This one is for my husband. And herein is proof positive, dear ones, that love can endure despite any injury and surmount any odds. Bring your tissues...

Her Resurrected

Sunlight crept through a thin crack in the window dressing and found Narcissa's eyes still closed by sleep. The accursed light striking her face caused her to stir and shift position, attempting to prolong the sweet bastion of her slumber. Her hands reached down and pulled the cover up to her chin, locking in warmth against the intrusion of cold morning air. "Good afternoon mother," Draco breathed from somewhere in the room.

Narcissa allowed her eyes to open slightly, her vision blurred, saw only a bright white haze around her. She became aware of firmness - a soft yet rigid barrier. Slowly she raised a hand to feel the object that hemmed her in. This was not her bed. This was not where she had drifted off to sleep the night before. Consciousness rushed into her mind. She sat up with a start, taking in the whole of the room as her vision cleared. The library. She was in the library, lying on the large Victorian sofa in the middle of the room, a soft Cashmere throw covering her. Draco sat in a white wingback chair just opposite her, a look of patient concern on his face. Narcissa pulled the throw up over her chest as if the thin cut of cloth could protect her. "What am I doing down here?" she stammered.

Draco's face slowly gave way to an amused grin. "You appear to have been sleep walking mother. I found you last night in the kitchen. I went down to see if we had a bottle of the Roanoke 1587 and found you casting spells all over the place."

Narcissa studied her son with a confused expression. "Why was I in the kitchen?Why was I casting spells?"

A low chuckle escaped Draco's lips. "I am not certain what you were up to last night mother, but I do know that we now have two oranges wrapped in a stasis charm and a fresh yellow squash that has been inflated to twice its regular size."

Narcissa gave a soft chuckle. "I caused no permanent damage then?"

Draco's tone grew serious. "No, mother. No permanent damage. I am beginning to worry about you, though; this sleep walking, being shut up in father's apartments most nights. It's not…"

Narcissa held up a delicate hand to quiet her son. "I am simply overly tired and under stress. Your fathers sentence to Azkaban, the Aurors raiding the house and taking so many precious family heirlooms… These things wear heavily on my heart. And you will have to forgive me, but I find your father's rooms to be one safe haven in these difficult times."

"I wouldn't know," Draco said sullenly. "You have kept the door to his apartments warded since he was arrested. Not even the house elves are allowed in."

"I know it is selfish of me to want to keep those rooms to myself, but they are all of him that I have left, and I want them exactly as he left them when he returns."

"Mother," Draco protested. "He won't be back for ten years. You cannot possibly think to keep his rooms shut up for that long!"

Narcissa's hand shot up once again, forcing silence from her son. "I can, and shall, keep any area of this house shut up for as long as I wish. Now if you don't mind, can we please change the subject? I grow weary of this one."

Draco let out a long defeated sigh and rested his head against the back of the chair. "All right," he began. "Current events then. The search for Snape continues. The opinion from the ministry is that he is dead, but that seems unlikely given how much effort they have put into finding him. What do you think, mother?"

Narcissa considered the information for a long moment before forming her answer. "I like to imagine Draco, that one day many years from now, someone will stumble across Severus sitting on a beach somewhere sunning himself."

Draco shook his head slowly. "I don't see how that is possible. From what little I saw of Nagini's work, the dark lord's pet was quite thorough."

Narcissa stood, wrapping the throw around her shoulders. "Draco. I believe I will dress now. I will leave you to contemplate the mystery of Severus Snape alone. I personally hope he is never found. I would like my fantasy of his existence to remain intact for as long as possible." Without waiting for a response from her son, Narcissa turned and strode out of the room.

Conversation over evening tea was much more subdued than usual and Narcissa found herself hurrying to the solitude of her husbands former room as soon as decorum would allow. She slipped through the heavy Mahogany door into the dark bed chamber. She felt reassured as she pressed against the hard wood supporting her back. She listened to the silence. Her ears rang with it, and after a moment she discerned the slow steady breath of the man she had been longing to see. She breathed a flame charm and candles throughout the room sprang to life. Her eyes adjusted to the dim illumination.

