A/N - Man, this chapter is driving me crazy. It took me, what? A month to update? Well, I've had everything in the chapter written since about a few hours *maybe* after I posted Let The Rain Fall. Then I just added the second half of the third to last paragraph and two more paragraphs that are really just Bellatrix saying something and Rodolphus responding. So I'm really sorry, guys. I'm actually on spring break now, so hopefully I'll be able to get more chapters in. No promises, though.


Bellatrix walked back into the common room feeling hollow. She felt like everything on her inside had just been ripped out violently. She couldn’t believe that this was really happening. Just an hour earlier, she had everything. And now she had nothing. But she couldn’t endorse what Andromeda was doing, and she knew that she wasn’t the only one. Narcissa, while she probably wouldn’t have that violent of a reaction, would most certainly try to talk some sense into Andromeda. Bellatrix knew that it wouldn’t work though. When Andromeda’s mind was set on something, there was absolutely no stopping her. And their parents. Bellatrix tried to imagine her parents’ reaction to Andromeda’s situation and immediately didn’t feel nearly as guilty about being so mean to Andromeda. Their parents would be a whole lot worse.

Rodolphus had suddenly appeared in the common room again, and when Bellatrix saw him, she immediately put Persephone on the floor and ran over to him and kissed him hard. Her arms were wrapped around him so tightly that she wondered if she was choking him.

“Bella, what is it?” he asked.

“Rodolphus, I’m leaving Hogwarts,” Bellatrix said, her voice barely above a whisper. “Andromeda’s in love with Ted Tonks, and I can’t deal with that. I can’t stay here.”

“Where are you going to go? I thought you said the Dark Lord didn’t want you to leave.”

“He reconsidered. And you know what? For the first time in months, I really don’t give a shit what he thinks. He’s getting me whether he wants me or not.”

“Well, okay. But can you do something for me?”


“When you leave, come stay at my place. I think it would be better, anyway, if you’re trying to run from Andromeda. I couldn’t imagine it being very helpful to live somewhere where you have so many memories of her. And besides, I’ve really gotten used to having you around.”

Bellatrix exhaled deeply and nodded. “Okay. I will. Come help me pack up all of my stuff, though.”

It didn’t even take fifteen minutes to get all of Bellatrix’s belongings packed up. The moment that Bellatrix had been both eagerly awaiting and dreading for months, when she would look at her dormitory for the last time and know that she was never coming back, never happened. Once everything was packed up, Rodolphus grabbed her trunk and Bellatrix grabbed Fioran’s cage and Persephone (much to Persephone’s displeasure), and they just walked out. They headed up to the secret passageway up to Hogsmeade for the last time, and right before they went in, Bellatrix said, Wait—someone has to tell Dumbledore.”

“I’ll tell you what,” Rodolphus said. “Let’s get your stuff to my house first. Then you can go tell the Dark Lord, and I’ll come back and tell Dumbledore—I’m not staying, either, if you’re not.”

“What about Narcissa?”

“You’re going to want to tell her yourself. I—I’ll take care of it, Bellatrix. I promise. I’ll make this work out.”

Bellatrix smiled. “Thanks, Rodolphus. You’re the most amazing guy in the world.”

Rodolphus returned the smile. “I know,” he said. “Now come on.”

The two of them went through the passageway, then Apparated to Rodolphus’s house. The only thing was, Bellatrix didn’t land at Rodophus’s side. She landed at the Dark Lord’s.

“Bella, what are you doing here?” the Dark Lord asked in surprise. He was still at the same spot he’d been in when he’d talked to Bellatrix less than an hour before, when her life was still normal.

“I had to tell you. I’m leaving Hogwarts—for good. I’m never going back. I just found out that Andromeda is in love with some Mudblood, and I can’t take that. She’s my sister, my Lord! And she’s gone off with some Mudblood. So I left, and Rodolphus came with me.”

Persephone, who had been struggling madly since she was first put within seeing distance of Fioran, finally broke free of Bellatrix’s grip and bounded a few paces away, then she turned back, looking at Bellatrix warily.

“That cat fascinates me,” the Dark Lord said. “In a way, because of you. I know what kind of person you are, how delightfully ruthless you can be. And yet you said that you have a strong bond with your cat because you found her after she had been abused and nursed her back to health. I think it would be safe to say that she would trust you with her life. So why will she not go anywhere near the owl? She knows that you’re safe around him. Why won’t she trust you to that point?”

“I don’t know,” Bellatrix admitted. “But, I swear, if I ever find out who did that to my cat, I will murder them.” She didn’t even notice Fioran’s feathers ruffle, but the Dark Lord did.

“Bella, open the owl cage,” he said. Bellatrix did, and Fioran didn’t move. If anything, he grew more statue-like. The Dark Lord reached into the cage and lifted Fioran out, then used a spell that Bellatrix had never heard before and her owl was no longer there. Instead, standing just in front of Bellatrix, was a man. He couldn’t have been more than thirty years old, and appearance-wise, he looked almost exactly like Fioran. He had the same shade of brown hair and the general shaggy appearance. Bellatrix was nearly knocked off of her feet from the impact of Persephone darting toward her and jumping into her arms head first, burying her small face under Bellatrix’s arm.

“Hm,” the man-Fioran mused. “I guess it’s nice to be remembered.”

Bellatrix looked down at Persephone, then looked back up. “What?”

“Nothing,” he quickly backtracked.

“Wait—” Bellatrix turned to the Dark Lord. “My Lord, all this time, that owl you gave me was an Animagus?”

