Disclaimer: If I owned Harry Potter, I would also own a house with brand new stables attatched and at least three horses. Clearly, I don't. I make no money from writing this fic.

A/N: This is a weird thing I came up with one day. No idea how good it is to read, although it was fun to write.

Thank you to Sinister Shadow for reading this through for me.

She notices the black. She doesn't know why: it's just the background, after all, not the information, that delicate web of silken gold threads. She does try to study the names, the links made in golden lines, but the dark surrounding them draws her. It's intoxicating: mysterious and terrifying and exciting all at the same time. Sometimes it frightens her that she sees only the darkness of the background when others see the detail; frightens her that she thinks about things she knows no young girl should; frightens her the way the darkness seems to fill her vision as though it wants to draw her in and devour her.

But increasingly her fear drains away until she is left with nothing but a slight nagging feeling in the pit of her stomach, a sensation in her deepest soul that something is not right. She can ignore that. The blackness gets closer every day, week, year as she grows. Eventually it touches her skin, a twisted shape on her arm, all the blacker against its pale background. It fills her mind, entering first through a girl's curious brown eyes, then through the skin of the young woman's forearm, burning black. Finally through the eyes again. They rise from the newly made mark to meet his, and she is lost.

She notices the gold. The shimmer of wealth, the beauty of appearance. The colour of her hair. It details her all important family line, the slanting names and straightly sewn lines that will govern her life and mark her out as above the rest. As a girl she stays awake, watching the grandeur of the formal dinners and balls, longing for the day she can attend. The shimmering dresses of the ladies, their makeup-masked faces and twisted hair; the elegance of the men, in dark dress robes with high collars; the glittering chandeliers, trailing assortments of flowers, gleaming mahogany tables and golden wine in sparkling goblets draw her eyes.

The girl loves to trace the three curling names with a finger, following the glittering lines upwards to where they join. The woman runs a disbelieving finger along her shining wedding band in awe. The mother runs her hand through the hair that is so pale blonde it is almost white: but she sees it as gold.

She catches a flash of that gold when her eyes so desperately seek it. She pulls him towards her and lets a hand rest on the precious golden treasure of his hair, vowing never to risk its being stolen again.

She doesn't really notice it at first. Yes, she looks at it with Bella and Cissy, seeing both the black background that consumes Bella's thoughts and the golden threads that so enrapture Cissy. Yes, she knows its importance, the importance of her family line, the importance of being a Black, the importance of being a pureblood. Yes, she will study it and learn her pureblood heritage. She does her duty, but the lifeless cloth means nothing to her. Not as a girl, anyway. Not before Hogwarts. The only part that interests her are the five names at the bottom of the tapestry: "Bellatrix", "Andromeda", "Narcissa", "Sirius" and "Regulus". These names mean something. These are the people that are everything in the world to her.

That was before. As she grows, she begins to notice the blemishes. The tattered threads and Doxy-nibbled holes, the violent burns extinguishing what was once a person who surely, she thinks, mattered as much to their brothers and sisters and cousins as Bella, Cissy, Siri and Reg do to her. She doesn't know how the others cope with their loss. When she was a girl she didn't question. One didn't question in the Noble and Most Ancient House of Black. She didn't even realise those burn marks used to be names until she sees her cousin Sirius blasted from the family. She's seventeen. She's worried: she knows if her parents find out what she's doing it could happen to her. She doesn't want to have to leave Cissy and Bella: but she cannot leave Ted either. She looks at the vicious scars and frayed, decaying edges and feels anger burn behind her eyes, fury she's never felt before. She wants to destroy this tapestry, the ideals that mean she has to make a choice between two people she loves.

She kicks it as she leaves.

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