The next evening, Narcissa approached Lucius’s study with a bit of trepidation. Taking a deep breath, she knocked sharply on the door, waiting for his call before entering the room.
“Good evening, my lord,” she said demurely, stopping just inside the door and waiting for him to look up and acknowledge her. Resentment and anger rose like bile in her throat as he deliberately waited a few moments before lazily lifting his gaze from the document in front of him, but she forced it back down to offer a pretty, coy smile.
“Narcissa.” He said, and though his flat grey eyes travelled over her body, showcased to perfection in the sheer dressing robe and lacy nightgown in a mint green that accentuated her curves and her coloring, there was no flicker of interest – or anything – in his expression. “I thought you had already retired. Did you need something?” There were no inflections in his cultured, cold, drawling tone as he returned his gaze to his paper, dismissing her as of no importance before she even had a chance to answer.
“The Mark kills everything related to life and love.” Lily’s voice sounded in her head. “He will show no sign of sexual or personal interest in you, will not seek to touch or take. The only emotions left to him are of anger, resentment, pride, and arrogance.”
“He is still the man I married, the one who courted me so persistently!” Narcissa had protested. “You are wrong about him, Lily.”
“Again, I hope that is true, for the sake of your heart, happiness, and future.” The redhead replied quietly as they had gathered their things to leave. “But we are both Slytherin and female enough to know better than to trust solely our heart’s hopes and wishes, when our heads and magic know the truth.”
The courtship and marriage of the golden couple of Slytherin was the talk of wizarding society. Rumours abounded of Narcissa being pregnant out of wedlock, although there was never talk of them marrying for love. Nine months passed, then another nine, and the whispers began, along with the sidelong looks and patronising tones. It never occurred to anyone to blame Lucius, but Narcissa went through months of ‘helpful’ suggestions and remedies, all couched in false sympathies and a covetous eye on her husband.
Now, as Narcissa stood looking at Lucius, really seeing him for the first time, she felt nothing. No guilt or remorse, or longing of what might have been between her and this cold, stoic, merciless creature before her.
“I…was coming to see if you needed anything before I retired.” She said finally into the silence.
“Don’t be silly, Narcissa, you’re not a house elf.” “He replied dismissively. “That’s what the snivelling little cretin is for, after all.”
“No. Of course not. How…silly of me, indeed.” She murmured. “Good night, then, my lord.” Not waiting for his reply, if he even bothered to make one, she strode out of the room, head high. As soon as she had returned to her own quarters, she summoned a quill and parchment.
You were right.
P.S. You’re buying drinks tomorrow.
“That complete and utter fucking bastard!”
Lily stifled her laughter, refilling her friend’s shot glass with more Firewhiskey. Having predicted that something like this was going to happen, she had warned James that Narcissa would be coming over for a girls night in. James, smart man that he was, had opted to stay with Sirius at his flat and watch football, as they both conveniently had the night off for once.
“He’s a…a Hufflepuff’s hoo-ha!”
That was the last straw though. Lily completely lost it, howling with laughter, barely remembering to put the bottle down as she laughed until she cried.
Narcissa ignored her and threw the drink to the back of her throat, relishing the burn and the corresponding smoke along with the heady rush of alcohol, before falling back onto the couch. Her eyes fluttered, then focused on Lily, as she waggled her finger at the other witch.
“Thank you.” She said. “I didn’t want to believe, but now I know. And all that…shite my family spouted about how I was the last hope to continue the family bloodline, and how it all fell to me, and Lucius was the perfect match, was utter and complete dragon shite. And now look who has the last laugh! Ha!”
“As much as I’m enjoying this,” Lily giggled, wiping tears from her eyes. “I think it’s time to put the alcohol away for a bit. It was just to take the edge off.” She shook her head fondly, her voice sad. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen you like this, Selina.”
“’s cuz I can’t. Have to be the perfect society princess, the ice queen. Prissy Cissy. If you touch her, you might get frost bit.” Narcissa sing songed. “Hands off in Slytherin House. They knew better. Pureblood princess has to stay pristine. But Potter, he never could resist a challenge, could he?”
Lily froze. “What?”
The blonde rolled her head to look over at her. Her gaze was glossy, far away. “Purebloods always have summer gatherings, parties. Everyone who’s anyone is invited. And you know what happens when a bunch of teenagers get together…’s all Sirius’s fault though.”
“Of course it is.” Lily muttered with a sigh. “What happened?”
“Seven minutes in heaven. He dared Potter n’ me.” Narcissa leaned close to the other woman, as if imparting a great secret. “Potter’s a really good kisser.”
There was a beat of silence.
“That he is. Don’t tell him though, he’s already got a big enough head.” Lily finally replied dryly, the absurd humor of the situation beginning to break through. She had been so focused on the future – her future, and Narcissa’s – that she hadn’t given any thought to the idea that Narcissa and James already had a past connection. Could she really still go through with this crazy plan to have James sire Narcissa’s child?
