Narcissa walks towards the courtroom with her head held high, looking as calm and composed as ever, her hand holding Lucius' a little too tightly.
Her son Draco is walking next to her. He is silent; has been ever since the end of the war. Lucius keeps telling her that Draco just needs time, that he will get used to it, but she isn't sure. His eyes have been dead and painful to look at ever since the Dark Lord has given him his task, and she doesn't know what she should do to make it all better. Perhaps she never has.
Her eyes connect with a passer-by who snickers as soon as he sees them. The man's smirk falters, and he frowns slightly. She looks away.
She can hear the whispers around her, people pointing at them and laughing. They are going to Azkaban, one of them mutters in delight. Oh, how wrong they are.
She is a Black, and Blacks never lose. Not really.
When Bellatrix confronted Narcissa one day about why she hadn't gotten the Mark yet, Narcissa shrugged and muttered something about how she was never made to fight in battles or wars.
But Bellatrix knew that it wasn't that, knew that Narcissa wasn't as faithful to the Dark Lord as she claimed to be. But it was okay. Her husband was a Death Eater, and Narcissa was in too deep to leave. She was never going to abandon them - abandon her - like Andromeda.
Narcissa found Bellatrix in her room, preparing herself to go to Hogwarts. The news that Harry Potter was there spread like wildfire among the Death Eaters. Narcissa's stomach was tied in knots. This wasn't going to end up well.
Bellatrix turned towards her. "Are you ready, Cissy?"
Bellatrix smiled then, gruesome with a touch of madness.
When Narcissa came to ask Bellatrix to go with her to Snape's house, she had refused. She never liked Snape. There was something about him that rubbed her the wrong way, and she wasn't going to go and ask anything from him.
"Bella, please," Narcissa said, her voice barely above a whisper. "Draco is just a boy."
Bellatrix watched Cissy for a while, sweet, innocent Cissy, who was pale and trembling ever so slightly, eyes unguarded for once, pleading, and she said yes.
Narcissa could hear the quiet steps outside of her bedroom. She didn't need to open the door to know that it was her sister who was awake in the middle of the night, her clothes hurriedly shoved into a bag on her shoulder, tiptoeing till she reached the door of their house.
Narcissa knew that. She also knew that Andromeda was going to run away, knew where exactly she was going, knew her parents were going to blame her and Bellatrix for not keeping an eye on their sister.
But she closed her eyes and pretended to be asleep. She would deal with all that in the morning. It would give her sister enough time to be far away from here.
Narcissa looked around desperately. Draco was nowhere to be found.
She spotted a familiar face near her, and she turned around. Bright colours escaped Molly's wand, travelling at a lightning speed through the air, and it was too late.
Andromeda was at the door of her bedroom. Before Bellatrix could ask her what she was doing here, Andromeda rushed towards her, wrapping her arms around her tightly as she wept.
Bellatrix stood there, frozen, listening to her young sister's muffled cries. She wrapped a hesitant and awkward arm around her, unsure of what she should do.
It was another fight between her parents and her. And while Bellatrix usually sided with her parents - and she still did, because Andromeda was wrong to talk to any Mudblood - she didn't really want to tell her that right then. So, she sat and listened to Andromeda as she vented and cursed and briefly wondered when Cissy would come back from her date with the blond boy; she was better at this than her.
Bellatrix saw in Molly's eyes the same ferocity that she had always seen in Narcissa's eyes when it came to Draco. She never really understood it, until now.
As soon as Narcissa made sure that Draco and Lucius were safe, she went to see her sister.
She found Andromeda on her knees, facing away from her. It had been so long since they'd last met.
"Sister." She knelt in front of her. Andromeda wasn't looking at her. Narcissa kept wondering on her way how she was going to deliver the news, but as it turned out, she didn't need to.
She put her arms on her sister's shoulders and squeezed. Andromeda let out a short, strangled scream, the sound of a wounded animal.
Andromeda was sitting on Narcissa's bed, eyes bright and excited as she told her about the boy she had met at school.
Narcissa didn't like it. She knew that her sister talking to a Mudblood wasn't going to end up well, but they were young and foolish, full of impossible hopes and dreams, and as Narcissa listened to her sister, she thought that maybe they could change everything.
In the middle of the night, Lucius wraps his arms around her, his touch gentle as he murmurs soothing words. She bites her lips tightly to stop a scream coming from deep down in her soul and tries to chase away the images of a pale Bellatrix staring at her with dead eyes, telling her it was her fault over and over again.