Tend to the Poet

BY : marianaruiz
Category: HP Canon Characters paired with Original Characters > Het - Male/Female
Dragon prints: 120
Disclaimer: I do not own any characters in the Harry Potter fandom nor do I make any money from it. Any own characters are a work of fiction and do not resemble any living/dead persons, any resemblance is purely coincidental.

Clarissa Rosella Lestrange stood dismally in the magical ruins of her family home. 'Sans cesse chanceux, jamais affectif, toujours pur.' Forever wealthy, never emotional, always pure. Summed the members of her family up perfectly. The crushing enormity of the situation threatened to overwhelm her as Clarissa saw her father's portrait lying in the rubble, despite her family's forceful teachings from a young age. 
"No emotions, girl! How many times do I have to beat it into you?" Clarissa swayed sickeningly at the memory and cleared her throat, before moving on for more memories to desperately clutch to.
The status of her family, the wealth, the power they possessed, all in disarray. Before she and her dear papa fled the authorities to evade the same fate as Bellatrix, the family had disowned her for associating with 'filthy half-bloods'; 'despicable blood traitors' and, her mothers favourite, 'the thieves-of-magic; Mudbloods.' Despite this, Clarissa brushed the dust away from her mother's portrait which hung dejectedly on a single, lone-standing wall. She performed a simple spell which righted the portrait and kissed it, before Apparating illegally away. It didn't matter, their house, or what was left of it, habited in a magical community anyway.
Clarissa woke up, and sighed. She rose quickly, and hastily quashed her dangerous emotions, and the dream that so often recurred. There wasn't room for laziness at the Malfoy abode. She made her bed, the Muggle way, as her mother's trusted wand had been misplaced or stolen long ago, her own confiscated after being expelled from Beauxbatons on account of her mother's arrest. Soon after her father's fleeing and ungracious dumping of Clarissa onto her aunt and cousin, she had ran away from the Malfoy home (ran was an overstatement, she had heartily swaggered, with all of the contempt she could muster, out of there) and from there had ventured into Knockturn Alley.
She had strutted around Knockturn Alley with as much as disdain she had inherited from Bellatrix as she could produce. She made to look like she had business, and looking a great deal like her mother, Bella, helped too. She had then quickly stole the first wand that was easily accessible (fools, these were dark times, didn't they know better than to abandon their gateway to the magical world?!) and had illegally disapparated before the idiots had even noticed she was present.
Living with her aunt, uncle and cousin wasn't ideal, (especially as Clarissa was nearing marriable age and Narcissa was ungraciously pushing Draco's hand into her future) but it was nearing September rapidly and Clarissa would soon be able to attend Hogwarts.
The reminiscing made her retch, and Clarissa quite forgot herself. It was only until Narcissa screeched for her to join the breakfast table that Clarissa jumped, the shrillness ringing in her ears. She was supposed to have tidied her chambers before this, and she couldn't EVER be late for breakfast. She waved a cheeky flick of the untrustworthy, stolen wand, and exited the bedroom, hurtling down the stairs two at a time, breathing deeply to steady herself. 
"Good morning, Aunt. Uncle." Clarissa nodded solemnly at each of them. She was never to show happiness. Narcissa hated it. 
"Yes, Clarissa, you're here. Now, breakfast is on the table, and you know the cycle by now. Standard routine cleaning of the household plus a little extra work on the oven. You're slacking, girl. How are you ever going to make a good housewife for Draco?" Her aunt looked at her disapprovingly.
Clarissa had learned to say nothing, looking through her aunt and uncle silently. Draco, being a year her junior, avoided her eyes.
"Narcissa, that's what the house-elves are for." Lucius murmured, not wanting to contradict his wife. 
"It is still the mark of a good witch to provide a well-kept home for her family and children. Now, Clarissa, Lucius and I have some business to attend-"
"What is it concerning, if I may?" Clarissa interjected, grasping for news of her mother, yet still avoiding Narcissa's harsh gaze. 
