It was official, Bellatrix Black decided as she got out of bed one morning in mid-August. Her parents expected way too much out of her. She walked over to her closet and pulled out her favorite robes. They were black and had the Black family crest stitched onto them. Wearing these robes just made Bellatrix more confident in her decision. Andromeda and Narcissa both had the exact same robes, but neither one of them hardly ever wore them. Bellatrix knew that her parents loved how much she valued family and blood purity, which was one of the reasons why she did. She wanted her parents to be proud of her, but because they were, they expected a lot out of her, which she didn’t like. Yes. It was messed up.

Bellatrix was just about to exit her room when their house elf, Heidi, came in. Bellatrix had always held a special fondness for Heidi, mostly because Bellatrix had named her. They got Heidi right after coming back from Germany, where Bellatrix had made a new friend named Heidi. That was when Bellatrix was seven. Now, ten years later, Bellatrix had seen her friend Heidi a grand total of three times since she left Germany.

“What’s up, Heidi?” Bellatrix asked.

“Mistress requests your presence in the sitting room,” Heidi said importantly.

Bellatrix smiled. “Thanks, Heidi,” she said. She opened the door and let Heidi walk out first.

“Young Mistress is too kind,” Heidi told Bellatrix, as if afraid she would change her mind.

“No, I’m just not in any hurry,” Bellatrix assured the elf. She knew that as long as her mother was in the dark concerning Bellatrix speaking ill of her that she could trust Heidi to keep her secrets.

“Heidi understands, Young Mistress,” Heidi said with a bow. Then she walked off. Bellatrix lifted her chin and straightened her back and headed down the stairs. She always felt like a princess walking down the stairs. She walked into the sitting room, where her mother was perched on a leather sofa, looking at Bellatrix expectantly.

Bellatrix relaxed and smiled a small smile. She walked over to her mother and sat next to her. “You called?” she asked, her smile growing slightly wider.

“Aunt Walburga wants to know if you can baby-sit Sirius and Regulus tonight. She and Uncle Orion are going to a party and they’ll be gone all night.”

That explained it, Bellatrix thought with a hint of smugness. Normally Aunt Walburga never missed any opportunity to show off cute and bright Sirius or mischievous but polite Regulus. However, you can’t show off two cranky little boys. Sirius was only ten and Regulus was only seven. They couldn’t last much longer than about nine, pushing it.

“Yeah, sure, I can do that,” Bellatrix said. She loved her little cousins, and they both adored and idolized her. Baby-sitting them would also promise to be an event-filled and interesting night.

“Okay, they’re leaving about four,” her mother told her. Bellatrix knew that wasn’t the end of it, and sure enough, her mother’s brown eyes met Bellatrix’s green ones, and the relaxed atmosphere of the room was instantly replaced by rapidly-increasing tension. Bellatrix knew that she was about to get a lecture. She also knew that since she was going into her seventh year at Hogwarts, there was the Head Girl factor to consider. And the letters always came about this time. All Bellatrix had to do was decide from her mother’s expression if she got it or not.

Then Bellatrix learned something about herself. She couldn’t think logically this early in the morning. How could she have been so stupid? Her mother and Aunt Walburga were in a constant rivalry, and both of them were desperate to prove they were better than the other. And yet, her mother just asked Bellatrix to baby-sit Sirius and Regulus. Her mother would never let Bellatrix anywhere Aunt Walburga if she hadn’t been made Head Girl.

“What is it, Mother?” Bellatrix asked curiously. She would’ve had to ask the question in a completely different tone if she hadn’t been made Head Girl. That was why it had been helpful to know the answer to the question ahead of time, so she didn’t ask it the wrong way.

“Bellatrix, you’ve been made Head Girl,” her mother said as if Bellatrix had finally fulfilled her duty after a long and difficult battle. She had been a prefect for the last two years, though, so it wasn’t like she had done anything wrong. That was the problem, though. She could do everything right, everything perfectly, and she still wouldn’t meet her mother’s expectations.

“That’s good, though,” Bellatrix said. She hated that every time she had a conversation with her mother, she felt like they were following the lines of a script. Her mother would say something, and Bellatrix would instantly know how she was supposed to respond.

“Bellatrix, your father and I are worried.”

“Mother, I’ve been a prefect for two years now,” Bellatrix said, hating their script more with each spoken word. “How much different could Head Girl be?”

