Chapter 1 : Four O' Clock in the Afternoon
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Author's Note: This is a one-shot in response to GubraithianFire's Mini-Slytherin Challenge on SAYS which was to write a fluffy story about Bellatrix and her husband's relationship ignoring Voldemort and Death Eaters and a lot of emphasis on FLUFF so prepare for major OOC-ness :) I hope you like it! Also, a huge thanks goes out to Hannah who beta'ed this for me :)
Four O’ Clock in the Afternoon
Love. You’ve always wondered what it is, what it could possibly mean. How could one simple word cause so many emotions to play across someone’s face? Of course, you suppose, there is another little word that does the same, but that’s for another time.
You could say that you’ve never seen this thing called love before. Sure, you’ve read about it, but that just isn’t the same. If there was one thing you’d want to experience before you die, that would be it. You just have to find it.
You’ve always been the shy, silent type, never having the courage to ask out a girl you’ve fancied. You have to settle for her being stolen away from you by someone else. Now, as you gaze across the room at the dark-haired beauty who is laughing hysterically at something her friend is saying, you decide that it is all about to change. But who could you approach for advice on such a matter?
Asking your father is out of the question, and as for your brother, well, you aren’t sure if he even likes girls yet – he’s only eleven. You come to your last option, though you know it isn’t a very good one, and you really have no choice. As he sits in front of you now, you try to consider his maturity and the experience he has picked up at his sixteen years of age - that is to say, he’s had a girlfriend for over two years now and you haven’t had one at all.
"Malfoy," you nod to the blond young man who makes his presence known as he clears his throat.
"What can I do for you, Lestrange?" he replies, placing his hands behind his head and leaning back in the chair.
His arrogance, you note, is truly overwhelming. Nevertheless, you’ve come to accept it; after all, you’ve known each other for quite some time.
"I need your help with something," you mumble, frowning at your admission.
This catches him off guard and he puts his chair on its legs and sits upright, raising his eyebrows slightly.
"I beg your pardon?" he asks, giving you an odd look.
"I need you to help me ask Narcissa’s sister out," you answer quietly.
"Andromeda?" he asks, "that shouldn’t be so difficult. She is a bit like you, I think-"
"No," you cut him off, shaking your head, "not Andromeda."
He follows your gaze across the room and stares at you for a while before throwing his head back in amusement.
"Oh, you must be joking!" he manages through howls of laughter. You sigh as his laughter, breaks the silence of the room, and you try not to blush, because out of the corner of your eye, you see her staring curiously at you.
"Are you quite finished?" you ask your friend irritably as his shoulders shake. "Lucius!"
"Alright, alright, I’m done but seriously," he says apologetically. "You want me to help you with Bellatrix?"
You feel a blush creeping up your neck as you nod slowly with your head slightly bowed. Lucius smiles at you in wonder. "The taming of the shrew," he murmurs.
"What did you say?" you ask, somewhat distractedly, but he merely shrugs. It doesn’t matter anyway - you did hear what he said, and in all honesty, he’s right. Bellatrix Black isn’t what you’d call a shy, sweet girl who’d enjoy long walks on the beach. She isn’t the type to turn as red as a tomato if you whisper sweet nothings in her ear. She’s loud and boisterous, and there’s a sort of quiet insanity to her. There are times when she holds nothing back. Therefore, trying to ask her out on a date is going to prove to be extremely difficult, especially since the prospective suitor is so shy.
"Rodolphus," you feel Lucius nudging you and you look up at him questioningly.
"Suppose she accepts?"
You quirk an eyebrow, "Shouldn’t the question you’re asking be what if she doesn’t accept?"
Lucius shook his head, "It could be, depending on how you look at the situation, but I don’t think so. Contrary to what you may think, she’s never been asked out before. At least, that’s what Narcissa says."
"How could she not?" you mumble to yourself, not expecting him to hear you.
"Most blokes want a wild girl, Lestrange, but not that wild," he answers, drumming his fingers on the table.
"Maybe she just wants to be treated like a lady, that’s all," you suggest but he ignores you.
"So, what if she accepts? What would you do on this date?" he presses.
You frown slightly at this; you never anticipated getting this far. "I’m not sure. I guess I could take her to that place in Hogsmeade where you take Narcissa. What’s it called? Madame Something… What?" You ask, noting his wide eyes. "What’s wrong with that place?"
