Disclaimer: I own nothing.


Lucius and Narcissa:

A Pure-Blooded Romance

Chapter IX:

Weakness


Narcissa: Age 21; Lucius: Age 25


A loud crash startled Narcissa from her sleep. Seeing that Lucius still had not returned from his meeting, and frightened by the noise, Narcissa summoned a house elf. The creature appeared before her, trembling in its rags.

"You," she ordered, "Go see who it is, and be quick about it."

When the house elf returned less than a minute later, he shakily answered, "Dobby sees Master Malfoy and a woman in the den."

"Who is she? What were they doing?"

"Dobby does not know," he wailed.

"You are worse than useless. Leave!"

The elf disapparated, abandoning Narcissa to her turbulent emotions. Shaking the doubts from her head, she quickly put on a robe and quietly walked in the direction of the den. The door was open, and the light from the room filtered out into the hallway. Stopping just short of the light's reach, Narcissa pressed herself against the wall and listened to her husband converse with the woman.

"Be careful." Lucius growled. "I don't need my wife waking up to find you here."

"Tsk. Tsk. Ashamed of me, Lucius? Or of yourself?" The voice was familiar, but Narcissa could not place it.

"Neither. I simply prefer to keep my secrets to myself."

"Narcissa is curious. She will find out eventually, if she hasn't already."

"I tell her what she wants to hear and that satisfies her. It is a tactic I find works on most people," his answer, spoken in utmost coldness, left Narcissa chilled.

The woman snorted. "I doubt she would be so trusting if she knew what you did behind her back."

"Her ignorance is my bliss."

"Taking advantage of your wife's naïveté. How romantic."

"If you are going to keep pestering me about this, I would rather you leave."

Narcissa held her breath, fearful that the two would exit the room and see her. Instead, she heard a loud pop. Her heart in her throat, Narcissa made her way back to bed. Lucius did not return to their room that night, a fact of which Narcissa was acutely aware, as she was unable to fall asleep.


Since that night three weeks ago, every time Lucius left for what he called his Death Eaters' meetings, Narcissa was left alone to stew in her unpleasant thoughts. What was it exactly that the Death Eaters met about that she couldn't know? Did they even exist? Or where they just an elaborate hoax, so that Lucius could keep another woman (or women) on the side without letting her know? She could come up with no other explanation for what she had overheard, and the humiliation, and above all, the pain was excruciating.

That night, Narcissa turned over in her bed, staring at the empty space beside her. Unbidden, tears fell from her eyes, and she could not keep herself from reaching out to the empty space beside her. But thoughts of her perfect husband were violently interrupted by images of him enjoying with other women what should have been hers and hers alone.

She had been so naive, thinking her marriage was completely unlike any of the other pure-blooded arrangements she had seen. She remembered sitting at tea with quite a few witches, thinking that her relationship with Lucius was vastly superior to theirs with their own men. She often sat among women whose husbands routinely stepped out on their wives, women who were incapable of keeping them in their own bed. Never would she have classed herself among them. If given Veritaserum, she would have sworn up and down that Lucius was highly satisfied with her, as she was with him. Every look and touch was heaven. What they possessed transcended the physical; it was a connection of souls. Or so she had thought. Because it had been so perfect, his betrayal hurt all the more.

She had been warned. Her mother had spoken to her about the "reality" of man's wandering eye and hands, but in her romanticism, she had dismissed it. Other men were weak, but not her Lucius. At the time, Druella Black had cautioned against confrontation, that it was the duty of the pure-blooded wife to accept and ignore the faults and sins of their spouse. And so for these past weeks, Narcissa had said nothing. Had let Lucius have his way with her, all the while wondering if he was thinking of someone else, and hating herself for still enjoying and craving him and their marital embraces. But this emotional rollercoaster was killing her. To sit idly by while her husband gave away what was rightfully hers was not Narcissa's style. It was time for confrontation.

So when she heard the loud pop of apparition from downstairs, she grabbed her wand and rushed out of the room as quietly as she could. She felt her way through the darkness, casting a silencing spell, so she could approach them undetected. At the foot of the stairway, she saw Lucius leaning on the shoulder of a smaller form.

