Chapter 1 : Snowflecked Eyelashes
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Snow Flecked Eyelashes
The snow fell heavily in thick, dancing flakes; the bare branches of the trees looked black and eerie against the sky that was a deep blue, promising more snow and frost later that evening.
Bellatrix Lestrange stood in the large window of the parlour taking in the soft, innocent scene of nature before her. The grounds of her home were invisible, covered over in a deep layer of snow that glistened and sparkled in the fading light of the weak sun.
A small smile tugged at the corners of her full, pouting lips when her wandering gaze alighted on the solitary figure walking through the snow, leaving sunken footprints behind him.
He wore a black cloak without the hood up, leaving his black hair to curl around the nape of his neck and gather the gently falling snow in amongst the long strands. He stood tall and straight, a stark clarity to the purity around him.
Leaving the window, Bellatrix went into the large foyer and took her red velvet cloak from the small cupboard under the stairs. Donning the warm garment, she opened the door and stepped out onto the slippery top step.
Pulling her hood up to protect her freshly styled black hair, Bellatrix stepped down into the snow, taking great pains to place her small feet into the larger imprints of her husband as she made her way across the garden towards him.
Her feet crunched on the flattened snow and her pale cheeks stung from the cold. Hurriedly, she pulled on a pair of red gloves trimmed with white fur to keep her fingers from freezing.
When she came within ten feet of her husband she opened her mouth to speak, but gave a sharp cry of surprise when he spun round to face her, his wand held high, a spell on his lips.
Rodolphus Lestrange frowned and lowered his wand. “Damn it, Bellatrix. You should know better than to go sneaking up on someone like that.”
“I wasn’t sneaking,” Bellatrix replied crossly. “I crunched the whole way over here.”
“How very undignified,” he replied, a small smirk twitching at his lips.
Bellatrix frowned. Rodolphus liked to tease her, and he tormented her ruthlessly when the fancy took him. He knew how important it was for her to be seen as sophisticated and dignified in everything she did, it was something that had been instilled in her since she was a young girl: always behave like a lady.
She strived to always be the lady her mother had wanted her to be, and Bellatrix knew she was vastly superior to many people in her orbit, in lineage, wealth, intelligence and beauty; except with this man she had married.
Rodolphus was older than she was, although only by a few years. He came from good stock, a pureblood family that dated back further than her own family, the Blacks, and he had more money than he knew what to do with. He had on many occasions hinted to her of scandal and skulduggery lurking in the long lines of Lestrange ancestors.
“I suppose you would consider tramping about in the cold without a hood and getting snow all over you the mark of a gentleman?” Bellatrix retorted.
“No,” he replied. “But then, I’ve never pretended to be a gentleman, have I?”
“That would be too hard a task for even you to pull off,” Bellatrix said primly, making him laugh.
His laugh sounded loud in the white stillness that surrounded them. Bellatrix shushed him, feeling the noise didn’t fit with the peacefulness of their garden. “Why are you out here, Rodolphus?”
He shrugged lazily, flicking a snowflake from his cheek. “Can’t I go for a walk in my own garden?”
“Yes, if you want to,” she said, pulling her cloak tighter around her slim frame when a sudden icy gust of wind whipped by, blowing the fur hood from her head and sending strands of hair dancing wildly.
“Leave it,” he requested quietly, as she made to tuck her hair back into its clips. “You know I prefer your hair loose. Why you have to pin it and groom it within an inch of its life I’ll never know,”
Bellatrix frowned again at his laughing eyes, he was baiting her and she knew it. “It’s called style, darling,” she informed him sweetly. “Not something I would expect you to know anything about,”
Rodolphus raised a black eyebrow at her. “You don’t think I’m suave and debonair?”
She chuckled, “Sometimes you can look quite handsome, other times I despair of you,”
That was a lie, although Bellatrix would rather die than let her husband know that she lived with a constant niggling fear that she would lose him to someone else.
He was tall with broad shoulders, and rippling muscles in his arms and back. He was dark, swarthy like a pirate; a direct contrast to her own milk white complexion. His thick, glossy hair was as black as the underside of a crow’s wing, and he had deep, intense black eyes that glinted with a frightening power he held inside himself.
Rodolphus was a strong, capable wizard; he was one of the very few people who could frighten her. Bellatrix Lestrange did not scare easily, but this husband of hers was a difficult man to understand, and he was even harder to tame. Although, he was always in control of himself, never had she seen him lose control, but Bellatrix knew of his magical ability, she had heard the stories and rumours that surrounded him since his days at Hogwarts.