"You may not. You will do well to mind the business that pays you." Narcissa stated forcefully, white hot rage dancing in her eyes at Cassie's impertinence.
"We will be back at six p.m. sharp. I expect the house thoroughly cleaned." 
Narcissa sauntered off, Lucius hung back, addressing no one in particular. 
"You may find Abluopersus of use. Cast with some conviction. Goodbye." And with that, Lucius left the house, his great frame causing him to slope through the doorways.
Cassie sighed and used her stolen wand to clean, taking extra care with the stove. She was used to cleaning by now, both Bellatrix and Narcissa just had to have bids to make her the perfect housewife. But it was always odd to adjust from owning a house-elf to becoming one. With no more than a lazy flick of the wand, Cassie was finished for the day, and decided she'd take a swim in the pool - a luxury the Lestranges did not think de rigeur.
Cassie was just adding the finishing touches to her loosely styled hair, favourite bikini, and the light smattering of makeup she wore (a pure-blood woman must never look unkempt!) when the doorbell echoed a sinister melody. It was funny, really, how Cassie had grown so used to this frivolous house, that she had never once realised how naked, exposed and vulnerable the lonely, old building made her feel. The doorbell chimed a mockingly, beautifully morbid tune. Cassie checked the Muggle contraption for checking time. It was barely noon, Cassie was certain it wasn't her aunt and uncle. 
Cassie sighed, held out her wand, like her mother had instilled into her countless times, when she escorted Cassie to endless Death Eater gatherings. From the tender age of ten, the horrors Cassie faced were to stay in that disgusting, secretive, perverted room, and that disgusting, secretive, perverted room only. She shivered as the memory swept over her, entwining and gleefully, perversely embracing every one of her senses with it. Cassie recoiled away from everything, and rocked in the fetal position as the memory engulfed her slender frame.
"Ah, Bellatrix. I see your... spawn has accompanied us for the first time! How great it must feel, the first gathering it attends and I am present. Tell, what of the sex?"
Voldemort had his eyes on the ten year old child seated in Bella's lap and was watching it intently. 
"Female, my liege." Bellatrix gushed with a curt nod, and the faint sense of pride Bellatrix felt was echoed in her eyes.
Voldemort let out a strangled hiss. "Another woman," The Dark Lord stood up suddenly, his robes billowing around him impressively. "And what use is she to our cause? Women are nothing but child-bearers and homemakers!" 
There was a pregnant pause as The Dark Lord mused. Nobody dared utter a single sound as Voldemort seemed immersed in his own thoughts. "However," he announced, breaking the strained lull."I can think of one, ah... Use.. We can put her to."
Voldemort's eyes locked on Bellatrix and gleamed malevolently. His expression was one of challenge, as if he dared Bellatrix's foolish maternal instinct to take over her mind and refuse, questioning his very being. However, of course, the only veto Bellatrix let show was the flashing of her eyes and the instinctive tightening of her grip on the child.
"What is this? Surely you want the child to be initiated, as one of us? Or, Bellatrix, (his snake-like features hardened and a perverse, childlike smile formed on his lips) do your loyalties lie elsewhere?" Voldemort wore a gleeful, unyielding expression, indicating for Bellatrix to argue, to challenge, to do something that indicated resistance. 
"My... Lord! Of course, my loyalties lie with you, and you only! But, if essential to the cause, you may perform any act you see fit on the... Child." Bellatrix shied away from naming the pitiful creature for fear of getting too attached, and, if Voldemort was planning a repeat of Bellatrix's initiation, Bellatrix couldn't feel any affection for the child. 
"Excellent. Excellent! Now, we shall begin..." Voldemort's face swam in and out of focus alternately as the memory sank deep into its usual hiding place, at the very bottom of her being.
The constant tattoo of drumming on the wooden door in front of Clarissa's refuge spot woke her from the reminisce. She was drenched in sweat. Steadily, Clarissa stood up, took a quick evaluation of herself in the ornate mirror, and, with a deep breath and an unsteady heart, opened the door.

