Disclaimers: This is not a story for any weak-hearted people, so please don't read and then nastily review. It's a borderline under-age story, but it is consensual. It's an experiment - a deviation from the way I usually write. Hope you enjoy!
Lucius sits in the wingback chair, facing Coeus Greengrass. They are together, of course, to arrange the marriage between Draco and Asteria.
Lucius and Narcissa first push for Daphne—it's more traditional and simply a much cleaner action for the scion to marry the elder daughter—but Coeus and his wife are remarkably reticent about letting Daphne go. Lucius and Narcissa have to settle for Asteria. Daphne and Draco—it would have had a nice ring to it. It would have been proper. Coeus is clear, however, over the letters that the two families exchange, that Daphne is not up for sale. She is not to be auctioned off. Lucius gets the feeling that she is not being offered to any of the Pureblood families. He wonders if she has some sort of secret deformity—or, more likely, a mental disorder—some sort of anxiety or schizoid, frenetic thing that makes her talk to herself or to the plates or to no-one. It happens within the society. Inbreeding is too common for words.
Daphne is not for sale.
And this is what it is—Lucius sitting with Coeus and negotiating Asteria's dowry, even though she is only six, even though they won't be married for years to come, which means that Draco can fuck about and sate his desires wherever he wants with whomever he wants for years. Asteria, on the other hand, will have to preserve herself. Or try to. Lucius does not care about blood on the bed sheets. Some families do. But things can be faked, after all.
Daphne first enters the room as Lucius is signing the contract. Coeus' signature is already there, on the parchment, signed in red ink, and Lucius is reminded, suddenly, of blood. But not the usual, thinned, vein-bled blood. He thinks of his wife's menstrual blood, of the placenta from Draco's birth—he shakes the thoughts away without shaking his head, and finishes signing.
When he looks up, Daphne is sitting on the arm of her father's chair.
She is only eight. She is so young, but there is something completely unsettling in her eyes. Daphne sits on the arm of her father's chair and swings her bare and dirty legs. She is wearing what looks like a man's white button-up shirt, and nothing underneath. Her knees are scuffed, and she wears low kitten-heels on her feet. It's a startling outfit. It seems too sluttish, too befouled for a mere child.
Her legs are still swinging.
Coeus does nothing to stop his daughter from being so impertinent. He has a quiet smile on his face, as though he were an observer to Oedipus talking with the Sphinx. Lucius is the questor. Daphne is the riddle. Coeus' arm is looped lightly around his daughter's waist, and he watches Lucius with deepened eyes.
Daphne's voice is strange for a child. It is grating honey. It is as if the stars ran into each other, on some sort of collision course. It does not sound like something that should come from an eight-year old. It sounds old.
Lucius is thirty-four. He has served as Voldemort's right-hand man for years. He has done unspeakable things—he has raped and he has revelled. He has killed in so many ways that he cannot remember how to kill normally anymore. But this girl-child unsettles him. He does not speak to her, does not speak to Coeus.
He likes the way his name sounds on her lips, little pink petals. He does not like her insouciance, her boldness, the dirt on her legs.
Lucius looks at Coeus, tilts his head to one side as if in question.
"Yes, kit. That's Lucius."
Coeus' voice is soothing, and Lucius is reminded of the way that healers talk to mental patients. Lucius is interested in and also suspicious of the way that Daphne knows his name, as if the family has discussed him before. He settles for nodding slightly, inclining his head toward the slip of a thing. She giggles, waving an arm above her head aimlessly. Coeus pats her on the small of the back, and she stands, flashing glimpses of pale thigh.
"I'm glad I got to see you," Daphne says in that odd and sibylline voice of hers, and when she heel-toes out of the room Lucius is left staring.
She is eleven when he sees her next.
He hates being dragged to Malkin's, but allows Narcissa to do it, even this early on, in May, to start fitting Draco for robes.
