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Chapter 7: The Memorial:
The turnout at Draco's memorial was much better than Narcissa expected, given the Dark Mark on his arm and the surname he bore. Ordinarily, she would have disapproved of the quality of company gathered to remember her son, especially since she had chosen the church in which she and Lucius had wed. Never did she imagine, however, that she would be delighted to see Andromeda Tonks sat alongside the Weasley family, Harry Potter, the muggle-born girl and several Hogwarts professors. She had expected Draco's school friends to be there, and some were, but the 'good' guys?
She looked around the small church, hoping (naively) that her husband would have been allowed day release from Azkaban to attend. She could not say why she was so surprised that he was absent from the cohort of mourners.
"I'd like to thank you all for coming today, on behalf of myself and Lucius, who… anyway," she said, approaching the lectern with a nod to the minister. Her eyes scanned the crowd before coming to rest her gaze on the white casket separating them.
"Draco wasn't always the kindest boy in the Wizarding World," Narcissa continued. "And Merlin knows he wasn't the most tolerant boy, either. But Draco meant the world to Lucius and I, and I know in his own way, Draco loved us both very much too. I know, too, in spite of a lot of moans and groans he really treasured his time at Hogwarts. He loved (most) of his teachers and his friends, though I suspect he rather got his father's talent for making himself unpopular."
Her eyes met Harry Potter's across the room, his look holding more sorrow than she had expected from the young man. Though he had defended her at her trial, Narcissa wasn't sure how she felt about Harry Potter. Some days she was grateful to him for his help in keeping her from the dark cells of Azkaban, other days she felt nothing but rage towards him.
She knew she should just ask him; did he lie when she asked him if Draco was still alive? Would she have answered the Dark Lord differently if he had told her Draco had died? It wouldn't do to speculate. Narcissa would have to ask him.
Her hands began to shake atop the lectern as her gaze came to rest on the coffin holding her son and a painful lump rose in her throat. She wanted to get out and she wanted to be alone.
"Draco was smart, hard-hardworking and had dreams to work in the ministry…for…"
Hand shooting to her chest, she rubbed the sore spot which had developed suddenly. She lifted her chin, a final act of defiance before she had to give into her anxiety and take a seat.
"You know what, you all knew Draco. I just love him a lot. I'll miss him."
She moved from the lectern and passed the coffin, breath catching in her throat. She had lost her sister, her husband and her darling son all within such a short space of time. Public displays of emotion were beneath her, especially in front of present company. Her instinct was to conduct herself with the pride and class she had grown up to embody - but what did all that matter, truly, when her son's body was in a coffin before her?
Shortly after, she stood outside and watched as the coffin was lowered into a hole in the ground. Standing slightly separated from the rest of the mourners, she wondered how she could be surrounded by so many people, and yet, feel so incredibly alone. And looking at the company around her, she couldn't understand why they were even here.
Draco had spent a considerable amount of time complaining about the golden trio during Christmas and summer break. Lucius would get so fed up during his son's rants about their antics, it often fell to Narcissa to be the sympathetic ear. She didn't particularly care for the young Gryffindors, either, but she cared for her son and his problems were hers by proxy.
From all she had heard, however, she knew this was not a one-sided feud. And so, why were the three of them in attendance at Draco's memorial? In spite of the Granger girl exchanging occasional uncomfortable glances with her, the three were being incredibly respectful too.
Gosh, she was so tired.
"God, our Father, we entrust Draco Lucius Malfoy into your hands," the minister said, voice silky and clear, dirt falling from his hands towards the coffin. He turned to Narcissa with a small pot of dirt expectantly.
Narcissa gave a numb nod and took a handful from the pot. She shuffled towards the graveside, looking over uneasily at the glossy oak coffin. Something about the action of sprinkling dirt on the coffin signalled finality, though grabbing onto the debris caused a little to spill from her hands and hit the coffin.
Draco Lucius Malfoy
"Narcissa," said a quiet voice from her side. Her eyes flickered over to the source - Andromeda.
Dropping the dirt at last, she moved out of the way to allow other mourners in. She wiped at leaking eyes with her clean hand, looking up to the sky to try and calm herself down.
The sun was finding its way out from behind the clouds.
"Lift us from the darkness of this grief to the peace and light of your presence," the minister finished, finally bringing the event to a close. "Go in peace."
The minister turned to Narcissa, pity crossing his features as he spoke. His eyes were a bright green and his complexion was a complementary olive tone - she remembered his parents were Mediterranean, though she wasn't sure why it mattered.
"Thank you for a lovely service," she spoke politely, shaking his hand.
"Anything to help ease the pain of losing one's child, Mrs Malfoy. Take care."
Narcissa felt smaller somehow, as though she had been shrunken by the events since Draco's death. Today felt as though it were almost the final straw, though not quite. Some days she felt stronger than others.
Today, she felt as though flattened by the weight of her troubles.
