Chapter 1 : Black
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Black. The color of the sky at night. Of charcoal sizzling in a fire. Of ink on parchment, the fur of a skunk, and of mourning dresses. But it’s also the color of you.
You are- you were black. Through and through. The color of this lace dress that brushes my knees as I walk.
It slips lower on my arms and I pull it up. All my clothes are too big now. I’m thinner than I ever was. I can hardly bring myself to eat these days. I could hardly even bring myself to move.
The wind screeches, blowing my long blond hair around my face and lifting my skirt.
And suddenly, I am thrown back, to a time when we were both young and carefree.
“Cissy! Give it back!”
My tinkling laughter sounds like bells ringing in a church. I scamper off, slipping and sliding in the mud in the bed of the creek behind our house. I’m wearing a bright yellow dress that is much too big for me, and I keep hoisting it up as I run. This is your dress. But it’s so pretty and I wanted to wear it so badly. I always got what I wanted, so I went to your closet and slipped it on. And then ran away as fast as my legs could carry me.
I run down into the creek, splashing wildly. I kick off my shoes and keep running, hearing the splash behind me that means you’re following behind. I pout as I run. You’re four years older than me, and much faster.
Just as I am climbing out on the other side, I feel your fingers latch onto my arm, holding tight. I twist and squirm but your grip is iron hard, and I can’t get free.
“Cissy!” you shriek. “You ruined it! That’s my favorite dress!”
I look down at the dress. The hem is tattered, the bottom half of it is soaking wet, and it’s covered in splashes of mud. “Mummy will fix it with magic,” I say adamantly.
“It’s my dress! Take it off! Now!”
I gape at you. “Not here!”
You sigh, seeming to realize you’re still in ankle deep water and I’m standing on a muddy bank. “Come on, then. We’re going back.”
“No!” I try and get away again, but you hold tight.
“Because I’ll have to take the dress off!”
“Why did you take the dress in the first place?”
“Because it’s pretty. I never get anything pretty. You’re so much prettier than me!”
Your face softens, a hint of a smile playing on your lips. “Cissy, you’re gorgeous.”
The wind picks up, blowing my hair around my face while yours miraculously lies flat. The dress blows up, and I quickly push it down, blushing slightly.
“That isn’t true. I wish I looked like you.”
“Are you kidding me? I wish I was blonde. You would too, if you were stuck with boring old brown hair. Blonde is different, and exciting.”
Slightly mollified, I stop trying to pull away and give you a tentative smile, which you return with ease. You do everything so easily.
“Come on. Let’s go inside,” you say kindly, letting go of my arm and taking my hand.
“All right.” I allow you to pull me from the creek, giggling slightly as we approach the back door.
Just as your hand reaches for the handle, however, the door is flung open, revealing a very angry woman who glares at the two of us.
“Bellatrix! Narcissa! Where have you two been? What happened to you? Why are you in Bella’s dress, Narcissa?”
We look at each other, our eyes meeting and we burst out laughing as we await our punishment.
I think you were still capable of love back then. You seemed to love me, in any case. Of course, that was when I was six and you were ten. I want to believe that you loved me. We had such fun, the two of us. Even Andromedra would join in sometimes.
I haven’t seen Andromedra in years. Ever since she was blasted off the family tree.
I turn my thoughts back to you. Those were the days before your soul hardened, your heart turned black.
You were incapable of love when you died. Hatred had consumed you, fed to you by your Master, and by the dementors of Azkaban. That’s why you couldn’t understand why I wanted to save Draco, why it pained me each and every day as I imagined him trying to complete a deed that would only kill him in the end. You said it was an honor to serve the Dark Lord. For him, it was a suicide mission.
You knew only three emotions. Greed. Anger. Lust. Greed for the power you wish to have. Anger for those who step in your way. And lust for the Master that can never feel the same.
All black emotions. Black as a starless, moonless night.
And then I am thrown back once more, to a cold winter’s day in a small church.
The fur of my gloves is soft against my fingertips. I snuggle into my red velvet coat as my perfectly curled hair bounces against my shoulders.
I look up. One on side of me is Andromedra. She looks like a princess, a queen, the bottom of her dark blue dress skimming lightly over the snow. She’s thirteen now, in the middle of her third year at Hogwarts. But she’s still my sister and doesn’t seem big to me. On my other side is you. You’re eleven now, and just starting your first year at Hogwarts. I miss you. I’ve never been without you. Home is so lonely without you.
“Where are we going,” I ask. We’ve been so many places in the last few days that they’ve all molded together in my mind. This is probably another party, or another ball.
“To the church,” Andromedra answers.
That’s a surprise. We never go to Church. “Why?”
“It’s Christmas Eve. We always go to Church on Christmas eve,” you say calmly.
I wrinkle my nose, remembering it from last year. Well, not really. I only remember falling asleep. It was boring.
