On Valentine's Day, when Narcissa's parents told her that her betrothal to Lucius Malfoy had been finalized, she cried.

It was that night that she confessed to her sisters – Andromeda, her friend, her confidante, and Bellatrix, her protector, her keeper – that she loved Remus Lupin. She insisted that to marry another would be disloyal.

Her sisters disagreed.

"Narcissa," Andromeda said, "are you out of your mind? You scarcely know him! It would not be betraying him to marry someone Mother wants you to marry. If you were actually in some sort of relationship, I might agree, but this…"

"I love him!" Narcissa insisted. She believed that with all her heart. As weeks had passed since her one interaction with Remus Lupin, as she had gone over it again and again, and every time she repeated it in her mind, she became more enamoured of the boy.

"No you don't! This is just obsession on your part! Don't you realize how absurd this is?"

"You don't understand!" Narcissa wailed. Andromeda didn't understand at all. But then, how could she be expected to understand when Narcissa couldn't even begin to understand it herself?

Bellatrix was even less sympathetic. She rose into a fury when Narcissa told her about Remus. As far as Bellatrix was concerned, that both his parents were wizards was hardly enough to compensate for his crime of being Sirius's friend.

"It's wrong! Don't you ever speak to him again," Bellatrix ordered. "You'll bring disgrace to our entire family."

Narcissa's lip wobbled and she tried not to show how much it stung her that her sisters were just dismissing her love for dear Remus Lupin.

"And," Bellatrix added, "don't even think about touching him. You'll never get married if you do. One touch could ruin your whole future. Never forget, Cissy, that even a mother bird will abandon her young if a human touches it."

Narcissa had retired to bed in tears. Should she be a bird, then? A little bird, hidden always in the nest its parents built for it? She would far rather be a bird taken in by a kind human, who kept her warm and safe, but also on beautiful display, who would allow her to shine.

This, she convinced herself, was what Remus would do when – not if, when – she married him.

She ignored her sisters' advice. They knew nothing. This love – for she was certain, absolutely certain, that this could be nothing but love – was something Narcissa would have to cope with on her own.

In her journal, Narcissa solemnly marked Valentine's Day with a vow that she would marry Remus, and signed it with a heart drawn in her own blood.