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Deslea R. Judd
Fandom: Harry Potter
Rating/Warnings: R for mature subject matter. Trigger warning for references to sexual assault.
Summary: Voldemort does not hesitate to impose on the Malfoys' hospitality, and Lucius and Narcissa dare not refuse him anything. But what happens when he demands to have Narcissa in his bed? (Prompt #14 at deatheaterfest 2013 on LiveJournal, for redcandle17).
Word Count: Approx 1100
More Fic: On AO3 or my fic site.
Feedback: Love the stuff. On AO3 or at deslea at deslea dot com.
Narcissa opened her eyes.
She blinked against the moonlight, casting rays dimly over her bed, and lifted her head from her pillow. She dropped it back just as quickly as a nagging, dull ache sank into her brain. Hurts.
She was supposed to be somewhere.
Her brow furrowed with the effort to find sense. Her thoughts were slow and foggy, like she'd had too much wine, or a sniff of herbs, or a draught to help her sleep. But Narcissa did none of these things, hadn't done since the Dark Lord had taken up residence in her home. She didn't dare.
The Dark Lord.
She sat, bolt upright, clasping her hand to her hurting forehead as it all came flooding back.
You're far too attached, Lucius. It's time you learned that what is yours, is yours only because it is mine. Because I allow it to be so.
Your wife, Lucius. My bed. Tonight. I will accept no argument. This has gone on for far too long.
Narcissa drew in a long, shaking breath. How long had she slept? She'd taken the relaxant Lucius had offered, and curled over onto herself, forcing herself to face her reality head-on, warding it off with her body at the same time. She'd meant to rise at nightfall, steady her mind, prepare, but the moon was high in the sky.
The relaxant, her mind echoed, as she drew her hand to her mouth.
Oh, Lucius, what have you done?
She found him in the ensuite.
He sat there in the steaming tub, fully clothed. His head was drooped atop his slumping shoulders, and as she came around him, she saw that he held a heavy cut-glass tumbler in his hand.
He gave no indication that he knew she was there.
She put her little pair of needlework scissors down on the edge of the bathtub with a quiet clink. Knelt there beside him and stroked back his hair with her fingers.
"Polyjuice," she said quietly. "You drugged me, then took my hair." She said it with great gentleness.
He nodded. Didn't look at her.
"Did it work?"
A mirthless grin flickered over his lips. "After a fashion. He knew it was me. He said he knew all along that I'd do it. He said he would accept me as your...your proxy. As long as I understood it was by his grace alone."
At this, her chin began to tremble. It took everything she had, but she stilled it. She would not make him comfort her now. She would not.
"Oh, darling. You should have let me go," she said gently. "It's ghastly, all of it, but at least a woman's body is built to...to give way. A man's isn't. I would have been all right. Eventually."
A part of her thought that it was easy to be stoic, now that it was not hers to endure, and yet she had thought it before, as well. Every highborn wife had endured sex for which they were not inclined. Lucius was considerate and diligent about her pleasure, but one did not conceive an heir merely by the timing of one's inclinations. Conceiving Draco had been an overly-long and ultimately high-precision affair.
The Dark Lord was a different level again, not just irritation or tedium, but fear and skin crawling in horror. But, she had rationalised in the face of her coming trial, the difference was ultimately only one of degree. It was rape, horrible, but only that. Women endured it all the time, and lived. She would have, too. She believed that. She was strong.
So was he.
"And if he'd got you with child?" Lucius said in a brittle voice. "His followers would want to worship it. His enemies would want to kill it. You'd never be safe."
"I'd take herbs-"
"He'd never allow it. And it isn't just that. After the war...you might want to - it might be - safer - to remarry. They'd call you his whore. No one would have you. It isn't right, but it's true."
Realisation dawned. "You didn't do it for my honour. You did it for my future."
Still he stared straight ahead. "You always have honour to me. Even if he'd had his way, he could never touch that."
She swallowed hard. Brushed the backs of her fingers across his cheek. "And that's why he let you take my place."
He nodded. The whiskey glass twitched in his hand.
She closed her eyes for a long, long moment. Took the aching, hurting part of her and locked it deep down as far as it would go. He would look at her soon, and while the Dark Lord's assault had not broken him, her pity would.
So she focused. Forced herself to see the strength of him, the man who had grimly submitted to humiliation and pain for her, the provider who had safeguarded her future. The survivor who sat with her, not looking at her, but not hiding from her either.
"Tell me what to do," she whispered.
His cheek flickered. He seemed to be struggling for words, but then he said, "Husbands talk too, Narcissa. Not like wives - not gossip and confidences - but we talk. Short sentences, minimal details. You know."
"Just like a man." She was smiling a little, in spite of herself.
"Yes, like that. And when a woman is...is violated...they say...they say she hides herself away, for a time. They say you have to be patient."
Narcissa nodded. "The women say the same, mostly."
He turned on her then, eyes ablaze. "Men aren't like women, Narcissa. We fight. We take back what's ours. We don't hide. Not even for a single day."
Her breath hitched in her chest as understanding rose. "Oh, Lucius, you can't possibly mean-"
"I won't have you seeing this when you look at me. And I won't see myself that way either."
She stared at him, her eyes searching his face. Could she do this?
But then, he had done far harder for her.
"All right," she whispered. "All right, Lucius."
He nodded, pressing his lips together. Tentatively, he leaned toward her. Kissed her hesitantly on the mouth.
All right, her mind echoed. Not fantastic, not earth-shaking, but all right. For tonight, they could manage all right.
She stroked his cheek as she pulled away. "Dry off, darling," she said, as lightly as she could manage. "Come to bed."
He did, and they did, and it was all right.
It was ghastly, all of it, but they were going to be all right.
1. A thank you to redcandle17 on LiveJournal for the prompt, which planted itself as a fully-formed fic and image into my head.
2. Thank you also to my teenaged son, who seems to like everyone's fic but mine (perhaps it's his mother writing about sex, no?) but who does let me bounce off ideas, especially about a male point of view. I was leaning towards an impression that Lucius would want to reassert his masculinity (in his view) and resume relations with Narcissa as quickly as possible, but I wanted to check it with a man. I asked the question - not voicing my theory - and his immediate, gut reaction aligned with mine. He couldn't explain why, but gut reaction was good enough to assure me that this was a valid interpretation.
3. I don't take Lucius' suffering lightly here (or Narcissa's either), and I hope it doesn't seem that way. I was shooting for something very restrained and minimalist that captured both the terrible layers of their hurts, and their quintessentially British grit as well. Not an easy balance to walk - I hope I got it right.