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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.

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