Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by J.K. Rowling. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended. The song is not mine.
"I give my hand to you with all my heart
Can't wait to live my life with you, can't wait to start."
– Shania Twain, "From This Moment On"
A few hours before her wedding, everyone around Bellatrix seems to be hurried and excited, and she suspects that she should be the epitome of the aforementioned qualities. However, the only emotion she feels is slight nervousness, and still, she is able to sit before her vanity, strangely serene as she looks into the mirror – not out of any particular concern for her appearance, because her looks are flawless, but because of a lack of anything else to do. Her mother had made it perfectly clear that before the actual ceremony, Bellatrix is expected to do nothing but sit and wait, and, seeing that she will only be a bride once, she is content to do so. In the quiet, though, she begins to feel oddly sentimental. A small, reluctant smile spreads across her face as she thinks, I wonder if it will be any different, waking up every morning as a wife…
Her musings are interrupted by a low knock, and, before Bellatrix can respond, her bedroom door swings open. Narcissa approaches her with a soft bounce in her step, almost beside herself with giddiness. A soft lilt in her voice, she exclaims breathlessly, "Oh, Bella! You wouldn't be able to imagine how chaotic everything is! There are some decorations to take care of, a few changes in the orchestral assemble, the final decisions to be made for the catering" – the blonde pauses to take a breath before continuing excitedly – "and Merlin! I just saw the attendance list! All those people!"
Bellatrix resists the urge to rolls her eyes. "For the love of glory, Narcissa, calm down. Everyone is going to think that you're the one getting married, not me."
"True," Narcissa concurs sheepishly, taking a seat on Bellatrix's bed, careful to avoid wrinkling the skirts of her dress. An expression of genuine curiosity appears on her face as she asks, hesitantly, "But Bella, aren't you scared at all?"
Bellatrix laughs out loud. "Have I ever been about anything?"
Narcissa shakes her head before she begins to ponder aloud. "Just think, Bella. After today, you'll be known as Bellatrix Lestrange." Suddenly somber, she adds, "You only get to be a Black for a couple more hours, and then you'll just be a part of their legacy."
Bellatrix turns sharply to her sister, who seems unaware of what she had said. Irked, Bellatrix declares, firmly, "No. I'm a Black first, and forever." When Narcissa just nods absentmindedly, she barks, "Narcissa!" When her sister's eyes widen, Bellatrix continues, her voice deadly serious, "So are you. Always remember that, even after you and Lucius get married."
Although blushing slightly at the mention of her future husband, Narcissa manages to answers obediently, "Of course, Bella." Having resolved this issue, Bellatrix feels content to sit and continuing relaxing. However, Narcissa remains quiet, subdued. Bellatrix sighs, and, in an attempt to restore the levity of the previous atmosphere, she drawls, "You know, our husbands will be a part of the Black family legacy too. What did you ever think that darn tapestry was for?"
Narcissa smiles, and, too soon, she is back to being her usual self, flouncing around the room as she describes every little detail of what is going on downstairs. Wincing slightly, Bellatrix wonders if it would have been better to let the younger girl sulk.
Tightly clutching her bouquet of white roses and tiger lilies, there is a strange fluttering in Bellatrix's stomach as she waits for her cue, while a beaming Narcissa – wearing a pale blue gown, suitable for the usually demure girl – skips down the aisle, grinning enthusiastically. Narcissa quickly makes her way to the front of the church, standing next to an uncomfortable Rabastan, who seems to have only consented to being the best man out of a sense of duty to his older brother.
Just as Bellatrix comes to this conclusion – a welcomed distraction from her wait – the wedding march begins to play. As Bellatrix is being led down the aisle on her father's arm, she gazes slyly at her husband-to-be. Dressed in his best robes, Rodolphus is watching her as well, a pleased gleam in his eyes. Bellatrix smiles; clad in a perfectly-fitted gown of ivory silk and delicate lace, her ebony hair cascading down her back in spiraling curls, she knows she is a beautiful bride.
As Bellatrix proceeds towards the front of the church, she smiles beatifically for the guests as well. As a member of the Noble House of Black – the elder daughter, no less – she has unparalleled family connections; the large number of those in attendance comes as a surprise to no one. The pews are filled with members of the most influential pureblood families from Britain and every other country with claims to a magical heritage. Knowing this to be an undisputed fact, Bellatrix smartly recognizes that it can only be beneficial to give off a good impression. However, she cannot resist a slight smirk as she realizes that her blood is still probably generations more pure than anyone else's, save for a privileged few.