There, prone on her husbands bed, was the man half the wizarding world was searching in earnest to find. Some wanted to see him burned alive. Others wanted to give him a medal and hoist him on their shoulders. While another group would have been just as happy to give him a medal, hoist him on their shoulders and then toss him into a fire. "Severus" she whispered, hesitant to disturb his slumber. "Severus, I came as quickly as I could." She walked to the bed, making a full visual inspection of her patient. His breathing progressed in a slow deep rhythm. Occasionally an arm or leg would twitch as though he were in the grip of a night terror. The bandages around his neck were still clean, indicating that his wounds had stopped draining and were beginning to heal.

Narcissa had spent weeks after Lucius was arrested trying to mend the torn flesh, exhausting her magic. Now it appeared that her ministrations had succeeded. She knelt beside the bed, resting her head next to his. "Severus." The tears came despite herself. "Severus, I am so sorry. I did this to you. If I had not asked you to make that unbreakable vow the Dark Lord would not have done this to you. I used you, Severus, like every other woman in your life used you. If only I had been brave enough to stand up to the Dark Lord! Or at the very least I could have taken Draco and run. I should have taken Draco far away from this, and never asked so much of you."

She buried her face deep into the pillow and wept freely. In this room, in the presence of this man, she felt safe enough to let down her stony façade. How many nights had she melted here, crying? Time appeared to stand still in this room. Severus, her silent companion, laid like a patient lover listening, giving only the steady tick of his heart in response, keeping time with the mantel's charmed clock. Some nights she talked to him for hours, spilling all of her doubts, fears and joys as she tended to his broken body. Narcissa stood and wiped the tears away with the back of her hand. "I think that is enough self indulgence for tonight. Don't you Severus? I must see to your care now."

Her face took on a determined grimace as she brought her torrent of emotions back under control. From a bedside table, she retrieved a bottle of lotion. The sweet scents of mint and eucalyptus filled the room as she poured a dollop into her hand. "It is time for your massage, Severus. You know how important this is to maintaining you circulation and skin. I do not wish to have to deal with atrophy and bed sores atop your other ailments." She began at his head, deliberately working the rich liquid into his skin, massaging each muscle as she went. To fill the silence, she recounted the latest news to him; the seeming endless search for his person, the owl that Draco received this evening requesting that his wedding date be moved up. "Apparently the Greengrass family has run into some finical troubles and believes that the Malfoy name will be able to save them from default. Draco said that he doubted the Malfoy name carried that much weight in this day, but that it would not hurt to move the nuptial day forward. Besides we could use the support of a noble family that was not as closely linked to the Dark Lord as we were."

She would never admit it but his abdomen was her favorite part of the massage. She often found herself lingering over the strong muscles of his lower torso, gently dallying in his navel before following that thin trail of hair to his most intimate parts. Her mind like her hand wandered, moving in steady, familiar rhythms. Draco would be married soon, moving out of the manor and into the summer house, starting his own family. Soon she would truly be alone.

She applied more lotion to her hands before gently caressing his balls, massaging the skin softly so as not to cause him any discomfort. She eventually worked her way to his manhood, taking the tube of flesh and running her hand up and down its length - a length which felt larger tonight and more substantial. She looked down in stunned silence at the object she worked in her closed fist. Severus had obviously become aroused, his sex now grown to full size and rigid in her hand. She froze, too shocked to continue, afraid to let go.

"Narcissa, my dear," Severus whispered in a hoarse, dry voice. "For the love of Merlin, please continue."