"Careful" he snarled. "Narcissa is sleeping."

The woman responded with cold laughter. "I think it's time Narcissa learned of your true extra-curricular activities. Why not just end this charade, Lucius?" Narcissa's heart clenched at the words.

The "voice" was the same as last time. Its familiarity and her inability to identify who it belonged to had slowly been driving her insane. Every social event she had recently attended, she would listen for that voice, wondering which of her "friends" had betrayed her. Unable to take it any longer, Narcissa called out into the dark, "What charade, Lucius?"

Whispering "Lumos," Narcissa began her trek down the stairs. Her night robes trailed behind her, and the gauzy material sparkled under the light of her wand. Her ethereal look was enhanced by the pallor of her face, which was schooled into a mask of hauteur. Forcing herself not to wring his neck or break down in sobs, she walked as unhurriedly as possible, stopping when the offenders came within the circle of light.

She halted at the scene, gasping at what she saw. Her illuminated wand revealed the face of her sister, Bellatrix, whom she had not seen in almost two years. But that is not what caused Narcissa's throat to dry up. Staring up at her was a bruised and bloodied Lucius Malfoy.

"You certainly don't think I would play with your leftovers, little sister?" Again, Bellatrix cruelly laughed. "This is nothing, Narcissa. Just the run-of-the-mill Death Eater stuff." Lucius glared at Bellatrix, removing her arms and standing to his full height. "Thank you, Bellatrix. I have everything under control. You may leave."

Bellatrix raised a dubious brow, but said nothing further, disapparating away in the darkness.

With her sister gone, Narcissa rushed over to Lucius. "What happened?"

He waved a dismissive hand in the air, affecting a false bravado. "Oh this, it's nothing."

Narcissa tried to laugh, but it came out as a strangled sob. She wrapped her arms around him and winced at the groan he made. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to hurt you."

"It is alright,' he panted out. "Let's just go to bed."

He started walking away, and Narcissa noticed the limp in his gait. He was in intense pain and was trying to hide the extent of his injuries.

"Foolish man!" Sidling up to her husband, she pulled his arm around her. He instantly stiffened beside her. At the brush of her fingers along his side, though, he released a sigh and leaned on her.

By the time they were in their room, both of them were winded. She laid him down on the bed and deft fingers went for his robes, but his hand stayed her. "Don't!" Bowing his head in shame, he muttered, "I don't want you to see."

"Don't be ridiculous." And with a flick of her wand, his robes disappeared. Narcissa took a second, assessing his familiar frame. The sight of his beautiful body covered in cuts and bruises brought tears to her eyes, and much as she tried to hold them in, they fell down her face. "Oh, Lucius."

She sat down next to his reclining form and gazed up at him. His normally pristine hair was coming out of his ribbon, falling messily in front of his eyes. As tenderly as possible, Narcissa brushed the limp and dirty hair back into place.

The gentle touch penetrated through his defenses. He confessed everything: the nature of the Death Eater meetings, the horrifying acts he had committed, his fear for her safety, and above all his utter sorrow at having disappointed her.

He finally looked back up at her. "I understand if you cannot look at me. I disgust myself."

It was too much. The overwhelming relief that he was not cheating on her coupled with her rage and sorrow at the sight of his brokenness left Narcissa incapable of rational thought. Leaning forward, she crushed his mouth with hers, ferociously demonstrating with teeth, tongue, and lips that his disparaging thoughts were unacceptable, vile and deplorable lies.

While the display was balm for his soul, his afflicted body revolted against even the slightest pressure. So when Narcissa gripped his shoulders, Lucius could not stop himself from grimacing. Upon feeling his gasp of pain, Narcissa drew back, a guilty look on her face. The uncomfortable sensation of remorse disappeared as her husband took her hand and gallantly kissed it. "I know I am irresistible, Narcissa, but," he coughed, "even I have my limits."

"Irresistible, my arse." Her eyes overflowed with affection, soundly contradicting the harshness of her response.

Seeing Lucius look around for his wand, Narcissa quietly said, "Let me take care of this." With all haste, she gathered the first aid kit and healing potions and came back to him, kneeling at his bedside.

