Summary: Maybe, just maybe...Bellatrix Lestrange had a conscience after all.

Slight discrepancy warnings: For the purpose of this story the constellations Orion, Canis Major, and Canis Minor are visible in May. Deal with it.

Disclaimer: I do not own anything but the laptop and the Microsoft Word program used to write this. Oh, and the chocolate I'm eating whilst I write this. Yummy.


The name Bellatrix is Latin for female warrior. It is the name of a star in the constellation Orion, found at the west shoulder. It is also known as the Amazon Star or Gamma Orionis. It is the 22nd brightest star in the sky.

The 22nd Brightest

Ever since we were little girls we were different. I tended to mutilate my dolls, and rip off their heads; Cissy played dress up with her dolls and spent hours brushing their hair; and Dromeda...well, Dromeda was never much to play with dolls. She often spent her time with the house-elves, asking them how they did their work, and which potions were the best to get ink stains out of the carpet. Rather distasteful, if you ask me.

But nobody ever asks me anything, really. At least, not out of the usual 'what does a good Death Eater do?' Not that I care, because I don't. I'd gladly show what a good Death Eater I am, and would more than willingly prove it by doing whatever my Lord asks of me. Even Cissy can't understand why I idolise Him so much. They don't understand my infatuation. The need to be in His presence.

People call me heartless, but that's not true. I have a heart, however shrivelled, and it beats just like everyone else's. It pounds in my ears every time He is near, and breaks every time His eyes dismiss me. I wish I could hate Him for toying with my heart, but I can't. I love Him.

I love His cruelty, His disdain, His vengeance, His strength, His beauty, His eyes, His nose, His mouth, His lips, His hands, His hate, His very presence, and the way He commands respect. Those snivelling brats on the other side of the war do not understand Him. He is so much more than just a Dark Lord. He is a man so profound it literally takes my breath away. Very few things have managed to achieve that, and none of them memorable.

Except...

Except one.

I've tried so hard to be able to achieve the same apathy as the Dark Lord. Tried to ignore the twinges of my heart. And that one foreign feeling I wish I had never experienced. That one horribly retched feeling that saps all of the ecstasy out of the deeds for my Lord, my Love. That one repugnant, repulsive, revolting emotion that seems to seep into my shrivelled heart and cause it pain.



Regret.

Oh, how many nights I have lain awake with that one moment of time playing through my head! Constantly on repeat, playing over, and over, and over again! Can I have no peace!

But no, a Death Eater can only have peace when we have won, and itty bitty baby Potter is gone. Just like his traitorous godfather!

The pain! It courses through my veins at just the thought of that faithless adulterer! How dare he cause me so much pain beyond the grave! How dare his piercing blue eyes haunt me even still! That laugh, that smile! HOW DARE HE!

My chest heaves. My fingers clench spastically, nails digging into my flesh and drawing forth blood. And what is this? This moistness in my eyes? This sound stuck in my throat? This misery I feel?

Like so many nights I leave my husband's bed (wishing all of my black soul that the dementors have left me with that it were my Lord's) and exit to the balcony of the room my sister has lent me at her estate. I stare up into the night sky, it being far too early for the sun to have started to rise. My eyes are drawn automatically to the constellation Orion, and his hunting mutts through repetition over the years. Though for the past two the reasoning has been different.

Since I was little Bella Black, and old enough to understand the significance, I always searched for my namesake in the night sky. The warrioress. She was who I wished to become. She was who I thought would take me places. Orion was a hunter, and would be nothing without his west shoulder, would not be able to use his bow, or hunt the great bull...

Bellatrix was beautiful, strong, and everything I wished to be.

But she was only the twenty-second brightest star in the sky.

To my great consternation Bellatrix was only ever twenty-second, overshadowed by even the Mutt Star. Sirius. The brightest star of all of them, not counting the sun the earth revolved around. Sirius was number one, not Bellatrix, the ever faithful warrioress. The strong one. The beautiful one. The deserving one!

My pale hands again spasm, though I am all but oblivious to the physical pain, as the emotional is all too much.

Sirius, the traitor, would forever outshine Bellatrix.

My eyes are inexplicably drawn to, but deliberately pick out the Dog Star, as they have every night they are present since that fateful night two years ago.

This pain is all consuming, setting my nerves on fire the way the Cruciatus has never been able to do. It envelops the heart so many believe I do not possess and spreads throughout my extremities. It is perhaps the one pain I do not find pleasurable. That, and the feeling I suffered when Dromeda left.



Muggle-loving fool that she was, Dromeda's betrayal was truly the first time I ever felt real pain of an emotional nature. Even when my first pet died I didn't feel this pain. Of course, the fact that I was the one who killed Maggot might have somehow contributed to my stoic reaction to his death. And never have I felt any remorse over killing him.

And I was much closer to him than I was to Sirius. So why now if Sirius's death affecting me so?

Lucius's prize peacock is creating a racket below my balcony. I would more than willingly end its pathetic life and smear its blood over his master's pristine floor and dangle the rotting carcass from the nearest available outcropping for the Malfoy spawn to come across in the wee hours of the morning...

Draco is weak. I had hoped to toughen him up, but it seems an impossible task. His father's incompetence seems catching, and the only redeeming feature the Malfoy family can boast of is my sister from the Noble and Most Ancient House of Black, as long as she does not allow her husband and son to drag her down.

My eyes burn from staring into the heavens so long without blinking. They water for this reason only, as I have not cried in years. The thing close to it has been the tears of happiness when I was one again reunited with my Lord after his reincarnation. Or at least, this is what I tell myself.