She started anew, shifting her rhythm, allowing her thumb to lightly graze the top of his glans as she stroked. A moan escaped Severus's lips. "Bloody hell, that feels good...just a little faster." Narcissa's hand increased speed slightly, delighted to get any response from her patient. "So close," Severus gasped. "Harder. Please gods, Cissa, let me come." Narcissa felt muscles contract and orgasm flow, a slippery cooling substance covering her hand. She stopped, eyes wide and unbelieving. She listened, waiting for him to speak. Instead, he lay still. The only sound was the sound of heavy breathing. Had that truly happened? The evidence was certainly apparent. It dripped from her wrist.

"Severus?" She spoke quietly, dislodging her hand from him and wiping the residue on the bed covers. "Severus," she repeated louder.

"Cissa..." She heard him breathe before he fell back into unconsciousness. 'So like a man,' she thought. 'Give them what they want and they sleep.' She stood, kissed his forehead gently and whispered. "Sleep now, sweet Prince. I will return later, and when I do I expect you to be a little more vocal." She left the room, replacing the wards so none would disturb her Prince's slumber. She had waited this long to speak with him; one more day would not make difference.

The next day passed slowly for Narcissa. The bright sun that shined outside the walls of Malfoy manor appeared reluctant to surrender its place in the heavens to the dark curtain of night and the silvery moon. But night, when it finally fell, found her secreting a tray of food to her husband's bed chamber. The room was still bathed in the soft light of candles left burning form the night before. She set the tray down on a small bedside table and re-established the wards on the door, adding to them a silencing spell that would not allow even the smallest sound to escape the room.

"Severus are you awake?" she asked quietly. "Severus we need to talk, about last night…" Her voice trailed off as she stood next to him. His mouth hung open as though about to speak; she waited patiently as he found his words.

"Narcissa...my love," he began slowly. "I have lain here in your home for these many months listening to you talk to me each night, never able to respond until now. I must tell you that I do not regret last night. Having been so close to death now, I feel even more compelled to tell you that the decision to make the vow that protected your son was one that I entered into willingly. I would have done anything to protect you both."

Narcissa stood in silence, tears flowing freely down her rose colored cheeks. Her mouth moved, attempting to form a response. But Severus continued speaking solemnly."I love you Narcissa Malfoy, I failed once to protect a woman I loved from the Dark Lord. I was not about to fail again."

Narcissa dropped to her knees on the bed, her hands clutching wildly at his head. She bent close and began assaulting his lips with her own, murmuring apologies between kisses. "Narcissa, love." Snape managed to choke out between kisses. "There is no need to be sorry. For you I would do anything."

She stopped her assault and studied his face. His lips and head felt cool to her touch. She glanced down at his body. The covers were pulled away, exposing his bare flesh. She pulled her wand from her sleeve and cast an incendio at the fire place. Flames leapt out of the logs resting there. She felt the warmth wash over Snape's body. "Narcissa," Severus breathed. "Kiss me again. I hunger for your lips."

Overcome by emotion, she landed a barrage of kisses on his lips, spending a moment to chew on his soft lower pout before moving down his jaw. She carefully avoided his neck, knowing the flesh would still be tender there. She felt Severus' hands explore her legs; pushing up her dressing gown, slowly pulling her knickers down to ankles. Delicately, she climbed atop of him, her lips never once losing contact with his. "I want to make love to you Severus. I need to make love to you."

Without waiting for a response she lowered herself onto his erect wanting member. She felt a shiver run up her spine as he entered her, finally settling flush on his pelvis. "I never knew it could feel this good," she gasped. She tugged at his arms, helping to pull him into a sitting position before riding him with the abandon of a woman who chaste these long months past. She kissed him again, tasted his lips, heightening her pleasure.

"Gods, Narcissa!" Severus breathed out on each of her downstrokes. "I have wanted you for so long." His head nuzzled into the crook of her neck as climax engulfed them. She felt her muscles contract around Snape's stony protrusion and experienced a wave of euphoria she knew he shared. Snape fell back limp into the bed. Narcissa rolled aside him daintily and stretched out, gently biting his ear.

"I hope I did not hurt you," she whispered.

