Seemingly endless days and nights in an alcoholic fog had left Sirius alone and empty. Sitting in the cold Library, the fire long burnt out, he stared blankly into the gloom and drank straight from a bottle of fire whiskey.
Three times he'd gone to her. Three times she'd refused to leave with him. Summer had moved into fall and a full nine months had passed since she'd been stolen from his side. All of it had been hard, but since finding her, since hearing her deny him that first time, everything had gotten so much worse.
Including the war. It was full-scale now. Voldemort was no longer hiding. His attack on Hogwarts at the beginning of the fall term had shocked everyone. Nearly two hundred dead, three quarters of them children. So many of his friends had fallen, but the betrayal had been worse than the loss.
When he closed his eyes he could still see her, flame red hair flowing down her back, standing on the steps of Hogwarts, breaking their defenses from within.
Ginny Weasley, the little girl all grown up into a monster.
Sirius took another deep drink, shuddering at the memories. The resistance was scattered, trying to find its footing. He and Remus were the only two in this safe house at the moment, but how safe was it when Ginny could find it? It was warded, but her power...she drew it straight from Voldemort himself through the connection he'd forged in her eleventh year.
At the moment, Sirius wasn't quite sure if he cared if she found him or not.
Four days before he'd gone to Lilith again, pled with her over the garden wall, and again she'd turned him down.
This time angrily.
An anger stemming from guilt. He could see it in her eyes, in her stance. She was sleeping with that bastard.
It was a cool autumn day for a stroll, but the sun was shining after a morning shower, and Lilith needed the exercise. The baby was still easily hidden behind flowing dresses, but well into the second trimester, she knew sitting around eating leftover tea cakes and drinking cocoa had to be offset somehow. So, every day she walked through the acre of gardens, dead-heading late blooms, trimming back the roses, and making everything tidy for winter.
Her child would be born around the solstice. A fitting child of frost.
And it looked more and more like it would be raised in a much darker world.
She shook off the momentary melancholy and stooped to reset an herb marker that had blown over in the wind that morning. As she rose, she sensed him, and sighed heavily. Her eyes drifted to the gate where the big, shaggy dog stood.
"Go away, Sirius."
With a shrug of his shoulders he shifted and wrapped human hands around the posts of the gate. "Come with me, Lil."
"No. Please stop coming here." It was so hard to be cold, to deny him, that pleading look in his eyes, but she had to. Severus was their best bet at the moment. His position as a spy could not be betrayed.
"I can't. I love you."
"You're being selfish," she cried as her heart began to thud painfully in her chest. "What does love matter if our world ends?"
"What does the world matter without love?" he countered, his hands tightening on the posts. She could see just how much he wanted to open the gate, stride in and carry her away, but if he set foot on the property Severus would know and be there in an instant to stop him.
"Don't turn my words around on me, Sirius. We're fighting for our very survival. Severus is our best hope of information to turn the tide."
A sneer formed around his sensual lips. "He'll betray us, you know. When push comes to shove, he'll show his true nature."
"You don't know him at all."
"And you do?" he yelled, angry and frustrated. "He went willingly to the darkness and backed out when it got too bad for him."
"He was a child then, and he fought his way free to do the right thing at a terrible cost. The nightmares he suffers, the pain he feels even in sleep..." Lilith broke off, flushing as she realized she'd given too much away.
Sirius went still, his face paling. "How do you know about his nightmares, how he sleeps?" He watched her shift uneasily from foot to foot, watched her hug herself defensively, watched her eyes unable to meet his. "Gods, Lilith, don't tell me you're sleeping with him. I don't want to hear that," he cried desperately.
She answered in a shaky voice barely above a whisper, "He's my husband."
"Forced upon you."
"My place is here by his side, fighting at his side and protecting his secrets the only way I can."
"I can't go with you. More importantly, Sirius, I *won't* go with you."
"I thought you loved me."
Her cheeks flamed from anger. "Stop being a petulant child. I have loved you forever, since the night we met, both of us children of darkness finding ourselves in Gryffindor when we should have been Slytherins. I loved you when the Dementors tore us apart. I loved you when I lay curled in a ball in my cell, trying not to scream as my mind shattered. And I loved you for thirteen years knowing you were still there, believing I would never see you again. We survived that. We can survive being apart now."
He shook his head, grief flooding his face. "I had you back. All the pain and misery was worth it when I found you again. It was too short a time."