She studied the blonde woman, now dozing lightly next to her, pale gold hair loose and falling all around her head like a waterfall. She was all sorts of shades of silver and gold, down to her creamy skin and the pale green silk sleep pants and shirt she had deigned to change into. It was why Lily called her Selina, for the Goddess of the Moon, even before she had learned that it was actually Narcissa’s middle name. It suited her, both from a physical and personality standpoint; from a distance she was remote, cold, but up close she radiated and reflected warmth and life. It had taken a few months for Lily to break through the icy facade, but she had been persistent, intrigued by seeing the ice queen at medical school, of all places. Like at Hogwarts, they had competed fiercely for top rankings, eventually bonding over mutual animosity towards the other arrogant male twits in their class who thought that having a cock automatically made them superior over women. Surprisingly similar in personality and outlook, they had gotten on well, and Lily now considered her to be like another sister.
Which meant that, personal history with James or not, she was still going to do her best to protect Narcissa and ensure her future. Even though it meant getting pregnant through Muggle means by a man who was not her husband. Lily could be jealous over a teenage moment, or she could protect her family and take a subtle step in silently defying Voldemort’s rhetoric.
That conversation would have to wait until morning, it seemed though. Lily got up, easing her friend down to lie on the couch properly, and found a blanket to cover her. Brushing some hair off of her cheek, she lightly touched her lips to Narcissa’s forehead, before extinguishing the lights with a soft Nox.
The Slytherin witch woke the next morning to obnoxiously cheerful, male, loud, humming.
“James Alexander Potter! Stop with the bloody fucking noise, you absolute fucking flobberworm!” She snapped, one hand immediately going to her head. ”Fuck!”
“Such language.” James’s amused baritone voice sounded from behind her. “Whatever would your mother say?”
“You and Sirius are the ones who taught me those words!”
“Yes, and the student has very nearly surpassed the teacher. Sirius would be so pleased.” He adroitly dodged as she swung her arm to swat at him and nearly toppled sideways. “Featherweight. Be nice, Selina, or else I won’t give you a Sober up potion.”
She opened her eyes enough to blearily glare at him. “Give it to me, or I’ll tell Lily about the time you were skinny dipping in my uncle’s pond, and you and Sirius had to run for it after – “
“Fine! Here.” He grumbled, handing her the cup. “You swore an oath not to tell anyone about that.”
“Slytherin. And we were twelve. It’s not like we actually knew any oaths that were binding.” She said sweetly, downing the liquid. “Hey, this isn’t half bad. You didn’t brew it, did you?”
“Don’t be silly.” Lily snorted, joining the conversation and plopping down on the edge of the couch. “He got a Troll in potions, and is subsequently never allowed in my lab or the kitchen. How are you feeling?”
Narcissa took stock, considering. “Fine. Better.” Lighter, she realized. Last night had been like the lancing of a wound, opening it to the light and air. Now maybe she could start healing, and looking towards the future.
James sat in the armchair across from them, his blue eyes serious. “Are things resolved, then?”
Lily looked at her silently. Narcissa nodded. “Yes.”
“Very well. Lil, you have been doing all of the research on this mad idea of yours. What exactly does it entail?”
“Muggles have advanced their technology to the point where they can help any woman increase their chances of getting pregnant – without actually having sex.” Lily sighed. “The details of it all are a bit too technical to explain without going into extensive terminology, but essentially they have a way to take a male’s sperm and a female’s egg and combine the two outside of the body, and then once the process is started, so to speak, put the woman’s egg back.”
Narcissa mutely shook her head, her mind whirling. How could a person get pregnant, without having sex? What magic was this, that the Muggles of all people had discovered?
“However…it does not guarantee pregnancy, in and of itself, and magic will only work in a limited capacity to manipulate the DNA afterwards.”
“What?! Lily, if it doesn’t ensure that I will get pregnant, then what’s the point – “
“Muggles have not reached that point in their technology and experimentation,” Lily interrupted crisply. “However, we as mediwitches, and you specifically, since you know your body and magic better than anyone, I would presume, can use magic to increase the odds so that you are virtually guaranteed to get with child. It is how things are done normally. Our problem always lay in the fact that any sperm Lucius produces would be sterile, and thus useless.” She shot the other woman a hard look, forestalling that argument before it started. “As far as using magic afterwards, we will be able to ensure that the child is a male, but everything beyond that – hair colour, eye colour, and the like- is up to the gods.” She took a deep breath, let it out slowly. “ Now. If you are still willing to move forward, the first step is to meet with the Muggle doctor…”
AN: Thank you to mamapotterhead2492 (AO3) for the use of ‘hufflepuff’s hoo-ha’. It still makes me giggle!