She threw the paper harshly back into the table, a gush of air from the force sent the napkin flying to the floor and the China teacup to rattle slightly in its saucer.
“To hell with Valentines!” Narcissa cursed as she stood rigidly from the chair as it screeched out from behind her. The other occupants of the tearoom looked up at the harsh whispering coming from the Ice Queen.
Narcissa promptly left, a look of distaste as her afternoon was continually bombarded with reminders of the lovers holiday. Since the war, the wizarding community had taken even further extremes in celebrating holidays such as Valentines to the extremes, Consumer ads and products were dominating Diagon Alley more so than Yule, and the love struck couples lapped it up like the kitten who got the cream.
Narcissa left the street promptly, with only her distaste for the lovelorn couples to follow her. She Apparated at the foot or the Iron gates standing proud in front of Castlesteads Hall, The large house had become the main residence since her separation from Lucius. It was rather bitterly cold for february, the grass glittered with frost despite being late morning as it crisped underneath her footsteps. The door swung open as she stepped through, a mahogany coat rack bent down as a gloved hand tugged at the fastenings and and half threw it in frustration as the witch marched towards the lounge.
The House-elf popped to her side on command as she pulled her gloves off, setting them on the side table.
“Madam called for Wolby,” The Elf spoke.
“Was there any calls while I was out?” She asked.
“Madam’s new robes have arrived as expected, Master Draco sent an invitation for dinner tomorrow, oh and a letter from Miss Granger is on the desk in your study.” the House Elf answered and left as his mistress acknowledged and waved her hand dismissing him.
Another letter she thought to herself. She summoned the letter from the study, the neatly folded parchment stamped with a Navy Blue wax seal. She looked at the two otters lying on their backs staring up at her. The unique wax seal design had been a gift from Narcissa to Hermione at Christmas. The importance of the seal did not go unnoticed by Hermione, only the ancient pureblood families and high up members of the ministry would be able to patent a unique Wax Seal design, Narcissa had to pull more than a few strings and pay a few galleons for such a privilege.
Narcissa brushed her fingers over the seal, on the verge of breaking it but instead let her frustration rise as she threw the unopened letter into the fire, watching in some form of satisfaction as the unread words shrivelled into ashes as the flames danced through it.
Words were not sincere, they could simply be spat out onto paper and have no meaning. She knew it was stubborn but it would take more than a letter to even contemplate forgiveness on this occasion. Her pride had taken a knock but her heart ached so much worse from the bitter sting of betrayal.
It was silent during dinner. The only sound of the swinging pendulum ticking in the old grandfather clock in the corner of the dining room as the trio sat for dinner. Draco dabbed his chin with his napkin as he finished his meal. He propped his elbows onto the table, clasping his hands together and biting his lower lip as he finally rustled the courage to talk to his mother.
“Have you heard from Hermione?” He asked smoothly. The sound of a fork screeching on the plate as Narcissa was delicately cutting into her salmon caused him to wince slightly. Losing her appetite she placed the cutlery down and used her napkin before answering.
“I do not wish to discuss it.”
“Well is that a no or has she reached out to you?” Draco continued pushing.
“I already stated this subject is not up for discussion. Now are you going to try me again or shall I just take my leave now?” Narcissa threatened staring at her son. He hesitated with his answer. She began pushing her chair out ready to leave.
“Cissy!” Astoria called, giving her husband a dirty look before turning back to her mother in law. “He will not push the subject. Please stay, at least for dessert.”
Draco looked ready to protest, but changed his mind, instead taking a sip from his wine glass. The relationship that developed between his mother and school mate had come as an unwelcome surprise at the time, especially considering his close working relationship with Hermione as his boss,but he begrudgingly gave them his blessing. He had not known of any issue until all hell broke loose in the office last week. Hermione was out for blood and no one knew what set her on her angry warpath until his mother informed him it was over. Trying to gather any further details from either party had only resulted in a nasty itching hex on his rear end from Granger, and a “None of your damn business” and slammed door in his face from his mother.
