Author's Notes: Written for the February 8th Prompt of the Day on Hogwarts Online II – "I'm your wife, not your slave. You would do well to remember that."

)O(

"You've been out all night."

Narcissa jumped at the sound of her husband's voice. She had been intending to slip into bed without being noticed, but she had been betting on him being asleep when she got home.

"I was visiting my sister," she told him, trying to keep her voice even and innocent.

"No you weren't." Lucius's voice betrayed no emotion. "You were with Rodolphus. Don't act as though I'm an idiot, Narcissa, I know what's happening between you two."

Narcissa's cheeks flamed bright red and she stammered. "I– I wasn't–"

"I told you, don't insult my intelligence. You're having an affair. I can tell that much."

"Because I stayed out late tonight? I don't need to come in early, you know, Lucius! I don't need to report everything I do to you. I am an adult! I am your wife, not your slave. You would do well to remember that!"

Narcissa was shocked with herself for her vehemence. Lucius's hand twitched up, and she flinched back, raising an arm to shield herself, anticipating a blow that did not come. For what seemed like an eternity, she cowered, her arm over her head. At last, she heard Lucius sigh, and dared to lower her hand.

"I would not have hit you, you know, Cissy," he murmured.

"As though I should believe that." The temporary fear of being hit drained away and anger rose in Narcissa again. She reached out, slapping her husband across his face. "Right, if you believe that I'm sleeping with Rodolphus, then come on! Hit me! Or are you too much of a coward to do that?"

"You are speaking like your sister," Lucius said evenly, raising his hand to touch his offended cheek.

Narcissa stamped her foot in sheer frustration. "Get angry at me, then! I did wrong! Stop behaving as though what I've done is forgivable."

"You want me to be angry at you?"

"Yes!" Narcissa practically screamed. "Yes!" She was in tears now, and she dashed them from her pale cheeks impatiently. "Please, Lucius, please be angry…"

"Why?"

"Because…" She paused and tried to steady her voice. "Because if you get angry at me, then I won't feel so bad about…"

"About being unfaithful."

Narcissa's lip trembled, and she nodded slowly. "Just hit me, Lucius. Go ahead. Hit me and get angry and storm out…"

"Cissy… I'm not going to hit you." His expression was as impassive as ever. "If you want to be hit, you can go to Rodolphus. I'm sure he'd be more than willing to hurt you. I'm not willing. I love you, Cissy."

"No, you don't," Narcissa snapped back. "If you loved me, you wouldn't make this so difficult! Don't you see–" Her voice broke and she buried her face in her hands. "Don't you see that it's harder for me when you're so…"

She broke off when she felt his arms wrap around her, and she was pulled gently to his chest. He stroked her pale hair, and she sobbed into his chest, overwhelmed with guilt for having such a perfect husband and being so cruel to him.

)O(

Fin