Author's Note: This was written for the Your Favourite Couple Competition at the Harry Potter Fanfiction Challenge Forum. My couple was Narcissa and Lucius. My event was Draco receiving his Hogwarts letter and my prompt was story. Enjoy :)
Narcissa Malfoy sat at the end of the large, ornate table that filled up most of Malfoy Manor's dining room. Her long, blonde hair was tied back in a messy bun, loose strands falling down the sides of her slim face. One hand held a delicate china cup, from which Narcissa would take small sips at regular intervals. Her cool, blue eyes scanned the Daily Prophet, as the manicured fingers on her other hand tapped against the dark wood of the table.
Narcissa was just crumpling up a section of the paper on the Muggle world, when the door to the dining room swung open. She glanced up briefly, then, seeing no one, went back to reading. Around the corner of the table came a house-elf, his eyes wide, his bat like ears flopping around as he ran to his mistress. In his hand were a small pile of letters.
"The owl post has come and Dobby has brought it here for his mistress." the elf said, his voice high pitched and a little squeaky.
"Thank you." Narcissa said coldly, lazily stretching out a hand, her gaze not moving.
Dobby put the post in her palm and then quickly drew away, running out of the room as fast as his little legs could carry him. Narcissa finished her tea, wondered if she could get some more, then turned her attention the letters in her hand.
The first one was in a cream coloured parchment envelope, sealed with a crimson wax crest. It was addressed, in green ink, to Narcissa's son, Draco, the handwriting elegant and sloping. Narcissa felt a wave of pride surge over her. It was here, Draco was barely eleven and it was here; his Hogwarts acceptance letter. She remembered the day she had gotten her own letter, how proud she had felt to be following in the footsteps of her older sisters. She was about to yell out for her son, when she caught sight of the other letter and the smile faded from her face. This letter was black parchment with a golden wax seal. It to was addressed to Draco, the ink the same gold as the crest, the handwriting small and sharp. Narcissa had never received a letter like this, but she knew the crest by sight.
Lucius will be pleased, she thought, her own feelings completely opposite from that of her husband. Durmstrang might be a school that "fits with our belief system", as her husband had so delicately put it, but it was so far away and Narcissa didn't want Draco going.
Resisting the urge to just burn the letter there and then, Narcissa called out to her husband. Lucius Malfoy came through the door that lead to the drawing room. He wore a black velvet cloak over the top of a dark blue robe suit. His pale blonde hair was tied back with a satin ribbon.
"What is it, Narcissa?" he asked, adjusting his cloak. "I've got two meetings to attend this morning and I'm running late as it is."
"Draco's letters have come." Narcissa said.
"Really?" Lucius said, his voice excited. "Which one?"
"Both." she said, holding up the letters so he could see. "Durmstrang and Hogwarts."
"I see." Lucius said thoughtfully. "Well, you know my views on the subject."
"Durmstrang? Really, Lucius?" Narcissa said, spinning in her seat to face him. "It's so far away."
"A little distance will do the boy good." Lucius replied.
"Hogwarts is far enough!" Narcissa exclaimed. "There's nothing wrong with Hogwarts."
"No," Lucius said sarcastically. "Not unless you count their unfortunate policies on Muggle-born acceptance."
"But that's been happening for years." Narcissa protested. "We both went and we turned out alright. Plenty of good wizards have gone there!"
"If my late father had let me, I would have gone to Durmstrang in a heartbeat." Lucius said. "There's nothing I got at at Hogwarts that I couldn't have got at Durmstrang."
"What about me?" Narcissa asked, her voice cool and flat.
Lucius went bright red, shook his head a few times and stammered something indistinguishable.
"That - th- THAT'S NOT IMPORTANT, NARCISSA!" he yelled, finally. "WE ARE NOT SENDING DRACO TO HOGWARTS ON THE OFF CHANCE THAT HE MAY GET SEDUCED BY SOME GIRL."
Narcissa turned away and began folding the paper so violently that she almost tore it. Lucius sighed and sat down next to her, massaging his temples with his hands.
"Narcissa, I didn't mean that." he said quietly. "The point is, we are going to have to send him somewhere."
After awhile, Narcissa said, "Do you remember when he was four and he always wanted the same story read to him before bed?"
Lucius nodded, "and we always argued whose turn it was."
"Do you remember how we used to sort it out?" Narcissa asked.
Again Lucius nodded, "we asked him who he wanted."
"And he always chose you." Narcissa said.
"It's because I could do the voices." Lucius said with a smile.
"We could do that to solve this problem."
"What? Read to him?"
"We could ask him."
Draco Malfoy was a boy who strongly resembled his father, with his sharp grey eyes, angular features and rigidly straight posture. He had been eleven for five days now but in his mother's eyes he was still a child, a fact he resented. It was his mother who summoned him into the dining room, where both his parents were waiting for him.
"Ah, Draco." his father said, standing a little awkwardly. "You mother and I wish to discuss something with you."
