Chapter 1 : Two Equal Halves
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Black. The shade of black is so dark and deep, she feels lost in its depths, never to see color again. All the world fades out around her, and the pitch blackness takes over, ambushing her senses. All she can see was black. The only thing she smells was nothingness. The foul taste in her mouth is gone, replaced by the smothering absence of oxygen. Her hearing slowly fades, until the only sound that she can hear was her own heartbeat pounding in her ears. Before long, that too slips away. And then there is nothing. Nothing but blackness. Nothing.
The choking sound of a pained scream startled me, it seemed to have come from nowhere. I tried to open my eyes and identify the source, but they were too heavy to lift. A tiny impulse of primordial self-preservation stirred from deep down in my bones and fired electrical waves to my brain, urging it to wake up. My brain, which apparently had other ideas, refused to cooperate. I was left completely immobilized. As still as a statue, I struggled to listen for any sound, and was greeted with nothing but a deafening silence. Fear should have seized control of my body, but the adrenaline pumping through my veins blocked everything else out. Everything but the sound of the incessant screaming.
Several moments passed, the silence was thick and heavy, permeating the air like the wretched scent of a dung bomb. Another distant shout reached my ears, rousing me from my slumbering state. As a reflex, I made an attempt to turn my head in the direction the sound seemed to come from, but to no avail. I was stuck. Frozen. As still as a statue.
I couldn’t say how long had passed. It could’ve been minutes, or perhaps even years. All was still quiet around me, my body included. And then the scream sounded again. And again, and again. Over and over. But this time it was a different voice. A voice I recognized more readily than my own, and it sent a chill down my spine. It was His voice, and His pain was palpable, like a living breathing entity. I could taste it in my mouth and feel it spreading through my bones. My rage turned to fire in my belly, engulfing my senses in smoke and flame. The turmoil of my emotions swirled and built, forcing my body to erupt. I felt a tingling in my fingertips and toes, which spread to the rest of me, burning like rampant fiendfyre. From the ashes I was torn into two, reborn as equal halves of myself, one dark, and one less dark.
I saw His pale face from a distance, and my heart identified Him with a frenzied beating. I picked up the hem of my long grey dress, running toward Him at full speed. I stopped short, terrified that He would reject my touch or just disappear completely. His lips twisted into a half smile that nearly reached His eyes. It was the first genuine display of compassion He had ever shown me, and my heart soared with unfulfilled desires and meaningful implications.
I noticed our surroundings for the first time and the room we were in seemed vast and endless. There were no lights or candles, yet it was illuminated from within by a mysterious glow. It was a glowing abyss of infinite color, so vivid that it all appeared white. The floor matched the ceiling, and the ceiling matched the floor, to the point where I couldn’t tell which ended or began where.
It was only Him and I. The only two objects in the room. The only two people in the world.
“Walk with me,” He said simply before turning on his heel, an elegant charcoal cloak billowing out behind Him. I followed without hesitation. I would’ve followed Him anywhere, straight into hell and back. To the ends of the Earth. He stopped abruptly, and pointed at something with His long, slender finger in the far off distance. “Look,” He ordered, turning his face toward the unknown, waiting with a mixture of apprehension and understanding.
A hazy slate colored cloud floated before us with powerful bolts of lightning coming from the center, signifying the raging tempest within. Small booms of thunder crackled, perfectly timed with the lightning. From the center of the cloud obscure faces swirled around before disappearing completely, absorbed by the grey tendrils.
Through the blurring wisps of mist I recognized my face, although it was an altered version of myself. I appeared more vibrant and youthful, but something about me was wrong. Different. My lawful husband and brother-in-law were there as well, perched in the peripheral corners of the room. They watched me with wide eyes and a sick fascination, their lips twisted up in a strange mixture of amusement and fear. My wand was held at the ready, and two figures were slumped before me, screeching with the earsplitting sounds of madness.
My heart lurched as a twisted sense of déjà vu crept from the depths of my soul, telling me that I had already seen this before. The sour taste of bile rose to the back of my throat, making my eyes water and my head spin.