He notices the Greengrass matriarch almost immediately, because Phoebe Greengrass is trying to keep her eldest daughter in line by wrenching on the eleven-year-old's upper arm. Daphne is laughing and leaning away from her mother, her little, wide, red mouth open, showing pointed teeth. Her hair is un-brushed and tangled, hanging out of a haphazard braid down her back. She looks like a little fury, like some incarnation of the Morrigan.
When Phoebe Greengrass sees Lucius she flushes slightly.
"Hello, Phoebe. Hello—Daphne."
Daphne looks up at him, and he is worried—worried?—that she might not recognise him, until she sticks her tongue out at him in a vile and yet amusing way. He has to repress his smile, because Phoebe is so fed-up that he is afraid she will hit her child. There are already finger bruises clouding Daphne's arms, like marbled patterns.
While Narcissa fits Draco for his robes, fluttering over her son's shoulders, Lucius watches Daphne on her own fitting stool. Phoebe has given up and is slumped in a chaise, and so Daphne tells Malkin what colours she wants without any argument from her incapacitated mother. She picks out deep, burnt oranges, dusky silvers, virulent greens, a stunning and mature purple.
Lucius watches Daphne runs her hands down the sides of the gold robes she has on, and her palms skim over curves that have not quite begun to develop yet, over pointed little hips and the flat-side of her xylophone ribcage.
He is interested by this girl-child. She is not what he would call an old soul but she is something else—something too mature for her jointed little doll-frame.
Daphne turns to his reflection in the mirror as he sits musing, and she jabs her tongue out at him again.
Lucius laughs, this time.
It is five years before Lucius talks to Daphne Greengrass again.
Draco and Daphne are in the same house at school. They are gone for large portions of the year, and Lucius spends his time reading because without his child in the Manor, many of the excuses to visit other society families are gone. This is just as well. He is not so fond of visiting.
He has sex with many young men and women, filling his days with blood play and semen and palms placed across throats.
He and Narcissa go out a lot—for dinner, for tea, for walks through Knockturn Alley. They are not afraid. They are never afraid.
Draco comes home different every year. He starts to grow into the Malfoy looks, broadening and deepening and Lucius can see that the young women—even the older women—are starting to flock to his son like pinned butterflies. He hopes that Draco gets whatever he wants—except for one.
If his son touched her, he doesn't know how he would feel.
When Draco turns sixteen, he has a party.
Daphne comes dressed in red. The colour usually makes Lucius sick because of its association with Gryffindor, but it only makes her starker, deeper. Her hair is pulled up and out of her face for the first time in her life, and it makes her cheekbones so much sharper, so much more dangerous. She is magnificent. She is not a child anymore.
He cannot stop starting at her. None of the men at the party—the young men, the old men, sons, fathers—none of them can stop staring at her. She doesn't seem to know it. She doesn't dance. She eats shellfish with her fingers, sucking meat out of the shells, wiping at her mouth with the back of her hands. She drinks champagne, but not enough to encourage any of the fathers to come over and approach her. She flits in and out of the shadows and watches as her colleagues get drunker and more inane.
When she appears over his right shoulder, like a spectre, he frowns. It is still so highly inappropriate for her to call him by his given name.
She laughs in his face when he informs her so.
"I can call you whatever I want."
"You did so when you were eight, that is true."
They are standing shoulder to shoulder. He is holding a glass of vodka. She is holding a champagne flute. They watch Draco and his friends dancing, a writhing mass of pheromones.
"I haven't seen you for five years," she says, still grinning wide with those frightening teeth showing, and Lucius turns to her for a moment.
"I know," he says. The words are heavy, but their meaning is apparent. I noticed. I know.
When his gaze darts down to her chest for a brief moment, he sees that her nipples are hard against the fabric of her dress.
Daphne takes the vodka glass from him, and runs her fingertips over his own fingers as she does so, keeping eye contact with him. He has to keep reminding himself that she is only sixteen, and that he is forty-two, but the thought keeps slipping out of his mind like a silver smelt.