The heavens. How apt. Sirius is forever in the heavens now.

I wish I could knock his star out of the sky.

Against my will I am taken back to the memory I most despise.

The blasted Order arrived, tipped off by Snape, most likely. Even after the Vow, I do not trust him. I hate the way my Lord all but fawned (for my Lord would never stoop to fawn) over him after the filthy half-blood murdered Dumbledore.

Sirius is there, the blackguard. I'd say a plague on his House, if it weren't also mine. He's laughing. His eyes are alight with the fire of battle, and the sparkling blue depths seem to taunt me with the new life within them. I have no time to pay any more attention to the filth from my sister's loin. Had I spent one more second, however, I know that I could have killed her. But I purposely turn away, from her and her eyes. All I see is that man laughing, jumping up on the dais before the archway, the curtain twitching in a nonexistent wind.

Lucius later informed my sister, which I shamelessly eavesdropped on, that he heard voices that night, and that for a split second he felt like following them through the veil. I didn't know what he was talking about then. I heard no voices.

I cast the spell. I couldn't stand to see that light in his eyes.

He was laughing as he fell through the veil, a smile on his face.

My hands cramp on the balustrade that runs around the balcony from where I have them clenched so tightly.

For a split second our eyes met. And then he was gone.

It was in that instant I felt something shatter inside me.

My mask fell, my face slipped, my heart stopped...

I started chuckling, as was expected of me, though I know at first it was hesitant. I glance over at the Potter boy and sneer. I was a Death Eater. I did my Lord's will. Nothing else. I rid the world of filth. So why do I feel this unknown pain? Pain similar to when I lost Andromeda...my Dromeda...

I fled.

You have to mean it...

Who knew the Potter brat had it in him to try an Unforgivable? Perhaps he isn't so Golden after all...

I welcomed the small twinge of pain. Enough to cause me to stumble, enough to take my mind off the pain inside my heart. When I learned that the globe had been destroyed I knew that the Dark Lord would punish me severely. Would punish all of us for our failure. I again welcomed the pain, though this time it would be vastly more powerful. But I deserved it. I failed my Lord. If only He knew of this burgeoning feeling within my bosom...how much worse would my punishment be?

Regret.

I feel it for the first time. Not even when Dromeda left did I feel it. Predominately I felt betrayal, which fuelled my anger. Though, no-one knows that I have seen my wayward sister since she's left.

It was once, during a night in London on my Lord's business. I heard soft footsteps behind me and spun around with a snarl, wand poised in front of me and a curse on my lips.

Light brown eyes bore into mine.

She smiled softly, sadly at me from her place among the shadows in the alley she currently inhabited. She just stared at me, hands empty at her sides. She was unflinching, unblinking, even as I moved my wand to point right between her eyes.

Neither of us spoke.

She knew I could kill her. I knew I could kill her.

With a nary a word I spun again and Disapparated.

I realise now that it was the same pity, the same sense of familiar tides that I felt a few months later in sparing my niece. Her daughter. A weakness from that little bit of me I thought I never had.

My conscience.

With a growl I tear my eyes away from Sirius's brightness and look away, furiously blinking my eyes from this all but foreign wetness. My chest is constricted and I feel a lead weight in my belly.

How could I have fallen so far?

I returned to the scene of my cousin's death. After the Ministry fell I strode with purpose to the Death Chamber, and glared with such hatred at the fluttering black curtain that I would not have been surprised had it burst into flames.

I heard voices.

For a split second I too wished to join them. I too wished to draw comfort from that voice that seemed so much like a barking laugh.

My magic becomes uncontrollable in my grief and unleashes it power at everything and nothing all at once. A spark shoots towards the heavens as if seeking revenge on the blasted mutt in the sky. How dare he make me feel this way?

Taking in shuddering breaths I reign back in my magic, even as I manipulate it slightly so that the other residents of the manor are not disturbed from their slumber. I turn my eyes once more to the sky, vowing to prove to the world that I am merciless. That I do not have a heart, or a soul, or a conscience.

I will drench the ground with the blood of my enemies, and that includes half-blood filth that mocks me with dark eyes turned light brown. My niece will not earn my mercy this time by using her Metamorphmagus abilities to channel her mother's eyes, like when I struck her down in the Department of Mysteries. No longer will such filth be allowed to live.

I will cut away the cankers, the infections that inflict us! I shall cut away those parts of my family tree that threatens the health of the rest of us! Prune them to prove that I am not weak!

That I do not have a conscience.

At first chance.

Blinking, I lower my head from my sight of the stars as I feel something on my cheek. I slowly reach up and gently brush my pale fingertips over it. Pulling my hand back I inspect it with furrowed brows, only to find that the tips are wet.

How strange.

They reflect the light back, glinting up at me like a misplaced star, fallen from the heavens.

A single tear. A single star.

Curiouser and curiouser.

Hmn, it seems as if I have felled Sirius after all, and I am one step closer to being the brightest star in the sky.

Fin.


I was on a family trip, reading Deathly Hollows, and thinking back to Bellatrix's reaction (and her facial expressions in the movie) just after she murdered Sirius, and then how she was told to 'prune her family tree,' and thought of this. Also, a good friend of mine is fascinated by, and adores her character, so it made me think past the Death Eater Bellatrix Lestrange, and see the little girl Bella Black who lost so much.

Can you see her too?

R.I.P.

Little Bella Black

c. 1952 – 2 May 1998

May You Forever Shine