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Look Again by ShadowRose
Format: Short story collection
Chapter 3: R.L.
Chapter image by bewitching. @ TDA
He was lost.
In more ways than one.
For starters, Rodolphus Lestrange was in the middle of some unknown forest, with absolutely no idea of his current bearings. He’d been wandering through here for what had to have been at least a week – he’d lost count.
The battle had ended, and he’d run for it.
He knew what the Ministry would do if they’d found him. He had killed enough people to be a solid candidate for the Dementor’s Kiss.
So he’d fled. He’d run until he was out of Hogwarts boundaries, and Apparated on the spot. From there, he’d ended up running again, and now, three weeks later, here he was, in the same forest, with absolutely no idea where he was.
For all he knew, he could have Apparated into continental Europe. He hadn’t exactly been in a proper state when he was fleeing.
His surroundings weren’t exactly forthcoming with information. He was completely surrounded by enormous trees and endless build-up of shrubbery below him, and it was all blending into one monotonous sea of brown and green. He swore he’d seen that tree with the massive knot in it before.
He probably had. He’d been wandering aimlessly for the past… he didn’t even know how long. So walking in circles was probably a feasible action.
He wasn’t just physically lost though.
His mind was lost too.
It had been, since the Final Battle. Yes, the Dark Lord had been defeated, but that wasn’t the source of his anguish. That wasn’t the reason he felt numb every time he reflected on that horrendous second of May.
Instead, it was the loss of his Bellatrix.
She was a beautiful woman. Rodolphus had known that since the day he married her. It was the first day he had really seen her – standing at the altar in a white dress, surrounded by all of the prominent pureblood families.
Not only that, but she was dedicated and determined as well. Anyone who met her would know that once she devoted herself to something, she went for it whole-heartedly.
All of these traits had captivated Rodolphus – watching his pretty little wife dedicate her life to the noble cause of promoting pureblood superiority was alluring beyong measure.
In the time that they were married, Rodolphus had done the forbidden.
He had fallen in love.
Although Bellatrix would have been horrified to know that her husband had felt that way, Rodolphus had loved Bellatrix with all of his heart, soul, and mind.
But he suffered every day.
It was harder than words could express, watching the woman you love devote herself to someone other than you, a cause other than your own. But day after day, Rudolphus had to watch his wife sacrifice herself fully to the Dark Lord.
To her, marriage was only a convenience and a convention. But to him, it was everything.
She was the main reason he had joined the Death Eaters, after all. Sure, there was some outside pressure from his family and friends, but hearing her talk about how much she loved the cause was the final trigger that sparked Rudolphus’s vow of servitude.
And maybe he hoped, in the back of his mind, that devoting himself to the Dark Lord would soften Bellatrix’s view of him, and she would realize that he was all she had ever wanted and run to him with open arms.
But that wasn’t the case. Rodolphus loved a woman who loved someone else.
Yes, love – what else could Bellatrix’s behaviour towards the Dark Lord be described as?
Rodolphus was sure that that was what Bellatrix felt for the Dark Lord: a deep, obsessive love. How else could he explain the sparkle in her eyes that appeared when he entered the room, or the seductive quality her voice took on when she spoke to him.
It was true: Bellatrix was in love with the Dark Lord.
All the while, Rodolphus sat there, watching his wife flirt with the Dark Lord, feeling indescribable pain and envy.
But what could he do about it? What was he, compared to one of the greatest wizards of the twentieth century? Of all time, even?
Nothing, that’s what.
He was no match for the Dark Lord’s prestige, power, and charm. He knew that, and it stung like no other.
He focused on putting one foot in front of the other, wandering through this forest aimlessly, with the vain hope of finding something, anything that would give him some sign of where he was, some sense of normalcy.
But nothing could really be normal again.
Not without her.
He missed her. So, so much. Even though he knew she would never feel the same way about him, Bellatrix’s mere presence made his heart light up with passion and joy.
He felt his heart flutter at the thought of her, and he cracked a small grin automatically.
But that little heartbeat and grin crashed violently as Rodolphus finally felt the heartache that had been masked by numbness until now.
Bellatrix was dead. The love of his life was dead.
Rodolphus had to reach out and grab onto a tree trunk to support himself, as his legs had seemingly lost the ability to do so.
He found against his emotions, but couldn't control the strangled sob that escaped his body in expression of pure grief.
It was all crashing down on him, much like the Hogwarts castle he had left had. His world was crumbling around him.
But his world was gone, really.
Because his world was Bellatrix.
He was presented with two options: go into public and be arrested, or stay in hiding forever. Neither held much appeal.
But there was a third option that did. One that would rid him of heartbreak, pain, and the constant reminder that he was no competition for the Dark Lord in the eyes of his wife.
He knew what came next. He knew what he had to do.
A/N: I do hope you at least somewhat enjoyed this little collection, and I'd love it if you reviewed! :)