Gift For: melfinatheblue
Summary: A sacred well frames Narcissa's life at Malfoy Manor, and the war.
Rating: light R
Notes: I am sorry for how long this took, I had to write it twice because of a googledocs error. Thanks to willfully for beta-ing and pushing me to finish.
Read it here or at Insanejournal, and be sure to leave feedback for all of our lovely participants!
The first thing Narcissa noticed about Malfoy Manor was that it was far older and grander than the mansion even her family shared. She loved all of it, and during her third visit, everything was going so perfectly that she honestly wondered if it was a dream. She wandered past the gardens to where a small, ancient well lay. It was odd, almost out of place, but at the same time, it seemed to belong. She touched the aging stone, carefully, and pulled her hand back when a glint of something caught her attention. Before she could catch it, a gold necklace fell into the water from the well. Curious, she leaned over the stone well, looking down into the dark water.
"It's a sacred well." Lucius explained as he came up behind her. He had gone to look for her, without looking as if he was looking for her, and was surprised where he had found her."It's older than the Manor, goes back centuries. It's supposed to bless those who drink from it." He ran a hand gently up her spine, cupping the back of her neck as he leaned over it as well. "With eloquence, charisma, skill in war, quicker healing and fertility."
"Really?" Narcissa said, glancing up at him, and turning into the touch. "And have you ever drank from the well?"
"I've never felt the need to." Lucius said, giving her a slow smile that reached his eyes and made Narcissa melt right into her designer shoes. Her hand scraped the stone as he kissed her, but she barely felt it.
"Do you think I lack those things?" Lucius asked, leading Narcissa back through the gardens and away from the well, as he placed small kisses along her throat. "Should I go take a deep drink to please my lady?"
"Hardly." Narcissa said with a sweet smile. That smile made Lucius just want to throw her down and ravish her there, but he had nothing but respect for his fiance, so he restrained himself somewhat. Instead he ran silky fingers over her pulse, feeling it skip under his touch.
"Good," Lucius whispered against her ear, pushing a silky platinum strand out of the way. "Let me give you a bed of flowers, in which to rest?" He whispered, in a soft sibilant tone that made Narcissa shiver. "A bed of flowers for my Narcissa?"
Narcissa was not going to deny him anything, not when he was whispering in her ear like that, and the idea seemed to strike at the well-hidden recklessness that Narcissa did sometimes enjoy. However while she had her worries, Lucius made them disappear with his lips on her throat.
Lucius had never been one to neglect having all of his bases covered. With a spell, he made sure they were concealed from prying eyes--because Narcissa was his, and only his, only he got to see her true beauty-- and to keep her from getting dirty or crushing the flowers, he conjured a cushion as he laid her down on the flowers gently.
Narcissa Malfoy, (and how she loved that name!), was not one for cliches, but her wedding was literally the happiest day of her life. Everyone from pureblood families that were not considered traitors were invited, and while there were one or two she didn't know, for the most part she was at least aware of everyone and who they were. Bloodline was so important in these days when even the Blacks were losing true faith. She noticed a redheaded woman in the gardens during the reception, but thought little of it.
Still, a few days later, while making sure her peacocks were thriving well enough, she happened upon the well again, and noticed a change. A single galleon lay, almost in offering, and a candle had been burned until it covered a card that she recognized as an invitation to the wedding. She also recognized magic when she saw it, and left it be, but it did not leave her mind for a long while, even as she tried to banish it with all her new duties as lady of Malfoy Manor.
So, one day, she simply sat down in the library with a book on candle magic and looked through it until she found what she had wanted, and smiled. Though she wondered who had left it, and suspected the redheaded woman she had seen head for the garden, at least she knew it was meant to be an offering to someone in order to bless her marriage.She could hardly fault someone for such a gesture, after all. Comforted, she let it pass from her mind, along with the well.
