You are viewing a story from harrypotterfanfiction.com


The House of Black by holly bergman

Format: Novella
Chapters: 10
Word Count: 24,128
Status: COMPLETED

Rating: Mature
Warnings: Mild Language, Strong Violence, Scenes of a Mild Sexual Nature, Sensitive Topic/Issue/Theme

Genres: Romance, Angst
Characters: Snape, Sirius, Regulus, Bellatrix, R. Lestrange, Lucius, Narcissa, Voldemort, OtherCanon
Pairings: Other Pairing

First Published: 06/04/2006
Last Chapter: 11/18/2006
Last Updated: 08/03/2007

Summary:


Andromeda recalls a very different version of events to the one accepted by the wizarding world. A story of five children. These children became very different witches and wizards. They were once a family, they were once friends. They are not anymore.


Chapter 1: The Muggle in the Alley
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter and I most probably never will. Harry Potter belongs to Joanne Rowling and Warner Bros. All the lyrics in this fic were writen and sung by Evanescence.Yes, I know I've already used "Missing" in a song-fic but it fits.

Author's note: Bellatrix will seem a little...okay I'll be honest...very out of character for a majority of the fic. The setting is before she turned into the sadistic homicidal maniac we all love to hate. It may seem a little wierd until I get the last chapter in. This story is slightly AU in regards to their ages.

I'm very sorry about the rating but it is only for violence in chapter nine. It wasn't going to be rated mature at all but I don't want to change the way that chapter was written. Presuming that you've read Order of the Phoenix, you know exactly how this ends. There is no happy ending.

Please Review. I will review your story if you review mine! . There is one condition to this... I don't read slash. I feel very sad when there are no new reivews. :-(







The Muggle in the Alley


After their meal, the two Tonks women were in the kitchen washing up. The younger of the two, who was obiously Nymphadora Tonks, had bright green hair and a heart-shaped face. The other woman, Andromeda, had thick, shiny black hair the fell to her waist and heavily-lidded eyes. She had a strong jaw and a warm, motherly smile. Ted Tonks was away on business for the Order so they were alone. Andromeda didn’t trust her rather clumsy daughter with washing the dishes (even with a wand) so Tonks was wiping the kitchen counter. After she was done, Tonks turned to face her mother.

“Mum, you’re okay with me dating Remus aren’t you?” she asked hesitantly.

Andromeda looked at her daughter, surprised.

“Would you still date him if I said no, Nymphadora?”

Tonks winced at the sound of her name but Andromeda didn’t notice. Or at least, she pretended not to.

“Well, yeah but…I’d still like to hear what you have to say.”

Andromeda smiled.

“That is exactly how I felt when I told my sisters about your father,” she said with a smile.

“Bet they loved the fact you ran off with a muggle-born.”

Andromeda frowned thoughtfully.

“They didn’t react as bad as I thought they would now that I think about it.”

Tonks raised her eyebrows.

“I sure Bellatrix at least went spare,” she said with a frown to match her mother’s.

“She didn’t surprisingly enough,” said Andromeda. “Bella…she was different before I suppose.”

Tonks snorted in disbelief. She still had the marks were her Aunt, Bellatrix Lestrange, had hit her with a powerful dark curse in the Department of Mysteries so her scepticism had grounds. Andromeda looked at the expression on her daughter’s face and bit her lip.

“Well…Bellatrix is an evil twerp now so back to my question,” Tonks said dryly. “Do you mind?”

“Nymphadora, I was brought up in a family where you would be betrothed to a man ten years older than Remus. I really don’t mind at all.”

Tonks looked surprisingly disappointed.

“What?” asked Andromeda.

“No offence mum but if you’re comparing the situation with your family…”

Andromeda’s shoulder’s sagged.

“They weren’t all bad you know,” she said.

“I do know,” said Tonks. “Uncle Alphard and Sirius were alright but mum…that’s two people.”

“Regulus was quiet and sweet,” said Andromeda. “Narcissa wanted what I have, a happy family, but she never got it to this day. Before she married that idiot, Bellatrix was…just like Sirius I suppose.”

“Mother!” cried Tonks angrily. “Regulus was a Death Eater, Narcissa’s married to the most evil git of all time and she seems to adore him and Bellatrix…don’t get me started on her. Don’t compare her to Sirius. She killed him, remember?”

Andromeda winced. Tonks’ anger faded slightly when she saw the look on her mother’s face.

“Sit down Nymphadora. I’ve got to tell you something about my family.”




I still remember the world,
From the eyes of a child.
Slowly those feelings,
Were clouded by what I know now.





The five Black children waited not so patiently outside the front door of number 12 Grimauld Place. Narcissa, Bellatrix and Andromeda were in their cousins’ house. The eldest, Bellatrix, had long dark hair that was braided down her back. She had heavy lidded eyes and a strong jaw. She looked particularly grown up for a seven-year-old. The middle girl, Andromeda, was a mirror image of her older sister but her hair was let loose. She was nearly six-years-old. The youngest girl, Narcissa, was as pale as a ghost and she had long blonde hair. Narcissa was only four and she looked a lot frailer and smaller than her sisters. The other two who were at the door were boys. Sirius and Regulus, like Bellatrix and Andromeda, were almost identical. They had dark hair than fell elegantly and mischievous looks in their eyes. Sirius was five and Regulus was Narcissa’s age. You could not find a group of children who were closer than the Blacks, not even in the muggle world, but today they were anxious. It was another one of their family’s gatherings.

“Do you think he’s coming?” asked Bellatrix, worried.

“He promised us,” said Sirius firmly. “Don’t worry Bella, he’ll come.”

Regulus’ lower lip quavered and he shook his head.

“But Sir,” he moaned. “You heard mama. She said he was a blood traitor.”

Narcissa gave him a hug.

“He never breaks his promises Reggie,” she whispered.

Andromeda jumped and tried to look out the window. She was a few inches too short to see over the ledge.

“Sir, give me a leg up!”

Sirius obliged. Andromeda got her balance quickly and peered into the dreary garden outside. It was pouring rain and incredibly difficult to see.

“Can you see anything Andy?” asked Bella.

Andy cried out and fell back. Sirius and Regulus caught her before she hit the ground.

“It’s the Malfoys!” Andy cried. “Run for it Cissy!”

Narcissa gave a squeak and went to hide behind a couch. She was petrified of eleven year old Lucius Malfoy. He was about to go to Hogwarts and she was glad she didn’t have to see him so often anymore. Lucius particularly despised poor Narcissa and teased and tormented her often. Abraxas Malfoy scared all of the children so they quickly joined Narcissa from behind the couch.

“What are they doing here?” snarled Bellatrix.

“Gits,” murmured Sirius.

“Don’t use bad words Sir!” hissed Andromeda though she completely agreed.

Kreacher, the batty house elf all five children despised, opened the door with a click of his fingers. He was far too short to reach the door knob so he had to resort to magic. The arrogant face of Abraxas Malfoy came into view. A black, silver snake toped cane was in his gloved hand. Slight looking and sneering, Lucius Malfoy walked in behind his father. His slicked, blonde hair was up to his shoulders. His malicious gazed scanned the entire room. Narcissa shuddered.

“Let me deck him Bella,” pleaded Sirius. “Just this once!”

Sirius was the brave and reckless one of the family. Even at five he wanted to defend his youngest cousin from the intimidating eleven year old boy. Bellatrix smiled faintly. She was particularly close to Sirius and hearing him speak so boldly made her want to laugh.

“Shush!” whispered Narcissa.

Narcissa was more anxious about avoiding Lucius than usual because he had threatened to set her hair on fire when he learnt the spell. She wondered inwardly who in their right mind would teach Lucius to fire stronger and darker spells.

“Welcome Mister Malfoy,” said Kreacher in his falsely sweet voice. “You’ve brought the young Master too!”

Abraxas ignored the house elf and walked into the house, followed by Lucius. Narcissa would have sworn that she saw Lucius look around for them, waiting to torment them.

When the coast was clear, Sirius lifted up Bellatrix up to the window this time. She was barely an inch taller than Andromeda but it was enough to give her a far better view.

“He’s here!” she squealed.

“Uncle Alfie!” screamed Regulus in glee.

“I knew it!” shouted Andromeda happily. “I knew he’d come!”

Alphard had taken three steps into the room when he was almost knocked over by the five children. His moans of protest were drowned out by cries of ‘Uncle Alfie! Uncle Alfie!’ He finally managed to pull the delighted children off him.

“Here are my favourite children!” he panted, rubbing his sore stomach.

The children didn’t know it, and Uncle Alphard would never tell them, but he was getting old. Ten years ago he would have enjoyed being steamrolled by a group of unruly children.

“Tell us another story Uncle!” said Bellatrix excitedly.

Uncle Alphard winced but the children were too excited to notice.

“Your mothers will have my guts for garters if I so much as mention muggles again,” said Uncle Alphard.

“We won’t tell Uncle, honest,” cried Regulus.

“Please Uncle!” pleaded Sirius. “Tell us about the helichoppers!”

“No! Tell us about the eropanes,” said Narcissa.

“Can you tell us about the muggle you met in Australia?” asked Andromeda.

“What about the one in Canada?” asked Bellatrix.

Uncle Alphard watched the children recite all his stories. They had clearly learnt everything off by heart.

“Oh alright!” said Uncle Alphard with a laugh.

Uncle Alphard sat down on one of he hard, uncomfortable couches and began talking animatedly of climbing Uluru with the Aboriginal muggles. When he told them that they actually knew ancient magic, Bellatrix screamed in delight.

“Don’t tell your mother I told you that,” murmured Uncle Alphard.

“I didn’t know muggles could do magic too!” cried Bellatrix.

“They can do many thing we can’t,” said Alphard wisely. “They have electricity, flying machines that can carry hundreds of people and they have telephones.Telephones are a little like howlers.”

The five children listen to Uncle Alphard with fascination.

“We want to come with you when you go travelling next!” cried Sirius.

“Yeah! It’ll be great!” said Bellatrix. “We’ll fly in arropanes, we’ll talk into telofonds…”

Bellatrix trailed off when Uncle Alphard shook his head.

“Not Bella, you can’t,” he said. “Your parents would never approve and…I don’t think I know enough about muggles to take five children into their world.”

The five children gasped. Before they could protest further, a shrill yell came from the dinning room.

“Alphard? Is that you?” cried Druella Black, the girls’ mother.

“Come in! Don’t spend the entire evening with the children, brother,” said Walburga, the boys’ mother. “You haven’t been talking about the mudbloods again have you?”

“’Course not sister,” lied Alphard through his teeth. “Sorry kids.”

Ignoring the children’s vexed and scandalized looked, poor Uncle Alphard limped towards the dinning room, dreading the conversation he would have to go through because of his sisters.

“This stinks,” murmured Sirius, scuffing his newly polished shoes on a chair.

Andromeda scowled at Sirius. He ignored his elder cousin and looked around at the dreary mansion.

“Come on,” he said. “Let’s get out of here.”

“Sir,” said Andromeda sternly. “We’ve been forbidden to leave, remember?”

“And your point is, Andy?”

“Sirius!” shouted Andromeda

“Andy, let’s go and see the muggles!” said Sirius suddenly.

Andromeda was too stunned to come up with an argument. Bellatrix looked at her cousin in disbelief. This was serious, not the usual mischief. Even at seven, she knew how her parents would react.

“I’m game if you are, Bella,” said Sirius.

Bellatrix hesitated for a moment. She didn’t really know what the muggles were like and she had only heard the stories that Uncle Alphard had told her. But the mischievous grin on Sirius’ face made her smile.

“Alright,” she said.

“Bella, Sirius no!” cried Andromeda. “If you get caught-”

“We won’t get caught,” replied Bellatrix simply. “I want to see a muggle, a real one.”

Narcissa and Regulus exchanged glances.

“I wanna come too!” they said simultaneously.

“No!” snapped Andromeda. “Bellatrix and Sirius can get stuck in the muggle world forever for all I care but you two are staying put.”

Andromeda silenced the protests of the four-year olds with glares.

“Don’t be such a worry-witch Andy,” said Bellatrix. “It’ll be amazing! Just imagine...real muggles!”

Before Andromeda could stop them they opened the door and headed out onto the muggle street.

The rain outside had subdued but it was still blistering cold. Even the rain couldn’t dampen the spirits of the Black cousins.

“I never had a real adventure like this before,” said Sirius with a grin.

Bellatrix was staring in fascination at a street light but when Sirius spoke she grinned broadly.

“Sirius and Bellatrix the Marauders!” she laughed. “The first magical people to meet the muggles.”

They continued to walk. As the temperature dropped, the two children were no longer impressed. Where were the amazing aeroplanes? Where were the kind muggles? Bellatrix frowned when she sighted one muggle that looked anything but kind. He looked like he had drunk a good dose of befuddlement potion.

“I think we’d better get back,” Sirius whispered to Bellatrix.

“I agree,” Bellatrix whispered back. “Which way did we come from?”

“Err…”

It took the children a few minutes to realize that they were lost.

“We’ll try this way,” said Bellatrix.

She was pointing towards an alley. It looked dark and forbidding. At black cat sat on a rubbish bin and the shadow hid everything from sight.

“Bella, I don’t think we came this way,” hissed Sirius.

“It might be a shortcut,” said Bellatrix. “If not, we’ll just go back.”

The children walked into the alley. As their eyes adjusted to the darkness something in front of them come into focus. There were two muggles in the alley.

For the first time in her life, Bellatrix understood why they were called mudbloods. The muggle was holding up the other by the throat with his bare hands. His hands were dirty, covered in dirt and something red that Bellatrix couldn’t recognize. To their horror, the muggle turned around and saw them.

“Wot the-” he slurred.

He dropped the unfortunate man and started towards the children. Bellatrix and Sirius screamed. The muggle seized Sirius by his robes. Bellatrix kicked him hard in the shins and he released her cousin.

“RUN!” she cried.

But the muggle was far too quick for the too children. He had just caught hold of Bellatrix’s arm when a jet of green light hit him right between the eyes. Abraxas Malfoy, who had fired the curse, pocketed his wand.

“Your very lucky that Andromeda had the sense to tell an adult where you were,” he said quietly.

He caught the two children by their arms (Bellatrix’s arm was already bruised so she winced with pain) and steered them back to the house.

The moment Bellatrix and Sirius reentered the house they knew they were in serious trouble.

“YOU SHOULDN’T HAVE BEEN OUT THERE!” screamed Walburga.

She slapped Bellatrix hard across the cheek and caught Sirius by his ear. She steered them towards the cellar and pushed them inside.

“If you ever go outside again you…”

Words had failed Sirius’ mother. Bellatrix whimpered as the door was slammed shut.

The two children were enveloped in darkness. The boards under them creaked with their weight and it was icy cold. Bellatrix began to cry. She hated the dark and she hated being locked up.

“Bella, don’t cry,” said Sirius. “I’m sorry I got us into trouble.”

Bellatrix sniffed in reply.

“I h-hate this p-place,” she stammered. “It’s like t-the whole w-world’s left me.”

“I won’t leave you Bella, I promise,” said Sirius whilst putting a hand around her shoulders.

The two Black children snuggled up in the damp prison. The fact that they were together made the punishment a little more bearable.




My apologies to the validators for sending you all the dodgy chapters. I finally fingured out what you were talking about. Thanks LogicalRaven.

Chapter 2: Hogwarts
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Hogwarts


Bellatrix hardly noticed the spectacular ceiling, the ghosts or the smiling faces of the older students around her. There was only one thing her attention was focused on. She was preoccupied because Professor McGonagall had slipped a worn hat on her head: the Sorting Hat. Bellatrix already had a vague idea where she wanted to be. She wanted to be in Gryffindor or Slytherin. Either one would be good. Admittedly her parents would be a little…very shocked and horrified if she was sorted into Gryffindor but she thought she could handle it. A little voice spoke in her head that almost made her jump off the little wooden stool.

Hmm…you’re a clever girl…Ravenclaw?

Not Ravenclaw…I’m no bookworm.

Trusting and loyal to the end…Hufflepuff?

Merlin, No! Please! Anything but that!

But you’re braver than most people are…Gryffindor? That seems right…

That’s more like it! But…

You know how to get what you want…Slytherin?

I’m lost…

Where to put you? Ah, I see now…

“Slytherin!” roared the Sorting Hat.

