Chapter 1 : A Dance Around the Memory Tree
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Bellatrix Lestrange was still. A frozen statue. Her eyes didn’t even flicker. The slight breeze didn’t even move her hair. And her chest didn’t even move up and down to signal her breathing.
She stared at the reflection of herself in the lake. But it wasn’t her, she concluded. It was a someone quite different. A fifteen year old girl with luxuriously long curling dark brown hair with a metallic gleam in the candlelight and dark chasm-like brown eyes that looked they could swallow a person whole.
The girl in the reflection was not really facing Bellatrix Lestrange. In fact the personage was twirling, a smile on her angelic face.
Bellatrix was still pale. Bellatrix was no longer still. She was blinking rapidly, and her cheeks were stained by tears. She rasped in a breath as memories flooded her. Memories that had haunted her since her first night in Azkaban. She had nearly forgotten that she had once been plagued by these memories for years and now when she least expected it they came back more powerful and potent than before. It was all becoming too overwhelming and her knees buckled, her palms getting scratched up by the gravely bank.
She watched as the reflection of the girl seemed to widen. The mere personage became an entire and elaborate magical canvas. The Great Hall appeared and many people were dancing and some were on sitting at tables eating or conversing. And some were just making out in the corners. The angelic girl was wearing a deep ivory green dress that puffed out slightly, the hem brushing at her knees. There was a layer of soft black fishnet cloth on top of the skirt of the dress. Her black shoes were flat and green ribbons criss-crossed up her leg from her shoes. She looked like a ballerina. A ballerina who never stopped dancing.
The girl twirled again.
“Stop spinning, your making me nauseous.”
The twirling girl stopped and turned to her sister, who was smiling despite her cruel comment.
“Oh come now Andromeda. Don’t be so jealous,” she pouted at her younger sister.
“Excuse me? You think I’m jealous of you, Bella?” Andromeda smirked, “Do you need to get your head checked?”
“Oh course I think your jealous,” Bella continued. “Just look at my dress, and now look at the pitiful excuse for a fabric you’re wearing, and now one more look at mine.” She grinned maliciously before bursting into giggles before embracing her sister. “You look beautiful Dromeda.”
And she was. She had dark honey locks that spiraled just below her shoulders. Andromeda wore a beautiful maroon gown that puffed at the shoulders a bit and reached her ankles, flowing at her every move.
“So why were you twirling?”
“To draw people’s attention,” she said in a matter-of-fact voice.
“Anyone in particular?” the younger girl asked wiggling her eyebrows just slightly.
“No. It is just completely unacceptable for the women of the most ancient house of Black to ask a man to dance. They are to flock to us. The fact that we weren’t immediately bombarded when we walked through the Great Hall doors just shows how dim witted everyone is at this school.” Bella sighed frustratingly. “So we just have to stand here and wait, but it won’t be long now,” she finished, twirling once again.
“Excuse me, Andromeda, but could I borrow your sister for a dance?” a deep voice that resembled the sweetness of chocolate rushed through Bella’s ears and she turned smiling. She always thought she had the gift of the Inner Eye. She had to crane her neck to look at his face he was so tall.
Bella recognized him immediately. He was two years older than her. A seventh year Gryffindor. In other circumstances she would, not at all kindly cover her nose as if she smelled something horrific and flat out refuse. But this time it was different. In her eyes anyway. This was no ordinary Gryffindor. He was Abraham Chryses, the third son of one of the purest pureblood wizarding families. His eyes were golden, his hair was golden, his skin was golden, everything about this boy was golden. Bella was nearly convinced it was because of his pureblood. She was equally convinced that if he were to be cut and his blood was to be spilt, that it would be pure gold and worth more than a million galleons.
“Of course,” Andromeda said slightly stunned. Chryses had never seemed to show interest the Black sisters much less Slytherins. He mostly kept to himself or his family.
“Just one moment, Chryses.” Bella’s voice tinkled sweetly.
Bella faced away from the boy and turned to her sister and whispered, “You won’t tell mum and pa, right?” Andromeda shook her head, keeping her lips sealed tightly recalling that the chryses’ were notorious for reading lips. Bella continued, “I know he’s pureblood, but after Sirius was sorted into Gryffindor I’m not sure how they will take it.” Andromeda nodded in agreement. “I just want to find out more about this Abraham Chryses, it is entirely professional.”
