This is Our Last Dance

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"She has squawked for three hours straight today," Narcissa lamented. The woman's eyes were heavy, with dark circles, and she looked thinner than normal.

"Is that right, little bird?" Rhiannon cooed, grinning into her sister's defiant violet eyes. They seemed to blink and soften a bit at seeing a smile, their stubbornness replaced with curiosity. The baby girl chewed on her tiny little fist, her little nose scrunched, broad little feet kicking in the air. Rhiannon laughed and buried her nose in the soft skin of Delphi's neck, basking in the remnants of the slowly fading newborn scent.

"How do you always get her to calm down?" Narcissa marveled. "I mean, Draco always responded well to me as a baby, but Delphini acts like I'm barely there. She doesn't respond to Bella either, of course, but Bella never tries. And of course Lucius hardly knows the little thing exists. She seems to like Draco a bit, now that he's home for Easter holiday. He's quite good with her, actually. I think he'll make a fine father someday. Of course we've instructed him never to reveal Delphini's existence to a soul. We're still not certain...what to do about it all..."

"We love her, that's what we do," Rhiannon supplied. "Because if he learns of her existence, we know full well she'll receive none."

Narcissa looked at her quizzically. "You're so quick to assume the Dark Lord wouldn't take pride in his own offspring?"

Rhiannon shrugged, then gave a tiny little flick to Delphi's nose, happy to receive a coo in return. "When has he ever taken pride in anything besides himself?"

"But that's just it," Narcissa argued. "He's part of her. Surely he'll recognize that the minute he lays eyes on her."

Rhiannon lifted Delphi to her shoulder and gave Narcissa a wistful smile. "Maybe," she said indifferently. "Now, you should go prepare for the meeting. Everyone will be here soon."

Death Eaters arrived one by one across the manor courtyard, and Rhiannon watched their black cloaks drift over the flower-lined path from Delphi's nursery on the uppermost floor. They'd placed her room furthest away from the drawing room, to ensure no infant cries were heard in the event of a forgotten Muffliato. Severus arrived last, as usual, wanting to spend as little time engaged in small talk as possible. He raised his gaze straight to the window where Rhiannon watched, and she heard him silently tell her he loved her. He also transmitted a loving thought for the little bean resting in her belly. Rhiannon's heart warmed. Their soul bond was truly a beautiful thing.

Rhiannon sat in an expensive, ornately carved rocking chair with her sister's featherlight form draped over her chest, soothing her to sleep with the gentle rhythm of wood rocking on marble. The pace would easily send Rhiannon into a stupor as well; the pregnancy had her noticeably tired, though luckily not sick like Tonks had been. At least not yet.

Rhiannon startled herself awake just as the sun was setting over the moor, and she glanced at one of Severus's pocket watches she had brought along in her skirt. Moving quickly, she placed Delphi in her lovely chiffon-draped bassinet, then cast a silencing charm over her shoes to ensure her stealth arrival down to the dungeons. Well, she liked to think of them as dungeons. It was actually just a cellar, she saw once she arrived and adjusted her eyes to the dusty dark.

"Luna?" she whispered cautiously, taking a risk at leaving the door cracked to allow some light. A few moments passed before Rhiannon heard a slight stir in response.

"Professor Aspenfell-Snape," the girl replied, her normally bright voice rather dull. Rhiannon would like to attribute its change to the girl's current predicament in the cellar, but she knew it was most likely a lukewarm reaction to Rhiannon herself. Luna had a solitary bruise on her face, and her long white-blond hair was frizzy and matted. But even in a tangle of disheveled neglect, she still had a peace in her eyes.

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