"Everything!" he exclaims. "You’d have to be off your rocker to take her in there!"
"Well, if it’s so horrible, why do you take your girlfriend in there then?" you ask with a wry smile.
Lucius glares at you. "Because she always wants to go; she says it’s nice and comfortable, and besides, Narcissa is nothing like Bellatrix."
"Sometimes I think you underestimate Narcissa," you say, shifting slightly in your seat.
"Oh?" he sounds surprised. His forehead creases now and he frowns.
You allow him to sit there for a while to contemplate some of the aspects of his relationship, taking the opportunity to do some thinking of your own. You wonder what life would be like if you weren’t yourself. That is to say, if your personality wasn’t so introverted and you were much more outgoing. Running a hand through your thick, dark hair, you glance up, and to your utmost surprise, you find her staring at you.
As soon as you look up at her, her eyes grow wide as saucers and she looks away. This makes you smile because there is a noticeably pink tinge to her usually pale cheeks. Chuckling to yourself, you leaned back in your chair with the esteemed honour of knowing that you, Rodolphus Lestrange, made Bellatrix Black blush and you didn’t even have to say anything.
"What are you grinning at?" an irritated voice asks.
You feel your ego slowly deflate as you look across the table at your scowling friend, his arms folded tightly across his chest.
"What’s the matter with you?"
"Nothing," he grumbles.
"Oh, of course not," you sigh.
"Have you figured out what you’ll do on this date yet?" he asks, clearly not wanting to discuss his problem now, though you know full well what it’s about.
"Well, not really but how does a packed lunch sound?" you suggest.
He considers this for a moment and nods, "Yes, I suppose that could work and you could get the elves to help you with that. Where do you plan to take her?"
You grin, "Don’t worry about that."
He smirks, "Well, if you feel so confident now, why don’t you go ask her?"
"I will." You rise from your seat, "In fact, I’m going right now."
You hear him stifle a groan as you walk away from him towards her table in the corner and suddenly, your confidence drifts away from you, filling your insides with dread and you began to panic. You want to run away, but your legs won’t let you. You look back and Lucius gives you a nod of encouragement. You come to a halt a few feet in front of her table and swallow.
"Excuse me, Miss Black?" you manage to get out.
The talking ceases at her table and she looks up at you questioningly. "Yes?"
"May I speak with you please," you ask as politely as possible. "In private?"
Wordlessly, she rises and follows you away from the table to another empty one close to the door; you are careful to not leave Lucius’s line of sight.
"Well, what do you want?" she asks, looking rather annoyed.
"Miss Black, I was –"
"Call me Bellatrix, please," she cuts you off, waving her hand around. "I hate that Miss Black crap."
"Fine, Bellatrix, would you like –"
"Hold on a minute," she holds up her hand again as a flash of brown hair passes the two of you. "Oi, Andromeda!"
"What?" the girl pauses and turns around; you’ve never noticed how much she looked like Bellatrix, except for the hair.
"Where were you? Rounds?" Bellatrix asks.
"With that one still sitting there?" Andromeda gestures to Lucius who is in a deep conversation with a small black haired boy.
"So, where were you?" her sister inquires.
"Library," Andromeda answers shortly.
"Don’t be so snippy with me, Andromeda Black," Bellatrix says evenly, "Cissy’s been looking for you."
Andromeda’s face softens. "Where is she?"
"On your bed the last time I checked."
"Thanks, Bella." she shouts as she rushes up the stairs to her dormitory.
"I’m sorry about that," Bellatrix turns back to you. "So, what were you asking?"
"Would you like to have lunch with me on Saturday?" you ask her quietly with a small smile, which she returns.
"Lunch?" she repeats.
"Yes, around twelve."
She chews her lip thoughtfully then nods, "Alright then."
"Really?" you ask in disbelief.
She laughs, "Yes, really."
At this point, you’re grinning like an idiot and, in your head, you can almost picture Lucius rolling his eyes.
"You’re Lestrange right?" she asks, "Rodolphus Lestrange?"
"Yeah, I am."
"Well, nice to meet you, Rodolphus Lestrange." she says with a grin. She rocks from side to side with her hands behind her back as she looks up at you.