The woman went silent first. She was barely moving, her legs splayed beneath her at an impossibly awkward angle. Her mouth hung open, and a small trail of drool dribbled from her mouth and onto the heavily soiled flooring. The billowing white skirt she had on was pushed up around her waist and caked with dried blood. It bore several spreading stains with an uncanny resemblance to human excrement. Her ashen face was twisted into a grotesque expression, which marred her pretty features.
She reminded me of a broken china doll, so beautiful and so helpless. A single tear spilled from the corner of my eye, and flowed down my cheek. Shame and compassion racked my body and I could feel this poor woman’s agony with each sharp breath I took.
The man beside her convulsed in fits, his body rigid and shaking. He opened one eye a fraction of an inch, the bright blue iris fading fast. Stretching out his hand, he reached for the woman beside him with the last ounce of strength he possessed before succumbing to his mortal pain. After several long and excruciating moments he came to again and futilely reached out for her once more. Each time he woke he extended his grasp toward her. After several more tries, his fingertips were finally touching hers. His eyes finally closed and they didn’t flutter open again.
I looked to my companion quizzically, confused as to why we were watching this scene unfold, and why this version of myself was doing these cruel things. He shook his head before pointing back at the scene, which had collapsed on itself with a whirl before disappearing completely in a flash of blinding white light.
I felt my breath hitch in my chest, as I struggled to comprehend what my greatest love had just shone me. Before I had a chance to speak or compose myself, another memory spun itself out of the vast and empty storm cloud. This time it felt much closer to home, although I couldn’t exactly pinpoint why.
I watched the shadow version of myself dueling with a dark haired man whom I couldn’t place. I knew that I should’ve recognized him, but my foggy and addled brain simply wasn’t firing the right connections. The man’s eyes were alight with laughter as he stood beside a dark haired boy of about fifteen. The two dueled against several others wearing black cloaks and masks, including me. They worked as a single unit, protecting and covering one another, the affection and love between then tangible. The older man laughed, and it came out sounding similar to a large dog barking, almost as though it was all a game to him. The man and I locked gazes for a fraction of a second before he turned his attention back to the boy, shoving him down to the ground, aware of my intention before I had even made it clear.
The woman wearing my face wielded her wand as an extension of her body and twirled around before hurling a jet of green light squarely into the chest of the dark haired man. I watched as he fell backward, a look of shock smeared across his formerly handsome features. A dingy curtain, sheer and holey from the ravages of time reached out toward him from a stone archway, extending its grip like a grindylow. It caught him with a deft flicker, cushioning his fall and protecting his body from the cold stone below. He lay suspended in the air before the curtain wrapped him in an affectionate embrace, and whisked him away, body and soul, to a world far beyond my own understanding.
The dark haired boy watched the scene unfold in horror, tears flowing freely down his cheeks. My shadow self cackled with a mad glee, enjoying every moment of the torment I had inflicted upon him, relishing in his anguish and feeding off of his suffering. He threw his head back in a howl of fury, bellowing a name. Sirius. Sirius.
He turned back toward the other Bellatrix, and I swore I could feel his hatred burrowing into my own soul before he began to give chase to my darker side.
The image faded out from before me, leaving me feeling vulnerable and distressed. “Why?” I asked Him simply, not daring to meet His gaze. I wasn’t sure if I was asking Him why I had done those despicable things, or why He had shown them to me. But, as always, He knew me better than I knew myself, and was waiting with the answer on the tip of His tongue.
He cupped my chin gently, and I felt my face being pulled toward His. Blazing eyes bore into my own, and I knew at that moment that He could see into the depths of my heart and soul. “You need to know,” is all He said mysteriously, before walking back in the direction from which we had come.
I paused for a moment before following Him, unsure of where I belonged. I felt a huge piece of myself missing, and I was sure that I would never be whole again. I had never been more lost. Following Him felt like the wise thing to do. The only thing to do. I couldn’t explain why, but it was as though I never really had a choice to begin with.
We walked for what seemed like forever, but could’ve only been seconds. The silence from earlier continued around us, stalking us in the night like a werewolf hunting his prey. I tried to remain vigilant, to sense any danger coming, but the shimmering walls seemed to move and dance with each step I took, reflecting light and blinding me every few paces. It was impossible to see any further than a meter or so in any direction. Before long His stride slowed, and He turned and looked into my eyes once more.
