Genre: Drama, Romance
Author/s: woelfin_akhuna & kynny
Narcissa had tried to get back to sleep. But all she managed had been a bit of dozing off every now and then and a lot of tossing and turning. She blamed Regulus’ bed for that, although she knew better.
Finally giving up during the early hours of a dawning morning, she threw over her newly acquired silken bathrobe and snapped her fingers once to cause yesterday’s shopping bags to hover in the air and float after her. Officially she didn’t care a lot about being able to use non-verbal magic or accomplish minor spell without a wand. But unofficially she wasn’t stupid enough to not have practiced them to a certain degree. Maybe she wasn’t as skilled as some of the others with them of her year. But she hadn’t spent about fourteen years around Dorian in her life to not have noticed the importance of being generally able to.
Thoughtfully she made her way down to the Baths and first of all got herself some fresh fruit cocktail, in need of all those important vitamins to make her complexion not look ashen because of sleep depravation. Then she took a shower, got dressed and gussied up to her normal daily standard, and then started putting away all those new clothes she had bought.
Of course Dorian hadn’t forgotten about the locker possibility the night before, when he’d tried to persuade her to join him on that little excursion. Neither had she. But knowing each other for such a long time the little squabble had been sort of a ritual. She would have come along without getting anything. After all she could buy whatever she wanted anyway at any time she felt like with Dorian’s money. He had never put up any restrains for her in that matter. Most likely because he simply knew that she was, despite all her extravagance, more able to handle money.
To bring it down to the bottom line: Without her his vault would have been nearly empty by now. It had been her who had made all those investments in his name that kept by now a nice steady flow of Galleons to it and enabled Dorian to his carefree handling of money. Alright, admitted, the rather large inheritance he had gotten with the death of his grand-mother last year had played quite a large part as well.
Old Mrs Travers had hated her son in the late years of her live, despised her daughter-in-law, but taken a great fancy to her grandson ever since he had been born, that she had paid off her daughters in advance and appointed Dorian to be her sole heir with some cunning legal moves, just to piss her son off after she had died. And like that, although the Estates still belonged to Dorian’s father (even old Mrs Travers hadn’t been able to do something about that), the son definitely was wealthier than his parents.
Narcissa giggled a bit at the memory of the old Lady. She had liked her a lot. Sure the old Lady had been a drag and quite a pain in the arse most of the time. But as Narcissa always had been in the lucky position to just meet her with Dorian about, she never had experienced anything else politeness, niceties and open heartiness with her. It was more than obvious that Dorian had inherited not only substantial goods from his grand-mother. The most value legacy the old Lady had left him actually was this ability of full-hearted, unconditioned love as soon as he had taken on to someone, his deep, but well-hidden, sensibility and keep stubbornly fighting, no matter what the odds, no matter how much patience had to be invested to get to the goal. Those traits held so much potential and yet were his greatest weakness at the same time…
It was a shame that the circumstances and childhood in Dorian’s parent’s house had screwed up all other things about him and even had managed to disfigure those qualities with him, in a nearly ironic, bitter sarcasm. Narcissa sighed, picked up the last bag she had left from Wiz-Mall and walked over to the boys’ changing room, making a mental note on her way to have a thorough check on Dorian’s trunk in the dorm later on. Evidently her friend actually kept some things she chunked out every now and then. She wouldn’t dare to remove anything from there. After all she knew just too well what it meant to evoke Dorian’s wrath. And if she should have forgotten before, the happenings at the Mall with the French bitch were quite a fresh reminder on her mind.
“Papillon.” She said as soon as she was in front of Dorian’s locker and opened it.
Nearly lovingly she pulled out the only thing she had bought with her own money the night before; a black leather jacket with even a sewed in pocket in the right sleeve to store a wand and various other little hidden and not hidden pockets, that would provide him more than anything else to carry around his tobacco, papers, smokes, even hide about ten of those awful silver knives... It had been like love on first sight. Especially just the imagination of Dorian wearing black leather– he would look so daring and dashing…
Narcissa hung it up and added smiling a delicate, handmade handkerchief, bearing Dorian’s initials, to one of the front pockets. The little thing would disappear in some of his pockets without a further word, as soon as Dorian spotted it. But he had been in a definite need of some new ones. And this was about the only way one could make the dark haired beau recognize their existence – being a little add-on to any other clothing.
