Who: Narcissa & Lucius What: A dance, and then a proposal Where: Malfoy Ballroom, after that, one of the gardens. When: Malfoy Ball, 18th March Status: Complete log Rating: PG Everybody here is out of sight They don't bark and they don't bite They keep things loose they keep it tight Everybody's dancing in the moonlight
The Malfoy Ball had turned out to be quite the event. Narcissa had arrived in her powder blue gown with white trim, a matching mask covering the upper part of her face. Her hair was done in an up-do, a few curling locks falling to frame her face. She had arrived with her family as only seemed suitable. She would not have gone with any other man who would have asked and she knew Lucius had duties to attend to with his family as well. She hung back with her mother, her eyes taking in the scene around her. There were couples on the floor, a full string orchestra accompanying them. Many milled around the beverage table, only a group of boys laughing out loud. Narcissa could only roll her eyes, turning her attention to the one man she had been observing all night.
Lucius looked so handsome in his finery. He even wore a sword at his side that only made him look more the dashing prince she so wished him to be. She wanted to speak with him, but knew that everyone else was vying for his attention. She was content to stay to the side, sipping at a glass of champagne and ignoring her mother’s inane gossip with the other mothers. Bellatrix had seemed to slip off unawares and Narcissa almost wished she could have gone with her. Well, until she spotted the man of her thoughts walking her way. She couldn’t help but smile, setting the cup down and clasping her hands in front of her, itching for him to hold them.
The entirety of the evening thus far had been comprised of familial duties: mindless conversations, introductions, and all sorts of pleasantries that had him wishing to get away for a bit. However, as this was a big event for Abraxas Malfoy, it was only proper for his son to follow in step, being the dutiful Malfoy heir with a flair for style. And style there was, all across the ballroom and the rest of the Manor, the lavish decor and expensive offerings for the guests spoke volumes about the wealth and pomp of the Malfoys. This was certainly no evening to be taken lightly.
Dinner was to begin in less than an hour, so finally finding an opening for himself to slip away mostly unseen as guests mingled about, awaiting the lavish feast, Lucius made his way as quickly as he could toward the object of his attention, just barely avoiding running. She was such a sight for sore eyes. He had been hoping to catch a moment with her as soon as he and his father had greeted her family's arrival; alas, fate had dealt him a heavy blow and he was trapped in the mind-numbing chatter until that very moment.
Winding his way through a small, spread out crowd, he caught her at the edge of the ballroom looking ever so inviting with the smile lifting her soft lips. How he longed to feel them again… but that would have to wait for the opportune moment, when he would finally reveal to her a portion of what his father intended to announce later.
"Narcissa," he breathed, as soon as he was within speaking range. A flourish and a bow later, he had her gloved hand in his and his lips were lightly brushing against the smooth fabric, lingering for perhaps a moment too long just to feel the warmth beneath the glove. Shimmering grey eyes lifted to her face as he pulled away from her hand, looking askance through his black half-mask.
"Have you been enjoying yourself thus far?"
She knew her mother and her friends had noticed the appearance of the young Malfoy heir and were whispering behind their fans. But for the moment, she did not care. Let them speak of such things as long as she could have this moment with him. She felt a flutter in her heart as he softly kissed the back of her hand, wishing those lips could be upon hers. It would certainly be unseemly, but her mind travelled back to their moment in the potions storeroom. It was enough to make her blush and she began to wish she had a fan of her own.
“It has been a wonderful evening sir,” she said, wishing he could have held onto her hand a bit longer. “We are honoured to be here in celebration with you and your family.” Such formal words, but she knew it was enough to please her mother and the others that were listening around them. She hated how everything she needed to say and do was in the proper manner. She wanted to forget formalities and to speak plainly with Lucius. They had not been able to speak since their last meeting, but she had not pushed the subject. It had been hard for her to do, yet she knew he must have a purpose. She trusted him beyond anyone else, save for Bellatrix, and knew that the connection they had made would never be broken.
“I do hope your father and mother are well,” she inquired, her eyes darting around to find them within the crowd. “I will need to pay my respects to them at a later time.” Her eyes moved back up to meet his through the masks, the want apparent in them.
His returning look was full of want as well, enough to match hers and perhaps to surpass it. The time would come soon enough, Lucius had to remind himself, lest he make a very public scene.
