Here is a one-shot I wrote for the 100th challenge on The Dark Lord's Most Faithful Forum, for which my prompt was "emotions". Thanks for reading, and enjoy!


It is nothing like she ever imagined, being Mrs. Narcissa Malfoy.

There are the name, the manor, and life at the side of the man she loves. Every morning when she wakes up, there he is, lying next to her. Her eyes blink and adjust to the darkness, and she can just make out the shape of him, his long hair, his features. She breathes into his scent, senses his warmth; she could listen to the thrumming of his heartbeat, if she only leaned her head against his chest. His arm is thrown across her, usually—his left arm.

She cannot see it, but she knows it is there. That changes everything. It turns a quiet, serene moment into something entirely different.

She is discovering the taste of fear these days. It is something secretive, insidious, lurking in the shadows at the corner of her sight, every time she turns her head. Nothing has changed, yet she knows—suspicions turned into something real, something dangerously close. It sets her nerves on edge, when the thought randomly crosses her mind, when Lucius is late or when he flinches a little for some reason unknown to her. It tracks her footsteps when she walks in the streets, when her eyes flicker over strangers' faces, and then away. It is there when an owl rushes in, and her stomach leaps.

They have talked it through, inside and out. She knows what he is doing, why, and in what conditions. She is never going to like it, yet she understands; she is no frightened little girl like Bella seems to think, but Lucius' wife and his ally, for better or for worse. She sees the assets in this cause of theirs—the Dark Lord's. She also sees why it is profitable, even necessary, to be involved in a movement that benefits from such excellent connections already, gains more power by the day, and appears ever closer to actually taking over. Once her initial panic and anger had faded, she collected herself and asked the right questions; she demanded information, processed it, and made up her mind.

She stands by his side, always. She will look after her own.

Of course it matters, and of course she is restless. She cannot pretend that such striking news has had no impact on her. She does glance over his hands, his smooth features and impeccable robes, and wonder; she does, at idle moments, find herself struck by imaginings of the worst, and then she has to steel herself and remember how to breathe, slow and deep. Most of all, she must keep a cool head, and a sense of control. She must trust her husband, and that much comes so oddly naturally to her, it is not too difficult to block out every unwelcome concern and tell herself that they will be all right. As Lucius' wife, she feels safe.

But his mark is dark as Bella's face, and the pattern mirrors another. On Lucius, it is reasonable, it is political commitment and concrete involvement in an upcoming revolution; on Bellatrix, the skull leers and the snake twists, painted beneath her eyelids when she squeezes them tightly shut. On Bella it is the answer to so many questions, long left hanging in dread. It is the very same and the opposite: what, for the one, can be rationalized and compartmentalized, takes over the other until the sheer thought of her sibling becomes somber and intimidating. Bellatrix lives the cause Lucius merely follows. Her eyes are glowing; her face is enraptured; her voice is strong and high, fanatical. Her conviction is nothing Narcissa can process. It makes her feel cold inside, disconnected and helpless—it makes her stomach drop and her heart hammer. It makes her want to run. When her sister drops by unexpected, Narcissa starts and has to force her smiles; she reminds herself to keep the subject safe, and watches Bella's expressions, her elegant stance and lithe, panther-like way of carrying herself like a stranger's.

She loves her sister, but that love no longer keeps her warm, no longer makes her safe—if it ever did. That love is a lonesome plague, offered with cautious care and met with grinning carelessness.

She doesn't know anymore if she truly fears for Bellatrix, or if she has come to fear her, what she is or is becoming. She does not wish to know. Safety now lies in pretending, averting her eyes from any matter overly disturbing.



He speaks her name in such a soft and quiet way, demanding her undivided attention.

Narcissa glances up from her book, over to the desk where Lucius sits working. Was working, she amends to herself; he has now lowered his quill, and is currently gazing at her, with grey eyes thoughtful and dark. She knows that look, and her stomach tightens as she responds with her sweetest smile. "Yes, darling?"

He raises an eyebrow at the endearment, and she only grins wider, finding the right balance between teasing and innocent. "Are you finished with your affairs?" she inquires.

"Not nearly."

His eyes never leaving her, he arranges his parchments into a neat pile, putting the quill away with a flourish until, at last, he rises. Narcissa's smile doesn't falter, and she shows no hint of moving, only watching his easy stance and leisurely stride as he comes to her.

