This chapter is extremely violent. Possible triggers. You have been warned.
AN: Points of change – 1) Sirius did not go to check on Pettigrew and find him gone, he got assigned on patrol instead. 2) Bellatrix got a hankering for some bloodshed and randomly picked the Grangers from a list of muggleborns she was given.
Also, I don't own HP. Wish I did, but I don't.
BOOK 1: CHILDHOOD
The moon hung low over her head as Bellatrix Lestrange née Black moved down an ordinary looking muggle street. She grinned as anticipation filled her. She loved the minutes leading up to an attack. The world was so calm, and only she knew just how it was going to be disrupted.
How would she do it this time? The Cruciatus? Another form of torture perhaps? What about a dull knife and some well used ropes? Or should she just keep it quick and simple with the killing curse?
She let out a cruel chuckle at that idea. Keep it simple? Why should she, when she was just going to kill some dirty muggles and a mudblood? They didn't deserve simple. And it wasn't like they could do anything to stop her. Besides, her lord was busy this evening. He wouldn't need her before dawn.
A terrible grin twisted Bellatrix's features and turned her normally gorgeous face into something that was much more suited to what lay under it.
Oh, yes, torture it would be.
Bellatrix threw her head back and laughed when the muggle woman screamed in pain as blood blossomed from the new cut. It was almost orgasmic, what the sound of screams did to her. The man hadn't screamed enough. He'd given her some pleasure when he'd bitten his own tongue off, but not nearly enough. No, he'd only screamed once she'd begun on the woman. And once he could scream no more she'd turned back to him, made his wife watch as she cut him apart, one inch at a time.
Now, now it was time for the grand finale.
She levitated the now moaning woman and left the bedroom, leaving the man where he lay, turning the once white carpet a gorgeous crimson. She almost wished she had a camera, to capture the slow spread of blood. She'd have to remember for the future how much fun carpet was.
She entered the nursery down the hallway, casually sticking the woman to the wall. Then she threw up another silencing spell. No need to alert the authorities yet, she didn't want to rush.
Oh, no, she wanted the muggle woman to watch as the mudblood brat died slowly and painfully.
"HERMIONE! RUN!" The woman screamed as it registered on her pain-filled mind what was about to happen.
Bellatrix cackled, "You think your brat can run? From me?! Stupid bitch."
The mudblood couldn't run, but it did wake up. Bellatrix laughed as the brat shook its head and stood up in its crib, looking in confusion at the two women in the nursery.
Bellatrix laughed and then turned to cast another cruciatus curse on the woman. It would be so much better if the brat knew what was coming.
The woman screamed, her whole body locking up as she jerked in pain. The brat's jaw dropped and then it cried out, "NO!"
Bellatrix ignored it for a moment, letting the torture continue until the woman was barely conscious.
Then she turned her wand on the brat.
The young screams were like music to her ears. They were so well in tune with the mother's. Bellatrix stopped herself before she let it go on too long. She wanted the brat conscious when she started the cutting.
She pulled out her personal knife and slipped her wand in the front of her robes. The mother continued to scream as Bellatrix held the knife aloft and approached the crib. She grabbed the brat by its hair and yanked it out of the crib, watching its face twist with pain. She threw it on the floor, watching as it rolled and bounced until it was at its mother's feet.
Bellatrix threw back her head and cackled, then hurled herself on the baby and began her carving work. When she was finished everyone would know why the brat had died. After all, thou shalt not suffer a mudblood to live.
She had finished the arms and legs and was about to begin on the face when her Mark began to burn. Bellatrix hissed in pain and jerked up. She yanked her sleeve up and stared in shock as her Mark began to flicker and waver before slowly beginning to fade.
Jerking away from the brat she dropped the knife and yanked out her wand. It was time to go. Her lord needed her. Something was wrong.
She pointed her wand at the ceiling and cast the Dark Mark. Then she looked at the barely conscious woman and smiled.
"Time to die."
She raised her wand.
Bellatrix twisted one thin eyebrow up as she glanced down at the brat. The mudblood was barely conscious, bleeding from cuts up and down its limbs, but there was something in its eyes…
She sneered, "No? You stupid little mudblood. No one tells Bellatrix no. Besides, you're next."