"I am glad to hear it. I was momentarily concerned that you may not enjoy yourself, but with so many charming people to talk with, how could you possibly want for anything further?" The shimmer transformed into a very mischievous look, hidden quite well from prying eyes with his mask, so that only Narcissa could see it. Something about the moment was far more intimate than he'd anticipated. Before he could think rationally, he pulled her hand toward him and guided them to the dance floor, pleasantly observing as a few dancing couples made way for them.
When they reached the centre of the dance floor, he offered a coy smile. "Pardon me Miss Black, but I really must ask you to dance." He chose for the moment to disregard her enquiry regarding his parents; the discussion of his mother would come another time, and she would soon hear enough from his father to tire of it all.
His stare was intense and she felt her whole body respond to it. She had to remind herself of where she was and that others were looking at her, judging. It was quite the honour to be singled by the host’s son and there were many who would gladly take her place. It was enough to make her smirk and accept his hand as he led her away from the gossip and silliness. Now, she only had him and that was what mattered.
“I can assure you sir that there is much I could want.” Her voice was a low murmur so only he could hear. While others parted to let them through, she did not wish anyone to overhear them. As he turned to face her, she looked him in the eyes, smiling back at his request.
“There would be nothing that would make me happier,” she said, placing her hand in his and one of his shoulders. She knew every eye was on them and it couldn’t have been more perfect. She knew they made a beautiful couple, outshining everyone else there. She had taken great care in her appearance that night (more so than usual) and had hoped to stand out even more so for Lucius. It seemed that everything she did was for him; it could be as small as how she presented herself to as large as planning her future with him. While he had not given any indication of a proposal, she knew he was the man she was meant to be with.
Lucius took delight in the way that she accepted his hand and fell into the dance. It all came so naturally, both because of years of dance lessons and because of the way he felt himself hovering toward Narcissa. She was so entirely different from any other witch that he found himself thinking about her more often than not. Even now, as they swirled a round on the polished dance floor, moving like complementary waves together, he couldn't take his eyes off of her.
"You dance divinely, Narcissa. Quite like you live life every day, really. Am I being too forward?" His voice was low with undisguised want and awe of her. Normally steely eyes softened and he felt his breaths coming in heated, albeit fairly controlled, pants, both from the dance and her presence. "I simply can't get enough."
At the next twirl in the dance, he pulled her closer, disregarding the impropriety of the act and simply flowing with the music. After all, he was an unmatched dancer in the pureblood circles, and there were plenty of witches that would die to get a turn with him on the floor, so he figured that a good show was in order. If nothing else, there would be some whispered gossip about them and no solid proof, but he had every intention of following through with his attentions before the night was up.
Everything was a dream as Lucius and she waltzed around the dance floor. It was especially pleasing as she knew every eye in the hall was looking at them; it was as if she could actually hear the whispered gossip begin. She hoped Skeeter was paying full attention to this, knowing it would please her to no end. She had been quiet enough of her feelings for Lucius and there were times she wanted to just tell everyone present that Lucius Malfoy and she were courting, that he was the man she was going to marry. Still, it did not seem proper to say something so personal out loud, especially given the celebration of the ball. No, for now she would continue to be silent on the matter, enjoying this dance with Lucius. If she could not share it with the rest of the gala, at least she could have a moment with him.
She smiled at his compliment, inclining her head towards him. “You flatter me Lucius. And you could never be too forward with me.” She gazed up at him, the meaning obvious in her eyes. Those eyes had always held a hard, cold glint in them. Narcissa had always wondered if she would ever see them as anything but and tonight seemed to be that moment. She studied his face, seeing how he transformed into a completely different person with her. It was everything she had hoped for and more. Tonight was truly turning into the fairy tale evening she had always dreamed of as a child.
The next turn brought a smile to her face as he pulled her closer, a slight blush rising to her face. It was certainly an intimate gesture and it seemed to scream his intentions to everyone. “You may want to be careful,” she said, her voice above a whisper being so close to him. “Your father may think you’re being a tad too forward and playing favourites. Don’t you need to stay the eligible bachelor a bit longer?” She hated the thought of Lucius dancing with any other girl in this fashion, but knew he would have to at least give the appearance of interest to others. She wondered what her own father must be thinking, if he was observing at all.