"Not at all," came his hoarse response. "In fact quite the opposite. I feel more alive than I have in months. You invigorate me, Narcissa. You give me life. I believe that after a few more nights of your healing touch I will likely be my old self again."

"Then I shall most certainly visit you again tomorrow evening," she said. "I have been so lonely, Severus."

"I am here now, Narcissa," he vowed. "You will never be lonely again." She drifted to sleep with one arm wrapped around his chest. Awaking at dawn, she looked over his quiet body and gingerly slipped out of bed, not wishing to wake him. She dressed herself and moved the plate of cold food to within her lover's reach before tiptoeing to the door. "I will see you with the next moon," she breathed.

Once she was safely in the hallway with her powerful wards reestablished, she allowed herself a broad smile. This was the happiest she had ever been; here, now, she had a man that would not endanger her life or the life of her son, a man who would always stay with her and see to her needs. She turned and headed to the solarium with a new bounce in her step. She would tend to her Orchids, have tea then sleep for a while. She must be well rested for tonight, after all.

The next few months flew by. Narcissa spent most days with Draco and Astoria, helping to plan a wedding, and most nights in the passionate lap of her new lover. Snape's strength seemed to return to him gradually. Each night he increased her pleasure threshold. The wedding took place in the spring amid the blossoming flowers in the garden at the manor, and Draco moved into the summer house with his new wife, leaving Narcissa to spend her days and nights with Severus. She stopped warding the doors and even allowed a house elf into the room to ensure her patient's needs were met. "Now, Toliver," she said kindly to the terrified house elf as she led him into Snape's room. "Do you know who that is?" She asked, pointing at Severus.

"Yes, Mistress. That is Severus Snape, whom the ministry still seeks."

"Good," Narcissa cooed. "You will tend to this room and his every need without question; no one must know that he is here - not even my son. Do you understand?"

"Yes Mistress," the elf replied in a terrified whisper. "But, Mistress…"

"Without question!" Narcissa snapped. "If you should fail in your duty to him...or if any one finds out he is hiding here...I will personally char your body on a spit over hot coals, and your corpse will nourish my flowers in the garden."

The elf gave a silent nod, not daring to speak. "Good." Narcissa whispered, "Now why don't you bring Severus and myself some tea? I am sure he is quite hungry." Narcissa looked up at Snape who gave only a devilish grin as a confirmation. She grinned back.

The seasons gave way to the long march of time until winter settled once again on the manor house. Draco, Astoria and her parents would be spending a week at the house with her for Yule. And while Narcissa longed to see her son, she secretly wished he would not intrude on her happiness. The past months had been so open and carefree; now, she would have to go back to slinking around her own home, looking over her shoulder to ensure she was not followed. Snape would be once again be confined to his rooms. He could not get far without the help of Narcissa or a house elf, but he did so enjoy taking his tea out in the garden, or in the warm solarium.

But she knew the intruders would only stay a while, and then the happy couple would have the run of the house again. Christmas Eve found Narcissa, Draco, Astoria and the Greengrass family seated in the drawing room sipping hot toddies and exchanging gifts. Narcissa stared up at the large gold embellished Christmas tree, wishing she could draw Severus out of hiding to join her. She recalled with longing the nights of passion, the baths they had shared and the various places around the house where they had made love. In fact, the love seat that Draco and Astoria now shared held one treasured memory... Severus had been sitting there enjoying afternoon tea just days earlier when she'd pounced and had her way with him. She sighed wistfully.

The evening's festivities ran until midnight with everyone making merry before retiring to their beds. Narcissa waited patiently until the corridors were silent again before quietly emerging from her room. She could not bare the thought of Severus spending Christmas alone, and she had especially wanted to give him his present. She quickly moved down the hall and through the door of his bed chamber, hearing the soft click of the latch as the door closed. She eyed the room. Toliver had taken to his new charge quite well, it seemed. Severus' room was dusted. Food sat on a side table in case he grew puckish in the night, and the bed sheets had been changed. Sometimes Severus would have the sheets changed several times a day. He could be quite fussy at times...