"Your school letters have come." Narcissa smiled. "We're both very proud of you."
"You have been accepted to both Durmstrang and Hogwarts." Lucius said, continuing in his business like manner. "It will be your decision as to which you attend. Your mother and I will, of course, respect what ever choice you make."
"If you do go to Hogwarts though," Narcissa said, speaking quickly before Lucius could cut her off, "you'll be continuing a tradition that has been part of your family for generations. Both the Malfoys and the Blacks have been sorted into Slytherin house for centuries and it would be very special if you were to be a Slytherin too."
Lucius looked at her as if to say that's quite enough, Narcissa. His wife, however, didn't notice.
"Not to mention how nice the grounds are, especially in Spring." she went on. "And the castle is very close to Hogsmeade village, so you can visit there sometimes. It has Zonko's Joke shop, you know. The Quidditch program is amazing and Hogwarts is also not too far from here, so you can come back every holidays, weekends too if that's what you want. The distance means I can send owls every week, with packages of sweets and baking."
Narcissa stopped, slightly out of breath.
"But, of course," she finished, "this is your decision."
Draco looked as his father, waiting for a synopsis on Durmstrang.
"Durmstrang," Lucius said, "will make you a great wizard. Its academic program is among the best in the world."
Draco stood in silence, weighing up his options.
"I think I should go to Hogwarts." he said after a while. "I mean, it's a family tradition and everything."
"Of course, Sweetheart. I'm so proud that you came to such a level headed decision without any outside influence." Narcissa cooed, handing Draco the cream parchment envelope and hurrying him out of the room.
When she returned, Lucius gave her a scathing look.
"Fair is fair, Lucius." Narcissa said with a slight laugh. "This life is about making compromises."
"Compromise doesn't come into it." Lucius said angrily. "This is about you twisting things so they always go your way!"
"You need to learn more about appealing to your target market." Narcissa said. "Honestly, Lucius, what eleven year old would choose a world class academic program over sweets and baking?"
"I don't even know why we bothered to ask." Lucius muttered. "You always get your way."
"Not always!" Narcissa retorted. "I seem to remember you vetoed my naming idea when he was born."
"You wanted to call him Stephen." Lucius cringed. "The very idea was ridiculous."
"I stand by that idea." Narcissa said firmly, folding her arms across her chest. "Stephen is a nice, sensible name."
"I wanted him to be a great, powerful wizard!" Lucius said. "Nobody's ever going to say "Oh, look at Stephen, isn't he great and powerful!" Draco is much more majestic."
"Not only did you choose his first name," Narcissa argued, "but you also chose his middle name. 'Lucius', God how original."
"Well, we couldn't exactly have chosen 'Narcissa' could we?" Lucius yelled.
"I was fine with Anthony!"
"Stephen Anthony Malfoy! Can you hear yourself woman?"
"I'm sorry I have such a terrible taste in child names!"
"Why does it bother you? You wanted a girl! You wanted a Stephanie!"
"He would have made a great Stephanie!"
"HE'S A BOY!"
"STOP YELLING, NARCISSA!"
"YOU STOP YELLING, LUCIUS."
"NOW YOU'RE JUST BEING CHILDISH!"
"WHY DOES IT MATTER? I'M ONLY SOME GIRL WHO SEDUCED YOU AT SCHOOL!"
"I ONLY SAID THAT BECAUSE I WANTED DRACO TO GO DURMSTRANG!"
"I DON'T WANT HIM TO GO AT ALL!"
They stopped arguing, their chests heaving up and down with deep, angry breaths.
"What did you say?" Lucius asked quietly.
Narcissa, who was at this point crying, whispered, "I don't want him to go. I don't want him to leave. Ever."
"We could lock him in the cellar, but I think that's illegal." Lucius joked.
Narcissa made a choking noise, somewhere between a sob and a laugh, and threw the paper at him.
"I'm serious, Lucius. What if he goes out there and decides he likes being out in the world better than being here, at home?"
Lucius went up to his wife and put his arms around her waist, letting her head rest on his shoulder.
"I can't tell you that won't happen." he said calmly. "But I can tell that, whatever happens, you will always be Draco's mother. Nothing can change that. One day he'll move out, start his own life, maybe even have a family. You'll still be his mother and he will still love you."
"And you will still love me?" Narcissa asked.
"Of course, my Darling." Lucius whispered with a smile. "I will love you until the end."
Narcissa spun around, so that their noses were almost touching. She absentmindedly played with the ribbon in her husband's hair as she spoke.
"If it means that much to you," she said, "Draco could go to Durmstrang. I'll find a way to cope."
Lucius shook his head, "No. Draco's made his choice. Anyway, Hogwarts isn't that bad."
"He'll probably have the time of his life." Narcissa smiled.
"And if he's lucky," Lucius said softly, gently caressing Narcissa's cheek, "really, really lucky, he may just get seduced by some girl."