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My Brightest Star

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Narcissa stared at her clean underwear for a very long time before hoisting herself from the toilet and pulling her knickers up again. She should have bled by now... She was never late. The blonde sighed as she gazed upon her tired complexion in the bathroom mirror. She hadn't slept much these past few days. While she and Lucius no longer loved each other by the day they parted ways, it had still broken her heart to read about his passing in Azkaban. A fate he didn't deserve according to her. A wave of nausea washed over her and Cissy steadied herself against the sinks, quickly splashing some cold water in her face. It was just exhaustion and stress. That's what she kept telling herself. 

After a few silent moments, she felt like she could move without throwing up and staggered out of the bathroom. The day had barely begun and she already wished for it to be over again. Even when she had a proper night’s sleep, she still woke up tired. A little voice told her she needed to get herself tested at St. Mungo’s, but the witch shook her head. Autumn was a season that always weighed her down a bit. That and the grief she felt for Lucius’ sudden death. She shuddered when she remembered the conversation with the Minister of Magic.

‘I’m very sorry for your loss, Madame Malfoy.’

‘Black.’

‘I beg your pardon?’

‘I assume it’s Madame Black again. Now that Lucius is…’

Kingsley inclined his head and gave Narcissa a moment to collect herself. A handkerchief appeared out of nowhere and the blonde gratefully accepted it, dabbing at the tears that threatened to spill from her eyes. When she finally looked up again, her expression was stoic. Her true emotions hidden behind a mask like she’d been taught to do all her life.

‘How?’

‘The details are rather gruesome, Madame Black. Are you sure you want to know?’

‘My husband was sent to Azkaban barely a month ago and now he’s dead? Yes, I want to know how that happened!’

The Minister shifted in his seat, ‘It looks like he went insane. The walls of his prison cells were covered in blood from him scratching his nails against them until there were no more fingernails left. According to other prisoners, he spent most of his days babbling to himself.’

‘The war already broke Lucius. He should never have been sent to that dreadful place to begin with!’

Shacklebolt winced a little bit but managed to stay calm under Narcissa’s anger. The woman wasn’t wrong after all but the war had made too much of an impact on those who survived. They wanted to see the Death Eaters being punished. And while the Ministry tried its best to have the majority of the witches and wizards who’d followed Voldemort re-instated, a handful of them had to pay the price. Lucius being one of them. 

‘Azkaban will be closed once the last prisoner breathes his final breath,’ he assured the woman in front of him, ‘Its only purpose now is to ease the victims of the war. They need to know their dead are avenged.’

Narcissa merely scoffed, for she already knew the reasons behind Lucius’s arrest while she and Draco had been allowed to remain free, ‘So, what happened?’

‘He threw himself off the cliffs.’

A silence hung between them, making the air impossibly thick and the Minister visibly swallowed. Narcissa was merely processing the information of course, but her cold gaze gave nothing away. It so didn’t fit Lucius, she thought. The first cracks in his sanity had already appeared long before the Final Battle so she was not surprised in the least to hear that he’d gone mad.

But ending his own life? That demanded a specific type of bravery she never expected him to have. A coward until the very end, she’d always screamed at him during their very heated fights. The blonde exhaled, all tension leaving her body, while she nodded her head at the wizard in front of her. She knew now and while it didn’t change the fact that she had just become a widow, she did feel pleased for Lucius. At least he found some pride in his final moments, however gruesome they might’ve been.

The memory had made Narcissa all emotional again and the witch cursed silently. Since when had she become such a dramatic cow? She didn’t even love him anymore! No, those feelings had long subsided ever since Lucius had betrayed her and Draco in exchange for status, wealth and power. He never seemed to be satisfied with what he had. And the moment their son paid the price, Narcissa had had enough. They had lived separate lives for the majority of their final year together. An easy thing to do in a Manor as big as this one. 

But that didn’t mean she didn’t care for him anymore; Narcissa truly felt like she’d lost her best friend. So she mourned. Wept even. For days straight before finding some semblance of herself and trying to live her life again. The witch snorted. Whatever life that may be. She was so extremely lonely in her golden palace of empty rooms and faded glamour. Lucius had left everything to her, and when she’d come to pass the inheritance would pass on to Draco. But their son had clearly stated that he wanted nothing to do with the name Malfoy before leaving for France to start a new life. 

It had taken Narcissa considerable effort to have him in her life again, and even then, their relationship felt forced and stilted. The witch felt new tears prickle behind her eyelids and forcefully wiped them away. She was not going to cry again! As usual she tried to ignore the hollow echoes her footsteps made in the empty Manor as she made her way to the kitchen for breakfast. There was only one House-Elf left, and he was so old Narcissa half expected him to drop dead in the next few weeks. 

