Pansy flinched as someone switched on the lamp next to her bed. Trying to keep her breathing even, she listened as Bellatrix shuffled things around in her closet. When she had first arrived at Castle Lestrange, she'd been astounded that You-Know-Who's second in command would do anything even vaguely maternal as picking out her clothes. It was more out of necessity than affection, however, since Bellatrix dictated the way in which Pansy spent her summer days. Lying there, listening to the sliding of hangers and drawers, she remembered the previous summer. She'd lounged, traveled, listened to Draco's boasts about working for Him, and begged her father to let her join the Death Eaters. A year of this and he'd sent her to stay with Bellatrix and Rodolphus. All she'd wanted was the brand, and she'd gotten a full view of how insane her life was to be. From the "teaching" (more pureblood dogma) to the "training sessions" (read- torture), Pansy was now surviving on sheer willpower. Hate the work though she now did, she'd be damned if she was going to let Draco's aunt get the better of her. A soft hand gripped her shoulder, not hard enough to hurt but enough to get her attention.
"I know you're awake."
"Get dressed. Dinky will have your breakfast when you go downstairs. You may do as you like until two o'clock; then we'll be training."
"Yes, Bellatrix." Pansy tried to keep the disappointment out of her voice. Training sessions were supposedly to build Pansy's pain tolerance, since Aurors were allowed to use Unforgivables during questioning. She had a feeling that they were really just a way for Bellatrix to get in her daily fix of Cruciatus without having to go out and find victims. After all, good Death Eaters don't get caught…Pansy rolled out of bed and grabbed her outfit for the day. Black pants and a black polo shirt—training was going to be brutal, and possibly bloody. She shook the fear out of her and tapped the showerhead with her wand. Stepping into the warm spray she prayed for today's session to be quick, but she knew better. There was no such thing as an easy way out when Bellatrix was involved.
The grip on the wand tightened. Somewhere in the back of Pansy's mind, she reminded herself not to break it. It was hard. Squeezing her wand was the only thing keeping her from crying; she was way past crying. The curse lifted, leaving Pansy with an intense tingling feeling in her limbs. She lay there gasping for breath, and heard Bellatrix walking over to her. She kept her eyes closed, still panting, even as the older woman kneeled at her side and placed a hand on her stomach and asked, "What did you do wrong?"
There were a million and four answers to that question, Pansy thought. She was wrong when she decided to date Draco. She was wrong to listen to his and Lucius' arrogant ramblings about You-Know-Who and how close they were to him. She was wrong to beg to be a Death Eater. Most of all, she was wrong to think she could be anything like Bellatrix. But to Bellatrix's question she answered, "I…I wasn't fast enough."
"Well that's obvious," Bellatrix said coldly. She ran her wand over Pansy's body, alleviating enough pain for the girl to think. "Explain."
"I let my guard down when you paused," Pansy said, sitting up. "I couldn't get my speed up quick enough…"
"Correct. You won't do that again."
"Up." The older witch pulled Pansy up by the collar and pushed her to the other side of the room. "Again."