But as she looked back up at Lucius, everything else dissolved around her and she just focused on the man in front of her. This was what she wanted.
The smile in response to her reply was radiant, very unlike how he'd conducted himself at Hogwarts. At school in his Head Boy capacity, Lucius was always on his guard, 'responsible' mask up, and very rarely cracked a smile unless it was obligatory toward a Professor or whilst indulging a student. Here in his own home, however, he felt more at ease than he would've thought now that Narcissa was in his arms. He led them into another few twirls and a dip or two, showing them off to anyone who was watching. He felt the comfort of silence envelop them throughout the remainder of the dance, words unnecessary in the face of their body language that he was beginning to understand better and better.
When the music finally faded and was preparing to shift into another tempo, he let out a breath and gave Narcissa another smile that could melt hearts. Both hands went down to hers as he gallantly led them off of the dance floor, nodding at a few guests who were politely applauding their performance. Lucius barely caught the astonished, yet slightly proud, look of his father on the way from the floor toward the large French doors leading to the garden.
"Shall we go out for some fresh air, Narcissa? That dance left me near breathless. Perhaps some of that was due to your intoxicating nearness, as well." Mischief tinged his every word, punctuated with a fresh wave of longing. He brought them to a halt before the French doors, holding out his arm for her to either reject or take. He had plans that he hoped could be carried out soon before he became far too impatient.
The dance was filled with dips and turns, plunges and breath-taking swirls. It was funny how their steps matched so closely with her heart at the moment. While her mind was concentrated on the guests and their perspective towards the beginning, she only saw Lucius at the end. She eagerly allowed him to escort her off the dance floor, the polite applause only background sounds as she looked up at him, devotion and love already obvious on her face. It seemed that he had taken a new stance towards their relationship, as if something had clicked with him. She was becoming more and more grateful for that potions stockroom every minute.
“Perhaps it was,” she said, her words and voice still cool and calm, the complete opposite of the emotions that were running around inside of her. “I find myself in need of some air from the stuffiness of the room. Some of your guests tonight are… well, interesting to say the least.” It was nigh a slight towards Lucius in anyway; she was sure that the guests invited were out of loyalty and societal respect, nothing more. Still, it made her nauseous just to think that Potter and his group had somehow wormed their way inside. Pureblood or not, there were just some that brought shame to the whole lineage.
She eagerly took the arm he offered, stepping outside into the cool night air; a satisfying relief from inside. “Have you been enjoying yourself?” she asked. “It’s quite a big night for you. I dare say that there are many young women in desperate want of your attention. You honour me by requesting my presence.” She smiled, the formality dropped for a moment.
“I’ve been wanting to see you all night.”
"Have you?" Lucius asked, a little smile at the edge of his lips. He'd been entirely too happy that night, the knowledge of his plans always at the edge of his mind. When he'd finally seen Narcissa, he felt himself loosen up and really enjoy the evening. It was becoming that much more enjoyable by the second. Narcissa's hand on his arm felt like the best sort of mood enhancer that he could ask for.
As they made their way into the thankfully unoccupied garden off of the main ballroom, he stopped them toward the centre, an elegantly decorated pavilion and accompanying romanesque pillars surrounding them. The perfect setting.
"I may have wanted to find you all evening, as well, because I have a very important topic to discuss with you." Before he knew it, he was already pulling her hands closer as he knelt before her, tip of his sword brushing the cool ground when his knee made firm contact.
"Can you bear to give me a few moments to share this topic with you, I wonder?" Lucius was already loosening one hand and reaching into the pocket of his elegant coat, fingers brushing against the velvet wrapping as quickly warming eyes gazed up at her through his mask. Nothing was hidden from sight in his gaze; everything was completely open for her to see his devotion to her.
Her heart melted as he confessed feeling the same emotions as herself throughout the evening, her smile growing wider. “It took you long enough to come find me,” she said. “Or break away from your many fans. I’m sure your father is very proud of you tonight. It’s such a big step for the two of you.” She wanted to tell him about Rita, about how she was trying to sniff around for a story to write for the whole school, but he was standing in front of her and she didn’t grasp his words at first, but her heart felt like it was about to jump out of her mouth. It only grew worse as he was kneeling… Oh Salazar, he was kneeling in front of her.