"Gods, Clarissa Lestrange, is that you?" A pug-faced girl stood short, timid, uneasy, in Clarissa's commanding, almost-nude presence. 
"Yes, Parkinson, it is I. But it's Black these days. Clarissa Black. Now, pray tell, why do you disturb my ever-decreasing freedom?" Clarissa sighed, bored, eyeing her nails.
"I-Draco invited me." Pansy's eyes shifted nervously. 
"Draco invited you?!" Clarissa spluttered, incredulous. "Merlin, his standards have truly lowered since the last time I was here."
"May I remind you of YOUR standards, Black?" Pansy spat with equal disdain.
"And what standards are those?" 
"You know exactly what. Blood traitors and muggles!" 
"Ah mon dieu. This is not worth my time. Draco's upstairs, tossing himself off probably." Clarissa slunk away, uncaringly, focused on her swim. 

-

The water was cool and heady, and Clarissa was so relaxed she almost didn't notice Draco slithering in next to her. He swam effortlessly, his taut muscles glistening under the fading August sun. 
"Circe, Draco, you gave me a fright. What are you doing here?"
"What am I doing in my own pool, you mean?"
"Finished with your whore, have you? 
"Do I detect a hint of jealousy, Black?"
"Well your mother is insistent on our future marriage. I wonder if our children will have three legs or three eyes?"
Clarissa laughed at Draco's arrogant flirting, matching his repartee, more at ease than she had ever been during her visits to the Malfoy manor. She didn't know what had changed with Draco over the year since she saw him last, perhaps it was him finally blossoming into a handsome young man, but Clarissa much preferred the stark difference to the mute child that stared widely at everything she did. 
The air grew colder as the day wore on, the two racing, swimming laps, splashing at each other, until finally, they climbed out of the pool to watch the sunset, exhausted. Draco sat down on a cosy loveseat and Clarissa sensed it was expected of her to follow. He opened a bottle of wine with ease, pouring Clarissa a glass, raising it to her mouth before she could even question why he wanted her intoxicated.
"Delightful. Is that a vintage?"
"Oui, Chateau Castille. 1492."
Clarissa let out a low whistle, impressed. 
"And you brought it out for little old me?"
Draco nudged closer, eyes darting across Clarissa's toned, swimsuit-clad body.
"Well, actually Black- Clarissa, I thought now is as good a time as any to bring it up. I'm sure you know it is expected we shall marry after I graduate."
Clarissa shifted in the loveseat uncomfortably. 
"Cousin," Clarissa emphasised, "Are you sure it is what you want?"
"It is not about want, it is expected."
"But we are cousins-" Clarissa interjected. 
"And what of it? Your parents are, mine too to some extent. How else could pureblood families survive? There are not many of us left."
Clarissa sighed, resigned to her fate. 
"Do not despair, cousin Black, I have a proposition for you."
Clarissa's eyebrow raised, betraying her cool demeanour. 
"Oh?"
"Oh indeed. Now, you are entering your sixth year of schooling, mine fifth. I expect you will be in Slytherin, though to me it doesn't matter too much. I have had my fill of all of the houses."
"Gods, Draco, you must be infested!" Clarissa laughed, hitting him playfully. 
Draco chose to ignore her comment, nose high in the air.
"My proposition is thus - you are free to date who you like at school, or fuck whomever you like. For all intents and purposes, though, when we are home we shall present to my parents as a couple who will eventually be engaged. Your conquests at school must not be widely known, as news travels through my parents circles rather quickly. I don't suppose you have had much experience, with you being in France and with your mother."
Clarissa scoffed, her hurt showing in her eyes. 
"I am serious Clarissa. I must warn you not to cross my mother and father, especially not with my hand. You may not become attached to any of your conquests, for it will be eventually futile as we are sure to be engaged. You don't really have a choice - not unless you want to be homeless. May I remind you where your mother is? And I hear Hogwarts is a very cold place during the holidays." Draco had a wicked gleam in his eye. He had Clarissa cornered, like a scared wild animal, and Clarissa felt the urge to bite rising. 
"Where has this come from Draco? Your whore hasn't satisfied you enough so you search for the next available pussy in the house? Gods, I bet if your mother were here-"
"You shut your mouth." Draco stood, suddenly, towering over Clarissa. While she was very tall, he easily surpassed six feet, perhaps even six four. "You talk about my mother like that again and you'll be out of here faster than you can say Azkaban."
Clarissa glowered, but said nothing. She knew he was used to having his way. She, a fallen-from-grace Lestrange, was powerless to stop him. 
"How, exactly, would we present as a couple?" Clarissa avoided his eyes and made herself small. 
That wicked gleam was back.
"Oh, nothing too forward of course. No..." His eyes hungrily made their way down her body; "No underage sex. It would not be prudent to, before marriage. You know how the elders are so set in their ways. Just kissing, dating, that sort of twee shit."
Clarissa snorted. 
"I thought you had your fill of all the Houses?"
"As I will continue to. Here, we will be together. At school, I couldn't care less who's dick you ride. Just don't tell me if it's a blood traitors or a mudbloods. I wouldn't want to soil my dick like that." 
Clarissa didn't know if it was the sudden come-on by Draco, or the bottle of vintage she had been steadily working her way down, but her head was swimming. She stood up, swaying. Draco reached out a hand to steady her. Far too low on her back for Clarissa's liking. 
Clarissa took a few unsteady steps towards the door. Draco hissed at her to take his arm. 
"Mother and father are back. Control yourself, girl. And for Merlin's sake, put something presentable on before dinner." 

