Author's Notes: Written for queer_fest on Livejournal, with the prompt "Narcissa Malfoy: The House of Black is used to getting what they want - but what happens when what you want isn't the acceptable path for a pureblood lady to follow?"
Also for the 2H option in Lady Phoenix Fire Rose's One Hour Challenge on the HPFC forum with the pairing Walburga/Narcissa and the prompts "mine" and "let go".
Warning: Incest, non/dubious consent.
As a disclaimer, Narcissa is over the age of consent.
"Come into the parlour, Narcissa," said Aunt Walburga.
Narcissa looked up. She had been curled in an armchair at the hearth, working on the embroidery that her mother had set her to, and her aunt's voice, far warmer and more inviting than she was used to, startled her.
"Why, Aunt Walburga?" she asked politely. She set down her embroidery hoop and looked up, blinking innocently.
"There is a matter that I must discuss with you."
Narcissa unfolded her legs from beneath her and stood, her heart beating a touch swiftly. She knew not what she might have done that would cause her aunt – with whom she had so little relation – to wish to speak to her. The two of them often ignored each other, for Narcissa was too sweet a thing to deserve Aunt Walburga's scorn or derision, the way Sirius and Bellatrix seemed to, and too quiet and retiring (at least, around anyone outside her immediate family) to deserve her praise, the way that Regulus did.
She walked swiftly by her, keeping her head down and her long, pale hair falling to shield her face, and hurried into the parlour, taking a seat at the crackling fire in there.
So little changes from room to room in this house…
Walburga took her seat across from her, and looked at her seriously. Narcissa stared at her hands, barely daring to glance up through lowered eyelashes to gauge her aunt's emotions.
"Narcissa," Walburga said at last, "there have been stories."
"Stories, Aunt?" Narcissa asked slowly, with great trepidation.
"Stories concerning you, Narcissa. Concerning behaviour that is not acceptable for a young lady."
Narcissa swallowed, and she felt the blood drain from her face, settling somewhere in the vicinity of her stomach.
So that was it.
"I know not what gossip people spread about me," she told Walburga, but her voice trembled, and she doubted that she would be able convince anyone with that tone, much less her all too perceptive aunt. Narcissa could be a good liar – she had to be; all Blacks had to be – but her terror at the idea that rumours had reached her aunt was too great for her to disguise.
"Do you not, Narcissa? These are quite terrible stories that I have heard – stories of most inappropriate behaviour."
"I…" Narcissa trailed off; she knew not what to say.
"You do know what stories I refer to, do you not?" Walburga pressed, leaning forward very slightly in her chair and eyeing her niece. "Stories of your relations with…"
Narcissa flinched automatically, and a satisfied little smile curled Walburga's pinched lips. "I thought that you did."
"Does Mother know?" Narcissa asked in a pained whisper, her blood rushing back to her cheeks so that she flushed crimson. "Please say that you didn't tell her, Aunt Walburga – she couldn't bear it…"
"I did not tell her. I cannot say the same for the other women that she knows – gossip is such a favoured pastime among them." Walburga's expression turned quite grim. "And a story like this – I have no doubt that every Pureblood of note will have heard something about it. Whether they believe it – now that is quite a different matter…"
Narcissa turned away, focussing on the carpet beneath her feet. She prodded at it with her toe, watching the little threads in the velvet twist this way and that and the colour change beneath her touch. Tears of mortification filled her eyes.
It had all been so stupid of her.
Lily Evans wasn't even very pretty.
Narcissa had only ever lusted – and would only ever lust – after girls; she had known this for a long time. She had learned to hide it well, for she knew that such desires would not be taken well by her family (unnatural, they would say, and worse, they could make her unmarriageable) but then Lily Evans had come along, with that infuriatingly seductive little smile and that way about her that drew people to her side like moths to a candle flame (as Druella might have said), and Narcissa had…
She had let go of the ladylike behaviour that she had been taught.
She had gone and…
God, but she had been stupid.
"How did people find out, Aunt Walburga?" whispered Narcissa.
"Who is to know how or where gossip begins?" Walburga fluttered one hand, as though waving away the need to tell Narcissa the origins. "I heard it from Elisabeth Malfoy, but I couldn't say where she heard it from."
Lucius, no doubt. Who heard it from Rodolphus, of course.
