Amazing. This was a beautiful look at Narcissa and her relationships with Lucius and Draco. I really like how she's not really sure if she loves Lucius until she has Draco and realizes they're a family.
The thing I like most about this is Narcissa's reflection. I know the whole story is basically her reflection, but I still think it's the best part of the story as well. She's so honest in her thoughts, and it makes her so much more real than she comes across in the actual books. In particular, I love the way she discusses what happened with Lucius: "But just one moment of something I wanted, something we wanted, something so terribly selfish – does that mean we are in love? Or does that just mean we are – were - indulgent?" That is such a gorgeous passage. I also like her reflections on her duty to her family, and how she feels that her other family members need to show that they're still the Blacks, despite Sirius, Alphard, and Andromeda -- that was another good line. You can really tell she's a Slytherin throughout the whole first part: so concerned with her image, with what society needs/expects, and what she can do to stay on top, no matter what the situation.
As for the plot, it all flowed extremely easily and comfortably. There were a few moments where I wasn't quite sure what was going on (particularly, what the "albatross" was), but it was all cleared up by the end. You certainly had enough quiet conflict. The setting was less developed, but I think that's natural in such a heavily reflective piece: people don't really think about their surroundings when they're reflecting on their past and future as Narcissa is here. I also did not see any difficulties with structure, canon, grammar, or point of view.
I only had one little nit pick: you end the first paragraph with ". . . tomorrow, I will become Mrs. Lucius Malfoy" and then start the second paragraph with "Grandmother would be horrified, of course." This made me think that, for some reason, her grandmother would be horrified that she was marrying Lucius. The following lines: "managed to plaster a smile under her cold eyes" underscored this reading -- i.e. that she was NOT happy that Narcissa was marrying Lucius, and had to pretend to smile about it. It took me a couple of reads to figure out that her grandmother would be horrified that she was pregnant before marriage, and that actually, she was very happy with the Narcissa/Lucius match.
Overall, though I thought that this was an exceptional character piece, and I think it's an absolute tragedy that you don't have any other reviews. In fact, I love this story so much that it inspired me to take another look at Snape/Lily (a pairing I usually highly dislike) from a maternal Lily's point of view.
Author's Response: Vorona, Wow, what a sweet review! That completely made my day and I'm so glad you liked it. I really appreciate Narcissa as a character and am very interested in her, so I had a great time writing it anyways! Thanks also for your advice - I can definitely see how it is a little confusing at the beginning. I didn't want to reveal what the "secret" was right away, so it ended up somewhat too vague in places. This is definitely the nicest/best review I've ever gotten so thanks so much for stopping by! -Memish