Rodolphus was not a man to be messed with. He had taught her much since they began their relationship over two years ago. Bellatrix was as hungry for power and respect as he was, and Rodolphus had recognised the female version of himself in the woman he had married.
“You are beautiful in the snow, Bellatrix.”
She blinked in surprise at this statement coming out of nowhere. Nonetheless, she was thrilled with the compliment. “Oh?”
“Yes,” Rodolphus confirmed, before turning his head away and gazing once again out onto the horizon.
The snow was still falling, so Bellatrix pulled her hood back up and moved to stand closer to her husband for warmth. Studying his profile, she remembered when she had first seen him, duelling with some poor wretch at Hogwarts. Bellatrix had been fascinated with his way with a wand, somehow it seemed as though the wand was a part of his hand, and he was so in control of the situation, blocking the oncoming spells and casting his own with ease, as though he could do it in his sleep.
Obviously he had been younger then, his hair shorter, his face softer, his body thinner, but he had still had that wicked grin and the mockery dancing in his eyes. In that very first moment she had laid eyes on him, Bellatrix Black had wanted Rodolphus Lestrange as simply as she had wanted food to eat and money to spend.
Rodolphus has been a popular boy at Hogwarts and his popularity had not diminished when he had entered the world of pureblood society as a man of seventeen. She had been required to wait until she became of age and could attend the functions that he did to catch his eye; Bellatrix Black always got what she wanted, and catch his eye she had.
Bellatrix sniffed slightly when she recalled that all it had taken was her favourite low cut dress that hugged her curves, and Rodolphus had been eager to come over and speak to her. Once having caught his eye, Bellatrix had been forced to play the situation very carefully in order to keep his attention and interest, for a womaniser like Rodolphus would not be satisfied with a dance or two and a brush of his lips over her finger tips.
Fortunately for Bellatrix, the wild side of her was poorly concealed to a man like Rodolphus, who was as wild and untameable as the sea himself. He did not hold with convention, he did not bow to the rules of society, but was happy to be who he wanted to be and do what he wanted to do. Rodolphus was a gambler, delighting in the thrill of the unknown and safe in his own youthful arrogance that no-one was as quick as he was with a wand. He fought many duels and won them all.
Rodolphus took Bellatrix along for the ride and what a wild ride she had with him; someone who was so like him, reckless and arrogant, with a penchant for bullying and a disregard for the rules.
Retreating out of her thoughts, Bellatrix played absently with her wedding ring through her glove. Even though she was the one with the ring, his wife, she still worried that Rodolphus would become bored with her. He didn’t stick to the same things for long; always wanting to experience something new. So far she knew there had been no other woman since she had come into his life, but the worry was always with her.
He was hers, and Bellatrix Lestrange had never been someone who liked to share. He had been quiet lately, broody, as though he had something important on his mind; but for some reason Rodolphus was not sharing it with her and this worried Bellatrix greatly.
“The wizarding world is going to change, Bellatrix,” Rodolphus said suddenly.
Bellatrix looked up, “What do you mean?”
“There is a man, an extremely powerful wizard who is starting to gather the pureblood elite together to begin an uprising,” he told her quietly.
“Uprising? What sort of uprising?”
“To rid our world of the Mudbloods and the Muggles altogether,”
Bellatrix nodded firmly. “That sounds like a good idea, who wants those creatures in our world? Certainly no-one with any sense or class.”
“Exactly,” he agreed. “I am part of it, Bellatrix, part of the army who are his followers. We call ourselves the Death Eaters.”
“Death Eaters? What do you have to do?” she asked, placing her gloved hand on his arm.
Rodolphus looked down at her and smiled softly. Bellatrix was classically beautiful with unruly black hair that made her look like a temptress and almond shaped brown eyes the colour of rich caramel. She had a heart shaped face with high cheek bones and a small nose, her skin soft and smooth, as pale as the snow they were standing in.
“Fight,” Rodolphus told her. “Make our world ours again and kill anyone who tries to stop us.”
Bellatrix bit her bottom lip thoughtfully, it was a good cause, one that she believed was worth some sort of sacrifice, but her own husband? What if he should die?
“I’ve been in the meetings with him, the Dark Lord Voldemort,” Rodolphus said slowly, his eyes glazing over with a bright fervour. “He has plans, great plans, Bellatrix, and I’m going to be there, I’m going to be part of it all. I’m going to help make the wizarding world pure again,”
A chill crept down Bellatrix spine as she listened to him talking. Rodolphus spoke of this man as though he were some sort of God to be worshipped; it was creepy to hear her own husband talking like that.
“What exactly is going to happen, Rodolphus?” she asked cautiously.