Narcissa would never know what had possessed her. She had become reckless, stopped being careful, stopped hiding it…
She had pulled Lily into one of the dark corners of a corridor, behind a suit of armour, after they were both meant to be in bed. Their little affair had been going on for barely two weeks, and no one save for the two of them knew about it, and it was all so terribly new and exciting. Narcissa's heart had beat quickly as Lily pressed her into the wall, covering her with kisses and letting her hands roam over Narcissa's body, and it had all been so exhilarating, to be doing something so completely forbidden…
And then Rodolphus Lestrange had had to show up.
"My, my, my, Cissa… I never would have guessed…"
Narcissa had begged and pleaded with him never to tell anyone, and he had nodded and said that he wouldn't, so long as he could watch them, and so they let him, and then…
"Mother will be angry at me," Narcissa whispered. "She'll be so upset…"
"She'll faint dead away at the very notion, I am sure," Walburga said, nodding. "But it is something that she ought to know about her daughter… after all, it would be a far greater shame upon the Black family to marry you off to some good Pureblood man and then be sent a letter from him saying that his bride only enjoys the company of…"
"You won't tell her?" Narcissa interrupted. She felt sickened. "Please, Aunt Walburga, please don't tell Mother… I'll do anything!"
"Firstly," said Walburga, cutting her niece off, "you ought to know quite well that if I do not tell her, she shall simply hear a more embellished version of the story from someone else. Would you care for her to hear it from the Lestranges, and for her to think that you were whoring yourself out to the whole of Hogwarts school – and you know that that is what they would tell her…"
"No," Narcissa admitted softly. "But she might not believe them – and she would believe you, and I don't want her to know…" She looked up pleadingly at her. "Please, Aunt Walburga, I don't want Mother to know…"
"You would rather have her hear the more terrible version from someone she might not trust than the simple truth from someone she does? You are a dishonest girl, Narcissa, even if you cannot lie." Walburga shook her head, giving Narcissa a condescending sort of look.
"Yes!" Narcissa said impatiently. "Yes – if not wanting my Mother to hear from her sister in law that her daughter is… is behaving like this is dishonest, then I'm a dishonest girl!"
"Honesty is a virtue."
"Then it is one I do not possess!" Narcissa dashed tears from her eyes, gazing imploringly at Walburga, her lip trembling. "And I do not wish to possess it… I should die of shame if Mother knew…"
"No one has ever died of shame, Narcissa."
"People kill themselves for shame."
"Oh, now you are simply being melodramatic." Walburga looked disgusted. "You are not going to kill yourself over this matter, and it is of no use to pretend to me that you are. It only serves to make you look foolish."
"There shall be no more 'but's, Narcissa!" Walburga snapped.
Narcissa fell quiet, biting her lip and bowing her head again, letting her hair cover her face once more, and, this time, she did not look up. She did not feel safe when she met her aunt's eyes.
"Now," Walburga said at last, her voice softening back to the oddly gentle tones that she had been using earlier, and, somehow, this was even more unnerving to Narcissa than her much more usual snappishness had been, "I suppose that if you do not want me to tell your mother about what you have been doing while you are off at Hogwarts, then I shall not tell her. It is an unwise decision, I think – I will not pretend that I don't – but I am willing enough to bend to your wishes."
Narcissa looked back up, eyes widening. "You are, Aunt?"
"Yes…" Walburga said slowly, "provided that there is something in return…"
Of course. Narcissa grimaced. Walburga was a Black, as much as Narcissa herself – even more than Narcissa, really. Of course she would do nothing – not even protect her niece's reputation – without a price.
"What do you want from me, Aunt Walburga," she asked.
There was a moment of silence, and then Walburga said, "Remove your dress, Narcissa."
Narcissa's whole body jolted, and she gasped for air, her mouth opening and closing as a fish's might, while she tried to understand what her Aunt was saying. "A- A- Aunt Walburga- I- I don't- you don't mean…?"
"I mean for you to remove your dress, Narcissa," Walburga said firmly. "I mean exactly what I said."
"But Aunt Walburga…!" Narcissa's face turned scarlet from mortification, and she stood up, backing slowly away. "Aunt Walburga, why would you want that from me?"