Andromeda cocked her head to the side and whispered into her ear. “Professional my arse, Bellatrix. He’s bloody hot.” And with that she gave her older sister a shove and walked in the other direction.
Bellatrix turned to the older boy waiting patiently for her to dance with him. “That to,” she said softly with a small giggle.
Abraham held out his hand and she took it without a thought. She marveled that just by touching him he made her skin look like gold as well. “’That to’ what?” he asked, taking her other hand as he pulled her deeper into the crowd of dancing bodies. They all seemed to blur away.
“That is for me to know,” she said placing her hands on his shoulders. “And for you to find out.”
He grinned. “So I will find out?”
“Is it guaranteed that I will find out?” he said, placing his hands on her small waist.
She gave him a once over. “Yes I guarantee it.”
Bellatrix glared. “Don’t call me that. Take the time to say my full name.”
He was thoughtful for a moment before he gave her an amused smile. “Bellatrix.”
“Perfect,” she beamed.
“I wasn’t finished.” He cleared his throat but didn’t begin again for another minute or two. “Bellatrix. Bellatrix Black. You have a very pretty name. A pretty name for a pretty girl.” She forced herself not to blush. “But I can’t bring myself to do it, Trix.”
Annoying little prat. She smiled sweetly at him as she moved her hands from his shoulders to his wrists and removed his hands from her waist. She executed her escape perfectly, until Abraham successfully tangled his fingers with hers and twirled her towards him again. “Ah-ah-ah. I will have my dance,” he said it in a voice that only purebloods could master. The kind of voice that your compelled to obey. They kind of voice you can’t help but obey. It was seductive magic and entirely inescapable.
He had his arm wrapped around her waist, holding her much closer to him than he had before, and his other hand between her shoulder blades. Bellatrix was briefly distracted by a lone freckle inside the shell of his ear. He was too close.
“I have a question.”
“Why do you suddenly take interest in dancing with me? I always thought you were an introvert or something and never stepped outside of your circled of brothers and sisters and cousins.”
“Should I be offended?”
“It would be a horrible waste of time; I never take back what I say. Now answer my question.”
“Well you were twirling around so much, that I simply couldn’t help myself.” His golden eyes flashed, as if they had been lit to flames.
Bellatrix gave him a cold stare. “Stop playing games, Chryses.”
“Abraham, just call me Abraham, Trix.” He moved his hand from between her shoulder blades to hold one of her hands. He held her hand to his mouth. She wanted so bad to pull it from his grasp, but she couldn’t, she was still being affected by his voice. “And playing games is what I do.” He pressed his soft lips to her finger tips. “But I’ve had my fun so I will answer you.”
He dropped her hand and loosened his grip on her but she was hooked. She couldn’t pull away even if she wanted to. His voice was back to normal now, she didn’t have to stay there, but she couldn’t move. His eyes were closed as he gathered his thoughts and when he opened them they weren’t on fire they were smoldering. Bellatrix suddenly felt like she was swimming in a vat of molten lava and she wasn’t escaping, nor did she really want to.
“I like you,” his eyes bore into her own and she felt like her eyes were burning inside their sockets. “A lot. I don’t know what it is. I don’t think I’ve ever noticed you since your sorting until the start of this term. You were just another small little pureblood girl who was sorted into Slytherin. I just forgot about you. It wasn’t until I saw you at the platform just this September did I notice something different. When you were eleven you were just a Slytherin. But now you’re just—.”
She found an empty table and sat down. She waited and waited for what seemed like an eternity for Andromeda to find her. Once she did Bellatrix shot up from her seat, and grabbed her by the wrist with her iron grip.
“Bella,” she hissed. “What the hell?”
“Why? What happened?” the fourth year asked annoyed but steadily becoming concerned.
Bellatrix looked around her as if suspicious of eavesdroppers. Which actually wasn’t to unreasonable. “I’ll tell you later. Maybe.”