She gave the wardrobe inside the locker a quick proving glance, sighed a bit that her last clearing-out-session apparently hadn’t been too long ago. Either that or she hadn’t bought nearly enough new stuff lately for Dorian. Fine, than it would be time to have a more accurate look on all those things in Dorian’s trunk. Him keeping stuff on purpose always implicated that it meant something to him in one way or the other. And keeping them openly in his trunk allowed official Narcissa-snooping. He knew her well enough to not keep anything there he didn’t want her to see. Those things were safely kept behind his bed’s cursed hangings.
She made her way up to the boys’ dorm again without meeting anyone. It was still quite early and Sunday. Most used to sleep in on that day with the Slytherins, as no one really needed to make it in time to breakfast with their little ‘bar’ in the Baths. And Narcissa and Bellatrix weren’t the only ones with an extra possibility to get food or so. Some Slytherin’s families ‘bestowed’ a house-elf to Hogwarts as soon as their offspring started at the school, others aligned each other with the families of their children’s dorm mates and simply redecorated the whole room, and then of course those private rooms were a possibility. Apart from the common room (and now the Baths) the no room within the Slytherin house ever stayed the same for longer than seven years.
The room with the less addition in the last few years had actually been the current 6th year boys’ dorm. The Snapes didn’t have the funds and weren’t ‘part of the society’. And then her aunt didn’t think much of pampering her sons. Not that she would have with Sirius after all, having ended up in Gryffindor. But she had made sure of those added windows to the boy’s dorm there, a few years back. Most likely because of that little bestial monster of a hair devouring bat.
The Slytherin dungeons were, after all, located under the lake. And like that adding real windows to any room meant quite some magical effort. Narcissa wasn’t sure how it worked for sure, but somehow those window ‘thresholds’ functioned like little teleports in both directions to some actual existing window somewhere in the castle.
And of course she knew that Dorian had ‘acquired’ something as well, as it had eaten up the major part of his money in their forth year, less than a year after he had gained uncontrolled access to his vault and mere months after having authorized her with his account. Something that had caused quite some fights between them, as he had only shrugged shortly and mumbled something about Fay, her well-being and a bit of privacy, every time she had asked him for what he needed so much money. And like that she knew that this something was – again – safely hiding behind those hangings of his bed. But as that little brush-tail possum and Narcissa not really got along too well, the blonde girl was more than able to suppress her curiosity with the details.
Stepping through the entrance to the Slytherin Common room, she spontaneously decided to make a detour and look if Severus and Bella still slept, checking her small magical watch (with numbers made of pink diamonds – it was last year’s Christmas present from Mum and Dad) she angrily realized it was nearly time to feed her little Puffskein.
Narcissa was fairly sure that Mr. Cuddly McFluff wouldn’t notice if he got his raisins a bit later in the morning, but feeding her pet was one of her everyday morning rituals, she never got up without tending to Puffy first. She stood in front of the door and decided what to do. In case the two humans inside were still resting she didn’t want to disturb them by rapping the door, so she carefully pressed her ear against the wooden surface of the door.
She couldn’t hear anything, but of course that didn’t mean the room was deserted. Silencing Charms usually don’t last longer than 2 or 3 hours, but who knows when they renewed the charm the last time? She tried very carefully to press down the door handle, but it blocked.
That meant they were still inside, at least. She brought both her hands to her hips and glared at the door for a few seconds, silently pitying Puffy for witnessing the two black-haired perverts in there, and decided to leave it with sticking a note to the door, asking her sister to feed her little pink pet with a hand full of raisins and nuts from the food box on her top shelf. She doubted Bella would do it, but she felt better now anyway. At least she had done what she could to look after the little purr-ball for now.
Shrugging she turned to go back to check on Dorian and Regulus, not noticing that Lucius sat on the sofa of the common room, still in his costume, but with his mask off his face, watching her quietly. His eyebrows nearly disappeared in his hairline when he saw his new fiancée sneak into the boys dormitories. But he didn’t say anything.
It was not like he would stop dating other women now that he was promised to marry that girl. Still, he felt a pang of jealousy thinking about Cis and Travers’ close friendship - What did he know what was going on behind the magical hangings of Dorian’s bed by night? As far as Lucius knew the both of them could be having wild hot monkey sex every night.