"Yes, it was." The sorrow drove away the anger and she felt tears prick the corners of her eyes. "Please go, Sirius. You're not safe here."
"...I don't care."
"I *do*. I'll love you forever, Sirius, but I can't be with you right now."
"You won't," he stressed. "And I won't stay away, Lil."
"You're not doing anyone any good by coming here. Don't you see how painful this is?"
"Obviously not painful enough," he sneered. "If it was, you'd leave with me."
"No, I wouldn't. You have to get that through your thick skull. I'm not going anywhere." And the anger and frustration was back. Lilith clenched her teeth against the need to growl and spoke in a clipped tone, "Go away. Don't come back. Go fight for our world. Save us all." Turning on her heel she quickly walked away.
"Dammit, Lilith, don't walk away from me!"
But, he didn't open the gate.
The whisky burned as Sirius drank deeply. He craved the numbness that was coming, the haze where nothing mattered. Where he didn't see Lilith in every corner of the room. Didn't see her walking through the door wearing little more than a sheer gauzy gown that flowed over ripe curves to her perfect feet. The candles behind her illuminated dark rose nipples, hard in the cool air, pressed against the bodice. The curls between her legs were just visible, a dark blonde.
She walked towards him, her hair loose, a smile on her face.
He swallowed hard. It couldn't be. He shook himself, trying to clear his muddled thoughts, but the vision of her didn't fade, and her smile only deepened as she perched on the corner of his desk and plucked the bottle from his hands.
"You said...you said you wouldn't come..."
"I couldn't stay away." Her voice was throaty, almost playful, and sent a charge straight to his groin. She lifted the bottle to her lips, took a drink, and he watched her swallow, watched as she drew the lip of the bottle down between her barely covered breasts. "I need you."
"Lil...oh gods..." Grabbing the bottle he tossed it aside, uncaring that it shattered against the wall, the contents spilling down the mildewy wallpaper to puddle on the threadbare rug. Then he grabbed her, pushing her back on the desk and coming over her, kissing her desperately.
She seemed to hesitate at first, but quickly kissed him back enthusiastically, her fingers finding purchase in his hair, one leg wrapping around his hip.
"You're real, you're real," he chanted between kisses.
"Of course, silly." Her hands slid down his back, tugging his shirt up to knead his skin. He dragged the narrow straps of her gown down her arms, pulling the bodice with them to bare her breasts. One calloused hand cupped her as his mouth found hers again, several days growth of beard rough against her cheeks. Leaving her gasping for breath, he slid down her body to fasten his mouth over one of her nipples. She arched to him, her hands in his hair again, guiding him to suckle at her.
"Yes...oh please," she groaned, stroking her foot down the back of his leg. "Fuck me into the desk, Sirius."
He stilled as if a bucket of cold water had been flung over his head. Lifting his gaze to hers, he saw the hungry look on her face, but there was also something else, and, as he rose on unsteady legs, pulling away from her grasping hands, he saw that look deepen.
"What's wrong?" When he didn't answer, the fear only spread across her features, darkening her eyes. "Sirius?"
He shook his head hard, wincing at the headache that began thumping against the inside of his skull. "You're not Lilith."
She sat up, reaching for him, and he stumbled back. "Of course I am. You're just confused by the drink. Love...please..." When she rose from the desk, the gown slid to her feet and she stepped free from its confines, advancing on him as he kept stumbling back until he hit a wall. She pressed herself to him, purring slightly. "Everything will be fine. Just let me do all the work."
As she started to drop to her knees, he grabbed her wrist, holding her up, his face grim and his eyes burning. "Give it up, Narcissa."
All color drained from her face and her eyes went empty. He watched her swallow convulsively, watched emotions shatter across so familiar features, and his grip only tightened. "How did you know?" she finally whispered.
"Lilith has never ever asked me to fuck her. We've only ever made love."
She seemed to crumple within herself, pulling desperately at his fingers to free her wrist. "No, no," she began to mutter. "I can't have failed." Finally he released her and she fell heavily onto one hip, wincing at the jarring pain and scrabbling for her gown. When she grabbed it, all she had the strength to do was hold it in front of herself as the realization finally hit her. "I'm dead."
Sirius frowned and rubbed his throbbing temples. "Get out, Narcissa."
"Dead," she whispered, staring blankly at the floor in front of her. "I failed."
Suddenly furious, Sirius grabbed her and jerked her to her feet, then propelled her across the room. "Get out." Opening the door, he flung her out into the hall where she collided with Remus who gaped at the naked female in his arms.