"Nice to meet you too, Bellatrix Black," you answer with a smile. "So, see you here at twelve on Saturday?"
"Yes." You notice that her cheeks are pink again and more than likely, yours are too.
"I’ll see you then."
You turn away from her and make a beeline to the table you previously occupied and sit down.
"So, from the stupid look on your face, Lestrange," Lucius drawls as he looks up from the Transfiguration text of the small boy next to him, "I am assuming she said yes."
"That she did, Malfoy," is all you say.
The big day comes sooner than you expect it to. After keeping yourself busy for the entire morning, you finally come to the Common Room where you sit next to Lucius on an emerald green couch.
"Will you stop?" he snaps.
"Stop with your incessant tapping," he growls. "You’re driving me mad!"
"Sorry," you mutter, trying to restrain the bouncing of your foot and the tapping sound it makes on the floor. It only gets louder. You hear your friend groan next to you.
"What’s wrong with you this morning?" You stared at him curiously. "Why are you so miserable?"
"No reason," he mumbles, propping his face on his hand and sighing.
Thankfully, you aren’t required to give a reply as another blond approaches the two of you and taps Lucius on his shoulder.
"Come on, Lucius, I’m ready now." She reaches for his hand and addresses you. "Hello, Rodolphus."
"Hey, Narcissa," you reply.
"Good luck today." She smiles as Lucius leads her out of the Common Room, and as he does so, you hear him ask her if he underestimated her. You stifle a laugh and shake your head, pleased with yourself that you actually got through to him. You’re still looking after the blond pair when you feel someone sit next to you and poke your shoulder.
"Penny for your thoughts?" they ask.
You glance across and smile, "Good morning, Bellatrix."
"Good afternoon, Mr. Lestrange," she grins at your confused look. "It’s twelve o’clock so it’s afternoon."
"Ah." You rise from the couch, pick up the basket that a house elf brought for you earlier and give your date your arm. "Shall we?"
"How chivalrous of you," she comments as she takes it.
Your mother would be proud.
The short walk into Hogsmeade is a quiet one. Glancing across at Bellatrix, you see that her eyes are firmly set on the path in front of her. You frown deeply – is she bored already? Racking your brain, you try to think of something remotely interesting to say.
"What are your plans for the future, Bellatrix?" you ask after what seems like an eternity for you and perhaps even for her. She sighs.
"I’d like to travel the world," she says almost dreamily.
"Really?" you ask with genuine interest.
"Yes!" she gently pulls away from you and spins herself around, her feet crunching the gravel beneath them as she does. "I’ve been dying to see the pyramids in Egypt and the mountain ranges in the rest of Europe."
You chuckle softly at the excited look on her face.
She shrugs. "I, Mr. Lestrange, am an adventurous young woman and my father already made the preparations for me to leave soon after graduation. What about you?"
"I am far from adventurous. I am joining the life-saving ranks of Healers at Saint Mungo’s," you reply. Then, as an afterthought, you add, "Well, maybe that’s a completely different adventure with the injuries some people get."
"Why not the Ministry like every other boy?" she asks you curiously.
"My father wanted me to, but in the end, it was my decision."
"But why healing, if you don’t mind me asking?"
"I don’t know," you consider her for a moment before continuing. "I suppose I like to take care of people."
Before she can reply, you hear someone call out to her.
A small first year with dark hair approaches the two of you, and you notice three other small boys following him.
"Hello, Sirius," she almost sighs.
"Who’s this?" the boy now known as Sirius nods to you and you raise an eyebrow.
"This is my friend, Rodolphus," she answers, then turns to you, "Rodolphus, this is my cousin Sirius and his friends."
You stare intently at the boy and feel your lips twitch at the corners as you hold back a smile while he glares at you.
"Just friends?" he asks sceptically as he looks at Bellatrix and me.
"Why don’t you find someone else to annoy?" she asks him with a small smile.
Grinning, young Sirius beckons to his friends, "Goodbye cousin and her friend."
You shake your head at their retreating backs and Bellatrix glances at you somewhat apologetically, "Sorry about that."
"It’s alright, I have a brother exactly like him and he’s about his age too."
"You have a brother?"
"Yes, his name is Rabastan." Your lips twist into a playful smile. "He’s not as annoying as your Sirius, though."
