Word Count: 1508
Summary: Lucius wants to make sure his family survive the war in tact, so he resorts to drastic measures to ensure that they do.
Disclaimer: The characters and canon situations in the following story belong solely to JK Rowling, Scholastic and WB. I am not making any money from the publishing or writing of this story.
"You can't do this to me, Lucius," I say so softly it's almost a whisper. I've never been one to shout; always been able to accept everything that's come my way. That's how my parents brought me up. Even now, as I face imprisonment in my own home, I do not feel the need to make a scene. It wouldn't make any difference, I know that. Lucius' mind is set already. "You can't lock me up in my own house."
"I'm doing it for your own good," Lucius replies firmly, though it's clear he's not exactly happy with the situation himself. There are bags under his eyes and his usually pristine hair is unkempt. I know the stress isn't all down to me, but some of it is. "I'm not going to be here a lot, and I don't want our Lord or anyone else going near you. At least if you're here I know you're safe."
I sigh heavily. "Why can't I just come with you?"
"No." That answer he's even more sure of. What's he's going to be doing, he doesn't want me to know about. Perhaps I'm better off not knowing, maybe it would eat away at me. Maybe I'd see my husband in a new light, if I new the true horrors he committed. No, he's right. I don't want to know. I don't want to think about that. I don't want my image of him to be tainted.
"Please, Lucius," I say softly, trying to appear to the better nature that only Draco and I ever see. "You can't know for certain I'll be safe here. What if something happens to the house-elves and I don't receive my food? What if one of the Death Eaters, or the Dark Lord even, manages to break your spells and get into the room? Anything could happen. I'm no safer here than anywhere you could take me."
Lucius takes a step towards the door, his wand held tight in his hand in case I try to run. We both know I won't, that that's just not my style, but he's being overly cautious. "That's simply not true, Narcissa. I wish it were, and I wish I didn't have to do this to you, but needs must."
"What about Draco?" I ask, wondering what my son will think of such a thing. I doubt he'll take it lightly, even if he does have a lot of his own going on right now. "And Bella?"
"Everyone," he says quietly, relaxing his wand arm a little, "will think you've gone to stay at one of our unplottable summer houses."
"No." I shake my head and start to pace. "I don't want everyone thinking I've deserted my family when they need me the most. I don't want anyone to think I've simply upt and left." It's one thing I would never do; I'd stay with my family through anything, if they'd let me. If Lucius would let me.
Lucius gulps and takes another step backwards. If he thinks I haven't noticed, he's a fool. "We can tell the truth after the war, if you insist."
"If I insist?" I choke on my own voice, unable to believe my loving husband's words. What he's doing may not seem very loving, but logically, rationally, deep down, I know he's doing what he believes is best. He wants to make sure that if we survive this war, we survive together, as a family. So do I, but this way just seems so drastic. "How will you keep Draco safe if he's going to be here when you're away?"
"I will be sure to take Draco with me."
"Then why can't you take me?" I sit down on the bed, running my hands over the duvet in despair. I can't bear to look at him, knowing he's inching towards the door with every moment, wanting to break our connection before he changes his mind about holding me prisoner.
"It is expected that Draco come with me." He sighs, clearly tired of this conversation. "How do you think it would look if I took my wife with me? And the things you would see, Narcissa. It would not be fit for a pure-blood lady, believe me."
"Then how can it be fit for a child?" My voice raises an octave, but I'm still not shouting, nor looking at him. If I do, perhaps I'll break. Perhaps I'll cry. Perhaps I'll beg on my knees like I so desperately want to in the hope that my clear distress will change his mind. But I won't. I can't. I wasn't brought up that way.
"Draco is not a child now. You need to stop thinking that he is. Potter has been fighting this war since he was eleven years old, facing our Lord since then. I think Draco can handle it."
"I don't care about Potter," I whisper, a tear threatening to escape. I don't care that Potter's been fighting the Dark Lord for years; he's not mine to protect. "He's not my son. I'll go mad here on my own, Lucius. I'll be forever wondering if you and Draco are safe."
"I'll write to you," Lucius assures, his fist clutching the door handle now. "You'll know everything that's happening, I assure you." He starts to open the door, but stops as a sob escapes me.
"Won't you kiss me goodbye, at least?"
He's wary. He shuts the door again and comes over to me. I stand and allow him to embrace me, taking in all his familiar smells. I won't have their comforts for a while, it seems. I run my hand through his hair and over the curve of his back, and then I pull out from the hug slightly to kiss him. I don't usually initiate our kisses, but he needs me to now, I can tell. It isn't a passionate kiss, we're not not clawing at each other's backs and raring to go to bed together, but it's a kiss that will last. A kiss that I will remember during the many long and lonely nights I have ahead of me.
When we break apart, Lucius hugs me one last time, sniffs my hair and then backs out of the room without saying another word. I know it's because he's scared he'll back out, and I can't help but hope he'll change his mind once he's half way down the corridor. He won't, I'm certain of it. I run to the door and press my ear against it, if only to hear him cast the spells upon my room. Not only are there silencing and locking charms, but bedazzling spells too, just in case someone gets too near. When he's finally done, he clears his throat and stays still for a moment, probably talking himself out of undoing them all and taking me with him.
Eventually he settles and walks off down the hall, and I stay glued to the door for many moments after. I cling to the faint hope that he'll come back for me, but he doesn't. I tear myself away from the door and go to the window, looking out just to see if he might happen to pass by. I know I'm safe looking out, that the bedazzling hex will make sure nobody really notices me. There's no-one out there, though. The only beings roaming the grounds are his prize peacocks, which I know he'll instruct the house-elves to look after too.
Only when it's dark do I stop staring out the window. Lucius never passes, and I doubt he will do now it's so late. I nip into my en-suite and prepare myself for the night, then I take refuge upon my pristine feather bed. I usually love sleeping in it, but it doesn't feel right tonight. Lucius and I don't share a bedroom, most pure-blood couples don't, but it's knowing that he won't be appearing that gets me down.
I turn to stare out the window once more, finding peace in the night sky, and as I do I notice a small vial on my bedside table. Lucius must have deposited it there earlier, when he first came into my room. I sit up and take it in my palm, reading the small label on it. Dreamless Sleep. He must have known I'd have trouble, bless him. I uncork it and swallow a few drops; it's all that's needed and there'll be more for another night should I require it. I place the vial back on my table and lie back down, returning my gaze to the moon and the stars.
I'm trying to work out what particular stars I can see, but my eyes start closing before too long. Dreamless Sleep is known for being fast-acting. My eyes close for the final time, and just before I drift off into a peaceful sleep, I see Lucius' face smiling down at me.
It's all I need to know that in the end, all will be well.