1 AN: This little one shot is much darker than is usual for me. References to Death Eater stuff, and thwarted sapphic desire.

Narcissa and Draco Malfoy, Minerva McGonagall, the Death Eaters and Hogwarts are the creations of J. K. Rowling.

For a certain beautiful brunette with dark eyes very different to Narcissa's.


3 Blonde

Eyes so dark should not go with hair so golden.

True golden hair is so rare, after all. There are sandy blondes, platinum blondes, sun streaked blondes, the false yellows and whites of bleach. Hair that is actually the pure bright colour of gold is rarer than diamonds. And you don't deserve it, Narcissa.

Golden hair belongs to the princesses in Muggle fairytales, to the stories they make up that seek to impose order on half-understood magic, create a code where brightness equals goodness. My secret weakness, fairytales, devouring them in the small hours of the morning, longing for a world where justice prevails and evil is marked for all to see. Not this confusing world, where Death Eaters hide among our friends. Golden hair belongs to small children with wide eyes and pink-and-white complexions, before their hair darkens with maturity and their souls. To angels with blue eyes.

Not to you, with your black pits of eyes.

You should have taught your mouth not to curl in that scornful way, when you still had your youth, Narcissa. It's too late now. The lines of habitual contempt mar the beauty of your face. Well, not quite. You are still lovely. Golden hair and dark eyes.

I have to speak to you of your son, and not drown in your eyes or lose yourself in the brightness of your hair. My own long habit makes it easy - I feel the words roll crisply off my tongue, ready-coated with acid. It is sweetness and vulnerability that I find difficult. Perhaps not as difficult as you do.

How many times have I sat here, giving a parent a bad report of their beloved child? Well, not often quite as beloved and over-indulged as yours. I try to tell myself that Draco being so spoiled and willful is a sign of hidden sweetness in you, that the bright beauty of your hair reflects some inner beauty and warmth in your heart. Fairytale logic. I want to believe you are trying to compensate for the father you provided for your son. Lucius, I noticed, hasn't even bothered to turn up. But experience and knowledge of you tells me that Draco's problems are more likely your talent to corrupt and destroy everyone who crosses your path.

Such beautiful poison, like one of the brews Severus delights in. It's hard, sometimes, not to reach out and tweak his nasty ear when he exults in one of his unpleasant concoctions. If some miracle saves him from an actual existence of utter evil, your son is going to be just like Severus in fifty years. I hope you realise that. Although I certainly hope Draco will wash his hair more frequently.

No need to worry about that, after all. Draco is as vain a little peacock as you always were.

Speaking of Severus, this is strictly speaking his job, not mine. But he refused flatly. Draco, in his mind, is an unfairly persecuted hero. Any criticism of him at staff meeting is likely to result in a fifty minute tirade against Harry Potter, usually eventually wandering back to the sins of his friends, his father, his father's friends. So we tend to avoid the subject. Therefore, it is not the head of Draco's house but I, official representative for Albus in semi-important things he couldn't be bothered with, who is facing you as if you were a normal, natural mother. Telling you your son is a dishonourable danger to himself and others, and trying not to remember you the way you were at eighteen.

Eighteen. I can still see you, arrogant in the fragile loveliness of your youth and health. So golden, so graceful, that sneer adorable on pouting teenage lips rather than a thinned middle aged mouth. Shining through the fusty corridors, with your crowd of admirers always tagging behind you. Even then, you always moved through life as if it was somehow beneath you, but I noticed you still subtly encouraged your worshippers. And the despair of all your teachers, including myself. That brilliant, diamond- edged mind was used for nothing but perfecting your figure and makeup and marking out and hunting down Lucius Malfoy.

And I, unbeautiful and already aging, trying to despise you as a spoiled child and caught in your golden hair and those depthless eyes.

I have nothing to shame myself with, of course. A few fantasies sparked by knowing that, when Lucius was not there to disapprove, you liked to play with the girls. I felt guilt enough over my dreams - I never would have laid an unchaste hand on a student. Especially one as deceitful as you already were.

The fantasies I am most ashamed of are not the ones where I woke wet and sweating with desire, but those where my love was enough to win you back from the abyss. So foolish. Everyone makes their own choices - Albus is right about that.

And you chose wealth, and power, and evil. No getting around that.

"Is that all, Professor?" You rise to your feet. "I will speak with my son, of course." You don't even pretend to inject emotion or sincerity into your empty tones. We both know you will say nothing to Draco, and that he will just be another of our failures. Someone who should have been saved, and was not. Like his mother.

I want to scream at you, at all the parents who twist their children's souls, to take your children away. Send them to Durmstrang, let them learn the Dark Arts in a friendly, supportive environment, and grow up to be good little Death Eaters. Don't burden us with our own failure to save them.

Of course, I don't say anything of the kind.

"Goodbye, Minerva." You've never used my first name before, and it comes as a cold shock, as if you were speaking out of my dreams "And thank you for the sweet memories." You lean forward and brush silky lips against mine.

I stare into your dark eyes. And in that instant, I can see the hell you have made for yourself. Memories flash into your eyes as if they were twin Pensieves. I don't know if this is some soul touching, or a spell you have woven without my notice, but I see with you. Women flayed of their flesh, screaming children consumed with fire, blood and pain and destruction and crippling horror. The mind-shattering torture of Cruciatus, the fatal simplicity of Avada Kedavra. The Dark Mark flaming, above burning houses, in your skin, in your soul.

For one brief moment I realise there are worse fates than to be an old woman trying to guide children in a dark world. I could have given myself over to the darkness, and been forever cut off from the light.

No wonder you feel everyday life is meaningless to you. No wonder your eyes are dark pits.

I was in love with you. And I never saved you.

Your eyes glaze over, until I can see nothing but my own reflection. An old stern witch, doubled in your gaze.

You turn and walk out without acknowledging what we just shared.

I stand, slowly, feeling older than I have ever felt in my life. An old failure. I reach out a hand, and lift something glistening on the back of your chair.

A single long, golden hair.