As the Death Eaters became more and more prominent, Narcissa couldn't help but worry. She knew that they both believed that Lucius was doing the right thing, but it grew harder and harder for her to see him off, knowing full well that he was in danger every time he donned the silver mask and black robe. The clothes seemed to separate Lucius from her even as they concealed his identity. She knew that he was doing it for her, for their future, so that they might have the status they deserved, but she cared so much less about status then she did about Lucius.
She kept her thoughts to herself, but it scared her. Wasn't it bad enough that the only sister she had left, Bellatrix, grew more and more enamoured with the Dark Lord and his goals each day? Her sister's fanaticism was frightening; what had been originally been a strategy about politics and bloodlines seemed to be verging on a religion, and Narcissa didn't like it. She selfishly wanted to keep Lucius close and safe, but felt like she couldn't say so.
She knew how restrained he was, and when the excited note crept into his voice and his eyes shone like mercury, she couldn't bring herself to voice her concerns and spoil his plans. There was something almost boyish about his excitement when he talked about the world he wanted to create for them and their future children, and the light in his eyes was always accompanied by a smirk that made her melt. How purebloods would be seen as the true nobility, and people would remember everything the Death Eaters did for them: how they would restore the society back to the way it should be, destroy the threat muggles were. When war could just fade away and it would be a grand, happy time for everyone. She couldn't bear to bog down his dreams with her worries, she trusted him and she would support him through anything.
Still, though, as the war went on, she worried more and more. She knew it wasn't purposefully, but she felt as if he was pulling away from her each time he went off to do his noble work. However, she was not quite as adept at hiding her emotions as Lucius was, and before long, he noticed her pulling away as well, in small, tiny ways. Narcissa was merely trying to make it hurt less, trying to cope with the fear that one day he wouldn't come back. Each reunion and return was met with passion and fervour that left them both breathless, when he began to get ready o leave again, Narcissa found herself pulling away harder each time. It caused a little cut that ached, but she couldn't help it, it was better than falling apart each time he left or fretting constantly. She had to keep her strength, for him, she needed to be strong.
She was a Black, after all. While Blacks loved passionately, they were also made with spines of steel and broad shoulders to take whatever the world, or their spouses, hurled at them and fling it back.
Lucius did not like the distant feeling. So he cornered her one day by the well, in the gardens, where the old candle still stood. "Narcissa." he said in a way that was meant to be firm, but softened when he touched her shoulder and felt her stiffen. "Narcissa, aren't you happy?"
Narcissa turned and gave him a smile, but it didn't reach her blue eyes. "Of course I am, darling. You give me everything."
Lucius was not fooled, he could see the pain in her eyes. He leaned in and forgot the questions in order to kiss her hard. He pulled away only when he felt her melt, his large hands on her spine. "What's the matter, Cissa?" He breathed, biting gently on her lip as his hand wandered up her thigh, the cloth of her robes falling over his hand like a river as his fingers ran over her silky skin.
"I..." Narcissa took a deep shuddering breath as she felt Lucius's fingers playing over her skin as if her ivory skin were piano keys, and sending small shivers through her skin. She couldn't lie to him, not in that moment, when it wasn't just like he was looking into her soul, but honestly, earnestly trying to understand. "I...worry." She said softly. "I can't sleep when you leave, because I dream that you never come back to me, that you sacrifice yourself for the new order in your dreams."
Lucius didn't mean to, but he smiled. "You do care." It was a mixture of command, realisation, and happy surprise. He kissed her hard. "The only person," He said in a rough voice, when he pulled back again. "And I do mean the only person I would ever, ever sacrifice my life for is you, and if you want me to come back, I will always come back for you. I'd stake every bit of the Malfoy honour on that."
"Words, Lucius." Narcissa said, forcing herself to turn away. "You can't control the actions of others, you can't stop the wands of others, and you can't promise me you won't die. You aren't immortal, Lucius!" She was angry, and her cheeks were wet before she even realised she was crying.
