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Disclaimer: I do not own the Harry Potter universe, which actually belongs to JK Rowling. I am merely borrowing it and I do not make any money from this story.

Chapter Three - A Visit



She was back at Hogwarts. Everything about the castle was gratifyingly familiar; the burning torches in brackets casting shadows on the walls, the musty smell of parchment and ink, the quiet murmurs of students talking in classrooms. She looked down and saw she was wearing her old school robes, which felt soft against her skin. A feeling of joy fell over her. This had been her home for seven of the happiest years of her life.

“Bella!”

Bellatrix turned on the spot, eyes lighting up as she saw the face she had thought she’d forgotten. Eyes so like her own, dark and never ending, milk white skin, and soft brown hair. Hair she had been jealous of as a child. Andromeda Black had always been the prettiest of the Black sisters.

She tried to walk, to run, into her sister’s outstretched arms, but she couldn’t. Her feet seemed to be glued to the spot, and even as she reached out and shouted Andromeda’s name, she saw her sister moving slowly away from her. Her stomach clenched as she realised she’d never get close enough to touch Andromeda’s arm, or see every tiny detail on her face. She shouted louder and louder, her voice echoing off the walls of the castle…

And then she was gone. The scene melted away before her eyes, and Bellatrix found herself back in the dining room, sandwiched between Rodolphus Lestrange and Loc Macnair, watching Lucius Malfoy. Only this time, Malfoy was staring directly at her as he spoke.

“…a person who shares the values Mr Black so wonderfully outlined.” He smiled at Bellatrix, but it was a cold, heartless smile, “Lord Voldemort is waiting for you, Bellatrix Black. His patience is wearing thin with the Black family…”


Bellatrix’s eyes flew open and all memory of her dream disappeared into the cold night air. She felt strangely cold and clammy, but when she reached up to touch her forehead, she found it to be soaking wet. Turning shakily over onto her side, she closed her eyes again before she could notice the change to the ring on the middle finger of her right hand. It was glowing.

~


“Where are you going?”

Bellatrix ignored Narcissa and continued to do the clasp on her travelling cloak. If truth be told, she wasn’t sure exactly where she was going. She just knew who she was going to. Besides, she was still angry at her sister for teasing her the previous night.

“Where are you going?” Narcissa persisted, insisting on following Bellatrix down the corridor to the front door, where she placed herself between her sister and the outdoors.

“It’s none of your business.” Bellatrix said airily, refusing to look at her sister. Narcissa’s eyes narrowed and a slow smile spread on her face.

“Are you going to see…Lucius Malfoy?

Bellatrix’s eyes flashed and beneath her cloak, her hand clasped around her wand, “Get out of the way, Cissy.”

“I saw the way you looked at him during his little speech,” Narcissa continued nastily. She pretended to stare, doe eyed, at an unseen man, whilst saying in a mock-adoring voice, “Oh Lucius, you’re so brave standing up there in front of all those people!

In an instant, Bellatrix had her wand pointing at her sister. She knew that was what Narcissa wanted, and that she was only trying to wind her up, but she could not allow her to be so rude.

“Get out of the way!”

Narcissa crossed her arms, careful to show Bellatrix her own wand, which was clasped in her left hand, “Tell me where you’re really going, then.”

Her wand still pointed at her sister, Bellatrix pondered whether or not to tell her. Despite being insufferably irritating just about all the time, Narcissa could be trusted, if the secret was big enough. Lowering her wand, she hissed, “I’m going to see Dromeda.”

Narcissa’s eyes widened, all playfulness forgotten in the seriousness of the situation, “But you can’t! If father finds out…”

“Then I will face the consequences.” Bellatrix finished for Narcissa, “Cissy, I have to try…she might come round if I talk to her.”

Narcissa was silent for a moment, then slowly she stepped away from the door. As Bellatrix strode past, she whispered, “I’ll deny everything if you’re caught!” and then added in an even quieter voice, “Say hello to Dromeda from me.”

~


Bellatrix apparated to the village as soon as she had cleared the boundary of the Black estate. She didn’t want her mother or father seeing her apparate anywhere, or else awkward questions would be asked upon her return home.

The village would have seemed nice enough if it didn’t stink of muggles. Bellatrix made sure she looked suitably superior as she strode through the streets, and glared appropriately at any muggle who came too close. Consequently, she quickly found the villagers were giving her a wide berth.

The only downside to this turn of events was that she had no-one to direct her to where Andromeda was living. Finally, she settled on performing the disillusionment charm on herself in the alleyway formed between two houses, then scrutinizing the living room of each house through the window.