He reaches out a hand, and his cool fingertips brush softly against her hair; then he twirls a lock and wraps it around his finger, casually possessive. Narcissa shakes her head lightly. By shifting just so, she is making sure he can enjoy the view of her long slim neck and the fair skin of her decolletage, showing off milky white flesh and the delicate, vulnerable lines of her collarbones. From the tiny quirking of his lips, she knows that he enjoys the sight, and his hand drifts downwards, knuckles brushing gently against her cheek before his fingertip traces the arc of her lips, then descends along her neck. She shivers very slightly at the contact. He is the one smiling now; face still, eyes wide, she offers herself to his touch, studying the low, simmering heat in his own grey irises.

They never glance away as he continues with his ghosting caress over her sensitive skin. It feels like a ritual, a hundred times performed and never once losing in its intensity. The desire is all the headier as it builds gradually and they intently behold the other's reactions, breath growing shorter and senses keener. It feels like years before he leans in, tasting her lips for a moment, and then her exposed neck where a pulse point is throbbing urgently.

Her fingers tangle in his hair, the craving for more taking over at last. She feels more than she hears his husky chuckle against her throat, and then he bites—gently, yet only just—and she retaliates by dragging her long nails over his nape. They shudder together.

He straightens. "Such impatience."

"You must be joking, Mr. Malfoy. I was not the one to disrupt all of my current activities for the sake of frivolities."

"My apologies. Do you care to take the frivolities to a more fitting location?"

She ponders, deliberately. "Why, if you really must insist… There is no need to go through such trouble. I see that you did clear that desk of yours…"

"You know I am not a man to leave my business unfinished."


The anger has not gone, she realizes.

It still comes to bite her, out of the blue. The wound has not healed, wish it as she may; neither pride nor self-preservation have any power to change that cold, simple fact. She would not have believed it was going to fade, not truly. She is no fool, and she knows herself. Yet with time, one forgets—one moves on, and finds other concerns, other loves, aches and anxieties. She did not expect those random stabs to the heart; she doesn't believe it's fair, that it should still impact her so.

She would never dare ask Bella if she feels the same way. She knows better.

It happens at terribly innocuous situations. She is at a social gathering, or in the middle of her family; she is passing a woman, any woman, whose perfume reminds her of another's; she is looking at her other sister (her only sister). It comes as a sudden blow, like the ground is slipping from beneath her feet. Suddenly she is lurching, breathless. Then, and only then, the rage takes over, because she was left behind.

The years do not help her to understand. Not that she is trying to—not that she believes that anything might justify what she did. But she carries on, keeps on living, and none of her thoughts or experiences can enlighten her in any way. She knows love. Within her family, she has gone through trials, suffered conflict and distress, lost people. Yet she could never, be it for one second, imagine throwing away the person she is, where she belongs. She is Narcissa Malfoy as she was Narcissa Black, collected and proud. How could she ever let go of what makes her herself? How could she sink so low, throw away her name and legacy, turn her back on the people she grew up around?

The notion is impossible to even entertain, inconceivable and absurd. Certainly, the constant necessity of keeping up a flawless façade is somewhat stifling, and her relatives do not always make it all easier. Still she would never abandon her kin. It makes her feel so small, this disregard of both herself and everything she believes in, adding insult to injury—and nobody should ever be able to make Narcissa Malfoy feel small. Yet somewhere deep inside of her, hidden in the dark, there is a little girl crying for her sister.

It may be that, truly, that makes such desperate rage swell within her. For she may cry all she likes, Andromeda is never coming back.

She would not have her, anyhow.


She is perfect.

The mirror across the room catches her half in profile, a slender outline in refined robes, her hair swept up in an airy, graceful bun. It grips her eye as she turns, drink in hand, with an absent-minded laugh at something mildly entertaining that some guest just said. A fleeting smile tugs at her parted lips, unbidden, before she takes a small sip of wine.

The room is brightly lit in warm golden hues, complimenting her fair complexion and rich blonde locks. Every surface gleams and glimmers. This is a setting to make elegance shine, and yet slightly subdued, to rest the weary eye and soothe the aching ego of the less gifted by nature. Narcissa makes herself nonchalant and cordial for the occasion, subtly praising some Ministry official, indulging in small talk with a middle-aged, sour-looking lady with a few worthwhile connections. Tonight, she knows, her beauty must glow outwards, drawing people in like moths to a flame instead of intimidating them into respectful distance. Tonight she must charm, and Lucius convince—or the other way around, occasionally.

