Author's Notes: Written for the e1H level of Lady Phoenix Fire Rose's One Hour Challenge/Hardest Challenge Ever on the HPFC forum with the pairing Narcissa/Lily and the prompt "This is your last chance".


Narcissa knew that she looked perfect on her wedding day.

She was dressed in the pale blue that she had so wanted – it had taken no small amount of arguing, but her mother had eventually given in and indulged her youngest daughter with a wedding dress that was miles upon miles of pale blue silk and lace and pearls. Narcissa had preened in it and beamed when Bellatrix told her how beautiful she looked and pretended like the wedding dress would make up for the fact that she was about to be married.

About to be married.

What a loathsome concept marriage was – at least, marriage as Narcissa was going to have to experience it. She didn't want to be married, and how could she? She didn't love Lucius Malfoy, no matter how charming he was to her.

He did all the things that a good Pureblood husband was supposed to do. He kissed her hand at parties, her cheek when they were alone, he told her that she was beautiful and looked at her longingly, but never lustfully. He was a man who any woman should have been thrilled to marry.

But Narcissa was not thrilled.

Lucius Malfoy was a perfect man, but a perfect man was the last thing that she wanted.

She wanted someone flawed, exciting, someone who wouldn't expect her to be perfect. She wanted someone strange like the Mudblood that Andromeda had run off with or someone dangerous like Rodolphus Lestrange, who Bellatrix often said she would trade for Lucius in a heartbeat if she could.

But even they weren't really the sort of person that Narcissa wanted.

She would, truth be told, far rather have had a woman.

She would, truth be told, far rather have had Lily Evans.

Lily Evans was, in all ways but her blood status, the sort of girl that Narcissa wished she was. Narcissa had simultaneously admired and scorned her for years, and it was only after a dreadfully long time when she and Lily had gotten into a long and impassioned argument after hours in an empty classroom – tensions high, faces flushed and voices turned to a pair of trembling hisses with emotion – that Narcissa had finally broken down and kissed her.

They had both known from the beginning that their relationship wasn't ever going to go anywhere – they were both girls, after all, and Narcissa was a Pureblood and Lily was a Mudblood and Narcissa was going to have to be married to a proper Pureblood man.

But the fact that they had always known that things wouldn't work out didn't mean that it hurt any less when Narcissa was sitting in the antechamber of the small church in which her marriage was to be performed.

She had a mirror in front of her and was stroking a fair curl of hair back and forth across her forehead, trying to find the proper way to position it and failing to find any way that did not look dreadfully forced. She tried to smile and failed, for she could make no expression but a grimace.

Then the door creaked open.

Narcissa looked up, expecting to see Bellatrix or perhaps her parents, ready to take her down the aisle to greet Lucius Malfoy at the alter and promise herself to him.

But no.

"Lily," Narcissa whispered, standing up, her eyes widening. "Lily, what are you doing here?"

"I wanted to see you." Lily's voice was shaking and her cheeks were tear-stained. "I wanted to see you before you got married."

"Well, you can't!" Narcissa hissed. She glanced quickly over Lily's shoulder, then ushered her in. "What if someone sees you? My parents would be furious! They'd kill us both–"

"Run away with me."

Lily said it bluntly and Narcissa blinked at her, confused.

"Pardon me?"

"Run away with me!" she repeated. She reached out and grabbed Narcissa's hands in hers, pulling them against her chest. Narcissa could feel Lily's heart beating quickly. "Run away from this, come with me…"

"Lily, I- I can't…"

"This is your last chance," Lily hissed, clinging to Narcissa. "You could leave with me right now! You could run away with me and you know that that would make you happier than Lucius Malfoy ever could…"

There were tears in Narcissa's eyes. More than anything – more than she had ever wanted anything before in her life – she wanted to tell Lily yes, I'll run away with you and never look back, but she could hear the sound of the organist in the chapel and she knew that in a few seconds, her father would open the door to take her down the aisle and she couldn't.

She couldn't.

"I wish I could, Lily," she whispered, then pulled away and stepped out of the antechamber.