Hours passed and Bellatrix was getting more and more frustrated as each house yielded muggles and nothing more. She had set herself up to see Andromeda that day, but as the sun began to sink under the horizon and night truly set in, she began to realise that she wouldn’t. The sadness she felt at this realisation was met by frustration that she was feeling sad in the first place.

“She deserted us.” She whispered to herself, drawing her cloak around her shoulders as a bitterly cold wind began to pick up, “She deserted us.”

“Do my ears deceive me, or is that Bellatrix Black muttering to herself on a muggle street?”

Bellatrix jumped at the smooth, arrogant voice. She turned sharply, wand held at the ready, only to come face to face with Lucius Malfoy. His blond hair, impeccable as usual, was tied with a black ribbon to the base of his neck, and his grey eyes were piercing the very spot she was standing in.

“How can you see me?” Bellatrix hissed.

“Oh I can’t. But if you insist on wearing stiletto heels…” Malfoy smiled lazily, “They are rather easy to hear, you see.”

Bellatrix muttered the counter-charm and emerged, scowling, “What are you doing here?” she spat, raising her wand. She wasn’t sure why she was acting so angry, but had a feeling she was over-compensating after Narcissa’s remarks. That, and she hated being caught doing something she wasn’t supposed to be doing.

“If you must know, I’ve been following you.” Lucius answered, with the air of one commenting on the weather.

“Why?”

There was that smile again, “Do I need a reason?” Lucius took a step forward, until he was stood directly in front of her. Bellatrix felt the arm holding her wand slowly drop lower, “You caught my eye at the dance last night. You’re a pretty girl, Miss Black.”

Bellatrix wrenched her wand back up, forcing herself to think clearly, “Don’t patronise me, Malfoy.” Her eyes glinted and Lucius backed away again.

“Why are you here?” His voice was harder now, “Perhaps you thought you’d pay a nice, cosy visit to your blood traitor sister?”

“My sister is ill.” She had hesitated before replying, and knew it was enough to convince him. Lucius sneered coldly.

“Yes, you’re right. You’re sister must be ill to have gone and married a filthy muggle.” He spat on the ground at her feet, and then turned to leave.

The anger spilled out of Bellatrix like a wild animal. Howling, uncaring at how many muggles would bear witness, she ran at Lucius Malfoy and, raising her wand, shouted, “Crucio!

Lucius fell to the floor, writhing and screaming in agony. His face contorted with pain and his eyes pleaded to Bellatrix to release him from the torture. But she didn’t. Grim faced and triumphant she stood over her victim, delighting in his pain, gorging on the agony she was subjecting him to.

She’d never used an Unforgivable curse before, and the joy it brought both thrilled and terrified her. She had complete and utter power, total control over what she was doing, and she answered to no-one. She could torment Lucius Malfoy for as long as she wanted to.

Something hit her in the back and Bellatrix felt herself thrown forward. Instantly the curse she’d placed on Lucius disappeared and, shaking, he got to his feet. Wasting no time, he bent down over her and hissed, “The Dark Lord is waiting for you, Bellatrix Black!” before turning on his heel and disapparating.

“Bella?” A different voice sounded behind Bellatrix. She jumped to her feet, clutching her wand and rounded on the person staring at her.

Her jaw dropped.

The woman eyed Bellatrix with mistrust. She was wearing a simple muggle nightdress and had a coat wrapped around her shoulders. Her chocolate brown hair was tied up roughly with a ribbon, a few strands escaping to fall softly around her thin, white face.

“Bella, what were you doing?” Andromeda Black said in a small voice.

Bellatrix blinked. For a moment, she had forgotten the curse, the insane pleasure she had felt coursing through her veins, the joy at seeing someone so helpless, so completely under her control… “I…He insulted you, Dromeda. He insulted our family.”

“That’s no way to act, though.” Andromeda’s voice became slightly stronger, “Bella that was an Unforgivable curse…”

“I don’t care!” Bellatrix retorted, beginning to get angry at her sister, “Anyway, if it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t have done it! He insulted you, Dromeda, not me. I was defending your honour!”

The sad look in Andromeda’s eyes just served to make her feel more irate. Angrily, Bellatrix turned her back on her sister and began to walk away, “I won’t bother next time.”

“Bella, please come back…”

Bellatrix stopped. She wanted to just leave, but something was holding her back. She knew exactly what it was. Turning around, she attempted to smile, “I was only defending you, Dromeda. I miss you.”