“There’s going to be a war,” he replied, a fleeting flash of maliciousness appearing in his eyes. “I receive my mark tomorrow,”
“My Dark Mark, the mark of the Dark Lord. All Death Eaters will have one, me, Rabastan, Lucius Malfoy and Severus Snape are receiving ours tomorrow. It will be a wonderful day, Bellatrix, one of the most important in my life,”
Excitement laced his voice and he took her hands in a tight grip, holding them against his heart as he spoke, continuing to praise the Dark Lord and all his plans.
“You want to be marked by another man?” Bellatrix asked, her nose wrinkling delicately in disgust. “To be branded like a common house-elf?”
“It’s not like that,” Rodolphus snapped irritably. “The Dark Mark shows solidarity, it shows commitment to the cause. A cause that I happen to think is worth fighting for.”
“Well of course it’s worth fighting for,” Bellatrix agreed. “I just can’t understand why you would want to be marked, that’s all.”
Dropping her hands, he reached out and took hold of her shoulders, staring down intently into her face. “It shows that I’m willing to stand up and be counted, to do something worth while. We don’t want dirty, filthy Mudbloods in our world, Bellatrix. It’s time to do something, to stop the blood traitors and the Muggle lovers before it’s too late and they destroy our world.”
A feeling that was all too familiar began to bubble up from the pit of her stomach. It was the same feeling that Bellatrix got when she saw Rodolphus talking with a beautiful woman: fright. Fright that the woman would take him from her, that the woman would seem much more exciting and interesting than she was.
It had never entered Bellatrix head that she could lose her husband to a man, but it was happening, she could see it very clearly. She had heard of Voldemort, Rodolphus had spoken of him before and there were always stories about him in The Daily Prophet, but she hadn’t thought her husband would be running off to join his ranks and be talking of starting a war.
The Dark Lord Voldemort and the Death Eaters were pushing her out, taking what was hers; they were more thrilling than she was. Then another thought occurred to her, one that sent terror to her very soul.
“Are there women Death Eaters?” she questioned.
“Yes,” he almost whispered, as though he were waiting for something from her.
Bellatrix trembled at the idea of Rodolphus spending all his time with other women who were actively fighting for the same cause. It wasn’t as if she was opposing it, far from it, Bellatrix thought it was the best idea she had heard in a long time, and a leader to begin the war was well over due, but she wouldn’t be there with Rodolpus would she? She would be at home, waiting for him to come back to her.
She had waited for Rodolphus Lestrange once before, she had been lucky then. Bellatrix was damned if she would sit around and wait for him again when he was off on his adventures and having the time of his life without her.
“Then I want to be a part of it as well. I’m a pureblood, a member of one of the longest standing pureblood families there are, I should be a part of it. Lead by example,” she told him firmly.
Rodolphus smiled then, a delighted smile. “I knew you wouldn’t let me down, Bellatrix, I knew you would want to be a part of it as well. Come with me tomorrow, show your skills to the Dark Lord, I’m sure he’ll want you as a Death Eater as well, after all, you learnt from the best didn’t you?” he grinned wickedly at her.
“Arrogant aren’t you?” Bellatrix replied flippantly, making him laugh again.
“Only when I have reason to be,” he said, leaning forward and pressing his lips to hers.
Sliding her arms around his waist and up his back, Bellatrix kissed him back with cold lips that began to tingle from the sudden warmth of Rodolphus’ mouth. She sighed contentedly, holding him tighter, her hood falling off as she tilted her head back to allow him to deepen their kiss.
Bellatrix knew that after tomorrow their lives would change, somehow she knew that she could not fight against the cause, against the calling that Rodolphus believed was his, but no woman would ever take him from her, of that Bellatrix could be sure of.
Breaking the kiss, Rodolphus dropped a playful kiss on the tip of her nose. “We had better go inside. The snow is coming heavier now.”
“I have a fire going in the parlour,” she told him, snowflakes landing on her upturned face. Her eyelashes fluttered when the smaller flakes caught in the lashes stiff from mascara.
Rodolphus smiled softly as he thought what a pretty picture she made with snow flecked eyelashes; she looked innocent and dreamlike. His thumb wiped at her cheek before lifting her hood to shelter her head. “Come along, Bellatrix,” tucking his arm around her shoulder, he led her back up to the house.
Rodolphus Lestrange was not to know what he had started that day. It never occurred to him that his beloved wife who was so worried about losing him and who loved him to distraction would soon start to slip from his grasp.
Rodolphus Lestrange was not to know that his wife, whom he loved more than anything in the world, would change into someone completely unrecognisable from the woman with the snow flecked eyelashes.