Okay, new fanfic!! This one is going to kind of go through Bellatrix's years at Hogwarts. I got the title from the article in "The Quibbler" about Sirius.

Couple things: I've always pictured that Bella, Dromeda, and Cissy would be close, until Dromeda marries Ted, and that Bella was espescially close to Dromeda. Bella calls her "Andy" to show that.

And I absolutely love the mental image of Cissy in the beginning! (aaw!)

With the Lestranges, I wasn't sure who was older, so...well, you'll see when you read. I've also never seen a description of them, so I had to make up what they looked like. One last thing: I pictured the Lestrange boys growing up being taught manners and respect by their parents: they were taught to show proper respect for purebloods (particularly pureblood women) so I showed that as well when Rabastan meets Bellatrix.

Disclaimer: Don't own anything you recognize.


Bellatrix: Black As She's Painted?

Chapter 1:
Off To School

Eleven-year-old Bellatrix Black gazed in awe at the scarlet steam engine before her. She was going to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and she couldn't wait.

"Bella…" came a small voice from behind her. She turned to see her blond-haired sister looking up at her with tears in her eyes. The little girl lunged at her legs and wrapped her arms around them. "I don't want you to go!" she sobbed into her sister's thighs.

"Oh, Cissy, it's okay," she said, putting her hand on Narcissa's head. "I'll write to you every day, alright?" Narcissa reluctantly released her big sister's legs and Bellatrix took the opportunity to kneel down on her level.

"Okay…" Narcissa sniffled, and Bellatrix pulled the seven-year-old into a hug. After a few moments, she pried her sister off of her, and turned to her other sister.

"Well, see you, I guess," nine-year-old Andromeda said.

"Yeah, I guess," Bellatrix said, feeling odd. She had always been close to her middle sister, but today, she sensed a tension between them that might have had something to do with jealousy. She stepped toward Andromeda, who instantly looked relieved and tightly wrapped her arms around Bellatrix.

"Write to me, too, okay Bella?" Andromeda whispered in her. "I want to know all about Hogwarts."

"Okay," Bellatrix whispered back, nearly laughing. "I'll write to you, too, Andy." They continued hugging for a moment until the whistle sounded and startled them apart. Bellatrix turned to look at her parents.

"Good-bye, mum. 'Bye, dad," she said, hugging each of them in turn.

"Go, or you'll miss the train," her father said, giving her one last squeeze. She turned and ran on to the train, standing at the door and waving until she couldn't see her family anymore. She then began walking down the corridor to find a seat. She was so busy trying to keep her balance that she didn't notice the boy coming toward her until she had run into him.

"Oh, I'm sorry!" she said apologetically.

"It's okay," the boy said. He couldn't have been older than she was. He had jet-black hair and piercing blue eyes, and he was already wearing his school robes. "First year at Hogwarts?" he asked. She nodded her head. "Me, too. But my brother's a fifth year. He said he was saving a seat for me." He gave her a look that she couldn't quite describe. "D'you wanna sit with us?"

Bellatrix was a bit taken aback by his sudden kind offer. She nodded her head and followed the boy. A few feet down the corridor, the train bumped violently and sent Bellatrix sprawling to the floor, and she landed on top of the boy.

"Sorry…my fault!" She leapt to her feet and helped him up.

"Ha-ha…that's okay," he said, flashing her an adorable grin, and Bellatrix laughed. The boy pushed open the door to a car where an older boy sat, who could only be the boy's older brother. He looked up when the two entered.

"There you are, Roddy! I was about to get worried," he said to his younger brother before turning to look at Bellatrix. "And who is this?"

"Oh, I'm sorry, I forgot to ask your name!" "Roddy" exclaimed. Bellatrix smiled.

"Bellatrix," she said, extending her hand to the older brother. "Bellatrix Black."

"Delighted," he said, brushing his lips against the back of her hand. The gesture made Bellatrix's face suddenly flush. "The name's Lestrange. Rabastan Lestrange." He turned to his brother, wrapped an arm around his neck and rubbed his knuckles against the boy's scalp. "And this knuckle-head's my little brother, Rodolphus."

"Cut it out, Rabby!" Rodolphus protested, and finally succeeded in squirming out of his brother's grasp. "You know I hate it when you do that." Bellatrix and Rabastan laughed as they watched Rodolphus straighten his now-messy black hair and the three sat down together. Rabastan also had black hair, though his was a good bit longer than his brother's, and his eyes seemed to be a mix of blue and green.

"I've heard of your family, you know," Rabastan said to Bellatrix.

"Really?"

"Yes. You're one of the most well-known pure-blood families in the wizarding world."

"Well, I…" Bellatrix didn't know what to say. Rodolphus saved her from having to think of something to say.

"C'mon, Rabby, we haven't even gotten to the school, yet. Lay off it till we do, okay?" The three laughed and in the middle of their delight, a dumpy old witch pushing a trolley came to the door.

"Anything off the trolley, dears?" she asked. Bella's stomach let out a particularly loud rumble, and, blushing from embarrassment, she reached into her pockets for the money her parents had given her. Rabastan, however, leapt to his feet, motioning for her to stay where she was and, within a few moments, had returned with his arms laden with sweets.

"Erm…I…thanks," Bellatrix stammered.

"Not at all." The three dug into the candies and spent the rest of the trip swapping Chocolate Frog Cards, braving the Every Flavor Beans (and, sometimes, spitting them back out), and chatting about everything from Quidditch to Houses.

"Hey," Rabastan said, looking out the window. "We're getting close." He turned to look at Bellatrix. "We can step out so you can change, if you'd like."

"Thanks," she said, and the two brothers left. Bellatrix quickly changed into her black robes just as the train began to slow. She took a deep breath and opened the compartment door. The two boys outside turned and smiled at her.

"Are we supposed to carry our things with us into the castle?" she asked.

"No, you leave it here, and they'll take it to the dormitories," Rabastan explained as they moved along with the crowd toward the door; Bellatrix didn't ask who "they" were.

As soon as she stepped off of the train, Bellatrix took in her surroundings. She was beginning to wonder where she was supposed to go, when a great, booming voice answered her question.

"Firs' years! Firs' years, this way!" She turned toward the noise and saw a large man holding up a lantern. Bellatrix had to admit, he was rather frightening.

"That's Hagrid, the gamekeeper," Rabastan whispered in her ear. "He'll take you, Roddy, and the other first years to the castle by boat." Bellatrix turned and looked at him.

"What about the older students?"

"You'll find out next year." She gave him an insolent look and hurried off after Rodolphus.