One and a half hours later Bellatrix climbed up the stairs from the dungeons, still in her ballerina-esque dress. She had left Andromeda in the shower after she had told her an edited version of what had happened and she needed to be back soon, she had to do this quick. Finally she reached the doors to the Great Hall. She didn’t know why she was there—well she did, she just didn’t know if this was the place to start.
Suddenly the late nighters all began to file out of the Great Hall. The Holiday Soirée was officially over. She stood to the side, where no one could see her—not directly at least. When Abraham Chryses walked through the doors, she reached out and brushed her fingers against his. He remained expressionless when she gave him a long look before walking back down the corridor that she had come, which told him to follow her, but follow her he did. He followed her down the corridor, then down another one, then down a passageway until she disappeared behind a tapestry. He paused before brushing the tapestry aside.
“What is it, Black?”
She grabbed him by his classic black tie and pressed her lips to his. She pulled away immediately. “I’m sorry,” she said releasing his tie as she looked down at the dusty floor beneath her shoes taking a good three steps back. “For earlier.” Everything was quiet. Everything was still. Bellatrix shut her eyes tightly.
She heard a footstep and was convinced that he was leaving. But then he grabbed her by the waist with his left hand and with his right he tangled in her hair as he pushed her against the wall behind her. Her head slammed against the wall hard, but she hardly felt it, not compared to the rest of the pain she was feeling. Kissing Abraham was like being engulfed by white flame. Everything that he brushed his fingers against was scorched, blistered, melted. It was so utterly painful that it made Bellatrix feel a strange and twisted pleasure course through her body like poison that would kill her if she had too little or too much.
Both of Abrahams hands were on the small of her back now pressing her against him so tightly that she could scarcely breathe. She wanted so badly to rip and claw at his shirt until it was no longer a barrier to his undoubtedly flawless chest.
She pulled away her breathing haggard. “I’m sorry,” she repeated. Abraham leaned his forehead against hers. When she breathed in his exhaled breath it nearly froze her lungs, and she could swear her heart skipped a beat. “You were scaring me a little. No one so perfect as you had ever said stuff like that to me.” Bellatrix didn’t know why she was suddenly becoming hysterical, she didn’t know why her eyes were beginning to brim with tears, and she didn’t know why she couldn’t keep from words coming out of her mouth. She just was.
“You think I’m perfect?” he chuckled, catching a tear that began to slide down her cheek.
Bellatrix nodded covering her mouth with her hand and biting one of her fingers. Get a grip, she thought to herself.
“It’s okay,” he whispered drawing out the words to make them seem triple their actual length. He pulled back to get a better look at her face. He smiled when she nodded. She breathed in deeply and wiped at her eyes viciously as though they had done her a great misdeed.
“I’m just what?” she said in a small voice—a voice that she had only used with her sisters.
“Pardon? I don’t know what you’re getting at,” he said apologetically, brushing his lips against her cheeks.
“Before. When you were telling me that when I came here I was just another Slytherin girl. I was just a Slytherin. But now I’m just what?”
“Oh that,” he grinned. “You were just a Slytherin but now you’re just Bellatrix. I already know every Slytherin girl. Let me know Bellatrix,” he pleaded.
She smiled. Suddenly feeling very tired she rested her head in the crook of his neck. The one hand he still had on her back was trailing up and down her spine, giving her goose bumps.
The next day Bellatrix, Andromeda and the tiny second year Narcissa Black were back home for the winter holidays. The moment Bellatrix entered their home her mother grabbed her by the ear and dragged her down the hall up a set of stairs and into Bella’s room. Her mother released her ear, but the dark haired girl didn’t dare touch it. A moment later her father entered as well.
“Take a seat Bella.” She obeyed sitting at the edge of her bed.
What could this be about?
“We received a letter last night from Lucius Malfoy that you, last night, were dancing with the thirds son of the Chryses family.”
Her parents gave her a look. Oops, she thought. Slip number one.
Druella Black spoke for the first time. “I think it’s marvelous that a young man of such blood status asked you to dance,” she said smiling her fake smile of hers. Sure you do mum. Where’s the punch line? “But,” There you go. “You father thinks otherwise.”