"Not quite," Sirius said harshly from behind her, where he leaned heavily against the door jamb as the whisky hit him again.
Remus looked down at the pale and shaking woman in his arms, then took the gown from her tight grip and pulled it over her head. He watched as she shivered, not from cold but from something else. Her lips and skin were almost blue from terror. "Lady Narcissa?" he asked gently.
"Please," Narcissa whimpered almost too low to be heard. "I don't want to die."
"We're not going to hurt you," he soothed, lifting her long hair from beneath her gown and draping it down her trembling back.
"Remus, toss the bitch out." Sirius started to back up to close the door between them but stopped at one look from his friend.
"Sirius, how did she get in here?"
Slowly the fog faded and the drunken man's eyes widened in shock and horror. "The wards." He reached for Narcissa and she whimpered and skittered backwards, pressing herself against Remus. "How did you get past the wards?" He advanced on her, eyes blazing with fury.
"Sirius, you're frightening her."
"She's a Death Eater's bitch, Remus. She doesn't get frightened." He grabbed her and began to shake her. "How did you get in here?" The look he shot Remus stopped him from interrupting. "Answer me!"
"Sh...shared blood," she stammered. "Lilith and I...fooled the wards...use to do it when we were kids."
His voice turned deadly and his fingers tightened, biting into her soft arms. "Why?"
Narcissa shook her head, numb.
"What did you think you would get out of it, Narcissa?" Sirius demanded, nearly lifting her off her feet in his fury. "Did you just want to fuck with my mind?"
She shook her head again. "Nuh...no. It wasn't me. Wasn't my idea. Please, you're hurting me."
"Sirius, let her go," the other man said in a soft, persuasive voice.
Sirius ignored him, barking through clenched teeth, "Who sent you and for what purpose?"
"Lucius. To...to seduce you." Her teeth began to chatter as the hysteria inside her took control. "Failed. Failed and dead. He'll kill me." She laughed, a pathetic sound, stark terror written on her face. Sirius stopped shaking her.
Behind her Remus frowned and removed his wand, doing a quick and silent examination. "She has a powerful spell on her." He frowned deeper. "Succubus."
Sirius jerked his hands away from her, giving her a horrified look. "You sought to bind my body?"
Narcissa nodded listlessly. "Take you out of here, take you to Him. Thorn in His side. Failed. I failed and now I'll die." Without his hands holding her up, she slipped to the floor, wrapping her arms around herself and rocking.
"We can't let her leave here," Remus began softly.
"Why? We'll tighten the wards so she can't get back in. Even if she leads an army here they can't get in."
"You heard her, Sirius. He, Lucius, Voldemort, whichever, will kill her."
Sirius snorted. "She's not exactly an innocent."
"She's Draco's mother."
At that, Sirius rolled his eyes. "Fine. Whatever. Just leave me to my whisky." Turning, he stumbled back into the library and slammed the door behind him.
Frowning after his friend, Remus crouched down next to Narcissa and very carefully touched her shoulder. She jerked, but didn't try to avoid his touch. "Narcissa, you're welcome to stay here. You'll be safe. No one can get to you."
Slowly that sank in, past the fear, and she blinked up at the gentle looking man with reddish brown hair and a neatly trimmed beard. "Why would you do that for me?"
"For several reasons, but mostly because I won't send anyone to their death if I can help it."
"You believe me? That Lucius will kill me?"
He nodded and saw a dim hope drift into her eyes, sweeping aside the emptiness.
"I'll be your prisoner?"
He hesitated slightly, then sighed. "We can't let you leave. The wards might be fooled again and the next time you might bring an army. And...I may not wish you dead, Narcissa, but I'm not fool enough to trust you."
"Smart man," she murmured, the hysteria finally gone from her tired voice. "I knew this was a stupid idea, that he'd see through it." She pulled herself to her feet and Remus rose with her. "You're the werewolf."
His lips quirked. "I prefer Remus."
"So, where's my prison, Remus?"
A while later after settling Narcissa into one of the empty bedrooms and locking her in with both locks and wards, Remus hesitantly entered the dreary library. Sirius had lit a fire and sat slumped before it, another bottle in his hands, though this one looked hardly touched.
"I put her in your mother's old room."
"About the only one up to her standards," Sirius snorted, taking a sip of the whisky.