"For the same reason that you wanted it from your Mudblood girl, naturally," she told her. "I should have thought that that would be obvious. Now will you do it, or will I have to go to your mother?"
"I… I… but…" Narcissa could scarcely even begin to comprehend what her aunt was asking of her. "But… surely you don't… surely you're not…"
"And what makes you so sure of that?" Walburga shook her head. "You think that simply because I am married and I have sons, my desires are all for men? That is not how the world is, Narcissa, not for Purebloods, not for Ladies, and not for Blacks. We do not marry for desire any more than we marry for love, I am sure you know, and those who do find desire in a marriage… well, they are the lucky ones."
"But… I was… I was led to think that women who preferred other women… that they could not be married off…" Narcissa was terribly confused, and she felt ready to cry as she looked at her aunt.
"Clearly not the case."
"But you said…"
"You misinterpreted my meaning, it would seem."
"But… but Aunt…" Narcissa spluttered, "Aunt Walburga, if you are… if you prefer the company of women, and you are married, then- then why was it wrong for me to be with Lily?" she demanded, and now her confusion was turning to anger. "If I could be married, as you are, even though I prefer women…" Her face flushed as she said that, but she continued, "then threaten me all you like! Tell my mother that I was with her – it doesn't matter, then!"
"Oh, but it does." Walburga leaned back in her chair and shook her head slowly at Narcissa. "It does matter. It matters a great deal, don't you see?"
"No, I don't see!" She stamped her foot impatiently, and planted her fists on her hips, scowling. "I don't see why I ought to be scared or- or why I ought to…" Her face twisted as though she had bitten something sour, for that was what it felt like, "why I ought to whore myself out to you if you telling Mother that I like women won't do very much to hurt my reputation!"
"Then you're a very foolish girl," Walburga snapped. "Did you think – did you really think that the problem is that you were with a girl? No! It is not something that you should flaunt, because there are men who would not want to marry a woman who prefers her own gender to theirs, but it is not such a terrible thing – if that was the only shameful thing that you did, then I would not even bother to get myself involved. It would not be a place of mine to intervene."
"Then… what?" asked Narcissa slowly. She had a twisting, falling sensation in her stomach, for now she thought that whatever her aunt was going to blackmail her with was going to be much, much worse…
"Narcissa, Narcissa, Narcissa…" Walburga smirked. "You know that a girl who fancies other girls can be forgiven… but a Pureblood lady who fancies a Mudblood…"
She trailed off, and Narcissa felt as though she was about to vomit.
"Yes… that is what I have overheard, at least… am I wrong? Is the Lily girl not a Mudblood?" She tilted her head, with a forced, sweet little smile on her lips. "She is a Mudblood, isn't she?"
"She is, Aunt Walburga," Narcissa said quietly.
"Then you see why this is such a problem…"
"I… do, Aunt Walburga."
"Then," she said, "I suppose you understand why it is that you would particularly want your mother not to find out?"
"Yes, Aunt Walburga."
"Then," she said, ever so sweetly, "you had better shut the door and take your dress off for me now, or I'll have to go talk to your Mother and tell her about you and your Mudblood girl."
It was sickening. It was all sickening. Narcissa wanted to cry and run away and go hide with her embroidery and never have to look at her aunt's disgusting little smirk again, but she couldn't.
Not unless she wanted to shame her family.
And she would die if she had to shame her family.
So, slowly, dragging her feet and wishing with all her might that someone would walk in on them right now, before anything could happen, and stop this whole, terrible, disgusting thing, she walked to the door. She hovered there for a long moment, looking up and down the halls and willing someone (Bellatrix, oh, please, Bellatrix, brave Bellatrix, Bellatrix could help) to appear.
"Hurry up, Narcissa."
"Yes, Aunt Walburga," Narcissa whispered. Bellatrix was not coming.
She shut the door slowly and turned around, facing her aunt again.
Walburga nodded expectantly.
Narcissa breathed deeply, and she tried to hide the tears that were prickling painfully in the backs of her eyes while she slid her dress off and knelt before her aunt. She kept her head lowered, even as Walburga lifted her skirts. Even as Walburga took hold of Narcissa and pulled her forehead. Even as she buried Narcissa's face between her legs.
"Good girl," Walburga whispered, from what seemed to Narcissa like a great and terrible distance. "That's a good little girl."