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a thousand silhouettes

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How did we get here?
I used to know you so well
Decode - Paramore

Shh.

Just listen. 

How did we get here?
Well, I think I know
Decode - Paramore

In the beginning, it was simple.

As simple as it could have been for those with Black blood in their veins, in any case.

Even so, in comparison to what was to come, the early years were idyllic. When Sirius smiled at her, she smiled back. When he hugged her, held her hand, and tugged at her braid, it was acceptable to both enjoy the easy closeness, and then reciprocate. When he sought mischief and caused a certain amount of family friction in his stubborn rebellions, it was quite natural to be amused.

Narcissa's earliest memories are saturated with her eldest cousin. Sirius was always hard to ignore, and he was family, besides. It was never wrong to bond with family, bound close so that you bled one into the other.

(Were not Black children the only truly suitable companions for other Black children?)

But for all that, while he was truly as Black as she was herself, he was also Other. It was Sirius who taught her a smile could be genuine, and that closeness, words, and deed could be more than machinations. She was never predispositioned to his kind of warmth, would have never known it if not for her cousin. To know it and to feel it vicariously was to know there was more to the world than what the rest of their family would have led them all to believe.

Narcissa has never fully decided if she loves or hates that he made sure her eyes were wide open.

How can I decide what's right
When you're clouding up my mind?
Decode - Paramore

 The world is all shades of grey, is it not?

It’s a beautiful lie
A beautiful lie to believe in
A Beautiful Lie - Thirty Seconds to Mars

When she was a girl, Narcissa was more often than not trailing in Bellatrix's shadow. Her sister was the shining star, the embodiment of what it meant to be pure, what it meant to be Black.

What Narcissa remembers in particular was her sister’s laugh. It was something you could almost feel and taste, like honey on your lips and a light finger trailing down your spine. That laugh could be an invitation or a warning of things to come, like the menacing calm before a storm.

Narcissa always found it was best to be close enough that her own shadow would fuse with her sister’s until there was only one. Close enough to enjoy the headiness of her sister's natural charisma and charm. Close enough to be 'mine' instead of 'challenge'.

Narcissa knows she has always loved her sister, and through much of her young life she was captivated by the dark brilliance burning bright in the scion of her home. The truth, however, is that she never liked Bellatrix.

Feelings are only ever so contrary when it comes to family, are they not?

Hide behind an empty face
Don't ask too much, just say
'Cause this is just a game
A Beautiful Lie - Thirty Seconds to Mars

Narcissa was a quiet child. A beautiful doll of a child. Flaxen hair, clear blue-grey eyes, rosy cheeks, delicate.

The perfect youngest daughter.

Seen and not heard, a bargaining chip that would ensure her family always had the upper hand. When the time was ripe, would not sons demand her for their own? Would not families agree that such a well-connected, properly mannered pureblood witch would be a boon to the family?

It's a beautiful lie
It's the perfect denial
A Beautiful Lie - Thirty Seconds to Mars
 

We’re all someone’s puppet, in the end, but is there not power in choosing who will be your master?

I wanna melt in, I wanna soak through
I only wanna move when you move
I wanna breathe out when you breathe in
Then I wanna fade into you
Fade Into You - Clare Bowen 

"You're allowed to laugh, you know." She felt his chin on her shoulder, and his warmth as the front of his body pressed against her back.

From her vantage point on the darkened balcony overlooking the ballroom below, she could see Evan Rosier falling over himself to apologize to her sister. His drink was all over the front of her dress, and if the stiff set of Bella’s shoulders was anything to go by, her sister was barely holding in her temper. Father would not forgive easily if Bella were to make a scene, particularly since this was the first season she was allowed to attend such functions.

"Who says I'm amused?" Narcissa leaned back to soak in his heat. No one else in the family allowed themselves to be touched (used) in such a familiar manner.

"Who says you’re not?" She felt him grin and his arms came around her middle to pull her closer. 

Her lips curled and she shifted an elbow back into his chest. "You're going to get me in trouble."

"Pfft. She can't see you up here." He squeezed her and let go. When he leaned on the bannister next to her, a glance over at her cousin revealed an image she was quite familiar with; unruly hair, a twinkle in the eyes, and a smile full of secrets and mischief.

... the spilled drink, it was <i>him</i>. Narcissa could feel her own features shift to mirror his. "You didn’t."

He grinned wide. “I did.”

The thrill of the game her sister didn’t know she was still playing with them had her hands fluttering as she captured one of his. “She’ll know,” she breathed, excitement and fear for her foolish, lovely cousin softening her tone. “She’ll come for you again.”

His grin turned sharp and gleeful. "I'm counting on it."