“Yes. It seemed like a more efficient way to get things done. He can just Apparate, unlike normal owls that have to fly.”

Bellatrix looked back at man-Fioran and said, “So, who are you?”

“Dameon Dirk.”

Bellatrix scoffed. “I don’t care. I have more important things to worry about. Like, for instance, why is Persephone acting like a snake just bit her?” She looked over at Nagini, who was faithfully slithered across the Dark Lord’s shoulders. “No offense,” she added.

“How should I know?” Dameon asked.

“Maybe because you’re responsible for it,” the Dark Lord said. He turned to Bellatrix. “How long did you say you’ve had Persephone for?”

“Ten years.”

“Cats do tend to have an extraordinary memory,” the Dark Lord said. “I, for one, trust this one’s instincts.”

Persephone began literally shaking. Bellatrix tried to calm her down, but nothing seemed to work. She was simply too traumatized. And then everything starting coming together in her mind. And may, just maybe, if Bellatrix hadn’t just gone through everything she had with Andromeda, things would have been different. But since she was already tense and upset, her eyes quickly flickered toward her pocket, where her wand was just sitting, waiting for action.

The Dark Lord obviously saw what Bellatrix did, because he said, “Bella, give me Persephone.”

“Wait—why?” Dameon asked, his voice slightly frantic now. He had remained oblivious to the entire scene that just took place.

“Because,” Bellatrix said slowly. She tried to dig Persephone out of her arm, and eventually did it with much difficulty. “It’s okay, Persephone,” Bellatrix said fondly. She kissed Persephone’s head lightly, then handed her to the Dark Lord. What happened after that surprised Bellatrix so much that she nearly forgot why she had given Persephone to the Dark Lord in the first place. It was just so…special. Persephone put one paw on the Dark Lord’s chest and just curled up against him. Bellatrix immediately turned her attention back to Dameon, and drew her wand and used the Cruciatus Curse on him for a split-second, then took it off again.

“Wha—What was that for?” Dameon asked.

Bellatrix drew in a shaky breath. “I want you to admit it,” she said. “Admit that you were the one who abused and then abandoned my cat.”

“What—so you can just kill me? Being an owl doesn’t make me deaf.”

Bellatrix inhaled loudly. “Just admit it, or I’ll just torture it out of you. Or, hell. I might just torture you for the fun of it. Because I’ve had a really bad day, and do you have any idea how long it took to undo the damage you did to Persephone? She was just a kitten, you bastard! How could you do that?”

“Let me ask you something, Bellatrix,” Dameon asked, slowly regaining his confidence. “You’ve been a Death Eater for how long now? Four months? Give or take? How many completely innocent people—innocent children—have you killed and tortured? How is that any different?”

“It’s a lot different,” Bellatrix said. Somehow, though, she thought of Marlow’s niece, Kayleigh. She thought about the two first years that she and Rodolphus had tortured before she had even become a Death Eater.

“How? I guarantee you, I never did anything half as bad to that cat as you’ve probably done to every single one of your victims.”

“It just really is.”

“Why? Because it’s you that’s doing it?”

“No! Because…” Bellatrix fully intended to finish that sentence, but she just couldn’t do it. She honestly couldn’t think of a reason, so instead, she just pointed her wand and said, “Avada Kedavra.” And Dameon just died, just like he was supposed to.

“Nice,” the Dark Lord said approvingly. “I was waiting for you to do that.”

Bellatrix shrugged. The spell had really worn her out. “I hope you didn’t still need an owl Animagus for anything, because, well…” she laughed dryly, “you’re short one.”

“I didn’t need him for anything other than for you. I wouldn’t have let him join me at all if the situation hadn’t presented itself exactly right.”

Bellatrix looked over at Persephone, who had calmed down considerably. “I guess that would explain why she was always so scared of him. I had no idea…”

“What are you going to do about Andromeda?” the Dark Lord asked her. “You can’t just do nothing. She’s your sister, and she’s just going to betray you.”

Bellatrix narrowed her eyes. “‘Betray’ is a strong word. She didn’t do it just to spite me.”

“No, betray is exactly the right word. She had to know how you would react. And yet she still chose a Mudblood over her family.”

“You’re right,” Bellatrix said. “I just…I think I may have really burned the bridge between us. I don’t know. What do you think I should do, My Lord?”

“I think as long as you’re warmed up, there needs to be one more murder that takes place tonight.”

Bellatrix scoffed. “There are so many people I want to kill, I don’t even know where to start.” Her hands flew up to her mouth and she gasped. “Shit! I completely forgot about Rodolphus! I only meant to come here for a moment, and then…” She just left the sentence hanging. She looked up at the Dark Lord and said, “By the way, Rodolphus proposed to me. So now that I’m leaving Hogwarts, I’ll be staying at his place until further notice.”

The Dark Lord nodded. He handed Persephone back to Bellatrix, who immediately Apparated to Rodolphus’s house. He was standing right by where she happened to land, and Bellatrix immediately set Persephone on the floor and threw herself into Rodolphus’s arms.

“You went to the Dark Lord, didn’t you?” he asked. His voice wasn’t accusing at all, Bellatrix noticed, simply curious.

“Yeah. I’m sorry. I’d only planned on going for a moment, and…”

“Don’t worry about it. I accepted a long time ago that I’m just going to have to share you with him.”

Bellatrix hugged Rodolphus more tightly. “I love you,” she whispered.

“Welcome to the first day of the rest of your life,” Rodolphus said. “I’m glad you’re here.”

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