Scene 1: And the bride wore red
This is a derivative work using characters and intellectual property belonging to Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, Fox Television, JK Rowling, her publishers, and probably others.When/Spoilers:
Post BtVS Season 7/ HP - EWE ( Epilogue? what Epilogue?)Pairings:
Buffy Summers/Narcissa Malfoy (Really!) and possibly others.Notes:
A series of ficlets begun in honor of the International Day of Femslash. There will be a minimum of 5, maximum of 10. My twist on the old Marriage Law fic trope ( which AFAIK was originally a Hermione/Snape pairing challenge.).Word Count:
2,080 (1 of ?)
The sound of wings, beating loudly against the window, woke Narcissa from her nap. Rubbing her eyes against the autumn light pouring into her bedroom, she glanced down at the still figure in her bed. Two days and no change. The woman who'd rescued her from fugitive Death Eaters looking for revenge, before collapsing at her feet from older injuries, was still unconscious.
She wasn't a healer, but being a Death Eater's wife had taught her a few basic healing spells. And she kept plenty of blood replenishing potions on hand for emergencies. But she'd panicked at the sight of so much blood. She'd done something she knew she'd probably regret later.
She thought her young rescuer would have awoken by now. As far as she could tell all of her broken bones and wounds had healed, but there was no one Narcissa trusted to ask for help. Not after the reaction she'd gotten immediately after the attack. No one wanted to be associated with a Malfoy in distress, especially with Lucius having been Kissed and Draco still in hiding. And there'd been no time to try other options.
She watched her rescuer for another minute until the sound of beating wings drowned out her thoughts. Tiredly pushing herself to her feet, Narcissa walked across the room and unlatched the center window, reluctantly letting in the Ministry owl. She would have ignored it if possible, early morning owls from the Ministry were never a good sign in her experience, but she didn't want to give them something else to hold against her.
Landing on her chair by the bed, the owl gave her an inscrutable look before extending a claw with the attached message. Reluctantly taking it, she noted there were two names written on it in Ministry script, her own and one she didn't recognize. Giving her a superior sounding squawk, the owl took off, back through the still open window, leaving her alone again with her patient.
Unscrolling the message, she braced herself and quickly read through it. She read it again before collapsing in the chair in shock.
The sun had already disappeared from view overheard before she'd recovered enough from the shock to be able to think clearly. Shakily getting to her feet, after a glance at the bed and seeing no change, she slowly made her way to Lucius's old office, the shelves and walls stripped bare by Aurors as possible evidence of his crimes years ago.
She hadn't bothered to redecorate, not when the Ministry was still watching her, though she suspected that their bumbling spies didn't know she'd detected their spy charms and had rendered them useless as soon as they appeared. After all, as Lady of the House it had been her task to protect her family against such things. The Ministry spies were amateurs compared to some of the more noble Pure Blood families like the Malfoys and Blacks.
Placing her hand flat against one wall, she whispered her name spell and stepped back. A large part of the wall disappeared, revealing a series of locked shelves that had escaped detection. Stretching, she ignored the collection of Malfoy family heirlooms and reached for a slim, leather bound book on the top shelf.
Unlike the Blacks, past Malfoys had felt no need to impress their peers with tasteless displays of family connections and their illustrious forbearers on large tapestries. It was all contained in a slim volume that only a Malfoy could open. Placing the Malfoy family chronicle on Lucius's desk, Narcissa turned to the chapter detailing all Malfoy marriages since Merlin.
"Mistress? Mistress?" the squeaky voice of Melly, the sole surviving loyal Malfoy house elf said, breaking her out of her shock. "Is you alright?"
Shaking her head, Narcissa ignored the question. Closing the book, she returned it to its place and reenabled the wards hiding the shelves. Picking up a small scroll and quill she wrote a quick note.
"Please take this to Hermione Granger," she told Melly, handing the scroll to the house elf. She didn't trust the Ministry to have not placed a watch on the family owls in hopes of catching Draco.
"Yes Mistress," she said, before disappearing with a soft pop.
Narcissa stared out into her garden for several minutes before taking a deep breath. She wouldn't delude herself. Hermione wouldn't immediately drop everything to meet with her about this latest twist in her life. Especially not for a Death Eater's widow. She should get back to her guest? Companion? Wife? until then.
Hermione read the scroll from the Ministry for the third time, not quite sure she should believe it. She'd seen a few like it since the enactment of the Marriage Law and had even negotiated agreements between several wizarding families that had skirted very close to the edges of the law. But they had all been entered into voluntarily.
She'd been working very hard for the last year to find a loop-hole in the law that would keep both her client and the Ministry happy. But the more punitive wording of the law had almost seemed directly aimed at women like Narcissa Malfoy, the female chattel of Death Eaters. Most were still young enough in wizarding terms to have children, the ostensible reason behind the odious law, but were old enough that all of their Pure Blood peers were either married, horribly unsuitable, or fugitives. And forcing them to marry a muggleborn would have resulted in more than one suicide or murder.
And if they didn't marry, or in Narcissa's case remarry, they could forfeit their homes to 'worthier' members of wizarding society if they were the last of their line.
As the Lady Malfoy, Narcissa was in a very precarious position. If she remarried, she no longer had the protection of the House. And with Draco in hiding, somewhere in America the last time she claimed to have heard from him, the Ministry would take possession of Malfoy Manor. And stubborn Narcissa refused to bend to their wishes. She intended to fight to keep the House of Malfoy intact until Draco returned with an heir. And Hermione had been the only wizarding lawyer willing to help her and others.
