Narcissa couldn’t believe her eyes when another parliament of owls flew into the Manor to drop a bunch of cards on her dining table. Ever since Hermione’s article had appeared in the Quibbler, witches and wizards from all over the country had congratulated her on her pregnancy. The Daily Prophet had been forced to apologize for its bigoted article and hatred towards her and her unborn child. It was truly remarkable how much the world had changed indeed.
‘Wow, you’re quite the popular owl,’ Hermione joked when she came downstairs after an early morning of work for St. Mungo’s.
‘I am flabbergasted. There’s people I have never been kind to sending me letters telling me I shouldn’t be hiding in the Manor anymore.’
‘It’s a second chance, Narcissa. I suggest you take it.’
The blonde smiled and nodded. She definitely was going to, even if it only was to ensure a bright future for her daughter. Suddenly Hermione pointed her wand at her and transformed her outfit into an overall.
‘What in Salazar’s name?’
‘I assumed you wouldn’t want to get paint on your clothes. The nursery arrived this morning so we can get started on the baby’s room.’
Narcissa full on laughed, ‘and we’re going to paint it manually?’
‘Yes, it’ll be so much more special. Trust me.’
‘You really are a strange witch,’ the blonde said shaking her head, ‘but I mean that as a compliment.’
Hermione opened the can of paint with a flick of her wand and stirred it until it became a nice broken white. She handed Narcissa a paint roller and quickly explained how she had to move it in different directions so the colour was evenly spread and there would be no stripes. They had magically sanded the hardwood floor the day before so Hermione covered it with plastic in case they’d spill any paint on it. She grabbed a paint roller herself and started on another wall.
They’d been working in a comfortable silence for twenty minutes when Narcissa suddenly perked up, ‘there’s someone at the door.’
‘How can you tell? I don’t think you have a doorbell?’
‘No, my wards warn me when someone approaches the Manor. I’ll be right back,’ Narcissa replied before walking out of the room, paint roller still in hand.
‘Good morning, madame Black. I’m Bertha Jorkins and I work for the Daily Prophet. I was wondering if I could ask you a few questions about recent events?’ the journalist rambled the moment Narcissa approached the gates.
‘Sure,’ the blonde witch replied hesitantly before Bertha noticed the paint roller in her hand.
‘I’m not interrupting, am I?’
‘Not at all. I’m painting the nursery, nothing that can’t wait.’
‘You’re painting your nursery?’ the journalist echoed, ‘by hand?’
‘Apparently it would make for a memorable experience. It only just arrived today because I bought it at a muggle store so it had to be delivered at a muggle house first of course before being sent here.’
Bertha Jorkins’ eyes nearly bulged from their sockets, ‘would you tell us which muggle store? I’m sure our readers will be delighted to know. You always were rather stylish.’
Narcissa laughed, ‘stylish? I feel everything but stylish these days when I cry my eyes out over the fact that I can’t have a nice glass of wine.’
‘The struggles of a pregnant woman,’ Jorkins joked, ‘I’m sure there’s other drinks out there you can have.’
‘I’ve been recently introduced to virgin cocktails, a muggle drink without any alcohol in it. I can absolutely recommend it to my fellow pregnant witches,’ Narcissa replied dead serious, not realizing the journalist was just kidding.
‘I’ll make sure to mention it in the article. Now, seeing as you’ve received a lot of attention lately, perhaps you would be willing to tell us about your heroic act during the war? We’ve only ever got mister Potter’s version of the story.’
Narcissa shook her head, ‘Please don’t go there. There’s no heroic act to speak of. I was a coward and am guilty for standing by and doing nothing while terrible things happened right in front of me. My decision in the end was one of selfish reasons, no matter how hard mister Potter insists on praising me for it. I did wrong and I’m paying my penance for it. All I want now is for my daughter to have a better life than I had. To have genuine friends. For her to be able to make her own decisions and to grow up in a safe world.’
Bertha Jorkins nodded while taking notes and tried to pull some more information out of the blonde witch by asking more questions, but Narcissa was determined. She would not fabricate some false story about heroism to win back some popularity with the Wizarding community. Eventually Jorkins gave up and wished the former Malfoy matriarch a good day before disapparating on the spot. Narcissa shook her head; she really didn’t want the media-attention she used to enjoy anymore.
