WARNING: Chapter contains strong violence and scenes of a mild* sexual nature.
Chapter One: We All Fall Down
Lightning streaked the enchanted ceiling, and silence fell over the Great Hall as a name was called.
Almost hesitantly, a small, eleven-year-old boy dressed in black robes that screamed of his wealth, with a pale face and a mess of black curls, stepped up to the stool where the Sorting Hat was sitting. He did not look scared, as many of the other first years did, but he looked confident as he strode up to the stool. Confident despite the fact that, inside, he was absolutely terrified.
If you don’t get Slytherin, his father’s voice whispered in the back of his mind, I’ll torture you so badly you won’t even remember your own name.
He gulped as the Sorting Hat was placed on his head, and drooped over his eyes. He was surrounded by blackness, although he could still feel the stares of the other students, as if they were burning holes through the Hat.
Hmm, the Sorting Hat said in his mind. An ambitious heart, a ready mind, but you still feel the need to prove yourself, to be the best of them.
He sat as still as a statue, though he felt like squirming. Slytherin, he begged the Hat. Please put me in Slytherin.
For a brief second, he wondered what would happen if the Hat put him in Gryffindor, or one of the other houses. Houses for blood-traitors, his father said. Rodolphus had no doubt that his father would remain true to his words.
‘SLYTHERIN!’ The Hat shouted to the rest of the Hall.
The Hat was plucked off his head and, relieved, Rodolphus made his way over to the Slytherin table. Only a few of his housemates were clapping. His older brother, Rabastan, clapped him on the shoulder and told him how proud of him he was. He wasn’t sure, but he thought Rabastan sounded rather relieved, too. Perhaps he knew what Father had threatened to do to him. Perhaps he had received a similar threat.
Nevertheless, Rodolphus was relieved. Of course, he had no idea that this was the beginning of the nightmare. A nightmare from which he would never wake up.
Fifteen-year-old Rodolphus Lestrange was lying on his back in the grass outside the Manor, grinning up at the clouds. It was a good thing that no one was around, that his father had been called into the Ministry for business, or else he would have beaten Rodolphus with his belt for daring to smile in his house. Technically, Rodolphus was not in the house, but that detail, he knew, would not matter to his father.
Much had changed since he was eleven-years-old. He had changed, for one. He no longer flinched when his father raised his voice, or cried when he whipped him. He had gotten older. Braver.
Happiness in Lestrange Manor was most definitely not allowed when his father was home. Mr. Lestrange hated it when his family was happy, but he especially hated it when Rodolphus was. He went to great lengths to ensure that he was always miserable. But he could do nothing about it when he wasn’t there, or when Rodolphus was at school. Not that school made him happy, of course. He didn’t enjoy school very much.
His reason for smiling was a good one. Or, at least it was to him. Earlier that morning, his parents had invited the Black family over for tea. Narcissa had sat quietly at the table, only speaking when spoken to, looking down at her plate, but it was not Narcissa who concerned him. Bellatrix Black was the lively one, the wild one. She was known for being loud and boisterous, and for her extreme belief that muggleborns shouldn’t
be allowed, that half-blood’s were blood traitors and they should all be destroyed. Rodolphus mostly agreed with her. Half-blood’s at least still had some wizard blood in them, but muggleborns were disgusting. They were a threat to the Statute of Secrecy.
After their lunch, Bellatrix had, much to his utter surprise, dragged him into an empty room and locked the door. She was the same age as he, only a few months older, and as she looked at him with her huge black eyes and wild curls, he knew what was happening. He didn’t try to stop her, either, when she kissed him full on the mouth. He hadn’t been expecting it, but it was a rather nice surprise, he thought.
His parents would approve, of course. The Blacks were a respectable Pureblood family, and they had been friends for decades. It would be expected of him, he thought, to marry a Pureblood witch, and Bellatrix, as they say, certainly “fit the bill”.
As he lie in the grass then, Rodolphus had no idea just how much he would regret it in the future.
Twenty-six year old Rodolphus Lestrange stood at the end of the aisle, tall and proud, as both sides of the families rose for the entrance of the bride.