A round of applause came from the Slytherin table but no one look in the least bit surprised. Lucius Malfoy was sitting with his usual bunch of friend and he did not join in. Bellatrix was pleasantly surprised when a sixth year, Rodolphus Lestrange, offered her a seat next to him. Bellatrix decided that she’d better not tell anyone that she was almost sorted in Gryffindor. It was a wise choice.

*


Andromeda spared a glance at her sister as the hat fell on her head. She knew were she wanted to be, Gryffindor, but she also knew where her parents wanted her to be. She’d rather please them than spend every summer being the scorn of her family.

Not Gryffindor…not Gryffindor…

Not Gryffindor, eh?

Not Gryffindor… not Gryffindor…

You want to please your family?

Yes…

That’s not the most important thing…

No! Not Gryffindor!

I think you’ll realize that when the time comes but for now…

“Slytherin!”

Bellatrix clapped louder than the rest of the Slytherins. Andromeda blushed scarlet but had to admit that the Gryffindor table looked far more welcoming, especially when Ted Tonks, the boy who she had shared a compartment with, was sorted there. Feeling a little lonely and out of place, Andormeda sat down next to her older sister, wondering what life would have been like if she had been in Gryffindor.

*


Sirius seized the hat from a bemused McGonagall and but it on his head. He didn’t look nervous at all. Bellatrix stifled a laugh and Andromeda frowned. Three first year boys on the Gryffindor table, who looked like they were no more nervous than the seventh year, who Bellatrix only knew as ‘Frank’, they were sitting next to, cheered him on but were silenced by glares from McGonagall

Brave, reckless, loyal…
No need for consideration…


“Gryffindor!”

It was not surprising that everyone in the hall but a few first years gasped in shock. Bellatrix couldn’t hide her disappointment. She wanted Sirius to be in her house, the two Marauders together, but when Sirius joined the other three other boys she realized that Sirius had met more marauders. She smirked and wondered at the mischief they would get into but promised that she would join in.

*


Narcissa was petrified. If it was anything other than an old hat she thought that she would die of fright on the spot. She winced when McGonagall put the hat on her head.

Another difficult one…
Just like your sisters…
You’ve got intelligence, but will you use it?

I can’t be in Ravenclaw!

You can be brave, but will you be?

I’ll be in trouble like Sirius…

You want a feel a sense of community…a family, right?

More than anything…

Well, if you insist…

“Slytherin!”

*


Regulus cast a glance at his brother. He wanted to be with him, he really did. He, unlike his parents, was proud of Sirius for being in Gryffindor. His brother was sitting with three other boys. Narcissa, who had just been sorted, sat between Bellatrix and Andromeda and gave him a confident smile. He looked at the hat that was in the old transfiguration teacher’s hands. Where could he go? The hat slipped on his head and covered the view of the hall.

Just like your cousins…
You may want to be with your brother but your heart says otherwise…

“Slytherin!”

Sirius gasped in disappointment. The boy he was sitting next to whispered something in his ear. Regulus walked grudgingly over to the Slytherin table and sat between Andromeda and a boy with dark, greasy hair.

*


It seemed like five minutes ago to Bellatrix when she had put on that ragged hat. In reality it had been over seven years. To her parent’s disappointment, she was not head girl. Her parents were oblivious to it, and neither Bellatrix or Professor Dumbledore thought it wise to enlighten them, but the reason for this was that Bellatrix was the unknown fifth marauder and, with the exception of Remus Lupin, marauders tended not to be prefects. Not many of the students were aware of Bellatrix secret role as the only girl and Slytherin that was a part of the infamous gang. She wasn’t an animagus but she knew full well that three of the marauders were. She only took part in daylight adventures like finding secret passageways and locking Mrs. Norris in the broom cupboard. To everyone else she was Bellatrix Black, quiet Slytherin who didn’t talk much except to her relatives, who always finished her homework and showed impressive skill when it came to Defence Against the Dark Arts. To her four friends she was fellow mischief maker but one day Bellatrix’s friends crossed the line…

Severus Snape was sitting in a dark corner of the common room. Bellatrix took a breath, forced a smile and walked up towards him.

“At the risk of sounding like your mother…you’re going to spoil your eyes if you read in the dark like that,” she said casually.

Snape shot her one of his famous cold stares and returned to his essay and the large textbook in front of him. After he scribbled a few notes and made no sign of speaking anytime soon, Bellatrix crossed her arms indignantly. She was trying to be nice…

“What’s got your wand in a knot, Snape?” asked Bellatrix.

Snape didn’t answer or acknowledge Bellatrix in any way.

“I heard about what happened at the Lake,” she said suddenly.

Snape put down his quill and glared at her. He didn’t start speaking.

“Well, I heard it would have been…really unpleasant for you if McGonagall hadn’t put an end to it,” Bellatrix continued.

Snape’s pallid face went scarlet.

“I already had to put up with Andromeda’s helpful hints about your demonic cousin, I don’t need to listen to you too,” snarled Snape. “I don’t trust your sisters, your depraved cousins or you for that matter.”

Bellatrix forced a grin.

“I’d be correct to say that Andromeda went on about settling differences and inter-house unity, right?”

“Quite correct,” said Snape. “Now if you’d excuse me-”

“What if I told you I knew a way for you to get back at Potter and the…Marauders?”

Snape pretended not to be interested but Bellatrix could tell he was thinking furiously, calculating.

“I’d ask you what you had in mind,” said Snape impassively.

“A duel,” said Bellatrix. “Nothing life threatening, of course.”

Snape’s face fell.

“You’re suggestion is a brilliant one except for one tiny, insignificant flaw,”

“What?”

Snape looked suddenly very uncomfortable.

“As much as it grieves me to say this…” Snape trailed off and tried to find the words to continue. “Potter is more…experienced… at duelling than…me?”

Bellatrix raised her eyebrows.

“Wow, you actually admitted it…well, it’s not something the rest of the house didn’t work out long ago,” she said.

“Brilliant,” snarled Snape. “I do have a Potions essay I need to finish and-”

“Snape, I know you can finish that in about ten minutes. Just listen to me,” said Bellatrix, betraying a hint of impatience. “I have an idea.”

*


James, Lupin, Wormtail and Sirius were laughing with a gang of people behind them, listening to every word they uttered.

“Potter!” called Snape.

James turned around and almost doubled up with laughter. Snape actually looked like he wanted to speak with him. Lupin gazed at the Slytherin newcomer cautiously.

“What do you want, Snivellius?” sneered James.

“It’s Severus,” said Snape coldly. “I have a proposition for you.”

“What? You enjoyed showing your dacks to the school and want me to do it again? Well, if you insist…”

The muscles in Snape’s mouth twitched but he replied with his usual composure.

“A duel,” said Snape over the laughter of the crowd behind James.

“A duel? Are you serious Snape? I can beat you, blindfolded.”

“Well, this time you won’t have your little friends out to help you,” said Snape with a faint sneer. “Think you can handle that, Potter?”

James put on his usual arrogant smirk and glanced at Lily. She who was sitting opposite them with a group of friends She rolled her eyes in an obvious manner when she caught James’ gaze.

“Of course! Who’s your second?” asked James. “Moaning Mrytle?”

There was another roar of laughter from the crowd behind James but, to Sirius’ astonishment, Snape smiled. It looked out of practise and rather nasty but it was a smile none the less.

“Bellatrix,” he said with his horrible smile.

It took a while for the Marauders to gather what Snape had said. James laughed in disbelief. The crowd behind them had gone silent. Sirius however, didn’t find humour in the situation.

“Bella?” snarled Sirius. “Snape, she would never help a greasy git like you.”

“What makes you say that?”

Bellatrix pushed her way through the crowd and face the four dumbstruck marauders.

“What’s the matter, guys?” asked Bellatrix in an annoying baby voice. “Don’t want to take on a girl?”

“A seventh year girl who just happens to be my cousin!” cried Sirius. “Why him, Bella?”

“Sirius, we’ve duelled heaps of times,” said Bellatrix. “I don’t see a problem.”

“But…” Sirius trailed off, unable to think of a good excuse.

Christmas had come early for Snape. The Marauders couldn’t refuse at the risk of looking like cowards.

“Who’s your second, Potter?” asked Bellatrix.

James looked at Sirius.

“What do you say, mate?” he asked Sirius.

Sirius looked very much like he would like to protest but his reputation was at stake.

“Yeah,” he said casually.

*


The day of the duel dawned quicker than any of the four could have expected. Bellatrix got up early and headed towards the great hall to put her plan into action. Snape, who was looking a lot more pallid than usual, caught up with Bellatrix as she entered the hall. James and Sirius followed him. Snape shot them a cold stare over his shoulder which they returned but, other than that, there was no real argument. Bellatrix had put in action a miracle. There was peace in the hall for the first time in almost five years.

“Have you found a venue for the duel?” asked Snape.

“Sure,” said Bellatrix. “I booked the hall. Professor McGonagall loves duels-”

“You told McGonagall?” cried Snape, James and Sirius simultaneously.

“What’s wrong with that?” asked Bellatrix innocently.

The Gryffindors and the Slytherin glared at the seventh year in disbelief.

“I never took you for an idiot, Bellatrix,” said Snape. “What in Slytherin’s name possessed you to tell-”

“Is there a problem Mr. Snape?” asked a very familiar voice behind them.

The three of them turned around quickly. Minerva McGonagall had a very broad grin on her face.

“You’ll be supervising the duel, Professor?” asked Bellatrix, smirking.

“I’ll be making sure that you don’t kill each other,” said McGonagall dryly. “I imagine that it will take a lot of effort on my part.”

McGonagall smiled at Bellatrix and left. McGonagall had always been rather fond of Bellatrix despite the fact she was in Slytherin. She often supervised the detentions of the five marauders. Bellatrix gestured for Snape to follow her.

“Now, if you would excuse us, Severus and I need to discuss our strategy.”

With that, Bellatrix and Snape left James and Sirius to practice in the hall.

*


Regulus found his brother alone outside the Hall. James had gone looking for Lily and had not returned yet since Lily tended to avoid him.

“Hey Sir,” said Regulus. “You ready?”

Sirius, who had his head buried in his hands, looked up and surveyed his brother.

“Reggie, you know what happens every time Bellatrix duels me,” said Sirius.

“She canes you and you live out the next few days in disgrace,” smirked Regulus.

Sirius glared at his younger brother.

“She puts up a very good fight,” said Sirius through clenched teeth.

“Don’t worry Sir,” said Regulus. “I observed that when Bellatrix duels she keeps her right side defenses a tad low because she’s left handed.”

“Since when did you get so good at dueling?” laughed Sirius.

“I read, big brother,” answered Regulus. “Books.”

Sirius frowned.

“Why are you taking my side over Bellatrix’s?”

“You’re my brother,” said Regulus simply. “You may be my ugly, Gryffindor, stupid brother who is about to get his face rearranged even more by a seventh year but…you’re my brother.”

“Aww…” said Sirius with a mocking grin. “Well, you may be my ugly, Slytherin, dorky brother who needs to get a life but… I still wuv you.”

“Don’t you dare get all mushy on me,” said Regulus with a grin. “We Slytherin’s despise mushiness.”

Before Regulus could stop him, Sirius could him in a headlock and ruffled his hair up.

“Cut…it…out…” groaned Regulus.

“Gladly,” said Sirius, releasing poor Regulus. “Now you look like James!”

Regulus determinedly started to flatten his hair.

“Git!” he snapped.

*


Bellatrix and Snape headed into the Great Hall. A large group of students had already assembled. It was not everyday you could watch James slaughter Snape without the teachers interrupting.

“Stay here Snape,” said Bellatrix. “I’ll talk to Lily.”

“Do we have to involve her?” said Snape. “I did offend her and-”

“Don’t be such a coward,” snarled Bellatrix.

Snape turned scarlet with anger as Bellatrix walked towards two girls who had just walked into the hall. Bellatrix hesitated. Lily was a muggle-born. After the incident in the alley, Bellatrix trusted the muggles a lot less far than she could throw them. She even talked to Remus, who was a half-blood, a lot less than the other Marauders. Lily seemed kind, (James certainly thought so) but Bellatrix never talked to her and could not bring herself to trust her. She shook herself. She was scared of a fifth year mudblood for Slytherin’s sake.

“Lily!” whispered Bellatrix.

The two girls turned around. The shorter of the two had flaming red hair and bright green eyes. She was the Gryffindor girl who put the Slytherins to shame when it came to Potion making, Lily Evans. The second girl, Priti Patil, had dark hair and eyes. She, unlike Lily, was following her house tradition and giving Bellatrix the greasiest of all greasies.

“Oh, hello Priti,” said Bellatrix.

“Bellatrix,” said Priti curtly.

Lily gave her friend a stern glance and smiled at Bellatrix. It was admittedly a little forced.

“I was wondering if you could do me a favour-” began Bellatrix.

Priti didn’t trust the Slytherins nearly as much as Lily did so she cut Bellatrix off.

“To help the mudblood hater?” she snarled.

“Er…if you’re referring to Severus…yes,” murmured Bellatrix.

Lily cast a sly glance at Priti who cast a deceptively civil smile at a very nervous looking Snape.

“On one condition,” said Lily, loudly enough for Snape to hear. “Severus should ask me himself.”

Snape turned scarlet again as Bellatrix motioned for him to come over. She left with a small smirk on her face. Things were definitely going to plan. Priti and Lily crossed their arms simultaneously and waited for a response. Snape fidgeted for a moment and then he began to speak. His voice was far from his usual cold sneer. He sounded more like Wormtail now.

“Err…hi Ev-Lil…”

“Did you just call her evil?” snapped Priti suddenly. “Because if you did I’m going to hex your lousy Slytherin backside back into the slimeball were you came from!”

Bellatrix, who was listening to the conversation, slapped her forehead in exasperation. Snape was looking more and more awkward. That certainly didn’t occur everyday.

“No, I started to call you Evans but changed half-way to Lily-”

“Not mudblood today?” said Lily coldly.

Snape took a breath and tried not to notice Priti who was looking daggers at him.

“Lily, I’m sorry I called you a mudblood,” said Snape. “It was rather rude of me and you didn’t deserve it.”

“Apology accepted. (Priti glared at Lily but she ignored her) Now what do you want me to do?”

Snape let out the breath he didn’t realize he was holding.

“Nothing much. Just sit right there.”

*


Lily and Priti waved to James as he entered the hall. They were seated right behind James, near the back and almost out of sight, but James found them and waved back. Bellatrix smiled triumphantly and exchanged a glance with Snape. She just hoped that he would remember the plan. McGonagall addressed the students before they could begin. A crude dueling platform had been draw onto the floor with chalk.

“The rules of this duel are simple,” said McGonagall. “No Dark Arts. To win, knock you opponent over the chalk line, knock the wand out of their hands or keep the levitated for five seconds. You may begin.”

The four students nodded. Bellatrix gave Snape a reassuring smile that he returned with a scowl. Snape and James were about to begin dueling when McGonagall stopped them.

“Bow,” she said sternly.

Snape and James nodded their heads at each other. McGonagall was not impressed.

“I said bow,” snarled McGonagall. “This is an ancient sport and I will not have you disrespecting each other!”

The two students fought the urge to roll their eyes as they lowered their backs a fraction more.

“That’s better,” said McGonagall. “Now you may begin.”

They assumed duelling stance.

“One, two…” said McGonagall. “THREE!”

James sent a powerful hex at Snape but he blocked it. Snape began blocking everything that James could throw at him. Desperate to hit Snape with something, James tried hitting Snape with weaker jinxes more rapidly. One particularly weak jinx soared towards Snape and, to everyone’s astonishment, Snape seemed to let the jinx hit him. The jinx knocked Snape of his feet and he landed in a heap right next to the line. Just as Bellatrix predicted, the moment Snape had been jinxed, James looked around for Lily. She was, of course, behind him so he had to turn around. The moment he did, he found his wand on the floor and his robes over his face. Snape had hit James with a levicorpus jinx. He had done it perfectly since he was the one who made up the spell in the first place.

“Nice boxers, Potter,” said Lily, her tone unfathomable.

James didn’t now if he should be incredibly embarrassed or incredibly pleased. McGonagall, who was fighting the urge to laugh, stopped the duel and preformed the counter curse on James. James got to his feet quickly.

“This round is over, Severus has won,” said McGonagall.

Snape had the most triumphant sneer imaginable on his face. James gapped at McGonagall.

“Are you saying that I lost?

“Yes,” said McGonagall brightly. “You might get a second chance if Sirius beats Bellatrix. Now shake hands.”