They were just finishing up the nursery when Narcissa yelped in surprise. Hermione who’d been screwing the flower buttons on the drawers of the changing station immediately looked up in surprise.
‘I felt her kick for the first time,’ the blonde whispered.
Hermione smiled, ‘she must approve of her bedroom. It looks amazing! I really love the yellow flower you painted on the wall as well.’
Narcissa checked whether the mirror she’d just hung up was levelled before sitting herself down in the armchair to take a breath. She sipped her glass of water and chuckled when she felt her daughter move again. Cold water usually did the trick.
‘Do you want to feel her?’
‘Oh. Yes, I’d love to,’ Hermione said happily before coming closer to the blonde.
Narcissa took Hermione’s hand and placed it on her stomach before sipping her water again. The way the brunette’s eyes widened when she felt the baby move was almost comical. The older woman sighed dramatically.
‘She’s a feisty one, I can tell you that. I’m already exhausted and she isn’t even born yet.’
‘You better go and have a quick nap then,’ Hermione said, ‘because I have a little surprise for you later this evening.’
Narcissa raised an eyebrow, ‘darling at what point during your stay here have I given you the impression I like surprises?’
Narcissa could see how much effort Hermione had put in her baby shower, but she still wasn’t extremely comfortable. The brunette had obviously limited the amount of guests to a select group of women who had a direct link with her. Seated in the comfortable couches around the coffee table were her sister Andromeda, her daughter-in-law Astoria and her sister Daphne, her former best friend Aida Zabini, and for some reason Ginny Weasley and Luna Lovegood.
‘Minerva couldn’t make it unfortunately,’ Hermione said with a cheerful voice, ‘but she told me to reassure you your daughter will be receiving her Hogwarts-invitation when she turns eleven.’
‘I’m glad to hear it,’ Narcissa tried to sound relaxed, ‘did you not invite Grace?’
Hermione looked up, ‘Grace Parkinson? Mother of Pansy Parkinson? I did, but she wrote back to inform me that she didn’t want anything to do with a … witch of my blood-status.’
An awkward silence fell over the group of women until, to anyone’s surprise, Mrs Zabini spoke up.
‘She’s always been so terribly stuck-up. Don’t take it personal, Ms Granger. There are still some who belief in pureblood-supremacy, but they are a minority. I’m proud to call myself reformed in that regard.’
‘I guess that’s the reason I got along with you better than with her,’ Narcissa remarked dryly before sipping her cranberry juice and making all the guests laugh when she scrunched up her nose at the taste of it.
‘Well then, to better times and friendship then,’ Aida laughed and they all lifted their glasses.
The atmosphere noticeably changed after that, as the guests got more and more comfortable with each other’s company. Astoria and Daphne turned out to be extremely warm women with sharp minds while Andy and Ginny managed to make everyone laugh with their jokes. Luna even had a normal conversation with Narcissa about the drawings for her book before getting off topic again and spouting nonsense about Nargles, which earned her a few concerned looks from Aida Zabini.
Narcissa couldn’t help but be happy with the company. She’d missed Aida terribly, but was too scared to reach out to her during the trials and figured it was too late to try and salvage their friendship after years of silence. She even saw a whole other side from her daughter-in-law who hadn’t been her first choice when Draco introduced her but quickly managed to convince her when she proved to be an independent, smart woman with a heart of gold. Narcissa just knew the dark-haired witch would be perfect to help Draco find his way again.
‘Cissy, Hermione told me you’ve bought a muggle nursery and painted the baby’s room by hand?’ Andy suddenly asked her, an amused smirk playing around her lips.
‘I have and it’s beautiful,’ the blonde replied with a set jaw, challenging her sister but Andy merely smiled.
‘I’d love to see it. Can we go upstairs?’
They all rose from their seats and followed Narcissa to the nursery where everyone praised her for her choice of colour and decorations. Hermione couldn’t help but feel all warm and fuzzy inside when she saw the glimpse of pride flicker across the blonde’s features. It was only when Ginny remarked that she’d have difficulties living in such a large and empty house, that Narcissa’s initial discomfort returned.
‘It isn’t easy,’ she replied when seven pairs of eyes were looking at her, ‘but I haven’t decided yet what to do with the Manor.’
‘In any case, you’re always welcome at my place when the echoes drive you insane,’ Andy said warmly.
Ginny realized her mistake and quickly apologized, ‘it’s probably because I’m used to living with far too many people in far too few rooms.’
