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Lord Voldemort Does Not Spark Joy

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“Rose. Please join me, and do accept my condolences. Lucius and I were devastated when we heard the news. Such a sudden loss.”

“Death can befall us at any time,” Rose Zabini said solemnly as she settled into a neighboring resort chair overlooking the Aegean. “What a lovely view. Champagne?”

“No, thank you.”

“One morning poor Brian-”

Brent, Narcissa was fairly certain. She and Lucius had endured three terrible portkeys to California for the ceremony.

“-was with me, and the next… not.”

“What an unexpected tragedy,” Narcissa lied.

“I thought so,” Rose said, “The ministry sent around the rudest auror who questioned all of us, even mother's little house elf who can’t see more than five feet in front of herself. Alas, everyone agrees Brian was by himself when he decided to leave me so cruelly alone in this miserable vale of tears.”

She sniffed pathetically in a way that managed to expand her already considerable cleavage. A wizard several chairs down stumbled noisily into his table.

“My sympathies,” Narcissa said. She cast a discrete Muffliato and patted Rose’s hand. “However did this one go?”

“Oh, I yeeted him,” Rose explained. She pushed her sunglasses - horrible muggle affectation, Draco would adore them - up her freckled nose. “It’s what darling Blaise says his cousins call it nowadays. You simply make sure they’re not holding their wand, and then pop! Out the window they go.”

Narcissa raised an eyebrow to convey her disdain at both the term and the notion that a Black would require any tool so gauche as defenestration (Blacks did not kill; they molded, and only occasionally arranged restorative stays in very deserted, almost subterranean countryside for their loved ones).

“Not that you would need it for that. Lucius would never require gravitational incentive to embrace his best self. But you can apply the principle to other areas. I read about it in a book Celia gave me. The author - pureblood, of course - says that if something doesn’t please you, why keep it around? I followed the process in several of the mansions. It was very freeing, and darling Blaise was so pleased that there was space after for his little ski slopes. I think I left it in my bag - let me just check…”

Would Draco like skiing? She ought to take him to the Black chalet in Switzerland. Perhaps after the unpleasantness with the gamekeeper was over…

“-so easy too. Here.” She handed Narcissa a sleek blue book with a smiling Japanese witch on the cover. “I insist.” She overrode Narcissa’s protests (fainter than normal; Narcissa was quite bored), told her to give her regards to Lucius, and sauntered off in a swirl of black gauze, champagne, and diamond rings larger even than the distasteful one Ted had given Andromeda.

“The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” Narcissa read. It sounded like the sort of thing one kept house elves or indigent Hufflepuffs for. Still, until Lucius was finished with his massage she had nothing better to do, so she began reading, skipping the bits that had clearly not been written a Black-Malfoy bank account in mind. It was, she supposed, tolerable. Hardly influential though.


Three years, two signed copies, and one glorious summer in Japan later, Narcissa stared across her dining table at Lord Voldemort and realized that he did not spark joy.

Once he had been a young, charismatic leader taking the British wizarding world by wand and word. Now he was like the werewolf leader she had had Lucius arrange an accident for: arrogant, odiferous, and disturbingly obsessed with her child’s boarding school.

Narcissa examined this truth in the depths or her mind, behind Occlumens shields and routine mental deflections and careful worries about Draco and a burned dinner. Like all Black children, she had been raised on the story of Rasputin, the Wizard Who Would Not Die, and Katrina, Witch Who Didn’t Give Up. “There is nothing you cannot achieve,” her mother had always said, “If you create, uncover, and threaten the right bodies.”

“What did you say?” Crabbe asked.

“Yeet,” said Narcissa Black Malfoy.