When she finishes his vodka, she seems to be drinking him in, running her lips briefly over the rim of the glass, making sure to leave none of his residual saliva behind.
Lucius watches her silently.
When she is done, she laughs harshly again and all of sudden she is gone, melted back into the party somehow.
When the party is over, Daphne has really disappeared. Many of the young men and women have disappeared, and Lucius tells his house-elves to go search the garden and escort any stragglers home immediately. He knows what it is like for teenagers. He remembers. But he is older now, and he is tired, and Narcissa has retired to bed long, long ago, not interested in seeing her only child drink whisky straight and debauch himself. Draco is also gone—has brought some light-haired girl to his room—and the Manor is quieting down, going to sleep itself, and so Lucius heads to his bedroom.
He is not expecting to see the waif-like figure of a girl standing in the middle of his room. He does not start, but nearly hexes her until he sees exactly who the girl is.
Somehow, Daphne has found his bedroom—the proper room—and has gotten inside. She is naked. He cannot see where her red dress has gone.
He says nothing, only closes and locks the door. He suspects that words would be completely flat and broken and inappropriate at this time, anyway.
She stands as a solider, her arms clasped behind her back, her feet slightly apart. Her breasts are small, pert, tipped by nipples so hard that Lucius pinches one viciously as he circles around her.
Still no words are spoken.
She is so slender, like a birch tree, white and pale and thin, more graceful in her nudity than when she is clothed. There is a sleek mass of dark pubic hair between her legs, and Lucius wants to fall to his knees, to bury his nose in that hair and inhale her scent.
He does not.
She doesn't want to make love. She turns around and braces her hands on the footboard of the bed, bending over and spreading her legs, standing and waiting. The movement makes the smooth globes of her buttocks shine pale in the room. Her hair is still bound, and when Lucius steps close to her in a swift movement that nearly has her flinching, he rips her hair out of the style it had been in, pins popping out, hitting the ground like seeds. She doesn't gasp. She doesn't even turn back to look at him, but he sees the slight twinge of her back and knows that she felt fear, if only for a moment. He likes that. It makes him hard—harder than he already is, and he is hard, straining against the front of his trousers with a stinging force.
He doesn't even disrobe. He merely opens his trousers and steps into her, smacking the length of his cock up against her clitoris, her wetness. She is wet. She is wet, wet as he is hard, and the smell of this makes him move fast. He lines himself up with her and pushes in, brutally, rapidly.
He doesn't expect to feel her hymen break.
She makes a sound that he will never forget. It is preternatural and while it would maybe frighten other men away it only makes him harder, and this in turn makes her tense up. He has fucked virgins before, and he likes their pliability, their astonishment when he makes them come, thrashing around him, young and nubile or older and stately. He likes their tightness, their almost-fear, the way he can taste apprehension on the thick air like a snake can sense things.
The blood helps to lubricate, but she doesn't need that help. He starts thrusting immediately, running his tongue across his lips in time to the juicy sounds that his hips make against her perfect buttocks. She is underage, she is playing with fire, she is somehow a match to his personality, his mindset, and this unsettles him. Daphne moves beneath him sinuously, like Melusine, like a rusalka. She is moving through the pain, through his brutality.
For now, though, this is his game. The bedroom is a place that Lucius knows well. He knows the way that coltish and underage legs kick—male or female. He knows the places to touch along an inner thigh where the bruises will never surface but the slicing and sweet pain will remain. He knows the angles, the exact grip to maintain on a slender, fourteen-year-old throat—or a thirteen-year-old throat, or a thirty-two-year-old throat, or a sixty-year-old-throat.
He shoves Daphne forward so that she is bent over the footboard. It will be uncomfortable for her. Her hips will clank against the mahogany with every thrust. He knows this.