The room smelled of mint and fresh flowers, scent charms that Toliver had no doubt cast to make sure their recuperating guest was kept quite happy in his isolation. Severus sat upright in bed, a look of deep thought on his face.

Narcissa joined him at his feet. "I wanted to wish you a merry Christmas, Severus, and I was hoping we could...exchange gifts." She slowly removed the silken nightgown, revealing her pale sculpted body. She reached forward and opened the buttons on Snape's trousers, pulling him down on to the bed before removing them. His shirt was next to go, landing haphazardly on the floor. Narcissa stared at his bare thighs. Bruises and abrasions colored his flesh in places. "Severus, where did these come from?" Narcissa gasped.

"Cissa, my love," he responded gently. "Don't you recall our last several escapades becoming rather rough? You can be quite severe in your delightful punishments. In fact I still have rope burns from the last time."

Narcissa leaned over the bed and retrieved her wand. She set to work mending the damaged flesh of her lover wherever she found it. "Much better," she exclaimed, examining his now blemish-free skin. "Now where were we?" She grasped his erect penis in her hand and gently stroked its length. She bent her head and let her tongue explore the firm skin on his cockhead.

"Narcissa," Snape rasped. "That feels amazing." She played with him for a moment longer before swallowing the length of him. She took all she could into her hot delicate mouth before bringing her head up and swirling her tongue around his shaft. Severus moaned. Narcissa reached underneath him and found his arsehole. She delicately probed the pucker with a finger before pushing inside. Snape's moans increased. "Cissa, love," he panted between gasps. "If you continue in this fashion I will be spent too soon and you will receive no present from me."

So she removed her mouth from his slick pole and allowed her finger to leave the tight hidey hole it had found. She turned her attention to his balls, tonguing them, tasting them; she detected the faint taste of mint from the lotion she used to maintain his skin. She slowly worked her way down to his arse, giving the tight hole a thorough probing. "Cissa, please," Snape begged. "Please, fuck me. I want to be inside you." Narcissa rolled out from under his legs, moving to straddle him. "Gods, yes! Cissa, ride me. You know how I love to see you on top of me." She lowered herself onto his waiting rod.

"Severus, you feel so good inside of me. Do you feel how wet I am for you?" She began to gyrate her hips, feeling his hardness brush the walls of her cunt, slowly ferreting out that secret spot within her that would guarantee her release. The pent up lust she had felt all week long gripped her as she moved, causing her to slide down on him with more force than she knew possible. The headboard of their bed began to knock against the wall, lending their passion a steady rhythm. Before she could prepare herself, the painful pleasure overwhelmed her. Thigh muscles contracted and she came hard, deliciously squeezing his prick. She slowed slightly, spent.

"Keep going, love," Severus pled. "I'm close behind you..." Narcissa picked up speed, wishing to give Severus the same pleasure she'd just experienced.

"MOTHER!"

The sound of her son's voice halted and froze her to her bones. 'The wards!' She remembered too late. 'I forgot to put my wards up!' She quickly slipped off of Severus, pulling a thin blanket around her.

"What in the..." Her young dragon pointed at Snape, aghast, horrified almost. "What the... what the fuck are you doing?" Draco demanded loudly. He clapped a hand over his mouth, sagging in the doorframe. He was clearly overreacting.

"Severus." Narcissa spoke before her lover could. "Please let me tend to this. He is my son. I will help him understand." She placed a reassuring hand on Severus' chest. "I will return shortly." she pulled a blanket over her lover and gave him a gentle kiss on the forehead.

"Hurry back," he whispered into her ear.

Narcissa led a furious Draco out of Snape's room and into her own apartments. Once in the safety of her bedchamber she slipped behind an enchanted screen depicting magical creatures in motion and cinched on an emerald dressing gown. Draco stood at her door staring at the floor, trying to make sense of what he had seen. "Draco." Narcissa approached her son, but he lunged away as if disgusted by her nearness. "I know this might be hard for you to understand," she continued. "But I love that wizard."

