“Lilian Potter! Are you mad? I can’t just…ask your husband to sire my child!” Narcissa Black-Malfoy hissed in a scandalized whisper, glancing around nervously to see if anyone was eavesdropping.
“Relax.” Lily said, green eyes sparkling with laughter. “I put up a privacy charm right after we got our food. It’s why I requested a booth in the corner. No one will bother us, and no one will overhear.” She took a sip of her coffee, closing her eyes in bliss as Narcissa’s lip curled slightly. “Don’t say it.” the redhead warned without opening her eyes. “I can be British and still enjoy coffee more than tea. Coffee is what got us through our magic medical boards last year. Do not insult the coffee. And don’t be bitchy because you might actually be considering my suggestion.”
“Cheeky bint.” Narcissa muttered, but there was no venom in her tone. “Why do I associate with you again?”
Lily opened her eyes just enough to give a lazy, smug cat smile. “Because we are complete opposites, so we somehow balance each other out, and everyone else in our cohort are all idiots and wankers anyway?” she replied sweetly.
The other woman rolled her dark brown eyes, but let a tiny smile curve her lips. “True.”
Although, there were still moments where she seriously questioned her sanity and how she had come to this crossroads in her life. As a pureblood witch, Narcissa had grown up with wealth, prosperity, and the absolute ideology that her blood status put her in a higher class – socially, magically, and politically – than those born with Muggle, or non-magical parentage. Her blood family, the Blacks, could trace their lineage back to Morgana le Fey herself! Lily, on the other hand was the only witch in a house full of Muggles, which put her socially somewhere just above the common rabble. She had enough magic in her blood from somewhere, though, to be accepted at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, the most premier magical school in all of wizarding Britain.
Narcissa had been a Slytherin, and Lily a Gryffindor, which was the British version of the Capulets and Montagues when it came to long standing feuding, hatred, and rivalry; not that she and Lily were doomed star crossed lovers or anything, even if the comparison was apt. At Hogwarts, there had been an abundance of prank wars, bullying, and other sly tricks from both sides to the other, especially between their mutual groups of friends, but the women themselves had mostly stayed out of it.
Somehow they had survived Hogwarts relatively unscathed, and would have gone their separate ways, but for a mutual interest in the medical field. Narcissa had gotten married immediately after Hogwarts, but she had prettily appealed to her father to be allowed to train as a mediwitch before committing to starting a family. She had cited wanting to know what to do herself for the inevitable problems that happened along with pregnancy and through raising children, to which her father had immediately blustered and hastily agreed, mainly in order to forestall a possible description of some of those problems.
Lily had also married almost immediately after graduating Hogwarts; her husband was James Potter, now an Auror in charge of his own unit, for all that he had been an arrogant little prat for as long as Narcissa had known him; nearly all her life. James was a pureblood, with a lineage and heritage nearly as old and powerful as her own. For that reason alone, he had been briefly considered by Narcissa’s parents as a potential match for her, before Lucius had made his own offer.
It was just as well; James had run in the same social circles as she had as a child; inevitably becoming best friends with her favourite cousin, Sirius, so it was only natural that she would consider James to be an annoying cousin as well. Which they might well be anyway, distantly, with Sirius as a common factor perhaps. And it was for that reason – one of many, though she couldn’t think of them – that she couldn’t possibly consider Lily audacious suggestion. No matter how desperate she might be.
She said as much out loud to her companion. “Lily. James is your husband. Sirius’ best friend. Possibly my fifth cousin, second removed or some nonsense like that.” She began.
“Yes, and he is very definitely pureblood, which is your husband is also, and fertile, which your husband is most definitely not.” Lily finished, placing a gentle hand on Narcissa’s arm. “You ran the tests and did the diagnostics, ‘Cissa. You know I’m right. Lucius is a Death Eater. He may keep his Mark covered with a glamour, but he has willingly bent the knee to the Dark Lord, and accepted his touch. Therefore, he has been rendered sterile. ”
“We don’t know if there is a correlation between the two!”
“Dammit, Narcissa, listen to yourself! How much more evidence do you need? You are running out of time! Your marriage contract, which you and Lucius both signed, states that you agree to producing a magical pureblood child by the end of your third year of marriage! We graduated in 1976. Two years of medical school, and an year of interning. It is now May of 1979. You have less than a year to successfully get pregnant and carry to term.” Lily said levelly. “How many times have you come to work and stayed late, doing research on sex magic and fertility rituals and potions? Yet nothing has worked!”
“He is not sterile because of the Mark! The Dark Lord wouldn’t punish his faithful like that!”
They glared at each other, each breathing hard as the air rang with Narcissa’s outburst. Hard, dark brown eyes met narrowed evergreen before they both pressed their lips tightly together and glanced away, avoiding the other woman’s gaze. Though they had spent many hours in philosophical and ideological discussions, this was the first time they had truly directly and verbally insinuated their allegiance to one side or the other. Pride and training forestalled the apology that wanted to race past Narcissa’s lips, so she remained quiet, letting the other woman make the next move.
“Beliefs – all else aside.” Lily said quietly after a moment, her eyes still closed. “The Dark Mark is a symbol of death and dark magic. Creating a child is one of the most powerful and magical acts and ancient symbol associated with love and life and light. It is not magically possible to willingly accept and go through a rite of darkness and death, and then try to create the complete opposite. The balance of magic itself won’t allow it. I’m so sorry, Narcissa.”
The blonde sat perfectly still for a long moment, her eyes closed, though her body vibrated with tension. A single crystal tear fell from her eyes, down her pale cheek to drip off of one too sharp high cheekbone. Dashing it briskly away, she breathed deeply, pushing the emotions down, down.
Ladies don’t cry, Narcissa.
“Very well. What reasonable solutions do you suggest, then? And please don’t bring up that dreadful Muggle method, or James again–!”
“No. That will be our next conversation. I know that you want desperately to believe me, and for the sake of your happiness and future, I hope that I am somehow wrong.” Lily replied briskly. “So, I propose a test. I want you to go home and try to seduce your husband. Pull out all the stops – the skimpy nightgown, candles, coming on to him, whatever it takes.” She held up a hand at the blonde witch’s scandalized look. “And if, after all of that, he merely brushes you away with some excuse of paperwork or being too tired, or knowing his type, insinuates that you are the one who is too needy and clingy, and blames you for his sexual disinterest, then we will return to this restaurant, and speak candidly once more about other, yes, Muggle, solutions to your problem.”
Narcissa eyed her suspiciously. Despite her unfortunate parentage and those she chose to associate with in school, the redhead really could have done extremely well in Slytherin. “And if he responds?”
“Then we will still meet for lunch here as usual, but I will never speak of any of this again.” Lily shrugged, taking a delicate sip of her coffee and grimacing. “Ugh. Should’ve just gone for an iced mocha.”
“Snob. So, do we have an agreement?” She raised her brows, waiting.
“I really don’t know why I associate with you.” Narcissa sighed after a moment, yielding with a silent nod. “Crazy witch.”
Lily tapped her cup with her wand, hidden in her sleeve, before saluting her with it. “Because I’m the most Slytherin Gryffindor you will ever meet, and you can’t help but respect me for it. Admit it. You like me.” She smirked. “Now, are you all caught up on reviewing for our practical next week? I still can’t for the life of me remember what ingredients go into a bone bruise poultice…”