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14 June 2008 @ 12:50 pm
plummeting meteors, chapter 3  
Title: Plummeting Meteors
Author: mercury_rose
Rating: PG
Summary: Threeshot of Lucius Malfoy's interaction with the Black sisters. Part three: Narcissa.
Word count: 1,386

Author’s Note: Incidentally, while the other two parts are (time-period-wise) set closely together, this takes place several years after the second chapter. This was really fun to work on, I hope you enjoy the last installment!

He couldn’t believe what Andromeda had done; he had known about her friendship with the Mudblood boy, and had sometimes suspected there was something more, but never would have thought she would leave all that she knew behind for him. For a moment, right after he heard the news, he thought that maybe there was more of Bellatrix’s recklessness in Andromeda than anyone, including him, had ever guessed.

But he and Andromeda had been close friends, despite the age difference, and it was impossible to comprehend that now it was no more, that any further contact would cause him to be shunned as well by society and was thus unthinkable. It wasn’t that he wouldn’t miss Andromeda; he would, terribly. But he could never be happy as an outcast, with her, and she would understand that.

He wondered if he should chance one meeting with her, to warn her of the wrath her elder sister bore her that Bellatrix could not hope to conceal, even in public. But Andromeda would already know that, he reasoned. She'd never had any pretensions about Bellatrix.

On some level, he understood why she had done this. He, too, occasionally felt the bonds of societal expectations close around him like prison chains, but he knew better than to break them. Staying within these bonds, and not chafing against them, were what gave him power, and he wouldn’t give that up. That he could easily explain to anyone who asked, though no one ever would; no one ever saw it.

What he couldn’t explain was why he felt betrayed.

There had never been any semblance of a romance between them; they had danced at balls together, but the lines between friends and anything more were firmly drawn, and they had never even come close to crossing them. Yes, there had been that time a year ago when he had leaned a little too close, his chin brushing against her cheek, and perhaps if she hadn’t pulled away his lips might have found their way to hers, but that was under the influence of alcohol, and therefore couldn’t be trusted.

Druella Black had come to his mother for comfort, and although he felt he should say something reassuring, since he and Andromeda had been friends, he had no idea what to say to her.

“Lucius?” He knew he had heard the voice somewhere, but he couldn’t place it. Turning his head to look at the source, he saw Andromeda and Bellatrix’s sister, Narcissa, standing in the doorway of the room he was in, looking nervously inside. “Can I come in?”

He nodded, and couldn’t help but examine her as she walked into the room. There were no traces of tears on her cheeks, but then he wouldn’t expect her to cry. Crying over a traitor would be considered weak by the unwritten rules of the Blacks, and really the rules of pure-blood society as a whole.

He had always thought she was in some ways more beautiful than both of her sisters, but she was so untouchable that she gave off an unapproachable air that she might not even have been aware of. She must be sixteen now, he realized, noticing for the first time that she was the same age as Bellatrix had been when she joined the Death Eaters. Did Narcissa lean toward that side as well, or was she content to stay on the sidelines?

He hadn’t said a word, and he realized that might be making her uncomfortable, so he gave a bitter smile. “Have you talked to your sister, afterward?”

She shook her head. “Have you?”


She stared at the floor, musing aloud unrestrictedly as if there was no one else there. “I should, I know, but I’m afraid. I should have the courage to, but I don’t.”

And suddenly, as soon as Narcissa said the word ‘courage’ Lucius knew exactly why he felt betrayed: because Andromeda had had the courage to break free, and he hadn’t. And courage wasn’t something that a Slytherin should necessarily value, but he did, and he couldn’t stand being the coward in this situation, however much he told himself that he was content where he was, that this was where he needed to be.

The realization was too great to keep to himself. “I sometimes wish I could do what she did,” he said, a secret that he knew she would never tell. She had given him one of her own earlier, that she felt regret over the sister – the traitor – that left. They would not, could not, betray each other.

The look on her face was pure, simple wonder. “Why?”

“Because sometimes, I do want more.” He would have thought voicing these sentiments would be unwilling, but he was surprised to find that he wanted to tell her this.

She met his eyes, and he saw that while Andromeda’s and Bellatrix’s eyes were gray, Narcissa’s were actually a pale, sharp blue. “I thought it was just me,” she confessed. “But I can’t leave, I can’t even imagine leaving.” She chewed on her lip, in what he would later discover to be a habit she would turn to whenever stress or worry hit her. “I suppose I could be like Bellatrix, escaping through what she does…”

“You know about it?” he asked, incredulous despite himself. He would have thought that Bellatrix would keep such information to herself, however strong a bond there was between sisters. Bellatrix could be careless, but her devotion to the Dark Lord was such that she would never do anything that would possibly take her away from him. Her pure fanaticism did not even shock him anymore; rather, he had become used to it, and that, he thought, might be even more disturbing.

The smile on her face was indescribably sad. “How could I not?” she asked, a question for a question.

“I’m…one of them,” he said. “And it doesn’t help with the yearning, not really.” It was strange, releasing all these hidden truths and secrets, and receiving some in return. Lying didn’t even seem to be an option here, it was simply forbidden here in this forum of truth and trust. It felt good, to unburden himself to someone who understood, when he thought he was alone. He would have gone through it, of course, but he hadn’t imagined how relaxing it would feel to pass away some of the secrets he carried, heavy and poisonous as lead.

“Oh,” she said, pensively. After seeing what her sister had become, he would have expected her to snap at him, look disgusted or repulsed, but she surprised him by nodding, and he thought that she understood what he knew: that there was a right and wrong way to go about pursuing one’s beliefs, and the road he was taking was the right way.

She hesitated, unsure whether or not she should ask him a question that could possibly be impolite, but his gaze was encouraging, so she continued. “Would you ever leave?”

“No,” he said. “This is where I belong, whether I like it or not.” He hesitated, wanting to keep the record straight. “And I do like it, most of the time. There are just times when...”

“That's how it is with me as well,” she said quietly.

He thought of Bellatrix, living in the dark, and Andromeda, in the light, and thought that Narcissa must be somewhere in between, unsure where she belonged, just like him. And in that second, he felt more of a connection between himself and Narcissa than he had ever felt in friendship with Andromeda, or in a dark competition with Bellatrix.

He wasn’t sure if he should, but he decided to follow his instincts, the way Bellatrix did, the way Andromeda had proved she did as well. He reached out his hand to take hers, and for some reason he had expected her hand to be cold, but it wasn’t: it was as hot as fire, and her fingers curled around him, holding him to her. “We’ll just have to endure it together,” he murmured.

Part one. Part two.
Paranoia: HP bella knows lucius is teh sexyinepu on June 14th, 2008 06:46 pm (UTC)
Thanks for sharing. I read all three in the order you have them, and they work together really well. It's really quite lovely how you write Lucius so uncertain but it certainly makes sense. I especially love this third piece!
Eva: bellatrixmercury_rose on June 14th, 2008 09:39 pm (UTC)
Thank you - I'm glad that they fit together as a set as well as working as standalones, since I was trying to get a balance between those. I'm so happy that you liked it!