Snape and James looked at each other for a few seconds and shock hands. They let go rather quickly. Sirius looked at Bellatrix who cleaning her wand on her robes looking utterly calm. Sirius was quite the opposite.

*


The duel had been going on for an hour. Everyone was bored. Andromeda’s head was dropping suddenly, Narcissa was staring at a bird near the window and Regulus was levitating his hat with his wand. Priti and Lily were looking at Lily’s Potions Textbook. Even McGonagall had to stifle a yawn. Sirius sent yet another leg locker curse at Bellatrix. She barely parried it almost fell forward.

“Come on Bella,” sneered Sirius. “Is that all you’ve got?”

Bellatrix smirked.

“Not quite,” she sneered back.

Bellatrix dodged Sirius’ body-bind curse and shouted. “Expelliarmus!”

The jet of red light hit Sirius directly in the chest and he was blasted backwards. He landed in a heap behind the large tapestry depicting Wendelin the Weird and out of sight. Andromeda, Narcissa and Regulus simultaneously winced as a sickening crunch rang throughout the air. Bellatrix gave a cry and went to help her cousin from behind the tapestry. To her amazement, he wasn’t there.

Without a warning, Sirius jumped in front of Bellatrix from behind one of Hogwarts’ many invisible doors and shouted “Boo!”

Bellatrix cried out in alarm and jumped back. Sirius was laughing uncontrollably. Snape, on the other hand, didn’t look impressed. McGonagall murmured something about Bellatrix winning and left.

“Very funny, Sir,” said Bellatrix through her own laughter and gasping. “Bloody Marauder…”

“You’re one too, remember?” retorted Sirius, so no one else could hear.

“That’s right, Padfoot. Just draw attention away from the fact you were beaten by a girl,” said James from behind them.

“Oh shut up Mister Snape-kicked-my-behind-because-I-was-too-busy-staring-at-Evans!” snarled Sirius.

Lily snorted. Snape couldn’t help it. He grinned too.


Chapter 3: A Family Divided
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

A Family Divided


"Please, please forgive me,
But I won't be home again.
Maybe someday you'll look up,
And, barely conscious, you'll say to no one:
Isn't something missing?"




It was the third day of the summer holidays. Outside number twelve, Grimmauld place, the bright summer sun was shinning and one or two brave muggle children were playing outside despite the neighbourhood’s bad reputation. Sirius looked at them enviously from his bedroom window, for his parents still refused to let him outside. He was finishing a letter to James. Sirius usually wasn’t one for writing long letters but it was the only way to correspond with the other Marauders. (Other than Bellatrix, of course.) James was the only one his parents allowed him to write to since he was a pureblood. Sirius conveniently forgot to mention that James’ great-grandfather had been blasted off the infamous family tree for standing up for muggle rights. Sirius had just finished writing an idea for another prank when Kreacher hobbled into his room. He bowed low (not as low as he did for Regulus) and began to speak.

“Master Sirius, your father wishes to address you,” said Kreacher in a tone that told Sirius he was bond for a lecture.

Sirius grunted his acknowledgment and bitterly headed for his father’s study. Old Orion Black was looking at a letter. Sirius felt uncharacteristically apprehensive when he realised it was his OWL’s results.

“You did well, son,” said Orion. “You received ‘O’ for Dark Arts class-”

“Defence Against the Dark Arts,” corrected Sirius.

Orion silenced his son with a glare and continued.

“-and Potions,” he finished coldly.

Sirius was surprised. Snape and Lily were the potions geniuses, not him. Sirius smirked as he wondered what Snape would think if he got the same grade in Potions as he did. Bellatrix may have caused a temporary truce between the greasy git and the marauders but Sirius doubted that it would last for very much longer. The eldest Maruader would no longer be at school, which was a pity because she could certainly help them with the map they were making. It was an even greater pity because the Marauders were down to four and Sirius was seeing less and less of his favourite cousin. Bellatrix, to Sirius’ utmost disgust, was starting to look for a husband at her mother’s urging. Sirius’ smirk grew more pronounced. The bloke Bellatrix marries would get more than he bargained for, that’s for sure. Bellatrix would knock the Death Eater and/or Pure-blood mania right out of him…

“What are you smirking at boy?” said Orion sharply, bringing Sirius back to reality.

Sirius jumped.

“Sorry father, I was just…thinking,” Sirius finished lamely.

Orion gazed at his son with the usual disappointment as he continued.

“You know that is your responsibility, as the eldest son, to protect the family honour.”

Sirius nodded. He heard this many times before.

“I have heard, from reliable sources, that you…” Orion paused and looked at his son in a most serious manner. “…associate with mudbloods.”

Sirius tried hard to fight back his anger but it must have shown on his face because Orion was getting angrier too.

“For you sake, they better not be true!” shouted Orion. “First you break all family tradition by being sorted into the mudblood house-”

“It’s not a mudblood house!” shouted Sirius before he could stop himself. “They’re muggle-borns, not mudbloods!”

The moment Sirius had shouted those words, he felt something strike him across the face and knock him of his chair.

“I WILL NOT HAVE A SON WHO IS A BLOOD TRAITOR!” Orion roared. “YOU HEAR ME?”

For one wild moment, Sirius felt like arguing. He felt like telling his father that he was a prejudiced, twisted old man who was more stuck up than the whole of England but then he regained his senses. He was no use to anyone locked in the cellar. Sirius pulled himself back on his chair and looked down at the floor.

“Yes father,” he whispered.

“You’re of age,” said Orion, calming down slightly at the sight of his resigned son. “You’re going to join the Death Eaters.”

Sirius froze. The Death Eaters? But he was going to be an Auror with James. Was he destined to fight against his friend? Was he destined to murder people like Lily and Remus? Was he going to fight against everything he held dear? Would he fight Albus Dumbledore?

“No,” whispered Sirius. “I can’t do it.”

Orion looked like he was about to strike Sirius again but he, by some miracle, restrained himself.

“The Dark Lord is gaining power,” said Orion in a dangerous whisper that was horribly familiar to Sirius. “One of my sons must fight for what is right.”

Sirius stood up. He was a great deal taller than his father and a great deal angrier.

“Believe me father,” said Sirius, his voice rising dangerously loud for a conversation with his father. “I will.”

Sirius stormed out the room before Orion could react. Orion stood quietly for a few moments. After a long while, he finally spoke.

“Kreacher, bring me Regulus,” said Orion slowly.

“Yes, Master,” said Kreacher.

Kreacher did not usually regret obeying an order but, when he led a very reluctant Regulus into Orion’s dark office, he could not help feel sorry for the fifteen year old boy who was destined to serve the Dark Lord and become a Death Eater.

*


Bellatrix heard something heavy slam onto the ground as she headed towards Sirius’ room.

“Sir?” called Bellatrix. “Are you in here?”

There was no reply. Bellatrix tried the door and crossed her arms when she found it to be locked.

“Sirius, I’m of age,” she said, drawing her wand. “If you don’t open this door, I will and I promise you that it will not be pretty. I will blast it into firewood and I know how much you love this door.”

Again, there was no reply. Bellatrix raised her wand a little higher.

“Come in,” said a gruff voice that Bellatrix instantly recognised as her cousin’s.

When Bellatrix entered Sirius’ room, she realised that the reason for Sirius’ gruff voice was the fact that he had been crying and tried to stop when she came near. She had heard from her Aunt that Sirius had had an argument with Orion. He had been told to stay in his room to ‘regain his senses’ but, from what Bellatrix had seen, he was doing quite the opposite. His school trunk was on the floor. It had been shoved with clothes, books, a broomstick and small bag full of galleons.

“I’m leaving Bella,” said Sirius. “I’ve had enough.”

It took at least a minute for this statement to settle in. Sirius continued to pack while Bellatrix opened and closed her mouth. When she finally found her words, she spoke up.

“B-but...” stammered Bellatrix in horror. “Why?”

“He wants me to join the Dark Lord,” said Sirius angrily.

Bellatrix now had a similar expression to Sirius’ on her face. Sirius continued to shove things into his trunk.

“I’m not joining him, Bella,” snarled Sirius. “Never!”

“Why not?” demanded Bellatrix, suddenly.

Sirius stared at Bellatrix. She was glaring at him angrily and there were tears threatening to fall from her eyes. Bellatrix hadn’t cried in years.

“Bella!” shouted Sirius. “How…how can you ask me that? Do you think I should join him? Do you think I should fight Prongs? What about his Lily? Does she deserve to be murdered by…cowards in masks?”

“But… if you join him …you won’t have to leave us,” said Bellatrix, letting the tears fall. “We’re no family without you.”

Sirius’ anger faded.

“Bella…I wish I could still be part of this family but…I can’t be a Death Eater,” he said. “I can’t fight for something I don’t believe in.”

Bellatrix looked like she was going to argue but she knew Sirius too well to think that she could convince him. It didn’t stop her from feeling betrayed.

“I lo…You make sure that you still wash behind your ears, scruffy,” said Bellatrix, finishing rather lamely.

“I …erm…I’ll see you around Bella,” said Sirius. “Tell Andy and Cissy I said goodbye.”

Both of them knew that the other knew what they had planned to say but, in the house of Black, one does not admit to care for another. They understood, though. In their hearts, both Sirius and Bellatrix knew what Sirius had said was a lie. Bellatrix’s parents would never allow her to see Sirius again but they would meet. They would meet again but the circumstances of that meeting would be very different.

*


Sirius headed towards the door for the last time. His father had locked himself in his study but his mother was out in full force.

“If you leave,” his mother screamed shrilly, “you’ll never be a part of this family again!”

“FINE!” roared Sirius.

Mrs. Black gave a small scream of despair and her portrait began shouting swears words and insults at her son. Sirius glared at her angrily for a few moments and continued to haul his trunk out the door. The hot summer breeze blew into his face.

“Hey Sir,” came a quiet voice from behind him.

Sirius turned quickly. Regulus stood behind him, outside the house and in the muggle world for the first time in his life. He looked at lamppost curiously for a moment and returned his attention to his brother.

“Didn’t think you’d leave without saying goodbye to your ugly, Slytherin brother, did you?” he asked with a smirk on his face that was hiding his sadness.

What sounded like a small explosion inside the house, told Sirius he had been permanently blasted off the family tapestry. The two brothers jumped at the sound but quickly recovered and looked at each other again.

“Won’t you get in trouble for being out here?” asked Sirius.

Regulus shrugged.

“Let me worry about old Orion,” he said. “Anyway, my big brother is a marauder. Insubordination is a…shall we say, family trait?”

Sirius laughed a little.

“Where are you going?” asked Regulus.

“I donno,” admitted Sirius. “James said…that I’m welcome to drop in but I don’t think he meant living at his place.”

“He’ll be alright about it,” said Regulus. “He’s your friend.”

Sirius nodded.

“Well…I’d better get going,” said Sirius.

Regulus nodded to.

“Goodbye Sir,” whispered Regulus.

Abandoning family tradition and, in Regulus’ case, Slytherin tradition, the two brothers embraced for the last time.

“Don’t let them tell you what to do Reggie,” said Sirius. “You make your own choice.”

Regulus froze for a moment.

“I-I will,” said Regulus after a pause.

With that, Sirius left. Regulus wondered if he should have told Sirius that he had taken his place in the Dark Lord’s circle.

No. He won’t have gone to stay with James if I told him. He’d try to protect me but…I’ve got to protect him now. I’ll make sure that Sirius doesn’t become a Death Eater. I just hope he’ll forgive me.

*


Two Years Later...

Orion had told him how proud Regulus was. He had sat him down in the office that Regulus despised and told him that he was a son worth having. Regulus wished that his father would still stay those words if he chose not to join Voldemort. He wished that he could make his own choices…but in the House of Black, you do what your told if you want to stay.

Two people came to Orion’s house to congratulate Regulus. Bellatrix had congratulated him (not with much enthusiasm) and told him to be careful.

“Do with what ever he says and don’t argue with him,” she said quietly. “Just…be careful, Reggie.”

Regulus knew full well that Bellatrix wanted Sirius to be in his position. Sirius was her favourite cousin and there was no point in denying it. She hadn’t seen Sirius in years and she missed him more than anything.

Andromeda had mumbled her congratulations but made it very clear that she did not approve of what he was doing. Narcissa had not come to Orion’s house to wish Regulus at all. Regulus was closest to Narcissa and they had done almost everything together back at Hogwarts. Regulus was determined to see her before he left so he snatched a handful of floo powder and climbed into the fireplace.

“Narcissa’s bedroom,” he said clearly.

After a few minutes of spinning and confusion, Regulus arrived in Narcissa’s bedroom fireplace. She was sitting on her bed and, when she saw Regulus, had a look of utmost fury on her face.

“What do you want?” she snarled.

Regulus had never been spoken to like this by Narcissa so he hung his head.

“I-I wanted to say…goodbye,” he said quietly.

Narcissa stood up. She had been crying and there were tears running down her cheeks again.

Goodbye?” said Narcissa in mocking tones. “Death Eaters like you don’t get personal and say things like goodbyes.”

“Narcissa, why are you so-”

“Upset?” she cried. “You want to know why I’m upset? I’ll tell you…EITHER YOU ARE GOING TO GET YOURSELF KILLED OR YOU ARE GOING TO END UP LIKE MALFOY! EITHER WAY I WON’T HAVE A COUSIN ANYMORE! THAT’S WHY!”

“Cissy, you know I won’t do that to you,” said Regulus.

Narcissa trembled for a moment and then ran up to Regulus and hugged him.

“Y-you shouldn’t h-have to g-go,” she sobbed. “I d-don’t want y-you to go…S-Sirius was s-supposed to…not you…”

“Sirius did what he thought was the right choice,” said Regulus firmly. “I didn’t tell him that I’m doing this for him because I’ve got to take his place or…or the Dark Lord might hurt him. He’s not in Hogwarts anymore. Professor Dumbledore can’t protect him.”

“I-I always thought he was a useless old man,” sniffed Narcissa.

Regulus chuckled softly and held Narcissa a little tighter. A loud chime from the living room clock told Regulus that it was midnight.

“I got to-”

“Promise me you’ll come back,” she whispered.

Regulus knew he could not keep this promise easily but he wanted to see his Cissy smile again.

“I promise, Cissy,” he whispered. “It’s time. I have to go.”

Regulus gave Narcissa a small smile and apparated.

*


Regulus entered the old house cautiously and closed the door behind him. It was a muggle house; an odd place to meet the greatest wizard of all time. He was in a place called Little Hangleton. The house he was in looked as though it had once been grand but it was now a ruin. Regulus’ eyes adjusted to the darkness. Slowly the room he was in came into focus and he immediately wished that it hadn’t. There was a bundle in the corner of the room but Regulus paid little attention to it. His attention was focused on the silhouette before him. The figure was illuminated by a faint candlelight. Regulus fell to his knees when he saw the figure. He knew exactly who he was.

The man before him could hardly be called a man. He was taller than Regulus, a good deal taller than him. His skin was close to his bones and he looked like a human skeleton or a half-starved man. His face was inhuman. The man’s complexion was a horrid off-white and his dark robes clung to his torso but the thing that scared Regulus the most were his eyes. His eyes were scarlet, like blood drops in the snow. Regulus tried to hide his disgust and his fear.

What am I getting myself into…

“Rise,” came Voldemort’s high cruel voice.

Regulus slowly stood up, not daring to look at Voldemort again. He flinched unconsciously as Voldemort drew his wand.

“You are from one of the most respectable pure-blood families in Europe,” continued Voldemort.

Voldemort was whispering and yet, to Regulus, it seemed like he was shouting. His words filled the entire room.

“We are in need of more people like you in the world Regulus,” said Voldemort. “Those who are willing to continue the pure-blood line and purge the world of the filthy mudbloods. Have you seen the monstrosities they are responsible for?”

At first, Regulus didn’t know if he should speak or not but, after a few moments, he took Voldemort’s silence as an invitation to talk.

“My parents have forbidden me to go into the muggle world, my Lord,” said Regulus, “but…some of my relatives have been attacked by muggles before.”

“Then you understand why our task is so important,” said Voldemort. “Hold out your arm, Regulus.”

Regulus hesitated but he slowly outstretched his left arm as his father had instructed him to do.

“Morsemordre!” hissed Voldemort, pointing his wand at Regulus’ forearm.

It was as if someone had jabbed a white-hot poker at Regulus’ arm. It burned so badly, that Regulus almost screamed in pain. He bit his lip so hard that a drop of blood ran down his chin. Suddenly, the pain vanished. Regulus gasped and gripped his forearm. Voldemort removed his wand from Regulus’ arm.