"Cissy," Andromeda spoke once more, the young Ted Tonks in her arms. "Do you want me to come over tonight? Or you can stay with me, if you like."
She shook her head, "No. Thank you, though. You have enough on your plate."
Andromeda gave her arm a squeeze, "Okay. But owl me if there's anything-"
"Thanks, Andy. You know I will."
She watched as her sister walked off, her robe sat loosely on her thin frame, billowing against the light breeze. In nonsensical conversation with her grandson, eventually she disappeared out of sight.
Narcissa turned back to those still at the graveside, in their own conversations. Against her better judgement, she approached Molly and Arthur Weasley.
"Thank you for coming," She said quietly, before turning to Molly. "And thank you for the food you sent over with Andromeda."
The older woman nodded, "I didn't care for your husband, Narcissa. And you know what I did to Bellatrix. But when I look at you now, you and I aren't all that different. We've both lost a child, and if I can help…"
"I understand, Mrs Weasley. Thank you."
Arthur spoke up, "I hope you're feeling better than the last time we saw one another. Rough couple of days."
Narcissa winced, memories flooding back from the day Andromeda brought over some members of the Order to fix up her house.
Narcissa awoke with a start as Skippy toddled into her room, clattering a metal meal tray against the door in passing. She grimaced at the pain which shot through her head in response to the noise, but the elf hardly seemed phased.
Padding to her side, she was able to take a better look at the items on the tray. Her stomach turned at the sight of tea and toast.
The last thing she remembered was talking to her sister before passing out onto the glass covered floor. There had been people in her house, fixing what the aurors broke. Windows, artwork, Draco's paperweight…
Skippy's big eyes looked at her expectantly, to which she could only respond with a snort. Surely the creature did not want thanked?
"I'm not hungry," she replied, just as she put the tray on her mistress' lap. Pushing it away, she looked down at the elf with a hard glare, daring it to defy her.
"Mistress Andromeda said you must eat something, anything at all," it squeaked.
"Mrs Tonks is not your mistress, Skippy. I am. I am telling you to take that-"
"Mistress, you haven't eaten in days!"
She did not take orders from an elf! She most certainly did not accept her own orders being refused by an elf.
Lifting the plate of toast, she launched it at the creature's head. Followed by the milk jug, teapot and mug. Missing the creature with every throw, she scorned herself for growing weaker and more tired. But for the first time in months, Narcissa snapped out of herself. The numbness which had overtaken her since Snape killed Dumbledore was gone, replaced with insurmountable rage.
Leaping out of bed, she picked up the tray and began batting the chest of drawers with it. She tired of this form of catharsis quickly, and as Skippy ran from the room she started pulling books from the bookshelf. Tearing the pages, she couldn't have cared less how rare the titles were or how beautiful the binding was.
She only saw red.
A pair of arms restrained her, though not Andromeda, guiding her slowly to the ground. Her chest heaved with the exertion of heavy sobs, but she could not stop. Attempting to fight her captor off, she resigned herself to curling up in the corner of the room, only crying more intently when she noticed her husband's favourite books, surrounding her in tatters.
"I can't do this anymore!" She wailed. "I want to die!"
The room fell silent as another set of footsteps approached her. A familiar figure was by her side, making soothing strokes on her arm.
"Narcissa," her sister spoke firmly. "I am not going to let you die. You're going to have to eat or drink something for me, alright?"
Narcissa shook her head, "Why? Why are you being so kind to me?"
"Life is far too short, Cissy," Andromeda replied sadly. "Look at Nymphadora, Remus, Draco…"
She swallowed a lump in her throat and gave a curt nod, not trusting herself to speak quite yet. That was, until she looked around the room to inspect the damage she had done and saw Arthur Weasley standing in the corner, looking uncomfortable.
"What are you doing here?" She asked. Arthur's back straightened.
"I'm part of your cleaning crew," he replied. "And Molly has sent food, though I don't know why she expected you to be grateful. That said, this is the first time we've been in the same room since Hogwarts that you haven't called me a 'blood traitor'."
"Well," Narcissa spoke hoarsely. "There was that time you saved my life."
Arthur smirked, but Andromeda spoke in confusion, "You saved her life?"
"Well, I didn't kill her," he shrugged. "Thought she deserved to say goodbye to her son. And after hearing what she did for Harry? I'm glad I did."
Narcissa gave a small smile in spite of herself, "Well… thank you. I just don't know how to be."
"Molly is the same," he confirmed. "Although, she isn't rattling around a big house all by herself. It's very dark in here, can't be good for your mood."
"Dark things have happened in this house, Mr Weasley."
He nodded, "Your husband collected dark artefacts, didn't he? And from what I heard, one of you had some incredibly dangerous potions."
"That was me, I'm afraid. I had Severus brew me some. Just in case."
Narcissa shrugged, "Not for use on anyone else."
"Severus knew this?" Andromeda asked, breaking her silence. Narcissa didn't meet her eyes.
"I'm sure Severus had his own supply."
