Chapter 1 : Nobody's Distraction
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Her long, dark hair flowed behind her as she stalked down the lane, a sneer gracing her noble features. The people milling around the shops shied away from her as she passed, and she heard their whispers, though she chose to ignore them.
“That’s a Black. Bellatrix Black.”
Never mind those peasants. On any normal day, she could curse them out of their minds, but today, she was in a hurry. Today was no ordinary day.
With a sharp twist in the road, the light and warmth of Hogsmeade’s High Street gave over to a darker, dingier side street. The woman felt more at home here, and closer to the one that she had yearned to meet for so long.
She was only a little girl when the rumors from the continent began to drift over to the ears of her relatives. The rumors became her bedtime stories, fanciful tales that were whispered to her every night. There was always a new tale about the shining young wizard who was going to save the Wizarding World from the filthy Muggles and Mudbloods who interfered with the purebloods’ way of life. His star was rising in the east, and one day, he would return to his homeland and seek out the vengeance that had been so long in coming.
His name was Lord Voldemort, and she was in love with him.
It was odd that she, the cold-hearted, dark-souled sixth year should feel such a demeaning emotion, and yet, she did not feel any less than she did before she heard the tales of Lord Voldemort’s power. Even as a child, barely old enough to be aware of anything but the nursery and the playthings of childhood, she was strangely opposed to normalcy and the cage that it offered her. At Hogwarts, while the rumor mill churned with news that the Dark Lord was recruiting an army, she still felt the boundaries that she was forbidden to cross. The cage was secure, the cage was claustrophobic, the cage was Rodolphus Lestrange—her long-time boyfriend (soon-to-be fiancé). This man, this wonderful, powerful man, could offer her so much more than a cage.
He could offer her the freedom to do whatever she wanted, whenever she wanted, rules of society and propriety be damned. He would save her from the life that she was expected to lead. And that prospect was intoxicating. She loved him for that, for being a catalyst for change and for shaking her world, though he did not know of her existence.
Perhaps a better word for what she felt was lust.
It was lust that she harbored in her heart, lust for power, lust for adventure, lust for the ability to subdue every being who was less than she was. And in her mind, everyone was something less than she was, even her mother, who taught her the value of blood purity. Even Rodolphus, who only cared about maintaining his wealth rather than snatching his rightful inheritance from the pretenders to the magical race.
Lord Voldemort was the only person in the entire world who could feel what she felt, and she longed to be at his side. She would not let herself be his queen—no. That would imply that she was less than he, that somehow he had managed to tame her, to make her forget her lust for power and settle for subordination.
Instead, she would be his equal, his most trusted friend. He would teach her his philosophy and she would build her own castles with the suffering souls and bodies of the people (who were not really people, but animals in human’s clothing) who had stolen magic from the true Wizarding race. She felt the day of reckoning drawing near, and she thirsted for the dirty blood of her enemies.
Any mere mortal would tremble as they drew closer to their destiny, but not she. She approached the dismal bar with her usual confident step, head high, looking down at the beggars who littered the alleyway. The rumors, spiraling from all different directions, had pointed her to the place where she knew she would find her savior. In the little town near the school he had woven his web, waiting patiently to ensnare fresh recruits for his army. Out of the shadows they would come groveling, crying that they were unworthy of his great power, begging him to accept their help in his noble mission. They would kneel before him in subordination,
She would never grovel and she would never kneel to him. She knew that witches of the purest blood were doomed to sit at home in the sour grandeur of their parents’ manor houses, but she would not. She was special. She wanted action, and Lord Voldemort would accept her willingly.
A bell rang as she opened the door of the dark building. The landlord, a nervous-looking man, bowed to her as she entered.
“May I help you, Miss…?” he asked.
She regarded him with bored condescension. “I am Bellatrix Black. I have come to see Lord Voldemort.”
The slimy man’s eyes widened in shock. “Y-you are the first who has asked to see him,” he stuttered. “He only arrived last night.”
“I have an ear for information,” she replied. “Now, take me to him.”
Though her tone held that same condescension, she could hardly mask her inner euphoria. Her wait was over. It was time to meet the man who would change history.
“Of course, Miss Black,” the proprietor bowed again. “Right this way, please.”
He led her down a cramped, shadowed hallway. There was a closed door at the end of the corridor, and Bellatrix immediately knew that Lord Voldemort would be behind it. Her heart raced as they approached and she raised her hand, ready to knock.