It is a dance she is long accustomed to. Time slips by without her noticing, and she does not feel tired. Later she will be drained, doubtlessly, when the last of the attendance has taken their leave and all that energy liberally proffered will find no more object. Yet for now, she is weightless and utterly caught into the moment's purpose. It is triumph she tastes upon her tongue, headier even than the fine wine. Momentary perfection, not suspended before her eyes to be desperately reached for, but within her, infusing her veins with every heartbeat.

She always did prefer mirrors when set at the very edge of her line of sight, throwing their reflection by surprise when she turns for a second. Intently beholding herself is a pleasure spiked with danger, for no perfection is ever truly complete, and her mind sometimes plays games with her: she will see flaws in shadows, the smooth lines of her face and form slipping away into something abstract and foreign, until anxiety buzzes at her temples and claws at her throat. Those are ancient fears, belonging to a young girl now matured and grown, but still she can never be satisfied for long if she looks too closely. And she will not take any chances with those stifling aftertastes of the past.

She knows by now that she is beautiful, that she is intelligent, that she is shining and pure, a source of envy or desire. She has found her way to such pride through grievous adolescent struggles, and she is never going back. Now, she will relish her prize to the point of dizziness.

Lucius slips to her through the crowd, and she smiles at him radiantly, grasping the hand he offers. On his arm she is stronger still, more secure—solid and shielded from any lurking self-doubt. Together, they stand united and powerful, their heads held high.

It feels divine.


She finds herself shaking, long after the wave of sickness has receded.

There is a potion for this, waiting on her nightstand, yet she must have forgotten to take it. Again. It happens often these days; she is absent-minded, drifting through the days in a haze. There is a nagging, mocking voice at the back of her head that ponders the symbolic value of her distraction. Surely she does not wish to be sick, does she? It is far from pleasant, feeling so clammy and light-headed, emptied out and short of breath. Nobody in their right mind would leave themselves in such a state when there is an easy way at hand to solve the problem. That makes no rational sense whatsoever.

She is not such a fool. She is not holding on to symptoms so she will not have to come to terms with the bigger picture. That would be absurd, for she is not avoiding anything that way; the facts are there, commanding and clear. This is very real.

She is merely being distracted. Who would not? She has greater, more important things to think about than the taking of a potion. Such mundane concerns just slip her mind, and she can hardly think of anything else but her current situation.

She hugs herself, struggling to breathe evenly and find some semblance of control again. This is wrong; she ought to be happy. She has no cause for distress or anxiety. She is going to give life, to give Lucius a child, their family a heir. The most senseless thing is, they have waited for this, they have hoped… But she realizes now that she must not have been truly aware, at the time, of all the implications involved. She wanted a baby, indeed, and wanted to continue the family line. It was an idea in her mind, to be entertained and cherished—a precious picture.

It is no longer an idea now. There is a being nestled at the core of her, new, growing. Such staggeringly important presence, and yet she feels nothing; when she touches her stomach, it is flat and smooth and still, the skin cool. The sickness notifies her that deep changes are in action in her body; her hormones are hard at work, her whole system getting ready to host and sustain her child. Everything she takes in, everything she does will impact them both. She is no longer alone in her own flesh, and the strangeness, the responsibility take her breath away.

Palms pressed hard against her belly, she attempts to picture the roundness to come, the moving and kicking… the cries of a newborn child, some months into the future. A creature born from her—her blood, her union with Lucius. Hers to raise, to take care of.

Of course she will be good enough, she tells herself deliberately, pushing some conviction into the words. Of course she will be a good mother. She will never let her baby down. She always did stand by her own. She will know how to love them—what bizarre woman would be puzzled as to how to love her own child, anyhow? Love just happens, regardless of one's will. She will love the strange being planted somewhere deep in her stomach, just like she loved the idea of a son or daughter. It will be simple, surely.

When the changes follow their course and new curves blossom on her body, when the baby comes, she will be more secure. She will know what to do, then; she won't be frightened of everything and nothing all at once.

Hormones. There are calming draughts against that, too. She doesn't need the likes of those, not really… but they are a possibility, in a while, if she still feels so lost.

Hormones, she repeats in her head as her vision blurs. Even a Black and a Malfoy can fall prey to hormones. That is the way of the world for women. She is not weak, nor truly so uncertain—simply pregnant.


