The Dark Lady
25 August, 1962
We left quietly soon after the incident on the Fingers. We left by Portkey. I for one, was glad to see the backs of the Grandparents. I could tell that Father agreed, because he smiled as we began to spin, our fingers glued to the pot we were using to travel.
Over the past few days, I've become an accomplished shadow. Neither of my sisters are speaking to me: Cissy because I took her on an adventure; Andromeda because she doesn't seem to know how to feel at my meeting with Voldemort. She's heard the old rumors that Father and Mr. Malfoy are so fond of repeating: that Voldemort used to be someone called Tom Riddle and that he went to school with our father. Father and Mr. Malfoy say that Tom once split his soul and now can't be killed. Andromeda isn't pleased with me for bringing Cissy on my little adventure. I'm not pleased with myself.
Today we went to Diagon Alley to withdraw gold from our vault at Gringots and get my Hogwarts things.
"I still can't believe you're going." Mother muttered as she brushed and braided my hair. "You've only mis-magicked three times. I was sure you'd be a Squib."
Mis-magicked. I never could make myself do it on a large scale. Sure, I had mis-magicked a few times, violent outbursts of power that left something ruined, bruken or otherwise changed. I had done it several more times than my parents knew. It happened most often when I was alone, and alone, I had tried to control my powers.
I said nothing as Mother continued her mutterings and my sisters had their hair arranged. I said nothing as Father took down the little pot of Floo Powder and stepped into the green flames.
We went one-by-one, the last being Mother. She put the Floo Powder in her beaded purse and grabbing Cissy's hand, led us back behind the Leaky Cauldron to the brick wall, where Father met us.
Diagon Alley hadn't changed much from my last visit, but our vault at Gringots had. It was full, yes, but not as full as it was. Father and Mother tried to block the entrance so that we wouldn't see, but I peered around them, so as to see the beautiful gold.
Mother and Cissy went to get my books. Andromeda and Father went to get my cauldron, scales and potion things. Tossing several Galleons to me, Father sent me alone to Olivander.
I'd been in the odd shop just once. Mother's wand had been broken when the previous house-elf threw it into the fire. I never saw the elf again after the incident.
The shop was just as I remembered: cluttered, dim and rather eerie. I sat in the spindly chair, folding my fingers in my lap as I'd seen Father do.
"Your first wand?" A soft voice asked. I didn't flinch. I'd been expecting this voice to come from the shadows.
"Yes." I answered, raising my head in the haughty fashion Mother was so accomplished at.
Olivander snapped his fingers, and the silver tape measure began it's rapid-fire measuring: from fingertip to elbow, wrist to shoulder, shoulder to ankle, Elbow to knee and so on.
It took more wands than I thought, but we finally found the right one.
"The wand chooses the wizard." Olivander repeated, as he had said at the beginning of my search.
"Thank you." I said politely as I handed over the Galleons.
Cissy was having an icecream when I returned, Andromeda was looking through one of my new books.
"Your wand?" Father asked.
I handed over the thin box I'd been clutching. He turned up his nose at the spiral detailing on it. I suppose it was too fancy for his tastes.
"It's made of yew and unicorn hair." I supplied, disliking his distainful expression toward my wand.
"At least it's not elder." Mother sniffed. "Elder wands are ill luck. Everyone knows that."
"Don't be superstitious, Druella." Father said, returning my wand.
My robe fitting was uneventful, and soon after, we went home.
Now I'm exhausted, but I don't think I'll be able to sleep. I'm looking over and I see my spellbooks stacked neatly on the dark wooden writing desk I never use. I'm worrying, wondering, and scheming.
26 August, 1962
Tomorrow, the pure-blood families are giving a ball in honor of the approaching Hogwarts term. Eroan Rosier and Rodolphus Lestrange will be going for their first year like me, and Rodolphus's brother is going for second year. I'm sure there are more, but I have met the Lestrange boys, and Eroan Rosier is a cousin on Mother's side of the family.
Oh Mother! She's full of frantic energy, rushing here and there, altering one of her dresses for me, looking for old jewels, complaining about my ragged nails.
"I only bite them when I'm stressed." I said, interrupting Mother's lecturing.
"A daughter of the most noble and ancient House of Black must not bite her nails at all, Bellatrix."
Mother never made a fuss over my lack of a figure or scraped knees or ragged nails before. I think she and Father are worried I will look like the Squib they think I am.
I practiced controling myself this afternoon. I could only sneak away for a few moments, and it's been a long time since I practiced, but I was able to make a flower open then close, and make a tree branch move several inches. Now I'm tired, and I don't want to think very much.