“There is one simple task you must do for me before you can join our ranks,” said Voldemort softly.

Voldemort flicked his wand. The bundle that was on the floor was flung at Regulus’ feet. Regulus could not hide his disgust this time. It was a person. The creature on the floor was a muggle, judging by his attire. It was far too dark for Regulus to see his face but he had never seen a more defeated person.

“Kill him,” said Voldemort.

“S-sorry?” stammered Regulus, confidant that he had misheard Voldemort.

The muggle on the floor stirred and looked up. He looked around and, when he caught sight of Regulus and Voldemort, gasped loudly.

“P-please…let me go…m-my w-wife-”

“Is already dead,” snarled Voldemort. “I saw to it personally.”

The muggle gave a cry of anger and made to attack Voldemort but his legs could support him. He landed heavily and something broke.

“Kill him now,” said Voldemort.

The muggle looked at Regulus with something that was not fear. His face came into view. It was handsome once but now it was scared. The look on his face was one of defiance and hatred. This man was not afraid of death for he had nothing to live for. Regulus raised his wand…but then he dropped it. The muggle’s expression changed to one of surprise. Regulus looked at Voldemort. The fear was etched onto his face but he was not going to falter. He would be brave for one last time.

“No,” he whispered. “I won’t do it.”

Voldemort glared at Regulus. Regulus was frightened. He knew he was going to die. The muggle looked up at Regulus and gave him a grateful smile. He too knew that this was his last night alive but it was comforting to know that there was someone on his side.

“I’ll give you one last chance,” said Voldemort dangerously. “Do it now!”

“No,” repeated Regulus, his voice rose and became more confident. “I am from the noble and most ancient House of Black. We are not petty criminals and murderers.”

“Crucio!” screamed Voldemort.

Every square inch of Regulus burned and seared with unbearable pain. Every fibre of his being wanted to die and melt away into nothingness. But the Dark Lord is not merciful and he never would be. He did not die, not until after many hours with only a lonely muggle at his side.

*


Sirius looked curiously at Dumbledore. There was no twinkle in his eye, no smile on his face. It made Sirius cold and uneasy. Sirius usually heard bad news from Dumbledore. Ever since he joined the Order of the Phoenix he had heard about all the death Voldemort had caused. But there was something different this time. Something terrible, more so than usual, had happened.

“Professor?” said Sirius. “Why-”

“The found Regulus,” said Dumbledore sadly. “He’s gone.”

Sirius looked at Dumbledore uncomprehending.

“What do you mean by gone?” he snarled.

“He’s dead Sirius,” whispered Dumbledore. "He failed his initiation to become a Death Eater."

“Your wrong,” said Sirius simply. “He’s not dead and he wouldn't have joined him. He promised.”

Dumbledore looked hopelessly at his old student.

“Sirius-”

“NO! HE’S NOT DEAD!”

Sirius leaped out of the chair and headed for the door. Dumbledore put out a hand to stop him. Sirius avoided Dumbledore’s crystal blue eyes and began to shake uncontrollably.

“But he can’t be dead…he’s just a kid…I was supposed to be the one who joined him…He took my place…I was going to join him but I said no…I said no…”

Sirius lip began to tremble.

“I should have joined Voldemort…Reggie would still be here…”

Dumbledore looked at Sirius sharply.

“You don’t mean that, Sirius,” he said, uncharacteristically harsh. “Voldemort murdered your brother. Will you really join him?”

“I don’t know…Bella…she said that I should have…she said…that we’d be together if…if I did…”

“Voldemort tears families apart. He does not make them,” said Dumbledore. “Despite what your cousin may believe you made the right choice. I’m sure James and Lily would agree.”

Sirius closed his eyes for a moment and then he nodded but the effect of his words on his old Headmaster were profound indeed. Albus Dumbledore was usually a very trusting man but he was now very suspicious of Sirius Black and his suspicion would lead to Sirius undoing.

Chapter 4: Lucius Malfoy's Birthday
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Lucius Malfoy's Birthday



Narcissa was sitting quietly in her room. Bellatrix knocked at the door but she paid no attention.

“Cissy…it’s Bella. Are you there?”

Bellatrix knocked again.

“Please open the door, Cissy,” she said softly.

Narcissa dabbed her eyes with her sleeve and slowly opened the door a fraction.

“What do you want, Bella?” she whispered.

Bellatrix looked worn, tired and worried. Her usually perfect hair was messy and the makeup that Druella had forced on her was a little smudged. Bellatrix put a hand on Narcissa’s shoulder.

“Cissy, you haven’t eaten for two days,” she said. “Come and have some breakfast. “You’re too skinny already and if you don’t eat something mother might mistake you for a house elf and throw you out.”

Bellatrix vain attempt to cheer her sister up did not work.

“I’m not hungry,” said Narcissa.

“Narcissa, no one is going to marry you if they can’t see anything but a twig,” said Bellatrix. “Cissy…Reggie, would die if he saw you like this.”

“That doesn’t matter,” snapped Narcissa. “He already is dead.”

Bellatrix’s eyes glazed over but she fought back her tears.

“Cissy…please, just eat something…please,” she begged.

The sight of her sister so upset made Narcissa squirm with guilt but it was how she felt. She didn’t care about herself anymore. She looked once more at Bellatrix, who usually never resorted to begging, and changed her mind.

“Okay,” she whispered.

The smell of the house elves cooking eggs on toast wafted towards Narcissa and Bellatrix as they descended. Cygnus Black usually hid away in his study like Orion did so he was not there. However, Andromeda and Druella were already at the table. Andromeda smiled at Narcissa but it was not returned. Narcissa did not feel like smiling again. They said little as they ate until Druella turned the topic to a rather uncomfortable subject.

“First that boy ran off and then Regulus shamed the family even more,” tutted Druella. “There is no one left who holds the name of Black to serve the Dark Lord.”

Andromeda attacked her toast with the butter knife with unwarranted venom and Bellatrix spilled her tea on her robes. Narcissa said nothing. Her face was impassive but her shaking hands gave away her anger to her sisters. Druella didn’t notice. She had mistakenly taken her daughter’s silence for detachment so she decided to put her plans into full steam. Narcissa had finished her sixth year at Hogwarts and had turned of age. Unfortunately, this meant she would have to be dragged kicking and screaming into the world of courting pure-blood Death Eaters, middle aged heirs and… if she was very lucky… both. Bellatrix and Andromeda were no strangers to their mother’s deceiving ways and the pressures of ‘continuing the line’ but it made the experience no more enjoyable.

“Be sure to dress well tonight girls,” said Druella. “There will be many gentlemen at dear Lucius’ birthday.”

Narcissa winced, Bellatrix stifled a groan and Andromeda looked heavenward and prayed for a miracle. They had all forgotten about ‘dearest Lucy longhair’s’, as Sirius liked to call him, birthday.

“Andromeda, Rabastan has been paying you his fullest attention for many weeks now,” continued their mother. “I trust that you will finally show him you’re appreciation.”

Andromeda cast one more heavenward glance and looked pleadingly at Druella.

“Mother…please…he stalks me. Surely we can afford to forget this particular suitor?” begged Andromeda.

Druella cast her daughter a stern glance.

“He is merely showing his interest,” said Druella. “He’s a respectable pureblood and I see no fault in him.”

Bellatrix cast a sympathetic look at her younger sister who stabbed her toast again.

“Now off you go,” said Mrs. Black. “Hurry up!”

*


Malfoy Manor was huge and beautiful yet none of the Black sisters could hide an apprehensive shiver. They were all beautiful that night. Bellatrix observed that Andromeda, despite her ‘stalker’, had tried hard to make herself presentable in pretty navy robes that put her own black ones in the dark. Narcissa possessed the gift that her sisters did not have. She looked like an angel with no effort on her part. The flowing white dress robes were more than enough to make the doorman gape shamelessly when he left them in. Druella practically ran in with very little grace but the sisters stood just in the doorway. The sound of couples dancing to a rather boring song filled their years.

“Did either of you bring a clove of garlic?” asked Andromeda under her breath.

“No,” said Narcissa. “If you find some, let me know.”

“Don’t believe this…” whispered Bellatrix bitterly. “Our own parents are selling us off to the highest bidder. I swear, sometimes I wish I had left with Sirius.”

“Shhhh!” hissed Andromeda suddenly.

Lucius Malfoy, the reason for their distress, headed towards them.

“Happy Birthday, Mr. Malfoy,” said Narcissa with forced politeness. “It is a pleasure to see you again.”

Lucius smile unpleasantly.

“The pleasure is all mine,” said Lucius. “Perhaps you can do me the honour of calling me Lucius, Narcissa.”

It’s Miss. Black to you, you long-haired prat, thought Narcissa. Someone kill me now…

It was quite evident that Lucius was no Occlumens. If he ever saw half the things that were going through her head then Narcissa would find herself in deep trouble. Bellatrix and Andromeda mumbled a quick ‘happy birthday’ and tried to slip away. Bellatrix found a temporary safe haven with a group of her old Slytherin friends but Rabastan found Andromeda quickly. He was two inches shorter than even delicate Narcissa and his eyes darted around the room constantly as though he was expecting the Aurors to gatecrash the party.

“Andromeda!” he cried. “How have you been?”

“I was fine until now…” she muttered.

“Sorry?”

“Erm…I’m fine, yourself?”

Rabastan offered his arm and Andromeda, after a brief moments hesitation, took it. To her absolute horror, Rabastan was taking her to a part of the manor where there were no guests in sight. He turned to her and, without further ado, got straight to the point.

“Andromeda, will you marry me?”

Andromeda stood in front of Rabastan dumfounded. It took her a few moments to gather her wits and say something. Her disgust was misread by Rabastan for shook and he waited patiently.

“Err…this is so …sudden, Rabastan,” she mumbled. “I do not know what to say.”

“Say ‘yes’, Andromeda,” he sneered as if the entire affair was a joke.

Andromeda tried to think of an excuse.

“I will…er…need time to think about this,” she mumbled. “Excuse me. I am in need of some…fresh air.”

Rabastan bought Andromeda’s bluff and allowed her to leave through the front door.

*



Andromeda gasped as the cold wind blew onto her face. She made sure no one was watching her and she set off towards the nearby muggle street. She stopped at the corner of Narellan Drive and looked around as if waiting for someone. She was waiting for someone and he definitely wasn’t one of Lucius’ guests either.

“Ted!” she hissed.

A young man, about her age, tapped her on the shoulder from behind. She gave a squeal of delight and threw her arms around him.

“Hello Andy,” he said.

Theodore Tonks spun Andromeda around a little and kissed her.

“How was Malfoy’s party?” asked Ted. “Is your dear Rabastan still stalking you?”

“I was there all of five minutes and Lestrange proposed,” said Andromeda with disgust.

Ted froze. His grip on Andromeda loosened.

“Lestrange proposed?” he repeated numbly.

“Don’t worry,” said Andromeda. “I’m saying no.”

Ted shook his head.

“But your family…you said they…had arranged marriages and…that you wouldn’t have much say in the matter.”

Andromeda grimaced. It was too true.

“I could pass you for a pure blood…”

“Andy, I don’t want to pretend.”

“Do we have a choice?” asked Andromeda bitterly.

Ted nodded and Andromeda looked at him inquiringly.

“You could…leave.”

Andromeda put her hand to her mouth. She was speechless for the second time in an hour.

“But…Teddy, my sisters…I couldn’t…”

“Andy-”

Andromeda shook her head.

“But Bellatrix and Narcissa…”

“Andromeda, you can’t just sit in that house and marry some Death Eater! Your sisters love you and they will understand.”

Andromeda began to cry. The thought of leaving her sisters was heart wrenching but somewhere deep inside, she knew that she couldn’t stay. She was not the complacent daughter anymore. She couldn’t stay in that mansion thinking about what it might be like if she lived her own life for herself. The sorting hat had spoken true. Ted wrapped his arms around her and whispered in her ear.

“I love you Andromeda Black,” said Ted. “Will you do me the honour of being my wife?”

At Ted’s words, any doubts evaporated. Ted loved her and she loved him. She knew that Bellatrix and Narcissa could understand that. Andromeda smiled and kissed Ted before answering.

“Yes!”

*


Andromeda skipped back into the manor and found her sisters and her mother.

“I’m feeling unwell,” said Andromeda mechanically. “I must go home.”

Narcissa, who had escaped Lucius with methods with questioning legality, and Bellatrix exchanged glances. They knew Andromeda and she looked exactly the opposite of unwell. She looked elated. Andromeda’s cheeks were bright red and a muscle twitched in her mouth as if she was hiding a smile. Mrs. Black checked her daughter’s forehead and had Kreacher escort her home.

“Is your sister well?” said a voice behind Bellatrix quietly.

Bellatrix turned. Behind her was Rabastan’s brother, Rodolphus. He was a lot bigger than his younger brother. He was at least a head taller than Bellatrix. Though his words seemed kind, something about him wanted to make Bellatrix find a small place to hide in. She remembered him from Hogwarts. He kept to himself but when you made him angry, you regretted it immensely.

“She’s fine,” whispered Bellatrix. “She’s just a little under the weather.”

Rodolphus nodded.

“Would you care for a dance?” he asked tonelessly, his blank eyes boring into Bellatrix’s heavily-lidded ones.

“I…I do not care for the music,” she said, struggling to keep her voice under control.

“One does not dance for music alone,” he whispered back.

Narcissa was starting to feel that this was not the sort of conversation she wanted to take part in. Bellatrix had never felt frightened by any of the self-confessed Death Eaters at these social gatherings but Rodolphus was different. For one, he looked like he could break her arm in one twist with or without a wand and for another; no one had shown any particular interest in her. It was always Narcissa, the pretty one or Andromeda the quiet and complacent one (only when everyone was watching). Rodolphus didn’t react at all when he saw Narcissa and his concern for Andromeda was short lived.

“I will,” Bellatrix answered softly.

For someone who was built like a small troll (though definitely more handsome), Rudolphus definitely knew what he was doing. Bellatrix was out of breath at the end of the dance but she stopped breathing altogether when Rodolphus leant in and kissed her on the cheek.

*


Bellatrix and Narcissa arrived at home after the party. Bellatrix was even paler than Narcissa. Druella murmured something about magical flu and left the sisters alone. They both went to see Andromeda. Narcissa knew something was wrong and frowned at her sister.

“What happened to you?” asked Narcissa.

Bellatrix bit her lip.

“Rodolphus…” she said after a brief pause.

Narcissa’s frown deepened.

“What about him?” she asked.

“He… erm…he…”

“What Bella?” asked Narcissa impatiently.

“He asked me to dinner,” she mumbled.

Narcissa pursed her lips and started to walk up to Andromeda’s room.

“You mean he asked the family to dinner,” she said somewhat coldly.

“No…I mean he asked me to come for dinner. Alone.”

Narcissa stopped a few feet from Andromeda’s room.

“Mother will never allow you to go alone,” she snapped. “It’s not proper and you know it.”

Bellatrix suddenly had a very nasty look on her face.

“Evidently mother decided to overlook that because she’s threatened to blast me off the tapestry if I don’t go,” snarled Bellatrix.

Narcissa opened and closed her mouth a few times.

“Bella…” she began. “You know he’s a Death Eater, don’t you?”

Bellatrix didn’t answer. She shoved past Narcissa and opened the door of Andromeda’s bedroom. It took all her self-restraint not to scream. Andromeda had one leg out the window. She bewitched a small trunk to follow her.

“Andromeda, where are you going?” hissed Bellatrix.

There was no point in lying so Andromeda climbed back inside and faced her sisters.

“I’m running away,” Andromeda mumbled.

Bellatrix crossed her arms impatiently.

“I gathered as much but why in Slytherin’s name do you feel the need to run away?”

Andromeda took a breath and answered Bellatrix.

“I’m in love with a mudblood…”

“WHAT?” roared Bellatrix.

Narcissa abandoned her usual lady-like manner and swore loudly.

“Bella, Cissy, keep your voices down!” hissed Andromeda.

“Andy, have you gone completely mad?” snarled Bellatrix. “The Dark Lord…killed Regulus! What do you think he’ll do to you?”

“You-Know-Who can shove his wand up his You-Know-What for all I care!” declared Andromeda. “I am not going to be told what to do by some bloody megalomaniac!”

“Andromeda!” shouted Narcissa.

