"I'm afraid she won't be able to have children, Mrs. Black."
"What?! What's wrong with her?! What have you done now, girl?!"
"There was nothing anyone could do, Mrs. Black... She was just never meant to have children, so it seems."

The conversation played over in Bellatrix's head for countless days after her doctor's appointment, and if she was being brutally honest, she had never been happier. Who wanted little snot nosed children running around, screaming for something or another anyway?

Besides, the look of horror and disappointment on her mother's face made it all worth the trip into London.

Bellatrix added a hint of Firewhiskey to her drink with all the subtlety she could muster, then leaned back against the wall, utter boredom displayed on her aristocratic features.

Her mother's parties were always the same. Countless unfamiliar faces arrived at the Black Manor, ate their food, drank their wine, and danced the night away until the early hours of the morning. All the woman always asked the three Black girls the same question; So, any marriages in the future?

Narcissa, the youngest and by far most elegant, would bat her eyelashes in mock shyness, then nod to Lucius Malfoy, the man who had been courting her since she left school several months ago. Bellatrix could barely stand the man before he had been introduced to her baby sister, but now, now that they were dating, it was completely impossible to like him. They were more similar then people would have guessed, she and Narcissa. While Bellatrix was dark, her black hair a classic noble feature, Narcissa was light, her near white hair radiating elegance. Narcissa would never admit it, but she was almost the same as Bellatrix in private. However, in public, she played the giggling eighteen year old her mother made her out to be.

Her second sister, the middle child, was the intelligent Andromeda Black. Bellatrix was five years her senior, eleven to Narcissa, yet the fair haired girl was always showing her up. Andromeda was in Slytherin, just like everyone expected, but Bellatrix would often sneer that she belonged in Hufflepuff, or even Gryffindor, but certainly not Slytherin. Currently, Andromeda was in her parents favour. After all, this party was a celebration to her engagement to Evan Rosier, a man in his late thirties, with slick blonde hair and awfully small hands. Her younger sister loathed the man with every moral fiber in her body, and for once, Bellatrix sided with Andromeda.
Not many men placed a bid in for Bellatrix.

Atleast, not after word got out she couldn't have children. What man would want a woman that could not bear him an heir, anyway? Gods, those were her mother's words, constantly ringing in her head. The only downside to not having a suitor was the fact she would be forced to live with her parents until she was married, and the way things were going, it looked as though that would never happen.

She glanced sideways casually, taking in her apperance in the mirror. Her mother refused to let her wear black to another one of these lively parties, so she raided Narcissa's closet in hopes of finding something suitable. Though her sister was younger, she was much taller, so her dresses needed a bit of an adjustment, but she finally found one that fit. It hugged her body nicely, swelling over her well developed chest, and enhancing her slim waist. Almost thirty, Bellatrix needed all the help she could get if she ever wanted to leave her parents watchful eye with a man.

Not many men appealed to her tastes, however. Many were too sappy, without a backbone, while others were so interested in themselves she wanted to hex herself to death.

She adjusted the shoulder strap of her silky red dress, then glared at herself; she looked like such a Gryffindor. How Narcissa talked her into wearing this was beyond her understanding.

After downing her drink swiftly, she shoved the empty glass into a house elf's hand, then moved swiftly through the crowd, keeping a steady pace so no one would stop her and chat her ear off, as many at these sorts of occasions did. She grasped her own personal house elf and dragged her aside, bending down to whisper in her ear, "Where are my cigarettes?"

"Here, missis," the creature squeaked, sliding them slyly into Bellatrix's hand, "Jinky also found another bottle of spirits, unopened. Does missis want it in her room?"
"Yes, good girl," Bellatrix praised, smiling on the inside as the elf swept off, slipping a bottle of Ogden's Finest under her ratty cloak. If she was caught, atleast Bellatrix could blame her and state that the elf was stealing.

Bellatrix hid the pack in the palm of her hand, and Narcissa raised an eyebrow as the raven-haired witch snuck outside, shutting the glass door silently behind her. It's not like Bellatrix had a man to entertain; she wouldn't be missed.

She pulled a cigarette out desperately and lit it, taking a drag and puffing out a swirl of grey smoke, grinning. She had been craving this all night.

The gardens looked boring as ever that fall evening. The trees were in the middle of losing their leaves, and the Black sister could hardly wait until the winter season; barren days and dreadful nights were always something she looked forward to.

She continued to raise the cigarette to her plump lips, trying to resist the urge to have another as the smoke slowly got smaller. A group of deep voice around the other side of the wall suddenly caught her attention. Baritone chuckles echoed through the drafty night, and when she moved closer, she distinctly made out a Lucius Malfoy, Rodolphus Lestrange, Severus Snape, and Evan Rosier, all chortling over something or another.

"You should have seen the Muggle," Lucius went on, his arrogant voice making Bellatrix cringe, "The pathetic look on his face was priceless."
"These are the sorts of memories you don't forget," Evan added wistfully, taking a swig of something, "These are the ones you cherish."
"The Dark Lord was pleased with the progress then?" Severus inquired lightly, at which point Bellatrix inhaled a bit too much and coughed silently into her arm. The Dark Lord? She had no idea any of these men were associated with Him!