Colors reflect through the stained glass window when we step into the small white church. We’re around so many Muggles here. It’s strange, seeing them so close. I don’t remember the Muggles much from last year. We pick a pew towards the back, and wait for the lecture to begin.
The pastor’s voice is strangely monotone, and I feel my eyelids get heavy. I start to nod off, just as he begins to speak about the Seven Deadly Sins.
I awake several minutes later, with my head leaning against your shoulder. The Seven Deadly Sins run through my mind for the rest of the night.
And do you know what three of them are?
Greed. Anger. Lust. I guess they did kill you in the end.
I push these thoughts out of my mind. I am not here to scold you. Not here to think of all the bad you have done, the despair you have caused. Because you are my sister, and in any case, I am selfish too.
I didn’t come to your funeral. I laid in bed. Not eating, not sleeping, not crying. Not even thinking. I was empty, like a cracked shell.
I have been that way for a week now. Seven days. Sipping water only when the glass was held to my lips.
But today, something inside me snapped. My mind cleared and I found the energy to rise from the silken blankets, bathe, dress, and come to breakfast. I even smiled at the stunned look on Lucius’s face,
And then I left to visit your grave.
Standing outside the Manor, I fully appreciate the cool breeze against my cheek, the long blade of grass touching my legs. I pull out my wand. It feels strange and unfamiliar in my grasp. It is rough on my fingertips. I turn it around a couple times before tightening my grasp and turning on the spot.
The familiar sensation of being stuffed through a tube grips me. I come out on a green hillside, dotted with purple and white flowers. The sky is blue here, with not a single cloud to be seen. The air is still, and warm. Just down the hill lies a white chapel.
The same white chapel we went to every year on Christmas Eve.
I gasp, a spasm shaking my body. The shock of seeing you buried in a place so full of happy memories deadens me, and I nearly loose the will to go on. Nearly. But not quite.
I find the energy to continue, breaking into a jog. I lift my skirts as I brush past the flowers. As a last minute thought, I reach down and pick a handful to lay on your grave. Then I am off again, stumbling down the hill and to your grave.
I reach the small graveyard behind the church, surprised that I never noticed it earlier. I walk amongst the rows until I find your headstone.
And then I laugh. And laugh. Laugh like I have never laughed before in my life. My laugher turns into a hysterical giggle, and then to choked sobs.
Because your gravestone is jet black too. Marble, intricate, and easily the biggest in the graveyard. But black. They must have known. Known exactly who you were. No one could ever know you as well as I do, of course. But they must have had an inkling of sorts.
My crying eases slightly, and I realize that this is the first time I have cried for you since your death. As if I had built a dam around my body that was now breaking, I feel my resistance literally crumble. Every emotion I have kept pent up for the last week comes pouring out. Tears flood from my eyes. Unstoppable, they cascade down my cheeks and my entire body shakes with the weight of them.
I kneel, and my nails dig far into the ground, clutching the earth for support. They come up caked with mud. They haven’t been that way since I was five.
I wish we never grew up. That we stayed young and innocent forever. We would still play in wheat fields and bubbling brooks. Still make snow angels and splatter paint.
I miss you, Bella. I love you.
You’re black. There’s no denying that. But I love you still. I don’t ever want to leave you. Never forget you. There’s no way I can go on.
My sobs quiet, but I feel as if a vortex has opened in my heart. It spins, gaining speed and sucking my body in. It consumes my consciousness.
My head flies forward and hits the black marble tombstone.
And then everything goes black.
I wake to a glorious sunset. Someone has taken a paintbrush and streaked the cornflower blue sky with vibrant colors.
Red, pink, purple, yellow, and orange. They blend together, changing and shifting before my eyes. I am mesmerized.
So it takes several moments for me to notice you next to me.
You’re much, much younger. Maybe six. Your dark hair frames your face, not frizzy and limp, like it will become one day, but straight and sleek. Your face is happy, your eyes aglow. An expression that will soon leave. Soon, your eyes will hold only a feral madness.
It takes me even longer to realize that I am not sitting on the grass, like you are. I look up to see Andromedra holding me in her lap. My hands are soft and chubby. I am two at most.
But the sunset is still beautiful.
The scene shifts suddenly. Now, I am a few feet above the ground. My bare toes skim the dew drops on the grass blades. I hear a bright, sunny laugh from above me and I wonder whose it is, before you swoop downwards and I see that it is yours. You haven’t laughed like that in years. You fly ten feet above me, but keeping with the slow pace of my toy broomstick. You are maybe eight, which makes me around four.
This is my first toy broomstick. My first time in the air, even if the air meant three feet off the ground at that time. The morning sun shines on the two of us as I laugh too, echoing you. And you tilt your broom downwards, picking me up and placing me in front of you on the broom.
