One word. Funny, how one word could sum up all the feelings pounding through her body right now; the blinding terror, the diamond-strong resolve, the utter need to make this stop.

She was desperate.

The word lingered in her brain, almost tauntingly. She was a Malfoy, as well as a Black. She'd been raised to make others feel taste desperation, had manipulated it, had relished it.

Yes, she knew all about desperation, short of what it felt like.

Now here desperation was, as familiar as an old friend, racing through her heart and burning through her mind.


Narcissa had heard a day ago about the Dark Lord's plans for her son.

Her little Draco. Her only son.

Since that moment, she'd done everything in her power to stop this. Surely there was another candidate, surely there was another way...

She couldn't lose him.

Her son, her darling... he was all she had left.

She had lost most things she loved in the world. Her parents had died, slightly insane. Lucius had grown cold, and dark. Bella had gone a long time ago, replaced by a fanatic, homicidal maniac. Andy had married a Muggle. Sirius had left from the start.

Now, the Dark Lord demanded her son. She wasn't letting that happen.

Narcissa had pulled every lever in her arsenal to try and stop this, short of outright defiance of the Dark Lord. She'd done everything she could.

And when that hadn't been enough, desperation had unlocked one last door.

That was why, on this dark and biting day, she was knocking on the door of one Severus Snape. Bella hung behind her shoulder like a raven, harbinger of death.

Draco was her son... and she was desperate.