Narcissa Malfoy paced up and down the length of one of the smaller sitting rooms inside Malfoy Manor. A society doyenne of nearly twenty five years and a consummate Slytherin, she normally never would have allowed her nerves to show so plainly. But this was a life changing day and as only her husband and son were present to witness it she let her guard drop.

Her husband, Lucius, was reclining indolently in an armchair. At first glance he was a picture of casual privilege and ease. But to someone who knew him as well as she did, the tightness around his eyes and the way he was toying with his walking stick gave him away; he was feeling anxious as well.

Her son, Draco, was in an armchair opposite his father. His posture rigid, his eyes glued to the doorway just waiting for his wife to walk back through it and tell them if the plan she and Lucius had been formulating for more than half a decade was still on track.

This was the day that would change everything. There was no going back after this. This was the day they threw their lot in with the Order of the Phoenix.

Narcissa suppressed a shudder at even the thought of the organization. This would never work if she couldn't hide how distasteful she found it and most of its members. But it was just so Gryffindor in all the worst ways, which made sense, given that a majority of the members were a product of that house.

Not that she had anything against Gryffindor, per se, her son's wife was one after all, and in their proper places courage and selflessness were noble traits. But to be brave without considering the circumstances, without thinking before acting?

Well, that was simply foolhardy and spelled disaster more often than not. Unfortunately, from everything she'd learned over the past couple of years, that also embodied the way the Order of the Phoenix operated. It was a small, rag-tag group of people fighting a war on sheer nerve and little discernible plan.

And this was who they were counting on. At least they were fully committed, even if their methods left quite a lot to be desired.

On her next pass across the room she caught Lucius' eye quite on accident. But, as usual, she found it impossible to look away. He was the most handsome man she had ever met, and even after all these years he could make her heart race with just one look.

She had been pleased beyond measure that Draco had taken after him almost completely. She did not regret for a moment that the only thing she seemed to have contributed to her son's visage were his slate eyes which were a beautiful combination of her own cerulean and Lucius' silver. Lucius held her gaze and then snagged her hand as she walked by him. He pulled her to him and onto his lap.

"Please, do not forget I'm here," Draco intoned, without moving his eyes from the doorway.

She supposed they had been a bit… free with their affections in recent years since the Dark Lord had returned and their son had entered into his own serious relationship. They'd adopted somewhat of a 'now or never' attitude. She supposed they did have the influence of Draco's wife's Gryffindor tendencies to thank for that, but she could no longer recall why she had once thought it improper to be openly affectionate with her husband in front of their children.

On a less solemn occasion she would have been tempted to toy with Draco, make him squirm by reminding him that despite being his parents they were still very much in love. As it was she simply settled against her husband's chest to wait for her daughter-in-law.

And then she appeared, rather sooner than they'd expected. Despite the fact that it felt like they'd been waiting for ages, she'd been gone less than two hours; that was worrisome. They had been certain she would be required to provide enough explanation to fill at least the morning.

Had they rejected the plan without even giving it a proper chance? She knew many members of the Order found her family distasteful, but surely they wouldn't dismiss a chance to finally rid their world of the Dark Lord for such a petty reason.

She smiled tightly at the young woman who was her daughter in everything but blood. She kept a wary eye on her as she settled into Draco's lap, a mirror image of herself and Lucius. Narcissa usually enjoyed witnessing their easy affection, but in this case it worried her because if she was in need of comfort that could mean bad news.

Narcissa studied her for a sign one way or the other, but they'd taught her well. Neither her face nor her demeanor betrayed anything. She couldn't help but look at her with pride: this woman upon whose shoulders she'd long ago placed the fate of the future of her family, and who had yet to disappoint her.

She'd come a long way from the child Narcissa had met in a bookshop; she was now a young woman with infinite potential. In blue robes which offset her warm peaches and cream skin complexion, and made her cinnamon eyes sparkle. They were custom made, as was befitting her station.

She held herself like a queen, even as she was perched on Draco's legs and not a throne. Those beautiful curls of hers were just a bit wild as they spilled down her back, pulled away from her face with a dragon-shaped clip. Narcissa couldn't help but smirk at the choice, she approved of the message that sent.

Even better was the picture she and Draco presented together. The royal blue of her robes were perfectly complemented by the midnight blue of Draco's. Her small frame fit against his long, lithe one.

They moved as one, anticipating the other's needs. They looked like they belonged together, like they belonged to each other, and they carried themselves proudly. One glance revealed them as the powerful young couple that they were.

"Would you please tell us what happened," Draco groused, a bit of the spoiled child he had once been coming out even as he pulled his wife against his chest, his protective behavior belying his irritation.

"Well," Hermione smirked, "they were definitely surprised."