Fandom: Harry Potter
Summary: He chose a diamond over everything else, and Lucius Malfoy has never regretted his decision.
Pairings: Lucius/Narcissa, mention of Bellatrix/Rodolphus
Warning: None, though it’s a bit angsty.
AN: Written for siyui in this year's unexpected_task ficathon. Thanks to kethlenda for the beta! I enjoyed writing my original OTP :)
Nor for itself hath any care,
But for another gives its ease,
And builds a Heaven in Hell's despair.--William Blake
He sees her in the ballroom of the Blacks’ house; a glittering diamond amidst a sea of brightly-colored jewels.
Her sister is bedecked in robes the color of an emerald; her voluptuous body is poured into the silk like sin, like temptation served as dessert on a shining silver tray. Her black hair catches and swallows the light of a thousand glittering candles, and her limpid dark eyes glisten wet with promise and damnation. He can smell the musky scent of dark magic clinging to her; it reminds him of roses left to wither and rot in the sun, the scent pungent and sharp.
That’s what she is, Bellatrix. A rose slowly dying beneath the burn of her own fire; when that beauty is gone all that will be left is the madness and the rot.
These scions of pureblood society do little to impress him. They are either mad as birds like Bella, or simpering, vapid souls like Posey Parkinson. The twirl in the dance and he thinks they’d splinter apart if they fell, like porcelain dolls, shattered pieces on the ballroom floor.
I shall have the one that doesn’t break.
Lucius Malfoy is no fool. He is an angel destined to fall; either for greatness or for sin. If Heaven’s king has fallen, his queen must remain to take his place. What I do is for the good of the kingdom, but it may be that the filthy rabble will rise up and strangle our dreams in the cradle.
Narcissa Black is standing next to the dance floor, surveying it like a queen overlooking her kingdom. She’s beautiful, but that’s not what draws his attention. It’s the slight curve of her lips, an archaic smile that says nothing and everything all at once, her disdain as the sea of inanity rises and swells around her.
“Do you wish to dance?” He asks, placing his arm on the curve of her elbow. The silk of her ice-blue gown glides like water beneath his gloved fingers.
“No, thank you,” she responds politely. Her voice is light and airy—she has not her sister’s throaty voice that encapsulates sin and salvation in a single syllable—but tinged with the slightest burn of frost, as if he is so far beneath her that for him to even ask her to dance is a terrible breach of etiquette.
His temper flares, dark and immediate, though there is a quiet hum of satisfaction beneath. “Do you think yourself too good for me, Ms. Black? Do you even know who I am?”
She stops him with a light touch of white-gloved fingers against his lips. “My dear Mr. Malfoy, if I danced, I could not see them all. I prefer to see everything rather than be caught up in just one thing.”
Intrigued, they stare at each other for a single, pregnant moment. Her eyes are blue, flecked with grey. Her soft fair hair is twisted up in a delicate knot on her head. His eyes travel down her figure, pleasing and perfect, entwined in silks and satins. His hand rests on her waist; he can feel the sharp bones of a corset beneath his fingers.
Bellatrix never wears a corset. Even now he could look across the room and find her there, swathed in her Magdalene’s robes, and watch the obscene swell of her breasts above the curved neckline. Little is left to the imagination with Bella; she is overwrought, overdone like a French whore. An expensive French whore, granted, but a whore still the same.
Narcissa has worn the corset too tight; her breathing is shallow and forced. He wonders if the corset is leaving marks on her back. In his mind he sees her moon-pale skin crossed with welts from the stays, the imprint of propriety bleeding and raw.
Lucius motions imperiously for a server to bring him sparkling wine. He watches the way Narcissa’s fingers curl around the thin shaft of the champagne glass, moving with a slow, languid grace up and down, just once, before she touches the smooth crystal to her lips.
He sees the flash of her pink tongue press against the glass, and his knees weaken. Desire swirls and his eyes narrow as he watches her drink, and her gaze never wavers from his.
She is a diamond, this one. She will not shatter.
