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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?

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