That did the trick because Narcissa visibly relaxed again and allowed herself a little smirk at Ginny’s joke. Luckily the remainder of her baby shower went without any discomfort. Narcissa even enjoyed herself and suddenly realized how starved for social contact she had been during her years of confinement in the Manor. Her guests all promised to write her or invite her for tea should she want some company and by the time her daughter-in-law hugged her farewell, only Narcissa and Hermione remained.
‘So good surprise or bad surprise?’
‘Good surprise,’ Narcissa laughed, ‘but also the very last surprise. I can’t take any more.’
‘Deal! Now off you pop. You look exhausted. I’ll clean this up.’
‘Are you sure?’
Hermione drew her wand and waved Narcissa off, ‘I’m sure. It’s not like you can help anyway. You’ll end up somewhere on the roof surrounded by diapers.’
Before the blonde could stop herself she snorted in amusement and Hermione’s stomach did a little somersault.
Narcissa slowly stirred her tea while chewing on a few pieces of toast Hermione had prepared for her before disappearing into her own wing to work for St. Mungo’s. She’d slept horribly, her hormones once more taking control over her body. What had started as a ticklish feeling in the pit of her stomach had now grown to an aroused restlessness she could barely ignore. At one point during the night, Narcissa had to refrain from shoving a pillow between her legs and rutting against it. It was only her sense of propriety and etiquette that had stopped her from doing so.
Andy had warned her for this stage of her pregnancy, but she’d obviously underestimated the effect it would have on her. Especially when there was a very attractive young witch walking around her house. The soft plop with which the delivery owl dropped the Daily Prophet in front of her pulled Narcissa out of her musings. She nearly choked on her toast however when she saw her own picture waving at her on the front page.
‘What in Salazar’s name?’ she muttered as she flicked the newspaper open to read the article that had been written about her.
From Pureblood supremacist to Muggle loyalist?
It would seem like Narcissa Black, formerly Malfoy, has really turned over a new leaf. She was recently spotted buying a nursery for her unborn child in a muggle furniture store. While she didn’t hesitate to answer our questions regarding the colours of the walls, she refused to tell us her side of the story during the terrible events at the Battle of Hogwarts.
The entire article blabbed some more about how she now frequented muggle bars, with a recipe of the virgin cocktails she so-called swore by during her pregnancy. Narcissa rolled her eyes. That rag always had a talent of twisting facts and dramatizing silly things so they became news worthy. Nevertheless, the general tone of the piece was positive and forgiving towards her. The blonde bit her lip, could this really be redemption? A second chance like Hermione had called it?
As if summoned by her thoughts, Hermione appeared in the kitchen as well looking slightly frazzled and Narcissa couldn’t help but think she was adorable. Her hair was tied in a messy bun above her head but a few locks had managed to wriggle their way out of the elastic band and dangled around her face. Hermione had just changed into her work clothes she always wore for her chores around the Manor, leaving her in a baggy sweater and leggings.
Narcissa sauntered over to the porch wanting to finish the Daily Prophet and her cup of tea there, but the quiet humming of Hermione made her turn around in the doorframe. Hermione was bustling about in the kitchen, clearly making some breakfast and a cup of tea for herself while quietly singing a song that got stuck in her head. When her eyes met Narcissa’s, the brunette blushed and stopped humming.
‘You’re in a good mood.’
‘I slept wonderfully.’
‘That makes one of us,’ Narcissa grumbled once more trying to ignore the arousal that roared through her body like a Fiendfyre.
Hermione didn’t hear her and started spreading jam on her toast, causing her oversized sweater to slide off of her shoulder. Narcissa’s eyes nearly bulged out of their sockets at the sight of the exposed skin and her mind went to places it had never gone before. Suddenly she felt herself wondering if Hermione had the same light freckles on her entire body as she had on her shoulder. And suddenly she noticed how tightly the leggings clung to the swell of the brunette’s ass, barely visible underneath the sweater. She couldn’t help but wonder if Hermione’s calves were as muscular as they looked in those ridiculously fitted trousers. The blonde couldn’t stop her train of thoughts, her hormones and aroused state completely taking over.
And when Narcissa wondered with a smirk on her face what the brunette would look like without her clothes, her haphazard magic struck in the worst possible way imaginable, leaving Hermione in nothing but her knickers and bra.
‘CISSY WHAT THE HELL?’