We Will Wait
By Lady Lestrange
Disclaimer: The Harry Potter characters and previous situations belong to JK Rowlings. No infringement is meant or implied. No money is made from this Fanfic. THANKS JK.
(A/N: I've written another story on fanfic, entitled HARRY POTTER AND THE SEERS' TRUTH (HPatST). WE WILL WAIT was background for me to understand Lady Lestrange. Since I wrote HPatST BEFORE OotP, I named Lady Lestrange, Valeriana and her husband Desmond. She was written before Bellatrix was published and I can't change her name in HPatST. For those of you who are reading or have read HPatST, and are confused by the name change Valeriana and Bellatrix are the same person as Desmond and Rodolphus are the same person. Her twins, of course, are Ethan and Edward, key characters in HPatST. All other reference are as cannon as I could make them.—Lady Lestrange.)
Bellatrix Lestrange scratched another mark in the tally on the wall of her cell. She crossed the tallies at seven instead of five so that she could more easily count the weeks. She didn't know why she did that actually. It wasn't like she had anything else to do but count the tallies. She could have counted them over and over again in the years that she'd been here—in fact, she did. Some days she decorated with wiggling lines over them. Sometimes she pretended they were snakes. His snake-- She could almost close her eyes and hear them. Snakes for the special days. But what days were special in Azkaban? The anniversary of her imprisonment, the solstices and equinoxes, All Hallows Eve, Candlemas, the birthday of her Dark Lord, the birthday of her twin sons.
She had been in Azkaban for twenty-five weeks and one day when her twin sons were born. She never held them. A flash of dark hair and they were gone from her, forever out of her reach. "We will be rewarded. We alone were faithful. We will wait!" She had said it, but it was almost too much to bear. It had been nearly six months and her sister, Narcissa and her husband Lucius had not found the Dark Lord and restored him to his former power.
Bellatrix Lestrange put her head in her hands and wept. She wondered if they even told her husband that the twin boys were born. She never saw him—never spoke to him. She didn't even know if he was alive or dead. It was not like their marriage was a love match. He was chosen for her, like so many Slytherin marriages, it was an arrangement of good family and money and blood. They were not in love, but they were content. Their goals were similar. She did not want to see him dead. Bellatrix pulled herself to her feet and began to pace her cell. She would not crawl to the Dark Lord when he came for her. She would walk proud, like a Black.
Oh, yes, she had been proud that day in the courtroom. She had known that she was already tried and convicted before the trial even started. What use was it to whine and wail? None. She would not stoop to that level. She was a Black. She remembered Barty Crouch screaming and crying like a baby. Well, truthfully, he was hardly more than a child. She felt sorry for him. His father had no idea of family and loyalty. To allow his own son to be sentenced to this hell was an atrocity. That man did not deserve to breathe the same air as Barty. If she had had a wand, she would have killed him on the spot—no crucioed him into oblivion like the Longbottoms. Oh, there was a pleasant memory. She chucked, and suddenly realized that her cell was colder than usual. The demon dementers were lurking. "Go away!" she screamed at them. "I have no soul."
They hovered for a moment more and then disappeared like the wraiths they were. They seemed to believe her. She never held a good thought in her mind for longer than a moment. She prided herself on her ability to shut out everything that was ever good in her life. It was how she survived. She continued pacing.
It wasn't difficult to forget all the good things. Azkaban was set in the middle of the ocean, but the water elemental was absent from it. There was no magic on Azkaban. Contact with the Elementals was impossible. This was the kind of land the muggles created. This was the devastation they were condemning the wizarding world to. She held on to that thought now, like a mantra. She held on to her anger. If only every witch and wizard were subjected to a few moments of time on Azkaban, they would understand why the muggles had to die. They would understand, and there would be no war. They would be in agreement, but the Ministry wouldn't listen. Muggle lovers like Dumbledore wouldn't listen. Damn him. She wanted him dead.
That was a reason to take the next breath, but when she had first set foot on the rock, she thought she was the one who had died. She wanted to die. She couldn't breathe. She couldn't see. A roaring in her ears caused her to stumble and fall against the dementer than held her. It was worse than a thousand crucios. It was vast and void. It was completely empty of magic. It was hell.
"Many pass out when they come to our island," said Rookwood. "The shock of no magic at all is too much for them. By the time they recover, the dementers have had their way with them and they are never the same."
Bellatrix Lestrange scratched another mark in the tally on the wall of her cell. She had been in Azkaban one week and six days, when Rookwood, the miserable worm, came to her to gloat, but Bellatrix did not consider his news bad.
