Narcissa leans against the ancient wood, lays her fingers against the doorframe and feels the history in the house. It’s dark now, always dark, candles never quite break through the deep shadows to illuminate corners and ends of hallways. She watches Lucius sit alone at the long dining room table, his back hunched as he studies the grain and whorl beneath his fingers.
They’re alone tonight, miraculously. The others left in twos and threes, orders given only in faint whisper. Lucius was told to stay behind; they need someone to remain, to organize and manage and communicate if something goes wrong or the unthinkable happens. Nothing ever goes wrong and the unthinkable is impossible, but the Dark Lord is learning that chaos is best saved for his enemies, not his own people.
She’s always been an afterthought and tonight she’s been forgotten completely, hidden in the very shadows she laments.
Lucius doesn’t look up as she sits beside him and covers his hand with hers. She wants to pull him to her, surround herself with him, find even just the slightest hint that he is still the man she fell in love with. She wants to touch and feel and kiss and make love and forget that there’s a war outside these cold walls and dark rooms. She wants to gasp underneath him, feel the weight of him as he pushes inside of her. She wants to tangle her fingers in his hair and wrap her legs around his waist and hear him whisper her name as he comes.
Narcissa wants many things. What she wants most, though, what she wants more than an end to this war and banishing shadows from her home and feeling sunlight on her skin, is her husband.
He turns and looks at her, his eyes dead and broken, scared. She cups his cheek, feeling rough stubble beneath her thumb. His lips are chapped and dry but she kisses him anyway, desperate, searching for a reaction, anything to indicate that her husband is still there, somewhere.
She blinks and a tear falls down her cheek. She needs this, needs something, even if it isn’t real. She stands and withdraws her wand from her robes.
“Imperio,” she whispers.
Lucius smiles then, a smile that lights up her soul, and gathers her into his arms. “We have the house to ourselves, my love,” he breathes against her skin, his words sending shivers down her spine.
“And a perfectly good bed,” she says, catching his hand with a wink and leading him upstairs.
This is how Narcissa survives the war.