She raised her wand again, ignoring the brat.
Then pain struck her thigh, causing her to drop her wand and howl in pain. She glanced down and saw her knife clutched in the two-year olds small hands, the point digging into her thigh, just above the knee.
"NO!" the brat screamed again. A fire was burning bright in its brown eyes.
Bellatrix reached down and grabbed the brat's wrists in one hand and yanked the knife out of her thigh with the other.
"Alright then," she hissed, "you can be first."
She raised the knife up, the muggle woman screamed, "Hermione!" and then plunged it down, only to be stopped. It was as if an invisible hand had grabbed her wrist, stopping it from descending. She screamed once again in frustration and yanked her hand up, trying to jab it down again. Once again she was stopped. She saw red and yanked her hand up higher. Again and again she swung, screaming the entire time.
How DARE that mudblood stop her!
HOW DARE IT!
Sirius Black yawned and turned his motorcycle, letting it drift through a cloud. He hated these late night patrols, they so rarely led to results. Only good thing about tonight was that he would finish up over Godric's Hollow. He'd be able to stop in and have breakfast with James and Lily. Maybe even catch a nap in front of the fire with little Harry.
That thought made him smile, curling up in dog form with Harry was a great way to sleep. He glanced down at this watch as he emerged from the cloud. Just an hour until sunrise, he'd be in Godric's Hollow in thirty minutes if-
He glanced up and cursed, all thoughts of James and his family flying from his mind.
The Dark Mark had appeared directly in front of him, over a rather ordinary looking muggle home.
He aimed his bike at the ground and whipped out his wand to send a quick patronus back to headquarters. Looked like his nap would have to wait, hopefully he wasn't too late.
His bike had just hit the ground when he was off of it and running into the house. He didn't hear a thing, but that meant nothing. There could be silencing charm up.
He raised his wand and began to slowly move through the house. When he reached the master bedroom he had to stop himself from being sick. The man on the carpeted floor was in pieces, a look of agony on his face, just barely visible under all the bloody cuts.
Sirius knew who had done this. Only one death eater took this much pleasure and time when killing muggles. He ducked back out of the doorway and continued down the hallway. He reached a half open door and as soon as he reached out to push it open he heard the screams.
Screams of rage were echoed by screams of pure terror, and, underneath all of the screaming he thought he heard a young voice chanting, "No," over and over again.
There was a child in there.
Every nerve in his body screamed at him to go rushing in, but he couldn't do that. His cousin was in there, and she was almost as dangerous as Voldemort himself.
Cautiously, he pushed the door open a little farther, just enough for him to see the scene before him.
An unknown woman, likely the wife of the man he'd found, was stuck to the wall. She was covered in blood and she was screaming, a mindless terror in her eyes as they remained fixed at the floor below her.
On the floor…
A child, maybe a year older than little Harry, lay bleeding from numerous small cuts on their limbs, his cousin poised over the child, a silver knife glinting in her hand. As he watched she raised it and drove it down, only to be stopped by an invisible force. She let out a howl of frustration and raised her arm again. The look on the small child's face was one of defiance and pure hatred, but Sirius could see the weariness there, under it all. The child wouldn't hold out much longer. He glanced around, and saw his cousin's wand lying on the ground next to her.
Sirius turned off his brain, he had to act, fast.
A child's life depended on it.
"Accio Bellatrix's Wand!" Sirius shouted, shoving the door open and catching the wand in his left hand as it flew towards him.
Bellatrix whipped around, her cold eyes locking on his face. Sirius couldn't help himself, he shivered with a touch of fear. There wasn't an ounce of sanity left in her eyes. And what was left behind…
"YOU!" She screeched, leaping off the floor and diving at him, knife raised.
Sirius raised his wand, but he was too slow, still in shock over what his cousin had turned into. And then she was on him, the knife descending for his face. He dropped the two wands he was holding and just barely managed to catch her wrist. Stopping the knife a mere inch from his eye.
"Just die!" she said, twisting, trying to free her arm from his grasp. Her other hand came around, her fingers scrambling at his, her long nails scratching his skin, making blood well up, coating his hands in red.
