Chapter 1 : Only Chapter
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Disclaimer: I do not own these characters; the lovely JKR does. *sighs*
I cried myself to sleep last night. I woke up panting and my pillow, nightshirt, and surrounding sheet were drenched in my salty tears. Rudolphus woke up to my weeping and he turned over to me, slapping me across the face. He told me if I was going to do that, I’d go outside.
So, silently and carefully I stood, walking to our patio adjacent to the bedroom in our flat. I conjured a glass of vodka and a cigarette. I picked up the cigarette and wandlessly lit the end, the slow smoke rising from the end twisted in the air forming various patterns in the air. I continued to breathe shakily, breathing in the first cigarette a bit too quickly. As I moved onto the second, I began to calm down. Her haunting screams echoed through my dark dreams and I began to realize this was the first time I’d cried in years. The last time I’d cried was as I watched my sister, Andromeda, walk out of my life. Last night was still persisting to annoy me as I sat there. The overwhelming guilt and realization rushed back to my brain and the pit in my stomach began to grow. Rudolphus was chosen to kill my sister for her betrayal and I had to live with that knowledge. I knew that Lucius would not be told nor would Narcissa. So, I stood at a crossroads yet again in my life: betray my flesh and blood and live or betray the darkest wizard of all time and die. I sighed, the tears springing back up. I didn’t even scowl or stop them as they began to flow easily as if I cried every day. My family had always been a sore spot for me. The feeling and thought of my sister brought back a familiar ache, one that I knew would never be filled. No matter how times I drowned myself in alcohol or drugs or in sex or even in mad power, that ache would always nag and tear me apart slowly almost killing me softly and slowly. But that wasn’t the only reason I’d cried last night.
Last night before I went to sleep, I’d tortured the Longbottoms. Normally, I was on orders to kill, but last night had been different. The Dark Lord hadn’t decided whether or not he’d wanted them dead so he told us all to have a little fun. I thought I was ready, but as soon as I came eye to eye with her, I knew I was not. Her wide, beautiful brown eyes had shone with sadness and betrayal. Even through the crowd, she’d recognized me as I’d recognized her. The first few moments of realization had been flattery. She did remember me after all these years and suddenly, my emotions and feelings turned. Her eyes revealed the truth-she knew. She knew her fate and why we had come here. She knew that tonight she wasn’t going to live and if she did, she’d be kidnapped or worse. When we’d cornered her and her husband, they tried to fight back. Bravely, they did wandless magic and sent stunners trying to fight us down. But they were too weak and we were too strong. Suddenly, the groups had broken-one group taking Frank Longbottom and my group taking Alice. The men each played with her emotions, terrifying her. But finally, it rested all to me. It was my night for glory, my night for revenge on all the pain I’d felt over the past few months. And there I stood, torturing the only person who’d never judged me by the dark surname I held before marriage nor by my association with the dark wizards and witches of the Slytherin house. Each time I performed the Crusticus Curse, I felt the rage and hurt that had been performed on me. Months and months of having the pain, my own screams ringing in my ears, it finally felt powerful to have control over someone else’s torture. But after she’d finally stopped screaming, but continued to breathe, the feeling of guilt and sorrow filled me. I’d tortured an innocent witch to insanity. All because someone else had done it to me. All because I was too cowardly to stand up and say no to a Dark Lord and rather than face death I was take someone else’s life. Someone who had actually been kind and considerate to me once a long time ago.
In a lifetime, a long time ago, back before the Dark Lord and before my marriage and before adulthood, I was a simple, Black child. I believe it was my second year and I’d returned from serving a detention with Slughorn for spilling my potion everywhere. Somehow the staircase had gotten me lost and I was nervously wandering around trying to find someplace familiar. As I turned a corner, I literally ran into something solid and fell to the ground ungracefully. My legs got twisted together and I did a twist falling to the floor, my nose crashing with the hard, dirty floors of Hogwarts. A quick gasp from above me and suddenly I was up the air, the room spinning in front of me. I feel an oddly warm liquid glide over my lips. I went to taste and a hand gently stopped my hand from reaching up. I came face to face with a pair of oddly warm of brown eyes. My counterpart waved her wand and my nose began to move oddly.
She smiled gently before explaining. “You broke your nose when you fell. I’m so sorry,” she whispered gently. “Now, what are you doing in this part of the castle?” she asked sharply, not making me flinch at all. I looked at her carelessly and turned my back.
“Just wandering, is that against the law?” I sneered.
She shrugged. “No, not at all. But if you were trying to find your way back to the Slytherin common room,” she murmured pointing to my sweater crest, “it’s that way and down the stairway.” She pointed to the west and down. I eyed her strangely for a moment taking in her face. She had a slightly chubby face that had thinned out with age with warm brown eyes and a beautiful smile. Her plain face and plain brown hair made her look average, not unattractive nor attractive. But the warmth from her eyes, her smile, and most likely her heart made her look more beautiful. She smiled gently again. “Go on,” she urged. “Before I have to write you up.” I noticed the shiny Prefect badge from the corner of my eye. I walked a few steps before turning around. She met my eyes questioningly.
“Thank you,” I called. She smiled easily and nodded. I continued on my way. And that was the only time I’d ever met her and only time I’d ever said thank you to anyone.
And now that night, I had met those same wonderful, warm brown eyes again. But this time, they weren’t the same. They were aged and dulled with the effects of war and motherhood. I swallowed, taking another long drag of my cigarette. I’d just killed some one’s mother. The tears came back and began to pour even easier down my face this time. I heard the door open and I turned my head quickly to see Rudolphus standing there. He wore an uneasy smile on his face and I moved nervously. I was vulnerable at the moment and I was afraid that he’d take advantage of that. As he moved close to where I sit, I caught whiff of the pungent smell on him. He smelled of stale alcohol, chips, fish, and some disgusting combination of cigar smoke. I knew that he’d been out tonight, but this just confirmed my earlier beliefs.
He sat down easily in the chair next to me and his eyes glanced over me once before he turned away and looked up at the night sky. “Bella,” he murmured softly. I turned to him and I knew that he was still drunk. The real Rudolphus was a crazy, manic, unfeeling, stone-of-a-man. He didn’t reveal his emotions or confess anything. He demanded perfection and whatever he wanted. But these tender moments…these were the moments I lived for. “I remember the first time I had to kill someone.” He paused for a moment. “I was so uncertain, so afraid of what could happen. After I killed him and his wife, I apparated back to my room at home and I cried for hours. When the Dark Lord caught wind of it, he nearly killed me, he tortured me so much.” He sighed again. “That’s why I’m so tough on you, Bella. Because I don’t want you to get hurt and you know that no matter how I hurt that I do love you.” He smoothed my hair over and kissed my forehead tenderly. He smiled before patting my hand and walking back inside. I smiled wistfully at his back as he entered the threshold of our home once again.
He’d wake up tomorrow remembering nothing, but the fun time he’d had with his friends at the bar. Drinking away his sorrows from Voldemort, but I, I would remember everything. And every time he raised his hand to slap me, break me down, and break my bones, I would remember this moment unlike him. So every wasted minute I would remember his gentle words. Life was cruel and my life was just one of cruelty. One sadistic event after another strung together like a movie reel. One could look at the life like a movie and the only word to describe it would be cruelty. Sweet, sadistic cruelty.