Andromeda returned the smile, although her eyes stayed wary, “I know. I miss you too.”

~


Bellatrix soon found herself sat uncomfortably in a muggle kitchen. Andromeda was bustling around her with mugs and bags of some brown substance. She put one bag in each mug and then filled the mugs with water from a curious looking white jug. Bellatrix was amazed to see the water pouring out of the jug was hot.

“What is that magic?” She said, keeping her eyes fixed on the jug. Andromeda, who was putting milk in the mugs, laughed.

“It’s just a kettle, Bella. It’s a muggle thing.”

Bellatrix didn’t reply. She took the mug Andromeda offered her and sniffed it. To her surprise, it turned out to be tea. “Why don’t you just conjure tea?” She asked, trying to keep her voice light.

“Well, Ted prefers it if I keep magic to a minimum.” Andromeda replied uncomfortably, “He still gets a bit unnerved, you know…”

“No, I don’t actually.” Bellatrix said coldly. Silence fell in the kitchen. Bellatrix sipped her tea, keeping her eyes fixed resolutely on the kitchen table. It was very bright in the room, due to a strip of light in the ceiling, and her eyes hurt.

“How is Cissy?” Andromeda inquired in an unnaturally high voice.

Bellatrix seized the attempt at making conversation with confidence, “She’s well. I think leaving Hogwarts has done her the world of good, she never really liked it there.” She smiled, “Plus it gives her far more opportunities to pursue various men.”

Andromeda laughed, then stopped as though she hadn’t meant to, “And mother…father?”

“It was father’s birthday celebrations yesterday.” Bellatrix said slowly, unsure whether she wanted to tell her sister what had happened, but before she could stop herself she was pouring out the events of the previous night. Andromeda listened quietly as she spoke of Lucius Malfoy’s strange toast, the mysterious Lord Voldemort, Rodolphus Lestrange’s unwanted attention and Loc Macnair…

“You’re still pretending I’m ill?” Andromeda interrupted as Bellatrix began to rant about Loc. Her voice was cold and emotionless.

“What else are we supposed to do?” Bellatrix replied in frustration, “We can hardly go singing from the rooftops that one of the Black family has run off with a muggle!” Andromeda understood this, she thought angrily, she understood there was nothing else they could do. It would be the end of the house of Black if the secret got out, the end of everything.

“Bella, I just want you to know,” Andromeda began carefully, “I didn’t plan any of this. I just…well I just met Ted and fell in love.”

Bellatrix snorted into her tea. Looking up at her sister in disgust, she said, “Fell in love? Why couldn’t you have been normal, Dromeda?”

“Normal?” Andromeda repeated the word coldly.

“Yes!” Bellatrix snapped, “Marry one of your own kind!”

“My own kind?” Bellatrix watched in amazement as her sister laughed, “You mean a pureblood wizard? Bella, I refuse to sign my life away to unhappiness just to further the pureblood cause! I have married for love, and if that’s not good enough for you then…”

“No!” Bellatrix stood up. Her heart was beating unnaturally fast, “No, it’s not good enough for me. You’ve betrayed everyone, Dromeda! And all for love?” Her voice was rising, but she didn’t care, “All so you could marry your filthy muggle husband, live in a filthy muggle house!” She pointed to the kettle, “You’ve even forgotten how to do magic! You’re a mess! You’re a freak!”

Bellatrix was itching to point her want at her sister, her own flesh and blood, and say the word that would make her feel all the pain she had caused her family. But she didn’t. Shaking from head to foot, Bellatrix backed away towards the door.

“Is everything alright, love?” Came an unfamiliar voice from behind her. Bellatrix whirled around to see a young man with tousled bed hair and bleary eyes.

“Everything’s fine, Ted, go back to bed.” Andromeda’s voice was shaking and her eyes were filled with tears that fell softly down her face. Ted, though, realised that his wife was upset and easily found the source of her pain.

“Is she bothering you?” He asked Andromeda, putting his hand on Bellatrix’s arm.

“Don’t touch me, muggle scum.” Bellatrix hissed, pushing Ted away from her with inhuman strength. Andromeda shrieked and ran towards her husband, pulling her wand out of the pocket of her nightdress as she did so.

“Get out.” She said in a voice full of suppressed rage, pointing her wand at Bellatrix.

Bellatrix didn’t reply. Turning on her heel she left through the front door, still blinded by her anger and pain. As soon as the cold night air hit her, though, the guilt set in. Tears stinging her eyes, Bellatrix half-turned back towards her sister, wanting to run to her and tell her she was sorry. But her pride prevented her, and instead she apparated back to the Black estate, eyes red with suppressed tears and self hatred clenching at her heart.