But once she got to the kitchen, Beril had already cut fresh fruits into little pieces. Cissy’s standard breakfast together with some plain yoghurt and a cup of the blackest coffee. She gracefully perched herself atop of a chair and grabbed the newspaper that had been brought in by her owl earlier that morning. Whilst her eyes perused the headlines, she softly stirred some sugar through her coffee before sipping it, loving the way it burned on her tongue. But when she wanted to take the first bite of her yoghurt with fruit, the scent of oranges penetrated her nose and she nearly retched. 

With an even paler complexion than usual she pushed her plate further down the table, her appetite long gone. Beril was with her in the mere blink of an eye, his old and wrinkly ears drooping from the thought of having displeased his Mistress. 

‘Has Beril done something wrong?’

‘No,’ Narcissa said while trying to keep her coffee down, ‘but perhaps no more oranges in my future breakfasts?’

The Elf inclined his head and with a loud snap of his fingers, the offending bowl of breakfast disappeared from the table. Before he could follow suit however, a thought formed itself in Narcissa’s mind. No, not a thought. A craving! She wanted toast.

‘Beril, bring me some well-buttered toast instead. Two slices will suffice.’

If the Elf was surprised at his Mistress request, he didn’t show it as he vanished into thin air to fulfil his task. Narcissa always avoided eating anything too fat or too sugary, but the magical creature was long happy to see his Mistress eat at all. She’d been taking terrible care of herself lately. Suddenly a loud woosh announced the arrival of a guest and seeing as Narcissa only spoke to one person, there was no doubt as to whom it was.

‘Draco?’

The blonde wizard hesitantly appeared into the kitchen, his shoulders and back rigid as he was obviously not comfortable. He had grown so tall during the last years of adolescence, easily surpassing Cissy who really needed her stiletto’s in order to have some noticeable height. He wore a black, tailored suit with an elegant grey shirt and Narcissa couldn’t help but feel pleased that her son hadn’t lost his sense of style now that she no longer dressed him. 

‘Mother,’ he drawled while rubbing at the patch of hairs on his cheek. 

‘Are you growing a beard?’

Draco’s eyes widened at the realization that he was scratching his still non-existent beard and dropped his hand to his side annoyedly. He once admitted to Narcissa that he always dreaded visiting her because she insisted on living at Malfoy Manor, his childhood home he came to despise so much. That’s why Narcissa didn’t take his coldness personally. Time would heal all wounds after all. 

‘I came to invite you to the garden party Astoria and I will be hosting next month.’

‘That sounds delightful.’

‘She insisted I ask you to come. We’re family after all.’

That did hurt, Narcissa thought as she winced a little bit. But Draco seemed to realize his mistake at the change in his mother’s behaviour and he quickly backtracked.

‘That came out wrong. I wasn’t sure if I should invite you because you haven’t gone out in a long time. Astoria claimed it would do you good.’

Narcissa cocked her head to one side. Had she really not gone outside in such a long time? The silence seemed to arouse some suspicion in her son who’d squinted his eyes looking at her. 

‘Speaking of good. You don’t look well, mother.’

‘I’ve been feeling a bit tired lately, that is all.’

She didn’t need to tell him why she felt tired. Draco may have moved far away, but he still knew his mother. He knew the loss of his father struck her harder than expected. He knew that despite her claims of hatred, she’d cared for him until the very last moment. Even he wasn’t totally unaffected by his father’s passing but he had enough distractions. Astoria, work, life. His mother had nothing at all. And for the first time, he looked at her. Really looked. And what he saw didn’t please him one bit.

‘I’d like you to see a Healer.’

‘Draco there’s no need...’

‘Please. Mother.’

The insistence in his voice was unmistakable. That was the Black blood that ran through his veins and Narcissa couldn’t help but feel a pang of pride. Not one to disappoint, she softly smiled at her son and nodded her head.

‘Very well, I’ll go as soon as you leave.’

‘Then don’t let me keep you,’ Draco said rather briskly, obviously feeling uncomfortable again, ‘I’ll send you an official invitation as well. Goodbye mother.’

And before Narcissa had a chance to reply, the blonde Disapparated to the nearest fireplace and Floo’d himself back to France. It took his mother a solid few minutes to realize she still had her hand raised in order to stop him from leaving before she came to herself again. A strangled sob resonated through the kitchen and bounced off the walls of the enormous estate that served as nothing more than Narcissa’s very own prison. 