"You what?" Draco hissed.

Narcissa held up a silencing hand. "I love him Draco, and he loves me. He is here for me now that you and your father have left me. He listens to me. He saved this family. He saved you while your father moved to destroy us."

"You are trying to destroy us!" Draco countered, shouting. "Do you have any idea the scandal that will explode if anyone finds out what was going on in that room?" He rubbed his face, regarded her with a mixture of helplessness and...fear?

"No one will ever find out, son," she cooed. "Because you will not let anyone find out."

"He cannot remain here mother," Draco spat.

A dark cloud moved over Narcissa's lovely face. "I will not be separated from him. I love him! And I cannot believe that my son would deny me the joy of a companion. If you love me, Draco...if you truly love me...then you will help me be with him."

Draco gave a long exhausted sigh and sent a silent prayer to the ceiling. Narcissa knew then that he would help her. He never could refuse her what she wanted. "Gods, you're insane, mother." Tears slipped from his icy blue eyes. But she saw him surrender. "What am I going to tell father?" He asked.

At morning tea, Narcissa noticed Draco looking paler and quite subdued. 'As to be expected,' she thought. 'It is not every night you walk in on your mother cheating on your father in the arms of a wanted man.' When he left his food untouched, Astoria leaned across the table to ask if he was feeling well. Narcissa took the opportunity to save her son. She placed a reassuring hand on Astoria's. "He is just upset by the news I gave him last night."

"What news is that?" The elegant Mrs. Greengrass asked.

"I will be taking my leave of Malfoy Manor soon," Narcissa began. "This house simply holds too many painful memories for me. I am going to take this opportunity while Lucius is...away...and travel. I want to see the world, and I might even find quiet corner out there that appeals to me." She leaned over to Astoria. "I trust you and Draco will look after the house until Lucius returns."

"Of course!" Astoria exclaimed, a hand moving up to her breast. Her eyes widened with glee at the thought of moving into the Malfoy family home. Breakfast became a celebration, and Draco's occasional grimace could almost be mistaken for a smile.

The weeks leading to Draco's commandeering the Malfoy family home were a blur of activity. The summer house was closed, all inventory magically packed for transport. Astoria began browsing decorating catalogues, eager to make Malfoy Manor feel like her own home. She even moved in before her husband, leaving him behind to complete the final niggling legalities of their transfer.

Astoria spent her entire first morning at the manor wandering its halls, exploring massive room after room, corridor after corridor. The house seemed to go on without end.

She took midday tea in the dinning room. Narcissa had been gone a month now, and the manor's new mistress wondered how any woman could have left behind such a home. Astoria was finally beginning to feel like a true Malfoy, herself. After tea, she decided to see the rest of the house. All that remained were the dungeons and wine cellar, and she found herself eager to see what fine vintages she and her husband had inherited.

"Toliver!" She called.

The elf appeared with a quiet pop. "Mistress, what are your orders?" He asked submissively.

"How do I access the wine cellar and dungons?" she asked briskly.

Toliver stared at her in stunned silence. "Mistress left strict instructions no one was to go there, my lady."

Astoria felt her patience wane. "I am you mistress now, Toliver." Her voice was a blanket of ice. "I give orders in this house, and right now I order you to show me to the cellar. I wish to see the entirety of this house before my husband returns." She stressed the word husband, ensuring the elf would understand her orders were not to be disobeyed.

Toliver hung his head as though trying to decide what to do before muttering, "Through there, my lady." A snap of his fingers, and the solid wall behind Astoria shimmered and melted, revealing a steep stone staircase. 'Incredible magic,' she thought. Toliver stayed behind as she descended the stairs into the twisting maze below.