"Your cousin Sirius Black came in today screaming and crying," he told her. "He was transferred from the south tower." Rookwood sneered. "Maybe he didn't like the view."
"My cousin? Sirius?" Was there hope for him after all? She wondered if it was possible he turned to the Dark Lord. That meant they had found the Dark Lord. When? When had this happened? Her tallies had no way of telling her, but hope blossomed in her. Within seconds, the place was swarming with dementers.
Rookwood said the incantation that called them back to Pandora's Box, and for a while, the wraiths were gone.
Bellatrix couldn't get over the thought. My cousin. My cousin Sirius is here in Azkaban? Why? She was not meant to know. She heard nothing of Sirius for months.
As the time came for her twins to be born, she thought less and less about her cousin. She only thought of her babies and held the hope that her Dark Lord would come for them before the babies were born.
"My babies," she whispered. "What will this do to my babies? They can't be born here, in this place, devoid of magic."
The dementers didn't care, and she saw no other witches or wizards until she was in labor—That was twelve years ago, today. Bellatrix Lestrange scratched another mark in the tally on the wall of her cell and became familiar with Rookwood, the worm. Very familiar.
Her mother had brought the children to visit her six times. When they were very young, they seemed not to mind the absence of magic, but by the time they were four, Bellatrix could see their distress. They were afraid. "Teach them, mother. Teach them to be afraid of nothing," she had said. "And mother—Don't bring them here again. I'll see them next at the Dark Lord's side. I can wait."
Carman had nodded her agreement, and took her dark angels away.
Bellatrix Lestrange scratched another mark in the tally on the wall of her cell. She went through her ritual of walking around and across her cell. Step. Step. Step. Each step took her closer to freedom. She practiced every spell she could think of—every one. She was longing for freedom—for a breath of fresh air, the kind that was filled with the air elemental, not this void. Even a window would be pleasant, but there was no window for Bellatrix Lestrange. She was not worthy, so she looked out of her cell into the dirty corridor.
Something was moving—a black shadow. At first she thought it was a dementer and cringed, steeling herself against the frigid emptiness, but it was no dementer. It was a black dog. He walked on silent feet past her cell. He did not look at her, did not acknowledge her.
"Sirius," she whispered, snaking her fingers through the bars to touch his fur. "Remember me." Several of his black dog hairs stuck to her fingers as he walked on. For a long time, she held the hairs wondering if he would help her. If Sirius had indeed turned to the Dark Lord, then the twelve years passing told her that the Dark Lord was vanquished yet again while she waited in this prison. If Sirius was innocent of his crimes, then he was still on the side of Dumbledore. Would he even remember her if he came to freedom?
She clutched the hairs and wished him success. He would remember her. She was family.
Bellatrix Lestrange scratched another mark in the tally on the wall of her cell. She stood in the center of her cell and closed her eyes, remembering the dizzying feeling of apparition. She kept her eyes closed imagining being home with her boys. She imagined being summoned to Him--going to him--kissing his robes.
She was standing with her eyes closed when she heard Rookwood.
"Bellatrix? Bella, my beautiful—"He chuckled. "Not beautiful anymore." She kept her eyes closed, still imagining her Dark Lord, but it was not him who spoke. It was Rookwood, the worm. "I've brought you a gift."
She opened her eyes. Rookwood's gifts were never without cost. He held out a bar of soap. It was sweet smelling as some sort of flowers—Hyacinth, she decided. Over the years, Rookwood had brought her many gifts—clean robes, soaps and toothpaste, a brush, warm socks—and all of them she had paid for—paid dearly.
She reached for the soap.
"Not so fast," he said snatching it out of her grasp. "You are no longer the queen of Dark Magic. Your Lord is dead and gone, and you will rot here until you die. I control every good thing you have. Say it!"
"You are my lord," she said listlessly. "I am not a queen of anything. I am nothing but a house elf—"
"Ah—you are half dead. Perhaps I should find another to give the soap to—"
"That's it. Beg," he demanded.
And she did beg, thinking all the while that if the Dark Lord ever came for her, the first thing she was going to do was get even with this worm. She fantasized about which crucio she would use—how many—until she finally allowed the spell its free rein and then he would die—slowly—painfully.
Bellatrix Lestrange scratched another mark in the tally on the wall of her cell. She was quite sure that today was May 4, Ethan and Edward's birthday. They would be thirteen. It was a magical year. For a moment she was hit with such an intense longing that she nearly sobbed aloud. She had never held them to her breast. She had never cuddled them or taught them their first spells. She never saw them ride a broomstick or dabble in wandless magic. She had missed their entire childhood, and now they were young men.
