearing the colors of Slytherin house. "Miss Evans, Mr. Snape, how are you? Miss Evans, may I have a private word?" Professor Slughorn ushered the girl away, leaving a dejected-looking Snape behind. The young Slytherin kicked at a rock as he walked away with his hands in his pockets.
"Wonderful," Narcissa said under her breath. "He's adding another Gryffindor to his stupid Club."
"There's nothing wrong with that," Andromeda said.
Narcissa ignored her sister's comment. "Poor boy," she said quietly, watching Snape wander away from them.
The two made their way through the snow that was now drifting slowly from the clouds above them. The Owlery was freezing, and the owls were all huddled together for warmth. The air was so cold, Narcissa found it difficult to breathe.
"'The fresh air would do you good,'" Narcissa quoted as the sisters reentered the castle, rubbing their hands together to try and regain some feeling. "That's what you said, Meda. Well, now I'm an icicle. Is that good?"
Andromeda laughed. "Sorry, I didn't realize how cold it was. Let's go to the Great Hall. It's almost dinnertime anyway, and if we get there soon enough we can get seats right by the fire." Narcissa nodded eagerly, and the two walked briskly to the Hall.
When they entered the Great Hall, however, the area nearest the fireplace had already been claimed. The occupants were a group of older students, most whom Narcissa only knew by sight. But one of the students stood out to her clearly.
Lucius Malfoy was seated closest to the fire, seeming to glow slightly as a result of the flames flickering behind him. He was playing wizard's chess with one of his friends. His brow was slightly furrowed, but besides this he showed absolutely no emotion--until the end of his turn. He smiled broadly as he finished moving one of his knights and triumphantly declared, "Checkmate!" His friend put his head in his arms. Lucius smirked as he held out his hand. "Come on, pay up!" His opponent grudgingly took three galleons from his cloak and put them into Lucius' outstretched hand.
"Better luck next time, eh, Warrington?" Andromeda called. The young man who had just lost to Lucius turned and gave a smug smile.
"As if you could do better, Black! You have yet to beat me!" he challenged.
Andromeda laughed. "You're on!"
Lucius slid over a bit on the bench, allowing Andromeda to take his place. Narcissa remained frozen on the spot, afraid to sit with her sister. Glancing around, Narcissa saw that she knew no one else in the Hall, and she couldn't very well just stand there and look a fool. But none of the group was in her year-most were seventh-years, like her sister. And to top that, Lucius was there too…
Why was Andromeda lucky enough to know Lucius Malfoy personally? Her sister showed absolutely no interest in him, yet, as she watched, he whispered some advice in Andromeda's ear, earning a death glare from Warrington.
Of course, the two were only friends--Narcissa remembered Andromeda being very insistent on that point when their mother had first heard about their relationship. Mother had not been happy to hear that Andromeda was not interested in the rich and handsome pureblood. In fact, their mother still seemed to be in denial about it, believing that her second-born would be marrying a wealthy pureblooded Slytherin shortly after leaving school.
Narcissa had once managed a look at one of Andromeda's private letters. It was from someone named Ted, and from what Narcissa managed to glean from the letter, he was not a Slytherin, or even a pureblood. But Narcissa had promised herself never to mention Ted to anyone. Andromeda didn't even know Narcissa knew about him, and Narcissa didn't want that to change.
Narcissa was brought out of her thoughts when she heard a yell. She whirled around sharply as the oak doors to the Great Hall flew open, and a black-haired boy fell to the ground a short distance away from her. Narcissa realized it was the boy she had seen earlier that day with the Gryffindor girl. The boy, who she remembered Professor Slughorn calling 'Snape', struggled to stand as he reached for his fallen wand.
"That'll teach you!"
Four young boys in Gryffindor robes entered, their wands held high. Two of them had untidy black hair, and both had hatred shining in their eyes. One of these two had abnormally large teeth, presumably enlarge with a jinx. One that was following these two was very pale and looked as though he disapproved. The smallest of the lot was hopping nervously from one foot to the other.
