“It’s not just for myself. I’m not that altruistic.” Lily admitted softly. “James and I…I miscarried the first two times, and now I can’t seem to get pregnant at all. At least this way, he will still have an heir of sorts.” Her chin firmed. “I will adjust our contract to reflect that change, that your child will be the heir to all three holdings, if it comes to that. Sirius could step in and be the proxy so that it wouldn’t all be on your shoulders. He’s practically James’s blood brother anyway, so maybe it would be better if his child is also named…”
“Hush! Lily, what is this madness?” Narcissa scolded, impulsively putting her arms around the younger woman in a hug. Lily sagged against her, boneless, shoulders shaking with quiet sobs. Shaken – she had never seen the fiery redhead let herself be so vulnerable – she supported Lily’s weight and gently steered them both to a nearby couch. “Sister, what brought this on?”
“I told you. I am not…unaware of my tenuous position as James’ wife.” Lily began quietly. “I am what I am, born to the people I was born to. I know James loves me – in spite of, or maybe because of it – I don’t honestly know. But the others…the whispers and sidelong glances! I know what they’re saying, what they’re thinking! Whatever was James thinking, marrying that common Mudblood? Well, blood will tell true after all – no wonder she hasn’t been able to conceive or carry a child to term! Serves her right if he divorces her in favor of a true witch of the blood to produce his heir!”
“Oh, my darling girl.” Narcissa murmured sadly. “Do not listen to those harpies and hyenas! You are a brilliant, vivacious, beautiful witch and James Potter is absolutely smitten with every single inch of you because of you, not the blood or magic in your veins. You are much too good for a reprobate like him, and he knows it!” Tucking one long finger under the smaller woman’s chin, she smiled into watery green eyes. “You are also a top rate medi witch, with a team of fellow healers to help you figure why you have had such trouble. In this case, the results came back early, which is why I’m here before you. Your iron levels were depleted, and you were severely anemic. That’s on you, Ruby Red,” she scolded, though she softened it with a fond smile. “You passed your certifications with flying colors, so you need to slow down now. Stick to your diet, take your pills, and let James pamper you for once.”
“Let James do what?” The familiar amused baritone came from behind them, as he poked his head in the door.
“Speak of the devil.” Narcissa smirked, releasing Lily. She knew what was coming next.
Lily jumped up and flew into her husband’s arms. He caught her easily, as he always did, and she buried her face in the crook of his neck, breathing in his unique mixture of pine, mint, and cold, fresh air. James raised his brows at Narcissa questioningly, and she said obligingly, “Your little vixen there was doubting herself after overhearing some gossiping harpies.”
His eyes narrowed, the sapphire darkening in anger. “Names?”
She met his gaze levelly, her own hard. “I don’t know.” Yet. “But I will take care of it.”
She and James were both purebloods, which meant that they had run in the same social circles when they were younger, and even now, when they were seemingly on opposing sides, they still had no qualms about exacting revenge for petty acts like this. They were family, now, and family meant protecting your own.
With a pang, she realized that she had automatically included Lily in that family label, despite her blood and social status. The petite witch had become a close and loyal friend to Narcissa – more like the sister she had instinctively named her earlier than her blood siblings ever had been.
James held her gaze, and inclined his head slightly; in acknowledgement, thanks, and warning. Whatever she came up with would probably be more merciful than his choice of revenge, but he would let her deal with it. This time. She had a fairly good idea of who the culprits were; Petunia Parkinson and Leticia Nott were not very subtle, when it came down to it; hardly like true Slytherins at all.