Prompt: 408. "They say time heals all wounds, but that presumes the source of the grief is finite" ― Cassandra Clare, Clockwork Prince
Content Information/Warnings: 1059 words; angst, post-war trauma
Summary: He promised he would never leave her. She believed him. So why wasn't he coming back?
Author's Notes: Thank you so much to K. for being your usual flawless self, providing lots of inspiration and your amazing beta skills, and to Sassy for hosting this amazing fest!
He was gone. Gone forever, they said, but Narcissa refused to believe that he was capable of leaving her behind in times like these. He wasn't gone, hadn't left, doing the unspeakable to her, hadn't made come true what she feared more than anything else, no… He wasn't gone… One day he would return, she knew he would. One day they would be reunited, no matter how, no matter when. One day, everything would be all right again…
Perhaps it was foolish to believe in something others claimed to be impossible, but she would gladly call herself a fool, if only it could bring her husband back to her. Hadn't he promised her to always protect her, to always stay by her side? And now… Now, should everything be over? Should he have broken his promise in the moment she needed him the most?
They had lost everything in the war, everything except each other. Fallen from grace, she heard the people whisper, but Narcissa couldn't care less about whispers. Why would she still worry about something they called reputation when all that mattered was to survive, to know those she loved were safe? The past years had taught her that nothing was to be taken for granted, nothing at all.
Bella was dead, had fallen to the floor right before her eyes, holding her wand in her hands still. How helpless had she been, yet how desperately had she wanted to save her…? And Draco? Draco had slipped away from her too long ago, would barely look into her eyes anymore as though he were blaming her for what they all were forced to go through.
She merely had her husband left now, only Lucius to come to. He'd always been there, there to calm her down, to hold her, to comfort her when in her weakest moments she had believed nothing would ever come to any good, tired of the war, tired of everything.
War… The war was written on their faces still, months after the Dark Lord had fallen. Deep shadows were lingering beneath her husband's eyes; his skin had lost all colour, leaving him behind pale as a ghost, while Narcissa had become so thin that he barely touched her anymore, as though he were afraid of breaking her. And yet, she had always believed that as long as they were together, nothing would ever be able to harm them.
With a quiet gasp Narcissa opened her eyes, bit her lip in order to suppress a sob. It only took her a glance out of the window to know that dawn was still hours away, that it had to be barely past midnight.
"Have I been dreaming?" she asked quietly into the darkness, receiving only silence as a response. Once more, her heart seemed to break apart, once more her hand reached into emptiness instead of finding his forearm, once more when she called out his name, it faded away into nothing.
He was gone.
Sometimes Narcissa awoke from her sleep screaming, but who would hear her now? Who would still care about her, who would weep for her if she…
He was gone.
Narcissa had sworn to herself to forgive him anything, but there was little to forgive. She knew that Lucius loved her like she loved him, knew that he could never hurt her willingly. She trusted him, trusted him blindly, even more than she'd ever trusted her sisters. And yet, he had left, had made her break her vow. Never would she be able to forgive him his unspeakable betrayal.
He would return. Of course he would return, would wrap his arms around her body, hold her and never let her go. He would return…
How much she missed him. How much she wanted their gazes to cross again, how much she wanted to touch him, to feel his hot breath against her skin… How much she wanted to hear his voice, speaking out her name…
Time would heal all wounds, they said, but Narcissa knew better. Time healed nothing, only numbed the pain, long after it had grown beyond any endurance. Grief would never dry out, not for years, not for decades. Never. What fools they were to believe that wounds like these could be closed…
Again she gasped for breath, quickly shook her head as if it could help her suppress the sudden anger that came up inside of her. How dare he… How dare he leave her, how dare he break his promise? How dare he not even say good-bye? Narcissa wanted nothing more than to cry, wanted to shout out the words for the entire world to hear, but they wouldn't pass her lips.
He was gone.
Traitor! She screamed in her thoughts, and for the first time, tears came bursting out of her like a waterfall, streaming down her face as though they were never to stop. She needed him, needed him so much… Hadn't he once sworn to always be there, in good times as in bad?
"Come back to me," Narcissa whispered, her voice trembling as much as her hands when she raised them in an attempt to brush away the tears from her eyes. She would give anything to look into his eyes, to tell him how much she loved him… She would give anything to be with him again, to be at his side...
He was gone.
Have I been dreaming? she asked herself once more, this time silently. The past days had felt like nothing but a dream to her, like one of her nightmares that had haunted her during the war when fear and uncertainty were her constant companions, slowly choking her from inside. Had she gone insane? Had she lost her senses at last, was it merely her mind, cruelly fooling her into believing he…
It wasn't a dream. No matter how desperately she wished to be asleep, to simply open her eyes and find him lying beside her, she knew that it wasn't a dream, knew that she was awake, wide awake, and that only in her dreams would they be reunited. She knew that he wouldn't come back.
He was gone. Lucius was gone, never to return, gone, had left her behind alone, scarcely able to breathe. He was gone…
Tomorrow would be his funeral.