But he doubted it. Travers was gay, after all.
Narcissa comfortably sat down in front of Dorian’s trunk and pushed it open. Surprised she noticed that there was such a neat order in there that she didn’t wonder anymore about Dorian’s quick-open-pulling-out-a-shirt action the evening before. Everything had its place in there. A well thought off system… Dorian simply knew where to grab whenever he wanted to snatch something out of it in an off-handed, casual seeming way.
She wasn’t surprised at all to find some photographs of his grand-mother in there, neither some of the tow of them or only with her on it. To be exact the trunk resembled a little trip through her last fourteen years, too. She found an old handkerchief of hers, still all bright pink, but the expensive cloth ruined by some dark looking stains… Narcissa tried her best to recall what the origins of those stains had been, and with the most recent events nearly considered finding her own snake divinity (one that would accept sacrifices in form of past dates beauty products), as she recalled that it wasn’t at all blood, but dark barbeque sauce. She had bustled herself all over Lucius with that handkerchief, after Dorian ‘accidentally’ had literally smeared it all over him, to provide her a possibility to get all bustling in the first place.
She found their tickets to that Jazz Festival in Montreal… Narcissa would never forget that event. Even with Dorian’s little knowledge about the Muggle world from his Muggle studies in school they had had a real hard time every now and then to not loose cover – well, minus those two times he had simply obliviated some of those poor devils and just had paid the fine afterwards. Dorian had had the time of his life then. Acting like being on some covert mission, while meanwhile absolutely loosing it with the music.
She found the scores to those old, mainly tragic, ballads his grand-mother had loved so much to hear. Narcissa knew Dorian had hated them, but there had nearly been anything he wouldn’t have done for the old Lady.
It nearly was as if it held all the happy memories Dorian had had in the last fourteen years. Considering that those fitted all in a trunk, not at all filling it up, was rather sad. But memory after memory passed before Narcissa with any little piece she found in that trunk, and she found herself giggling or smiling in happy reminiscence.
She was so lost in the trunks contents that she didn’t notice how much time passed and was rather startled as her cousin’s voice suddenly sounded next to her.
“Do you really think Dorian would appreciate you nosing around in his stuff, Narcissa?”
“Merlin! Regulus you’ve startled me.” Narcissa said back with laying a hand over her pounding heart and trying to catch a breath. “You shouldn’t sneak up to someone like that.”
Regulus just paid her a levelled glare in reply and had his arms crossed before his chest. Narcissa rolled her eyes, put back the last piece she had gotten out of trunk and closed it again.
“Oh, come off it. If Dor would mind me ‘nosing’ around in this stuff, he wouldn’t keep it here.”
“And I think, you should’ve asked.” Regulus pointed out.
Narcissa gave a short light laugh and swatted the air in front of her. “Oh, Regulus, you’re fun about in this matter. Do you really think he will NOT know about me touching his stuff? You really haven’t even started to get to know the person Dorian is. To be honest, I even suspect right now that you just came out of there, because all you got as an answer from him was a little grumble, before he rolled over and slept on. But you plan on something like bringing him breakfast as a little sign of gratitude for whatever he had bought you last night. Believe me, he won’t wake up before noon, so just scratch that idea. Not to mention that you should get some information about his diet first off, before doing anything like that. Don’t get me wrong, he’ll be over himself, well for his means, because of the thought. But it’s rather depressing, if he doesn’t even touch a single thing. Been there…”
Regulus rubbed over his eyes with this long babbling of his cousin. It caused a headache with him for some odd reasons. He tried to pick at least one part out of it that had made sense to him.
“What makes you so sure that he won’t wake up before?”
Narcissa shrugged. “Quite easy. He had a more than exhausting day yesterday. The way he looked already as I met him for lunch, told me enough. He hadn’t slept a lot the night before. I guess the two of you had some kind of row. Fine, not my business, I know. Anyway, he hadn’t eaten in what? Two days? Then I finally get something down his stomach and Riley bites him, so there that went again. The whole thing with Lucius, then Bella… And he definitely was stoned last night as you guys looked me up in that tent. And then again whatever you did afterwards and you’re little outbreak on him, I’m sure of, Dorian doesn’t even begin to grasp what it was really about, but made him all apologetic mode nonetheless to get something to cheer you up again.”