Sirius bucked his hips and tried to get her off him, but all he succeeded in doing was rolling them across the floor. It was pure luck that had her knee impacting his hip and not somewhere more delicate as they fought for control over the knife. Sirius' breathing was coming fast, his only thoughts for the moment were on survival. He'd even forgotten about the small child and the woman pinned to the wall.
Luckily the child hadn't forgotten them.
The shout, in such a young determined voice, caused Sirius and his cousin to whip their heads around. The knife was currently resting against Sirius' throat, Bellatrix had both hands on it, trying to drive the point in. It was taking all of his strength to keep the point from drawing blood.
The sight before him almost made him drop his arms.
The child, a girl if he wasn't mistaken, was holding both of the dropped wands, one in each small hand. They were aimed directly at Bellatrix. As he watched the girl raised the wands up and begin swinging them at the woman, her small mouth opened up, as if to say something.
Sirius heard Bellatrix let out a hiss and then tense up, as if to leap at the child. Sirius tried to twist, to move her away from the little girl, but he wasn't fast enough. The little girl yelled something and then Bellatrix was flying off of him. She rose up and then slammed into the wall, making the entire house shudder and pictures fall from the wall. Sirius watched in shock before he felt something being pushed into his hand. He looked over to see the girl extending his wand towards him. Something unreadable in her eyes.
Quickly he took his wand and got his cousin stunned and tied up. The little girl calmly watched him as he did this. As soon as he was certain that Bellatrix was secure he unpinned the woman from the wall. The little girl was beside her in an instant.
The woman's eyelids slowly opened. He watched as her eyes took a moment to focus on the girl.
"Hermione," she said in barely a whisper.
Sirius immediately began running a diagnostic spell, but he didn't have much hope. His healing skills were minimal and he could tell she was much too injured to move. But he couldn't just leave to go get help, what if another Death Eater came?
Merlin's Balls! Where was the rest of the Order?!
"Mama!" the girl sobbed, throwing herself on her mother's chest.
The woman winced, but carefully, and with great effort, brought her unbroken arm up to stroke her daughter's hair. She continued to stroke her daughter's head as the girl sobbed, but her eyes moved away, until they focused on Sirius.
"You-you saved her."
"I'm sorry I didn't come faster."
She closed her eyes for a moment and took a deep breath.
"You have-have magic. Like her," her eyes flickered to the trussed up Bellatrix.
"Yes, I'm a wizard. I think your daughter is a witch. She did magic."
A ghost of a smile appeared on her face as she continued to stroke Hermione's hair. "We always knew she was special."
The girl, Hermione, grew quieter, her sobs coming further and further apart as they spoke. Sirius knew she must've passed out from exhaustion. She'd done a lot of magic for one so young. And she'd been tortured. He ran a quick diagnostic on the girl, but found no internal injuries. Just all the cuts on her limbs.
"I-I have a favor to ask."
Sirius raised his eyes and met the deep brown ones of the dying woman's.
"Raise my daughter. We-we have no family. She has no one. I don't know you," she closed her eyes and Sirius watched as a tear trickled out, creating a clean trail amid all the blood. "But you saved her. Is there some way to…"
Her voice drifted off, and Sirius could tell that it was taking all of her remaining strength to talk to him. He could guess what she was going to ask though.
"Is there some way for you to make me her guardian? Like a magical way? So no one can contest it?"
She nodded, just a fraction of an inch, and Sirius felt all the air rush out of his lungs. If he did this…
He looked over at his unconscious cousin, and then down at the exhausted little girl, lying on her dying mother's chest. He had to fight the urge to laugh hysterically. He thought the night would end with him curled up with Harry in front of the fire. Instead he was going to get himself a daughter. Make a muggleborn his daughter, and in such a way that no one could deny she was his. And he'd use a Black family ritual to do it.
His parents would be furious.
But that wasn't important.
Gently, he reached over and ran a finger over the small girl's face. Emotion swelled up inside of him and he felt a tear trickle down his own cheek.
"Yes, there's a way. And I'd be honored to raise and protect your daughter. She'll know nothing but love in my home and among my friends."
She smiled faintly, "Good."
He nodded, "Now, let me show you what we need to do."
