Chapter 3 : Bellatrix.
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Back When we were Blacks
Jets of green, red and purple flash across the night sky illuminating it, but also shedding light on a scene of devastation. Cloaked and hooded figures fight against robed officials trying to protect a crowd of wandless muggle-borns. Their movements could be mistaken for those of dancers or gymnasts, but the faces painted with terror and the inscrutable masks tell a different story. In the centre of the fray there is a woman twirling and dodging more than any of the others, her face caught in an expression between loathing and ecstasy has contorted so that it is almost impossible to find a trace of Black within it. This is life as a Lestrange. The woman’s wand is shooting sparks in all directions with a practiced accuracy. She looks like a woman in control, a woman on a mission. Then a deep, throaty cackle comes rumbling out of the woman’s mouth, changing into a shrill, piercing giggle before anyone has time to register what she is doing. It hasn’t taken long for the illusion of control to vanish, only to be replaced by the fascination of seeing a woman unhinged to this magnitude.
Upon closer inspection of this woman, as curses and whispers of death fly past her, her lack of fear becomes obvious. She doesn’t avoid the spells flying at her to avoid death; she avoids them for the greater good. The longer she lives dictates how long others will be allowed to live. She cannot let the enemy and their filthy blood outlive her, it would be… shameful somehow. She is strong where they are weak and so she will live where they will die and her strength will ultimately be the cause. And still she laughs. Friends and foes are struck down around her. She doesn’t notice. The moment has taken her over. And she fights because she loves it, she does not love she fights. Yet when she fights she is both a lover and a fighter, because she loves to fight. She attacks continuously never pausing for thought. It’s probably best. Sometimes when she thinks she doesn’t recognise herself. These moments soon pass; she has taught herself to forget.
‘Aaaaaah,’ the shriek is prolonged and very much there. ‘The idiots. The damned muggle-loving idiots!’ It’s loud, loud enough for the whole manor to hear.
There is a furious clacking of heels and the inhabitants of the manor brace themselves. And there she is at the door, wilder than she was on the battlefield. She is still covered it the tell-tale red stains of combat. She stands seething in the doorway; the others know better than to talk first.
‘Look at what those barbaric… cretins have done to me,’ she thunders. Her hair is crackling with static, her expression wild. The room looks at her as she jabs at her shoulder, and then they see it; a small superficial singe in her robe. They see it, but they don’t understand. She howls again, loudly, ‘How could I let them do this to me? How could I be so weak…?’
The question just hangs there because they can’t answer it- her mind works differently. To them escape from the battlefield is enough, she however must escape unscathed. The pain this causes her is not physical, it’s worse, this pain feels like failure. Failure and loss. And so she screams and it is a scream of pain. Of pain and failure and loss. The room, the world, watches as she screams and as she hurts over something that seems so petty to them, but they dare not think it because she will know and they dare not say it because she will hear, and so they pretend they understand when they don’t. Eventually she leaves with a swish of her cloak and a withering glance, dragging her pride along with her and attached to the knowledge that she has been showing weakness. When she leaves the room the others do not talk about her; they share knowing glances but they do not talk, for what is there to talk about? That was just one of many, the same as yesterday and the day before.
A tall dark-haired man enters the room, ‘Lestrange, you’ve been summoned.’
Two men and a woman turn their heads to face the newcomer. ‘Both of you should know better by now, especially you Rodolphus- it’s Bellatrix the Dark Lord’s after.’
As soon as she is mentioned she is gone. The woman runs through the corridors of the manor, to the room where her master is, she is eager and doesn’t wish to disappoint. When she reaches her destination she pauses at the door and composes herself. She smoothes a hand over her hair and tugs her clothes straight, the old trait of vanity resurfacing as it always does when she’s around him. Only now does she notice that these clothes she has been sitting in for hours are spattered with blood, and only now does she retrieve her wand to clean herself up. She knocks at the door and his reply is immediate, because of course he already knew that she was standing there. She enters the room and stands a short distance away from where he sits; she is not yet at ease.