He stands next to her for the rest of the evening, as he intends to do until he is nothing but dust in the grave.
I chose well.
* * *
When he is put on trial the first time, she sits like a queen in the Wizengamot and watches, her back ramrod straight, face slightly sneering as she ignores the titters and the whispers in the crowd that has gathered.
She’ll be ruined, Narcissa Malfoy. She’ll have to go to the Continent with her son, I imagine. Malfoy has to be found guilty; the man’s as arrogant as the devil himself. Sly glances as they look at her there, each of them secretly wanting him to suffer a fall for his pride, wanting to watch as she is dragged down with him.
She weathers all of this with disdain etched into the perfection of her features; only he knows how scared she is. Her eyes meet his across the courtroom; a thousand nights of remembered passion are shared between them in a moment, and he silently entreats her to remember her promise.
The night they were to come for him, he’d clutched her shoulders desperately between his hands and forced her to promise to obey his edict. Renounce me, if you have to. Take Draco and leave England, get to safety. If I am sentenced to Azkaban or the Kiss, you will deny any knowledge of what I’ve done and brand me a traitor, if you have to. Promise me.
She had promised him. Not because she didn’t love him, but because she did. He remembered the way she looked at that moment; face twisted with unhappiness and fear, glittering blue eyes swimming in tears. Her winter-wheat hair had poured down her back, but her fair beauty was unchanging, ageless.
In the end, it does not matter. He is released, and the crowd cries out in rage but all the relief in the world shines in mirror of her eyes, and at the moment that is all that matters.
That night, when they are alone at home and Draco has been safely tucked in for the night, she clings to him in their bed and sobs against his chest. Her tears are like a benediction, and if he has a soul left after what he’s done, he thinks it is probably her.
“So proud of you,” he murmurs, his hand stroking her hair. Her fingers grasp his shirt and twist like a vine; her sobs grow louder at his words. “So proud.”
She raises her head at last; the moonlight shines in through the window and bathes her in quiet silver grace. Her tears still shimmer on her skin but her eyes are clear. “I knew you would be.”
He takes her that night, fast and furious like a starving man who has finally been allowed a banquet, and she cries out her pleasure as she had cried out her agony. She falls asleep with her limbs entwined with his, and he knows that when the sun rises they shall never speak of it again.
I chose well.
* * *
Azkaban prison is cold, and the nights stretch endlessly before him in a barrage of shadows and shame. He sits alone in his cell, staring at the bars of his window, looking at the cruel moon hanging low in the sky.
It happened too fast, this second arrest, for him to arrange her deportation to somewhere safe. He thinks of her at home, standing before the large window in their bedroom, hands clasped before her as she bows her head and stares out at the wide expanse of the lawn dipped in darkness.
His thumb rubs over the smooth gold band of his wedding ring, back and forth, a quiet litany to her as skin slides over metal. In the cell beside him, Rodolphus Lestrange shouts to the heavens in a voice that rings with fanatical certainty--When my lord finds me with my wife by his side, you shall all be husks on the ground before their wrath!--and it makes him want to laugh.
Bella has forgotten you—her devotion to the Dark Lord far outweighed her vows to you, my poor deluded brother-in-law. Rotten to the core, that wife of yours, and she broke so easily it was as if she were made of glass.
Oh, you will rot in this cell, my friend.
Lucius knows that somewhere Narcissa is planning, plotting. She will walk through fire and glory in the burn of the flames if it will free him, of this he has no doubt. However, he also knows that if it should come to pass that the Dark Lord falls to a young boy’s untried magic, if Lucius is to be dishonored and defamed when the end is nigh, then he knows what she will do.
She will take their son and she will leave him behind in his seaside prison. She will suffer no insult to her name or to her son’s, and she will remain the poised, beautiful creature he married so many years ago. Her smile will enchant and her laughter will beguile, as it always has.
She will think of him only at night, his name a whispered gasp from petal-soft lips, and she will cry for him only where no one will hear.
I chose well