Thirteen. The age of her own awakening. She wondered what new magic would appear for them, now that they were adolescents. As she thought of it, she had a moment of panic. She couldn't remember what it felt like—magic. It had been so long since she held magic in her hands and felt its power. So terribly long.
She put her face in her hands and sobbed. No one was here to see her. It was OK if she broke down just for a moment. She was nothing but a mass of pain and sadness. She was an animal. No. No she wasn't. She was Bellatrix Lestrange. She was a witch. She was a woman of power. She threw her head back and howled, an animal cry for an animal in a cage. "We will wait," she screamed. "WE WILL WAIT!" and someone down the row began to bang on the cell. Bang. Bang. Bang. The rhythmic pulses touched some cord in her as she remembered the spells—Bang. Bang. Bang. Knocking down a muggle's door. She remembered the screams. They were so alive the miserable little monsters—stealing our magic. Crucio! Crucio! Crucio!
Of course, the spell didn't work here in this hellhole--this place of desolation, but she needed the spell to work. She needed the magic with every fiber of her being, and he wasn't coming. He wasn't coming for them. He had forgotten them. They were faithful, but He had forgotten them all. Despair sank into her soul.
Crucio, she muttered into her hands, and then she brought her teeth together on the flesh between her thumb and forefinger. As she gritted her teeth—they had to meet—She forced them together through her flesh. She muttered Crucio! And tasted blood.
Yes, she was still alive. Still waiting. Still Bellatrix Lestrange.
After a moment, her hand was numb, the pain dissipating. She pulled her teeth apart and bit again, grinding her teeth together to feel the pain and then she knew that she was alive.
"I will wait," she muttered. "I know, I shouldn't have doubted you, my Lord. I will stop my doubting. I will—It is so hard to wait—I can't. I'm weak," She sobbed, and sunk her teeth viscously into the flesh of her hand.
"Crucio!"she muttered. Bellatrix hands were as scared and furrowed as the Dark Lord's from her self-inflicted wounds. Her body was scarred, but her mind was still sharp. She abhorred the weakness of her cellmates who whined and cried for pity when there was none. She would remain strong. She would remain faithful. She would be ready when he called her.
She got up and began pacing her cell—five steps across, four steps wide, seven steps diagonally. Seven was a good number—the number of completion. She would complete this task. Back and forth. Back and forth. As she paced, she mentally tallied off the spells her sons should know by now; she listed the ingredients in polyjuice potion, and veraxis and veritaserium. She struggled to remember the differing markings of various adders. She used to know that. It was imperative that she remember. At last it came to her, but she wasn't sure. She fretted over it endlessly. She had to be sure—almost sure. She listed the enchantments to make a portkey if it activated on touch and if it activated at a certain time and if it activated by a certain event.
She had finished her daily ritual of pacing and listing earlier that day. She brushed her filthy hair and spent another hour picking lice out of it. She cracked each of them beneath her dirty fingernails, saying crucio, and remembering how she had practiced that spell on bugs with Carman, her mother. She had been ten. "You must know this before you go to Hogwarts," Carman had insisted. "You will be sorted into Slytherin and you must be able to fight for your place in the heirarchy."
"Crucio!"she said crushing another louse.
A sudden searing pain in her arm took her by surprise. She almost didn't recognize it. The feeling was so foreign in this place of non-magic. It was Magic. It was her Dark Mark, burning black. It was His magic inside of her—His Mark, sent by Barty Crouch. Barty Crouch! How could that be? How did he escape and she was still rotting here? How? How? How? Then, suddenly it didn't matter. It only mattered that his people were moving again. His Death Eaters were gathering. He would rise, and she would be waiting.
She longed to apparate to the Mark, but she was denied that pleasure. Instead, she began to bang on the cell doors. "He will rise!" she yelled, feeling the swell of hope within her. "He will rise!"
Others took up the call, and suddenly, the place was swarming with dementers.
"Shut up!" sneered Rookwood, and she looked at him aghast. "You felt his Mark burn!" she said "and you still turn the dementers on us? Traitor!"
"It wasn't Him," shouted Rookwood. "It was Barmy Barty. The Dark Lord is dead. He is not coming back. It was in the prophecy—a babe shall lay him low. Have you seen your Mark before now?"
"No," she whispered, hope dying as the dementers swarmed. She felt their cold mouths—sucking--sucking—Once she would have screamed for Rookwood to put them back in their box, but now, she already felt empty. How could they suck anything from her? There was nothing left.