Hermione's birth mother, Gertrude Granger, died a few minutes after the ritual was completed. Sirius held his new daughter in his arms as she cried the few tears she had left. He was still sitting there, rocking her gently, when Moody and the Prewett brothers arrived.
"Sirius Black! Put your hands where we can see them!" Gideon shouted, his wand pointed straight at Sirius.
Sirius' eyes widened in shock, "Gideon! What on earth?"
"You know what," Moody growled.
Sirius felt Hermione shiver with fear and clutch his robes tighter.
"No. I'm afraid I don't Moody. All I know is I was flying patrol, almost ran into a bloody Dark Mark, and then came inside to find my bloodsucking cousin trying to murder a little girl! And that was at least three hours ago! Where the hell have you been! I sent a patronus!"
"Hmph, that does appear to be Bellatrix Lestrange trussed up like a Christmas goose over there," Fabian commented.
Sirius was pleased to see that at least Fabian's wand wasn't pointed threateningly at him. It was instead focused on Bellatrix.
"And the, uh, mess in the other room is hours old. Say, what's that in your arms Sirius?" Gideon asked.
"Likely a weapon, drop it Black," Moody said.
Sirius began to rub Hermione's back in small circles as she began to tremble in fear. He knew she could feel all the wands pointed at them.
"She's a who, not a what, Gideon. And Moody, if you don't stop pointing that wand at my daughter I will personally make sure you can't ever hold a wand again," Sirius growled, letting some of his animagius form come out in his voice.
Moody stared at him for a moment. Sirius could see him weighing all sorts of things, finally he lowered his wand and stomped over, "You really don't know, do you?" he said as he scooped up Bellatrix's wand from the floor.
"Know what?" Sirius asked.
Gideon let out a small sigh and lowered his own wand. "The Potters were attacked last night. James and Lily are dead."
All the blood in Sirius' veins turned to ice water and then, just as quickly, his entire body was on fire as he saw red. He was on his feet, his wand in his hand and Hermione resting against his shoulder.
"I'll kill him! That little RAT! I'll-"
"Kill who? You-Know-Who? Too late for that. Harry killed him somehow. Even Dumbledore doesn't know how."
Sirius froze and looked over at Fabian, "Harry's alive?"
Fabian nodded, "So, you see, you don't need to go kill You-Know-Who."
"That wasn't who I was going to kill."
All three of the wizards frowned at him, "Then who were you going to kill?" Gideon asked.
"Peter Pettigrew. He was the Secret Keeper. I was supposed to be, but we switched, because I'm so obvious."
Moody snorted, "You would be obvious."
"But you can't go after Pettigrew," Fabian said. "You just said you have a daughter," he waved at Hermione, "and I'm sure that's a long story, but now you also have Harry to worry about. Let us go after Pettigrew. He doesn't know that we know he's a traitor."
"Mind if I verify your story, Black?" Moody asked.
"Sure, you must have veritaserum on you. Constant vigilance after all."
It took only a few minutes for Moody to confirm Sirius' story. By the time the veritaserum wore off Moody was grinning. Making the other three men in the room shiver in fear. Sirius never, ever wanted to see Moody grin like that ever again.
"I love a good traitor hunt. Now, let's get some more aurors in here and get the scene processed. Then you can go track down Harry, I'm sure Albus has him in a safe place, and we can go track down our rat of a traitor."
And so Sirius Black spent the next hour holding Hermione Black in his arms, answering questions, and trying to wrap his brain around in just how many ways his world had changed in the last few hours – in the good and the bad.
Author's Note: Got the idea for this fic about two years ago or so. I then wrote the beginning of this chapter. But 'Times of Trouble' wasn't finished and enough people had followed that fic that I didn't want to delete or abandon it, despite how I'd come to dislike it (for various reasons). Because of this I wouldn't let myself post 'The Brightest Black' until 'Times of Trouble' was finished. But that's all good. So, here's 'The Brightest Black'. Chapters will be posted about a week apart. Malfoy doesn't show up until chapter 3, and even then the romance won't start until much later, though I'll be laying the groundwork for it before that. A lot like my Ouran fic, 'Crossroads' in terms of romance pacing. Though this fic will definitely be a LOT darker than any of my other works.