Separation Anxiety

The Dark Lord was talking. Plotting. Planning. Whatnot… Every face around the obnoxiously long table at Malfoy Manor was turned toward his noseless countenance – captivated.

Except for one.

Across from Bellatrix LeStrange, nee Black sat her sister Narcissa Malfoy, nee Black. And Narcissa's eyes were downcast, studying her red nail varnish. She even took a moment to pick at a slightly ragged cuticle. A very delicate throat-clearing grabbed her attention. Her sister.

Bella's eyes were accusatory. Cutting to Voldemort, they seemed to say 'pay attention.'

Narcissa's eyes had the audacity to roll, clearly seeming to say, 'like I give a damn.'

Bella's eyes widened in disbelief. Narcissa's widened in mockery of her sister.

Bella quickly looked back to the Dark Lord, her nostrils flaring. Narcissa sniffed. Bella's eyes cut back to her askance, and Narcissa discreetly used her middle finger to scratch the end of her prim nose. A tiny audible cough issued from Bella's throat. Beneath the table, her boots scritched the carpet as they shifted.

Narcissa smiled – just a little.

Seeming suddenly inspired by an idea, Bella turned to the parchment laying before her. There was parchment before all of them, in case they should have thoughts or need to 'take notes.' (Not that the notes would ever read anything more interesting than "eliminate all muggles, overthrow the ministry of magic and kill harry potter." But the option was there.)

Bella lifted a quill and scratched a note. Then, with an almost unnoticeable motion, her wand tapped the parchment. Her note appeared clearly on her sister's parchment.

Narcissa regarded the apoplectic penmanship. It said simply: fat housewife. Her blue eyes flashed up to Bellatrix, who was innocently looking at the ceiling. With a deep breath, the Malfoy witch took up her own quill and scratched on her own parchment. Pretending to lay her wand on the table, she waved it over the message.

Bella looked down. Her sister's delicate, curvy calligraphy read: daft bitch.

Bella jotted: curtains match the drapes?

Narcissa read and made a slightly sick face. She responded with: get bent.

get laid appeared sloppily in response. Narcissa curled her lip, narrowed her eyes at her smirking sister.

Bella sat up in her chair. She leaned an elbow on the table, and raised a hand to her mouth. The hand curled into a fist. The fist moved up and down daintily before her lips, while her tongue pressed against her inner cheek – the internationally accepted gesture meaning "blowjob."

Narcissa was nonplused, her expression reading 'you can do better,' until Bella's fist became a subtle finger point to the space at Narcissa's right. Severus Snape. At this, Cissa's mouth dropped. She recovered herself quickly, but not before Bella grew a wide, triumphant smile and took up her quill.

last night flashed onto Narcissa's parchment.

Narcissa bent over her own parchment as eagerly as an OWLs student. Bella watched an irate response unfold before her. you're a sick cow.

Grinning, Bella wrote: moo.

Cissa was leaning over to write again when the parchment was suddenly swept away from her. Startled, she looked to her left. Her husband Lucius had caught onto the game and ended it with a disapproving and almost frightened glare. His headshake was barely perceptible, save for the waving of his flaxen locks.

Narcissa regarded him for a moment, stunned at the reprimand, then looked at the torn corner of parchment trapped beneath her fingers. Not enough for a proper message. She sighed, then caught sight of Bella's quirking fingers on the table. One finger pointed toward Lucius.

Knowing better, Narcissa took the bait and looked up to Bella's face. 'Fop,' Bella mouthed clearly.

Narcissa's fingers flew into action. She crumpled and flicked the parchment remnant across the table in under a second. The projectile popped Bella just over her left eye. The Dark Lord's most loyal couldn't contain a surprised yelp.

Many heads turned, and Voldemort paused his droning diatribe to regard the hotly blushing Death Eater down the table. "Bellatrix?" He addressed her calmly. "Is all well?"

"Yes, my lord!" Bella panted. She touched her injured eye. "A bug!"

"Ah." He continued the droning diatribe, and heads turned toward him again. Bellatrix practically seethed at her younger sister. Narcissa was barely containing her laughter. Her shoulders quivered with the effort.