She found her wine cellar - a vast cavernous expanse with a seemingly inexhaustible supply of wine and fire whiskey lining the walls. Some bottles were over 800 years old. She took her time examining the bottles before moving on to discover what other treasure this dank dark part of the house held. The dungeon revealed numerous empty cells with only chains hanging on the walls, some of which held old blood from their prior occupants. She walked what felt like miles before rounding a corner in one unremarkable passageway and coming to a halt.

A wall stood in front of her. It felt almost as if the builders had suddenly decided the passageway had gone far enough. Or perhaps it was here to confuse the poor souls that had once been imprisoned in these walls. She turned, prepared to head back up to the house when something stopped her. The wall emanated something...familiar. The feeling was miniscule, so slight another might have missed it.

This wall had Draco's magical impression upon it. She was now intimately familiar with every aspect of her handsome husband, including his magic. She took her wand and began tapping bricks at random, searching for the one that would activate the wall's mysterious function. Finally - success.

The bricks began to rearrange themselves, forming a stately arch. She passed through into a small cell with only a another door on the opposite wall. 'Not even the best Auror would have been able to tell that wall was fake,' she thought. 'What could Draco be hiding down here?' The heavy door swung open with ease, revealing a small but elegantly appointed sitting room. A round oak table set of the room , a vase of fresh roses and a lit candelabra atop it. The sound of a fire burning emanated from one of the anterooms.

Astoria followed the sound of the fire into another small, heavily tapestried room set about with book shelves. The fire she'd heard burned in the floo on the left wall, and in the center of the room, in a velvet wingback chair... Narcissa Malfoy sat reading. Astoria gasped.

Narcissa looked up from her book, seeming unfazed. "I am sorry, my dear! I was not expecting company." She laid the book down on the chair's arm and stood. Her hair cascaded around her shoulders like a shower of black and silver. In the dressed up surroundings of the dungeon room, she glowed like a sun, bright and radiant.

"Has Draco kept you lock up down here all this time?" Astoria stammered, shock still showing on her face.

Narcissa gave a pleasant smile. "No, my dear. Draco did only as I bade him to do. He has kept us safe, so no one would learn our secret."

"Us? What secret?" Astoria asked, her eyes darting around the room.

Narcissa studied her guest thoughtfully for a moment. "You are a Malfoy now, my dear. I suppose I can trust you with our secret. Can't I?"

Astoria nodded her head dumbly.

"Come. We will discuss this over tea." Narcissa said, beckoning Astoria to follow her. The reading room lead to a small dining area. The table was a deep ebony, sporting fresh pastries and a fresh pot of tea. The house elf obviously new the Malfoy matriarch was still around. Narcissa walked up to a chair at the head of the table and leaned over, obscuring the chair and it's occupant from Astoria's view.

"Severus," Narcissa whispered demurely. "Severus, young Astoria has joined us for tea." Narcissa bent to kiss her lover's lips. She moved her head down his jaw to nibble teasingly on his neck. "I love you, too," she whispered, standing.

Narcissa turned to face Astoria formally. "Astoria Malfoy, may I introduce you to Severus Snape?"

Astoria felt her stomach turn. Narcissa's mouth and face were streaked with putrid black fluid, and bits of rotted flesh hung to her cheeks. Severus sat upright in his chair,head lolling to one side, mouth open and slack jawed, lips pulled tight exposing his yellowed teeth like a devil's sick of sin. His neck was unbandaged and exposed a vast network of decrepit veins and arteries. His esophagus peered from a honeycomb pattern of greying skin and a trickle of rot rolled over his cravate, disturbed by Narcissa's kisses. But his eyes - those terrible hazy, sunken white eyes - stared at Astoria from a skull of waxy blue and silver, bits of hair and skin beginning to fall away from bare brown bone.

Narcissa stared at Astoria, "Severus asked if you are going to join us, darling! A Malfoy witch is never so rude as to ignore her host. Please." She gestured to the chair Astoria now clung to and her voice flattened strangely. "Do sit."