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Ghosts in the Walls

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The water has gone tepid. She sits listlessly in the tub, marble cool against her back, and dully watches the candles flicker against the dim walls. The room is silent; the only sound is the soft dripping of water falling from her fingertips as she lifts her hand.

Today was his funeral. A grim affair. The few attendees wandered aimlessly, looking about as detached as she felt. They asked if she wanted to say some words and she nearly laughed. Not a joyful laugh after some dark joke, but rather something more hollow and lost.

What could she have to say after all these years? After an arranged betrothal between parents hungry for power and wealth, after years of a loveless marriage, or after the fear and darkness her husband brought into their home?

Or perhaps she could share those few moments when he was a person, someone real. The times his desperation spoke about a deeper man, a truly scarred person who made wrong choices. The brief time after Draco's birth, when the fierce love for their mutual creation, sparked some passion.

The nights afterwards spent in this very tub. Lucius thrusting into her, all his fears and regrets pouring out through this physical act. His teeth sinking into her neck, hands roughly tangled in her hair, groaning incomprehensible words into her ear. She would grip the side of the lavish tub and arch into him, paying no mind to the water as it spilled over and onto the floor.

But Lucius never seemed to learn from his mistakes. And so those few glances into a different type of man stuttered out, like a candle in the face of a powerful, threatening wind. The coldness brought into the Manor slowly seeped back into his flesh, into his heart. There are some things you can never fully recover from. After a brief stay at Azkaban, he came home a shell of a person and died shortly afterwards. House arrest, a twice ruined reputation and haunting memories will do that to a man.

The candles flicker, casting shadows across the wall, but to Narcissa they look more like ghosts.