She doesn't complain. She makes sounds like his sounds—not maudlin moans, but deep and untamable grunts. His cock is stained red with her blood, and his hands are spread over her buttocks.
When her front hits the bed, Lucius bends over her, pressing his body down into hers, planting his hands on either side of her head. His hair hangs down across their faces as a curtain, and he is startled to see one of her hands move. She takes some of his hair and sucks the ends of it into her mouth, sighing softly. She is so tactile, so invested in the physical world—the taste, the smell, the touch. Even now, she bends her head slightly so that she can sniff at his underarm beside her head, taking in the scent of him, running fingertips—slightly jolting with the deepness of his thrusts—over the blond hair there.
Lucius wants to wrench a hand over and shove her head down on the bed. He doesn't. He fucks her harder—so hard that Daphne's feet are off the ground, dangling between his own tawny, strong legs—little white feet that are arched in pleasure.
He is grunting like some animal, but he doesn't care. When he pulls a hand back to slide his thumb into her ass, she finally makes a sound he has been waiting for—a sort of keen, a bean sídhe wail—and bucks her head back, coming so hard around him that he is afraid that she has bruised him.
He comes inside of her, holding himself so deep that it must be uncomfortable for her. When he withdraws from her still-convulsing body, he watches the mixture of semen and blood follow him. It's wonderful. He has marked her, permanently, as his—but only in this way. Once she puts her clothes back on, she will cease to be his and will be herself again, and that will still unsettle him.
When Daphne turns around to face him, he is reminded of Bellatrix for a moment, and he is winded. Her hair is snarled around her face in a cloud of dark, and her lips are swollen, big, red, frightening. She has a heavy look to her eyes. She is so unashamed in her nudity, even with his come wet on her thighs, streaked with her hymenal blood. She runs her fingers through the different colours of liquid on her legs, between her legs, examines the red and white on her fingertips, wipes it on his bedspread, laughs at him, runs a finger over her clitoris.
He ends up sitting in a wooden chair back against the bedroom door, watching as she masturbates for him—or maybe not for him, since nothing she does seems to be for anyone—and makes herself come again and again and again, her legs thrown open and her red flesh splayed.
He strokes himself in time to her palpations, comes all over his hand, wipes it on his bedspread too.
He thinks he is in over his head.
She avoids him for the next week. The magic world is so small that they inevitably run into each other—when Lucius has his arm around Narcissa's waist in Diagon Alley, at a society dance, at a dinner. Lucius has always been planning to regard her with an aloofness. He wants to be coolly aware of her but still put her down at the same time. She is, after all, only sixteen. She is too young to know the nuances of the back and forth between men and women after sex.
He is wrong. She gives him one look over her shoulder as she is walking by with her mother—there, in Diagon Alley—and that one look is so cool and crisp and not quite disdainful but so distant that Lucius is neutralised. He does not react but feels as though he has been wrenched in the gut.
He was always good at masks. He keeps up the façade.
"Mrs Greengrass. Ms Greengrass." He inclines his head as Narcissa does too, and they look like a beautiful pair, all light and moon and pale and elegant. He does not look back at Daphne when he walks away with his wife.
Narcissa asks about Daphne, but not in the way he expects.
"What is wrong with the eldest Greengrass?" Narcissa is brushing her hair at her vanity, counting out the strokes in quiet murmurs. They don't sleep in the same bed anymore—haven't for years—but he still enjoys lying on her bed and watching her go about her nightly routine. He watches her hair ripple, wonders about his wife's love life. Does she have lovers as he does? Does she fuck, or does she make love? It has been years since they have had sex. Maybe she doesn't need it. She can't expect that he has been faithful for all this time.
"How do you mean?"
"I mean that she seems mentally retarded, in a way." Narcissa's words are harsh but she's not trying to be incredibly malicious. She is simply being Narcissa—blunt and awkward. Lucius did always like that about her. He props his chin on a palm, and remembers the wet and hot feel of Daphne's vaginal walls, clutching all velvet and red around him as he fucked her into the bedspread.