-

"Mother. Father. We have some news I hope you shall find to your liking."
Narcissa's eyes immediately jumped to Draco's hand cupping Clarissa's across the dinner table. 
"Look, Lucius. They have decided to go steady." Narcissa sniffed.
Lucius eyed Clarissa, steadily looking at no one in particular and trying hard not to cry. 
"That is most pleasing. Clearly you have taken mine and your mothers advice. It is for your own good after all." 
Narcissa and Clarissa sniffed in unison. Clarissa again said nothing, willing dinner to be over and to be able to be excused. All she wanted to do was cry.
The family ate the rest of their meal in silence, and once her aunt and uncle had risen and retired, Clarissa hurried away to her chambers, choking back a sob. 
"Clarissa! Wait. I think you forgot something." Draco said hungrily. He looked stricken as Clara turned, revealing her streaming eyes. 
"Why are you crying, cousin? I am surely not that bad." Draco was softer now, beckoning her into an embrace.
"Oh Draco! I am just so trapped!" Clarissa fell into his arms, embracing him as family, not lovers. 
"You must learn to stop these silly displays of emotions. We are all trapped Clarissa, some of us more than others." His eyes wandered, absently mindedly rubbing his left arm. 
"Now, go to bed. No more wine for you." He kissed her head tenderly and sent her on her way, eyeing her shapely curves as she ascended to bed. 
"Goodnight Draco." 
"Goodnight Cissa." Her childhood nickname sat heavy in her ears - he had not called her that since they were children. It was slightly perverse, especially since it was her aunts childhood nickname too, but Clarissa was much too tired to do more than drift off as soon as her body hit her four-poster. 