“Yeah well, I didn’t ask him to spend all that money on me… I was rather surprised of that fact.” Regulus murmured, before realizing that he was talking to Narcissa after all. But the girl only smiled softly.
“Oh, Regulus, don’t think in those measures with Dorian. It’s not the money with anything he gives you, that holds the value, but the thought he laid behind it. If he’d know that picking a single flower each morning in the kitchen garden would cast a smile on your face, he’d do that. Seeing someone he cares about smiling happily about something means more to him than any other way of saying thank you. I’ve seen it for too many years with his grand-mother before she died. He’s awfully romantic.”
“Uhhhh, yeah, sure…” Regulus nodded with wide disbelieving eyes, thinking that Narcissa just saw the whole world in that pink fluffy light by now, after years living in it.
Narcissa tilted her head and to Regulus’ astonishment her whole luxury-girl behaviour fell off her within a second as she frowned at him. “You don’t believe me, huh? You think I’m just your annoying flippant cousin Narcissa. Believe me, I’m far from only being that. Fourteen years of close friendship with Dorian don’t leave you in an oblivious puffy, cloudy world where all is cheery, nice and fine. If you ask me I have a much clearer view on the world than you have. At least I don’t believe it’s all about fun and games as your brother drummed into you all those past years.”
“You have no idea about anything, when it comes down to Sirius and me.” Regulus scathed. “Mollycoddled as you and your crazy sister are from your parents!”
Narcissa huffed. “Then it astonishes me even more that you have no concept at all about people like Dorian.”
“What? Being generally an absolute manipulative jackass?”
“Ever wondered why he turned out to be like that?”
“Well, evidently because of hanging around too much with Malfoy and your lot.”
“You’re so wrong!” Narcissa cried out, remembering the haunted, suffering voice of her friend from the night before. “That’s what his parents made of him. They and that awful French bitch!”
Regulus nodded like to a small child. “Oh please, Narcissa. He told me about his home life. And he really didn’t sound like a little whimpering child about it. He doesn’t care about anything what’s going on there. He’s sort of disconnected from the stuff.”
“Merlin, Regulus!” Narcissa sniffed a bit, apparently trying to hold back tears. “Are you really so oblivious to anyone’s misery around you or are you simply too drawn up in your own self-pity? Whenever Dor speaks of something in seemingly frivolous, slightly sarcastic or ironic humour, something is wrong! It’s his way of protecting himself from getting more hurt. Have you ever given it a thought why he doesn’t speak a lot about anything concerning him in those last few days?”
“I never had any problems of getting my questions answered in those past few days with him.” Regulus replied stiffly.
Narcissa shook her head. “Then you apparently didn’t ask the right questions. Because if you had you wouldn’t try to make him feel bad about something he definitely won’t ever be able to change.”
“Merlin! Not that reputation crap again…” Regulus sighed and turned to walk to the door. “I’m going to have breakfast.”
“Oh no!” Narcissa said vehemently and waved her wand in a well-practiced movement of one of hers and Bella’s private locking spells towards the dorm door. “Even you can push Dorian only so far, before he cracks. So you better stay and listen strongly to what I have to say, if you feel at least a tad bit for him.”
Regulus ignored her, simply snapped his wand to his hand as well and cast a counter-spell. Though the door stayed locked. With a sigh he turned around and paid Narcissa an annoyed glare. “Open the door Narcissa. I’m not interested in your babbling.”
“Too bad you’ll have to endure it.” Narcissa hissed back. “Dor is my best friend and care deeply for him. I won’t stand aside and watch as you pull the little bit of his true being apart even more.”
“Don’t be melodramatic, Narcissa.”
“Melodramatic? You daft git! You really have no idea of anything the world holds in waiting.” Narcissa spat out angrily and advanced on Regulus with an intense glint in her eyes. “Tell me, cousin dear, how would you feel with just being treated like a necessary, unpleasant, unwanted object every time you come home? Getting no attention at all from the very persons that brought you in this world, except they need you to show you around like a well performing puppet? Knowing that the only thing that keeps you alive, sometimes only barely, with not complying to each word, is the repulsion your parents feel for each other and simply don’t want to get intimate again? How would you react of being three years straight under a controlling spell that leaves you utterly aware of the fact of it by a sex-manic French bitch, being used to be her toy every time she feels bored? What would you do if the only person that was able to give you some break every now and then from those horrors dies, but evokes just even more anger and disdain towards you with her Last Will? How would you feel if your best friend from childhood days suddenly isn’t interested in you anymore, because he didn’t get enough attention or you changed in some ways?
