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There was always so much noise.

Narcissa Black stayed deathly silent as one by one she slowly counted the snow white petals on her bouquet under her breath.

"Sixty-four, sixty-five, sixty-six..."

She knew she looked insane with her wide eyes and twitching mouth, but it was all she could do to distract herself. 

"Sixty-seven, sixty-eight..."

She breathed in slowly, distraction, all she needed was distraction and then maybe she could get through this day.

Narcissa did not want to think anymore, she simply wanted to spend one second of her life not worrying about everything so much. She just wanted it all to freeze… especially the noise.

The noise was the worst part; somehow the ringing in her ears, the voices in her head, the nagging of her mother, the music in the garden, and the constant unyielding sound of her own rapid heartbeat had all managed to morph together into a suffocating roar.

She reached out and ran the back of her hand along each delicate flower. Roses, Baby’s Breath, Narcissus. The flowers didn’t feel real to her, she rubbed a petal between her fingers crushing it and it felt like air. She used her other hand to feel her dress, the expensive silk fabric felt was like plastic under her quivering fingers. 

Did anyone else notice that everything was suddenly not what it seemed? She looked around the room desperately… she felt like she was sitting in the audience watching her own life play out on stage.

Watching the lead character crumble before her eyes.

No one noticed. Her sister yanked at her hair, her mother ordered her to smile, smile, smile, a servant straightened her veil and pinched her cheeks to add some color. There was so much touching… Narcissa suddenly felt sick, the room around her spun quick and the faces of her servants and relatives all began to warp with it.

“I have to go,” she blurted out through heavy air with hot breath, and hurried toward the bathroom.

She was eager to get away from their invasive hands and fingers. She was tired of being touched, tired of having her hair pulled and ripped at, tired of having her face plastered with make up… She swung the clunky door shut with a slam, locked it and waved her wand in the air casting a spell to silence any outside sound.

All that was left was her heartbeat. She leaned against the heavy door, put her hand on her heart and concentrated on it.

You are real. You are real. You are real. You are okay.

She heard her voice in her head loud and clear. This was something she had done for her many times, when the world got a little too much for Narcissa. 

“You are okay,” she told herself loudly.

She missed being young. She had been a fun loving starry-eyed child, with not a care in the world, and she used to play pretend for hours with her...

"Now you be the husband and I'll be the wife..."

But growing up had made her hard.

She stepped out of her high shoes and stripped off her pantyhose, welcoming the cold marble against her bare feet. Was the Malfoy Manor always this hot, or was it just her nerves? She couldn’t breathe, awkwardly she pulled at the emerald silk ribbon holding her corset together to loosen in it. Her ribs instantly relaxed as she desperately gulped air, damning her mother and sister for pulling it so tight.

On shaky knees she walked over to the massive golden mirror hanging in the center of the bathroom, she gripped the sides and stared at her reflection. Her wedding dress was massive and gaudy with a puffy princess skirt, intricate beading, and a hundred foot long train that she had to carry around with her while she walked. She felt ridiculous and completely unlike her usual sleek self.

I am one big overdressed lie, Narcissa thought as she stared at her sparkling downtrodden self in the mirror. She lying from the forced smile on her face, to the sparkles on her toes.

She didn’t love her soon to be husband, but Lucius was the best match for her.

She believed that one day she could possibly grow to love him out of survival or even real feelings, but right then she loved someone else entirely. She fought back tears, wiping them softly from her eyes with the back of her manicured hand. If only she had been born of a different family, then maybe her real love and her could have stood a chance. 

Her mind wandered to her beloved sister, Andromeda, who had been ostracized from the family for following her heart. Her name and face literally burned from their life. The same thing would happen to her if she followed hers... but only worse, because in her families mind what she wanted was not only not proper, it was disgusting.

She wished that she could speak to her sister… she had always imagined Andromeda by her side on this day, and she knew that out of all people she would have the wisdom Narcissa needed. But that was no longer possible, she had to pretend her own sister did not exist.

Pretending had become second nature to her. That’s what she had to do; she pretended to be happy, she pretended to hate, she pretended that she was in love, and worst of all, she pretended that she wasn’t.

