Queen of Pain

Author: Kali (thirty2flavors)
Genre: General
Rating: PG, just to be on the safe side.
Disclaimer: The characters aren't mine they're Rowling's. As a sidenote, some of you might recognize the name Snaffleburger. That isn't mine, either. I suggest gooogle-searching it, if it doesn't ring a bell. I would post a link, but FF doesn't like links. Yeaaah... Snaffleburger belongs to Mata. Wonderful creation. It seemed fitting, and it's sort of an inside joke. Oh dear if anyone has any qualms about me using the name (namely, someone associated with its originating website) feel free to drop me a line and I'll be sure to change it.
Summary: Responsible for her younger relatives' well-being, Bellatrix teaches Sirius a brief lesson in life that leaves its mark.
Notes: I love the Blacks. All of them.They're fascinating. Originally, I was meaning to include Narcissa, Andromeda and Regulus in this one too, but it just didn't work out that way. I do hope to include something with all of them interacting, eventually, but we'll see if that ever happens. Heh.

The title Queen of Paincomes from a most wonderful song by a most wonderful band, Alkaline Trio. I gave this peice that title because it seemed perfect for describing Bellatrix. It may change, should inspiration strike me at a later date, but for now it stays.

If Sirius seems a little off, I'm going to pull the excuse that it's because he's eight. Besides that, I was hoping it would reflect the impact that what she tells him ends up having on his life in general. The ages in this fic, if anyone's a little curious: Bellatrix is nearly fourteen, putting her in third or forth year at Hogwarts; Andromeda is just turning eleven, and just entering her first year; Narcissa I place as either eight or nine, a little older than Sirius, in any case; Sirius is eight; Regulus would be probably five or six.

And bonus points to anyone who can correctly guess Sirius' mum's full name. )

Read, review, enjoy!

If he continues staring at me like that without saying anything, I am going to rip every single hair from his stupid little eight-year-old head and line his coffin with them.

Her eyes lifted from the page she was scanning over (The Snaffleburger Guide to Dark Spells Every Worthwhile Wizard Should Know – she'd nicked it from her Aunt's library) and stared at the boy that she was supposed to be watching. Her mother and her Aunt had gone to get Andromeda supplies for her first year of Hogwarts and Bellatrix, lucky eldest that she was, was responsible for watching Narcissa, Sirius and Regulus.

Ugh. That, she decided, was the problem with being the first born. She was the first… everything, really – the first female Black in three generations, the first child, the first grandchild, the first great-grandchild…

And this was her reward. Almost fourteen years old and she was trapped inside, looking after incompetent kids who weren't even in the double-digits.

"Are you going to ask me something or are you going to stand there with your mouth hanging open all day?" she snapped, shoving a long strand of inky black hair behind her ear.

The boy shifted a bit. Bellatrix was well aware he wasn't particularly comfortable around her – even to an invincible eight year old, she tended to seem frightening – and the thought was rewarding. Good. It affirmed her position at the top of the food-chain.

He wasn't, however, about to turn around now. However uncomfortable he sometimes seemed, Sirius never backed down to her – something that couldn't be said for Narcissa, Regulus, or even Andromeda. Taking a seat on the arm of the chair across from her, he frowned a bit, eyeing the book she had in her hands. "You shouldn't be reading that. Regulus and I aren't allowed to take books from Mum and Dad's library."

Bellatrix's eyes narrowed. "Well I'm not Regulus or you, am I?"

He shrugged.

Growling low in her throat, she tapped her fingers on the spine of the book. "So? Why are you here? What do you want?"

"I'm hungry, Bella."

An impatient sigh parted her lips. "So? What in Merlin's name do you want me to do about it?"

"…Can't you get me something?"

"What do I look like, Sirius, a house-elf? Get it yourself, you insolent brat." Problem solved, she looked back at the book.

"I can't reach the cupboards and—"

"Get Kreacher to do it," she hissed through gritted teeth, not in the mood to be catering to his every whim.

"He went with Mum," came the simple reply.

Growling, Bellatrix memorized the page number, snapped the book shut, and stood up. "Oh really, are you that pathetic? By eight years old I was making gourmet meals." She sent a pointed stare at the boy, who swallowed, and when she stalked out of the room, Sirius trailed after her.