Cissy and Andromeda are being fussed over as well, but not nearly so much as me. Cissy was scolded for the tangles in her hair, and Andromeda for her clumsiness. This makes me feel somewhat better, but not by much.
28 August, 1962
The ball was horrible! There were too many people, too much butterbeer, wine, and firewhiskey, and the whole room smelled like cigarettes. I despise the smell of cigarettes.
My dress was dark green satin with silver lace at the ends of the sleeves and at the neckline. The shoes were shiny black leather, and a bit too small. I wore a small gold B for a necklace with three pearls hanging from it. Mother braided my hair into a long black rope which was so long I could have sat on it.
The party was held in the ballroom of Malfoy Manor. Everyone was dressed up, and everyone was laughing while the band played.
I spent most of the long hours standing half-hidden behind one of the decorative columns.
"Would you like to dance?" Someone asked after a while. I whirled around to face Rodolphus Lestrange.
"Don't startle me." I commanded.
"Sorry." He apologized, his face going as red as Mother's party dress "Would you like to dance?" He repeated.
"I only know how to waltz though."
So he led me out onto the floor and twirled me in an ungainly dance. Rodolphus didn't speak during the dance, just muttered the steps: "One, two, three. One, two, three..." He tripped over my feet, but I found it rather touching that he was trying. I did my very best to be graceful, but it didn't help that he was such an awful dancer, and he was tripping over my feet and his own.
"I hate dancing." He said when it was over.
"I think it's fun. You're an awful dancer, you know."
"Yes, well... I only learned to make my parents happy."
"And what would you rather be doing?" I asked curiously but haughtily.
"I'd rather be playing Quidditch. I want to play Beater when we get to Hogwarts."
"Oh," I said, "Well, good luck."
And I turned away from him.
Two people stood near my column when I walked away from Rodolphus.
"What interest would he have in Bellatrix?" Mr. Malfoy was asking my father.
"I have no idea. Tom hasn't been seen in years. He's changed, Abraxas."
"He looks more like the snakes he was so fond of. And he seems to exude power."
"And what do we have to do with it, Cygnus?"
"It could be an opportunity, my friend. We've known Tom long before this Voldemort thing."
"And you think he'd give us favors?"
"I couldn't tell. This is Tom we're talking about. He can't be bribed."
"From what you tell me Cygnus, I think he is rising."
"I agree. When he does, I will follow him."
"As will I." Agreed Mr. Malfoy as he turned away.
Voldemort. They were discussing Lord Voldemort. So the rumors, or at least part of them were true.
At that moment, Father spotted me. For a fraction of a second, an expression of rage crossed his face, but he forced it into a cool smile and took a swig of firewhiskey.
"Ah, daughter," He said, "I was just looking for you. Dance."
Father didn't give me a chance to refuse. He took me by the hand onto the dance floor where another minuet was just beginning.
Father was a much better dancer than Rodolphus. As he twirled me around in the dance, I wondered if he too was thinking about Voldemort. I knew I was. I was wondering if he would teach me marvelous things if I joined him.
Father and I danced three minuets. He drank a glass of firewhiskey between each one, and by the end he was smiling more warmly than I'd ever seen him.
31 August, 1962
Mother and Father are at another party, so my sisters and I are left with Uncle Alphard. Uncle Alphard is Father's younger brother, but it's hard to believe. He's nothing like Father. He's always amused while Father's always disapproving.
Usually, I have so much fun when Uncle Alphard comes to stay, but it just wasn't the same with Cissy angry with me.
After dinner, Cissy and Andromeda went upstairs to play dolls, and I went back to my book. I'd started reading Fantastic Beasts and where to find Them just to fill the time. It wasn't bad, really.
"I've never known you to be such a reader." Uncle Alphard observed.
"Well," I replied, turning a page, "things change."
"What's wrong, Trixie?" He asked, sitting next to me.
"Nothing's wrong. And don't call me Trixie. I'm not five anymore." I was cross with him. To be fair, I was cross with everyone these days because of my nervousness for school and my musings about Voldemort and worries for Cissy.
Uncle Alphard left me alone after that. After a bit, he was asleep on the sofa, a glass of wine in his hand. I set the glass on the table, and Bernie the house-elf cleaned up the spilled drink.
Now I'm in my bedroom, where I should be trying to sleep. But I know it's impossible, so I'm writing.
Someone is tapping at my door. I should let them in. Maybe it's Alphard, wanting an apology. Or Andromeda, wanting to shout at me...
