bright the day
(or, twenty facts about bellatrix lestrange that she would never speak aloud)

1. She always had a soft spot for Sirius, and so killed him quickly, before he could be captured and tortured.

2. Azkaban was ten times more terrible than she'd like to admit - when the Dark Lord asked her casually if it was difficult, being locked up like that, she replied that it was nothing because she had a purpose for when she escaped. In reality, she curled up in her cell, listening to shrieks from one side and her cousin's sardonic insults from the other, wishing with every piece of her soul that the windows were large enough to leap from.

3. She almost went insane the first year in prison, trying to find out how Sirius stayed coherent. The ironic thing about it - because she nearly drove herself mad with her obsession, she managed to retain her own sanity.

4. Narcissa tried to teach her to ballroom dance once, but she found that her feet wouldn't move right no matter what she thought. Instead of worrying over it or fighting to learn the steps, she simply told her sister that dancing was for weak fools and she would rather die than move like some pathetic graceful swan. She knew she hurt Narcissa's feelings, and only a tiny part of her cared.

She never did like Narcissa. Andromeda was more like her, daring and clever and aloof, but Andromeda married a Mudblood and so wasn't part of the family anymore. Personally, Bellatrix didn't care that he was a Mudblood, but more that he was an annoying idiot.

5. Her father was a loveless, cold-hearted man. She cried like an infant the day he died, without ever knowing why.

6. At the funeral, she stared coldly ahead, stone-faced and dry-eyed, while Narcissa wailed and Andromeda picked at her skirt.

7. She once had a falling dream where she hit the ground. For several hours, she lay in bed, listening to the night sounds, wondering if she was dead or alive. And then the sun rose, and she knew that the old superstition was wrong.

Later, in Azkaban, she wished it was true.

8. The moment the doors opened and Regulus walked past her to face the Dark Lord, she knew that taking him there was a mistake.

9. When Regulus disappeared, she wrote a long letter to Sirius, explaining everything she knew about what had happened, as much of the disjointed story she'd managed to pry from Kreacher, and exactly where to look if he wanted revenge (that was her address). As soon as her three-roll letter was finished, she set it on fire with her wand and, on a five-centimeter-long scrap of parchment, scribbledYour brother's dead and sent it. She considered hunting him down, just to see if it had mattered at all to him, but couldn't find it in herself to care.

10. She lied to herself - what she really wanted was to find Sirius and let him hit her. What she really wanted was to find him and get into a physical fight - a real fight, with punches and kicks and hair-pulling and screams - until she bled, until she could cry and claim it was pain, not guilt. Instead, she went to bed early and never mentioned her youngest cousin again.

11. All of Regulus's friends were completely terrified her, and this amused her almost as much as it bothered her.

12. At nine, she accidentally killed a cat, and held its stiffening body in her arms until it was cold, fighting back horror and tears. Her mother found her an hour later, clutching the dead animal, and wrenched it from her shaking fingers, telling her that she shouldn't sully her beautiful hands with such a disgusting thing.

13. At the age of nineteen, she learned that she could never have children. Three days later, she married Rudolphus Lestrange and never told him that they would never be parents.

14. The first time Sirius pranked Severus Snape, Bella scolded him loudly, knowing that publicly connecting him to her would be far worse punishment than anything else she could mete out. He stuck his tongue out at her and she almost - almost! - laughed, before pulling out her wand and threatening to curse that tongue right out of his head.

She never told him, but he made her proud when he just shrugged and asked her if that was the worst she could do. He would have hated to know.

15. She really, really liked jazz music and silent movies.

16. Somewhere, buried deep under cloaks and dust and old mothballs, Bellatrix kept her wedding picture, with Andromeda at her side, as her Maid of Honor.

17. The first time she saw someone die, she was six years old. She stared at the body on the ground for several minutes, and then ran to her room, shaking and sobbing with terror. Her father caught her on the way, fingernails digging into her upper arm, and hissed in her ear that she'd seen nothing. Wide-eyed and out of her depth, she nodded.

18. When she found out that Narcissa was infatuated with Lucius Malfoy, she proposed to her mother that they set him up with Andromeda. She never could explain why.

19. When she hunted down the Longbottoms, she felt insane - and it was exhilarating. Like she could just let go and vent all of her frustration - all of her hatred for her cousin, all of her frustration for what she'd lost, all of her anger with herself for letting her Lord disappear (not die, no, because the Dark Lord could never die.)

(Right?)

Hating herself for wondering, she pointed her wand at the man and watched him convulse in agony long after she knew he had nothing to tell her. Partly because it made her forget the past several weeks, and partly because it felt right, but more because it felt wrong. She was breaking the rules and ruining her future and - in a self-destructive, wild fury her cousin would be proud of - she opened her arms and welcomed the darkness.

20. Her last thought before dying was that she should have buried the cat.