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20 September 2013 @ 07:06 pm
Leigh!fic | Fall from Grace (1/1) | Charlie Weasley/Narcissa Malfoy  
Title: Fall from Grace (1/1)
Author: Leigh, aka leigh_adams
Characters: Charlie Weasley/Narcissa Malfoy
Rating: PG
Word Count: 1,307
Summary: Perhaps she and Andromeda were not as different as she'd thought all those years.
Author’s Notes: Written for dallirious as part of my Spring 2013 Drabble Meme which has now turned into the Spring/Summer/Fall 2013 Drabble meme. Dallas, I am so sorry it's taken me so long to get this out! I hope you enjoy!

All her life, Narcissa had envied her middle sister. Andromeda was everything a Black woman was supposed to be. She was beautiful, with the heavy-lidded eyes and dark hair that marked their lineage, without the sadistic cruel streak of their elder sister. She was quietly confident in her carriage and being; less brass than Bellatrix, but still infused with a steel backbone.

From the time she'd been old enough to toddle, Narcissa had followed her sisters everywhere. They would play tea party and weddings, marrying their dollies off to one another and making grand declarations about their own future marriages. They were Black girls -- still young enough to live in the nursery with their nanny elf, but old enough to hear their mother and aunts whispering about arranging matches.

They stood side-by-side at Great Aunt Lycoris' funeral and made their quiet vows: that would not happen to them.

And then, her world had shattered.

Andromeda had run off with that boy. The blonde Hufflepuff. The Muggleborn. Despite her pre-standing contract with Antonin Dolohov, her sister had thrown everything away to live as the disinherited bride of Ted Tonks. From that day forth, it was as if her middle sister had never been born. To speak her name was taboo. She was blasted off the family tapestry, legally removed from all Black family matters.

To their family, there had never been an Andromeda Black. There was only Bellatrix and Narcissa -- something that did not change for over twenty-five years. It took that long for Narcissa to finally understand why her sister's actions.

It was the only way she could come to terms with her own circumstances.

Loving Lucius had never been easy. While her marriage had not been entirely arranged as her older sister's had, neither had it been a true love match. It had taken time -- no Death Eater's wife had an easy go of it -- but love had eventually blossomed. It'd taken root by the time she'd been blessed with Draco.

After the Dark Lord's return and subsequent downfall, though... things had changed. Their family had escaped in one relative piece, but the emotional scars ran deep. Exonerated in public, the Malfoy family was fractured behind closed doors. Lucius turned to the bottle, her son left for travels abroad.

And Narcissa found herself in the arms of another man.

She wasn't a stranger to the idea of an affair. Early in their marriage, she knew Lucius had kept a mistress; one he'd ended things with upon her request. Men and women in their societal positions often engaged in such liaisons -- under the cover of darkness, in secret. They never aired their dirty laundry in the public eye.

She hadn't planned it. She'd never left the Manor one day with the determination to find a younger man, to scratch an itch, to feel young and pretty and alive once more. In fact, she'd acted most disgracefully -- imbibing far too much cheap wine and drunkenly falling into his arms.

A Weasley's arms. She was sure if Andromeda knew, she'd have laughed until she wept.

One night with a stranger. That was all it should have been -- a pleasant evening's respite from the pain of her life in their new world. She should have opened her eyes to face a crippling hangover, seen the shock of bright ginger hair, and left without ever looking back.

She hadn't. A redundant statement, but whenever she started to overtly think of why she hadn't left him in that dingy London flat, she felt the urge to lie down with a headache. Five years on, and it still made her mind dizzy to think on.

Instead, she lay down with Charlie.

Draco had run off to Italy with Blaise Zabini in an attempt to outrun the stigmata attached to the Malfoy name. She'd fled to Romania to snatch a moment of joy, however fleeting it was. The little house he inhabited at the dragon reserve was minuscule compared to the Manor, its furnishings threadbare.

Lying in Charlie's arms, though, she was warm, secure, and didn't give a damn about the decor.

"You know I can't stay tonight," she said softly. "Francesca is returning to Bath tomorrow. Lucius thinks I"m with her."

She shivered as the tips of his fingers traced along her arm. His touch was unlike anything she'd ever felt; blunt, calloused, hands accustomed to hard labor. They fascinated her. She felt him sigh, his breath stirring the hair on the back of her neck when he exhaled. "I know."

His arms tightened slightly. Her gaze flickered to the flash of color. It was somewhat amusing, in a perverse way. She'd always thought she hated tattoos -- they were tacky, cheap. Something indulged in during a moment of weakness. But the glittering scales of the dragon wrapped around Charlie's bicep were quite fetching.

Perhaps she merely hated her husband's tattoo -- and all it stood for.

Blue eyes glanced up to meet his muddy brown gaze. "That doesn't mean I don't want to, though."

"You could stay," he suggested. His lips twitched upwards, the corners of his eyes crinkling. "Flip your husband two fingers and shack up with me for the rest of our days. Make our very own little Palace of Love here."

Narcissa nearly snorted in amusement. "You're being ridiculous. You know better than that."

"Who says I do?" He ducked his head and pressed a kiss behind her ear. "Years of working with dragons must've knocked my sense out. That, and I'm in love with a beautiful woman."

It was nothing more than vanity, but Narcissa felt her insides warm at his words. She was nearing fifty, and she was no longer the society debutante she'd been upon her marriage. There were lines creasing her forehead, pulling at the corners of her lips and eyes. The fine skin on her hands was beginning to wrinkle, and the white-blonde of her hair had started to turn gray. She wasn't old, not by wizarding standards, but she no longer turned heads with her looks the way she had years ago.

She gave him a small smile. "So what, you'll return to England with me? Challenge my husband for the right to throw me over your shoulder and bring me back to our so-called Palace of Love?"

Her words were in jest, but his reply was sincere. "If that's what it took," he replied softly. His gaze was serious, belying his words. "To win you for good, I'd do that and more."

Narcissa shook her head. "Don't say that."

"Why not? I love you, and I know you love me."

"I never denied that."

"Then what? Is it the cottage? I can find a bigger house. My freckles? Ginny said there are charms for that. My hair color? I swear to Merlin, Narcissa, I'll dye it if it's that much of an issue --"

She raised one finger to his lips to silence him. "You know it's not any of those things, Charlie. You've always known why."

He was quiet for a beat, then sighed again. "Your husband."

She nodded, this time a bit sadly. "I do love you. But I also love him. Love is more than passion. It's home and family, too."

It was far from a new discussion. They'd had it several times before, and it was likely they'd have it again. For now, it was enough to enjoy the security she felt in his arms -- fleeting as it was, it was enough for the moment.

Charlie sighed. "I know, love," he whispered. Leaning in, he pressed his lips against hers softly. "I know."

Perhaps she and Andromeda were not as different as she'd thought all those years. She was only sorry it'd taken her so long to realize it.

Time Lord: Lisa E: Jazz Handsdallirious on September 21st, 2013 03:15 am (UTC)
Oh my gosh this is the best. Shush you with your apologies. This is worth it in every way imaginable. I feel all warm and mushy over this and it is, by far, one of the best things anyone has ever written me.

I love that Narcissa is ageing and you pointed that out. So many fics she just seems to be timeless, and there's something deeper about it pointing out the changes and the fact that Charlie loves her despite them when they'd be such significant changes to her. And the comparisons to Andromeda, finding a connection to her lost sister after so long - did you mean to break my heart with this perfection or?

I love it. I love it. I LOVE IT.