Chapter 1 : Missing
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Please, please forgive me,
But I won’t be home again.
Maybe someday you’ll have waked up,
And, barely conscious, you’ll say to no one:
“Isn’t something missing?”
Lucius knelt down before his Lord, afraid to look into his eyes, but terrified to know what would happen if he didn’t. It was a state of apprehension he kneeled in; in the fear of the ‘do’s and don’t’s’ the Lord had laid out so long ago. Did he regret joining now? Merlin, yes. And freely he could admit he was afraid. All he wanted to do was to get out of these damned robes, leave this cold, and go home to his Manor, where Narcissa would be waiting to take him—with dinner, with love.
He cursed himself, looking up at his Lord and closing his mind of all readable thoughts. He felt so stupid, taking those years for granted after Harry Potter’s scar had formed. Lucius couldn’t believe that He would rise again—they’d been so happy, the Malfoy’s. He had carved the perfect life: a safe mansion, a beautiful child, a loving wife—Salazar, he even had a Goddamn pet peacock! Vanity and freedom blinded him, and now he was regretting it. Now he was living the price of his actions.
Tom Riddle was dangerously twirling his wand between his fingers. The movement caused Lucius’ eyes to stray to the steady coiling, but the Lord hissed, and Lucius snapped his grey gaze back to the power.
“You’ve made some mistakes, Lucius,” he breathed.
Lucius felt his heart beat increase. Those red eyes pierced his own; he could feel the Lord trying to probe ad depicture his thoughts. Lucius forced himself not to turn away. “Yes …”
“I have an offer to make you.” Tom Riddle lent forward, his pale lips so close to Lucius’s ear that the quaking man could feel the icy cold breath on his neck; feel as it crept down his back, freezing him to the mahogany floor.
He cringed. “Anything, my Lord.”
“I’ve noticed—” Tom Riddle leant back, and took a deep breath, as if regaining himself. Lucius squinted. “I’ve noticed that the absence of Bellatrix Lestrange is causing some weakness in my followers not being here with us. I want you to go to Azkaban and get her for me.”
“Bella. Of course.” Finally given the permission to look away and leave, Lucius hoisted himself off the floor and swept out of the room.
The absolute last thing he felt like doing was freeing his insane sister in law—let alone breaking into Azkaban and coming face-to-face with those dreaded Dementors.
But these thoughts were wasting his time. There was no turning back; Lucius knew he had no choice.
You forgot me long ago.
Am I that unimportant...?
Am I so insignificant...?
Isn’t something missing?
Isn’t someone missing me?
“How the hell did he do it?”
Bellatrix words broke the steady silence that was only accompanied with the steady drip, drip, dripping of the leak in her cell roof. She touched the bars, so surprisingly clean in the dense, dank prison, and ran her hands all the way down to the bottom, searching for some clue that may help her escape. She shook it, jumping at the loud clanking sounds that echoed around the little space. Though the bars stayed sure, unable to budge even though centuries had probably passed since they had been placed there.
Once more Bella felt up her body, particularly stopping on her hips, where her pockets lay. Totally empty, Bellatrix bit back her fighting scream and tears, plonking herself down into the far left corner, and curling herself into a little ball. The position kept her relatively warm, and she buried her face into her knees, encasing herself in her own private little world of darkness.
It had been a year—a full year—and He still had not come for her. What was He doing? Why wasn’t He here for her—she loved Him! Despite Him, despite who He really was, her love and devotion for Him filled not only her heart, but her body and soul! The waiting was killing her, not only mentally, but physically. She couldn’t bare the pain it caused, the sadness and horror that just seemed to continue to swell and swell.
Sadness and horror? No … More like … Desire. Because that was what it was—what overcame her. Not sadness, but desire. Desire to see Him again, to be free. The desire was eating her alive.
Bellatrix Lestrange took a deep, quivering breath. She promised herself that she would not cry. The first time they locked her in here, she had made that little pact; while all the people around her lost their minds—her husband, that little Crouch boy (who was very entertaining to watch in those first few years of Azkaban). No; Bella Lestrange stayed completely sane, stayed completely devoid of tears. Even when Rodolphus had to be moved into a cell far, far away from her own, she had not cracked.
Bellatrix would not brake.
Her head snapped up suddenly, and she tilted her head to the side. Her breathing came fast and loud in the silence, and she ridiculed herself. There was no mistaking, though: noises were coming from below. Though just as Bella confirmed it must be another visit from the Minister of Magic, curling back into herself steadily and keeping her face bitter, a cold, silver laugh drifted above.