“I do,” Cygnus said, taking a seat next to his daughter. “You are aware of course that Abraham Chryses is a Gryffindor. Your cousin Sirius was sorted into Gryffindor this year and the shock of that is still a healing wound to my dear brother and sister in law. We hope that you will understand that we must stay loyal with our family and you will stay clear of the Chryses boy from now on.”
Bellatrix nodded. Her father wrapped an arm around his favorite daughter and kissed her forehead. He loved all his daughter equally of course but Bella was his first and he found himself in her almost 24/7.
With that her parents filed out and after they shut the door Bellatrix shot up from her seat and opened her trunk, shuffling through it haphazardly until she found what she was looking for. Parchment, her phoenix feather quill and ink.
The first letter she wrote was to Dear Lucius Malfoy it read:
I hope you have your funeral planned and your will signed.
And the next letter was sent to Abraham Chryses.
My lovely housemate Malfoy decided to let my parents know that we danced last night. It wouldn’t be a big deal if my cousin hadn’t been sorted into Gryffindor, his parents find it to be the lowest betrayal and my father says I must stay loyal to my family. I should stay loyal to my family.
But I don’t think I will. I’m the oldest daughter; I should be expected to have a rebellious streak.
Your marvelous Bella.
p.s. I think though that we should keep my rebellious streak a secret though. I don’t really look forward to getting my ear pulled again.
The image in the lake changed. It morphed and shifted. Bellatrix Lestrange recognized it immediately and through her tears she smiled the saddest smile known to man as the happiest memory of her life appeared before her.
Bellatrix Lestrange began tearing at her dress blindly.
“I hate you,” Bellatrix hissed in Abrahams face. She stood from her seat, the poor wooden chair threatening to topple over, snatching her things from the table. They were in the library and he was “tutoring” her in Arithmancy. But it was really just an excuse for them to be seen together. To keep up the act of forced pupil and condemned master they would frequently get into little fights and squabbles, only to end up snogging in a deserted passageway or broom closet thirty minutes later. So that night wasn’t much different, except for the fact that Bellatrix wasn’t acting.
She stormed out of the library leaving him sitting there blubbering like an idiot. What had he done this time? He gathered his things and stuffed them into his bag and raced out the door following her.
Bellatrix shot glare after murderous glare at anyone who passed her or so much as breathed to close to her. The crowded corridors seemed to separate like the Red Sea for Moses.
Narcissa Black was the only one unbothered by her older sisters badly hidden fury. “Bella, Bella! Guess what!”
“Not now, Cissy! Go bother Dromeda, or Regulus or something,” she growled shoving her sister out of the way. Narcissa looked back at her Bella’s retreating form and stuck her tongue out at her nastily before skipping the other way. She always was a ball of sunshine.
Bellatrix had begun descending the staircase that led to the dungeons when she knocked straight into someone. She fell on her bum and looked up at who had dared gotten in her way. Andromeda. She was clutching at the wall having successfully regained her balance. Before looking down at Bellatrix she patted her hair as if it had disappeared for a second.
“Oh, hey, Bella! Have you seen Rabastian?” she asked completely neglecting for as good as pushing Bellatrix to the floor. Bella brushed pass Andromeda. “Hey!” her younger sister yelled frustrated.
“How should I know? Go ask Cissy or something,” she shouted back.
Bellatrix was positive that he was hot on her tail. He always was one to follow her when she was angry. Always persisting that problems get solved head on. She ran faster and faster, she didn’t know if her mind was playing tricks on her or if she really was hearing footsteps approaching closer and closer by each passing second.
Finally she was sprinting down the length of the dungeons until she slammed into the common room entry way. She was about to whisper a password when a voice beside her startled her.
“Never seen you run so fast, Trix.”
Bellatrix yelped loudly, pulling out her wand. She couldn’t believe she hadn’t noticed him. Abraham was leaning against the wall merely three feet away from her. He was not looking at her, but looking straight ahead emotionlessly. He scared her when he got like that. His usually smoldering gold eyes were hard as steel and his lips weren’t quirked up in a smile like they almost always were. Everything thing about him now looked wrong.
“How’d you—how’d you beat me?” Her voice shook. “And how many times do I have to tell you, Chryses, not to call me that?”