The spring is outlandishly warm this year, the sun glowing arrogantly golden in a liquid blue sky.

Narcissa alternatively resents and basks in the heat. The radiance fills her head with light, yet gets almost blinding, making her eyes water; it gleams on her blonde hair and drapes her in a warm cocoon—up until her cheeks begin to feel practically aflame, and she must retreat under the wide brim of a hat, the laziness turning into actual fatigue. Her limbs feel weary and her belly impossibly wide, an oddity that she struggles to navigate.

She has grown accustomed to it, finding something oddly soothing in the mutation of her body to accommodate the child to come. It feels right, like nature is taking care of her and them. While she feared, at first, her entire lack of any control over the change, she has discovered that there is actually something liberating to it. She doesn't have to be perfect, not quite. Of course she is watching her figure, and taking proper care of herself… but she does not have to be perfect. Merely to be a mother.

Her priorities are shifting. Her façades are ready and safe for the outside world: she is Narcissa Malfoy, pregnant, radiant and utterly flawless in everything. What she is though, down deep in the core of her, is no longer the vacant doll of her youth, but a being in layers and edges, with a purpose. Her family.

The heaviness of her stomach reminds of gravity, the living centre that provides heat and balance. She holds the sun in her insides, to be carried and delivered into the world.

The thought leaves her with a smile.

For all of that unsettling satisfaction, she has come to voice her complaints more extensively—to a close circle, of course, as in society she must appear nothing but tireless and graceful. It surprised them at first, but was soon accepted, and she secretly revels in the attentions of her relatives. Lucius, naturally, has made absolutely sure that she would lack for nothing—as though that ever had been a possibility—and their elf is day and night devoted to her comfort, perhaps even more than usual. Her mother visits, and spews tale after tale, advice and insight from her own repeated experience of child-bearing. Druella appears convinced that it will be a boy. Narcissa just hums and nods. She knows what she believes, and what she wishes, but prefers to keep any such pressure well at bay. For sure it is what is best for her.

Lucius wants a son, certainly, but most of all he wants their child. So does she. The subject ends there and they discuss it no further.

Even Bella is visiting more. That might be the oddest thing of all, and Narcissa scarcely conceals her surprise at the fact, knowing her sister's distaste for the idea of children. She asks, and Bellatrix crossly replies that she is "just dropping by, that's all," before she disappears and shows no sign of life for two weeks. When she visits next, they make no mention of the last time. Bella expresses her astonishment at her sibling's expanding belly; she abundantly criticizes Lucius, their family, her own husband, society and the wizarding world at large, and Narcissa listens, makes appropriate noises at reasonable intervals, and watches for the shifts in Bellatrix's expressions and the things she doesn't say.

After a while, she begins to speak of victory, and then she cannot seem to stop. Cissy listens some more, hearing of the Dark Lord's grandeur, of the golden age he will establish, of a world purer and freer, wiped of the scum and decadence of Mudbloods. What a marvelous gift for her son and his like, Bella says, what a privilege to be part of it all, to be fighting. Her voice grows higher and her cheeks more coloured, and Narcissa in contrast is working to keep herself calm, breathing evenly and squeezing the arm of her chair. Yes, she agrees, how marvelous indeed. She pretends there is nothing so frighteningly personal about all of this, pretends she does not see the driving forces in her sister's passion, the devotion and the hatred at the core of it all. She only makes it clear that she agrees, that they stand on the same side, and it will never change.

Bellatrix's eyes shine with a frantic glow and Narcissa might be no Death Eater, yet somehow she knows her sister has never spoken so freely of this with anyone else—not ever. She understands, more than she might wish; it is a great weight on her, and yet, in a way, a connection she thought to be long lost, from those ancient times when they were three. When she rises to leave, Bella kisses her cheek impulsively and seems about to add something, but doesn't. Narcissa knows what that is, as well.

"I love you," she tells her, and Bella laughs.

"I'll see you soon, sweet sister." Her tone is dismissively light, yet Narcissa feels her squeeze her hand, and then she is gone.

Carefully, she stores away the feeling, and decides to take that and be content. Let Bella's turmoils be her own, as long as they remain sisters.


At other times, the days are long and she is alone.

