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Chapter 1: Black Family Secrets
In a small room in a Muggle hospital lies a woman placed in isolation. The doctors are baffled at her symptoms. She has gone through such physical pain, such horrific torture that she ought to have died a long time ago. Yet, she is still alive. Unable to move due to the amount of agony she suffers – such a large amount that no amount of medication will cure – unable to talk, and only just breathing. But alive nonetheless. Alive. She has been fighting for ten long years, and still she continues to fight. There is no lasting damage done to her brain, thankfully, although she is still reliant on a life support machine. At first the doctors gave her treatment, but then they decided to stop, thinking that nothing could be done for her. But to their surprise, she fought back. They still give her medication, in the hopes that one day her fighting spirit will heal her and she can lead a normal life again- because what other reason could there be for her to continue clinging to life by the very tips of her fingernails?
This strange woman has a chalky white complexion, long sleek silvery black hair, gaunt cheeks and is underweight. She is monitored, continually on a drip to feed her. She has known this small, unfeeling white room for ten years. She has seen doctors come and go, seen medical students grow to become senior consultants, seen nurses' personal lives intertwine with their professional lives. Three times she has seen a man propose to his girlfriend, who is a nurse at the hospital, in front of her colleagues and her patients. She has seen two women say yes, and one woman say no. She has seen fights, screaming, and so many other things that would give a hospital quite a bad reputation if their patients knew that these situations occured behind closed curtains.
She doesn't understand why the doctors battle for her life, why they are so determined for her to survive when she wants nothing more than to die. She fought back, yes, it is true, but now, she knows that it is time for her to go. The past is haunting her still, and she doesn't want to remember. She betrayed the ones who trusted her, she betrayed her heritage, she betrayed the Order of the Phoenix, she betrayed the Dark Lord and his followers. She betrayed everyone. And by betraying the people she loved, she betrayed herself.
She knows that if she had gone to St Mungo's all those years ago they could have healed her, and restored her to her former excellent health. Her condition has detoriated so much that even now that she has changed her mind, she cannot go there. It takes up all her strength just to breathe that the suggestion of her standing up and Disapparating is preposterous. She came here for a reason. She was ashamed, bitter, vengeful - and all those emotions were directed at herself. She had been full of self-hatred; could not have let herself get away with betraying so many people. She came here, to the hospital run by those filthy sub-humans she once looked down at, in order to punish herself. She knew that Muggles, with their limited knowledge, would not be able to cure her. She wanted to feel pain, and drive herself to the brink of insanity. When the doctors took her off her life support, or off her medication, she fought to stay alive - not out of hope, but because she wanted more pain; because she believed that her punishment was not over.
Her name is Druella Black nee Rosier. The wife of Cygnus Black III. The sister-in-law and close friend of Walburga Black. The mother of Bellatrix, born the autumn after she graduated. Andromeda, born unexpectedly early one stormy night. Narcissa, born on a spring morning- she can still remember the smell of narcissus flowers outside of the window. The grandmother of Nymphadora - a beautiful Metamorphagus - and Draco - pure, beloved, a perfect Malfoy. The aunt of Sirius and Regulus. She was the unique one of the whole Black family. She was the one who understood, the one who always stood by you without judging you, although occasionally she was forced to do so in secret, afraid of the wrath she would incur if her family ever discovered her loyalty - a shameful loyalty that was a trait of Hufflepuffs and Gryffindors. She was, like her whole family, the white sheep in a black flock. They all were, in their own way. And only Druella knows. Only Druella can provide an explanation.
But now she is on her dying bed, wishing that the doctors would take her off the medication, knowing that even if they don't she will die anyway. Magic is far stronger than Muggle technology, and Druella knows this. She is going to die, and her life is flashing past her eyes, reminding her of the mistakes and the choices that she has made. She remembers everything, and keeps it in. She never lets it go; never breaks a promise. She may have betrayed people, but she doesn't betray promises. She knows that she is not Druella Black any more, that she is not human, that she is simply nothingness in a body. Even now, ten years on, she still remembers the pain of letting the ones she loved go.
Alphard Black was the elder of the Black brothers. He was the smart one, the charming one, the everything one. When a seventeen-year-old Druella Rosier was sent to Number Twelve Grimmauld Place to find a man to marry, Alphard was the one who was the more favoured by her parents, despite his evident feelings for a flame-haired witch who was everything that Druella wasn't. But Druella still saw Cygnus nonetheless. He was the one who appealed more to her, the quieter one yet still with the same spirit. He was the man that Druella had fallen for; the man she swore that she would marry. Alphard was the more flamboyant one – much like Walburga – and Druella wanted a husband who would gladly steal the limelight and keep it all to himself, instead of thrusting her into it and demanding that she cause riot within the pure-blood hierarchy like Alphard's precious Fiona Phoenix had done.
Walburga and Druella hadn't been friends at Hogwarts, Druella having started the September after Walburga had graduated, but they had become friends after Druella and Cygnus' marriage, both women having several commonalities. They had both been in Slytherin, both were beautiful; and both were dutiful and honourable to their families. But Druella knew that Walburga would never have taken a second look at Druella if she'd known what thoughts had haunted Druella's mind even back then – and might even have objected to the wedding, because even pure Rosier blood doesn't supersede impure thoughts. Druella doubts her past actions time and time again, but always push them away in her mind, because the pure-blood hierachy and all that it stood for was everything she'd ever known. Yet those doubts always return to haunt her mind with a cruel persistency that refuses to grant respite from her emotional turmoil.