When her father leaves her at Rodolphus' side, Bellatrix allows Rodolphus to clasp her hands in his, as the minister places his wand over them and begins to recite the incantation that will bind them together in holy matrimony. As sparkling golden ribbons of light coil around their clasped hands, they exchange vows.
Rodolphus promises earnestly, "I, Rodolphus Tristian Lestrange, take you, Bellatrix Morgause Black, to be my beloved wife, to honor and to protect, to be at your side in times of sorrow and of joy, and to love and cherish always, for as long as we both shall live."
Bellatrix, betraying no signs of her anxiety, takes a deep breath before reciting her own vows. "I, Bellatrix Morgause Black, take you, Rodolphus Tristian Lestrange, to be my beloved husband, to honor and to assist, to be at your side in times of sorrow and of joy, and to love and cherish always, for as long as we both shall live."
There is a noticeable silence after Bellatrix leaves out the part regarding obedience. After all, she thinks, I would never dream of making promises I couldn't keep. However, she is secretly delighted to notice the wicked sparkle in Rodolphus' eyes that tells her he doesn't particularly mind. After the golden ribbons of magic dissipate with a blaze of white light, a complacent Rodolphus grins as he deftly slips a golden band – which, like the other of its pair, is engraved with the Latin inscription, 'Ex amore vita' – onto her finger, and Bellatrix does the same for him, smiling at how easy it had been to pledge herself to this man standing before her.
The minister, who seems slightly miffed at their jovial expressions in a supposedly solemn ceremony, stiffly tells Rodolphus that he may kiss the bride. "Like I wasn't going to," her husband mutters for her ears only; Bellatrix bursts out laughing – to the visible dismay of the stern minister – mere seconds before Rodolphus' lips claim hers.
A few hours later, the band strikes up a waltz, and polite applause resounds through the grand ballroom of Lestrange Manor as Rodolphus and Bellatrix step onto the dance floor. Their first dance as a married couple, they whirl around the ballroom with natural ease – Rodolphus moves with a careless grace, his steps sloppy enough to be utterly charming; Bellatrix moves with a deliberate lightness in her steps, adding her own little flourishes when she is able to.
After a perfectly-executed twirl, Bellatrix realizes that Rodolphus is watching her, a look of slight amusement on his handsome features. Never been able to enjoy humor at her own expense, Bellatrix looks up sharply and demands, "What?"
Rodolphus looks a bit startled at being caught staring, but smiles cockily in response. He slowly removes his hand from her waist – while still managing to stay in step with the music – to toy with a few of Bellatrix's raven curls. He replies lightly, "I was just thinking. It seems so long ago since out first meeting, but after all these years… we're finally married." Rodolphus trails off, gently twisting Bellatrix's dark hair between nimble fingers, leaning in closer as he murmurs purposely, "Mia Bella." Now, the endearment actually has a ring of truth to it. Bellatrix, however, does not feel any of the usual seething fury she does at the insinuation that she belongs to anyone other than herself.
Finding herself staring into Rodolphus' familiar brown eyes, Bellatrix feels strangely calm as she realizes something, so startling that it can only be described as an epiphany. Perhaps, it won't be so bad being my own self next to someone else's, she decides.
Instead of voicing these thoughts, Bellatrix grins impishly as she reaches towards Rodolphus' left hand, the one he currently has on her shoulder. Tracing the golden band she had slipped on his finger earlier, she takes on a tone of mock surprise. "'Mia Bella?' Do I need to remind you that I'm not the only one wearing a wedding ring?" Bellatrix moves closer to him, until their bodies are almost touching, and it is only sheer dexterity that keeps either of them from stumbling mid-step. Smiling prettily, her voice a low purr, she adds, "If I am yours, then you, darling Rodolphus, are undeniably mine."
Chuckling slightly, Rodolphus moves his hand from Bellatrix's ebony curls back to her waist as they continue their waltz. He declares in a familiar drawl, "Oh, mia cara. I would not have it any other way."
Ex amore vita. – Latin proverb, (Translation: "From love, life.")
Author's Note(s): Name symbolism: Tristian – "bold," of French origin, similar to Tristan; in Arthurian legend, a Knight of the Round Table and tragic hero of the medieval tale Tristram and Isolde. Morgause – Arthur's half-sister, the daughter of Gorlois and Igraine, mother of the infamous Mordred. For the wedding vows, I looked up some on the internet and took a combination of a few. And the ceremony itself was based on a traditional wedding combined with handfasting and magic. Also, flower symbolism (Yes, I looked that up too!): White rose - a symbol of young love and unity; early traditions used white roses as a symbol of true love. Tiger lilies - represents the more powerful aspects of femininity, wealth, pride, means "I dare you to love me." That's all, I think. Please R&R!