your zen is false

Chapter One

A Beginning

. ... .

She doesn't have all the answers. She doesn't.

Lily is sixteen years and five months old. She is beautiful and clever and popular - and she has no answers to war and the war-torn and hate and the hate-consumed.

She has no answers.

. ... .

Lily really looks at Bellatrix Black - beautiful and clever and popular - for the first time during her sixth year. It is November, and the cold wind batters bitterly against the worn stone of the castle. Freezing drafts seem to follow her everywhere, and her hands are icy to the touch no matter what spell she uses.

(It is irritating. What is she a witch for if the magic doesn't help? What is she a witch for if the magic only brings problems like - no, she won't think about that.)

Her mum and dad are in danger every moment of every day - Pettie, too - and she wonders in a detached, numb, tired (tired of fear and anxiety and black-and-white Dark Marks winding their way through the stars) way if she would have said 'no' to magic and unicorns and chess pieces one could argue strategy with if she had known that it was a package deal. (Blood matters and death haunts for free, and isn't it such a lovely thing? Fine print. Fucking fine print, and she signed everything she could have been away at the tender age of eleven.) She thinks about it and decides, very firmly and intellectually, not to think about it.

Her hands are always so cold.

It is all a coincidence, really. (And isn't it funny how much those always end up mattering?) She doesn't mean to see them. She is simply searching for an isolated room where she can cage a fire; she refuses to go back to the warm common room because she knows that arrogant (sheltered, protected, pureblood) Potter git is there.

So she doesn't mean to walk in on them, but she does. The abandoned room isn't so empty after all, and she doesn't know it until she is three steps inside and listening to gasping breaths and stifled moans. Her head snaps to the windowseat of its own accord, and what Lily sees bathed in the bright grey light is more fascinating than magic and unicorns and chess pieces one can argue strategy with.

Two students. There is - the blonde is naked. She is naked and moaning and lying on the moth-eaten cushion of the window seat. Her breasts cast shadows on her taut stomach, but only until her back arches into a newly desperate angle. Her legs are locked at the ankles around the hips of the brunette standing in front of her, and Lily doesn't register why at first. She can only see the dark-haired ones back, and the uniform robes of Hogwarts lend no clue as to the person's sex. She thinks dazedly They aren't shagging? because their groins aren't close enough for that, and then -

Their eyes meet in the window's reflection.

Oh. And suddenly she realizes - long black hair that doesn't belong to a traditional pureblood male, but to a girl. They stare at each other, Bellatrix's deft fingers manipulating the blonde into full-blown screams without pause, as Lily's mind stumbles over itself.

And then Bellatrix's full, pouty (sensual, bitable) lips curve into an amused smirk as she braces herself against the wall so that the blonde's jack-knifing form won't pull her over. Lily's snaps to the present immediately - and the present contains girls having sex in front of her. She jerks and starts backing away with flushed cheeks and trembling hands.

Bellatrix's reflection arches a fine-cut eyebrow at her wickedly - invitingly - and Lily whirls around and runs.

. ... .

She refuses to think on it. It isn't hard, after all. She has so many things to occupy her mind with, and - there is absolutely no use; it's going to be on the edge of her mind for the rest of her goddamned life. She throws herself into schoolwork and Prefect duties and tries to ignore the curiosity and thoughts of pouty (sensual, bitable) lips curved into an amused smirk.

A week later, a Death Eater attack occurs two streets over from her parents' house, and the fresh worry and panic is what finally succeeds in wiping it from her thoughts.

. ... .

November slides into December, and Lily is on the edge of breaking. Her parents - school - Prefect duties - and she just can't sleep. Her jaw hurts from being permanently and subconsciously clenched. She has a constant, throbbing tension headache, and the circles under her eyes now need to be hidden with a glamour to stop people from asking questions.

She snapped something - she can't really remember what - so vicious at Potter that he has actually been leaving her alone. It has lasted a week, and Lily can't help but hope that the new trend will continue. (The memory of his shocked, hurt face doesn't bother her. She has too many problems to care.)

This is the state she is in when Bellatrix runs across her.

She is sitting cross-legged in a hidden alcove, trying to be zen like she read in some book so that she won't snap or break into hysterical sobs over mashed potatoes during dinner. Her eyes are closed, and she is so tired. She knows sleep won't come.

She is zen. Calm. Floating. Blank.

And then there is an amused smirk so loud that she can see it and hear it and feel it. Her stomach clenches and her eyes snap open.

