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The rooms of Malfoy Manor were blued slightly in the early morning light as Narcissa Malfoy sat in her library, reading her correspondence. She couldn't concentrate, as she hadn't been able to concentrate for the last month, since she had been forced to make an appearance at the Hogwarts graduation ceremony. It was then that she had seen the Weasley girl.

Ginevra Weasley had been standing alone, looking up at the castle. She was wearing black dress robes that Narcissa's trained eye recognised as second-hand. Her hair brushed against her neck and stuck out in little spikes at her shoulders. Her face was pale and her eyes were dark.

Seeing her, Narcissa had read in that white face all the pain that the war had wrought on that family and their friends. What no number of memorials or obituaries or commemorative songs or paintings or statues could do, Ginevra's face did in one instant. Weasley's face was completely still, as if she were indeed a white marble statue.

The feeling that had haunted Narcissa since the final battle, the sense that she and hers had got off too easily somehow, swept over her, and then she understood that this was her punishment. She was cursed to see that face and know that she couldn't offer any comfort or support or even apology. It was to be her burden to see the sorrows of a people on the face of one girl and to know that she had caused them.

Of course, the hurt didn't stop there. The second part hit a second after the first and Narcissa almost laughed at the splendid cruelty of it. While she looked on the face of Pyrrhic victory, she saw also the face of beauty. She wanted to hold the girl more than she had wanted anything or anyone else in her life, more than she had ever wanted Isabella (nee Merton, married names Rodford, Warwick, Zabini), certainly more than she had ever wanted Lucius.

It had taken all of her strength to stand apart from the girl while they mingled for the cameras. Miss Weasley had met her eyes only once and then had left to find her parents. That one glance was full of contempt and it left Narcissa shaking. She wanted to pull Ginevra to her and sob a thousand apologies but she could not. She didn't have the right.

She would see Miss Weasley tomorrow. As she looked down at the girl's scrawled acceptance, Narcissa wondered how she would bear the pain of this curse, which cut deeper than any spell.

A/N: Thank you for reading and please review. This pairing isn't common enough for me to have enough traffic that I can afford readers who don't review. I know there are people reading this because I can see the little stats chart.