In a trice, her elation was deflated by the proprietor, who grabbed her hand. She snatched it away, a murderous look in her eyes, and though he cowered under her gaze, he put a finger to his lips.
“You must not knock. The Dark Lord knows you are here, and he will permit you to enter when he is ready,” he whispered.
Suddenly, the door opened by itself. “Come in,” a voice commanded from within.
It was him. It was Lord Voldemort, the man who would change the world. Scarcely able to contain her excitement, Bellatrix Black entered the room. Behind her, the door slammed shut. She was alone with the man that she would lust after for the rest of her life, and she couldn’t be happier about it.
His back was to her. Hungrily, she took in everything: his pale skin, his dark hair, the way he stood with his hands clasped behind his back.
“My Lord,” she breathed. “It has always been my ambition to join you, and now I have come.”
At her voice, he turned. His face, a beautifully blurred mask, twisted itself into a scowl. “Why have you come to me? You are a woman. This is not your place.”
For the first time, she felt anger towards this man. How dare he try to force her back into the cage from which she wished to escape! Regarding him coolly, she drew her wand. “My name is Bellatrix Black. I wish to join you in the purification of our race,” she responded.
The scowl on his face was replaced by an expression of mirth. “Oh, do you?” he scoffed. “I assume that you are a pureblood? You are not fit to follow me into battle. Your place is in parlors and ballrooms with your little friends, not in rank and file.”
She answered his taunts with a ghastly grin. “I hate to hear you talk about all women as if they were fine ladies instead of rational creatures,” she said. “I can be so much more than any man who joins you. I will fight with you—not as your follower, hah! I am your equal.”
He approached her, gracefully skirting the long table in the center of the room. She almost lost her breath as he closed the distance between them, but she forced herself to meet his eyes. They were nose-to-nose, suspended in a battle of wills. She would not lose.
Finally, he chuckled, sending a shiver down her spine. “How can I be sure that you are as skilled as you say you are, Bellatrix?” he said softly, his lips almost brushing hers. “That you won’t go running home to Mummy as soon as you spill the dirty blood of your first victim? Surely you cannot be as strong as you believe yourself to be…”
He leaned in closer, hands gripping her waist, lips brushing hers ever-so-slightly. “But you could be a nice distraction,” he breathed. “A woman such as yourself…”
Slippery as an eel, she twisted out of his prying hands. “Locomotor mortis!” she cried, but he had already blocked her curse. “Flipendo! Alarte ascendare! Densaugeo! Impedimenta!” He was bored, she realized, blocking every spell she fired at him with a lazy wave of his wand.
“CRUCIO!!” she screamed, frustrated at last by the impassive expression on his face as he blocked the Unforgivable Curse. As suddenly as she had sprung into action, she stopped, panting heavily. “I am no ordinary woman,” she growled at the Dark Lord. “I am feared by my peers. My magical prowess is unrivalled by anyone at Hogwarts. I am not afraid to kill or to inflict pain. It makes me feel powerful. And I am nobody’s distraction.”
The Dark Lord, her hero and her antagonist, gave her an appraising look. It was as if he was looking at her for the first time, and she felt naked under his gaze. “Bellatrix Black,” he mused. “You are young, and a woman, but you have skill that I haven’t seen before. You will be most valuable to me, I see that now.” He inclined his head to her. “Forgive my misjudgment.”
There was no hint of a sincere apology in his voice, and she liked that. “My Lord,” she said, voice hard with anger. “If you allow me to join you, I will be your strongest, most powerful fighter. I have much to learn, but you will teach me. I want to learn from you, my Lord. Do not let my gender cloud your sight. Confide in me, tell me your secrets. I will be your equal, not your subordinate.”
To her surprise, he nodded slowly, a smile stretching across his thin, pointed face. “Yes, you will come with me, Bellatrix Black. You will learn magic beyond your wildest dreams. You will be my most trusted…”
His words trailed off, but her eager mind spun with her success.
We will be equals, greater and more terrible than any witch or wizard ever was. I will spill the blood of my enemies and he… He will love me.
As he grabbed her arm to tattoo it with his mark, she could see her future on the battlefield.
It was the beginning of a brave new world. She could never be forced back into the cage again.
Author’s Note: Hi friends! This is my story for yet another challenge: the Jane Austen Quote Challenge. The quote, which is from Jane Austen's novel, Persuasion, is in bold in the context of the story. Many thanks to celadon/quixotic for this great challenge! I hope you all enjoy what I’ve written, and please leave a review if you feel so inclined. Thanks for reading! :)
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