“Well, I certainly won’t be your second when she finally frees herself from Evan’s attentions.” She crinkled her nose disdainfully, but shifted closer to him all the same. Being near her sister was thrilling and necessary, but being near Sirius was like soaking in the warmth of coals. It wasn’t until he was there and gone again that she felt the loss of heat.

“Who said you had a choice, midget?” A glance up at his face proved the trepidation prickling her skin was well-warranted. His eyes were bright and his smile was wide. A premonition of misbehavior... 

Narcissa released his hand, stepped back, and…

… and then she was over his shoulder and a very undignified squeak slipped from her. “SIRI!"

What a wicked game to play
To make me feel this way
Wicked Game - Phillip Phillips

 Sometimes there is no room for choice. Sometimes it is what it is, and we can do nothing but hold tight and hope.

Strange what desire
Will make foolish people do
Wicked Game - Phillip Phillips

“Why?”

“Why, what?” he snipped back, chin set in a mulish line.

A delicate frown crinkled her brow as she observed him in the weak light filtering through the crack in the door. The fur coats hanging about their heads further obscured her vision, but she could still see him, his guarded expression.

Narcissa shifted forward on her knees and let herself fall into her cousin and his space in such a way that he was forced to open his body to her. She reached up to smooth out the line between his brows, and then allowed herself to drag small fingers over said brows and down the side of his face. It’d been months since they truly touched another and now that she had started, it was difficult to stop.

She felt him relax and her eyes shifted back to meet his, now only a few hand-spans away. Nestled away in the coat closet of her family’s home as they were, it felt as if they were almost in a world all their own for a moment. (She would not mind a world where there was only she and Sirius.)

“Why did you allow yourself to be sorted there?”

His lips firmed again, but moments later all the tension went out of his body and he slumped. “I wanted anywhere but with Bella.”

Gryffindor, though?”

His lips quirked, but it was a tired expression. The holidays were not so warm as in years past.

“They’re always up for a little fun. It’s more than I can say for others I know,” he said pointedly, though the sentiment was softened because it was then that he tugged her toward him and wrapped his arms around her.

Slim arms wrapped around his middle and Narcissa huddled against him. She always wanted this, but it was hard to give into the want of it. It was only safe with Siri.

“Father and Uncle are terribly angry over it,” she whispered.

“I know,” he said just as softly.

“I miss you.” She pressed her cheek against his shoulder and the wool of his sweater was somewhat scratchy against her skin. She could feel his breath warm against her other cheek though.

“Me too.”

“I’ll miss you even more when you’re there and I can’t have you,” she confessed.

“You could wish to be away from Bella, too,” he said.

You could wish to be with me is what what she heard underneath. It made her chest hurt. She could not allow herself to be sorted anywhere but Slytherin next year, no matter how much she craved more of this. (All the time.)

It was quiet a long time. Only the sound of their beating hearts against one another seemed to break the silence.

“I’m scared,” she breathed.

“I know.” He only held her tighter.

The world was on fire
And no one could save me but you
Wicked Game - Phillip Phillips

 Are you beginning to see?

A guy like you should wear a warning
It's dangerous
I'm falling
Toxic - Melanie Martinez

He was her first kiss.

She knew Lucius and Rabastan were interested, but she absolutely refused to expose herself to Others (not Black, not family, not known and comfortable, not safe, not warm) before she was sure she would be able to do it properly.

She was fifteen and he was sixteen, and he had a habit for appearing out of nowhere while she was on rounds.

It was a mockery of the Prefect badge she wore when he pulled her into an alcove, cradled her face gently, and told her to close her eyes. She should be giving him detention. She should be giving him biting words and poisonous glances. It’s what was expected.

But hidden away in a dark corner, pressed into the heavy drapes near the window, it was like all those times they had hidden in closets and found safe spaces for themselves among a family that had increasingly looked upon their closeness with disapproval as Sirius drifted further and further away from what he was meant to be.

“Are you sure?” he whispered, hands gentle as he tipped her face up to his. She could feel his warm breath against her skin.

Narcissa knew his reputation, heard her housemates whisper of his good looks and how he snuck into broom closets often, and never with the same girl twice.

Her lashes fluttered as her eyes opened and she met his gaze. She knew them to be the same blue-grey as her own, but in the dim light they were darker. Even so, there was nothing in his countenance that made her wary. 

“Are you?” she breathed.

Something in his eyes changed, darkened. Her pulse jumped in response and her lips parted, drawing his gaze.

He tipped her chin, and then his lips pressed against hers.

It was not the last time he stole her away into a dark corner.

Taste of your lips
I'm on a ride
You're toxic gum slipping under with the
Taste of your poison paradise
I'm addicted to you
Don't you know that you're toxic?
Toxic - Melanie Martinez

 It was doomed from the beginning.