Narcissa is watching him, her hair brushed and hanging around her face.
"I don't know what is wrong with her, exactly. Coeus never talks about her," Lucius answers, tilting his head at his wife.
Narcissa purses her lips. "I'm happy that we arranged for Asteria to be Draco's betrothed."
Lucius is happy, too.
He is put into prison soon after.
He doesn't like to talk about that year, because in his mind, it is all a blur of things—darkened, greying colours, silvered memories, pain—pain.
And then there is the war.
Everything changes after that.
It is another thing that the Malfoys don't like to talk about, although Lucius and Narcissa have sex—fuck—for the first time after it ends and they are back in the Manor for the first time. It's rough—he takes her on the floor of the front hall with the portraits calling out to them, and they are both crying, but it is cathartic and clean and hard and right.
They don't speak of the sex. They don't speak of the war. Draco becomes quieter and more mature—less vitriolic, slower to anger. Lucius knows that his own face looks older. Narcissa seems aged, too, but keeps the Manor going—keeps the homestead alive.
The first gathering of Purebloods after the war is a wary one. It is a society function at the Manor. Lucius had expressed concern about it, but Narcissa insists, tells him that it is necessary to get back to functioning properly, that a good time has to be had. She makes Draco and Lucius dress up in proper waistcoats and ascots, with their best robes overtop.
The oldest Pureblood families are there, looking more ragged, less polished than before, numbers depleted, but after the first few glasses of wine, the conversation stops having such awkward lulls and is smooth, wheeling along. Lucius walks among it all like a sultan among his own harem. Narcissa is radiant and excited. Even Draco is talking—with Asteria—and all is good.
All is better when Daphne Greengrass finally makes her entrance.
Lucius can only assume that she was out in the gardens, because her hands are stained slightly green, and there is dirt on the knees of her robes. He is reminded of the first time he saw her.
He is surprised when she heads straight towards him.
"Dance with me."
She demands it of him, and he cannot say no. When he takes her arm and leads her into the fray, she presses the sharpened bones of her pelvis into his, and he is hard almost instantly.
"Fuck me," she whispers.
He meets her out in the gardens, and hikes her skirts up to her waist, shoving her back against a tree.
"Fuck me," she whispers, and he understands. As he thrusts into her, he thinks he might be crying. Maybe she is crying too.
It is a homecoming of sorts. No one even sees them leave. Everyone is trying so hard to regain a sense of normalcy.
He watches Draco and Asteria dance. She looks good in white. Lucius is glad that he ended up bargaining for the younger Greengrass, because if Draco had married Daphne, he would have felt guilty for fucking her. Or maybe not. Maybe he would have just felt territorial, hated Draco for being able to touch her at any instance, wanted to rip his son's hands off, throw them across the room.
The wedding was good. Proper. Traditional. Draco is married at an age a little bit older than most Pureblood grooms. Lucius was only eighteen when he was married to Narcissa. Draco is twenty-three, and dances with his young wife.
Daphne is across the room. She is dressed in white, too. It is so inappropriate that Lucius almost laughs. Everyone knows how taboo it is to wear white on another's wedding day, but Asteria is mild and pale and yielding, and she does not confront her sister. She does not even appear to care that Daphne looks even better in white, that slick slip of a dress clinging to her thin and long body. Her skin is just as white, and it makes that cloud of dark hair darker. Lucius wonders if she has even brushed it, for it hangs tangled down her back, sits on her shoulder like a familiar.
Daphne watches the couple dance, leaning against a wall, her head tilted back. She looks down her nose at them but does not appear to be truly disapproving. There is something in her eyes that is nearly wistful.
When she sees Lucius looking at her from across the room, she clicks her teeth and flicks a thumbnail over her lower lip. It is the way she communicates—in muted and ambiguous gestures, her arms snapping, her wrists curled, her hair tossing. She is like some sort of animal.