“You will be presented with a lot more responsibility, and you also have to worry about studying for your N.E.W.T.’s, and…”

“Mother, I can handle it,” Bellatrix said with more emotion then she intended. “You know I can get O’s on all my N.E.W.T.’s with hardly any studying.”

Her mother smiled. “I knew I could count on you.”

Bellatrix stood to leave, but when she was halfway out the door, her mother called her back.

“Oh, Bellatrix, one more thing,” she said. She said in a way that told Bellatrix she wasn’t going to like what she was about to hear.

“Yes, Mother?” Bellatrix said. She swiftly turned to face her.

“Could you please give a little thought to getting married?”

Bellatrix looked at her mother in surprise. “At Hogwarts?”

“Why not?” her mother asked. “That’s where I met your father.”

“Mother, nobody except for Slytherins could be worthy of me, and they’re all scared of me,” Bellatrix said.

“I told you that you would regret that,” her mother said in a very I-told-you-so voice.

“It’s not my fault if I’m better than all of them,” Bellatrix said. She paused. “What ever happened to the old-fashioned idea of an arranged marriage? You and Father could find me a better husband than I could.”

“It may come to that, and it’s always an option,” her mother said. “We’ll see what happens.”

Bellatrix walked out of the room and went back upstairs. Instead of turning left into her room, though, she went a little farther and went into Andromeda’s room. Andromeda and Narcissa were both in there, deep in conversation. They both looked up when Bellatrix came in.

“Bella, what happened?” Andromeda asked. “You look like shit.”

“Thanks, Meda,” Bellatrix said dryly. She sat next to Narcissa on Andromeda’s bed, completing what the three of them referred to as the Black Triangle.

“Seriously, Bella, what happened?” Narcissa asked.

Bellatrix knew she was lucky to have Andromeda and Narcissa. All three of them were lucky to have each other. They were closer than close. None of them had ever been in a fight with another. They could count on each other for anything. There weren’t words to describe how close the three sisters were. It didn’t matter to them that Bellatrix was ten months older than Andromeda, who was three years older than Narcissa. They were all always there for each other, no matter what.

“Seriously, I have three life-or-death importance matters to take care of this year,” Bellatrix said. Her shoulders dropped, and Narcissa grabbed her hand.

“It’s okay, Bella,” she said.

“I have to go down in history for being the best Head Girl ever, get a perfect score on all of my N.E.W.T.’s, and find a boyfriend.”

“Did Mother say anything about my O.W.L.’s?” Andromeda asked nervously.

“Well, she didn’t tell me to say my last goodbyes to you, so I think you’ll be okay,” Bellatrix said.

“That’s a relief.”

“Hey, you guys?” Narcissa said in a cautious voice.

“Yeah?” Andromeda replied.

“What’s going to happen after Hogwarts this year?” Narcissa asked.

“What do you mean?” Bellatrix asked.

“I mean, you’re graduating, Bella. Are you going to move away? Mother said you’re going to get married, so are you going to have kids and forget about me and Meda?”

“I don’t know,” Bellatrix admitted. “We’ll have to see what happens. I can promise you one thing, though.” She paused dramatically. “No matter what happens, we’ll always be best friends.” She made a point of locking eyes with both of her sisters. “No matter what,” she said again, just to make her point. It was true, too. No matter what happened, nothing could come between the three sisters. Absolutely nothing at all.


At three fifty-five, Bellatrix Apparated to 12 Grimmauld Place. Aunt Walburga and Uncle Orion were dressed in their finest dress robes. Sirius was lying on the floor reading a book, and Regulus was literally running around the house like a maniac.

“Thank you for doing this, Bella,” Aunt Walburga said.

“It’s not a problem,” Bellatrix said. It wasn’t like she had anything better to do. “I love baby-sitting Sirius and Regulus.”

“We love you, too, Bella!” Regulus shouted between what sounded like caveman calls.

Bellatrix smiled. “Just have fun. I’ve got everything covered here.”

“Okay. Thank you.” Aunt Walburga and Uncle Orion smiled at each other and Disapparated.

“Okay, boys, what do you want to do?” Bellatrix asked with a wide grin.

“Go get ice cream!” Regulus shouted.

“We have to wait at least ten minutes before we can get ice cream,” Bellatrix reminded him patiently. She had a rule that if they went anywhere, they had to wait ten minutes before they could leave and they had to return ten minutes before their parents were supposed to return. Uncle Orion didn’t like them leaving the house.

