Chapter 1 : Shattered Glass
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Bellatrix Lestrange would never be mistaken for a butterfly. The very thought of embracing the brittle, colorful wings of a universally beloved insect was the most asinine thought that had flitted through her hazy, restless mind. The very existence of butterflies was, frankly, unnecessary.
The window was broken. Staring blankly at the shards of glass decorating the dilapidated oak floors, Bellatrix bit her lip and tried to remember a time in her life when she had cared for the modest home that she had purchased with her husband Rodolphus. Nothing of note came to mind. How had the window been broken in the first place?
A rat skittered across the floor, and the thin sound of its mangy feet sent a small shiver down Bella’s spine. Filthy creatures, they reminded her of the tall, foreboding walls of the only prison that had managed to restrain her longer than a few weeks. She always had enough faith in the Dark Lord to know that the wrought iron chains and flimsy pipe dreams of a completely irreverent ministry of magic could not contain her. Azkaban had robbed her of more than her freedom, but it was her victorious liberation from its suffocating barricades that had renewed her sense of purpose.
Why was the window broken? Bella glanced quickly at the far wall, its cracked white facade sparsely decorated with antique items handed down to her from her honorable mother. This house had meant something to her once, in another lifetime. She was sure of it. A quick blast of cool air wafted in from the open window. The time for action was drawing near, and the Dark Lord’s excitement and anticipation was palpable, even from miles away.
That stupid mudblood stole her wand. Bellatrix felt the foreign wood dangling in between her fingers, disgusted and appalled at the weight and design of the inferior wand. Oh, the next time she saw that stupid, insolent, contemptuous shit, she would make her pay for her transgression. She still relished the size of the delicate knife that had fit so perfectly in her slender palm, and the way she had held it above the little bitch.
Another rat. This one poked its filthy nose at the glass shards, distressed at the lack of food in the rotting house. The sound of rustling trees startled her, and she lazily glanced out the broken window. The thick stratus clouds looked pregnant with the promise of late spring rain, and she was indifferent.
More than anything else, Bellatrix was tired of living off her sister Narcissa and that great stupid oaf she kept as a pet, Lucius Malfoy. True, Bella would always love and protect her younger sister, who didn’t know any better when she had said “I do.” It had been a good match, full of the promise of pure blood children and lingering legacy. All Narcissa had managed to do was pop out a golden haired coward who had, so far, been practically useless in the ongoing war to launch the Dark Lord’s staggering genius. ‘
Damn, that breeze was cold. She would have loved to close the window, but it was broken. She entertained the thought of mending it but opted not to. The time would be upon them soon; saving her energy was paramount. The Dark Lord, so powerful, so compelling, so ingenuous, the only man that had ever understood her thirst for domination. So much more worthy of her time, body, and resources than her useful husband Rodolphus.
Useful was definitely the correct adjective for him. He’d helped her rise in the ranks and had proven helpful and faithful during several death eater tasks. She’d never enjoyed making use of their marriage bed and was aware of his frequent habit of taking on mistresses, and having dirty, mindless sex with passing whores. Bellatrix was apathetic. He could fuck whomever he liked, she had more important causes to champion than paying attention to any womanly desires that may weasel their way into her consciousness. Self control, balance, focus.
A clear, high pitched voice rang out from some distant, unimportant place on her left. Bellatrix did not bother to move. She looked down at her onyx shoes, the rough folds of her robes falling to the tips of the toes. So many more important things in life than vanity, fashion or appearances. The rat turned its beady, watery eyes toward her, and promptly fell dead.
“Bella! Are you here?” Expensive high heels clicked their way into the room, and their owner’s countenance was twisted in disgust. “Merlin, Bella, what the hell are you doing?”
“I wanted to be alone, Cissy,” Bella replied petulantly.
“That is ridiculous. Come now, this place is absolutely filthy, have you even been back here since...?” Narcissa Malfoy trailed off.
“No, I haven’t. Had no reason to. Time is short, Cissy. The Dark Lord grows restless, he--”
“--yes, yes, I know, Bella. I know that he is waiting for Potter to make the wrong move, we’ve been over the plans, I know what the action will be.”
Bella’s face contorted into a moment of fury before she forced herself to relax. Focus.
“Regardless, I wanted to be alone. A moment to clear my head. This isn’t just some battle coming up, Cissy. This is the battle. The Dark Lord believes he’ll move for Hogsmeade or even Hogwarts itself soon. We’ve got to be ready, and I can’t afford to be distracted at that zoo you call home.”
Narcissa gasped, affronted. She was clothed in a long, dark dress with a pleated skirt, and her silvery blonde hair was knotted so tightly in a french twist that it pulled her disgruntled features taught.
“Bella, now is not the time to be lamenting your living arrangements. This place is utterly barbaric, and you have better things to be doing right now. Come.”
Bellatrix cackled, a rough, high pitched whinny that would have echoed around the nearly empty room if the window hadn’t been shattered.
“Barbaric? You are delightful, Narcissa. What use do you have of me? I serve the Dark Lord and no one else. I have no need for your concern, go shower your son with it, he clearly needs it more than I.”
Bellatrix was bored. Narcissa narrowed her large, doe-like eyes at her older sister, regarding her with the same intensity she would a rather annoying insect.
“Don’t you speak about my son like that, Bellatrix. We are your family and the only family you’ve got left!” Narcissa crossed her arms, her chest heaving angrily as she inhaled the musty, stagnant air.
Bellatrix did not care to indulge in her sister’s incessant mothering. A stray thought ran through her head, its clarity startling to her.
“Remember when Father gave us those matching necklaces?”
