Threesome at Spinner's End

Chapter 3: Bellatrix

Bellatrix

She thinks, Cissy was always Daddy's favourite, the youngest daughter, the blonde one, the sweet little feminine one, men have always wanted to protect her, first Daddy and then Lucius, she always runs to a man if there's a problem in her life, not like me, I can look after myself, and Rodolphus is useless, I'm the one who has to look after him. And now that Lucius is in Azkaban – serves him right, the fool! - Cissy's running to the traitor. She wonders, how does Cissy even know where he lives? She'd think there was something between them, but it's impossible, Cissy is hopelessly devoted to Lucius, it's practically Hufflepuff how loyal she is to her husband. Oh, Cissy was always the good girl, the princess, she'd started going out with Lucius when she was thirteen, she'd never looked at, never touched another man.

Her sister has rushed away from her, run ahead to knock on a door, so this is the house, how squalid it is, what a disgusting Muggle dump, he completely lacks proper wizarding pride, of course his family are nothing, nothing, wasn't his father some kind of penniless foreign refugee, Snape would be an Anglicisation of the name …

He opens the door, oh he's not pleased to see her is he? She waits, seething, while the courtesies are observed, the rat serves some wine and is banished to his room. Cissy starts to say something, so she breaks in, tells her to hold her tongue, particularly in present company. Her sister has told her that there's nothing she wouldn't do any more, and she's starting to believe her, after Cissy hexed her in the street, she'd never have thought Cissy would have the nerve. But she will not permit anyone, not even her own sister, to betray the Dark Lord.

Snape actually has the nerve to ask why she doesn't trust him, she's got a hundred reasons not to trust Snape! But when he asks her, does she really think he could fool the Dark Lord, she's a bit unnerved. The Dark Lord is the greatest wizard, the most accomplished Legilimens the world has ever seen, how could Snape lie to him undetected? And it's true, he did go to Hogwarts on the Dark Lord's orders, she's heard it from the Dark Lord himself, that's how he came to overhear the prophecy, the first part of it anyway.

She demands to know why he didn't try to find the Dark Lord after he vanished, but she's knows she's not on strong ground here, she was the only one who really tried … because she was the only one who knew about the Horcruxes, the only one who knew that the Dark Lord wasn't dead, couldn't die. And she would have found him, would have returned him to power, she would have been the servant who willingly give flesh to restore the Dark Lord to his body, but she was imprisoned in Azkaban, imprisoned for fourteen years … Snape is sneering about the sacrifices she's made, how dare he, he's Dumbledore's pet, he's the Muggle loving old fool's pet Death Eater!

Snape is mocking her, admitting that he did all he could to thwart Quirrell's attempt to take the Philosopher's Stone for the Dark Lord, but he's smooth, he can make it all sound so plausible … and he's got an answer for why he didn't return at once to the Dark Lord's side when he felt the Dark Mark burn, well of course she knows you can't Apparate or Disapparate from Hogswarts, but two hours, why did he delay for two hours unless he was cooking up some treachery with Dumbledore? The nerve of the man, he's saying that he returned on Dumbledore's orders, he's claiming to be a double agent, claiming that he gives valuable information to the Dark Lord! Well, she's never been privy to any of this information!

Snape's sneering at her, suggesting that she's not the Dark Lord's most loyal, most faithful servant - when the Dark Lord has entrusted her with the secrets of the Horcruxes, the secrets he has shared with no one else! But the Dark Lord is displeased with her now, and it's all Lucius' fault, what a blunderer he is, first the diary – and he wasn't punished enough for that – and now the bungle at the Ministry, Azkaban is too good for him. Now Snape is really putting the knife in, oh yes, they were only facing six teenagers – until half the Order and Dumbledore himself turned up. Dumbledore! The only obstacle between the Dark Lord and his rightful place as lord of the whole of the wizarding world, Dumbledore must die, the infuriating old fool.

Well, here's something Snape is going to find very hard to explain away, why hasn't he killed Potter? He has had Potter at his mercy, could have killed him at any time, what loyal Death Eater would not jump at the chance to kill the Boy Who Lived? He's spinning some story about being a fool to risk it, of course he thinks of nothing but his own skin, the coward. Oh, she would have loved to kill Potter in the Department of Mysteries, but she was busy with the blood traitor Sirius Black, she had to deal with him first …

Snape is saying something about Potter being a mediocre talent, well that is one thing on which they can agree, Potter's Cruciatus curse was pitiful, pitiful, if he had tried to cast the Killing Curse she doubted he would have been able to give her so much as a nose-bleed. And she knows that he hates the boy, Quirrell had seen it, and Draco has told her enough of what goes on at Hogwarts for her to believe it … now Snape is saying something really interesting, Dumbledore is growing old, he's sustained an injury … maybe that's why the Dark Lord has decided to use Draco to kill Dumbledore, and it's a clever plan, he won't expect an attack from within, from a student. She's silent for a moment, digesting the information.