Her mouth fell open right there and then, and following the laugh came that all too familiar drawl—“They’ve really lost control of them, haven’t they? Quick, let’s hurry!”
The sound of people running, the fluttering of cloaks. Bellatrix stood up quickly, moving to the bars of her cell. She grabbed them to steady herself in the shock, her knuckles turning white at the force of her grip. She started to shake ever so slightly, and she could feel those steady tears of relief slowly making their way out. Bella blinked them away, though perhaps one may have escaped.
The tall, pale man before her looked away as if that lone tear was indecent. “Please,” he said coldly. Though there was no mistaking the hidden comfort behind the word he’d whispered.
“You finally came,” Bella croaked. She took a breath, trying to regain herself. Her attempt was fruitless, and she scowled at herself. She hoped fleetingly that Lucius would think she was scowling at him.
Lucius Malfoy pulled down his Death Eater hood and studied his sister-in-law carefully. Down her thin frame those grey eyes swept, before landing back onto her pained face. For a moment Bella was sure he would leave her—walk back to the Death Eaters and get someone else to accompany Bellatrix Lestrange. But then he finally found his voice, managing to whisper, “My God, Bella, you look terrible.”
She felt like laughing—how typical it was for Narcissa’s husband to offer comfort in such a way. But she knew he was right, and Bellatrix bit down on her lip in a silent agreement. “You came too late.”
You won’t try for me, not now.
Though I’d die to know you love me,
I’m all alone.
Isn’t something missing?
Isn’t someone missing me?
They were dismissed and He left the chamber in a flurry of satin and black. All the Death Eaters around Bella murmured excitedly, and she heard her own husband exclaim with enthusiasm, “We’re free!” For a while she listened to this irrelevant chatter, not quite sure how to take His sudden departure or lack of words towards her. Standing there, completely vulnerable in the midst of her colleagues, Bellatrix was prone to attack. She realised this instantly, and took a step forward as though this could somehow make her feel part of this crowd once more.
She felt so empty. This wasn’t where she belonged. She should be in there, with Him. She should be by his side, hearing the latest plan, the latest praises for her loyalty.
Another step, and someone barged into her, knocking her two steps back again.
Bellatrix felt dizzy, angry that that nameless soul dare ruin her little paradise of thoughts. She saw her brother-in-law a couple of meters away, talking animatedly but grimacing—did he feel the same as her? Lucius was, after all, the Dark Lord’s favourite. Or—Bellatrix looked around, searching for something even she didn’t quite know—had he been replaced, just as she? What on earth could Lucius have done to loose all that power?! Realising she was staring, Bella started to make her way towards the tall blonde, the thought to accompany him home to Malfoy Manor and see Narcissa almost overpowering her every step. Narcissa, Narcissa; she was safe and still alive. Still the same. If there was only one thing Bella loved about her little blonde sister, it was the thought that she always stayed forever the same. There was no wavering Narcissa Malfoy.
She stopped her walk. She had to do this one thing first.
Lucius noticed her leaving the room, calling out as soon as her hand touched the far end door handle. “Bella?” She turned, he hesitated, knowing full well her intentions. He nodded, then mouthed, “Hurry.”
He was in the room with the Betrayer, she realised, closing the door with an unnecessary slam. He jumped, and Bella held back her building laughter of mockery and relief—she had made it in. Good.
She looked down on the small, pathetic excuse of a man, passing him—it—with the graceful click of her heels and swish of her robes. She sneered down at him, and Peter Pettigrew squeaked, hiding deeper into the shadows.
Bella couldn’t hold back her laughter now. It welled up from her stomach, echoing around the room, hard and full of ridicule.
The Dark Lord looked up, waiting until her laughter had subsided. She felt like snapping at him, pulling out her wand and setting his heart on fire. As these thoughts passed her mind, she instantly regretted them, whispering, “I am sorry, my Lord.”
“You feel better now, Bella?” he asked, voice devoid of all emotion.
Bellatrix looked at him carefully. “I knew you would come back, My Lord.”
“Yes. You were correct, my ever patient one.”
Bella felt her heartbeat increase, her body sway in unrepressed anger. What would He know about patience? Patience to him was waiting for Bella’s laughter to subside, waiting for Lucius Malfoy to bring her out of Azkaban. Patience shouldn’t even be in his vocabulary.
“Anything you wanted to say, Bella?”
She opened her mouth, squinting at him as if not believing her ears. Merlin. All she wanted was to say something. In fact, she wanted to say so much her mouth had turned dry in her attempt to speak. Her words had abandoned her completely. What could she say, what could she do? Say that she loved Him … But would He care?