Lucius is not there, and the manor is too wide, all of it empty rooms. It is not that she is lacking for something to do: she can find infinite entertainment in the library, go out, or visit an acquaintance. If she should lack for anything, there is their house-elf to provide it for her. She could see people, and countless of them would be pleased or beyond honoured to see her.

Still she does not move. It is not quite tiredness, not truly, for she is not one to indulge in such things to the point of being held back from doing what she might wish. It is a deeper weariness, a coldness of sorts, that makes her sit there idle and motionless. She does want to see a face, but she is not sure who would entertain her; in such moods she might very well find herself irked, instead, should she make the wrong choice.

Rubbing her stomach absent-mindedly, she thinks of Lucius. He is making himself scarce these days, taken with Ministry affairs, and… other affairs. She knows it is all so very important, of course, and she accepts and understands. Yet too many of her hours now seem devoted to waiting for him—she doesn't quite like that. It makes her feel secondary, though she does know that the sentiment is irrational and he will reassure her, as soon as he gets there. It makes her feel lonely, and quite pointless. She is not, of course; she is Narcissa Malfoy, she is important and she can do whatever she wishes.

It is her choice to remain on the sidelines of politics and combat, to focus on society and its subtle equilibrium to take her own part in the grand scheme of things. Besides, she is bearing an heir—and besides she is Narcissa. Lucius did make one point clear: whatever choices or involvements of his are now made for their future, for the baby and her. He said it and said it again, kissing her slim hand, and she believed him easily. The fire in his cool grey eyes was more eloquent than words.

Allowing herself a quiet sigh, she leans back and attempts to relax. Entertainment will not come to her on its own, but she feels no drive to seek it out. She will see someone eventually—people always do write, or visit, sometimes even so often it leaves her irritated and craving some time alone.

The contradictions in her own being steal a weak laugh from her. She is Narcissa Malfoy, she reminds herself again. Society is taken with her, important people respect her, and she has the deep affection of her closest relatives, though they prove more or less gifted at expressing it. She will never lack for attention.

While she awaits Lucius' return home, there is a flutter under her hand, and a soft bump.

"Not lonely in there, are you?" she murmurs. "You don't have to worry, I would never allow you to be."


She is so tired, and the world seems like a haze around her, made of shifting and blurry shapes.

She needs something. Something very important—so important, yet she finds herself unsure. It feels like a part of her has gone, a confused and upsetting sensation. She blinks in the subdued light. Somebody slips closer, squeezing her hand.


He is smiling, she can tell now, and she knows why. She also knows, then, what is missing. "Where…?"

"Right there, my sweet," he breathes. "Let me show him to you."

He moves, further in her line of sight, and there are a Mediwitch and a cot and he said him and oh, let him hurry already. Narcissa feels breathless with the need to hold that bundle of white cloth he then approaches her with, and she watches the radiance in his eyes and wonders briefly if she looks similarly enraptured. "This," he speaks slowly, "is our son."

He is very light and yet very heavy in her arms somehow, like he was in her belly by the end—a living presence, small and new and fiercely tangible. His little face scrunches up and his eyes blink lazily up at her, grey as his father's. Her son waves a tiny fist in her direction; delicately, she catches it and holds it in her hand, marveling at the small fingers, the curve of the palm, all perfectly shaped, soft and pink. This is what she had been carrying inside of her. He is a miracle.

"Draco," Lucius nearly croons, and she gives a small, startled laugh in her delight. They have discussed names, of course. It seems so faraway now—it was so abstract, at the time. Draco gives a little cry, and she presses him to her chest impulsively, careful to hold his head steady and keep his face free so he can breathe.

"He's amazing," she hears, before recognizing her own voice. She did not consciously speak; it just came out of her like the most evident of truths. Lucius nods.

"Our son," he repeats like he cannot quite believe it. He brushes the little head almost warily, as though he feared to hurt him. Narcissa threads her fingers through his, keeping them united.

At this moment, this precious second, the world no longer exists around them. Her child is her immediate and entire reality, commanding her whole attention, and yet everything about him is potential to thrive and blossom. She cannot quite believe that she made this tiny miracle, that she is gifted with the privilege to watch him grow.

Draco yawns, and her vision blurs again. Lucius touches her moist eye with a gentle finger.

"We will give him the world," he says, and Narcissa nods hard.


She brushes his desk with cold fingers, numbly.

