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FIC: Sisters 
10th-Oct-2010 12:33 pm
Andy
Title: Sisters
Characters: Narcissa, Andromeda, Bellatrix, Tonks
Parings: None, really
Length: 812

Summary: Written for the prompt: Andromeda, Bellatrix, Narcissa, sister to sister, sister requested by thevera over at The Bechdel Test Comment Ficathon. After the war, Narcissa contemplates the word "sister."

Sisters

Sisters. The word felt odd to Narcissa, although she did not say it aloud. Sisters.

When they were younger, the word had meant care, comfort, a sense of perfect understanding of her place in the world. Bellatrix had always been her guide; from Bellatrix, Narcissa learned how to act according to her station in life, how to treat those beneath her, how to carry on a double sided conversation—sweetness lined with malice.

From Andromeda she learned everything and nothing. She learned lessons she had done her best to forget, but could not now keep from flying back into her mind, demanding her fullest attention. From Andromeda, she learned something she was never able to put a name to until now—compassion. She learned that it was not always necessary to treat those beneath you as subhuman beings. She learned that well-bred pureblood ladies could be personable too.

From her two sisters, she learned what it was to feel alone. As different as they were—Andromeda with her cold, calculating compassion, and Bellatrix with her fiery superiority and effortless contempt—they connected to each other in a way she knew she could never live up to. They completed each other, sometimes seeming to forget Narcissa’s very existence; they’d taught her how to act with her superiors and her inferiors, but she was at a loss as to how to act with her sisters.

And then Andromeda left, and suddenly, things became easier. Andromeda had disgraced herself, running off as she did as a Mudblood. She had taught Narcissa the merits of kindness, but now, knowing Andromeda’s true leanings, it was easy to forget her lessons, easy to push them away, easy to use Andromeda’s absence to draw herself closer to Bellatrix.

Sisters. The word felt so much different years down the line, years after Bella’s arrest and Andromeda’s betrayal. It meant almost nothing. She had Lucius, and Draco, and her place in society. She no longer needed to wait around for her sisters to notice her. She could ignore the loneliness.

The word felt bitter when Bellatrix was broken out of Azakaban. It had changed. They had changed. Narcissa no longer needed Bellatrix to teach her how to behave, and Bellatrix no longer held the control over Narcissa that she once had.

“You haven’t seen her, have you?” Bellatrix asked suddenly, about one month after her release. Narcissa didn’t have to ask who she meant.

“Well, I’ve seen her out with that child of hers,” Narcissa sniffed, “but of course I’d never speak to her.”

“Of course not,” Bellatrix replied with a slight smirk. Narcissa wondered if there had been anything more to Bella’s question, but didn’t ask.

Sisters. In those final moments somewhere on the upper floors of Hogwarts castle, the word came flying back with a meaning she hadn’t assigned to it in years. There was Bellatrix leaning over a barely conscious body slumped against a wall. With a jolt of horror, Narcissa saw that it was her. The girl. Andromeda’s girl.

“Bellatrix, don’t,” she heard herself say.

“What?”

“Don’t kill her, please. Th-that’s Andromeda’s girl.”

Bellatrix turned, raising her eyebrows sardonically. “Yes, Cissy,” she sneered, emphasizing the childhood nickname, “I know who this is.”

“You’ve done enough, Bella. You’ve made your point. You don’t have to kill her.”

Bellatrix looked rather baffled by this turn of events, but quickly saved face. “You’re obviously hysterical—” said Bellatrix in her best dismissive voice, turning back to the girl.

“No!” and before Narcissa really knew what had come over her, she’d launched herself at Bellatrix, trying to wrestle the wand from her sister’s hand.

With an angry cry, Bellatrix—recovering from the shock induced by Narcissa’s behavior—seized Narcissa by the shoulders and threw her against a wall. Sliding down onto the floor Narcissa looked at the girl for the first time, and the girl looked back. For an instant before the green light flashed, Narcissa thought she could see Andromeda in the girl’s eyes.

Sisters. Bellatrix and Andromeda. And then Narcissa and Bellatrix. And then Narcissa alone with Lucius and Draco. And back to Narcissa and Bellatrix. And now what? Would she return to Narcissa Malfoy, to the role of the proper pureblood lady in the shadow of her ruined husband and her traumatized son? Or was she someone new; someone who was willing to take her life and destiny into her own hands, not caring a damn about the possible repercussions.

Maybe she was. Maybe, for the first time, there could be Andromeda and Narcissa.

Maybe Andromeda would slam the door in her face (Narcissa wouldn’t blame her). Maybe she would stare bleakly, ask her and tell her to leave. And maybe, just maybe if she thought back, all the way back to Andromeda’s lessons in compassion, she could mend some of what lay broken between them.

Sisters. Exclusion, loneliness, grief, loss, and now, maybe, something new.
Comments 
14th-Oct-2010 05:29 am (UTC)
Oh wow. This is painful and beautiful.
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