That was a lie, but he never had to know.

Sweeping into the kitchen, she cast a quick gaze around. Something that would appease an eight-year-old for the time being… Her eyes caught something and she arched an eyebrow. "Oh, for Salazar's sake, Sirius, there are cookies on the counter. You can reach those."

Sirius looked over at the cookies, expression lightening, before he hesitated, glancing back at her. "Mum told me not to eat any of those," he informed her, accentuating it with a little nod.

Bellatrix rolled her eyes. "Mum told me not to eat any of those," she repeated mockingly, a smirk curling onto her lips. She took a step toward the countertop where the cookies lay. "Do you want a cookie?"


Well, at least he was truthful.

"Then take one," Bellatrix instructed simply, gesturing.

Sirius' gaze shifted from her finger to the cookies on the counter, calculating. "…But—"

"Take one," she reaffirmed.

"I'm not supposed to," the boy said again, although he moved toward the counter. "Mum'll be mad."

In purposeful strides Bellatrix strode all the way to the counter and sat, heaving herself up next to the cookie tray. "Oh, Sirius, do I have to teach you everything important about life?"

He stared at her blankly.

She decided to elaborate.

"If you want something," she said, reaching over and taking a cookie from the meticulously formed pile, "you go for it." She took a bite from the cookie, swallowed, and stared him in the eye. "Regardless of what Mum or Dad or anyone says. Do not let people keep you from what you want. If you let someone dictate what you can and cannot do, what you can and cannot have, you let them control you. We do not let people control us, Sirius. We are Blacks; we are independent. We do what we want, when we want, how we want it." She slid from the counter and took another bite of the cookie, licking her lips and looking at him. "Do you understand?"

Sirius nodded, moving forward across the kitchen and reaching over to take a cookie. "Ahuh," he said, eyeing the cookie before looking back over at Bellatrix to repeat the lesson learned, "do what you want, not what other people want."

"Good," she responded, finishing off her cookie and licking the melted chocolate from her fingers. Heading for the door, she shrugged. "Go harass your brother or something. I'm going to go read."

The boy's gaze jerked from the cookie he was shoving into his mouth and he swallowed hastily. "Bella!"

What now, you little twerp? Spinning on her heel, she stared at him. "Yes?"

The other half of the cookie disappeared into his mouth and he sprinted to her side. "What do I tell Mum?"

Bellatrix considered for a second. "I doubt she'll notice," she surmised with a shrug. "I won't tell her about that if you don't tell her about the book. Okay?"

The chocolate was smeared across his face and, like most eight-year-olds, she doubted he would realize it. He'd run upstairs to bother Regulus or, more likely, try and convince Narcissa to come out of her room (she wouldn't), and by the time the mothers returned home, Auntie Cassie was sure to notice the brown smudge on his face. He'd receive a stern (that was an understatement) lecture, Bellatrix would claim she hadn't noticed in time to stop him, and Snaffleburger's Guide would be entirely forgotten.

She smirked to herself as Sirius nodded and said, "Okay."

"Good." Two birds, one stone. "Now get out of my sight."

Sirius scooted past her and sprinted toward the stairs, full of the boundless energy eight-year-olds seemed to perpetually have. She watched him run and shook her head, silently vowing to never have children.

Loyal and trusting, the boy was an easy scapegoat.

"Thanks Bella!" he called to her as he darted up the stairs, stumbling once or twice but regaining his pace with little thought.

An unfamiliar feeling tugged at her stomach for a moment and before she was entirely sure what she was doing, she'd called after him. "Sirius!"

Skidding to a halt, he peered down over the banister at her. "Yeah?"

"Wash your face. You've got chocolate all over yourself, and your mother's bound to notice."

Wiping a hand across his mouth, the boy inspected his hand for a second before grinning. "Thanks, Bella!" he repeated before darting out of sight, presumably to wash away incriminating evidence.

Bellatrix shook her head, retreating toward the den and picking up the book she'd abandoned.

Brat, she thought simply, smiling faintly to herself as she picked up Snaffleburger's Guide and submersed herself once again.