“Dorian is used to live in a world of extremes. He has not much conception of the in between. It was always live or die for him. And if Dorian is one thing, it’s being a survivor, who gives a shite about something like his reputation! It’s just his way to tell you to back off. It’s his drilled in vocabulary, for Merlin’s sake! Do you really think he enjoys doing all this awful stuff? He’s struggling for being alive. To stay on the prevailing side.
“And for some reason, I now find more and more hard to make out, he his so deeply in love with you and you don’t even try to recognize his way of telling you so, try to understand him… Don’t you understand that you can’t change Dorian? Can’t you see how much he depends on any little touch from you or even just a little smile?”
“I think that is enough, Cis.”
Unnoticed from both, Regulus and Narcissa, Dorian apparently had woken up a bit sooner as the blonde girl had foreseen. Still only clad in the elegant looking black pyjama bottoms, that as well could pass as some trainers, bare feet, his face was pale, eyes alight in a cold fire, and his jaw set in concentration to keep an even breathing.
The girl twirled around on her heel. “No, I think Regulus really has to understand that he can’t just keep up pressing buttons with you to the infinite.”
“I said ENOUGH!” Dorian actually shouted the last word in his deep voice, making not only Narcissa, but as well, Regulus shrink back a bit. Neither of them had ever heard a yelled word with Dorian. And that meant something when it came down to Narcissa.
Dorian ran a shaking hand through his hair and his chest was heaving up and down heavily in his tries to keep his breathing in a calm rhythm.
Though Narcissa, the pictures and feelings of the last night still so vividly in mind, drew herself together with all the courage she could muster, considering that after all the challenge’s side effects would prevent her from any real harm and that Regulus had already managed to get Dorian out of a real frenzy just the night before. So far her friend still had some control…
“I’m sorry, Dor,” She said in a rather quiet voice and shaking her head, but walking up to her friend, “but aft all I’ve seen last night, I won’t stay out of this. If you like it or not.”
“Cis, don’t.” Dorian pressed out of clenched teeth, his eyes getting wide in a mixture of anger and panic.
“You won’t hurt me, Dor. You never will…” Narcissa said slowly, while Regulus couldn’t do anything else than follow the whole scene before him astonished, wondering if there wasn’t going on much more than obvious.
A pained fear settled in Dorian’s eyes as he watched Narcissa advancing on him slowly more and more.
“Once you gave your heart to someone, they stay there forever, don’t they, Dor?” Narcissa said quietly as she reached the tall boy and reached up to gently cup a cheek of his face. “Even after breaking it… I’m so sorry, my sweet Dor. Although I know it’s past. I’m sorry. But now I won’t watch you tormenting yourself. You’ve earned happiness more than anyone else I know. And nothing in the world can rectify you tolerating being made small and accused for being just the way you are. You earn just as much unconditioned love given back to you as you give so freely.”
Dorian shook his head, pulling away Narcissa’s hand from his face and holding up his own in front of her eyes, shaking heavily by now.
“You’re wrong, Cis.” Dorian hissed, sounding nauseated by every single word. “I’m not any of that. I’m scum. Stained. I shouldn’t even be worth of looking at someone like Regulus.”
Said that Dorian pushed her aside and made his way to the dorm room in quick, hurried strides, either not daring to look at Regulus at all or simply ignoring him, by keeping his gaze lowered to the floor.
As he reached the door and it wouldn’t open, Dorian didn’t even bother to demand for the spell to be lifted or getting his wand. He simply took a step back again and paid the dark wood a short considering look and then kicked against it forcefully.
The wood splintered with a crashing sound around the lock and both Narcissa and Regulus could make out several splinters still sticking in the bare foot of the tall boy, before he left the room uncaring or unaware of them, in an energetic walk, leaving a light trail of blood behind. The tattoo dragon cried out in mocking silent howls of dark anger, pain and despair.
“Do you understand now, Regulus?” Narcissa only whispered, soundless tears falling from her eyes. “Do you finally understand how Dorian sees himself and the world?”