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Red Is The Rose That In Yonder Garden Grows

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“You’ve been flirting with that Gryff girl, Narcissa,” says Lucius, too smooth and polished for their normal talks, already wrapped around her finger even though their wedding is many years yet. Jealousy, then.

Narcissa hadn’t actually noticed she was flirting with Evans--all the girls stared at Evans for one reason or another, some because they were jealous of Potter’s fawning, and some because she was beautiful and intelligent and captivating; Narcissa just enjoyed talking to her too. Still, it made sense that Lucius would be jealous. There was nothing like a school fling with someone her parents would never approve off to make her heart beat wildly and blood tint her cheeks. (It had nothing to do with any pesky feelings, of course.)

“And what of it?” She can feel her lips curl into a smirk when Lucius has no answer for her on that, none that he will tell her in any case, she muses as he stalks away; back straight and stiff.

Now, what to do with this new realization?

///////////

Lily is studying in the Great Hall, a last ditch effort to make sure that if Potter insists on staring at her and sighing longingly--whether from the far end of the table or behind the stacks--she at least has a clear line of sight to hex him.

Black--Narcissa, not Potter’s sidekick, to Lily’s unending amusement and relief whenever she thinks about how closely they must be related, yet how different they are--sinks gracefully onto the bench next to her, looking, as ever, like she stepped out of a painting. Lily can feel her breath catch--nothing new, unfortunately for Lily--but Narcissa smiles at her and Lily can do nothing but smile back.

Things had been tense at first, when Flitwick had first asked them to work on a joint project together, both because of their House rivalry and Lily’s suspicions; but Black was polite at first, then dryly funny, and always willing enough to overlook their houses. And Lily had proven herself intelligent and more than a match for Black’s sharp tongue. She’s pretty sure she has. Anyway.

(Severus had spent more than a month drifting after them, always behind the nearest corner, and looking worried--and it made her guts churn and her mouth taste sour that he would even think to do such a thing, unlike him, Black had never mentioned her parentage for good or ill--and Lily was relieved when he had stopped without saying a single word to either of them.)

“Evans,” Black says in greeting. Her head tips to the side, her cheek pillowed on her hand, and Lily refuses to follow the curve of her neck or the fall of hair as it slithers over her shoulder. However pretty the view, however friendly they may be, Black has shown no interest and Lily isn’t stupid. She’ll pine in secret until it goes away, with everybody none the wiser. “There’s a Hogsmeade weekend coming up. Shall we go together?”

“Don’t you want to go with Malfoy? Or Parkinson and her la-friends?” Lily knows they might be something like friends by now--that project’s been done for a while--but Black has never sought her out for anything but trips to the library and theoretical discussions of charms that make some of the more creepy Ravenclaws pull out notebooks and listen in avidly.

Black rolls her eyes, lips quirked up into a fond smirk. “I’m asking you on a date, Evans.”

“Oh.” Lily stares at Black and feels her face burn as red as her hair. Stupid, pale skin. “Oh. Uh.” She feels about as tongue-tied as Potter usually is. “Yes?” It sounds like a question--she winces, oh god, it is a question--but there’s a gleam of triumph in Black’s eyes, and the smirk pulls up into a real smile.

Potter--much closer than Lily remembers him being--wails loudly. This, at least, she knows how to handle, she thinks with relief.

Lily whips around, hex at the ready, but stops short at the utterly horrified face Potter’s Black is making at them. It looks like he’s just seen a boggart.

“Cissa, no, you can’t,” he whines, and Lily feels a flash of anger, until he continues, “you both are already scary enough…”

A soft hand lands on her waist, and Lily looks over to see Black--should it be Narcissa now?--laugh softly. She abruptly understands where Potter’s Black is coming from even if it means he’s an utter coward. Potter whimpers.

“Too late, Siri. She already said yes.” Potter’s Black moans in unison with Potter as Narcissa tugs Lily in closer. It feels like butterflies in her throat, the place where Narcissa’s hand burning. “You know I always get what I want.”