Bellatrix was in a state of shock. Her sister was insane...nobody would run off with a mudblood and insult the Dark Lord. Andromeda, desperate to convince her sisters, caught Bellatrix by her collar. Her elder sister’s face was impassive.

“Don’t you see, Bella?” she cried. “I love Ted!”

Andromeda's words struck home. Bellatrix shook her head but she smiled. Andromeda was starting to remind her of a seven year old who dared to venture into the muggle world. The seven-year-old had long since grown up…but at heart she was still a marauder and not even a husband or a mark on her forearm could change that. If one of her sister's was marrying for love, it was good enough for Bellatrix...mudblood or not.

“Good luck Andy,” said Bellatrix. “If that mud…don’t look at me like that Andy…muggle-born hurts you then send me an owl and I’ll jinx him for you.”

Andromeda gave a sigh of relief.

“They’ll be no need for that,” said Andromeda with a laugh. “But please write to me.”

“I’ll miss you, Andy,” whispered Narcissa. “Be careful…please.”

Never had Andromeda smiled as much as she did then. She kissed both her sisters on the cheek and climbed out the window.

*


The two sisters stood in front of the window for some time. Narcissa opened her mouth to say something then closed it. Druella’s shrill voice broke the uneasy silence that followed.

“Andromeda!” called Mrs. Black. “Rabastan’s here! He wants to make sure you’re feeling alright!

Narcissa steeled herself.

“Andromeda’s not here!” she called back. “She took some Health potion and said something about…”

Narcissa looked at Bellatrix for help as she tried to think of an excuse. Bellatrix mimed the first thing that came into her head.

“Erm…looking at wedding dresses,” finished Narcissa, following Bellatrix’s instructions.

Narcissa could just imagine Rabastan’s smug face when he heard these words. He thought he was Slytherin’s gift to witches. He was in for a rude awakening. Andromeda rather marry a mudblood than him so his pride was about to take quite a beating.

Chapter 5: Bellatrix's Wedding Reception
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Bellatrix's Wedding Reception


Bellatrix stood in front of her new mirror in her new room, adjusting the folds of her scarlet wedding dress.

“Bellatrix Lestrange,” she muttered. “Mrs. Rodolphus Lestrange.”

It sounded foreign to her even though it was her new name. She was now officially Mrs. Lestrange. The papers were signed and her things had been moved into Rodolphus’ house. It was nowhere near as large as Malfoy Manor but Bellatrix found she liked it. It felt more like home than Cygnus’s dreary house but there was no Sirius and no Andromeda. Andy and Sir had not been invited to her wedding reception. The usual group of purebloods had been called to Mr and Mrs Lestrange’s house but not her sister and her cousin. Bellatrix had suggested innocently to her parents that she ought to send them an invite but they had looked daggers at her. She missed Andromeda tying to get her out of trouble, Sirius bringing her right back into it and Regulus’ ‘I told you so’ smirk that she got when she was punished. Bellatrix smiled for a moment and her old, schoolgirl grin formed on her face again.

“Bella Black,” she whispered. “Marauder and troublemaker.”

That sounded right. It was more right than anything that had happened to Bellatrix in years. After a few moments of starring at herself, Bellatrix’s smile fell and she shook her head.

“Bit late for that Bella,” she mumbled to herself. “You’re already married.”

A noise behind her made her jump. Bellatrix spun around and saw no one.

“Down here mistress!” came a small voice.

Bellatrix looked down and saw an old house-elf dressed in a clean tea towel. She looked very frightened and Bellatrix did not blame her. She was meeting her new mistress for the first time.

“The master wants to know if mistress is ready for the wedding reception,” asked the elf timidly. “The guests are arriving.”

Bellatrix froze. Her breathing came in short, steady gasps. She wasn’t ready to face anyone right now.

“I-I…”

Sandy’s fear of her new mistress was vanishing quickly. She saw how nervous Bellatrix was.

“It will be fine, mistress,” said Sandy.

The elf gestured towards herself.

“Sandy will look after you,” she said brightly. “I is liking my new mistress.”

Sandy shuffled behind Bellatrix and fixed up the back of her wedding dress.

“Now mistress is ready,” said Sandy. “You is very pretty mistress.”

Bellatrix didn’t know if Sandy was just lying to please her but the words of comfort meant a lot all the same.

“Thank you, Sandy,” she said quietly.

*


Bellatrix walked downstairs. Her wedding dress flowed to the ground as she descended. For once, not all eyes were on Narcissa. She was sitting with her parents looking rather upset. Bellatrix knew that she didn’t approve of Rodolphus but there was something else troubling her little sister. Rodolphus was waiting at the bottom of the stairs. He extended his hand and Bellatrix took it. Everyone in the room clapped loudly. Even Narcissa forced a smile. Bellatrix looked questioningly at her but she said nothing.

Everyone sat down at the long dinner table in the living room. Sandy had truly outdone herself by cooking the most delicious food. Rodolphus and Bellatrix sat at the ends of the table. Before the meal, Rodolphus stood up to make a toast.

“We all know Bellatrix,” he said with a faint smile. “I first met her at Hogwarts. At first I thought she was a quiet and shy person. I was greatly mistaken.”

Bellatrix was beginning to wonder if Rodolphus was complimenting her or not. He noticed the look on her face and his smile widened.

“She was actually a little troublemaker,” said Rodolphus. “She spent her time running around the school, giving the teachers grief.”

Druella slowly turned her head to look at her daughter. Bellatrix gave her an apologetic look.

“In the short time I have known Bellatrix, I can see that she does not hesitate to give her opinion and that she’s more adventurous than I will ever be.”

Bellatrix was starting to see where the compliment was coming into Rodolphus’ speech but Durella clearly didn’t.

“But above all, Bellatrix is independent, intelligent and wise. These traits I admire greatly.”

Rodolphus raised his glass.

“To my new wife Bellatrix.”

As the room toasted her, Bellatrix felt herself turning bright red. For reasons unfathomable, Malfoy stood up as Rodolphus sat down.

“I really do hate to take the spotlight away from Rodolphus and Bellatrix but I have an announcement to make,” said Lucius with an undeniably triumphant tone in his voice.

Bellatrix frowned. What was he up to?

“I would like to announce my engagement to Miss Narcissa Black,” said Lucius proudly.

It took all Bellatrix’s self control to stop herself from swearing loudly. She had to be the only one in the room who did not clap. Narcissa wasn’t smiling but pureblood brides don’t smile so no one but Bellatrix found this wrong. Cygnus and Druella were beaming. Druella had tears running down her face and was too overcome to realise that Narcissa was close to tears too.

*


Bellatrix found Narcissa alone in the garden.

“What the hell is going on, Cissy?” shouted Bellatrix.

Narcissa flinched when her sister spoke. It was freezing in the garden and her thin blue robes were not nearly enough to keep out the cold.

“Lucius asked me to marry him and I accepted,” she mumbled.

Bellatrix glared at her sister furiously.

“Why in Slytherin’s name did you accept that man?” she snarled. “Narcissa, you know what he’s-”

Bellatrix froze. Narcissa had started to cry.

“I-I saw his forearm,” she stammered. “H-he had t-the M-mark.”

Narcissa wiped her eyes on the sleeves of her robes. Bellatrix stood as still as a statue as her little sister spoke again.

“It was a-almost like a threat,” Narcissa sobbed. “It was l-like he was saying that I ha-had to say yes.”

Bellatrix found her voice again. Narcissa had never really been afraid of Lucius but now she was terrified of him.

“You can run,” said Bellatrix. “You don’t have to say yes.”

“I don’t want to end up like Regulus,” she sobbed.

“You won’t!” said Bellatrix sharply. “Now, you listen to me Narcissa.”

Bellatrix seized her sister’s shoulders. Narcissa stopped trembling but her tears were flowing onto her lap.

“I am not going to let anything happen to you,” said Bellatrix firmly. “No Death Eater, not even Lucius, will be able to lay a finger on you.”

Narcissa shrugged her sister off.

“What about the Dark Lord? What about Rodolphus?” whispered Narcissa. “Can you stop them?”

Bellatrix’s shoulders sagged. Narcissa stood up.

“You can’t protect me now Bella,” she whispered. “I’m going to marry Lucius Malfoy.”

Bellatrix watched her little sister walk back inside and she felt the anger boil inside her. She stood there fuming for a few moments. Bellatrix was about to go back inside when someone tapped her on the shoulder. She spun around and saw Lucius Malfoy.

“Have you seen Narcissa?” he asked.

Bellatrix didn’t hesitate to draw her wand and point it at him. Lucius took a few steps backwards; the shock at Bellatrix’s action’s etched on her face.

“Anything happens to my sister and the Dark Lord will be the least of your worries,” snarled Bellatrix.

Lucius quickly got over his shock.

“Put your wand down Mrs. Lestrange or there will be repercussions,” said Lucius quietly.

“Like what?” she sneered.

Lucius took a step back and Bellatrix lowered her wand.

“I won’t repeat my warning,” she snarled. “Be careful Malfoy.”

*


Lucius Malfoy did not speak to her for the rest of the evening. Narcissa left with Druella and Cygnus. She cast a glance at Bellatrix before she walked out the door. When everyone had left, Rodolphus sat down on the chair by the fire. Bellatrix did not sit down. She stood by the fireplace, silently cursing Malfoy. Rudolphus was watching her with interest.

“Lucius spoke to me earlier,” said Rodolphus.

Bellatrix’s stomach plummeted. Of course Malfoy would have gone crying to her husband.

“You are an amazing woman if you can threaten a Malfoy without flinching,” he continued, a small smile forming on his face.

It Bellatrix a while to realise that Rodolphus was actually impressed. She didn’t smile though.

“If anything happens to my sister I might just act out on my threat,” she muttered.

“You need not worry,” said Rodolphus. “If Narcissa is unhappy it reflects poorly on Lucius. He will not mistreat her. He has an image he needs to keep up.”

Bellatrix sniffed, not convinced. Rodolphus got up and walked towards her.

“I have something for you that will cheer you up.”

Bellatrix felt Rodolphus’ fingers cover her eyes. She couldn’t tell were Rodolphus was leading her. She had only been inside her house for a day. Suddenly Rodolphus removed his hands and she had to gasp. It was a library. Not a small one like her uncle’s and her father’s, but a proper library with books on every subject. Transfiguration, Potion making, History, Dark Arts…

“Consider it a wedding present,” said Rodolphus.

Bellatrix ran her fingers over the dusty volumes. She had never received a present like this. Sure, Andromeda had given her a book for her fifteen birthday but not a whole library. She smiled and turned to Rodolphus.

“Thank you,” she whispered.

“You’re welcome.”

Rodolphus leant in and kissed her gently on the mouth. It wasn’t Bellatrix’s first kiss. Evan Rosier had kissed her once after Potion’s Class without her consent or approval. Sirius and James had sent him to the hospital wing. Bellatrix doubted they could do that this time but she could help feeling that she was enjoying it. It took her about thirty seconds to realise that she was kissing Rodolphus back. Bellatrix ran her hands up his arms and froze suddenly. She had accidentally pulled back his sleeve and on his arm was the Dark Mark. Bellatrix looked into those blank eyes and waited for an explanation. She knew that Rodolphus had the Dark Mark but actually seeing it brought the reality home. She was married to a Death Eater…

“Don’t worry about that,” said Rodolphus quietly.

“How can I not?” whispered Bellatrix. “You know what happened to Regulus.”

“You can’t pretend that you didn’t already know I was a Death Eater,”

“I didn’t want to believe it,” she muttered.

Rodolphus held her shoulders, almost making her feel secure and safe. Almost.

“I married you because I knew that… in time… you would understand why I must do this. Unlike the rest of those wizards who hate mudbloods without reason, you know what they’re like from experience.”

“Was that it?” asked Bellatrix, unable to hide a trace of disappointment.

Rodolphus smiled and shook his head.

“That and the fact that I’ve never met anyone quite like you,” he answered.

Bellatrix felt her cheeks flush.

“I think I can live with that,” she muttered before kissing him again.




Author’s Note: In this chapter, Rodolphus Lestrange seems romantic and caring. Hey, I wouldn’t mind a whole library for a present…We all know that he’s not (he’s more of the evil Death Eater sort) but the point is that Bellatrix doesn’t.


Chapter 6: Letters
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Author’s Note: Sorry this chapter took so long to do. My writer’s block has been cured!




Letters


Bellatrix carefully took Andromeda’s letter off the claw of the large, barn owl. Bellatrix gave the owl a treat and it hooted happily before taking off and soaring out the open window. She opened her letter excitedly.



Dear Bella,

I really can’t tell you how happy I am! Ted and I are hopelessly in love and my job as a Healer is going well. Nymphadora is wonderfully bright and just like her aunt. She and Sirius got on like a house on fire. They get into all sorts of mischief. I had my heart in my mouth yesterday when he took her on his broomstick…




Bellatrix laughed. Typical Andy…always worrying about everyone.



Ted has a job at the Ministry in muggle relations. He’s doing very well. He knows all about muggles and the Ministry really needs someone like that. Arthur Weasley is asking him questions almost every day.

We do have some big news but I’ll leave Sirius to tell you that. He’s written on the back of the letter and hopefully you’ll be able to read it. You know what his letters are like.

I am a little worried. Cissy, won’t respond to my letters. Do you know if she’s okay?

Lots of Love,
Andy

Ps. Nymphadora has drawn you a picture.




Bellatrix picked up the drawing that Nymphadora a sent her and tried not o think about the words about Narcissa. The younger Black sister had stopped talking to anyone, including Bellatrix. It was very evident that her husband had her twisted around his finger already.



Bellatrix smirked and felt a little happier. She turned her attention to Sirius’ letter.



Dearest Bellatrix,
Andromeda seems to think that most people find my style of letter writing incomprehensible so I have tried to be as formal as possi-

Thank Merlin! Andy just went to pick up Tonks Junior (She doesn’t like her first name) from her friend’s house so I can write whatever I want. You know I can’t write letters for dirt. I think Andy may have told you this already but Lily and Prongs got hitched. Lily’s gonna be a mum to a little boy and guess what? They want me to be Godfather! Prongs wanted you to be Godmother but Lily said that your ‘dear’ husband won’t be impressed. They’re arguing about what they’re gonna name the little monster when he arrives. Lily wants to name him Brian but Prongs wanted to name him Harry. I think Harry would be better though. James and I are still training to be Aurors. Andy thinks we’re going to be responsible now…yeah right! I’m having a bit of a problem getting in because of Reggie. Not to mention Lucy Longhair Malfoy is telling anyone who will listen that I’m a rowdy troublemaker. (Where does he get that idea?) I feel really sorry for Cissy who has to live with the stuck up prat. Why did she even do it?

Hope to see ya soon Bella!
Padfoot




Bellatrix had to re-read parts of Sirius’ letter before she understood it. Bellatrix had never been very fond of Lily but now her dislike was a little stronger. Stupid mudblood. After fuming for a few moments, Bellatrix cooled down a little and realised that Lily had a point. Rudolphus would be nothing short of furious if she was named Godmother of a half-blood, blood traitor’s son.

Trying not to think about what she was missing out on, Bellatrix took out her quill and parchment from the draw of the old desk she was sitting at. The library Rudolphus had given her was filled with everything Bellatrix needed, including a desk not unlike her father’s. Bellatrix spent most of her time in her and had already finished half the books. They were all fascinating to Bellatrix and she had taken a particular interest in Occlumency. Bellatrix frowned as she thought of a reply to Andromeda’s letter. How to begin? Andromeda had written of Ted…maybe she should write about Rudolphus.



Dear Andy,

I’m fine over here. Even though I didn’t really know him that well when we got married, Rudolphus and I get on wonderfully. He’s very busy at the moment. The Dark Lord is putting a lot of pressure on him at the moment and I don’t know where he is half the time…




Bellatrix winced when she read over that last sentence.

“Maybe not,” muttered Bellatrix. “I could stretch the truth a little…”



He’s very busy at the moment. The company is putting a lot of pressure on him. They want him to put in more hours. I’m not really sure what he does. Rudolphus likes to keep his work to himself.



Bellatrix grimaced. It was time to change the topic.



Guess what, Andy? You’re going to be an Aunt! No, not me…Cissy! She’s having a little boy named Draco. I’m sure she’ll write to you but she has a lot on her mind right now.



Another lie. Narcissa wasn’t about to write to Andromeda because Lucius wouldn’t let her. Then again…Bellatrix technically shouldn’t be writing to a ‘blood-traitor’ either. Bellatrix scribbled a bit about congratulating Lily and James and began a letter to Sirius. That was easy enough to reply to.