You trick lovers that you're wicked and divine
You may be a sinner, but your innocence is mine
Please me, show me how it's done
Tease me, you are the one
Undisclosed Desires - Muse

 She shouldn’t have let him be her first. Narcissa knew enough about firsts to know better.

(She was not quite honest enough with herself to admit she knew very well what she was doing, that she would crave the first like no other.)

They hid it well those last two years at Hogwarts. In front of others he mocked her and she was snide. He pranked her housemates and she gave him detentions.

(And if Rabastan was more forward with her than he should have been -- she was a Black, and very much his better -- well, Sirius just liked to start fights with Slytherins. No one ever thought much of it.)

I said that no one has to know what we do
His hands are in my hair, his clothes are in my room
And his voice is a familiar sound
Nothing lasts forever
Wildest Dreams - Taylor Swift

 When they were alone, though…

He was the first to thread his fingers through her hair and slide lips down her throat. The first to teach her how tongues were meant to move together just so, how to nip a lip just like this, and suck pulse points just like that.

The first time his hands slipped beneath her shirt to smooth over the bare skin of her back, her breath caught, and when there were no shirts for either of them and it was bare skin against bare skin she sighed into his mouth and clung tightly to him.

Sirius had always been warm, and like this, so much skin, it was like being pressed against the coals. She wanted more.

You see me in hindsight
Tangled up with you all night
Burn it down
Someday when you leave me
I bet these memories follow you around
Wildest Dreams - Taylor Swift

 They both knew it was wrong, though not for the reasons most might have thought. It had always been their parents intention to pair Sirius and Bella. Pure blood, pure family, a bit of narcissism, and quite a lot of pride.

No, it was not wrong because they were cousins, or because they were the unsuitable cousins. It was wrong because Sirius was no longer allowed to come home and she was expected to treat him as if he had never been part of their family.

That didn’t stop her from meeting him at the small cottage on the edge of the grounds at the family’s summer estate. It didn’t stop her from allowing him to remove all her clothes, and it didn’t stop her from removing all of his.

It was the very last thing on her mind when they finally came together, hips moving in tandem.

He trembled with the effort to keep still when she cried out in pain at the start, pressed light kisses all over her face to distract them both, and then when it faded to an ache and they began to move together, their eyes caught, the same blue-grey darkened like the ocean, reflected back at one another.

It was easy then, smooth, like their bodies remembered this from another life.

She was surprised when she felt the pleasure swell, and her eyes widened. “Siri.”

And then his hand was at the bend of her knee, lifting, and she cried out. Lips found her throat and hips moved faster, and then she was falling, nails scraping, shredding too hard, and he was shuddering with her, teeth sinking into her skin, and Narcissa was quite sure she would never be the same again.

I can see the end as it begins
My one condition is
Say you'll remember me
Standing in a nice dress
Staring at the sunset
Red lips and rosy cheeks
Say you'll see me again
Even if it's just in your wildest dreams
Wildest Dreams - Taylor Swift

Don’t you know?

Nothing lasts forever.

If I told you, you were right
Would you take my hand tonight?
Ride - Cary Brothers

 She always knew it would come to this.

“Why?”

“Why, what?” He twirled a flaxen lock around his finger and looked at her through dark lashes, and his lips curled ever so slightly at the edges.

Despite herself, her lips curled slightly in return. This very opening at had been parroted back and forth for most of their lives.

It did not stop the tear from spilling over and down her cheek. She wiped at the tear and looked at the wetness on her fingers, confusion tinting her features. Narcissa couldn’t remember the last time she cried.

He caught her hand. “Hey, none of that, yeah?” He kissed the tips. Sirius could be gentle, had always been so with her.

“You’re leaving.” (You’re leaving me.) Her voice trembled in a way she was ashamed of. Even so, she tangled her fingers with his as if to lock them together.

“Not forever.” He looked pained, unsure. He was as unfamiliar with this so very broken girl as she was.

He pulled his hands from hers only to reach up to smooth her hair away from her face, brush his thumbs against the high bones of her cheeks. Her fingers found new purchase in his shirt and she pressed her body to his, and was still shamefully unable to stop the tears from gathering at the corner of her eyes.

“You’re so damn beautiful,” he murmured, catching another tear with his thumb and smoothing it away.

It only made her chest clench and her body tremble.

His eyes met hers. “Come with me. Come…” His forehead pressed against hers and his voice dropped to a whisper. “Come be mine.”

If I told you the reasons why
Would you leave your life and ride?
Ride - Cary Brothers

 Her vision blurred as the tears gathered, but she still reached up for him, tipped her head just so, and pulled his mouth down to hers. It was tongues and teeth and want and history and love and everything they never said because they shouldn’t and couldn’t and never would.

It was the last time they saw each other. 

It's hard letting go
I'm finally at peace
But it feels wrong
Slow, I'm getting up
Silhouettes - Of Monsters And Men

You know the rest.