Bellatrix had heard rumours of a Dark Lord Voldemort. He was completely against the Ministry and everything they stood for; everything Bellatrix hated. Apparently, he had a band of men who followed him, who appropriately named themselves Death Eaters, and always left a mark above the home of their victims.

Bellatrix knew from the moment she heard those words roll off of Severus Snape's lip; she wanted in.
"You know," Bellatrix droned, taking another drag of her cigarette, "If I didn't know any better, half of you have dates inside who are looking for a dance. Wouldn't they be horrified if they knew what you lot were discussing."
"Come out of the shadows, little girl," Lucius snorted, pointing his wand at the low-burning torch above her and brightening it, "How long have you been listening?"
"Long enough to be interested," she replied casually, tossing her spent smoke on the ground and squishing it with her shoe, "Long enough to doubt the Dark Lord would want his servants boasting so loudly of their accomplishments."
Evan snorted loudly, "You know... If Lucius and I weren't marrying your sisters, we'd have to modify your memory, and I'm sure we'd enjoy doing it."
"Do you honestly think I'd let you get near me with your... wands?" Bellatrix asked sweetly, her voice laced in venom, "I only made myself known because I want to know more."
"Know more about what?" Lucius remarked, raising a blonde eyebrow, "About the Dark Lord, or our wands?"

Bellatrix rolled her eyes as the four men smirked at each other; they were all the same.
Lucius was tall, the prime example of a proper Pureblood man. His hair nearly matched Narcissa's, and was long, somewhat girlish, in Bellatrix's opinion. Evan Rosier had short, dirty blonde hair, which was always slicked down, and stood just a little taller then herself, making him the shortest man present. Severus Snape had been in Narcissa's year, and was extremely dangerous, according to her sister. His dark hair curtained his face, hiding his true intentions deep within. And then there was Rodolphus Lestrange. A man two years older then she, his black hair was short, well kept, and a small mustache shrouded his face. He would have been handsome, had he not been so stuck up.

"So come on, out with it," Severus pressed when she joined the circle, "What do you want? Tsk. I thought your dear mother had asked you to give up smoking."
"Tsk," Bellatrix sneered, looking pointedly down at his drink, "Old enough to drink, young man?"
His lip curled with annoyance, and Rodolphus snorted, which caused Bellatrix to roll her eyes, "I wish to know more about the Dark Lord."
"I'm afraid what you heard while you were eavesdropping is all you're going to hear."
"I wasn't eavesdropping," she retaliated, glaring at Evan, "You four talk loud enough... I was astounded I couldn't hear you inside. I know you four work for him... How'd you get in?"
"We were brought in through contacts," Lucius replied simply, his eyebrows knitting, "Why?"
"I want in," she stated firmly. The four men exchanged amused glances, then burst out laughing, causing Bellatrix's face to flush with anger. She pulled her wand out from hiding and glared, "What, pray, is so funny?"

Severus was the first to sober, and he leered down at her, "The Dark Lord doesn't accept women, not matter how vicious their tempers are."

Bellatrix scoffed; where were women accepted in this damn society of theirs?! She wasn't allowed to work anywhere without a permission slip form her husband. Her father always had to accompany her into town if she wished to shop... This was getting ridiculous.

"I can prove myself," Bellatrix snapped, "Rosier, you've seen me with a wand."
The man was always pestering her, and on several occasions, had seen the brunt end of her wand in return. He shifted awkwardly, "Just because you have some skills with a wand doesn't mean you are good enough for the Dark Lord."
"He accepted you," Bellatrix snarled, her eyes narrowing, "So it looks as if he'll accept anyone with a bit of money."
Lucius smirked, and he tapped his finger thoughtfully against his chin, "Fine."
"What?!" Rodolphus hissed, shooting the blonde beside him a look, "You can't be serious."
"Everyone should get a chance," Lucius said, his face returning to a serious expression, "The Dark Lord will want all of those talented enough on his side, whether they are man or woman."
"I suppose," Rodolphus agreed grudgingly, taking a large gulp of his drink. Bellatrix grinned freely and raised an eyebrow, "Excellent. When and where?"
"The graveyard by Keller's Field," Lucius replied, "One week from today. The Dark Lord will want to judge you before he accepts you."
"Understandable," Bellatrix declared, trying not to shiver as a particularly cool breeze tickled her bare arms, "I'll be there then. Now if you'll excuse me, I need another drink to get through the rest of this party."

The four nodded politely and she swept away, a twisted smile tainting her lips. Back to the party, back to the light. But soon, one week to be exact, she would see how much darkness she could actually take.

"And just where were you?" her mother huffed when Bellatrix slid through the glass door, cringing as the shrill voice pierced her to the very core. She smiled a fake smile at her mother, "I needed some air."
"You stink of smoke," her mother noted, glaring at Bellatrix harshly, "Go refresh yourself before people smell it."
"Mother, people do smoke," she hissed, rolling her eyes, "I'm not the only one here."
"My daughters do not smoke," her mother insisted, smiling as a couple passed by closely, obviously trying to catch a bit of the conversation.

Bellatrix was shoved in the direction of her room roughly, and she let out an irritated sigh, moving forcefully through the crowd. When she stopped on the stair, she noticed Evan and Lucius sweeping her sisters off their feet on the dance floor, Narcissa leaning up for a quick kiss every so often.
Oh what masks they wore. Although, they were not the only ones.