"Did you know he was a spy for Dumbledore?" Andromeda asked, curiosity getting the better of her. This time Narcissa did look at her, the sadness returning to her eyes.
"I suspected he wasn't all that loyal to the cause, though so did Bellatrix. But I never said anything, not even to Lucius. Severus was a friend. I assume he's dead?"
Arthur nodded, "Snake did it, apparently. Harry, Ron and Hermione were there."
"Not a nice thing to see," Narcissa agreed, while her sister winced. "I liked Severus. He did a lot for me."
"He liked you," Arthur replied. "Lucius, on the other hand…"
Narcissa stopped him with a sharp look, causing the older man to trail off. Arthur was not offended. He assumed she was just as loyal to Lucius as he was to Molly. Though he did not like Lucius Malfoy, Narcissa had made it very clear that she very much did.
"I best be off," he added, heading for the door. He only turned back at the sound a small voice calling on him.
He looked back patiently.
"Thank you. And Molly," she said, almost in a whisper, "You know, for the food."
With a curt nod at the sisters, Arthur disappeared from the room without another word. Narcissa shook her head, wondering just how far she had fallen to be wearing her heart on her sleeve to a Weasley.
"Right," Andromeda said, all smiles once more. "Shall we make some tea and try and fix these books?"
Narcissa cringed at the memory, "I'm sorry you had to see that, Arthur. It was terribly embarrassing."
He shook his head, "Not at all. Anyway, we'll be off. Thank you for having us."
As they left, Narcissa worked her way around the rest of the mourners. Gregory and Ameliana Goyle were in attendance, though she hadn't noticed, looking uncomfortable with the amount of Order members around. Ameliana had given her a quick kiss and her condolences, with a promise to send an owl later to see how she was doing.
Narcissa would have preferred the woman stayed away, in honesty. She had never particularly liked the Goyle family, and though Gregory was a good friend of Draco's, she always found him to be a particularly redundant companion. Ameliana's husband found himself in Azkaban, along with Lucius, though Ameliana herself was not on trial as Narcissa had been.
God, she hoped Ameliana just didn't owl her.
The golden trio stayed away, for which she was glad. She was sure Harry was aware they needed to talk, but that wasn't a job for today. She'd take a couple of days and find him, though she was sure he had inherited 12 Grimmauld Place when Sirius was killed by Bellatrix. She wasn't sure if she could even still get into her aunt and uncle's old house, assuming the Order had protected it with enchantments.
"Narcissa," spoke an unmistakable voice, breaking her from her thoughts. She turned to see the same tall, thin figure from the day of the Battle of Hogwarts walking towards her.
Narcissa nodded in response to the Scot, "Professor McGonagall, it was very kind of you to come."
Hogwarts' new headmistress was dressed in her typical attire; long black robes and her hair slicked back into a low bun. Even though Narcissa had been a student at Hogwarts over 20 years ago, the transfiguration professor had hardly changed since her days as a student. Narcissa was always fond of the half-blood, though she daren't say, and while she didn't make a habit of it, she couldn't deny rather enjoy conversations with her.
"Unfortunately, I've attended too many students' funerals this week," she replied sadly. "I'm just sorry you're having to deal with this alone. Whatever mistakes you've made, you didn't deserve this."
Narcissa gave a small smile, "No, but it makes me happy to see that in spite of Lucius and I's mistakes, you could all manage to put that aside and be here today. Merlin knows what the future holds, but right now I'm grateful."
"Along with 1000 other emotions, I'm sure."
Not quite 1000 emotions, but her old professor wasn't far off of the mark. Narcissa had been all over the place, from rage to sorrow and from numbness to all-consuming guilt. She wasn't the most emotional of people, but she could recall feeling a watered down version of this grief when her father died.
He had died when Narcissa was in her late thirties, just before Draco had begun his first year at Hogwarts. Cygnus Black's curious ailment had started when he pushed away an entire plate of food at a Christmas party, citing a lack of appetite and feeling under the weather with the flu. But when he developed a cough that wouldn't go away and started coughing up blood, her father had to accept there was something beyond his control at play here.
Visiting the best healers in the entire Wizarding World, they learned it was a muggle affliction they called "small-cell lung cancer". He would fall victim to regular infections, become more fatigued with time, lose weight at an accelerated rate and would eventually die. Cygnus refused to be treated - such would require visiting a muggle hospital and taking medication made by muggles. His pride had gotten in the way of accepting the prescribed treatment and only 3 months later she was by his side as he passed away, breathing ragged breaths and fighting the pain he refused to allow them to control.
"You'll just want to rest," Professor McGonagall spoke, pulling a white envelope from inside her cloak. "Take this. Open it later. Give me your answer when you've had time to think."
Inspecting the envelope, Narcissa narrowed her eyes at the older woman in confusion, "What is it?"
"Open it later," she replied, walking away from the young woman. Without turning back, Minerva added, "I've got a little proposal for you."