I screwed up my courage and reached out to touch Him. It was the first time in our long history together that I had been bold enough to do so. First, I placed my hand on his chest, feeling His heart pulse beneath my fingertips. When He didn’t protest, I stepped closer to Him, enjoying His warmth against my own. The desire and electricity between us felt magical and if I were to step back I was sure little bolts of lightning would crackle between us. My eyes prickled, and I realized that fresh tears had begun to fall, soaking through His robes to the bare skin beneath. Tiny little holes formed where my tears had fallen, burning His cloak like acid. I furrowed my brow, unsure of what to make of it, but too wrapped up in the moment to care. Without warning I felt His arms around me, holding me close. His breath felt hot against my neck as His hands wrapped around my waist.
I knew that I had waited for this moment for so long, and I wanted to hold onto it forever. His embrace offered me strength when I had none, and compassion when I needed it. It felt as if I was finally home after a long and difficult journey. I felt safe and secure. He made me feel. He made me feel.
“All you ever wanted was my love,” He whispered sadly in my ear, His voice tinged with the regret of a past we couldn’t change and things that could’ve been. The mournful tone nearly broke me all over again, and my heart thundered with both anticipation and apprehension.
“Yes,” I answered, finally realizing the truth of His words, allowing them to sink in. All I had ever wanted was for Him to love me. That was all I had ever needed.
He stepped back from my reach, holding me at arm’s length. The look that passed from His eyes to mine said everything I had ever wanted Him to say, and more. I lifted my hand to caress the side of His smooth face, longing to feel his skin against mine. As my fingertips grazed His structured cheek bone I felt him stagger away from me, holding his head in pain.
I shook my head, slightly dazed. I noticed He was still standing, and I lifted my hand to His face once more, desperate for his touch. His perfect milky skin faded from beneath my fingertips when I made contact, turning from smooth to waxy in my hand. Raising my gaze to meet His I noticed that His eyes had turned from a chocolate brown to a dull red. The pupils retracted slightly, changing to an inhuman shape. His thick brown hair seemed to be pulled back into his scalp by unseen fingers beneath His skin, and His cloak changed from grey to black. His lips, once lush and full now looked withered and shriveled in the fading light.
A look of horror crossed my face as I watched the transformation. His once handsome build had now withered away to a skeletal and bony structure, jutting out abnormally beneath His robes. Splotchy purple bruises began to form beneath His once perfect skin, rising to the surface before bursting. Blood oozed from every orifice, and a hacking cough racked His brittle body. Within seconds His knees buckled, and He collapsed onto the ground.
Paralyzed by my fear and frustrated over my inability to help, I stood as still as and frozen as a statue. I watched helplessly as the only person I had ever loved wasted away. His skin began to peel from his face and flake off like a pasty, disintegrating as it floated toward the ground. It collected in a pile of ash beneath him, a black tarnish on an otherwise pristine floor.
In His last seconds, He looked to me again, and I saw the last glimmer of hope and love that He could have felt pass from His face. I silently vowed to keep it locked in my heart forever. I would never forget the brief passion that we shared. I could never forget it, even if I had wanted to. I blinked and He was gone in an instant, leaving behind only a crumpled cloak and a small pile of pale grey ash to prove he had even existed. A faint breeze, tinted with the lingering scent of blood and death blew in, whisking my lover away in its volatile embrace.
I turned away, unable to look any longer. “I’ll love you, always,” I whispered to myself, before falling into the deepest and darkest oblivion that I have ever known.
A garbled scream roused me from the darkness. I tried to open my eyes and identify the source of the sound, but my lids were too heavy. My body was frozen in place, my legs and neck twisted awkwardly beneath me. I should’ve felt an excruciating pain, but instead I felt nothing. Nothing. My heart did not beat. Blood did not flow through my veins. Everything simply stopped. Almost as though I ceased to exist.