Late in the Night
It was cissy. She was in her nightdress, but her hair was still up in the elaborate style Mother had it in.
"Can you take this down?" She asked, gesturing at her hair.
Without a word, I pointed at the chair in front of my dressing table. She sat and I freed her hair.
"Sorry I was mad at you." She said.
"Did Andromeda tell you to say that?" I asked, looking at her in the mirror.
"No. She's sleeping." Cissy replied.
"It wasn't my fault." I burst out earnestly. I hadn't meant to say anything, but once it was out, I decided it was better that I had. "I didn't know that dark wizard would come into that cave."
"He scared me."
"He scared me a little bit too."
Then, Cissy began to cry. She looked like she did when she was three: small and innocent. I couldn't help but remember a time when she actually was three and our parents were fighting. Andromeda had been hiding, but there'd been no good hiding spots "for the two of us, and I couldn't leave her. I wanted to pick her up and leave the house with her. Run away and go live with Uncle Alphard or Uncle Orion.
"Don't do that." I commanded. "I have an idea."
I went, with her at my heels into her room from which we took some of her blankets. We did the same to mine and I persuaded her to go out into the night. While she set out the blankets, I went back inside and fetched my astronomy telescope.
We spent a while looking up at the night sky she thought was so pretty through the telescope. We examined stars we didn't know the names of and made up stories about them until Cissy fell asleep.
So I went back in and got my book. Here I sit.
1 September, 1962
Mother waited until dawn to shout at us for sleeping in the yard. Then I was forced to wash my "atrocious hair."
"No daughter of mine will go to school with leaves in her hair and dirt on her face." She declared, commanding Bernie to draw up a bath.
Cissy and I scrubbed ourselves pink. Then she went off to wake Andromeda, and I went to have my hair braided.
I wore a grey dress trimmed in gold thread. My hair braided back, and Mother insisted on using some makeup to darken my lips.
Father didn't know how to drive a Muggle car. Therefore, he acquired us a driver. The Muggle man was small and nervous, and you could tell by the visible slashes of his wrist, Father had tortured him to do our will.
"Why should I make Muggle transport my primary way to travel?" Father would scoff whenever Mother suggested he learn to drive.
We arrived at King's cross with little time to spare. Father sent the Muggle on his way and put my trunk on a cart. We followed as he led us to the ticket barrier and two by two ran through.
There it was. Platform Nine and Three Quarters. Students were running here and there; cats were meowing; owls were hooting in protest to being put into luggage racks. The whole scene was dominated by the large, red Hogwarts Express.
Father put my trunk in the luggage rack and came down to say good-bye.
"Do us justice, daughter." He said. "Hide your weak, little girl's emotions behind coldness. Don't associate with Muggle-borns. they are beneath you."
"Yes Father." I answered.
"Don't bite your nails." Mother advised. "Don't make a fool of yourself."
I hugged Andromeda. She never used to be so quiet, and then last summer, she met those Muggle girls. She saw something there that changed her. It made her pull away from Cissy and I. But she seemed sad to see me go.
The train was beginning to move. I should have climbed aboard, but I couldn't, as Cissy had now thrown herself at me.
"Bella don't leave!" She commanded. "We were only just friends again, and you have to help me with my letters and play dress-up with me and help me make Andromeda irritated. I only just forgived you!"
I sensed one of her legendary tantrums, so I did my best to appease her. "It's only til Christmas," I reassured. "And you can practice your letters by writing me. Andromeda can play dolls and dress-up with you, and you don't need me to make mischief."
"But you're going to leave for ages and ages."
"But then after ages and ages I'll be home. Please Cissy. Let go. I'm going to miss the train!"
"I love you." She said as Father pulled her off.
"I love you too." I replied.
Then I jumped into my compartment and watched my family get smaller and smaller through the window. I don't think I'll ever forget them like that: Father tall and proud, smiling slightly at me; Mother looking pained, holding her head; Andromeda smiling and waving; Cissy, her golden hair just visible as she attempted to chase the train.
I was made aware of the other occupant of my compartment when she cleared her throat: "Hem hem"
She looked like an ugly doll. Her limp curls hung in two ponytails, each held by a pink ribbon tied in a bow. Her eyes bulged slightly from her head. The prettiest part of her was her dress, which was palest pink and covered in frills. The skirt was very poofy, and I couldn't help thinking that Cissy would have loved to play Princess in it.
"I'm Dolores Umbridge. I'm a first-year. It's so nice to meet you." Her voice was high, her tone sickly sweet.
"I'm Bellatrix." I introduced coldly.