She lightly slaps your shoulder as you exit the school gates and walk down the road to Hogsmeade. Up ahead of you are Lucius and Narcissa, who are walking slowly up the steps to the Three Broomsticks. Lucius winks at you with a small grin on his face as he pushes the door open for Narcissa, making you laugh.
"What are you laughing at?" Bellatrix asks.
You point to the two blondes who’ve just entered the pub with the door closing quickly behind them.
"Well, that’s a change," she mutters dryly.
"You know, Cissy always complains that he takes her into Madame Puddifoot’s constantly and she absolutely hates it! She must feel on top of the world now."
As she reveals this, all you can do is smile.
"Would you like to buy anything from Hogsmeade?" you ask her.
"I – No, I thought we were having lunch here," she said, looking confused.
"No, not exactly," you answered.
"Then where –"
You gingerly place a finger on her lips to silence her. "I thought you were an adventurous young woman, Miss Black." You raised your eyebrows inquisitively. "Will you just trust me a little?"
Wordlessly, you take her hand and lead her back up the road to the school, but instead of keeping straight ahead, you veer off the path onto the grass where a bit of it seems lighter in colour than the rest and a bit trodden. As you walk on, the grass grows a bit higher around your feet. You stop for a moment to look at her. Her eyes are wide with wonder as if she is entranced by it; to you it’s obvious that she has never come this way before.
"Are you alright?" you ask.
She merely nods and you continue your trek into a grove of trees, helping her over a large root of an old tree. Even though under the canopy appears a bit dark, the spaces between the leaves of each tree allow sunlight to seep through, making small shapes appear on the grass. Finally, you come to a cool spot under a tree in the middle where the grass is not as high.
"Here we are," you murmur as you release her hand and set down the basket. With a flick of your wand, a red-checker blanket appears out of the air and floats down on the grass. Seeming satisfied with this, you turn around to invite her to sit, but to your surprise, she is nowhere to be seen.
With your face screwed up in confusion, you call out to her, "Bellatrix?"
Well, this certainly is not how you want things to turn out – Where is she?
"Bellatrix!" you yell out again, but the only reply you get is the rustling of the grass and leaves by the wind. That is, until you hear a twig snap.
"Bellatrix, my dear, are you trying to be coy?" you say loudly, and then add quietly to yourself, "Because it doesn’t suit you."
As you turn around again, you hear a wild scream, and the next thing you know, you’re on the ground with your eyes wide open, staring into a mass of thick black hair, the body on top of you shaking with laughter. Incidentally, the wild scream came from you.
She rises slightly from off of you and peers down into your face through her hair, which has come undone from its immaculate ponytail. You clutch your chest and gasp for breath; she is still laughing at you.
"You need to lighten up, Rodolphus," she chuckles as she rolls off of you and onto her back.
"You scared the shit out of me, Bella," you wheeze.
"Ah, there we go," she says approvingly and pats your hand. "But you have to admit that it was hilarious. I never expected you to scream."
You feel your face flush and you tilt your head slightly to the left, staring at her in disbelief. She stares determinedly back at you and then, you just burst out laughing. Her laugh, you delightfully discover, is incredibly infectious, as she seems to lose a bit of control by banging her fist onto the grass, and tears run down her cheeks, which are now bright red. At last, she stops laughing; her eyes flutter open and her brown eyes meet yours with a smile. Her hand lightly caresses your face as hers comes very close to yours. The kiss comes as a surprise to you, but it is a pleasant one nonetheless.
"That wasn’t so awful now was it?" her lips curve into a coy smile and she speaks softly.
To you, her eyes haven’t seemed to have lost their innocence yet; you shake your head in response. "No."
Silently, you sit up and summon the basket of food toward you, "Hungry?" you ask.
During lunch, you continue your conversation with her about travelling the world and she quizzes you about becoming a Healer and things about life in general. Without realising it, you both become comfortable with each other, as if you do this sort of thing every day.
"What time is it?" she mumbles as she lay next to you.
"Four o’clock," you answer, glancing at your watch.
Now, as she snuggles closer to you, with her hand on your chest and her face pressed into your side, you begin to wonder if, at four o’clock in the afternoon, you have finally found what you were looking for.