“I--what? Of course I do.” Narcissa’s voice instantly lost its biting edge. “We all had one, you, me, and--”
“Don’t say her name!” Bella’s hissed dangerously. “Don’t you dare say that blood traitor’s name.”
“An emerald pendant, surrounded by diamonds. When we turned 11, when we were sorted into Slytherin.”
“Did you keep yours?” Bellatrix’s voice was soft, more pensive than Narcissa had heard in several years.
“I did. It’s in my jewelry box, I wear it occasionally.”
“I lost mine.” Bellatrix instinctively touched her bare neck where the brilliant gem had once dangled spectacularly. It was the only thing that had ever made her feel beautiful, with its precisely cut facets shimmering in the candlelight. It had been viciously stolen from her upon her induction into Azkaban.
“I’m sorry, Bella.” Narcissa’s tone was apologetic and incensed at the same time.
Bellatrix glanced errantly out the open window. The heavens had burst open and rain hammered down in continuous, heavy sheets.
“You were always his favorite.”
“Oh Bella, that’s not true, and you know it. He loved you just as much as he did me. Why are you going on about this? It’s been years. Why are you so upset?”
Bellatrix’s hands were cracked and dry, but her fingernails were long and painted an inky black hue. She finally met Narcissa’s eyes.
“I think about him sometimes. And Mother.”
Narcissa was taken completely aback. She took a few hesitant steps into the room and took a seat on the moth eaten, threadbare sofa next to her older sister. Bellatrix did not meet her sister’s eyes but continued to stare blankly at the dusty floor.
“I do too, Bella, I always will, they were our parents. And they were good to us. We had everything. We still have everything. Family, something to fight for.”
“I’m not fighting for family,” Bella snapped hotly, finally moving to stand. “Is that what you’re fighting for, Narcissa? Your family?” Her eyes blazed harshly as her gaze bored into her sister’s insolent expression. She laughed hollowly and walked toward Narcissa, firming her grip on her new wand. “Does the Dark Lord know of your treachery?”
Narcissa gasped loudly, bounding up and taking a few steps backward. “Bella, I only meant that--”
“--Is the Dark Lord’s cause not good enough for you, then, dear sister?” She spoke thinly between clenched, rotting teeth. “Would you go to prison for him as I have? Would you die for him? The Dark Lord is my future. There is nothing but him, and you would do well to remember that, Cissy.”
Narcissa clenched her fists, and pursed her apple red lips.
“I’m still your sister, Bellatrix. And I’ll continue to look out for you even as you waste away for this cause, even as you embark on this dangerous battle. Don’t lose sight of other things. The Dark Lord, his cause, everything, of course it’s--” Narcissa swallowed “--it’s important. It’s the one thing that Lucius, and you, and Severus...everyone...it’s what we’ve all been hoping for, waiting for.”
Bellatrix opened her mouth to retort, but Narcissa cut her off.
“I know that I am not blessed highly enough to be in the Dark Lord’s inner circle, and being there is not something I’d be good at. Bella, that has always been you. You take charge, you make people hear you, you are just...you’re just like him.”
Bellatrix’s dark features broke into the largest genuine smile Narcissa had seen since before she had been incarcerated.
“You mean it, Cissy? You truly believe I am as...empowering as the Dark Lord himself?”
Bellatrix had to shout over the intrusive sound of the rain assaulting the already saturated earth outside the window. Impatiently, she pointed her weapon at the jagged edges of the shattered glass with renewed purpose and muttered a quick, mundane spell. The shards rattled toward their home, and the broken window was finally mended.
“Better,” she smiled at Narcissa.
“I do believe that, Bella. And I don’t want anything to happen to you. I know you’re not afraid of death, you shouldn’t be, given your expertise. But you’re my blood, and I’ve already faced life without you for too many years.”
Bellatrix could hear the sincerity dripping heavily in Narcissa’s sentimental words. The two women stood silently for a long while, until Bella felt uncomfortable and suffocated.
“Don’t worry, Cissy. The Dark Lord’s plan is infallible.” The dark mark on the inside of her wrist tickled, as though Master himself had heard her words. The thought of a connection between the two of them stole her breath away, made her legs feel rubbery and useless.
“Yes, Bella. Just...promise me you’ll stay alive. I’m already worried about my husband, and about Draco. He’s only 17, Bella.”
“A grown man.” The edge had returned to her voice. She was becoming bored again. Bellatrix glanced at the window, its pristine glass offering a gateway view to the raging rainstorm, which was still dropping copious amounts of precipitation to the ground.
“I’m tired of being here, Cissy. Let’s go back to your grand palace. One of your elves can cook me a steak.”
The tension seemed to relax in Narcissa’s shoulders as she nodded curtly.
“Come, then.” Narcissa turned to back toward the entrance way but halted abruptly at the piercing sound of glass cracking. She spun around and saw Bellatrix standing with her wand out, the window she had mended not five minutes before lying in sharp fragments around her shoes. Bella shrugged apathetically and stepped toward the exit.
“I liked it better broken.”
A/N: I've always wanted to write a story about Bellatrix, and this plot bunny attacked me on Friday morning while I was waiting for my coffee. I have absolutely enjoyed every minute writing it, and I hope you liked it too. My favorite part was writing the beginning of it, because it was simply so...insane. The way her thoughts jump around and such, her obsession with this window for some reason. I tried to make her just as crazy as I could :)
Thanks to Mihali1432 for the gorgeous banner and for reading over it for me before I posted it. Also, to AccioHPFF because honestly we'd been talking about Bellatrix for a while and ever since talking to him I've really wanted to write one, and now I have! Woot!
Thanks for reading y'all :) Reviews are super cool too!