Summary: Andi should've known nothing good would come out of attending Uncle Rosier's 50th birthday party - this is the day that Narcissa meets Lucius Malfoy for the first time.
Fandom: Harry Potter
Pairings: Andromeda/Ted, Narcissa/Lucius
Disclaimer: J.K. Rowling invented these characters. I am not she.
Original Story: For Love by darsynia
Note: I am extremely grateful to my two betas, loony4lupin and deird1. Thanks again!
Love, Interrupted ("For Love" Remix)
All of her life has been made up of points like this, Andromeda realizes as she sits on her kitchen floor, rocking back and forth, clutching her grandson in her arms. The fate of the Wizarding World is being decided, may have already been decided every time the infant breathes. Nymphadora is there, fighting alongside her son's father so their child can have a future, as likely as not to never return, and here she is again, unable to do anything to keep the inevitable from happening.
She should be used to it by now, should be used to dreading that people she loves will slip away from her, but this is an emotion that will not be repressed, a fear that just keeps on ripping through her, as sharp and raw now as the first time.
The first and only time thirteen-year-old Andi sets foot in Uncle Rosier's Manor is also the first time Narcissa lays eyes on the boy she decides shall be her future husband. Andi should've known nothing good would come out of attending the sour man's fiftieth birthday party, however rich and stately the house, everything a girl such as herself is supposed to aspire to have.
She's been trying to get out of a conversation with Aunt Walburga for several minutes when the opportunity arises in the form of young Lucius Malfoy, entertaining Aunt Lucretia with exuberant tales of his first year at Hogwarts. Drifting away as the older woman gets drawn into the boy's story, Andi is surprised to discover her younger sister watching the small group intently from a fairly well-hidden place next to the piano. The little girl is staring, really, in the way only the young can do without censure.
Andi doesn't really want to know more about Lucius Malfoy; after one year she already resents being associated with him by House, but she looks back and tries to see what has sparked Cissa's curiosity. Robes twice as elegant as the overly expensive ones he wears at school, too-sleek hair, and a voice Andromeda has heard him use far too often to talk down to the Muggle-borns during the past year.
Cissa turned eleven not long ago, and has never shown any interest in hearing about school from her elder sisters. Andi can't understand why she'd want to listen to this boy's blatant exaggerations about his place in Slytherin House, no matter that his father's money ensures it isn't exactly insignificant.
The only explanation she can come up with is also the only reason she doesn't drag Cissa out of her hiding place; he is offering a view of the school that doesn't come from her sisters. Andi knows the youngest struggles hard to become Narcissa, not "Bella' s little sister". Andi herself doesn't care that it is near impossible to outshine their sister at home, but she knows Cissa does, no matter how careful she is to hide it. Perhaps meeting - or rather observing - Lucius Malfoy will convince her that she'll be able to make a place for herself at school in a way all of Andi's words of assurance could not.
Seeking out little Sirius, so he doesn't get into trouble with relatives and family friends, Andi finds herself glancing back at her little sister all afternoon. She aches a bit for her when the little one obviously doesn't dare approach the twelve-year-old, though she is glad she doesn't have to attempt an introduction, a kind of help that most certainly wouldn't be appreciated. For Narcissa's sake, she tries to ignore the ugly feeling of foreboding, telling herself that there is no harm in Cissa watching the Malfoy heir from afar. However, she hopes, hopes Cissa doesn't make the mistake of wanting to be like him.
The night Narcissa is sorted is also the night she sees Lucius Malfoy for the second time. Andi is happy to be back at school, smiling quietly to herself, remembering Bellatrix's outrage at Ted Tonks' attempt to help a Pureblood witch with her suitcases, the look on her sister's face as said Pureblood witch good-naturedly shook the blushing boy's hand.
Over at the Great Hall's entrance, most of the other first years surrounding the smallest Black sister are exuberant, babbling animatedly to each other and pushing their way about the way Andi knows Cissa hates, trying to get a good look at the four House tables. Narcissa herself is quiet, drawn into herself, the way she always is when things become too loud around her.