“Have you made plans for tomorrow?” Narcissa asked them both, changing the subject as their Raspberry mousse appeared in front of them. She couldn't bear to say the day itself.
Draco smiled as he looked towards his wife. “We are having a relaxing spa day at Madame Villiers Chateau, I wanted to make sure Astroria had a relaxed and pampering day before the baby arrives” He said proudly as he reached across stroking his wifes swollen belly.
“What about you Narcissa? Will you be staying home?”
“No, I am going to visit the family” She answered cryptically. Astoria seemed unsure of the meaning, but Draco clearly understood as he nodded in understanding.
Draco woke abruptly to a clattering noise downstairs. Years of service in the Magical Law enforcement naturally meant he was a light sleeper. He looked at his alarm clock indicating midnight. Thankfully Astoria had not stirred. He grabbed his wand and snuck down the stairs, his eyes swooping the dark area below. He heard footsteps from the Study. A Curse on his lips as he burst into the doorway only to see his boss Hermione Granger clumsily trying to restack the floo powder bowl she had knocked over. She turned to draco and smiled like an idiot.
“Hi Malfoy” She slurred, clinging to the desk as she tried to stand up straight. “That was like that when I got here” She claimed looking at the mess of green powder on the floor.
“Granger why are you breaking into my house, and are you drunk?” He asked in disbelief as he noticed her glazed look.
“I didnt break in,” she tutted. “The floo was open. And I only had ONE bottle of fire whiskey!” She claimed holding a finger up.
“I could have you done for trespassing,” He exclaimed. Looking at her still wondering what the hell she was doing.
“I could have you done for sexual harassment after the stuff you whispered suggestively in my ear at the Christmas party four years ago” she challenged back pointing her finger accusingly.
She had him there. He rubbed his face before trying a new approach. He reached into his desk drawer and pulled out a sobering potion.
“Will you take this and then we can discuss how I can be of assistance boss?” he asked. She smiled, nodding enthusiastically as she stumbled forward grabbing the vile from him and swallowing it whole. A moment passed as the potion kicked in.
“Oh shit, Draco I’m so sorry” she apologised, wiping her face in embarrassment.
“Hermione, what the fuck is going on?” He demanded.
“She won’t talk to me! She not responding to my letters, she avoids me in the street and shes blocked me from entering the house!” She cried, tears spilling down her cheeks as she broke down into tears. “I thought if I come through your floo and then go to hers I could get through that way” she continued.
“She's not there,” he answered. The brunette shot a look up to him.
“Where is she?”
Draco was unsure if he should answer. Granger looked desperate, but he also wanted to respect his mothers wishes, but he also knew how much his mother loved this mess of a muggleborn in front of him, and from the state she was in it was reciprocated.
“She's visiting the family.” He answered. Turning away and not waiting for a response as he headed back to bed. He smiled slightly as he walked away, hearing a gasp and sounds of Apparition. He knew that Granger knew where to go.
Iceland was an unusual destination for a Black on Valentine’s Day, but with no moon and clear winter skies at night. It was perfect for stargazing.
The cabin had been a gift from her grandfather Pollox Black to her and her sisters who shared his love of stargazing. It was built as a large glass dome with wooden sides for privacy, any room could see the vast sky above. There were 3 bedrooms along with a kitchen/sitting area and bathroom but the other half of the building which looked on the the large empty area in front was the observatory room. There were several telescopes, parchment pieces on tables for logging entries, and a couch by a low burning fire to simply sit and admire what was outside.
She almost spilled her mug of hot chocolate all over herself, managing to still the liquid as she sat upright on the chair, turning towards the doorway to be sure she hadn't imagined it.
*tap tap tap*
There it was, the quiet tapping of glass. She picked up her wand and cautiously walked towards the door. In all the years she had come to the dome, no one had ever visited. The site was unplottable. She pulled the door open whipping her wand out straight in front of her. The tip rested directly on the heart of the woman she was avoiding. She looked into the tired, pleading eyes of Hermione as she whispered. “Hello Cissy.”