Narcissa’s reflection stared back at her with sharp grey eyes, as if it was daring her to break.

Carefully she pulled the lacy veil over her face, she breathed in through her nose and whispered, “I do,” her voice wavered.

She wanted to practice, she wanted to say it so much that it no longer felt wrong, “I do, I do, I do,” her lips were trembling, “I do, I do, I-I-I…” 

Her face entered her mind and she broke down into hard sobs, “I’m sorry…”

She began to apologize, each time she opened her mouth a new apology flooded out; “Im sorry” to her sister for ignoring her, “Im sorry” to the Muggle-borns she had bullied, “I’m sorry” to her parents for not being all they wanted her to be, “I’m sorry” to sweet Lucius for lying all the times he had said I love you, “I’m sorry” to herself for what she was doing.

“I’m sorry…” to the girl she loved so dearly.

Narcissa felt overwhelmed with emotion, and for the first time in a long time she let her tears fall freely. Her make-up began to smear but she didn’t care, she couldn’t do it any longer. She turned from her reflection and ran toward the door pulled it open and yelled, “I’m sorry, I can’t do this!”

She breathed heavily with her eyes closed and her heart racing, too afraid to face what she had just admitted aloud. She was met with silence. Timidly she opened her eyes to find a nearly empty room, it’s only inhabitant being a servant girl with her back turned tidying up. The servant girl stayed silent, the only noise was the sound of Narcissa’s own heaving breaths and the distant music in the garden.

“Oh,” Narcissa put her hand on her chest, “I’m sorry, I didn’t realize-” she made her way over to the window and peered outside looking for her sister and mother. They were both there on the garden green; her mother running around like a mad woman to make sure everything was absolutely perfect, and Bellatrix sucking down some wine, cackling.

The wedding, Narcissa had to admit, looked wonderful. It was set at the center of the Malfoy Manor garden, a beautiful place full of exquisitely white roses, large marble statues of mystical creatures and high intricately cut hedges. Servants had carefully placed hundreds of lit candles to light up her pathway to the hand carved mahogany arch at the end where she was to say, I do. And to top it off the grass was lined with countless chairs full with every witch and wizard who mattered in the pureblood world.

Any girl would have been overjoyed to be married in such a way. So she felt guilty for not being happy, she liked Lucius, and she knew he would be a good thing for her and her family. But she wasn’t sure if she could lie to him anymore and ignore her true feelings for another. 

She watched closely as Lucius paced the garden with his blonde hair was slicked back into a tight pony tail, dressed in velvet robes. She could tell he was nervous by the sweat on his brow, and it looked as if he was talking to himself.

Narcissa swallowed hard and caught a look of her face in glass of the window, she looked like a mess.

“Can you help me?” she asked moving toward the servant girl.

She froze, tensing, “of course Miss Black, what can I help you with?” she asked without turning, busying her hands with trinkets on the vanity.

“My make-up, I’ve seemed to have-” Narcissa searched her mind for a lie but was exhausted, “I cried it off,” she admitted.

“Tears of joy?” the servant inquired as she began to search through the drawers.

Narcissa let out a small exasperated sigh and plopped down on the over stuffed stool, “no,” she answered coldly crossing her arms on her chest.

The girl turned and looked as if she was about to ask something else but quickly changed her mind, shook her head and began to fix Narcissa’s ruined make-up.

The servant’s face was quite unremarkable, everything about her was absolutely plain… so plain in fact, that every time she turned to grab something else from the vanity or the bathroom, Narcissa swore she forgot her entirely.

They would be talking and Narcissa would feel her voice stop, forgetting what they had been discussing and who the even girl was. She would search her mind for anything, the shape of her nose, the color of her eyes, a freckle, anything… but nothing would come.

Maybe this was why Narcissa began to feel like she could say all she wanted to her…

“They aren’t tears of joy,” she confirmed pressing her lips together into a frown, “I’m sad,” she kept her eyes glued to the girls back, straining her mind, who was this girl again? What color is her hair? Her eyes? 