"Oh! That's a unique name. Are you a first-year?"
"Yes." I replied, then turned to the window and ignored the Ugly Doll.
The countryside flew past in a lovely collage of greens and browns. The day was cool and sunny, and the sky was the bluest I'd ever seen it. I listened to the sounds of the train and looked out the window for hours. Dolores tried to make conversation, but after a while stopped. She too, sat in silence.
When afternoon was at it's height, our door was flung open. Dolores let out a small scream as a Spanish-looking boy hurried in, closing the door behind him. He collapsed in the seat beside me.
He didn't introduce himself, just said: "Has the trolley come through? I'm starving."
"Oh it did." Dolores answered, blushing. "We didn't get anything though. I'm Dolores Umbridge. What's your name?"
"Oh. Too bad for that. I'm Danior, but you'll be calling me Bishop. That's the last name. Are you two first years?"
"Yes." she said, puffing out her chest proudly.
"What's your name?" Bishop addressed me.
"Oh that's Bellatrix." Dolores answered brightly.
"I can speak for myself." I said, annoyed.
Bishop smiled. He really wasn't bad-looking.
"Why were you running?" Dolores asked.
"Oh, that!" He grimaced. "I was sitting with my sister, but then she and her boyfriend met up and I wasn't staying for that. So I went to my brother. My brother's best friend isn't the nicest of boys."
I laughed. "What did he do?"
"He tried to give me my first hexing. He called it the Hogwarts welcome."
"Coward." I teased.
"I'd rather be a coward than be turned into a toad."
I don't know why it was so easy to joke with Bishop. His smile just made me want to smile and he had really nice eyes.
The rest of the journey was spent talking to him and ignoring Dolores. When the shadows grew long Bishop left and Dolores and I changed into our school robes. I let down my hair, making her exclaim at it's length and beauty.
We met Bishop in the corridor, and together, made our way onto the dark platform.
"Firs' years! Over here, firs years!" The lamp bobbed toward us, held in the hand of a giant. Dolores gasped, grabbing onto my sleeve. I nearly shook her off, but he was rather terrifying. He was huge and wild. He must have been a giant. I'd never seen one, but figured they looked like him.
"Righ, that everyone?" He asked. A substantial group of us were gathered around him.
He led us to a fleet of small boats and we climbed in. Dolores was practically in Bishop's lap. This made me laugh.
"Scared of the giant man?" I asked.
"Don't be like that!" She said, real indignance in her voice. "You were scared too."
"She wasn't as scared as you." Bishop defended.
"Thank you, Bishop. At least someone's not a liar."
He gave a half-smile and said no more.
The group of us were herded into a small antechamber and told by the very stern Professor McGonagall to make ourselves presentable. I took a comb and started on my hair. It wasn't tangled, but the motion of combing was calming.
"Form a line." McGonagall ordered. We did, and the ragged line moved into the Great Hall.
The Great Hall was beautiful: thousands of floating candlesshining off everything; an enchanted ceiling showing the night sky; and the sheer size of the thing made it grand.
A stool was set before us, on top of which rested an old hat. After a moment, a rip near the rim opened and it sang. Imagine that! A singing hat. I can't remember the song word for word, or else I'd write it down.
"When I call your name," McGonagall directed, "you will put the hat on your head and sit on the stool."
Consulting the list she announced: "Abbottson, Edward."
The boy stepped forward shakily. "Gryffindor!" The hat proclaimed.
It wasn't long until Professor McGonagall was announcing "Bishop, Danior." After a moment, the hat shouted: "SLYTHERIN!"
Next from Professor McGonagall, came: "Black, Bellatrix."
I stepped forward, trying not to show my nerves. I sat on the stool and put the hat on my head.
"Another Black? I've been sorting Blacks for centuries... Hmm, difficult. You are brave but ambitious. You crave knowledge but have the capacity of loyalty. You are very determined. I think it better be SLYTHERIN!"
The Slytherin table clapped loudly as I sat beside Bishop, consumed with the feeling that I'd done something right. I had followed the family tradition of being in Slytherin. I was so pleased with myself, I barely noticed when Dolores Umbridge and Rodolphus Lestrange joined our table.
Author's Note: (I do not own Bellatrix, Rodolphus, Narcissa, or anything else Harry Potter related. I do, however, own Danior Bishop and Bernie the house-elf.
Miss Singing in the Rain: I applaud you for finding my mistake on the topic of Bellatrix's letter. It was quite an obvious mistake if I look back, and I am laughing at myself for not seeing it during editing.
Elizabeth de Britannia) chapter 3