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Chapter 26 : Breaking The Rules
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Bellatrix bowed her head in respect, though because she was wearing a heavy cloak that protected her against the cold, winter night, she wondered if he even noticed.
“We can’t stay here. Come with me.” The Dark Lord beckoned Bellatrix to follow him, which she immediately did.
“My Lord, I would’ve met you somewhere else,” Bellatrix said. “I could’ve gone anywhere once I got to Hogsmeade.”
“No. I have no use for you anywhere but Hogsmeade at the moment,” the Dark Lord said, still walking in the opposite direction that Bellatrix had come from. Toward the residence, she realized. How many times in her youth had she longed to live so close to Zonko’s or Three Broomsticks? She distinctly remembered many times as a small child visiting Hogsmeade with her mother and… The emotion in Bellatrix suddenly soured at the thought of her mother, and a split-second later, she realized that the Dark Lord would notice. Sure enough, he said, “You know, Bellatrix, you could’ve had a worse mother.”
“Nah,” Bellatrix said, only half joking. They apparently reached the house that the Dark Lord was looking for, and he stopped and turned to face it. Bellatrix followed suit.
“Bellatrix, do you know who lives in this house?” the Dark Lord asked her.
“No,” Bellatrix replied honestly.
Bellatrix immediately felt a subconscious wave of hatred spread through her veins. Knowing that the Dark Lord could sense that as well, she looked over at him to see what his reaction would be.
“Stop feeling so much,” the Dark Lord commanded. “Especially not anger. Listen to me, Bellatrix. You’re going to go in that house and you’re going to find Jim Marlow and kill him because he failed me on a mission. I sent him with another Death Eater to go recruit vampires, and he lost his nerve. That is the most unforgivable thing you can do while in my service, and the penalty is death. A painful death. This has nothing to do with you. You just happened to be the person I sent to kill him. So go in there and kill him.”
“But, My Lord, I’m not sure I can,” Bellatrix admitted. “I mean, I was only just beginning to get the hang of the Unforgivable Curses over Christmas, and I haven’t been able to practice them at all, and—”
“Silence! You will go in there and complete this task for me, or I’ll just assume that you lost your nerve and you’ll meet the same fate.”
Bellatrix, feeling extremely nervous, turned and walked toward the door. When she reached the porch, she took out her wand and pointed it at the doorknob. “Alohomora,” she muttered. And sure enough, the lock clicked open and she walked inside.
The house was particularly small, Bellatrix noticed. She looked around and her eyes locked with Jim Marlow’s just a millisecond after he first noticed her.
“B-Bellatrix,” he stammered. “H-how nice t-t-to see you again.” It was obvious that he knew what was coming, but somehow, he didn’t really seem nearly as scared as Bellatrix thought he would, or at least nearly as scared as she herself would be were she in his situation.
Bellatrix walked farther into the house and saw a little girl who couldn’t have been more than a year old crawling around the kitchen. Bellatrix nodded at the little girl. “Who is she?” she asked. Was it his daughter, perhaps? A niece? Or perhaps she was simply the daughter of a friend?
“My niece, Kaileigh,” Marlow said hesitantly.
Bellatrix shrugged. “Big name for a little girl.”
“People might’ve said the same for you when you were younger,” Marlow said. “My sister and her husband are on holiday, and I’m watching over her until they get back.”
“Oh really?” Bellatrix asked with interest.
Marlow looked like he got an idea. “Yes. She’s adorable, isn’t she?” he asked. “She only just said her first words a few weeks ago.”
But what exactly “that” was, Marlow never knew, because in that one instant, Bellatrix got a power surge like she could’ve never dreamed. It sort of reminded her of the feeling she got the first night of her Christmas holiday when the Dark Lord used that spell on her that kept her pressed onto her bed in the way that she suddenly felt so powerful and also quite immobile.
The feeling passed after only a few seconds, but that was all Marlow needed to attempt to make a break for it. He quickly picked up his niece and started to run towards the door, but Bellatrix quickly recovered and pointed her wand at him threateningly. She could tell by the look on his face that she needn’t do more, though she was prepared to stun him if she had to. But that would take all of the fun out of this. She had all this new power, and she didn’t want to waste it on someone who was stunned anyway.
Bellatrix jerked her wand to the side and said, “Put her down.” Referring, of course, to Kaileigh. Marlow obediently set his niece on the floor, and she happily crawled away oblivious to her uncle’s mortal peril.
Bellatrix quickly looked at Marlow, then back at Kaileigh. “I kind of feel sorry for her,” Bellatrix said. “I mean, she’s going to have to spend the last night of her life in the care of an idiot like you who can’t even keep her from being killed. Change her diapers, sure. Feed her, no problem. Keeping her alive, well, that’s another matter entirely.