“I’m scared,” it felt good to admit it out loud, “I don’t even feel like I am living anymore, I feel like I am always being pushed around and pulled in every direction. Narcissa, smile! Narcissa, stand up straight! Narcissa, Narcissa, Narcissa!” she screeched waving her hands in the air.

“I am told how to feel, what to wear, how to act, what to do, who to love!”

The servant girl didn’t say a thing as she walked around the room. Narcissa couldn’t tell if she was fully listening, nor did she care, she just had to get it out because she was afraid that if she kept it all in it might explode out of her during the ceremony, ruining any hope she had left.

“I don’t love Lucius, you know,” the girl stopped moving, “at least, not yet.”

“What did you say, miss?”

“I said,” she lowered her voice, paranoid, “I said, I don’t love Lucius…”

Suddenly the unremarkable girl was on her knees in front of Narcissa, “then why are you marrying him, why-” she trailed off leaning closer to Narcissa’s face. 

Narcissa stared her down, “because it’s what I should be doing…” she didn’t pull away, “and I want to make my family happy.”

“What about making yourself happy?” she was so close that Narcissa could smell her breath, sweet like milk, “What do you want?”

She felt now as if she recognized this girl, but from where? Where had she seen her? She felt panic welling up in her chest, her head began to ache, and she felt as though she may get sick.

“No,” Narcissa shook her head violently and pushed her stool away from the girl almost falling over, “why am I telling you this? Who are you?” she ordered, “why are you in my room?”

The room was spinning under her feet and the air was full of the sweet smell of milk. Why should she being trusting this girl? She was a servant of the Malfoy’s!

“Y-your mother,” the girl shot up stuttering over her words backing away, “she told me to come watch over you- you know if you- if you needed anything,” her eyes were as wide as disks, and they were green, green as the grass in the garden, green as the beads on her dress… were they always green?

Narcissa felt wild with panic, “but why are you asking me these questions? You’re a servant,” she spat finding her old venom she had learned so well, “you are below me!”

Those green eyes were instantly wet with tears, “I’m sorry,” they began fall and Narcissa watched as they traced her face, traveling down her button nose, over her full lips and off her pointed chin. Narcissa’s breath was caught in her throat, was she going insane? The girl’s face was changing rapidly in front of her, “I’m sorry I didn’t mean to bother you, I will just be go-”

Narcissa reached out and grabbed her arm, digging her nails into her skin, “don’t-” she wasn’t sure why she didn’t want this girl to go, she just thought she looked like- no, it was impossible.

“Don’t what?”

Narcissa was shocked as in unison her voice changed and her hair grew long and black past her shoulders.

They stood in silence, frozen. It was her.

“Melody?” Narcissa sung her name, “how-”

Melody turned, her face full of shame and regret, “I am sorry Narcissa… I should have left you alone, I just had to see you. You don’t know what it’s been-”

Narcissa couldn’t stand it any longer, she thought she would never see Melody Zambini again and here she was standing tall in front of her. She slammed her lips into Melody’s so hard that she tasted blood, and Melody wrapped her arms tight around Narcissa holding her up as she melted into her chest. They kissed passionately, humming into one another’s mouths, both wishing that it could never end.

For the first time in too long Narcissa Black felt home.

Melody pulled away, a mix of sorrow and joy battling on her face, “you’re getting married…”

Narcissa kissed her again, “I know, I don’t care…”

Melody smelled of warm summer days and sweets, she had missed her gentle smell. This was a smell she had grown accustomed to over the years of sharing a room at Hogwart’s. This was a smell she spent many nights with, took comfort in, loved, and cherished.

“You look beautiful,” Melody mused, “just like I imagined you would as a bride.”

Narcissa blushed -no one could make her blush like Melody- and pushed down at her giant skirt, “no, I look silly…”

“Never,” Melody affectionately kissed Narcissa’s upper lip.

They gazed at each other for a long time in comfortable silence. They had not see each other since the beginning of summer… it had been the longest they had been apart since they were eleven.

