The fire in his floo turned a brilliant emerald green even as the desperate voice called through to echo about his office.
“Please…It’s Narcissa Mal…Black. Please let me through. I beg you!”
One bushy white eyebrow rose up in astonishment as Albus Dumbledore turned his head to look over at his fireplace. Standing, he reached for his wand with his uninjured hand and waved it once, unlocking his grate.
“Come on through Madam Malfoy…er, Black.”
Any confusion as to why Narcissa Malfoy was calling herself by her maiden name was cleared up the moment she stepped through the fire and into his office. Her usually exquisitely coiffed hair was hanging in a snarled mess with bits of wood, porcelain and blood in it. Her robes were dirty and torn and she was bleeding from a multitude of wounds. What skin he could see that wasn’t bloody, was bruised and battered.
Even more unexpected than her battered condition, was the wailing infant she held tightly in her arms. She stumbled towards him and offered up the child.
“Please…take him…my son.”
He had to move quickly to grab up the infant before Narcissa crashed to the floor, unconscious.
“Oh dear…” Albus muttered as he looked down at the child. He was obviously just newly born, with pink wrinkled skin. He also had a patch of dark curly hair upon his head and the pale gray eyes so common in the Black family bloodline.
Then he pushed through the shock and snapped his head around to look at his familiar.
“Fawkes! Please take Miss Black to the infirmary right away. I’ll meet you there.”
The phoenix trilled a note of hope and love before launching off of his perch and flying over to land on Narcissa’s shoulder. Then, in a blinding flash of golden fire, they were gone.
Clutching the now hiccupping infant closer, Albus Dumbledore turned and dashed out of his office. He took as many short cuts as he could as he made his way through Hogwarts. He arrived at the infirmary doors just after Severus did. That wasn’t a good sign. Madam Pomfrey would only call upon him for assistance if the need was dire.
When he entered, he was just in time to see Severus pouring a vial of potion down Narcissa’s throat while Madam Pomfrey waved her wand to cast another spell. He walked over and looked at his school’s Medi-Witch, then sighed deeply when she shook her head minutely.
Narcissa didn’t notice as she was staring in longing at the child in his arms. She tried to weakly bat away the attentions of Madam Pomfrey and Severus as she spoke directly to him.
“My son…Alexander Black.”
Severus paused and looked at her sharply. “Black?!”
Narcissa laughed bitterly. “Lucius was not…best pleased to learn that the child I just bore was not his. He arrived home too soon. I had no time…”
All three of them winced. None of them had to imagine Lucius’ anger and reaction. The result of his fury was plain to see. Narcissa’s wounds were not responding well to treatment, as was the nature of dark magic. It was a miracle she had lasted long enough to escape with the infant.
Madam Pomfrey, however, waved her wand desperately and cast another diagnostic. The results were evident in the expression on her face. Narcissa spoke the words they were all thinking.
“I’m dying. Lucius has killed me.”
Then she shifted slightly and reached out for Severus. With a strength born of desperation she pulled him closer.
“Promise me! Promise me you will bring my son to his father. He’s…he’s a muggle.”
Severus’ eyes went wide, and Albus knew his own were mirroring that expression. The very idea of Narcissa Malfoy nee’ Black taking a muggle for a lover and then birthing his child! Albus felt dizzy at the thought.
“I named Alexander after his father. He lives…he lives on the American Hellmouth…and fights at…at the side of the dragon. The Dragon in Human Form. Take my son to him.”
Albus gasped in shock.
Narcissa shuddered, her eyes unfocusing.
Helpless, Severus turned his head to look at Albus for guidance. Carefully, Albus nodded his head.
“I…I promise. I’ll take the child to his father.”
And with those words, Severus’ body flashed with the bright white light of a vow.
Narcissa’s lips turned up in a smile and she melted back against the bed, relieved. She pressed a small golden Gringotts key into his hand.
Then, she died.