Lucius wants to fuck her. It has been almost a year since he last took her. Daphne had been sent off to Belarus for a term away at a magical university. No one seems to know what she studied there. Asteria told Draco that Daphne learned tarot magic. Draco seems to think that it was blood magick. Narcissa tells Lucius, over tea one day, that she is sure that Daphne was learning haruspicy, among other things. His wife's face as she says this to him is disapproving and high-eyebrowed. This image sits well with him—his little kit of a girl, elbow-deep in blood and guts and leaking entrails. She would haphazardly smear a hand across her face, leaving a trail of red. He is sure of it.
Daphne has been away, and when she eventually returned, she disappeared into the Greengrass family manor, theoretically to help plan the wedding. Lucius thinks it is otherwise. He thinks that they like to keep her locked away because she is so frighteningly, wonderfully surreal. He cannot imagine that the time in Eastern Europe helped to calm her. If anything, he hopes that it has ignited her. She glints even from across the party.
When she leaves the room without looking back, he waits two minutes and then also exits. He doesn't even need to look around for her, just follows that briny, deep smell of hers down the Manor hallways until he finds her in his private study. He thought he had locked that study. She has apparently broken the locking spells.
She is lying on the floor on the study, on her back, her legs bent at the knee, her feet flat on the ground. Her shoes have disappeared. Lucius can see that she is not wearing anything underneath that thing of a dress.
There is no time to slip out of clothing, and it is just as well, because the thin fabric of her dress helps slightly with the rug-burn. He doesn't even kiss her, just enters her swiftly, and she makes a hissing sound, biting the palm of his hand, coming immediately. He doesn't care. He never truly cares if she comes or not, only wants to fuck her so hard that she will maybe turn normal for a day or two, stay with him for a week, sleep with him for a weekend—all this without unsettling him, without keeping him on his toes.
Her come is so slick around his cock that he ends up sliding all the way out, and when he snaps back forward it almost like a sword thrust. She moves across the carpet, her head coming into contact with the sofa legs. Her back hunches up, and she slides backwards so that her upper back is leaning against the sofa lip, and he bends over her, almost up on his knees, grunting as he enters her again and again and again. The angle is good for her. She is coming incessantly, non-stop, never stopping, and Lucius should feel proud that he is giving her this pleasure but he is only focused on one thing right now. He wants to come on her thighs, make her spend the entire rest of the party with his semen wet on her skin. Daphne is making strangled sounds—never words, she never speaks to him during sex, never—and she pulls viciously on his braid, and that is it. Instead of holding himself inside of her, he pulls out and lets his come rope across the skin of her inner thighs, her labia, her mons. When he looks at her, that perfect and haughty look that dares her to complain, she only licks her bottom lip and smears a palm across the semen, blending it into her skin.
When she pulls on her dress, he can see the carpet burn across her pointed shoulder blades. He doesn't tell her.
She spends the rest of the party with his come wet on her thighs.
Things change. Things always change.
The last time they have sex it is different.
She sends him a letter, and this surprises Lucius. When she comes through the Floo in his country house in Wales, she seems disorganised and distracted. He is waiting for her in his armchair, his riding boots still on, the leather encasing his curved calves like a perfect second skin.
She is dusty from the soot and has smudges of it across her cheekbones. She looks like a pan-Celtic princess.
He is still in his trousers and white button-up shirt, his hair down over his shoulders. He likes seeing her on her knees in front of him, even if it is only because she fell while coming out of the hearth. When she looks up at him, he knows that something is different.
Because then she crawls forward and pulls his cock out of his trousers, sucking it into her mouth, all the way back down her throat, and he is torn between cursing whoever taught her this skill for getting there before he did and throwing his head back on the chair, his eye half-closed in hedonistic pleasure.