Lucius felt something fairly unfamiliar, a sort of wrenching, as if his pain were intricately connected with hers. Before he even thought about it, he leaned forward and kissed away her tears, his lips almost rough against her face.
"Stop crying," he said, and then paused, repeating it softer. "Stop crying, Cissa, please." His voice had dropped to inaudible, making it impossible for her to even hear the word. "I'll do anything you want of me, anything, just don't cry."
Lucius knew his wife; had it been anyone else he would have been perfectly willing to dismiss it as an over-emotional woman's outburst--baseless, unimportant, and getting in his way. But this was Narcissa, he knew the kind of fibre she had, he had come up against it, and she did not cry for baseless, unimportant reasons.
Narcissa turned, just trying to get away from the fact that his comfort was doing little good, when there was still a threat. She caught sight of the well, and the candle there. "Drink from the well." She suggested, in a voice that was half-hatching a plan. "You said it was meant to give skill in war."
"Yes...but that's an old pagan superstition, Narcissa, stolen by the Catholics. You surely can't...oh..." His voice trailed off as Narcissa leaned in and bit down on the sensitive skin below his ear, one of his weak points that his wife exploited mercilessly.
"You said anything..." Narcissa reminded him, her arms wrapping around his waist from behind. She rested her head on his shoulder, pointing him toward the well as she licked his ear lightly, her hand running over the opening of his robes. "If it's just a superstition, it couldn't hurt, could it?" She let her hand wander down to his groin. "For me, Lucius?" She could feel his rising temperature and pressed another kiss against his ear. "You can have whatever you want in return."
Lucius groaned and nodded. He conjured a silver glass, and summoned the well's bucket up. The hand-woven-rope creaked slightly and eased up inch by inch, until Lucius waved his wand and tilted the bucket to fill the silver cup. He tilted the cup slightly to show Narcissa, and drank it down, keeping his free-hand on her thigh as the surprisingly ice-cold water ran down his throat and settled. He gasped slightly at his first breath, and dropped the cup, sweeping his wife into his arms so fast that he knocked both the bucket and the candle into the well. He kissed her passionately and pushed her back onto the grass. "All I want," he growled as he bit down on the curve of her shoulder and practically ripped her knickers down, affectionately. "All I've ever wanted, is you."
Narcissa's nails dug into his shoulders, as he moved down her body. His wand waved to slice her robes from her body, as his mouth found her breast, as he pulled lightly on it with his teeth, wanting to tease her as much as she had teased him. He let his mouth travel over her skin, over every plane and angle of her body. He banished his own clothing and aligned his hips with hers, and moaned softly into her mouth. It was irresistible, it was always irresistible, the heat and completeness that he had never expected or wanted, but had found in his wife and would and could never give up again.
Narcissa was glad for it, and she clung to him as she moved with him, until she could move no more. She shook and trembled, and her eyes rolled back in her head as she grasped at the grass. When she came, she muffled her scream against her arm, and was, at least for the moment, comforted.
Nine months later, she had even more to comfort and to worry her, when she held her baby son in her arms and had to watch Lucius leave. But in the end, they all got through it, and while her sister ended up in Azkaban, it was easier to get through, because her husband and son were all right.
When the Dark Lord returned, so did the fear, only this time she had a son to protect and a well couldn't do it all. She turned to Snape and Bellatrix, but though she doubted Severus, and her sister was undeniably mad, but she had to do everything she could to protect her son. Through the last battle, she fought for her son and for her husband, for her family.
And like always, they got through, really. Lucius's trial was rough, but he was home soon. Narcissa knew she would never be as naive as she was at the beginning.
Still, Draco was the best of them, and looking out over the gardens one day, she saw him leaning against the well as he talked to a young girl, burning a candle in offering at the well. She smiled and reflected back on everything she and Lucius had gone through since that first day and the bed of flowers. She knew that her life, their lives, would have been for good, despite what society said, if Draco could be half as happy as they had been over the long years and through the roughest times.