“Wormtail, come here.”
“Leave us now, Bella. I’m sure your sister is awaiting your return.”
But I won’t be home again.
I know what you do to yourself,
Shudder deep and cry out:
“Isn’t something missing?
Isn’t someone missing me?”
As she stepped out onto the patio of Malfoy Manor, the door swung open fast before her, nearly sending her toppling backwards in surprise. A blonde woman stood in the doorway, her blue eyes on her husband before slowly moving to her sister. For an instant there was nothing but silence; an awkward moment for Lucius, as the two sisters studied each other.
Then Narcissa shook her head. “Bella?”
Bellatrix smiled. “It’s me, Cissy.”
The blonde sister squinted through the darkness, looking back to Lucius as though needing his confirmation that it was actually her sister. He nodded, but it was not what Narcissa Malfoy wanted. What she wanted was to know why Bellatrix stood before her. Why she was even released from Azkaban. She could barely believe it—she felt like turning to Lucius and screaming at him. Wasn’t it enough that he was toying around with death these days? Did he have to endanger their whole family by bringing this escaped convict to her house?! Salazar—what about Draco? What about her?! She hadn’t realised Lucius was that idiotic.
Narcissa took a striding step forward, only centimetres from her eldest sister now.
Bellatrix opened her arms, ready to embrace Narcissa, but her sister didn’t yield.
There was a loud slapping sound, and Bella was left staggering sideways, both hands cupping the side of her face. It started to throb and burn where Narcissa’s hand had connected with her cheek, and Bella realised that there were little stars forming before her eyes. She gasped in the sudden pain.
“All these years,” Narcissa hissed. “You come back to me after all these years, expecting my forgiveness. Well, Lucius may give it to you, but I’m not. How dare you come here and endanger my family, Bella. Go back to Him. You don’t belong here.”
Bella couldn’t breathe, couldn’t believe what she was hearing. “I have no where to go.”
Narcissa laughed coldly. “What are you talking about, Bella? You have Him. You’re His wife.” She smiled coldly, turning to her husband. “And where should I begin with you?”
Lucius took a step back, sneering a little, though the fear was evident in his grey eyes. Narcissa sighed in disgust, sweeping her blonde hair off her forehead swiftly. She pointed inside the door.
Lucius left quickly, leaving the two women alone. Narcissa felt drained suddenly, her knees about to give way. She stepped back, making to close the door.
Bellatrix wanted to die. Nothing she could do, nothing she would do, could possibly be rid of the horror swelling in her chest. And with that horror, came the unconditional, irrevocable tears. Quickly she placed her hand over Narcissa’s pale one, gripping it tightly and stopping her from closing the door. Narcissa felt her breath leave her, her gaze snapping quickly in Bellatrix’s direction.
“Please, Narcissa …”
“I have a son,” Narcissa hissed. She shook her head in complete disgust, her lip curling upward. “Bella, I’m sorry. But I have a family to look after now, and I’m afraid that you’re not in it.”
Knowing you don’t care.
And if I sleep just to dream of you
And wake without you there,
Isn’t something missing?
“Please, My Lord, I am here for you and for you only.”
The Dark Lord looked over Bellatrix carefully, as though weighing up his options. She felt her knees quake at the fear she was creating for herself and closed her eyes, wishing against everything that at least one thing could turn out right.
“I know, Bella,” he said coldly. “You will try and get this for me?”
Bella swallowed. This was a big ask—nothing like locking herself up in Azkaban for her belief in Him.
“It really does exist, then?” she breathed more to herself than to him. “The actual prophecy?”
“Of course it does,” Tom Riddle hissed. “And I need it.”
Bella shook her head. She didn’t think she was strong enough for such an ask just yet. She reached up, touching her cheek and hissing softly at the sting it caused. Bloody Narcissa.
“But surely Lucius could—?”
“They do not work like that, Bella. Prophecies can only be obtained if the person of whom the prophecy is about takes it from the shelf themself.”
Bellatrix thought for a moment. “So it must be you or Potter?”
“Yes.” The Dark Lord leant further in his seat. She leant closer to him, breathing in that familiar scent. “And even if some else could take the prophecy, I would not send Lucius. You are the one I need, Bella. I trust you. I need you.”
He leant back, perfectly pleased at the lie he had just told. Bella collapsed on the floor at his feet, closing her eyes and breathing in the musty scent of the carpet. “Yes, My Lord.” Her eyes fluttered open, tears dripping down her cheeks and landing softly on his shoes. “And I need you as well.”
Can you stop the fire?
You can’t stop the fire.
You won’t say the words.