The screaming continued, this time accompanied by a high cold laughter. The sheer power and raw magnitude of His presence excited me, and I felt myself getting aroused. Only one man had every had the effect on me, and His delicious cruelty caused my knees to knock together with anticipation. Every time He praised me I felt as though He was reaching inside of my soul and bringing me to the edge of ultimate pleasure and back. A single glance could send me into a fantasy world, where I was allowed to live out my darkest and most twisted thoughts in relative privacy.
In my mind I imagined His bare hands ripping the bodice from my gown before claiming me for His own. My chest, heaving beneath Him, was rewarded with His bare flesh against my own. Our bodies intertwined together in a frenzy of tousled hair and tangled limbs. My toes curled in complete ecstasy as I ran my hand over His smooth, bald head, closer to the edge than ever before.
Without warning He was ripped from my arms, and I was sitting on the sidelines of a great battle. I saw Him, dueling with three other wizards at once, and He had the upper hand. A dark haired woman dueled beside Him, her hand moving quicker than my eyes could follow. I jumped to my feet, ready to kill the woman attempting to take Him away from me.
How dare she try and take my place among the ranks? I would always be His number one, His most devoted. I had always been the most loyal, the one that loved him above all else, and I had no intention of some bloody slag stealing that away from me.
I reached for my wand as I approached the group of dueling witches and wizards. Raising it at the dark haired woman I felt my body clench with tension, and suddenly I was being drawn toward the woman by a force I didn’t understand. She and I became one and the same, and I watched helplessly as a plump red-haired woman cursed our conjoined bodies straight in the chest. Right over our hearts, now beating together as one. A dull twinge spread, which turned into an agonizing ache spread through me, reaching all the way down to my toes.
Falling backward, I felt a rage so powerful I thought I was going to shatter with the intensity of it. My body was somehow shaking, even though I was as still as a statue. The woman’s face appeared, hovering above my own, and at that moment I wished for nothing other than to hear her shriek and squeal as I forced her to bow down before me. How I longed to wring my hands around her fat wrinkly neck, or end the light in her eyes with a victorious flick of my wand. Her triumphant smile fueled to my hatred, and the coppery taste of blood flooded my mouth.
“You will never touch our children again!” the woman shouted into my face, her voice resonating in my skull with so much force I felt my face crack. The world turned upside down several times as I was ejected from the statue, and spit back to my original place on the sidelines of the battle. A massive headache formed behind my eyes, and I struggled to cling to conscious.
The woman who had been trying to replace me lay as still as stone, most certainly dead. Her mangled corpse was only a short distance from His feet. Upon seeing her body, He flew into a crazed frenzy and attempted to attack the red haired woman with every ounce of dark magic and power he possessed. Intense hatred flashed beneath his red eyes, and he raised his wand at the red haired woman, prepared to end her life.
My heart pounded with intense hatred and jealousy. How did this woman evoke such provocative action from a cold and uncaring soul? How did she usurp my rightful place in the hierarchy; to the immediate right of the throne? How dare she. I’ve held my seat for so long, cobwebs have bound me to it, growing thicker with each passing day, like chains that I could never break free of. Escaping Azkaban would be easier than severing the bond we shared.
The filthy half-blood known as Harry Potter placed his tainted traitor hands on my master, and the two swirled down into the abyss, out of sight and far from reach. Unfazed, I had every confidence that my master would emerge victorious. With His temporary absence, I decided to take a look at this bloody bitch who has tried to replace me.
As I walked closer each step seems to weigh heavier and heavier until I reach her side. Her cold dead, side. Bracing myself with a steadying breath, I cocked my leg back and kicked her stony façade, feeling the impact reverberate through my foot and up my leg. Her face is cracked down the middle, irreparably, and I let out a loud, bellowing cackle.
No one seems to notice me, and I began shouting at them, begging any of the disgusting blood traitors to try and take me down. When the room continued to ignore me I snuck a peek at the statue at my feet. Her face was twisted into a grotesque grimace somewhere between glee and malice. Her wild hair framed her face, highlighting high cruel cheekbones and teeth that had started to rot and decay. She is ugly, and I let out another high pitched cackle. What had ever made this hag think that He would replace me with her?