Cygnus Black's belongings are everywhere, untouched. Narcissa wonders who else in the family has been there, if anyone. Her mother? Bellatrix? Not his sister Walburga, certainly. Maybe Pollux, but her grandfather is no sentimental man.

She wonders if she feels sentimental, at the moment—not particularly. She has not come to curl up on that imposing leather chair and weep, nor to gather trinkets to be preciously kept, like tokens one would cling to as though it might hold back the past. She merely needs to stand in that familiar room, breathe the particular scent of the air, and feel close to him for a moment. That is all she has left, after all.

Narcissa leans against the fireplace, and glances thoughtfully across the study. No, it has not changed… and yet the grief is not fresh in her heart. Her mourning days are long gone by, but there stands everything, as though Cygnus might step through the door at any moment, settle at his desk with the paper or start rummaging through his books. His mark on the place might have faded by now, though, worn away with time. He has never even seen her pregnant.

Narcissa wishes he might have known his grandson. It hurts, duller and deeper now, but the pain is there still. She has never spoken much of it—not to any of her relatives, not to Lucius. It felt very private somehow, like something kept only between him and her. They all mourned in their own way, and no one spoke much about it.

Yet her mother has left the room untouched. She might have had it ordered somehow, the most mundane items disposed of, so that only the things of importance remained. She must have known, then, that there were no things of importance. There is only the memory of Cygnus at this desk, Cygnus adjusting that inkpot, ruffling papers, leaning back and narrowing his eyes in thought, with the little lines that crinkled his brow. The details, the small everyday rituals are what matter, and they were kept, along with the unique atmosphere of the room. It smells of books and wood and wisdom, an aroma that is thoughtful and wry and a little sad.

Druella knew that; it is soothing and somewhat surprising, unlike her somehow. She must have wanted to deal with everything properly, keep her grief neat and square along with all the rest. She is not the type to leave things hanging for memory's sake. She needs control. Narcissa is a little like the two of them, warm and cold, hard and gentle. Made, always, of hidden layers, like all of the Blacks—like all families old and pure, accustomed to keeping up façades.

She presses herself against the cold stone, eyelids drifting shut. The past tastes bittersweet and part of her needs to remember the flavour, if she wants to move on. It is not so paradoxal. Her son has and will always have two grandfathers, if only one aunt.

She walks slowly to the door, and shuts it behind her.


He is whining, but when she lifts him to her chest and rocks him slowly, he quietens.

The house-elf might be there to cater to her son's every need, but what he most requires is a mother and she will never deny him that. At the thought that only she can appease him and soothe his fussing, she feels whole and warm, filled with a deep satisfaction. Draco's head is soft against her cheek, tickling her skin with a hint of blonde fuzz, and as she breathes in the warm and clean smell of him, she feels repaid with as much contentment as she provides.

Whenever he is awake, she has taken to carrying him around throughout the manor, or taking long walks in the yard. She feels calmer when she's holding him to her; sometimes he watches the world around him with curious eyes, sometimes he stays snuggled in his blanket, cradled close and not deigning to peer out. They create moments that belong to the two of them only. He cannot remember yet, she knows, but they will carry on as he grows. She takes countless pictures; somehow he always looks like the most adorable thing. She is like every mother in that regard, surely, but she prides herself on how unique her child is.

Lucius also takes pictures, occasionally, of the two of them together; mostly he just smirks in fondness at her antics. He is still often busy, often gone, and she spends much time awaiting his return. He comes home with radiant smiles and eyes gleaming with mirth, though, and tells her more or less vaguely of great schemes maturing and victory edging closer and closer. She believes him, believes the fire in his voice and his fierceness; she knows that Lucius is not one to easily lose his head. If he is so convinced, so adamant, then success is on their side indeed. She also hears the whispers in society, and she can tell the gloating from the anxious. Things are moving, their world is shifting—tipping, even, so close to falling into a whole new equilibrium.

As for Bella, she makes herself scarce, but seems to exult when she does catch a glimpse of her. As far as aunts go she is the careless type, frowning at Narcissa's devotion and reluctant to so much as coo at a baby, let alone hold him. Cissy knows to expect no effusions from her, but she hopes that the conflict coming to a close will lend her more time with her sister, in the end.

After war will come peace, and sheltered though she is, with her son in her grand manor, Narcissa cannot wait.

"You will see, little Draco," she tells him in a breath, as Draco, who does not appear to care, pulls on a strand on her long hair. "We will give you a glorious world."