Hey Padfoot,

Merlin, it’s so boring in here. I wish I was hanging around with you guys. Tell Prongs and Lily I said congratulations. Harry Potter sounds better than Brian Potter to be honest. Cissy had her reasons for marrying Malfoy. It’s complicated. Guess what? Narcissa’s having a little boy too. She wanted to name him Regulus but Lucius disagreed and the poor kid is going to be
Draco Lucius Malfoy. Maybe Draco and ‘Harry’ (if that’s what he is) will be the next marauders. Can you imagine?

Miss you lots,
Bella

Ps. Don’t forget to wash behind your ears, scruffy!




Bellatrix called her own owl, Septimus, and handed him the letters.

“Be careful with these,” said Belllatrix sternly.

Septimus hooted in reply and flew out the window. Bellatrix was carefully stowing away her letters when a loud THUMP made her jump. She scurried out of the library and found Rudolphus crawling from the fireplace. He looked as though he had a tussle with a troll. He was covered with cuts and bruises. Rudolphus dragged himself to the armchair and collapsed into it. Bellatrix hurried to his side.

“What happened?” she cried. “An Auror?”

“No…” panted Rudolphus. “The Dark Lord. I…had a disagreement with him.”

Bellatrix stopped inspecting a particularly nasty cut on Rudolphus’ face and looked at him as though she was speaking to a madman.

“You actually argued with the Dark Lord?” she said in disbelief. “Are you insane?”

Rudolphus buried his face in his hand.

“He gave me an order I was unwilling to carry out.”

“What?” snapped Bellatrix. “What could possibly-”

“He ordered me to bring you to his side. He wishes to speak to you alone.”

Bellatrix froze in horror.

“R-Rudolphus,” she stammered. “I-I can’t g-go…”

Rudolphus looked up at her.

“You don’t have a choice Bella,” said Rudolphus somewhat coldly. “The Dark Lord wants to see you now.”

Bellatrix struggled to find her breath. Regulus’ look of fear before he left to see Voldemort appeared in her mind. She imagined him vanishing in a flash of green light. Then she imagined herself pointing her wand at Sirius and laughing as he fell to the ground.

“Rudolphus…” she managed to choke out.

Rudolphus took her hand.

“Do not fear him Bella,” he said softly. “You are loyal…you have nothing to fear.”

Bellatrix managed to compose herself but Rudolphus’ words of comfort did not comfort her in the least. She wasn’t loyal. She had just written to a trainee Auror, a blood traitor and congratulated her friend (who is also a trainee Auror) on the birth of his half-blood son.

Occlumency…

Could she do it? Could she bury her strongest feelings from the Dark Lord? Could she hide her love for her cousin and her sister? She would find out soon enough. She was going to Riddle House.


Chapter 7: The Dark Mark
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

The Dark Mark



"Under your spell again.
I can't say no to you.
Crave my heart and it's bleeding in your hand.
I can't say no to you.

Shouldn't have let you torture me so sweetly.
Now I can't let go of this dream.
I can't breathe but I feel good enough,
I feel good enough for you."
~Good Enough, Evanescence





Clear your mind…hide your emotions…don’t think about Padfoot and Andy…don’t think about Lily and Prongs…don’t think about Harry, Draco and Nymphadora…don’t think about Regulus…clear your mind…

Bellatrix vanished through the fireplace and arrived in the living room of a very old, very dark and very dirty house. Narcissa and Andromeda would have wrinkled their noses at it. Bellatrix looked down to dust her robes with shaky hands and when she looked up, she saw someone who she did not expect to be there; a man with a hook-nose and slightly greasy hair.

“Bellatrix,” said Snape curtly. “I am surprised to see you here and, judging by the look on your face, the feeling is mutual.”

Bellatrix gapped shamelessly at Snape.

“You…what are you doing here?” she cried.

“I thought that obvious,” said Snape, pulling up his left sleeve to reveal his Dark Mark.

Bellatrix’s eyes widened.

“You’re…a Death Eater?” she said incredulously.

“So are you,” said Snape.

Bellatrix turned scarlet.

“I am not-”

“Well it doesn’t look like you’re bringing Rodolphus his lunch,” sneered Snape. “What else would you be doing here?”

Bellatrix tried to keep her face impassive and her mind clear.

“I’m going to become one,” she said very quietly.

“You’re the new recruit then?”

A small nod was all the reply Snape got. He was no longer sneering but he wasn’t doing anything else either. Bellatrix could recognise a master of Occlumency when she saw one and wondered what Snape was trying to hide.

“The Dark Lord is waiting for you,” he said. "He is in that corridor, the second room to your right.”

Bellatrix looked like she wasn’t going to move for a moment but then she walked slowly to where Snape had gestured. The light from the lamps did not extend there and Bellatrix felt her heart beating.

Clear your mind…

Bellatrix turned right and was face to face with an old mahogony door. She hesitated before turning the door knob and walking slowly into the room.

It was darker than the rest of the house. There was a faint light above Bellatrix but it wasn’t enough to allow her to see more than a foot ahead of herself. The temperature seemed to have dropped at least five degrees as she entered. As her eyes adjusted, she saw a shadowy figure in front of her.

“Bellatrix Lestrange,” said a cold, cruel voice in the shadows. “It is a pleasure to meet you, my dear.”

Bellatrix instantly fell to her knees, not daring to even look up at the Dark Lord in case her Occlumency proved ineffective.

“My Lord,” she said with a voice barely more than a whisper.

“You husband speaks very highly of you,” said Voldemort as though he was speaking to a high ranking, ministry official instead of a mere Death Eater’s wife.

“He exaggerates my virtues, my Lord,” said Bellatrix.

“Rodolphus is not usually one to exaggerate,” said Voldemort. “But I must say that your relatives don’t have the best…ah…track record in my service. Some of them undoubtedly are not worthy of a place in my circle.”

Voldemort paused. Bellatrix buried her anger and her sadness as far as she could when she answered.

“I am worthy,” she said.

Block you mind…don’t let him come in…

Voldemort drew his wand out of his robes.

“A little…test, shall we say?”

Bellatrix caught her breath but she managed to force herself to speak.

“I’m ready,” she whispered.

Voldemort stood out of the shadows and, for the first time, Bellatrix saw his deformed face entirely. She was scared, she’d be a fool not to be, but she looked to meet his gaze and did not look away.

“Let’s see then…Crucio!”

Bellatrix saw his wand arm move but she was too terrified to stop it. The curse hit her and she felt nothing but pain; unbearable pain all over her body. Her mind was telling her lips to scream but her stubborn streak got the better of her. The Dark Lord would have to try harder than that to get her to twitch at his feet. She may be a woman but she was by no means an easy target. Not even a gasp escaped her lips. Suddenly it was over and the pain was gone. Bellatrix was panting, still on her knees but the look on her face was no longer one off fear. Her cheeks were flushed and her eyes were alive. She, Bellatrix Lestrange, had held her ground against one of the most horrible of curses, cast by the Dark Lord himself. She had never felt power like this. She felt like the most powerful witch in Europe. Voldemort looked at the expression on her face with interest.

“Well done Bella,” he said with something that Bellatrix interpreted as some sort of smile. “Unlike your late cousin, you have proven yourself to be worthy of the Death Eater’s ranks.”

At these words, any feeling of power Bellatrix had was replaced but disgust; disgust directed at herself. She could imagine Regulus screaming in this very spot. She suddenly hated herself for feeling empowered by this…monster.

But she couldn’t help it. She could help feeling in control when she was around him. The Dark Lord practically radiated the sort of power Bellatrix yearned for; the power to control her own life.

“It’s a very interesting curse, is it not?” murmured Voldemort, caressing his wand. “It requires hatred and a most powerful desire to cause pain.”

Bellatrix made a point never to use that curse if she could help it but she could not help listen as Voldemort spoke of duelling technique and when it is a good time to use the cruciatus curse.

“Hold out your arm,” said Voldemort, bringing Bellatrix back to the present.

Bellatrix did as she was told and the Dark Lord pointed his wand at her dark skin.

“Morsemordre!”

The acrid smell of burning flesh filled the room and made Bellatrix want to throw up. It burned and stung just as much as the cruciatus curse. Bellatrix did not feel that wonderful feeling of power again. All she felt now was shame and disgust.

Block your mind…

Bellatrix managed to hide the most damning of her feelings but Voldemort felt her discomfort.

“You need not worry, Bella,” said Voldemort, “about serving me. I do not expect you to play a major role in this war. However, if you are caught, I will free you from Azkaban personally.”

Bellatrix bent her neck down a little lower. Relief flooded her but she did not let down her guard. It suddenly felt as though someone had lit the fireplace, yet there was no more light. Bellatrix looked up. The Dark Lord had vanished as though he hadn’t been there at all.

But Bellatrix knew he’d been there. She had the Mark to prove it.

*


Bellatrix half-stumbled, half-fell out of the room. Her arm still felt like she was holding it over a candle. She leaned heavily against the wall, breathing as though she had run a mile. Snape was waiting for her outside.

“You’re alive,” he said, sounding rather surprised.

If Bellatrix wasn’t in a state of shock she would have told Snape not to sound so disappointed. Snape observed her with interest.

“How was it?” he asked.

Bellatrix opened her mouth and closed it again.

“He…He was…”

“Powerful?” supplied Snape quietly.

Bellatrix nodded.

“Just being around him is…”

Bellatrix trailed off but Snape understood. Any Death Eater knew that feeling. There wasn’t a word for it. The closest way to describe this feeling was sheer awe but it certainly didn’t do it justice. The worst part of this feeling was that Bellatrix could scarcely believe that she revered the man who had murdered Regulus and would most probably end up murdering Sirius if he won the war. Her insides squirmed with guilt as she pictured the aspiring Auror facing the Death Eaters…including herself.

“Snape?” she mumbled.

Snape looked at Bellatrix inquiringly. She took a breath before speaking.

“I know that you’ve been ordered to…tell the Order of the Phoenix things that are not of consequence to gain Dumbledore’s trust.”

Snape frowned and nodded. Bellatrix looked as though she was deciding upon something.

“Don’t…don’t tell Sirius what I did,” she finished lamely.

Snape raised his eyebrows. He didn’t think that the Black family was still close. They hadn’t seen each other in years after all.

“I could do that,” said Snape after a pause. “Black wouldn’t believe me even if I did attempt to tell him.”

Bellatrix nodded her thanks and strode towards the fireplace. She was far from relieved when she returned to Rodolphus. She had the Dark Mark now. She was the opposite side of the war to Sirius and Andromeda. Bellatrix always wanted to remain neutral in the war but now her choice had been made for her. The only thing Bellatrix could say she was happy about was that the Dark Lord did not expect much of her.

Not yet at least.




Preview of Chapter Eight: All Hallow's Eve

It seemed foolish to be acting out on a hunch but Sirius knew that something was not right. He could not rid himself of the feeling that the entire plan was about to go horribly wrong. Sirius had failed Divination with flying colours yet he still found himself knocking at the door of a seedy, muggle, hotel room.

“Peter? It’s me, Padfoot!”





~Lisa helped me write this chapter. For those who don’t know, Lisa is the legend who gave me the review ‘I know where you live’ and once left a review as ‘Snape Lover No.1’. She’s not a big Harry Potter fan but she’s excellent at writing stories.

Author's Note: Review my story and I will review yours. Doesn't that sound great?

Chapter 8: All Hallow's Eve
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Author's Note: This was a little rushed and if you find any mistakes please tell me and I will fix it up.



A figure clad in shadows crept down the hall, completely silent. He wasn’t used to being silent and he didn’t really like it but secrecy was vital. Sirius wasn’t even supposed to be here for the safety of the entire mission.

Then why are you here?

It seemed foolish to be acting out on a hunch but Sirius knew that something was not right. He could not rid himself of the feeling that the entire plan was about to go horribly wrong. Sirius had failed Divination with flying colours yet he still found himself knocking at the door of a seedy, muggle, hotel room.

“Peter? It’s me, Padfoot!”

There was no reply. Sirius found himself panicking.

“Wormtail? You in there?”

Yet again, there was no reply. Sirius drew his wand.

“Peter, if you don’t open this door I will blast it open!” shouted Sirius, forgetting the fact his visit was supposed to remain a secret.

Sirius waited desperately for a reply. Peter wasn’t supposed to leave this house. Did the Death Eaters have him already?

“Reducto!” cried Sirius.

The door was reduced into a pile of ash. Sirius was about to race inside when-

“What the-”

Sirius swirled around and saw an old, bald muggle man in a dressing gown standing behind him with his mouth open like a codfish. Oh dear…

“Termites,” mumbled Sirius.

The muggle yelped and went back into his room, possibly to leave as quickly as possible. When Sirius was sure he was gone, he walked inside.

“Wormtail?”

Everything was in place. There was no sign of a struggle. Everything was tidy and clean. That was a surprise in itself considering Peter didn’t keep a very clean house. Sirius looked around and saw something on the writing desk with only one leg. It was a note written in Peter’s messy handwriting.

Sorry friends

Sirius held the note in disbelief.

“No…” he whispered.

With a faint pop, Sirius vanished.

*


There was a roar in the sky. A motorcycle flew through the air and landed with a loud THUNK outside pretty house with a little white gate in Godric's Hollow.

Or at least it would have been pretty if it was not on fire and if the Dark Mark did not shine overhead.

Sirius scrambled off his bike and choked out a sob.

“No…” he whispered again.

They were dead. The Potters were dead. Never again would he and James get up to mischief. Never again would he hear Lily’s laugh. Never again would he see their son struggle to walk towards him. Sirius fell to his knees. He had lost his best friend. It was his fault. He should have trusted Remus and he should never have trusted Peter…

“Sirius! Wot yeh doin’ ‘ere?”

Sirius jumped to his feet and spun around. There stood Rubeus Hagrid and in his arms was…

“Harry!” cried Sirius in relief.

Sirius scrambled to his feet and rushed towards the giant. In his arms was a bundle and in that bundle was Harry…his best friend’s son. Sirius wasn’t usually one for crying but tears of relief rolled down his cheeks.

“He’s alive…” whispered Sirius. “How did you manage it Harry?”

Harry made no reply since he was both fast asleep and only a baby. Hagrid shrugged. There were also tears running down his face.

“Nobody know how he dunnit,” said Hagrid. “But Yeh-Know-Ow’s gawn and Professor Dumbledore thinks lil Harry’s got something to do with it.”

Sirius tore his gaze away from Harry.

“James and Lily…are they-”

Hagrid shook his head. Sirius determinedly brushed away his tears and held Harry closer.

“S’alright Sirius,” said Hagrid, patting on the back so that his shoulder blades felt like they were being crushed. “S’gonna be alright.”

“I-I’m his Godfather,” said Sirius shakily. “James said…if anything should happen to him…”

Hagrid suddenly looked very uncomfortable.

“Well…yeh see Sirius…Professor Dumbledore-”

“What about him?” snapped Sirius, looking up angrily. “He’s my Godson!”

Hagrid shuffled on his feet.

“Dumbledore think e’ll he safer with Lily’s family…her sister.”

Sirius shook his head in disbelief. This could not be happening…

“Vernon and Petunia!” snarled Sirius. “They couldn’t look after Harry if he came with an instruction manual!”

“Be tha’ as it may, Dumbledore said teh take him there,” said Hagrid. “I’m sure if yeh take it up with Dumbledore he’ll sort it out.”

“You bet I will…” growled Sirius.

He turned to Harry and kissed him on the forehead.

“I’ll come back for you,” whispered Sirius. “It’ll be just you and me one day.”

Harry yawned and snuggled up to Sirius. He handed him reluctantly back to Hagrid. As he did so, hatred boiled up inside him. He had never hated someone more than he did Peter Pettigrew. He was going to kill him. Nothing could stop him from murdering Wormtail. As Hagrid turned to walk away with Harry, Sirius called him back. He tossed Hagrid the keys to his motorcycle. Hagrid caught it in surprise.

“Take the bike,” said Sirius quietly. “I won’t be needing it.”

Hagrid raised his eyebrows.

“But yeh love this bike!”

“I won’t be needing it,” repeated Sirius.

Hagrid shrugged.

“That’s good. I didn’t wanna walk the ‘ole way the Privet Drive.”

The giant climbed onto the motor cycle and sped off. It was a bit too small for him and any other day, Sirius would have laughed at the sight.

Not today.

*


“Where do you think you’re going Wormtail?”

