Chapter 1 : Rosewater
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Disclaimer: I claim no ownership of Rowling’s masterpiece.
Bellatrix Lestrange ran one stained fingernail over her old writing desk, relishing in the archaic swirls carved there long ago by her pen knife. There were still ink stains on the tufted chair nearby, blemishes of a childhood past and a childhood wasted in idleness.
If only she had known then. If only she had learned her lessons well.
The Lestrange Manor was ghostly, a host to languid tendrils of dust and age that clung to the moldy furniture. Gilded frames sat empty on the walls and more than once, her tattered Azkaban robes had been snagged by an errant nail.
Her homecoming was not nearly as noble as she had imagined. Somehow, Bellatrix had hoped for a sense a peace, a sense of rest and fulfillment to bloom within her as she Apparated silently onto the old grounds.
But the place was provincial in its simplicity, nothing like the grand estate that should have lorded over droves of Mudbloods. No, this was no stronghold, no fortress for a feudal baron and his lowly serfs.
Empty windows stained the stone façade like open sores, bleeding into the brick and turning it a rusty red. The great gargoyles that had once perched so proudly on the gabled roof were toppled.
Time had changed things and Azkaban had torn the scales from her eyes. Years she had sat in her cell and years it had taken fir her to realize that tradition meant nothing in the eyes of a fool.
Order could only be restored through force.
Bellatrix passed from the shadowed study into the corridor, shivering as each floorboard creaked beneath her tender soles, her torn and maimed feet.
The First War had destroyed them, had proved that folly was not without strength and a wretched, senseless, half-blooded babe could mock even the Dark Lord.
But he had assured them this time, had promised victory in breezy words that spilled from his white lips like a hiss.
And Bellatrix believed him again.
There was elegance in antiquity, that she knew. Elegance in the old world and it was the old things that mattered.
The door to her bedroom was closed, barely clinging to its rotten hinges. Bellatrix eased it open, remembering the night the Aurors had come and found them torturing those useless Longbottoms. And then fourteen precious years were lost, fourteen sunless years she could have spent searching for her Lord.
But here she stood at last, freed by his will.
Bellatrix entered the decaying room with distrustfully. She slipped about the broken bed and tried to avoid glancing at the shattered mirror. Her dainty vanity alone remained untouched and atop the grey surface she spied a vial of rosewater.
A gift from her thankless husband on their wedding day.
Bellatrix removed the silver stopper and inhaled, enjoying at once the voluptuous scent of perfume that leaked out into the stale air.
A delicate droplet she placed on her scarred wrist before draping the sensual scent about her neck.
After all the years, she sensed the echoes of beauty, gentility and purity. A satisfied sigh slipped over her tongue.
Old the perfume was, yet still dignified, still, powerful, still alive. And in the end, so was she.
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