Afternoon Tea

by Vanzetti

"A Muggle lover? Really, Marita, don't you think that's taking your involvement in Parsifal's little conspiracy a bit too far? I hope you aren't intending to bring him here." Narcissa's gaze flickered around the room as if she expected strange Muggles to leap out from behind the velvet curtains and flowered chairs. The idea of Alex in her sister's sitting room coaxed a smile out of Marita; she could feel the anger which had prompted her to make the announcement draining out of her.

"I was hoping to bring him to that party you're planning to throw Lucius," she said.

Narcissa flushed. "Please say that that's a joke, darling. You know how Lucius is."

"Lucius is a xenophobic bore. It would be tolerable if he knew anything at all about Muggles, but as it is he just looks like an idiot."

"If you knew anything about what was going on in the Wizarding world, Marita, you would realize that you're the one who's mistaken. Lucius is well-respected in our world." Narcissa stared down her nose at her sister. "Please don't pick a fight with him this evening."

"That isn't very attractive," Marita said, "the way you're looking at me."

"Neither is your know-it-all behavior, Marita. Just because you're an Unspeakable, you think you know everything that's going on. I can assure you that..." She closed her mouth.

Marita took a sip of tea. Damn. Now she was going to have to attend Lucius' party, just to see who was there and what Lucius was planning. And she really couldn't bring Alex, despite her threats. "I'm sure Lucius is perfectly well-respected, sweetheart. I just think he's wrong on certain issues."

"Is that your head talking, or your heart?"

"What?" Marita did her best not to laugh; Narcissa's sense of romanticism would drive her insane one day.

"Well, darling, you must admit that this Muggle lover of yours changes things.. Your children won't be purebred. And so of course you're more likely to favor extending the privileges of the halfbreed and Muggle-born."

The tea Marita was swallowing caught in her throat. When she had finished coughing, she said, "Children? I'm hardly planning to... can we talk about something else?"

Narcissa pursed her lips. "I suppose I ought to be glad that you aren't serious about this Muggle. Perhaps I ought to find you someone more suitable to bring to Lucius' birthday."

"I'd be grateful if you refrained." She already regretted mentioning Alex to her sister. At least the very notion of taking a Muggle to bed would be so disgusting to Narcissa that there was no reason to discuss all the other ways in which Alex was unsuitable. She could imagine him glowering in a corner as Narcissa's latest string quartet played and the house-elves floated the trays of hors d'oeuvres around the room. Or worse, when most of the guests had gone and only Lucius' closest companions remained... No. She really couldn't bring Alex here.

"I only want to help you, darling."

"I know that, Narcissa."

"I know you can't really discuss your work, what you're doing for Parsifal. But I'm not a fool, Marita, and I can see what it's doing to you. I just wish that you had something... for yourself."

Marita stared at her sister, Was Narcissa trying to be understanding? "My work is extremely fulfilling."

Narcissa's nose wrinkled slightly at the word 'work.' "I'm sure it is." Then her face cleared. "Tell me," she said. "your lover. Is he... different?"

"What do you mean?" Surely Nacissa didn't mean...

"Well, being with a man who isn't..." She waved her hand. "...Who can't use charms, and all the rest of it. Do you manage to..."

Marita watched her sister turn pink. "Narcissa, are you asking me what sex with a Muggle is like?"

"One does wonder, you know."

What kind of lurid novels had her sister been reading, anyway? "The charms are not as important as you might think."


"That's all we're going to say about it," Marita said firmly. "I cannot believe that we're having this conversation." It was entirely too tempting to confide in Narcissa. She had no intention of sharing the kind of sordid detail Narcissa was interested in, although she might describe Alex's intensity, the way he focused on her as if she was the only thing in the universe when they were together. But Founders knew she wanted someone with whom she could share her worries for Alex, but she would have to tell Narcissa the reasons behind her worries: the work he had been forced into, her fears about Parsifal and his intentions, the violent divisions within the conspiracy. Those were subjects Narcissa must remain ignorant of: "Unspeakable" was more than a job description in Marita's world. She had already said too much.

"You always were a prude, Marita." Narcissa sounded disappointed. "I wasn't asking for Ministry secrets, you know."

"I know. I..."

"You used to come to me with all your secrets, do you remember?"

"I grew up."

Narcissa sniffed. "It was bound to happen. I suppose there was nothing either of us could have done about it." She looked Marita up and down. "That haircut, though. Did you have to, darling?"

She smiled as Marita began to laugh.


The X-Files Universe belongs to 1013 Productions, Fox Television, and Chris Carter. The Harry Potter Universe belongs to J. K. Rowling and her publishers etc. including Bloomsbury, Scholastic, and whoever was responsible for those movies. I make no claim to ownership of previously copyrighted materials, nor do I make a profit from my use of them.