-

Clarissa seated herself at the breakfast table and waited for her aunt, uncle and cousin to join her, praying to Merlin it wasn't her cousin that came down first. Merlin must have been particularly attentive, as it was her aunt and uncle that were seated next. It was a Saturday, of course, and Draco being a fifteen-year-old boy was almost impossible to rouse. 
"Good morning Aunt. Uncle."
"Good morning Clarissa. What are your plans for today?"
"I was wondering-" 
Clarissa was interrupted by a clattering of cutlery. Draco had just smashed into the dining room , hair unkempt, pyjamas still on. Oh to be a man, Clarissa longed. 
"I was wondering if I could visit Diagon Alley today, to get all of my school supplies before the week is out."
"Of course. Draco should be ready soon, he will accompany you."
"Actually, I thought I may go alone, if that is permissible. I know my item list and am able to buy robes and a wand quite easily. I am sixteen, aunt."
"Nonsense, you must have a chaperone. Especially in Diagon Alley. All manner of scoundrels hang around there, just waiting to have their way with young women." Lucius shook his head, smirking slightly. "No, you will go with Draco."
"Actually father, I have some... business to attend to. Clarissa will be perfectly fine if she takes the floo to Borgin and Burkes. They will see her right."
"What sort of business?" Narcissa enquired suspiciously, narrowing her pale blue eyes. 
"For... him. I must visit Professor Snape."
Narcissa looked away, sniffing, but spoke no further. 
"I was also wondering, aunt, if it is prudent for me to purchase an owl?" Clarissa sensed the awkwardness and quickly changed the subject.
"I don't see why not. Draco himself has one, it is convenient for correspondence between us and the school." 
Clarissa smiled. She missed her snowy white owl that still resided in Beauxbatons more than anything, and longed for another companion - one that wouldn't take advantage of her.  
"As you know, the Lestrange account is locked. We are unable to withdraw any gold from it - but not to worry, I don't believe your school items should be too expensive so we are able to cover them. And of course you will be gifted an allowance throughout the year, for trips to Hogsmeade and the like. You are our daughter-in-law now Clarissa, and we do not see our own suffer." Lucius smiled, though not quite reaching his eyes, it was one of the kinder things he had said to Clarissa all summer. 
Narcissa sniffed yet again.
"Of course, once you are seventeen and of age you will receive your inheritance and will be able to access the account. I believe it to be sufficient." Narcissa reminded her.
Sufficient was a vast understatement of course, the upper-class were good at that. Clarissa sighed - it was all a lot more simple in France. It was those who had money and those who did not, none of these rigid class expectations and restrictions. The French were lovers, not fighters, and while Beauxbatons was strictly female-only, there were a couple of local Muggle boys that Clarissa had enjoyed. And how she had enjoyed them. She had an English entanglement previously, of course, during her summers, but it was nothing compared to Jean-Baptiste, nothing that made her feel quite so happy and... alive. 
"Clarissa! Were you listening to your aunt?" Lucius barked. 
"I apologise, aunt. I was distracted."
"As I was saying, the best place to buy your robes is of course Twilfitt and Tatting's. I have seen the way the Slytherin girls your age... 'customise' their robes and I would like to make it explicitly clear you are forbidden to do that. You are a taken woman Clarissa, not a Knockturn Alley whore."
"Yes, aunt." Clarissa bit her lip - what if she wasn't in Slytherin? Would the Malfoys disown her? Make her homeless? It didn't bear thinking about. 
"There are galleons in the coin purse over there. 500 should cover your expenses, and any extras you feel you may need."
Thank you, aunt, uncle, it is most kind. Now, if I am able to be excused I shall floo over there."
Narcissa dismissed her with a bored wave of her hand, now lazily browsing the Daily Prophet. Lucius rubbed his arm sporadically, and was far too engrossed in his own thoughts to be concerned with her early excusal.
But Draco sped after her. Clarissa did have to admit his bedhead and unkempt pyjamas were a little attractive despite the familial familiarity. 
He grabbed her hand with little grace, pulling her into him, grabbing her arse with a low growl and lunging on to her lips, forcing his tongue in. His touch and manner around Clarissa was rough and uncouth. She expected some of the girls in Slytherin liked this, perhaps even found it attractive, but Clarissa detested it. Being raised in France brought with it a certain kind of expectation from a man, and groping her body in a cold empty stairwell was far below those standards. 
Clarissa pushed Draco off her, wiping her mouth in disgust.
"You are a vile little boy. Touch me without asking again and I'll hex you so far into oblivion that you won't even remember your own name, homelessness be damned. You forget my mother's mental state Draco - it runs in the family." Clarissa threatened, eyes wild and hair billowing around her. 
Draco stepped back a little, scared, but quickly regained his calm demeanour, that wicked, manipulative glint ever present in his ice eyes. 
"Forgive me cousin. I just had to have a little taste of what's to come, especially since you'll no doubt be fucking blood traitors and mudbloods once in school."
She scoffed, turning on her heel and marching off, shaking her head in exasperation. Throwing some floo powder into the fireplace, she stepped in, fuming. She almost lost her footing and absent-mindedly blurted a jumble of words, mentally cursing Draco for distracting her.