Snape is asking her sister why she's come to him for help, Cissy starts crying, she always does that, it worked on Daddy, didn't it? Thank Merlin, Cissy is too scared to say anything, and Snape, for once, does the right thing – tells Cissy that the Dark Lord's word is law, tells her to shut up.

She breathes with relief but not for long, Snape is boasting now that he knows of the plan, that the Dark Lord has shared this secret with him, and now Cissy is snivelling and babbling away about her only son, she should be proud that the Dark Lord chooses to honour Draco so. It is true he is young, but she was only seventeen herself when she took the Dark Mark, and the boy is eager for the task, of course he is, Black blood runs in his veins, the blood of the Noble and Most Ancient House of Black, toujours pur.

Snape is saying that if Draco succeeds the Dark Lord will be honour him above all others. She mentally adds, above all others who didn't spend many years in Azkaban for him, he will never forget that sacrifice, the Dark Lord will never forget me.

Cissy is sobbing something, that the Dark Lord himself … how dare she! What is she suggesting, the Dark Lord is the greatest wizard in the world, there is nothing the Dark Lord cannot do!

Cissy is begging Snape to speak to the Dark Lord, to persuade him to change his mind, calling him the Dark Lord's favourite, his most trusted advisor, oh this is cruel, that Snape should have insinuated himself so far into the Dark Lord's favour, he isn't worthy, he's nothing compared to a Black, he's scum, look at how he lives, like a Muggle, in a Muggle slum. It's galling that she herself had a part to play in recruiting him, it was Lucius who recommended him, but she taught him the Killing Curse, and now he dares to try and take her place at the Dark Lord's right hand. The Dark Lord should have hexed Snape into a thousand greasy pieces, it's his fault that the Dark Lord fell in the first place, if Snape hadn't wanted to soil himself with the Mudblood witch, Harry Potter would have died that night, and the Dark Lord would be ruling now. She'd gladly kill him herself, but she daren't, not while the Dark Lord values the information he brings.

Cissy is whimpering some nonsense that the Dark Lord does not mean Draco to succeed, he means him to be killed trying. Of course it doesn't matter if Draco is killed, if Draco dies, he will have died in the Dark Lord's service, is that not honour enough for his mother?

Her sister has completely lost control of herself, sobbing and clinging to Snape's robes, has she no dignity, has she forgotten that she is a Black? She's suggesting that Snape could do it, and Snape is agreeing, saying that the Dark Lord intends him to do it in the end, but Draco is to try first, that is the Dark Lord's plan.

Cissy is being completely irrational, wailing, "My only son … my only son …" Suddenly she's really angry with her sister, doesn't she realise how fortunate she is to have a son to give to the Dark Lord? Cissy didn't spend fourteen years in Azkaban, did she? She tells her, "You should be proud! If I had sons, I would be glad to give them up to the service of the Dark Lord!" And she thinks, I have given a son for the Dark Lord, not even Rodolphus knows I was pregnant when they sent me to Azkaban, of course I lost the baby, and there will never be another one, not after Azkaban. And it would hurt, it should hurt, but after Azkaban, nothing hurts.

Snape is giving Cissy another glass of wine, saying it might be possible for him to help Draco, it looks like those pretty blue eyes and floods of tears have had an effect even on him, the scheming, self-serving bastard, but he won't commit himself, will he, the usual weasel words, "I can try". But perhaps Cissy has more grit in her than she thought, she's clever enough to ask him for the Unbreakable Vow, oh he'll slither out of that.

But Snape is offering to make the Vow, he's asking her to be the Bonder! He kneels, takes Cissy's hand, she places her wand on their linked hands, and they prepare to take the Vow. He vows to watch over Draco and to protect him, and then just as he's preparing to withdraw his hand from hers, Cissy speaks again.

"And, should it prove necessary … if it seems Draco will fail … Will you carry out the deed that the Dark Lord has ordered Draco to perform?"

He says, "I will".

For a moment, she's astounded, and then she thinks, of course, he's up to something, he's going to try to steal the glory, get Draco to tell him of his plans, and then step in and finish the job, take all the credit, but not if I can help it. She'll warn Draco against him, make sure the boy knows how untrustworthy Snape is, and she'll teach him Occlumency, the man wouldn't be above using Legilimency against Draco. Oh she'll foil his scheme, and when Draco has succeeded, Snape will be nothing, when Dumbledore is dead he won't have any more useful information to give the Dark Lord, and he'd better watch his back, too, when he's lost the Dark Lord's favour, she'll kill him.