Lily stares into dark, bottomless eyes. She is in shock and blankblankblank, and she finds a word issuing from her (dirty, common) mouth: "Black."

Bellatrix leans her head back and surveys Lily lazily. Those dark, bottomless (fathomless) eyes are hooded and amused, like always (or maybe always has been transmuted to when around Lily Evans - maybe always is only sometimes, and maybe Lily knows nothing - and maybe Lily is the stupidest little girl ever and will play with fire again and again. Lily can't see into the future, but she should have an innate sense of self-preservation that would tell her to fucking run and run and never look at Bellatrix Black again. Of course, she doesn't. That's why...) and Lily can feel her throat closing up and her stomach clenching.

(Lily doesn't recognize it, but the look in Bellatrix Black's eyes is predatory. This is what Lily has been afraid for her parents for - the darkness and the cruelty and the wickedness that is innate in those mad, masked wizards. It is what lets them rape and murder and commit terrible acts that words aren't enough for - and Bellatrix has it in its infant stages.)

She gets the vibe that Bellatrix knows what Lily is feeling better than she herself does.

Three seconds after she thinks that, Bellatrix speaks to her for the first time. It is a...purr, and the words contained in that purr (and it takes Lily a second or so to comprehend them) are: "Evans. Whatever are you doing all alone in dark places?"

Lily blinks and flushes, stiffening defensively. "Not that it's any of your business, Black," she spits out, "but I'm simply trying to get a moment of quiet." And where has her zen gone? She is all bluff and bravado, on the edge and trying to hide it.

Bellatrix does not take this the way Lily thought she would. She - chuckles. She chuckles throatily and says, "Mmm. Quiet can be hard to come by in the Gryffindor common room, I would think."

Lily bristles at the subtle disdain lacing the word "Gryffindor". "Oh? Well, if you think so little of Gryffindors, you won't mind if I ask you to leave."

And this is where it gets a little stranger - this is where Bellatrix starts her trap. She steps closer and leans down, into Lily's personal space. She smirks again and says lazily, "Oh, but I would mind, Evans."

Lily is - she doesn't know what she is. She blinks again and shakes her head, trying to figure out what the hell is going on. "What do you want?" And she regrets the plaintive words the moment they leave her mouth.

That damnable smirk, and Lily is reminded of the abandoned classroom and the blonde and - Bellatrix's brow arches wickedly, invitingly, as the brunette says: "A date."

Lily stares. "...Oh."

"But we can get down to it right here, right now, if you like." She straightens and looks around the alcove critically. "It has...atmosphere."

In spite of herself, perhaps to spite herself, Lily says, "That seems a little crude for your tastes." And she wonders very seriously why she hasn't slapped the chit yet.

And then Bellatrix flashes a smile. Lily is suddenly very glad she is still sitting - that devastating smile seems to be a Black trait. "Evans, nothing is too crude when it comes to getting what you want."

The smile has sent her into shock. That is the only reason why Lily replies with, "And I'm what you want?"

Bellatrix falls gracefully into a crouch in front of her, and suddenly their faces are closer than they have ever been. She leans forward, her arms trapping Lily in, and Lily finds herself mesmerized by Bellatrix's gaze. Their lips are an inch apart when she (is wicked and tempting, and Lily is caught caught caught - so easily and too easily and why?) says, "Oh yes." Lily can feel the Slytherin's warm, sweet breath against her lips - they are sharing air, and then they are -

They are kissing. Soft and slick and lovely, and then there is tongue and it is wet and strong and -

This is the moment of Lily's future breaking.

She could have said no.

A/N: So I started writing this because Ashirashadow on LJ asked me for a BellaLily piece - that was actually a while ago (sorry!), but this mutated into...what you see before you. A multichap. It goes through phases, and BELIEVE ME: it gets pretty dark. It looks kind of sweet at the moment, but - hoo boy, is that going to change! I mean, come on. It's Bellatrix.

It's written on Ashira's request, but I've really got to dediate it to my fiancee: Zhang Sizheng. It's her engagement present. She only just started posting here (GO CHECK HER OUT - ON MY FAVORITES) and she is brilliant and I love her. She egged me along, talked me through some rough spots, and broke a block for me, and I love her. Si-chan is my muse, and you must worship her. Worship!

(Also, beware her evilness. She lets me read her half-written works, gets me hooked, and then denies me the final version until posting. Can we say evil, kids? I knew we could.)