Clarissa stepped out into a darkened room, blinking to adjust her eyes to light. The room had high ceilings, and ornate floors, and if she hadn't just Floo'd somewhere completely different, she could swear she was still in the Malfoy Manor. She warily tiptoed across the polished floors, being careful not to slip. While she was mostly graceful and poised, Clarissa was prone to her old habit of falling like a newborn deer. It had been mostly beaten out of her, however.
But her footsteps were still far too loud for Clarissa's liking, the click-clacks echoing dangerously. 
"Silencio!" She hissed, casting with the borrowed wand, and moved soundlessly through the hall, searching and praying for a door to appear. 
Merlin had a sardonic way of granting particular wishes, Clarissa mused, as a large wooden door behind her swung open. She pressed herself into the shadows, becoming small again, thanking Circe she cast a Silencio ward around her. 
A tall man with greasy hair and dark robes came striding in, followed by a tall blonde boy. Clarissa craned her neck to get a closer look - Draco?! Gods, how long was she in the fireplace for? She felt queasy at the sight of the two men discussing... something... intently, their noses almost pressed together. Clarissa caught portions of their conversation - "...Dumbledore.." "His plan..." "Do not disappoint Him Draco...". Clarissa lurched, stomach turning. It couldn't be... Him? Clarissa thought, memories of the meetings swimming back and threatening to consume her. She couldn't be betrothed to one of His followers? Clutching at the edges of the room, Clarissa made her way to the wooden door. In her attempt to keep a grasp on her sanity, her charm failed her. She silently cursed the stolen wand. Draco turned towards the sound, eyes flashing when he saw his cousin. 
"Clarissa!" He whisper-shouted, horrified. "What the FUCK are you doing here? You're not safe here! GO!" 
For the first time, Draco sounded terrified. Clarissa had never seen him like that, and went to follow his orders through the wooden door before Draco grabbed her collar forcefully, turning and frog-marching her to the fireplace. In the fire-light, the greasy man was able to catch a glimpse of her face. 
"That's not- that can't be-" He spluttered, sounding incredulous. 
"Bellatrix's. She will be attending Hogwarts this autumn." Draco muttered, face like stone. 
"You must keep her hidden Draco. Now that Bellatrix is in Azkaban, He will want a repl-"
"That's enough!" Draco barked, smoothing Clarissa's hair protectively, and straightening her collar.
"Now, take this and Floo yourself to Borgin and Burkes. Speak clearly, mumbling could do a lot of damage. You're so lucky it was I who found you."
Clarissa scoffed, rolling her eyes, but was interrupted by Draco placing a kiss on her lips. This one was longer, deeper, more intimate and less forceful, and Clarissa was almost swept off her feet. This was true French passion. 
The greasy-haired man raised one eyebrow and pursed his lips, but said nothing. Draco pressed his forehead to hers and mouthed 'Borgin and Burkes' with a small smile, then faded away as Clarissa began to spin. 