A man walking in a crowded, muggle suburb stopped in his tracks and turned around to face someone who was once his friend; Sirius Black. The rat faced man squeak and was about to run for it when he saw the wand in Sirius’ hand.

“You going to visit your mother before you go into hiding?” snarled Sirius.

None of the muggles around the two wizards stopped to look. Sirius and Peter were just two more people, arguing on the street. It wasn't uncommon in this part of town.

“Sirius, I don’t know-”

“What isn’t there to know, Peter?” shouted Sirius. You betrayed them! How could you?”

“No…” whispered Peter. “You did.”

Sirius froze. Alarm bells were going off in his head. This wasn’t right…

“What-”

Then he saw the wand hidden behind Peter’s back.

“Lily and James!” cried Peter. “Sirius, how could you?”

A large group of people stopped and looked at Peter in surprise. Realising what Peter was about to do a second too late, Sirius raised his wand. The explosion from Peter’s wand blasted him backwards and then his world went black.

*


Sirius tasted something coppery in his mouth. Blood…his blood… He tried to get to his feet but it hurt too much. Sirius looked around and his blood turned cold.

It was a massacre.

At least a dozen muggles lay dead on the ground. There was one woman with her face covered in blood, crying over a muggle who was clearly dead. One muggle pointed at him. His face was a mask of fury. They think it’s you. Sirius sat there in shock for a moment and then he began to laugh.

It couldn’t be real…It just couldn’t…

But it was.

*


Bellatrix and Narcissa waited in Bellatrix’s library. Both Lucius and Rodolphus had left. Draco was sleeping in Narcissa’s lap, blissfully ignorant of all the tension. Bellatrix was leaning against her desk. The sisters knew that something was wrong. Before either of them could say a word to each other, Severus Snape burst into the library uninvited.

“The Dark Lord is gone,” said Snape tonelessly.

Narcissa put a hand to her mouth.

“Gone?” whispered Bellatrix in disbelief. “How-”

“Harry Potter…We don’t know how or why but that boy…has apparently put an end to him.”

“Harry! Is he still alive?”

“Yes,” said Snape. “But the same cannot be said for his parents.”

This time, Bellatrix put a hand to her mouth. It couldn’t be…

“James is dead?” whispered Bellatrix. “But Sirius was their Secret Keeper!”

“Yes he was,” said Snape.

Bellatrix’s eyes widened in horror. Narcissa gasp and held Draco a little closer to her.

“Sirius had nothing to do with this!” she shouted. “How dare you even-”

“He was the Potter’s Secret Keeper. He was the only one who could have possibly had anything to do with it. They’ve arrested him and put him in Azkaban for life.”

“YOU LIAR!” screamed Bellatrix, drawing her wand.

Snape glared at Bellatrix, not even flinching at her murderous glare or the wand pointed at his heart. Narcissa whimpered in protest and Draco showed every sign of wanting to cry loudly.

“I never took you for a fool Mrs. Lestrange,” hissed Snape. “If you’re too arrogant to believe that Black-”

“It was you!” shouted Bellatrix. “You hated James!”

“Believe what you want,” snarled Snape. “I don’t need to explain myself to you or anyone else!”

“Get out,” snarled Bellatrix.

Snape gave her his cold eyed stare before turning on his heel and striding out of the house with a swish of his black cloak. Bellatrix watched him leave, breathing heavily with anger. Narcissa looked up at her older sister. She was both frightened and horrified. Bellatrix swallowed and spoke up, her voice trembling.

“There’s an explanation for this,” said Bellatrix. “He’s not a Death Eater.”

“But you are Bella,” said Narcissa. “You can’t visit him because they’ll check your arm.”

“I’ll write to him,” said Bellatrix.

“He’s in high security…you can’t write to him.”

Bellatrix slammed her fist on her desk and made Narcissa jump.

“There’s got to be something-”

Before Bellatrix could finish, the study door slammed open. In the doorway stood Lucius Malfoy and Rodolphus. They both looked furious.

“Narcissa come,” snapped Lucius.

Narcissa got up quickly and headed out of the study without even saying goodbye to Bellatrix. Rodolphus glared at Lucius as he too turned to leave.

“It is your duty Lucius,” he snarled.

“It is a suicide mission,” Lucius hissed back. “Get yourself killed if you want Lestrange. I’ll be sure to buy your wife flowers for the funeral.”

Bellatrix turned red but Rodolphus was a lot angrier

“You will regret it with the Dark Lord returns Lucius.”

“You fool!” shouted Lucius. “He will not return!”

“You’re the fool to doubt Lucius,” said Rodolphus. “Leave my house.”

Lucius strode out of the house and left Bellatrix and Rodolphus alone. Rodolphus checked his watch.

“Bella…I need to go.”

Bellatrix bit her lip.

“Where are you going?” whispered Bellatrix.

Rodolphus took Bellatrix and kissed her on the cheek.

“To find the Dark Lord,” he said quietly.

“Nobody knows where the Dark Lord is!” cried Bellatrix, backing away.

Rodolphus gave her one of his blank stares.

“There’s someone who does.”

“Who? Who could possibly-”

“He’s an Auror. Frank Longbottom. We don’t know where he is yet but we’ll find him…and when we do he’ll regret it with every fibre of his being.”




Just a warning...it get pretty dark in the next two chapters. If you like bubbly, happy endings STOP NOW!


Author’s Note: This chapter contains a direct quote from Goblet of Fire.






Bellatrix came to a stop, panting in front of a muggle house. It was small enough to be called a cottage and covered in the most beautiful flowers Bellatrix had ever seen. It looked like something straight out of one of Uncle Alphard’s muggle stories.

Bellatrix, however, had no time to admire the product of Alice Longbottom’s love of gardening. She raced down the garden path and knock loudly on the door. It was answered by a woman was a small smile and a round, friendly face. Alice Longbottom hadn’t changed a bit from the shy girl she was in Gryffindor. Her son, Neville, was huddling behind her, his arm around a teddy, clinging onto her skirt. Alice’s smile fell and she gapped at Bellatrix.

“Bellatrix!” cried Alice. “What-”

Bellatrix strode inside and locked the door behind her. She was gasping for breath and she had clearly run the entire way. Frank had placed an anti-disapperation jinx over the entire house.

“There’s not much time,” panted Bellatrix. “Alice, they’re coming and I cannot stop them once they do. Take Neville and run!”

Alice had no doubt whom Bellatrix meant by ‘they’.

“Frank is outsi-”

“They’ve already got him, Alice,” said Bellatrix desperately. “It’s too late for him…just save Neville.”

Alice choked back a sob but she did not argue. She seized Neville and hurried to the back door. Before her hand could even turn the knob, the door shook violently. Alice cried out in alarm.

“We’re too late…” whispered Bellatrix.

Hesitating for only the briefest moment, Alice shoved Neville into Bellatrix hands.

“Hide him,” she said. “I’ll hold them off.”

Alice kissed Neville softly on the cheek. He knew something was wrong and looked like he was going to cry.

“I love you,” she whispered. “Be good to Gran.”

“Ma-” started Neville.

The door shuddered again. Bellatrix spared one glance at Alice before racing upstairs and into the bedroom. She quickly hid Neville under the bed.

“Whatever you hear, don’t move,” she whispered

Neville shook his head.

“I want Ma!” he said, looking as though he was going to cry.

Bellatrix wiped her eyes with the back of her hands. She knew that she was about to lie but saving Neville was her first priority.

“I promise I won’t let anything happen to her,” said Bellatrix, “but you need to stay here.”

Neville hugged his teddy bear a little tighter and nodded. Bellatrix forced a reassuring smile and headed downstairs.

*


Alice tried to keep the back door locked as long as possible. A very powerful colloportus charm had been placed on the door. Her wand arm shook.

“We’ve got your husband!” shouted a muffled voice from outside. “Open up and we won’t hurt him.”

“Alice, don’t!” cried Frank. “It’s a tra-”

Frank didn’t finish his sentence. Someone had obviously struck him. Alice was crying but she would not open the door…not with Neville inside. Before Alice could cast another locking charm she felt something cold press against the back of her neck.

"You must be the delightful Alice Longbottom," sneered Rodolphus.

Alice winced as Rodolphus pushing his wand a little harder.

"If you would be so kind as to open the door and drop you wand?" said Rodolphus with deceptive politeness.

Another tear rolled down Alice's cheek as she did as she was told. Three people entered the house. Rabastan dragged in Frank by his collar and thrust him to the floor. He may have been a little, odious man but when he was in power, Rabastan like to use it. Young Barty Crouch, whom Bellatrix had seen at a Ministry function, shuffled inside looking nervous. In one swift movement, Rodolphus shoved Alice down next to her husband. Bellatrix ran downstairs just in time to see him do this. Her blood ran cold as he looked up at her.

“I see you’ve decided to join us Bella,” he said.

Bellatrix drew her wand and pointed it at Frank. She could easily have taken on Crouch and Rabastan but she was no match for Rodolphus. She would have to play along for now.

“Of course,” she said.

Rabastan’s mouth twitched. It was clear that he did not approve of Bellatrix being there. Rodolphus turned his wand on Frank.

“To business then…where is the Dark Lord?”

Frank looked Rodolphus in the eye, determination etched on his face. He said something to Bellatrix’s husband that was quite rude and did not answer his question. Rodolphus was not pleased.

“Crucio!”

Frank twitched horribly but he did not make a sound.

“You won’t break me, Lestrange!”

“He’s right brother,” said Rabastan. “He needs more persuasion…where’s his little brat?”

Frank, Alice and Bellatrix simultaneously turned pale. Alice tried not to make a noise as Rabastan looked at the stairs.

“He’s not here,” said Bellatrix, struggling to keep her voice steady. “I’ve searched the house.”

Rabastan coughed and Bellatrix glared at him.

“And when did you have time to do this Bellatrix?” asked Rabastan. “You came at the same time we did, did you not?”

“No I didn’t,” snarled Bellatrix. “I am aquatinted with Longbottom’s wife. I lied my way in before you could come.”

Alice caught on quickly and feigned anger.

“How could you?” she snarled. “I trusted you!”

Rabastan ignore Alice and gave Bellatrix a sly glance.

“I still think the brat’s here,” he said.

Bellatrix struggled not to panic.

“Are you questioning my ability, you stunted little miscreant?” she hissed.

“Maybe I am. Why don’t you get the truth out of Longbottom…show us how it’s done.”

Alice looked at Bellatrix desperately. The message in her eyes was clear.

Save Neville

Bellatrix nodded…and pointed her wand at Alice.

“Talk Auror!” she shouted at Frank. “Unless you want your wife to be in Saint Mungo’s for the rest of her life, I suggest you say something!”

Alice mouthed a word to Frank. Please. He swallowed and did not speak but a tear rolled down his face. Rabastan made an impatient noise in his throat.

“Crucio” shouted Bellatrix.

Alice’s scream was the most horrible thing Bellatrix had ever heard. Frank roared in anger but Rodolphus held him back. Bellatrix’s wand arm shook as she struggled to keep the curse going. She wretched her wand back and Alice lay sobbing on the ground. Frank needed no more persuasion. He was a husband before he was an Auror.

“Albania!” cried Frank. “We think he’s in Albania.”

“You think?” hissed Bellatrix, raising her wand a little higher.

“No! I know he’s there! There have been eye witness reports but the Aurors haven't found him yet!”

Bellatrix forced a smile and turned to Rabastan.

"Is that good enough for a woman?"

Rabastan looked at Bellatrix with respect. Rodolphus smiled but, to Bellatrix's horror, he turned his wand on Alice.

“Rodolphus, we have what we need!” shouted Bellatrix. "The Dark Lord-"

Rodolphus ignored her.

"Barty, now is your time to...practise," he sneered.

Bellatrix stared at her husband in horror.

"A little fun then?" said Rabastan with smirk.

Rodolphus' smirk widened.

"Yes, brother...fun."

Barty cautiously drew his wand. Rodolphus gave Alice a mock smile. She moaned and caught onto Frank's hand. He held her tight and did not let go for the entire night. Bellatrix didn't do anything. She just watched the entire time.

*


Bellatrix threw up in her cell. She was trying and failing to fight away the white fog and horrific memories in her mind. Her shoulders shook as she tried to steady herself.

“I can’t see…”

Frank wasn’t screaming anymore. His eyes were blank. Something was wrong…

“Make it stop…” choked Bellatrix. “Please…”

The Auror at her cell paid no attention. Bellatrix curled herself up in the corner, rocking slightly.

“Someone please help me…” she whispered.

As Alice finally began to loose consciousness, she uttered on last word. Still clenching tightly onto her husband’s hand, she opened her mouth and made a barely comprehensible noise. Bellatrix was the only one in the room who knew what she said…Neville.

“Andy…Cissy…help me…”

“They won’t help you,” said the Auror harshly. “The Malfoy’s publicly denounced you last night and as for Andromeda…I don’t even know how she can even be related to a sadistic monster like you.”

Bellatrix moaned as another memory filled her mind.

Bellatrix arrived home a few minutes after Rodolphus. She went straight to the bathroom and washed the blood off her hands. She had stayed behind and tried to revive the Longbottoms without any success. Neville was still hiding under the bed. He had heard every scream and he did not leave his hiding place, not even for Bellatrix. It took Bellatrix a few minutes to realise that she was also trying to wash off the faint image of Dark Mark. A drop of blood fell in the sink that did not belong to either of the Longbottoms and she stopped scrubbing. Her efforts had made no difference. Nothing could make that mark vanish.

“Where were you?” asked Rodolphus from behind her.

Bellatrix turned around and glared at her husband. She did not answer. She was too angry to use Occlumency against Rodolphus and he knew exactly what she was thinking.

“It was necessary, you know,” said Rodolphus quietly.

“Oh,” snarled Bellatrix. “I thought it was just a little bit of fun…practise?”

There was a moment of silence and then Rodolphus’ hand struck Bellatrix’s cheek. Rodolphus had never even considered hitting Bellatrix before and she did not hesitate to slap him back. Seething with anger, Rodolphus raised his hand again but Bellatrix held her ground.

“Necessary?” she screamed. “He was an Auror you fool! They won't stop looking for us! There won’t be any of us left to find the Dark Lord!”

Rodolphus hesitated but he was given no more time to think about what Bellatrix had said. There was a loud noise near the front of the house. Rodolphus ran to face the Aurors but Bellatrix did not move. Like Sirius, when the Aurors came to take her away, she surrendered without a struggle.


Bellatrix moaned again as the dementors drew in another breath. She couldn’t see anything but she heard the Auror come right up to the bars of her cell. It was as if the bars were the only thing stopping him from throttling her. At this point she would have welcomed death.

“The only reason you haven’t already lost your soul to the dementors is that Crouch won’t murder his son,” the Auror continued. “You’re going to spend the rest of your lives in Azkaban.”

“No!” cried Bellatrix. “P-Please!”

“I hope you rot there,” said the Auror.

She would rot there. She wouldn’t survive in Azkaban for more than six months at this rate. Another memory formed in her mind…of her initiation in the Death Eater’s circle.

If you are caught, I will free you from Azkaban personally…

He was still alive. The Dark Lord was in Albania, biding his time, waiting for his return.

She had no hope...except for the Dark Lord.

*


Bellatrix entered the courtroom, the dementors holding her arms. She was very different from the woman the Aurors had brought into the cell. Her head was held high as though she owned the world and there was a triumphant sneer on her face. If Andromeda had come to the trial then maybe she would have seen the lie Bellatrix was painted. Every Black, no matter what side they were on, knows how to act like a Death Eater. It was what they were taught from birth.

But Andromeda wasn’t here. She wasn’t going to save Bellatrix and neither was Narcissa. If no one was going to save her…then Bellatrix would just have to save herself. The trial was almost over when Bellatrix proclaimed her allegiance to the Dark Lord to the wizarding world.

“The Dark Lord will rise again, Crouch!” said Bellatrix, more to herself than to the judge. “Throw us into Azkaban, we will wait! He will rise again and come for us, he will reward us beyond any of his other supporters! We alone were faithful! We alone tried to find him!”

That was all they needed to brand her as a Death Eater. A man watching the trail looked sadly at Bellatrix. Albus Dumbledore sighed as he got to his feet and left the courtroom.

“What happened to you Bella?” he asked himself as the dementors took her away. “Why?”