“So now we’re on last name bases are we, Black? And to answer your questions, Black, I beat you ‘cause Gryffindor’s know more about the castle’s secret passages it’s a gift given to us by Godric, Black. And you’ve told me not to call you ‘that’, Black, 4 times a day, Black.”
Bellatrix was looking down now. It wasn’t often that Abraham got angry at her but when he did he could be cold and cruel, and Bellatrix wasn’t used to being on the receiving end. “Okay you can stop,” she murmured but he didn’t seem to hear her.
“And tell me, Black, since when have you started hating me, Black? Tell me, Black, why have you been acting like some prissy spoiled brat every time we finally get to spend a decent amount of time with each other, Black?”
Each time he said her name was like a slap in the face which angered her: she had never once felt shame for her lineage but here was Abraham Chryses succeeding where no one else has. She bent her head lower and brought her hands to her ears, her nails bit into her skin and her hair cascaded over her watering eyes. She turned away from him and began walking away, humming a tune, anything to get away from his voice.
“And tell me, Black, why do you keep walking away from me, BLACK?!” He roared her name that time and it made her flinch.
She turned back towards him keeping her head bent as she grabbed his sleeve and pulled him into one of the Heads offices. It was where all the Slytherin prefects would meet but there wasn’t to be another meeting until the following Wednesday. Once they were both inside she shot and locked the door before placing a Silencing charm on it. Once that was done she pocketed her wand and leaned her forehead against the cool wooden surface of the door. She needed to compose herself before she talked to him. She counted to ten but found herself blinded by more and more tears. Why couldn’t they just go away?
Bellatrix began to hit her forehead against the door repeatedly, each beat becoming steadily harder and harder and harder. Suddenly she was all out attacking the wall, her legs kicking it viciously and her nails tearing at the wood leaving deep wounds. Abraham’s eyes widened as he watched her, he wanted to reach out and hold her but his feet were glued to the ground. Heart wrenching sobs tore through her chest and it brought a tear to his eye to see her so distressed. But still he couldn’t move. She punched and scratched and kicked and cried and screamed for a long time before finally collapsing in a crumpled heap on the floor. Now Abraham found that he could move.
He staggered towards her, his knees buckling from underneath him. She was still crying, she seemed to be humming a childish tune. Her knuckles were swollen and a red bump was forming on her forehead. Her nails were also nearly non-existent and bloody. He reached out a hand and stroked her hair. She sobbed and began to hum louder.
“I’m,” she breathed her voice hoarse from screaming, “scared.” She pushed herself up and off the floor laying her head in his lap. He pulled her soft hair from her face, and began whipping away at her tear stained face with a handkerchief. “I’m scared. So scared.”
Abraham leaned down and kissed her temple, his golden hair tickling the skin just below her eye. “What is there to be scared of?” he whispered.
“You.” He blanched, but she continued. “You’re leaving and school is over in two weeks. Me not seeing you for two years. You not seeing me for two years. My parent’s expectations. I just know they’ve already picked me a husband. And they sure as hell didn’t pick you. And that scares me because,” she lifted her head looking into his eyes. Her dark brown ones looked as if she were begging him for something, something that she was half convinced that she would never get. “Ever since you asked me to dance.” She broke off suddenly shaking her head. “No, no, never mind. I’m just scared. I’ll miss you so much.”
It was already too late. She had already said too much, and he wasn’t about to let her off the hook. “Stop lying to be, Bella. Can’t you trust me with the truth?” he said some of his earlier anger coming back to him.
“Of course I trust you,” she breathed, her eyes wide. He had never seen her so vulnerable.
“Then why do you lie.” She rested her forehead on his knee. “Tell me why you’re
She mumbled something against his leg that he didn’t have a hope of understanding. “Didn’t hear you.” She said it again louder this time but it was still incomprehensible. “Look at me and try again.” She brought her head up. Slowly she found his waist and wrapped her arms around it, leaning her head against his heart and looking up into his eyes.
“I love you,” she said clearly but barely in a whisper.
He smiled, and began pushing her onto her back. “What did you say?” She said it again, looking at him curiously, her tears finally coming to an end. “Huh?” he asked leaning over her body, his hands holding him up next to her shoulders.
“I love you,” she said in her lovely soprano voice.