“Lucius...” her voice was just above a whisper as she just nodded her head to his last question. Of course she would share this moment for him! Don’t over think it... perhaps it’s not what you think. He could be asking for something else... a favour perhaps? So that was a ridiculous notion, yet she couldn’t quite bring herself to completely believe that Lucius Malfoy was kneeling in front of her to ask for her hand in marriage. Could she be that lucky? Could life be that sweet?
Her eyes darted to watch his hand reach into his pocket and she knew. She thanked whatever good grace was left that her hand was not sweaty from such a realization, but it was shaking slightly. She could not remember a time she had smiled so largely and she had to suppress the urge to squeal like a little girl. She had to remain poised and refined as a good pureblood girl would do. Yet this was something beyond her wildest dreams. She was going to marry the man she had always coveted and loved. It was silly to think of her falling in love at such a young age, but she knew that it was true. Lucius Malfoy was the man she was supposed to be with and it seemed like it was actually going to happen.
At her response, the smile bloomed upon his face, the mask barely managing to cover up his own feelings on the matter. Lucius felt the shaking in her hand and he tightened his grip, running his thumb over the back of her hand while his other pulled out the velvet-wrapped parcel and he deftly flipped it open to reveal the glistening ring of platinum, diamond, and amethyst. Goblin-made jewellery at its finest.
"Narcissa... we do have an affinity for uttering names tonight, don't we?" He couldn't help the smirk that played on his lips, but then he cleared his throat and let the full honesty of his feelings for Narcissa shine through his eyes. This was such a rare thing for him that he almost felt himself slip in his hold on her hand.
"In truth, I cannot imagine uttering a name more perfectly suited to my family's than yours. For years I have observed you, learning little things about you that I doubt anyone else would pay as much fine detail to as I have. Everything about you is completely complementary to parts of me that I never imagined anyone else would match so well. Rather like our dance, we seem to be fit to one another like a fine glove to its elegant hand." At that, he lowered his face toward her hand that he simultaneously pulled up to his lips, placing a very light, lingering kiss. He then let go and pulled the ring from its velvet confines, lifting it to glint in the floating fairy lights surrounding the pillars before capturing her left hand and letting it hover before her ring finger. He was as certain of her acceptance as he was of his own beating heart, its rhythm thudding fast but steady within his chest.
Lucius lowered his voice to just above a whisper, somehow feeling that this question, this moment, was more intimate than any other that he'd felt in his life.
"Will you do me the extraordinary honour of becoming my wife, Narcissa Black?"
It was all too much. Narcissa felt the tears spring to her eyes and she tried to brush them away, but she forgot about the mask. She let them fall freely, feeling Lucius’ gentle touch on the hand he held. It only calmed her nerves a bit and she took a deep breath as he began to pour out his heart to her. Everything she had ever hoped for was coming true in that one moment and as she gazed into his eyes, she knew that what he felt for her was genuine. It wasn’t just a one sided love she had often thought it was, but a mutual devotion that shone through his eyes.
She smiled at his teasing, laughing a little as well. Nothing could ruin this night for her. She sniffed as she listened to what he said, her heart melting along the way. Had he truly come to feel for her in this intense way?
As he pulled the ring out from the velvet, a gasp caught in her throat and a gloved hand rose to her chest. It was beautiful. Nothing at all traditional, but she wanted it that way. They were a cut above that and this ring seemed to signify that.
“Yes,” she said, the laughter coming again and the tears flowing a little more freely. “I will!”
For a few seconds, his hand squeezed hers upon her response and his breathing hitched very slightly, noticeable only if one were to look carefully. His smile never once left his face as the ring slowly slid onto her finger, securing the future that he suspected they both looked forward to with more anticipation than he could put voice to. Lips then pressed a light kiss to the back of her hand and he rose, keeping her hand warmly ensconced within his.
When Lucius stood before Narcissa once more, he let himself lean close to her, his breath barely a whisper away from her as he spoke:
"You don't know how happy you've made me. I may not always show it, but… I love you more than I can put to words."
To demonstrate his affection, he pushed forward, angling to prevent the crushing of their elegant masks, and kissed her to seal the engagement. They could worry about the details later. He would tell his father when he was ready, when a proper amount of time passed until he could break the hearts of many single pureblooded witches. Now was for them, Narcissa and Lucius, to appreciate and to enjoy before the world came tumbling down around them.