Her shoes made a satisfying click on the stone floor of the dungeons as she walked. There really was nothing better than new shoes, gleaming to an impossible standard that only house-elves knew how to achieve, to taunt any who crossed her path. She was prepared with not only her shoes though. No, this witch also had an impeccably pressed uniform skirt and high quality cashmere sweater to aid her in achieving impressive entrances. It had taken her all of twenty minutes to get her long dark locks to look as if they had a nonchalant elegance that could only be found on the cover of Witch Weekly. She refused to cut corners when it came to dressing to impress.
Vain they called her- even her own housemates. Deportment was also important. Her reputation preceded her in this area, and she was known to have lectured others in the intricacies of its lost art. She had had lessons. She had loathed them with a passion, but she put up with them because it was expected.
She vowed the day she got her Hogwarts letter that she would be a force with which to be reckoned, one way or another. It had manifested by manipulating her way into the ranks of the popular girls at Hogwarts, and her goal had certainly been realized. She was immensely popular among her peers, no doubt. However, despite all of her hard earned popularity, she still felt empty inside. What good were nice clothes, perfect hair, and excellent deportment if one had no personal vestment in the goals they were told were appropriate for witches of good breeding to have?
Be proper, be feminine, be a decent student- but not too brilliant as that was vulgar in a witch- and find an appropriate wizard from an appropriate family to marry. It was all perfectly tedious.
She was a witch that craved the forbidden. She craved excitement. She wanted to be not merely better than everyone else- she wanted to be extraordinary. Yet, it would have to wait for a little while longer. Others in her family had beaten her to the punch when it came to being memorable. It was perfectly scandalous, and she had loved every moment of the fall out. It gave her a secret thrill to see them miserable and going against convention to do so. There was something exquisite in their pain- poetic even. She couldn't help it- she was an incurable romantic.
Which brought her to the current day and time- the Great Hall at Hogwarts during breakfast time- on the most glorious of days, Saint Valentine's Day. It was a day to declare love, to be admired, to perhaps admire others in all manner of appropriate and inappropriate ways, and have an excuse to do so that even one's spinster aunt couldn't find fault in.
She was in her element. She took her seat. She smiled disarmingly at the young wizard she had decided that she would marry. He'd be delighted beyond all reason if she deigned to inform him of the fact. He smiled back. See? Delighted already, though he didn't have a clue as to why. It didn't matter. He was good looking enough. He was appropriate enough. He was wealthy and influential enough. It was enough to depress her.
A large bevy of owls came flying into the room bearing all manner of gaudily wrapped packages. She got more than her share. One stood out over the others though. She smiled enigmatically before picking it up. She could only imagine what he had to say. It would make or break her. It was certainly illicit enough- forbidden- expensive parchment. It smelled of him- his intelligence, his influence, his power, and his delicious darkness. Slughorn's Amortentia had smelled just like this to her. She was flushed, she was sure of it.
She gingerly opened it with her wand, careful not to crease the edges or rip the envelope. Every girl kept her first real letter from the man she was truly passionate about. She'd be no different. She might even have to frame it instead of putting it in her keepsake album.
Her beau looked at her warily as he noticed her attention was focused elsewhere, on a letter that was certainly not from him. His letter was still unopened off to the side.
"Who sent you that?"
His voice was disapproving. The witch didn't care a whit.
"Jealous?" she asked him lightly.
Her eyes were glued on the parchment as she was determined to read it.
"That didn't answer my question," he demanded grumpily.
That did make her smile. She looked coquettishly at him.
"You're very cute when you're all demanding."
She went back to reading the letter. She wasn't immune to the snickering her group of girls made at her beau's expense.
"He's got a lot of nerve, trying to win over another bloke's girl."
She smirked. Oh, he didn't know the half of it. In-deed.
"Who is he? I may have to teach him a lesson."
"I'm not one to kiss and tell," she said teasingly.
"So, you've kissed him then? Don't protect the coward," her suitor growled.
"Perhaps I'm protecting you."
This was too much fun. He was beginning to look livid. She laughed.
"I'm delighted you want to protect my honor, darling, but I'm a witch who's perfectly capable of taking care of herself."
Her wizard was looking truly scandalized now. His discomfiture was making her mood even better.
"Bella, you're not funny."
"I'm simply caught up in all of the festivities of the day, Roddy. Please forgive me."
Her missive was summarily whisked out of her hand with a furious Accio. Her good mood evaporated.
"Give. It. Back. Now. Roddy," she demanded quietly between clenched teeth. "You'll ruin it."
She would have hexed him if she felt her letter could withstand the onslaught.
Roddy looked at her wonderingly after reading the letter to himself.
"I haven't even got one of these yet."
He sounded as impressed as he should have been- appropriately so- with just the right amount of awe to be convincing. She knew that he was appropriate marriage material. She was never wrong about these things.
"Marry me, Bella," he stated calmly.
"I won't be your valentine though. That distinction goes to another."
"I wouldn't have it any other way, love."
"Then how can I refuse?"
He handed the letter back to her. She immediately caressed it and read it again. She'd likely read it a million times over. It was the beginning of everything, and it was a glorious testament to her devotion.
"So just to be clear- you are jealous, right?"
"More than you know."
Bellatrix Black gave Rodolphus Lestrange a passionate kiss, and then flashed a very self-satisfied smile to everyone around her. This was the best Valentine's Day ever, as far as she was concerned. She simply couldn't restrain herself from reading the missive again.
My Dearest Bellatrix,
Forgive a wizard for taking liberties, but after hearing so much about you, I felt that I must forgo propriety and request a meeting. I have reason to believe that you won't refuse me in this. In fact, I have every reason to believe that you would beg me for this meeting if you had your way. I confess that I would not be adverse to that idea. However, I feel that you are perhaps worthy enough to be allowed into my presence. I need you. I want you. I'll certainly give you what you want. Be mine.
Yes, she certainly would be his.
Author's Note: Who says Lord Voldemort can't be romantic? Bella is one passionate witch and wouldn't refuse such a suitor. They deserve each other, gentle readers. Please read and review.