"You weren't married when we talked two days ago," Hermione said, looking down at the congratulatory scroll announcing the marriage of the Ladies Narcissa Black Malfoy and Buffy Summers-Malfoy in accordance with the Marriage Law. At the bottom was a reminder that they were expected to produce two children within five years, as required to fulfill the law.
"No," Narcissa said, grimacing.
"But..." Hermione shook her head. "It appears you are still a Malfoy."
"Yes," Narcissa said.
"How is that possible?"
"That may be my fault," Narcissa admitted. Sighing, she opened the Malfoy chronicle to the appropriate page and handed it to her lawyer.
"What does this mean?" Hermione asked, tracing the Malfoy family tree. Narcissa was joined to the tree by marriage, linked to Lucius. There was another line linking this Buffy Summers-Malfoy person to the family line at the very beginning and another line linking her to Narcissa.
"She's part of the line," Narcissa murmured.
"Who exactly is she?" Hermione asked.
"Come with me," Narcissa said, rising from behind the desk.
Hermione followed the elegant older woman into a part of the Manor she'd never seen before. They entered a large suite of rooms, decorated in a very feminine manner.
"Where are we?" she asked, curious.
"The Dowager wing," Narcissa said. "I moved here after Lucius was Kissed."
"Oh." Hermione nodded.
Narcissa led them into the bedroom and up to the large four poster bed that seemed to dominate the room from its position in the far corner. Lying in the bed was a pale, frail looking woman, apparently sleeping. "This is her. She's been like this for the last day," Narcissa said, speaking softly.
"Okay. So we have the who. The why is your business," Hermione told her. She never would have believed it if she hadn't seen it herself. Although same sex couples were not treated as pariahs in the wizarding world, they were very rare in the Pure Blooded world of arranged marriages. And Narcissa Malfoy was the last person she would have thought of.
"But where did you find another Malfoy to marry?"
Narcissa sat down in the chair closest to the bed and gestured at another one. Taking the hint, Hermione moved it closer and made herself comfortable.
"I am not sure, exactly, how she came to be a Malfoy," Narcissa said in a low voice. "Or how we came to be married."
"Okay. Start at the beginning then. How did you meet?" Hermione asked, keeping her voice down.
"I was headed to Gringots after our meeting," she said. "Several of the Dark Lord's followers must have decided that it was a good time to express their displeasure at Lucius for trying to betray them.
Hermione nodded. She hadn't heard anything about a recent rogue Death Eater attack in Diagon Alley from Harry or Ron but she wasn't surprised. "You didn't get hurt?"
"No," Narcissa said smugly. "She appeared before they could get past my shields."
"She took on Death Eaters?"
"Before they could react, she hit them. Hard."
"Physically hit them?" Hermione asked.
"Yes. She was almost frighteningly efficient," Narcissa said, gazing down proudly at her rescuer.
"And then what?"
"She collapsed at my feet."
"So they managed to hit her?" Hermione asked, glancing over at the still form.
"No. I don't believe so. They did not have very good aim. She was already injured," Narcissa said. "There was blood everywhere, and she had other injuries."
"Why is she here and not St. Mungo's?"
"No one would help! They just stared and kept moving."
Hermione just nodded. It hadn't been quite a decade since Harry defeated Voldemort but people were still wary of anything related to him and his Death Eaters. And there was anger at the few followers who'd managed to escape his downfall. Narcissa had never been a Death Eater, unlike her sister, but she'd been painted with the same dark brush.
"I brought her here, but I couldn't get her past the wards," Narcissa said, her voice rising in remembered distress. Hermione reflexively reached over and took her hand. "The House thought she was a threat. But she'd just saved me. I couldn't just let her die," Narcissa mumbled. "There was a spell Lucius used. The Manor wards wouldn't let He Who Must Not Be Named onto the grounds until he cast it. I remembered the words and tried it."
"It obviously had some unintended side effects," Hermione said, not sure what to think about her client's behavior. It wasn't entirely unbelievable that a former Dark Lady would help someone but it wasn't really in character for this one. Hermione didn't think she was evil but she was certainly very self-centered and proud of her heritage.
"Yes," Narcissa said, giving her a chilly look for stating the obvious, one she'd seen Draco use at Hogwarts.
"If you would please write down the spell and send it to me, I'll make discreet enquiries," Hermione said. "Do you need me to find you a medi-witch to help out?"
"No, no..." Narcissa said. "Everything is under control."
"Good." Hermione stood, and after taking one last look at the silent woman in the bed, excused herself.
Tara watched from the other side of the bed. She was only allowed to interfere directly in the lives of those she watched over a limited number of times. She'd used one when she brought Buffy to the older witch's side, saving the two women in the process. Buffy from the overwhelming horde of demons trying to open a portal to one of the lesser hell dimensions, and Narcissa from those wizards who wanted to make her pay for the actions of her former husband. Their plans for Narcissa had been nauseating. If she hadn't been beyond such things, Tara would have been physically ill when she peeked into their minds.
She'd used another of her helps when she compelled Narcissa to bring Buffy into the Manor. Narcissa accidentally bonding herself to Buffy was just an amusing result with some interesting side effects. She couldn't wait to see Buffy's reaction. It was too bad she wasn't really part of this world. Native ghosts had the ability to interact with the living.