The boy that had black hair and no gigantic front teeth aimed his wand at Snape. "Furnunculus!" A streak of light shot at the Slytherin boy, but Narcissa found herself jumping in between Snape and the attacking students.
"Protego!" she shouted as she waved her wand. A shimmering shield appeared before her, which caused the jinx to reflect back onto the boy who had cast it.
"Uh, oh," the boy said under his breath before he was hit square in the face with the spell, which instantaneously caused boils to begin appearing on his face.
"Sirius!" the boy with large front teeth yelled.
The boy Narcissa had been protecting suddenly appeared at her side, his wand aimed at one of his attackers. "Tarantallegra!" The boy who had cried out the name 'Sirius' suddenly began dancing. A sinister smile grew on Snape's face he watched the other three attempt to help their dancing friend from the Great Hall.
Narcissa became aware of hysterical laughter coming from the Slytherin group. Her cheeks flushed, sure that they were laughing at her Gryffindor-ish reaction. Someone suddenly clapped her on the back. "Quick thinking, Cissy." Andromeda smiled at her. Her dark-haired sister then turned to Snape. "Ouch, that looks painful…do you need to go to the hospital wing?"
Narcissa saw that the young boy was bleeding from a rather long cut on his cheek. "There's no need," Narcissa said. "Episkey," she whispered, gently moving her wand along Snape's cheek. The wound instantly began to heal.
Snape touched his cheek. "Thanks," he said quietly.
"Watch yourself, Severus--it appears you already have enemies." Snape nodded. Narcissa's heart stopped when she heard Lucius' voice coming from directly behind her. "That was…rather impressive." Narcissa turned slowly around when she realized she was being addressed. Lucius was standing less than a meter away. "You reacted very quickly." His face showed little feeling as he took a step closer to her and held out his hand. "Lucius Malfoy."
Narcissa hesitantly took his hand. "Narcissa. Narcissa Black." She was pleasantly surprised that her name hadn't caught in her throat.
Lucius gave a disarming smile. "Sister of Andromeda, I assume?" he said, glancing at Narcissa's sister. "You look nothing like her," he observed, turning back to Narcissa, who quickly let go of his hand when she realized she was still holding it. Lucius didn't appear to have noticed.
"Cissy!" Narcissa looked over her shoulder to see her friend Clorissa waving to her.
"I'll see you around." Lucius tilted his head respectfully to her before he and his friends headed back to the chessboard.
Clorissa ran up behind her as Snape gave Narcissa a nervous little wave while he headed further down the table to where the younger students sat. "Was that Malfoy you were talking to?" she asked, watching the young man's retreating back. She sounded astonished. "How did that happen?"
"You sound very surprised," Narcissa said, pretending to be hurt by her friend's question. The two sat amongst the few Slytherins in their own year who had remained at Hogwarts for the holidays. Some of them had brought along a few books.
"I hate O.W.L.'s," Clorissa said, shaking her head and helping herself to some turkey that had just appeared in front of her. "What's the point?" Narcissa didn't answer. She was watching the chess game between Andromeda and Warrington…as well as the young man seated beside her sister.
O O O
The next morning, Narcissa woke up extra early. She didn't mean to, but she felt wide-awake from the moment she opened her eyes. She also felt the need to try to finish her moonstones paper, a feeling that may or may not have resulted from a dream involving her walking on the moon while dodging stones that were falling from overhead. Narcissa tiptoed out of the dormitory, trying not to bother Clorissa.
Narcissa was already rereading the part of her moonstone paper she had written the day before when she entered the common room. She was so engrossed in the paper, she didn't notice that the common room wasn't empty as it normally was at this hour.
"A little early to be doing homework, isn't it?" a voice asked suddenly.
Narcissa dropped her book and bottle of ink in surprise, the latter breaking and splattering the floor and the bottom of her cloak with black ink. Narcissa didn't notice the other student coming over to her as she knelt down to pick up her ink-splattered book and start cleaning the mess.