Melody looked exactly the same, tall, strong, with dimpled cheeks and a mischievous look in her eye. Narcissa had always loved that mischievous look, as it was what drew her to Melody in the first place… Melody’s way was the exact opposite of her own careful tight nature and it brought out something special in Narcissa; freedom, adventure, honesty… things she had been taught to suppress.

“I shouldn’t have come,” Melody said striding toward the window and looking out suspiciously, “anyone could see me, I am not welcome.”

“You’re welcome-”

“Don’t give me that Narcissa! Your sister knows… and she would see me dead if she knew I was here,” a chill ran down Narcissa’s spine as she shook the images out her head, “I thought my cloaking spell would have worked but you,” Melody pressed both hands to her mouth, “you see right through me.”

The orchestra outside grew louder filling the room with music as a painful reminder of what Narcissa was about to go through, she knew everyone was waiting for her. She bit her lower lip wondering how she was going to say -I do- when her mind was filled with thoughts of stolen moments in hallways, kissing in secret and romps in the Forbidden Forest. It had always been Melody for Narcissa, since the very second she saw her she knew she was in love.

“I wish it was you I was marrying,” Narcissa crossed the room, “I wish-” she kissed her love over and over again.

“I know,” Melody breathed between kisses, “I know.”

“I could run away,” she blurted out, “right now, we could go. Apparate anywhere!”

“Nar-”

Narcissa squeezed hard on her hand feeling desperate, she couldn’t bare the thought of losing Melody again, not when she was so close to keeping her, “pick!” she shouted interrupting, “please, pick somewhere! Anywhere! Greece! France! Japan!”

Melody pursed her lips together and turned her head away from her pleading look, “we can’t… think of your family, think of your future.”

Narcissa looked outside at her family on the lawn, tears threatened her icy eyes.

“I couldn’t bare the thought of you never seeing them again,” Melody brought Narcissa’s hands to her lips and kissed them, “I wouldn’t be able to live with myself… plus, with L-” she gulped, “Lucius, will give you safety, security, everything you have ever dreamed of and deserve…”

Narcissa once again thought of her sister Andromeda, and felt dread blanket over her. Melody was right, as much as Narcissa hated to admit it, she couldn’t live like her sister, and she couldn’t bring that shame onto her family again.

She had to save the families name, and if she didn’t do this… marry Lucius Malfoy, then there was nothing left for the Black’s.

Her family was her life. Her blood. Her loyalty.

She rested her head on her Melody’s shoulder, “then will you just stay with me for a little while longer...”

Melody wrapped her arms around Narcissa one last time with tears in her sparkling eyes and a small smile playing on her lips. She truly loved Narcissa and she would do anything to be in Lucius’ place… but this is what was right. She closed her eyes and allowed herself a second to imagine Narcissa walking down the isle toward her, it felt like heaven. It was what she had always dreamed of.

She cursed her body, she cursed Narcissa’s family, and she cursed the world for keeping them apart. If only she could rewind time and relive those Hogwart’s moments.

Melody brushed her lips against her loves over and over again, she wanted to memorize the way they felt against hers. The way her cupids bow curved, the way they moved, the way they tasted... Melody knew that she would never find someone like this again, and she would go through countless husbands searching.

“I have to go,” Melody whispered painfully, “they will come looking for you…”

Narcissa buried her face in her neck, “I know…”

“I promise,” Melody took a step away with her eyes never leaving Narcissa’s stunning pointed face, “I promise I will find a way to see you again.”

Narcissa nodded, there was no way she was going to live her life without seeing Melody again, because to her a life without music in it was not a life worth living. She reached up and traced Melody’s cheeks with her finger tips, electricity running between them. She wanted to remember every angle of her beautiful face. Every freckle and scar was map of their love, and she planned to wither away the pages with her touch.

“I swear to you Narcissa Black,” Melody yelled out boldly and lunged forward to kiss Narcissa one last happy time.

Then CRACK… she was gone, leaving only the ghostly feeling of her lips behind.








 

for milominderbinder's Reset The Default challenge!

I had so so much fun writing this! Please tell me what you think.

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