“Hold on tight,” you say as we fly upwards.
I scream, but you only hold me closer.
“Don’t worry. I won’t let you fall.” You whisper into my ear. I lean back, more relaxed, and enjoy the feel of being amongst the clouds.
And then the scene changes once more. I sit on a palomino horse, wearing a flowing pink dress and a white sunhat dotted with small pink roses. My hands are gloved in white lace, and my hair hangs in ringlets over my shoulders.
I don’t even hesitate before looking beside me. Sure enough, you sit on a pure white stallion. Sixteen now. But still gorgeous, loving, happy.
This, I remember perfectly. The summer before I was to start my second year, and you your sixth. It was the last time I saw you so joyous. Tomorrow was September first, and we would go our separate ways, rarely seeing each other like Hogwarts had been the year before.
But this year, you started hanging around the awful Lestrange boy more. You changed in every way. You didn’t completely lose yourself- that happened after Azkaban, but you started to turn black.
I shake that out of my mind. I am determined to enjoy this moment. I will never see you like this, so why taint it with memories that will never change?
The horses begin to walk, and then slowly ease into a gallop. The wind whips past my face, blowing my hair back. I turn to you, and study the smile on your face. Fix it to my memory. I find bliss in the moment.
The images begin to rush by faster.
Hugging you tight as you graduated. I barely noticed that yours was only half-hearted. I was so happy for you, so proud of you. Little did I know that you would join with the Dark Lord, like my husband would eventually, taking me with him in the process.
Your wedding day. Usually, weddings in the Black family are arranged. But you wanted to marry the Lestrange boy, and he was the perfect candidate. Our parents couldn’t possibly say no. He was wealthy, pureblood, and had close ties with the Dark Lord, who our parents agreed with fully. They offered to make it an extravagant affair, but you didn’t want that. So it was simple and quick by the sea.
My wedding day. Unlike yours, my marriage was arranged. But Lucius was such a handsome man, and all the girls in school fawned over him. I was excited to marry him. I thought myself the luckiest girl in the world, to marry such a wealthy man with such power. My wedding was extravagant as well. Everyone who was anyone was invited. You were my maid of honor, though you didn’t enjoy it much by then. I didn’t much notice at the time, but looking back on it, I do.
Then harsher memories come, unhappy memories.
Mad laugher shaking your body as you’re carried away to Azkaban. I wept for you then. I still found your crimes forgivable.
The gaunt, hollow look in your eyes when you came out. That was when any trace of good in you was gone. It never stopped me from loving you, and I wept more to think that you were so destroyed inside.
And then the look of your corpse. Like a wax statue of you. I couldn’t believe it was you at first. I was just so glad to have my son back. It took several hours for it to register in my exhausted state. But when it did, I fainted, and woke up in delirium.
And then once more, I was greeted by black.
Cold, grey clouds meet my bleary eyes as I wake. The weather has changed while I was unconscious. My head aches and my left cheek is caked with mud. I sit up, but immediately feel dizzy and put my head in my hands. I have been out for hours. It is nearly night now.
I can’t contemplate every getting up from this spot. You are gone. My sister is gone. I tell myself to accept it.
You are dead.
Bellatrix Black is dead.
I lift my head and scream it to the world. “BELLATRIX BLACK IS DEAD!”
Surprisingly, instead of breaking down and crying, I feel as though a huge weight has been lifted from my chest.
Nothing I say or do can bring you back. I can choose to sit here and wait, but life will still move on without me. I can choose to fight the current, or I can choose to flow with it, and keep going. I can choose to move on.
I miss you. You died a black death. But I miss you, and that’s never going to change. But that doesn’t mean I should stay by your gravestone for eternity.
There are plenty of other things worth living for. I cannot let this ruin me. I have a beautiful son who will someday get married and have beautiful children. I have a husband who I have grown to love. I have a world to see rebuilt.
I love you. I miss you. I will always be thinking of you. But it is time for me to let go of you.
I take the flowers I picked. They’re slightly wilted, but I have no strength to conjure new ones. They will suffice. I lay them on your grave and slowly get to my feet.
I turn and begin to walk away, but stop after a few feet.
Your grave looks beautiful. The deep brown earth mingles with the purplish blue of the flowers, staying in stark contrast with the jet black headstone. And then I realize that I recognize the flowers. They are bellflowers. From now on, they will be your flower. I will think of you when I see them.
I take another few moments to appreciate the contrasting colors.
It is beautiful.
It represents you, in a strange sort of way.
And then I turn and walk away for good.
Into the night.
Into the black.
A/N: I hope you enjoyed this one-shot! When I got this challenge, my immediate thought was a death, and then I realized that most fics I’ve read about death have been about characters on the good side, so I wanted to do something about a death on the dark side. Please let me know what you thought of it! I’ll love you forever xD Thanks again for reading!
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