"My apologies," the student said, his voice slightly amused. "I didn't mean to startle you.
Narcissa looked up into the cool grey eyes of Lucius Malfoy. "It-it's all right," she stuttered, standing up and placing her book and other belongings on a nearby table. She drew her wand with a shaking hand. "Reparo." The inkbottle repaired itself, but the ink remained on the stones that made up the floor. Narcissa pulled a handkerchief from inside her cloak to try and clean up the ink.
"Scourgify." Narcissa raised her eyebrows as the ink vanished. She looked at Lucius, who had his wand drawn. "I'm a bit clumsy at times, myself. It's a very helpful charm," he said as he replaced his wand inside his dark cloak.
Narcissa smiled shyly. "Thanks." She gathered her things into her arms and went to one of the high-backed wing chairs by the fire.
"You aren't really going to do homework now, are you?" Narcissa turned to Lucius, who was still standing near where she had dropped her belongings.
"Not until I get another bottle of ink," she answered, sweeping passed him as she headed toward the girls' dormitories.
"It's six in the morning!" Lucius exclaimed.
"And it's my O.W.L. year," Narcissa called back, running up the stairs to her dormitory. She threw back the curtains of the bed next to her own and began shaking the body inside. "Clorissa! Clorissa, wake up!"
Clorissa rolled over and groaned. "Five more minutes, mum, please?"
"Clorissa!" Narcissa hissed. Her friend looked at her and blinked a few times.
"What is it, Cissy? What's happened?" she asked, suppressing a yawn.
"He's down there, Clor! Please, I don't want to be alone with him!"
Clorissa rolled her eyes. "I thought you liked him," she said, turning away from Narcissa and hugging her sheets to her chest.
Narcissa blushed deep red. "Well, yes, that's why I need you down there! Clor? Clorissa?" But her friend had fallen back into a deep sleep. Narcissa sighed, getting an inkbottle from her trunk. She walked slowly back down the stairs to the common room, her heart beating out of her chest. Her brow furrowed as she heard voices.
"…so I thought that maybe you could teach me something to keep that Potter and his friends away from me."
Narcissa entered the common room and found the boy she had defended the day before speaking with Lucius. Snape turned to her. "And maybe she can, too."
Narcissa blinked, a little surprised. Lucius shrugged at her. "I wouldn't mind helping you embarrass a few Gryffindors," he said to Snape with a smile. "What about you, Narcissa?"
Narcissa's stomach did a little back flip when Lucius said her name in that smooth voice of his. Narcissa smiled. "I think I would, too."
Snape smiled broadly, looking from one to the other. "That's great!" he said, not noticing the slight spark between the two older students.
Lucius continued smiling at Narcissa as she walked over to them and drew her wand. "Well, Lucius," she began, loving the way his name sounded on her tongue, "What do you say we teach…I'm sorry, what was your name again?" Narcissa asked the boy.
"An appropriately Slytherin name," Lucius said jokingly with an elongated 'S'.
Narcissa laughed. "All right, why don't we teach young Severus how to block jinxes first, Professor Malfoy?" she said playfully.
"I believe that would be a very good idea, Professor Black," Lucius said, drawing his own wand.
"Do I have to call you 'Professor'?" Snape asked uncertainly.
Narcissa and Lucius smiled at each other. "I think 'Your Greatness' will do quite nicely," Lucius said seriously, but then he caught Narcissa's eye and they both laughed. Snape frowned at the joke. Lucius gave Narcissa a little wink before pointing his wand at her. "Densaugeo!"
Narcissa quickly waved her wand and said "Protego!" Lucius dropped to the ground to avoid the ricocheted spell, which hit the wingback chair behind him harmlessly.
"As I said before, you react very quickly," Lucius said, brushing himself off as he got to his feet. He grinned at her, holding her eyes a few moments longer than necessary. Narcissa smiled back.