Bellatrix Lestrange scratched another mark in the tally on the wall of her cell. She pushed the tattered remains of her robes' sleeve out of her way as she marked the tally. Something on her skin caught her eye. It was her Dark Mark. She could make out the outline of the skull. Two weeks later, she could see the snake. Three weeks later, she could make out the individual scales on the snake's back. He was not dead. He would be back for them—for her. "I will wait," she muttered. "I must—"
Bellatrix Lestrange scratched another mark in the tally on the wall of her cell—tally after tally after tally and each day there was no news of Him. Each day she checked her Mark, looking for tale-tale signs of his life in it. She memorized every scale of the snake, every furrow of the skull. She traced its shape with her finger, a finger covered in filth. She must not be like this when He comes. She must be ready. Once she was beautiful, but now, gaunt, dirty, disillusioned, she was no longer beautiful. She stood and began to pace. She may not be able to attain beauty, but at least she would not be covered with filth. She had made up her mind. She had a plan.
When next she saw Rookwood, she begged him for water, for soap, for clean robes—"You are the only reason this place is bearable—" She made herself say the word—the word that was reserved only for her Dark Lord—"You are the only reason this place is bearable---Master."
He smiled at her.
"You were right," she said. "It's been months since Barty Crouch sent the Dark Mark. Our Dark Lord--He's not coming back, is He?"
"I don't know," said Rookwood eyeing the shadowy form of his own Dark Mark. "The Mark's been getting darker and darker—Still—" He shrugged. "I guess I might be able to find some soap—"
Nearly nine months later, Bellatrix marked off another tally, June twenty –third. Her hands were as clean as she could get them. Her hair was combed. It was evening. The day was almost finished when the Mark burned. This time, she knew, it was He. She felt his magic. She felt his power. It hurt, but the pain was welcomed. It was a good sort of pain—the pain of belonging—the pain of at last finding him. She didn't want it to end. It was hope. It was freedom. It was ecstasy. He was alive.
She sucked in her breath, laying her right hand against the Mark, letting the heat burn into her right hand as well as her left arm. She wanted to hold on to it—to keep it. She wanted desperately to hold the magic inside of herself, but too soon it was fading. She put her mouth against the Mark and sucked gently, tasting the hot, Dark Magic. Soon, she crooned to herself. Soon. Soon. And when it was completely gone, the pain only a memory, she stood and began banging on her cell. "The Dark Lord is risen!" she screamed. "He is calling the faithful! He will come for us! Who has felt his power?"
The chant echoed through the cells as others picked up the chant.
There were no dementers this day, coming to suck away their hope. Rookwood kept them in their box. Rookwood himself did not venture into the cell area until much later and Bellatrix knew why. He was afraid.
"My sons," she thought as she rocked herself on the cold, stone floor. "My sons have done this. They have succeeded where others have failed. They are thirteen. Young men. Powerful wizards. She knew it was so even though she never saw them do magic. She closed her eyes and remembered their curly dark hair so like her own. Edward, a little smaller than Ethan, but both tiny dark angels at age four, when she last saw them—nine years ago. She wondered if their own Dark Marks burned on their arms. How did they take the pain? Did they understand how important it was to suffer for a cause greater than yourself? Did they understand the Mark linked them to that very cause?
It was hard to imagine how they had grown. Would they wear their hair long or short? Would they both still have her eyes—eyes that gave away nothing? Would they be tall like their father? She thought briefly of Rodolphus and realized that she couldn't remember his face. She could only remember that he was tall and had long, steady fingers, like the Dark Lord's. Why could she not remember his face? She could remember the face of the Dark Lord—and more than that—she could remember his magic. Soon she would see Him. Soon she would see her sons. She fingered the still sensitive tattoo, thinking of her sons—thinking of Him."
Bellatrix Lestrange scratched another mark in the tally on the wall of her cell. It was easier now that she knew he was alive. He would come. He had to come. She was faithful.
Bellatrix Lestrange scratched another mark in the tally on the wall of her cell, and another and another. Why did he not come? Didn't he know that Azkaban held those still faithful? Didn't he know they would still support him?
Bellatrix Lestrange scratched another mark in the tally on the wall of her cell. It was September 1. She paced with greater vigor. He must be coming soon. He would find her ready. The day was nearly over when her Dark Mark burned black. She cried out, holding her arm close, but not because of the pain. The pain was nothing. This was hope.
She felt His Magic burning stronger than ever—hot and ferocious—and the Mark sent by—she cradled her arm like a newborn child. The Mark was sent by her eldest son—yes! Oh yes! Tears coursed down her face, and the dementers swarmed upon her, feeding upon her hope, but even they could not take it away from her.
For more about this Bellatrix Lestrange, and her sons, read HARRY POTTER AND THE SEERS' TRUTH ?storyid=1130559