Draco was going to get it when she got home. He may be the dragon but even they would fear the wrath of their own mothers. She had not expected this, had not prepared for it, and as she hesitated and dropped her wand. Hermione had managed to negotiate around her wand and into the hallway closing the door behind her.
“What do you want Hermione?” She sounded so defeated and tired. Even running to the ends of the earth wouldn't solve problems in the long term. She knew Hermione would never back down from leaving things as they had. She thought back to the day the first met almost a year ago. A bitter cold day in early march she had strolled to her sisters Crypt in Tower Hamlets Cemetery. Very few knew where Bellatrix was buried. So it was quite alarming on that day to find the muggleborn sitting on the bench by the crypt. Hermione had been equally as shocked when the blonde had found her unexpectedly, grateful when she was not questioned about her presence instead they sat together in silence on the bench, lost in their own thoughts.
It had become an unusual pattern, they would sit together in silence at first, then some small talk began. Hermione confided she found peace at the crypt, a place of safety when she needed alone time to think, no one she knew would ever think to look here. It wasn't long after that Narcissa took Hermione to her place of safety. She brought her to the dome, to see the beautiful late sunset, to have dinner, to tell her of the beautiful starry skies on cold winter nights, and to ask her the question of why she enjoyed her company so much.
“I really like talking to you, it makes me feel comfortable.” Hermiione had answered honestly, and just moments later they had shared their first kiss.
The memory burned behind her eyes like the hot tears she refused to let spill. She looked out through the glass at the darkness surrounding them, the only light in the room from the fire embers and the stars glowing above.
“To tell you how sorry I am, I want to make things right between us,” Hermione pleaded. She wanted to reach out and touch the woman in front of her.
Narcissa continued to stare out the window. Hermione almost thinking the witch hadn’t heard her
“ You know I’ve had so much thrust upon me in recent years, this became my one retreat from the world. Family has always meant everything to me. People called my family trash, snobs, even Death Eaters. But they would never break my pride, because my family are the Stars. Two of those stars are still here with me, but the rest? They shine above.”
She looked up above. A meaningful moment before continuing. “Family was always my first, until you came along. I defended us when it came to my family, but you could not do me the same courtesy, you were afraid I could understand that, but to let them rip me apart and say nothing?”
Hermione creased her eyes shut in shame as her tears spilled. “Your right’” she sobbed. “I failed you, I did talk to them, I know it’s probably too late, but I wanted you to know that at least.”
“What do you mean by talk?”
“It was more shouting than talking. We were having dinner and Molly made a passing comment about our relationship as ‘nonsense’ that was finally over.” Hermione pulled a face as she muttered the word ‘nonsense. “I snapped. I was so mad! And then Ron had to put the icing on the cake”
“What happened?” Narcissa asked, curious.
“I punched him.”
“He said you were just a phase,” she walked towards Narcissa, still looking at her not breaking eye contact. “You will never be just a phase,” she grabbed Narcissa’s hands. Her courage and determination shining through unblinking eyes. “I want you to be my everything.”
“Hermione . . . “
“Marry me Cissy.”
Narcissas eyes widened in shock. “Don’t be silly, you’re talking crazy.” Narcissa said dismissing it. However Hermione was not giving up.
“No, crazy was not realising what I had with you until I lost you. I meant it Cissy, I love you. I never want to be without you again.”
Hermione kissed her, sealing her declaration and hoping it was enough. She stroked her finger over narcissas cheek, feeling her tears drop.
“How can you be sure?” She whispered.
“I’ve never felt so sure about anything in my life, I even brought this.” She reached into her pocket and pulled out a box opening the clasp to expose a black diamond ring sitting proudly on a delicate silver band. “Happy Valentines Narcissa”
The tears fully flowed down her cheeks now. Hermione removed the ring from the box and lifted Narcissa’s left ring finger, delaying an inch in front of the tip as she looked for confirmation. Narcissa smiled and nodded. Hermione slipped it on. A perfect fit of course, and she smiled for the first time in weeks as she kissed the woman she loved, the one who would be her wife.