~


Bellatrix managed to get halfway to her bedroom before Narcissa heard her. Running out onto the landing, her bright, excited eyes illuminated by the single candle she was carrying, she immediately asked, “Did you see her?”

Pausing, and wondering if it was worth hexing her sister just to shut her up, Bellatrix eventually replied, “Yes.”

Narcissa jumped up and down on the spot, trying to clap her hands together without burning herself, “And? How is she? Did she ask about me? What’s her husband like? Is he terribly ugly? I heard all muggles are…”

“Can’t we talk in the morning?” Bellatrix interrupted. Her head was throbbing painfully and she kept on re-living the last few moments in her sister’s house over and over again in her mind’s eye, each time accompanied by a guilty stab in her stomach.

“Oh no, you’re not getting away with it that easily!” Narcissa grabbed her sister’s arm, attempting to drag her into her own room, “Now’s a perfect time to talk, mother and father haven’t got back yet from whatever they were doing, there’s no-one here but us.”

“What?” Bewildered by what her sister had just said, Bellatrix allowed herself to be pulled into the room and pushed down into an armchair. Narcissa darted about lighting various lamps with her candle. When the room was suitably lit, she jumped onto her bed and lay on her front, cupping her chin in her hands and staring at Bellatrix with a wide grin on her face.

“So, did you find her easily?”

“No, I bumped into Lucius Malfoy…” Bellatrix said distractedly, “Cissy, where’s mother and father?”

Lucius Malfoy?” Narcissa exclaimed for the second time in so many days, “What was he doing there?” She ignored Bellatrix’s question, obviously finding the mysterious appearance of Malfoy far more intriguing.

It took all of Bellatrix’s self control not to simply shrug her shoulders. She blinked and was back in the muggle street, watching with joy as the pitiful form of Lucius Malfoy writhed and screamed on the floor… “I don’t know. Well, he told me that he was following me, but he didn’t elaborate any further.”

“He was following you?” Narcissa’s eyes widened with the possibilities. Suddenly, she had forgotten her dislike for Malfoy as she expounded on why he was following her older sister, “Maybe he loves you, Bella, he’s just too shy to tell you…” her eyes misted over. For the first time since arriving home, Bellatrix snorted with laughter.

Loves me? And is just too shy to tell me? Cissy, have you met the man? It isn’t physically possible to be more arrogant and over confident than Lucius Malfoy!”

“Well unless he said anything else, there’s no knowing why he was there!” Cissy retorted, stung by Bellatrix’s mocking.

Bellatrix opened her mouth to reply, and then shut it again. He had said something else, but she couldn’t remember what it was. It had something to do with darkness…she frowned deeply, trying to piece together the events after Andromeda had forced her to lift the Cruciatus curse but it was all a blur.

“Why do you do that?” Narcissa’s voice cut through Bellatrix’s thoughts. She looked up, perplexed.

“Do what?”

“That.” Narcissa seemed to be pointing at Bellatrix’s lap. Frowning, she looked down and saw nothing more than her knees and her hands, which were clasped.

“You stroke it. Your ring.” Narcissa elaborated, still pointing, “I’ve seen you do it before. You do it all the time.” She looked slightly uneasy, “Bella, where did you get that again?”

“I don’t…I can’t remember.” Bellatrix muttered. She hadn’t even noticed that she’d been stroking the ring and she didn’t understand why Narcissa found it so unnerving, “It was a gift, I think. Why is it important, anyway?”

“It’s not. It’s just a bit…” Narcissa trailed away and shook her head, “Anyway, you haven’t told me about Dromeda yet!”

Luckily, Bellatrix was spared telling her sister what had happened by the door swinging open and a house elf running in. Fixing both sisters in it’s lamp like stare, the elf squeaked anxiously, “Miss Bellatrix, Miss Narcissa, Mistress wants you to see her right now!”

“I thought she was out…” Bellatrix began, glancing suspiciously at Narcissa, but the blonde was looking equally confused.

“She returned a moment ago, Miss Bellatrix, and she is most insistent that you see her in the drawing room.”

Without another word to the elf, who was hopping from foot to foot in a nervous, crazed sort of dance, Bellatrix glanced at Narcissa and hurried from the room.


A.N. Yeah I know Ted's a muggleborn, not a muggle, but when I wrote this I didn't realise and it works better with the story, I think, if he is a muggle. More artistic license please? ^_^

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