Druella had, in others' eyes, become a great disappointment to Cygnus. She had given him three daughters but no sons, miscarrying the only boy she had been fortunate enough to carry. But to Cygnus, his eldest and his youngest brought him dignity, and for a while, so did his middle daughter. Bellatrix, the eldest of their trio of girls, was a liar, a con, and abusive. She had a circle of well-known friends who boosted her popularity at school, and when the Dark Lord had started gathering minions, Bellatrix had been one of the first to become a Death Eater, and later, one of his most faithful followers. Cygnus was proud that his Bella was fighting for what she believed in and what was thought to be right by pure-bloods far and wide. Druella knew, however, that her Trixie had only joined because she had fallen in love with the Dark Lord ever since she had met him. Bellatrix had gone from being sexy, clever Trixie to dark, troubled Bella. And yet while many still considered her to be insane to continue to follow the Dark Lord, Druella knew that it was love that drove her eldest daughter to beyond the point of no return.
Andromeda was Druella's middle child and was always the star of the family. While her elder sister captured people's attention by force, and her younger sister by beauty, Andromeda captured attention simply by forming her own opinion. She never spoke out against the Dark Lord, but nor did she praise him. Most people thought she doubted him, including Cygnus, who kept trying to persuade his Andie to join the Death Eaters. However, Druella knew that her Medie was afraid. She didn't dare to disobey her father, knowing the consequences, but she refused to praise something that she detested. Silence was the key, but it could not last forever. On Andromeda's graduation night, the night of her intended induction, she was not to be found. A quick search revealed that Andromeda had run away. Druella found out later that Medie had run off with a Muggle-born wizard, Ted Tonks. She knew, had known even then, that Medie would not do something as rash as this unless she was serious and consequently, she would never see her middle daughter again. In her heart, Druella had been expecting it all along.
Last, but not least, was Narcissa. She had grown up uniquely, blessed with blonde hair and blue eyes - a trait most girls would kill for but which Narcissa detested, because it was not of the more traditional Black looks. Narcissa, Dyna thought, would have been on the good side like Medie was, if it wasn't for the fact that she fell in love with Lucius Malfoy, who felt the same about her. She grew up dating him, she married him, she bore his son. Her love for him enabled her to stay true to him, and even during the moments when it dwindled, she stayed loyal out of habit and out of duty. Cygnus had been overjoyed that his Cissy had married a respectable pure-blooded man, while Druella sensed that Lucius Malfoy would drag her baby Narci into trouble. Even now, stuck in a Muggle hospital, Druella maintained that belief, not knowing whether it had come true or not.
Cygnus' Bella, Andie and Cissy. Druella's Trixie, Medie and Narci. Three girls but with two vastly different personalities. Their childhood personalities and the women that they grew up to be. The evil, the good, and the bit of both. Bellatrix was the evil daughter, Andromeda the good and kind, and Narcissa, the one who was simply a bit of both but never showed it. And Druella knew that love had driven them to be the women they were now. But what of her nephews? Orion and Walburga's sons? The rebel and the secret?
Sirius had always openly defied his family, and the havoc it caused when he was Sorted into Gryffindor! Druella had been forced to rescue Regulus from the hostility of Number Twelve, Grimmauld Place, because he had been so terrified of Walburga's hysterics and sudden attempts to throw things around. Regulus had begged her never to tell his cousins or brother, and she had gladly agreed, making sure the house-elves knew not to tell, too. Sirius had been the rebel from the very beginning and it was nothing short of a miracle that he had managed to last sixteen years in the Black family. Druella loved Sirius with all her heart, and had been heartbroken when he had walked away from the Blacks without never looking back in much the same way as Medie had.
Regulus had been brainwashed into joining the Dark Lord and for a year or two, he served him loyally. But then one day, Druella recieved a letter from him. A letter explaining such sordid secrets about the Dark Lord that Druella had been so appalled at, she had betrayed him and covertly joined the Order of the Phoenix while secretly helping Regulus to find and destroy the Dark Lord's Horcrux. They had found it, but Regulus had wanted to do it on his own, with the assistance of Kreacher, his house-elf. Druella had permitted him to do so, and was once more heartbroken when she heard of his death. For Regulus was the best of them all – he had helped to bring the Dark Lord down. The Horcrux was destroyed, but Druella, having sustained injuries from her husband upon his discovery of her disloyalty, had been too badly injured to reveal that fact to Dumbledore. Instead she walked away from the Order and into this Muggle hospital.
But now she was regretting that choice. She needed to tell someone in the wizarding world, so that they could tell Dumbledore for her. She had deduced from muttered whisperings between doctors and nurses that strange things had been happening. Druella could tell that it was the Dark Lord's handiwork, but she couldn't do anything more. She couldn't move, she couldn't talk. Druella realized that it was time to go, to a peaceful place. Whoever was the Dark Lord's equal would be able to find out about the Horcrux. The doctors and nurses watched Druella as they switched the life support machine off, knowing it would be for the final time. And as Druella Black nee Rosier took her last breath, the Black family secrets died with her...
Author's Note: I found this one-shot on my computer recently; it was written several years ago, and was formerly on the archives under a different penname but isn't now.
This is the updated and edited version of Black Family Secrets. It was the first one-shot I ever posted to the site, so I would love to know what you think of it now! ♥