‘Come Bellatrix, sit by me.’
She knows now that she has not displeased him as she had feared, so she sits in the chair opposite him and she opens her mind. And he sits in the chair opposite her and he reads it.
‘You have done well Bellatrix. I am not disappointed so neither should you be.’ He is referring to the incident earlier and she glows because he thinks of her. He does not speak to the others as he speaks to her.
‘Yes, My Lord. I only hoped not to displease you.’ He sees that this is in part a lie; when she gets angry she thinks of nothing else, but he ignores that. She cannot help it.
‘You cannot displease me Bellatrix, you are my most loyal, my most faithful. Only when you are weak do you displease me.’ She flinches at the mention of weakness. Does he think she was weak earlier? Is this his way of telling her? She hates weakness. Right now she hates herself, because she is weak.
He does not apologise; he does not feel that he has been too harsh, rarely does he feel. Sometimes she makes him feel. Sometimes. He can see that he has bothered her so he changes the subject.
‘Speaking of loyalty, Bellatrix, how is your husband?’ She hesitates, this topic is even worse. She does not like to discuss her husband in front of the Dark Lord; it is stupid, he means nothing.
‘I believe he is well, My Lord.’ Right here, right now she does not care how he is at all.
‘You believe it Bellatrix? Do you not know it?’ She knows that her husband wants more of her, that he wants a proper wife; he says it often enough. She knows that she doesn’t want to discuss it.
‘You are excused Bellatrix. I have better things to do with my time.’
His words are sharp and they pierce her. They pierce her so that she bleeds, so that she bleeds tears and not blood. At least she knows how to deal with blood.
She isn’t quite sure how it happened, how she came to be alone in a room with her. Her sister seems to make those unnerving moments she sometimes has occur more frequently. Sooner or later Narcissa will speak; she was never one for silence. She knows it is coming so she sits and waits, and soon her patience is rewarded.
‘Draco is struggling.’ It is not accusatory, it’s a fact.
‘So I hear Narcissa, many times a day. It’s pathetic really.’ She spits the last words out of her mouth, she knows this will aggravate her sister; she can’t help it. Even during childhood she liked to tease, but this is bigger now. Her sister no longer purses her lips and breathes deeply; No, she screams and she shouts and she reaches for her wand.
‘You cannot fault my son for having a soul, just because you sold yours long ago. Merlin knows I won’t let you!’
She watches as her sister grits her teeth to hold back tears and remembers that this is not longer just a childish game, this is a childish game played by foolish adults. And she isn’t going to lose; winners don’t lose. The woman smirks at her sister.
‘Never could handle a little fun, could you Narcissa?’ In a flash she is standing and her wand is also drawn.
The two women stand in the darkened room, wands held aloft; one woman is apprehensive and unwilling, the other could murder indifferently, could torture with glee. She raises her wand to strike, but then from nowhere, clarity. She feels a certain stillness as if her mind is being unfogged; it’s ironic because she has no idea what is going on. What is she doing? Why is she brandishing her wand at her sister? She doesn’t think she has been drinking… But something must have happened to set her off at Cissa. She lowers her wand and registers the evident look of relief on the other woman’s face.
‘Are you coming for a cup of tea Cissa?’
‘I-I think I’ll leave it if you don’t mind?’ It’s a definite question.
The woman wonders why she should mind, it’s only a cup of tea. What she doesn’t know is that women are known to breakdown at the manor over much less than a cup of tea; one woman in particular. The woman rises to leave.
She’s puzzled. Her sister only ever uses her full name when she’s angry with her. The woman reaches the door, but before she leaves she tries to decipher what her sister’s thinking. There’s no harm in knowing what she’s angry about. It’s always easier with family and she just wants a quick look, but she’s taken by surprise. Her mind is too hard to make out. The woman wonders when that happened.
A/N:So, did I ruin it? Or did that chapter fit in alright with the story? Well, that's the end anyway, thanks so much to everyone who read, reviewed and added it to their favourites.
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