“Bella, please,” Sirius pleaded in a whiny voice. “Mother’s kept us in the house all day. Why do you think Regulus is running around like a madman? Can we please go somewhere—anywhere?”

Bellatrix looked around. “Where’s Kreacher?”

Sirius looked impatient. “As of five and a half seconds before you came he was getting rid of the 465 particles of dust on the tapestry.”

Bellatrix smiled. “Okay, okay. I get your point. Would you two be willing to go to Knockturn Alley with me? I have to get a present for Meda and Cissa.”

“Bella, I would go with you to the gates of hell if it meant getting out of this house,” Sirius said pointedly.

“Okay. Let me go tell Kreacher we’re leaving and then we can go,” Bellatrix said.

Thank you,” said Sirius without looking up.

Bellatrix smirked and walked toward where they kept their tapestry. Bellatrix’s family kept theirs in Andromeda’s room. It was beyond Bellatrix how it wound up there, but that was where it had been for as long as she could remember. Sure enough, Kreacher was cleaning.

“Kreacher,” Bellatrix said, “I need a favor.”

“Anything for Miss Bellatrix,” Kreacher said.

“We’re leaving. If Aunt Walburga and Uncle Orion come back, lie about where we are.”

“Anything for Miss Bellatrix,” Kreacher repeated.

Bellatrix smiled. “Excellent,” she said. She went back to go get Sirius and Regulus.

“So can we go now?” Sirius asked.

“Yeah,” Bellatrix said. “Let’s go.”

Sirius and Regulus held on to her and Bellatrix Apparated the three of them into Knockturn Alley. “Let’s go into Borgin & Burkes first,” Bellatrix said. Borgin & Burkes was her favorite place on the planet Earth. Even though half the time she went in there she didn’t buy anything, she still liked to look around. She usually went there at least two or three times per week.

Sirius and Regulus were right behind her as she walked in. “Hello, Bella,” Mr. Borgin said. “What can I do for you today?”

“I’m looking for birthday presents for my sisters,” Bellatrix said.

“Anything in particular?” Mr. Borgin asked.

“Er, well I’ve been kind of playing with the idea of getting a Hand of Glory for Cissa, but I don’t have a clue what to get Meda.”

“She’s the middle sister, right?” Mr. Borgin asked.


“Might I make a suggestion?” Mr. Borgin asked.

Bellatrix shrugged. “Sure. I’d rather get everything now if I can.”

“Bella, have you ever heard of a Mirror of Erised?” Mr. Borgin asked.

Bellatrix nodded. “Hogwarts has one.”

“I have a better one. Follow me.”

Bellatrix nodded eagerly and followed him into the back, where she knew he kept all of the special items that he wouldn’t sell to just anybody. Bellatrix noticed almost comically that Sirius and Regulus clung to her like attracting magnets.

Mr. Borgin handed her a small purple velvet box. “Open it,” he said quietly.

Bellatrix carefully took off the lid. Inside was a crystal ball. It showed Bellatrix a picture of a man who looked vaguely familiar. He was hidden behind a cloak, though, so Bellatrix didn’t get a good look at him, but something about him was…so powerful. Bellatrix felt drawn to this man for some reason. She could somehow sense all of the power he possessed.

“Who is this?” Bellatrix asked breathlessly.

“I couldn’t tell you,” Mr. Borgin said. “Everybody sees something different.”

“How much do want for it?” Bellatrix asked hurriedly.

“The price tag says fourteen galleons, but for you, since it’s for your sister’s birthday, I’ll sell it to you for ten.”

“Okay, I’ll take it,” Bellatrix said. What would Andromeda see? Narcissa?

After getting a Hand of Glory for Narcissa, Bellatrix followed Mr. Borgin to the front desk to pay for them.

“What exactly does this do?” Bellatrix asked, pointing to the box as she fished out the eighteen galleons and nine sickles for the two items.

“It shows you the path to your destiny,” Mr. Borgin said.

“It showed me a person—a man,” Bellatrix said. “I wish I knew who it was!”

“It’s your destiny, Bella,” Mr. Borgin said. “You’ll figure it out eventually.”

“Okay, well, thank you for your help,” Bellatrix said. She led Sirius and Regulus out of the store. “Do you guys want to get ice cream now?” she asked.

“Yeah!” Sirius and Regulus exclaimed together. As Bellatrix led the boys out of Knockturn Alley into Diagon Alley, she felt like she was being watched. She shrugged off the feeling, though. Knockturn Alley was made to be a creepy place.

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