"Ah you must be Clarissa. Draco sent word. I was expecting you rather a lot earlier than this." The old, monocled man leaned over the counter, tutting disapprovingly. 
"I.. I apologise, sir. I-" Clarissa was disoriented, distracted from the emotions running through her mind. What was the greasy man going to say? Why was Draco blowing hot and cold with her? And why the fuck was he one of... His? Her mind threatened to pull her back down, until...
"Sir!" The old man barked, laughing and shaking his head, pulling Clarissa out of the depths of her darkness. Clarissa gave herself a shake, thanked the man and continued on her way. She didn't have time for melancholia, at least not today. She was far too busy. 
Closing the door with a polite ding, Clarissa stepped out into Diagon Alley. She breathed in the crisp, end-of-summer air and sighed. While France may have been her home for the past five years, the wizarding community there was far smaller - the only conveniences around Beauxbatons were Muggle shops and restaurants, nothing on the winding wonder that was Diagon Alley. She silently thanked Circe she was required here, despite however much she missed France, and stepped off the doorstep of Borgin and Burkes, lest someone mistake her for a streetwalker. 
Clarissa was so caught up in her wonder and marvel at the old buildings, cobbled streets, and swelling buzz of people, that she didn't even notice when she walked right into a large family. The eldest witch stumbled, her twin sons bumping into the back of her, dropping their items. 
"Ah mon dieu! I am so sorry madame! Please, allow me to help!" Clarissa leapt to the floor, sweeping up the books. One of the twins did the same, grazing noses with Clarissa. She paused, an uneasy feeling washing over her. Looking into his warm eyes, she couldn't help but sense familiarity, safety - yet pain. 
"Nonsense my dear! It was a simple accident, could happen to anybody!" The witch beamed, breaking their trance, helping Clarissa to her feet. 
"Oh!" Clarissa exclaimed, inspecting the tattered books. "I have damaged them! Please allow me to purchase you some more. It is not a problem!" Clarissa made to reach for her bag of galleons, hearing them clink obscenely. 
The witch stiffened up, pursing her lips, and turning a deep shade of maroon. 
"No, dear, they are not damaged. They are second-hand." 
The twins stifled a snort, Clarissa's cheeks deepened, matching the witch's embarrassment. 
"I-I sincerely apologise madame." Clarissa stated in a low voice, avoiding the witch's eyes. 
"Not at all. Thank you for your help dear. Now we must be on our way." The witch smiled, speaking through gritted teeth and snatching the books back from her, marching off. Clarissa locked eyes with the twin that jumped down, unable to look away, unable to think, her mouth making embarrassing fish-shaped 'O's'. He winked at her ever-so-slightly, and mouthed something Clarissa couldn't quite make out. His eyes grew wide and he looked past her, then hurriedly away. 
"Black!" Her dear cousin's voice rang in her ears, breaking the spell. 
'Of course', Clarissa thought, 'this odious toad must have been ordered to chaperone me'. 
"You know, you can take a little less delight in controlling me, cousin." 
Draco bared his teeth in a sarcastic smile, and grabbed her arm, pulling her away from the crowd.
"Why the fuck were you talking to blood traitors? Batting your eyelashes like a whore?" Draco hissed, spit flying. 
Clarissa made a point to wipe the spit from her lashes. 
"One, I was not talking to them. I bumped into them and was simply helping them up. Two, why are they blood traitors? And what's the problem if they are? Gods, you sound like Mummy dearest."
"There is a problem, Black, because we are to be betrothed! You must not be seen in the company of blood traitors!" Draco shouted irrationally, drawing a few concerned looks from passers-by. 
"Jealous, darling? I thought I was allowed to fuck blood traitors anyway?"
Draco breathed, steadying himself. "Come on, we are to get your school items as a matter of haste. Mother and father are having a... ball... tonight and you need something appropriate." He spat the words with utter contempt. 

-


Clarissa placed the necklace Draco had gifted her around her neck, delicately adjusting the clasp. She was aware of the significance of the necklace - it had been in the family for generations and was gifted to the oldest unmarried Black daughter. This fell to Clarissa, being the only living unmarried Black woman. The diamonds felt heavy on her neck, almost suffocating her. The emeralds sparkled, but without any real conviction, Clarissa noted. It was almost as if the necklace was rejecting her, tightening on her neck, weighing her down. She sighed and plastered a smile on her face, as fake as her betrothement, the happiness of the smile non-existent. Looking around the cold guest room, artificial in its welcoming and unfaltering in its misery. She placed her green gown onto her body, dropping her underwear for the dress to fit more snugly. It was heavy, not just in mass, but weighed down with the expectations of the night, and to and extent, the rest of her life.  She sighed once more, struggling with the clasp in the back. 
"Draco?" Clarissa called tentatively, unwilling to have her cousin even touch her with his rough, calloused hands. 
"What?!" He called back, exasperatedly. 
"Can you come please? I need help." Clarissa's voice was barely above a whisper, indignant with the thought of having to ask him for assistance. 
He smirked at the sight of her half-naked, entering the room. Clarissa was suddenly very aware of her underwear on the floor.
"You look ravishing." He licked his lips, eyeing her lustfully. Trailing fingers down her spine, he made her shiver. And not just with discomfort. Clarissa breathed heavily, her breath juddering at the tension. 
"Can I tell you a secret Black?" He was stood behind her now, his hard body fully pressed against her curves, angling his hips just the way Clarissa liked it. His breath was hot on her long neck.
"Yes." She breathed, eyes closed, breath hitching. He was a master of this, she thought absently. No wonder he had had his fill of all the houses. 
Draco leaned in further. 
"I will have you tonight." He laughed, placing a kiss on the nape of her neck and a gentle caress of her hips, turning her to face him. His eyes widened slightly, glinting, and his smirk grew. "You look stunning, cousin dearest."
Clarissa tightened. She felt cornered like a bear with its foot in a trap. Her jaw tensed and she said nothing as Draco turned on his heel and swiftly walked away, catching a glimpse of him side-eyeing her, smirking, through her dressing table mirror. 



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