Remus slipped into the other chair. "She's...oddly grateful to us for sparing her life and letting her stay, though she did warn me not to trust her."
"You don't trust snakes, Remus, ever."
"It's just...I'd forgotten how much she and Lilith..."
A nasty, self-deprecating smile crossed Sirius' lips. "Yeah, that was the idea, and if she'd kept her mouth shut I probably would be in Voldemort's hands right now."
"Thank Merlin she didn't, then." Remus shook his head, unwilling to think about what his friend's fate might have been. "I've strengthened the wards on the house and sent an owl to Albus. He...has to remove Lilith's permission to enter."
Slowly Sirius nodded and lifted the bottle to his lips again. "She's never coming back here anyway. She's sleeping with Snape," he added baldly.
Taken aback, Remus stared at the other man for a long moment, and realized he was very, very drunk. He never would have shared that information sober. "Sirius...did she tell you that?"
He snorted again. "Didn't have to."
"She knows what's best is for her to remain where she is." At Sirius' growl, Remus quickly held up a placating hand. "I don't say this to hurt you, Sirius. Maybe she's saying whatever she needs to keep you away."
Sirius let that thought sink in, then shook his head. "No. I could see the guilt." Setting the bottle down he leaned forward, putting his head in his hands. "For so long she was the only thing I had to hold onto and she was completely out of my grasp. Having her this close and having her be so damn stubborn..."
"She's doing her part for the war."
"No one will ever convince me that Severus Snape is doing us any good," Sirius snapped, glaring at the other man.
"Then you're a fool," Remus replied calmly. "You're hatred of him as always blinded you to his talents, and vice versa, I might add."
"He's...he's, oh gods, I can't even think about him with Lilith. It's killing me!"
"Sober up," the other man snapped, suddenly losing his temper. "Right now you're the one who's useless to the cause. The only way you'll ever have a chance to win Lilith back is if we win this damn war, so get off your arse and help." Pushing himself out of the chair, Remus stormed out of the room, leaving Sirius blinking blankly behind him.
Up on the first floor, Narcissa sat on the bed in the shabby room, her back straight, her feet on the floor, their sides just touching. Eyes closed, she saw.
Her sister herself, nude, astride a man.
Her hands touched her belly, the mound there, the child. Her womb was alive, her body fertile, her husband's seed having taken strong root. And she was happy.
In a cottage far from London Lilith opened her eyes and saw shabby walls, a streaked mirror reflecting herself her sister.
Her hands slid across her flat stomach and tears filled her eyes.
Her womb was dead, destroyed by the infection that had ravaged her after Draco's birth. Destroyed by Lucius' greed and hunger for power and the Dark Lord's perverted lusts.
The connection tightened and they both murmured the others name, and then it snapped apart, leaving them both shaken.
Lilith stared down at her husband, her face pale, her arms that held her up trembling hard.
Severus moved quickly, sliding her off him, his hands moving quickly over her body, his concern evident. "Are you all right? Did I hurt you? The baby...?"
"No...no, Sev. I'm fine. I..." She shook her head and swallowed hard, smiling weakly as he cradled her close, murmuring to her and stroking her trembling back. "I...was...I was Narcissa."
He pulled back enough to stare into her eyes, very surprised.
"It's something that hasn't happened in..." She shook her head and sighed softly. "Since we were in school. It used to happen all the time whenever something stressful or odd or powerful happened to either of us. For a moment it would be like we'd switched bodies. It's been over twenty years since it happened last. I...I don't know what might have triggered it."
"Was she hurt or..."
"She seemed fine, but..." Lilith frowned and wrapped her arms around Severus' neck, hugging herself closer to him. "She was alone and frightened...somewhere shabby and empty. She knows I'm pregnant. One of the twists is the connection is similar for both. If I smell roses, she smells them. I...touched my stomach. She touched it. And..." Tears suddenly sprang into her eyes as the horror finally impacted. "Oh gods, I know why she never had another child."
"Why?" Severus asked, his voice low and soothing as she started to cry.
"Only a few weeks after Draco was born Lucius gave her to Voldemort."
Narcissa lay back on the bed, her hands clasped over her stomach. Lilith was pregnant, something she'd hidden from the Court.
Lilith was fucking Severus and looking like she was enjoying it a lot.
She wondered if Black knew either.
And her sister seemed oddly animated for someone doped up on Obfuscare.
Narcissa chuckled, a choked and empty sound, and wondered what to do with that information.
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