I reach for my wand and find that it is not there. I never would’ve come here without my wand. Something draws my eyes downward, toward the broken body of my usurper again, and a small gasp escapes from my dry, cracked lips. She is no longer encased in stone, but her mangled and bloodied body is strewn across the floor, each crack in the tile mirrored in her body. Despite her stony features, I can make out a face which mirrors my own.
The realization hit me like the killing curse to my gut. There is no other. She was me, all along. I was the only person, the only woman, He ever could’ve loved, if he was capable. And it was me.
Understanding flooded through my body, offering me a temporary solace. It was always me. The harsh cruelties suffered at His hands over the years did nothing to dissuade my feelings. If anything, I just pursued Him that much harder, knowing full well that he was incapable of reciprocating them. Each time I picked up my wand and hurled a killing curse at someone, the only thing I felt was a faint glimmer of hope that He would be proud. I had no regard for the life I had extinguished with a simple flick of my wrist, because I was so lost inside of my own broken self. Every time I tortured someone to the brink of insanity, it drove me a little more insane with wanting for Him, building and building until I was finally driven over the edge. He was the only one that ever truly mattered, His love and approval was the reason I had continued to breath. And I let it slip away.
Faint, lingering memories of the life I could have had floated just above my consciousness, taunting me with broken dreams and shattered hopes. The insanity within me replayed the memories over and over, but it was as though I was a spectator, watching the best version of ourselves with a disconnect that didn’t allow me to feel. If only His father had loved him, and His life hadn’t started in the womb with deceit and despair. His curse was to live without the emotions His mother had stolen from another, preying upon his father’s weakness as a muggle, manipulating Him into forced affection with trickery and lies. The son paid the price of the mother and the father, for the world can be a dark and cruel place.
We were the same person, essentially split into two. His burden was too feel nothing, while mine was to bear the emotional turmoil of everything. Had my parents raised me with love and affection, perhaps I would’ve turned out more like the better version of myself. Had His parents done the same, perhaps His love could’ve saved me from myself. I can see it now, with the harsh and brutal clarity of hindsight. Our fates had always been intertwined, tied together with thick webs of obsidian darkness and frigid desolation. They could have been solidified with light-hearted compassion and radiating affection, had we been born to different circumstances.
The woman who was able to truly feel and embrace love without strings attached slowly started to disappear. Her cold stone body vanished into wisps of nothingness, the faint trace of good inside of me going extinct along with her. As she slipped away, I felt the part of me that I had locked deep in the recesses of my mind long ago ebb away. It left me rattled, like there was nothing left but a hollow husk of what I once was and what I could’ve been. Without that faint and hopeful sliver of good, there was no bad. It’s like I ceased to exist, obliviated from everyone’s memories for the rest of time.
I was a tortured soul in life, no doubt. My past transgressions returned with a vengeance. Haunting me, pulling me in all different directions. Forcing me to relive my worst moments over and over again for the rest of all time. Forever. Losing Him. Hearing that brief moment of His torment over my death. Watching as what we could’ve shared in another life slipped further and further away. I was doomed to an eternity in hell, reliving the pain I had callously inflicted on others.
I cannot honestly say whether or not I would change anything. Despite knowing how I’ll spend the rest of my eternity, I’m still grateful for the fact that I’ll at least be able to look upon his face. Perhaps my suffering will please him, and when we are reunited once more I’ll be rewarded beyond my wildest imagination. If not, at least I can still see him, even if they are his final moments. I can keep him locked up inside of me for the rest of forever, and after all, that is the only thing I have ever wanted.
Inky blackness took over. Ebony tendrils wrap her slender frame, which is ravaged with time and torment. The world begins to fade around her, and the white room turns to an all-encompassing obsidian sky, obscuring her vision like a blindfold. The lingering smells of battle and remorse depart, leaving only the evident absence of odor. The metallic taste of blood recedes from her mouth, and is instead replaced with the unknown. His anguished battle cry that resounded in her ears slips away, leaving only nothing. Nothing but absence and nothing.
And then her nightmares begin again.
A/N: As always, please read and review!
I obviously capitalized the male pronouns, as I really wanted the reader to get a sense of how important he was to her, before finding out who they actually were. I know some of her thoughts were super fragmented, and I hope that portrayed how I think Bellatrix would actually think and feel.
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