Author's Notes: Written for astronauts' Twelve Months of Love Challenge. Drabble-y, oneshot-y things for every month in a year of romance.
The first time Narcissa Black met Remus Lupin, he had come to the Manor looking for Sirius.
It was the latter part of winter vacation, she remembered, and she had been the only one home at Black Manor, everyone else having gone out to some New Year's Day party. Narcissa had lied and said she didn't feel well, and therefore been allowed to stay home, and she was startled when she heard a knock.
She dragged herself off the couch, where she had been playing with Andromeda's pet kitten, and opened the door.
If she hadn't done that, everything might have turned out differently.
There was a boy standing on the sidewalk, hugging himself, teeth chattering against the bitter cold. The first thing she noticed about him was that his clothing was ragged. The second was that his eyes, visible over the top of a sloppily knit scarf pulled around his face, were the kindest, softest, gentlest eyes she had ever seen in her life.
"Can I help you?" she asked politely, wondering who on earth this boy was, but knowing it was her duty to be polite and cordial, as would become a Pureblood.
He pulled the scarf down around his neck so he could speak to her.
"Does Sirius Black live here?" he asked, very politely. "I'm a friend of his, from school."
"He's out," Narcissa said, utterly captivated by this boy's appearance. His face looked older than his size – or his age, assuming he was in Sirius's year – should have allowed, and there were several pale scars on it. "Won't you come in?"
"I wouldn't want to impose…"
"It wouldn't be imposing," she assured him, opening the door wider so he could step inside. "Do come down to the kitchen, I believe the house-elves have some soup prepared. There's nothing quite like hot soup on a cold day, wouldn't you agree?"
"Yes, miss," he said politely, looking down at his rather dirty boots.
Narcissa indicated a mat to wipe them on. "Do call me Narcissa. Or Cissa, if you prefer. I'm Sirius's cousin."
"Remus," he said, extending a gloved hand to shake hers. "Remus Lupin."
"A pleasure to meet you," she said, meaning it wholeheartedly. She led him into the kitchen, and snapped her fingers at the house elves, who immediately set to ladling soup into mugs. Narcissa sat down at the table, and Remus followed suit, sipping the soup tentatively.
"So," she said, trying to make conversation, "you're my cousin's friend? I assume you're in his year at school?"
"That's right," Remus said.
Narcissa floundered for subjects. "Do you… do you play Quidditch?"
"I took flying lessons in first year. It didn't suit me." He smiled almost apologetically, though what he had to be apologetic about was beyond Narcissa. "I don't like sports much."
"Neither do I," Narcissa said immediately. "I'd far rather be sitting reading a book or talking to someone than flying around on a broomstick in all sorts of weather."
Remus chuckled, and Narcissa felt herself relaxing slightly. It was nice to be able to talk without worrying about whoever you were talking to being scandalized – a constant hazard in the Pureblood world. Even with her sisters, Narcissa had to be careful what to say, at the risk of being scoffed at by Bellatrix or chastised by Andromeda.
"Do you like the soup?" she asked him.
"Yes, it's lovely. I don't think I've tasted something this good since the Hogwarts food."
And on it went, meandering conversation that had no real purpose – Narcissa couldn't even remember what they had talked about when she looked back on it – but that was comfortable and relaxed.
All too soon, the return of the rest of the family was heralded by the sound of a door banging open upstairs, and Bellatrix and Sirius shouting at each other. Remus jumped at the noise, and looked nervously up.
There was a crash, and the sound of glass breaking. Narcissa winced.
"Er, I should probably come back another day," Remus said, standing up and edging towards the back door. "Pleasure to meet you, Narcissa."
Narcissa nodded, and pulled the door open, and Remus was out the door in an instant, sprinting through the shallow snow to get as far away from the screaming match upstairs as possible. Narcissa shut the door and leaned back on it, pondering.
It felt as though, if only for a few minutes, she had escaped from the confines of the Black household, and seen something more. Remus Lupin dazzled her, he blinded her with his mere presence.
But she had failed to keep him.
Thus her obsession with Remus Lupin began.