*


The screaming in Bellatrix’s head grew louder as the dementors dragged her through the high security block. Crouch was screaming for his mother and Rabastan was struggling to fight the dementors. Rodolphus stepped into his cell without a fuss but his face was pale. Bellatrix had started shaking again. She was the first woman to have been sent to Azkaban. The people in the cells jeered at her…except for one. A man with dark, matted hair caught Bellatrix’s eye as she was dragged into the cell next to him…Sirius.

“Bella!” he cried. “What happened? What are you doing here?”

Bellatrix closed her eyes and didn’t look at him. She couldn’t answer. The dementor practically threw her into the cell. A blast of wind froze Bellatrix to the bone. She curled up in damp corner of her cell and ignored Sirius’ cries. She couldn’t face him right now.

"He'll come back for me..." whispered Bellatrix so that Sirius could not hear. “The Dark Lord will come for me…”

It was far from a happy memory, she did not want to serve him, but it was the only thing keeping Bellatrix alive.

But maybe Sirius could save her from the dementors instead. The screaming in Bellatrix’s head became louder and she eventually slipped into unconsciousness. Sirius did not sleep that night. Bellatrix screamed loudly in her sleep and kept him awake.

“It’s going to be alright, Bella,” he whispered. “I’m still with you.”


Chapter 10: The Unforgivable
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

The Unforgivable




“So far away.
It's growing colder without your love.
Why can't you feel me calling your name?
Can't break the silence,
It's breaking me.

All my fears turn to rage.



Bellatrix didn’t say another word for an entire week. She didn’t touch the stale bread and cold mince the dementors brought her. Sirius heard her coughing. It was a horrible cough. Bellatrix was making herself sick. Sirius tried to call out to her but she never answered at first.

One night there was no screaming and only the rattle of the dementors could be heard. Bellatrix looked at the wall that Sirius was behind. She opened her mouth and tried to make a noise but her throat was too dry. She drank some of the coppery tasting water in her bowl and tried again.

“Sir?” she rasped.

Sirius jumped. No one had called him that in years and no one else in the prison knew that nickname. He could scarcely believe that Bellatrix was talking to him at all.

“You okay Bella?” asked Sirius.

“No,” she whispered.

“Have you been eating?”

“N-No…”

Sirius had seen Bellatrix cry twice in his life. When she was locked in a cellar and when he left home. He did not see her cry this time but he could hear her.

“I-I let them be t-tortured…” she sobbed. “I watched and I d-did nothing…”

“Frank and Alice,” whispered Sirius.

“I c-can hear them in m-my head…”

Sirius swallowed. Bellatrix continued to cry.

“It wasn’t your fault Bella,” said Sirius. “You didn’t torture them…you don’t have his mark.”

Bellatrix’s hand brushed her forearm unconsciously.

“B-But Padfoot-”

“I don’t want to hear another word,” said Sirius. “Your innocent, you hear me?”

Bellatrix wiped her eyes. He’d never forgive me if I told him…

So she didn’t tell him.

“Padfoot,” she whispered. “What happened to Prongs?”

There was reply at first but then Sirius spoke up. He told Bellatrix about everything. About how he swapped places with Peter. About how Peter betrayed them.

“Peter…” she whispered. “How could he?”

Sirius paused. Bellatrix could hear him breathing on the other side of the wall.

“Voldemort,” he said very quietly. “Everything went wrong because of Voldemort. Harry lost his family…and we’ve nearly lost ours…for him.”

“Trusting Voldemort is better than trusting the people who made this place,” said Bellatrix, trying to hide her anger.

Sirius looked in her general direction in surprise.

“You don’t mean that, Bella.”

There was silence again but Bellatrix answered after a few moments.

“Who else is there to trust? Andy and Cissy have made it perfectly clear that I’m not their sister anymore. Remus hasn’t spoken to you. The world believes we’re monsters.”

“I got you,” answered Sirius, “and you’ve got me.”

“Really?” whispered Bellatrix.

“Really,” said Sirius firmly. “I promised you that I’d never leave you, remember?”

“You were five,” said Bellatrix with a laugh.

“But I meant it. I still do,” said Sirius. “Do you trust me, Bella?”

“Nothing could stop me from trusting you Sirius,” said Bellatrix. “Thank you.”

If only it was true.

*


The years past. Sometimes it felt as if they had only just arrived and other times it felt as though they had been living there for their entire lives. Sirius’ thirst for revenge died when he was with Bellatrix and the screaming in Bellatrix’s head was reduced to a small buzz. Though Azkaban had left its mark on both the Black cousins, Bellatrix was the worst for wear. If Sirius was guilty about trusting Peter, it was nothing to how Bellatrix felt. She missed Andromeda and Narcissa and she knew she owed them an explanation. Narcissa would not receive any letters without Lucius discovering it first but at least Andromeda would be able to read them.

Of course there was the slightly problematic fact that high security prisoners could not send or receive mail and all outgoing and incoming mail was read.

Sirius heard the scratching of Bellatrix’s quill scratching on her parchment and frowned. It wasn’t actually a quill to be honest. Prisoners don’t use quills in Azkaban. She had somehow acquired a muggle pen and a stack of muggle paper that she hid in a loose stone her cell. She only ever wrote the letter when the dementors changed guard. No one knew why the dementors changed guard but they obviously did. Perhaps to get there share of the prisoners with the worst memories.

“Bella…why are you still writing that letter?” he asked. “It’s impossible-”

Bellatrix finished writing the postscript when Sirius spoke.

“Where there’s a will…there’s Mundungnus Fletcher and an illegal mail service.”

Sirius’ eyes widened.

Dung is sending letters out of Azkaban?” he said. "What about the dementors?"

“This is Dung we’re talking about Sir… he can do anything.”

Sirius shrugged in agreement. Bellatrix turned in the general direction of Fletcher’s cell.

“Fletcher!” hissed Bellatrix. “Wake up!”

“S’up Bella,” murmured Mundungnus.

“Wake up you lazy git!” snapped Bellatrix. “I’ve got to send a letter!”

“Give ol’ Dung a break Bella. I ain’t got no shut eye since the ‘mentors bin ‘round.”

“Fine…what do you want Fletcher?”

“Yeh meat ration,” said Mundungnus, “and no bug innit neither!”

Bellatrix growled as she picked up the mince in her plate and wrapped in fabric from her robes. She stretched her arm out, carefully concealing her Dark Mark, and threw the wrapped meat at the bars of Fletcher’s cell. Bellatrix then foldered her letter into a paper areoplane and flew it to Fletcher. Sirius watched threw the bars of his cells.

“Hey, Uncle Alphie told us how to make those,” he said, sounding impressed. “Good one, Bella.”

Bellatrix almost smiled. Almost.

“Thanks Padfoot. Have you got the letter Fletcher?”

“Yep but there are a few conditions o’ me posting it,” called Mundungnus.

“What?” snarled Bellatrix who was quite fed up with Mundungnus now.

“Yeh can’t be usin’ me services to contact them Deaf Eaters. Got it? I’m ina nuff trouble as it is.”

“It’s to my sister, Andy,” said Bellatrix, trying not to cringe at Mundungnus’ very unpolished accent.

“Righto! It’ll be on its way in no time.”

*


Sirius forced a laugh as he read the paper Cornelius Fudge had given him. It wasn’t the article that worried him.

It was the picture…with a rat.

“Sir, what’s wrong?” whispered Bellatrix.

“What makes you think there’s something wrong?” muttered Sirius.

“You try to laugh when you’re upset,” she answered. “You’ve been doing that since you were little.”

Sirius was struggled to keep calm.

“It’s Peter,” he said, his voice shaking. “He’s at Hogwarts…with Harry.”

Bellatrix gasped.

“He’ll murder him in his sleep!” she cried. “Padfoot…we’ve got to do something!”

Sirius closed his eyes…and then a plan came to him.

“I’ll escape…we’ll escape!”

Bellatrix gasped again.

“Escape?” whispered Bellatrix, hardly daring to believe it.

Sirius nodded.

“I think I’ve got a plan.”

*


Sirius the dog had the cell keys in his mouth and was heading towards Bellatrix when he realized something. There was a dementor guarding her cell. He looked up. Rodolphus’ arm was dangling out of the cell window. If dogs could do it…this one would have been smirking. Sirius dropped the keys from his mouth and bit Bellatrix’s husband hard on the hand. Rodolphus shouted and tried to shake Sirius off. Sirius bit down a little more and let go. The dementor was already gliding towards the cell to investigate the cause of the screaming. It wasn’t surprised. People scream in Azkaban all the time so it wasn’t gliding very fast at all. Sirius picked up the keys and again and ran towards Bellatrix’s cell.

Sirius reached the cell quickly. Bellatrix gave a sigh of relief and walked up to the cell door. Sirius transformed and spat the keys out of his mouth, into his hands. He outstretched it towards Bellatrix. Her sleeve got caught on the iron door. As Bellatrix moved her hand towards Sirius thought the bars, her left forearm was exposed and Sirius saw the Dark Mark. He transformed back into a human and glared at Bellatrix. Never had Bellatrix seen someone look so betrayed; so angry.

“Bella…” he whispered. “Did you help torture Alice and Frank?”

It was a question he had never asked her before. He didn’t think there was a need. Bellatrix closed her eyes, her shoulders shaking slightly.

“Yes,” she whispered back.

Two tears hit the ground. One belonged to Sirius and the other belonged to Bellatrix.

“You monster,” snarled Sirius.

“Padfoot,” cried Bellatrix. “Let me explain-”

“Don’t call me Padfoot…Death Eater!” shouted Sirius. “You just wanted to get out to kill Harry!”

“No!” screamed Bellatrix. “I’d never-”

Sirius dropped the keys onto the ground, just out of Bellatrix’s reach. He transformed back into a dog and left. Bellatrix crumbled to the ground.

“Don’t go…Sirius please…” sobbed Bellatrix. “Don’t leave me here…You promised…”

Sirius ignored her and disappeared from sight. Bellatrix leaned against her cell wall.

“He’ll come back for me…” whispered Bellatrix. “He’ll come back for me…”

She said that ever night. Nobody doubted for one second that she wasn’t talking about the Dark Lord. For three whole weeks, Bellatrix was convinced that Sirius would come back for her.

“He’ll come back for me…”

Then she began to doubt him.

“He’ll come back for me…please come back for me…”

At what point Bellatrix stopped talking about Sirius…and started talking about the Dark Lord, not even she can remember. Bellatrix can’t even remember talking about Sirius at all.

“He’ll come back for me!” she cried confidently to the prisoners. “The Dark Lord will come back for me.”

*


A thin man stepped into the cell. His gaze fell upon a ragged creature curled into a ball in the corner of the cell. Its hair fell lankly over its face and it had barely any flesh on its bones. It didn’t even move when the man entered the cell.

“Bella, my dear girl,” said the man. “What have they done to you?”

Bellatrix slowly raised her head and gazed upon the snake-like face of Lord Voldemort. A tear of joy ran down her face.

“My Lord…I knew you where alive…I knew you’d come for me…” she whispered.

Voldemort swept Bellatrix to her feet. She leaned against the stone wall, trying to find her feet again.

“Who could ever leave someone as beautiful as you in a place like this?” asked Voldemort, exhibiting his talent for flattery once more. “My most loyal servant…”

Voldemort saw something flash in Bellatrix eyes. It was a red glint, not unlike the one that used to appear in his own eyes when he was young. The look on her gaunt, pale face had very little sanity in it.

“I wasn’t always your most loyal servant,” said Bellatrix, her voice no longer weak and small but forceful and full of venom. “I was weak and foolish at first…but my Lord, I assure you, that now you have no servant more loyal than I and you will never have one.”

Voldemort smiled his evil smile. This wasn’t the Bellatrix that Voldemort had first met. There was little left of the girl who loved her cousin.

*


There was no need for greetings when the found each other at the battle of the Department of Mysteries. They started duelling the moment the set eyes on each other. They were equally matched. Sirius met each one of Bellatrix’s blows and tried to dodge her quick spell work.

“Is that all you’ve got?” said Sirius, forcing a laugh to hide his pain.

He tried not to think about the fact that Bellatrix had not only tortured Frank and Alice, but now she had used the cruciatus curse on Neville Longbottom and attacked Tonks. He tried not to think about the fact that he left her to rot in Azkaban. He tried not to think about the fact that she was fighting against him.

He tried to forget she was his cousin.

Bellatrix raised her wand and directed it at Sirius. Bellatrix opened her mouth to say ‘Avada Kedavra’ but she hesitated. She could not kill him…but she was still angry and she could still hurt him. A jet of crimson light, not the killing curse, blossomed from her wand and hit Sirius in the chest.

As Sirius fell behind the Veil, time seemed to stand still. Bellatrix waited for him to come out, to shout ‘Boo!’ like he did at school.

But he didn’t.

A time passed and Harry’s screams became louder, Bellatrix realised what had happened. She’d killed him. She had murdered her Best Friend…but more importantly…she had killed Bellatrix Black the Marauder and in her place was a Death Eater, made by the walls of Azkaban, the cunning of the Dark Lord and a broken family they may not ever be whole again.

*


“Dearest Andy,

Please write back to me. Please read my letters. Please believe me when I say that I have no love for the Dark Lord. I know I have wronged you in the worst way I could have but I need you to hear me out and I need my family back together again. All I have in this prison is Sirius in the cell next to me.

If it weren’t for Sirius, I know the dementors would have already turned me into the monster I am painted as. If you were not a Death Eater when you came in, you would be one when you came out. Do you remember when Sirius and I escaped into the muggle world and were locked in the cellar afterwards? It is like that now. Sometimes Sirius and I just spend the entire talking. When we’re talking, sometimes I don’t hear Alice screaming in my head and he says he doesn’t need to seek his revenge.

They framed him Andy. Peter is still alive and out there somewhere and we’re scared for Harry. I need you to ask Professor Dumbledore to talk to Sirius and hear his side of the story.

I am not innocent like he is but I did not mean for Alice and Frank to get hurt. I was only trying to save their son. I hope Neville forgives me for breaking my promise that I would save his mother. I failed him and I failed myself.

There are so many people I have failed. I have not been there for Draco and I have not been there for Nymphadora. I missed her growing up and I did not have a chance to tell her all the very rare stories about you getting into mischief.

Andy, I must ask one thing of you. Do not bring her up like us. Let her make her own choices and fall in love with however she pleases even if he’s a reformed Death Eater with a shady past, a man as old as Dumbledore, a half-blood or someone without a penny to their name. Let her live like we could not. She is from the House of Black whatever mother may think. Let her bring honour to our name, real honour, in whatever way she chooses.

From your loving sister,

Bellatrix.”

Andromeda finished reading Bellatrix’s letter blew her nose on a tissue that Tonks had conjured. A box of letters from Bellatrix was lying on the kitchen counter. There were hundreds of them and at least half were written from Azkaban. The last one Bellatrix wrote told of their plan to escape together but there was nothing after that.

“Why didn’t you tell any of us before Mum?” asked Tonks quietly. “Why didn’t Sirius?”

A few more tears ran down Andromeda’s cheeks and Tonks held her mum’s shoulders.

“I only read her letters after Sirius died,” answered Andromeda, sounding horrified at herself. “Sirius told me what happen in Azkaban but he never spoke of Bellatrix again.”

Andromeda took the letter she had just read aloud and gave it to Tonks.

“You keep that one,” she said through her tears, “and you listen to what your Aunt says.”

Tonks nodded and took the letter.

"I...I need to go to work," she said quietly. "Mum...will you be alright?"

Andromeda nodded.

"Oh I'll be fine..." she whispered. "Be careful Nymphadora."

Tonks gave her mum a hug and smiled brightly. Andromeda watched her daughter vanish through the fireplace in a burst of green flame. Sighing heavily, she wipped her eyes and returned the letters to its box. She picked up one of them and a small smile formed on her face.

"Maybe your still in there Bella," she whispered. "Maybe there's some hope for you yet."




Author’s Note: I got this idea when I was re-reading Order of the Phoenix for the umpteenth time. I just though it was really odd that Bellatrix didn’t try and kill Sirius with Avada Kedavra. It wasn’t the cruciatus curse either because he wasn’t in pain. I think she just tried to stun him. She’s still one sadistic woman but I think that family matters to her…just a little. As for cursing Tonks…I don’t think she even recognised her. This is pure speculation however and it might turn out that she’s just pure evil. You can save your ‘I told you so’ for when after book seven comes out...

*everyone points at holly and shouts 'I told you so'*

*Author sulks*

Review my story (including my other ones) and I will review yours!




For Mum…braver than Lily and a little too much like Mrs Weasley.

http://www.harrypotterfanfiction.com