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I have spread my dreams under your feet.
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
~ William Butler Yeats
Saturday, January 27th ~ Morning



As Lucius moved away from the back of her chair and proceeded to seat Bella, Narcissa swallowed while delicately wrinkling her nose at the odor assaulting her nostrils. It had to be coming from one of the covered dishes on the breakfast table.

"What is that atrocious aroma? Lucius, Bella? Did one of you request something odious this morning?"

Covering her nose with the hankie she kept in a pocket, she started to lift the various coverings.

"I didn't say anything last night, but the broccoli must not have been entirely fresh. The odor from it was almost enough to make me ill. Whatever this is - is succeeding where that failed."
 
 
 
 
 
 
Bellatrix angled a glance at her sister.

"I sense nothing amiss, but if the meals displease the mistress of the house, the kitchen staff must be taken in hand."

A pleasant prospect indeed. Not all would have to die right away — she had some ideas percolating that could use a living test subject.
Lucius' lips twitched as he unfolded his napkin, the plate of eggs and sausages looking and smelling completely delicious. "Do as you will, Bella, but spare enough to keep the manor going."

He feigned concerned as he looked over at his wife, wondering if his little deception had taken fruit. "The food smells as it should, dear. Perhaps you have a bit of a head cold?"
Throwing her napkin down in disgust, Narcissa sent Lucius an almost glare before rising and picking up the cup of tea she'd poured.

"If I had a head cold, I wouldn't be able to smell anything, husband," she advised sarcastically before putting the hankie back in front of her nose.

"Send an elf to my study with some dry toast. That will suffice."
And so her sister proposed to leave Bellatrix alone with her brother-in-law, thus ruining everyone's meal?

Hardly.

She had quite a busy day ahead of her, and she intended to have a proper meal before turning her hand to what awaited in the dungeons.

Bellatrix pressed her napkin to the corner of her mouth, then placed it in her lap. When her hand came up again, her wand was in it.

"Nidornihil!" A light-blue flash of light shot from her wand.

"There, sister. All odors gone. Now do sit down."

Nothing like a minor hex for the greater good.
Taking a bite of the sausage, Lucius hid his smirk at Bella's little hex. Normally he would be furious that she'd dared to point a wand at Narcissa even for a perceived good but he was in a very good mood for some reason.

"Stay, Cissa. Breakfast without your company is bland."
Tea threatened the fine white linen covering the table as Narcissa hastily put her cup down, dropped the hankie and felt her nose.

"Bella! I can't believe you..."

Narcissa's voice trailed off after taking a deep indrawn breath.

"Thank you," I think Narcissa said as she slowly sat down. A thought did occur and she sent her sister a measuring glance. "Assuming it wears off - how long does it take?"

While the odor had been making her ill, she had no wish to never smell again. And with Bella - one never knew. Picking up her napkin again, Narcissa bypassed the greasy looking meats and took one poached egg to place upon her toast. When the yolk was broken, she shuddered and pushed it aside, motioning for an elf to remove it.

Sipping her tea, Narcissa considered the other foods spread on the table and if the other two hadn't still been eating, she would have ordered them removed as well. Frowning, she shook her head as a solution occurred to her.

"I think I shall make an appointment with our healer. Something is decidedly odd. If I didn't know it was impossible - I'd swear I was with child. I had the same problems when I carried Draco."
"Cancel the spell whenever you think it best, Narcissa. It's quite harmless."

Bellatrix sipped at her tea, perfectly content ... until Narcissa made her next statement. Slowly, her head turned in the direction of Lucius.
"An appointment with the Healer is a very wise decision, my darling," Lucius said calmly, refilling his coffee from the pot. "No doubt, you have caught something being around so many of the unclean when dealing with the Board."

He hid his smile behind his cup.
Finally choosing a hard boiled egg, Narcissa gently tapped the shell and peeled it with her wand. Bella's comment reassured her while Lucius' made her eyebrows rise.

"Strange that I don't recall you ever complaining about their state of cleanliness when you were on the board, Lucius dear," she advised while using her knife and fork to split the obedient orb. A small slice was placed in her mouth and when she didn't immediately feel nausious, Narcissa finished eating it.

"I'm sure it's nothing that - whatever her name is - can't take care of with one potion or another. Apparently they've made great strides in the last few years."
The coffee went down the wrong way and Lucius coughed hard. He put the cup down and covered his mouth with his napkin.

Circe. She wouldn't get rid of the baby if she were pregnant, would she?

He waved away an elf that hurried to his side and cleared his throat. "Ah, yes, but potions don't cure everything, Cissa." Lucius picked up his silverware, attempting to appear totally blase. "Let me know when you are going to the healer, darling. I would like to accompany you."
Few things had surprised Narcissa during the course of their marriage, this was one of them. Her eyes had flown to her husband when he started coughing and the fork being drawn from between her lips paused while both of her brows lifted. The fork was removed and placed on her plate while the bit of egg was dealt with and washed down with a sip of tea.

"Why?" she asked calmly folding her hands in her lap and sitting back in her chair. This was a new side of her husband that she hadn't seen before and she was going to find out why.

"I've managed to take care of my health for the ten years you were absent and many years before that without your solicitous presence. Why should that change now? Has my appearance altered so much during your absence that it concerns you?"
Lucius took another sip of his coffee, an old instinct of warning creeping in on him. One needed to tread lightly in the affairs of women's vanities. Composing his thoughts, he smiled at her.

"Not at all, Narcissa. You are very capable, and yes, I was unfortunately unable to be around for you, something that I am reminded of a lot it would seem. I just thought that perhaps you would like me to accompany you. However, if you feel I am only in your way, I will withdraw my offer."

I forget how difficult it was to adjust in the beginning. More adjustments are in order now that he's returned.

His words melted her suspicions and soothed the feathers that had been ruffled. A soft smile played on her mouth and an unaccustomed mellow feeling prompted her next words.

"I would love to have you accompany me, my darling. I forget at times how much I looked forward to our outings."
Let the others at the table be suspiciously smug or revoltingly sentimental. Bellatrix ignored her family members and spread butter upon her toast.

Her thoughts drifted to more important things.

Must compel the dupe to use a Muffliato on the girl as well, test to see if the Imperio works under those circumstances ...
"Excellent," Lucius said, laying aside his napkin. "That was a passable meal. Come, my dear. If you are up to it, a stroll in the gardens is in order."

His smile came easily and if one looked carefully they would have noted the smugness in his eyes. Lucius thought it wise to take advantage of her gracious mood while the opportunity still existed for there might not be another once she went to the healer.