She has never before wanted to go down on him, nor him on her. He has never offered to. He thinks it may be too intimate. He doesn't want to have to relive her smell every day of his life, the cloying musk of her always in his nostrils. He knows that is what will happen if he spreads her legs and settles between them.
She is deft with her tongue. For all her awkwardness and wildness during sex, she is precise and talented when she sucks his cock. She is not scared to slide him down her throat, gagging on him, using the thickened saliva to coat his length entirely. Her hand works in tandem with her tongue, and he knows he is going to come in her mouth so he urges her off of him.
Daphne surprises him again by tugging off his trousers.
"Take off your shirt." Her gravelly command is not one to be trifled with, and he does so, watching her, as though he is expecting her to bite him.
She does not. Instead, she devours the sight of his naked body, her eyes tracking frenetically all over his skin, from the scars across his shoulders to his stomach to his clenched thighs. If he is slightly anxious because this is the first time they have seen each other properly nude, he does not show it to her. He does not admit it to himself. He tells himself that he is secure in his age and his physique, and he is—mainly—but there is something about the woman-child in front of him that keeps him guessing.
She stands and drops her dress, and climbs astride his lap, running her hands across his skin over and over again, keeping his erection between her inner thighs but not quite touching her wetness. Her eyes are so wide—she looks almost childlike in her exploration of him, but he knows that she is not. When Daphne bends her head and brings her tongue into play again, tracing the lines of his scars with the tip, swiping trails of dampness across his shoulders, he closes his eyes over her own shoulder, knowing that she cannot see him. She is determined to feel every inch of him—he pulls back and watches her lay her palms against his chest, against his hips, feeling the heat of him. She bends to sniff at his neck, at his wrists, at the tips of his fingers, which had just been tracing between her legs.
She guides him into herself, and rides him slowly. They are face to face, which is alien for him. He prefers his lovers face-down, and she has never demanded anything remotely romantic from him.
This is not really even romantic, because she is still refusing to speak during sex, grinding onto him with those disquieting and feral sounds, but her eyes have caught his, and he feels wide-eyed, naïve, as though he does not quite understand what is transpiring.
His hands are on her buttocks and she has moved her head into the crook of his neck, her breasts pushed into his chest, and she is layering open-mouthed wetness across his broad shoulders. When he comes, he crushes her body into his, and she rubs against him with cat-like motions until she comes too, crying out into his ear.
He thinks she says his name. He cannot be sure.
She leaves quietly. He wants to convince her to stay the night, or at least to stay for a few hours, but Malfoys are proud creatures, and he refuses to beg. He watches as she slips her dress back on. She won't look him in the eye.
"Did you hear about the Greengrass incident?" Narcissa poses the question to him over their morning tea.
It has been three weeks since he had sex with Daphne, and he swears he can still feel her wetness across his thighs.
Lucius looks up, his eyes mild but his brain ticking.
"No." He takes a swallow of his tea, ignoring the scalding down his throat. "What happened?"
"That dark horse—she offed herself."
It's rare for Narcissa to use colloquialisms like that, but in this instance, the wording is perfect. It strikes deep. Lucius knows that she is watching him quietly, wondering about his connection to the elder Greengrass girl. He wipes his mouth on a napkin and swallows the bite of scone he had just taken.
Narcissa's eyes narrow. "She cut her own wrists open."
Later, when he has escaped the dining room table intact, when he has somehow blurred his way into his study, when he has had a few hard drinks of whisky and is sitting at his desk chair, watching the snow fall, Lucius thinks that this is fitting end for her. He thinks that she was too bold for merely poison, too active for hanging herself, too awkward and trilling for their society. He can picture her splayed out, red flesh like the flesh between her legs, the rivulets of blood around her like lacy curlicues. He can picture the scene perfectly, and is almost put at ease because of that. He can see the red and the pink marble of her skin, mottled, and truly, honestly, completely—it is something really beautiful.