“Bellatrix, please,” Marlow pleaded. “Please, she’s only a child. Kill me instead.”
Bellatrix smirked. “You just don’t get it, do you? I came here to kill you. It’s just little Kaileigh’s bad luck that she happened to be here.”
“Bellatrix, please, I’m begging you. I’m sorry for abandoning you with the vampires. But maybe you didn’t know this, but my—”
“You’re right, I don’t know. And I don’t care, either. Because this isn’t about me,” Bellatrix said. “This is about you not fulfilling your duty to serve the Dark Lord faithfully and selflessly forever. And you know what? He wants you dead, and there’s not a damn thing I can do about it.” She turned to face Kaileigh and pointed her wand at the little girl. “Avada Kedavra!” Kaileigh, who had been attempting to walk by holding onto the couch, immediately slumped onto the floor, dead.
Bellatrix turned back to Marlow, who seemed to have forgotten the concept of blood in his face. She pinned him up against the wall with one arm and held her wand up to his throat with the other. Using the Killing Curse had not weakened her in the slightest. If anything, it seemed to make her stronger.
“Any last words?” Bellatrix asked in a very patronizing voice.
“Bellatrix, you don’t have to do this,” Marlow said desperately. “Trust me, you’ll ruin yourself going down this path. You have no idea the price for true evil.”
“I think I’ll get over it,” Bellatrix said. “Because unlike you, I recognize that the Dark Mark on my arm means that I owe the Dark Lord my entire life and heart and soul whether I like it or not, not that I have a pretty tattoo. I happen to like it, but there you go. The Dark Lord wants you killed, so…” Bellatrix took a step back, her wand still pointed at Marlow. “Avada Kedavra!”
Again, it felt like her power surge was charging up. Bellatrix left the house feeling like the most powerful being on the planet, but still she walked straight to the Dark Lord’s side. He pointed his wand at the house and said, “Mordsmorde!” The Dark Mark instantly shot out of his wand and hovered above the house.
“Come, Bella,” he said quickly. He led her off into a more secluded place and said, “I trust it went well, then?”
“Oh, wow, My Lord, it was amazing,” Bellatrix gushed. “I had this—this power surge. And every time I used the Killing Curse, I felt more powerful!”
“That was the spell I used on you last weekend,” the Dark Lord informed her. “Once it was sure that you had given me your complete loyalty, it was supposed to help you and give you just enough strength to get you through this.”
Bellatrix’s mind instantly turned back to the issue that had seemed so pressing earlier that afternoon. “My Lord, why do you want me to stay at Hogwarts so much? I just know it, I can feel it. This is where I belong, by your side. And you said yourself that you wanted me here. So why is it so important that I stay at Hogwarts, when I can learn so much more from you then I ever can in that stupid old castle.”
“I have my reasons,” the Dark Lord said.
But Bellatrix, surprising even herself, wasn’t about to give up. “But it’s not like there’s much more I can learn there anyway. I’ve learned everything I can there. All the teachers care about now is getting us ready for our N.E.W.T.’s. Which are going to be of absolutely no use in my future life of serving you and marrying Rodolphus.”
The Dark Lord suddenly turned to face her and said, “You’re marrying Rodolphus?”
Bellatrix could feel the heat of a white-hot fire rising in her face and all over her body, despite the fact that all around her, snow had begun to fall.
Bellatrix returned to Hogwarts shortly after that. The power of whatever the spell had done to her was fading quickly. As soon as, she couldn’t help but notice, she left the Dark Lord’s presence. And then she quickly had bigger problems than Rodolphus or going back to Hogwarts. Apparently whatever zero-guilt she had been feeling about the murders was caused only by the spell, because by the time she got back to the Honeyduke’s cellar, she was nearly in tears.
Give you just enough strength to get you through this. The Dark Lord’s words rang through her mind, and she knew that they were completely true. It had given her the strength she needed, both strength to perform the actual spell and emotional strength as well. It had a price, though. Now she had fallen doubly hard.
By the time Bellatrix actually got back to Hogwarts, she was sobbing. To her great luck, the first thing she saw when she arrived back inside Hogwarts walls was Narcissa, sitting right by the statue, clearly waiting for Bellatrix.
“Bella!” Narcissa exclaimed when she saw her older sister. “Are you okay?”
Bellatrix shook her head, unable to speak or really do anything besides just cry. Her stomach hurt so badly! She found herself just wanting this whole nightmare to end!
“What’s wrong?” Narcissa asked kindly, trying to pry Bellatrix’s arm away from her aching stomach. Bellatrix just shook her head stubbornly and cried on Narcissa’s shoulder. She had never felt this horrible in her life, and one thing was for sure. She was never going to feel this feeling again. She’d make sure of it.
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