Bellatrix Black came down the aisle, wearing a black dress and a black veil, holding a bouquet of deadly nightshade.
When she reached him, she did not smile. He knew that she was only marrying him because it was the expected thing to do, that she did not love him. Once, that might have hurt him. But not anymore. It had been a long time since he felt any real emotion.
As the marriage words were spoken, blood pounded in Rodolphus’ ears. He barely heard anything that was being said.
Finally, the dreaded words:
‘Do you, Rodolphus Maximus Lestrange, take Bellatrix Lilith Black to be your wife until death do you part?’
Rodolphus swallowed. ‘I do,’ he said.
Of all Rodolphus Lestrange’s memories, it was safe to say that the torture of Alice and Frank Longbottom was the worst one. He did not exactly regret helping Bellatrix that night, but it was a rather bad memory and it left a bitter taste in his mouth. He had hurt many people over the years—innocents, criminals, and others—that it was strange that they would be the ones that haunted him the most. Perhaps it was knowing that he was the reason Neville Longbottom went his whole life without really having parents. Guilt was an unusual emotion for Rodolphus Lestrange. If he had felt it before, it would have swallowed him whole.
So, sitting in the prison cells of Azkaban, awaiting the Dementor’s Kiss, he began to write a letter.
Dear Mr Longbottom,
It is from Azkaban that I write to you now, awaiting the punishment that we both know I deserve. I know you mostly blame Bellatrix for your parent’s fate, and that would be mostly correct, but she is not wholly to blame. She has already received her punishment by the hands of Molly Weasley, and I suppose you are rather grateful to her for killing the horrible woman. Yes, I call my own wife that. You see, I never really liked her. I suppose I married her because it was expected of me, because I was afraid of disappointing my family. But nevertheless, that is no excuse. I did marry her. I did help torture your parents all those years ago. It is strange, I think, that this is the one thing I feel guilty about. Guilt, as you can probably imagine, is not an emotion Death Eater’s feel. I have heard that the Malfoy’s, except for Lucius—but he deserved just as much punishment as I—have received mercy. For this I am glad. Neither Narcissa nor Draco wanted much to do with the Death Eaters. It was Lucius who forced them into it. But then, that has nothing to do with me.
The reason I am writing you, I suppose, is to apologize. I cannot undo what I have done to your parents, cannot give you any sort of cure, but I can apologize. I hope the death of my wife and I will give you some sort of peace, knowing that justice has been served. I do not deserve to be forgiven, nor am I asking you to forgive me. I simply wanted to apologize for what I have done to you. You, a child, who was innocent and did not deserve any of this. Nevertheless, I must congratulate you on your bravery. You are clearly Frank Longbottom’s son, but it is not my place to tell you your father would be proud of you, and besides, I am sure you already know this.
Again, Mr Longbottom, I sincerely apologize, and I hope that, with my death, you will find peace.
Sincerely, Rodolphus Maximus Lestrange.
He folded the letter, and when the guards came to collect him, he handed it to one of them to deliver it. And Rodolphus, gladly followed the guards.
When they reached the room where the Dementor would come and deliver his death, Rodolphus smelled ashes, and the schoolgirl’s song popped into his head for no absolute reason.
Ring around the roses, the blond girl sang in his memory.
A pocket full of posies,
We all fall down.
A Dementor came into the room, and cold swept over him, but Rodolphus Lestrange stood there, devoid of all emotion. He began to laugh, like a madman, and he was still doing so when the Dementor swept over him and delivered the kiss.
And Rodolphus Lestrange, forty-seven years old, murderer and Death Eater, fell.
This was written for BLONDEbehavior's "Death Eater Challenge", and it is the first story I have ever written for a challenge. I hope it wasn't too terrible. I was given the character Rodolphus Lestrange, so I decided to give it a shot even though I hardly knew anything about him. I hope that you liked it, and that it wasn't too depressing. I found it rather difficult to write Death Eaters (unless the Death Eater happens to be Draco.) Thanks for reading. :)