***

Narcissa nearly tripped as the loud noises of the city startled her several times. She clearly wasn’t used to being outside anymore. Draco was right. She hadn’t risked the Floo-network to travel to St. Mungo’s as every spinning notion made her extremely sick. So she had just Apparated behind a phone booth close to the hospital, intending to walk the final distance. But she already felt so exhausted and her feet hurt from walking in those ridiculous high heels because her shoes didn’t seem to fit her feet that well anymore? How was that possible?

She scrunched up her nose several times at muggles who came too close to her liking before finally seeing the entrance to St. Mungo’s Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries. The department store Purges and Dowse with its typical red-bricks was a welcome sight for the tired witch. Narcissa quickly slipped between the doors and turned towards one of the dummies in order to gain entrance to the hospital. Finally the wand crossed with a human bone emerged in front of Narcissa and the witch breathed a sigh of relief. If she would collapse now, at least she’d be in good hands. 

‘What can I help you with?’ the witch at the reception said with a rather nasal voice.

‘I’ve not been feeling well for days. I thought I’d better have myself checked.’

‘Do you have an appointment?’

Narcissa almost rolled her eyes. She was a Black. She didn’t need an appointment. Her family owned half the hospital after all. 

‘I don’t think that will be necessary. Please refer me to the best Healer you have. Tell them it’s for Madame Black.’

At the mention of her name, the witch’s eyes flew open and she hastily stuttered an apology claiming that she hadn’t recognized Narcissa. The blonde smirked. The name Malfoy might have been tarnished beyond repair, but the name Black still held some importance it would seem. And therefore, mere minutes later, Narcissa found herself in the office of the Head Healer of St. Mungo’s. 

‘Good day, Madame Black. What seems to be amiss?’

Narcissa had to refrain from shuffling in her seat. A proper girl does not show her nerves the voice of her mother sounded tauntingly in her head. So she did what she did best and hid behind her stone cold façade while politely explaining how she’d felt for the last few days. The Healer who was an older wizard, nodded and took notes before asking Narcissa to sit down on the table. 

He ran some basic tests first. Her knee reflexes, her pupil dilation. The Healer listened to her breathing and her heartbeat and checked her throat for any redness. In the meantime he asked questions. Lots of questions and Narcissa felt she had a hard time answering them. Usually it was she who did the asking! If she had difficulties relieving herself? Salazar’s Snake no! And even if she had, a proper lady would never convey such information to a man! 

The Healer finally stopped his inquiry and asked Narcissa to lie down, something she did begrudgingly. After asking for her consent, he performed a series of diagnostic spells muttering under his breath. When he was finished, he gestured to his patient that she could sit down on the chair again before he pointed his wand to a stack of empty papers and the diagnostics began to write themselves. 

Narcissa’s eyes widened a bit at the sight of the graphs and statistics that appeared on two, three, no, four pages of paper. He then took the results and left the room without a word leaving a rather perplexed Narcissa behind. Surely her ailment would be something minor? Something a good night’s rest and lots of water could fix. When the Healer returned, he smiled sympathetically at Narcissa who didn’t like it one bit. 

‘I think I know what’s bothering you, Madame Black.’

‘Ah?’

The Healer sat himself down again and pressed the tips of his fingers together, searching for the right words to convey the news. The entire Wizarding Community of Great-Britain knew about the death of Lucius Malfoy so that made the topic even more precarious. 

‘It would seem, Madame Black, that you are with child.’

Narcissa’s stoic expression nearly slipped then and there. She was WHAT? The nausea immediately returned full force and before she could slip off her chair, the Healer was with her in an instant supporting her gently. With a flick of his wand, a glass of water emerged in front of them.

‘Drink this. It’s well sugared,’ he offered but Narcissa didn’t pay him attention as she could only hear the loud thumping of her heart and the rushing of her blood through her veins. 

‘Are you sure?’

The question came out a lot less firm than she’d intended it to be but Narcissa was reaching the point where she couldn’t care anymore and she was reaching it fast. 

‘Positive,’ the Healer confirmed. ‘We think you’re somewhere around six weeks pregnant now.’

And suddenly it clicked as the memory of Narcissa and Lucius having one last quick fumble on the dining table resurfaced in her mind. The Aurors would come and collect him later that day to transfer him to his cell in Azkaban, and before they both knew what was happening they were fucking each other fiercely. Every suppressed emotion, every last shred of affection they still had for each other was released during that final shag. 

Narcissa swallowed. A shag that got her pregnant.