“Come on, Trix,” he said. He was so teasingly close that his lips brushed against hers so lightly that it felt like she were touching a ghost. “You can say it louder than that, I can barely hear you.”
She couldn’t help but giggle before shouting her love to him. Finally he seemed satisfied.
“Oh so that’s what you said. Good ‘cause I love you too.” And then he kissed her.
Kissing Abraham gave her the favorite feeling in the world. Her arms were still wrapped around his waist and glided them up and over his button down shirt, tracing his spine. He kissed her slowly and sensually. Almost expertly and without him noticing she rolled them so that she was on top of him.
“I have something for you,” he breathed in her ear. She kissed him once more before moving off of him. “Close your eyes and give me your wrist.” She obeyed, covering her eyes with her other hand for extra measure. She felt something cold and somehow living clasp around her wrist and she opened her eyes.
She gasped. On her wrist was the whitest set of pearls she had ever witnessed. She glanced at Abraham before returning her attention to the bracelet. “It’s beautiful. Where’d you get it?”
“Family heirloom. It’s been in the Chyrses family for about a thousand years now.”
“Its,” she paused looking for the right word. “Beating. Like a heartbeat.”
He chuckled, “Yeah it’s got magical properties apparently. Some say that Godric had been a part of the Chryses family. He had been given that bracelet by his aunt who adored him and thought he might want to one day give it to the woman he loved, and he did. To a woman named Seraphina Chryses. They had a baby boy but Godric Gryffindor’s wife died while in labor or shortly after it. Godric kept the bracelet in his dead wife’s jewelry box where she kept her finest jewels and when he was old and dying he told his son who was much older now to take the bracelet out of the box and cherish it for it had been his mothers. He kept his mother’s maiden name to honor her.
“So it’s been tradition in our family for the mother to give this bracelet to one of her sons who would in turn give it to the girl they love most in the world,” said beaming giving her a kiss on the cheek.
“And that girl is me?”
He nodded. “Also these pearls shine the brightest when I’m thinking of you. They turn black and stop beating when I’ve stopped loving you, but that will never happen. I’ve never loved anyone like this before, and I have fallen in love many times believe it or not. This love will last even once I’ve died.”
“I love you,” she sighed, touching his face with her palm and he held it there. “Well I always planned for you to love me most,” she smirked.
Then for the next four minutes they were battling each other in an epic tickle fight.
Her dress looked ragged, and her fingers were numb. In her hand was exactly 23 white pearls and in her other hand was a gold chain that the pearls had once been attached to. They were a dull white now, almost a grey as if they were dirty. Bellatrix Lestrange sighed, pulling out her wand and muttered Reparo before slipping the pearls back onto her wrist. When they had come to take her to Azkaban she had destroyed the bracelet and with wandless magic she embedded the individual pearls and golden band into her prison clothes until she had escaped.
She choked on a sob when she remembered Abrahams words. “They turn black and stop beating when I’ve stopped loving you.” He still loved her. The pearls were still beating faintly against her thing wrist and as dim as they were they were nowhere close to black.
“Oi, Trix!” a voice like chocolate bellowed from a distance.
Automatically she screamed back. “Bella, or Bellatrix! Not bloody Trix! How many times do I have to say it, Chryses?"
“About four times a day!” the voice answered back.
She froze. It couldn’t be. She turned slowly, her face a portal to the turmoil he had caught her experiencing. It was him Abraham Chryses. Her Abraham. He wasn’t different at all, and yet he totally was. Long stubble grew on the bottom half of his face as if he hadn’t shaven for a week or two. His eyes— no she dare not look into their golden depths. His skin was just as golden as ever matching his hair, and he was just as tall. And his lips were quirked up in that smile of his, albeit a sad smile but still.
She looked down to make it easier to not look into his eyes. “Why is it,” she began when he got close enough for her to look at his feet. “That you every time I see you I start to cry?” she sniffled, finally giving up and looking into his eyes.
And then the moment her deep brown ones locked with his smoldering gold ones they were quickly thrown back deep into their minds where they were reminded of their last meeting. About twenty years earlier.
Okayyyy I’m gonna write up another chapter for this and then it will be complete. Please tell me what you thought.
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