There are few names called before hers, and "Black, Narcissa" is the only one of her year to walk proudly to her table, rather than run. As the newest member of Slytherin House passes him, Andi sees Lucius turn to watch her, and she gets the sinking feeling that the weight of his cool, grey eyes on her approaching figure is more valuable to Cissa than the subsequent approval of her own sisters.
Andromeda eventually loses count of the times Ted Tonks manages to defy house policy and catch her alone, and she has no way of knowing the number of times Cissa passes Lucius in the hallways over the years. Andi can see what impresses her sister about the boy - the way he holds himself, his pride in being a Pureblood member of Slytherin house, character traits that Cissa has heard time and time again are of utmost value to their family - traits that in her own clandestine meetings with Ted become a relief for Andi to get away from.
It's another relief to be almost certain that Lucius and Narcissa never talk to each other - not even the one evening Cissa ends up seated next to the newly appointed Slytherin prefect and is mortified all throughout dinner. Andi is ever so grateful on her behalf that Bella isn't at school, anymore; their older sister sure to mock cruelly the younger's stiff back and white knuckles that are only perceptible anymore to Bellatrix, Andromeda or Mother.
Their mother has always impressed on her daughters that dignity is invaluable, a notion Narcissa is striving to perfect. Bellatrix demands respect in a fierce way that frightens Andi more and more; she, by contrast, does not really care whether or not she receives it, a fact that somehow seems to have gotten her peers' respect, all by itself. By the time Andi is secretly engaged to a Muggle-born and in her last year at Hogwarts, she notices that the others have begun treating the blonde Black sister with the same subtle deference she sees the elder witches and wizards bestow upon Grandfather Rosier, a form of respect of which neither she nor Bellatrix have ever been recipients.
Andromeda wonders, sometimes, if this form of behaviour is her sister expressing herself or stifling her personality - and whether or not Cissa can tell the difference anymore. Whatever the case, Cissa has become continuously and haughtily silent, carved out a place for herself and set herself apart from Bellatrix and, much worse, from Andromeda.
The last social function Andromeda ever attends as an acknowledged member of the Black family is also the first time Lucius Malfoy seeks Narcissa out. Andromeda is torn in a way she hasn't been before, ever; torn between screaming at their host's son to keep his prejudiced Pureblood hands off her sister and not begrudging bright-eyed, hopeful Cissa the first real opportunity she has had to be alone with the boy she's dreamed about for years.
A feeling of utter wrongness constricting her chest, she watches Lucius lead Narcissa around the gardens and talk to her as if he thinks they are equals. She has never disliked anyone more in her life, and she feels an intense surge of resentment at the thought that he never would have looked at that calm and collected and delicate young woman twice if her own teenage self had introduced him to the small, wispy-haired child six years ago.
That night, the Black women stand by in uncomprehending astonishment as Narcissa flies into a rare rage, screaming unintelligibly and crashing porcelain into walls in a way reminiscent of Aunt Walburga or Grandmother. Lucius Malfoy is still alive because Andi knows he would not have dared to truly hurt her, but she will not tell them what happened, no matter what Bellatrix threatens her with or what Mother begs of her.
It is only later, after the elder, more forceful women in their lives have given up and disappeared, that Cissa crawls under Andi's covers like she hasn't in eleven years. Andromeda holds the shaking young woman as she cries hysterically, even now unable to articulate what is anguishing her.
She strokes Narcissa's sweaty blonde hair and fights her own tears; hopes, hopes against hope that by some miracle Malfoy will come to both respect and cherish her little sister like Ted does her, that on whatever level he is capable of, he really can come to love her Cissa. More than anything else, though, she wishes that telling her family of her own choice of husband in a few days' time did not have to mean losing her sister.
When they come and tell her it is over, she feels numb. When they tell her of her daughter's death, does not move, does not speak, dry eyes staring at the infant in her arms. When a grief-stricken Bill Weasley quietly sinks down next to her and begins to recount the Battle's events, she remains seated, rocking her body like she has all night, just holding her grandson tight, tight.
It is only when he gets to the part where Lady Malfoy cried out the deceptive words "He is dead" to the Dark Lord, thereby saving Harry Potter's life and the lives of everybody Ted's Dora died protecting, that she starts to cry.