Opening the kit, she began rummaging around and was surprised at the extent of the supplies. "I see this has not been the first time you've come home bruised and bloody."

"And it won't be the last," he said ominously.

Stopping what she was doing, Narcissa glared at him. "No! Absolutely not! I will not let you go to any more of these meetings."

In a resigned voice, Lucius said, "You know that is impossible. I am in too deep now. It would be worse for us if I stopped attending, and I refuse to put you in any more danger."

Having no answer for that, Narcissa got back to work, uttering every healing spell she could think of and force feeding Lucius multiple potions. Her husband watched as she worked her magic. Screwed up in concentration and softly illuminated by the faint glow of her wand, the ever beautiful face grew even dearer to him. She even had the presence of mind to cast some cleaning spells, so their bed and her clothes remained spotless. When the last of the incantations was uttered, most of his injuries had been completely healed, though one particularly nasty cut remained on his shoulder. "I suppose this one needs extra treatment," Lucius said with an exasperated sigh.

Raising her brows in mock irritation, Narcissa leaned over and kissed his skin slightly above the bandage. "Any more complaints?"

Throwing her his trademark smirk, Lucius said, "Actually, yes. I am cold. Some crazy witch stole my clothes."

"No wonder; they were filthy."

Nestling into his side, Narcissa drew the covers over their exhausted bodies, enveloping them in warmth. Strong and now, thanks to her, healthy arms wrapped around her as his chin came to rest on top of her head.

The minutes passed by peacefully, and she was almost asleep when Lucius began playing with her hair. A few moments later, she heard him call her name.

"Mmmm?" she answered.

"Did you really think I was having an affair?"

Narcissa tried to remain perfectly still, but her increased breathing gave away her turmoil. Hiding her face in his chest, she whispered, "I should have known better."

"Narcissa, I'm in no position to give you lectures about trust and honesty."

"I suppose neither of us are, but I do trust you. It's just that...I actually saw you with Bellatrix a few weeks ago. I heard you two talking, but I didn't know it was her. When you spoke about hiding the truth from me, I just assumed… And the next day, when you did not hug me back when you left for work, it seemed to confirm my suspicions. I just couldn't explain away what I heard that night any other way."

"I can't even remember what I said."

"I can. It's been running over and over through my head these past weeks."

"Well?" he asked expectantly, "what did I say?"

"That you only tell me what I want to hear, that my ignorance is your bliss…or something like that."

"I see." He paused a moment, inhaling deeply. "I didn't tell you because…I like the way you look at me." With an even raspier voice and halted speech, he continued, "There is never…disappointment in your eyes. But if you saw the things he makes me do," his hand fisted in her hair, "I'm a half-blood's lackey," he nearly spat. "I have been reduced to hexing and beating up mudbloods and muggles. I thought that…if you knew, you would no longer respect me."

"I hate him," she hissed. The venom behind her pronouncement burned at the back of her throat, and her eyes stung with unshed tears. "He is nothing in comparison to you."

"Narcissa, you shouldn't say that." The rebuke was half-hearted, and she knew he only said it to protect her.

"I don't want to talk about him anymore." It was a petulant answer, but Lucius responded by holding her even more tightly.

The motion recalled him to their previous conversation. "That day I did not hug you, it was because I was in so much pain, I could barely move my arms."

Though he was comfortable now, Narcissa could not stand to think of him hurt. Acting on reflex, she kissed his bare chest, perhaps subconsciously thinking that the act would help him forget the pain and protect him from future harm.

Taking her chin between his fingers, his gray eyes stared deeply into hers. "You need never worry about my faithfulness. Any other woman would be a punishment and degradation to the Malfoy name. I can only tolerate the best, and you, Narcissa, are without peer." His normally sedate drawl sounded even lazier due to his fatigue. Still the delivery had no negative effect on Narcissa. And even though Lucius disguised his love in speeches about familial superiority, she did not mind. His hidden declaration made her heart soar.

"I love you too," she murmured tiredly, settling her head back on his chest, the day's revelations and upheavals finally catching up to her.

"Goodnight."