But surprisingly, Bella calmed. Diligently, she took to her parchment and quill again. Narcissa's lips pursed. A few minutes passed peacefully between the sisters while Bella concentrated on her obviously important work. Ever so often, Bella glanced up at the Dark Lord, and Narcissa decided the little war must have ended.

She smiled. She'd obviously been victorious. But then, Bella's fingers were manipulating her parchment. The tip of her tongue protruded slightly as if the action required great deliberation. Narcissa tried to peer over her sister's busy hands, but Bella hid her project covetously.

Frustrated, Cissa tapped her own fingers on the table. Once. Twice. Lucius looked at her. Then, Bella's hands sprung up, revealing…an exquisite origami swan.

Narcissa's fingers froze. She blinked at Bella's crisp creation, then at Bella, who was smiling gently. So Cissa tried a return smile. Perhaps her sister preferred a truce over a loss, and that would be more than acceptable.

Bella held up her index finger for Cissa's attention. When she saw anticipation, she tapped the swan with her wand tip. It began gliding prettily about on the table, so quiet and small it attracted no attention at all. After a graceful figure eight, it sailed into the port of Narcissa's spread palms.

Narcissa softened at the gesture. She looked up at Bella and mouthed "lovely."

Bella mouthed "open it."

Minor confusion settled on Cissa's fair features. She carefully unfolded the intricate work beneath the table. It was a drawing – crude, but nonetheless clear and rather disgustingly detailed. It was Narcissa, naked with a ridiculously oversized pair of breasts, lodged sandwich-style between an equally naked Snape and Lucius. She was obviously being buggered at both ends, so to speak, and a speech balloon above her lewdly opened mouth indicated she was enjoying this act with one etched onomatopoeia: Wheeeeeeee!

Narcissa's furious hands clapped the parchment closed. She was pulling her wand when a firm hand rested on her forearm, stopping her. Her eyes followed the hand up to the face of Severus Snape. She swallowed as he reached over her stopped arm and plucked free the parchment. Desperately, but discretely, she shook her head. "Please," she mouthed to him.

Bella watched this exchange with an open, expectant mouth and eager eyes.

Narcissa's hands and wand dropped uselessly, defeatedly in her lap as Severus opened the parchment beneath the table. She looked at Bella with promises of death printed on her brightly blushing face. But Bella was watching Snape.

He regarded the parchment briskly and without reaction. Narcissa was also watching him intently from the corner of her eye. He pocketed the drawing smoothly, and looked across to Bellatrix. His raised brow said: And?

Bella's eyes shot wide as her mouth and she regarded her sister, dumbfounded. But Narcissa, scandalized by Severus' subtle but implicating facial gesture, was frantically shaking her head at her sister. "No!" She mouthed, but an uncontrollable squeak made her word quite audible to the whole table. She slapped a hand across her mouth.

Her husband looked at her in mortification. Bella, pointing at her sister with one hand, was unsuccessfully muffling snorts of laughter with the other hand. Severus simply turned toward the commotion with all the other heads in the room.

"Bellatrix? Narcissa?" It was the Dark Lord.

Narcissa's head stopped shaking. Bellatrix stopped snorting. They looked at Voldemort slowly and spoke in tandem, "Yes, my lord?"

"If the two of you continue to misbehave in this fashion…I shall be forced to separate you. And surely, you don't want that."

The sisters' heads tucked guiltily. "Yes, my lord," they mumbled together.

Lucius' head fell into his hand as if he would never recover from such a humiliation. Bella chewed at her bottom lip. Narcissa, chin up again, glared askance at Snape. Snape spared the Malfoy witch a sideways glance…and a wink.

Narcissa huffed at him softly - the git. She felt her sister's stare from across the table, but only stared at the polished wood, herself. There was Bella's smug leer reflected in the surface. 'Hell,' Narcissa thought sullenly. 'Separation just might be rapture.'

AN: Just some detritus drifting between my regular updates. A product of The White Stripes and the bottled insanity known as prescription cough syrup.